« PreviousContinue »
Enter TIMAGORAS and LEOSTHENES. Timag. WHY should you droop, Leosthenes, or despair
My sister's favour? What, before, you purchased
By courtship, and fair language, in these wars
(For, from her soul, you know, she loves a soldier)
You may deserve by action.
Least. Good Timagoras,
When I have said my friend, think all is spoken
That may assure me yours; and pray you, believe,
The dreadful voice of war, that shakes the city,
The thundering threats of Carthage, nor their army,
Raised to make good those threats, affright not me.
If fair Cleora were confirmed his prize,
That has the strongest arm and sharpest sword,
I'd court Bellona in her horrid trim,
As if she were a mistress, and bless fortune
That offers my young valour to the proof,
How much I dare do for your sister's love.
But, when that I consider how averse
Your noble father, great Archidamus,
Is, and hath ever been, to my desires,
Reason may warrant me to doubt and fear,
What seeds soever I sow in these wars
Of noble courage, his determinate will
May blast, and give my harvest to another,
That ne'er toiled for it.
Timag. Prithee, do not nourish
These jealous thoughts; I'm thine, and, pardon me,
Though I repeat it, my Leosthenes,
That, for thy sake, when the bold Theban sued,
Far-famed Pisander, for my sister's love,
Sent him disgraced and discontented home;
I wrought my father then; and I, that stopped not
In the career of my affection to thee,
When that renowned worthy brought with him
High birth, wealth, courage, as fee'd advocates
To mediate for him, never will consent,
A fool, that only has the shape of man,
Asotus, though he be rich Cleon's heir,
Shall bear her from thee.
Leost. In that trust I live.
Timag. Which never shall deceive you.
Pis. Sir, the general,
Timoleon, by his trumpets hath given warning
For a remove.
Timag. 'Tis well; provide my horse.
Pis. I shall, sir.
Leost. This slave has a strange aspect?
Timag. Fit for his fortune; 'tis a strong limbed
My father bought him for my sister's litter.
O pride of women! Coaches are too common;
They surfeit in the happiness of peace,
And ladies think they keep not state enough,
If, for their pomp and ease, they are not borne
In triumph on mens' shoulders.
Leost. Who commands
The Carthaginian fleet?
Timag. Gisco's their admiral,
And, 'tis our happiness, a raw young fellow,
One never trained in arms, but rather fashioned
To tilt with ladies lips than crack a lance,
Ravish a feather from a mistress' fan,
And wear it as a favour. A steel helmet,
Made horrid with a glorious plume, will crack
His woman's neck.
Leo. No more of him.-The motives
That Corinth gives us aid?
Timag. The common danger:
For Sicily being on fire, she is not safe;
It being apparent that ambitious Carthage,
(That to enlarge her empire strives to fasten
An unjust gripe on us, that live free lords
Of Syracusa) will not end, till Greece
Acknowledge her their sovereign.
Leost. I'm satisfied.
What think you of our general?
Timag. He is a man
Of strange and reserved parts; but a great soldier.
[A trumpet sounds.
His trumpets call us; I'll forbear his character:
To-morrow, in the senate-house, at large
He will express himself.
SCENE II.-The Senate House.
Enter ARCHIDAMUS, CLEON, DIPHILUS, OLYM-
PIA, CORISCA, CLEORA, and ZANTHIA.
Arch. So careless we have been, my noble lords,
In the disposing of our own affairs,
And ignorant in the art of government,
That now we need a stranger to instruct us.
Yet we are happy that our neighbour Corinth
(Pitying the unjust gripe Carthage would lay
On Syracusa) hath vouchsafed to lend us
Her man of inen, Timoleon, to defend
Our country and our liberties.
We are unworthy of, and we may blush
Necessity compells us to receive it.
Arch. Oshame! that we,that are a populous nation,
Engaged to liberal nature for all blessings
An island can bring forth; we that have limbs,
And able bodies, shipping, arms and treasure,
The sinews of the war, now we are called
To stand upon our guard, cannot produce
One, fit to be our general!
Cleon. I'm old and fat;
I could say something else.
Arch. We must obey
The time and our occasions; ruinous buildings,
Whose bases and foundations are infirm,
Must use supporters: We are circled round
With danger; o'er our heads with sail-stretched
Destruction hovers, and a cloud of mischief
Ready to break upon us; no hope left us,
That may divert it, but our sleeping virtue,
Arch. It is your seat,
Which with a general suffrage,
As to the supreme magistrate, Sicily tenders, And prays Timoleon to accept.
Timol. Such honours,
To one ambitious of rules or title,
Whose heaven or earth is placed in his command,
And absolute power o'er others, would with joy,
And veins swoln high, with pride be entertained.
They take not me; for I have ever loved
An equal freedom, and proclaim all such
As would usurp another's liberties,
Rebels to nature, to whose bounteous blessings
All men lay claim as true legitimate sons.
But such as have made forfeit of themselves
By vicious courses, and their birthright lost,
Tis not injustice they are marked for slaves
To serve the virtuous. For myself, I know
Honours andgreat employments aregreat burdens,
And must require an Atlas to support them.
He that would govern others, first should be
The master of himself, richly endued
With depth of understanding, height of courage,
And those remarkable graces which I dare not
Ascribe unto myself.
Are trumpets of their own deserts; but you
That are not in opinion, but in proof,
Really good, and full of glorious parts,
Leave the report of what you are to fame,
Which, from the ready tongues of all good men,
Aloud proclaims you.
Diph. Besides, you stand bound,
Having so large a field to exercise
Your active virtues offered you, to impart
Your strength to such as need it.
Tinol. Tis confessed:
And, since you'll have it so, such as I am,
For you, and for the liberty of Greece,
I am most ready to lay down my life:
But yet consider, men of Syracusa,
Before that you deliver up the power
(Which yet is yours) to me, to whom 'tis given;
To an impartial man, with whom nor threats
Nor prayers shall e'er prevail; for I must steer
Arch. Which is desired of all.
Tinol. Timophanes, my brother, for whose death
I'm tainted in the world, and foully tainted;
In whose remembrance I have ever worn,
In peace and war, this livery of sorrow,
Can witness for me, how much I detest
Tyrannous usurpation; with grief
I must remember it: For, when no persuasion
Could win him to desist from his bad practice,
To change the aristocracy of Corinth
Into an absolute monarchy, I chose rather
To prove a pious and obedient son
To my country, my best mother, than to lend
Assistance to Timophanes, tho' my brother,
That, like a tyrant, strove to set his foot
Upon the city's freedom.
Tunag. Twas a deed
Deserving rather trophies than reproof.
Leost. And will be still remembered to your honour,
If you forsake us not.
Diph. If you free Sicily
From barbarous Carthage' yoke, it will be said In him you slew a tyrant..
Arch. But, giving way
To her invasion, not vouchsafing us
(That fly to your protection) aid and comfort, Twill be believed, that for your private ends You killed a brother.
Timol. As I then proceed,
To all posterity may that act be crowned
With a deserved applause, or branded with
The mark of infamy-Stay yet; ere I take
This seat of justice, or engage myself
To fight for you abroad, or to reform
Your state at home, swear all upon my sword,
And call the gods of Sicily to witness
The oath you take; that whatso'er I shall
Propound for safety of your commonwealth,
Not circumscribed or bound in, shall by you
Be willingly obeyed.
Arch. Diph. Cleon. So may we prosper,
As we obey in all things!
Made glorious by action; whose experience Crowned with grey heirs, gave warrant to his counsels,
Heard and received with reverence; is now filled
With green heads, that determine of the state
Over their cups, or when their sated lusts
Afford them leisure; or supplied by those
Who, rising from base arts and sordid thrift,
Are eminent for wealth, not for their wisdom:
Which is the reason that to hold a place
In council, which was once esteemed an honour,
And a reward for virtue, hath quite lost
Lustre and reputation, and is made
A mercenary purchase.
Timag. He speaks home.
Leost. And to the purpose.
Timol. From whence it proceeds
That the treasure of the city is ingrossed
By a few private men, the public coffers
Hollow with want; and they, that will not spare
One talent for the common good, to feed
The pride and bravery of their wives, consume
In plate, in jewels, and superfluous slaves,
What would maintain an army.
Cor. Have at us!
Olym. We thought we were forgot.
Cleora. But it
appears You will be treated of.
Timol. Yet in this plenty,
And fat of peace, your young men ne'er were trained
In martial discipline, and your ships unrigged
Rot in the harbour: no defence prepared,
But thought unuseful; as if the gods,
Indulgent to your sloth, had granted you
A perpetuity of pride and pleasure,
Nor change feared or expected. Now you find
That Carthage, looking on your stupid sleeps,
And dull security, was invited to
Invade your territories.
Arch. You've made us see, sir,
In the remembrance of what once you were.
Leost. The blood turns.
Timag. Observe how old Cleon shakes,
To our shame, the country's sickness: Now from As if in picture he had shown him what
Above your liberties; and rather choose
To be made bondmen, than to part with that
To which already you are slaves? Or can it
Be probable in your flattering apprehensions,
You can capitulate with the conqueror,
And keep that yours which they come to possess,
And, while you kneel in vain, will ravish from
But take your own ways; brood upon your gold,
Sacrifice to your idol, and preserve
The prey entire, and merit the report
Of careful stewards: Yield a just account
To your proud masters, who with whips of iron
Will force you to give up what you conceal,
Or tear it from your throats: Adorn your walls
With Persian hangings wrought of gold and
Cover the floors on which they are to tread,
With costly Median silks; perfume the rooms
With cassia and amber, where they are
To feast and revel; while, like servile grooms,
You wait upon their trenchers; feed their eyes
With massy plate, until your cupboards crack
With the weight that they sustain; set forth
And daughters in as varied shapes
As there are nations, to provoke their lusts,
And let them be embraced before your eyes,
The object may content you; and, to perfect
Their entertainment, offer up your sons,
And able men, for slaves; while you, that are
Unfit for labour, are spurned out to starve,
Unpitied, in some desert, no friend by,
Whose sorrow may spare one compassionate tear,
He was to suffer.
Cor. I am sick; the man Speaks poignards and diseases. Olymp. Oh! my doctor!
I never shall recover.
Cleora. If a virgin,
Whose speech was ever yet ushered with ear;
One knowing modesty and humble silence
To be the choicest ornaments of our sex,
In the presence of so many reverend men,
Struck dumb with terror and astonishment,
Presume to clothe her thought in vocal sounds,
Let her find pardon. First, to you, great sir!
A bashful maid's thanks, and her zealous prayers
Winged with pure innocence bearing them to
For all prosperity that the gods can give
To one whose piety must exact their care ;
Thus low I offer.
Timol. 'Tis a happy omen.
Rise, blest one, and speak boldly: On my virtue
I am thy warrant, from so clear a spring
Sweet rivers ever flow.
Cleora. Then thus to you,
My noble father, and these lords, to whom
I next owe duty; no respect forgotten
To you, my brother, and these bold young men
(Such I would have them) that are, or should be,
The city's sword and target of defence;
To all of you I speak; and, if a blush
Steal on my cheeks, it is shown to reprove
Your paleness (willingly I would not say
Your cowardice or fear). Think you all treasure
Hid in the bowels of the earth, or shipwrecked
In Neptune's watry kingdom, can hold weight,
When liberty and honour fill one scale,
Triumphant justice sitting on the beam?
Or dare you but imagine that your gold is
Too dear a salary for such as hazard
Their blood and lives in your defence? For me
An ignorant girl, bear witness, heaven! So far
I prize a soldier, that, to give him pay,
With such devotion as our Flamens offer
Their sacrifices at the holy altar,
I do lay down these jewels, will make sale
Of my superfluous wardrobe, to supply
The meanest of their wants.
Timol. Brave masculine spirit!
Diph. We are shown, to our shame, what we
Should have taught others.
Arch. Such a fair example
Must needs be followed.
Timag. Ever my dear sister,
But now our family's glory.
Leost. Were she deformed,
The virtues of her mind would force a stoic
To sue to be her servant.
And, though my heart-blood part with it, I will
Deliver in my wealth.
Asot. I would say something;
But, the truth is, I know not what.
Timol. We have money;
And men must now be thought on.
Arch. We can press
Of labourers in the country (men inured
To cold and heat) ten thousand,
Diph. Or, if need be,
Inrol of slaves, lusty and able varlets,
And fit for service.
Cleon. They shall go for me;
I will not pay and fight too.
Cleora. How! your slaves?
O stain of honour! Once more, sir, your pardon; And to their shames let me deliver what
I know in justice you may speak.
Timol. Most gladly:
I could not wish my thoughts a better organ
Than your tongue to express them.
Cleora. Are you men?
(For age may qualify, though not excuse,
The backwardness of these) able young men?
Yet, now your country's liberty's at stake;
Honour and glorious triumph made a garland
For such as dare deserve them; a rich feast
Prepared by Victory, of immortal viands,
Not for base men, but such as with their swords
Dare force admittance, and will be her guests;
And can you coldly suffer such rewards
To be proposed to labourers and slaves?
While you, that are born noble (to whom these,
Valued at their best rate, are next to horses,
Or other beasts of carriage) cry, Ay me!
Like idle lookers on, till their proud worth
Make them become your masters?
Timol. By my hopes,
There's fire and spirit enough in this to make
Cleora. No; far, far be it from you:
Let those of meaner quality contend,
Who can endure most labour; plow the earth,
And think they are rewarded when their sweat
Brings home a fruitful harvest to their lords;
Let them prove good artificers, and serve you
For use and ornament; but not presume
To touch at what is noble: if you think them
Laworthy to taste of those cates you feed on,
Or wear such costly garments, will you grant them
The privilege and prerogative of great minds,
Which you were born to? Honour won in war,
And to be styled preservers of their country,
Are titles fit for free and generous spirits,
And not for bondmen. Had I been born a man,
And such ne'er-dying glories made the prize
To bold heroic courage, by Diana,
I would not to my brother, nay, my father,
Be bribed to part with the piece of honour
I should gain in this action.
Or in her speaks the genius of your country,
To fire your blood in her defence: I am rapped
With the imagination.-Noble maid,
Timoleon is your soldier, and will sweat
Drops of his best blood, but he will bring home
Triumphant conquest to you. Let me wear
Your colours, lady; and, though youthful heats,
That look no farther than your outward form,
Are long since buried in me, while I live,
I am a constant lover of your mind,
That does transcend all other precedents.
Cleora. 'Tis an honour, [Gives her scarf.
Old Cleon, fat and unwieldy; I shall never
Make a good soldier, and therefore desire
To be excused at home.
Aso. 'Tis my suit too:
I am a gristle, and these spider fingers
Will never hold a sword.-Let us alone
To rule the slaves at home, I can so yerk them;
But in my conscience I shall never prove
Good justice in the war.
Timol. Have your desires;
You would be burdens to us, no way aids.
Lead, fairest, to the temple; first we'll pay
A sacrifice to the gods for good success:
For all great actions the wished course do run,
That are, with their allowance, well begun.
[Exeunt all but the slaves.
Pis. Stay, Cimbrio and Gracculo.
Cimb. The business?
Pis. Meet me to-morrow night near to the grove,
Neighbouring the east part of the city.
Pis. And bring the rest of our condition with