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That coward tribe that press'd you to surrender!
Earn. O I could curse the giddy, changeful slaves, But that the thought of this hour's great event Possesses all my soul. If we are beaten!
Herb. The poison works; 'tis well—I'll give him more. [Aside,
True, if we're beaten, who shall answer that?
Shall you, or I? Are you the governor?
Or say we conquer, whose is then the praise?
Eum. I know thy friendly fears; that thou find I Must stoop beneath a beardless, rising hero! And in Heraclius' court it shall be said, Damascus, nay, perhaps the empire too,
Ow'd its deliverance to a boy, Why be it,
So that he now return with victory;
Herb. [Aside.] That, that's my torture.
But Phocyas—curse upon his froward virtues!
Is reaping all this field of fame alone,
Or leaves him scarce the gleanings of a harvest.
Eum. See Artaraon, with hasty strides returning. He comes alone! Oh ! friend, thy fears were just. What are we now, and what is lost Damascus?
Art. Joy to Eumeness!
Eum. Joy! is't possible?
Dost thou bring news of victory?
Art. The sun
Has seen three thousand slaughter'd Arabs fall.
Herb. Is Phocyas safe r
Art. He is, and crown'd with triumph.
Herb. [Aside."} My fears indeed were just.
Eum. What noise is that?
Herb. The people worshiping their new divinity; Shortly they'll build him temples,
Eum. Tell us, soldier,
Art. At first the foe
At last our leaders met ; and gallant Phocyas
But what ars words, to tell the mighty wonders
The slaughter had been double But, behold,
The hero comes!
Enter Phocyas, Eumenes meeting him. Eum. Joy to brave Phocyas! Eumenes gives him back the joy he sent. The welcome news has reach'd this place before
thee. How shall thy country pay the debt she owes thee?
Plio. By taking this as earnest of a debt Which I owe her, and fain would better pay. Herb. In spite of envy, l^must praise him too.
[Aside. Phocyas, thou hast done bravely, and 'tis fit • Successful virtue take a time to rest. Fortune is fickle, and may change : besides, What shall we gain, if from a mighty ocean By sluices we draw off some little streams? If thousands fall, ten thousands more remain. Nor ought we hazard worth so great as thine, Against such odds. Suffice what's done already: And let us now, in hopes of better days, Keep wary watch, and wait th' expected succours.
Pho. What! to be coop'd whole months within
Eum. [To Herbis, aside.] Urge him no more ;—— 111 think of thy late warning; And thou shaltsee, I'll yet be governor.
Enter Messenger, with a Letter.
P/io. [Looking on it.] Tis to Eumenes.
[Reads.] The emperor, awaJcen'd with the danger
That threatens his dominions, and the loss
At Aiznadin, has drain d his garrisons,
To raise a second army. In a few hours
We will begin our march. Sergius brings this,
And will inform you further.
Herb. [Aside.] Heaven, I thank thee! Twas even beyond my hopes.
Eam. But where is Sergius? . Mess. The letter, fasten'd to an arrow's head, Was shot into the town.
Eum. I fear, he's taken
O Phocyas, Herbis, Artamon ! my friends!
And threaten'd deadly ruin Haste, proclaim
The welcome tidings loud through all the city.
[Exeunt Herbis and Artamon.
Eum. The blessings, Heaven bestows, are freely sent, And should be freely shar'd.
Pho. True Generous minds
Redoubled feel the pleasure they impart.
What thou hast done is thine, the fame thy own; And virtuous actions will reward themselves.
Pho. Fame—What is that, if courted for herself? Less than a vision ; a mere sound, an echo, That calls with mimic voice, thro' woods and labyrinths, Her cheated lovers ; lost and heard by fits, But never fix'd: a seeming nymph, yet nothing. Virtue indeed is a substantial good, A real beauty ; yet with weary steps, Thro' rugged ways, by long, laborious service, When we have trac'd,and woo'd, and won the dame, May we not then expect the dower she brings?
Earn. Well ask that dowry; say, can Damascus pay it? Her riches shall be tax'd,name but the sum, Her merchants with some costly gems shall grace
thee^ Nor can Heraclius fail to grant thee honours, Proportion'd to thy birth and thy desert.
Fho. And can Eumenes think I would be brib'd By trash, by sordid gold, to venal virtue! What! serve my country for the same mean hire, That can corrupt each villain to betray her? Why is she sav'd from these Arabian spoilers,
If to be stripp'd by her own sons? Forgive me
If the thought glows on my cheeks! I know
Twas mention'd but to prove how much I scorn it.
I have ambition—yet the vast reward
That swells my hopes, and equals all my wishes,
Is in thy gift alone it is Eudocia.
Eum. Eudocia ! Phocyas, I am yet thy friend,
Pho. Not think of her!