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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
Rolla’s Address to the Peruvian Warriors
By Richard Brinsley Sheridan (1751–1816)
 
From ‘Pizarro’

The scene represents the Temple of the Sun.  The High Priest, Priests, and Virgins of the Sun, discovered.  A solemn march.  Ataliba and the Peruvian Warriors enter on one side; on the other Rolla, Alonzo, and Cora with the Child.

ATALIBA—Welcome, Alonzo!  [To Rolla.]  Kinsman, thy hand!—[To Cora.]  Blessed be the object of the happy mother’s love.  1
  Cora—May the sun bless the father of his people!  2
  Ataliba—In the welfare of his children lives the happiness of their king. Friends, what is the temper of our soldiers?  3
  Rolla—Such as becomes the cause which they support; their cry is, Victory or death! our king, our country, and our God!  4
  Ataliba—Thou, Rolla, in the hour of peril, hast been wont to animate the spirit of their leaders, ere we proceed to consecrate the banners which thy valor knows so well how to guard.  5
  Rolla—Yet never was the hour of peril near, when to inspire them words were so little needed. My brave associates—partners of my toil, my feelings, and my fame!—can Rolla’s words add vigor to the virtuous energies which inspire your hearts? No! You have judged, as I have, the foulness of the crafty plea by which these bold invaders would delude you. Your generous spirit has compared, as mine has, the motives which, in a war like this, can animate their minds and ours. They, by a strange frenzy driven, fight for power, for plunder, and extended rule: we, for our country, our altars, and our homes. They follow an adventurer whom they fear, and obey a power which they hate: we serve a monarch whom we love—a God whom we adore. Whene’er they move in anger, desolation tracks their progress! Whene’er they pause in amity, affliction mourns their friendship. They boast they come but to improve our state, enlarge our thoughts, and free us from the yoke of error! Yes: they will give enlightened freedom to our minds, who are themselves the slaves of passion, avarice, and pride. They offer us their protection; yes, such protection as vultures give to lambs—covering and devouring them! They call on us to barter all of good we have inherited and proved, for the desperate chance of something better which they promise. Be our plain answer this:—The throne we honor is the people’s choice; the laws we reverence are our brave fathers’ legacy; the faith we follow teaches us to live in bonds of charity with all mankind, and die with hope of bliss beyond the grave. Tell your invaders this; and tell them too, we seek no change; and least of all, such change as they would bring us.  6
[Loud shouts of the Peruvian Warriors.]
  Ataliba  [embracing Rolla]—Now, holy friends, ever mindful of these sacred truths, begin the sacrifice.
  7
[A solemn procession commences.  The Priests and Virgins arrange themselves on either side of the altar, which the High Priest approaches, and the solemnity begins.  The invocation of the High Priest is followed by the choruses of the Priests and Virgins.  Fire from above lights upon the altar.  The whole assembly rise, and join in the thanksgiving.]
  Ataliba—Our offering is accepted. Now to arms, my friends; prepare for battle!
  8
 
 
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