Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

And call him to this hated light again,
To see Andromache in Pyrrhus' arms?
“ Would Hector, were he living, and I dead,
Forget Andromache, and wed her foe?"

Ceph. I cannot guess whatdrift your thoughts pursue;
But, oh, I fear there's something dreadful in it!
Must then Astyanax be doom'd to die ;
And you to linger out a life in bondage ?

Andr. Nor this, nor that, Cephisa, will I bear; “ My word is past to Pyrrhus, his to me; “ And I rely upon his promis'd faith. “ Unequal as he is, I know him well:

Pyrrhus is violent, but he's sincere, “ And will perform beyond what he has sworn. " The Greeks will but incense him more; their

rage « Will make him cherish Hector's son.

Ceph. Ah, madam, Explain these riddles to my boding heart! “ Andr. Thou may'st remember, for thou oft hast

heard me « Relate the dreadful vision, which I saw, “ When first I landed captive in Epirus. " That very night, as in a dream I lay, A ghastly figure, full of gaping wounds, “ His eyes aglare, his hair all stiff with blood, “ Full in my sight thrice shook his head, and groan'd; “ I soon discern’d my slaughter'd Hector's shade ; “ But, oh, how chang’d! Ye gods, how much unlike The living Hector! Loud he bid me fly!

Fly from Achilles' son! then sternly frown'd,

“ And disappear’d. Struck with the dreadful sound, “ I started, and awak'd.

Ceph. But did he bid you “ Destroy Astyanax?

Andr. “ Cephisa, I'll preserve him ;' With my own life, Cephisa, I'll preserve him. Ceph. What may these words, so full of horror,

mean? Andr. Know then the secret purpose of my soul : Andromache will not be false to Pyrrhus, Nor violate her sacred love to Hector. This hour I'll meet the king; the holy priest Shall join us, and confirm our mutual vows : This will secure a father to my child: That done, I have no further use for life : This pointed dagger, this determin'd hand, Shall save my virtue, and conclude my woes.

Ceph. Ah, madam! recollect your scatter'd reason; “ This fell despair ill suits your present fortunes.

Andr. No other stratagem can serve my purpose : “ This is the sole expedient to be just “ To Hector, to Astyanax, to Pyrrhus. “ I shall soon visit Hector, and the shades Of my great ancestors :'-Cephisa, thou Wilt lend a hand to close thy mistress' eyes.

Ceph. Oh, never think that I will stay behind you !

Andr. No, my Cephisa ; I must have thee live. “ Remember, thou didst promise to obey, “ And to be secret : wilt thou now betray me ? “ After thy long, thy faithful service, wilt thou

« Refuse my last commands, my dying wish ? « Once more I do conjure thee live for me.

Ceph. Life is not worth my care when you are

gone."

Andr. I must commit into thy faithful hands All that is dear and precious to my soul : Live, and supply my absence to my child ; All that remains of Troy; a future progeny Of heroes, and a distant line of kings, In him, is all intrusted to thy care, Ceph. But, madam, what will be the rage of

Pyrrhus, “ Defrauded of his promis'd happiness?

Andr. That will require thy utmost skill: Observe “ The first impetuous onsets of his grief; “ Use ev'ry artifice to keep him stedfast. " Sometimes with tears thou mayst discourse of me; “ Speak of our marriage; let him think I lov'd him; “ Tell him my soul repos’d itself on him, “ When I resign’d my son to his protection."

Ceph. Oh, for a spirit to support my grief! Is there ought more before you go for ever?

Andr. Oh, my Cephisa! my swoln heart is full! I have a thousand farewells to my son : But tears break in!-Grief interrupts my speechMy soul o'erflows in fondnessLet him know I dy'd to save him :-" And would die again.” Season his mind with early hints of glory ; Make him acquainted with his ancestors; Trace out their shining story in his thoughts;

Dwell on th' exploits of his immortal father, And sometimes let him hear his mother's name. “ Let him reflect upon his royal birth “ With modest pride ; Pyrrhus will prove a friend : « But let him know he has a conqueror's right.” He must be taught to stifle his resentments, And sacrifice his vengeance to his safety. Should he prove headstrong, rash, or unadvis'd, He then will frustrate all his mother's virtue, Provoke his fate, and I shall die in vain. Ceph. Alas! I fear I never shall outlive

yoll. Andr. No more :--thy tears, Cephisa, will betray me; Assume a cheerful look : but still remember

[Flourish within. Hark how the trumpet, with its sprightly notes, Proclaims the appointed hour, and calls us hence, Hector, I come, once more a queen, to join thee! Thus the gay victim, with fresh garlands crown'd, Pleas'd with the sacred fife's enliv’ning sound, Through gazing crouds in solemn state proceeds, And drest in fatal pomp magnificently bleeds.

[Exeunt.

ACT V. SCENE 1.

HERMIONE alone. What have I done? Where am I? Where is

Pyrrhus ? Ye gods! what mean these horrors ?-I'm undone!

My soul is on the rack !- I cannot bear it:-
Why do I wander like some guilty ghost ?
What brought me to this place? What keeps me here?
The court of Pyrrhus has no room for me!
Do I still doubt if I should love or hate him ?
Hard-hearted man! how unconcern'd he left me!
Did he once sigh > Bestow one pitying look ?
Once shed a tear? or speak one soft, kind word?
Did he so much as feign one moment's sorrow,
To calm my griefs, and mitigate his falsehood ?
Why am I still thus anxious for his life i
Why do I start at his impending fate ?
Shall he then live? Shall the base traitor live
To laugh at my distress ? No, let him perish!
Be quick, Orestes ? Execute my orders!
Alas! my orders! Oh, preposterous guilt!
Can I decree the death of him I love?
Was it for this my soul delighted in him?
Was it for this I left my father's court?
Have I then cross'd so many realms and seas
To murder Pyrrhus ?

Enter Cleone. Her. Oh, Cleone, help me! What have I done ? Is Pyrrhus yet alive? What say'st thou?-Answer me : Where is the king?

Cleo. Madam! I saw the cruel prince set forward, Triumphant in his looks, and full of joy. Still as he walk'd his ravish'd eyes were fixt On the fair captive; while through shouting crowds

« EelmineJätka »