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ACT III, SCENE i
MELEANDER, SERVANT, GOBYRAS
TODAY I heard my ambassador Arsidas' report; inside the palace I just heard from Bocchus. Each report has dismayed me all the more. I have lost whatever hopeful plans I had after my enemy Radirobanes' expulsion, and now I see certain doom hanging over me. It is certainly no accident that Gobryas has come with his French into Sicily. Up to now Lycogenes and the Sardinians accomplished very little, but with what arms or armies can Sicily withstand the French on one side, the Mauritanians on the other? I question everything and rail at the fates. I just ordered Gobryas to be summoned – and here is the servant whom I had sent to summon Gobryas.
SERV. O king, Gobryas is talking with Argenis and will be here immediately.
MEL. What? Not with Argenis! This fact increases my suspicions, but still I will look cheerfully on Gobryas as he approaches. My dear fellow, how could you hide the name of your prince during all the time which you spent in Sicily? By Heaven, I owe him so much that you implicate me in the sin of ingratitude, since you did not allow me to treat you as I should have for his sake.
Gobr. King Meleander, I think I can readily excuse my silence. No one knows better than you do that those invited to a prince's friendship are not at their own disposal. Be assured that I was afraid to let slip a matter which my King Poliarchus might prefer — for all I knew — to keep hidden.
MEL. But I have here a letter from Poliarchus in Africa, in which he indicates that he will be here shortly — but you were aware of this long since, Gobryas, and for that reason you were awaiting him and his fleet here.
GOB. O king, be assured I did not lie about the storm which separated me from the rest of the fleet, nor have I seen my king or his companions since then. But I set out for this island, although I was unsure where my king was headed or what he was planning, because I had heard from him that the direction of his voyage ought to be towards Sicily.
MEL. So, Gobryas, you do not know what he will do or where he will go?
GOB. I know nothing, O king, except what I just said.
MEL. I am satisfied. You can proceed wherever you wish, for this was what I wanted to know from you.
Gobr. I will leave, O king.
MEL. Farewell, Gobryas.
GOB. I am very afraid in these disturbances that I will be ordered to quit the palace. So anticipating this compulsory banishment, I will return to my ships as if I were refitting them, and I will have them stationed in position as agreed with Argenis.
ACT III, SCENE ii
WAS able to learn nothing more from Gobryas, and so I left him and have retired to this room. This situation afflicts my mind with various worries: why did Poliarchus send this Gobryas ahead? Why did Poliarchus leave France with such a large fleet, if not to win Argenis in battle? And perhaps she wants it thus. Has she neglected Archombrotus upon these hopes? Did she herself encourage these French troubles? Radirobanes' letter, Selenissa's death, Theocrine, and Pallas always come to my fear-wracked mind, and the worst of this disaster is that I fear my own child. But even against my will, I cannot but remember the courage of Poliarchus and the support he brought to us disguised as a woman, doing everything a son-in-law should do. Why did I, to my shame, expel him from Sicily? Why did I allow him to leave in great danger? I believe that he is right to hate and despise me. But even if I wished him as a son-in-law, apart from gaining a reputation for inconstancy, I must have respect for our nation's laws, which forbid marriage with the kings of France. Shouldn't I also consider the power of Archombrotus, which has grown greater with the strength of Mauritania and the love of the Sicilians. Will I quarrel with my daughter? But I have no idea what the gods are devising. I will restrain my anger lest I offend whichever one of them is fated to be my son-on-law. However, from sheer passion I cannot refrain from addressing her, since she happens to be here. “My child, you await Poliarchus, whom you really love very little, since you are not willing to see him unless he comes stained with his own or Archombrotus' blood!”
Arg. [to self] He is angry at me, but I will listen to these words with a settled silence, as I had planned, passing him by as if not understanding.
MEL. She has gone away as if not understanding what I meant. Why not consult my advisors, Cleobulus, Eurymedes, and the other noblemen — but they will be quite reluctant to give their sagacious counsel, fearing me, their king, if they devise any harm to Archombrotus, and not doubting that they will offend Argenis, if they act against Poliarchus.