Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

you cured

Pyl. You much surprise me, prince! I thought Of ruined Troy; Astjanax, descended

From a long race of kings; great Hector's son. Of your unpitied, unsuccessful passion.

Pyl. A name still dreadful in the ears of Why, in Epirus, should you hope to find

Greece! Hermione less cruel, than at Sparta?

But, prince, you'll cease to wonder why the child I thought her pride, and the disdainful manner Lives thus protected in the court of Pyrrhus, In which she treated all your constant sufferings, When you shall hear, the bright Andromache, Had broke your fetters, and assured your free- His lovely captive, charms him from his purpose: dom:

The mother's beauty guards the helpless son. Ashamed of your repulse, and slighted vows, Orest. Your tale confirms what I have heard; You hated her; you talked of her no more:

and hence Prince, you deceived me.

Spring all my hopes. Since my proud rival wooes Orest. I deceived myself.

Another partner to his throne and bed, Do not upbraid the unhappy man, that loves Hermione may still be miné. Her father, thee.

The injured Menelaus, thinks already Thou know'st I never hid my passion from thee; His daughter slighted, and the intended nuptials Thou saw'st it in its birth and in its progress; Too long delayed. I heard his loud complaints And when at last the hoary king, her father, With secret pleasure; and was glad to find Great Menelaus, gave away his daughter, The ungrateful maid neglected in her turn, His lovely daughter, to the happy Pyrrhus, And all my wrongs avenged in her disgrace. The avenger of his wrongs, thou sawest my grief, Pyl. Oh, may you keep your just resentments My torture, my despair; and how I dragged,

warm ! From sea to sea, a heavy chain of woes.

Orest. Resentments! Oh, my friend, too soon O Pylades! my heart has bled within me,

I found To see thee, prest with sorrows not thy own, They grew not out of hatred! I'm betrayed : Still wandering with me like a banished man! I practice on myself; and fondly plot Watchful, and anxious for thy wretched friend, My own undoing. Goaded on by love, To temper the wild transports of my mind, I canvassed all the suffrages of Greece: And save me from myself.

And here I come their sworn ambassador, Pyl. Why thus unkind ?

To speak their jealousies, and claim this boy. Why will you envy me the pleasing task

Pyl. Pyrrhus will treat your embassy with Of generous love, and sympathizing friendship?

Orest. Thou miracle of truth—but hear me on. Full of Achilles, his redoubted sire, When in the midst of my disastrous fate, Pyrrhus is proud, impetuous, headstrong, fierce ; I thought how the divine Hermione,

Made up of passions : Will he then be swayed, Deat' to my vows, regardless of my plaints, And give to death the son of her he loves ? Gave up herself, in all her charms, to Pyrrhus ; Orest. Oh, would he render up Hermione, Thou mayest remember, I abhorred her naine, And keep Astyanax, I should be blest! Strove to forget her and repay her scorn. He must; he shall. Hermione is my life, I made my friends, and even myself, believe My soul, my rapture !--I'll no longer curb My soul was freed. Alas! I did not see, The strong desire that hurries me to madness : That all the malice of my heart was love. I'll give a loose to love; I'll hear her hence; Triumphing thus, and yet a captive still, I'll tear her from his arms; I'll—0, ye gods ! In Greece I landed : and in Greece I found Give me Hermione, or let me die ! The assembled princes all alarmed with fears, But tell me, Pylades; how stand my hopes? In which their common safety seemed concerned. Is Pyrrhus still enamoured with her charms I joined them: for I hoped that war and glory Or dost thou think he'll yield me up the prize, Might fill my mind, and take up all my thoughts: The dear, dear prize, which he has ravished from And, that my shattered soul, impaired with grief,

me? Once more would reassume its wonted vigour, Pyl. I dare not flatter your fond hopes so far; And every idle passion quit my breast.

The king, indeed, cold to the Spartan princess, Pyl. The thought was worthy. Agamemnon's Turns all his passion to Andromache,

Hector's afflicted widow. But in vain, Orest. But see the strange perverseness of my With interwoven love and rage, he sues stars,

The charming captive, obstinately cruel. Which throws me on the rock I strove to shun! Oft he alarms her for her child confined The jealous chiefs, and all the states of Greece, Apart; and when her tears begin to flow, With one united voice complain of Pyrrhus; As soon he stops them, and recalls his threats. That now, forgetful of the promise given, Hermione a thousand times has seen And mindless of his godlike father's fate, His ill-requited vows return to her; Astyanax he nurses in his court;

And takes his indignation all for love. Astyanax, the young, surviving hope

What can be gathered from a man so various ?

scorn.

son.

my friend!

He
may, in the disorder of his soul,

Of all the scepter'd warriors, be denied
Wed her he hates, and punish her he loves. To treat my.captive as I please? Know, prince,

Orest. But tell me how the wronged Hermione When Troy lay smoking on the ground, and each Brooks her slow nuptials, and dishonoured charms? Proud victor shared the harvest of the war,

Pyl Hermione would fain be thought to şcorn Andromache and this. her son were mine; Her wavering lover, and disdain his falsehood; Were mine by lot; and who shall wrest them But, spite of all her pride and conscious beauty, from me? She mourns in secret her neglected charms, Ulysses bore away old Priam's queen; And oft has made me privy to her tears : Cassandra' was your own great father's prize;' Still threatens to be gone; yet still she stays ; Did I concern myself in what they won? And sometimes sighs, and wishes for Orestes. Did I send embassies to claim their captives? Orest. Ah, were those wishes from her heart, Orest. But, sir, we fear for you, and for our

selves. I would Hy in transport (Flourish within. Troy may again revive, and a new Hector Pyl. Hear! the king approaches

Rise in Astyanax. Then think betimes-To give you audience. Speak your embassy Pyr. Let dastard souls be timorously wise : Without reserve: urge the demands of Greece; But tell them, Pyrrhus knows not how to form And, in the name of all the kings, require, Far-fancied ills, and dangers out of sight. That Hector's son be given into your hands. Orest. Sir, call to mind the unrivalled strength Pyrrhus, instead of granting what they ask,

of Troy; To speed his love and win the Trojan daine, Her walls, her bulwarks, and her gates of brass; Will make it merit to preserve her son.

Her kings, her heroes, and embattled arınies ! But, see ; he comes.

Pyr. I call them all to mind; and see then all Prest. Meanwhile, my Pylades,

Confused in dust; all mixt in one wide rnin; Go, and dispose Hermione to sce

All but a child, and be in bondage held. Her lover, who is come thus far, to throw What vengeance can we fcar from such a Troy? Himself, in all his sorrows, at her feet.

If they have sworn to extinguish llector's race,

Why was their vow for twelve long months deEnter PYRRHUS, PHOENIX, and Attendants.

ferred ? Before I speak the message of the Greeks, Why was he not in Priam's bosom slaint Permit me, sir, to glory in the title

He should have fallen among the slaughtered Of their ambassador; since I behold

heaps, Troy’s vanquisher, and great Achilles son. Whelmed under Troy. His death had then been just, Nor does the son rise short of such a father. When age and infancy, alike in vain, If Hector féll by him, Troy fell by you.

Pleaded their weakness; when the heat of conBut what your father never would have done,

quest, You do. You cherish the remains of Troy; And horrors of the fight, rouzed all our rage, And by an ill-timed pity keep alive

And blindly hurried us through scenes of death, The dying embers of a ten years war,

My fury then was without bounds: but now, Have you so soon forgot the mighty llector? My wrath appeased, must I be cruel still? The Greeks remember his high brandished sword, And, deaf to all the tender calls of pity, That filled their states with widows and with Like a cool murderer, bathe my hands in blood; orphans,

An infant's blood ?—No, prince--go, bid the For which they call for vengeance on his son.

Greeks Who knows what he may one day prove? Who Mark out some other victim; my revenge knows

Has had its fill. What has escaped from Troy But he inay brave us in our ports; and, filled Shall not be saved to perish in Epirus. With Hector's fury, set our fleets on blaze?' Orest. I need not tell you, sir, Astyanax You may, yourself, live to repent your mercy.

Was doomed to death in Troy; nor mention how Comply, then, with the Grecians' just demands : The crafty mother saved her darling son: Satiate their vengeance, and preserve yourself. The Greeks do now, but urge their former senPyr. The Greeks are for my safety more con

tence; cerned

Nor is it the boy, but Hector, they pursue; Than I desire. I thought your kings were met The father, who so oft in Grecian blood On more important counsel. When I heard Has drenched his sword; the father, whom the The name of their ambassador, I hoped

Greeks Some glorious enterprize was taking birth. May seek even here.-- Prevent them, sir, in time. Is Agamemnon's son dispatched for this?

Pyr. No! let them come; since I was born to And do the Grecian chiefs, renowned in war,

wage A race of heroes, join in close debate,

Eternal war. Let them now turn their arms To plot an infant's death! What right has Greece On him, who conquered for them : let them coine, To ask his life? Must I, must I alone,

And in Epirus seek another Troy,

:

Greeks,

Twas thus they recompens'd my godlike sire; Andr. A mighty honour for victorious Greece, Thus was Achilles thank’d. But, prince, remem- To fear an infant, a poor friendless child ! ber,

Who smiles in bondage : nor yet knows himself Their black ingratitude then cost them dear. The son of Hector, and the slave of Pyrrhus. Orest. Shall Greece then find a rebel son in Pyr- Pyr. Weak as he is, the Greeks demand his rhus?

life;
Pyr. Have I then conquered to depend on And send no less than Agamemnon's son,
Greece ?

To fetch him hence.
Orest. Hermione will sway your soul to peace, Andr. And, sir, do you comply
And mediate 'twixt her father and yourself :

With such demands ? _This blow is aimed at me: Her beauty will enforce my embassy.

How should the child avenge his slaughtered sire! Pyr. Hermione may have her charms; and I But, cruel men ! they will not have him live May love her still, though not her father's slave. To cheer my heavy heart, and ease my bonds. I may in time give proofs, that I'm a lover; I promised to myself in him a son, But never must forget, that I'm a king.

In him a friend, a husband, and a father. Meanwhile, sir, you may see fair Helen's But I must suffer sorrow heaped on sorrow; daughter;

And still the fatal stroke must come from you. I know how near in blood

you

stand allied. Pyr. Dry up those tears, I must not see you That done, you have my answer, prince. The weep

And know, I have rejected their demands. No doubt, expect your quick return.

The Greeks already threaten me with war:

[Er. Orest. &c. But, should they arm, as once they did for Helen, Phæn. Sir, do you send your rival to the prin- And hide the Adriatic with their feets; cess?

Should they prepare a second ten years siege, Pyr. I am told, that he has loved her long. And lay my towers and palaces in dust, Phæn. If so,

I am determined to defend your son, Ilave you not cause to fear the smothered Aame And rather die myself than give him up. May kindle at her sight, and blaze a-new?' But, madam, in the midst of all these dangers, And she be brought to listen to his passion ? Will you refuse me a propitious smile? Pyr. Ay, let them, Phænix, let them love their Hated of Greece, and prest on every side, fill!

Let me not, madam, while I fight your cause, Let them go hence; let them depart together : Let me not combat with your cruelties, Together let them sail for Sparta : all my ports And count Andromache amongst my foes! Are open to them both. From what constraint, Andr. Consider, sir, how this will sound in What irksome thoughts, should I be then reliev, Greece? ed!

How can so great a soul betray such weakness? Phæn. But, sir,

Let not men say, so generous a design Pyr. I shall, another time, good Phønix, Was but the transport of a heart in love. Unbosom to thee all my thoughts—for, see, Pyr. Your charms will justify me to the world. Androinache appears.

Andr. How can Andromache, a captive queen,

O'erwhelmed with grief, a burthen to herself, Enter ANDROMACHE, and CEPHISA.

Harbour a thought of love? Alas! what charins Pyr. May I, madam,

Have these unhappy eyes, by you condemned Flatter my hopes so far as to believe

To weep for ever? Talk of it no more. You come to seek me here?

To reverence the misfortunes of a foe; Andr. This way, sir, leads

To succour the distrest; to give the son To those apartments where you guard my son. To an afflicted mother; to repel Since you permit me, once a day, to visit Confederate nations, leagued against his life; All I have left of Hector and of Troy,

Unbribed by love, unterrified by threats, I go to weep a few sad moments with him. To pity, to protect him: these are cares, I have not yet, to-day, embraced my child; These are exploits worthy Achilles' son. I have not held him in my widowed arms. Pyr. Will your resentments, then, endure for Pyr. Ah, madam, should the threats of Greece ever? prevail,

Must Pyrrhus never be forgiven ? 'Tis true, You'll have occasion for your tears, indeed! My sword has often recked in Phrygian blood, Andr. Alas, what threats! What can alarm And carried havoc through your royal kindred; the Greeks?

But you, fair princess, amply have avenged There are no Trojans left!

Old Prian's vanquished house : and all the woes Pyr. Their hate to Hector

I brought on thein, fall short of what I suffer. Can never die : the terror of his name

We both have suffered in our turns: and now still shakes their souls; and makes them dread Our common foe should teach us to unite.

Andr. Where does the captive not behold a foe!

his son.

:

Pyr. Forget the term of hatred, and behold (Tormenting thought !) whose death alone has A friend in Pyrrhus ! Give me but to hope !

made
I'll free your son; I'll be a father to him : Your sire immortal : Pyrrhus and Achilles
Myself will teach him to avenge the Trojans. Are both grown great by my calamities.
I'll go in person to chastise the Greeks,

Pyr. Madam, 'tis well! 'Tis very well! I find, Both for your wrongs and mine. Inspired by Your will must be obeyed. Imperious captive, you,

It shall. Henceforth I blot you from my mind : What would I not atchieve! Again shall Troy You teach me to forget your charms; to hate Rise from its ashes : this right arm shall fix

you: Her seat of empire; and your son shall reign. For know, inhuman beauty, I have loved Andr. Such dreams of greatness suit not my Too well to treat you with indifference. .condition:

Think well upon it: my disordered soul His hopes of empire perished with his father. Wavers between the extremnes of love and rage; No; thou imperial city, ancient Troy,

I've been too tame; I will awake to vengeance ! Thou pride of Asia, founded by the gods ! The son shall answer for the mother's scorn. Never, oh, never must we hope to see

The Greeks demand him : nor will I endanger Those bulwarks rise, which Hector could not My realms, to pleasure an ungrateful woman, guard!

Andr. Then he must die ! Alas, my son must Sir, all I wish for, is some quiet exile,

die ! Where, far from Greece removed, and far from He has no friend, no succour left, beside you,

His mother's tears, and his own innocence. I may conceal my son, and mourn my husband. Pyr. Go, madam; visit this unhappy son. Your love creates me envy. Oh, return! The sight of him may bend your stubborn heart, Return to your betrothed Hermione.

And turn to softness your unjust disdain. Pyr. Why do you mock me thus? You know, I shall once more expect your answer. Go, I cannot.

And think, while you embrace the captive boy, You know my heart is yours: my soul hangs on Think that his life depends on your resolves. you:

[Erit Pyrrhus, &c. You take up every wish: my waking thoughts, Andr. I'll go : and in the anguish of my heart, And nightly dreains are all employed on you. Weep o'er

my

child-If he must die, my life Tis true, Hermione was sent to share

Is wrapt in his; I shall not long survive. My throne and bed; and would with transport | 'Tis for his sake that I have suffered life, hear

Groaned in captivity, and out-lived Hector. The vows which you neglect.

Yes, my Astyanax, we'll go together! Andr. She has no Troy,

Together to the realms of night we'll go ! No Hector to lament: she has not lost

There to thy ravished eyes thy sire I'll shew, A husband by your conquests. Such a hus- TAnd point him out among the shades below. band!

[Exit.

:

ACT II.

not

SCENE I.

• The proud Hermione, that tyrannized

In Sparta's court, and triumphed in her charms ? HERMIONE and CLEONE.

• Her insolence at last is well repaid.' Her. Well, I'll be ruled, Cleone: I will see I cannot bear the thought! him;

Cleo. You wrong yourself I have told Pylades that he may bring him; With unbecoming fears. He knows too well But trust me, were I left to my own thoughts, Your beauty and your worth. Your lover comes I should forbid him yet. Cleo. And why forbid him?

To offer insults; but to repeat his vows, Is he not, madam, still the same Orestes? And breathe his ardent passion at your feet. Orestes, whose return you oft have wished? But, madam, what's your royal father's will? The man whose sufferings you so oft lamented, What orders do your letters bring from Sparta? And often praised his constancy and love? Her. His orders are, if Pyrrhus still deny

Her. That love, that constancy, so ill requited, The nuptials, and refuse to sacrifice Upbraids me to myself! I blush to think This Trojan boy, I should with speed embark, How I have used him; and would shun his pre- And with their embassy return to Greece.

Cleo. What would you more? Orestes comes 'What will be my confusion when he secs me

in time Neglected, and forsaken, like himself?

To save your honour. Pyrrhus cools apace: Will he not say, 'Is this the scornful maid, Prevent his falsehood, and forsake hiin first.

sence.

my fate

a

I know you hate him : you have told me so.

To favour bim: my father's wrongs avenged; Her. Hate him! My injured honour bids me The Greeks triumphant; fleets of Trojan spoils; hate him.

His mighty sire's, his own immortal fame; The ungrateful man, to whom I fondly gave His eager lore; all, all conspired against me! My virgin heart; the man I loved so dearly; -But I have done : I'll think no more of PyrThe man I doated on! Oh, my Cleone !

rhus. low is it possible I should not hate him? Orestes wants not merit; and he loves me. Cleo. Then give him over, madam. Quit his My gratitude, iny honour, both plead for him : court;

And if I have power over my own heart, 'tis his. And with Orestes

Cleo. Madam, he comesHer. No! I must have time

Her. Alaş, I did not think To work up all any rage! To meditate

He was so near! I wish I might not see him, A parting full of horror! My revenge

Enter ORESTES.
Will be but too much quickened by the traitor.
Cleo. Do you then wait new insults, new af- How am I to interpret, sir, this visit?
fronts ?

Is it a compliment of form or love?
To draw you from your father! Then to leave Orest. Madam, you know my weakness. Tis

you ! In his own court to leave you—for a captive ! To love unpitied: to desire to see you; If Pyrrhus can provoke you, he has done it. And still to swear each time shall be the last. Her. Why dost thou heighten my distress? – My passion breaks through my repeated oaths, I fear

And every time I visit you I am perjured. To search out my own thoughts, and sound my Even now, I find my wounds all bleed afresh : heart.

I blush to own it; but I know no cure. Be blind to what thou seest : believe me cured : I call the gods to witness, I have tried Flatter my weakness; tell me I have conquered; Whatever man could do (but tried in vain), Think that my injured soul is set against him; To wear you from my mind. Through stormy And do thy best to make me think so too.

seas, Cleo. Why would you loiter here, then? And savage climes, in a whole year of absence, Her. Let us fly!

I courted dangers, and I longed for death. Let us begone! I leave him to his captive: Her. Why will you, prince, indulge this mournLet him go kneel, and supplicate his slave.

ful tale? Let us begone! But what if he repent?

It ill becomes the ambassador of Greece What if the perjured prince again submit, To talk of dying and of love. Remember And sue for pardon? What if he renew The kings you represent: Shall their revenge Ilis former vows? But, oh, the faithless man! Be disappointed by your ill-timed passion? He slights me! drives me to extremitjes !-Ilow- Discharge your embassy: 'tis not Orestes ever,

The Greeks desire should die. I'll stay, Cleane, to perplex their loves;

Orest. My embassy I'll stay, till, by an open breach of contract, Is at an end, for Pyrrhus has refused I make him hateful to the Greeks. Already To give up HỊector's son. Some hidden power Their vengeance have I drawn upon the son, Protects the boy. Their second embassy shall claim the mother: Her. Faithless, ungrateful man ! Aside. I will redouble all my griefs on her!

Orest. I now prepare for Greece. But ere Cleo. Ah, madam, whither does your rage transport you?

Would hear my final doom pronounced by you. Andromache, alas! is innocent.

What do I say—I do already hear it! A woman plunged in sorrow; dead to love : My doom is fixed: I read it in your eyes. And when she thinks on Pyrrhus, 'tis with horror. Her. Will you then still despair? be still susHer. Would I had done so too! He had not picious ? then

What have I done? Wherein have I been cruel? Betrayed iny casy faith. But I, alas !

'Tis true, you find me in the court of Pyrrhus : Discovered all the fondness of my soul ! But 'twas my royal father sent me hither. I made no secret of my passion to him,

And who can tell but I have shared your griefs? Nor thought it dangerous to be sincere:

Have I ne'er wept in secret ? Never wished My eyes, my tongue, my actions spoke my heart. To see Orestes? Cleo. Well might you speak without reserve Orest. Wished to see Orestes ! to one,

Oh joy! oh ecstacy! My soul's entranced ! Engaged to you by solemn oaths and treaties. Oh, charming princess! Oh, transcendent maid !

Her. His ardour too was an excuse for mine: My utmost wish !-Thus, thus let me express With other eyes he saw me then! Cleone, My boundless thanks! I never was unhappyThou mayst remember, every thing conspired Am I Orestes?

I go,

« НазадПродовжити »