THE ILLUSTRIOUS GOETHEA STRANGER
PRESUMES TO OFFER THE HOMAGE
OF A LITERARY VASSAL TO HIS LIEGE LORD,
THE FIRST OF EXISTING WRITERS,
WHO HAS CREATED
THE LITERATURE OF HIS OWN COUNTRY,
AND ILLUSTRATED THAT OF EUROPE.
THE UNWORTHY PRODUCTION
WHICH THE AUTHOR VENTURES TO INSCRIBE TO
|SARDANAPALUS, King of Nineveh and Assyria, etc.|
|ARBACES, the Mede who aspired to the Throne.|
|BELESES, a Chaldean and Soothsayer.|
|SALZMENES, the King's Brother-in-law.|
|ALTADA, an Assyrian Officer of the Palace.|
ZARINA, the Queen. MYRRHA, an Ionian female Slave, and the Favourite of SARDANAPALUS.
Women composing the Harem of SARDANAPALUS, Guards, Attendants, Chaldean Priests, Medes, etc., etc.
Scene -- a Hall in the Royal Palace of Nineveh.
In this tragedy it has been my intention to follow the account of Diodorus Siculus; reducing it, however, to such dramatic regularity as I best could, and trying to approach the unities. I therefore suppose the rebellion to explode and succeed in one day by a sudden conspiracy, instead of the long war of the history.
A Hall in the Palace.
Salemenes (solus). He hath wrong'd his
queen, but still he is her lord;
He hath wrongd my sister, still he is my brother;
He hath wrong'd his people, still he is their sovereign,
And I must be his friend as well as subject: He must not perish thus. I will not see The blood of Nimrod and Semiramis
Sink in the earth, and thirteen hundred years Of empire ending like a shepherd's tale; He must be roused. In his effeminate heart There is a careless courage which corrup-tion
Has not all quench'd, and latent energies, Repress'd by circumstance but not de-stroy'd --
Steep'd, but not drown'd, in deep voluptuousness.
If born a peasant, he had been a man
To have reach'd an empire: to an empire
He will bequeath none; nothing but a name, Which his sons will not prize in heritage: -- Yet, not all lost, even yet he may redeem