Heraclius, Emperour of the East a tragedy
Corneille, Pierre, 1606-1684., Carlell, Lodowick, 1602?-1675.
ACT III. SCEN. IV.
Phocas, Exuperius, Amintas, Guards and Attendants.
WIth what delight such menaces I hear?
Small danger in vain words there does appear;
But I have power to make my threatnings good,
Punish her scorns in her dear brothers blood.
You my true friends that thus have eas'd my pain,
I fear'd your hate, but now your love's made plain.
Rest not till you make perfect your design,
For, to your judgments I my will resign.
Shall we in secret give Heraclius death,
Or on a publick seaffold stop his breath.
What is the fittest is the best for you;
In publick, Traitors still should have their due:
A private death would politick appear
Not just; and we more Hydra's heads might fear:
The Mutineers may say, he is not dead,
And raise some other Traitor in his stead.
Then in the Palace-yard 'tis best he die,
Our Guards about us for securitie.
Not in your own Court, Sir, Should it be done,
But in the face of all, before the Sun,
Where justice us'd to be, and so declare
That publick Acts should not be mixt with fear.
Then at the time that he gives up his breath,
We'l shew his Note, the just cause of his death.
That, Sir, avails not; after twenty years
Mauritius' hand unknown to all appears:
But if the storm now you will lay indeed,
When publickly this Pageant-Prince shall bleed,
Make him acknowledge who he is, and cry
It is HERACLIƲS, People, you see die.
I am resolv'd it shall be as you say;
And Leontina shall the same debt pay:
I've made her great; her plots I now mistrust,
Who make their Prince fear, make their own death just.
But Mutineers may force 'em from our hands.
What are those People to your well-arm'd bands?
None, Sir, will dare the least resistance show,
Who's in disgrace, there's but few friends will know:
A little pitty as he goes along:
Oft curiosity does make a throng,
Rare sights the people love, but none will be
So mad to stir, if so he dies by me:
Yet what you do should soon be put in act:
Let them not meet to talk about his fact:
Seize all convenient places through the Town,
And place such Guards as you know are your own;
For us we are ingag'd to see him die,
Lest if he live, we lose our lives thereby;
Since 'tis our dutie brings him to the block,
Our courage shall sustain the fiercest shock.
It is enough I on your zeal relie,
And this may help to quell all mutiny:
I go to perfect this so great affair,
And leave your friends assembling to your care:
The work once done, look you for such reward,
As so great Faith and courage hath deserv'd.
Exit Phocas and Attendants.