Page images

A dog you worship, and partake his nature;
A race of speaking spaniels.
Panth. Let them go; we'll do our work without

Clean. The comfort is, our foes are like our friends;
Holiday heroes, drawn out once a month,
At public charge, to eat, and to be drunk;
Mere mouths of war.
Enter Sosibius and Cenus, at the Head of many

Egyptians : They, who spoke before, bolt out of their
Doors, and join with them.
Sosib. 'Twas what I always feared,—even when I

saved thee, —
To find thee thus engaged among my foes:
But yet, submit; and I can yet forgive thee.
Consider,—for ’tis all I've time to say,–
Thou fight'st against thy father.
Clean. Against my father's cause, but not my

If you would needs become yourself a slave,
And get me such, I must redeem us both,
And will, or perish in the brave attempt.

Sosib. Withdraw thyself from ruin, I command thee.

Clean. Command I cannot; but I beg you, sir, Engage not for an arbitrary power, That odious weight upon a free-born soul. Sosib. This is too much. ---Fall on, but spare my son.

Enter CASSANDRA, attended. Cas. Sosibius, hold! Withdraw your men to dis

tance. You know this signet: Obey your king in me.

[Shews the Signet. Sosib. Never more gladly; though my son's a rebel, Yet nature works to save him.

[blocks in formation]

Cas. Then rather than he should untimely fall,

[Cenus draws off Sosibius's Men. I would forgive the rest, and offer life Even to that fugitive, if he please to treat.

Cleom. Be short; and, if you can, for once, sincere.

Cas. What can you hope from this unequal fight,
Where numbers rise from every foe you kill,
And grow from their defeat:

Cleom. We come resolved;
And to die killing, is a kind of conquest.
Cas. But are not life and freedom worth ac-

When offered ; and, with such conditions too,
As make them both more pleasing? Your friend's

Your son, your mother, and that only she
Who loves you best, for your companion home:
You know what she I mean. [Aside to him.
Cleom. No private parley;

[Stepping back.
Spartans do all in public.
Clean. We know your reasons for these secret

whispers; And to your infamy

Cleom. [Aside to him.] Peace, peace, my friend.
No injuries from women can provoke
A man of honour to expose their fame.
Madam, we understand each other well:
My son, my mother, and my wife restored, ,
'Tis peace; if not, 'tis war.

Sosib. A fair proposal : Be it peace.

Cas. No, fool!'tis war,-Know, heavy hero, know,
I gained this time for my secure revenge;
To seize thy wife and mother: and, to stab thee
On both sides of thy heart, they're gone to die,
To make thy death more painful. Farewell

, traitor! And thank thyself, not me. [Ex. Cas. and Sosip

[merged small][ocr errors]

Cleom. Revenge, revenge, And speedy death, or conquest !-Hold, Cleanthes !

Enter CLEONIDAS. Poor boy! By heaven, I'm pleased to see thee safe this moment, Though I expect the next to lose thee.-Guard hin, Cleanthes: Set him safe behind the front.

Clean. Come, sir, you are now my charge.

Cleon. The gods forbid That I should seek this danger, and not share it.--[ToCleom.] Forgive me, sir, that once I disobey you, To prove myself your son; living, or dying, I'll not be less than man.

Cleom. Oh! I could chide thee; But there's no time for love and anger both. Fight by my side; and heaven protect thy courage.


their Party go off the Stage, to fight the Egyptians. Trumpets, Drums, Shouts, and Clash

ings within. Re-enter both Parties ; the Egyptians first, driven

by CLEOMENES; PANTHEUS ready to kill SOSIBIUS, as having him down : CLEANTHES runs to him and interposes. Clean. Pantheus, hold; or turn thy sword on me. Panth. [To Sosib.] Rise, sir; and thank your son. Clean. [To PANTH.] Pursue the foes: I have no

joy of conquest, Till I have set my father safe. Sosib. The gods reward thy pious care. [CLEANTHES leads off his Father; while PAN

THEUS follows CLEOMENES: The Egyptians are driven to the bottom of the Stage: They make a wheeling Fight; still retiring before

my son !

the Spartans : CLEOMENES advances eagerly after the Egyptians, and, with PANTHEUS, drives them off: CLEONIDAS is left behind:

So is CENUS, who had skulked. Cænus. This was well watched: The boy is left

unguarded [Thrusts at Cleon, behind. Cleon. Oh! I am slain by treason! Revenge me, royal father.

Re-enter CLEOMENES. Cleom. 'Twas sure his voice:

[Sees him on the ground. Too sure !—Pity and rage Distract my soul: But rage will first be served. .

[Runs at Cænus, and kills him. There's justice for myself, and for Look


sweet boy,
And tell me that thou livest.

Cleon. Fain I would live,
To comfort you! I bleed, and am ashamed

I faint, and call myself your son.
() traitor Conus! What's become of him?

Cleom. Look, there he lies.

Cleon. I am glad on't:
Forgive me, heaven: I hope 'tis no offence
To say I am glad, because he killed me basely.-
Still I grow fainter: Hold me, hold me, father.

Cleom. Chear up, and thou shalt live.
Cleon. No; I am just dying.
Cleom. What shall I lose ?
Cleon. A boy; that's all. I might have lived to

But once I must have died.

Cleom. But not before thy father.

Cleon. Nay, then you envy me, that I'm first happy. I go; and, when you come, pray find me out,

And own me for your son !

[Dies. Cleom. There went his soul!Fate, thou hast done

thy worst, And all thou canst henceforth is but mean slaughter, The gleanings of this harvest.

Enter PANTHEUS. Panth. Sir, you're well found. Our enemies are fled: I left our men pursuing, and made haste To bring this joyful news. Cleom. Look there, and, if thou darest, now give

me joy. Panth. Enough: you've stopped my mouth...

What? Čænus killed ?
I ask no questions then of who killed who;
The bodies tell their story as they lie.
Haste, and revenge!

Cleom. Where are our enemies?
Panth. Sculking, dispersed in garrets, and in cel-


Cleom. Not worth the seeking. Are these fit to

For Cleomenes' mother, son, and wife ?
But what the gods have left us, we must take.

Clean, 'Tis all in vain: we have no further work.
The people will not be dragged out to freedom;
They bar their doors against it. Nay, the prisoners
Even guard their chains, as their inheritance,
And man their very dungeons for their masters,
Lest godlike liberty, the common foe,
Should enter in, and they be judged hereafter
Accomplices of freedom.

Panth. Then we may sheath our swords.
Clean. We

But, as brave men should, each in his bosom;


« PreviousContinue »