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The Persians   


How can my soul but sink in deep despair!
Cease thy sad strain.
CHORUS
Is all thy glory lost?
XERXES
Seest thou these poor remains of my rent robes?

CHORUS
I see, I see.
XERXES
And this ill-furnish'd quiver?
CHORUS
Wherefore preserved?
XERXES
To store my treasured arrows.
CHORUS
Few, very few.
XERXES
And few my friendly aids.
CHORUS
I thought these Grecians shrunk appall'd at arms.

XERXES
No: they are bold and daring: these sad eyes
Beheld their violent and deathful deeds.
CHORUS
The ruin, sayst thou, of thy shattered fleet?

XERXES
And in the anguish of my soul I rent
My royal robes.
CHORUS
Wo, wo!
XERXES
And more than wo.
CHORUS
Redoubled, threefold wo!
XERXES
Disgrace to me,
But triumph to the foe.
CHORUS
Are all thy powers
In ruin crush'd?
XERXES
No satrap guards me now.
CHORUS
Thy faithful friends sunk in the roaring main.

XERXES
Weep, weep their loss, and lead me to my house;
Answer my grief with grief, an ill return
Of ills for ills. Yet once more raise that strain
Lamenting my misfortunes; beat thy breast,
Strike, heave the groan; awake the Mysian strain
To notes of loudest wo; rend thy rich robes,
Pluck up thy beard, tear off thy hoary locks,
And battle thine eyes in tears: thus through the streets
Solemn and slow with sorrow lead my steps;
Lead to my house, and wail the fate of Persia.
CHORUS
Yes, once more at thy bidding shall the strain
Pour the deep sorrows of my soul;
The suff'rings of my bleeding untry plain,
And bid the Mysian measures roll.

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