Captives, The. A Tragedy - Act 1, Scene 6


Arax . Behold your leader. Where are now your hopes
Of murd'ring Kings and over-turning nations?
See with what stedfast eyes they gaze upon him,
As thinking him the man that has betray'd them.
Angry Suspicion frowns on ev'ry brow,
They know their guilt, and each mistrusts the other.
We seiz'd them in th'attempt to make escape,
All arm'd, all desperate, all of them unknown,
And ev'ry one is obstinately dumb.
I charge you, speak. Know you that prisoner there?
Ay, view him well. Confess, and merit grace.
What, not a word! Will you accept of life?
Speak, and 'tis granted. Tortures shall compel you.
Will you, or you, or you, or any of you?
What, all resolv'd on death! Bring forth the chains.
Orba. Be not too rash, nor treat the Prince too roughly.
He may be innocent.
Arax . You are too partial.
I know my duty. Justice treats alike
Those who alike offend, without regard
To dignity or office. Bring the chains.
Orba. This over-zeal perhaps may give offence,
The Prince is treated like no common slave.
Phraortes strives to lessen his affliction,
Nor would he add a sigh to his distresses:
Astarbe too will talk to him whole hours
With all the tender manners of her sex,
To shorten the long tedious days of bondage.
I'll be his guard. My life shall answer for him.
Ara. My life must answer for him. He 's my charge,
And this is not a time for courtesy.
Are you still resolute and bent on death?
Once more I offer mercy. When the torture
Cracks all your sinews and disjoints your bones,
And death grins on you arm'd with all his terrors,
'Twill loose your stubborn tongue. Know ye this man?
Hyd. We know him not; nor why we wear these chains.
We ask no mercy, but appeal to justice.
Now you know all we know: lead to our dungeons.
Orba. How have you wrong'd the Prince! these shameful irons
Should not disgrace the hands of innocence.
Let 's set him free.
Ara. This is all artifice,
To let their leader scape. Guards, take him hence,
And let him be confin'd till further orders.
Soph. Who shall plead for me in a foreign land!
My words will find no faith; for I'm a stranger:
And who holds friendship with adversity?
So Fate may do its worst. I'm tir'd of life.
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