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SOCRATES. But yet, believe me, there is One above, Who can do all, and will do all to save you. One God, whose name is Love, who, like a father, Pities his fallen children ;-ay, his love Intensifies towards the guilty ones. His love to sinners makes him hate their sins ; It is His love that fills you with these torments They'll lead you to remorse-remorse will bring Repentance—and that, pardon.
You preach well; But 'tis in vain-you'll soon require your eloquence And courage for yourself.
What dost thou mean?
Witch. He does not mean the battle of to-morrow, For in the fight thou bearest a charmed life, And thou shalt conquer, though thy friends shall fall.
SOCRATES. What does he then forbode?
That which thy genius Anticipated ;-thy Athenian foes Gather their strength; they'll bring thee to thy trial, As they brought us, and, like ourselves, thou, too, Shalt be condemned.
Amid the fugitive dreams Of yesternight, I saw the visioned future; 'Twas even as thou sayest.
1, too, beheld it ; In a wild trance my eyes were opened, and I saw thee drink the poison.
I'll not shrink From the fatal goblet, if the Gods determine That I must die the death.
But I can save thee,
By the strong host of ministering demons
That work my will; I can defend thy life,-
Ay, make thee triumph over the false craft
Of thy enemies.
I doubt thy power, wizard.
I will convince thee on the instant. Look!
I will but make a magic circle round us,
And summon spirits from the ambient air !
Begin thy charm- I shall not tremble at it.
Come, come, come,
Exiles of heaven,
From your viewless home,
By the number seven !
(Seven Spirits appear.)
SOCRATES. Shield me, Divinest One!
Such is my agency,
And such is yours, if you will be as we are !
Never ! Avaunt !Lye dreadful apparitions !
I need ye not, and do command ye from me.
Then thou refusest all our friendly offers
Of supernatural guardiancy ?
I trust in God and my good genius;
I want no other watchers. Let dark death
Come when he will, I am prepared to meet him-
The sooner he approaches the more welcome.
(WIZARD and WITCH vanish in the earth.)
Battle-field in Boeotia. Athenians and Baotians fighting.
Enter XENOPHON, at the head of a Band of Athenians.
Soldiers of Athens! By your fathers' tombs,
I charge ye fight and yield not! Pallas' self
Favours the bravest, and the bravest only.
Resolve to conquer and you shall. By Jove !
We'll beat them yet—these bloodhounds of Bæotia-
The witless, brainless boobies.
Peace, foul slanderer! We are not to be foiled by tongues, but swords ;
Not by proud words, but valiant deeds! Come on!
We'll put you to the proof. Now, gallant comrades,
Victory for Thebes, and ruin for false Athens !
(The bands contend, and XENOPHON is worsted by the
BEOTIAN GENERAL, who wounds him and stunds over
him, brandishing his suspended sword.) Now yield, or die!
I'll never say I yield To a Beotian-never !
To the rescue!
Pallas, Athené, to the rescue! Down
With your weapons! By the immortal Gods!
I'll trample ye in the dust !
'Tis Mars himself!
No mortal man could scatter thus our ranks-
He is invulnerable! the spear is shivered
On his burnished shield, and on his crested helm
The sword splinters to fragments.
General, Let thy fallen victim rise, or thou shalt miss The mercy thou refusest.
I defy thee, Demon or mortal!
Thus, then, do I rend
The spoil from the spoiler! There, my lord of Thebes,
Take thy free choice-I hope you'll not repent it
When you visit Pluto.
(The Beotian General falls.)
What, my Xenophon!
Is it you? Great Jove, I thank thee! My brave boy,
I little thought 'twas one so dear to me.
Ah! you are wounded—faint from loss of blood-
This is no place for thee ;-here, clasp my neck-
I'll bear thee to my tent. Stand off, ye cravens !
Dare not to cross my way, or you shall find it
The straightest track to Hades. My sweet pupil,
Your lady love shall not have cause to weep
The loss of Xenophon-lean on me—thus.
ARISTOPHANES, MELITUS, ANYTUS, and Lycon, with a Crowd
Yes, gentlemen, you see 'twas not without
Just cause I wrote my Clouds—that had the honour
Of gaining your fair suffrages. This Socrates,
Whom the great Oracle hath styled most wise,
Merely in jest, by the queer rule of contraries,
Hath much insulted both your gods and you.
What said he ?
Said—that all the gods were One,
And One was all-in violation of
The plainest rule of all arithmetic.
Pythagoras, too, talked some such trash. We say
'Tis downright blasphemy.
Most infamous !
Ay, 'twas most infamous—but worse than this,
Ye men of Athens ! Socrates affirmed
Yourselves no better than the idolaters
You laugh at.
Most monstrous insolence.
Yes, he affirmed, that in mythology,
You were as blind as the barbarians;
Is it not right to summon him to the courts
For this base slander.
Certainly, we'll stand
By you, and make him smart for it-the sooner
We can get rid of such a troublesome satirist
Ah, how now-ye base-born scoundrels,
So you have met, it seems, to punish Socrates;
Yes, Socrates -- the Oracle's best favourite-
Socrates, whose least hair is worth a million
Such knaves as you. O! Aristophanes,
Lycon, and Melitus, I am ashamed
To meet you here. If you have tears or blushes,
You need them now. What ! wrong behind his back
The greatest and worthiest man that Athens-
That Greece herself-have ever nursed to fame,
A man worth all the seven sages ? Fie,
You'll never know his value till you've lost him;
If anything could make my Socrates
More glorious than he is, it is the hatred
Of such as you :-Ye miscreant bloodsuckers,
Ye bats, ye owls, ye wolves, ye vipers-hence !
Or by the Gods ! my thirsty sword shall drink
The best of your bad blood! Begone I say !
He who delays, I hold him as my foe-
And as my foe, he shall this instant follow
The track which he least likes.--I spurn ye from me
Thus-make yourselves scarce—the blessing of
Styx and Cocytus keep you company.
(He drives them out.)
Gardens of Academus.
Enter Plato and his Sweetheart EUPHROSYNE.
Oh, my Euphrosyne-I am so blest
In thy sweet presence-certainly the poets
Have spoken most truly.
What do the poets say?
Plato. They say, my prettiest, that the souls of lovers Were twin born in the empyrean skies, Around Jove's threshold. There they once were mingled, Soul within soul in such ambrosial bliss, Such nectarous luscious, metaphysical, marriage, That they, inebriated with luxury, Lost the eternal spell-word, and the wings Of their o'er-sensualizing spirits drooped.
EUPHROSYNE. Well, Plato, what of this ?
'It was not well,
Thou dearest of all darlings. Jove, to cure them
Of this voluptuous passion, bade them wear
New vehicles, and plunged them with their stars
Amid the lapsed spheres of materialism ;-
There do they wander-severed-parted things,
Mere fractions of themselves—till they do find
The eternal partners of their exiled hearts.
What happens when they do, my Plato ? tell me.