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And trouble me no more. Does he fend thee
With Tales of dull Respect, and faint Excufes ?
Tell him he might have spar'd the formal Message,
'Till fome kind Friend had told him how I languisha,
How like a Turtle I bemoan'd his Absence,
Seof. Pardon, fair Excellence, if falt'ring Age
Prophanes the Passion I was bid to paint,
And drops the Tale imperfect from my Tongue.
But Lovers beft can plead their Cause themselves;
And see, your Slave, the King my Master comes,
To move your gentle Heart with faithful Vows,
his humble Homage at your Feet.
Enter the King, Guards, and other Attendants.
King. But that I trust not to that Babbles, Fame,
Who, careless of the Majesty of Kings,
Scatters lewd Lies among the Croud, and wins
The easie Idcots to believe in Monsters,
I should have much to charge you with, my Brother
I stand accus'd
Offa. How, Sir?
King. So speaks Report,
As wanting to my Honour, and my Friend;
By you I stand accus'd.-
Offa. Now by our Friendship,
If that be yet an Oath, resolve me, Hengit,
Whence are these Doubts between us, whence this
Say thou, who know'At, what sudden secret Thought
Has stept between, and dafh'd the publick Joy.
Thou callst me Brother; wherefore wait the Priests,
And suffer Hymen's holy Fires to languish?
What binders but that now the Rites begin,
That now we lose all Thoughts of past Displeasure,
And in the Temple tie the sacred Knot
Of Love and Friendship to endure for ever?
King. What hinders it indeed, but that which makes
This medly War within ? but that which causes
This Sickness of the Soul, and weighs her down
With more than mortal Cares?
offa. What fhall I call
This secret gloomy Grief, that hides its Head,
And loves to lurk in Shades? Have royal Minds
Such Thoughts as fhun the Day?
King. Urge me no farthes,
But, like a Friend, be willing not to know
What to reveal would give thy, Friend a Pain,
Be still the Partner of my Heart, and share
In Arms and Glory with me; but oh! leave,
Leave me alone to struggle through one Thought,
One secret anxious Pang that jars within me,
That makes me act a Madman's Part before thee,
And talk Confusion-if thou art my Frend,
Thou hast heard me, and be satisfy'd-if not,
I have too much descended from my self
To make the mean Request-but rest we here,
To you fair Princess
Rodo. No! there needs no more;
For I would spare thee the unready Tale.
Know, faithless King, I give thee back thy Vows,
And bid thee fin secure, be safely perjur'd.
Since if our Gods behold thee with my Eyes,
Their Thunder shall be kept for nobler Vengeance,
And what they scorn, like me, they shall forgive.
King. When Anger lightens in the fair One's Eyes,
Lowly we bow, as to offended Heav'n,
With blind Obedience, and submissive Worship;
Nor with too curious Boldness ralhly reason
Of what is just or unjust, such high Pow'r
Is to its self a Rule, and cannot err.
Yet this may be permitted me to speak,
Howe'er the present Circumstance reproach me,
Yet still my Heart avows your Beauty's Power,
My Eyes confess you Fair.
Rodo. Whate'er I am
Is of my felf, by native Worth existing,
Secure, and independent of thy Praise;
Nor let it seem too proud a Boat, if Minds
By Nature great, are conscious of their Greatness,
And hold it mean to borrow ought from Flattery,
: King. You are offeeded, Lady.
Rodo. Hengift, no.
Perhaps thou think it this generous Indignation,
That blushing burns upon my glowing Cheek,
And sparkles in my Eyes, a Woman's Weakness,
The Malice of a poor forsaken Maid,
Who rails at faithless Man -Mistaken Monarck
For know e'en from the first, my Soul disdain'd thee;
Nor am I left by thee, but thou by me.
So was thy Fallhood to my Will subfervient,
And by my Purpose bound; thus Man, tho' limited
By Fate, may vainly think his Actions free,
While all he does, was at his Hour of Birth,
Or by his Gods, or potent Stars ordain'd.
offa. No more, my Sister: Let the Gown-men talk,
And märk out Right and Wrong in nọisie Courts;
While the Brave find a nсarer way to Justice,
They hold themselves the Ballance and the Sword,
And suffer Wrong from none. Tis much beneath me,
To ask again the Debt you owe to Honour;
So that be satisfy'd, we still are Friends,
And Brothers of the War. But mark me, Hengift,
I am not us’d to wait; and if this Day
Pass unregarded as the former two,
Soon as to Morrow dawns, expect me.
offa. Armd in the Field.
Seof. Beseech you, Sir, be calm, [Do the King. The valiant Prince
Offa. Tho'I could wish it otherwise,
And since the Honour of the Saxon Name,
And Empire here in Britain, rests upon thec,
Believe me, I would fill be found thy Friend.
[Exeunt Offa, Rodogune, and Attendants.
King. No, I renounce that Friendship; perish too,
Perish that Name and Empire both for ever;
What are the Kingdoms of the peopled Earth,
What are their Purple, and their Crowns to me,
If I am curst within, and want that Peace,
Which cvery Slave enjoys?
Seof. My Royal Master,
It racks my aged Heart to see, you
But oh! what Aid, what Counsel çan I bring you,
When all yon Eastern Down, ev'n to the Surge
That' bellowing beats on Dover's chalky Cliff,
With crefted Helmets thick embatteľd shincs;
With these ġour Friends, what are you but the great-
eft? With these your Foes-Oh! let me lose that Though, And rather think I see you Britain's King: Ambrosius vanquish'd, and the fartheft Pias Submitted to your Sway, tho’ the fame Scene
Discoverd to my View the haughty Rodogune
Plac'd on your Throne, and Partner of your Bed.
King. What! should I barter Beauty for Ambition,
my Heav'n of Love to reign in Hell?
Take a Domestick Fury to my Breaft,
And never know one Hour of Peace again?
Statesman thou reason'it ill. By mighty Thor,
Who wields the Thunder, I will rather chuse
To meet their Fury. Let 'em come together,
Young Offa and Ambrosius. Tho' my Date
Of mortal Life be fort, it shall be glorious,
Each Minute shall be rich in some great Actions,
To speak the King, the Hero, and the Lover,
Seof. The Hero and the King are glorious Names;
But oh! my Master, wherefore is the Lover?
In Honour's Name remember what you are,
Break from the Bondage of this feeble Passion,
urge your way to Glory: Leave with Scorn
Unmanly Pleafures to unmanly Minds,
And thro’ the rough, the thorny Paths of Danger,
Aspire to Virtue, and immortal Greatness,
King. Hence with thy hungry, dull,, untimely Mo-
The fond deluding Sophiftry of Schools.
Who would be Great, but to be happy too?
yet such Idcots are we, to exchange
Our Peace and Pleasure for the Trifle Glory;
What is the Monarch, mighty, rich and great ?
What? but the common Victim of the State:
Born to grow old in Cares, to waste his Blood,
And still be wretched for the publick Good.
So by the Priests the noblest of the Kind
Is to atonc thc angry Gods designd;