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Hear those sweet lips grow eloquent in All that the dead dare gloomily raise up aught
From their black gulf to daunt the living. That throws me into shade; yet you speak
Myrrha ! truth.
Myrrha. Alas! thou art pale, and on Myrrha. And now retire, to have your thy brow the drops wound look'd to.
Gather like night-dew. My beloved, hush, Pray lean on me.
Calm thee. Thy speech secms of another Sard. Yes, love! but not from pain.
All will go well.
Sard. Thy hand-80—'tis thy hand;
I feel SCENE 1.–SARDANAPALUS discovered sleep
ing upon a couch, and occasionally dis- Myself that which I was. turbed in his slumbers, with MYRRHA
Myrrha. At least know me
For what I am, and ever must be-thine. watching
Sard. I know it now. I know this life Myrrha. I have stolen npon his rest, again. if rest it be,
Ah, Myrrha! I have been where we shall be. Which thus convulses slumber: shall I Myrrha. My lord ! wake him?
Sard. I've been i' the grave-where
I thought 'twas nothing.
That which may never be.
death disclose ? Again he moves—again the play of pain Myrrha. I know no evil death can show, Shoots o'er his features, as the sudden gust
which life Crisps the reluctant lake that lay so calm Has not already shown to those who live Beneath the mountain-shadow; or the blast Embodied longest. If there be indeed Ruffles the autumn-leaves, that drooping A shore, where mind survives, 'twill be as cling
mind Faintly and motionless to their loved All unincorporate: or if there flits boughs.
A shadow of this cumbrons clog of clay, I must awake him-yet not yet: who knows which stalks, methinks, between our souls From what I rouse him? It seems pain;
and heaven, but if
And fetters us to earth- at least the phantom, I quicken him to heavier pain? The fever Whate'er it have to fear, will not fear death. Of this tumultuous night, the grief too of Sard. I fear it not; but I have feltHis wound, though slight, may cause all have seen this, and shake
A legion of the dead. Me more to see than him to suffer. No: Myrrha. And so have I. Let Nature use her own maternal means, The dust we tread upon was once alive, And I await to second not disturb her. And wretched. But proceed : what hast Sard. (awakening) Not so-although ye thou seen? multiplied the stars,
Speak it, 'twill lighten thy dimm'd mind. . And gave them to me as a realm to share Sard. Methought-From you and with you! I would not so Myrrha. Yet pause, thou art tired-in purchase
pain–exhausted; all The empire of eternity. Hence-hence- Which can impair both strength and spirit: Old hunter of the earliest brutes ! and ye,
seek Who hunted fellow-creatures as if brutes; Rather to sleep again. Once bloody mortals—and now bloodier Sard. Not now I would not idols,
Dream; though I know it now to be a dream If your priests lie not! And thou, ghastly What I have dreamt:- and canst thou bear beldame!
to hear it? Dripping with dusky gore, and trampling on Myrrha. I can bear all things, dreams The carcasses of Inde - away! away!
of life or death, Where am I? Where the spectres? Where— Which I participate with you, in semblance No- that
Or full reality.
I tell you: after that these eyes were open, The hope to find at last one which I knew I saw them in their flight-for then they fled. Ere I saw theirs: but no-allturn'd upon me, Myrrha. Say on.
And stared, but neither ate nor drank, but Sard. I saw, that is, I dream'd myself
stared, Here--here-even where we are, guests as Till I grew stone, as they seem'd half to be, we were,
Yet breathing stone, for 1 felt life in them, Myself a host that deem'd himself but guest, And life in me: there was a horrid kind Willing to equal all in social freedom ; Of sympathy between us, as if they But, on my right hand and my left, instead Had lost a part of death to come to me, Of thee and Zames, and our custom’d And I the half of life to sit by them. meeting,
We were in an existence all apart Was ranged on my left hand a haughty, dark, From heaven or earth-And rather let me see And deadly face-I could not recognize it, Death all than such a being ! Yet I had seen it, though I knew not where; Myrrha. And the end? The features were a giant's, and the eye Sard. At last I sate marble as they, when Was still, yet lighted; his long locks curl'd down
The hunter, and the crew; and smiling On his vast bust, whence a huge quiver rose With shaft-heads feather'd from the eagle's Yes, the enlarged but noble aspect of wing,
The hunter smiled upon me--I should say, That peep'd up bristling through his ser- His lips, for his eyes innved not--and the pent-hair.
woman's I invited him to fill the cup which stood Thin lips relax'd to something like a smile. Between us, but he answer'd not - I fill'd it - Both rose, and the crowu'd figures on each He took it not, but stared upon me, till
hand I trembled at the fix'd glare of his eye: Rose also, as if aping their chief shadesI frown’d upon him as a king should frown Mere mimics even in death--but I sate still: He frownd not in his turn, but look’d A desperate courage crept through every upon mc
limb, With the same aspect, which appalld me And at the last I feard them not, but
laugh'd Because it changed not, and I turn’d for Full in their phantom-faces.
at then refuge
then To milder guests, and sought them on the The hunter laid his hand on mine: I took it, right,
And grasp'd it - but it melted from my own, Where thou wert wont to be. But While he too vanish’d, and left nothing but
[He pauses. The memory of a hero, for he look'd so. Myrrha. What instead ?
Myrrha. And was : the ancestor of Sard. In thy own chair--thy own place
heroes, too, in the banquet
And thine no less. I sought thy sweet face in the circle - but Sard. Ay, Myrrha, but the woman, Instead-a gray-hair'd, wither’d, bloody. The female who remain’d, she flew upon me, eyed,
And burnt my lips up with her noisome And bloody-handed, ghastly, ghostly thing, kisses, Female in garb, and crown'd upon the brow, And, flinging down the goblets on each hand, Furrowd with years, yet sneering with the Methought their poisons flow'd around us, passion
till Of vengeance, leering too with that of lust, Each form'd a hideous river. Still she clung; Sate:-- my veins curdled.
The other phantoms, like a row of statues, Myrrha. Is this all ?
Stood dull as in our temples; but she still Sard. Upon
Embraced me, while I shrunk from her, Her right hand-her lank, bird-like right hand-stood
In lieu of her remote descendant, I A goblet, bubbling o’er with blood; and on Had been the son who slew her for her incest. Her left, another, fill'd with - what I saw Then_then a chaos of all-loathsome things not,
Throng'd thick and shapeless: I was dead, But turn’d from it and her. But all along yet feelingThe table sate a range of crowned wretches, Buried, and raised again-consumed by Of various aspects, but of one expression. Myrrha.. And felt you not this a mere Purged by the flames, and wither'd in the air! vision ?
I can fix nothing further of my thoughts, Sard. No:
Save that I longd for thee, and sought It was so palpable, I could have touch'd
for thee, them.
In all these agonies, and woke and found I turn'd from one face to another, in
Myrrha. So shalt thon find me ever at Sard. I perish-as is probable: well thy side,
thoughtHere and hereafter, if the last may be. Let them set forth with a sure escort. But think not of these things - the mere Sal. That creations
Is all provided, and the galley ready Of late events acting upon a frame To drop down the Euphrates; but ere they Unused to toil, yet over-wrought by toil Depart, will you not seeSuch as might try the sternest.
Sard. My sons ? It may Sard. I am better.
Unman my heart, and the poor boys will Now that I see thee once more, what was seen
weep; Seems nothing
And what can I reply to comfort them,
Save with some hollow hopes, and ill-worn Enter SALEMENES.
smiles ? Sal. Is the king so soon awake? You know I cannot feign. Sard. Yes, brother, and I would I had Sal. But you can feel; not slept;
At least, I trust so: in a word, the queen For all the predecessors of our line Requests to see you ere you part-for ever. Rose up,methought to drag me down to them. Sard. Unto what end? what purpose ? My father was amongst them, too; but he,
I will grant I know not why, kept from me, leaving me Aught-all that she can ask-but such a Between the hunter-founder of our race,
meeting And her, the homicide and husband-killer, Sal. You know, or ought to know, Whom you call glorious.
enough of women, Sal. So I term you also,
Since you have studied them so steadily, Now you have shown a spirit like to hers. That what they ask in aught that touches OR By day-break I propose that we set forth, The heart, is dearer to their feelings or And charge once more the rebel-crew, who Their fancy, than the whole external world. still
I think as you do of my sister's wish ; Keep gathering head, repulsed, but not But 'twas her wish-she is my sister-you quite quell’d.
Her husband - will you grant it? Sard. "How wears the night?
Sard. 'Twill be useless : Sal. Tirre yet remain some hours
But let her come. Of darkness : use them for your further rest.
Sal. I go.
[Erit Salemenes. Sard. No, not to-night, if 'tis not gone:
Sard. We have lived Asunder methought
Too long to meet again, and now to meet! I pass'd hours in that vision.
Have I not cares enow, and pangs enow, Myrrha. Scarcely one ;
To bear alone, that we must mingle sorrows,
Re-enter SALENENES and ZARINA.
Sal. My sister! Courage :
Shame not our blood with trembling, but I had a grace to seek.
remember Sard. Tis granted.
From whenee we sprung. The queen is Sal. Hear it
present, sire. Ere you reply too readily; and 'tis
Zarina. I pray thee, brother, leave me, For your ear only.
Sal. Since you ask it. (Exit Salemenes. Myrrha. Prince, I take my leave. Zarina. Alone with him! How many a
(Exit Myrrha. year has past, Sal. That slave deserves her freedom. Though we are still so young, since we Sard. Freedom only?
have met, That slave deserves to share a throne, Which I have worn in widowhood of heart. Sal. Your patience
He loved me not: yet he seems little 'Tis not yet vacant, and 'tis of its partner
changed I come to speak with you.
Changed to me only, would the change Safd. How! of the queen?
were mutual! Sal. Even so. I judged it fitting for He speaks not – scarce regards me-not a their safety,
word That, ere the dawn, she sets forth with her Nor look-yet he was soft of voice and aspect, children
Indifferent, not austere. My lord ! For Paphlagonia, where our kinsman Cotta Sard. Zarina ! Governs; and there at all events secure Zarina. No, not Zarina - do not say Zarina. My nephews and your sons their lives, and That tone — that word — annihilate long with them
years, Their just pretensions to the crown, in case - And things which make them longer.
Sard. To too late
A father. If thou conquerest, they shall reign, To think of these past dreams. Let's not And honour him who saved the realm for reproach
them, That is, reproach me not-for the last time- So little cared for as his own; and if
Zarina. And first. I ne'er reproach'd you. Sard. Tis lost, all earth will cry out, Sard. 'Tis most true;
thank your father! And that reproof comes heavier on my heart And they will swell the echo with a curse. Than-But our hearts are not in our own Zarina. That they shall never do; but power.
rather honour Zarina. Nor hands; but I gave both. The name of him, who, dying like a king, Sard. Your brother said,
In his last hours did more for his own It was your will to see me, ere you went
memory, From Nineveh with -(He hesitates.) Than many monarchs in a length of days,
Zarina. Our children: it is true, Which date the flight of time, but make I wish'd to thank you that you have not
no annals. divided
Sard. Our annals draw perchance unto My heart from all that's left it now to love
their close; Those who are yours and mine, who look But at the least, whate'er the past, their end
Shall be like their beginning - memorable. And look upon me as you look'd upon me Zarina. Yet, be not rash- be careful of Once-But they have not changed. Sard. Nor ever will.
Live but for those who love. I fain would have them dutiful.
Sard. And who are they? Zarina. I cherish
A slave, who loves from passion-I'll not say Those infants, not alone from the blind love Ambition-she has seen thrones shake, and Of a fond mother, but as a fond woman.
loves ; They are now the only tie between us. A few friends, who have revellid till we are Sard. Deem not
As one, for they are nothing if I fall; I have not done you justice : rather make A brother I have injured - children whom them
I have neglected, and a spouse-
them for Sard. And pardons ? A throne, or, if that be denied-You have Zarina. I have never thought of this, heard
And cannot pardon till I have condemn’d. Of this night's tumults?
Sard. My wife! Zarina. I had half forgotten,
Zarina. Now blessings on thee for that And could have welcomed any grief, save
I never thought to hear it more-from thee. Which gave me to behold your face again. Sard. Oh! thou wilt hear it from my Sard. The throne--I say it not in fear
subjects. Yes but 'tis
These slaves, whom I have nurtured, pamIn peril; they perhaps may never mount it: per'd, fed, But let them not for this lose sight of it. And swoln with peace, and gorged with I will dare all things to bequeath it
plenty, tili them;
They reign themselves--all monarchs in But if I fail, then they must win it back
their mansionsBravely- and, won, wear it wisely, not as I Now swarm forth in rebellion, and demand Have wasted down my royalty.
His death, who made their lives a jubilee; Zarina. They ne'er
While the few upon whom I have no claim Shall know from me of aught but what may Are faithful! This is true, yet monstrous. honour
Zarina. Tis Their father's memory.
Perhaps too natural; for benefits Sard. Rather let them hear
Turn poison in bad minds. The truth from you than from a trampling Sard. And good ones make world.
Good out of evil. Happier than the bee, If they be in adversity, they'll learn Which hives not but from wholesome Too soon the scorn of crowds for crownless
Zarina. Then reap And find that all their father's sins are The honey, nor inquire whence 'tis derived. theirs.
Be satisfied --you are not all abandon'd. My boys!- I could have borne it were I Sard. My life insures me that. How childless.
long, bethink you, Zarina. Oh! do not say so - do not poi- Were not I yet a king, should I be mortal? son all
That is, where mortals are, not where they My peace left, by unwishing that thou wert must be.
Zarina. I know not. But yet live for | Though that were much—but 'tis a point my-that is,
of state: Your children's sake!
The rebels would do more to seize upon Sard, My gentle, wrong'd Zarina ! The offspring of their sovereign, and so I am the very slave of circumstance
crushAnd impulse - borne away with every breath! Zarina Ah! do not name it. Misplaced upon the throne, misplaced in Sal. Well, then, mark me: when life.
They are safe beyond the Median's grasp, I know not what I could have been, but feel
the rebels I am not what I should be-let it end. Have miss'd their chief aim- the extineBut take this with thee: if I was not forin'd
tion of To prize a love like thine, a mind like thine, The line of Nimrod. Though the present king Nor dote even on thy beauty-as I've doted Fall, his sons live for victory and vengeance. On lesser charms, for no cause save that Zarina. But could not I remain, alone? such
Sal. Wbat! leave Devotion was a duty, and I hated Your children, with two parents and yes All that look'd like a chain for me or others
orphans (This even rebellion must avouch); yet hear In a strange land—so young, so distant ? hese words, perhaps among my last--that Zarina. No--
My heart will break. E’er valued more thy virtues, though he Sal. Now you know all -- decide. knew not
Sard. Zarina, he hath spoken well, and we To profit by them- as the miner lights Must yield awhile to this necessity. Upon a vein of virgin-ore, discovering Remaining here, you may lose all; departing, That which avails him nothing: he hath You save the better part of what is left found it,
To both of us, and to such loyal hearts But 'tis not his, but some superior's, who As yet beat in these kingdoms. Placed him to dig, but not divide the wealth Sal.
The time presses. Which sparkles at his feet; nor dare he lift Sard. Go, then. If e'er we meet again, Nor poise it, but must grovel on upturning perhaps The sullen earth.
I may be worthier of you - and, if not, Zarina. Oh! if thou hast at length Remember that my faults, though not Discover'd that my love is worth esteem,
atoned for, I ask no more - but let ns hence together, Are ended. Yet, I dread thy nature will And l- let me say re-shall yet be happy. Grieve more above the blighted name and Assyria is not all the earth - we'll find
ashes A world out of our own, and be more blest Which once were mightiest in AssyriaThan I have ever been, or thou, with all
thanAn empire to indulge thee.
But I grow womanish again, and must not;
I must learn sternness now. My sins have all Enter SALEMENES.
Been of the softer order-hide thy tearsSal. I must part ye
I do not bid thee not to shed them-'twere The moments, which must not be lost, are Easier to stop Euphrates at its source passing:
Than one tear of a true and tender heartZarina. Inhuman brother! wilt thou But let me not bchold them; they unman mo thus weigh out
Here when I had re-mann'd myself. My Instants so high and blest ?
brother, Sal. Blest!
Lead her away. Zarina. He hath been
Zarina. Oh, God! I never shall So gentle with me that I cannot think Behold him more! of quitting
Sal. (striving to conduct her) Nay, sister, Sal. So- this feminine farewell
I must be obey'd. Ends as such partings end, in no departure. Zarina. I must remain-away! you shall I thought as much, and yielded against all
not hold me. My better bodings. But it must not be. What, shall he die alone?- I live alone? Zarina. Not be?
Sal. He shall not die alone; but lonely you Sal. Remain, and perish
Have lived for years. Zarina. With my husband
Zarina. That’s false! I knew he lived, Sal. And children.
And lived upon his image-let me go! Zarina. Alas!
Sal. (conducting her off the stage) Sal. Hear me, sister, like
Nay, then, I must use some fraternal force, My sister :- all's prepared to make your Which you will pardon. safety
Zarina. Never. Help me! Oh! Certain, and of the boys too, our last hopes. Sardanapalus, wilt thou thus behold me 'Tis not a single question of mere feeling, Torn from thee?