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

ACT III.

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.

ACT III. SCEN. II.

Phocas, Mart. taking himself for Herac. Crispus, Exuperius, Amintas, Pulcheria, her Women Guards and Attendants.
PƲLCH.

SEE Brother where he comes! what shall we doe?

MARTIAN
taking himself for Heracl.

I am betray'd, here's Exuperius too.

PHO:
What discourse have you now with the Princess?
O'th' marriage I intend?
MARTIAN
taking himself for Heraclius.

'Tis that I press.

PHO:

Does she incline? prevail you for my Son?

MARTIAN
taking himself for Heraclius.

I have her promise, Sir, it shall be done.

PHO:
'Tis not a little won on her hard heart;
But when?
MARTIAN
taking himself for Heraclius.

That secret she does not impart.

PHO:
Tell me then one that is of greater worth,
'Tis said that you can bring Heraclius forth,
If you love Martian, let me know him too.
Page  30
MARTIAN
taking himself for Heraclius.
You know him but too well: and him I do,
pointing at Exuperius.
EXƲPERIƲS

I serve my Prince, who duty does deserve.

MARTIAN
taking himself for Heraclius.

And well thou doest thy promises preserve.

PHO:
I have a note here that does give some hint,
But 'tis obscure, there's much of riddle in't;
And for the meaning I am come to you,
Leontius.
MARTIAN
taking himself for Heraclius.
Call me Heraclius too;
Leontius is no more, nor do I need
To hear my sentence, I'm prepar'd to bleed.
PHO.
And well thou may'st expect it, whose attempt,
From treason, and fowl murther's not exempt.
MART.
taking himself for Heracl.
'Twas what I ought; to serve, and let thee raign,
Both to my name, and birth had bin a stain;
My Fathers blood, cries lowd to me for thine,
Which I'd not spare shouldst thou the Crown resign:
Death I expect, nay, rather death desire,
Since of our courage, 'tis the greatest trier:
That death I fear'd not, I have shown for thee,
That thy Son lives, the thanks belong to me.
PHO:
This allegation is but weakly made,
Leontius sav'd my Son, that debt's well pay'd;
Heraclius then, methinks should find some shame,
To beg more payment in another name.
But grant you sav'd my Son, you would kill me,
Though calld a Tyrant, yet I just will be:
I owe thee for his life, thou me for mine,
Leons shall scape, but justice forfeits thine.
Against a Princes life, there's nothing weighs,
Page  31Treason deserves death, noble Acts just praise.
MARTIAN
taking himself for Heraclius.
Which you but pay unto my borrowed name;
But know your Tyranny shall build my fame;
I as Heraclius by my death will shew
What to my honour, and my birth I owe,
Make that so glorious that my subjects shall
Grieve for my loss, rejoice to see thee fall.
PHOCAS.
Well, we shall see your courage, the next room
May cool your heat, there you shall know your doom.
MART:
taking himself for Heracl:
Madam, farewel; but know, my latest breath
Shall be to those that can prevent your death.
Exit with Crispus and Guards.

ACT III. SCEN. III.

Phocas, Pulcheria, Exuperius, Amintas, Guards and Attendants.
PHOCAS.
NOr canst thou hope, fond fool, to alter me,
Having thy Brother, there's no fear of thee.
No more constrain my self, for thy love plead,
One stroke abates thy pride, takes off his head:
Do not restrain thy self, come, vent thy Gall,
No words to ease thy heart, then tears must fall.
PƲLC:
I grieve, I weep, I well might so have done,
Had he appear'd less than our Father's Son;
I am so pleas'd with all that he did do,
That though his Sister I'm his Lover too.
PHOCAS.
Dissemble not, freely express your heart,
From me you scarce can hide it by this Art:
Page  32Will you, to save so dear a Brothers life,
Lay by your hate, and be my Martians Wife?
PƲL:
Think'st thou thy policies can ever gain
Me to consent to what I so disdain?
My bloud, to save his life i'le sacrifice;
But so to give my hand, my honour dies.
PHO:
Well, then he dies; thy cruelty's the cause,
Whose pride contemns both Love and Natures Laws.
PƲL:
Thou that my crueltie dost thus upbraid,
For thy own crueltie mayst be afraid.
Though human vengeance scarce can reach thy head,
There's thunder yet above to strike thee dead:
Nor dost thou know, some Brother yet of mine
To punish thee, the Grave may now resign,
Or he might scape thy hands by some device
More subjects there might be both stout and wise:
And thou shalt never know that he does live,
Till by thy death he thee assurance give.
If no such be, I make my self a prize,
And all my youth and greatness sacrifice;
For, whosoere can take away thy life,
The worlds Plague, deserves the greatest Wife.
PHO:

Strange Spirit!

PƲLC.
Go kill Heraclius, or think that I
Do hope to save him, by this policy;
Be not deceiv'd importune me no more,
Since I can say but what was said before;
If you grant this, I will safe counsel give,
If you would reign, we both must die, or live.
Exit Pulcheria.
Page  33

ACT III. SCEN. IV.

Phocas, Exuperius, Amintas, Guards and Attendants.
PHO.
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.
EXƲP:
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.
PHO.
Then in the Palace-yard 'tis best he die,
Our Guards about us for securitie.
EXƲP:
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.
PHO:
Then at the time that he gives up his breath,
We'l shew his Note, the just cause of his death.
Page  34
EXƲP.
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.
PHO:
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.
EXƲP.
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.
PHO:
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.
Page  35

ACT III. SCE. V.

Exuperius, Amintas.
EXƲP.

WE are in favour, friend, and all command.

AMINT.
Why so great joy? I scarce can understand;
Falshood and Treason are not things to boast:
What is our greatness, when our honour's lost?
EXƲP.
True, to the Generous it is not great.
Why we engag'd, I need not now repeat;
We shall find waies yet to recover all,
And raise our honour, by this present fall:
Come, let us go, this pain we must endure,
If honour bleeds, blood may our honour cure.
Exeunt.