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Reverse his orders, by my messenger.

Sosib. May I presume to ask you, whom you sent ? Cas. Thy son, unknown to thee; for so I charged him;

And this the promised hour of his return.-Nay, wonder not;


I chose him with design, that, whatsoe'er
The king ordains, you both should share the event,
And stand or fall with me. Ponder on that, and
leave me !

Sosib. [Aside.] What can she mean? Sne neither kills, nor saves. [Exit SOSIBIUS. Cas. Now tell me, heart, now answer for thyself! What wilt thou do, and what dost thou desire?— His life No, he's ungrateful; or, his death? I tremble at that word.-What then? His love!His love! my heart. What! by restraint and famine? Are these the means to compass thy design?Revenge! My hand's so soft, his heart so hard, The blow recoils, and hurts me while I strike. Like the mad viper, scourged into a rage, I shoot into myself my fatal sting.

Enter Mariner.

Mar. The ship is ready, when you please to sail,
And waits but your command: The wind stands fair.
Cas. Be secret, and attend my farther pleasure.
[Gives him a Purse, and exit Mariner.
So; this was time well managed: In three days
To hire a vessel, put my wealth on board,

Send off the observing son, and fool the father.-
See him I will, to sound his last resolves,
If love can soften him, or fear can bow.


If both should fail, the ungrateful wretch shall find Rage has no bounds in slighted woman-kind.



SCENE II.A Prison.


Cleom. No food, and this the third arising sun!
But what have I to do with telling suns,
And measuring time, that runs no more for me?
Yet sure the gods are good: I would think so,
If they would give me leave;

But virtue in distress, and vice in triumph,
Make atheists of mankind.-

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What comfort, mother?

Crat. A soul, not conscious to itself of ill, Undaunted courage, and a master mind; No comfort else but death,

Who, like a lazy master, stands aloof,

And leaves his work to the slow hands of famine.

Cleom. All I would ask of heaven,

Is, but to die alone, a single ruin ;

But to die o'er and o'er, in each of you,

With my own hunger pinched, but pierced with yours!

Crat. Grieve not for me.

Cleom. What! not for you, my mother?

I'm strangely tempted to blaspheme the gods,
For giving me so good, so kind a parent;
And this is my return, to cause her death.

Crat. Peace! your misfortunes cause it, not your fault.

Enter CLEOra.

Cleom. What! my Cleora?

I stretched my bounds as far as I could go,

To shun the sight of what I cannot help;

A flower withering on the stalk, for want
Of nourishment from earth, and showers from heaven.
All I can give thee is but rain of eyes.

[Wiping his Eyes. Cleor. Alas! I have not wherewithal to weep; My eyes grow dim, and, stiffened up with drought, Can hardly roll, and walk their feeble round. Indeed I am faint.

Crat. And so am I, heaven knows! However,

In pity of them both, I keep it secret;
Nor shall he see me fall.

[Exit CRAT.

Cleom. How does your helpless infant? Cleor. It wants the breast, its kindly nourishment; And I have none to give from these dry cisterns, Which, unsupplied themselves, can yield no more. It pulled, and pulled but now, but nothing came: At last it drew so hard, that the blood followed; And that red milk I found upon its lips, Which made me swoon with fear.


Cleom. Go in and rest thee, And hush the child asleep.Look down, ye gods! Look, Hercules, thou author of my race, And jog thy father, Jove, that he may look On his neglected work of human-kind! Tell him, I do not curse him; but devotion Will cool in after-times, if none but good men suffer.What! another increase of grief?


Cleon. O father!

Cleom. Why dost thou call me by so kind a name? A father! that implies presiding care; Cheerful to give; willing himself to want Whate'er thy needs require.

Cleon. A little food!

Have you none, father? One poor hungry morsel;
Or give me leave to die, as I desired;

For, without your consent, heaven knows, I dare not.
Cleom. I pr'ythee stay a little :-I am loth
To say hard things of heaven!

Cleon. But what if heaven

Will do hard things, must not hard things be said?
You've often told me, that the souls of kings
Are made above the rest of human race;
Have they not fortunes fitted for those souls?
Did ever king die starved?

Cleom. I know not that;

Yet still be firm in this,-The gods are good,
Though thou and I may perish.

Cleon. Indeed, I know not,

That ever I offended heaven in thought;

I always said my prayers.

Cleom. Thou didst thy duty.

Cleon. And yet you lost the battle, when I prayed. Cleom. 'Twas in the Fates I should: but hold thee there ; .

The rest is all unfathomable depth.

This we well know, that, if there be a bliss
Beyond this present life, 'tis purchased here,
And virtue is its price.

Cleon. But are you sure Our souls shall be immortal?

Cleom. Why that question?

Cleon. Because I find, that, now my body starves, My soul decays. I think not as I did;

My head goes round; and now you swim before me.
Methinks my soul is like a flame unfed

With oil, that dances up and down the lamp,
But must expire ere long.

Cleom. I pr'ythee try to hold it, while thou canst,
Cleon. I would obey you,

As I have always done, but I am faint ;

And when you please to let me die, I'll thank you. Cleom. Thou shalt have food; I promise thee, thou shalt.

Cleon. Then you shall promise to have food for yourself too;

For, if you have it not, I would refuse to eat;
Nay, I would chuse to die, that you might feed on me.
Cleom. Mark, heaven, his filial love!

And if a family of such as these

Must perish thus, your model is destroyed,
By which you made good men.

Enter PANTHEUS, hastily.

Panth. Be cheerful, sir, the gods have sent us food. Cleom. They tried me of the longest; but by whom? Panth. Go in and see.

Cleon. Good father, do not stay to ask, but go. Cleom. Go thou; thy youth calls fiercer than my


Cleon. But then make haste, and come to take your part :

Hunger may make me impious, to eat all,
And leave you last to starve.


Panth. Sir, will you go?

Cleom. I know not; I am half seas o'er to death; And, since I must die once, I would be loth To make a double work of what's half finished; Unless I could be sure the gods would still Renew these miracles. *-Who brought this food?


* This sentiment was used, and absolutely acted upon, by the famous Hewet, in very similar circumstances to those of Cleome"Being taken with a suppression of urine," says Smollet, "he resolved, in imitation of Pomponius Atticus, to take himself off by abstinence; and this resolution he executed like an ancient Roman. He saw company to the last, cracked his jokes, conversed freely, and entertained his guests with music. On the third

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