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In this tragedy it has been my intention to follow the account of Diodorus Siculus, reducing it, however, to such dramatic regularity as I best could, and trying to approach the unities. I therefore suppose the rebellion- to explode and succeed in one day by a sudden conspiracy, instead of the long war of the history.

PREFACE

view to the stage.

In publishing the following Tragedies I have only to repeat that they were not composed with the most remote

On the attempt made by the Managers in a former instance, the public opinion has been already expressed. With regard to my own private feelings, as

seems that they are to stand for nothing, I shall say nothing.

For the historical foundation of the following compositions, the reader is referred to the Notes.

The Author has in one instance attempted to preserve, and in the other to approach the “unities ;" conceiving that with any very distant departure, there may be poetry, but can be no drama.

He is aware of the unpopularity of this notion in present English literature ; but it is not a system of his own, being merely an opinion, which, not very long ago, was the law of literature throughout the world, and is still so in the more civilized parts of it. But “ Nous avons change tout cela," and are reaping the advantages of the change. The writer is far from conceiving that any thing he can adduce by personal precept or example can at all approach his regular, or even irregular predecessors: he is merely giving a reason why he preferred the more regular formation of a structure, however feeble, to an entire abandonment of all rules whatsoever. Where he has failed, the failure is in the architect, and not in the art.

DRAMATIS PERSONÆ.

MEN.

SARDANAPALUS, King of Nineveh and Assyria, &c.
ARBaces, the Mede who aspired to the Throne.
Bèleses, a Chaldean and Soothsayer.
Salements, the King's Brother-in-law.
ALTADA, an Assyrian Officer of the Palace.
ΡΑΝΙΑ. .
Zames.
SFERO.
BALEA.

WOMEN.

ZARINA, the Queen.
MYRRHA, an Ionian female Slave, and the Favourite of

SARDANAPALUS.
Women composing the Harem of SARDANAPALUS, .

Attendants, Chaldean Priests, Medes, &c. &c.

Scene-a Hall in the Royal Palace of Nineveh.

SARDANAPALUS.

ACT I. SCENE I.

A Hall in the Palace,

SALEMENES (solus). He hath wrong'd his queen, but still he is her lord; 'He hath wrong'd my sister, still he is my brother; He hath wrong'd his people, still he is their sovereign, And I must be his friend as well as subject: He must not perish thus. I will not see The blood of Nimrod and Semiramis Sink in the earth, and thirteen hundred years Of empire ending like a shepherd's tale He must be roused. In his effeminate heart There is a careless courage which corruption Has not all quench'd, and latent energies, Represt by circumstance, but not destroy'd Stecp'd but not drown'd, in deep voluptuousness. If born a peasant, he had been a man To have reach'd an empire; to an empire born, He will bequeath none; nothing but a name, Which his sons will not prize in heritage :Yet, not all lost, even yet he may redeem His sloth and shame, by only being that Which he should be, as easily as the thing

He should not be and is. Were it less toil
To sway his nations than consume his life?
To head an army than to rule a harenı ?
He sweats in palling pleasures, dulls his soul,
And saps his goodly strength, in toils which yield not
Health like the chase, nor glory like the war-
He must be roused. Alas! there is no sound

[Sound of soft music heard from within,
To rouse him short of thunder. Hark! the lute,
The lyre, the timbrel; the lascivious tinklings
Of lulling instruments, the softening voices
Of women, and of beings less than women,
Must chime in to the echo of his revel,
While the great king of all we know of earth
Lolls crown'd with roses, and his diadlem
Lies negligently by to be cauglit up
By the first manly hand which dares to snatch it.
Lo, where they come ! alreacły I perceive
The reeking odours of the perfumed trains,
And see the bright gems of the glittering girls,
Who are his comrades and his council, flash
Along the gallery, and amidst the damsels,
As femininely garbed, and scarce less female,
The grandson of Semiramis, the man-queen.
He comes! Shall I await him ? yes, and front him,
And tell him what all good men tell each other,
Speaking of him and his. They come the slaves,
Led by the monarch subject to his slaves.

SCENE II.

Enter SARDANAPALUS effeminately dressed, his Head

crowned with Flowers, and his robe negligently flowing, attended by a Train of Women and young Slaves.

SARDANAPALUS (speaking to some of his attendants).
Let the pavilion over the Euphrates
Be garlanded, and lit, and furnish'd forth
For an especial banquet; at the hour
Of midnight we will sup there: see nought wanting,

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