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النشر الإلكتروني

Artless as native truth, still urge thy suit,
Obtain her promise, and depend on mine.

[Erit INDATER.
Ere I begin the story of my life,
Let me gaze round with grateful rapture here;
Believe me, Hermodon—these rocks, these trees,
To me seem nobler than the Persian court.

HERMODON.
You once was great?

SEYFEL.
I was.

HERMODON.

Too long, my friend, Thy griefs, pent up, have prey'd upon thy heart : I do not hate the great I love the Persians ; Their laws and noble manners I admire ; Tho' all mankind at first were equal born, I strictly hold that subjects should obey Those whom their gods make delegates of power : Simplicity's soft charms, in this republic, Are no fit lessons for monarchic states. Could'st thou suppose that I was less attach'd Because in Scythia

SEYFEL.

If I have long conceal'd The source of my misfortunes-pardon me, Pardon a parent's doubts-I'd lost my all: My child here wander'd friendless—unprotected I fear'd the foul disgraces of her father Would fall on her, and stain her rising glory.

HERMODON.

Distrust us not.

SEYFEL.

Know then, that under Cyrus I carried terror to th'affrighted nations. Hircania bow'd her neck unto my yoke, Hircania free till then.

HERMODON.

Most harsh the chains Which gall the stubborn neck of liberty !

SEYFEL.

Oppression's arts, unworthy of the brave,
To be the Prince's slave, t'enslave his people,
To crouch, or cruelly exact obedience,
Dazzled awhile-but now demand repentance.
The noble Cyrus, with a lavish hand,
Would heap on me full measure of rewards;
I ever was the partner of his counsels
But Cyrus died-and I was soon forgotten.
Cambyses I abandon'd-impious man!
Unworthy successor of such a father!
Ecbatan, as yet the abode of Media's Prince,
At her new court concealed my hoary head,
Till Smerdis, governing the Median realm,
Smerdis, who sought the ruin of the virtuous,
Gave a decisive blow to all my hopes ;
The unbridled Athamand, his sister's son,
In firm alliance with a noble princess,
Whom Persia's court had destin'd to his love,
(His tyrant passions brooking no controul,)
Demanded Zobeide as despotic master.

HERMODON.

And did his life repay the glaring outrage ?

SEYFEL.

Thrice arm’d with innocence, th’undaunted fair
Compellid our flight into this distant land;
By me alone she was deliver'd from him ;
The monsters, who surround the impious Smerdis,
More than their common arts employ'd against us ;
With fairest colours hid the worst designs,
And couch'd the dagger, lab’ring to destroy us.
In Media it is treason, as at Babylon,
To brand the prince who next must fill the throne.

HERMODON.
O dire effects of hell-born servitude!
Is then complaint a crime in Persia's court?
Can you regret the loss of basest grandeur ?

SEYFEL.

There you

awake the thought which wrings my

heart. Smerdis proscrib'd my life—they seiz’d—they shar'd Employments—wealth—the price of all my service. My faithful child accompanied my flight; With patient steps we labour'd up the steep Of Taurus' craggy cliffs, whose o'erhung brow Indignant frowns upon the boist'rous main. Wearied by toils—thanks to the pitying gods ! In these fair climes we found unhoped-for peace: Would I had here been born! All

All my regret Is to have run a desperate mad career

с

In courts and camps, attendant upon kings.
But I perceive my child shut up

in desarts,
Regrets the pleasures of her former life;
And much I fear that reason, filial duty,
Combat too weakly each delusive vision :
Courts and their pomp will fascinate our eyes
Ere bitter ills annoy the sick’ning soul.

HERMODON.

What ills await you here? ah! what regret ?
With us she's free, appluaded-honour'd-
No lurking dangers taint this hallow'd soil ;
Here liberty has fixt her blest abode,
And looks with pity down upon the great.

SEYFEL.

Oh! I should die content, if my dear child
Hated, like me, the perfidy of courts :
But let not my inquietudes repress
The dawning joys that beam upon thy son.
Conceal them from him.

Enter INDATER.

Zobeide is mine; The blooming maid accepts my earnest suit; Let not my father or his generous friend Frown on my fate, and I am blest indeed !

HERMODON.

Our wish, my son, is to behold thee happy.

SEYFEL.

Auspicious hour! I feel my life renew;
A second spring shoots through my aged veins,
And makes me hope return of better days.

Enter Scythians in haste.

SCYTHIAN.

As late I watch'd my flocks on yonder hills,
A splendid troop passed by—their chief, I find,
(Whose turban glitter'd on his cloudy brown)
Is bound to search an aged warrior out,
Who formerly was known in Media’s camps;
Demands of us the place where he's conceal'd-
Th’unfortunate old man he long has sought for.

HERMODON.
O heav'ns! let him pursue him to these arms!

1NDATER.

He there is shelter'd whilst I live to guard him.

SCYTHIAN.

The gen'rous Persian comes not to defy
A race of shepherds innocent as brave;
His breast seems lab'ring with some weighty grief;
Perhaps a banish'd man, some hardy warrior
Who flies à court unmindful of his service:
Perhaps

SECOND SCYTHIAN.

'Tis said, that half worn out with cares,
He only seeks a safe retreat from danger;
Weeps the past horrors of malignant fate, ,
And grateful hails the dawn of rising freedom.

HERMODON.
His tears are more suspicious than his presents.
Pardon my anxious doubts-I fear the Persians

; These brilliant slaves are willing to betray us. Thee, my best friend, perhaps they seek for here:

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