« ZurückWeiter »
Or old, when Rome, in a declining age,
Ye tyrants of the pit, whose cold disdain
Ye bards, to whom French wit gives kind relief,
And yet the desp’rate author of to-night Dares, on the muse's wing, another flight; Once more, a dupe to fame, forsakes his ease, And feeds the ambition--here again to please.
He brings a tale from a far distant age, Ennobled by the grave historic page ! Zenobia's woes have touched each polished state ; The brightest eyes of France have mourn'd ber Harmonious Italy her tribute paid, And
sung a dirge to her lamented shade. Yet think not that we mean to mock the eye With pilfered colours of a foreign dye. Not to translate, our bard his pen d oth dip; He takes a play, as Britons take a ship: They heave her down : with many a sturdy stroke
, Repair her well, and build with heart of oak; To every breeze' set Britain's streamers free, New-man her, and away again to sea.
This is our author's aim; and if his art Waken to sentiment the feeling heart; If in his scenes alternate passions burn, And friendship, love, guilt, virtue, take their turn; If innocence oppress' lie bleeding here, You'll give
'tis all he asks-one virtuous tear.
MEN. PHARASMANES, Usurper of Iberia, RHADAMISTUS, TERIBAZUS,
} his Sons. ZOPIRON, TIGRANES,
MEGISTUS, a Shepherd, Preserver of Zenobia’s life.
WOMEN. ZENOBIA, Wife to Rhadamistus. ZELMIRA, Wife of Zopiron.
Attendants, Guards, gc.
SCENE,-Lies in Pharasmanes' Camp, on the banks of the Araxes.
your aid !
Zop. This is the tyger's den; with human gore SCENE I.
For ever floats the pavement; with the shrieks
Of matrons weeping o'er their slaughtered sons, Zel. THROUGH the wide camp 'tis awful so- The cries of virgins, to the brutal arms litude!
Of violation dragged, with ceaseless groans On every tent, which, at the morning's dawn, Of varied misery, for ever rings Rung with the din of arms, deep silence sits, The dreary region of his cursed domain. Adding new terrors to the dreadful scene! Zel. To multiply his crimes, a beauteous cap My heart dies in me hark ! with hideous roar tive, The turbulent Araxes foams along,
The afflicted Ariana-she--for her, And rolls his torrent through yon depth of woods! For that fair excellence my bosom bleeds ! 'Tis terrible to hear!-who's there?-Zopiron ! She, in the prime of every blooming grace,
When next the glowing hour of riot comes, Enter ZoPIRON.
Shall fall a victim to his base desires. Zel. My lord, my husband !-help me; lend Zop. The bounteous gods may succow virtue
still! Zop. Why didst thou leave thy tent?-Why In this day's battle, which perhaps ere now thus afflict
The charging hosts have joined, should Roman Thy anxious breast, thou partner of my heart ?
valour Why wilt thou thus distract thy tender nature Prevail o'er Asia's numbersWith groundless fears ? Ere yonder sun shall visit
Zel. That event The western sky, all will be hushed to peace.
Is all our hope. And lo! on yonder rampart, Zel. The interval is borrid; big with woe,
Trembling with wild anxiety, she stands, With consternation, peril, and dismay! Invokes each god, and bids her straining eye And oh! if here, while yet the fate of nations, Explore the distant field. Suspended, hangs upon the doubtful sword, Zop. Yes, there she's fixed If here the trembling heart thus shrink with A statue of despair!--That tender bosom
Heaves with no common grief---I've marked lier Here in these tents, in this unpeopled camp,
oft, Oh! think, Zopiron, in yon ficld of death, And, if I read aright, some mighty cause Where numbers soon in purple heaps shall bleed, Of hoarded anguish, some peculiar woe What feelings there must throb in every breast? Preys on her mind unseen !--But, ha! behold, How long, ambition, wilt thou stalk the earth, She faints; her fears, too powerful for her frame, And thus lay waste mankind !
Sink that frail beauty drooping to the earth. Zop. This day, at length,
[Erit hastily: The warlike king, victorious Pharasmanes, Zel. Haste, fly, Zopiron, fly with instant sucCloses the scene of war. The Roman bands
. Perish Iberia !--may the sons of Rome Her fluttering sense returns ;---and now this way
Zop. Thy generous zeal, thy every sentiment Enter ZENOBIA, leaning on two attendants. Charms my delighted soul. - But thou be cau- Zen. A little onward, still a little onward
Support my steps And check the rising ardour that inflames thee ! Zel. How fares it, madam, now? The tyrant spares nor sex nor innocence. Zen. My strength returns—I thank ye, geneZel. Indignant of controul, he spurns each law,
rous maids, Each holy sanction, that restrains the nations, And would I could requite you—fruitless thanks
Are all a wretch can give.
peace. VOL. II,
Of mild benevolence our nature prompts- His sceptre, saidst thou ?
-urge that word no Your merit too commands :-on Ariana
moreWe tend with willing, with delighted care, The sceptre of his son !--the solemn right And that delight o'erpays us for our trouble. Of Rhadamistus! Mithridates' choice, Zen. Your cares forme denote a heart that That called him to his daughter's nuptial bed, fecls
Approved him lineal heir ; consenting nobles, For other's woes. Methinks, with strength re- The public will, the sanction of the laws, newed,
All ratified his claim-yet, curst ambition, I could adventure forth again.
Deaf to a nation's voice, a nation's charter, Second attend. "Twere best
Not satisfied to fill Iberia's throne, Repose your wearied spirits—we will seek Made war, unnatural war, against a son, Yon rising ground, and bring the swiftest tidings Usurped his throne, and, with remorseless rage, Of all the mingled tumult.
Pursued his life! Zen. Go, my virgins;
Zel. Can Ariana plead Watch well each movement of the marshalled for such a son ?-Means she to varnish o'er field;
The guilt of Rhadamistus? Each turn of fortune;- let me know it all;
Zen. Guilt, Zelmira ! Each varying circumstance.
Zel. Guilt that shoots horror through my echZel. And will you thus,
ing heart! Be doomed for ever, Ariana, thus
Poor lost Zenobia ! A willing prey to visionary ills,
Zen. And do her misfortunes The self-consuming votarist of care?
Awaken tender pity in your breast? Zen. Alas! I'm doomed to weep—the wrath Zel. Ill-fated princess! in her vernal bloom of Heaven,
By a false husband murdered !-from the stem With inexhausted vengeance, follows still, A rose-bud torn, and in some desert cave And each day comes with aggravated woes. Thrown by, to moulder into silent dust! Zel. Yet, when Iberia's king, when Pharas- Zen. You knew not Rhadamnistus !- Pht
manes, With all a lover's fondness
Knew not the early virtues of his son. Zen. Name him not !
As yet an infant, in his tenderest years Name not a monster horrible with blood, His father sent him to Armenia's court, The widow's, orphan's, and the virgin's tears ! That Mithridates' care might form his mind
Zel. Yet, savage as he is, at sight of thee To arts, to wisdom, and to manners, worthy Each fiercer passion softens into love.
Armenia's sceptre, and Zenobia's love. To you
he bends; the monarch of the east, The world, delighted, saw each dawning virtue, Dejected, droops beneath your cold disdain, Each nameless grace, to full perfection rising! And all the tyranny of female pride.
Oh! he was all the fondest maid could wish Zen. That pride is virtue ; virtue, that abhors All truth, all honour, tenderness, and love! The tyrant reeking from a brother's murder ! Yet, from his empire thrown! with merciless fury Oh! Mithridates ! ever honoured shade! His father following slaughter raging round, Peaceful he reigned, dispensing good around him, what could the hero in that dire extreme! In the mild eye of honourable days !
Zel. Those strong impassioned looks !--some Through all her peopled realm Armenia felt
fatal secret His equal sway: The sunset of his power, Works in her heart, and melts her into tears. With fainter beams, but undiminished glory,
(Aside. Still shone serene ; while every conscious subject, Zen. Driven to the margin of Araxes' foodWith tears of praise, beheld his calm decline, No means of flight-aghast, he looked aroundAnd blessed the parting ray !-yet then, Zelmira, Wild throbbed his bosom with conflicting pasOh, fact accursed !-yes, Pharasmanes then
sionsDetested perfidy! nor ties of blood,
* And must I then'-tears gushed and choaked Nor sacred laws, nor the just gods, restrain him
his voiceIn the dead midnight hour, the fell assassin · And must I leave thee, then, Zenobia?-must Rushed on the slumber of the virtuous man ; Thy beauteous form'-he paused, then ained His life blood gushed ! The venerable king
a poniard Waked, saw a brother armed against his life- At his great heart-But, oh! I rushed upon him, Forgave him, and expired !
And with these arms, close-wreathing round his Żcl. Yet wherefore open
neck, Afresh the wounds, which time long since hath With all the vehemence of prayers and shrieks, closed?
Implored the only boon he then could grant, This day confirms the sceptre in his hand- To perish with him in a fond embrace! Zen. Confirms his sceptre-his!--indignant Ty.e foe drew near--time pressed--no way was gods !
leftWill no red vengeance
, from your stores of wrath, He clasped me to his heart-together both, Burst down to crush the tyrant in his guilt? Locked in the folds of love, we plunged at once,
And sought a requiem in the roaring flood. To meet thee here, only to grieve thee more, Zel. This wondrous tale—this sudden burst To add to thy alfictions, wound that bosoin of passion
Where mild affection, where each victue Zen. Ha! whither has my phrenzy led me!
Just to behold thee, and then close my eyes That sound of triumph! lost, for ever
lost! In endless night, while you survey my pangs Ruined Armenia--oh! devoted race ! In the approaching agony of torment(A flourish of trumpets. Zen. Talk not of agony; 'tis
And who has power to tear thee from my heart? Enter TIGRANES, Soldiers, and some Prisoners.
Meg. Alas! the charge of vile imputed guilt Zen. Thy looks, Tigranes, indicate thy purpose ! Zen. I know thy truth, thy pure exalted The armies met, and Pharasmanes conquered;
mindIs it not so?
Thy sense of noble deeds—imputed guilt! Tig. As yet with pent-up fury.
Oh! none will dare—hast thou, Tigranes? what, The soldier pants to let destruction loose. What is his crime? blush, foul traducer, blush ! With eager speed we urged our rapid march, Oh! [To Meg.) the wide world must own thy To where the Romans, tented in the vale, With cold delay protract the lingering war. Tig. If in the conscious forest I beheld At our approach their scanty numbers form Their dark complottingsTheir feeble lines, the future of
vengeance. Zen. Peace, vile slanderer, peace! Zen. And wherefore, when thy sword demands | Thou know'st who captivates a monarch's its share
hcartOf havock in that scene of blood and horror, 'Tis I protect him- -Ariana does it ! Wherefore return'st, thou to this lonely camp? Thou, venerable man! in my pavilion Tig. With cautious eye as I explored the I'll lodge, thee safe from danger-oh! this joy, forest,
This best supreme delight the gods have sent, Which rises thick near yonder ridge of moun. In pity for whole years of countless woe! tains,
[Erit ZEN. with MEG. And stretches o'er the interminable plain,
Tig. With what wild fury her conflicting I saw these captives in the gloomy wood,
passions Seeking, with silent march, the Roman camp. Rise to a storm, a tempest of the soul ! . Impaled alive, 'tis Pharasmanes' will
I know the latent cause—her heart revolts, They suffer death in misery of torment.
And leagues in secret with the Roman arms. Zen. Unhappy men! and must they—-ha? Zel. Beware, Tigranes ! that excess of joy, that face,
Those quick, those varied passions strongly speak That aged mien! that venerable form!
The stranger has an interest in her heart. Immortal powers! is it my more than father ! Besides, thou know'st o'er Pharasmanes' will --Is that Megistus?
She holds supreme dominionMeg. Ariana here!
Tig. True, she rules him
With boundless sway-
Zen. It is—it is Megistus! once again, The youthful prince, the valiant Teribazus, Thus let me fall and clasp his reverend knee, In secret sighs, and feels the ray of beauty Print the warm kiss of gratitude and love Through every sense soft-thrilling to his heart. Upon this trembling hand, and pour the tears,
He too becomes thy foe. The mingled tears of wonder and of joy!
Tig. Unguarded man ! Meg: Rise, Ariana, rise_almighty gods ! Whate'er he loves ‘or hates, with generous The tide of joy and transport pours too fast
She kindly gives instructions to her foe,
Zel. Her foe, Tigranes !
That lovely form enshrines the gentlest virtues, These joys our tears and looks can only speak. Softest compassion, unaffected wisdom, Meg: Yet they are cruel joys-mysterious To outward beauty lending higher charins, heaven!
Adorning and adorned! the generous prince, You bid the storms o'ercast our darksome ways; He too-full well thou know'st him-he unites You gild the cloud with gleains of cheering light; In the heroic mould of manly firmness, Then comes a breath from you, and all is vanished! Each mild attractive art-oh! surely none Zen. Wherefore dejected thus
Envy the fair renown that's earn'd by virtue. dleg. Alas! to meet thee
Tig. None should, Zelmira. Ha! those warBut for a moment, and then part for ever !
Ache with delight, and thus run o'er in tears. Enter TERIBAZUS.
Zel. What must Zelmira think! at first, your Ter. Each weary soldier rest upon his arms,
tongue And wait the king's return—Zelmira, say,
Grew lavish in the praise of Rhadamistus, In these dark moments of impending horror,
With hints obscure touching your high descent; How fares thy beauteous friend ? her tender And now, this hoary sage- -is he your father? spirit
My mind is lost in wonder and in doubt. But ill supports the fierce alarms of war.
Zen. Then, to dispel thy doubts, and tell, at
once, Enter ZENOBIA.
What deep reserve has hid within my heart, Zen. Where is he? let me fly-oh! Pharas- -I am Zenobia—1, that ill-starred wretch!
The daughter of a sceptered ancestry, Methought those sounds bespoke the king's ap- And now the slave of Mithridates' brother ! proach
Zel. Long-lost Zenobia, and restored : Oh! Teribazus, tell me—have the fates
length! This horrible suspense
I am your subject; oh!
my queen! Ter. I came, bright maid,
reign ! To hush the wild emotions of thy heart.
Zen. Thou generous friend! rise, my Zelmira, Devouring slaughter for a while suspends
rise. Its ruthless rage; as either host advanced That good old man !-oh! it was he beheld me In dread array, and from the burnished arms Borne far away from Rhadamistus' arms, Of Asia's ranks redoubled sunbeams played, Just perished, just lost! Burning with bright diversities of day,
He dashed into the flood, redeemed me thence
, Came forth an herald from the Roman camp And brought me back to life. My opening ees With proffered terms—my father deign’d for Just saw the light, and closed again to shun it
Each vital power was sunk; but he, well still To yield to mild persuasion—in his tent In potent herbs, recalled my fluttering soul. The ambassador of Rome will soon attend him, Zel. May the propitious gods reward his care To sheathe the sword, and give the nation peace. Zen. With me he saved a dear, a precious bo, Zen. But oh! no peace for me, misfortune's | Then in the womb concealed; he saved my heir!
child The wretched heir of miscry! But now
To trace his father's loved resemblance to mx, A more than father found, yet cruel men The dear, dear offspring of our bridal loves. Would tear him from me-generous, generous Zel. Oh, blessings on him, blessings on ti prince,
head! Spare an old man, whose head is white with age, Zen. Resigned and patient I since dwelt af Nor let them wound me with the sharpest pang, him, That ever tortur'd a poor bleeding heart! Far in the inazes of a winding wood,
Ter. Arise, my fair ; let not a storm of grief Midst hoary mountains and deep cavered fuis. Thus bend to earth my Ariana's beauties; But oh! the fond idea of my lord Soon shall they all revive
Pursued me still, or in the caverned rock, Zen. They brought him fettered,
The mountain's brow, or pendent forest's shoe. Bound like a murderer! Tigranes, he,
The sun looked joyless down; each lonely This is the author of the horrid charge
Heard my griefs echoing through the woodland He threatens instant death—but oh! protect,
shade. Protect an innocent, a good old man,
My infant Rhadamistus ! he is lost; Or stretch me with him on the mournful bier ! He, too, is wrested from me!-Midst the rage, Ter. By Heaven, whoe'er he is, since dear to And the wille waste of war, the hell-hound trita you,
Of Pharismanes sought my lone retreat, He shall not suffer-quick, direct me to him- And, from the violated shades, from all My guards shall safe inclose him.
My soul held dear, the barbarous ruffians toro Zen. In my pavilion
me, He waits his doom
And never shall the wreched mother see Ter. Myself will bear the tidings
Her child again! Of life, of joy, and liberty restored.
Zel. Heaven may restore him stillAnd thou, artificer of ill, thou false,
May still restore your royal husband too. Thou vile defamer ! leave thy treacherous arts, Who knows but some protecting god Nor dare accuse whom Ariana loves. (Exit TER. Zen. No god,
Zen. Zelmira, this is happiness supreme ! No guardian power was present !-he is lost? Oh! to have met with unexampled goodness, Oh ! Rhadamistus! oh, my honoured lord ! To owe my all, my very life itself,
No pitying eye beheld thy decent form, To an unknown but hospitable hand,
The rolling Aood devoured thee, thou hast lesa And thus enabled by the bounteous gods, A wat’ry grave, and the last dismal accents To pay the vast, vast debt
That trenbled on thy tongue, came bubbling on That swells above all bounds, till the fond heart And murmured, lost Zenobia!