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A king of feasts, and flowers, and wine, and | And wilt thou not now tarry for a day, revel,
A day which may redeem thee? Wilt thou not And love,and mirth, was never king of glory. Yield to the few still faithful a few hours, Sard. Glory! what's that?
For them, for thee, for thy past fathers' raco, Myrrha. Ask of the gods thy fathers. And for thy sons' inheritance ? Sard. They cannot answer; when the Pania. T'is true! priests speak for them,
From the deep urgency with which the Tis for some small addition to the temple. prince Myrrha. Look to the annals of thine Despatch'd me to your sacred presence, I empire's founders.
Must dare to add my feeble voice to that Sard. They are so blotted o'er with Which now has spoken. blood, I cannot.
Sard. No, it must not be. But what wouldst have? the empire has Myrrha. For the sake of thy realm! been founded.
Sard. Away! I cannot go on multiplying empires.
Pania. For that Myrrha. Preserve thine own.
Of all thy faithful subjects, who will rally Sard. At least I will enjoy it.
Round thee and thine.
take this counsel.
Sard. Why, let it come, then, unexMyrrha. Victims,
pectedly, Sard. No, like sovereigns,
'Midst joy and gentleness, and mirth and love; The shepherd-kings of patriarchal times, So let me fall like the pluck'd rose ! -far Who knew no brighter gems than summer
Thus than be wither'd. And none but tearless triumphs. Let us on. Myrrha. Then thou wilt not yield,
Even for the sake of all that ever stirr'd
A monarch into action, to forego
For my sake!
Boon which I e'er ask'd Assyria's king. Pania. I am charged by Salemenes to Sard. That's true; and, wer't my kingReiterate his prayer unto the king,
dom, must be granted. That for this day, at least, he will not quit Well, for thy sake, I yield me. Pania, hence! The palace: when the general returns, Thou hearst me. He will adduce such reasons as will warrant Pania. And obey.
(Exit Pania. His daring, and perhaps obtain the pardon Sard. I marvel at thee. Of his presumption.
What is thy motive, Myrrha, thus to urge me? Sard. What! am I then coop'd ?
Myrrha. Thy safety; and the certainty Already captive? can I not even breathe that nought The breath of heaven? Tell princeSalemenes, Could urge the prince, thy kinsman, to Were all Assyria raging round the walls
require In mutinous myriads, I would still go forth. Thus wuch from thee, but some impending Pania. I must obey, and yet
danger. Myrrha. Oh, monarch, listen!
Sard. And if I do not dread it, why How many a day and moon' thou hast reclined
shouldst thou ? Within thesepalace-walls in silken dalliance, Myrrha. Because thou dost not fear, I And never shown thee to thy people's
fear for thee. longing;
Sard. To-morrow thou wilt smile at Leaving thy subjects' eyes ungratified,
these vain fancies. The satraps uncontroll’d, the gods unwor- Myrrha. If the worst come, I shall be shipp'd,
where none weep, And all things in the anarchy of sloth, And that is better than the power to emile. Till all, savo evil, slumber'd through the And thou? realm!
Sard. I shall be king, as heretofore.
A CT II. Sard. With Baal, Nimrod and Semiramis, Sole in Assyria, or with them elsewhere. SCENE I.-The Portal of the same Hall of Fate made me what I am - may
the Palace. nothingBut either that or nothing must I be:
Beleses. (solus) The sun goes down:
methinks he sets more slowly, I will not live degraded. Myrrha. Hadst thou felt
Taking his last look of Assyria's empire. Thus always, none would ever dare degrade How red he glares amongst those deepening
clouds, thee. Sard. And who will do so now?
Like the blood he predicts. If not in vain, Myrrha. Dost thou suspect none?
Thou sun that sinkest, and ye stars which
rise, Sard. Suspect!- that's'a spy's office. Oh!
I have outwatch'd ye, reading ray by ray Ten thousand precious moments in vain The edicts of your orbs, which make Time
tremble words, And vainer fears. Within there! Ye slaves, For what he brings the nations, 'tis the
furthest deck The hall of Nimrod for the evening-revel: Hour of Assyria's years. And yet how calm! If I must make a prison of our palace,
An earthquake should announce so great a
fall At least we'll wear our fetters jocundly ; If the Euphrates be forbid us, and
A summer's sun discloses it. Yon disk, The summer-dwelling on its beauteous To the star-read Chaldean, bears npon border,
Its everlasting page the end of what Here we are still unmenaced. Ho! within Seem'd everlasting; but oh! thou true sun! there! [Exit Sardanapalus.
The burning oracle of all that live, Myrrha. (sola) Why do I love this man? As fountain of all life, and symbol of My country's daughters
Him who bestows it, wherefore dost thon
Unfold the rise of days more worthy thine And that 's the heaviest link of the long All-glorious burst from ocean? why not dart chain
A beam of hope athwart the future's year, To love whom we esteem not. Be it so:
As of wrath to its days ? Hear me! oh!
hear me! The hour is coming when he'll need all love, And find none. To fall from him now were
I am thy worshipper, thy priest, thy servantbaser
I have gazed on thee at thy rise and fall, Than to have stabb’d him on his throne And bow'd my head beneath thy mid-day when highest
beams, Would have been noble in my country's
When my eye dared not meet thee. I have creed;
watch'd I was not made for either. Could I save him, For thee, and after thee, and pray'd to thee, I should not love him better, but myself; And sacrificed to thee, and read, and feard And I have need of the last, for I have fallen
thee, In my own thoughts, by loving this soft And ask'd of thee, and thou hast answer'd
but stranger: And yet methinks I love him more,
Only to thus much: while I speak, he perceiving
sinksThat he is hated of his own barbarians,
Is gone- and leaves his beauty, not his The natural foes of all the blood of Greece.
knowledge, Could I but wake a single thought like To the delighted west, which revels in those
Its hues of dying glory. Yet what is Which even the Phrygians felt, when bat- Death, so it be glorious ? 'Tis a sunset ; tling long
And mortals may be happy to resemble 'Twixt Ilion and the sea, within his heart,
The gods but in decay. He would tread down the barbarous crowds, and triumph.
Enter ARBACES, by an inner door.
Gazing to trace thy disappearing god
(Erit. Arbaces. Let it roll on- we are ready.
Degrades the very conqueror. To have Would it were over!
pluck'd Arbaces. Does the Prophet doubt, A bold and bloody despot from his throne, To whom the very stars shine victory? And grappled with him, clashing steel with Beleses. I do not doubt of victory-but steel, the victor.
That were heroic or to win or fall; Arbaces. Well, let thy science settle But to upraise my sword against this silkthat. Meantime,
worm, I have prepared as many glittering spears And hear him whine, it may be As will out-sparkle our allies--your planets.
Beleses. Do not deem it: There is no more to thwart us. The she-king, He has that in him which may make you That less than woman, is even now upon
strife yet; The waters with his female mates. The And were he all you think, his guards are order
hardy, Is issued for the feast in the pavilion. And headed by the cool, stern Salemenes. The first cup which he drains will be the last Arbaces. They'll not resist. Quaff'd by the line of Nimrod.
Belesca. Why not? they are soldiers. Beleses. 'Twas a brave one.
Arbaces. True, Arbaces. And is a weak one-'tis worn And therefore need a soldier to command out-we'll mend it.
them. Beleses. Art sure of that?
Beleses. That Salemenes is. Arbaces. Its founder was a hunter
Arbaces. But not their king. I am a soldier—what is there to fear? Besides, he hates the effeminate thing that Beleses. The soldier.
governs, Arbaces. And the priest, it may be; but For the queen's sake, his sister. Mark you not If you thought thus, or think, why not He keeps aloof from all the revels i retain
Beleses. But Your king of concubines? why stir me up? Not from the council-there he is ever Why spur me to this enterprise? your own
constant. No less than mine?
Arbaces. And ever thwarted; what would Beleses. Look to the sky?
you have more Arbaces. I look.
To make a rebel out of? A fool reigning, Beleses. What seest thoa ?
His blood dishonour'd,and himself disdain'd; Arbaces. A fair summer's twilight, and Why, it is his revenge we work for. The gathering of the stars.
Beleses. Could Beleses. And midst them, mark
He but be brought to think so: this I Yon earliest, and the brightest, which so
doubt of. quivers,
Arbaces. What if we sound him? As it would quit its place in the blue ether. Beleses. Yes—if the time served. Arbaces. Well ?
Enter BALEA. Beleses. 'Tis thy natal ruler—thy birthplanet.
Balea. Satraps! the king commands your Arbaces (touching his scabbard).
In the pavilion ?
Arbaces. How! in the palace 1 it was They shall have temples—ay, and priests
not thus order'd.
Balea. It is so order'd now.
Balea. I know not.
Beleses (to Arbaces aside). Hush ! let Seen me turn back from battle.
him go his way. Arbaces. No; I own thee
(Alternately to Balea.) Yes, Balea, thank As firm in fight as Babylonia's captain,
the monarch, kiss the hem As skilful in Chaldea's worship; now, Of his imperial robe, and say, his slaves Will it but please thee to forget the priest, Will take the crums he deigns to scatter from And be the warrior?
His royal table at the hour-was't midnight? Beleses. Why not both?
Balea. It was ; the place, the Hall of Arbaces. The better ;
Arbaees. I like nof this same sudden | Wo have the privilege to approach the change of place
presence, There is some mystery; wherefore should But found the monarch absent. he change it?
Sal. And I too Beleses. Doth he not change a thousand Am upon duty. times a day?
Arbaces. May we crave its purport? Sloth is of all things the most fanciful - Sal. To arrest two traitors. Guarde! And moves more parasangs in its intents
within there! Than generals in their marches, when they
Enter Guards. seek To leave their foe at fault.-Why dost thou Sal. continuing) Satraps, muse?
Your swords. Arbaces. He loved that gay pavilion- Beleses. (delivering his) My Lord, behold it was ever
my scimitar. His summer-dotage.
Arbaces. (drawing his sword) Take mine. Beleses. And he loved his queen
Sal. (advancing) I will. And thrice a thousand harlotry besides, Arbaces. But in your heart the bladeAnd he has loved all things by turns, except The hilt quits not this hand. Wisdom and glory.
Sal. (drawing) How! dost thou brave me? Arbaces. Still-I like it not.
Tis well – this saves a trial and false mercy. If he has changed-why so must we: the Soldiers, hew down the rebel ! attack
Arbaces. Soldiers! AyWere easy in the isolated bower,
Alone you dare not. Beset with drowsy guards and drunken Sal. Alone! foolish slave courtiers ;
What is there in thee that a prince should But in the Hall of Nimrod
shrink from Beleses. Is it so?
Of open force? We dread thy treason, not Methought the haughty soldier fear'd to Thy strength: thy tooth is nought without mount
its venom A throne too easily; does it disappoint thee The serpent's, not the lion's. Cut him down. To find there is a slipperier step or two Beleses (interposing). Arbaces! are you Than what was counted on?
mad? Have I not render'd Arbaces. When the hour comes, My sword? Then trust like me our sove Thou shalt perceive how far I fear or no. reign's justice. Thou hast seen my life at stake—and gaily Arbaces. No - I will sooner trust the play'd for:
stars thou prat'st of But here is more upon the die—a kingdom. And this slight arm, and die a king at least Beleses. I have foretold already-thou of my own breath and body-so far that wilt win it:
None else shall chain them. Then on, and prosper.
Sal. (to the Guards) You hear him,and me. Arbaces. Now, were I a soothsayer, Take him not - kill. I would have boded so much to myself.
[The Guards attack Arbaces, who But be the stars obey'd - I cannot quarrel
defends himself valíantly and With them, nor their interpreter. Who's
dexterously till they waver. here?
Sal. Is it even so ; and must
I do the hangman's office? Recreants ! see Enter SALENENES.
How you should fell a traitor. Sal. Satraps !
(Salemencs attacks Arbaces. Beleses. My prince ! Sal. Well niet-I sought ye both,
Enter SARDANAPALUs and Train. But elsewhere than the palace.
Sard. Hold your handsArbaces. Wherefore so ?
Upon your lives, I say. What, deaf or Sal. Tis not the hour.
drunken ? Arbaces. The hour-what hour ? My sword! Oh fool, I wear no sword: here, Sal. Of midnight. Beleses. Midnight, my lord !
Give me thy weapon.
[To a Guard. Sal. What, are you not invited ?
[Sardanapalus snatches a sword from one Beleses. Oh! yes—we had forgotten.
of the soldiers, and makes between the Sal. Is it usual
combatants - they separate. Thus to forget a sovereign's invitation ? Sard. In my very palace!
Arbaces. Why--we but now received it. What hinders me from cleaving you in twain, Sal. Then why here ?
Audacious brawlers ? Arbaces. On duty.
Beleses. Sire, your justice. Sal. On what duty ?
Sal. Or Beleses. On the state's.
Sard. (raising the sword) How I The scimitar to me he never yielded
Sal. Strike! so the blow's repeated Unto our enemies. Chief, keep your weapon. Upon yon traitor- whom you spare a moment, Sal. (delivering back the signet) Monarch, I trust, for torture - I'm content.
take back your signet. Sard. What-him !
Sard. No, retain it; Who dares assail Arbaces ?
But use it with more moderation. Sal. 1!
Sal. Sire, Sard. Indeed!
I used it for your honour, and restore i Prince, you forget yourself. Upon wbat Because I cannot keep it with my own. warrant ?
Bestow it on Arbaces. Sal. (showing the signet) Thine.
Sard. So I should ! Arbaces (confused). The king's!
He never ask'd it. Sal. Yes! and let the king confirm it. Sal. Doubt not, he will have it Sard. I parted not from this for such Without that hollow semblance of respect. & purpose.
Beleses. I know not what hath prejudiced Sal. You parted with it for your safety-I the prince Employ'd it for the best. Pronounce in person. So strongly 'gainst two subjects, than whom Here I am but your slave-a moment past I was your representative.
Have been more zealous for Assyria's weal. Sard. Then sheathe
Sal. Peace, factious priest and faithless Your swords.
soldier! thou [Arbaces and Salemenes return their Unit'st in thy own person the worst vices swords to the scabbards.
Of the most dangerous orders of mankind. Sal. Mine's sheathed : I pray you sheathe Keep thy smooth words and juggling not yours;
homilies Tis the sole sceptre left you now with safety. For those who know thee not. Thy Sard. A heavy one; the hilt, too, hurts
Is, at the least, a bold one, and not temper'd (To a Guard). Here, fellow, take thy By the tricks taught thee in Chaldea. weapon back. Well, sirs,
Beleses. Hear him, What doth this mean?
My liege - the son of Belas! he blasphemes Beleses. The prince must answer that. The worship of the land which bows the knce Sal. Truth upon my part, treason upon Before your fathers. theirg.
Sard. Oh! for that I pray you Sard. Treason - Arbaces! treachery and Let him have absolution. i dispense with Belcses !
The worship of dead men ; feeling that I That were an union I will not believe. Am mortal, and believing that the race Beleses. Where is the proof ?
From whence I sprung are — what I sce Sal. I'll answer that, if once
them-ashes. The king demands your fellow - traitor's Beleses. King! Do not deem so: they sword.
are with the stars, Arbaces (to Salemenes). A sword which And
hath been drawn as oft as thine Sard. You shall join them there ere they Against his foes.
will rise, Sal. And now against his brother, If you preach farther. – Why, this is rank And in an hour or so against himself.
treason. Sard. That is not possible: ho dared Sal My Lord ! not; no
Sard. To school me in the worship of No-I'll not hear of such things. These Assyria's idols! Let him be released vain bickerings
Give him his sword. Are spawn'd in courts by base intrigues Sal. My lord, and king, and brother, and baser
I pray ye pause. Hirelings, who live by lies on good men's Sard. Yes, and be sermonized, liveg.
And dinn'd, and deafen'd with dead men You must have been deceived, my brother.
and Baal, Sal. First
And all Chaldea's starry mysteries. Let him deliver up his weapon,
Beleses. Monarch! respect them. Proclaim himself your subject by that duty, Sard. Oh! for that, I love them; And I will answer all.
I love to watch them in the deep blue vault, Sard. Why, if I thought so
And to compare them with my Myrrha's eyes But no, it cannot be; the Mede Arbaces- I love to see their rays redoubled in The trusty, rough, true soldier—the best The tremulous silver of Euphrates' wave, captain
As the light breeze of midnight crisps the Of all who discipline our nations - No,
broad I'll not insult him thus, to bid him rendor | And rolling water,sighing through the sedges