Sar. That's true, too; but I must not
think of it.
Sal. I have look'd to all things needful, and will now
Receive reports of progress made in such
Orders as I had given, and then return
To hear your further pleasure.
Sar. Be it so.
Sal. (in retiring). Myrrha!
Sal. You have shown a soul to-night
Which, were he not my sister's lord -- But
now 410 I have no time: thou lovest the king?
Myr. I love
Sal. But wouldst have him king still?
Myr. I would not have him less than what he should be.
Sal. Well then, to have him king, and yours, and all
He should or should not be; to have him
Let him not sink back into luxury.
You have more power upon his spirit than
Wisdom within these walls, or fierce rebel-lion
Raging without: look well that he relapse not.
Myr. There needed not the voice of Salemenes 420 To urge me on to this: I will not fail.
All that a woman's weakness can --
Sal. Is power
Omnipotent o'er such a heart as his:
Exert it wisely. [Exit SALEMENES.
Sar. Myrrha! what, at whispers
With my stern brother? I shall soon be jealous.
Myr. (smiling). You have cause, sire; for on the earth there breathes not
A man more worthy of a woman's love,
A soldier's trust, a subject's reverence,
A king's esteem -- the whole world's admi-ration!
Sar. Praise him, but not so warmly. I
must not 430 Hear those sweet lips grow eloquent in aught
That throws me into shade; yet you speak truth.
Myr. And now retire, to have your wound look'd to.
Pray, lean on me.
Sar. Yes, love! but not from pain.
SARDANAPALUSdiscovered sleeping upon a Couch, and
occasionally disturbed in his Slumbers, with MYRRHA
Myr. (sola, gazing). I have stolen upon his rest, if rest it be,
Which thus convulses slumber: shall I wake him?
No, he seems calmer. Oh, thou God of
Whose is o'er seal'd eyelids and soft dreams,
Or deep, deep sleep, so as to be unfathom'd,
Look like thy brother, Death, -- so still -- so stirless --
For then we are happiest, as, it may be, we
Are happiest of all within the realm
Of thy stern, silent, and unwakening twin.
Again he moves -- again the play of pain
Shoots o'er his features, as the sudden
gust 11 Crisps the reluctant lake that lay so calm
Beneath the mountain shadow; or the blast
Ruffles the autumn leaves, that drooping cling
Faintly and motionless to their loved boughs.
I must awake him -- yet not yet: who knows
From what I rouse him? It seems pain; but if
I quicken him to heavier pain? The fever
Of this tumultuous night, the grief too of
His wound, though slight, may cause all
this, and shake 20 Me more to see than him to suffer. No:
Let Nature use her own maternal means, --
And I await to second, not disturb her.
Sar. (awakening). Not so -- although ye multiplied the stars,
And gave them to me as a realm to share
From you and with you! I would not so purchase
The empire of eternity. Hence -- hence --
Old hunter of the earliest brutes! and ye,
Who hunted fellow-creatures as if brutes!
Once bloody mortals -- and now bloodier
idols, 30 If your priests lie not! And thou, ghastly beldame!
Dripping with dusky gore, and trampling on
The carcasses of Inde -- away! away!
Where am I? Where the spectres?
Where -- No -- that