Captives, The. A Tragedy - Act 1, Scene 3


Hyd. Let's quit the palace while retreat is safe.
The deed must be deferr'd. Revenge, be calm.
This day is his, to-morrow shall be ours.
Orba. See that each centinel is on strict watch.
Let all the Guards be doubled; bar the gates,
That not a man pass forth without observance.
Go you; and with the utmost vigilance
Scarch ev'ry room; for treason lyes in wait.
Ara. Divide yourselves this instant o'er the palace.
Think Media is in danger; and remember
That he who takes a traytor, saves the King.
Orba. Whence can these dangers threaten?
Ara. From the Persians .
Captivity's a yoke that galls the shoulders
Of new-made slaves, and makes them bold and resty.
He that is born in chains may tamely bear them;
But he that once has breath'd the air of freedom,
Knows life is nothing when depriv'd of that.
Our lord the King has made a people slaves,
And ev'ry slave is virtuously rebellious.
I fear the Persian Prince.
Orba. You injure him.
I know him, have convers'd with him whole days,
And ev'ry day I stronger grew in virtue.
Load not th' unhappy with unjust suspicion;
Adversity ne'er shakes the heart of honour:
He who is found a villain, in distress,
Was never virtuous.
Ara. Who suspects his virtue?
'Tis not dishonest to demand our right;
And freedom is the property of man.
Orba. That glorious day when Persia was subdu'd,
Sophernes fought amidst a host of foes,
Disdaining to survive his country's fate.
When the whole torrent of the war rush'd on,
Phraories interpos'd his shield, and sav'd him.
And canst thou think this brave, this gen'rous Prince
Would stab the man to whom he owes his life?
Ara. Whoever is, must feel himself, a slave.
And 'tis worth struggling to shake off his chains.
Orba. But gratitude has cool'd his soul to patience.
Ingratitude's a crime the Persians hate;
Their laws are wise, and punish it with death.
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