Captives, The. A Tragedy - Act 5, Scene 7


Hyd. Thus far I'm undiscover'd. — Now 's my time.
The King of Media 's given into my hands.
And when he leaves his guards to trust the Gods,
Ev'n while he prostrate falls, and lifts his eyes
To the bright God of day, th' all-seeing sun;
This shall dispatch him first, and then Hydarnes .
1 st Mag. Now let the King advance.
Phra. O glorious Sun!
What means this consternation in all eyes?
Whence this alarm, and all this wild disorder?
Hah! who lies here thus weltring in his blood,
Gasping for life? what means this horrid murder?
Strike not till I command, [ To the Executioner ]. Who did this deed?
1 st Mag. Behold the man. What bounty can reward him?
What shall be done for him who sav'd the King?
Phra. Say who, and whence thou art?
Soph. A wretched man
Who comes to take his sentence on him, death.
Sophernes was condemn'd; 'tis he must suffer.
Spare then that pattern of heroic virtue.
The sentence is not hers; I claim my right.
Sophernes stands before you, and demands it.
Cyl. O stay not for the signal. Give the blow.
Save him, ye Gods! Why is the stroke delay'd?
The King has sworn. O may my death preserve him!
Phra. Suspend her sentence till my further orders.
Who slew this man? what mov'd thee to the murder?
Why hast thou stain'd this holy place with blood?
Soph. That villain who lies groveling there before thee,
Had rais'd his arm to take thy life, O King;
And as the point descended, in the moment
I laid him low; and Heaven has done me justice.
If favour shall reward me for this deed,
Spare my Cylene , grant her your protection.
I ask not life, for without her 'tis nothing.
Ast. Where will this end? How are my schemes destroy'd!
Fear chills my heart, and guilt lies heavy on me.
Leave me not, Hell: desert not now thy cause.
I've gone too far. O blind the eyes of justice!
And sink me not in ruin and perdition.
Phra. Know you this bold Assassin? View him well.
Hyd. Ay, gaze upon me.
Orba. Sure I've seen this man.
Soph. Among the crowd I mark'd this perjur'd wretch,
Who charg'd me with ingratitude and treason.
With fury in his looks, and hasty strides
He stept before me; strait he rais'd his dagger:
In justice to my self and thee, I smote him.
Ast. Where shall I hide me? how my fears distract me!
Who knows the torment of the guilty wretch,
When accusation stares him in the face?
Then all our spirits sink into despair,
And when we want most strength, then most it fails us.
He speaks, and I'm betray'd. Why err'd the dagger!
To bring confusion, shame and death upon me.
Where shall I fly? — for conscience will detect me,
'Twill faulter on my tongue, and stain my cheek.
O horror! O disgrace! — I fly from shame.
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