The Indian Emperor/Act II/Scene II
Cydaria and Alibech, betwixt the two armies.
Alib. Blessings will crown your name, if you prevent
That blood, which in this battle will be spent;
Nor need you fear so just a suit to move,
Which both becomes your duty and your love.
Cyd. But think you he will come? their camp is near,
And he already knows I wait him here.
Alib. You are too young your power to understand,
Lovers take wing upon the least command;
Already he is here.
Enter Cortez and Vasquez to them.
Cort. Methinks, like two black storms on either hand,
Our Spanish army and your Indians stand;
This only space betwixt the clouds is clear,
While you, like day, broke loose from both
Cyd. Those closing skies might still continue bright,
But who can help it, if you'll make it night?
The gods have given you power of life and death,
Like them to save, or scatter with a breath.
Cort. That power they to your father did dispose,
'Twas in his choice to make us friends or foes.
Alib. Injurious strength would rapine still excuse,
By offering terms the weaker must refuse;
And such as these your hard conditions are,
You threaten peace, and you invite a war.
Cort. If for myself to conquer here I came,
You might perhaps my actions justly blame:
Now I am sent, and am not to dispute
My prince's orders, but to execute.
Alib. He, who his prince so blindly does obey,
To keep his faith his virtue throws away.
Cort. Monarchs may err; but should each private breast
Judge their ill acts, they would dispute their best.
Cyd. Then all your care is for your prince, I see;
Your truth to him outweighs your love to me:
You may so cruel to deny me prove,
But never after that pretend to love.
Cort. Command my life, and I will soon obey;
To save my honour I my blood will pay.
Cyd. What is this honour which does love control?
Cort. A raging fit of virtue in the soul;
A painful burden which great minds must bear,
Obtained with danger, and possest with fear.
Cyd. Lay down that burden if it painful grow;
You'll find, without it, love will lighter go.
Cort. Honour, once lost, is never to be found.
Alib. Perhaps he looks to have both passions crowned;
First dye his honour in a purple flood,
Then court the daughter in the father's blood.
Cort. The edge of war I 'll from the battle take,
And spare her father's subjects for her sake.
Cyd. I cannot love you less when I 'm refused,
But I can die to be unkindly used;
Where shall a maid's distracted heart find rest,
If she can miss it in her lover's breast ?
Cort. I till to-morrow will the fight delay;
Remember you have conquered me to-day.
Alib. This grant destroys all you have urged before;
Honour could not give this, or can give more.
Our women in the foremost ranks appear;
March to the fight, and meet your mistress there:
Into the thickest squadrons she must run,
Kill her, and see what honour will be won.
Cyd. I must be in the battle, but I 'll go
With empty quiver and unbended bow;
Not draw an arrow in this fatal strife,
For fear its point should reach your noble life.
Cort. No more: your kindness wounds me to the death:
Honour, be gone! what art thou but a breath?
I'll live, proud of my infamy and shame,
Graced with no triumph but a lover's name;
Men can but say, love did his reason blind,
And love's the noblest frailty of the mind.—
Draw off my men; the war's already done.
Piz. Your orders come too late, the fight's begun;
The enemy gives on, with fury led,
And fierce Orbellan combats at their head.
Cort. He justly fears, a peace with me would prove
Of ill concernment to his haughty love;
Retire, fair excellence ! I go to meet
New honour, but to lay it at your feet
[Exeunt Cortez, Vasquez, and Pizarro.
Enter Odmar and Guyomar, to Alibech and Cydaria.
Odm. Now, madam, since a danger does appear
Worthy my courage, though below my fear;
Give leave to him, who may in battle die,
Before his death, to ask his destiny.
Guy. He cannot die, whom you command to live;
Before the fight, you can the conquest give;
Speak, where you 'll place it?
Alib. Briefly, then, to both,
One I in secret love, the other loathe;
But where I hate, my hate I will not show,
And he, I love, my love shall never know;
True worth shall gain me, that it may be said,
Desert, not fancy, once a woman led.
He who, in fight, his courage shall oppose,
With most success, against his country's foes,
From me shall all that recompence receive,
That valour merits, or that love can give.
'Tis true my hopes and fears are all for one,
But hopes and fears are to myself alone.
Let him not shun the danger of the strife ;
I but his love, his country claims his life.
Odm. All obstacles my courage shall remove.
Guy. Fall on, fall on.
Odm. For liberty!
Guy. For love!
[Exeunt, the women following.