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BAJAZET.

1672.

ACT II.

Scene 1.

BAJAZET, ROXANA.

ROXANA.

At length, dear Prince, the fateful hour is come
That Heav'n has kept in store to grant you freedom.
No longer am I bound; this very day
Can I accomplish what my love has plann'd.
It is not mine t assure an easy triumph,
Nor place a tranquil sceptre in your hands;
But all I can I do, as I have promised:
I arm your valour 'gainst your enemies,
And from your head remove a threatening danger;
Your own firm courage will achieve the rest.
Osman has seen the army, and their hearts
Are yours, and those who represent our law
Conspire with us, Achmet will answer for
Stamboul; and, as you know, I hold submissive
The officers, the eunuchs and the crowd
Of slaves, who guard the precincts of the palace;
Long have they bought my favour by their silence,
Their very lives are placed at my disposal.
Start now upon that grand career of glory
Which I have open'd to your high ambition.
The course that you will run involves no crime;
Thus only may you 'scape th' assassin's hand.
You will but follow an example set
By other sultans who have reign'd before you.
But for a fair beginning let us hasten
To seal at once your happiness and mine
Show to the world that in assisting you
To wield the sceptre I have served my

husband:
Let marriage with a sacred bond unite us,
And justify the faith so freely giv'n.

BAJAZET.

Ah, Madam, what is this that you propose ?

ROXANA.

What secret hindrance mars our happiness ?

BAJAZET.

You needs must know the pride of royal state-
Spare me the pain of being more explicit.

ROXANA.

I know that ever since one of

your

sultans, Proving the fury of a barbarous foe, Beheld his wife bound to the victor's car, And by all Asia dragg'd along in triumph, Few who succeeded him have deign’d to take The name of husband, jealous for their honour. But love to such vain laws disowns obedience; And, not to quote more humble instances, Great Solyman (than whom none of your sires, Whose conquering arms struck all the earth with dread, Raised to so high a pitch the Turkish pow'r), Casting on Roxelana eyes of love, Forgot the pride that was his ruling passion, And made her share alike his couch and throne, Though to that rank she had no other claim Than much adroitness and some little beauty.

BAJAZET.

'Tis true. But then compare his matchless might
With weakness like my own. Great Solyman
Held undisputed sway o'er land and sea.
Egypt reduced to yield complete submission;
Rhodes, that strong rock of Ottoman dominion,
Where all her brave defenders found their grave;
The Danube's savage banks forced to obey him;
The bounds of Persian empire far withdrawn;
The burning sands of Africa subdued ;
These hush'd all opposition to his will.

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