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ACT II, SCENE i
Leaving the city to Philotas, Chosroes flees into the interior of Persia together with Medarses.
CHOS. (Alone.) That herald is creeping at a leaden pace, he’s delaying too long. Perhaps he’s afraid to bring me sad news. But a man who comes to announce impending catastrophe arrives too quickly. If Heraclius raises a haughty eyebrow and refuses to meet with you, your kingdom has no hope. But if you are victorious, gaining the spoils of a favorable battle, once more you can lift up your head to the starry skies. (Enter Hermes.) My mind foretells horrible news. Hermes is shuffling along timidly, his tongue is paralyzed by grief. Tell me the answer, my heart is well prepared for whatever you bring.
HERM. Oh, how high-spirited is the man whose sails are bellied by a following wind! See how prideful his words were! “I am amazed that a captive would want to engage in single combat with myself. Does he still harbor such optimism in such a great heart? Let him come crawling to Heraclius’ feet, like a suppliant. Perhaps, if he employs tears in pleading his case I shall concede him life in exchange for those tears.”
CHOS. Good, I understand my enemy’s nature. Farewell. (Exit Hermes.) “Perhaps, if he employs tears in pleading his case I shall concede him life in exchange for those tears?” He’s as inflated as a bubble! He’s mad, thanks to the ambrosial nectar of excessive good fortune. You fool, do you you hope for perpetual faithfulness from Fortune’s faithless wheel? Whoever trusts that kindly goddess’ smile places his trust in untrustworthy air. Today she bestows her favor on you, tomorrow on me. The blind goddess plies her shifting pinions, fleeter than the flapping of wings. You want me to get down and embrace your knees, you arrogant fellow? Oh the dart of your plaguey tongue! Today you’ll find out who kneels the better, let you discover which is the first to smear the ground with his gore. If the unkind stars should abandon us, this sword will manufacture a new destiny. I shall owe you nothing, you supernals. Let my right hand be my god. (As he exits Medarses confronts him.).
MED. Where are you going at such a fast pace, father?
CHOS. To the deep pools of the Styx.
MED. Are you going to die, father?
CHOS. So that you may survive and surpass the life-thread of Nestor.
MED. Whatever Parca breaks off my father’s tread will cut that of Medarses as well. You bid your son live Pylian years, and yet you hasten to cut short the flourishing days of his life?
CHOS. So that our enemy will not cut short the flourishing days of your life, I am hurrying to Heraclius.
MED. I’ll accompany my father.
CHOS. The jewel of your passing life will not yet be sullied by the blood-soaked mud of Mars. Seek a safe place to hide, my son.
MED.. I should enter the cowardly caves of flight while my father seeks to purchase a noble laurel by suffering an honorable wound? This breast of mine will protect my father’s heart.
CHOS. Rather, let Medarses live and pay honor at his father’s pyre with his tears. Let him gather his parent’s bones, enclose great Chosroes in a small urn, and cherish it at his bosom. My boy, your young age is more deserving to live.
MED. May father, who has previously given me life, is more deserving to live.
CHOS. For your sake, I shall gladly pawn my breath, my life, my all. He who has once given you your life shall do better in giving it to you a second time.
MED. Ah, it is more fitting that he who has never given it to you should give it once.
CHOS. So is it your choice to join me in throwing the dice of war?
MED. I am determined to learn the ABC’s of warfare with you the schoolmaster.
CHOS. What if Chosroes should lose heart and go into hiding until the fury of this storm abates?
MED. Whatever corner my father likes is to my liking as well.
CHOS. Better that the father should seek out an inglorious place for concealment than that his single hope should fall victim to his enemy’s rage.
MED. Sometimes the sovereign of the stars hides his rosy locks behind Cimmerian cloud. He who has hidden well has lived well, father.
CHOS. And he who has hidden badly has lived badly, my son?
MED. Achilles hid.
CHOS. And yet when he ardently dragged Hector and Troy behind his Pelian axle, he emerged from the darkness, discarding his mother’s wiles, and Achilles once more became Achilles. But if it pleases Medarses, it pleases me. So let us go, my child. (Enter Philotas.) I want to see a world rejoicing under an unfamiliar sun. I want to love the darkness, until my enemy’s fury collapses under its own weight.
MED Heaven make their hands gentle!
PHIL. Caesar, the air resounds with enemy brass, the clash of arms sounds closer. Like bees, a swarm of horsemen surrounds the city.
CHOS. Let’s change our location, son. Meanwhile, Philotas, you must defend the both of us with the thunderbolt of your hand. Our safety depends on Philotas alone. I return the city’s buildings and its population to your loyal protection.
PHIL. The king’s safety is more important than my ours. (Exit Chosroes and with Medarses.)
ACT II, SCENE ii
Philotas brings Siroes out of prison and hails him as king. He sends Nicomachus with soldiers to fetch back his father.
PHIL. (Alone.) Cowardly beast! You leave us only wounds, while you snore, outstretched on an Attalid couch? Go now and take your disgraceful flight. Baskets, scissors, distaffs, spindles, and the busy threads of skillful Minerva are summoning your womanly fingers. Hide in safety, while the savage storm visits its anger on us. I’ll soon make you leave your hidden bedchamber. I’ll make you learn to defend your nation with your end. How you’ll groan, you fugitive, when Siroes gives laws to his peoples and makes his father grovel at this feet, humbled and lamenting! Who convinced you to place your faith in Philotas, you fool? Ah, you wretch, what manner of steel do you trust? My entire religion consists of adoring the brain’s cleverness with the incense of Araby. Bargains, law and loyalty are nothing but empty words, existing only in the volumes of Plato. Whoever relies on the friendly talent of his wits is the maker of his own fortune. (Enter Nicomachus.)
NIC. Rejoice, Philotas, we have conquered.
PHIL. What is it?
NIC. The rabbit has fled, together with his little bunny. (Enter soldiers.)
PHIL. My heart leaps for joy.
NIC. See how these soldiers are eager to do your bidding.
PHIL. I can see these are fighters equal to the hosts of heaven. You thunderbolts of Mars must pack together and guard the palace doors. Draw your swords, lest the common folk, who are more shifting than the Bosporus, seek to rebel. Now, at length, my desire is to free the bonds of your sovereign. (Siroes emerges from his opened cell.). Come forth, you sole hope of your people, you single pillar of your tottering dynasty. Ah, let me kiss your sacred hand. Do you perceive how great is the maelstrom in which your father has left his subjects? See how the enemy is concentrating the flower of his young men close at hand. The brazen battering-ram is all but striking the city walls. Meanwhile your fine father has left his groaning subjects bereft of a leader. Nor was this enough. He has appointed Medarses heir to the Persian throne, even though the laws of nature cry out in protest. And your sire has bequeathed you darkness as a token of his criminal love. Oh, a too-harsh patrimony! Oh kingdom of the Styx.
ALL You must wield the reins of state with a better hand. (Siroes falls to his knees.)
SIR. I pay homage to the bright light of the rosy sun, which I have long sought but which has always been denied me by my hard-hearted father, if such he deserves to be called. (He arises.) My eyes are dazzled, being unfamiliar to the light and all too accustomed to the darkness of implacable night. And yet Phoebus bears witness, and also his sister Phoebe and all the choir of the stars, that my mind has always been free of the ignoble blot of shame. Lately I have been buried in a dark dungeon. That I am revived, that I am once more enjoying the golden light of heaven, this is your doing, Philotas. Henceforth you will be my father, Philotas’ praise will be enduring, preserved in a cedar wrapping, and, as posterity reads your sweet name, your ashes will inspire the minds of our descendants. I gladly seize the helm of our damaged ship of state, as long as we all join together in fighting against the storm. And, lest we are forced to exert ourselves to no avail, it behooves us to quench the torches of our quarrels. So let Chosroes, the man responsible for this war, be haled back, and let Medarses accompany him. A great reward awaits Nicomachus, if he can compel either of them to retrace his steps.
NIC. Let either of them plunge himself in Erebus, Erebrus’ hiding-places will not protect him. I’ll fetch them both back into the open air.
SIR. You warriors, sons of Mars, go, let favorable omens attend your journey. None of you will return unrewarded.
SOLDIERS Virtue is its own greatest reward. (Exit Nicomachus with the soldier. Enter Memnon and Orontes.)
MEM. We pray that you long wear the purple, prince. Let the father of the gods grant this.
ORON. Today is creeping along slowly on its golden chariot.
SIR. Why are your faces enflamed? Why does panting make your sides heave?
MEM. These are signs of our exertion.
SIR. Do you know where wandering Chosroes is hiding?
MEM. He took us as his final two companions, and now the wretch is hastening his wandering step through thornbrakes and forest darkness.
SIR. Quickly, quickly, drive your rapid chariots through the silent glades once more. Serve as guides for Nicomachus. Hale both of them to holy Themis’ new tribunal.
MEM. We respect our sovereign’s will as if it were the sacrosanct commands of Jove. (Exeunt Memnon and Orontes.)
PHIL. Now put off that black gown that’s fitting for grief, my sovereign. Let all the jewel-bearing Hydaspes disgorge itself onto your flowing garment. Brighten this gloomy day with the brightness of a happier countenance.
SIR. Siroes will do anything, as long as he gratifies his Philotas. Nothing please me in the absence of you, the architect of my salvation. (Exeunt.)
ACT II, SCENE iii
Chosroes, betrayed by Memnon and Orontes, is apprehended, together with Medarses. Enter Chosroes and Medarses, costumed as shepherds.
MED. My knees are failing, father. Pray halt your headlong pace.
CHOS. Delay is not yet safe.
MED. See how Chloris is offering her hospitable bosom. (He indicates a forest.) A happy couch of green turf invites us, a zephyr summons us with its ambrosial whisper. Let us sit there a little whole.
CHOS. Come, relax your weary limbs. A little rest will do no harm (They sit.) Oh happy repose of the countryside! Oh sweet homes of Dryads! Oh the hypnotic tune of a babbling brook! Who would not prefer a red rose’s blush to Chosroes’ purple? Oh would that I were a tiller of the innocent countryside! Here the only deceits that are known are hunters’ nets. The sport of savage Mars is kept far away, unless when kidlings wage war against each other with their newly-budded horns. Here nobody but the fertile soil receives a wound, no sound is heard save for the trembling flight of the chattering stream and the mock-battles of the playful zephyr. Do you like the shepherds’ life, my son?
MED. A shepherd’s rough costume is not suitable for kings, father.
CHOS. My son, a sheperd’s costume is suitable for runaways. (Medarses displays a straw hat and shepherd’s crook.) How vile is this head-covering, stiff with its rough-worked straw! This curved crook disgraces hands born to hold scepters.
CHOS. My boy, these times to not require lofty spirits. Put off Medarses, put on Menalcas. Learn to tolerate with patience the flames of the Dog Star, learn to bear the harsh nip of Riphaean cold, let a new exertion always follow after a previous one, if you want to be a bulwark for your nation.
MED. Oh father, will the morning-star ever come on its rosy chariot, bringing that day when I fly about on the lips of our subjects as the defender of Persia and father of my country? I shall gladly endure thirst and weather, no matter how harsh, as long as that thrice-happy hour someday comes, drawn by snow-white horses. Sh. What’s that noise? (Enter a peasant.) A weary peasant is making his innocent way here.
CHOS. Keep your lips locked.
PEAS. Now the sun has arrived at the very belly-button of the sky. The time advises me to eat, copiously and elegantly. But what do I have to do with the sun or with sun-dials? This paunch of mine is a very handy sun-dial, and it’s all the same to me whether the sun hides behind a cloud or shines in the open. For my belly tweaks my ear and warns me it’s time for a meal. And indeed, since it is so well endowed, it announces to me with extreme accuracy, with no help from an almanac, all feast-days. I’ll betake myself to a nearby forest. (He sees the shepherd.) But look at those shepherds. No matter, I’ll invite them to share. Greetings, right honorable young men. Is it your pleasure to join me in breaking the day? Heavens, I’m bringing a right proper hunger to this meal. Now, beyond doubt, virtue stands in the middle.
CHOS. What food do you offer us?
PEAS. Wine, bread, and a little soft cheese. (He produces these.)
MED. Nothing else? I was expecting guinea-fowl, or at least partridge.
PEAS. What a finicky young gentleman! Nobody gives what he doesn’t have. Long ago soldiers have sacrificed my chickens to their private god.
CHOS. What good news do you bring regarding this situation? What finally happened to Chosroes?
PEAS. Heavens, that’s a hard question! Thus far I’ve not been admitted into the gods’ council.
CHOS. Where is he? What’s he doing? What’s he up to?
PEAS. Rumor has it that he abandoned Seleucia as a fugitive. But I’m quite unconcerned about what’s frightening Chosroes.
CHOS. Have you ever seen Chosroes?
PEAS. I’ve never seen him, and I don’t much care.
MED. I’ve seen him often. He strikes me as a good king, how does he seem to you?
PEAS. A good king? You’re still a boy, nor has your cottage played hoste to calamity. You’re not the head of a household. Later on, when you’ve planted vines and soldiers have harvested your vintage, when you’ve entrusted grain to the soil and reaped sorrow, when you’ve pastured your sheep in happy fields and they have stuffed their bellies with your flock, when Harpies of that ilk have come a-flying from every direction, then you’ll find out whether Chosroes, who tolerates these things, is a good king. (A trumpet sounds.) Soldiers, by God. Worthless everywhere and everywhere worthless. My heart has been sending out new colonies. The hell with the sheep and the master of the sheep, I’m going to pack up. Good-by. (He flees.)
CHOS. Is that the trumpet of a friend or an enemy?
MED. (Hearing a commotion.) I hear a savage commotion nearby.
CHOS. Take care lest our enemy catch you in his tricky nets. The ground groans, stricken by hard horse-hooves, the forest is darkening with a cloud of dust.
MED. Flee, flee, father. (Enter Nicomachus with his soldiers.)
NIC. Where is that cowardly rabbit hiding? (Chosroes takes to his heels, and unwittingly leaves Medarses amidst the enemy.)
MED. Is this how you salute your sovereign, Nicomachus? Oh, you architect of fraud! Oh you deceitful Sinon!
NIC. Do the boy’s words move you, my fellow soldiers? Search for hiding-places.
MEM. No worries, I’ll keep my nose close to the ground and hunt for our quarry’s lair.
ORON. He won’t escape my nets today.
NIC. And yet he’s fled. Come, give me your arms. These bonds will tie your hands behind your back. (He ties the shepherd’ hands.) Give this tree a friendly embrace, shepherd. Join your tears to those of its weeping trunk. Shake its hollows with your sobbing.
MEM. We’ll hunt the father with a keener nose.
ORON. Your father will rejoin you soon. (He goes into the forest. Exeunt the others.)
MED. Oh crags! Oh forest! Oh silent solitude! What should I first lament? Will I first weep over my own manacles with their sad steel, or rather my father’s bonds? Both deserve a lyre’s funeral-dirge. I shall provide a royal banquet for screech-owls and wolves. But perhaps your sword has consumed my father’s heart, Nicomachus, your cruel sword.
CHOS. Come, Medarses, come. With what limit do you me cherish?
CHOS. Perish? Explain.
CHOS. My son, have we won.
CHOS. Is my boy grieving to excess?
CHOS. What god will aid us?
CHOS. (Entering.) Forgive me, son. I bound your hands in iron chains when I left you surrounded by a ring of steel.
MED. Rather his father should forgive Medarses. I’m the source of our evil. When I, the son, entered the greeny home of the Dryads against his father’s will, with a single stroke I pierced the hearts of both father and son. (Nicomachus addresses his men as they wander in the forest.)
NIC. Quickly pursue the fearful fellow.
MEM. Block the forest exits.
ORON. Where’s he hiding.
NIC. This way, henchmen, this way.
SOLDIER 1 I see.
SOLDIER 2 What do you see?
SOLDIER 3 Nothing.
MEM. (Finds and take him.) Good, he’s caught.
NIC. “Let Nicomachus have a great care for his own parcel of land.” Remember those words? Now I’ll heal my own wound.
CHOS. Have you no reverence for the sacred purple?
NIC. When you put off the king’s royal purple, at the same time you put off the king. Take him, the day’s hurrying along.
CHOS. What’s this? Orontes a traitor? And has Memnon betrayed his trust too? I refuse to place any more faith in faith itself.
ACT II, SCENE iv
Siroes releases Zacharias from his cell and begs him to serve as a go-between between himself and Heraclius. He remands his father and brother, having been fetched back, to the same cell in which he himself had once been thrust.
SIR. (Releasing him from his cell.) Venerable prelate, I congratulate you on your enjoyment of this new sunlight. I know full well how troublesome are the stinking confines of a dungeon, the abyss of darkness, the horror, the weight and the noise of chains, sleeping on the ground, little sleep and no food. I likewise understand what it is to be buried alive.
ZACH. I appreciate your character, august sovereign. How different you are from your hard-hearted father! He bound limbs in brazen bonds, but you unlock them. As long as I have a memory, the favor and kindnesses of Siroes will be engraved upon my mind.
SIR. I would have removed the chains from your limbs more quickly if I had not been prevented by the rigor of my own imprisonment. These are my father’s gifts. But lest these guilty men’s dungeon swallow me up once more, you must be the patron of my safety. You can lull the lightning of angry Heraclius. By your intercession, let me have easy access to that prince. Most of all, tell him that I, as a suppliant, earnestly entreat him for the gifts of peace. If he grants this, I shall likewise give him the cross.
ZACH. I gladly embrace the cause of peace, Augustus. Nobody would refuse to be the spokesman of so great a sovereign.
SIR. Let fortune favor your enterprise. (Exit Zacharias.) Seized upon by the hostile ocean, my ship is in danger of foundering. Scylla besets me on the right, Charybdis on the left. Two reefs threaten us. On the one had I am pressed by the rage of Heraclius, intoxicated by his success in battle, and on the other by the threats of my irate father. Perhaps he is overleaping the snares I have set for him. Possibly he will turn all Persia against me. Let him come. The laurels he sets on his locks will not be unbloodied. He’ll find me to be a second Heraclius. If Lachesis decrees this to be a black day for Siroes, nonetheless this day he will not die unavenged. I shall gladly fall, as long as Chosroes falls too. (Enter Philotas.)
PHIL. Swell your breast with joy, my sovereign. The quarry are caught in our nets.
SIR. They’ve both returned?
PHIL. Father and son are crossing your palace threshold.
SIR. Oh blessed me! I would refuse to exchange my lot for that of the supernals. Let our double doors open wide. The fatal urn summons these guilty fellows. (Chosroes and Medarses are led in.) The wolves are dressed in sheep’s clothing. Do you know who I am? Perhaps the squalid horror of imprisonment has thinned my cheeks.
CHOS. I recognize the arrogant face of Siroes well enough. Long ago heaven’s prophetic tongue forewarned me about this baleful comet for the world.
SIR. (Casts aside Chosroes’ hat.) Do you also spew forth insults when you are bareheaded, you blockhead?
MED. Father, let’s not be ashamed to throw ourselves at Siroes’ feet. He is your crown’s true heir. Why should the diadem due to my brother sit upon my hear? I admit, I wore my brother’s crown on my head as long as it was unconquered. But, father, let me admit my crime. (Chosroes picks up his son as he is about to kneel.)
CHOS. You abandon your father in such a maelstrom, son? Are you too a deserter to Siroes’ camp? Where have piety, faith and the power of a handclasp gone? So does Siroes outshine his father?
MED. The word “father” is a sweet one. Even if I should want, I cannot do what my father forbids.
SIR. If this wanton boy’s arrogance cannot be swayed, it can be broken. (They both kneel.)
CHOS. Ah! Better that I myself should be broken, and, humbling myself, stretch out my suppliant hands to my son. You are the first to see me abject upon my knees, you are the first to see a father at the feet of his son. Death’s dire apparitions do not terrify me, I shall kiss its black dart as long as its iron shaft spares Medarses. I admit that Chosroes has always been over-harsh towards you. But why should Medarses, the heart of my heart, atone for the crimes of his evil father?
MED. I earned death when I wore my brother’s crown. I shall cheerfully die, as long as my father lives on. Ah! Give our father his life back, brother, for he gave you life. If our parent has chanced to err, forgive him. He sins in loving his son overmuch.
SIR. (Wiping away his tears.) This boy compels his brother to weep against his will. The agony of the single-hearted father and son can wring tears out of adamant. (To the audience.) See how both melt in tears. The weeping of them both softens my mind. I try to resist, I struggle, and yet nature asserts itself. It is hard for a mind to forget that which it has long learned. But I will stifle my tears. Let that cell which was lately a party to my enchainment contain them in its dark bosom until Themis summons them once more to my bar. (They are taken. Siroes remains alone.)
ACT II, SCENE v
At the instigation of Philotas and Nicomachus, Siroes puts his father and brother to death. He decides to invite Heraclius to the city.
SIR. Just as a full-blowing gale drives a creaking ship with its bellied sail, but it is driven back by a tide running in the opposite direction, so my mind floats in a doubtful strait that runs this way and that. Can you look dry-eyed on your father’s execution? Can you deprive of the light of day the man responsible for giving you that light? Ah speak better, my mad grief. What? Shall that parricide breath the wholesome air? Will he sully the brilliance of Phoebus with his rotten breath? Will he live and bury me once more in a disgraceful dungeon? I have not so quickly forgotten the languishing and the squalor of dire imprisonment. That hideous pit still hovers before my eyes: the chains, the darkness, the hunger still come back to me. Will he snatch the badge of royalty belonging to my head and use it to adorn his brotherly locks with impunity? Why is my heart palpitating? What inward advisor is urging me to abandon my bold fury? I seem to hear an internal voice blaming me for my deeds. It is the voice of love. It speaks, but it is addressing a deaf man. But once again my mind melts and my pain is overflowing. Piety banishes passionate anger, the son banishes the judge. Which of the two will you absolve with a white token? Will you spare Medarses? The boy deserves to see Pylian years. Will your father die? Nature’s laws enjoin that you prefer the father to the son. I can spare neither, but I have no idea which the black pebble should destroy. (Enter Philotas and Nicomachus, with soldiers.)
PHIL. Prince beloved to heaven, how long will your doubtful hand delay its tardy blow?
NIC. With our hand we should imitate Jove, but Jove when he is hurling lightning.
SIR. Should the lightning fall on my father?
PHIL. And likewise on your brother. Do you desire the scepter of Persia?
SIR. You ask me if I desire it! What a frigid word! It is the height of my ambition. I burn, I am afire, I am reduced to steam, whenever that sweet word tickles my ears.
PHIL. Unless you are determined to lose your scepter together with your life, you need to lop off their heads like so many toadstools. Nothing is more fickle than the fickle multitude.
SIR. So I must either lose my scepter or my father? Let a thousand fathers be plunged in the Styx, as long as their deaths create a scepter. Let the mouth of the dark Pit yawn wide. Let my soldiers unlimber their bows. (The two are brought out of their cell.) Let both look forward to Pluto’s courtroom. Go, imitate the gods with your proud thunder, and fulminate. Trample Sinoes under your arrogant foot, make him trade his palace for a dungeon, his crown for chains. Now you’ll pay the price.
MED. (Kneels.) Let my father’s soul be redeemed by my death. Let Medarses alone fall. Let him alone appease your wrath.
CHOS. Rather, my son, you should outstrip Nestor with a better life’s thread. And yet, if you are determined to mingle your ashes with those of your father, let me die first, and I’ll teach you how to die.
MED. Brother — (He humbly grovels at Siroes’ feet but is rejected. Chosroes raises him to his feet.)
CHOS. Why prostrate yourself before Siroes like a suppliant? Kings should die while standing. Imitate me in doing so. My boy, you will never again see Chosroes a suppliant. I was too abject today.
SIR. This warrior remains spirited. Soldiers, suppress his untamable pride. Aim a fatal arrow, draw your bows until their horns come together. Let arrogant Chosroes be your arrow’s target.
MED. (Standing in front of his father.) Me, shoot at me. I’ll go, I’ll go, I’ll protect my father with my body. Let the arrow drink the son’s blood before it tastes my father’s side with its steel.
SIR. Remove the boy.
MED. Hold your deadly arrow, I pray you, oh hold your arrow!
CHOS. Farewell forever, my son. Oh! [He dies.]
SIR. He has it, it’s done.You will live, a boy better than his father.
MED. You savage Busiris! Should I survive my father and submit my neck to Siroes’ royal yoke? Rather I will accompany my father’s noble shade.
SIR. Behold your father. (Shows him, pierced by an arrow.) Do you like the sight of death?
MED. Let me adore your dead face, father. (He kneels.) On his august countenance Mars is embodied entire. The pain and menace of his brow still live, and his proud expression, worthy of Jove on high, which Siroes still dreads. But the gaping wound of his breast pierces my heart. (He removes the arrow from the wound.) Is this arrow the arrow of your love, Siroes? Go, you parricide, and remove your impious, abominable feet from our house.
SIR. Rain comes after Jove’s thundering wheels, and thunderbolts will follow upon your tongue’s lamentations. You will experience the wrath of Siroes, which knows no tears. Come, sergeant, plunge your missile into his breast entire. The insolent boy will follow insolent Chosroes.
MED. I’ll follow my father through the wild forests of Lethe, through whatever unpleasant things are possessed by the house of Dis. Come, you see your target. Why tremble, sergeant? You are shooting at a fearless man. I am coming to your embraces, father, for which I long. (He is killed.)
SIR. Now I grasp my father’s scepter with security. A rare rank in the Persian empire awaits the both of you, as a reward for your merits.
PHIL. The height of my desire would be to sacrifice my soul for my sovereign.
NIC. Virtue is its own sufficient reward
SIR. Come, so that my royal purple might better be confirmed, I have decided freely to bind my locks with an olive-wreath of Pallas and offer up my realms at Heraclius’ feet, together with their peoples.
PHIL. That prince’s sweet kindness takes suppliants to its bosom. (Exeunt.)
Go to Act III