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Her. Cleone, couldst thou think he'd be so calin?
Cleo. Madam, his silent grief sits heavy on him.
He's to be pitied. His too eager love
His threats have wrought this change of mind in
Her. Dost thou think Pyrrhus capable of fear! Whom should the intrepid Pyrrhus fear? the Greeks?
Did he not lead their harrassed troops to conquest,
When they despaired, when they retired from
And sought for shelter in their burning fleets?
He acts unforced; and where he weds he loves.
Her. Wilt thou discourse of nothing but Ores-
Pyrrhus is mine again!-Is mine for ever!
-Oh, I could tell thee numberless exploits,
She weeps, and comes to speak her sorrows to
Her. I would indulge the gladness of my heart! Let us retire: her grief is out of season.
Enter ANDROMACHE and CEPHISA.
Than Hector's widow suppliant and in tears?
To keep him far from perils of ambition :
Her. Madam, 'tis easy to conceive your grief:
[Exeunt Her. and Cleone. Andr. Didst thou not mind with what disdain she spoke?
Youth and prosperity have made her vain;
Ceph. Madam, were I as you, I'd take her
Is there no hope? Is there no room for pardon? Pyr. Phoenix will answer you: my word is past. Andr. You, who would brave so many dangers for me!
Pyr. I was your lover then: I now am free. To favour you I might have spared his life: But you would ne'er vouchsafe to ask it of me. Now, 'tis too late.
Andr. Ah, sir, you understood
My generous flame, and scorn to be obliged!
You hate me more than the whole league of
But I shall leave you to your great resentments. Let us go, Phoenix, and appease the Greeks. Andr. Then, let me die! and let me go to Hector!
Ceph. But, madam————
Andr. What can I do more? The tyrant Sees my distraction, and insults my tears.
[To Ceph. -Behold how low you have reduced a queen! These eyes have seen my country laid in ashes; My kindred fall in war; my father slain; My husband dragged in his own blood; my son Condemned to bondage, and myself a slave; Yet, in the midst of these unheard-of woes, 'Twas some relief to find myself your captive; And that my son, derived from ancient kings, Since he must serve, had Pyrrhus for his master. When Priam kneeled, the great Achilles wept: I hoped I should not find his son less noble.
You would o'er-rule the malice of your fortune. Andr. Alas! Cephisa, what have I obtained! Only a poor short respite for my son.
Ceph. You have enough approved your faith to Hector;
To be reluctant still would be a crime.
Ceph. Think you, 'twill please the ghost of your dead husband,
That you should sacrifice his son? Consider,
Andr. But how can I forget it! How can I
I see him hew his passage through my brothers; And, bathed in blood, lay all my kindred waste. Think, in this scene of horror, what I suffered!
I thought the brave were still the most compas-This is the courtship I received from Pyrrhus;
Oh, do not, sir, divide me from my child!
Pyr. Phoenix, withdraw a while. [Exit Phænix.
Must I turn suppliant for him? Think, oh think,
And this the husband thou wouldst give me! No, We both will perish first! I'll ne'er consent.
Ceph. Since you resolve Astyanax shall die, Haste to the temple, bid your son farewell. Why do you tremble, madam?
Andr. O Cephisa!
Thou hast awakened all the mother in me.
Ceph. Oh, the unhappy hour!
'Twas then Troy fell, and all her gods forsook her.
Andr. That morn, Cephisa, that ill-fated morn My husband bid thee bring Astyanax; He took him in his arms; and, as I wept, My wife, my dear Andromache, said he, (Heaving with stifled sighs to see me weep) What fortune may attend my arms, the gods Alone can tell. To thee I give the boy; Preserve him as the token of our loves; If I should fall, let him not miss his sire While thou survivest; but, by thy tender care, Let the son see that thou didst love his father. Ceph. And will you throw away a life so precious?
At once extirpate all the Trojan line?
Andr. Inhuman king! What has he done to
If I neglect your vows, is he to blame?
Oh, my dead lord! Oh, Priam's royal house! Has he reproached you with his slaughtered kin- Oh, my Astyanax! At what a price
Can he resent those ills he does not know?
No, no, thou must not die, while I can save thee;
Ceph. What must I say to him?
Andr. Tell him I love my son to such excess-
Andr. Well then, assure him-
Andr, Alas, thou knowest it is not in my power.
Thy mother buys thee!Let us go.
And what does your unsettled heart resolve?
SCENE I-ANDROMACHE, CEPHISA. Ceph. BLEST be the tomb of Hector, that inspires
These pious thoughts: or is it Hector's self, That prompts you to preserve your son! 'Tis he Who still presides o'er ruined Troy; 'tis he Who urges Pyrrhus to restore Astyanax.
Andr, Pyrrhus has said he will; and thou bast heard him
Just now renew the oft-repeated promise.
Ceph. Already in the transports of his heart, He gives you up his kingdom, his allies, And thinks himself o'er-paid for all in you.
Andr. I think I may rely upon his promise: And yet my heart is over-charged with grief. Ceph. Why should you grieve! You see he bids defiance
To all the Greeks; and to protect your son Against their rage, has placed his guards about bim;
Leaving himself defenceless for his sake:
Ceph. Madam, you need not now be anxious for him;
He will be always with you, all your own,
Andr. Oh, I must see my son once more,
Ceph. Madam, he now will be no more a captive;
Your visits may be frequent as you please.
To-morrow you may pass the live-long dayAndr. To-morrow! Oh, Cephisa!-But, no more !
Cephisa, I have always found thee faithful:
Andr. I soon shall exercise thy long-tried faith.
Mean while I do conjure thee, my Cephisa,
Ceph. Madam, I have no will but yours. My life Is nothing, balanced with my love to you.
Andr. I thank thee, good Cephisa; my Astyanax Will recompense thy friendship to his mother. But, come; my heart's at ease: assist me now To change this sable habit.-Yonder comes Hermione; I would not meet her rage. [Exeunt,
Enter HERMIONE and CLEONE.
Cleo. This unexpected silence, this reserve, This outward calm, this settled frame of mind, After such wrongs and insults, much surprise me! You, who before could not command your rage, When Pyrrhus looked but kindly on his captive; How can you bear unmoved, that he should wed her,
And seat her on a throne which you should fill?
Her. Have you called Orestes?
Cleo. Madam, I have; his love is too impatient Not to obey with speed the welcome summons. His love-sick heart o'erlooks his unkind usage: His ardour's still the same-Madam, he's here,
Orest. Ah, madam, is it true? Does, then, Orestes
At length attend you by your own commands? What can I do
Her. Orestes, do you love me?
Orest. What means that question, princess?
My oaths, my perjuries, my hopes, my fears,
Orest. It shall be done--my soul has catched the alarm.
We'll spirit up the Greeks-I'll lead them on-
Her. No, prince, let us stay here!
I will have vengeance here--I will not carry
My rage brooks no delay-Haste to the temple,
Her. Why, Pyrrhus.
Orest. Pyrrhus! Did you say, Pyrrhus?
Oh, fly, begone! give me no time to think!
Orest. You cannot think I'll justify my rival.
But let our hatred be profest and open:
By conquest: should I turn base assassin,
Her. Have I not been dishonoured! set at nought!
Exposed to public scorn!—and will you suffer
The gods alone can tell how once I loved him;
But, madam, give me leisure to contrive
Her. But now,
This very hour, he weds Andromache;
The temple shines with pomp; the golden throne
Is now prepared; the joyful rites begin;
Her. You but mock my rage!
I was contriving how to make you happy.
I blush to think how my too easy faith
Her. I'll go myself: I'll stab him at the altar; Then drive the poniard, reeking with his blood, Through my own heart. In death we shall
Better to die with him, than live with you!
Orest. That were to make him blest, and me
Madam, he dies by me:-Have you a foe,
rest to me.
Let all your ships be ready for our flight.
[Exit Orestes. Cleo. Madam, you'll perish in this bold at
tempt. Her. Give me my vengeance, I'm content to perish.
I was to blame to trust it with another:
I should have thrust the dagger home; have seen
Haste, my Cleone! My revenge is lost,
Pyr. Madam, I ought to shun an injured prin
Your distant looks reproach me: and I come,
I sent ambassadors to call you hither;
The man, who ne'er was loved, can ne'er be false.
Her. Have I not loved you, then! perfidious man!
For you I slighted all the Grecian princes; Forsook my father's house; concealed my wrongs, When most provoked: would not return to Sparta,
In hopes that time might fix your wavering heart.
I loved you when inconstant: and even now,
Received you as my queen; and hoped my Inhuman king, that you pronounce my death,
So oft renewed, might ripen into love.
The gods can witness, madam, how I fought
Her. I find, sir, you can be sincere: you scorn
And pour forth all your indignation on me.
Call you perfidious, traitor, all the names
Your great achievements, in her father's palace. She needs must love the man, who fought so bravely,
And in her sight slew half her royal kindred. Pyr. With horror I look back on my past deeds!
I punished Helen's wrongs too far; I shed
Should not object those ills the mother caused.
My heart still doubts, if I should love or hate
Pha. Sir, did you mind her threats? Your life is in danger!
There is no trifling with a woman's rage.
Will treat you as their country's enemy,
Pyr. How, Phoenix! should I fear a woman's threats?
A nobler passion takes up all my thought:
Oh, Pyrrhus! oh, what pity 'tis, the gods,
Should leave thee so exposed to wild desires,