Captives, The. A Tragedy - Act 1, Scene 1

ACT I. Scene I.


Hydarnes. Conspirators.

1st Consp. Is night near spent?
2d Consp. 'Tis yet the dead of night;
And not a glimm'ring ray behind yon hills
Fore-runs the morning's dawn.
1st Consp. Thus far w'are safe.
2d Consp. Silence and Sleep throughout the Palace reign.
1st Consp. Success is now secure.
2d Consp. Are all assembled?
1st Consp. Our number's not compleat.
2d Consp. What, not yet come!
Those two were over-zealous. It looks ill.
1st Consp. Why fear ye? I'm their pledge. I know them brave.
They'll soon be with us and partake our glory.
Hyd. What mean these murmurs?
1st Consp. If mistrust divide us,
Our enterprize is foil'd, and we are lost.
Hyd. My vengeful heart pants for the glorious deed,
And my thirst quickens for Phraortes ' blood.
Why stops the lazy night? — O morning, rise;
Call up the drowsy Priests to the day's task;
The King to day the holy hill ascends,
And prostrate falls before the rising sun.
1st Consp. The sun shall rise, but rise to him no more.
For as he passes from the royal chamber
This strikes him home.
2d Consp. Let each man give him death.
We cannot be too sure.
Hyd. Revenge is mine.
By him my father fell, by him my brothers;
They fail'd, they perish'd in the great design:
Success and vengeance are reserv'd for me.
My father led the Median hosts to battle,
And all the hosts of Media sung his triumphs.
1st Consp. The people's hearts were his.
Hyd. The people saw
His royal virtues. He, to please his country,
Grasp'd at the sceptre which Phraortes holds.
For this he suffer'd ignominious death:
His house was raz'd; my brave, unhappy brothers
Fell in his ruin; I alone escap'd;
In banishment I've sigh'd whole years away,
Unknown, forgot — But now, even in his glory,
Now, while he leads the Persian Princes captive,
And overflows whole nations with his armies,
I'll stab him to the heart.
2d Consp. What sound was that?
1st Consp. Lights pass a-cross the rooms, and hasty steps
Move to the King's apartment. Sleep is fled,
And all the palace lives; Phraortes wakes.
2d Consp. Hush! hark again!
1st Consp. The ecchoes of the night
Catch ev'ry whisper.
2d Consp. Some have overheard us.
1st Consp. It must be so. The guards have took th' alarm.
Our Lives, (what's worse) our enterprize is lost!
2d Consp. Retreat, my friends: let us reserve ourselves
For some more prosp'rous hour.
Hyd. You raise up phantoms,
Then start at them your selves. Some sickly qualm
Has wak'd the King too soon. Hence spring your fears,
Hence grows this mean surprize. Are these your boasts?
Danger but whets the edge of resolution,
And at each noise I grasp my dagger faster.
Is every thing dispos'd to give th' alarm
Among the Persian captives? Hope of freedom
Will arm them on our side.
1st Consp. Were the blow struck,
The rest would follow.
Hyd. See a gleam of light
Darts from the King's apartment. Man your hearts,
Be firm, be ready. Let not trembling fear
Misguide your aim; let ev'ry wound be mortal.
1st Consp. This way and that way danger presses near us.
Where shall we fly? The tread of nimble feet
Hurries from room to room, and all the palace
Swarms as at noon.
2d Consp. Let us consult our safety.
1st Consp. To stay and to be taken is despair;
And what's despair? but poor, mean cowardice.
By timely caution heroes are preserv'd
For glorious enterprize, and mighty kingdoms
Are levell'd with the dust.
Hyd. Withdraw yourselves.
Be still, and listen. These will best inform us
If still it may be done; or if the blow
Must be deferr'd. But hush, they come upon us.
Rate this poem: 


No reviews yet.