ACT IV. SCENE I.
_Enter_ LEONIDAS, _musing;_ AMALTHEA, _following him._
_Amal._ Yonder he is; and I must speak or die;
And yet 'tis death to speak: yet he must know
I have a passion for him, and may know it
With a less blush; because to offer it
To his low fortunes, shows I loved before,
His person, not his greatness.
_Leon._ First scorned, and now commanded from the court!
The king is good; but he is wrought to this
By proud Argaleon's malice.
What more disgrace can love and fortune join
To inflict upon one man? I cannot now
Behold my dear Palmyra: She, perhaps, too,
Is grown ashamed of a mean ill-placed love.
_Amal._ Assist me, Venus, for I tremble when
I am to speak, but I must force myself. [_Aside._
Sir, I would crave but one short minute with you,
And some few words.
_Leon._ The proud Argaleon's sister! [_Aside._
_Amal._ Alas! it will not out; Shame stops my mouth.
Pardon my error, sir; I was mistaken,
And took you for another.
_Leon._ In spite of all his guards, I'll see Palmyra; [_Aside._
Though meanly born, I have a kingly soul.
_Amal._ I stand upon a precipice, where fain
I would retire, but love still thrusts me on:
Now I grow bolder, and will speak to him. [_Aside._
Sir, 'tis indeed to you that I would speak,
_Leon._ O, you are sent to scorn my fortunes?
Your sex and beauty are your privilege;
But should your brother--
_Amal._ Now he looks angry, and I dare not speak.
I had some business with you, sir,
But 'tis not worth your knowledge.
_Leon._ Then 'twill be charity to let me mourn
My griefs alone, for I am much disordered.
_Amal._ 'Twill be more charity to mourn them with you:
Heaven knows I pity you.
_Leon._ Your pity, madam,
Is generous, but 'tis unavailable.
_Amal._ You know not till 'tis tried.
Your sorrows are no secret; you have lost
A crown, and mistress.
_Leon._ Are not these enough?
Hang two such weights on any other soul,
And see if it can bear them.
_Amal._ More; you are banished, by my brother's means,
And ne'er must hope again to see your princess;
Except as prisoners view fair walks and streets,
And careless passengers going by their grates,
To make them feel the want of liberty.
But, worse than all,
The king this morning has enjoined his daughter
To accept my brother's love.
_Leon._ Is this your pity?
You aggravate my griefs, and print them deeper,
In new and heavier stamps.
_Amal._ 'Tis as physicians show the desperate ill,
To endear their art, by mitigating pains
They cannot wholly cure: When you despair
Of all you wish, some part of it, because
Unhoped for, may be grateful; and some other--
_Leon._ What other?
_Amal._ Some other may--
My shame again has seized me, and I can go [_Aside._
_Leon._ These often failing sighs and interruptions
Make me imagine you have grief like mine:
Have you ne'er loved?
_Amal._ I? never!--'Tis in vain:
I must despair in silence. [_Aside._
_Leon._ You come, as I suspected then, to mock,
At least observe, my griefs: Take it not ill,
That I must leave you. [_Is going._
_Amal._ You must not go with these unjust opinions.
Command my life and fortunes: you are wise;
Think, and think well, what I can do to serve you.
_Leon._ I have but one thing in my thoughts and wishes:
If, by your means, I can obtain the sight
Of my adored Palmyra; or, what's harder,
One minute's time, to tell her, I die hers-- [_She starts back._
I see I am not to expect it from you;
Nor could, indeed, with reason.
_Amal._ Name any other thing! Is Amalthea
So despicable, she can serve your wishes
In this alone?
_Leon._ If I should ask of heaven,
I have no other suit.
_Amal._ To show you, then, I can deny you nothing,
Though 'tis more hard to me than any other,
Yet I will do it for you.
_Leon._ Name quickly, name the means! speak, my good angel!
_Amal._ Be not so much o'erjoyed; for, if you are,
I'll rather die than do't. This night the court
Will be in masquerade;
You shall attend on me; in that disguise
You may both see and speak to her,
If you dare venture it.
_Leon._ Yes; were a god her guardian,
And bore in each hand thunder, I would venture.
_Amal._ Farewell, then; two hours hence I will expect you:--
My heart's so full, that I can stay no longer. [_Exit._
_Leon._ Already it grows dusky: I'll prepare
With haste for my disguise. But who are these?
_Enter_ HERMOGENES _and_ EUBULUS.
_Her._ 'Tis he; we need not fear to speak to him.
_Leon._ Sure I have known that voice.
_Her._ You have some reason, sir: 'tis Eubulus,
Who bred you with the princess; and, departing,
Bequeathed you to my care.
_Leon._ My foster-father! let my knees express
My joys for your return! [_Kneeling._
_Eub._ Rise, sir; you must not kneel.
_Leon._ E'er since you left me,
I have been wandering in a maze of fate,
Led by false fires of a fantastic glory,
And the vain lustre of imagined crowns.
But, ah! why would you leave me? or how could you
Absent yourself so long?
_Eub._ I'll give you a most just account of both:
And something more I have to tell you, which
I know must cause your wonder; but this place,
Though almost hid in darkness, is not safe.
Already I discern some coming towards us [_Torches appear._
With lights, who may discover me. Hermogenes,
Your lodgings are hard by, and much more private.
_Her._ There you may freely speak.
_Leon._ Let us make haste;
For some affairs, and of no small importance,
Call me another way. [_Exeunt._
_Enter_ PALAMEDE _and_ RHODOPHIL, _with Vizor Masques in their
Hands, and Torches before them._
_Pala._ We shall have noble sport to-night, Rhodophil; this
masquerading is a most glorious invention.
_Rho._ I believe it was invented first by some jealous lover, to
discover the haunts of his jilting mistress; or, perhaps, by some
distressed servant, to gain an opportunity with a jealous man's wife.
_Pala._ No, it must be the invention of a woman, it has so much of
subtilty and love in it.
_Rho._ I am sure 'tis extremely pleasant; for to go unknown, is the
next degree to going invisible.
_Pala._ What with our antic habits and feigned voices,--_Do you know
me?_ and--_I know you,_--methinks we move and talk just like so many
_Rho._ Masquerade is only vizor-mask improved; a heightening of the
_Pala._ No, masquerade is vizor-mask in debauch, and I like it the
better for't: for, with a vizor-mask, we fool ourselves into
courtship, for the sake of an eye that glanced; or a hand that stole
itself out of the glove sometimes, to give us a sample of the skin:
But in masquerade there is nothing to be known, she's all _terra
incognita_; and the bold discoverer leaps ashore, and takes his lot
among the wild Indians and savages, without the vile consideration of
safety to his person, or of beauty, or wholesomeness in his mistress.
_Rho._ Beliza, what make you here?
_Bel._ Sir, my lady sent me after you, to let you know, she finds
herself a little indisposed; so that she cannot be at court, but is
retired to rest in her own apartment, where she shall want the
happiness of your dear embraces to night.
_Rho._ A very fine phrase, Beliza, to let me know my wife desires to
_Pala._ I doubt, Rhodophil, you take the pains sometimes to instruct
your wife's woman in these elegancies.
_Rho._ Tell my dear lady, that since I must be so unhappy as not to
wait on her to-night, I will lament bitterly for her absence. 'Tis
true I shall be at court, but I will take no divertisement there; and
when I return to my solitary bed, if I am so forgetful of my passion
as to sleep, I will dream of her; and betwixt sleep and waking, put
out my foot towards her side, for midnight consolation; and, not
finding her, I will sigh, and imagine myself a most desolate widower.
_Bel._ I shall do your commands, sir. [_Exit._
_Rho._ [_Aside._] She's sick as aptly for my purpose, as if she had
contrived it so. Well, if ever woman was a help-mate for man, my
spouse is so; for within this hour I received a note from Melantha,
that she would meet me this evening in masquerade, in boys' habit, to
rejoice with me before she entered into fetters; for I find she loves
me better than Palamede, only because he's to be her husband. There's
something of antipathy in the word _marriage_ to the nature of love:
marriage is the mere ladle of affection, that cools it when 'tis never
so fiercely boiling over.
_Pala._ Dear Rhodophil, I must needs beg your pardon; there is an
occasion fallen out which I had forgot: I cannot be at court to-night.
_Rho._ Dear Palamede, I am sorry we shall not have one course together
at the herd; but I find your game lies single: Good fortune to you
with your mistress. [_Exit._
_Pala._ He has wished me good fortune with his wife; there's no sin in
this then, there's fair leave given. Well, I must go visit the sick; I
cannot resist the temptations of my charity. O what a difference will
she find betwixt a dull resty husband and a quick vigorous lover! He
sets out like a carrier's horse, plodding on, because he knows he
must, with the bells of matrimony chiming so melancholy about his
neck, in pain till he's at his journey's end; and, despairing to get
thither, he is fain to fortify imagination with the thoughts of
another woman: I take heat after heat, like a well-breathed courser,
and--But hark, what noise is that? Swords! [_Clashing of swords
within._] Nay, then, have with you. [_Exit_ PALA.
_Re-enter_ PALAMEDE, _with_ RHODOPHIL; _and_ DORALICE _in man's
_Rho._ Friend, your relief was very timely, otherwise I had been
_Pala._ What was the quarrel?
_Rho._ What I did was in rescue of this youth.
_Pala._ What cause could he give them?
_Dor._ The cause was nothing but only the common cause of fighting in
masquerades: They were drunk, as I was sober.
_Rho._ Have they not hurt you?
_Dor._ No; but I am exceeding ill with the fright on't.
_Pala._ Let's lead him to some place, where he may refresh himself.
_Rho._ Do you conduct him then.
_Pala._ [_Aside._] How cross this happens to my design of going to
Doralice! for I am confident she was sick on purpose that I should
visit her. Hark you, Rhodophil, could not you take care of the
stripling? I am partly engaged to-night.
_Rho._ You know I have business; but come, youth, if it must be so.
_Dor._ to _Rho._ No, good sir, do not give yourself that trouble; I
shall be safer, and better pleased with your friend here.
_Rho._ Farewell, then; once more I wish you a good adventure.
_Pala._ Damn this kindness! now must I be troubled with this young
rogue, and miss my opportunity with Doralice.
[_Exit_ RHO. _alone;_ PALA. _with_ DOR.
_Poly._ Argaleon counselled well to banish him:
He has, I know not what,
Of greatness in his looks, and of high fate,
That almost awes me; but I fear my daughter,
Who hourly moves me for him; and I marked,
She sighed when I but named Argaleon to her.
But see, the maskers: Hence, my cares, this night!
At least take truce, and find me on my pillow.
_Enter the Princess in masquerade, with Ladies. At the other end,_
ARGALEON _and Gentlemen in masquerade; then_ LEONIDAS _leading_
AMALTHEA. _The King sits. A Dance. After the Dance,_
_Amal._ to _Leon._ That's the princess;
I saw the habit ere she put it on.
_Leon._ I know her by a thousand other signs;
She cannot hide so much divinity.
Disguised, and silent, yet some graceful motion
Breaks from her, and shines round her like a glory.
[_Goes to_ PALMYRA.
_Amal._ Thus she reveals herself, and knows it not;
Like love's dark lanthorn, I direct his steps,
And yet he sees not that, which gives him light.
_Palm._ I know you; but, alas! Leonidas,
Why should you tempt this danger on yourself?
_Leon._ Madam, you know me not, if you believe;
I would not hazard greater for your sake.
But you, I fear, are changed.
_Palm._ No, I am still the same;
But there are many things became Palmyra,
Which ill become the princess.
_Leon_, I ask nothing
Which honour will not give you leave to grant:
One hour's short audience, at my father's house,
You cannot sure refuse me.
_Palm._ Perhaps I should, did I consult strict virtue;
But something must be given to love and you.
When would you I should come?
_Leon._ This evening, with the speediest opportunity.
I have a secret to discover to you,
Which will surprise and please you.
_Palm._ 'Tis enough.
Go now; for we may be observed and known.
I trust your honour; give me not occasion
To blame myself, or you.
_Leon._ You never shall repent your good opinion.
[_Kisses her hand, and Exit._
_Arga._ I cannot be deceived; that is the princess:
One of her maids betrayed the habit to me.
But who was he with whom she held discourse?
'Tis one she favours, for he kissed her hand.
Our shapes are like, our habits near the same;
She may mistake, and speak to me for him.
I am resolved; I'll satisfy my doubts,
Though to be more tormented.
_Whilst Alexis lay prest
In her arms he loved best,
With his hands round her neck,
And his head on her breast,
He found the fierce pleasure too hasty to stay,
And his soul in the tempest just flying away._
_When Cælia saw this,
With a sigh and a kiss,
She cried,--O, my dear, I am robbed of my bliss!
'Tis unkind to your love, and unfaithfully done,
To leave me behind you, and die all alone._
_The youth, though in haste,
And breathing his last,
In pity died slowly, while she died more fast;
Till at length she cried,--Now, my dear, now let us go;
Now die, my Alexis, and I will die too!_
_Thus entranced they did lie,
Till Alexis did try
To recover new breath, that again he might die:
Then often they died; but the more they did so,
The nymph died more quick, and the shepherd more slow._
_Another Dance. After it,_ ARGALEON _re-enters, and stands by the
_Palm._ Leonidas, what means this quick return? [_To_ ARGA.
_Arga._ O heaven! 'tis what I feared.
_Palm._ Is aught of moment happened since you went?
_Arga._ No, madam; but I understood not fully
Your last commands.
_Palm._ And yet you answered to them.
Retire; you are too indiscreet a lover:
I'll meet you where I promised. [_Exit._
_Arga._ O my curst fortune! what have I discovered!
But I will be revenged. [_Whispers to the King._
_Poly._ But are you certain you are not deceived?
_Arga._ Upon my life.
_Poly._ Her honour is concerned.
Somewhat I'll do; but I am yet distracted,
And know not where to fix. I wished a child,
And heaven, in anger, granted my request.
So blind we are, our wishes are so vain,
That what we most desire, proves most our pain. [_Exeunt._
_An Eating-house. Bottles of Wine on the table._ PALAMEDE, _and_
DORALICE, _in Man's Habit._
_Dor._ [_Aside._] Now cannot I find in my heart to discover myself,
though I long he should know me.
_Pala._ I tell thee, boy, now I have seen thee safe, I must be gone: I
have no leisure to throw away on thy raw conversation; I am a person
that understands better things, I.
_Dor._ Were I a woman, oh how you would admire me! cry up every word I
said, and screw your face into a submissive smile; as I have seen a
dull gallant act wit, and counterfeit pleasantness, when he whispers
to a great person in a play-house; smile, and look briskly, when the
other answers, as if something of extraordinary had past betwixt them,
when, heaven knows, there was nothing else but,--What a clock does
your lordship think it is? And my lord's _repartee_ is,--It is almost
park-time: or, at most,--Shall we out of the pit, and go behind the
scenes for an act or two--And yet such fine things as these would be
wit in a mistress's mouth.
_Pala._ Ay, boy; there dame Nature's in the case: He, who cannot find
wit in a mistress, deserves to find nothing else, boy. But these are
riddles to thee, child, and I have not leisure to instruct thee; I
have affairs to dispatch, great affairs; I am a man of business.
_Dor._ Come, you shall not go: You have no affairs but what you may
dispatch here, to my knowledge.
_Pala._ I find now, thou art a boy of more understanding than I
thought thee; a very lewd wicked boy: O' my conscience, thou would'st
debauch me, and hast some evil designs upon my person.
_Dor._ You are mistaken, sir; I would only have you shew me a more
lawful reason why you would leave me, than I can why you should not,
and I'll not stay you; for I am not so young, but I understand the
necessities of flesh and blood, and the pressing occasions of mankind,
as well as you.
_Pala._ A very forward and understanding boy! thou art in great danger
of a page's wit, to be brisk at fourteen, and dull at twenty. But I'll
give thee no further account; I must, and will go.
_Dor._ My life on it, your mistress is not at home.
_Pala._ This imp will make me very angry.--I tell thee, young sir, she
is at home, and at home for me; and, which is more, she is a-bed for
me, and sick for me.
_Dor._ For you only?
_Pala._ Aye, for me only.
_Dor._ But how do you know she's sick a-bed?
_Pala._ She sent her husband word so.
_Dor._ And are you such a novice in love, to believe a wife's message
to her husband?
_Pala._ Why, what the devil should be her meaning else?
_Dor._ It may be, to go in masquerade, as well as you; to observe your
haunts, and keep you company without your knowledge.
_Pala._ Nay, I'll trust her for that: She loves me too well, to
disguise herself from me.
_Dor._ If I were she, I would disguise on purpose to try your wit; and
come to my servant like a riddle,--Read me, and take me.
_Pala._ I could know her in any shape: My good genius would prompt me
to find out a handsome woman: There's something that would attract me
to her without my knowledge.
_Dor._ Then you make a load-stone of your mistress?
_Pala._ Yes, and I carry steel about me, which has been so often
touched, that it never fails to point to the north pole.
_Dor._ Yet still my mind gives me, that you have met her disguised
to-night, and have not known her.
_Pala._ This is the most pragmatical conceited little fellow, he will
needs understand my business better than myself. I tell thee, once
more, thou dost not know my mistress.
_Dor._ And I tell you once more, that I know her better than you do.
_Pala._ The boy's resolved to have the last word. I find I must go
without reply. [_Exit._
_Dor._ Ah mischief, I have lost him with my fooling. Palamede,
_He returns. She plucks off her peruke, and puts it on again when he
_Pala._ O heavens! is it you, madam?
_Dor._ Now, where was your good genius, that would prompt you to find
_Pala._ Why, you see I was not deceived; you yourself were my good
_Dor._ But where was the steel, that knew the load-stone? Ha?
_Pala._ The truth is, madam, the steel has lost its virtue: and,
therefore, if you please, we'll new touch it.
_Enter_ RHODOPHIL; _and_ MELANTHA _in Boys habit._ RHODOPHIL _sees_
PALAMEDE _kissing_ DORALICE'S _hand._
_Rho._ Palamede again! am I fallen into your quarters? What? Engaging
with a boy? Is all honourable?
_Pala._ O, very honourable on my side. I was just chastising this
young villain; he was running away, without paying his share of the
_Rho._ Then I find I was deceived in him.
_Pala._ Yes, you are deceived in him: 'tis the archest rogue, if you
did but know him.
_Mel._ Good Rhodophil, let us get off _a-la derobbée_, for fear I
should be discovered.
_Rho._ There's no retiring now; I warrant you for discovery. Now have
I the oddest thought, to entertain you before your servant's face, and
he never the wiser; it will be the prettiest juggling trick, to cheat
him when he looks upon us.
_Mel._ This is the strangest caprice in you.
_Pala._ [_to_ DORALICE.] This Rhodophil's the unluckiest fellow to me!
this is now the second time he has barred the dice when we were just
ready to have nicked him; but if ever I get the box again--
_Dor._ Do you think he will not know me? Am I like myself?
_Pala._ No more than a picture in the hangings.
_Dor._ Nay, then he can never discover me, now the wrong side of the
arras is turned towards him.
_Pala._ At least, it will be some pleasure to me, to enjoy what
freedom I can while he looks on; I will storm the out-works of
matrimony even before his face.
_Rho._ What wine have you there, Palamede?
_Pala._ Old Chios, or the rogue's damn'd that drew it.
_Rho._ Come,--to the most constant of mistresses! that, I believe, is
_Dor._ Pray spare your seconds; for my part I am but a weak brother.
_Pala._ Now,--to the truest of turtles! that is your wife, Rhodophil,
that lies sick at home, in the bed of honour.
_Rho._ Now let us have one common health, and so have done.
_Dor._ Then, for once, I'll begin it. Here's to him that has the
fairest lady of Sicily in masquerade to night.
_Pala._ This is such an obliging health, I'll kiss thee, dear rogue,
for thy invention. [_Kisses her._
_Rho._ He, who has this lady, is a happy man, without dispute,--I'm
most concerned in this, I am sure. [_Aside._
_Pala._ Was it not well found out, Rhodophil?
_Mel._ Ay, this was _bien trouvée_ indeed.
_Dor._ [_to_ MELANTHA.] I suppose I shall do you a kindness, to
enquire if you have not been in France, sir?
_Mel._ To do you service, sir.
_Dor._ O, monsieur, _votre valet bien humble_. [_Saluting her._
_Mel._ _Votre esclave, monsieur, de tout mon coeur._
[_Returning the salute._
_Dor._ I suppose, sweet sir, you are the hope and joy of some thriving
citizen, who has pinched him self at home, to breed you abroad, where
you have learned your exercises, as it appears, most awkwardly, and
are returned, with the addition of a new-laced bosom and a clap, to
your good old father, who looks at you with his mouth, while you spout
French with your man monsieur.
_Pala._ Let me kiss thee again for that, dear rogue.
_Mel._ And you, I imagine, are my young master, whom your mother durst
not trust upon salt-water, but left you to be your own tutor at
fourteen, to be very brisk and _entreprenant_, to endeavour to be
debauched ere you have learned the knack of it, to value yourself upon
a clap before you can get it, and to make it the height of your
ambition to get a player for your mistress.
_Rho._ [_embracing_ MELANTHA.] O dear young bully thou hast tickled
him with a _repartee_, i'faith.
_Mel._ You are one of those that applaud our country plays, where
drums, and trumpets, and blood, and wounds, are wit.
_Rho._ Again, my boy? Let me kiss thee most abundantly.
_Dor._ You are an admirer of the dull French poetry, which is so thin,
that it is the very leaf-gold of wit, the very wafers and whip'd cream
of sense, for which a man opens his mouth, and gapes, to swallow
nothing: And to be an admirer of such profound dulness, one must be
endowed with a great perfection of impudence and ignorance.
_Pala._ Let me embrace thee most vehemently.
_Mel._ I'll sacrifice my life for French poetry. [_Advancing._
_Dor._ I'll die upon the spot for our country wit.
_Rho._ [_to_ MELANTHA.] Hold, hold, young Mars! Palamede, draw back
_Pala._ 'Tis time; I shall be drawn in for a second else at the wrong
_Mel._ O that I were a man, for thy sake!
_Dor._ You'll be a man as soon as I shall.
_Enter a Messenger to_ RHODOPHIL.
_Mess._ Sir, the king has instant business with you;
I saw the guard drawn up by your lieutenant,
Before the palace-gate, ready to march.
_Rho._ 'Tis somewhat sudden; say that I am coming. [_Exit Messenger._
Now, Palamede, what think you of this sport?
This is some sudden tumult; will you along?
_Pala._ Yes, yes, I will go; but the devil take me if ever I was less
in humour. Why the pox could they not have staid their tumult till
to-morrow? Then I had done my business, and been ready for them. Truth
is, I had a little transitory crime to have committed first; and I am
the worst man in the world at repenting, till a sin be thoroughly
done: But what shall we do with the two boys?
_Rho._ Let them take a lodging in the house, 'till the business be
_Dor._ What, lie with a boy? For my part, I own it, I cannot endure to
lie with a boy.
_Pala._ The more's my sorrow, I cannot accommodate you with a better
_Mel._ Let me die, if I enter into a pair of sheets with him that
hates the French.
_Dor._ Pish, take no care for us, but leave us in the streets; I
warrant you, as late as it is, I'll find my lodging as well as any
drunken bully of them all.
_Rho._ I'll light in mere revenge, and wreak my passion,
On all that spoil this hopeful assignation. [_Aside._
_Pala._ I'm sure we light in a good quarrel:
Rogues may pretend religion, and the laws;
But a kind mistress is the good old cause. [_Exuent._
_Enter_ PALMYRA, EUBULUS, _and_ HERMOGENES.
_Palm._ You tell me wonders; that Leonidas
Is prince Theagenes, the late king's son.
_Eub._ It seems as strange to him, as now to you,
Before I had convinced him; but, besides
His great resemblance to the king his father,
The queen his mother lives, secured by me
In a religious house, to whom, each year,
I brought the news of his increasing virtues.
My last long absence from you both was caused
By wounds, which in my journey I received,
When set upon by thieves; I lost those jewels
And letters, which your dying mother left.
_Herm._ The same he means, which, since, brought to the king,
Made him first know he had a child alive:
'Twas then my care of prince Leonidas,
Caused me to say he was the usurper's son;
Till after, forced by your apparent danger,
I made the true discovery of your birth,
And once more hid my prince's.
_Leon._ Hermogenes, and Eubulus, retire;
Those of our party, whom I left without,
Expect your aid and counsel. [_Exeunt_ HERM. _and_ EUB.
_Palm._ I should, Leonidas, congratulate
This happy change of your exalted fate;
But, as my joy, so you my wonder move.
Your looks have more of business than of love;
And your last words some great design did shew.
_Leon._ I frame not any to be hid from you;
You, in my love, all my designs may see.
But what have love and you designed for me?
Fortune, once more, has set the balance right;
First, equalled us in lowness; then, in height.
Both of us have so long, like gamesters, thrown,
Till fate comes round, and gives to each his own.
As fate is equal, so may love appear:
Tell me, at least, what I must hope, or fear.
_Palm._ After so many proofs, how can you call
My love in doubt? Fear nothing, and hope all.
Think what a prince, with honour, may receive,
Or I may give, without a parent's leave.
_Leon._ You give, and then restrain the grace you shew;
As ostentatious priests, when souls they woo,
Promise their heaven to all, but grant to few.
But do for me, what I have dared for you:
I did no argument from duty bring;
Duty's a name, and love's a real thing.
_Palm._ Man's love may, like wild torrents, overflow;
Woman's as deep, but in its banks must go.
My love is mine, and that I can impart;
But cannot give my person, with my heart.
_Leon._ Your love is then no gift:
For, when the person it does not convey,
'Tis to give gold, and not to give the key.
_Palm._ Then ask my father.
_Leon._ He detains my throne;
Who holds back mine, will hardly give his own.
_Palm._ What then remains?
_Leon._ That I must have recourse
To arms, and take my love and crown, by force.
Hermogenes is forming the design;
And with him all the brave and loyal join.
_Palm._ And is it thus you court Palmyra's bed?
Can she the murderer of her parent wed?
Desist from force: So much you well may give
To love, and me, to let my father live.
_Leon._ Each act of mine my love to you has shewn;
But you who tax my want of it, have none.
You bid me part with you, and let him live;
But they should nothing ask, who nothing give.
_Palm._ I give what virtue, and what duty can,
In vowing ne'er to wed another man.
_Leon._ You will be forced to be Argaleon's wife.
_Palm._ I'll keep my promise, though I lose my life.
_Leon._ Then you lose love, for which we both contend;
For life is but the means, but love's the end.
_Palm._ Our souls shall love hereafter.
_Leon._ I much fear,
That soul, which could deny the body here
To taste of love, would be a niggard there.
_Palm._ Then 'tis past hope: our cruel fate, I see,
Will make a sad divorce 'twixt you and me.
For, if you force employ, by heaven I swear,
And all blessed beings,--
_Leon._ Your rash oath forbear.
_Palm._ I never--
_Leon._ Hold once more. But yet, as he,
Who 'scapes a dangerous leap, looks back to see;
So I desire, now I am past my fear,
To know what was that oath you meant to swear.
_Palm._ I meant, that if you hazarded your life,
Or sought my father's, ne'er to be your wife.
_Leon._ See now, Palmyra, how unkind you prove!
Could you, with so much ease, forswear my love?
_Palm._ You force me with your ruinous design.
_Leon._ Your father's life is more your care, than mine.
_Palm._ You wrong me: 'Tis not, though it ought to be;
You are my care, heaven knows, as well as he.
_Leon._ If now the execution I delay,
My honour, and my subjects, I betray.
All is prepared for the just enterprise;
And the whole city will to-morrow rise.
The leaders of the party are within,
And Eubulus has sworn that he will bring,
To head their arms, the person of their king.
_Palm._ In telling this, you may be guilty too;
I therefore must discover what I know:
What honour bids you do, nature bids me prevent;
But kill me first, and then pursue your black intent.
_Leon._ Palmyra, no; you shall not heed to die;
Yet I'll not trust so strict a piety.
Eubulus, a guard prepare;
Here, I commit this prisoner to your care.
[_Kisses_ PALMYRA'S _hand, then gives it to_ EUBULUS.
_Palm._ Leonidas, I never thought these bands
Could e'er be given me by a lover's hands.
_Leon._ Palmyra, thus your judge himself arraigns; [_Kneeling._
He, who imposed these bands, still wears your chains:
When you to love or duty false must be,
Or to your father guilty, or to me,
These chains, alone, remain to set you free.
[_Noise of swords clashing._
Secure these, first: then search the inner room.
_Leon._ From whence do these tumultuous clamours come?
_Enter_ HERMOGENES, _hastily._
_Herm._ We are betrayed; and there remains alone
This comfort, that your person is not known.
_Enter the King,_ ARGALEON, RHODOPHIL, PALAMEDE, _Guards; some like
citizens, as prisoners._
_Poly._ What mean these midnight consultations here,
Where I like an unsummoned guest appear?
_Arga._ There needs no excuse; 'tis understood;
You were all watching for your prince's good.
_Poly._ My reverend city friends, you are well met!
On what great work were your grave wisdoms set?
Which of my actions were you scanning here?
What French invasion have you found to fear?
_Leon._ They are my friends; and come, sir, with intent,
To take their leaves, before my banishment.
_Poly._ Your exile in both sexes friends can find:
I see the ladies, like the men, are kind. [_Seeing_ PALMYRA.
_Palm._ Alas, I came but-- [_Kneeling._
_Poly._ Add not to your crime
A lie: I'll hear you speak some other time.
How? Eubulus! nor time, nor thy disguise,
Can keep thee undiscovered from my eyes.
A guard there! seize them all.
_Rho._ Yield, sir; what use of valour can be shewn?
_Pala._ One, and unarmed, against a multitude!
_Leon._ Oh for a sword! [_He reaches at one of the Guards' halberds,
and is seized behind._
I wonnot lose my breath
In fruitless prayers; but beg a speedy death.
_Palm._ O spare Leonidas, and punish me!
_Poly._ Mean girl, thou want'st an advocate for thee.
Now the mysterious knot will be untied;
Whether the young king lives, or where he died:
To-morrow's dawn shall the dark riddle clear,
Crown all my joys, and dissipate my fear. [_Exeunt._