« EelmineJätka »
Perceive it, and pour on such crowds, they blunt To leave us desperate. Aids may soon arrive; Our weapons, and have drain'd our stores of Mean time, in spite of their late bold attack,
What will you next?
Eum. I've sent a fresh recruit.
The valiant Phocyas leads them on-whose deeds,
In early youth, assert his noble race;
A more than common ardour seems to warm
His breast, as if he lov'd and courted danger.
Her. I fear 'twill be too late.
Eum. I fear it too:
The city still is ours; their force repell'd,
And therefore weaker: proud of this success,
Our soldiers too have gain'd redoubled courage,
And long to meet them on the open plain.`
What hinders then but we repay this outrage,
And sally on their camp?
Believe th' occasion fair, by this advantage, To purchase their retreat on easy terms: That failing, we the better stand acquitted And though I brav'd it to the trembling crowd, To our own citizens. However, brave Phocyas, I've caught th' infection, and I dread th'event. Cherish this ardour in the soldiery, Would I had treated!-but 'tis now too late. And in our absence form what force thou canst; [Aside. Then if these hungry bloodhounds of the war Come, Herbis. [Exeunt. Should still be deaf to peace, at our return Our widen'd gates shall pour a sudden flood A great Shout. Re-enter HERBIS. Of vengeance on them, and chastise their scorn. Her. So-the tide turns; Phocyas has driv'n [Exeunt. it back.
The gate once more is ours.
Flourish. Re-enter EUMENES, with PHOCYAS,
Eum. Brave Phocyas, thanks! mine and the
Yet, that we may not lose this breathing space,
Hang out the flag of truce. You, Artamon,
Haste with a trumpet to th' Arabian chiefs,
And let them know, that, hostages exchang'd,
I'd meet them now upon the eastern plain.
Pho. What means Eumenes?
Eum. Phocyas, I would try,
By friendly treaty, if on terms of peace
They'll yet withdraw their pow'rs.
Pho. On terms of peace!
What peace can you expect from bands
What terms from slaves but slavery?-You know
These wretches fight not at the call of honour,
That sets the princes of the world in arms.
Base-born, and starv'd, amidst their stony deserts,
Long have they view'd from far, with wishing
SCENE II-A Plain before the City. A Pros-
pect of Tents at a distance.
Enter CALED, Abudah, and Daran.
Daran. To treat, my chiefs!--What! are
we merchants then,
That only come to traffic with those Syrians,
And poorly cheapen conquest on conditions?
No: we were sent to fight the caliph's battles,
Till every iron neck bend to obedience.
Another storm makes this proud city ours;
What need we treat?-I am for war and plunder.
Caled. Why, so am I; and but to save the
Of mussulmans, not Christians, I would treat.
I hate these Christian dogs; and 'tis our task,
As thou observ'st, to fight; our law enjoins it:
Heaven, too, is promis'd only to the valiant.
Oft has our prophet said, the happy plains
Above lie stretch'd beneath the blaze of swords.
Abu. Yet Daran's loath to trust that heaven
This earth, it seems, has gifts that please him
Caled. Check not his zeal, Abudah.
Abu. No; I praise it.
Our fruitful vales, and all the verdant wealth Yet I could wish that zeal had better motives. That crowns fair Lebanon's aspiring brows. Has victory no fruits but blood and plunder? Here have the locusts pitch'd, nor will they leave That we were sent to fight, 'tis true; but These tasted sweets, these blooming fields of
For barren sands and native poverty,
Till driv'n away by force.
Eum. What can we do?
Our people in despair; our soldiers harrass'd
With daily toil and constant nightly watch;
Our hopes of succour from the emperor
Uncertain; Eutyches not yet return'd,
Th' Arabians num'rous, cruel, flush'd with
For conquest, not destruction. That obtain'd,
The more we spare, the caliph has more subjects,
And heaven is better serv'd. But see, they come!
Enter EUMENES, HERBIS, and ARTAMON.
Caled. Well, Christians, we are met and
That went to ask them; one brave army beaten; At your request, has still'd his angry voice,
To hear what you will purpose.
Eum. We come to know,
After so many troops you've lost in vain,
If you'll draw off in peace, and save the rest?
Her. Or rather to know first-for yet we
Her. Besides, you know what frenzy fires their minds,
faith, and drives them on to
Eum. True:-they pretend the gates
of Why on your heads you call our pointed
Stand ever open to receive the souls
Of all that die in fighting for their cause.
Pho. Then would I send their souls to Paradise,
And give their bodies to our Syrian eagles.
Our ebb of fortune is not yet so low,
When first we march'd against you, to surrender.
Two moons have wasted since, and now the third
Is in its wane. 'Tis true, drawn off awhile,
At Aiznadin we met and fought the powers
Sent by your emperor to raise our siege.
Vainly you thought us gone; we gain'd a con-
You see we are return'd; our hearts, our cause,
Our swords the same.
Her. But why those swords were drawn,
And what's the cause, inform us?
Eum. Speak your wrongs,
Caled. Blasphemer, know, your fields and
Our prophet has bestow'd them on the faithful,
And heaven itself has ratified the grant.
Eum. Oh! now indeed you boast a noble title!
What could your prophet grant? a hireling slave!
Not e'en the mules and camels which he drove,
Were his to give; and yet the bold impostor
Has canton'd out the kingdoms of the earth,
In frantic fits of visionary power,
To sooth his pride, and bribe his fellow madmen!
Caled. Was is for this you sent to ask a parley,
If wrongs you have receiv'd, and by what means T" affront our faith, and to traduce our prophet?
They may be now repair'd.
Abu. Then, Christians, hear,
Well might we answer you with quick revenge For such indignities-Yet hear, once more, And heaven inspire you to embrace its truth! Hear this, our last demand; and, this accepted, Not wrongs t' avenge, but to establish right,We yet withdraw our war. Be Christians still; Our swords were drawn: for such is heaven's But swear to live with us in firm alliance,
Immutable. By us great Mahomet,
And his successor, holy Abubeker,
Invite you to the faith.
Eum. Now, in the name of heaven,
faith is this,
That stalks gigantic forth thus arm'd with terrors,
As if it meant to ruin, not to save;
That leads embattled legions to the field,
And marks its progress out with blood and
Her. Bold, frontless men! that impudently dare
To blend religion with the worst of crimes!
And sacrilegiously usurp that name,
To cover fraud, and justify oppression!
Eum. Where are your priests! What doc-
tors of your law
Have you e'er sent t' instruct us in its precepts,
To solve our doubts, and satisfy our reason,
And kindly lead us through the wilds of error,
To these new tracts of truth? This would be
And well might claim our thanks.
Caled. Friendship like this
With scorn had been receiv'd: your
To yield us aid, and pay us annual tribute.
Eum. No: should we grant you aid, we
must be rebels;
And tribute is the slavish badge of conquest.
Yet since, on just and honourable terms,
We ask but for our own-Ten silken vests,
Weighty with pearls and gems, we'll send your
Two, Caled, shall be thine; two thine, Abudah.
To each inferior captain we decree
A turban spun from our Damascus flax,
White as the snows of heaven; to every soldier
A scymitar. This, and' of solid gold
Ten ingots, be the price to buy your absence.
Caled. This, and much more, even all your
Will soon be ours. Behold our march
O'er half your land, like flame through fields
And, last, view Aiznadin, that vale of blood!
There seek the souls of forty thousand Greeks,
That, fresh from life, yet hover o'er their bodies.
Then think, and then resolve.
Her. Presumptuous men!
numer-What though you yet can boast successful guilt,
Is conquest only yours? Or dare you hope
That you shall still pour on the swelling tide.
Like some proud river that has left its banks
Nor ever know repulse?.
Eum. Have you forgot!
Not twice seven years are past, since e'en your prophet,
Your clashing sects, your mutual rage and strife,
Have driven religion, and her angel guards,
Like outcasts from among you. In her stead,
Usurping superstition bears the sway,
And reigns in mimic state, midst idol shows,
And pageantry of power. Who does not mark
Your lives, rebellious to your own great prophet, Bold as he was, and boasting aid divine,
Who mildly taught you?-Therefore Mahomet Was by the tribe of Corish forc'd to fly,
Has brought the sword, to govern you by force. Poorly to fly, to save his wretched life,
Eum. O, solemn truths! though from an From Mecca to Medina?
impious tongue! [Aside.
That we're unworthy of our holy faith,
To heaven, with grief and conscious shame,
But what are you that thus arraign our vices,
And consecrate your own?
Are you not sons of rapine, foes to peace,
Base robbers, murderers?
We well remember how Medina screen'd
That holy head, preserv'd for better days,
And ripening years of glory.
Daran. Why, my chiefs,
Will you waste time, in offering terms despis
To these idolaters?-Words are but air,
Blows would plead better.
Caled. Daran, thou say'st true.
Christians, here end our truce. Behold, on
Caled. Christians, no,
Eum. Then say,
Why have you ravag'd all our peaceful borders?
Plunder'd our towns? and by what claim, e'en
You tread this ground?
Her. What claim, but that of hunger? But in the bowels of Damascus.
The claim of ravenous wolves, that leave their Eum. That,
The sword of heaven is drawn! nor shall sheath'd,
Or speedy vengeance and destruction, due To prowl at midnight round some sleeping village, To the proud menacers, as heaven sees fit Or watch the shepherd's folded flock for prey?|
SCENE III-A Garden.
Eud. All's bush'd around! -No more the
shout of soldiers,
And clash of arms, tumultuous, fill the air.
Methinks this interval of terror seems
Like that, when the loud thunder just has roll'd
O'er our affrighted heads, and, in the heavens,
A momentary silence but prepares
A second and a louder clap to follow.
O no-my hero comes with better omens,
And pillars rise of monumental brass,
Inscrib'd-"To Phocyas, the deliverer."
Pho. The honours and rewards, which thou
Are bribes too little for my vast ambition.
My soul is full of thee!-Thou art my all,
Of fame, of triumph, and of future fortune.
'Twas love of thee first sent me forth in arms;
My service is all thine, to thee devoted;
And thou alone canst make e'en conquest
Eud. O, do not wrong thy merit, nor re
To narrow bounds; but know, I best am pleas'd And every gloomy thought is now no more. To share thee with thy country. Oh, my Phocyas! Pho. Where is the treasure of my soul?-With conscious blushes oft I've heard thy vows,
Behold me here impatient, like the miser,
That often steals in secret to his gold,
And counts, with trembling joy and jealous
The shining heaps which he still fears to lose.
Eud. Welcome, thou brave, thou best de-
How do I doubly share the common safety,
Since 'tis a debt to thee!-But tell me, Phocyas,
Dost thou bring peace?—Thou dost, and I am
Pho. Not yet, Eudocia ; 'tis decreed by heaven,
I must do more to merit thy esteem.
Peace, like a frighted dove, has wing'd her flight
To distant hills, beyond these hostile tents;
And through them we must thither force our way,
If we would call the lovely wanderer back
To her forsaken home.
Eud. False, flattering hope!
Vanish'd so soon!-alas, my faithful fears
Return and tell me we must still be wretched!
Pho. Not so, my fair; if thou but gently smile,
Inspiring valour, and presaging conquest,
These barbarous foes to peace and love shall soon
Be chas'd, like fiends, before the morning light,
And all be calm again,
Eud. Is the truce ended?
alas! renew its bloody rage,
And Phocyas ever be expos'd to danger?
Pho. Think for whose sake danger itself
Dismiss thy fears: the lucky hour comes on
Full fraught with joys, when my big soul no more
Shall labour with this secret of my passion,
To hide it from thy jealous father's eyes.
Just now, by signals from the plain, I've learn'd
That the proud foe refuse us terms of honour;
A sally is resolv'd; the citizens
And soldiers, kindled into sudden fury,
Press all in crowds, and beg I'll lead them on.
O, my Eudocia! if I now succeed—
Did I say, if?—I must, I will; the cause
Is love, 'tis liberty, it is Eudocia!-
What then shall hinder,
But I may boldly ask thee of Eumenes,
Nor fear a rival's more prevailing claim?
Eud. May blessings still attend thy arms!—
I've caught the flame of thy heroic ardour;
And now I see thee crown'd with palm and olive;
The soldiers bring thee back, with songs of
And strove to hide, yet more reveal'd my heart;
But 'tis thy virtue justifies my choice,
And what at first was weakness, now is glory.
Pho. Forgive me, thou fair pattern of all
If, in the transport of unbounded passion,
I still am lost to every thought but thee.
Yet sure to love thee thus is every virtue;
Nor need I more perfection.—Hark! I'm call'd.
Eud. Then go-and heaven with all its an-
gels guard thee.
Pho. Farewell!-for thee once more I draw the sword.
Now to the field, to gain the glorious prize; 'Tis victory-the word-Eudocia's eyes!
SCENE I.-The Governor's Palace.
Enter EUMENES and HERBIS.
Her. Still I must say 'twas wrong, 'twas wrong, Eumenes; And mark th' event!
Eum. What could I less? You saw 'Twas vain t'oppose it, whilst his eager valour, Impatient of restraint
Her. His eager valour!
His rashness, his hot youth, his valour's fever!
Must we, whose business 'tis to keep our walls,
And manage warily our little strength;
Must we at once lavish away our blood,
Because his pulse beats high, and his mad courage
Wants to be breath'd in some new enterprize?-
You should not have consented.
'Twas not my voice alone, you saw the people
(And sure such sudden instincts are from heaven!)
Rose all at once to follow him, as if
One soul inspir'd them, and that soul was
Her. I had indeed forgot, and ask your
I took you for Eumenes, and I thought
That, in Damascus, you had chief command.
Eum. What dost thou mean?
Her. Nay, who's forgetful now?
You say, the people-Yes, that very people,
That coward tribe that press'd you to surrender!
Well may they spurn at lost authority;
Whom they like better, better they'll obey.
Eum. OI could curse the giddy changeful
And loud applauding shouts; thy rescu'd country
Resounds thy praise; our emperor, Heraclius, But that the thought of this hour's great event
Possesses all my soul.-If we are beaten!-
Decrees thee honours for a city sav'd;
Her. The poison works; 'tis well-I'll give How shall thy country pay the debt she owes thee?
True, if we're beaten, who shall answer that?
Shall you, or I?-Are you the governor?
Or say we conquer, whose is then the praise?
Eum. I know thy friendly fears; that thou
Must stoop beneath a beardless, rising hero!
And in Heraclius' court it shall be said,
Damascus, nay, perhaps the empire too,
Ow'd its deliverance to a boy.-Why be it,
So that he now return with victory;
'Tis honour greatly won, and let him wear it.
Yet I could wish I needed less his service.
Were Eutyches returned—
Her. That, that's my torture.
Is set in blood, and from the western skies
Has seen three thousand slaughter'd Arabs fall.
Her. Is Phocyas safe?
Art. He is, and crown'd with triumph.
Her. My fears indeed were just.
[Aside. Shout, Flourish.
Eum. What noise is that?
Her. The people worshipping their new di-
Shortly they'll build him temples.
Eum. Tell us, soldier,
Pho. By taking this as earnest of a debt
Which I owe her, and fain would better pay.
Her. In spite of envy I must praise him too.
Phocyas, thou hast done bravely, and 'tis fit
Successful virtue take a time to rest.
Fortune is fickle, and may change: besides,
What shall we gain, if from a mighty ocean
By sluices we draw off some little streams?
If thousands fall, ten thousands more remain.
Nor ought we hazard worth so great as thine,
Against such odds. Suffice what's done already:
And let us now, in hopes of better days,
Keep wary watch, and wait th' expected succours.
Pho. What!-to be coop'd whole months
within our walls?
To rust at home, and sicken with inaction?
The courage of our men will droop and die,
If not kept up by daily exercise.
Again the beaten foe may force our gates;
And victory, if slighted thus, take wing,
And fly where she may find a better welcome.
Eum. Urge him no more:-
I'll think of thy late warning;
And thou shalt see I'll yet be governor.
[Aside to Her.
Enter a Messenger, with a Letter.
Pho. [Looking on it] Tis to Eumenes.
Eum. Ha! from Eutyches.
[Reads] The emperor, awaken'd with the
That threatens his dominions, and the loss
At Aiznadin, has drain'd his garrisons
To raise a second army. In a few hours
We will begin our march. Sergius brings this,
And will inform you further.-
Her. Heaven, I thank thee!
'Twas even beyond my hopes.
Eum. But where is Sergius?
Mes. The letter, fastened to an arrow's head,
Since thou hast shar'd the glory of this action, Whas shot into the town.
Tell us how it began.
Seem'd much surpris'd; but taking soon the
Gather'd some hasty troops, and march'd to
Eum. I fear he's taken.
O Phocyas, Herbis, Artamon! my friends!
You all are sharers in this news; the storm
Is blowing o'er that hung like night upon us,
And threaten'd deadly ruin. — Haste, proclaim
The welcome tidings loud through all the city.
Let sparkling lights be seen from every turret,
To tell your joy, and spread their blaze to heaven.
Prepare for feasts; danger shall wait at distance,
And fear be now no more. The jolly soldier
And citizen shall meet o'er their full bowls,
Forget their toils, and laugh their cares away
And mirth and triumphs close this happy day
[Exeuni Herbis and Artamor
Pho. And may succeeding days prove y
The captain of these bands look'd wild and fierce,
His head unarm'd, as if in scorn of danger,
And naked to the waist; as he drew near,
He rais'd his arm, and shook a pond'rous lance:
When all at once, as at a signal given,
We heard the tecbir, so these Arabs call
Their shouts of onset, when with loud appeal
They challenge heaven, as if demanding conquest.
The battle join'd, and through the barbarous host
"Fight, fight, and paradise," was all the cry.
At last our leaders met; and gallant Phocyas-Well dost thou bid the voice of triumph sour
But what are words, to tell the mighty wonders Through all our streets; our city calls thee fathe
We saw him then perform? - Their chief un- And say, Eumenes, dost thou not perceive
The Saracens soon broke their ranks, and fled;
And had not a thick evening fog arose,
The slaughter had been double. But, behold,
Enter PHOCYAS, EUMENES meeting him.
Eum. Joy to brave Phocyas!
Eumenes gives him back the joy he sent.
The welcome news has reach'd this place be-
A father's transport rise within thy breast.
Whilst in this act thou art the hand of heav
To deal forth blessings, and distribute joy?
Eum. The blessings heaven bestows
And should be freely shar'd.
Pho. True-Generous minds
Redoubled feel the pleasure they impart.
For me, if I've deserv'd by arms or coun
By hazards, gladly sought and greatly prosp
Whate'er I've added to the public stock,
With joy I see it in Eumenes' hands,
And wish but to receive my share from thee.
Eum. I cannot, if I would, withhold thy share.
What thou hast done is thine, the fame thy own:
And virtuous actions will reward themselves.
Pho. Fame-What is that, if courted for
Less than a vision; a mere sound, an echo,
That calls, with mimic voice, through woods
Thou hast already taught my child her duty.
I find the source of all her disobedience,
Her hate of me, her scorn of Eutyches.
Was this the spring of thy romantic bravery,
Thy boastful merit, thy officious service?
Pho. It was with pride I own it-'twas
I have serv'd thee in serving her; thou know'st it.
Why wilt thou force me thus to be a braggart,
And tell thee that which thou shouldst tell thyself?
It grates my soul-I am not wont to talk thus.
But I recall my words-I have done nothing,
And would disclaim all merit, but my love.
Eum. Oh, no-say on, that thou hast sav'd
Her cheated lovers; lost and heard by fits,
But never fix'd: a seeming nymph, yet nothing.
Virtue indeed is a substantial good,
A real beauty; yet with weary steps,
Through rugged ways, by long, laborious service, Is it not so?-Look o'er her battlements,
When we have trac'd, and woo'd, and won See if the flying foe have left their camp!
Why are our gates yet clos'd, if thou hast
May we not then expect the dower she brings?
Eum. Well-ask that dowry; say, can Da-'Tis true thou'st fought a skirmish–What of mascus pay it?
Her riches shall be tax'd;' name but the sum, Had Eutyches been present-
Her merchants with some costly gems shall
Nor can Heraclius fail to grant thee honours,
Proportion'd to thy birth and thy desert.
Pho. And can Eumenes think I would be
By trash, by sordid gold, to venal virtue?
What serve my country for the same mean hire,
That can corrupt each villain to betray her?
Why is she sav'd from these Arabian spoilers,
If to be stripp'd by her own sons?--Forgive me
If the thought glows on my cheeks! I know
Twas mention'd but to prove how much I scorn it.
I have ambition-yet the vast reward
That swells my hopes, and equals all my wishes,
Is in by gift alone-It is Eudocia.
Eum. Eudocia! Phocyas, I am yet thy friend, And therefore will not hold thee long in doubt. 1 sou must not think of her.
Pho. Not think of her!
Impossible.-She's ever present to me!
My lite, my soul! She animates my being,
And kindles up my thoughts to worthy actions.
And why, Eumenes, why not think of her?
Eum. Forbear-What need a herald,
To tell me who thou art?-Yet once again
ace thou wilt force me to a repetition,
I say, thou must not think of her.
Mr choice bas destin'd her to Eutyches!
Pho. And has she then consented to that
Why wilt thou urge my temper with that trifler?.
Oh, let him come! that in yon spacious plain
We may together charge the thickest ranks,
Rush on to battle, wounds, and glorious death,
And prove who 'twas that best deserv'd Eudocia.
Eum. That will be seen ere long. But since
Thou arrogantly wouldst usurp dominion,
Believ'st thyself the guardian genius here,
And that our fortunes hang upon thy sword;
Be that first try'd - for know, that from this
Thou here hast no command. Farewell!-So
Or hence and join the foe; thou hast thy
Pho. Spurn'd and degraded! - Proud, un-
Am I a bubble then, blown up by thee,
And toss'd into the air, to make thee sport?
Hence to the foe! 'Tis well-Eudocia,
Oh, I will see thee, thou wrong'd excellence!
But how to speak thy wrongs, or my disgrace-
[Impossible! Oh, rather let me walk,
Like a dumb ghost, and burst my heart in
SCENE II.-The Garden.
Eud. Why must we meet by stealth, like guilty lovers?
But 'twill not long be so. What joy 'twill be Eun. Has she consented?-What is her To own my hero in his ripen'd honours,
Pho. She is-and in that title,
Fa kings with envy may behold thy wealth,
And think their kingdoms poor!-And yet,
all she, by being thine, be barr'd a privilege Which ev'n the meanest of her sex may claim? Itou wilt not force her?
Eum Who has told thee so?
1 force her to be happy.
Pho. That thou canst not.
What happiness subsists in loss of freedom?
Eur Tis well, young man-Why then I'll
To be a very tame, obedient father.
And hear applauding crowds pronounce me
Sure he'll be here. See the fair rising moon,
Ere day's remaining twilight scarce is spent,
Hangs up her ready lamp, and with mild lustre
Drives back the hov'ring shade! Come, Pho-
This gentle season is a friend to love;
And now methinks I could with equal passion,
Meet thine, and tell thee all my secret soul.