Captives, The. A Tragedy - Act 4, Scene 10


Ast. Who shall appease this tempest of my soul?
'Tis done. He's dead: now it will rage for ever!
Yet why? Hence, conscience. All I did was justice.
Am I the cause? I proffer'd life and love.
The murder was not mine. Why then this horror?
Could a Queen bear such insolence and scorn?
Was I not injured? shall I not resent?
He well deserv'd his fate. Ungrateful man!
The bloody spectacle shall please revenge,
And fix eternal hatred in my heart.
Hah! speak: what art? — —
It moves! it comes! where shall I hide me from it?
Nature shrinks back, and shivers at the sight.
Cyl. See at your feet a poor unhappy captive.
O may the Queen be gracious to her servant!
Ast. Araxes said that he had let you forth,
And by command you went before the King.
Why has he thus deceiv'd me?
Cyl. Turn not away;
Bestow one look of pity on a wretch,
Who lifts her eyes to you for grace and pardon.
Ast. Pardon! for what? you did it by command.
Is it a crime t'obey the voice of justice?
And did not thy own wrongs demand his blood?
What has detain'd thee in that horrid place?
Was it to hear him in the pangs of death,
And taste the pleasure of his dying groan?
Stretch forth thy hands. Where are the crimson stains?
Where lies the reeking sword? Is he yet cold?
'Twas bravely done. — Go, haste, before the Throne;
Phraortes shall reward thee for this service.
Cyl. When I shall stand before that awful presence,
How shall I stem the torrent of his wrath!
Then let the Queen instill soft mercy in him,
And intercede to spare a wretched wife.
Ast. Make known thy crime.
Cyl. All my offence is love.
Sophernes is my husband.
Ast. Hast thou kill'd him?
Cyl. No. I dar'd disobey. My love has sav'd him.
With lying speeches I deceiv'd the King,
Accus'd Sophernes of imagin'd crimes.
And thus have giv'n him life. My veil conceal'd him,
And brought him forth from death. This is my guilt.
If e'er your heart has felt the tender passion,
You will forgive this just, this pious fraud.
Who would not do the same for him she loves?
Consult thy heart; and Pity will plead for me.
Ast. How dar'd you contradict the King's command?
Cyl. No power on earth commands the heart but Love,
And I obey'd my heart.
Ast. Thy life is forfeit.
Dar'st thou avow thy crime?
Cyl. I glory in it.
If 'tis a crime, when innocence is wrong'd
To snatch it from the rage of credulous Power;
If 'tis a crime to succour the distrest;
If 'tis a crime to relieve injur'd virtue;
If 'tis a crime to be a faithful wife;
Those crimes are mine. For I have sav'd my husband.
Ast. Is this an answer turn'd to move compassion!
Such insolence is only match'd in him.
Thine is the most consummate pitch of treason.
Who gave thee power? Are traytors at thy mercy?
Let not hope flatter thee. Nor prayers nor tears
Shall turn away the sword of justice from thee.
Rash woman, know, thy life shall pay his ransom.
Cyl. Alas! my life is of too little price;
Such as it is, I freely give it for him.
May safety guard his days, and watch his nights!
May ev'ry sun rise happier than the last,
'Till he shall reascend his native throne!
Then think upon Cylene . Heaven shall aid thee
To punish Media for thy murder'd wife.
Ast. Araxes! Seize this bold presumptuous woman.
Your charge, beneath her veil is fled from justice.
And she dares own the crime. I fear your duty
Will be suspected. Lead her to the dungeon.
There wait thy fate.
Cyl. Ye Gods, preserve Sophernes .
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