Act 2, Scene III

Scene: Rome. Before the Citadel.

Enter on a Cloud, DELPHIA and DRUSILLA, in a Throne, drawn by Dragons.

Fix here, and rest awhile your sail-stretched wings,
That have out-stript the winds. The eye of Heaven
Durst not behold your speed, but hid itself
Behind the grossest clouds; and the pale moon
Pluck'd in her silver horns, trembling for fear
That my strong spells should force her from her sphere:
Such is the power of art.
Good aunt, where are we?
Look down, Drusilla, on these lofty towers,
These spacious streets, where every private house
Appears a palace to receive a king:
The site, the wealth, the beauty of the place,
Will soon inform thee 'tis imperious Rome,
Rome, the great mistress of the conquer'd world.
But, without Diocles, it is to me
Like any wilderness we have pass'd o'er:
Shall I not see him?
Yes, and in full glory,
And glut thy greedy eyes with looking on
His prosperous success. Contain thyself;
For though all things beneath us are transparent,
The sharpest-sighted (were he eagle-eyed)
Cannot discover us. Nor will we hang
Idle spectators to behold his triumph;
But, when occasion shall present itself,
Do something to add to it.

Enter DIOCLES, MAXIMINIAN, GETA, APER guarded, Senators, Officers, with the litter.

See, he comes.
How god-like he appears! With such a grace,
The giants that attempted to scale Heaven,
When they lay dead on the Phlegrean plain,
Mars did appear to Jove.
Look on this,
And when with horror thou hast view'd thy deed,
Thy most accursed deed, be thine own judge,
And see (thy guilt considered) if thou canst
Persuade thyself, whom thou stand'st bound to hate,
To hope or plead for mercy.
I confess
My life's a burden to me.
Thou art like thy name,
A cruel Boar, whose snout hath rooted up
The fruitful vineyard of the commonwealth.
I long have hunted for thee; and since now
Thou art in the toil, it is in vain to hope
Thou ever shalt break out. Thou dost deserve
The hangman's hook, or to be punished
More majorum, whipt with rods to death,
Or any way that were more terrible:
Yet, since my future fate depends upon thee,
Thus to fulfil great Delpbia's prophecy,
Aper (thou fatal Boar) receive the honour
To fall by Diocles' hand!—[Kills APER.] Shine clear, my stars,
That usher'd me to taste this common air,
In my entrance to the world, and give applause
To this great work!
Strike music from the spheres!
Oh, now you honour we!
Ha! in the air?
This shews the gods approve
The person and the act. Then if the senate
(For in their eyes I read the soldiers' love)
Think Diocles worthy to supply the place
Of dead Numerianus, as he stands
His heir in his revenge, with one consent
Salute him emperor.
Long live Diocles!
Augustus, Patar Patriæ, and all titles
That are peculiar only to the Cæsars,
We gladly throw upon him.
We confirm it,
And will defend his honour with our swords
Against the world. Raise him to the tribunal.
1 Senator.
Fetch the imperial robes; and, as a sign
We give him absolute power of life and death,
Bind this sword to his side.
2 Senator.
Omit no ceremony
That may be for his honour.
Still the gods
Express that they are pleased with this election.
My master is an emperor, and I feel
A senator's itch upon me: 'Would I could hire
These fine invisible fiddlers to play to me
At my instalment.
I embrace your loves,
And hope the honours that you heap upon me
Shall be with strength supported: It shall be
My study to appear another Atlas,
To, stand firm underneath this heaven of empire,
And bear it boldly. I desire no titles,
But as I shall deserve 'em. I will keep
The name I had, being a private man,
Only with some small difference; I will add
To Diocles but two short' syllables,
And be call'd Dioclesianus.
That is fine!
I'll follow the fashion; and, when I am a senator,
I will be no more plain Geta, but be call'd
Lord Getianus.
He ne'er thinks of me,
Nor of your favour.

Enter NIGER.

If he dares prove false,
These glories shall be to him as a dream,
Or an enchanted banquet.
From Charinus,
From great Charinus, who with joy hath heard
Of your proceedings, and confirms your honours
He, with his beauteous sister, fair Aurelia,
Are come in person, like themselves attended,
To gratulate your fortune.
[Loud music.
For thy news,
Be thou in France pro-consul.

Enter CHARINUS, AURELIA, and Attendants.

Be thou in France pro-consul. Let us meet
The emperor with all honour, and embrace him.

Oh, aunt, I fear this princess doth eclipse
The opinion of my beauty, though I were
Myself to be the judge!
Rely on me.
'Tis virtue, and not birth, that makes us noble:
Great actions speak great minds, and such should govern;
And you are graced with both. Thus, as a brother,
A fellow, and co-partner in the empire,
I do embrace you. May we live so far
From difference, or emulous competition,
That all the world may say, although two bodies,
We have one mind!
When I look on the trunk
Of dear Numerianus, I should wash
His wounds with tears, and pay a sister's sorrow
To his sad fate; but since he lives again
In your most brave revenge, I bow to you,
As to a power that gave him second life,
And will make good my promise. If you find
That there is worth in me that may deserve you,
And that in being your wife, I shall not bring
Disquiet and dishonour to your bed,
(Although my youth and fortune should require
Both to be sued and sought to) here I yield
Myself at your devotion.
Oh, you gods,
Teach me how to be thankful! You have pour'd
All blessings on me, that ambitious man
Could ever fancy: Till this happy minute
I ne'er saw beauty, or believed there could be
Perfection in a woman! I shall live
To serve and honour you. Upon my knees
I thus receive you; and, so you vouchsafe it,
This day I am doubly married, to the empire,
And your best self.
False and perfidious villain!
Let me fall headlong on him! Oh, my stars
This I foresaw and fear'd.
Call forth a flamen.
This knot shall now be tied.
But I will loose it,
If art or hell have any strength.
[Thunder and lightning.

Enter a Flamen.

How soon the day's o'ercast!
The signs are fatal;
Juno smiles not upon this match, and shews too
She has her thunder.
Can there be a stop
In my full fortune?
We are too violent,
And I repent the haste: We first should pay
Our latest duty to the dead, and then
Proceed discreetly. Let's take up the body
And when we have placed his ashes in his urn,
We'll try the gods again; for, wise men say,
Marriage and obsequies do not suit one day.
[Exeunt all but DELPHIA and DRUSILLA.
So; 'tis deferr'd yet, in despite of falsehood.
Comfort, Drusilla; for he shall be thine,
Or wish, in vain, he were not. I will punish
His perjury to the height.—Mount up, my birds.
Some rites I am to perform to Hecatè,
To perfect my designs; which once perform'd,
He shall be made obedient to thy call,
Or in his ruin I will bury all.
[Ascend in the throne.