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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 dred?
Thy mother buys thee!
-Let us go.
And what does your unsettled heart resolve?
To flector's shade; where in their sacred urn Ceph. What must I say to him?
The ashes of my hero lie inclosed; Andr. Teil him I love my son to such excess- The dear remains, which I have saved from Troy. But dost thou think he means the child shall die? There let me weep, there summon to my aid, Can love rejected turn to so much rage? With pious rites, my Hector's awful shade; Ceph. Madan, he'll soon he_here-Resolve Let him be witness to my doubts, my fears, on something
My agonizing heart, my Howing tears; Andr. Well then, assure him
Oh! may he rise in pity from his tomb, Ceph. Madam, of your love?
And fix his wretched son's uncertain doom ! Andr, Alas, thou knowest it is not in my power.
SCENE I.—ANDROMACHE, CEPHISA.
To-morrow you may pass the live-long day
Andr. To-morrow! Oh, Cephisa !-But, no Ceph. Blest be the tomb of Hector, that in- more! spires
Cephisa, I have always found thee faithful: These pious thoughts : or is it Hector's self, A load of care weighis down my drooping heart. That prompts you to preserve your son! 'Tis he Ceph. Oh! that 'twere possible for me to ease Who still presides o'er ruined Troy; 'tis he
you! Who urges Pyrrhus to restore Astyanax.
Andr. I soon shall exercise thy long-tried Andr. Pyrrhus has said he will; and thou hast
Mean while I do conjure thee, my Cephisa, Just now renew the oft-repeated promise. Thou take no notice of my present trouble :
Ceph. Already in the transports of his heart, And when I shall disclose my secret purpose, He gives you up his kingdom, his allies,
That thou be punctual to perform my will
. And thinks himself o'er-paid for all in you. Ceph. Madam, I have no will but yours. My life
Andr. I think I may rely upon his promise: Is nothing, balanced with my love to you. And yet my heart is over-charged with grief. Andr. I thank thee, good Cephisa; my Astyanax Ceph. Why should you grieve ! You see he will recompense thy friendship to his mother. bids defiance
But, come; my heart's at case : assist me now To all the Greeks; and to protect your son To change this sable habit. Yonder conies Against their rage, has placed his guards about Hermione; I would not meet her rage. [E.reunt, Leaving himself defenceless for his sake :
Enter IIERMIONE and CLEONE. But, madam, think, the coronation pomp
Cleo. This unexpected silence, this reserve, Will soon demand your presence in the temple : This outward calm, this settled frame of mind, 'Tis time you lay aside these mourning weeds. After such wrongs and insults, much surprise me! Andr. I will be there; but first would see my You, who before could not command your rage,
When Pyrrhus looked but kindly on his captive; Ceph, Madam, you need not now be anxious How can you bear unmoved, that he should wed for him;
her, He will be always with you, all your own, And seat her on a throne which you should fill? To lavish the whole mother's fondness on him. I fear this dreadful stillness in your soul ! What a delight to train beneath your eye, 'Twere better, madamA son, who grows no longer up in bondage, Her. Have you called Orestes? A son, in whom a race of kings revive!
Cleo. Madam, I have; his love is too impatient But, madam, you are sad, and wrapt in thought, Not to obey with speed the welcome summons. As if you relished not your happiness.
His love-sick heart o'erlooks his unkind usage: Andr. Oh, I must see my son once more, His ardour's still the same-Madam, he's here.
Orest. Ah, madam, is it true? Does, then, Your visits may be frequent as you please,
-you know I'll
At length attend you by your own commands? The temple shines with pomp; the golden What can I do
throne Her. Orestes, do you love me?
Is now prepared; the joyful rites begin; Orest. What means that question, princess ? My shame is public-Öh, be speedy, prince ! Do I love you?
My wrath's impatient-Pyrrhus lives too long! My oaths, my perjuries, my hopes, my fears,
Intent on love, and heedless of his person, My farewell, my return, all speak my love. He covers with his guards the Trojan boy. Her. Avenge my wrongs, and I'll believe them Now is the time ! assemble all your Greeks; all.
Mine shall assist them; let their fury loose : Orest. It shall be done-my soul has catched Already they regard him as a foe. the alarm.
Begone, Orestes-kill the faithless tyrant : We'll spirit up the Greeks—I'll lead them on- My love shall recompense the glorious deed. Your cause shall animate our fleets and armies. Orest. Consider, madamLet us return ! let us not lose a moment,
Her. You but mock my rage ! But urge the fate of this devoted land !
I was contriving how to make you happy. Let us depart.
Think you to merit by your idle sighs, Her. No, prince, let us stay here!
And not attest your love by one brave action? I will have vengeance here— I will not carry Go, with your boasted constancy! and leave This load of infamy to Greece, nor trust
Hermione to execute her own revenge ! The chance of war to vindicate my wrongs. I blush to think how my too easy faith Ere I depart, I'll make Epirus mourn.
Has twice been baffled in one shameful hour! If you avenge me, let it be this instant;
Orest. Hear me but speak !
Her. I'll go myself: I'll stab him at the altar; Orest. Whom !
Then drive the poniard, recking with his blood, Her. Why, Pyrrhus.
Through my own heart. In death we shall Orest. Pyrrhus! Did you say, Pyrrhus?
unite: Her. You demur !
Better to die with him, than live with you ! Oh, fly, begone! give me no time to think!
Orest. That were to make him blest, and me Talk not of laws-he tramples on all laws
more wretched: Let me not hear him justified--away!
Madam, he dies by me:-Have you a foe,
meridian sun declines, he dies : You shall have vengeance; I'll have vengeance And you shall say, that I deserve your love.
Her. Go, prince; strike home! and leave the But let our hatred be profest and open : Let us alarm all Greece, denounce a war; Let all your ships be ready for our flight. Let us attack him in his strength, and hunt him
(Erit Orestes. down
Cleo. Madam, you'll perish in this bold atBy conquest : should I turn base assassin,
tempt. 'Twould sully all the kings I represent.
Her. Give me my vengeance, I'm content to Her. Have I not been dishonoured ! set at perish. nought!
I was to blame to trust it with another: Exposed to public scorn !-and will you suffer In my own hands it had been more secure. The tyrant, who dares use me thus, to live? Orestes hates not Pyrrhus as I hate him : Know, prince, I hate him more than once I loved I should have thrust the dagger home; have seen
The tyrant curse me with his panting breath, The gods alone can tell how once I loved him; And roll about his dying eyes, in vain, Yes, the false perjured man, I once did love him; To find Andromache, whom I would hide. And spite of all his crimes and broken vows, Oh, would Orestes, when he gives the blow, If he should live, I may relapse--who knows, Tell him he dies my victim !--Haste, Cleone; But I to-morrow may forgive his wrongs ? Charge him to say, Hermione's resentinents, Orest. First let me tear him piece-meal—he Not those of Greece, have sentenced him to shall die.
death. But, madam, give me leisure to contrive
Haste, my Cleone! My revenge is lost, The place, the time, the manner of his death: If Pyrrhus knows not that he dies by me! Yet I'm a stranger in the court of Pyrrhus; Cleo. I shall obey your orders—But see Scarce have I set my foot within Epirus, The king approach !-Who could expect him When you enjoin me to destroy the prince.
bere? It shall be done this very night.
Her. O fly! Cleone, Aly! and bid Orestes Her. But now,
Not proceed a step before I see him. This very hour, he weds Andronache;
rest to me.
The man, who ne'er was loved, can ne'er be false.
Obedience to a father brought you hither; Pyr. Madam, I ought to shun an injured prin- And I stood bound by promise to receive you :
But our desires were different ways inclined; Your distant looks reproach me: and I come, And you, I own, were not obliged to love me. Not to defend, but to avow my guilt.
Her. Have I not loved you, then! perfidious Pyrrhus will ne'er approve his own injustice;
man ! Nor form excuses, while his heart condemns him. For you I slighted all the Grecian princes;
: I might perhaps alledge, our warlike sires, Forsook my father's house; concealed my wrongs, Unknown to us, engaged us to each other, When most provoked: would not return to And joined our hearts by contract, not by love :
Sparta, But I detest such cobweb arts; I own
In hopes that time might fix your wavering My father's treaty, and allow its force.
heart, I sent ambassadors to call you hither;
I loved you when inconstant: and even now, Received you as my queen ; and hoped my Inhuman king, that you pronounce my death, oaths,
My heart still doubts, if I should love or hate So oft renewed, might ripen into love.
you: The gods can witness, madam, how I fought But, ob, since you resolve to wed another, Against Andromache's too fatal charms ! Defer your cruel purpose till to-morrow! And still I wish I had the power to leave This is the last request I e'er shall make youThis Trojan beauty, and be just to you.
See if the barbarous prince vouchsafes an anDischarge your anger on this perjured man !
swer! For I abhor my crime! and should be pleased Go, then, to the loved Phrygian! Hence ! beTo hear yoụ speak your wrongs aloud : no terms, No bitterness of wrath, nor keen reproach, And bear to her those vows, that once were Will equal half the upbraidings of my heart.
mine: Her. I find, sir, you can be sincere : you scorn Go, in defiance of the avengiog gods ! To act your crimes with fear, like other men. Begone! the priest expects you at the altarA hero should be bold; above all laws;
But, tyrant, have a care I come not thither. Be bravely false; and laugh at solemn ties.
[Erit Her To be perfidious shews a daring mind ! And
Enter PHOENIX. you have nobly triumphed o'er a maid ! To court me; to reject me; to return;
Pha. Sir, did you mind her threats? Your life Then to forsake me for a Phrygian slave :
is in danger! To lay proud Troy in ashes; then to raise There is no trifiing with a woman's rage. The son of Hector, and renounce the Greeks, The Greeks, that swarm about the court, all hate Are actions worthy the great soul of Pyrrhus.
you; Pyr. Madam, go on : give your resentinents Will treat you as their country's enemy, birth;
And join in her revenge: besides, Orestes And pour forth all your indignation on me. Still loves her to distraction: sir, I begHer. 'Twould please your queen, should I up- Pyr. How, Phænix ! should I fear a woman's braid your falsehood;
threats? Call you perfidious, traitor, all the names A nobler passion takes up all my thought : That injured virgins lavish on your sex;
I must prepare to meet Andromache. I should o'erflow with tears, and die with grief, Do thou place all my guards about her son: And furnish out a tale to soothe her pride. If he be safe, Pyrrhus is free from fear. But, sir, I would not over-charge her joys :
Exit Pyr. If you would charm Andromache, recount Your bloody battles, your exploits, your slaugh
Phenix, alone. ters,
Oh, Pyrrhus ! oh, what pity 'tis, the gods, Your great achievements, in her father's palace. Who filled thy soul with every kindly virtue, She needs must love the man, who fought so Formed thee for empire and consummate greatbravely,
ness, And in her sight slew half her royal kindred. Should leave thee so exposed to wild desires, Pyr. With horror I look back on my past That hurry thee beyond the bounds of reason ! deeds!
[A flourish of trumpets. I punished Helen's wrongs too far; I shed Such was Achilles; generous, fierce, and brave, Too much of blood : but, madam, Helen's Open and undesigning : but impatient, daughter
Undisciplined, and not to be controuled : Should not object those ills the mother caused. I fear the whirl of passion, this career, However I am pleased to find you hate me: That overbears reflection and cool thought; I was too forward to accuse myself :
I tremble for the event! But see, the queen,
Magnificent in royal pride, appears.
Relate the dreadful vision, which I saw, I must obey, and guard her son from danger. When first I landed captive in Epirus.
(Erit Phænir. That every night, as in a dream I lay,
A ghastly figure, full of gaping wounds,
His eyes aglare, his hair all stiff with blood, Ceph. Madam, once more you look and move Full in my sight thrice shook his head, and a queen!
groaned. Your sorrows are dispersed, yonr charins revive, I soon discerned my slaughtered Hector's shade; And every faded beauty blooms anew.
But, oh, how changed ! Ye, gods, how much unAndr. Yet all is not as I could wish, Ceplisa.
like Ceph. You see the king is watchful o'er your The living Hector ! Loud he bid me fly! son;
Fly from Achilles' son! then sternly frowned, Decks him with princely robes, with guards sur- And disappeared. Struck with the dreadful rounds him.
sound, Astaynax begins to reign already.
I started and awaked.
Destroy Astyanax ?
per- Ceph. What may these words, so full of horplex me. What meant those foods of tears, those warm Andr. Know, then, the secret purpose of my embraces,
soul : As if you bid your son adieu for ever?
Andromache will not be false to Pyrrhus, For Heaven's sake, madam, let me know your Nor violate her sacred love to flector. griefs !
This hour I'll meet the king; the holy priest If you mistrust my faith
Shall join us, and confirm our mutual vows : Andr. That were to wrong thee.
This will secure a father to my child : Oh, my Cephisa ! this gay, borrowed air, That done, I have no farther use for life : This blaze of jewels, and this bridal dress, This pointed dagger, this determined hand, Are but mock trappings to conceal my woe: Shall save my virtue, and conclude my woes. My heart still mourns; I still am llector's widow. Ceph. Ab, madain! recollect your scattered Ceph. Will you then break the promise given
reason; to Pyrrhus,
This fell despair ill suits your present fortunes. Blow up his rage afresh, and blast your hopes? Andr. No other stratagem can serve my purAndr. I thought, Cephisa, thou hadst known
This is the sole expedient to be just
Of my great ancestors : Cephisa, thou
Wilt lend a hand to close thy mistress' eyes? Would Hector, were he living, and I dead,
Ceph. Oh, never think that I will stay behind Forget Andromache, and wed her foe!
you ! Ceph I cannot guess what drift your thoughts Andr. No, my Cephisa ; I must have thee live. pursue;
Remember, thou didst promise to obey, But, oh, I fear there's something dreadful in it! And to be secret : wilt thou now betray me? Must then Astyanax be doomed to die;
After thy long, thy faithful service, wilt thou And you to linger out a life in bondage ? Refuse my last commands, my dying wish? Andr. Nor this, nor that, Cephisa, will I Once more I do conjure thee, live for me. bear;
Ceph. Life is not worth my care when you are My word is past to Pyrrhus, his to me;
gone. And I rely upon his promised faith.
Andr. I must commit into thy faithful hands Unequal as he is, I know hiin well:
All that is dear and precious to my soul : Pyrrhus is violent, but he's sincere,
Live, and supply my absence to my child; And will perform beyond what he has sworn. All that remains of Troy; a future progeny The Greeks will but incense him more; their Of herves, and a distant line of kings,
Iv him, is all entrusted to thy care. Will make bim cherish Hector's son.
Ceph. But, madam, what will be the
of Ceph. Ah, madam,
Pyrrhus, Explain these riddles to my boding heart ! Defrauded of his promised happiness? Andr. Thou may'st remember, for thou oft Andr. That will require thy utmost skill: Ob
hast heard me
The first impetuous onsets of his grief;
Why am I still thus anxious for his life? Use every artifice to keep him stedfast. Why do I start at his impending fate? Sometimes with tears thou mayst discourse of Shall he then live? Shall the base traitor live, me;
To laugh at my distress ? No, let him perish! Speak of our marriage; let him think I loved Be quick, Orestes ! Execute my orders ! him;
Alas! My orders! Oh, preposterous guilt! Tell him my soul reposed itself on him,
Can I decree the death of himn I love? When I resigned my son to his protection. Was it for this my soul delighted in him?
Ceph. Oh, for a spirit to support my grief ! Was it for this I left my father's court ? Is there ought more before you go for ever? Have I then crossed so many realms and seas, Andr. Oh, my Cephisa ! my swoln heart is To murder Pyrrhus ?
full ! I have a thousand farewells to my son:
Enter CLEONE. But tears break in ! Grief interrupts my speech- Her. Oh, Cleone, help me! - My soul overflows in fondness—let him know What have I done? Is Pyrrhus yet alive? I died to save him : And would die again. What sayst thou? Answer nie: Where is the Season his mind with early hints of glory;
king? Make him acquainted with his ancestors;
Cleo. Madam, I saw the cruel prince set forTrace out their ing story in his thoughts;
ward, Dwell on the exploits of his immortal father, Triumphant in his looks, and full of joy. And sometimes let him hear his mother's name. Still as he walked his ravished eyes were fixt Let him reflect upon his royal birth
On the fair captive; while through shouting With modest pride; Pyrrhus will prove a friend :
crowds But let him know he has a conqueror's right. She passed along with a dejected air, He must be taught to stifle his resentments, And seemed to mourn her Hector to the last. And sacrifice his vengeance to his safety.
Her. Insulting tyrant ! I shall burst with rage! Should he prove headstrong, rash, or unadvised, But say, Cleone, didst thou mark him well! He then will frustrate all his mother's virtue, Was his brow smooth? Say, did there not appear Provoke his fate, and I shall die in vain. Some shade of grief, some little cloud of sorrow?
Ceph. Alas! I fear I never shall outlive you. Did he not stop ? Did he not look once back ? Andr. No more: thy tears, Cephisa, will be- Didst thou approach him? Was he not confoundtray me;
ed? Assume a chearful look, but still remember
Did he not
-Oh, be quick and tell me all! (Flourish within. Cleo. Madam, the tumult of his joy admits Hark how the trumpet, with its sprightly notes, No thought but love. Unguarded he marched on, Proclaims the appointed hour, and calls us hence. 'Midst a promiscuous thiong of friends and foes. Hector, I come, once more a queen, to join thee! His cares all turn upon Astyanax, Thus the gay victim, with fresh garlands crown- Whom he has lodged within the citadel, ed,
Defended by the strength of all his guards. Pleased with the sacred fife's enlivening sound, Her. Enough! he dies the traitor!Through gazing crowds in solemn state proceeds, Where's Orestes ? And, drest in fatal pomp, magnificently bleeds. Cleo. He's in the temple with his whole retinue.
[Ereunt. Her. Is he still resolute? Is he still determined? SCENE II.
Cleo. Madam, I fear
Her. How ! Is Orestes false?
Does he betray me too?
Perplex his soul, and wound him with remorse : Ye gods! What mean these horrors? I am un- His virtue and his love prevail by turns. done!
He told me Pyrrhus should not fall ignobly : My soul is on the rack! I cannot bear it: Pyrrhus, the warlike son of great Achilles. Why do I wander like some guilty ghost? He dreads the censure of the Grecian states ; What brought me to this place? What keeps me Of all mankind; and fears to stain his honour. here?
Her. Poor timorous wretch! 'tis false! he baseThe court of Pyrrhus has no room for me!
ly fears Do I still doubt if I should love or hatc him? To cope with dangers, and encounter death; Hard-hearted man! How unconcerned he left 'Tis that he fears :
-Am I bright Helen's daughme !
ter? Did he once sigh? Bestow one pitying look? To vindicate her wrongs all Greece conspired; Once shed a tear? Or speak one soft, kind word? For her confederate nations fought, and kings Did he so much as feign one moment's sorrow,
were slain; To calm my griefs, and mitigate his falsehood? Troy was o'erthrown, and a whole empire fell.