Nonfiction > E.C. Stedman & E.M. Hutchinson, eds. > A Library of American Literature > 1607–1764
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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps.  A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes.  1891.
Vols. I–II: Colonial Literature, 1607–1764
 
The Deaths of Evanthe and Arsaces
By Thomas Godfrey (1736–1763)
 
[The Prince of Parthia: A Tragedy. 1765.]

EVANTHE.
LEAD me, oh! lead me to my loved Arsaces,
Where is he?
 
ARSACES.
Ha! What’s this? Just heavens!—my fears—
 
EVANTHE.
Arsaces, oh! thus circled in thy arms,
I die without a pang.

ARSACES.
                        Ha! die?—why stare ye,
        5
Ye lifeless ghosts? Have none of ye a tongue
To tell me I’m undone?

GOTARZES.
                        Soon, my brother,
Too soon, you’ll know it by the sad effects;
And if my grief will yet permit my tongue
To do its office, thou shalt hear the tale.        10
Cleone, from the turret, viewed the battle,
And on Phraates fixed her erring sight.
Thy brave unhappy friend she took for thee,
By his garb deceived, which like to thine he wore.
Still with her eye she followed him, where’er        15
He pierced the foe, and to Vardanes’ sword
She saw him fall a hapless victim, then,
In agonies of grief, flew to Evanthe,
And told the dreadful tale—the fatal bowl
I saw—

ARSACES.
        Be dumb, nor ever give again
        20
Fear to the heart, with thy ill-boding voice.
 
EVANTHE.
Here, I’ll rest, till death, on thy loved bosom,
Here let me sigh my—Oh! the poison works.
 
ARSACES.
Oh! horror!

EVANTHE.
                Cease—this sorrow pains me more
Than all the wringing agonies of death,        25
The dreadful parting of the soul from this,
Its wedded clay—Ah! there—that pang shot through
My throbbing heart.

ARSACES.
                        Save her, ye Gods!—oh! save her!
And I will bribe you with clouds of incense;
Such numerous sacrifices, that your altars        30
Shall even sink beneath the mighty load.
 
EVANTHE.
When I am dead, dissolved to native dust,
Yet let me live in thy dear memory—
One tear will not be much to give Evanthe.
 
ARSACES.
My eyes shall e’er two running fountains be,
        35
And wet thy urn with overflowing tears;
Joy ne’er again within my breast shall find
A residence—Oh! speak, once more.

EVANTHE.
                    Life’s just out—
My father—Oh! protect his honored age,
And give him shelter from the storms of fate,        40
He’s long been fortune’s sport—support me—ah!—
I can no more—my glass is spent—farewell—
Forever—Arsaces!—oh!  [Dies.]

ARSACES.
                            Stay, oh! stay,
Or take me with thee—dead! she’s cold and dead!
Her eyes are closed, and all my joys are flown        45
Now burst ye elements, from your restraint,
Let order cease, and chaos be again,
Break! break, tough heart!—Oh! torture—life dissolve—
Why stand ye idle? Have I not one friend
To kindly free me from this pain? One blow,        50
One friendly blow would give me ease.

BARZAPHERNES.
                                    The Gods
Forefend!—Pardon me, Royal Sir, if I
Dare, seemingly disloyal, seize your sword.
Despair may urge you far—

ARSACES.
                            Ha! traitors! rebels!—
Hoary, reverend villain! what, disarm me?        55
Give me my sword—what, stand ye by, and see
Your Prince insulted? Are ye rebels all?—
 
BARZAPHERNES.
Be calm, my gracious Lord!

GOTARZES.
                            Oh! my loved brother!
 
ARSACES.
Gotarzes, too! all! all! conspired against me?
Still, are ye all resolved that I must live,        60
And feel the momentary pangs of death?—
Ha!—this shall make a passage for my soul—  [Snatches Barzaphernes’ sword.]
Out, out, vile cares, from your distressed abode—  [Stabs himself.]
 
BARZAPHERNES.
Oh! ye eternal Gods!

GOTARZES.
                        Distraction! heavens!
I shall run mad.

ARSACES.
                    Ah! ’tis in vain to grieve—
        65
The steel has done its part, and I’m at rest.—
Gotarzes, wear my crown, and be thou blest.
Cherish Barzaphernes, my trusty chief—
I faint, oh! lay me by Evanthe’s side—
Still wedded in our deaths—Bethas—

BARZAPHERNES.
                            Despair,
        70
My Lord, has broke his heart. I saw him stretched
Along the flinty pavement in his gaol—
Cold, lifeless—

ARSACES.
                    He’s happy then—had he heard
This tale, he’d—Ah! Evanthe chides my soul
For lingering here so long—another pang        75
And all the world, adieu—oh! adieu—  [Dies.]

GOTARZES.
                            Oh!—
Fix me, heaven, immovable, a statue,
And free me from o’erwhelming tides of grief,
 
BARZAPHERNES.
Oh! my loved Prince, I soon shall follow thee;
Thy laurelled glories whither are they fled?—        80
Would I had died before this fatal day!—
Triumphant garlands pride my soul no more,
No more the lofty voice of war can charm—
And why then am I here? Thus then—  [Offers to stab himself.]

GOTARZES.
                            Ah! hold,
Nor rashly urge the blow—think of me, and        85
Live—My heart is wrung with streaming anguish,
Tore with the smarting pangs of woe, yet will I
Dare to live, and stem misfortune’s billows.
Live then, and be the guardian of my youth,
And lead me on through virtue’s rugged path.        90
 
BARZAPHERNES.
O, glorious youth, thy words have roused the
Drooping genius of my soul; thus let me
Clasp thee in my aged arms; yes, I will live—
Live to support thee in thy kingly rights,
And when thou’rt firmly fixed, my task’s performed,        95
My honorable task—then I’ll retire,
Petition gracious Heaven to bless my work,
And in the silent grave forget my cares.
 
GOTARZES.
Now to the Temple let us onward move,
And strive to appease the angry powers above.        100
Fate yet may have some ills reserved in store,
Continued curses, to torment us more.
Though, in their district, Monarchs rule alone,
Jove sways the mighty Monarch on his throne;
Nor can the shining honors which they wear,        105
Purchase one joy, or save them from one care.
 
 
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