Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

your soul

soul :

[ocr errors]

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,
Enter ANDROMACHE and CepuiSA.

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.
Andr. Pyrrhus is nobly minded : and I fain Ceph. But did he bid you
Would live to thank hin for Astyanax:

Destroy Astyanax? 'Tis a vain thought-llowever, since my

child Andr. Cephisa, I'll preserve him; Has such a friend, I ought not to repine.

With my own lite, Cephisa, I'll preserve him. Ceph. These dark unfoldings of

per- Ceph. What may these words, so full of horplex me.

ror, mean? What meant those foods of tears, those warm Andr. Know, then, the secret purpose of my

embraces, 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 Hector. griefs !

This hour I'll meet the king; the holy priest If you mistrust my faith

Shall join us, and confirm our inutual 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. Ah, madain! recollect your scattered Ceph. Will you then break the proinise 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

pose :
thy mistress.

This is the sole expedient to be just
Couldst thou believe I would be false to Hector? | To Hector, to Astyanax, to Pyrrhus.
Fall off from such a husband ! break his rest, I shall soon visit Hector, and the shades
And call him to this hated light again,

Of my great ancestors : Cephisa, thou
To see Andromache in Pyrrhus' arms?

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 lite in bondage? Refuse my last commands, my dying wish? Andr. Nor this, nor that, Ceplisa, 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 him 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,

In him, is all entrusted to thy care. Will make bim cherish Hector's son.

Ceph. But, madam, what will be the rage of Ceph. Ah, madam,

Pyrrhus, Explain these riddles to my boding heart ! Defrauded of his rromised happiness? Andr. Thou may'st remember, for thou oft Andr. That will require thy utmost skill : Ob

rage

hast heard me

serve

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?
Sometiines 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 shining 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; Pyrrhús 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. 'Alidst a promiscuous throng 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?
HERMIONE alone.

Does he betray me too?
What have I done? Where am I? Where is Cleo. A thousand doubts
Pyrrhus?

Perplex his soul, and wound him with remorse: Ye gods! What mean these horrors? I am un- His virtue and his love prevail by turus. 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 taise! he baseThe court of Pyrrhus has no room for me!

ly fears Do I still doubt if I should love or hate 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 pitving 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.

lice;

My eyes want force to raise a lover's arm, What had he done? What could provoke thy Against a tyrant that has dared to wrong me!

madness,
Cleo. Madam, like Helen, trust your cause to To assassinate so great, so brave a man?
Greece.

Who set thee on?
Her. No; I'll avenge myself ! I'll to the temple! Orest. Qh, grant me patience, Heaven!
I'll overturn the altar, stab the priest !

With your own lips did you not curse the tyrant, I'll hurl destruction, like a whirlwind, round me! Pronounce his death, and urge me to destroy him? They must not wed! they must not live! they Her. What if, transported by my boundless shall not !

passion, Let me be gone! I have no time to lose! I could not bear to see him wed another, Stand off! hold me not! I am all distraction ! Were you to obey a jealous woman's frenzy ? Oh, Pyrrhus ! Tyrant! Traitor ! Thou shalt bleed! You should have dived into my inmost thoughts ;

My heart, though full of rage, was free from maEnter ORESTES. Orest. Madam, 'tis done; your orders are obey- And all my anger was excess of love. ed:

Why did you take me at my word! You saw The tyrant lies expiring at the altar.

The struggles of my soul; you beard me rave; Her. Is Pyrrhus slain?

You should have questioned me a thousand times, Orest. Even now he gasps in death :

Yet still have doubted, and still questioned on, Our Greeks, all undistinguished in the crowd, Before you ventured on a life so precious. Flocked to the temple, and dispersed themselves Orest. Hear me but speak : Heaven knows, On every side the altar. I was there ;

against my will Pyrrhus observed me with a haughty eye,

Her. Why did you not return? Why not conAnd, proud to triumph over Greece in me,

sult me From his own brows he took the diadem, A second time? And, undetermined still, And bound it on the temples of his captive; Again return, and still find new delays? Receive, said he, my crown; receive my faith; What had your rash officious Greeks, dire bloodMine and my people's sovereign reign for ever.

hounds! From this blest hour, a father to your son, To do with my revenge? What drew you

hither? I'll scourge his foes : henceforward be he styled To bring on me the vengeful woes that haunt The Trojan king; I swear it at the altar,

you? And call the gods to ratify my vows.

Are these the fruits of your detested love? His subjects, with loud acclamations, shook Your fatal embassy, your hateful presence, The spacious dome. Our Greeks, enraged, cried Drove Pyrrhus to my rival; and destroys out,

Both him and me. He might have loved me still, Revenge ! 'revenge! þroke through the thronging Had you ne'er interposed— Avaunt ! Begone! press,

And leave me in Epirus. I renounce And rushed, tumultuous, on the unguarded king; My friends, my country, Greece, and all manTheir eager fury left no work for me. Pyrrhus awhile opposed their clashing swords, But chiefly I renounce thee! monster, thee ! And dealt his fatal blows, on every side,

[Erit. With manly firmness; tilt, opprest by numbers, Orest. Am I awake? Where am I? Soft my Streaming with blood, all overgashed with wounds, soul; Hle reeled, he groaned, and at the altar fell. Be not too rash. -Was that Hermione? --Haste, madam; let us fly! Haste to our ships! Why should her anger thunder against me? They lie unmoored : our friends attend us there. Was not this blood shed all by her command ?Her. What have they done!

I am, indeed, a most outrageous monster! Orest. Madam, forgive their rage.

A ruffian, murderer, a base assassin ! I own your vengeance had been more complete, And all to please a false, ungrateful woman. Had Pyrrhus fallen by me, and had he known Henceforward let the laws of nations cease; Hermione chastised him by my arm.

And let the pale, that severs right and wrong, Her. Peace, monster! peace ! Go tell thy hor- Things sacred and profane, be broken down; rid tale

Gods in their temples, kings upon their thrones, To savages, and howl it in the desert.

Are not in safety, while Orestes lives ! Wouldst thou impute to me thy barbarous guilt? Oh! never more shall my torn mind be healed, Me wouldst thou make the accomplice of thy Nor taste the gentle comfort of repose ! crimes ?

A dreadful band of gloomy cares surround me, llence to thy Greeks, and boast thy foul ex- And lay strong siege to my distracted soul ! My soul abhors them! I disclaim the deed !

Enter Pylades, attended by Greeks. Begone! I know thee not! Thou fell barba- Pyl. Haste, prince; let us be gone : 'tis death rian!

to stay. Vol. I.

Tt

kind :

ploits !

now

Andromache reigns queen: she gives the alarm, Pyl. Alas, poor prince !
And vows revenge upon the foes of Pyrrhus. Help to support him.-How he pants for breath!
The people arm and muster in the streets : Orest. This is most kind, my Pylades Oh,
Our Greeks will not be able long to guard

why, The palace gates, and to secure our Hight. Why was I born to give thee endless trouble? We must be speedy, sir.

Pyl. All will go well; he settles into reason. Orest. You may depart,

Orest. Who talks of reason? Better to have My friends -Hermione and I remain

none, Her cruelty has quite undone me Go, Than not enough. -Run, some one, tell my And leave me to myself I'll find her out.

Greeks, Pyl. Alas, unhappy princess ! she's no more; I will not have them touch the king. NowForget her, sir, and save yourself with us.

Orest. Hermione no more! -Oh, all ye powers! I blaze again! See there! Look where they come ;

Pyl. Full of disorder, wildness in her looks, A shoal of furies-How they swarm about me! With hands expanded, and dishevelled hair, My terror! Hide me! Oh, their snakey locks! Breathless and pale, with shrieks she sought the Hark, how they hiss! See, see their faming temple;

brands! In the mid-way she met the corpse of Pyrrhus ; Now they let drive full at me! How they grin, She started at the sight; then, stiff with horror, And shake their iron whips ! My ears! What Gazed frightful: waked from the dire amaze,

yelling! She raised her eyes to heaven with such a look, And see, Hermione ! She sets them onAs spoke her sorrows, and reproached the gods: Thrust not your scorpions thus into my bosom! Then plunged a poniard deep within her breast, Oh! I am stung to death! Dispatch me soon! And fell on Pyrrhus, grasping him in death. There-take my heart, Hermione ! Tear it out! Orest. I thank you, gods I never could ex- Disjoint me! kill me! Oh, my tortured soul ! pect

Pyl. Kind Heaven restore him to his wonted To be so wretched-You have been industrious

calm ! To finish your decrees; to make Orestes Oft have I seen him rave, but never thus : A dreadful instance of your power to punish, Quite spent! Assist me, friends, to bear him off; I'm singled out to bear the wrath of Heaven. Our time is short: should his strong rage return,

Pyl. You hazard your retreat by these delays. 'Twould be beyond our power to force him hence. The guards will soon beset us, Your complaints Away, my friends! I hear the portal open. Are vain, and may be fatal.

[Exeunt. Orest. True, my friend : And therefore 'twas I thanked the bounteous gods.

Enter Phenix, attended by Guards. My fate's accomplished-I shall die content. Phæn. All, all are fled! Orestes is not here ! Oh, bear me hence-blow winds !

Triumphant villains !—The base, giddy rabble, Pyl. Let us be gone.

Whose hands should all have been employed Orest. The murdered lovers wait me-Hark, with fire, they call !

To waste the fleet, flocked round the dying prinNay, if your blood still reeks, I'll mingle mine!

cess; One tomb will hold us all.

And, while they stand agaze, the Greeks embark. Pyl. Alas! I fear

Oh, 'tis too plain !-this sacrilegious murder His ravings will return with his misfortunes. Was authorised. The ambassador's escape Orest. I am dizzy !Clouds Quite lost in Declares his guilt.- Most bloody embassy! utter darkness.

Most unexampled deed LWhere, where, ye gods, Guide me, some friendly pilot, through the storm. Is majesty secure, if in your temples I shiver! Oh, I freeze !_So;-Light returns; You give it no protection See, the queen. 'Tis the grey dawn !-See, Pylades -Behold!

(A flourish of trumpets. I am encompassed with a sea of blood !The crimson billows SOh, my brain's on fire !

Enter ANDROMACHIE and CEPHISA. Pyl. How is it, sir ?---Repose yourself on me. Andr. Yes, ye inhuman Greeks! the time will Orest. Pyrrhus, stand off!- -What wouldst thou ?-How he glares !

When you shall dearly, pay your bloody deeds! What envious hand has closed thy wounds ? — How should the Trojans hope for mercy from Have at thee.

you, It is Hermione that strikes -Confusion! When thus you turn your impious rage on PyrShe catches Pyrrhus in her arms.-Oh, save me ! rhus; How terrible she looks! She knits her brow! Pyrrhus, the bravest inan in all your league ; She frowns me dead! She frights me into mad- The man whose single valour made you triumph? ness!

[A dead march behind. \Vhere am I-Who are you?

Is my child there?

come

Ceph. It is the corpse of Pyrrhus.

Ceph. That sound proclaims the arrival of the The weeping soldiers bear him on their shields. prince;

Andr. Ill-fated prince! too negligent of life, The guards conduct him from the citadel. And too unwary of the faithless Greeks!

Andr. With open arms I'll meet him !-Oh, Cut off in the fresh ripening prime of manhood,

Cephisa !
Even in the pride of life: thy triumphs new, A springing joy, mixt with a soft concern,
And all thy glories in full blossom round thee! A pleasure which no language can express,
The very Trojans would bewail thy fate. An extacy that mothers only feel,

Cepk. Alas, then, will your sorrows never end! Plays round my heart, and brightens up my sor-
Andr. Oh, never, never !
—While I live, my

row,
tears

Like gleams of sunshine in a lowering sky. Will never cease ; for I was born to grieve.- Though plunged in ills, and exercised in

care, Give present orders for the funeral pomp: Yet never let the noble mind despair :

[ To Phænir. When prest by dangers, and beset with foes, Let him be robed in all his regal state;

The gods their timely succour interpose; Place round him every shining mark of honour : And when our virtue sinks, o'erwhelmed with And let the pile, that consecrates his ashes,

grief, Rise like his fame, and blaze above the clouds. By unforeseen expedients bring relief. (A flourish of trumpets.

(Ereunt omnes.

« ZurückWeiter »