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



Enter Heraclius, Eudoxia.
WIth reason you her dangers apprehend,
Now she appears but a mistaken Friend;
If she flie not, no hope but she must die,
Twill justice seem in him, not crueltie.
Eudoxia, not for her I grieve, but thee,
She justly is betray'd that betray'd me.
Can you believe her hate to you was such,
When her Sons life for yours was not too much?
Page  36
To her imposture I must give that name;
She stayd those actings that might raise my fame,
And by her cunning, and a false report
My Name and Right to Martian doth transport:
Approves that Letter in my Fathers Name,
Entitles him to th' Empire which I claim;
In this there was no love, no policie,
Since he must reign, or else must die for me.
Had she decry'd that Letter as a lie,
Your secret then had been reveal'd thereby;
She doubted, Sir, as by the issue now,
Her just suspicion you may well allow:
Arm'd then with something yet to make you reign
More than is known, or that Note could contain;
Had she not turn'd the blow on Martian's head,
You, that mistake her service, had been dead.
No matter which, I Martian too much owe,
If one must die, to suffer him to go:
Though none discover me, my self I must
To my brave friend and honour, be so just.
This only difference, Martian can I see
Betray'd, I wretch'd die; glorious for thee.
Ah! Sir, will you so rash an action do?
Betray your self, and give me my death too?
What hast? the Tyrant yet doth nothing know;
Will you the object of his furie show?
Your love, to what's my dutie, makes you blind;
Who doth not love my honour, is unkind.
He by my Name is sure to suffer death,
And shall I by his Name preserve my breath?
If by the errour he might live and reign,
It might be born, he by my loss might gain:
Page  37Twere a low baseness, longer to conceal
Such a mistake as honour bids reveal.
Oh Sir! it is not that which I desire,
Your honor's mine, mean thoughts would quench my fire.
Arm, arm your self, Sir, to preserve his life,
Make Phocas die, his death will end all strife:
Rekindle what my Mother quencht before.
And from my love and courage make it more:
Take to the Empire now a Soldiers way,
If you meet Death, tell him I for him stay.
Th' Occasion's lost, Martian now goes for me,
And by his pris'n our friends dispersed be:
Since all do take him for Heraclius,
They'l think it a foul Parricide in us;
Some few that love my person well, may rise,
But spight of them and us still Martian dies.
And when his death gives Phocas victorie,
What force can I expect should join with me?
Then speak no more, your love must not retard,
His life, my honour are of more regard.
Whether I reign, or whether I must die,
I'le trust my vertue for a Victorie.


Phocas, Heraclius taken for Martian, Eudoxia, Exuperius, Guards and Attendants.
shewing Eudoxia to his Guards.

TO prison with her, till her Mother appear.


Has she a share?

That will be found, ne'r fear;
Page  38Tis fit that we do seiz her, she may peach,
And help to draw the Mother within reach.
to Phocas going off.

Believe not any thing that he shall tell.

to Eudoxia.
Follow your counsel? yes, 'twere very well.
Exit Eud. with a Guard.
To Heraclius.
Her tears thy pity no way do deserve:
Wouldst thou thy greatest Enemies preserve?
No, no, I'm sure when all their guilt is known,
Thou neither wilt their love nor persons own.
Bring in the Pris'ner; tortures we not need,
To his Guard
To find the crime for which he now must bleed,
It is his boast; his pride your self shall see,
to Heras.
Who scorns our mercie would not pitied be.
But what is that which I must not believe?
My apprehension begs thee to relieve
The doubt I labour in of what she meant,
When faith unto thy words she would prevent.
Hast thou some new, some greater crime disclos'd?
taken for Martian.
More than by any else can be depos'd;
points at Exup.
More than Mauritius saw, more than he knows.
Perfidious wretch! this day to death she goes.
taken for Martian.
Tis a secret of no common weight;
Before the Pris'ner, I will all relate.

He's here, but speak not for him, I command.

Page  39


Phocas, Heraclius taken for Martian, Martian taking himself for Heraclius, Exuperius, and Guards.
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?
Tis what I desire.
Thy safety doth indeed his death require.
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.
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.
taking himself for Heraclius.

My Lord, what say ye?

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.
Mauritius Note the Contradiction gives;
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.
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.
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.

Tis so perplext, that only time must trie.


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


Who knows whether that rest be true or no.


Leontine twice may have deceived me.

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.
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.
taking himself for Heraclius.

What, Leontina?


Even she.

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.

She does abuse him too as well as me.


Which she abuses, yet I cannot see.


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

Page  42

Twere better Sir, for her that she were not.


Are all things ready for their punishment?


Which is the guilty? which the innocent?


Can you make doubt, after what I have said?

taking himself for Heraclius.

Will you by what is false be longer led?

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.
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.
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.
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
Know then my heart's desire did thine fore-run,
By her kept back: thy life had else been done.
To Pho.
taking himself for Heraclius.
For Leontina could not then abide,
That Martian should become a Parricide.
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.
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.
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.


Phocas, Heraelius, Martian taking himself for Hera∣clius, Exuperius, Crispus, Leontina, Guards and Attendants.

OUr search is not in vain, she's found at last.


Success was alwaies better far than hast.


Madam, confess, for I have told him all.


All what?

As if you knew not what we call
You hither for: Tell me, which is my Son?

What makes you doubt? well, what is't I have done?

His Son now laies a title to my Name;
A Note by you attested makes his claim.
Page  45
Stay not for torture, think not to denie:
You chang'd my Son, and gave yours up to die?
I gave my Son to die, and 'tis my glory;
Wouldst thou believe, should I tell all the story?
If to deceive thee it was then my will,
How canst thou know, I will not do so still?
However, shew us, where the Reason lay,
Why from the one, until this very day,
You kept the secret; and yet four years since
You had imparted all unto the Prince?
Yet one's thy Son, the other Emperour:
Strike, if thy hate can overcome thy fear.
Thou tremblest by thy love, thy fear, thy rage,
And which to satisfie darst not ingage.
Strike, strike, since one is but thy Son;
Tis like a wager, may be lost or won.
Tis fit all Tyrants should be in thy case,
To fear an Enemy in their own Race.
Thy Son thou in thy Enemy shalt love:
Half Tyrant and half Father only prove;
And all that time in vain thy study spend,
To punish thee, is one part of my end.
Phocas chafes.
Since from me only knowledge can be had,
Thou wilt not kill me till I make thee mad;
Then thou mayst do it, not before i'm sure,
Thy doubts and fears there's none but I, can cure.
Thou forcest me to that which I am loath:
They both shall die, since I'm deny'd by both.
Those Mutiniers that now give thee Alarms,
Would reach thy head, shouldst thou cut off thy Arms.
Page  46
I justly punish both, though neither know,
One's sure Heraclius, th'other would be so.
I should be pleas'd, 'twere a most happie hour,
To see thee cut those props support thy power:
Proceed, and make thy resolution good,
Strike; let instinct inform which is thy blood.
What strange acknowledgments are these from thee,
Since thou hast shar'd even my Authority?
Pho. flatters
Committed to thy care my only Son,
Yet give him back, and all my anger's done.
Should I do so, yet neither thee would own,
They death prefer before a Tyrant's Throne.
Admire the vertue, which this trouble breeds,
So brave Plants rais'd from such accursed seeds,
No Age could ever boast, of greater worth:
These Acts my better Precepts have brought forth;
If they by thy Example had been taught,
Their honours had been sold, their safety bought;
Heaven hath afforded them a better fate,
Than to have had thy vice to imitate.
Thus I've return'd more than thou didst for me,
Purging their blood from thy impuritie.
Impostors impudent, and proud still be,
Lies are the weapons gain them victorie:
I have another way to make her know
What she to Truth and Majestie does owe;
Spight of th' obscuritie of her delusion,
I shall make clear, what's now confusion.
Since, Sir I have begun, I will conclude,
Or, if I fail, forfeit my dearest blood;
If to my custodie you'l her commit,
I'le spread such nets, shall catch her female wit:
Page  47There's none so fortified of all her kind,
But have some fit place to be undermin'd.
O my best friend take all the ways you please,
Even to torment her, so you give me ease.
But yet I think, 'tis flattery must gain,
She is ambitious, give her hopes to raign.
But what need I my thoughts to you reveal,
All things are less, nothing above your zeal:
The service you have done, can only be
Out-gone, by what you now design for me.
This while I mean to take 'em both apart,
And try the utmost of perswasive art;
Nature in private may more aptly move,
And Mine be softned by a Father's love.
Bring 'em away
Exeunt Phocas, &c.


Exuperius, Leontina.
NOne can hear, and I must
Unto your faith commit the greatest trust:
And that you may the better credit give,
Know 'tis resolv'd, that Phocas shall not live:
Yes to reward that base officious zeal,
That sells thy Father, does thy Prince reveal.

You by appearance judge, and so mistake.


They do indeed, who you for honest take.


That which to you doth falsehood seem as yet.

Page  48
Is but a knack of State, a trick of wit:
How can you judge, since yet you do not know,
What our designs are, which way we will go?
But I will tell you how our plot is laid,
And that we should fall off, be not afraid.
Our injuries are, Rapes, Oppressions, Blood,
Our Prince to be restor'd the chiefest good.
We that were once disfavoured, and disgrac'd
Remov'd from Court, are thus in credit plac'd,
And that which to you treachery doth seem,
Is a sure way our honour to redeem.
Others may credit give to what you've said,
I have no faith for you, at least 'tis dead.

You have much reason, from that, faith may grow.


Not from such seeds as you did lately sow.

You know how strong and watchful are his Guard,
All entrance to his hated person barr'd,
Till now that I have such opinion won,
I am confided in beyond his Son;
'Twas my pretended zeal the counsel gave,
That Prince Heraclius publick death might have,
The streets, gates, forts, his guards must all make good,
Then, with my friends, I've power to shed his blood:
Which shall be done, when once you make us know,
Which is the Prince to whom we duty owe.
We from the Tyrrnt take both life and Crown,
To make our act just, a just power must own.
How dull and weak art thou, that couldst believe,
Since me thou can'st not, thou shouldst him deceive?
He finds thy plot, if true, and doth design
Thy ruine, but this way he shall not mine.
Page  49
Madam, I've told you truth, and will say more —

Not to the purpose that you spoke before?

Well, I am satisfi'd, be faithless still;
I will take care, that you shall do no ill.
I'le keep my secret, and you may keep yours,
Those must obey, that are in others powers:
To prison, Madam; you ere long shall know,
To the same end men several waies may go.