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Describing the new love he bears Roxana,
Conceiving, not unlikely, that the line
Of dead Darius in her cause might rise.
Is any panther's, lioness's rage
So furious, any torrent's falls so swift,
As a wronged woman's hate? Thus far it helps
To give him troubles; which perhaps may end
And set the court in universal uproar.
But see! it ripens more than I expected;
The scene works up; kill him, or kill thyself;
So there be mischief any way, 'tis well;
Now change the vizor, every one disperse,
And with a face of friendship meet the king.
Whose body, O forgive the blasphemy,
I loved not half so well as the least part
Of my dear precious faithless Alexander;
For I will tell thee, and to warn thee of him,
Not the spring's mouth, nor breath of jessamin,
Nor violet's infant-sweets, nor opening buds,
Are half so sweet as Alexander's breast;
From every pore of him a perfume falls,
He kisses softer than a southern wind,
Curls like a vine, and touches like a god.
Sys. When will thy spirits rest, these transports
Stat. Will you not give me leave to warn my sister?
Then he will talk-good gods, how he will talk!
Even when the joy he sighed for is possest,
Enter SYSIGAMBIS, STATIRA, PARISATIS, At- He speaks the kindest words, and looks such
Stat. Give me a knife, a draught of poison,
Swell heart, break, break, thou stubborn thing!
Now, by the sacred fire, I'll not be held;
Why do ye wish my life, yet stifle me
For want of air? pray give me leave to walk.
Sys. Is there no reverence to my person due?
Darius would have heard me: trust not rumour.
Stat. No, he hates,
He loaths the beauties, which he has enjoyed.
O, he is false, that great, that glorious man
Is tyrant midst of his triumphant spoils,
Is bravely false, to all the gods forsworn:
Yet, who would think it! no, it cannot be,
It cannot What, that dear protesting man!
He, that has warmed my feet with thousand sighs,
Then cooled them with his tears, died on my
Outwept the morning with his dewy eyes,
And groaned and swore the wandering stars away!
Sys. No, 'tis impossible, believe thy mother,
That knows him well,
Stat. Away, and let me die :
O'tis my fondness, and my easy nature,
That would excuse him; but I know he's false,
'Tis now the common talk, the news of the
False to Statira, false to her, that loved him;
That loved him, cruel victor as he was,
And took him, bathed all o'er in Persian blood;
Kissed the dear cruel wounds, and washed them
And o'er in tears- -then bound them with my
Laid him all night upon my panting bosom,
Lulled like a child, and hushed him with my
Stat. A man! a man ! my Parisatis;
Stat. Alas, I had forgot! let me walk by,
And weep awhile, and I shall soon remember.
Sys. Have patience, child, and give her liberty;
Passions, like seas, will have their ebbs and
Yet, while I see her thus, not all the losses
We have received, since Alexander's conquest,
Can touch my hardened soul; her sorrow reigns
Too fully there.
Par. But what if she should kill herself?
Stat. Roxana, then, enjoys my perjured love:
Roxana clasps my monarch in her arms;
Doats on my conqueror, my dear lord, my king,
Devours his lips, eats him with hungry kisses:
She grasps him all, she, the curst happy she!
| By heaven I cannot bear it, 'tis too much;
I'll die, or rid me of the burning torture.
I will have remedy, I will, I will,
Or go distracted; madness may throw off
The mighty load, and drown the flaming passion.
Madam, draw near, with all that are in presence,
And listen to the vow, which here I make.
Sys. Take heed, my dear Statira, and consider,
What desperate love enforces you to swear.
Stat. Pardon me, for I have considered well;
And here I bid adieu to all mankind.
Farewell, ye cozeners of the easy sex,
And thou the greatest, falsest, Alexander!
Farewell, thou most beloved, thou faithless dear!
If I but mention him, the tears will fall;
Sure there is not a letter in his name,
But is a charm to melt a woman's eyes.
Sys. Clear up thy griefs; thy king, thy Alex-
Comes on to Babylon.
Stat. Why, let him come,
Thus with thy hand held up, thus let me swear Joy of all eyes but the forlorn Statira's.
By the eternal body of the sun,
Sys. Wilt thou not see him?
Stat. By heaven I never will,
This is my vow, my sacred resolution; [Kneels. The fast calamities, that round me fall. And when I break it
Sus. Ah, do not ruin all!
Stat. May I again be flattered and deluded, May sudden death, and horrid, come instead Of what I wished, and take me unprepared! Sys. Still kneel, and with the same breath call again
The woful imprecation thou hast made.
Stat. No, I will publish it through all the court, Then, in the bowers of great Semiramis, For ever lock my woes from human view. Sys. Yet be persuaded.
Stat. Never urge me more;
Lest, driven to rage, I should my life abhor,
And in your presence put an end to all
Par. O angry heaven! what have the guiltless
And where shall wretched Parisatis run?
Sys. Captives in war, our bodies wè resigned; But now made free, love does our spirits bind.
Stat. When to my purposed loneness I retire, Your sight I through the grates shall oft desire, And after Alexander's health enquire. And if this passion cannot be removed, Ask how my resolution he approved, How much he loves, how much he is beloved? Then, when I hear that all things please him well,
Thank the good gods, and hide me in my cell. [Exeunt.
Notes of trumpets sounding far off.―The scene draws, and discovers a battle of crows and ravens in the air; an eagle and a dragon meet and fight; the eagle drops down with all the rest of the birds, and the dragon flies away. Soldiers walk off, shaking their heads. The conspirators come forward.
Cass. He comes, the fatal glory of the world, The headlong Alexander, with a guard Of thronging crowns, comes on to Babylon, Though warned, in spite of all the powers above, Who, by these prodigies, foretell his ruin.
Pol. Why all this noise, because a king must die?
Or does heaven fear, because he swayed the earth,
His ghost will war with the high thunderer?
Curse on the babbling fates, that cannot see
A great man tumble, but they must be talking.
Cass. The spirit of king Philip, in those arms
We saw him wear, passed groaning through the
When I consider, it appears ridiculous :
For as I passed through a bye vacant place,
I met two women, very old and ugly,
That wrung their heads, and howled, and beat
And cried out, poison: When I asked the cause,
They took me by the ears, and with strange force
Held me to the earth, then laughed, and disap-
Cass. O how I love destruction with a method, Which none discern, but those, that weave the plot!
Like silk-worms we are hid in our own web,
But we shall burst at last through all the strings;
And, when time calls, come forth in a new form,
Not insects to be trod, but dragons winged.
Thess. The face of all the court is strangely
There is not a Persian I can meet, but stares
As if he were distracted. Oxyartes,
Statira's uncle, openly declaimed
Against the perjury of Alexander.
Phil. Others, more fearful, are removed to
Dreading Roxana's rage, who comes in the rear To Babylon.
Cass. It glads my rising soul,
That we shall see him racked before he dies:
I know he loves Statira more than life,
And on a crowd of kings, in triumph borne,
Comes big with expectation to enjoy her.
But when he hears the oaths, which she has ta-
I met a monstrous child, that, with his hands,
Held to his face, which seemed all over eyes,
A silver bowl, and wept it full of blood:
But having spied me, like a cockatrice,
He glared a while; then, with a shriek so shrill
As all the winds had whistled from his mouth,
He dashed me with the gore he held, and vanished.
Pol. That, which befel me, though it was hor-I
Her last adieu made public to the world,
Her vowed divorce, how will remorse consume
Prey, like the bird of hell, upon his liver!
Pol. To baulk his longing, aud delude his lust, Is more than death, 'tis earnest for damnation. Cass. Then comes Roxana, who must help our
know her, jealous, bloody, and ambitious. Sure it was the likeness of her heart to mine,
And sympathy of natures, caused me love her: 'Tis fixed, I must enjoy her, and no way So proper as to make her guilty first.
Pol. To see two rival queens of different hu
With a variety of torments vex him!
Enter LYSIMACHUS, and HEPHESTION. Cass. Of that anon: But see Lysimachus, And the young favourite. Sort, sort yourselves, And, like to other mercenary souls, Adore this mortal god, that soon must bleed.
Lys. Here I will wait the king's approach, and stand
His utmost anger, if he do me wrong.
Not love the king? such is not woman's love;
So fond a friendship, such a sacred flame,
As I must doubt to find in breasts above.
Alex. Thou dost, thou lovest me, crown of all my wars,
Thou dearer to me than my groves of laurel :
I know thou lovest thy Alexander more
Than Clytus does the king. No tears, Hephestion;
I read thy passion in thy manly eyes,
And glory in those planets of my life,
Above the rival lights, that shine in Heaven.
Lys. I see, that death must wait me, yet I'll on.
Alex. I'll tell thee, friend, and mark it, all ye
Though never mortal man arrived to such
Heph. That cannot be, from power so abso- A height as I; yet I would forfeit all,
Arist. Though he were hemmed with deities I'd speak to him,
And turn him back from this highway to death. Cly. Here place yourself within his trumpet's sound.
Lo, the Chaldean priests appear; behold
The sacred fire, Nearchus and Eumenes,
With their white wands, and dressed in eastern
To soothe the king, who loves the Persian mode:
the master of the world appears.
Enter ALEXANDER; all kneel but CLYTUS.
Heph. O son of Jupiter, live for ever.
Alex. Rise all; and thou my second self, my
O my Hephestion, raise thee from the earth
Up to my breast, and hide thee in my heart.
Art thou grown cold? Why hang thine arms at
Hug me, or, by Heaven, thou lovest me not. Heph. Not love, my lord! break not the heart you framed,
And moulded up to such an excellence!
Then stamped on it your own immortal image.
Cast all my purples, and my conquered crowns,
And die to save this darling of my soul.
Give me thy hand, share all my sceptres while
I live; and, when my hour of fate is come,
I leave thee, what thou merit'st more than I, the
Lys. Dread sir, I cast me at your royal feet.
Alex. What! my Lysimachus, whose veins are
And now, methinks, I stand like the dread God,
Who, while his priests and I quaffed sacred blood,
Acknowledged me his son. My lightning thou,
And thou my mighty thunder-I have seen
Thy glittering sword out-fly celestial fire:
And when I cried, "Begone and execute,'
I've seen him run swifter than starting hinds,
Nor bent the tender grass beneath his feet;
Swifter than shadows fleeting o'er the fields;
Nay, even the winds, with all their stock of wings,
Have puffed behind, as wanting breath to reach
Lys. But if your majesty-
Cly. Who would not lose
The last dear drop of blood for such a king?
Alex. Witness, my elder brothers of the sky,
How much I love a soldier my Clytus,
Was it not when we passed the Granicus,
Thou didst preserve me from unequal force?
It was then, when Spithridates and Rhesaces,
Fell both upon me with two dreadful strokes,
And clove my tempered helmet quite in sunder,
Then I remember, then thou didst me service;
I think my thunder split them to the navel.
Cly. To your great self you owe that victory,
And sure your arms did never gain a nobler.
Aler. By Heaven, they never did; for well
And I am prouder to have passed that stream, Than that I drove a million o'er the plain : Can none remember? Yes, I know all must, When Glory, like the dazzling cagle, stood,
Perched on my beaver in the Granick flood;
When Fortune's self my standard trembling bore,
And the pale Fates stood frighted on the shore,
When the immortals on the billows rode,
And I myself appeared the leading god.
Aris. But all the honours, which your youth
Are lost, unless you fly from Babylon;
Haste with your griefs, to Susa take your way,
Fly for your life, destructive is your stay.
This morning having viewed the angry sky,
And marked the prodigies, that threatened nigh,
To our bright God I did for succour fly.
Alex. What fears thy reverend bosom shake?
Or dost thou from some dream of horror wake?
If so, come grasp me with thy shaking hand,
Or fall behind, while I the danger stand.
Aris. To Orosmades' cave I did repair, Where I atoned the dreadful God with prayer: But as I prayed I heard long groans within, And shrieks as of the damned, that howl for
I knew the omen, and I feared to stay,
But prostrate on the trembling pavement lay.
When he bodes happiness, he answers mild:
'Twas so of old, and the great image smiled:
But now in abrupt thunder he replied,
Loud as rent rocks, or roaring seas, he cried,
All empires, crowns, glory of Babylon,
Whose head stands wrapped in clouds, must
Alex. If Babylon must fall, what is it to me?
Or can I help immutable decree?
Down, then, vast frame, with all thy lofty towers,
Since it is so ordered by almighty powers:
Pressed by the fates, unloose your golden bars,
'Tis great to fall the envy of the stars.
Enter PERDICCAS, MELEAGER.
Mel. O horror!
Per. Dire portents!
Alex. Out with them, then;
What, are ye ghosts, ye empty shapes of men?
If so, the mysteries of hell unfold,
Be all the scrolls of destiny unrolled,
Open the brazen leaves, and let it come;
Point with a thunder-bolt your monarch's doom.
Per. As Meleager and myself in field,
Your Persian horse about the army wheeled,
We heard a noise as of a rushing wind,
And a thick storm the eye of day did blind :
A croaking noise resounded through the air,
We looked, and saw big ravens battling there;
Each bird of night appeared himself a cloud,
They met and fought, and their wounds rained
Mel. All, as for honour, did their lives expose; Their talons clashed, and beaks gave mighty blows,
Whilst dreadful sounds did our scared sense assail, As of small thunder, or huge Scythian hail.
Per. Our augurs shook, when, with a horrid
We thought that all the clouds had tumbled down.
Soldiers and chiefs,-who can the wonder tell!
Struck to the ground, promiscuously fell;
While the dark birds, each ponderous as a shield,
For fifty furlongs hid the fatal field.
Alex. Be witness for me, all ye powers divine,
If ye be angry, it is no fault of mine;
Therefore let furies face me with a band
From hell, my virtue shall not make a stand;
Though all the curtains of the sky be drawn,
And the stars wink, young Ammon shall go on:
While my Statira shines, I cannot stay,
Love lifts his torch to light me on my way,
And her bright eyes create another day.
Lys. Ere you remove, be pleased, dread sir, to
A prince allied to you by blood.
Alex. Speak quickly.
Lys. For all that I have done for you in war, I beg the princess Parisatis.
Is not my word already past? Hephestion,
I know he hates thee, but he shall not have her;
We heard of this before- -Lysimachus,
I here command you nourish no design
To prejudice my person in the man
I love, and will prefer to all the world.
Lys. I never failed to obey your majesty,
Whilst you commanded what was in my power;
Nor could Hephestion fly more swift to serve,
When you commanded us to storm a town,
Or fetch a standard from the enemy:
But, when you charge me not to love the prin-
I must confess, I disobey you, as
I would the gods themselves, should they command.
Aler. You should, brave sir? hear me, and then
When by my order curst Calisthenes
Was, as a traitor, doomed to live in torments,
Your pity sped him in despite of me.
Think not I have forgot your insolence;
No, though I pardoned it, yet if again
Thou darest to cross me with another crime,
The bolts of fury shall be doubled on thee.
In the mean time think not of Parisatis;
For if thou dost, by Jupiter Ammon,
By my own head, and by king Philip's soul,
I'll not respect that blood of mine thou sharest,
But use thee as the vilest Macedonian.
Lys. I doubted not at first but I should meet
Your indignation, yet my soul's resolved;
And I shall never quit so brave a prize,
While I can draw a bow, or lift a sword.
Aler. Against my life! Ah! was it so? how
'Tis said, that I am rash, of hasty humour; But I appeal to the immortal gods, If ever petty poor provincial lord
Aler. O thou, the best of women,
Source of my joy, blest parent of
Sys. Permit me kneel, and give those adora-
Which from the Persian family are due:
Have you not raised us from our ruins high?
And when no hand could help, nor any eye
Behold us with a tear, your's pitied me;
You, like a god, snatched us from sorrow's gulf,
Fixed us in thrones above our former state.
Par. Which, when a soul forgets, advanced so
May it be drowned in deeper misery!
Alex. To meet me thus, was generously done;
But still there wants, to crown my happiness,
Life of my empire, treasure of my soul,
My dear Statira: O that heavenly beam,
Warmth of my brain, and fire of my heart;
Had she but shot to see me, had she met me,
By this time I had been amongst the gods,
If any extasy can make a height,
Or any rapture hurl us to the heavens.
Cly. Now, who shall dare to tell him the
Alex. How fares my love? ha-neither answer
Ye raise my wonder, darkness overwhelms me;
If royal Sysigambis does not weep!
Trembling and horror pierce me, cold as ice.
Is she not well? what none, none answer me?
Or is it worse? Keep down, ye rising sighs,
And murmur in the hollow of
Run to my heart, and gather more sad wind;
That, when the voice of Fate shall call you forth,
Ye may, at one rush, from the scat of life,
Blow the blood out, and burst like a bladder.
Heph. I would relate it, but my courage fails
Alex. If she be dead-That if is impossible; And let none here affirm it for his soul:
For he, that dares but think so damned a lie,
I'll have his body straight impaled before me,
And glut my eyes upon his bleeding entrails.
Cass. How will this engine of unruly passion
Roar, when we have rammed him to the mouth
Alex. Why stand you all, as you were rooted
Like the senseless trees, while to the stupid grove
I, like a wounded lion, groan my griefs,
And none will answer-what, not iny Hephestion?
If thou hast any love for Alexander,
If ever I obliged thee by my care,
When my quick sight has watched thee in the
Or if to see thee bleed I sent forth cries,
And like a mother, washed thee with my tears;
If this be true, if I deserve thy love,
Ease me, and tell the cause of my disaster.
Heph. Your mourning queen (which I had told
Had you been calin) has no disease but sorrow,
Which was occasioned first by jealous pangs:
She heard, (for what can escape a watchful lo-
That you at Susa, breaking all your vows,
Relapsed, and conquered by Roxana's charms,
Gave up yourself devoted to her arms.
Aler. I know that subtle creature, in my riot,
My reason gone, seduced me to her bed;
But when I waked I shook the Circe off,
Though that enchantress held me by the arm,
And wept, and gazed with all the force of love;
Nor grieved I less for that, which I had done,
Than when at Thais' suit, enraged with wine,
I set the famed Persepolis on fire.
Heph. Your queen Statira took it so to heart,
That, in the agony of love, she swore
Never to see your majesty again;
With dreadful imprecations she confirmed
Her oath, and I much fear that she will keep it.
Alex. Ha! did she swear? did that sweet crea-
I'll not believe it; no, she is all softness,
All melting, mild, and calm as a rocked infant,
Nor can you wake her into cries: By heaven,
She is the child of love, and she was born in
Par. I and my weeping mother heard her
Sys. And with such fierceness she did aggra