Imagens das páginas

As 'twere a pause of nature; on the beach
No murmuring billow breaks; the Grecian tents
Lie sunk in sleep; no gleaming fires are seen;
AU Syracuse is hushd; no stir abroad,
Save ever and anon the dashing oar,
That beats the sullen wave. And hark !_Was that
The groan of anguish from Evander's cell,
Piercing the midnight gloom ?-It is the sound
Of bustling prows, that cleave the briny deep.
Perhaps at this dead hour Hamilcar's feet
Rides in the bay.

Enter PHILOTAS, from the Cavern.
Phil. What ho! brave Arcas! ho!
Arcas. Why thus desert thy couch?

Phil. Methought the sound
Of distant uproar chas'd affrighted sleep.

Arcas, At intervals the oar's resounding stroke
Comes echoing from the main. Save that report,
A death-like silence through the wide expanse
Broods o'er the dreary coast.

Phil. Do thou retire,
And seek repose; the duty of thy watch
Is now perform’d; I take thy post.

Arcas. How fares
Your royal pris'ner?

Phil. Arcas, shall I own
A secret weakness ? My heart inward melts
To see that suffering vir le. On the earth,
The cold, damp earth, the royal victim lies ;
And while pale famine drinks his vital spirit,
He welcomes death, and smiles himself to rest.
Oh! would I could relieve him!
Arcas. May no alarm disturb thee.

Phil. Some dread event is lab'ring into birth.
At close of day the sullen sky held forth
Unerring signals. With disastrous glare,
The moon's full orb rose crimson'd o'er with blood;

And lo! athwart the gloom a falling star
Trails a long tract of fire !-What daring step
Sounds on the flinty rock! Stand there; what, ho!
Speak, ere thou dar'st advance. Unfold thy purpose :
Who and what art thou?

Eup. [Within.] Mine no hostile step;
I bring no valour to alarm thy fears :
It is a friend approaches.

Phil. Ha! what mean
Those plaintive notes?

Eup. [Within.] Here is no ambush'd Greek,
No warrior to surprise thee on the watch.
An humble suppliant comes--Alas, my strength
Exhausted quite, forsakes this weary

Phil. What voice thus piercing thro' the gloom

of night What art thou ? what thy errand? quickly say, Wherefore alarm'st thou thus our peaceful watch? Eup. [Within.] Let no mistrust affright thee


Lo! a wretch,
The veriest wretch that ever groan'd in anguish,
Comes here to grovel on the earth before thee!
To tell her sad, sad tale, implore thy aid,
For sure the pow'r is thine'; thou canst relieve
My bleeding heart, and soften all my woes.

Phil. Euphrasia!
Why, princess, thus anticipate the dawn?
Still sleep and silence wrap the weary world;
The stars in mid career usurp the pole ;
The Grecian bands, the winds, the waves are hush'd;
All things are mute around us; all but you
Rest in oblivious slumber from their cares.

Eup. Yes; all, all rest: the very murd'rer sleeps ; Guilt is at rest: I only wake to misery! Phil. How didst thou gain the summit of the


If ever

Eup. Give me my father ; here you hold him

fetter'd; Oh! give him to meThe touch of nature throbb’d within your breast, Admit me to Evander! In these caves I know he pines in want; let ine convey Some charitable succour to a father.

Phil. Alas, Euphrasia! 'would I dare comply !

Eup. It will be virtue in thee. Thou, like me, Wert born in Greece:-Oh! by our common pa

rentNay, stay; thou shalt not fly; Philotas, stay; You have a father too; think, were his lot Hard as Evander's; if by felon bands Chain'd to the earth, with slow-consuming pangs He felt sharp want, and with an asking eye Implor'd relief, yet cruel men denied it, Would'st thou not burst thro' adamantine gates, Thro' walls and rocks, to save him? Think, Philotas, Of thy own aged sire, and pity mine. Think of the agonies a daughter feels, When thus a parent wants the common food, The bounteous hand of nature meant for all. Phil. 'Twere best withdraw thee, princess; thy

assistance Evander wants not; it is fruitless all ; Thy tears, thy wild entreaties, are in vain. Eup. Ha!--thou hast murder'd him ; he is no

I understand thee ;-butchers, you have shed
The precious drops of life.

Phil. Alas! this frantic grief can nought avail.
Retire, and seek the couch of balmy sleep,
In this dead hour, this season of repose.

Eup. And dost thou then, inhuman that thou art!
Advise a wretch like me to know repose ?
This is my last abode :- these caves, these rocks,
Shall ring for ever with Euphrasia's wrongs.

Here will I dwell, and rave, and shriek, and give
These scatter'd locks to all the passing winds ;
Call on Evander lost;
And cruel gods and cruel stars invoking,
Stand on the cliff in madness and despair.

Phil. By Heav'n,
My heart in pity bleeds.
No other fear assails this warlike breast.
I pity your misfortunes, yes, by Heav'n,
My heart bleeds for you.--Gods! you've touch'd

my soul!

The gen'rous impulse is not given in vain.
I feel thee, Nature, and I dare obey.
Oh! thou hast conquer'd.—Go, Euphrasia, go,
Behold thy father.

Eup. Raise me, raise me up;
I'll bathe thy hand with tears, thou gen'rous man

! Phil. Yet, mark my words; if aught of nourish

ment Thou would'st convey, my partners of the watch Will ne'er consent. Eup. I will observe


orders: On any terms, oh! let me, let me see him. Phil. Yon lamp will guide thee through the ca

vern'd way. Eup. My heart runs o'er in thanks; the pious act Timoleon shall reward; the bounteous gods, And thy own virtue, shall reward the deed.

[Goes into the Cave. Phil. Prevailing, powerful virtue!--Thou subduest The stubborn heart, and mould'st it to thy purpose. Would I could save them!But tho' not for me The glorious pow'r to shelter innocence, Yet for a moment to assuage its woes, Is the best sympathy, the purest joy Nature intended for the heart of man, When thus she gave the social gen'rous tear. [Exit.


The Inside of the Cavern.


Arcas. No ; on my life, I dare not.

Eup. But a small,
A wretched pittance; one poor cordial drop
To renovate exhausted drooping age.
I ask no more.

Arcas. Not the smallest store
Of scanty nourishment must pass these walls.
Our lives were forfeit else: a moment's parley
Is all I grant; in yonder cave he lies.

Eva. [Within the Cell.] Oh, struggling nature

let thy conflict end.

Oh! give me, give me rest!

Eup. My father's voice
It pierces here! it cleaves my very heart.
I shall expire, and never see him more.

Arcas. Repose thee, princess, here —[Draws a

Couch..]—here rest thy limbs,

Till the returning blood shall lend thee firmness.

Eup. The caves, the rocks, re-echo to his groans ! And is there no relief?

Arcas. All I can grant You shall command. I will unbar the dungeon, Unloose the chain that binds him to the rock, And leave your interview without restraint.

[Opens a Cell in the back Scene.

Eup. Hold, hold my heart! Oh! how shall I sustain The agonizing scene? [Rises.] I must behold him; Nature, that drives me on, will lend me force. Is that my father ?

« AnteriorContinuar »