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Has silence press’d her seal upon his lips ?
Does adamantine faith invest his heart?
Will he not bend beneath a tyrant's frown?
Will he not melt before ambition's fire ?
Will he not soften in a friend's embrace ?
Or flow dissolving in a woman's tears ?
Sooner the trembling leaves shall find a voice, .,
And tell the secrets of their conscious walks ;
Sooner the breeze shall catch the flying sounds,
And shock the tyrant with a tale of treason.
Your slaughter'd multitudes that swell the shore
With monuments of death, proclaim his courage ;
Virtue and liberty engross his soul,
And leave no place for perfidy or fear.
LEONTIUS. I scorn a trust unwillingly repos'd ; Demetrius will not lead me to dishonour; Consult in private, call me when your scheme Is ripe for action, and demands the sword. [Going.
DEMETRIUS. Leontius, stay.
Forgive an old man's weakness,
And share the deepest secrets of my soul, .
My wrongs, my fears, my motives, my designs.
When unsućcessful wars, and civil factions,
Embroild the Turkish state, our Sultan's father,
Great Amurath, at my request, forsook
The cloister's ease, resum'd the tott'ring throne,
And snatch'd the reins of abdicated pow'r
From giddy Mahomet's unskilful hand.
This fir'd the youthful king's ambitious breast;
He murmurs vengeance at the name of Cali,
And dooms my rash fidelity to ruin.
Unhappy lot of all that shine in courts,
For forc'd compliance, or for zealous virtue,
Still odious to the monarch or the people.
Such are the woes when arbitrary pow'r,
And lawless passion, hold the sword of justice.
If there be any land, as fame reports,
Where common laws restrain the prince and subject,
A happy land, where circulating pow'r
Flows through each member of th' embodied state;
Sure, not unconscious of the mighty blessing,
Her grateful sons shine bright with every virtue;
Untainted with the lust of innovation,
Sure all unite to hold her league of rule
Unbroken as the sacred chain of nature,
That links the jarring elements in peace.
But say, great Bassa, why the Sultan's anger,
Burning in vain, delays the stroke of death?
Young, and unsettled in his father's kingdoms,
Fierce as he was, he dreaded to destroy
The empire's darling and the soldier's boast;
But now confirm’d, and swelling with his conquests,
Secure he tramples my declining fame,
Frowns unrestrain'd, and dooms me with his eyes.
DEMETRIUS. What can reverse thy doom?
The tyrant's death,
DEMETRIUS. But Greece is still forgot.
On Asia's coast,
Which lately bless'd my gentle government,
Soon as the Sultan's unexpected fate
Fills all th' astonish'd empire with confusion,
My policy shall raise an easy throne;
The Turkish pow’rs from Europe shall retreat,
And harass Greece no more with wasteful war.
A galley mann'd with Greeks, thy charge, Leontius,
Attends to waft us to repose and safety.
That vessel, if observ’d, alarms the court,
And gives a thousand fatal questions birth :
Why stor’d for flight ? and why prepar’d by Cali ?
This hour I'll beg, with unsuspecting face
Leave to perform my pilgrimage to Mecca;
Which granted, hides my purpose from the world,
And, though refus’d, conceals it from the Sultan,
How can a single hand attempt a life
Wbich armies guard, and citadels enclose ?
Forgetful of command, with captive beauties,
Far from his troops, he toys his hours away.
A roving soldier seiz'd, in Sophia's temple,
A virgin shining with distinguish'd charms,
And brought his beauteous plunder to the Sultan,
In Sophia's temple !-What alarm!-Proceed.
The Sultan gaz’d, he wonder'd, and he lov’d:
In passion lost, he bade the conqu’ring fair
Renounce her faith, and be the Queen of Turkey.
The pious maid, with modest indignation,
Threw back the glitt'ring bribe.
· Celestial goodness! It must, it must be she; her name?
What hopes, what terrors, rush upon my soul!
O lead me quickly to the scene of fate;
Breakthrough the politician's tedious forms:
Aspasia calls me, let me fly to save her.
Did Mahomet reproach or praise her virtue?
His offers oft repeated, still refus’d,
At length rekindled his accustom'd fury,
And chang'd th' endearing smile and am'rous whisper
To threats of torture, death, and violation.
These tedious narratives of frozen age
Distract my soul; dispatch thy ling'ring tale ;
Say, did a voice from Heav'n restrain the tyrant?'
Did interposing angels guard her from him?
Just in the moment of impending fate,
Another plund'rer brought the bright Trene,
Of equal beauty, but of softer mien,
Fear in her eye, submission on her tongue,
Her mournful charms attracted his regards,
Disarm'd his rage, and in repeated visits
Gain'd all his heart; at length his eager love
To her transferr'd the offer of a crown.
Nor found again the bright temptation fail?
Trembling to grant, nor daring to refuse,
While Heav'n and Mahomet divide her fears,
With coy caresses and with pleasing wiles
She feeds his hopes, and sooths him to delay.
For her, repose is banish'd from the night,
And business from the day. In her apartments
And there must fall.
But yet th' attempt
Forbear to speak of hazards; What has the wretch that has surviv'd his country, His friends, his liberty, to hazard?
Th’ inestimable privilege of breathing !
Important hazard! What's that airy bubble,
When weigh'd with Greece, with Virtue, with Aspasia ?
A floating atom, dust that falls unheeded
Into the adverse scale, nor shakes the balance.
At least this day be calm-If we succeed,
Aspasia's thine, and all thy life is rapture.
See! Mustapha, the tyrant's minion, comes ;
Invest Leontius with his new command;
And wait Abdalla's unsuspected visits :
Remember Freedom, Glory, Greece, and Love.
Exeunt Demetrius and Leontius.
By what enchantment does this lovely Greek
Hold in her chains the captivated Sultan?