Heraclius, Emperour of the East a tragedy
Corneille, Pierre, 1606-1684., Carlell, Lodowick, 1602?-1675.


Enter Phocas, Crispus, Guards, and Attendants.
THe lustre that from Crowns does strike our sight,
Crispus, is but a false, though glittering light:
Those to whom Heaven commits the Scepters care,
Know not the weight, till they the Scepter bear;
A thousand sweets there seem unto it bound,
But the hid bitterness is only found:
He that possesses it, yet fears the loss,
So to enjoy, turns that into a cross.
But above all to me, whose birth's obscure,
Who by Revolt became an Emperour:
As I, by guilt, the height of power did gain▪
By bloudy crimes I did the same maintain:
All that were good, or great, to death I sent,
Vertue on Vice still looks with discontent;
I counted all my foes who gain'd esteem,
Whom I made slaves, their vertue might redeem.
I left none living of the Royal line,
But one, not spar'd by pity, but design,
By her to make my Son the Crown possess,
And keep him great, should Fortune make me less.
Blind Malice now seeks to Revive a Boy,
Page  2Which in the Fathers sight you did destroy:
But 'tis a Fable to the wiser sort.
Pretenders to a Crown make fatal sport.
Though they believe not, yet they make a show,
And discontent makes Rumor stronger grow:
But what's the name with which they would fright us?

Who gives new life, calls him Heraclius.

Of no deep reach sure the Inventors were,
What is impossible, we need not fear;
His death was so remarkable to all,
That it bred horror, some on me did fall;
For bloud and Milk there issued from his side,
And the same day my Martians Mother died.
These things forgot, because so long since done,
Gives a new life to the dead Emp'rors Son;
But little do I value their design,
Since yet alive is faithful Leontine,
Who was his Governess, and did declare
Where he was hid, from love to me, or fear.
Then Sir you trusted to her care your Son,
Which some did censure as not wisely done.
She brought Heraclius forth, by me he died,
Joyn'd in his bloud she's to my interest ty'd;
Her Son I have made great, bred with my own,
His worth, their Friendship to the world is known,
And prov'd to us most happy the last war;
For when my Martian was ingag'd too far,
Leontius bravely charg'd, reliev'd my Son,
And join'd together soon the battel won.
Your Son's so prodigal of his own life,
Twere well he had some Issue by a Wife;
And none I think could so secure your state,
Page  3As fair Pulcheria. Pho. True, but my hard fate
Denies that happiness, my great design.
That marriage would divided factions join,
And fix the Empire in our Royal line.
You dally with her; let her know she must:
The Empires happiness makes all force, just.

She scorns the Empire, and the Emp'ror too.

And will do still, whilst you appear to sue.
Though ne're so great your power makes her your slave.
Pho. She must be free; Crisp. How Sir?

To wed my Son, or else to wed a grave.