Captives, The. A Tragedy - Act 3, Scene 10


Phra. Arise, fair maid; and let thy suit be heard.
Cap. The King has done his prostrate servant justice.
Thus low I pay my thanks to Heaven and you.
Phra. Rise from that humble posture, and speak forth.
Cap. The Persian Prince, to whom we owe our bondage,
'Tis said, is doom'd to death for horrid treachery.
Phra. He well deserves it. If you fall before me,
To melt me into mercy with your tears,
Woman, your tears are frustrate. Take her hence.
Cap. I speak for mercy! No. I sue for tortures.
With rapture I could gaze upon his sufferings,
Enjoy his agonies and dying groans,
And then this hand could stab him to the heart.
Phra. Whence rose this furious spirit of revenge?
Cap. By brutal violence he slew my husband.
Excuse my tears. Love calls them from my eyes;
With him I lost all joy, all peace and comfort.
Phra. What mov'd Sophernes to the barbarous deed?
Cap. My husband was distinguish'd in his armies;
With him I always shar'd the toils of war,
The tedious marches, and the scorching suns,
For Love makes all fatigue seem light and easy.
Sophernes saw me, sigh'd, and spoke his passion.
I spurn'd his offers, and despis'd his suit.
He still persisted, and my virtue strengthen'd:
'Till on a day, inflam'd with loose desire,
He sent my Lord upon some feign'd command;
I in his tent sate waiting his return,
Then suddenly the ravisher rush'd in.
Phra. Go on.
Cap. He seiz'd me, tore me, dragg'd me to his Arms;
In vain I struggled; by resistance weaken'd,
I lost all strength, and so — he spoil'd my Honour.
O shame! O brutal force!
Phra. Unhappy woman!
Cap. Just in the moment of my shame
My husband enter'd. Strait the villain left me,
And, desperate by the stings of guilt and terror,
He stabb'd him to the heart.
Phra. Most monstrous villain!
His life 's a series of the blackest crimes,
Cap. I in the hurry of the murder fled,
And 'scap'd the tyrant's power. Alone, disguis'd,
I've past away my restless hours in sorrow.
Revenge was all my wish, and all my comfort,
For that I watch'd him thro' long weary marches,
And Revenge gave me strength and resolution.
Why fell he not by me? His crime requir'd it.
Vengeance o'ertakes him for another guilt,
And I have lost revenge. O may he feel
The pain and horror due to both his crimes.
Phra. His death is sign'd.
Cap. That is his due for treachery.
Phra. What would Revenge have more? Th' offender's blood
Allays its strongest thirst.
Cap. Most gracious King,
Hear an unhappy woman's just petition,
And may my prayer find favour and acceptance!
Grant me to see him in his latest gasp;
Let my appearance strike him with confusion,
Let me awake fresh terrors in his conscience,
And bring my murther'd husband to his view.
Entrust the sword of justice in my hand;
The stroke shall then be sure.
Phra. What fortitude
Lies hid beneath that face of softest feature!
The death of his confederates is sign'd,
And he with privacy this very evening
Shall be dispatch'd in prison. Now you're satisfy'd.
Cap. O, were that office mine!
Ast. For such offence
He cannot feel too much; her suit is just.
Then let me intercede in her behalf;
Grant her request. Give her the fatal signet.
Give her the dagger. — Such revenge is virtue.
Phra. Take this; your boon is granted. Soon my orders
Shall send you to revenge a husband's murther.
Let her attend without. Draw near, Araxes .
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