My lord

And bid the galley be prepared. There is
A cooling breeze which crisps the broad clear river ;
We will embark anon, Fair nymphs, who deign
To share the soft hours of Sardanapalus,
We'll meet again in that the sweetest hour,
When we shall gather like the stars above us,
And you will form a heaven as bright as theirs ;
Till then, let each be mistress of lier time,
And thou, my own Ionian Myrrha, chuose,
Wilt thou along with them or me?

Sardan. My lord, my life! why answerest thou so

It is the curse of kings to be so answered.
Rule thy cwn hours, thou rulest mine-say, wouldst thou
Accompany our guests, or charm away
The moments from me ?

The king's choice is mine.
Sardan. I pray thee say not so: my chiefest joy
Is to contribute to thine every wishi.
I do not dare to breathe my own desire,
Lest it sirould clash with thine; for tliou art still
Too prompt to sacrifice thy thoughts for others.

Myrrha. I would remain : I have no happiness
Save in heholding thive; yet-

Yet! what yet? 'Thy own sweet will shall be the only barrier Which ever rises betwixt thee and me.

Myrrha. I think the present is the wonted hour Of council; it were better I retire. Salem. (cumes forward and says). The lonian slave

says well, let her retire. Sardan. Who answers? How now, brother ? Salem.

The queen's brother, And your most faithful vassal, royal lord. Sardan. (addressing his truin). As I have said, let all

dispose their hours Till midnight, when again we pray your presence.

[The court reliving. (To MYRRHA, who is going), Myrrha! I thought thou

wouldst remain.


Great king,
Thou didst not say so.

But thou lookedst it;
I know each glance of those lonic eyes,
Which said thou wouldst not leave me.

Sire! your brother
Salem. His consort's brother, minion of lonia !
How darest thou name me and not blush?

Not blush?
'Thou hast no more eyes than heart to make her crimson
Like to the dying clay on Caucasus,
Where sunset tints the snow with rosy shadows,
And then reproach her with thine own cold blindness,
Which will not see it. What, in tears, my Myrrha ?

Salem. Let them flow on; she weeps for more than one, And is herself the cause of bitterer tears.

Sardun. Cursed be he who caused those tears to low ! Salem. Curse not thyself-millions do that already.

Sardun. Thou dost forget thee: make me not remeraber I am a monarch. Salern.

Would thou couldst ! Myrrha.

My sovereign, I pray, and thou too, prince perniit my absence.

Sardan. Since it must be so, and this churl has check'd Thy gentle spirit, go ; but recollect That we must forthwith meet: I had rather lose An empire than thy presence.

[Exit MYRRHA. Sulem.

It may be,
Thou wilt lose both, and both for ever!

I can at least command myself, who listen
To language such as this; yet urge me not
Beyond my easy nature.

'Tis beyond
That easy, far too casy, idle nature,
Which I would urge thee. Oh that I could souse thee!
Though 'twere against myself.

By the god Baal!
The man would make me tyrant.

So thou art.

Thinkst thou there is no tyranny but that
Of blood and chains ? The despotism of vice-
The weakness and the wickedness of luxury-
The negligence the apathy--the evils
Of sensual sloth--produce ten thousand tyrants,
Whose delegated cruelty surpasses
The worst acts of one energetic master,
However harsh and hard in his own bearing.
The false and fond examples of thy lusts
Corrupt no less than they oppress, and sap
In the same moment all thy pageant power
And those who should sustain it; so that whether
A foreign foe invade, or civil broil
Distract within, both will alike prove fatal :
The first thy subjeets have no heart to conquer ;
The last they rather would assist than vanquish.
Sardan. Why what makes thee the mouth-piece of the

Salem. Forgiveness of the queen, my sister's wrongs;
A natural love unto my infant nephews;
Faith to the king, a faith he may need shortly,
In more than words; respect for Nimrod's line ;
Also, another thing thou knowest not.

Sardan, What's that?

To thee an unknown word.

Yet speak it,
I love to learn.


Not know the word !
Never was word rang so in my ears---
Worse than the rabble's shout, or splitting trumpet ;
I've heard thy sister talk of nothing else.

Salem. To change the irksome theme, then, hear of vice.
Sardan. From whom ?

Salem. Even from the winds, if thou couldst listen Unto the echoes of the nation's voice.

Sardan. Come, I'm indulgent as thou knowest, patient As thou hast often proved--speak out, what moves thee?

Salem, Thy peril.

Say on,


Thus, then : all the nations,
For they are many, whom thy father left
In heritage, are loud in wrath against thee.
Sardan. 'Gainst me! What would the slaves ?

A king,

And what
Am I then ?

In their eyes a nothing ; but In mine a man who might be something still. Sardan. The railing drunkards !'why, what would they

have ?
Have they not peace and plenty?

Of the first,
More than is glorious ; of the last, far less
Than the kings recks of.

Whose then is the crime,
But the false satraps, who provide no better?

Salem. And soniewhat in the monarch who ne'er looks Beyond his palace walls, or if he stirs Beyond them, 'tis but to some mountain palace, Till summer heats wear down. O glorious Baal! Who built up this vast empire, and wert made A god, or at the least shinest like a god Through the long centuries of thy renown, This, thy presumed descendant, ne'er beheld As king the kingdoms thou didst leave as hero, Won with thy blood, and toil, and time, and peril ! For what? to furnish imposts for a revel, Or multiplied extortions for a minion.

Sardan. I understand thee-thou wouldst have me go
Forth as a conqueror. By all the stars
Which the Chaldeans read! the restless slaves
Deserve that I should curse them with their wishes,
And lead them forth to glory.

Wherefore not?
Semiramis-a woman only-led
These our Assyrians to the solar shores
Of Ganges.

Sardan, 'Tis most true. And how return'd?
Salem. Why, like a man-a hero; baffled, but

Not vanquish'd. With but twenty guards, she made
Good her retreat to Bactria.

And how many
Left she behind in India to the vultures ?

Sal:m. Our annals say not.

Then I will say for them
That she had better woven within her palace
Some twenty garments, than with twenty guards
Have fled Bactria, leaving to the ravens,
And wolves, and men-the fiercer of the three,
Her myriads of fond subjects. Is this glory?
Then let me live in ignominy ever.

Salem. All warlıke spirits have not the same fate.
Semiramis, the glorious parent of
A hundred kings, although she fail'd in India,
Brought Persia, Media, Bactria, to the realm
Which she once sway'd-and thou mightst sway.

I sway them
She but subdued them.

It may be ere long
That they will need: her sword more than your sceptre.

Sardan. There was a certain Bacchus, was there not?
I've heard my, Greek girls speak of such-they say
He was a god, that is a Grecian god,
An idol foreign to Assyria's worship,
Who conquer'd this same golden realm of Ind.
Thou prat'st of, where Semiramis was vanquish’d.

Salem.. I have heard of such a man; and thou perceiv'st That he is deem'd a god for what he did.

Sardan. And in his godship I will honour him-
Not much as man. What ho! my cupbearer!

Salem. What means the king ?

To worship your new god.
And ancient conqueror. Some wine, I says

Enter Cupbearer.
SARDANAPALUS (addressing the Cupbearer);
Bring me the golden goblet thick with geins,
Which bears the name of Nimrod's chalice. llence..
Fill full, and bear it quickly.

[Cuit Cupbearer.

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