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SCENE I-The Vestibule of the Temple.



But that this youth has long been nurtured here
In secret from the world? perhaps the son
Of Xuthus' self, placed here at first to hide

Alet. WHY should I doubt? It will, it must The guilt and shame of some dishonest mother,


Yet I could wish that I had seen Creusa
Before 'twas undertaken; for, perhaps-
'Tis better as it is. Her part had then
Been difficult to act; now what she does,
Assisting or opposing the design,
Will all seem natural-The Pythia sure
Will act as I directed-Hark! the rites
Should be ere this performed. Why stay they

That noise proclaims them finished, and the crowd
Will soon be here-They come: I must not yet
Be seen; the Pythia in the laurel grove
May tell me what has passed.


CREUSA descends hastily from the Temple, in great disorder, LYCEA following.

Lyc. Stay, mighty queen;

Though now applied to more pernicious ends.
Cre. It may be so.

Phor. And why, say why, to-day,
While Xuthus stays behind for oracles
He wanted not, is young Ilyssus bid

To meet your eyes, and win, with artful tales,
Your easy heart?

Cre. Bid! Was he bid to do it?

Phor. I saw the priestess whisper something
to him,

Then loud she bid him wait for thy approach.
She must, forsooth, retire to sacred glooms,
And wait for inspiration. Xuthus' gold
Was what inspired the traitress. Yet, good Hea-
When from the shrine she gave the fraudful words,
With what strange art the holy hypocrite
In mimic trances died!-A banished youth

You know not what you do; your rage transports Is Athens' cause of woe! Too truly said,


You leave the rites unfinished, and the crowd,
In wild amazement, gaze on your departure.

Cre. I will not stay; nor will I tamely bear
My disappointed hopes. Oh, honest Phorbas!
Oh, good old man! thy penetrating mind
Saw early their designs. 'Tis to supply
Nicander's loss (Oh, ne'er to be supplied!)
That we must call in strangers to the throne,
And yield our sceptres to Eolian hands.
Yes, ye great shades of my progenitors,
I hear ye call! ye shall, ye shall have vengeance!
Lyc. Whatever you design, conceal at least
This transport of your rage.

Cre. Why loiters Phorbas?

He saw my anguish; wherefore comes he not
To its relief? They fool me past endurance.
Rely they on the weakness of my sex?
Lycea, they shall find this feeble arm
In such a cause can lay the distaff by,
And grasp the unerring thunderbolt of Jove.
Oh, Phorbas, art thou come?

Enter PHORBAS from the Temple.

Phor. Now, mighty queen,
Are my suspicions just? Is Phorbas honest?
Cre. As light as truth itself. My counsellor,
My bosom friend!

Phor. Now shall a casual likeness,
If such there be, a semblant cast of features,
The sport of nature in a human form,

Shall trifles, light as these, weigh down convic-

Oh, queen! from first to last the apparent scheme Clares on us now. Why were we brought to Delphi,

Though for a wicked purpose, to allure
Thy easy faith, and lead thee to admit
The fraud which followed.

Cre. Never, never, Phorbas,
Will I that fraud admit. How readily
Did Xuthus, when my foolish fondness asked it.
Consent to my request! Thou heard'st him say
[To Lyc.

We should adopt this youth; in seeming sport
He spake it, but even then the insulting tyrant
Couched fatal truths beneath the ambiguous

Phor. Why should a youth designed for soli-

Be taught the arts of war? He saw himself
The impropriety. Who is this sage
That has instructed him? And why should Lycon
O'erflow with sudden joy, but that he found,
From thy apparent fondness for the boy,
Their schemes grew practicable. Nay, to-day,
When to the priestess' self my honest love
For Athens, and dislike of stranger kings,
Burst freely forth, she chid my hasty zeal,
Commended Xuthus, talked of piety

And reverence to the gods; 'twas to their priests
She meant, their meddling priests, who dare pre-


To sport with thrones, to sell their gods for gold, And stamp rank falsehoods with the seal of heaven!

Lyc. Forbear, you are too loud so near the temple; Xuthus himself will hear.

Cre We would be heard.

Instruct me, Phorbas, by what means to crush
This impious combination,

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Thy pleased attention hung upon his words,
And lent each syllable an added grace.
What hast thou found, or thy grave monitor,
What has he found, which can so suddenly
Have wrought this wondrous change? Is it be


The gods have thought, with thee, that he deserves
A crown? or is it that my will consents?
And therefore thine, proud queen, perversely

To combat thy affections?
Cre. We, methinks,

Have changed affections. The calm, steady Xuthus,

Whose equal mind ne'er knew the stormy gusts
Of discomposing passion, now can feel
Indecent warmth, when touched by pious zeal.
Nay, he, to whom the tenderer sentiments
Seemed but the weakness of the human frame,
Now wakes inspired with some unusual softness.
Have oracles the power to raise at once
The kind affections? Or did he conceal
The smothered flame, till, authorized by Heaven,
It might burst out unquestioned?

Xut. Haughty queen,

I understand thee well; thou think'st this youth
A substitute of mine, and darest affront
Yon awful shrine, the fountain of pure truth,
But by that god who bears the vengeful bow,
And whose large eye-Yet wherefore should I

By oaths, to undeceive thee; breasts, like mine,
Can scorn the imputed falsehood they detest.
Nor am I now to learn from what vile source.
Thy vain suspicions rise. But know, proud queen,
This youth shall reign in Athens; and yet more
To punish thy vain pride, since thou provokest it,
I do believe him of Eolian race.

Cre. Thou dost?

Xut. I do. A race as glorious, queen,
As Cecrops' boasted lineage. For the youth,
Were I to beg the choicest boon of Heaven
From my own loins to rise, I could not hope
A nobler offspring.

Phor. Hearest thou that?
Cre. I do,

And will revenge the insult.

[Aside to Creus,

Ilys. [Kneeling.] Gracious queen! What have I done which should estrange thee from me?

Am I the unhappy cause of these dissentions? Cre. Kneel not to me, Ilyssus.

Xut. Kneel not to her;

'Tis I am thy protector, and thy friend,
Nay, now thy father.

İlys. Yet, oh, mighty king,
Permit me, at her royal feet, to pay
My humblest duty. If I call thee father,
She sure must be a mother.

[She turns away disordered.

Xut. Rise, Ilyssus, Thou seest she standst unmoved.

Ilys. No, now she softens!

I see it in her eyes.

Cre. I will, I will,

Insult even misery itself. Oh, Phorbas, Forgive me, if my tears will force a passage. Now, they are gone, and I will weep no more.

Be mistress of my soul. Why kneelest thou, Come, faithful counsellor of vengeance, come!


I blame not thee.

Xut. Me, then, thou blamest, Creusa. I am the object of thy rage. 'Tis Xuthus Thou think'st unworthy of the Athenian throne. Cre. Athens might well have spared a foreign lustre,

Secure of fame, had Xuthus ne'er been born. Xut. Ungrateful queen, had Xuthus ne'er been born,

What now had Athens been?

Cre. Perhaps in ruins; .

And better so, than to become the prey
Of needy wandering strangers.

Xut. Earth and Heaven!

This the return?-1 knew thou never lovest me, Yet, witness Heaven, I ravished not thy hand. Thou gavest it sullenly, but yet thou gavest it; And I well hoped thy female sense of honour, Of duty to thy lord, might have secured,

At least, my future peace. Thy tenderer thoughts, The wife's best ornament, I knew were buried In a plebeian grave.

Cre. Plebeian grave!

Xut. Fool that I was, I flattered thy vain sorrows,

Indulged their weak excess, and raised, I find,
Imaginary rivals in the tomb":

But never more, Creusa, never more
Shalt thou affront my ill-requitted fondness.

I will destroy that pageant of thy passion,

Tear from that idol shrine the insulting wreaths, And cancel thy mock worship.

Ilys. Gracious queen,

Retire a while!

Cre. Begone!-Insulting tyrant,

Touch but a wreath that's sacred to Nicander,
And, by pale Hecate's awful rites I swear,
Thy life shall pay the forfeit; nay, the lives
Of thy whole dastard race.- Plebeian grave!
Had that plebeian lived, imperial Xuthus
Had crouched beneath his feet.

Xut. Oh, would to Heaven

This sceptred arm could raise him from the earth,
That thou might'st see how infamous a slave
Thou darest prefer to Xuthus!-Come, Ilyssus,
We leave her to her follies. Look not on her,
She merits not thy tenderness. Away!
If reason should again resume its seat,
We may expect her at the banquet. Come,
All here must be our guests.

[Exeunt Xuthus, Ilyssus, &c. Phor. Curb not thy passion, give it vent, great


And let it burst in thunder on thy foes!

Cre. It shall, by Heaven, it shall!-I thought

till now My griefs were sacred, but this monster dares

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Instruct me how to act, steel all my soul;
Let not remorse, or pity's coward voice,
The bane of noble deeds, intrude to cross us.
Nicander's injured ghost shall aid our counsels.
Say, shall he die?

Phor. Not yet; first be his schemes
Abortive all, his politic designs;
Then let him die despised.

Cre. Agreed; but how?

Phor. Now, at the banquet, may we crush at


His full blown hopes. The fatal cause removed, The effect, of course, must cease.

Cre. What cause?

Phor. The boy.

I see thou shudderest at it; but, great queen,
Hear but the cogent reasons I shall offer,
And thou wilt think as I do. For the boy,
Heaven knows, I wish to spare him; but no means,
No earthly means but this, can curse completely
This politic designer. Doubtless, long
This favourite scheme, to place on Athens' throne
His hated race, has laboured in his breast,
And all his hours employed. On this alone
He builds the firm foundation of his peace,
His happiness to come. His death were nothing:
He knows his friends, the minions of his fortune,
He knows all Greece, such is their dread and awe
Of Delphi's shrine, will join in the support
Of this deceitful claim; and that firm hope
Will make him triumph even in death, and laugh
At our too shallow vengeance.

Cre. Laugh he shall not.
No, I will punish home.

Phor. You cannot punish

By any means but this. And know, great queen, I have a poison of such subtle force,

(Why dost thou start?) of such amazing strength, Yet so peculiar in its operation,

That it shall seem the surfeit of the feast,
Not we have done the deed. At least shall

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Howe'er we fail in our revenge, my Phorbas,
The boy must live.

Phor. Good Heaven! Is this Creusa?

Is this the vengeful queen, who would not hear
Remorse or pity's voice? Farewell, then, Athens;
Yes, my poor country, thou must sink enslaved
To foreign tyrants. She, who should defend
Thy rights, thy liberties, stands tamely by,
And sees the yoke imposed, nay, smiles to see it:
Thy queen, the last of her illustrious line,
Consents to thy destruction.

Cre. Never, Phorbas.

With this last parting pang
Yet, oh, beware,
One look from him

Do what thou wilt.
I give him to thy rage.
I see him not again!
Would baffle all thy schemes.

Phor. Now, at the banquet,

Will we infuse the draught, even in the cup Which the king's self presents to his young heir, In token of election.

Cre. Stay, good Phorbas.

Phor. Already have I, for the just design, Suborned a faithful slave. Nay, should it fail, I have a trusty band, a chosen few, Athenian souls, who scorn to bow the knee, To any foreign lord; these will I place At the pavilion doors, if need require, To second our attempt.

Cre. Yet stay, good Phorbas. How kindly did he seem to sympathize With my distress ! Nay, almost chid the king,

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How much it costs to do it ! Go, then, Phorbas,
I cannot bid thee prosper.
[Erit Phorbas.
Thou knowst what I feel. Haste, call him back.
No, stay-------I think the bitterness is past,
And I can bear it now. Lend me thy arm,
I would retire, Lycea. Yet, from what
Should I retire? I cannot from myself!—
Oh, boy! thou art revenged; whate'er thou suf

Is light, to what thy murd'ress feels! [Exeunt.


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Till the deed's done, irrevocably done. [Aside. But stir not till I come-What noise is that? Retire, my friends; the temple's postern door Grates on its hinge. Be secret, and we prosper. [Ereunt severally.


Alet. This quarrel was unlucky. A slight breach

Had lent my purpose strength; but wrought thus high

It may defeat our hopes. She cannot now,
With ease, recede from her too rash resolves,
At least not unsuspected. Did she, say'st thou,
Reject thy message?

Pyth. Scarcely did she


The decent dues my sacred office claims.

And when I prest her more, with sullen pride She silently withdrew.

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Thou should'st be cautious, nor expose thyself
To prying eyes? I heard her, as she passed,
In broken whispers bid Lycea haste
To Phorbas, and inform that trusty friend
That she would wait him in the laurel grove.
Here, then, thou may'st surprise them both, and


At once thy whole design.

Alet. Thou counsellest well,
And I will guide me by thy kind advice.
Oh, Pythia, how did every thing conspire
To give me hopes, that I should place the boy
Secure on Athens' throne, unknown to all
But those whom fate had made his firmest friends!
The very means I used to make it sure,
Have been most adverse to the cause I laboured.
Had I relied on Xuthus' piety,

Nor mentioned Eolus, success were mine;
And let me hope it still. What most I fear
Is the queen's warmth of passion. To which


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Of some who move this way. [Erit Pythia What means he here?

Why art thou absent from the banquet, youth!


Ilys. It has no joys for me. I fear, Aletes, Thou and the Pythia have most foully played For my advancement.

Alet. Ha!

Ilys. Where are the parents,

Whom thou didst promise to my hopes? Alas!
I find no parents here, no kind regards,
No inexpressive fondness. Stern debate
And foul dissention kindle here their torch
To usher in my greatness. Even Creusa,
Whose tenderness, I know not how, alarmed
My throbbing heart with hopes, and doubts, and

Unfelt before, even she has taught her eyes
To look with strangeness on me. The good king,
Who yet withdraws not his protection from me,
Seems lost in anxious thought. Unkind Aletes,
Art thou the cause of this? Say, am I sprung
Of race Æolian? For, by Heaven I swear,
By that pure fountain of immortal truth,
I will not brook deceit. I will again,
Howe'er the glittering mischief tempt my youth,
Become that humble unknown thing I was,
Rather than wear a crown by falsehood gained.
Speak, then, and give me ease.

Alet. My dearest boy

His virtue charms me, though it may prevent His own success. Oh, happy, happy Athens, To gain a king like him, whose honest soul Starts at imagined fraud!

Ilys. Speak on, Aletes,


And do not, by that look of tenderness,
And murmuring to thyself, alarm me more.
Alet. What should I speak? This very morn,

This very morn I told thee a few hours
Would shew thee what thou wert; but thy im-

Brooks not that short delay. It seems Aletes
Has lost his usual credit with Ilyssus,
Even with the youth his anxious care has formed.
Think'st thou, the man who taught thy feeling

To start at falsehood, would himself commit
The fraud thou shudderest at? What have I done,
Which should induce thee to a thought so base?
Did e'er my precepts contradict my heart?
Did I e'er teach a virtue I not practised?
-I see thou art confounded. Know then, youth,
I blame not thy impatience, nay, I praise
That modesty which can so soon resume

Its seat, when all things round are big with wonder.

Ere night thou shalt know all; till then, Ilyssus, Behave as Athens' king.

Ilys. Oh, good Aletes,

Forgive my rashness. Yes, I know thee honest
As truth itself, and know the wonderous debt
I owe thy goodness. Yes, if thou confess
That I have reason for these anxious cares,

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Even now I wait her here; on what design
I must not yet inform thee. The next time
Thou shalt behold her, thou wilt find a change
Incredible indeed, from rage to fondness,
From cold reserve to tears of bursting joy.

[Ilyssus is going to speak eagerly.
-Ask me no more.- -Yet something didst thou say
Relating to the cause which fixed me here,
Thy guardian, thy instructor, and—the time
Will come, when thou wilt know it all, Ilyssus,
And bless my memory.

Ilys. Thou weepest, Aletes! My tears will mingle too.

Alet. Forbear, and leave me.

Yet stay a while, for now perhaps we part
To meet no more.

Ilys. No more! Thou wilt not leave me When most I want thy care! 'Twas my first thought,

Twas the first boon I asked of the good king, That thou might'st be my kind instructor still. He praised my gratitude, and I had promised To bring him to thy cottage. He himself Shall be a suitor to thee.

Alet. Thou hast asked

Thou knowest not what; it cannot be, Ilyssus,
That Xuthus and Aletes e'er should meet
On terms of amity. The smiles of greatness
To me have lost their value. For thy love
I could do much, and to be severed from thee
Pulls at my heart-strings. But resistless fate
Has fixed its seal, and we must part for ever,
How hard soe'er it seem. Thy youth will soon,
Amidst the busy scenes of active greatness,
Forget its monitor: but I must bear,
In hopeless solitude, the pangs of absence,
Till thought shall be no more.

Ilys. Oh, heavenly powers!

Then there is something dreadful yet concealed,
I cannot part from thee in ignorance.
Tell me, Aletes !

Alet. Would I could! But now
It must not be.-Haste to the banquet, youth;
Thy duty calls thee thither.

Ilys. Go, I cannot,

Till thou assurest me we shall meet again.

Alet. If possible, we will. If not, remember, When thou shalt know thyself, that on thyself Thy fate depends; that virtue, glory, happiness, Are close connected, and their sad reverse

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