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Myrrha. And I would ask if this your The rebels, fighting inch by inch, and palace were
forming Unroofd and desolate, how many flatterers An orb around the palace, where they mean Would lick the dust in which the king lay To centre all their force, and save the king. low ?
(He hesitates.) I am charged toAliada. The fair Ionian is too sarcastic Myrrha. 'Tis no time for hesitation. Upon a nation whom she knows not well; Pania. Prince Salemenes doth implore The Assyrians know no pleasure but their
the king king's,
To arm himself, although but for a moment, And homage is their pride.
And show himself unto the soldiers : his Sard. Nay, pardon, guests,
Sole presence in this instant might do more The fair Greek's readiness of speech. Than hosts can do in his behalf. Altada. Pardon! sire:
Sard. What, ho!
Myrrha. And wilt thou ?
Sard. Will I not?
Where are the rebels ?
From the outward wall the fiercest conflict Myrrha, my love, hast thou thy shell in
Sard. Then I may charge on horseback. Sing me a song of Sappho, her, thou knowst, Sfero, ho! Who in thy country threw
Order my horse out. There is space enough Enter Pania, with his sword and garments To marshal half the horsenen of Arabia.
Even in our courts, and by the outer gate, bloody, and disordered. The Guests rise in
[Erit Sfero for the armour. confusion.
Myrrha. How I do love thee!
Sard. (to his Attendant) Bring down my Your arms! To arins! The king's in danger.
spear, too, Monarch !
Where's Salemenes? Excuse this haste,-'tis faith.
Pania. Where a soldier should be,
In the thick of the fight.
Sard. Then hasten to him-Is
wine. Take breath, good Pania. Pania. Twas Pania. 'Tis nothing-a mere flesh-wound, When I late left him, and I have no fear: I am worn
Our troops were steady, and the phalanx More with my speed to warn my sovereign,
form'd. Than hurt in his defence.
Sard. Tell him to spare his person for Myrrha. Well, sir, the rebels.
the present, Pania. Soon as Arbaces and Beleses And that I will not spare my own-and say, reach'd
I come. Their stations in the city, they refused Pania. There's victory in the very word. To march: and on my attempt to use the
[Exit Pania. power
Sard. Altada-Zames-forth and arm ye! Which I was delegated with, they callid
See that the women are bestow'd in safety
In the remote apartments: let a guard Sard. Sparc not of thy free speech Be set before them, with strict charge to quit To spare mine ears the truth.
The post but with their lives—command it, Pania. My own slight guard
Zames. Were faithful - and what's left of it is still so. Altada, arm yourself, and return here; Myrrha. And are these all the force still Your post is near our person. faithful?
(Ercunt Zames, Altada, and all save Pania. No
Sard. (arming himself.) Give me the And the helm not at all. Methinks, I seem cuirass—su : my baldric; now
(Flings away the helmet after trying My sword: I had forgot the helm, where it again. is it?
Passing well in these toys; and now to That's well-no, 'tis too heavy: you mistake, too
Altada! Where's Altada ? It was not this I meant, but that which bears Sfero. Waiting, sire, A diadem around it.
Without: he has your shield in readiness. Sfero. Sire, I deem'd
Sard. True; I forget he is my shieldThat too conspicuous from the precious
By right of blood, derived from age to age. To risk your sacred brow beneath-and, Myrrha embrace me; yet once more once
trust me, This is of better metal, though less rich. Love me, whate'er betide. My chiefest glory Sard. You deem’d! Are you too turnd Shall be to make me worthier of your love. a rebel? Fellow!
Myrrha. Go forth, and conquer ! Your part is to obey: return, and-no
[Ereunt Sardanapalus and Sfero. It is too late-I will go forth without it.
Now, I am alone. Sfero. At lcast wear this.
All are gone forth, and of that all ow few Sard. Wear Caucasus! why, 'tis Perhaps return. Let him but vanquish, and A mountain on my temples.
Me perish! If he vanquish not, I perish; Sfero. Sire, the meanest
For I will not outlive him. He has wound Soldier goes not forth tbus exposed to battle. About my heart, I know not how nor why. All men will recognize you - for the storm Not for that he is king; for now his Has ceased, and the muon breaks forth in kingdom her brightness.
Rocks underneath his throne, and the earth Sard. I go forth to be recognized, and thus
yawns Shall be so sooner. Now-my spear! I'm To yield him no more of it than a grave; arm'd.
And yet I love him more. Oh, mighty Jove! [In going stops short, and turns to Sfero. Forgive this monstrous love for a barbarian, Sfero-I had forgotten--bring the mirror. Who knows not of Olympus: yes, I love him Sfero. The mirror, sire?
Now, now, far more than- Hark-to the Sard. Yes, sir, of polish'd brass,
war-shout! Brought from the spoils of India--but be Methinks it nears me. If it should be so, speedy. [Exit Sfero.
[She draus forth a small vidl. Myrrha, retire unto a place of safety. This cunning Colchian poison, which my Why went you not forth with the other
father damsels ?
Learn'd to compound on Euxine shores, and Myrrha. Because my place is here.
taught me Sard. And when I am gone
How to preserve, shall frce me! It had Myrrha. I follow.
freed me Sard. You! to battle ?
Long ere this hour, but that I lovedl, until Myrrha. If it were so,
I half forgot I was a slave:- where all 'Twere not the first Greek girl had trod the Are slaves save one, and proud of servitude, path.
So they are served in turn by something I will await here your return.
lower Sard. The place
In the degree of bondage, we forget Is spacious, and the first to be sought out, That shackles worn like ornaments no less If they prevail; and, if it should be so, Are chaing. Again that shout! and now And I return not
the clash Myrrha. Still, we mect again.
Of arms-and now- and nowSard. How?
Enter ALTADA. Myrrha. In the spot where all must meet at last
Altada. Ho, Sfero, ho! In Ilades! if there be, as I believe,
Myrrha. He is not here; what wouldst A shore beyond the Styx; and if there be not,
thou with him? How In ashes.
Goes on the conflict ? Sard. Dar'st thou so much?
Altada. Dubiously and fiercely. Myrrha. I dare all things,
Myrrha. And the king? Except survive what I have loved, to be Altada. Like a king. I must find Sfero, A rebel's booty: forth, and do your bravest. And bring him a new spear and his own
helmet. Re-enter Sfero with the mirror.
lle fights till now bare-headed, and by far Surd. (looking at himself) This cuirass fits Too much exposed. The soldiers knew his mc well, the baldric better,
And the foe too; and in the moon's broad Pania. And charged me to secure your life, light,
And beg you to live on for his sake, till His silk tiara and his flowing hair He can rejoin you. Make him a mark too royal. Every arrow Myrrha. Will he then give way? Is pointed at the fair hair and fair features, Pania. Not till the last. Still, still ho And the broad fillet which crowns both.
does whate'er Myrrha. Ye gods,
Despair can do; and step by step disputes Who fulmine o'er my fathers' land, protect The very palace. him!
Myrrha. They are here, then:-ay, Were you sent by the king ?
Their shouts come ringing through tho Altada. By Salemenes,
ancient halls, Who sent me privily upon this charge, Never profaned by rebel echoes till Without the knowledge of the careless This fatal night. Farewell, Assyria's line! sovereign.
Farewell to all of Nimrod! Even the name The king! the king fights as he revels! ho! Is now no more. What, Sfero! I will seek the armoury,
Pania. Away with me-away! He must be there.
[Erit Altada. Myrrha. No; I'll die here!-Away, and Myrha. 'Tis no dishonour-no
tell your king "Ti no dishonour to have loved this man. I loved him the last. I almost wish now, what I never wish'd
Enter SARDANAPALUS and SALEMENES with Before, that he were Grecian. If Alcides Were shamed in wearing Lydian Omphale's
Soldiers. Pania quits MYRRHA, and ranges She-garb, and wielding her vile distaff ;
himself with them. surely
Sard. Since it is thus,
(Pania returns towards Myrrha.
Sal. We have breathing time: yet one Enter an Officer.
more charge, my friendsOfficer. Lost,
One for Assyria!
My faithful Bactrians, I will henceforth be Myrrha. Posted with the guard appointed King of your nation, and we'll hold together Towatch before the apartment of the women. This realm as province.
[Erit Officer. Sal. Hark! They come, they come. Myrrha. He's gone; and told no more than that all's lost!
Enter BELESES and ARBACEs with the Rebels. What need have I to know more? In those Arbaces. Set on, we have them in the words,
toil. Charge! Charge! Those little words, a kingdom and a king, Belcses. On! on!-Heaven fights for us A line of thirteen ages, and the lives
and with us.-On! Of thousands, and the fortune of all left [They charge the King and Salemenes With life, are merged : and I, too, with with their Troops, who defend themthe great,
selves till the arrival of Zames with Like a small bubble breaking with the wave the Guard before mentioned. The ReWhich bore it, shall be nothing. At the bels are then driven off, and pursued least
by Salemenes, etc. As the King is going My fate is in my keeping: no proud victor to join the pursuit, Belescs crosses him. Shall count me with his spoils.
Beleses. Ho! tyrant-I will end this war.
Sard. Even so,
My warlike priest, and precious prophet, and Pania. Away with me,
Grateful and trusty subject :-yield, I pray Myrrha, without delay; we must not lose
thee. A moment-all that's left us now.
I would reserve thee for a fitter doom, Myrrha. The king?
Rather than dip my hands in holy blood. Pania. Sent me here to conduct you Beleses. Thine hour is come. hence, beyond
Sard. No, thine.--I've lately read, The river, by a secret passage.
Though but a young astrologer, the stars; Myrrha. Then
And ranging round the zodiac, found thy lle lives
In the sign of the Scorpion, which proclaims | His' silken son to save it: he defies
All augury of foes or friends; and like Beleses. But not by thee.
The close and sultry summer's day, which [They fight; Beleses is wounded and
A twilight-tempest, bursts forth in such Sard. (raising his sword to despatch him thunder erclaims -)
As sweeps the air and deluges the earth. Now call upon thy planets, will they shoot The man's inscrutable. From the sky to preserve their seer and Sfero. Not more than others. credit?
All are the sons of circumstance; away-
Beleses. They assail the King, who, Tortured for his infatuation, and
his Soldiers, who drive the Rebels off. The villain was a prophet after all.
Enter SALEMENES and Soldiers. Upon them-ho! there-victory is ours. Sal. The triumph is
[Erit in pursuit. Flattering: they are beaten backward from Myrrha (to Pania). Pursue! Why standst the palace,
thou here, and leavest the ranke And we have open'd regular access Of fellow-soldiers conquering without thee? To the troops station’d on the other side Pania. The king's command was not to Euphrates, who may still be true; nay, quit thee.
must be, Myrrha. Me!
When they hear of our victory. But where Think not of mc—a single soldier's arm Is the chief victor? where's the king ? Must not be wanting now. I ask no guard, I need no guard: what, with a world at stake,
Enter SARDANAPALUS, cum suis, and
Sal. Unhurt, I hope.
Sal. And, I trust, the city.
[Exit Myrrha. Our numbers gather; and I have order'd Pania. Yet stay, damsel! She is gone.
onward If aught of ill betide her, better I A cloud of Parthians, hitherto reserved, Had lost my life. Sardanapalus holds her All fresh and fiery, to be pour'd upon them Far dearer than his kingdom, yet he fights in their retreat, which soon will be a flight. For that tvo; and can I do less than him, Sard. It is already, or at least they Who never flesh'd a scimitar till now ?
march'd Myrrha, return, and I obey you, though Faster than I could follow with my In disobedience to the monarch.
[Exit Pania. Who spared no speed. I am spent; give Enter ALTADA, and SFERo by an opposite door.
Sal. There stands the throne, sire. Altada. Myrrha !
Sard. 'Tis no place to rest on, What, gone? yet she was here when the For mind nor body: let me have a couch, fight raged,
[They place a seat. And Pania also. Can aught have befallen A peasant's stool, I care not what: 80-now them?
I breathe more freely. Sfero. I saw both safe, when late the Sal. This great hour has proved rebels fled:
The brightest and most glorious of your life. They probably are but retired to make Sard. And the most tiresome. Where's Their way back to the harem.
my cup-bearer? Altada. If the king
Bring me some water.
Your most austere of counsellors, would now Sfero. Let us trace them;
Suggest a purpler beverage.' She cannot be fled far; and, found, she Sard. Blood - doubtless. makes
But there's enough of that shed ; as for wine, A richer prize to our soft sovereign I have learn'd to-night the price of the Than his recover'd kingdom.
pure element: Altada. Baal himself
Thrice have I drank of it, and thrice renewid, Ne'er fought more fiercely to win empire, With greater strength than the grape over tban
me a seat.
My charge upon the rebels. Where's the As a lute's pierceth through the cymbal's soldier
clash, Who gave me water in his helmet? Jarr'd but not drown'd by the loud batOne of the Guards. Slain, sire!
tling; her An arrow pierced his brain, while, scattering Waved arms, more dazzling with their The last drops from his helm, he stood in act
own-born whiteness To place it on his brows.
Than the steel her hand held, which she Sard. Slain! unrewarded!
caught up And slain to serve my thirst : that's hard, From a dead soldier's grasp; all these
things made Had he but lived, I would have gorged Her seem unto the troops a prophetess him with
Of victory, or Victory herself,
Again the love-fit's on him, and all's lost,
(Aloud.) But pray thee, sire, The goblet I reserve for hours of love, Think of your wound-you said even now But war on water.
'twas painful. Sal. And that bandage, sire,
Sard. That's true, too; but I must not Which girds your arm?
think of it. Sard. A scratch from brave Beleses. Sal. I have look'd to all things needful, Myrrha. Oh! he is wounded !
and will now Sard. Not too much of that;
Receive reports of progress made in such And yet it feels a little stiff and painful, Orders as I had given, and then return Now I am cooler.
To hear your further pleasure. Myrrha. You have bound it with
Sard. Be it so. Sard. The fillet of my diadem: the first Sal. (in retiring) Myrrha! time
Myrrha. Prince! That ornament was ever aught to me Sal. You have shown a soul to-night, Save an incumbrance.
Which, were he not my sister's lordMyrrha (to the Attendants). Summon
But now speedily
I have no time: thou lov'st the king? A leech of the most skilful: pray, retire; Myrrha. I love I will unbind your wound and tend it. Sardanapalus. Sard. Do so,
Sal. But wouldst have him king still ? For now it throbs sufficiently: but what Myrrha. I would not have him less than Knowst thou of wounds? yet wherefore do what he should be. I ask?
Sal. Well, then, to have him king, and Knowst thou, my brother, where I lighted on
yours, and all This minion?
He should, or should not be; to have him live, Sal. Herding with the other females, Let him not sink back into luxury. Like frightend antelopes.
You have more power upon his spirit than Sard. No: like the dam
Wisdom within these walls, or fierce Of the young lion, femininely raging,
rebellion (And femininely meaneth furiously, Raging without: look well that he relapse Because all passions in excess are female)
not. Against the hunter flying with her cub, Myrrha. There needed not the voice of She urged on with her voice and gesture and
Salemenes Her floating hair and flashing eyes the To urge me on to this: I will not fail. soldiers
All that a woman's weakness canIn the pursuit.
Sal. Is power Sal. Indeed !
Omnipotent o’er such a heart as his; Sard. You see, this night
Exert it wisely:
[Erit Salemenes. Made warriors of more than me. I paused Sard. Myrrha! what, at whispers To look upon her, and her kindled cheek; With my stern brother? I shall soon be Her large black eyes, that flash'd through jealous. her long hair
Myrrha (smiling). You have cause, sire; As it stream'd o'er her; her blue veins that
for on the earth there breathes not
A man more worthy of a woman's loveAlong her most transparent brow; her A soldier's trust-à subject's reverence nostril
A king's esteem-the whole world's admiDilated from its symmetry; her lips
ration! Apart; her voice that clove through all Sard. Praise him, but not so warmly. the din,
I must not