University of Virginia Library

Act IV.

SCENE, An Antichamber of Cassandra's Lodging.
Enter Ptolomy, Sosybius, Cœnus, Cassandra.
So so; it works: now Mistriss sit you fast—

Humh, Whores and Catamites!
Wer those his words?

Upon my life they were.

Whom should he mean by those unmanner'd terms;

Can you guess?

'Twas kindly ask'd.

A foul mouth'd Villain.


So, I should have thought,
But that this Lady knows him good and grateful.

Madam! I stand suspected without cause,
And, but I fear Revenge from this great Man,
I could say more.

I thought he was concern'd.

Who: I?

Speak boldly, Græcian, I protect thee.

Cleanthes then was present, and he added.
Enter Cleanth.
But he appears in time to hear his Charge.

My dear! dear! Son!
I fear thy lavish Tongue has ruin'd Thee;
What can I do to save Thee?

Well, proceed.

Can you deny, my Lord? that you were present,
When Cleomenes Tax'd the Court, and King
With Brutal Vices?

I remember somewhat,
Of certain Horses which he could not buy,
And saw thee go away dissatify'd,
Which to prevent, I meant to purchase 'em;
The rest I heard not, nor believe he spoke.

Cleanthes added farther; That thou saidst,

And we would know: E're Tortures force it from thee.

Now comes the fatal stroke.

He added farther.

No; thou add'st it all:
And I demand the Combat.

Let him speak.

Think first, Cleanthes! Think before you hazard,
Your Life and Honour in this bold Appeal,
Somewhat, you might have said, nay more you ought,
Since I commanded you to be a Spy
On Cleomenes Acts, and close Designs.

The good old Lyer would preserve my Life
And I must steer his course,
I think—I farther added

[To the King.


'Tis forgiven:
So wholly pardon'd, that I will not hear it;
Good Spies are useful, and must be encourag'd;
But what must next be done with Cleomenes?

Dispatch him, as the source of all your fears;
Observe the Mounting Billows of the Main,
Blown by the Winds into a raging Storm:
Brush off those Winds, and the high waves return,
Into their quiet first created Calm:
Such is the rage of busie blustring Crowds:
Fomented by th'Ambition of the great:
Cut off the Causes and th'Effect will cease;
And all the moving madness fall to Peace.

Let him seiz'd in order to his Death;
I am in haste, you know it, for my progress,
A thousand pleasures wait me at Canopus;
And this poor trifling business of one life,
Encumbers all: Cassandra! Are you ready?
We will be seen like Isis and Osyris,
Drawn in one Chariot for admiring Eyes,
To worship as we pass.

A word in private: Cœnus, attend without.

Cassand. leads the King to a corner of the Stage; Sosyb. takes his Son to the other.
to Cleanth.
Now I am twice your Father, by preserving
The Life I gave you, which your Folly hazarded:
Break off all Friendship with that Spartan King,
Or never see me more: His Fate's resolv'd:
Nor can you stem the Tide: Avoid his ruines;
Reply not, but obey.

I know my Duty.

Thou overjoy'st me: Follow, we'll talk, farther.

[Exeunt Sosyb. and Cleanthes.
What think you of Sosybius and his Son?

As of two Creatures zealous of my Service.

Oh Heavens! That I should love this King so well!
But that I dote: What can I see in him?
But dull good Nature and Simplicity!


Well, well! My little Dear, I find the Gods
Have given me here, no business of my own;
But made me just your Drudge to Love and save you.

'Protest I thought 'em honest; are they not?

Ye Gods! why did you make this Man your Image?
And made him but an Image: You'l forgive me?
I Love you so, that I am forc'd to rail.
You saw no close Conveyance of the Game
Betwixt the Crafty Sire, and Cunning Son.
How slily one invented an Excuse,
And t'other took it up as dext'rously?

Why sure Cleanthes was his Fathers Spy.

Yes, over you; but not on Cleomenes.
I fear you are betray'd, and the Gods blind you,
To make your ruine sure!

As how, Cassandra?

When you are absent—


'Tis in their Power—

To Murder Cleomenes

If they please;
Or else to set him free, and joyn with Magas.

I will not to Canopus.

Yes; You must.

But how shall I be safe, and take this Journey?

Leave that to me.

But you must go along.

No: I must stay here, in order to your safety,
To watch the growth of danger and prevent it.
This Cruel absence I must undergo;
Or else I Love you not.

Since I must go;
I'll cheat 'em of a Day, and come before
My time, for Love of thee.

To sum up all,
For we are both in haste;
Intrust your Royal Signet in my Hands.

Joyn'd with Sosybius.


Would you trust a Statesman
Before your own dear Heart. You love him better,
You naughty Man, in faith you do; and now I think on't,
I will not have your Signet: By this Kiss,
And this, and this, I will not.

By all three, thou shalt.
[Gives her the Signet from his Finger.
But kill this Cleomenes quickly, he's dangerous.

He's in safe hands with me.

One more Embrace.

There, take it, and now go:
Thus for your good, I thrust you from my Arms.

Farewell, My Love.
[Exit Ptolomy.

Farewell.—I hope for ever.
Now Cleomenes I will sound thy Soul:
For Life and Death depend upon thy Choice.
But for that easy Wretch, him I contemn.
Hard state of Lovers! Subject to our Laws!
Fools we must have, or else we cannot sway;
For none but Fools will Woman-kind Obey.
If they prove stubborn and resist our Will,
We Exercise our Pow'r, and use 'em ill.
The passive Slave that Whines, Adores and Dies,
Sometimes we pity: But we still despise.
But when we dote, the self same Fate we prove,
Fools at the best: But double Fools in Love.
We rage at first with ill dissembled scorn;
Then falling from our height, more basely mourn;
And Man, th'insulting Tyrant takes his turn.
Leaves us to Weep for our neglected Charms,
And hugs another Mistress in his Arms:
And that which humbles our proud Sex the most;
Of all our slighted favours makes his boast.
[Exit Cassandra.

Enter Cleomenes.
Her Words, Her every Look, confess she loves me,
And therefore she detains these Hostages:


As pawns of my return to her and Ægypt.
Thus far 'tis plain and obvious: But the Picture.
That Hellen. There's the Riddle of her Love.
For what I see, or only think I see,
Is like a Glimps of Moon-shine, streak'd with red;
A shuffled, sullen, and uncertain Light,
That Dances thro' the Clouds, and shuts again;
Than 'ware a rising Tempest on the Main.

Enter Cassandra.
I would, but cannot speak.
The shame that should to Woman-kind belong,
Flown from my Bosom, hovers on my Tongue.

'Tis rarely seen, that Gods from Heaven descend;
But for some kind, some Charitable end.
And yet your troubled looks ill News import,
Stops, or Delays; but that's no News at Court:
There's somewhat which your pity would disguise.

Would you could read that somewhat in my Eyes.
But as you are a Spartan and a King,
Undaunted hear whatever News I bring:
The Favourite hates you; Cœnus has betray'd
The bitter truths, that our loose Court upbraid.
Your Friend was set upon you for a Spy;
And on his Witness, you are doom'd to die.

I have been plung'd already twice in Woes,
And the third time above the Waves I rose.
Still I have strength to Steer me into Port,
And shun the Secret Quick-Sands of the Court.
But when my Friend, who should expecting stand,
On the bare Beach, to lend his helping hand;
When He defends th'Unhospitable shore,
And drives me thence, I sink for ever more.
But 'tis impossible; his Faith is try'd;
The Man, who had defam'd him thus; had ly'd.

Well! I forgive your blunt Laconique way,
It shall be seen, it shall, this very Day,
Who would preserve your Life, and who betray.


The King incens'd; the Favourite your Foe,
Yet on the same Conditions you may go:
Your Wife, your Son, your Mother left behind.
What think you now?

'Tis to be wond'rous kind.

Suppose I add a farther bounty yet.

It could but make your Favours over weight.

What if I went my self to waft you o'er?
And left you, when I saw you safe a shore?
For I should leave you, if you thought it fit,
Not to do more than Honour would permit.
Can I do less to show you I am kind,
To Comfort you for those you left behind?

The World would think you kinder than you ought.

Why should I care what base Ægyptians thought?

Immoderate Gifts oppress me, not relieve;
Nor dare I take, what ruins you to give.

Leave me to judge of that. I could prescribe
An easy way of giving back my Bribe.
Why would you force me farther than my part;
Look on my Eyes; and you may read my Heart.
Looks on her as by stealth.
Oh there you met me with a guilty Glance!
Now 'tis too late to plead your Ignorance.

I am so much below, and you above.
What can I say?

But one kind word. I Love.

As far as Gratitude that Love can pay.

Oh stop not there; for that's but half the way:
Would you to one poor narrow word confine
Your passion? When I put no bounds to mine.


Now you speak too soon; Forbear.
Nothing can please me, that begins with her.

I must begin where Nature void of Art,
Directs my Tongue, with her who rules my Heart.

Let us together sail before the Wind,
And leave that dull Domestique Drudge behind.

What? to expose her helpless Innocence,
To the wild fury of an Injur'd Prince?


A vain surmise; their Talents would agree,
The Gods have made your Noble Mind for me:
And her insipid Soul for Ptolomey:
A heavy lump of Earth without desire,
A heap of Ashes that o're-lays your Fire.

Virtue, you must allow her, tho' a Foe.

No more, than what I would to Ice and Snow;
Yet those have Seeds of heat; her shivering Blood,
Makes her at best but impotently good.
But neither I can save you, if you stay,
Nor save my self unless I go away:
For if I stay behind, and set you free,
The Fury of the King would fall on me.

Then to prevent your Fate I must not go,
Death is my choice, since Heaven will have it so.

Heaven would preserve your Life, and so would I,
But you are obstinately bent to dye,

Some Men are made of such a leaky Mould.
That their fill'd Vessels can no Fortune hold:
Pour'd in, it sinks away, and leaves 'em dry,
Of that unsusceptible Make am I:
Yet think not, Fair one, I your Charms despise,
My Heart's insensible, but not my Eyes.
Respect and Gratitude are all my store,
And those I give: My Love was giv'n before.

Thus break false Merchants with an honest show:
Rich to themselves, but Bankrupts where they owe.

If at this awful distance I remain,
Better be too Devout, than too profane.

Flattery! Such Alms, the Priesthood gives the poor,
They Bless, and send 'em empty from the Door:
Know you, that Death stands ready at the Gate;
That I forbid him, and suspend your Fate;
The King's short absence leaves me absolute;
When he returns th'inevitable ill,
Is past my pow'r, and may be past my Will:
Unhappy Man! prevent thy Destiny;
Speak one kind word to save thy Life and me.


Be answer'd, and expect no more Reply.

Disdain has swell'd him up, and choak'd his Breath:
Sullen and Dumb, and obstinate to Death:
No signs of pity in his Face appear;
Look! If th'ungrateful Creature shed one Tear!
Cram'd with his Pride, he leaves no room within
For Sighs to issue out, or Love to enter in.
[He turns away.
What! dost thou turn thy Face in my despight?
Am I a Toad? a Monster to thy Sight?
Farewel fond pity then: As thou from me,
So, thy good Fortune turns her Face from Thee?
Left, scorn'd, and loath'd, and all without Relief,
Revenge succeeds to Love, and Rage to Grief:
Tempests and Whirlwinds through my Bosom move,
Heave up, and madly mount my Soul above
The reach of Pity, or the bounds of Love.
Approach and seize the Traytor

[Enter Guards.
Now I can speak; thy kindness kept me dumb:
For that I could not answer: The false Syren,
No longer hiding her uncomely parts,
Struts on the Waves, and shews the Brute below.

Stop that foul Mouth: Behold this Royal Signet;
The Warrant of his Death.

[Guards go to seize him.
Stand back ye Slaves,
[He Draws his Sword.
And put me not to stain a Spartan Sword:
With base Ægyptian Blood.

He advances upon 'em, they retire with signs of fear.
Fall on, behold a Noble Beast at Bay:
And the vile Huntsmen shrink—More Aid: Who waits?
Enter Cleanthes.
Now Sir, What brings you here?

My Zeal to serve you.

That shall be try'd; Disarm him.

Deliver me your Sword.

How's this, Cleanthes?

It must be so!


Is this a Friends Advice,
To give me up defenceless to a Croud,
Whom Arm'd I could resist?

Must he dye, Madam!
Or be reserv'd for further punishment,
At Ptolomey's return?

Why ask you that?

Because his Destiny, for ought I find
Depends on you: Think first, and then Command.

Know then, that his last Third is on the Distaff,
And I can cut it now.

And are resolv'd?

I only said I can, and I can Save,
Disarm, and hurt him not.

Once more your Sword.

Send off those Villains: Tho' I fear 'em not;
Yet Cowards are offensive to my sight:
Nor shall they see me do an Act that looks
Below the Courage of a Spartan King.

Cleanthes! May I trust your Faith?

You may.

Begone, and wait my Call.

[Ex. Guards.
Cleanthes! Stil my Friend; for such I hold thee
Tho' this bad Woman says thou art my Spy;
I cannot give a greater proof than this,
That I believe her not:
[Gives him his Sword.]
If thou art false,
'Tis in thy power to show it safely, now:
And compass that by Treason, which in Arms
Nor Thou, nor any Man alive can force.
Remember still, I gave it to a Friend:
For Life and Death are equal in themselves;
That which would cast the Ballance, is thy falshood,
To make my Death more wretched.

Then you may think me that, which you call False,
But Duty to my Father—

Say no more!
I would not curse thee, for thou wer't my Friend.


I think thee still as honest as thou couldst;
Impenetrably good; but like Achilles,
Thou hadst a soft Ægyptian Heel undipt,
And that has made thee Mortal.

Cleanthes, Thou hast well approv'd thy Faith:
And as this Palace is thy Government,
On utmost peril of thy Life secure him.
One farther word—

[Ex Cleanth, looking concernedly on Cleomenes.
So guilty as thou art, and canst thou look
On him, thou hast betraid? Go, take thy hire,
Which thou hast dearly purchas'd, and be great

For you, brave Sir, as you have given my hopes
But Air to feed on; Air shall be your Food:
No Bread shall enter these forbidden Doors.
Thin, hungry Diet, I confess; but still
The liker Spartan Fare: Keen Appetites,
And quick Digestion wait on you and yours.

O mix not Innocence and Guilt together:
What Love have they refus'd, or how offended?
Be Just, tho' you are Cruel, or be Kind,
And punish me alone.

There Nature works,
Then there I'll stab thee in thy tender part.

Shreeks of Women within.
What dismal Cries are those?

Nothing, a trifling sum of Misery,
New added to the foot of thy Account:
Thy Wife is seiz'd by Force and born away;
Farewel, I dare not trust thy Vengeance further.

[Running to the Door, he is stopt by Guards with drawn Swords.
Cleora—There stands Death, but no Cleora;
I would find both together.

Enter Cratisiclea, Cleonidas, and Pantheus bloody on his hand.
Oh King of Sparta!

Peace, Mother, Peace.
I have had news from Hell before you.


Cleora's gone to Death. Is there a Door,
A Casement, or a Rift within these Walls?
That can let loose my Body to her rescue?

All clos'd, nothing but Heaven above is open.

Nay, that's clos'd too: The Gods are deaf to Pray'rs!
Hush then; th'irrevocable Doom's gone forth,
And Pray'rs lagg after, but can ne'r o'er-take,
Let us talk forward of our woes to come.

Cleanthes! (Oh could you suspect his Faith?)
'Twas he, that headed those, who forc'd her hence.

Pantheus bleeds!

A scratch, a feeble Dart,
At distance thrown by an Ægyptian hand.

You heard me not, Cleanthes is—

He was—no more good Mother,
He tore a piece of me away, and still
The void place akes within me: O my Boy,
I have bad news to tell thee.

None so bad,
As that I am a Boy: Cleanthes scorn'd me,
And when I drove a Thrust, home as I could,
To reach his Traytor Heart, He put it by,
And cryed as in derision, Spare the Stripling;
Oh that insulting word: I wou'd have swopp'd
Youth for old Age, and all my Life behind,
To have been then a momentary Man.

Alas! Thy Manhood, like a forward Spring,
Before it comes to bear the promis'd Fruit
Is blighted in the Bud: Never, my Boy,
Canst thou fetch Manhood up, with thy short steps,
While with long strides the Giant stalks before thee.

Am I to dye before I am a Man?

Yes, thou must dye with me, and I with her
Who gave me life: and our poor Infant too within,
Must dye before it knows what dying means.
Three different Dates of Nature one would think;
But Fate has cramm'd us all into one Lease;
And that even now expiring.


Yet we live.

No, even now we dye; Death is within us,
And keeps out Life, for nourishent is Life,
And we have fed our last; Hunger feeds Death.

A lingring Doom, but four days hence the same;
And we can shorten those, turn Days to Hours,
And Hours to Moments: Death is in our Call.

The sooner then the better.

So say I.

While we have spirits left to meet him boldly.

I'le hold my Breath,
And keep my Soul a pris'ner in my Body;
There let it creep and wander in the dark,
Till tir'd to find no out-let, it Retreats
Into my Spartan Heart, and there lies pleas'd:
So, we two are provided. Sir, your choice?

(To Cleom.
Not this dispatch, for we may dye at leisure.
This Famine has a sharp and meager Face:
'Tis Death in an undress of Skin and Bone:
Where Age and Youth, their Land-mark tane away,
Look all one common furrow.

Yet you chuse it,
To please our Foes, that when they view our Skeletons,
And find 'em all alike, they may cry out,
Look how these dull obedient Spartans dy'd,
Just as we wish'd, as we prescrib'd their Death;
And durst not take a nobler, nearer way.

Not so, but that we durst not tempt the Gods,
To break their Images without their leave.
The moment e'r Cassandra came, I had
A Note without a Name, the Hand unknown,
That bad me not despair, but still hope well.
Then dye not yet;
For Heaven has means to free us; if not me,
Yet these and you: I am the hunted Stag,
Whose Life may may ransom yours.


No more of that:
I find your distant drift to die alone:
An unkind Accusation of us all,
As if we durst not die: I'll not survive you!

Nor I.

Nor I.

But hear my Reasons!
Enter Cleora in a black Veil.
Ha! What Shadow's this! This that can glide through Walls!
Or pass its subtle Limbs through Bolts and Bars!
Black too! like what it represents, our Fate.

Too true a Shadow I, and you the Substance.

[Lifts up her Veil.

Thus let me grow again to thee,
Too close for Fate to sever!
Or let Death find me in these dear, dear Arms,
And looking on thee, spare my better part,
And take me willing hence.

What! are you dreaming, Son! with Eyes cast upwards
Like a mad Prophet in an Ecstasie?

Musing on what we saw.
Just such is Death,
With a black Veil, covering a beauteous Face!
Fear'd afar off
By erring Nature: a mistaken Phantom:
A harmless, lambent Fire. She kisses Cold;
But kind, and soft, and sweet, as my Cleora.
Oh could we know,
What Joys she brings; at least, what rest from Grief!
How should we press into her Friendly Arms,
And be pleas'd not to be, or to be happy?

Look! What we have forgot! The Joy to see
Cleora here, has kept us from enquiring,
By what strange means she enter'd.

Small Joy, Heaven knows, to be adopted here,


Into the meager Family of Famine!
The House of Hunger: therefore ask'd I not;
So am I pleased to have her Company,
And so displeas'd to have it but in Death—

I know not how or why, my surly Gaoler,
Hard as his Irons, and insolent as Pow'r,
When put in vulgar Hands, Cleanthes gone,
Put off the Brute; and with a gloomy Smile,
(That show'd a sullen loathness to be kind,)
Skreen'd me within this Veil, then led me forth;
And using to the Guards Cassandra's Name:
Made that my Pass-port: Every Door slew ope,
T'admit my Entrance; and then clapt behind me,
To barr my going back.

Some new Resolve!
Cassandra plots, and then resines on Malice:
Plays with Revenge: with Rage she snatch'd you hence,
And renders you with Scorn: I thought to show you
How easie 'twas to die, by my Example,
And hansel Fate before you: But thy presence
Has chang'd my Mind, to drag this lingring life,
To share thy Sorrows, and assist thy Weakness.
Come in, my Friends, and let us practise Death,
Stroke the grim Lyon, till he grow familiar.
Cleora! Thou and I, as Lovers should,
Will hand in hand to the dark Mansions go,
Where Life no more can cheat us into Woe;
That sucking in each others latest Breath,
We may transfuse our Souls, and put the change on Death.

[Exeunt omnes.
The End of the Fourth ACT.