Captives, The. A Tragedy - Act 4, Scene 5


Ara. Come forth, unhappy Prince; excuse my words:
'Tis with reluctance that I bring the message.
Your death 's at hand,
Soph. Death is the only friend
That I have left; thy message is most welcome.
My friend 's at hand; O how long I to meet him!
In him is all my hope, in him my refuge,
He shall disburthen me of all misfortune,
He shall wipe off calamity and sorrow,
And give me peace and everlasting rest.
I thank thee for the news.
Ara. Such unconcern,
Such steady fortitude amidst afflictions
Was never seen till now.
Soph. My wife is dead!
And I have no attachment to the world.
What is 't to live? And who counts life a blessing?
It is to see Injustice hold the scale,
And weigh with partial hand the deeds of men;
It is to see a race of servile flatterers
Worship the author of all mischief, Gold;
To see Oppression rich, and Virtue starving.
Death only closes this distasteful scene.
Ara. This scorn of death appears like innocence.
Soph. All mortal justice errs. Heav'n knows the heart.
'Tis easy in my circumstance to dye.
For I have no possessions to forgo,
My kingdom is another's. Round my couch
No faithful servants stand with weeping eyes:
No darling children cling around my neck,
And with fond kisses warm my hollow cheek;
No wife, who, (worn, and wearied out with grief)
Faints in my arms. These give the pangs of death;
These make us covet life. But I leave nothing.
Ara. What manly resolution! I grieve for you.
Soph. At death's approach the guilty conscience trembles,
But I have not those horrors. — — Hark, he knocks.
With what impatient joy I come to meet thee!
Ara. Farewell, thou most unfortunate of men;
A mind so great, unshaken by distress,
Deserved a nobler end. Forgive my duty,
It seems severe, but 'tis the King's command.
The dungeon must confine you.
Soph. I submit.
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