Captives, The. A Tragedy - Act 5, Scene 3


Phra. Bid them suspend a while the sacrifice,
The Queen requires a private conference
On matters that concern the state. Withdraw.
Now speak, my Queen; I'm ready to obey.
Ast. All is not safe. Your state still harbours treason.
Ev'n now I tremble for my Lord the King;
For through the dark the traytor's arrow flies;
And which way will you turn your shield against it?
Phra. What means my Queen?
Ast. Cast off all clemency;
So shall your throne stand firm to latest time.
Phra. And has my danger giv'n Astarbe fear?
Where shall I find reward for so much goodness?
I swear by Jove , and yon wide sapphire Heaven,
Astarbe 's will shall fix the King's decree.
Ast. What shall be done to him, whose lying lips
Mis-lead the King from the strait paths of justice?
Phra. Media decrees that death shall be his portion.
Ast. What is ordain'd for him, who (when the King
Entrusts the royal signet in his hands)
Dares contradict the sacred mandate?
Phra. Death.
Ast. What shall our laws inflict on that bold miscreant,
Who saves th' offender whom the King condemns?
Phra. The fatal sentence falls upon his head.
Ast. Let justice then support the throne of Media ,
Let justice then preserve thy sacred life!
All these offences are that captive woman's,
Who with feign'd tears beg'd pity and revenge.
With lying lips she fell before the throne,
She turn'd the King from the strait paths of justice,
The royal seal was trusted in her hands;
Presumptuously she broke the sacred mandate,
She spar'd whom you condemn'd, and with vile treachery
Hath set Sophernes free. So this assassin
Shall kindle new rebellions in your Empire.
Phra. These flagrant crimes demand immediate death.
Ast. Let it be so. The King is wise and just.
Phra. She shall this instant bleed. Audacious woman!
Ast. Let her endure the shameful pomp of death,
Expose her through the city's publick street;
So shall your people's shouts extol your justice;
So shall you strike your enemies with fear,
And awe them to subjection. Bring her forth;
Here let her bleed, ev'n on this holy ground,
Before the presence; Jove delights in justice,
The righteous sacrifice shall please the Gods.
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