Captives, The. A Tragedy - Act 4, Scene 7


Cap. Come forth, Sophernes .
Soph. I will meet thee, Death.
Cap. Draw near.
Soph. Hark! was it not a woman's voice?
That voice no more is sweet; — Cylene 's dead.
Yes. 'Tis the Queen. Here satiate thy revenge,
My bosom heaves, and longs to meet the dagger.
Why is thy hand so slow?
Cap. Look on this face,
Is not thy heart acquainted with these eyes?
And is thy ear a stranger to this voice?
What, not a word!
Soph. O dear delusion!
Cyl. Wake.
'Tis thy Cylene calls, thy lost Cylene .
Cannot this bosom warm thee into life?
Cannot this voice recall thy sinking spirits?
Cannot these lips restore thee? O look up;
Thy voice, thy lips, could call me from the dead.
Look up, and give me comfort.
Soph. 'Tis Cylene .
'Tis no delusion. Do I live to see thee?
And must I be torn from thee? cruel thought!
O tyrant Death, now thou hast made me fear thee!
Cyl. When will misfortunes leave us?
Soph. Death must end them.
'Twas said you fell in battle; from that time
I lost all pleasure, and desire of life.
Cyl. In that sad day of our adversity,
When Persia was made captive, every eye
Wept for the fall of my dear Lord Sophernes ,
For you they sorrow'd, and forgot their bondage.
I lost my self in heart-consuming grief,
And lest a conqueror's arrogance and pride
Should tempt him to condemn a captive Queen
To his loose hours, industriously I spread
The rumour of my death; and by those means
Have sigh'd away my days obscure, unknown.
Soph. How gain'd you this access? and why that dagger?
Cyl. This is no time for talk; consult thy safety.
Catch at the present moment, for the next
May throw us back again into despair.
Soph. What means, my love? No innocence can stand
Against the voice of perjur'd calumny.
Cyl. This dagger was design'd to murder thee;
And I am sent upon that bloody errand.
This hand that now is thrown about thy neck
Was to have done the deed. O horrid thought!
Unknown, among a train of captive women,
They brought me to the palace: there I learnt
The tale of thy unhappy sufferings,
And how the King had sign'd the fatal sentence.
I fell before the throne, extoll'd his justice;
Then, with feign'd tears, and well dissembled speech
Charg'd thee with violation of my honour,
And murder of a husband. He was mov'd;
Pleas'd with my bold request, he heard my prayer,
And for revenge and justice gave me this.
But the time flies. I come, my Lord, to save thee.
'Tis by that hope, I live.
Soph. That hope is past:
It is impossible. Resentment, power,
And perjury, all work against my life.
O how I fear to dye! for thee, I fear,
To leave thee thus expos'd, a helpless Captive,
In a strange land, and not one friend to chear thee!
Cyl. I think thou lov'st me.
Soph. Sure thou long hast known it.
Cyl. Is there ought that I could deny Sophernes?
No. I have try'd my heart!
Soph. What mean these doubts?
I never gave you cause.
Cyl. Then promise, swear,
That you will not refuse me what I ask;
Thus on her knees Cylene begs it of you.
Soph. Does this appear like love? speak, and 'tis granted.
Cyl. I thank thee. Thou hast given me all my wishes,
For now thy life is safe; and sav'd by me.
Here, take this veil; this shall secure thy flight,
With this thou shalt deceive the watchful guard.
O blest occasion! fly, my Lord, with speed;
I never wish'd to part till now.
Soph. What, go and leave thee thus! my heart forbids it.
No. Death is all that I am doom'd to suffer;
But thy distress is more.
Cyl. Dispute it not.
Hast thou not sworn?
Soph. What never can be done.
Why wilt thou force severer torture on me?
No. Give me death; I chuse the slighter pain.
When I am dead, may the just Gods relieve thee.
Cyl. Was ever love thus obstinately cruel!
Only thy life can save me; think on that.
Like the deaf rock he stands immoveable.
How my fears grow, and chill my shiv'ring heart!
Has then thy stubbornness resolv'd to kill me?
Soph. Shall I that was her shield in every danger
Abandon her to the rude hand of power?
Cyl. Hear me, my Lord; embrace the happy moment;
This is, perhaps, the last that is allow'd us.
Soph. What! give her my distress!
Cyl. Look up, and answer.
Have my words lost all int'rest in thy heart?
Hear then my purpose; and I will perform it.
I'll never feel the pang of that sad hour
When thou shalt suffer. No. I'll dye before thee.
How gracious was this Present of the King.
'Tis kind, 'tis merciful, 'twill give me peace,
And show me more compassion than Sophernes .
Soph. O give me strength, ye Powers, to break my chains,
That I may force the lifted weapon from her!
Spare, spare thy dearer life! I grant thee all.
I will abandon thee to my distresses;
I'll fly this instant; by our loves, I will.
The Gods are kind. O may their mercy save her!
Cyl. From thy dear hands I take the galling chains.
Lest danger intercept thee, haste, be gone:
And as thou valuest mine, secure thy life.
Thou hadst no hope. Who knows but my offence
May find forgiveness! 'tis a crime of love;
And love 's a powerful advocate to mercy.
Soph. O how I struggle to unloose my heart-strings,
That are so closely knit and twin'd with thine!
Is't possible that we may meet again?
That thought has filled my soul with resolution.
Farewell: may Heaven support thee, and redress us!
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