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



WHat strange confusion's this that I do finde?
He whom I hate, would kill, appears so kinde,
That I still fear what ever is design'd.
Perhaps Leontina does me abuse;
Then wrought by her my right I may refuse,
Mauritius' interest honour bids me chuse.
If Phocas Son, I then must share his guilt,
By a just Prince much blood is seldom spilt;
My hopes are on my first opinion built.
Look down, great Soul, from thy coelestial home,
And to thy stagger'd sons assistance come;
Arm him with scorn against a Tyrant's doom.
Page  50


Heraclius, Pulcheria.

OH Heavens! What good Angel brings you to me?

Phocas, who of your birth resolv'd would be,
And hopes by me he may the secret know;
He's cunning, and the likeliest waies does go.
If I were sure, how could I then denie,
What my soul loves in all to satisfie?
If I did know it, he should never do;
I'ld die my self, if so I could save you.
Do not, Pulcheria, do not weep for me:
How gladly would I die so to save thee?
But 'tis in vain to hope that I should die,
I cannot move his hate, though all means trie:
I am not so much as a Pris'ner made,
The least affront to do me he's affraid,
Which gives some fears, makes me suspect my fate,
That I am Son to him whom all men hate.
Your fears and doubts beget much fear in me,
Canst thou, Oh Love, then my dishonour be?
A Son of Phocas in my Love claim part,
Yet he alive? I'le first tear out my heart.
Worth of it self, where e're it be does live,
And though our Parents some addition give;
Page  51It were unjust true merit to denie,
Since Birth is not our choice, but Destinie.
In one of you two I a Brother find,
Nay, to that int'rest you do both pretend;
Your state's so doubtful, you may well believe,
That as I both do love, for both I grieve;
Yet am not without hope; as I came here
Great Troops were seen the Pallace to draw near,
And Exuperius 'gainst them drew his force:
Our fortunes may be better, cannot worse.


Phocas, Heraclius, Martian taking himself for Hera∣clius, Pulcheria, her Women, Guards and Attendants.

BUt here's Phocas!


What good news? will he yield?

My Forces are too weak, I quit the Field,
All the advantage that I yet have won,
I have two Brothers, you still want a Son.

Thus you are rich, although I yet am poor.

I only know, Sir, what you knew before;
They, for my sake, do thus their births obscure,
Or else that they their safeties may procure,
Preserve them both, and that ends all the strife.
Page  52
In favour of my blood, I yours will save;
But first the knowledge of my Son I crave,
On that condition my consent is won,
To give him life that back restores my Son.
Ingrate, I this once more do thee conjure,
To Herac.
Thou thy own safetie and thy friends procure:
Why should not Nature be as strong in thee,
As her impulses shew themselves in me?
Consider with what care I thee have bred;
Consider these floods from my aged head;
Consider those deep sighs I fetch for thee:
If this move not, yet let that amity
That thou art bound to have for thy brave friend,
That sav'd thy life, how dar'st thou cause his end?

I give you back your Son, his birth and all.


How can that be since thou for death dost call?


I die to give you him, and his life save.

We both in thee die, buried in thy grave.
Well since I see I nothing can obtain,
At least grant this somthing to ease my pain,
Adopt me for thy Father, so my Son,
And with thy dear friend raign, my raign's near done.
Oh that's too much, and will my glory stain,
Why, real love for what I did but faign?
Yours is so too: for what you offer me,
Would not make more, but less my dignity;
I to my self a monster should appear,
Son to a just Prince, yet a Tyrants heir.
Go cease to hope that death thou dost deserve,
Since thou refusest what might both preserve;
Page  53All I requir'd was but to take his name,
Thy cruelty, not mine, must bear the blame.
Thou art my Son, and nature bids me spare,
But of his death thou shalt the torment share.
Strike Soldiers, now I'le see his heart blood spilt,
He dead, chuse then for Father whom thou wilt.
Hold villain, hold.—
taking himself for Heraclius.

Ah Prince, what would you do?


Preserve the Son; nay so the Father too.

taking himself for Heracl:
Preserve that Son which he in you would have,
And hinder not one that doth court his grave;
Heraclius needs must happily expire,
Since to your hands he yields up his Empire:
May the Gods long and happy make your raign.

Strike, strike Octavian all discourse is vain.

Hold Traytor, Sir, I am —

Confess at last.


Into what mist of errror am I cast?


Get out at leisure; strike, and end the strife.

I am — What I should be to save his life.
From me to him, Sir, there is so much due,
That I will pay the debt he ows to you,
So readily, so fully and sincere,
As if indeed you my true Father were.
But then you shall engage your life to mee,
That from all injury you keep him free,
For if he die, be sure that I die too,
Or your life payes the forfeit made by you.
Page  54
Fear nothing, my supporters both I'le make,
Then nothing can my peace or Empire shake,
I know that both have so much love for other,
That I shall have two Sons, you each a Brother;
My joys are now so great I scarce can see
By what addition they can greater be,
You are my Son, obedience have profest,
Shew it this once, I am for ever blest,
Admir'd Pulcheria you must grant to be
The happy cement of our amity.
She's my Sister, Sir,
You no more my Son,
And all I've labour'd for, again undone.
What if he were? Tyrant art thou so vain,
To think his grant could alter my disdain?
Could I love any thing should but seem thine?
And from thy blood less than my own decline:
Cease then to hope the least pretence in me,
Whilst death hath power from that to set me free.


Phocas, Heraclius, Martian taking himself for Hera∣clius, Pulcheria, her Women, Crispus, Guards and Attendants.
TO Exuperius, Sir, the debt you owe,
He and his friends have born the business so,
That he the Mutineers hath overcome,
And Pris'ners brings their chiefs to hear your doom.
Page  55
Command that in the Court for me he stay,
Where them their due, my thanks to him i'le pay.
Ingrateful wilt thou be, my Son, or no?
The Mutineers o're come, I need not show
Or fear or love, more than I have indeed;
Use well the time while I make others bleed:
And thou Pulcheria, if thou wouldst not see
Both their bloods shed to end the Tragedie,
Find, or make choice of one of them for mine,
And with the usual forms your right hands join:
At my return I swear this shall be done;
Who scorns my blood and Throne, is not my Son.

Threat not, they dead, I gladly death imbrace.

I know thou wouldst, but i'le not grant that grace,
That were a mercie: I must punish thee,
Which as the highest, thou shalt marry me.

Ha! What Plague?

If it be great, from me 'tis justly due,
But I shall make it yet more strange and new,
I'le bath this in their blouds when so, take thine,
One way or other compass my design.
She will not kill her self, whilst yet they live
To himself.
They error me, and I'le them terror give.
Exit Pho. Crisp. &c.
Page  56


Heraclius, Martian taking himself for Heraclius, Pulcheria.
O The sly Wolf, his fear made him seem mild,
The danger past, how bloudy and how wild;
Threatning our hearts in pieces he will tear,
If only mine, it were not worth my fear,
But when you both must die, whose worth is such,
The world ne're knew, nor shall again so much:
Since we to death must all together go,
Which is indeed my Brother let me know,
That aptly I may pay the debt I owe.
taking himself for Heraclius.
Rather resolve, your danger drawing near,
(He may come back, and act what you so fear)
The marriage with the Son then celebrate;
To shun the Father you so justly hate.
Who is't will show me, if I could consent,
And so assure me, incest to prevent?
taking himself for Herac.
I see too much of fear for us and you:
Yet a faign'd marriage you may yield unto,
Deceive the Tyrant, vertue not destroy,
All live, and yet not Hymen's rights enjoy.
So to dissemble would look poor and low:
A Tyrant to outreach makes it not so.
'Twould place in trust a Brother which he gives,
We having power, he at our mercy lives,
Page  57And so we may, when ever we think good,
Sue a divorce, and seal it with his blood.
Well to preserve your lives, avoyd my shame,
I am content: whose wife must I seem? name;
Which of you is it offers me his hand?
'Tis not a real, since no legal band.
You Sir, who did at first the motion make;
taking himself for Heraclius.
You Prince, who for his Son Phocas will take;
You who these four years have her lover him:
taking himself for Heraclius.
You who have greater worth her heart to win:
Ah Princes!
By this so brave retreat your worth is shown,
But I mistrusted still; judg'd by my own,
For great hearts, which the Heavens for Empire make,
Even at the shadow of a crime must shake.
Let us leave all to Heaven and nothing do,
But what bright honour fairly guides us to.
Was ever fate more cruel than is mine?
The doubtful truth, which with my blood I sign;
Leaves me unworthy still of that great Name,
I suffer for, in death I lose my aim,
Saving not him, for whom I choose to die.
taking himself for Herac.
That nothing is to my strange destiny;
Who in the compass of one day appear
Leontius, Martian, and Heraclius here,
A Tribun's, Tyrant's, a just Emp'ror's Son,
And die I know not who, e're it be done.
How small your griefs are yet compar'd to mine?
Though I confess you justly may repine;
Page  58For death which may ease you I must not try,
They that give life, that help to me deny;
We are born Servants, and our Lord's design,
We must not question, but our wills resign.
It is determin'd by great Nature's Laws,
That all effects depend upon their cause.


Heraclius, Martian taking himself for Heraclius, Pulcheria, Amintas.

WHat does this Traytor's coming mean? speak slave.

I am not so, since I no Master have;
The name of Traytor I can less endure,
Washt in the Tyrants blood, I now am pure.

Ha! What saies he?

That I am free from stain:
By Exupere and me Phocas is slain.
taking himself for Heraclius.

He that betray'd me?

You mistaken were,
We Traytors seem'd to find our Emperor.

Were not both sent the Mutineers to quell?

Yes but each others minds we knew so well,
Page  59That when time fitted we did soon agree,
To punish Phocas for his Tyranny.
For he secur'd by our deceit from fear,
Quickly his wonted fierceness did appear;
For pride and crueltie do greater grow,
When one believes he has subdu'd a foe:
The seeming Pris'ners kneeling on the ground,
Implor'd his mercie, but this threatning found;
You are all Traytors to whom death as due,
Tis just, cries Exupere, most just to you.
He strikes, we second him; the Tyrant dies:
Long live HERACLIƲS, Exuperius cries.
The standers by struck with amazement were,
To see one stroke destroy their hope and fear:
Thus for self-ends who call'd this Tyrant good,
Soon read his ills once written in his blood.

The last Scene.

Heraclius, Martian taking himself for Heraclius, Pulcheria, her Women, Leontina, Eudoxia, Exuperius, Amintas, Guards and Attendants.
SAy Madam, is it true? is there a change?
Amintas tells us news, though good, yet strange.
Sir the success, though great, you may believe,
Nor is there any blood, shed, we should grieve.
False to be generous, I thee embrace,
To Exuperius.
If I have power expect the highest grace.
Page  60
I must beg pardon from one of you two,
If I have injur'd him, I have serv'd you.
taking himself for Heraclius.
Either of both may easily forgive
His death, who was resolv'd we should not live.
Yet at the mention something touches me.
It may the great effects of nature be;
If so you have no great cause to complain,
If I the Empire, you my sister gain;
Nor can my dear Pulcheria now refuse,
The Father dead, how can you better chuse?
To Leons.
Madam, 'tis you alone can end the strife,
Either the Empire's mine, or she's my wife.

And can I then alone the difference end?


Who else? on your knowledge all things depend.

You may suspect me, yet of artifice,
Believe not me then, but the Emper〈…〉.
To Pulch:
Madam you know her hand, 'tis you that must
To both pretenders shew what they must trust;
This at her death she did deliver me.
Which thus I kiss upon my bended knee,
Pulcheria reads
After so many miseries endur'd,
Just Powers have me this happiness procur'd,
Before my eies by faithful Leontine,
My Son is once more chang'd; the great design
Not known so Phocas, he believes him his,
And so the Empire mine can hardly miss;
Those of our friends that yet have faith for us;
Must Martian love, he's my Heraclius.
Page  61To Herac.
You are my Brother then
I wisht to be
Tis mutual loves yields all felicity.
You know enough, and need no incest fear,
Nor could that have faln out, such was my care;
But pardon, Sir, that blood I would have spilt,
To Mart.
As being yours, though none, it looks like guilt.
Against the common joy i'le not oppose,
What Nature makes me feel I will keep close;
Though he from any did not merit love,
A Parent's death some inward grief must move.
That you your grief the better may decline,
Leontius be again, Martian resign:
Under that name great glories you have won;
You have no vice to suit a Tyrants Son.
You, my Eudoxia, take my heart and throne.
For in exchange I know you give me one.
This your deliverance a joy affords,
Too high, to be express'd, in my low words.
O be not sad since your PƲLCHERIA may
To Mart.
Think strange, she yours, to see a gloomy day.
A mixture of such joies as yet cause grief,
Only from time and her should find relief.
to Leontina and Exuperius.
You my Preservers made my troubles blest,
Your love and courage bravely did contest;
The Victory I reap, your Harvest too;
Honours are still mine, whilst confer'd on you:
Page  62But first to the just Powers our thanks we'l pay,
That none but Traitors blood sprinkled our way.
Long live Heraclius.