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'Scap'd to our camp. From him we learn'd, the ty» rant,'
With rage redoubled, for the fight prepares;
Some accidental passion fires his breast,
(Love, as 'tis thought, for a fair Grecian captive)
And adds new horror to his native fury.
But see his fate! The mighty Tamerlane
Comes, like the proxy of inquiring Heav'n,
To judge, and to redress. . [Flourish of Trumpets.
Enter Tamerlane, Guards, and other
Tam. Yet, yet a little, and destructive slaughter'*
Shall rage around, and mar this beauteous prospect;
Pass but an hour, which stands betwixt the lives
Of thousands and eternity. What change
Shall hasty death make in yon gliti'ring plain?
Oh, thou fell monster, war! that in a moment
Lay'st waste the noblest part of the creation,
The boast and masterpiece of the great Maker,
That wears in vain th'impression of his image,
Unprivileg'd from thee.
Health to our friends, and to our arms success,
[To the Prince, Zama, and Mirvan. Such as the cause for which we fight deserves! »
Prince. Nor can we ask beyond what Heav'n bestows, Preventing still our wishes. See, great sir, The universal joy your soldiers wear, Omen of prosp'rous battle. ••« • "it
Impatient of the tedious night, in arms • • ia^
Watchful they stood, expecting op'ning day;
And now are hardly by their leaders held
From darting on the foe.
. Tam. Yes, prince, I mean to give a loose to war.
This morn Axalla, with my Parthian horse, •
Arrives to join^ne. He, who, like a storm,
Swept, with his flying squadrons, all the plain '•'
Between Angoria's walls and yon tall mountains, That seem to reach the clouds; and now he comes, Louden wilh spoils and conquests, to my aid.
[Hourish of' Trumpets. Zama. These trumpets speak his presence
Enter Axalla, who kneels to Tamerlane.
Tam. Welcome! thou worthy partner of my laurels,
Thou brother of my choice, a band more sacred
Than nature's brittle tie. By holy friendship!
Glory and fame stood sii 11 for thy arrival;
My soul scem'd wanting in its better half,
And languish'd for thy absence.
Ax. My emperor! My ever royal master!
To whom my secret soul more lowly bends,
Than forms of outward worship can express;
How poorly does your soldier pay this goodness,
Who wears his every hour of life out for you!
Yet 'tis his all, and what he has, he offers;
Nor now disdain t' accept the gift he brings,
Enter Selima, Moneses, Prisoners; Guards,
This earnest of your fortune. See, my lord,
The noblest prize that ever grae'd my arms!
Approach, my fair
Tam. This is indeed to conquer,
And well to be rewarded for thy conquest;
The bloom of op'ning flow'rs, unsully'd beauty.
Softness, and sweetest innocence she wears,
And looks like nature in the world's first spring.
But say, Axalla
Set. Most renown'd in war,
• [Kneeling to Tamerlane. Look with compassion on a captive maid, Though born of hostile blood; nor let my birth, Deriv'd from Bajazet, prevent that mercy Which every subject ofi your fortune finds.
War is the province of ambitious man,
Who tears the miserable world for empire;
Whilst our weak sex, incapable of wrong,
On either side claims privilege of safety.
Tarn. [Raising her.] Rise, royal maid! the pride
of haughty pow'r
Pays homage, not receives it, from the fair.
Thy angry father fiercely calls me forth,
And urges me unwillingly to arms.
Yet, though our frowning battles menace death
And mortal conflict, think not that we hold
Thy innocence and virtue as our foe.
Here, till the fate of Asia is decided,
In safety stay. To-morrow is your own:
Nor grieve for who may conquer, or who lose;
Fortune, on either side, shall wait thy wishes.
Sel. Where shall my wonder and my praise begin?
From the successful labours of thy arms;
Or from a theme more soft, and full of peace,
Thy mercy and thy gentleness? Oh, Tamerlane!
What can I pay thee for this noble usage,
But grateful praise i So Heav'n itself is paid.
Give peace, ye pow'rs above, peace to mankind;
Nor let my father wage unequal war
Against the force of such united virtues.
Tarn. Heav'n hear thy pious wish!
Let thy beauty's safety
Be my Axalla's care; in whose glad eyes,
1 read what joy the pleasing service gives him.
Is there amongst thy other pris'ners aught
[To Axalla. Worthy our knowledge?
Ax. This brave man, my lord,
[Pointing to Moneses. With long resistance held the combat doubtful. His party, press'd with numbers, soon grew faint, And would have left their charge an easy prey; Whilst he alone, undaunted at the odds,
Though hopeless to escape, fought well and firmly;
Nor yielded, till o'ermatch'd by many hands,
He seem'd to shame our conquest, whilst he own'd it.
Tarn. Thou speak'st him as a soldier should a soldier, Just to the worth he finds. 1 would not war
With aught that wears thy virtuous stamp of greatness.
Thy habit speaks thee Christian—Nay, yet more,
My soul seems pleas'd to take acquaintance with thee,
As if ally'd to thine.
Why art thou, then, a friend to Bajazet?
And why my enemy ? -
Man. If human wisdom
Could point out every action of our lives,
And say, Let it be thus, in spite of fate
Or partial fortune, then I had not been
The wretch I am.
Tarn. The brave meet every accident
With equal minds. Think nobler of thy foes,'
Than to account thy chance in war an evil.
Mon. Far, far from that: 1 rather hold it grievous
That I was forc'd ev'n but to seem your enemy;
Nor think the baseness of a vanquish'd slave
Moves me to flatter for precarious life,
Or ill-bought freedom, when I swear by Heav'h!
Were I to chuse from all mankind a master,
It should be Tamerlane.
Tarn. A noble freedom Dwells with the brave, unknown to fawning sycophants, And claims a privilege of being believ'd. I take thy praise as earnest of thy friendship.
Mon. Still you prevent the homage I should offer. Oh, royal sir! let my misfortunes plead, And wipe away the hostile mark I wore. I was, when not long since my fortune hail'd me,
Bless'd to my wish, I was the Prince Moneses;
Born, and bred up to greatness: witness the blood,
Which through successive heros' veins, ally'd
To our Greek emperors, roll'd down to me,
Feeds the bright flame of glory in my heart.
Tarn, Ev'n that! that princly tie should bind thet to nie, If virtue were not more than all alliance.
Mon. I have a sister, oh, severe remembrance!
Our noble house's, nay, her sex's pride;
Nor think my tongue too lavish, if I speak her
Fair as the fame of virtue, and yet chaste
As its cold precepts; wise beyond her sex
And blooming youth; soft as forgiving mercy,
Yet greatly brave, and jealous for her honour:
Such as she was, to say I barely lov'd her,
Is poor to my soul's meaning. From our infancy,.
There grew a mutual tenderness between us,
Till, not long since, her vows were kindly plighted
To a young lord, the equal of her birth. •
The happy day was fix'd, and now approaching,
When faithless Bajazet (upon whose honour,
In solemn treaty given, the Greeks depended)
With sudden war broke in upon the country, •''
Secure of peace, and for defence unready. . J
Tarn. Let majesty no more be held divine,
Since kings, who are call'd gods, profane themselves;
Mon. Among the wretches, whom that deluge swept Away to slavery, myself and sister, Then passing near the frontiers to the court, (Which waited for her nuptials) were surpris'd, And made the captives of the tyrant's pow'r. Soon as we reach'd his court, we found our usage Beyond what we expected, fair and noble: Twas then the storm of your victorious arms Look'd black, and secm'd to threaten, when he press'** Be