Sar. To-morrow thou wilt smile at these vain fancies.
Myr. If the worst come, I shall be where
none weep, 669 And that is better than the power to smile.
Sar. I shall be king, as heretofore.
Sar. With Baal, Nimrod, and Semi-ramis,
Sole in Assyria, or with them elsewhere.
Fate made me what I am -- may make me
But either that or nothing must I be: I will not live degraded. Myr. Hadst thou felt Thus always, none would ever dare degrade thee.
Sar. And who will do so now?
Myr. Dost thou suspect none?
Sar. Suspect -- that's a spy's office.
Oh, we lose
Ten thousand precious moments in vain
words, 680 And vainer fears. Within there! -- Ye slaves, deck
The hall of Nimrod for the evening revel:
If I must make a prison of our palace,
At least we'll wear our fetters jocundly;
If the Euphrates be forbid us, and
The summer dwelling on its beauteous bor-der,
Here we are still unmenaced. Ho! within there! [Exit SARDANAPALUS.
Myr. (sola). Why do I love this man?
My country's daughters
Love none but heroes. But I have no coun-try!
The slave hath lost all save her bonds. I
love him; 690 And that's the heaviest link of the long chain --
To love whom we esteem not. Be it so:
The hour is coming when he'll need all love,
And find none. To fall from him now were baser
Than to have stabb'd him on his throne when highest
Would have been noble in my country's creed:
I was not made for either. Could I save him,
I should not love him better, but myself;
And I have need of the last, for I have fallen
In my own thoughts, by loving this soft
stranger: 700 And yet methinks I love him more, per-ceiving
That he is hated of his own barbarians,
The natural foes of all the blood of Greece.
Could I but wake a single thought like those
Which even the Phrygians felt when bat-tling long
'Twixt Ilion and the sea, within his heart,
He would tread down the barbarous crowds, and triumph.
He loves me, and I love him; the slave
Her master, and would free him from his vices.
If not, I have a means of freedom Still, 710
And if I cannot teach him how to reign,
May show him how alone a king can leave
His throne. I must not lose him from my sight. [Exit.
The Portal of thesame Hall of the Palace.
Beleses (solus). The sun goes down: me-thinks he sets more slowly,
Taking his last look of Assyria's empire.
How red he glares amongst those deepen-ing clouds,
Like the blood he predicts. If not in vain,
Thou sun that sinkest, and ye stars which rise,
I have outwatch'd ye, reading ray by ray
The edicts of your orbs, which make Time tremble
For what he brings the nations, 't is the fur-thest
Hour of Assyria's years. And yet how calm!
An earthquake should announce so great a
fall -- 10 A summer's sun discloses it. You disk,
To the star-read Chaldean, bears upon
Its everlasting page the end of what
Seem'd everlasting; but oh! thou true sun!
The burning oracle of all that live,
As fountain of all life, and symbol of
Him who bestows it, wherefore dost thou limit
Thy lore unto calamity? Why not
Unfold the rise of days more worthy thine