Obrázky stránek
PDF
ePub

THE FALSE ONE: A TRAGEDY. BY JOHN FLETCHER.

Ptolomy, King of Egypt, presents to Cæsar the head of Pompey.

Cæsar rebukes the Egyptians for their treachery and ingratitude.

CÆSAR, ANTHONY, DOLLABELA, SCEVA, Romans;

PTOLOMY, PHOTINUS, ACHILLAS, Egyptians. Pho. Hail, conqueror and head of all the world, Now this head's off.

Ces. Ha !

Pho. Do not shun me, Cæsar.
From kingly Ptolomy I bring this present,
The crown and sweat of thy Pharsalian labour ;
The goal and mark of high ambitious honour.
Before, thy victory had no name, Cæsar ;
Thy travail and thy loss of blood no recompence;
Thou dream’dst of being worthy and of war;
And all thy furious conflicts were but slumbers ;
Here they take life, here they inherit honour,
Grow fix'd and shoot up everlasting triumphs.
Take it and look upon thy humble servant,
With noble eyes look on the princely Ptolomy,
That offers with this head, most mighty Cæsar,
What thou would'st once have given for't, all Egypt.

Ach. Nor do not question it, most royal conqueror,
Nor disesteem the benefit that meets thee,
Because 'tis easily got, it comes the safer.
Yet let me tell thee, most imperious Cæsar,
Though he oppos'd no strength of swords to win this,
Nor labour'd through no showers of darts and lances,
Yet here he found a fort that faced him strongly,
An inward war: He was his grandsire's guest,

Friend to his father, and when he was expell’d
And beaten from this kingdom by strong hand,
And had none left him to restore his honour,
No hope to find a friend in such a misery;
Then in stept Pompey, took his feeble fortune,
Strengthen'd and cherish'd it, and set it right again.
This was a love to Cæsar !

Sce. Give me hate, gods.

Pho. This Cæsar may account a little wicked; But yet remember, if thine own hands, conqueror, Had fall'n upon him, what it had been then; If thine own sword had touch'd his throat, what that way; He was thy son-in-law, there to be tainted Had been most terrible: let the worst be renderd, We have deserv'd for keeping thy hands innocent.

Cæs. O Sceva, Sceva, see that head; see, captains, The head of godlike Pompey.

Sce. He was basely ruin'd,
But let the gods be griev'd that suffer'd it,
And be

you Cæsar.
Cæs. Oh thou conqueror,
Thou glory of the world once, now the pity,
Thou awe of nations, wherefore didst thou fall thus ?
What

poor fate follow'd thee and pluck'd thee on
To trust thy sacred life to an Egyptian ;
The life and light of Rome to a blind stranger,
That honourable war ne'er taught a nobleness,
Nor worthy circumstance shew'd what a man was ;
That never heard thy name sung but in banquets
And loose lascivious pleasures ; to a boy,
That had no faith to comprehend thy greatness,
No study of thy life to know thy goodness :
And leave thy nation, nay, thy noble friend,
Leave him distrusted, that in tears falls with thee,
In soft relenting tears! Hear me, great Pompey,

If thy great spirit can hear, I must task thee :
Thou'st most unnobly robb'd me of my victory,
My love and mercy.

Ant. O how brave these tears shew!
How excellent is sorrow in an enemy!

Dol. Glory appears not greater than this goodness.

Cæs. Egyptians, dare you think your high pyramides, , Built to out-dure the sun as you suppose, Where your unworthy kings lie rak'd in ashes, Are monuments fit for him ? No, brood of Nilus, Nothing can cover his high fame but heaven, No pyramids set off his memories But the eternal substance of his greatness : To which I leave him. Take the head away, And with the body give it noble burial. Your earth shall now be bless'd to hold a Roman, Whose braveries all the world's earth cannot balanceYou look now, king, And you

that have been agents in this glory, For our especial favour?

Ptol. We desire it.

Cæs. And doubtless you expect rewards ? I forgive you

all: that's recompence. You are young and ignorant; that pleads your pardon; And fear, it may be, more than hate provok'd ye. Your ministers I must think wanted judgment. And so they err’d; I am bountiful to think this, Believe me, most bountiful; be you most thankful, That bounty share amongst ye: if I knew What to send you for a present, king of Egypt, I mean, a head of equal reputation, And that you lov'd, though it were your brightest sister's *, (But her you hate) I would not be behind ye.

Cleopatra.

Ye are poor

Ptol. Hear me, great Cæsar.

Cæs. I have heard too much :
And study not with smooth shows to invade
My noble mind as you have done my conquest.

and

open: I must tell ye roundly, That man that could not recompence the benefits, The great and bounteous services of Pompey, Can never doat upon the name of Cæsar. Though I Had hated Pompey, and allow'd his ruin, Hasty to please in blood are seldom trusty: And but I stand environ'd with my victories, My fortune never failing to befriend me, My noble strengths and friends about my person, I durst not try ye, nor expect a courtesy Above the pious love you shew'd to Pompey. You've found me merciful in arguing with you; Swords, hangmen, fires, destructions of all natures, Demolishments of kingdoms, and whole ruins, Are wont to be my orators. Turn to tears, You wretched and poor seeds of sun-burnt Egypt : And now you've found the nature of a conqueror, That you cannot decline with all your flatteries, That where the day gives light will be himself still, Know how to meet his worth with human courtesies. Go, and embalm the bones of that great soldier ; Howl round about his pile, fling on your spices, Make a Sabæan bed, and place this Phænix Where the hot sun may emulate his virtues, And draw another Pompey from his ashes Divinely great, and fix him 'mongst the worthies.

Ptol. We will do all.

Cæs. You've robb'd him of those tears
His kindred and his friends kept sacred for him,
The virgins of their funeral lamentations ;

And that kind earth that thought to cover him,
His country's earth, will cry out 'gainst your cruelty,
And weep unto the ocean for revenge,
Till Nilus raise his seven heads and devour ye.
My grief has stopt the rest : when Pompey lived,
He used you nobly ; now he is dead, use him so.

LOVE'S PILGRIMAGE: A COMEDY. BY JOHN FLETCHER.

Leocadia leaves her Father's house, disguised in man's apparel,

to travel in search of Mark-antonio, to whom she is contracted, but has been deserted by him. When at length she meets with him, she finds, that by a precontract he is the Husband of Theodosia. In this extremity, Philippo, Brother to Theodosia, offers Leocadia marriage.

PHILIPPO. LEOCADIA.

Phi. Will you not hear me ?

Leo. I have heard so much,
Will keep me deaf for ever. No, Mark-antonio,
After thy sentence I may hear no more,
Thou hast pronounc'd me dead.

Phi. Appeal to reason ;
She will reprieve you from the power of grief,
Which rules but in her absence; hear me say
A sovereign message from her, which in duty,
And love to your own safety, you ought hear.
Why do you strive so ? whither would you fly?
You cannot wrest yourself away from care,
You may from counsel; you may shift your place,
But not your person ; and another clime
Makes you no other.

« PředchozíPokračovat »