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.


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
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.
Is it unjust to offer you my Son,
Whose merit all hearts, but your own hath won?
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,
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.
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.
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?
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.

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

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.

Designs to make you great deserve your love.

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.
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.
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.
What, shall I to a Womans hand commit
My Scepter, when thy Fathers prov'd unfit?
Traytor, that Father yet might leave a Son,
Shall bravely take what thou most basely won.
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.
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.
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.
Thy dignity! an idol of thy own creation,
That from no good man yet found veneration.
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.
I may live long, yet you not perjur'd be;
You swear by nothing, that, belongs to me.

By my right hand, that doth to me belong.


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

I'm sure th' art proud, and by this pride I swear:
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.
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.


Phocas, Heraclius taken for Martian, Martian taken for Leontius, Crispus, Pulcheria, her women, Guards, and Attendants.
MArtian, thou knowst with what Paternal cares
I've bred this Serpent, who ungrateful dares
Spit her bold venom in her Sovereign's face,
My Person, and my Government disgrace,
Lay plots, partake with Traytors to my Crown,
And cares not who she raise to pull me down;
Her death is just, so to prevent all harms,
She hath no Sanctuary but thy Arms.
taken for Martian.
And why should I an Enemy protect?
No Sir, I so your dignity respect,
That I must tell you, you do shew mistrust
In your own Right, declare her Title just,
By pressing this; What need I marry her,
Since I'm your son? that title I prefer.
He wears a Crown with slav'ry all his life,
Who hath no better title than a Wife:
Mine is a double right, as may be said,
That now descends, of which you conquest made.
They speak the Father, not the Son, these words;
Was ever conquest made with civil swords?
Abhor'd Rebellion all good men do call
A Traitors rise by a just Princes fall.
Page  9
I am thy Prince, and justly thou shalt die:
Such justice well becomes thy tyranny.
Th' hast kept me like a Lamb, suffer'd to feed,
The Wolf wants meat, and innocence must bleed.
Nor speak I this that I repine at death,
I scorn a life depends upon thy breath.
taken fer Martian.
She must not die, be carefull of your self,
Lest when you ship-wrack her you meet a shelf;
The winds blow high, take heed Sir, how you steer,
The storm that rose far off, increases here;
The Peoples discontents would grow more bold,
Desperate, if once to them her death were told;
On her great merit they have fixt their eies,
And in her safety, Sir, our safety lies.

Why then are you so careless of her love?

taken for Martian.

I want that worth that her great heart should move.


Who hath it then, or who durst so aspire?

taken for Martian.
It is not such if done by my desire.
True friendship, Sir, is such a powerful charm,
That e'n to marry her shall do no harm.
When dead Mauritius does such vigor give
To this supposed Son, now said to live,
Dost thou not think a real Son-in-law
Would claim the Crown, and keep us still in awe?
But thou wilt say, 'tis trusted to a friend,
Crowns once in question, there's no tie can bind.
taken for Martian.
When married meanly, that will bate her pride;
She rather seeks how to be Deifi'd,
Page  10Scorns an Alliance, would her fortune prove,
And her dead kindred only seems to love.
We'l send her to them out of love, not hate;
Who not supports, may yet disturb our state.
Pulcheria, though your pride would never yet
Grant any thing to me that I thought fit,
But call me Tyrant, yet so kind I'le prove,
To send you quickly to your friends above.
Exit Phoc. Crisp. &c.


Heraclius taken for Martian, Martian taken for Leontius, Pulcheria, her Women.
taken for Martian.
IN vain he promises himself that I
With his injustice should so far comply,
To force affection; justly you may chuse,
And should you grant, I justly might refuse.
We never must our houses join in one;
Nor are we fitted for this union.
You in Leontius happier will be,
And in his Sister's my felicity:
We all are happy in our equal love,
And Leontina doth our choice approve,
Whose Vertue and whose wisdom is so great,
That nothing can so just designs defeat.
Sir, you at first Leontius gave to me,
And as your gift increas'd his dignity:
Which in the world's opinion was before,
So great, that only you could make it more.
But 'tis improper now to think of love
To any other than to those above.
Page  11 After a pause.
taken for Martian.
I am resolv'd; it never shall be done:
Who dares, since in your Glass my life doth run?
Which I'le declare, and let the Tyrant storm,
If he raise forces, I can sooner arm,
And check his rage, who innocence defends
Must not mistrust either his Cause, or Friends.
You justly now, Sir, do excite a fear,
Which I had not, though I knew death was near;
But now, that I do find that danger's yours,
I feel a coldness strike my vital powers:
Kind Heaven, your Messenger is timely sent;
My single death may many now prevent.
she swoons.
taken for Leontius.
I never thought that any thing but love
Could in a womans breast such passion move.
Sir, she recovers: seem to change your mind.
taken for Martian.
I will, and yet do what I have design'd.
Pulcheria, be not griev'd, and I will do
Only what your desire shall guide me to.
taken for Leontius.
Rather be rul'd by me, whose life was spent
To serve you both, though now, your punishment:
First you must seek, Sir, to secure her life,
Which cannot be preserv'd unless your wife.
If you your selves, and me will this way bless,
I shall be happy in your happiness;
The Princes good, to subjects, still should be
The highest pitch of their felicity.
taken for Martian.
Ah my Leontius, you too high aspire,
For my sake to extinguish that bright fire,
Which we ave kindled; glorious whilst it burns,
But if extinguisht, you to ashes turns.
Page  12I know you cannot live without her love:
What is divine proceeds from those above,
Part of their Essence: friendships here on earth
Are more our choice, and suit our humane birth.
I know you better, than your self, you know,
And I my life unto your friendship owe:
I doubly ty'd, by love and friendship too,
Will court this new Pretender to serve you.


Martian taken for Leontius, Pulcheria, her Women.
THou soul of Goodness, and of Greatness both!
How I do love the Son, the Father loath?
Thus they divide betwixt them love and hate:
For what I owe to thee, he did create.
taken for Leontius.
All that proceeds from him is greater made;
This glorious Sun yields me a happy shade:
My heart long scorcht by your bright beauties beams,
He gain'd me from you sweet refreshing streams;
Since thus by both your favours then I live,
My life's a debt i'le pay, and nothing give;
But you being still the Tyrant's Ostage here,
Whatever we can act, begets my fear,
Unless we shall attempt to scape his hand,
Forcing his Guard with those that I command:
Or else design in some disguise to flie,
All flight doth either guilt, or fear imply.
Page  13We're in a storm, tost by our hope and fear;
Let honour hold the helm, and our Barque steer:
To make me die must prove the Tyrants shame,
While bravely suffring does increase my fame.
taken for Leontius.
But, Madam, we must suffer, if you do;
If we lose you, we lose our honour too:
We must not live, yet suffer you to die,
One stroke frees you, and ends his Tyranny.
His hand to his sword.
By that one stroke your life too must have end.
Who then survives Pulcheria to defend?
And yet some hand the danger does invite;
When all is danger, we should danger slight.
But let us first with trusty friends survey
The safest means, and the securest way.
taken for Leontius.
While Vertue thus and Honour we pursue,
Death has his Conquest, and just Laurels too.