University of Virginia Library

Act II.

Scene I.

Enter Cleomenes, Cleanthes, Pantheus.
The King sent for me, say'st thou! and to Council!

And I was coming to you, on that Message,
Just when I met Pantheus.

Good Omen, Sir, of some intended good,
Your Fortune mends: she reconciles apace,
When Ægypt makes th'Advances.

Rise a Prophet.
For since his Fathers death, this Ptolomey,
Has minded me no more
Then Boys their last Years Gugaws.
Petition on Petition; Prayer on Prayer,
For Aid, or free Dismission, all Unanswer'd;


As Cleomenes were not worth his Thought,
Or He, that God, which Epicurus dreamt;
Disclaiming Care, and lolling on a Cloud.

At length, it seems it pleases him to wake.

Yes, for himself, not you; he's drench'd too deep,
To wake on any Call, but his own danger:
My Father, his wise Pilot, has observ'd
The Face of Heaven, and sees a gathering Storm,
I know not from what quarter, but it threatens.
And while it Threats, he wants such hands as yours;
But when 'tis o're, the Thoughtless King returns,
To Native sloth, shifts sides, and slumbers on.

Sure, he'll remember to reward those Hands,
That help'd him from the plunge.

You Dream, Pantheus!
Of former times, when Gratitude was Virtue;
Reward him! Yes, like Æsop's Snake, the wretch
That warm'd him in his Bosom: We are Tools,
Vile abject things created for his use,
As Beasts for Men; as Oxen draw the Yoke,
And then are sacrific'd.

I would not use him so.

You are not Ptolomy,
Nor is He Cleomenes.

I'll press him home,
To give me my dispatch; few Ships will serve
To bear my little Band and me to Greece;
I will not ask him one of his Ægyptians;
No, Let 'em keep 'em all for Slaves and Stallions,
Fit only to beget their Successors.

Excepting one Ægyptian, that's my self.

Thou need'st not be expected; Thou art only,
Misplanted in a base degenerate Soil;
But Nature when she made thee, meant a Spartan.

Then if your Father will but second us.—

I dare not promise for him, but I'll try,
He loves me, Love and Interest sometimes
May make a Statesman honest.


For the King,
I know he'l not refuse us, for he dares not;
A Coward is the kindest Animal,
'Tis the most giving Creature in a fright.

Say the most promising, and there you hit him.

Well, I'le attack him on the shaking side,
That next his fearful Heart.

Enter Cœnus.
I come to mind you of the late Request,
You would not hear: Be pleas'd t'engage this Lord
And then it may succeed.

What wouldst thou, Cœnus?

I brought along
Some Horses of the best Thessalian breed,
High spirited and strong, and made for War;
These I would fell the King.

Mistaken Man:
Thou shouldst have brought him Whores and Catamites;
Such Merchandize is fit for such a Monarch.

Would'st thou bring Horses here to shame our Men?
Those very words of Spirited and War,
Are Treason in our Clime.

From the King downward, (if there be a downward,
From Ptolomy to any of his Slaves!)
No true Ægyptian ever knew in Horses
The Far Side from the Near.

Cleomenes told thee true: Thou should have brought
A soft pad Strumpet for our Monarch's use,
Tho' thank'd be Hell, we want not one at home!
Our Master's Mistriss, she that Governs all.
'Tis well ye Pow'rs, ye made us but Ægyptians,
You could not have impos'd
On any other People such a Load
As an Effeminate Tyrant and a Woman.

Sell me thy Horses, and at my return,
When I have got from Conquer'd Greece the Pelf
That Noble Sparta scorns, I'll pay their value.


Just as you paid me for the fair Estate
I sold you there.

What's that you mutter?

Nothing: That's what his Hopes are worth—
Ex. Cœn.

I fear he's gone away dissatisfy'd.

I'll make it up: Those Horses I present you,
You'll put 'em to the use that Nature meant 'em.

I burden you too much!

If you refuse, you burden me much more:
A Trifle this,
A singing Eunuch's price; A Pandar's Fee
Exceeds this Sum at Court.
The King expects us

Come after us, Pantheus;
And bring my Boy Cleonidas along,
I'll shew his Youth this base Luxurious Court,
Just as in sober Sparta we expose
Our drunken Helotes: Only with design
To wean our Children from the vice of Wine.



The Apartment of Cassandra.
Enter King Ptolomey, Sosybius with Papers after him.
No more of Business.

Sir, the Council waits you!

Council! What's that? a pack of Bearded Slaves,
Grave Faces, Sawcy Tongues, and Knavish Hearts,
That never speak one word but Self's at bottom;
The Scavengers that sweep State-nusances,
And are themselves the greatest. I'll no Council.

Remember you appointed them, this day.

I had forgot, 'twas my Cassandra's Birth-day.

Your Brother Magas daily grows more dangerous,
And has the Soldiers Hearts.

I'll cut him off.


Not so soon done as said: The Spartan King
Was summon'd for Advice, and waits without.

His Business is to wait.

Be pleas'd to Sign these Papers: They are all
Of great concern!

My pleasure is of more.
How I! could curse my Name of Ptolomy:
For 'tis so long; it asks an Hour to write it;
By Heav'n, I'll change it into Jove or Mars!
Or any other civil Monosyllable,
That will not tire my Hand.

These are for Common Good.

[Shewing Papers.
I am glad of that:
Those shall be sure to wait.

Orders to pay the Soldiers, ripe for Mutiny;
They may Revolt.

To whom?

The Man you fear:
Your Brother, Magas.

That's indeed the danger:
Give me the Physick; Let me swallow quick—
There's Ptolomy for that; Now, not one more,
For every Minute I expect Cassandra
To call me to the Musick,
If she should find me at this rare Employment,
Of Signing out her Treasures?

The rest are only Grants to her you love,
And places for her Friends.

I'll Sign 'em all; were every one a Province:
Thou know'st her Humor, not to brook denial!
And then a Quarrel on her Birth-day too
Would be of ill presage.

[Signs more Papers.
Enter Cassandra, Women.
I heard you waited, but you'll pardon me,
I was not sooner Drest.

Thus I begin my Homage to the Day
[Kisses her Hand.


That brought me forth a Mistriss, and am proud
To be your foremost Slave.

Our little Entertainment waits; not worth
A longer Ceremony, please to Grace it?

The SCENE opens and discovers Cassandra's Apartment. Musicians and Dancers—Ptolomy leads in Cassandra, Sosybius follows—They Sit. Towards the end of the Song and Dance; Enter Cleomenes and Cleanthes on one side of the Stage, where they stand.
No no, poor suff'ring Heart no Change endeavour,
Choose to sustain the smart, rather than leave her;
My ravish'd Eyes behold such Charms about her,
I can dye with her, but not live without her.
One tender Sigh of hers to see me Languish,
Will more than pay the price of my past Anguish:
Beware O cruel Fair, how you smile on me,
'Twas a kind Look of yours that has undone me.
Love has in store for me one happy Minute,
And She will end my pain who did begin it;
Then no day void of Bliss, or Pleasure leaving,
Ages shall slide away without perceiving:
Cupid shall guard the Door the more to please us,
And keep out Time and Death when they would seize us:
Time and Death shall depart, and say in flying,
Love has found out a way to Live by Dying.

After the Musick is over, Cleomenes speaks.
to Cleanth.
Is this the Council of th'Ægyptian King?
And am I call'd upon the Grave Debate,
To judge of trilling Notes and tripping Feet?


'Tis of a piece with all the rest of Ptolomey!
A Singing and a Dancing Government.
O Ægypt, Ægypt! Thou art grown the Lees
Of all the World; The slime of thy own Nyle.
Sure, we had neither Human Syres, nor Mothers;
The Sun and Nyle begot us; W'are so Cowardly,
And yet so proud; so many Gods we have,
And yet not One—

No more—They seem to gaze on me with wonder.

And well they may to see a Man in Ægypt.

[King, Cassand. Sosyb. rise and come forward.
Welcome! Royal Stranger!
Not only to my Court, but to my Bosom.

I heard you sent for me; but on what Business
Am yet to learn.

The greatest in the World: To see the Man,
Whom even his Foes extoll; His Friends adore,
And all Mankind admire.

Say rather, Sir,
A Man forsaken of his better Stars,
A banish'd Prince; The shadow of a King.

My Fathers Friend.

I must not think so vainly of my self,
To be what you have said, lest it upbraid you,
To let your Fathers Friend, for three long Months,
Thus Dance attendance for a word of Audience.

Now by my Soul, 'tis nobly urg'd: He speaks
As if he were in Sparta, on his Throne;
Not asking Aid; but granting:
How little looks our Pageant Prince to him!
This is the only King I ever saw.

By all the Gods; when I have stood repuls'd
Before your Gates, and could not gain admittance,
I have not Sigh'd so much for my own sorrows,
As I have blush'd for your ungenerous Usage.

Not a word, Ptolomey!
Asham'd by all that's good to be miscall'd
A King, when this is present.


Think you 'tis nothing
For me to beg; That I constrain my Temper
To sue for Aid, which you should first have offer'd.
Believe me, Ptolomey, a Noble Soul
Does much that asks: He gives you pow'r t'oblige him.
Know, Sir, There's a proud Modesty in merit,
Averse from begging; and resolv'd to pay
Ten times the Gift it asks.

I have been to blame;
And you have justly tax'd my long neglect.
I am Young, and am a Lover; and how far
Fair Eyes may make even Kings forgetful. Look,
And read my best Excuse.

O Miracle! He blushes!
The first red Virtue I have ever seen
Upon that Face.

I am sorry, Sir, y'have made me your Excuse;
As if I stood betwixt the Good you meant;
And intercepted every Royal Grace.
Now in my own Defence I must solicite
All his concerns as mine:
And if my Eyes have pow'r, He should not sue
In vain, nor linger with a long delay.

Well! I'll consider.

Say that word again;
And I'll consider too.

Prithee be satisfy'd, He shall be aided,
Or I'll no more be King.

When wert thou one? For shame, for shame ye Gods,
That e'er you put it in a Strumpets power,
To do so good a Deed!

I am a Spartan, Madam, scarce of Words;
We have but just enough to speak our Meaning.
Be thank'd; That's all I could have said to Jove,
Had Jove, like you, restor'd me to my Crown.

to Cleom.
The Gods have giv'n you, Sir, the speedy means
To satisfie your Debt of Gratitude.

Oh make me happy: Tell me how this Sword


(This and my Heart are all that's left me now)
Can be Employ'd to serve the Crown of Ægypt.

Well said Father: Thou art a true Statesman.
So much for so much, is the way at Court.

My King has in the Camp a Younger Brother,
Valiant they say, but very Popular;
He gets too far into the Soldiers Grace;
And Inches out my Master.

Is the King
Assur'd of this, by any Overt-Act;
Or any close Conspiracy reveal'd?

He has it in his pow'r to be a Traytor;
And that's enough.

He has it in his will too:
Else why this Ostentation of his Virtues,
His Bounty, Valour, and his Temperance?
Why are they thus expos'd to publick View?
But as a Venus set besides a Monster,
To make an Odious Comparison;
As if his Brother wanted what he boasts?

What's to be done with him?

There needs no more, I think, but to contrive,
With Secresy, and Safety, to Dispatch him.

I thank thee, that thou hast not Cozen'd me
In this Advice: For two good deeds together
Had been too much in Conscience for thy calling.

He Dies, that's out of doubt.

Your Brother, Sir!

Why do you ask that Question?

Because I had a Brother;
(Oh grief to say I had, and have not now)
Wise, Valiant, Temperate; and in short a Spartan!
Had all the Virtues, which your Counsellor
Imputed to your Brother, as his Crimes:
He Lov'd me well; so well, he could but die,
To shew he Lov'd me better than his Life:
He lost it for me in Sellasia's Field;
And went the greatest Ghost of all our name,
That ever had a Brother or a King.


Wipe off the Tears, that stand upon your Eyes;
Good Nature works too far. Kings have no Brothers:
What Men call such are Rivalls of their Crowns;
Yours tim'd his Death, so as to Merit Grief.
Who knows, but he laid in, by that last Action,
The means to have betray'd you, had he Liv'd.

I would say something: but I curb my passion,
Because thou art the Father to my Friend.
To you, Sir, this; If you Condemn your Brother,
[To Ptolo.
Only because he's Bounteous, Great, and Brave;
Know you Condemn those Virtues, own you want 'em.
Had you a Thousand Brothers, such as he,
You ought to shew you are above 'em all;
By daring to reward, and Cherish 'em,
As Bucklers of your Crown in time of War;
And in soft Peace, the Jewels that adorn it.

I stand Corrected, Sir, he ought to Live.

I think so too.

I do not wish his Death,
Howe're I seem'd to give that rugged Counsel.

Well said again Father! Comply, comply:
Follow the Sun, True Shadow.

I only wish my Master may be safe;
But there are Mercenaries in the Army,
Three thousand Greeks, the Flower of all our Troops,
Like Wolves indeed among Ægyptian Lambs;
If these Revolt—(I do not say they will)
But if your Brother please to take the Crown:
And be not good enough to let you Reign,
Those Greeks where e'er they go, will turn the Scale.

What think you, Cleomenes?

He says true.

Then Magas must not live.

That does not follow;
Fear not those Mercenaries: They are mine;
Devoted to my Interest; Commanded by my Nod:
They are my Limbs of War, and I their Soul:


Were they in Arms against you at your Gates;
High in their Rage, and fix'd upon the Spoil,
Should I say, Hold; Nay, should I only Frown,
They could not bear my Eyes, but Aw'd and Master'd,
Like Lions to their Keepers, would couch and fawn
And disobey their Hunger.

Wondrous Man!
[Embraces him.
How I admire thy Virtue!

And his Genius;
Some are born Kings,
Made up of three parts Fire, so full of Heaven,
It sparkles at their Eyes: Inferior Souls,
Know 'em as soon as seen, by sure instinct,
To be their Lords, and naturally Worhsip
The secret God within 'em.

Sir, I humbly beg
A word in private—

[to Ptol.

You may go.

Cleanthes, follow me.

[Ex. Ptol. Sosyb. Cleanthes.
Enter Cleonidas.
Panthæus brought me hither to attend you,

And thou art welcome, but thou com'st too late.

Your Page of Honour!

The mistake is easie in such a Courts as this,
Where Princes look like Pages.

'Tis my Son!

I must have leave to love you, Royal Youth;
Above all Nations I Adore a Greek,
And of all Greeks a Spartan.

[Looking on Cleomenes.
What he is,
And what I am, are owing to your Favour.

to Cleonid.
Shall I not be your Mistriss?

[Looking on Cleom.
No, for I would not get Ægyptians.

For what, Sir, do you take us?


For what you are;
When the Gods moulded up the Paste of Man,
Some of their Dough was left upon their hands,
For want of Souls: And so they made Ægyptians:
They were intended for four Feet; And when
They come to run before our Noble Spartans,
They'l curse the Gods for the Two Legs they ow'd 'em.

Then since you will not let me be your Mistriss,
Would I had been your Mother.

[Looking still on Cleom.
So would not I:
For then I had not been all Spartan.

He answers not my Glances, stupid Man!
My tender Looks; my languishing Regards,
Are like mis-aiming Arrows, lost in Air,
And miss the flying Prey.
While She walks, Cleom. and Cleonid. are looking on a Picture hanging on the side of the Scenes.
[She takes out a Pocket Glass and looks in it.
These Eyes I Thank the Gods
Are still the same: The Diamonds are not dimm'd:
Nor in their Lustre: lost in Ptolomy;
Small Boast: Alas! Ptolomy has no Soul,
'Tis what he wants, I love in Cleomenes;
Perhaps he dares not think I would be Lov'd,
Then must I make the advance; and making lose
The vast Prerogative our Sex enjoys,
Of being Courted first: Courted! To what?
To our own Wishes: There's the point; but still,
To speak our wishes first; Forbid it, pride,
Forbid it Modesty: True; They forbid it,
But Nature does not: When we are a Thirst,
Or Hungry, Will imperious Nature stay?
Not Eat nor Drink, before 'tis bid, Fall on:
Well Sex, if this must be,
That I must not invite: I may at least be suffer'd,


To lay some kind Occasion in his way,
That if he dare but speak; He may succeed.

[She turns towards 'em, and observes what they're doing.
Cleom. turns and meets her; Cleonid. looks still on the Picture.
I durst not have presum'd to interrupt
Your private Thoughts.

They wholly were imploy'd in serving you;
But durst not, and presume, are words of Fear;
I thought they were not in your Spartan Tongue;
For my sake, banish 'em:
On what were you so earnestly employ'd?
You would not look this way.

A Picture, Madam.

View it agen, 'tis worth a second Sight,
Your Son observes it still; 'Twere well to help
My Lover's Understanding;
[Goes with him to the Picture.
Know you this Piece, young Prince?

Some Battle, I believe; and in that Thought,
I gaze with such Delight.

Some Rape, I guess.

That's near the true Design, and yet mistaken;
'Tis Paris bearing from your Spartan Shore,
The Beauteous Hellen; How do you approve it?

Not in the least, for 'tis a scurvy piece.

And yet 'tis known to be Apelles Hand;
The Style is his, you grant he was a Master.

'Tis scurvy still, because it represents
A base dishonest Act; to violate
All Hospitable Rites, to force away,
His Benefactors Wife; Ungrateful Villain;
And so the Gods, Th'avenging Gods have judg'd.

Was he a Spartan King that suffer'd this?
Sure he reveng'd the Rape?

He did, my Boy,
And slew the Ravisher.

Look better, Sir; You'll find it was no Rape;
Mark well that Hellen in her Lovers Arms:


Can you not see, she but affects to strive;
She heaves not up her Hands to Heav'n for help,
But hugs the kind Companion of her Flight.
See how her tender Fingers strain his sides;
'Tis an Embrace; a Grasping of Desire;
A very Belt of Love, that Girds his Waste.
She looks as if she did not fear to fall,
But only lose her Lover if she fell:
Observe her Eyes; How slow they seem to rowl
Their Wishing Looks, and Languish on his Face:
Observe the whole Design, and you wou'd Swear,
She Ravish'd Paris, and not Paris; Her.

Sparta has not to Boast of such a Woman;
Nor Troy to thank her, for her ill-plac'd Love.

But Paris had; as for the War that follow'd,
'Twas but a Fable of a Græcian Wit,
To raise the Valour of his Countrymen:
For Menelaus was an Honest Wretch;
A Tame good Man, that never durst resent;
A meer Convenient Husband; Dull and Slavish;
By Nature meant the thing the Lovers made him.

His Goodness aggravates their Crime the more:
Had Menelaus us'd his Hellen ill,
Had he been Jealous, or distrusted both,
I would allow a grain or two, for Love;
And plead in their Excuse.

There was their safety that he was not Jealous:
What would you more of him? He was a Fool,
And put the happy means into their hands.

I cannot much commend my Countryman.

Indeed, my Lord, your Countryman was dull,
That did not understand so plain a Courtship.
Have Spartans Eyes for nothing? not to see
So manifest a Passion?

Yes too well.
Madam, your Goodness interests you too much
In Hellens Cause. I have no more to urge,
But that she was a Wife: That Word, a Wife,
In spight of all your Eloquence condemns her.


You argue justly; Therefore 'twas a Crime:
But had she been a Mistris, not a Wife;
Her Love had been a Virtue, to forsake
The Nauseous Bed of a Loath'd fulsome King;
And fly into a sprightly Lovers Arms.
Her Love had been a Merit to her Paris,
To leave her Country, and what more her Kingdom:
With a Poor Fugitive Prince to Sail away,
And bear her Wealth along to make him happy.

You put your Picture in the fairest Light:
But both the Lovers broke their plighted Vows;
He to Oenone, She to Menelaus.

The Gods that made two Fools had done more justly
To have match'd Menelaus with Oenone:
Think better of my Picture, it deserves
A Second thought; it speaks; the Hellen speaks.

It speaks Ægyptian then; a base Dishonest Tongue.

You are too Young to understand her Language.
[To Cleonidas.
Do not thank me,
[To Cleomenes.
Till I have brought your business to perfection:
Doubt not my kindness; nothing shall be wanting
To make your Voyage happy.

I only fear th'Excess of your full Bounty!
To give me more then what my wants require.

[Exit Cleomenes and Cleonidas.
Meaning, perhaps, my Person and my Love!
I would not think it so; and yet I fear,
And while I fear, his Voyage shall be hinder'd:
No breath of Wind
Can stir, to waft him hence, unless I please:
I am the Goddess that commands the Seas.
In Vain he Vows at any other Shrine,
My Heart is in his Hands; his Fate's in mine.
[Exeunt Cassandra.