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

SCEN. I.

Martian taking himself for Heraclius, Pulcheria, her Women.
MARTIAN
taking himself for Heraclius.
DEar Mistress (Sister, yet I cannot name,
Since that destroys my too beloved flame.)
Page  26When from my lowness I beheld those eies,
I tax'd my pride to look at Deities;
I fear'd to meet a fate which might declare
A punishment for those that over-dare;
Yet in those troubled thoughts there something still
(Though reason did forbid) compel'd my will:
A sweet impulsion victory or death,
What's life, if not to draw a Lovers breath?
Though not high-born I might high things attempt,
And your brave soul great Actions might resent;
Our zeal to serve, moves those that are above,
And none so great but have a sence of love.
PƲLC:
How oft did I too at my birth repine?
Since Princes Daughters must their will resign
To reason of State; and yet the Empress too
Breath'd into me the love I felt for you:
She wav'd th' Usurpers motion with disdain,
Oppos'd that match he presses still in vain;
And poison'd for't, her dear expiring breath
Gave me this caution just before her death:
The Tyrant, Child, designs you for his Son,
But flie that Match, or else you are undone;
Of LEONTINE rather a Husband take;
She does preserve a Treasure that will make
PƲLCHERIA happie; and so died: But I
(These words still living in my memory)
Saw Leontina chang'd from bad to good,
Fancy'd her guiltless of my Brothers bloud:
And Husband, Treasure, Happiness so join'd,
Me thoughts they all in you alone combin'd.
Thus was my haughty birth by dutie cross'd,
The vain imagin'd distance 'twixt us lost;
Such bravery too did in your Person shine,
As equalliz'd Leontius birth to mine:
These flatteries daily did approve my choice,
I thought it Love, but it was Natures voice.
That love, which to extinguish, if you know,
Teach me your skill, my sad heart yet saies no.
Page  27
MARTIAN
taking himself for Heraclius.
Ah! my dear Sister, since my birth's now known,
I so must call you, that less interest own.
Friendship to love does easily incline,
How hardly love for friendship we resign?
It tears our souls, nay, passes humane skill
To dispossess that Monarch of our will.
Whose conquest justly made by hopes and fears,
When he resigns must cost deep sighs, salt tears.
Oh 'tis not possible: a constant heart,
Will with its life than love more freely part:
Nature thou striv'st in vain, even vertues power,
Cannot make void, long love in one short hour.
What a sad kindness I to nature owe?
How cruel they to me her kindness show?
I'm torn from what I am, from what I wou'd,
Estrang'd your person by a share in bloud,
Oh my too pleasing error! cruel light!
Knowing too much now has undone me quite.
PƲLC:
I in my heart too much have felt loves force,
Not to feel bitterness in such divorce,
Hatred hath more of sweetness in my mind,
Than love; if love to you must be less kind.
Yet since my love to you was a chast fire,
Vertue that kindled it, bids it expire:
My fate I shall believe most happie still,
If you the Throne attain, the Tyrant kill.
And ere you do that Conquest undertake,
Subdue your passions, for fair vertues sake:
In that we both may meet, your glorie's mine;
We to our vengeance, must our love resign.
MART.
taking himself for Heracl:
You who were alwaies great, alwaies so bred
Should to the conquest of your self be led
Is not so strange, great hearts have great designs,
When lower souls at hard things still repines.
Page  28Pardon that in Heraclius yet may be
As poor Leontius left; and you shall see
What ever this dares say, the other do,
It shall become revenge, his birth, and you;
To the Conspirators I'le add new fire,
Honour's, and your fame nobler thoughts inspire:
May I of one request the freedom use?
PƲLC:

I neither can dislike it, nor refuse.

MARTIAN
taken himself for Heracl.
The Tyrant now in you will miss his ends,
The Crown no longer on your match depends;
Since then you cannot me a Husband make,
Martian accept, and love him for my sake.
PƲL:
Since not your wife, I justly might deny
With any other man that knot to tie,
Yet some perhaps might call this to my shame,
A guilty warmth of a remaining flame.
Therefore to cure all doubts, I this demand;
That as my Emp'ror, you the match command:
His worth is great, his person I can love,
But first his Father, must the victim prove;
To purge his blood: this done, I'le him accept,
But whil'st he lives the marriage I reject.
MARTIAN
taking himself for Heraclius.
Rather your marriage you should now declare,
When Phocas dies, they Martians life will spare,
Your interest will protect him from all harm,
And in that hope, my self, and friends I'le arm.
PƲL:
Shall I, my self, then Phocas daughter make,
I then, his interest, do undertake;
How, shall I pray, that your designs may speed,
And wish to see my Husbands Father bleed?
It were a kind of parricide in me,
Marriage deferr'd, from all this sets me free:
I justly hate the Father, though the Son,
Page  29By your command, has fair acceptance won.
Think then what 'tis that you perswade me to,
A match, that poor Pulcheria would undoe;
For should not now your enterprize succeed,
In me they've title to the Crown indeed:
'Tis Phocas blood that must prepare my way,
Without that cleansing there's no wedding day.