Captives, The. A Tragedy - Act 1, Scene 2


Ara. Whence come ye, rev'rend Fathers; why these looks
Of terror and amaze? why gaze ye back
As if the strides of Death stalk'd close behind you?
1st Mag. The King ev'n at this solemn hour of Night
Sent privately to call us to his presence.
Ye Gods preserve him!
Ara. Why this wild confusion?
In ev'ry passing face I read suspicion,
And haggard fear. Has sickness seiz'd the King,
And groans he with the latest pang of death?
Speak forth your terrors.
2d Mag. May Phraortes live!
Orba. Tell us the cause. If violence or treachery,
Our duty bids us interpose our lives
Between the King and death. O Heaven, defend him!
1st Mag. The King, disturb'd by visionary dreams,
Bad the most learn'd Magicians stand before him.
We stood before the King; and the King trembled
While he declar'd his dream; and thus I spoke
" O may the great Phraortes live for ever!
" Avert the dire presages of the dream!
" This night the Gods have warn'd thee to beware
" Of deep-laid treasons, ripe for execution;
" Assassination lurks within the palace,
" And murder grasps the dagger for the blow.
" If the King trusts his steps beyond his chamber,
" I see him bleed! I hear his dying groan!
" Obey the voice of Heav'n.
2d Mag. The King is wise;
And therefore to the will of Heav'n assented;
Nor will he trust his life, a nation's safety,
From out the royal chamber. See the dawn
Breaks in the East, and calls us to devotion.
It is not Man; but 'tis the Gods he fears.
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