Heraclius, Emperour of the East a tragedy
Corneille, Pierre, 1606-1684., Carlell, Lodowick, 1602?-1675.
Page  39

ACT IV. SCEN. III.

Phocas, Heraclius taken for Martian, Martian taking himself for Heraclius, Exuperius, and Guards.
HERAC:
taken for Martian.
THat, Sir, were vain for me to take in hand.
I rather beg that justice may be done:
Condemn Heraclius, so preserve your Son.
Shall it be granted?
PHO:
Tis what I desire.
Thy safety doth indeed his death require.
MART.
taking himself for Herac.
Without regret, I saw approaching Fate,
But you to sentence me with so much hate:
I never knew you till my death I see.
HERAC:
taken for Martian:
I never less than now was known to thee.
Hear me, blind Father, and more blinded Prince,
My honour must your ignorance convince.
Thy Friends thy enemies, Phocas, sever thus,
He is thy Son, and I Heraclius.
MARTIAN
taking himself for Heraclius.

My Lord, what say ye?

HERAC.
I must not conceal
What honour, to preserve thee, hids reveal;
Phocas by Leontina twice deceiv'd,
And she so cunningly her web hath weav'd,
By change of names she causeth their mistakes,
And a false Martian of Heraclius makes.
PHO.
Mauritius Note the Contradiction gives;
Ʋnder LEONTIƲS Name HERACLIƲS lives.
HERAC:
I grant the Note true then, now 'tis not so;
I did, Sir, by Leontius name then go;
Page  40But though the Emp'rour what he saw did leave,
He could not, what's done since he ceas'd to breath.
Within short time began your Persian war,
Lasted three years, you still from home so far,
And all that while (your Wife too being dead)
Leontine, as she pleas'd our child-hood bred,
To trace me out a way unto the Throne,
Made me your Son, took Martian for her own;
And the resemblance Infants then may have,
Favour'd her so, you took the Child she gave.
This known, Compassion made me longer stay,
And not attempt my right a bloody way:
But seeing by this error he must die,
That sav'd my life; it now were base if I
Should not assume my name, his only guilt;
My life and honour in his blood are spilt.
I beg not, Sir, that you make less your hate,
Behold, an enemy expects his fate:
I ask but what you promis'd should be done,
Condemn Heraclius, Preserve your Son.
MARTIAN
taking himself for Heraclius.
To Phocas.
Admire, thou Father art of such a Son,
Admire the reputation he hath won;
He this invents from Generositie,
Would die himself, in hopes to set me free.
To Heraclius.
Tis true, too much, for what by me was done,
I sav'd your life, by which I honour won,
Yet lost not mine, but you to save my breath,
Do throw your self into the arms of death,
And if acknowledgments you owe to me,
Then let me Son unto the Emp'ror be:
Rob not my name which I count glorious,
Fearing to be ingrate, be not injurious.
PHO.
How many troubles breeds this strange dispute,
Neither themselves, nor others they confute.
Page  41Which to believe now? which is in a lie?
To Exup.
EXƲPERIƲS

Tis so perplext, that only time must trie.

PHOCAS.

The Note, if true, the rest like truth doth show.

EXƲP.

Who knows whether that rest be true or no.

PHOCAS.

Leontine twice may have deceived me.

EXƲP:
Chang'd them, or chang'd them not, either might be,
I am more, Sir, than you circled with doubt,
And cannot find which way I shall get out.
HERAC.
Tis not to day that I learn'd who I am,
My actions witness, I have known my Name
These four years, and have us'd my best address,
To gain Eudoxia, shunning the Princess,
Which but I knew, that I was not your Son,
You may imagine I would not have done.
This caution Leontina did impart.
MARTIAN
taking himself for Heraclius.

What, Leontina?

HERAC.

Even she.

MARTIAN
taking himself for Heraclius.
Strange Art!
Martian loves Eudoxia, she doth abuse,
Him by pretended horror to refuse
The Match you aim at, that your Daughter may
Have to the Throne by that refusal way;
This error does assure her of his Vows,
Ambition all deceitful waies allows
Nor had the truth to me been ever known,
Unless the Emp'rors Letter you had shown.
To Exup.
PHO:

She does abuse him too as well as me.

EXƲP.

Which she abuses, yet I cannot see.

PHO.

Dost thou not see the Daughter's in the plot?

Page  42
EXƲP:

Twere better Sir, for her that she were not.

PHO:

Are all things ready for their punishment?

EXƲP.

Which is the guilty? which the innocent?

HERAC:

Can you make doubt, after what I have said?

MARTIAN
taking himself for Heraclius.

Will you by what is false be longer led?

HERAC.
Frind, give me back my Name, the favour's small,
Since I would have it but to die withall.
With it I could to you my title give,
But that the owner must no longer live.
MARTIAN
taking himself for Heraclius.
And why would you my Tyrant's Victim be,
When your death laies a greater stain on me?
I did, who e're I am, his death design▪
And different fate our names the plot assign.
What in Heraclius is a brave attempt,
From Parricide in Martian's not exempt.
Since I may guiltie, or illustrious die,
Blast not your friend with so much infamy,
To right the world on Phocas I aspire,
And you my Fathers death make me conspire.
HERAC.
My Name is only faulty, leave dispute;
Quit that, to thee no guilt they can impute;
Tis that conspires wirhout the help of friends,
Heraclius dying, all the danger ends.
Be but his Son, and live.
MART:
taking himself for Heracl.
Had I been such,
That Traitor in one word had said too much.
of Exup. to Phocas.
When to kill you he had perswaded me,
From that Act Natures force had set me free.
Page  43
HERAC.
Know then my heart's desire did thine fore-run,
By her kept back: thy life had else been done.
To Pho.
MARTIAN
taking himself for Heraclius.
For Leontina could not then abide,
That Martian should become a Parricide.
HERAC:
Consider cooly what she mov'd you to;
To love Pulcheria, and kill Phocas too:
Each Act, each Name in you would horrid prove,
This a Parricide, that incestuous love.
Could she then scruple at a crime of mine,
That either way in you did one design?
I was the object of her love and care,
Which by her words most plainly doth appear.
Why should you hazard? wherefore undertake,
Since MARTIAN's danger shall you Emp'ror make.
These were her Reasons, all she did or said,
Was to preserve me for the Daughters bed,
Yet stayd to see how your attempts would fall;
If fit, she then me Emperor would call.
PHO:
How shall I know, which of these two is mine?
I only finde, my ruine both design:
My fate is sad, who now can counsel give?
I have my Enemie, ye let him live;
Out of my hands I know he cannot make;
I see him, yet I know not which to take:
Nature doth tremble, and astonisht grow,
Uncertain which way to direct my blow;
Th' Assassine seen, yet in my heart is hid,
Nature, when I should kill him, does forbid.
Martian
Both turn from him.
Martian, none to that name will answer give,
Will neither own me? one from me did live;
What is it Nature then? what can this mean?
Am I the only Actor in this Scene?
Page  44Can I a Father be, without a Son?
What, to be thus forsaken, have I done?
Nature forsake me too, or tell me how
This Labyrinth of doubt, I may get through;
Or do not speak at all, or let me know
Which I must cherish, or which count my foe:
But thou most cruel, whosoere thou art
That wilfully to both procures this smart;
Is my crown then thy death? more shame to thee;
The dead more than the living happie be.
Two Sons Mauritius gains him to succeed,
Rather than mine will me he'l chuse to bleed;
I justly then thy honours envy must,
Both scorn my glory to embrace thy dust.