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RHADAMISTUS,} his sons.

MEN.

Megistus, a shepherd, preserver of Zenobia's life.
PHARASMANES, Usurper of Iberia.

WOMEN.
ZENOBIA, wife to Rhadamistus.
ZELMIRA, wife of Zopiron.

Attendants, Guards, fc.
Scene-Lies in Pharasmanes' camp, on the banks of the Arares.

TIGRANES

, } courtiers.

ACT. I.

SCENE I.

Suspended, hangs upon the doubtful sword,

If here the trembling heart thus shrink with Zelm. Through the wide camp 'tis awful so- horror, litude !

Here in these tents, in this unpeopled camp, On every tent, which, at the morning's dawn, Oh! think, Zopiron, in yon field of death, Rung with the din of arms, deep silence sits, Where numbers soon in purple heaps shall Adding new terrors to the dreadful scene !

bleed, My heart dies in me !-hark! with hideous roar What feelings there must throb in every breast? The turbulent Araxes foams along,

How long, ambition, wilt thou stalk the earth,
And rolls his torrent through yon depth of woods! And thus lay waste mankind !-
Tis terrible to hear !--who's there?-Zopiron ! Zop. This day, at length,

The warlike king, victorious Pharasmanes,
Enter ZOPIRON.

Closes the scene of war. The Roman bands
Zelm. My lord; my husband !-help me; lend But ill can cope with the embattled numbers

Asia pours forth, a firm, undaunted host ! Zop. Why didst thou leave thy tent?-Why A nation under arms! and every bosom thus afflict

To deeds of glory fired !- Iberia thenThy anxious breast, thou partner of my heart? Zelm. Perish Iberia !--may the sons of Ronie Why wilt thou thus distract thy tender nature Pour rapid vengeance on her falling ranks, With groundless fears? Ere yonder sun shall That he, who tramples on the rights of nature, visit

May see his vassals overwhelmed in ruin, The western sky, all will be hushed to peace. May from yon field be led in sullen chains,

Zelm. The interval is borrid; big with woe, To grace the triumph of imperial Rome, With consternation, peril, and dismay !

And from the assembled senate humbly learn And oh! if here, while yet the fate of nations, The dictates of humanity and justice !

your aid!

2op. Thy generous zeal, thy every sentiment Zelm. How fares it, madam, now? Charms my delighted soul. But thou be cau- Zen. My strength returns—I thank ye, gers tious,

rous maids, And check the rising ardour that inflames thee! And would I could requite you—fruitless thanks The tyrant spares nor sex nor innocence. Are all a wretch can give, Zelm. Indignant of controul, he spurns each First attend. The gentle office law,

Of mild benevolence our nature prompts Each holy sanction, that restrains the nations, Your merit too commands :-on Ariana And forins 'twixt man and man the bond of We tend with willing, with delighted care, peace.

And that delight o'erpays us for our trouble

. Zop. 'This is the tyger's den; with human gore Zen. Your cares for me denote a heart that For ever floats the pavement; with the shrieks

feels Of matrons weeping o'er their slaughtered sons, For others' woes. Methinks, with strength reThe cries of virgins, to the brutal arms

newed, Of violation dragged, with ceaseless groans I could adventure forth again. Of varied misery, for ever rings

Second attend. 'Twere best The dreary region of his cursed domain. Repose your wearied spirits—we will seek Zelm. To multiply his crimes, a beauteous Yon rising ground, and bring the swiftest tidings captive,

Of all the mingled tumult. The afflicted Ariana-she-for her,

2en. Go, my virgins ; For that fair excellence my bosom bleeds ! Watch well each movement of the marshailed She, in the prime of every blooming grace,

field; When next the glowing hour of riot comes, Each turn of fortune ;- let me know it all; Shall fall a victim to his base desires

Each varying circumstance. Zop. The bounteous gods may succour virtue

Zel. And will you thus,
still !

Be doomed for ever, Ariana, thus
In this day's battle, which perhaps ere now A willing prey to visionary ills,
The charging hosts have joined, should Roman The self-consuming votarist of care?
valour

Zen. Alas! I'm doomed to weep—the wrath of Prevail o'er Asia's numbers

Heaven, Zelm. That event

With inexhausted vengeance, follows still, Is all our hope. And lo! on yonder rampart, And each day comes with aggravated woes. Trembling with wild anxiety, she stands,

Zel. Yet, when Iberia's king, when Pharasınanes, Invokes each god, and bids her straining eye With all a lover's fondnessExplore the distant field.

2en. Name him not ! Zop. Yes, there she's fixed

Name not a monster horrible with blood, A statue of despair! That tender bosom The widow's, orphan's, and the virgin's tears! Heaves with no common grief-I've marked her

Zel. Yet, savage

as he is, at sight of thee oft,

Each fiercer passion softens into love. And, if I read aright, some mighty cause To you he bends; the monarch of the east, Of hoarded anguish, some peculiar woe

Dejected, droops beneath your cold disdain, Preys on her mind unseen !-But, ha! behold, And all the tyranny of female pride. She faints; her fears, too powerful for her frame, Zen. That pride is virtue; virtue, that abhors Sink that frail beauty drooping to the earth. The tyrant reeking from a brother's mnrder!

[Exit hastily. Oh, Mithridates ! ever honoured shade! Zelm. Haste, fly, Zopiron, fly with instant suc- Peaceful he reigned, dispensing good around hiz cour;

In the mild eve of honourable days! Support her; help her ;-lo! the attendant train Through all her peopled realm Armenia felt Have caught her in their arms !-Assist her, His equal sway: The sunset of his power, Heaven,

With fainter beams, but undiminished glury, Assuage the sorrows of her gentle spirit! Still shone serene; while every conscious subject, Her fluttering sense returns ;-and now this way with tears of praise, beheld his calm deche, The virgins lead her. May the avenging gods, And blessed the parting ray !yet then, Zeltirin In pity of the woes such virtue feels,

Oh, fact accursed !-yes, Pharasmanes their In pity of the wrongs a world endures,

Detested perfidy! nor ties of blood, With power resistless arm the Roman legions, Nor sacred laws, nor the just gods, restrain hir That they may hurl, in one collected blow, In the dead midnight hour, the fell assassin Assured destruction on the tyrant's head! Rushed on the slumber of the virtuous man;

His life blood gushed! The venerable king Enter ZENOBIA, leaning on two attendants.

Waked, saw a brother armed against his lifeZen. A little onward, still a little onward Forgave him, and expired! Support my steps

Zel. Yet wherefore open

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Afresh the wounds, which time long since hath | And with these arms, close-wreathing round his closed?

neck,
This day confirms the sceptre in his hand- With all the vehemence of prayers and shrieks,
Zen. "Confirms his sceptre-his indignant Implored the only boon he then could grant,
gods!

To perish with him in a fond embrace !
Will no red vengeance, from your stores of wrath, The foe drew near-time pressed no way was
Burst down to crush the tyrant in his guilt ?

leftHis sceptre, saidst thou?

-urge that word no He clasped me to his heart-together both,

Locked in the folds of love, we plunged at once,
The sceptre of his son !-the solemn right And sought a requiem in the roaring flood.
Of Rhadamistus ! Mithridates' choice,

Zel.-This wondrous tale-this sudden burst
That called him to his daughter's nuptial bed,

of passion-
Approved him lineal heir; consenting nobles, Zen. Ha! whither has my frenzy led me!
The public will, the sanction of the laws,

hark !
All ratified his claim-yet curst ambition, That sound of triumph! lost, for ever lost !
Deaf to a nation's voice, a nation's charter, Ruined Armenia- -oh! devoted race !
Not satisfied to fill Iberia's throne,

[A flourish of trumpets.
Made war, unnatural war, against a son,
Usurped his throne, and, with remorseless rage,

Enter TIGRANES, Soldiers, and some Prisoners.
Pursued his life!

Zen. Thy looks, Tigranes, indicate thy pur-
Zel. Can Ariana plead

pose!
For such a son ?-Means she to varnish o'er The armies met, and Pharasmanes conquered;
The guilt of Rhadamistus?

Is it not so?
Zen. Guilt, Zelinira !

Tig. As yet with pent up fury
Zel. Guilt that shoots horror through my ach- The soldier pants to let destruction loose.
ing heart!

With eager speed we urged our rapid march,
Poor lost Zenobia !

To where the Romans, tented in the vale,
Zen. And do her misfortunes

With cold delay protract the lingering war.
Le Awaken tender pity in your breast?

At our approach their scanty numbers form
Zel. Ill-fated princess! in her vernal bloom Their feeble lines, the future prey of vengeance.
By a false husband murdered from the stem Zen. And wherefore, when thy sword demands
A rose-bud torn, and in some desert cave

its share Thrown by, to moulder into silent dust!

Of havock in that scene of blood and horror,
Zen. You knew not Rhadamistus !--Pharas- Wherefore returnest thou to this lonely camp?

Tig. With cautious eye as I explored the
Knew not the early virtues of his son.

forest, As yet an infant, in his tenderest years

Which rises thick near yonder ridge of moun-
His father sent himn to Armenia's court,

tains,
That Mithridates' care might form his mind And stretches o'er the interminable plain,
To arts, to wisdoin, and to manners, worthy I saw these captives in the gloomy wood,
Armenia's sceptre, and Zenobia's love.

Seeking, with silent march, the Roman camp.
The world, delighted, saw each dawning virtue, Impaled alive 'tis Pharasmanes' will
Each nameless grace, to full perfection rising ! - They suffer death in misery of torment.
Oh! he was all the fondest maid could wish Zen. Unhappy men! and must they-ha?
All truth, all honour, tenderness and love!

that face,
Yet from his empire thrown ! with merciless fury That aged mien! that venerable form!
His father following—slaughter raging round, Immortal powers! is it my more than father!
What could the hero in that dire extreme! -Is that Megistus?
Zel. Those strong impassioned looks -some Meg. Ariana here!
fatal secret

Gods! could I ever hope to see her more? Works in her heart, and melts her into tears. Thou virtuous maid! thou darling of my age!

[Aside. Zen. It is it is Megistus ! once again, Zen. Driven to the margin of Araxes' food Thus let me fall and clasp his reverend knee, No means of flight-aghast, he looked around- Print the warm kiss of gratitude and love Wild throbbed his bosom with conflicting pas- Upon this trembling hand, and pour the tears, sions

The mingled tears of wonder and of joy! And must I, then'-tears gushed and choaked Meg. Rise, Ariana, rise—almighty gods ! his voice

The tide of joy and transport pours too fast "And must I leave thee, then, Zenobia ?-must Along these withered veins—it is too much 'Thy beauteous form'—he paused, then aimed a For a poor weak old man, worn out with grief ponjard

And palsied age, it is too much to bear! At his great heart-But, oh! I rushed upon hiin, Oh! Ariana, daughter of aflliction,

manes

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Have I then found thee? do I thus behold thee ! | And lets each passion stand confessed to view; Now I can die content !

Such too is Ariana; bold and open,
Sen. Thou best of men !

She kindly gives instructions to her foe,
These joys our tears and looks can only speak. To mar her best designs.
Meg: Yet they are cruel joys-mysterious

Zel. Her foe, Tigranes !
heaven!
That lovely form enshrines the gentlest virtues

, You bid the storm o'ercast our darksome ways; Softest compassion, unaffected wisdom, You gild the cloud with gleams of cheering To outward beauty lending higher charms, light;

Adorning and adorned ! the generous prince, Then comes a breath from you, and all is vanish- He too-full well thou knowest him-he unites ed!

In the heroic mould of manly firmness, Zen. Wherefore dejected thus

Each mild attractive art-oh! surely none Meg. Alas! to meet thee

Envy the fair renown that's earned by virtue. But for a moment, and then part for ever! Tig: None should, Zelmira. Ha ! those wäTo meet thee here, only to grieve thee more,

like notes ! To add to thy afflictions, wound that bosom Where mild affection, where each virtue

Enter TERIBAZUS. dwells,

Ter. Each weary soldier rest upon his artes, Just to behold thee, and then close my eyes

And wait the king's return—Zelmira, say, In endless night, while you survey my pangs

In these dark moments of impending horror, In the approaching agony of torment

How fares thy beauteous friend? her tender Zen. Talk not of agony; 'tis rapture all !

spirit And who has power to tear thee from my heart? But ill supports the fierce alarms of war. Meg. A las ! the charge of vile imputed guilt

Enter ZENOBIA. Zen. I know thy truth, thy pure exalted mind

Zen. Where is he? let me fly-oh! PhzxThy sense of noble deeds—imputed guilt ! Oh! none will dare-hast thou, Tigranes? what, Methought those sounds bespoke the king's a What is his crime? blush, foul traducer, blush!

proachOh ! [to Meg.) the wide world must own thy Oh! Teribazus, tell me—have the fates

This horrible suspenseTig. If in the conscious forest I beheld

Ter. I came, bright maid, Their dark complottings

To hush the wild emotions of thy heart Zen. Peace, vile slanderer, peace!

Devouring slaughter for a while suspends Thou knowest who captivates a monarch's Its ruthless rage; as either host advanced heart

In dread array, and from the burnished arros 'Tis I protect him-Ariana does it !

Of Asia's ranks redoubled sunbeams played, Thou, venerable man ! in my pavillion

Burning with bright diversities of day, I'll lodge thee safe from danger-oh! this joy, Came forth an herald from the Roman camp This best supreme delight the gods have sent, With proffered terms—my father deigned i a In pity for whole years of countless woe.

[Exit Zen. with Meg. To yield to mild persuasion—in his tent Tig. With what wild fury her conflicting pas- The ambassador of Rome will soon attend his sions

To sheathe the sword, and give the nation peace. Rise to a storm, a tempest of the soul !

Zen. But oh! no peace for me, misforture' I know the latent cause—her heart revolts,

heir ! And leagues in secret with the Roman arms. The wretched heir of misery! But now

Zel. Beware, Tigranes ! that excess of joy, A more than father found, yet cruel men Those quick, those varied passions strongly speak Would tear him from me-generous, genCTOS The stranger has an interest in her heart.

prince, Besides, thou knowest o'er Pharasmanes' will Spare an old man, whose head is white with a She holds supreme dominion

Nor let thein wound me with the sharpest pas Tig. True, she rules him

That ever tortured a poor bleeding heart! With boundless sway

Ter. Arise, my fair ; let not a storm of griel Zel. Nay, more to wake thy fears—

Thus bend to earth my Ariana's beauties; The youthful prince, the valiant Teribazus, Soon shall they all revive In secret sighs, and feels the ray of beauty Zen. They brought him fettered, Through every sense soft-thrilling to his heart. Bound like a murderer! Tigranes, he, He too becomes thy foe.

This is the author of the horrid charge Tig. Unguarded man!

He threatens instant death—but oh! protect, Whate'er he loves or hates, with generous warmth, Protect an innocent, a good old man, As nature prompts, that dares he to avow, Or stretch me with him on the moumful bier!

every virtue.

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Ter. By Heaven, whoe'er he is, since dear to To trace his father's loved resemblance to me,
you,

The dear, dear offspring of our bridal loves.
He shall not suffer-quick, direct me to him- Zel. Oh! blessings on him, blessings on his
My guards shall safe inclose him.

head!
Zen. In my pavillion

Zen. Resigned and patient I since dwelt with He waits his doom

him,
Ter. Myself will bear the tidings

Far in the mazes of a winding wood,
Of life, of joy, and liberty restored.

Midst hoary mountains, and deep caverned rocks,
And thou, artificer of ill, thou false,

But oh! the fond idea of my lord
Thou vile defamer! leave thy treacherous arts, Pursued me still, or in the caverned rock,
Nor dare accuse whom Ariana loves. [Erit Ter. The mountain's brow, or pendent forest's gloom.

Zen. Zelmira, this is happiness supreme ! The sun looked joyless down; each lonely night
Oh! to have inet with unexampled goodness, Heard my griefs echoing through the woodland
To owe my all, my very life itself,

shade.
To an unknown but hospitable hand,

My infant Rhadamistus! he is lost;
And thus enabled by the bounteous gods, He, too, is wrested from me!-Midst the rage,
To pay the vast, vast debt-

And the wide waste of war, the hell-hound troops
That swells above all bounds, till the fond heart Of Pharasmanes sought my lone retreat,
Ache with delight, and thus run o'er in tears. And, from the violated shades, from all
Zel. What must Zelmira think? at first, your My soul held dear, the barbarous ruffians tore
tongue

me,
Grew lavish in the praise of Rhadamistus, And never shall the wretched mother see
With hints obscure touching your high descent;

Her child again!
And now, this hoary sage- is he vour father? Zel. Heaven may restore him still —
My mind is lost in wonder and in doubt.

Alay still restore your royal husband too-
Zen. Then, to dispel thy doubts, and tell, at Who knows but some protecting god-
once,

Zen. No god,
What deep reserve has hid within my heart, No guardian power was present !--he is lost!'

-I am Zenobia-I that ill-starred wretch ! Oh, Rhadamistus! oh, my honoured lord !
The daughter of a sceptered ancestry,

No pitying eye beheld thy decent form
And now the slave of Mithridates' brother! The rolling food devoured thee! thou hast found
Zel. Long lost Zenobia, and restored at A watry grave, and the last dismal accents,
length!

That trembled on thy tongue, came bubbling up,
I am your subject; oh! my queen! my sove- And murmured lost Zenobia!
reign !

Zel. Yet be calm;
Zen. Thou generous friend ! rise, my Zelmira, The gods may bring redress--even now they give,
rise.

To misery like thine, the heartfelt joy
That good old man !-oh! it was he beheld me Of shielding injured virtue.
Borne far away from Rhadamistus' arms,

Zen. Yes, Zelinira,
Just perished, just lost !

That pure delight is mine, a ray from heaven
He dashed into the flood, redeemed me thence, That bids affliction smile-All-gracious powers!
And brought me back to life. My opening eyes Make me your agent, here, to save Megistus;
Just saw the light, and closed again to shun it. I'll bear the load of life, bear all its ills,
Each vital power was sunk; but he, well skilled Till you shall bid this sad world-weary spirit
In potent herbs, recalled my futtering soul. To peaceful regions wing her happy flight,

żel. May the propitious gods reward his care! And seek my lord in the dark realms of night;

Zen. With me he saved a dear, a precious boy, Seek his dear shade in every pensive grove, Then in the womb concealed; he saved my | And bear him all my constancy and love. child

[Ercunt,

ACT II.

arms

SCENE I.

A military procession. Enter PHARASMANES, 8c. Enter TIGRANES.

Phar. At length, the fame of Pharasmanes' Tig. A false accuser deemed !-artificer of fraud !

llath awed the nations round. Rome shrinks as Those words, intemperate boy--thy phrenzy, too, ghast Deluded fair! shall cost you dear atonement. With pale dismay, recalls her trembling legions, Yet, till occasion rise---the king approaches. And deprecates the war. Oh! what a scene

(Grand warlike music. Of glorious havoc had yon field beheld, Vol. I.

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