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My life's the Isthmus; through this narrow line
Ozm. Tis fit our private enmity should cease;
Zul. No, murderer, no; I never will be won
Ozm. Our prophet's curse
Abdelm. A band of Zegrys ran within the place,
Which crackled underneath our coursers' feet:
Ozm. [Shelving his arms.] Witness this blood— which when by treason sought, That followed, sir, which to myself I ought.
. Zul. His hate to thee was grounded on a grudge,
Ham. Their mongrel race is mixed with Christian breed;Hence 'tis that they those dogs in prisons feed.
[Advancing before the rest of his party. AlManzor, advancing on the other side, and describing a line with his sword. Almanz. Upon thy life pass not this middle space;Sure death stands guarding the forbidden place. Gom. To dare that death, I will approach yet nigher;Thus,—wert thou compassed in with circling fire.
Boab. Disarm them both; if they resist you, kill. [almanzor, in the midst of the guards, kills
Gomel, and then is disarmed. Almanz. Now you have but the leavings of my will. Boab. Kill him! this insolent unknown shall fall, And be the victim to atone you all.
Ozm. If he must die, not one of us will live: That life he gave for us, for him we give. Boab. It was a traitor's voice that spoke those words;So are you all, who do not sheath your swords.
Zul. Outrage unpunished, when a prince is by, Forfeits to scorn the rights of majesty: No subject his protection can expect, Who what he owes himself does first neglect.
Aben. This stranger, sir, is he, Who lately in the Vivarambla place Did, with so loud applause, your triumphs grace.
Boab. The word which I have given, I'll not revoke;If he be brave, he's ready for the stroke. Almanz. No man has more contempt than I of breath, But whence hast thou the right to give me death? Obeyed as sovereign by thy subjects be, But know, that I alone am king of me. I am as free as nature first made man, Ere the base laws of servitude began, When wild in woods the noble savage ran.
Boab. Since, then, no power above your own you know, Mankind should use you like a common foe; You should be hunted like a beast of prey: By your own law I take your life away.
Almanz. My laws are made but only for my sake; No king against himself a law can make. If thou pretend'st to be a prince like me, Blame not an act, which should thy pattern be. I saw the oppressed, and thought it did belong To a king's office to redress the wrong: I brought that succour, which thou ought'st to bring, And so, in nature, am thy subjects' king.
Boab. I do not want your counsel to direct, Or aid to help me punish or protect.
Almanz. Thou want'st them both, or better thou would'st know, Than to let factions in thy kingdom grow. Divided interests, while thou think'st to sway, Draw, like two brooks, thy middle stream away:" For though they band and jar, yet both combine To make their greatness by the fall of thine. Thus, like a buckler, thou art held in sight, While they behind thee with each other fight.
Boab. Away, and execute him instantly!
[To his Guards.
Almanz. Stand off; I have not leisure yet to die.
To them, enter Abdalla hastily.
Abdal. Hold, sir! for heaven's sake hold!
Boab. Brother, you know not yet his insolence.
Abdal. Upon yourself you punish his offence:
Boab. Is this the Almanzor whom at Fez you knew, When first their swords the Xeriff brothers drew?
Abdal. This, sir, is he, who for the elder fought, And to the juster cause the conquest brought; Till the proud Santo, seated on the throne, Disdained the service he had done to own: Then to the vanquished part his fate he led; The vanquished triumphed, and the victor fled. Vast is his courage, boundless is his mind, Rough as a storm, and humorous as wind; Honour's the only idol of his eyes;
The charms of beauty like a pest he flies;
[boabdelin coming to Almanzor.
Scab. Impute your danger to our ignorance;
Almanz. I do not doubt but I have been to blame:
Boab. [to the Factions. \ Lay down your arms, and let me beg you cease Your enmities.
Zul. We will not hear of peace,
Abdelm. The action we have done we will maintain.
Selin. Then let the king depart, and we will try Our cause by arms.
Zul. For us and victory. Boab. A king entreats you. Almanz. What subjects will precarious kings re, gard?
A beggar speaks too softly to be heard:Lay down your arms! 'tis I command you now.
All. Long live king Mahomet Boabdelin!
Almanz. No more; but hushed as midnight silence go:He will not have your acclamations now. Hence, you unthinking crowd !—
[The Common People go off on both parties.