Act 4, Scene I


So full of matter is our history,
Yet mix'd, I hope, with sweet variety,
The accidents not vulgar too, but rare,
And fit to be presented, that there wants
Room in this narrow stage, and time, to express,
In action to the life, our Dioclesian
In his full lustre: Yet, as the statuary,
That by the large size of Alcides' foot,
Guess'd at his whole proportion; so we hope
Your apprehensive judgments will conceive
Out of the shadow we can only shew,
How fair the body was; and will be pleased,
Out of your wonted goodness, to behold,
As in a silent mirror, what we cannot,
With fit conveniency of time allow'd
For such presentments, clothe in vocal sounds.
Yet with such art the subject is convey'd,
That every scene and passage shall be clear,
Even to the grossest understander here.
[Loud music.


Enter, at one door, DELPHIA and Ambassadors; they whisper together; they take an oath upon her hand; she circles them; kneeling with her magic rod; they rise and draw their swords. Enter, at the other door, DIOCLESIAN, CHAPINUS, MAXIMINIAN, NIGER, AURELIA, CASSANA, and Guard; CHARINUS and NIGER persuading AURELIA; she offers to embrace MAXIMINIAN; DIOCLESIAN draws his sword, keeps off MAXIMINIAN, turns to AURELIA, kneels to her, lays his sword at her feet; she scornfully turns away; DELPHIA gives a sign; the Ambassadors and Soldiers rush upon them, seize on AURELIA, CASSANA, CHARINUS, and MAXIMINIAN; DIOCLESIAN and others offer to rescue them; DELPHIA raises a mist. Exeunt Ambassadors and Prisoners, and the rest discontented.

The skilful Delphia finding, by sure proof,
The presence of Aurelia dimm'd the beauty
Of her Drusilla; and, in spite of charms,
The emperor her brother, great Charinus,
Still urged her to the love of Dioclesian,
Deals with the Persian Legates that were bound
For the ransom of Cassana, to remove
Aurelia, Maximinian, and Charinus,
Out of the sight of Rome; but takes their oaths
(In lieu of her assistance) that they shall not,
On any terms, when they were in their power,
Presume to touch their lives: This yielded to,
They lie in ambush for 'em. Dioclesian,
Still mad for fair Aurelia, that doted
As much on Maximinian, twice had kill'd him,
But that her frown restrained him: he pursues her
With all humility, but she continues
Proud and disdainful. The sign given by Delphia,
The Persians break through, and seize upon
Charinus and his sister, with Maximinian,
And free Cassana. For their speedy rescue,
Enraged Dioclesian draws his sword,
And bids his guard assist him: Then too weak
Had been all opposition and resistance
The Persians could have made against their fury,
If Delphia by her cunning had not raised
A foggy mist, which as a cloud conceal'd them,
Deceiving their pursuers. Now be pleased,
That your imaginations may help you
To think them safe in Persia, and Dioclesian
For this disaster circled round with sorrow,
Yet mindful of the wrong. Their future fortunes
We will present in action; and are bold,
In that which follows, that the most shall say,
'Twas well begun, but the end crown'd the play.