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

ACT I. SCEN. II.

Enter Phocas, Crispus, Pulcheria, her Women, Guards and Attendants.
MAdam, at last, 'tis time that you should yield
To what, your greatness will more firmly build;
A Caesar got betwixt you and my Son,
Would add more blessing than a Kingdom won:
I ask no great acknowledgment in this,
For my past care; but offer you all bliss:
The Crown, my Son, I cannot give you more;
The gift were less, could I the dead restore.
Accept 'em then, do not my patience tire,
Let not scorn force me hate, what I admire:
With, or against your will, it must be done;
For, know already your last Glass doth run.
Think well, he sues that doth a Scepter sway,
Whom though you will not love, you must obey.
Page  4
PƲLC.
I hitherto have shew'd you some respect,
Now find in you and me no small defect.
Mine, that I paid you what you not deserv'd;
Yours, now to boast that you my life preserv'd;
Yet threaten still to take that life away,
Unless I do your unjust will obey.
PHO.
Is it unjust to offer you my Son,
Whose merit all hearts, but your own hath won?
PƲLC.
It were unjust his merits to deny;
Yet since your Son, I'le rather chuse to die,
Than by my marriage to secure your State:
That's justly mine, unless a more kind Fate
Would make your death the first step to my Throne;
Till purg'd with bloud, I scarce dare claim my own,
PHO.
I have constrain'd my self, and given you way,
To hear what Pride and Malice make you say,
And it is just, that you should not refuse
To hear that love, that would you disabuse.
The Empire is not tied unto your race,
Mauritius raign'd; the Army gave his place,
And by that Title I the Empire sway;
The sword made his, the Sword now makes my way.
Who hath, or ever durst, dispute my power,
That twenty years have raign'd an Emperour?
I have but little need of your support:
Tis love I offer; you should thank me for't.
I was not Author of your Fathers fate,
But griev'd his loss; forc'd to obey the State.
PƲLC.
Tis fit this offer'd love then to requite,
I disabuse thee, Phocas, know me right;
I am descended of th' Imperial line,
In four descents from famous Constantine;
Thou a poor Captain of the Mysian band,
Who first that bloudy Treason took'st in hand,
Page  5Dar'st to my face pretend a right to Raign,
Having thy Master, the just Emp'rour slain?
And all this ill, for good unto the State;
What's thy Reward? the peoples deadly hate:
Which is the cause that I am courted now;
Yet threatned to be broke, unless I bow.
Thus Tyrants, when they fear, are ever kinde,
The danger past, for love, we hatred finde.
But know, Pulcheria's not degenerate,
For doubtful love to change her ancient hate.
PHO.
Well, Say I should the Empire back restore,
Placing you there, whom justly all adore,
That I repent these things you say I've done;
Could you yet have a quarrel to my Son?
He in his Cradle then with milk was fed,
And did not suck the bloud your Father bled.
He laid no plots to hasten on his fate;
Now full of Vertue, why feels he your hate?
PƲLC.
Go Tyrant, th' art not fit to speak his praise,
What's spoke by thee doth yet suspition raise,
Seeming to do him right, thou dost him wrong,
Thy heart's so false, there's none will trust thy tongue.
I know him better, and his worth is such,
That all that can be said, is not too much.
PHO.

Why then refus'd, since you his worth allow?

PƲLC.
Only because he takes his birth from you:
For, should I grant to marry with your Son,
I justifie the murthers you have done,
Settles the Empire in a Traytors line,
Lose my just vengeance, perfect your design.
PHO.

Designs to make you great deserve your love.

PƲLC.
Not if that greatness his protection prove,
Page  6That kill'd my Father, Brothers, all my Kin;
And that black Roll too, I my self am in:
I'm kept alive, but 'tis to serve your ends;
For Tyrants only to themselves are Friends.
PHO.
I not deny all this that you have said,
For you shall bleed, if I be not obey'd:
Wisely prevent it, marry with my Son,
Be safe in him; for, man and wife are one:
Think well what blessings may attend your throne,
Sure Heaven it self inspires this union.
PƲLC.
Your Son yet with this Crown, I could deny,
Though I did love him above Monarchy:
But 'tis not yours to hold, much less to give,
If I were dead, a brother yet might live:
Divide your presents then, and let me chuse;
Single I like, but join'd I both refuse.
PHO:
What, shall I to a Womans hand commit
My Scepter, when thy Fathers prov'd unfit?
PƲLC.
Traytor, that Father yet might leave a Son,
Shall bravely take what thou most basely won.
PHO.
Tis that vain hope then makes you now so bold;
Sure you have feign'd what is by others told.
But see the weakness of their foolish lie,
To make him live, must make your title die.
PƲLC.
Since you upbraid me with this new Report,
Which I believe not; yet must thank 'em for't,
I'le add unto it all that's in my power,
And whosoe're, wish him an Emperour.
He must be worthy that assumes our Name,
And do such Actions as may raise his Fame;
Page  7Thou hast no title, his must be as good,
And will be better, if he shed thy bloud.
Thou a false Traitor didst usurp the throne;
He comes perhaps to yield to each their own:
Prevent him then, resign the Crown to me;
By one just Act wipe off thy Tyranny.
PHO.
Yes, I shall soon do justice in thy death,
That dar'st abuse the Mercy gives thee breath:
All my kind offers thou hast still refus'd,
My patience mock'd, and dignity abus'd.
PƲLC:
Thy dignity! an idol of thy own creation,
That from no good man yet found veneration.
PHO:
Well, please thy self, with what thy fancy gives,
That there's a brother, or some other lives,
To take my life, to right pretended wrong:
But know, your fate depends upon your tongue;
Which though thus bold, must say, I'le be his Wife,
Or, the denial ends your scornful life.
Smile you? Now by my Crown i'le have it done,
And you this day shall marry with my Son.
PƲLC:
I may live long, yet you not perjur'd be;
You swear by nothing, that, belongs to me.
PHO:

By my right hand, that doth to me belong.

PƲL:

Thou hast no right; since all thou hast is wrong.

PHO:
I'm sure th' art proud, and by this pride I swear:
PƲL:
Your pride makes mine, and so no death I fear.
But canst thou dread an Oath? it cannot be!
Thy whole life's one continued perjury.
PHO:
to himself
Her Genius masters mine; I must submit
To her great spirit, heighten'd by her wit.
Page  8Madam, let's end this Combate of the tongue,
Women at their own weapons are too strong:
But urge me not, lest I make use of swords,
And they can cut as deep as bitter words.