Captives, The. A Tragedy - Act 2, Scene 5


Ara. All health attend the mighty Queen of Media ,
Ast. I'm told, Araxes , that the Persian Prince
Hath join'd in horrid league, and hath conspir'd
The murther of my lord and king Phraortes .
Speak forth; say what thou know'st.
Ara. The hand of heaven
Protects the King; and all the black design
Is shown in open daylight. The foul traitor
Is taken in the snares of death he laid.
Sophernes is my charge. O base ingratitude,
That he, whom the King honour'd next himself,
That he, whom the King's mercy spar'd in battle,
Should mix with vile assassins! Justice longs
To punish the vast crime.
Ast. Owns he the guilt?
Ara. No. With the calmest face of innocence,
With looks known only to hypocrisy,
He solemnly deny'd it.
Ast. Is he confin'd?
Ara. Yes, with the strictest guard and heaviest irons.
The prison joining to the Queen's apartment
Lodges the horrid crew in sep'rate dungeons.
To-day the King will mount the judgment-seat,
And death shall be their portion.
Ast. Is Sophernes
Stubborn and sullen? made he no confession?
I often have convers'd with that vile man,
That hypocrite, whose talk was always honest.
How have I been deceiv'd — Yet, ere his sentence,
With secresy I fain once more would see him.
Ara. I'm happy to obey my queen's commands.
His prison lies so close to these apartments.
That unobserv'd I can conduct him hither.
Ast. I know thee faithfull, and such ready zeal
Shall always find reward.
Ara. The Queen is gracious.
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