The siege of Rhodes



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Libretto by William DAVENANT.
Music by Henry LAWES, Matthew LOCKE, Henry COOKE, Charles COLEMAN, George HUDSON.

First performance: 28-29 June 1661, Lincoln-Inn-Fields.


SOLYMAN the Magnificent


PIRRHUS Vizier Bassa






HALY Eunuch Bassa


VILLERIUS Grand Master of Rhodes


ALPHONSO a Cicilian duke


ADMIRAL of Rhodes


High MARSHAL of Rhodes


ROXOLANA Wife to Solyman


IANTHE Wife to Alphonso


Women attendants to Roxolana. Women attendants to Ianthe. Four Pages attendants to Roxolana.

The scene, Rhodes.

To the reader

I may receive disadvantage by this address design'd for excuses; for it will too hastily put you in mind that errors are not far off when excuses are at hand; this refers to our representetion: and some my be willing to be led to find the blemishes of it; but would be left to their own conduct to discover the beauties, if there be any. yet I may forewarn you that the defects which I intend to excuse are chiefly such as you cannot reform but onely with your purse; that is, by building us a larger room; a design which we began and shall not be left for you to finish, because we have observ'd that many who are liberal of their understanding when they would issue it out towards discovery of imperfections, have not always money to expend in things necessary towards the making up of perfection.

It has been often wisht taht our scenes (we having oblig'd our selves to the variety of five changes, according to the ancient drammatick distinctions made for time) had not been confin'd to eleven foot in height, and about fifteen in depth, including the places of passage reserv'd for the musick. This is so narrow an allowance for the fleet of Solyman the Magnificent, his army, the island of Rhodes, and the varieties attending the siege of the city, that I fear you will think we invite you to such a contracted trifle as that of the Cæsars carved upon a nut.

As these limits have hinter'd the splendor of our scene, so we are like to give no great satisfaction in the quantity of our argument, which is in story very copious; but shrinks to a small narration here, because we could not convey it by more than seven persons; being constrain'd to prevent the length of recitative musick, as well as to conserve, without incumbrance, the narrowness of the place. Therefore you cannot expect the chief ornaments belonging to a history drammatically digested into turns and counterturns, to double walks, and interweavings of design.

This is exprest to forbid your excess of expectation; but we must take care not to deterr you from the hope of some satisfaction; for that were, not only to hang out no bush, but likewise to shut up our doors. Therefore, as you have heard what kind of excellencies you should not expect: so I will in brief (I hope without vanity) give you encouragement, by tlling you, there are some things at least excusable which you may resolve to meet.

We conceive, it will not be unacceptable to you if we recompence the narrowness of the room, by containing in it so much as could be conveniently accomplisht by art and industry: which will not be doubted in the scenes by those who can judge that kind of illustration and know the excellency of Mr. John Webb, who design'd and order'd it. The musick was compos'd, and both the vocal and instrumental is execis'd by the most transcendent of England in that art, and perhaps non unequal to the best masters abroad; but being recitative, and therefore unpractis'd here, though of great reputation amongst other nations, the very attempt of it is an obligation to our own. The story represented (which will not require much apology because it expects but little praise) is heroical, and notwithstanding the continual hurry and busie agitations of a hot siege, is (I hope) intelligibly convey'd to advance the characters of vertue in the shapes of valour and coniugal love. And though the main argument hath but a single walk, yet perhaps the movings of it will not seem unpleasant. You may inqire, being a reader, why in an heroick argument my numbers are so often diversify'd and fall into short fractions; considering that a continuation of the usual length of English verse would appear more heroical in reading. But when you are an auditor you will find that in this, I rather deserve approbation then need excuse; for frequent alterations of measure (which cannot be so unpleasant to him that reads as troublesome to him that writes) are necessary to recitative musick for variation of ayres. If what I have said be taken for excuses, I have my intent; because excuses are not always signs of error, but are often modest explanations of things that might otherwise be mistaken. But I have said so much to vindicate my self from having occasion to be excus'd for the poem, that it brings me at last to ask pardon for the length of the epistole.

Will. D'avenant

August 17. 1656.

To the right honourable the Earl of Clarendon Lord High Chancellor of England and c.

My lord,

though poems have lost much of their antient value, yet I will presume to make this present to your lordship; and the rather because poems (if they have any thing preciuous in them) do, like jewels, attract a greater esteem when they come into the possession of great persons than when they are in ordinary hands.

The excuse which men have had for dedication of books has been to protect them from the malice of readers: but a defence of this nature was fitter for your forces when you were early known to learned men (and had no other occasion for your abilities but to vendicate authors) than at this season when you are of extraordinary use to the whole nation.

Yet when I consider how many and how violent they are who persecute dramatick poetry, I will then rather call this a dedication than a present; as not intending by it to pass any kind of obligation, but to receive a great benefit; since I cannot be safe unless I am shelter'd behind your lordship.

Your name is so eminent in the justice which you convey though all the different members of this great empire, that my Rhodians seem to enjoy a better harbour in the pacifique Thanes, than they had on the Mediterranean; and I have brought Solyman to be arraign'd at your tribunal, where you are the censor of his civility and magnificence.

Dramatick poetry meets with the same persecution now from such who esteem themselves the most refin'd and civil as it ever did from the barbarous. And they whilst those vertuous enemies deny heroique play to the gentry, they entertain the people with a seditious farce of their own counterfeit gravity. But I hope you will not be unwilling to receive (in this poetical dress) neither the besieg'd nor the besiegers, since they come without their vices: for as others have purg'd the stage from corruptions of the art of the drama, so I have endeavour'd to cleanse it from the corruption of manners; nor have I wanted care to render the ideas of greatness and vertue pleasing and familiar.

In old Rome the magistrates did not only protect but exhibit plaies; and, not long since, the two wise cardinals did kindly entertain the great images represented in tragedy by Monsieur Corneille. My lord, it proceeds from the same mind not to be pleas'd with princes on the stage, and not to affect them in the throne; for those are ever most inclin'd to break the mirrour who are unwilling to see the images of such as have just authority over their guilt.

In this poem I have reviv'd the remembrance of that fatal desolation which was permitted by christian princes when they favour'd the ambition of such as defended the diversity of religions (begot by the factions of learning) in Germany; whilst those who would never admit learning into their empire (lest is shlould meddle with religion and intangle it with controversy) did make Rhodes defenceless; which was the only fortify'd academy in christendome where divinity and arms were equally profess'd: I have likewise, for variety, softened the martial encounters between Solyman and the Rhodians, with intermingling the conjugal vertues of Alphonso and Ianthe.

If I shoul proceed, and tell your Lordship of what use theatres have antiently been, and may be now, by heightening the characters of valour, temperance, natural justice, and complacency to governement, I should fall into the ill manners and indiscretion of ordinary dedicators, who go about to instruct those from whose abilities they expect protection. The apprehension of this error makes me hasten to crave pardon for what has been already said by,

my lord, your lordship most humble and most obedient servant,

Will. D'avenant

The siege of Rhodes

The ornament which encompass'd the scene, consisted of several columns, of gross rustick work, which bore up a large freese. In the middle of the freese was a compartiment, wherein was written RHODES. The compartiment was supported by divers habiliments of war; intemix'd with the military ensigns of those several nations who were famous for defence of that island; which were the French, Germans, and Spaniards, the Italians, Avergnois, and English. The renown of the English valour made the Grand Master Villerius to select their station to be most frequently commanded by himself. The principal enrichment of the freese was a crimson drapery, whereon several trophies of arms were fixt, those on the right hand representing such as are chiefly in use amongst the western nations; together with the proper cognizance of the Order of the Rhodian Knights; and on the left, such as are most esteem'd in the eastern countries; and on an antique shield the crescent of the Ottomans.

Part I

The entry is prepared by instrumental musick.

The First Entry

The curtain being drawn up, a lightsome sky appear'd, discov'ring a maritime coast, full of craggy rocks, and high cliffs, with several verdures naturally growing upon such situation; and afar off, the true prospect of the city of Rhodes, when it was in prosperous estate; with so much view of the gardens and hills about it as the narrowness of the room could allow the scene. In the part of the horizon, terminated by the sea, was represented the Turkish fleet, making towards a promontory, some few miles distant from the town.

Enter Admiral.


Arm, arm, Villerius, arm!

Thou hast no leisure to grow old;

those now must feel thy courage warm,

who think thy blood is cold.

Enter Villerius.


Our Admiral from sea?

What storm transporteth thee?

or bring'st thou storms that can do more

than drive an admiral on shore?


Arm, arm, the bassa's fleet appears;

to Rhodes his course from Chios steers;

her shady wings to distant sight,

spread like the curtains of the night.

Each squadron thicker and still darker grows;

the fleet like many floating forrests shows.


Arm, arm! Let our drums beat

to all our out-guards, a retreat;

and to our main guards add

files double lin'd from the parade.

Send horse to drive the fields;

prevent what rip'ning summer yields.

To all the foe would save

set fire, or give a secret grave.


I'le to our gallies hast,

untackle ev'ry mast;

hale 'em within the peer,

to range and chain 'em there,

and then behind Saint Nic'las cliffs

shelter our brigants, land our skiffs.


Our field and bulwark-cannon mount with hast;

fix to their blocks their brazen bodies fast:

whilst to their foes their iron entrails fly:

display our colours, raise our standard high!

Exit Admiral.

Enter Alphonso.


What various noises do mine ears invade?

and have a consort of confusion made?

The shriller trumpet, and tempestuous drum:

the deaf'ning clamor from the cannons womb;

which through the air like suddain thunder breaks,

seems calm to souldiers shouts, and womens shrieks.

What danger (rev'rend lord) does this portend?


Danger begins what must in honour end.


What vizards does it wear?


Such, gentle prince,

as cannot fright, but yet must warn you hence.

What can to Rhodes more fatally appear

than the bright crescents which those ensigns wear?

Wise emblems that encreasing empire show;

which must be still in nonage and still grow.

All these are yet but the forerunning van

of the prodigious gross of Solyman.


Pale shew those crescents to our bloody cross?

Sink not the western kingdoms in our loss?

Will not the Austrian eagle moult her wings,

that long hath hover'd o're the Gallick-kings?

Whose lillies too will wither when we fade;

and th'English lyon shrink into a shade.


Thou see'st not, whilst so young and guiltless too,

that kings mean seldome what their states-men do;

who measure not the compass of a crown

to fit the head that wears it, but their own;

still hind'ring peace, because they stewards are,

without account, to that wild spender, war.

Enter High Marshal of Rhodes.


Still christian wars they will pursue, and boast

unjust successes gain'd, whilst Rhodes is lost:

whilst we build monuments of death, to shame

those who forsook us in the chase of fame.


We will endure the colds of court-delays;

honour grows warm in airy vests of praise.

On rocky Rhodes we will like rocks abide.


Away, away, and hasten to thy bride!

'Tis scarce a month since from thy nuptial rites

thou cam'st to honour here our Rhodian knights:

to dignifie our sacred annual feast:

we love to lodge, not to entombe a guest.

Honour must yield, where reason should prevail.

Aboard, aboard, and hoyse up ev'ry sail

that gathers any wind for Sicilie!


Men lose their virtu's pattern, losing thee.

Thy bride doth yield her sex no less a light,

but, thy life gone, will set in endless night.

Ye must like stars' shine long ere ye expire.


Honour is colder vertue set on fire:

my honour lost, her love would soon decay:

here for my tomb or triumph I will stay.

My sword against proud Solyman I draw,

his cursed prophet, and his sensual law.


Our swords against proud Solyman we draw,

his cursed prophet, and his sensual law.



Enter Ianthe, Melosile, Madina (her two Women) bearing two open caskets with jewels.


To Rhodes this fatal fleet her course does bear,

can i have love, and not discover fear?

When he, in whom my plighted heart doth live

(whom hymen gave me in reward

of vows, which he with favour heard,

and is the greatest gift he e're can give)

shall in a cruel siege imprison'd be,

and I, whom love has bound, have liberty?

Away! Let's leave our flourishing abodes

in Sicily, and fly to with'ring Rhodes.


Will you convert to instruments of war

to things which to our sex so dreadfull are,

which terrour add to death's detested face,

these ornaments which should your beauty grace?


Beauty laments! and this exchange abhors!

Shall all these gems in arms be spent

which were by bounteous princes sent

to pay the valour of your ancestors?


If by their sale my lord may be redeem'd,

why should they more than trifles be esteem'd

vainly secur'd with iron bars and locks?

They are the spawn of shells, and warts of rocks.


All Madam, all? Will you from all depart?


Love a consumption learns from chymists' art.

Saphyrs, and harder di'monds must be sold

and turn'd to softer and more current gold.

With gold we cursed powder may prepare

which must consume in smoak and thinner air.


Thou idol-love, I'l worship thee no more

since thou dost make us sorrowfull and poor.


Go seek out cradles, and with child-hood dwell;

where you may still be free

from love's self-flattery,

and never hear mistaken lovers tell

of blessings, and of joys in such extreams

as never are possest but in our dreams.

They woo apace, and hasten to be sped;

and praise the quiet of the marriage-bed:

but mention not the storms of grief and care

when love does them surprize

with sudden jealousies,

or they are sever'd by ambitious war.


Love may perhaps the foolish please:

but he shall quickly leave my heart

when he perswades me to depart

from such a hoord of precious things as these.


Send out to watch the wind! with the first gale

I'l leave thee, Sicilie; and, hoysing sail,

steer strait to Rhodes. For love and I must be

preserv'd (Alphonso!) or else lost with thee.



By Souldiers of several Nations.


Come ye termagant Turks,

if your bassa dares land ye,

whilst the wine bravely works

which was brought us from Candy.


Wealth, the least of our care is,

for the poor ne'r are undone;

a vous, mounsieur of Paris,

to the back-swords of London.


Diego, thou, in a trice,

shalt advance thy lean belly;

for their hens and their rice

make pillau like a jelly.


Let 'em land fine and free;

for my cap though an old one,

such a turbant shall be,

thou wilt think it a gold one.


It is seven to one odds

they had safer sail'd by us:

whilst our wine lasts in Rhodes,

they shall water at Chios.

The Entry is again prepar'd by instrumental Musick.

The Second Entry

The Scene is chang'd, and the city, Rhodes, appears beleaguer'd at sea and land.
Enter Villerius and Admiral.


The bloud of Rhodes grows cold: life must expire!


The duke still warms it with his valour's fire!


If he has much in honour's presence done,

has sav'd our ensigns, or has others' won,

then he but well by your example wrought;

who well in honour's school his child-hood taught.


The foe three moons tempestuously has spent

where we will never yield, nor he relent;

still we but raise what must be beaten down;

defending walls, yet cannot keep the town;

vent'ring last stakes where we can nothing win;

and, shutting slaughter out, keep famine in.


How oft and vainly Rhodes for succour waits

from triple diadems, and scarlet hats?

Rome keeps her gold, cheaply her warriours pays

at first with blessings, and at last with praise.


By armies, stow'd in fleets, exhausted Spain

leaves half her land unplough'd, to plough the main;

and still would more of the old world subdue,

as if unsatisfi'd with all the new.


France strives to have her lillies grow as fair

in other realms as where they native are.


The English lyon ever loves to change

his walks, and in remoter forrests range.


All gaining vainly from each others loss;

whilst still the crescent drives away the cross.

Enter Alphonso.



How bravely fought the fiery French,

their bulwark being storm'd.

The colder Almans kept their trench,

by more than valour warm'd.


The grave Italians paus'd and fought,

the solemn Spaniards too;

study'ng more deaths than could be wrought

by what the rash could do.


Th'Avergnian colours high were rais'd,

twice tane, and twice reliev'd.

Our foes, like friends to valour, prais'd

the mischiefs they receiv'd.


The cheerfull English got renown;

fought merrily and fast:

'tis time, they cry'd, to mow them down,

war's harvest cannot last.


If death be rest, here let us dye,

where weariness is all

we dayly get by victory,

who must by famine fall.


Great Solyman is landed now;

all fate he seems to be;

and brings those tempests in his brow

which he deserv'd at sea.


He can at most but once prevail,

though arm'd with nations that were brought by more

gross gallies then would serve to hale

this island to the Lycian shore.


Let us apace do worthily and give

our story length, though long we cannot live.


So greatly do, that being dead,

brave wonders may be wrought

by such as shall our story read

and study how me fought.


Enter Solyman, Pirrhus.


What sudden halt hath stay'd thy swift renown,

o're-running kingdoms, stopping at a town?

He that will win the prize in honour's race

must nearer to the goal still mend his pace.

If age thou feel'st, the active camp forbear;

in sleepy cities rest, the caves of fear.

Thy mind was never valiant, if, when old,

thy courage cools because thy blood is cold.


How can ambitious manhood be exprest

more then by marks of our disdain of rest?

What less than toyls incessant can, despite

of cannon, raise these mounts to castle-height?

Or less than utmost or unwearied strength

can draw these lines of batt'ry to that length?


The toils of ants, and mole-hills rais'd, in scorn

of labour, to be levell'd with a spurn.

These are the pyramids that shew your pains;

but of your armies' valour, where remains

one trophy to excuse a bassa's boast?


Valour may reckon what she bravely lost;

not from successes all her count does raise:

by life well lost we gain a share of praise.

If we in dangers' glass all valour see,

and death the farthest step of danger be,

behold our mount of bodies made a grave;

and prize our loss by what we scorn'd to save.


Away! range all the camp for an assault!

Tell them, they tread in graves who make a halt.

Fat slaves, who have been lull'd to a disease;

cramm'd out of breath, and crippled by their ease!

whose active fathers leapt o're walls too high

for them to climb: hence, from my anger fly:

which is too worthy for thee, being mine,

and must be quench'd by Rhodian blood or thine.

Exit Pirrhus, bowing.

In honour's orb the christians shine;

their light in war does still increase;

though oft misled by mists of wine,

or blinder love, the crime of peace.

Bold in adult'ries frequent change;

and ev'ry loud expensive vice;

ebbing out wealth by wayes as strange

as it flow'd in by avarice.

Thus vildly they dare live, and yet dare dye.

If courage be a vertue, 'tis allow'd

but to those few on whom our crowns rely,

and is condemn'd as madness in the crowd.

Enter Mustapha, Ianthe veil'd.


Great sultan, hail! though here at land

lost fools in opposition stand;

yet thou at sea dost all command.


What is it thou wouldst shew, and yet dost shrowd?


I bring the morning pictur'd in a cloud;

a wealth more worth then all the sea does hide;

or courts display in their triumphant pride.


Thou seem'st to bring the daughter of the night;

and giv'st her many stars to make her bright.

Dispatch my wonder and relate her story.


'Tis full of fate, and yet ha's much of glory.

A squadron of our gallies that did ply

west from this coast, met two of Sicily,

both fraught to furnish Rhodes, we gave 'em chase,

and had, but for our number, met disgrace.

For, grapling, they maintain'd a bloody fight,

which did begin with day and end with night.

And though this bashful lady then did wear

her face still veil'd, her valour did appear:

she urg'd their courage when they boldly fought,

and many shun'd the dangers, which she sought.


Where are the limits thou would'st set for praise?

or to what height wilt thou my wonder raise?


This is Ianthe, the Sicilian flower,

sweeter then buds unfolded in a shower,

bride to Alphonso, who in Rhodes so long

the theam has been of each heroick song;

and she for his relief those gallies fraught;

both stow'd with what her dow'r and jewels bought.


O wond'rous vertue of a christian wife!

Advent'ring lifes support, and then her life

to save her ruin'd lord! bid her unveil!

Ianthe steps back.


It were more honour, sultan, to assail

a publick strength against thy forces bent,

then to unwall this private tenement,

to which no monarch, but my lord, has right;

nor will it yield to treaty or to might:

where heavn's great law defends him from surprise:

this curtain onely opens to his eyes.


If beauty veil'd so vertuous be,

'tis more than christian husbands know;

whose ladies wear their faces free,

which they to more than husband show.


Your bassa swore, and by his dreadful law,

none but my lord's dear hand this veil should draw;

and that to Rhodes I should conducted be,

to take my share of all his destiny:

else I had quickly found

sure means to get some wound,

which would in death's cold arms

my honour instant safety give

from all those rude alarms

which keep it waking whilst I live.


Hast thou ingag'd our prophet's plight

to keep her beauty from my sight,

and to conduct her person free

to harbour with mine enemy?


Vertue constrain'd the priviledge I gave:

shall I for sacred vertue pardon crave?


I envy not the conquests of thy sword:

thrive still in wicked war;

but, slave, how did'st thou dare,

in vertuous love, thus to transcend thy lord?

Thou did'st thy utmost vertue show:

yet somewhat more does rest,

not yet by thee exprest;

which vertue left for me to do.

Thou great example of a christian wife,

enjoy thy lord, and give him happy life.

Thy gallies with their fraight,

for which the hungry wait,

shall strait to Rhodes conducted be;

and as thy passage to him shall be free,

so both may safe return to Sicilie.


May Solyman be ever far

from impious honours of the war;

since worthy to receive renown

from things repair'd, not overthrown.

And when in peace his vertue thrives,

let all the race of loyal wives

sing this his bounty to his glory,

and teach their princes by his story:

of which, if any victors be,

let them, because he conquer'd me,

strip cheerfully each others brow,

and at his feet their laurel throw.


Strait to the port her gallies steer;

then hale the centry at the peer.

And though our flags ne'r use to bow,

they shall do vertue homage now.

Give fire still as she passes by,

and let our streamers lower fly.

Exeunt several ways.



Let us live, live! for being dead,

the pretty spots,

ribbands and knots,

and the fine French dress for the head;

no lady wears upon her

in the cold, cold, bed of honour.

Beat down our grottoes, and hew down our bowers,

dig up our arbours, and root up our flowers.

Our gardens are bulwarks and bastions become:

then hang up our lutes, we must sing to the drum.


Our patches and our curls

(so exact in each station)

our powders and our purls

are now out of fashion.

Hence with our needles, and give us your spades;

we, that were ladies, grow coorse as our maids.

Our coaches have drove us to balls at the court,

we now must drive barrows to earth up the port.

The entry is again prepar'd by instrumental musick.

The Third Entry

The further part of the scene is open'd, and a royal pavilion appears display'd; representing Solyman's imperial throne; and about it are discern'd the quarters of his bassas, and inferiour officers.
Enter Solyman, Pirrhus, Mustapha.


Pirrhus, draw up our army wide!

then from the gross two strong reserves divide;

and spread the wings;

as if we were to fight,

in the lost Rhodians sight,

with all the western kings!

Each wing with janizaries line;

the right and left to Haly's sons assign;

the gross to Zangiban.

The main artillery

with Mustapha shall be:

bring thou the rear, we lead the van.


It shall be done as early as the dawn;

as if the figure by thy hand were drawn.


We wish that we, to ease thee, could prevent

all thy commands, by ghessing thy intent.


These Rhodians, who of honour boast,

a loss excuse, when bravely lost:

now they may bravely lose their Rhodes,

which never play'd against such odds.

To morrow let them see our strength, and weep

whilst they their want of losing blame;

their valiant folly strives too long to keep

what might be render'd without shame.


'Tis well our valiant prophet did

in us not only loss forbid,

but has enjoyn'd us still to get.

Empire must move apace,

when she begins the race,

and apter is for wings than feet.


They vainly interrupt our speed,

and civil reason lack,

to know they should go back

when we determine to proceed.


When to all Rhodes our army does appear,

shall we then make a sudden halt,

and give a general assault?


Pirrhus, not yet, Ianthe being there:

let them our valour, by our mercy prize.

The respit of this day

to vertuous love shall pay

a debt long due for all my victories.


If vertuous beauty can attain such grace

whilst she a captive was, and hid,

what wisdom can his love forbid

when vertue's free, and beauty shews her face?


Dispatch a trumpet to the town;

summon Ianthe to be gone

safe with her lord. When both are free

and in their course to Sicily,

then Rhodes shall for that valour mourn

which stops the hast of our return.


Those that in Grecian quarries wrought,

and pioneers from Lycia brought,

who like a nation in a throng appear,

so great their number is, are landed here:

where shall they work?


Upon Philermus Hill.

There, ere this moon her circle fills with days,

they shall, by punisht sloth and cherish'd skill,

a spacious palace in a castle raise:

a neighbourhood within the Rhodians view;

where, if my anger cannot them sudue,

my patience shall out-wait them, whilst they long

attend to see weak princes make them strong:

there i'le grow old, and dye too, if they have

the secret art to fast me to my grave.


The Scene is chang'd to that of the town besieg'd.

Enter Villerius, Admiral, Alphonso, Ianthe.


When we, Ianthe, would this act commend,

we know no more how to begin

than we should do, if we were in,

how suddenly to make an end.


What love was yours which these strong bars of fate

were all too weak to separate?

which seas and storms could not divide,

nor all the dreadful Turkish pride?

Which pass'd secure, though not unseen,

even double guards of death that lay between.


What more could honour for fair vertue do?

What could Alphonso venture more for you?


With wonder and with shame we must confess

all we our selves can do for Rhodes, is less.


Nor did your love and courage act alone.

Your bounty too has no less wonders done.

And for our guard you have brought wisely down

a troop of vertues to defend the town:

the only troop that can a town defend,

which heav'n before for ruine did intend.


Look here, ye western monarchs, look with shame,

who fear not a remote, though common foe;

the cabinet of one illustrious dame

does more then your exchequers joyn'd did do.


Indeed I think, Ianthe, few

so young and flourishing as you,

whose beauties might so well adorn

the jewels which by them are worn,

did ever musquets for them take,

nor of their pearls did bullets make.


When you, my lord, are shut up here

expence of treasure must appear

so far from bounty, that, alass!

it covetous advantage was:

for with small cost I sought to save

even all the treasure that I have.


Who would not all her trifling jewels give,

which but from number can their worth derive,

if she could purchase or redeem with them

one great inestimable gemm?


Oh ripe perfection in a brest so young!


Vertue has tun'd her heart, and wit her tongue.


Though Rhodes no pleasure can allow

I dare secure the safety of it now;

all will so labour to save you

as that will save the city too.


Alass! the utmost I have done

more then a just reward has won,

if by my lord and you it be but thought,

I had the care to serve him as I ought.


Brave duke, farewell, the scouts for orders wait,

and the parade does fill.


Great Master, I'll attend your pleasure strait,

and strive to serve your will.

Exeunt Villerius and Admiral.


Ianthe, after all this praise

which fame so fully to you pays,

for that which all the world beside

admires you, I alone must chide.

Are you that kind and vertuous wife,

who thus expose your husband's life?

The hazards, both at land and sea,

through which so boldly thou hast run,

did more assault and threaten me

then all the sultan could have done.

Thy dangers, could I them have seen,

would not to me have dangers been,

but certain death: now thou art here

a danger worse than death I fear.

Thou hast, Ianthe, honour won,

but mine, alass, will be undone:

for as thou valiant wer't for me,

I shall a coward grow for thee.


Take heed Alphonso, for this care of me,

will to my fame injurious be;

your love will brighter by it shine,

but it eclipses mine.

Since I would here before, or with you fall,

death needs but becken when he means to call.


Ianthe, even in this you shall command,

and this my strongest passion guide;

your vertue will not be deny'd:

it could even Solyman himself withstand.

To whom it did so beauteous show:

it seem'd to civilize a barb'rous foe.

Of this your strange escape, Ianthe, say,

briefly the motive and the way.


Did I not tell you how we fought,

how I was taken, and how brought

before great Solyman? but there

I think we interrupted were.


Yes, but we will not be so here,

should Solyman himself appear.


It seems that what the bassa of me said,

had some respect and admiration bred

in Solyman; and this to me increast

the jealousies which honour did suggest.

All that of Turks and tyrants I had heard,

but that I fear'd not death, I should have fear'd.

I, to excuse my voyage, urg'd my love

to your high worth; which did such pitty move

that straight his usage did reclaim my fear;

he seem'd in civil France, and monarch there:

for soon my person, gallies, fraight, were free

by his command.


O wondrous enemy!


These are the smallest gifts his bounty knew.


What could he give you more?


He gave me you;

and you may homewards now securely go

through all his fleet.


But honour says not so.


If that forbid it, you shall never see

that I and that will disagree:

honour will speak the same to me.


This christian Turk amazes me, my dear!

How long, Ianthe, stay'd you there?


Two days with Mustapha.


How do you say?

two days, and two whole nights? alas!


That it, my lord, no longer was,

is such a mercy, as too long I stay,

e'r at the altar thanks to heav'n I pay.


To heav'n, confession should prepare the way.

Exit Ianthe.

She is all harmony, and fair as light

but brings me discord, and the clouds of night.

And Solyman does think heav'n's joys to be

in women not so fair as she.

'Tis strange! Dismiss so fair an enemy!

She was his own by right of war,

we are his dogs, and such as she his angels are.

O wondrous Turkish chastity!

Her gallies, fraight, and those to send

into a town which he would take!

Are we besieg'd then by a friend?

Could honour such a present make,

then when his honour is at stake?

Against it self, does honour booty play?

We have the liberty to go away!

Strange above miracle! But who can say

if in his hands we once should be

what would become of her? For what of me

though love is blind, ev'n love may see.

Come back my thoughts, you must not rove!

For sure Ianthe does Alphonso love!

Oh Solyman, this mystique act of thine,

does all my quiet undermine:

but on thy troops, if not on thee,

this sword my cure, and my revenge shall be.


[The scene changes to Solyman camp.]

Enter Roxolana, Pirrhus, Rustan.


You come from sea as Venus came before;

and seem that goddess, but mistake her shore.


Her temple did in fruitfull Cyprus stand;

the sultan wonders why in Rhodes you land.


And by your sudden voyage he doth fear

the tempest of your passion drove you here.


Rustan, I bring more wonder than I find;

and it is more than humour bred that wind

which with a forward gale

did make me hither sail.


He does your forward jealousie reprove.


Yet jealousie does spring from too much love;

if mine be guilty of excess,

I dare pronounce it shall grow less.


You boldly threaten more than we dare hear.


That which you call your duty is your fear.


We have some valour or our wounds are feign'd.


What has your valour from the Rhodians gain'd?

Unless Ianthe, as a prize, you boast;

who now has got that heart which I have lost.

Brave conquest, where the taker self is taken!

And, as a present, I

bring vainly, e're I dye,

that heart to him which he has now forsaken.


Whispers of eunuchs, and by pages brought

to Licia, you have up to story wrought.


Lead to the sultan's tent! Pirrhus, away!

For I dare hear what he himself dares say.



Of Men and Women.


Ye wives all that are, and wives that would be,

unlearn all ye learnt here, of one another,

and all ye have learnt of an aunt or a mother:

then strait hither come, a new pattern to see,

which in a good humour kind fortune did send;

a glass for your minds, as well as your faces:

make haste then and break your own looking-glasses;

if you see but your selves, you'l never amend.


You that will teach us what your wives ought to do,

take heed; there's a pattern in town too for you.

Be you but Alphonsos, and we

perhaps Ianthes will be.


Be you but Ianthes, and we

Alphonsos a while will be.


Let both sides begin then, rather than neither;

let's both joyn our hands, and both mend together.

The Entry is again prepar'd by Instrumental Musick.

The Fourth Entry

The scene is vary'd to the prospect of Mount Philermus: artificers appearing at work about that castle which was there, with wonderful expedition, erected by Solyman. His great army is discovered in the plain below, drawn up in battalia, as if it were prepar'd for a general assault.
Enter Solyman, Pirrhus, Mustapha.


Refuse my pass-port, and resolve to dye;

only for fashion's sake, for company?

Oh costly scruples! But I'le try to be,

thou stubborn honour, obstinate as thee.

My pow'r thou shalt not vanquish by thy will,

I will enforce to live whom thou would'st kill.


They in to morrow's storm will change their mind,

then, though too late instructed, they shall find,

that those who your protection dare reject

no humane power dares venture to protect.

They are not foes, but rebels, who withstand

the pow'r that does their fate command.


Oh Mustapha, our strength we measure ill,

we want the half of what we think we have;

for we enjoy the beast-like pow'r to kill,

but not the god-like pow'r to save.

Who laughs at death, laughs at our highest pow'r;

the valiant man is his own emperour.


Your pow'r to save, you have to them made known,

who scorn'd it with ingratefull pride;

now, how you can destroy, must next be shown;

and that the christian world has try'd.


'Tis such a single pair

as onely equal are

unto themselves; but many steps above

all others who attempt to make up love.

Their lives will noble history afford,

and must adorn my scepter, not my sword.

My strength in vain has with their vertue strove;

in vain their hate would overcome my love.

My favours I'le compell them to receive:

go Mustapha, and strictest orders give,

through all the camp, that in assault they spare

(and in the sack of this presumptuous town)

the lives of these two strangers, with a care

above the preservation of their own.

Alphonso has so oft his courage shown,

that he to all but cowards must be known.

Ianthe is so fair that none can be

mistaken, amongst thousands, which is she.


The Scene returns to that of the town besieg'd.

Enter Alphonso, Ianthe.


Alphonso, now the danger grows so near,

give her that loves you leave to fear.

Nor do I blush, this passion to confess,

since it for object has no less

than even your liberty, or life;

I fear not as a woman, but a wife.

We were too proud no use to make

of Solyman's obliging proffer;

for why should honour scorn to take

what honour's self does to it offer.


To be o'rcome by his victorious sword,

will comfort to our fall afford;

our strength may yield to his; but 'tis not fit

our vertue should to his submit;

in that, Ianthe, i must be

advanc'd, and greater far than he.


Fighting with him who strives to be your friend,

you not with vertue, but with pow'r, contend.


Forbid it, heav'n, our friends should think that we

did merit friendship from an enemy.


He is a foe to Rhodes, and not to you.


In Rhodes besieg'd, we must be Rhodians too.


'Twas fortune that engag'd you in this war.


'Twas providence! Heaven's pris'ners here we are.


That providence our freedom does restore;

the hand that shut, now opens us the door.


Had heav'n that pass-port for our freedom sent,

it would have chose some better instrument

than faithless Solyman.


O say not so!

To strike and wound the vertue of your foe

is cruelty, which war does not allow:

sure he has better words deserv'd from you.


From me, Ianthe, no;

what he deserves from you, you best must know.


What means my lord?


For I confess, I must

the poyson'd bounties of a foe mistrust:

and when upon the bait I look,

though all seem fair, suspect the hook.


He, though a foe, is generous and true:

what he hath done declares what he will do.


He in two days your high esteem has won:

what he would do I know; who knows what he has done?



Wicked tongue, what hast thou said?

What horrid falshood from thee fled?

Oh, jealousie (if jealousie it be)

would I had here an asp instead of thee!


Sure you are sick, your words, alas!

gestures, and looks, distempers shew.


Ianthe, you may safely pass;

the pass, no doubt, was meant to you.


He's jealous sure; oh, vertue! can it be?

Have I for this serv'd vertue faithfully?



Speak, Ianthe, and be free.


Have I deserv'd this change?


Thou do'st deserve

so much, that emperours are proud to serve

the fair Ianthe; and not dare

to hurt a land whilst she is there.

Return (renown'd Ianthe) safely home;

and force thy passage with thine eyes

to conquer Rhodes will be a prize

less glorious than by thee to be o'rcome.

But since he longs (it seems) so much to see,

and be possest of me,

tell him, I shall not fly beyond his reach:

would he could dare to meet me in the breach.



Tell him! tell him? Oh no, Alphonso, no.

Let never man thy weakness know;

thy suddain fall will be a shame

to man's and vertue's name.

Alphonso's false! for what can falser be

than to suspect that falshood dwells in me?

Could Solyman both life and honour give?

And can Alphonso me of both deprive?

Of both Alphonso; for believe

Ianthe will disdain to live

so long as to let others see

thy true, and her imputed, infamy.

No more let lovers think they can possess

more than a month of happiness.

We thought our hold of it was strong

we thought our lease of it was long:

but, now, that all may ever happy prove,

let never any love,

and yet these troubles of my love to me

shall shorter than the pleasures be.

I'l till to morrow last; then the assault

shall finish my misfortune and his fault.

I to my enemies shall doubly ow,

for saving me before, for killing now.


Enter Villerius, Admiral.


From out the camp a valiant christian slave

escap'd, and to our knights assurance gave

that at the break of day

their mine will play.


Oft Martiningus, struck and try'd the ground,

and counter-digg'd, and has the hollows found:

we shall prevent

their dire intent.


Where is the duke, whose valour strives to keep

Rhodes still awake, which else would dully sleep?


His courage and his Reason is o'rethrown.


Thou sing'st the sad destruction of our town.


I met him wild as all the winds,

when in the ocean they contest:

and diligent suspition finds

he is with jealousie possest.


That arrow, once misdrawn, must ever rove.

O weakness, sprung from mightiness of love!

O pitty'd crime!

Alphonso will be overthrown

unless we take this ladder down,

where, though the rounds are broke,

he does himself provoke

too hastily to climb.


Invisibly, as dreams, fame's wings fly every where;

hov'ring all day o're palaces of kings,

at night she lodges in the people's ear:

already they perceive Alphonso wild,

and the belov'd Ianthe griev'd.


Let us no more by honour be beguil'd;

this town can never be reliev'd;

Alphonso and Ianthe being lost,

Rhodes, thou dost cherish life with too much cost!


Away, unchain the streets, unearth the ports.

Pull down each barracade

which womens fears have made,

and bravely sally out from all the forts!

Drive back the crescents, and advance the cross,

or sink all human empires in our loss!


Enter Roxolana, Pirrhus, Rustan, and two of her women.


Not come to see me e're th'assault be past?


He spoke it not in anger but in haste.


If mighty Solyman be angry grown

it is not with his empress, but the town.


When stubborn Rhodes does him to anger move

'tis by detaining there what he does love.


He is resolv'd the city to destroy.


But more resolv'd Ianthe to enjoy.


T'avoid your danger cease your jealousie.


Tell them of danger who do fear to dye.


None but your self dares threaten you with death.


Do not your beauty blast with your own breath.


You lessen't in your own esteem

when of his love you jealous seem.


And but a faded beauty make it

when you suspect he can forsake it.


Believe not, empress, that you are decay'd,

for so you'l seem by jealous passion sway'd.


He follows passion, I pursue my reason:

he loves the traitor, and I hate the treason.

Enter Haly.


Our foes appear!


in Chorus

Th'assault will strait begin.

They sally out where we must enter in.


Let Solyman forget his way to glory

increase in conquest and grow less in story.

That honour which in vain

his valour shrinks to gain,

when from the Rhodians he Ianthe takes,

is lost in losing me whom he forsakes.

Exeunt several wayes.

Chorus of Wives



This cursed jealousie, what is't?


'Tis love that has lost it self in a mist.


'Tis love being frighted out of his wits.


'Tis love that has a fever got;

love that is violently hot;

but troubled with cold and trembling fits.

'Tis yet a more unnatural evil:


'Tis the god of love, 'tis the god of

love, possest with a devil.



'Tis rich corrupted wine of love;

which sharpest vinegar does prove.


From all the sweet flowers which might honey make,

it does a deadly poyson bring.


Strange serpent which it self doth sting!


It never can sleep, and dreams still awake.


It stufs up the marriage-bed with thorns.


It gores it self, it gores it self, with imagin'd horns.

The entry is again prepar'd by instrumental musick.

The Fifth Entry

The scene is chang'd into a representation of a general assault given to the town; the greatest fury of the army being discern'd at the English station.
Enter Pirrhus.


Traverse the cannon! mount the batt'ries higher!

More gabions, and renew the blinds!

Like dust they powder spend,

and to our faces send

the heat of all the element of fire;

and to their backs have all the winds.

Enter Mustapha.


More ladders, and reliefs to scale!

The fire-crooks are too short! Help, help to hale!

That battlement is loose, and strait will down!

Point well the cannon, and play fast!

their fury is too hot to last.

That rampire shakes, they fly into the town.


March up with those reserves to that redout!

Faint slaves! the janizaries reel!

They bend, they bend! and seem to feel

the terrours of a rout.


Old Zanger halts, and re-inforcement lacks!


March on!


Advance those pikes, and charge their backs!

Enter Solyman.


Those plat-forms are too low to reach!

Haste, haste! call Haly to the breach!

Can my domestique janizaries flye!

And not adventure life for victory!

Whose child-hood with my palace milk I fed:

their youth, as if I were their parent, bred.

What is this monster death, that our poor slaves,

still vext with toyl, are loth to rest in graves?


If life so pretious be, why do not they,

who in war's trade can only live by prey,

their own afflicted lives expose

to take the happier from their foes?


Our troops renew the fight!

And those that sally'd out

to give the rout,

are now return'd in flight!


Follow, follow, follow, make good the line!

In, Pirrhus, in! Look, we have sprung the mine!

Exit Pirrhus.


Those desp'rate English ne'r will fly!

Their firmness still does hinder others flight,

as if their mistresses were by

to see and praise them whilst they fight.


That flame of valour in Alphonso's eyes,

outshines the light of all my victories!

Those who were slain when they his bulwark storm'd,

contented fell,

as vanquish'd well;

those who were left alive may now,

because their valour is by his reform'd,

hope to make others bow.


E'r while I in the English station saw

beauty, that did my wonder forward draw,

whose valour did my forces back disperse;

fairer than woman, and than man more fierce:

it shew'd such courage as disdain'd to yield,

and yet seem'd willing to be kil'd.


This vision did to me appear:

which mov'd my pitty and my fear:

it had a dress much like the imag'rie

for heroes drawn, and may Ianthe be.

Enter Pirrhus.


Fall on! the English stoop when they give fire!

They seem to furl their colours and retire!


Advance! I onely would the honour have

to conquer two, whom I by force would save.


Enter Alphonso with his sword drawn.


My reason by my courage is misled!

why chase I those who would from dying fly,

enforcing them to sleep amongst the dead,

yet keep my self unslain that fain would die?

Do not the pris'ners whom we take declare

how Solyman proclaim'd through all his host,

that they Ianthe's life and mine should spare?

Life ill preserv'd is worse than basely lost.

Mine by dispatch of war he will not take,

but means to leave it lingring on the rack;

that in his palace i might live, and know

her shame, and be afraid to call it so.

Tyrants and divels think all pleasures vain,

but what are still deriv'd from other's pain.

Enter Admiral.


Renown'd Alphonso, thou hast fought to day,

as if all Asia were thy valour's prey.

But now thou must do more

than thou hast done before;

else the important life of Rhodes is gone.


Why from the peacefull grave

should I still strive to save

the lives of others, that would lose mine own?


The souldiers call, Alphonso! thou hast taught

the way to all the wonders they have wrought;

who now refuse to fight

but in thy valour's sight.


I would to none example be to fly;

but fain would teach all human kind to dye.


Haste, haste! Ianthe in disguise

at th'English bulwark wounded lies;

and in the French, our old Great Master strives

from many hands to rescue many lives.


Ianthe wounded? where? alas!

Has mourning pitty hid her face?

Let pitty fly, fly far from the opprest,

since she removes her lodging from my brest!


You have but too great cruelties to chuse

by staying here; you must Ianthe lose,

who ventur'd life and fame for you;

or your Great Master quite forsake,

who to your childhood first did shew

the ways you did to honour take.


Ianthe cannot be

in safer company:

for what will not the valiant English do

when beauty is distress'd and vertue too?


Dispatch your choice, if you will either save

occasion bids you run;

you must redeem the one

and I the other from a common grave.

Alphonso, haste!


Thou urgest me too fast.

This riddle is too sad and intricate;

the hardest that was e're propos'd by fate.

Honour and pitty have

of both too short a time to choose!

Honour the one would save,

pitty, would not the other lose.


Away, brave duke, away!

Both perish by our stay.


I to my noble master owe

all that my youth did nobly do:

he in war's school my master was,

the ruler of my life;

she my lov'd mistriss; but, alass,

my now suspected wife.


By this delay we both of them forsake!

Which of their rescues wilt thou undertake?


Hence, Admiral, and to thy master hy!

I will as swiftly to my mistris fly;

through ambush, fire, and all impediments

the witty cruelty of war invents:

for there does yet some taste of kindness last,

still relishing the vertue that is past.

But how, Ianthe, can my sword successful prove,

where honour stops, and only pitty leads my love?

Exeunt, several wayes.

Enter Pirrhus.


O suddain change! repulst in all the heat

of victory, and forc'd to lose retreat!

Seven crescents, fixt on their redouts, are gone!

Horse, horse! we fly

from victory!

Wheel, wheel from their reserves, and charge our own!

Divide that wing!

More succours bring!

Rally the fled,

and quit out dead!

Rescue that ensign and that drum!

Bold slaves! they to our trenches come:

though still our army does in posture stay

drawn up to judge, not act, the business of the day;

as Rome, in theaters, saw fencers play.

Enter Mustapha.


Who can be loud enough to give command?

Stand, Haly, make a stand!

Those horses to that carriage span! Drive, drive!

Zanger is shot agen, yet still alive!

Coyns for the culv'rin, then give fire

to cleer the turn-pikes, and let Zanger in!

Look, Pirrhus, look, they all begin

to alter their bold count'nance, and retire!


The scene returns to that of the castle on Mount Philermus.

Enter Solyman.


How cowardly my num'rous slaves fall back:

slow to assault, but dext'rous when they sack!

Wild wolves in times of peace they are;

tame sheep, and harmless, in the war.

Crowds fit to stop up breaches; and prevail

but so as shoals of herrings choak a whale.

This dragon-duke so nimbly fought to day,

as if he wings had got to stoop at prey.

Ianthe is triumphant but not gone;

and sees Rhodes still beleaguer'd, though not won.

Audacious town! thou keep'st thy station still;

and so my castle tarries on that hill,

where I will dwell till famine enter thee;

and prove more fatal than my sword could be.

Nor shall Ianthe from my favours run,

but stay to meet and praise what she did shun.

The scene is chang'd to that of the town besieg'd.

Enter Villerius, Admiral, Ianthe.

She in a night-gown and a chair is brought in.


Fair vertue, we have found

no danger in your wound.

Securely live,

and credit give

to us, and to the surgeons' art.


Alas! my wound is in the heart;

or else, where e're it be,

imprison'd life it comes to free,

by seconding a worser wound that hid doth lie:

what practice can assure

that patient of a cure,

whose kind of grief still makes her doubt the remedy?


The wounded that would soon be eas'd

should keep their spirits tun'd and pleas'd;

no discords should their mind subdue:

and who in such distress

as this, ought to express

more joyful harmony than you?

'Tis not alone that we assure

your certain cure;

but pray remember that your blood's expence

was in defence

of Rhodes, which gain'd to day a most important victory:

for our success, repelling this assault,

has taught the Ottomans to halt;

who may, wasting their heavy body, learn to fly.


Not only this should hasten your content,

but you shall joy to know the instrument

that wrought the triumph of this day;

Alphonso did the sally sway;

to whom our Rhodes, all that she is does owe,

and all that from her root of hope can grow.


Has he so greatly done?

Indeed he us'd to run

as swift in honour's race as any he

who thinks he merits wreaths for victory.

This is to all a comfort, and should be,

if he were kind, the greatest joy to me.

Where is my alter'd lord? I cannot tell

if I may ask, if he be safe and well?

For whil'st all strangers may his actions boast,

who in their songs repeat

the triumphs he does get,

I only must lament his favours lost.


Some wounds he has; none desperate but yours;

Ianthe cur'd, his own he quickly cures.


If his be little, mine will soon grow less.

Ay me! What sword

durst give my lord

those wounds, which now Ianthe cannot dress?


Ianthe will rejoyce when she does hear

how greater than himself he did appear

in rescue of her life; all acts were slight,

and cold, even in our hottest fight,

compar'd to what he did,

when with death's vizard she her beauty hid.


Love urg'd his anger, till it made such haste

and rusht so swiftly in,

that scarce he did begin

e're we could say, the mighty work was past.


All this for me? somthing he did for you:

but when his sword begun

much more it would have done

if he, alas! had thought Ianthe true.


Be kind, Ianthe, and be well!

It is too pittifull to tell

what way of dying is exprest

when he that letter read

you wrote before your wounds were drest;

when you and we dispair'd you could recover:

then he was more than dead,

and much out-wept a husband and a lover.

Enter Alphonso wounded, led in by two mutes.


Tear up my wounds! I had a passion coorse

and rude enough to strengthen jealousie;

but want that more refin'd and quicker force

which does out-wrestle nature when we dye.

Turn to a tempest all my inward strife:

let it not last,

but in a blast

spend this infectious vapour, life!


It is my lord! Enough of strength I feel,

to bear me to him, or but let me kneel.

He bled for me when he atchiev'd for you

this day's success; and much from me is due.

Let me but bless him for his victory,

and hasten to forgive him e'r I dye.


Be not too rash, Ianthe, to forgive.

Who knows but I ill use may make

of pardons which I could not take

for they may move me to desire to live.


If ought can make Ianthe worthy grow

of having pow'r of pard'ning you,

it is, because she perfectly does know

that no such pow'r to her is due.

Who never can forget her self, since she

unkindly did resent your jealousie.

A passion against which you nobly strove:

I know it was but over-cautious love.


Accursed crime! Oh, let it have no name

till I recover bloud to shew my shame.


Why stay we at such distance when we treat?

As monarchs' children, making love

by proxy, to each other move,

and by advice of tedious councils meet.


Keep back, Ianthe, for my strength does fail

when on thy cheeks I see thy roses pale.

Draw all the curtains, and then lead her in;

let me in darkness mourn away my sin.


Enter Solyman, Roxolana, and women attendants.


Your looks express a triumph at our loss.


Can I forsake the crescent for the cross?


You wish my spreading crescent shrunk to less.


Sultan, I would not lose by your success.


You are a friend to the besiegers grown!


I wish your sword may thrive,

yet would not have you strive

to take Ianthe rather than the town.


Too much on wand'ring rumour you rely;

your foolish women teach you jealousie.


We should too blindly confident appear,

if, when the empress fears, we should not fear.


The camp does breed that loud report

which wakens eccho in the court.


The world our duty will approve,

if, for our mistress sake,

we ever are awake

to watch the wand'rings of your love.


My war with Rhodes will never have success,

till I at home, Roxana, make my peace.

I will be kind, if you'l grow wise;

go, chide your whisp'rers and your spies,

be satisfy'd with liberty to think;

and, when you should not see me, learn to wink.




With a fine merry gale,

fit to fill ev'ry sail,

they did cut the smooth sea

that our skins they might flea:

still as they landed, we firkt them with sallies;

we did bang their silk shashes,

through sands and through plashes

till amain they did run to their gallies.


They first were so mad

as they jealousies had

that our isle durst not stay,

but would float strait away;

for they landed still faster and faster:

and their old Bassa Pirrhus

did think he could fear us;

but himself sooner fear'd our Grand-Master.


Then the hug'ous great Turk,

came to make us more work;

with enow men to eat

all he meant to defeat;

whose wonderfull worship did confirm us

in the fear he would bide here

so long till he dy'd here,

by the castle he built on Philermus.


You began the assault

with a very long hault;

and, as haulting ye came,

so ye went off as lame;

and have left our Alphonso to scoff ye.

To himself, as a daintie,

he keeps his Ianthe;

whilst we drink good wine, and you drink but coffee.

The curtain is let fall.

Part II


What if we serve you now a trick? and do

like him who posted bills that he would show

so many active feats, and those so high

that court and city came to see him fly?

But he, good man, carefull to empty still

the money-boxes, as the house did fill,

of all his tricks, had time to sheww but one:

he lin'd his purse, and, presto! he was gone!...

Many were then as fond, as you are now,

of seeing stranger things than art can show.

We may perform as much as he did doe;

we have your money, and a back-door too.

Go and be couzen'd thus, rather than stay

and wait to be worse couzen'd with our play.

For you shall hear such course complaints of love,

such silly sighing, as no more will move

your passion then Dutch madrigals can doe,

when skippers, with wet beards at wapping wooe.

Hope little from our poets wither'd witt,

from infant-players, scarce grown puppets yet.

Hope from our women less, whose bashfull fear,

wondred to see me dare to enter here:

each took her leave, and wisht my danger past;

and though I come back safe, and undisgrac'd,

yet when they spie the wits here, then I doubt

no Amazon can make 'em venture out.

Though I advis'd 'em not to fear you much,

for I presume not half of you are such;

but many trav'lers here as judges come

from Paris, Florence, Venice, and from Rome,

who will describe, when any scene we draw,

by each of ours, all that they ever saw;

those praising, for extensive breadth and height,

and inward distance to deceive the sight.

When greater objects, moving in broad space,

you rank with lesser, in this narrow place,

then we like chess-men, on a chess-board are,

and seem to play like pawns the Rhodian warr.

Oh money! money! if the witts would dress,

with ornaments, the present face of peace,

and to our poet half that treasure spare,

which faction gets from fools to nourish warr;

then his contracted scenes should wider be,

and move by greater engines, till you see

(whilst you securely sit) fierce armies meet,

and raging seas dosperse a fighting fleet.

Thus much he bad me say; and I confess

I think he would, if rich, mean nothing less,

but, leaving you your selves to entertain,

like an old rat retire to parmazan.

Act the first

The scene is a prospect of Rhodes beleaguer'd at sea and land by the fleet and army of Solyman.
Enter Alphonso, Admiral, Marshal of Rhodes.


When shall we scape from the delays of Rome?

And when, slow Venice, will thy succours come?


How often too have we in vain

sought ayd fron long consulting Spain?


The German eagle does no more

about our barren island sore.

Thy region, famisht Rhodes, she does forsake

and cruelly at home her quarrie make.


The furious French, and fiercer English fail.


We watch from steeples and the peer

what flaggs remoter vessels bear;

but no glad voice cries out, a sail! a sail!


Brave duke! I find we are to blame

in playing slowly honour's game,

whilst lingring famine wasts our strenght,

and tires afflicted life with length.


The Council does it rashness call

when we propose to hazard all

the parcells we have left in one bold cast:

but their discretion makes our torments last.


When less'ning hope flyes from our ken,

and still despair shews grest and near,

discretion seems to valour then

a formal shape to cover fear.


Courage, when it at once adventures all,

and dares with human aids dispence,

resembles that high confidence

which priests may faith and heav'nly-valour call.


Those who in latter dangers of fierce warr

to distant hope and long consults are given,

depend too proudly on their own wise care,

and seem to trust themselves much more than heav'n.


Let then the elder of our Rhodian knights

discourse of slow designs in antient fights;

let them sit long in council to contrive

how they may longest keep lean fools alive:

whilst (Marshal) thou, the Admiral, and I

(grown weary of this tedious strife

which but prolongs imprison'd life)

since we are freely born will freely dye.


From sev'ral ports wee'l sally out

with all the bolder youth our seas have bred. ~


And we at land through storms of warr have led,

then meet at Mustapha's redoubt.


And this last race of honour being run,

wee'l meet agen, farr, farr, above the sun.


Already fame her trumpet sounds,

which more provokes and warms

our courage than the smart of wounds.

Away! to arms! to arms!...

Enter Villerius.


What from the camp, when no assault is near,

fierce duke, does thee to slaughter call?

Or what bold fleet does now at sea appear,

to hale and boord our admiral?


We give, Great Master, this alarm

not to forewarn your chiefs of harm,

to whom assaults from land or sea

would now but too much welcome be.


We want great dangers, and of mischiefs know

no greater ill but that they come too slow.


Why should we thus, with arts great care

of empire, against nature warr?

Nature, with sleep and food, would make life last,

but artfull empire makes us watch and fast.


If valour virtue be, why should we lack

the means to make it move?

Which progress would improve;

but cannot march when famine keeps it back?


When gen'ral dearth

afflict the earth,

then even our loudest warriours calmly pine.

High courage (though with sourness still

it yields to yoacks of human will)

yet gracefully does bow to pow'r divine.


But when but mortal foes

imperiously impose

a martial lent

where strength is spent;

that famine, doubly horrid, wears the face

both of a lingring death, and of disgrace.


For thosa, whose valour makes them quickly dye,

prevent the fast to shun the infamy.


Whom have I heard? 'Tis time all pow'r should cease

when men high born, and higher bred,

(who have out-done what most have read)

grow like the gowrd, impatient of distress.

Is there no room for hope in any breast?


Not, since she does appear

boldly a dweller where

she first was intertain'd but as a guest.


She may in sieges be receiv'd,

be courted too, and much believ'd,

and thus continue after wants begin;

but is trhust out when famine enters in.


You have been tir'd in vain with passiviness;

but where, when active, can you meet success?


With all the strength of all our forts

wee'l sally out from all the ports,

and with a hot and hot alarm

still keep the Turkish tents so warm

that Solyman shall in a feaver lye.


His bassas, marking what we do,

shall find that we were taught by you

to manage life, and teach them how to dye.


Valour's designs are many heights above

all pleasures fancy'd in the dreams of love.

But whilst, voluptuously, you thus devise

delightfull ways to end those miseries

which over-charge your own impatient mind,

where shall the softer sex their safety find?

When you with num'rous foes lye dead,

(I mean asleep in honour's bed)

they then may subject be

to all the wild and fouler force

of rudest victory,

where noise shall deafen all remorse.


If still concern'd to watch and arm

that we may keep from harm

all who defenceless are

and seldome safe in warr,

when, Admiral, shall we

from weariness be free?


The Rhodians by your gen'ral sally may

get high renown,

though you at last must bravely lose the day,

and they their town.

Then when by anger'd Solyman 'tis sway'd,

on whom shall climbing infants smile for aid?

Or who shall lift and rescue falling age,

when it can only frown at Turkish rage?

The living thus advise you to esteem

and keep your life that it may succour them:

but though you are inclin'd to hear death plead

as strongly to invite you to dead,

whilst glory does beyond compassion move,

yet stay till your Ianthe speaks for love!


Ianthe's name is such a double charm,

as strait does arm me, and as soon unarm.

Valour, as farr as ever valour went,

dares go, not stopping at the sultan's tent,

to free Ianthe when to Rhodes confin'd:

but halts, when it considers I

admist ten thousand Turks may dye,

yet leave her then to many more behind.


Since life is to be kept, what must be done?


All those attempts of valour we must shun

which may the sultan vex; and, since bereft

of food, there is no help but treatry left.


Rhodes, when the world shall thy submission know,

honour, thy antient friend, will court thy foe.


Honour begins to blush, and hide his face:

for those who treat sheath all their swords,

to try by length of fencing words

how farr they may consent to meet disgrace.


As noble minds with shame their wants confess;

so Rhodes will bashfully declare distress.

A shout within, and a noise of forcing of doors.


Our guards will turn confed'rates with the crowd,

whose mis'ries now insult and make them loud.

Their leaders strive with praises to appease,

and soften the mis-led with promises.

Exit Admiral.


These us'd with awe to wait

far from your palace gate;

but, like lean birds in frosts, their hunger now

makes them approach us and familiar grow.


They have so long being dying, that 'tis fit

they death's great privilege should have,

which does in all a parity admit:

no rooms of state are in the grave.

Enter Admiral.


The people's various minds

(which are like sudden winds,

such as from hilly-coasts still changing blow)

were lately as a secret kept

in many whispers of so soft a breath,

and in a calm so deeply low,

as if all life had soundly slept;

but now, as if they meant to waken death,

they rashly rise, and loud in tumults' grow.


They see our strength is hourly less,

whilst Solyman's does still increase.


Thus, being to their last expectance driven,

Ianthe, now they cry!

whose name they raise so high

and often that it fills the vault of heaven.


If Solyman does much her looks esteem,

looks captive him, and may enfranchise them.


By many pris'ners, since our siege began,

they have been told, how potent Solyman,

in all assaults, severely did command

that you and she

should still be free

from all attempts of every Turkish hand.


It rudeness were in me, not to confess

that Solyman has civil been,

and did much christian honour winn

when he Ianthe rescu'd from distress.


They were from many more advertis'd too,

that he hath passports sent for her and you:

which makes them hope the pow'r divine

does by some blessed cause design

Ianthe to procure their liberty;

or if by heaven 'tis not intirely me'nt

that powerfull beauties' force should set them free,

yet they would have her strait in treaty sent

to gain some rest for those,

who of their restless foes

continual wounds and fasts are weary grown.


Whose mighty hearts conceiv'd before,

that they were built to suffer more

assaults and battries than our rocky town.


Those who, with giant-stature, shocks receiv'd,

now down to dwarfish size and weakness fall.


Who once no more of harm from shot believ'd

than that an arrow hurts a wounded wall.


She treat? What pleasant, but what frantick dreams,

rise from the people's feaver of extremes?

I will allay their rage, or try

how farr Ianthe will comply.


Enter Ianthe and her two women at the other door.


Why, wise Villerius, had you power to sway

that Rhodian valour, which did yours obey?

Was not that pow'r deriv'd from awfull heav'n

which to your valour hath your wisdome given?

And that directs you to the seasons' meet

for deeds of warr, and when 'tis fit to treat.


Ere we to Solyman can sue,

Ianthe, we must treat with you.

The people find that they havo no defence

but in your beauty and your eloquence.


To your requests great Solyman may yield.


Can hope on such a weak foundation build?


In you the famish't people's hopes are fed.


Can your discerning eyes

(which may inform the wise)

be by vain hope, their blind conductor, led?


When winds in tempests rise

pilots may shut their eyes.


And, though their practice knows their way,

must be content a while to stray.


Though Solyman should softer grow,

and to my tears compassion show,

what shape of comfort can appear to me,

when all your outward warr shall cease,

if then my lord renew his jealousie

and strait destroy my inward peace?


The Rhodian knights shall all in council sit;

and with perswasions, by the publick voice,

your lord shall woo till you to that submit

which is the people's will, and not your choice.

No arguments, by forms of senate made,

can magisterial jealousie perswade;

it takes no counsel, nor will be in awe

of reason's force, necessity, or law.

Exit with the Marshal and her women.

Call thy experience back,

which safety coasted every shore;

and let thy reason lack

no wings to make it higher soar;

for all those aids will much too weak appear,

with all that gath'ring fancy can supply,

when she hath travell'd round about the sphere,

to give us strength to govern jealousie.


Will you believe that fair Ianthe can

consent to go, and treat with Solyman,

vainly in hope to move him to remorse?


'Twill not be said by me

that she consents, when she

does yield to what the people would inforce.

Their strength they now will in our weakness find,

whom in their plenty we can sway,

but in their wants must them obey,

and wink when they the cords of pow'r unbind.


'Tis likely then that she must yield to go.


Who can resist, if they will have it so?


Where e're she moves she will last innocent.


Heav'ns spotless lights are not by motion spent.


Alphonso's love cannot so sickly be

as to express relapse of jealousie.


Examine jealousie and it will prove

to be the carefull tenderness of love.

It can no sooner than celestial fire

be either quench't, or of it self expire.


No signs are seen of embers that remain

for windy passion to provoke.


Talk not of signs; celestial fires contain

no matter which appears in smoak.

Be heedfull, Admiral; the private peace

of lovers so renown'd requires your care:

their league, renew'd of late, will, if it cease,

as much perplex us as the Rhodian warr.



How vainly must I keep mine eyes awake,

who now, Alphonso, am enjoyn'd to take,

for publick good, a private care of thee,

when I shall rather need thy care of me?

Love, in Ianthe's shape, pass't through my eyes

and tarries in my breast. But if the wise

Villerius does high jealousie approve

as virtue, and because it springs from love,

my love, I hope, will so much virtue be

as shall, at least, take place of jealousie.

For all will more respect

the cause than the effect.

What I discern of love, seems virtue yet,

and whilst that face appears I'le cherish it.


The second act

Enter Villerius, Admiral, Marshal.

A great noise is heard of the people within.


Their murmurs with their hunger will increase:

their noises are effects of emptiness.

Murmurs, like winds, will louder prove

when they with larger freedome move.


Winds which in hollow caverns dwell,

do first their force in murmurs waste;

then soon, in many a sighing blast,

get out, and up in tempests swell.


Your practis'd strength no publique burden fears,

nor stoops when it the weight of empire bears.


Pow'r is an arch which ev'ry common hand

does help to raise to a magnifique height;

and it requires their aid when it does stand

with firmer strength beneath increasing weight.


'Tis noble to endure and not resent

the bruises of afflictions' heavy hand.

But can we not this embassy prevent?


Ianthe needs must go. Those who withstand

the tide of flood, which is the people's will,

fall back when thay in vain would onward row:

we strength and way preserve by lying still.

And sure, since tides ebb longer than they flow,

patience, which waits their ebbs, regains

lost time, and does prevent our pains.


Can we of saving and of gaining boast

in that by which Ianthe may be lost?

She wholly honour is, and, when bereft

of any part of that, has nothing left.

For honour is the soul, which by the art

of schools is all contain'd in ev'ry part.


The guiltless cannot honour lose, and she

can never more than virtue guilty be.


The talking world may persecute her name.


Her honour bleeds not, when they wound her fame.

Honour's the soul which nought but guilt can wound;

fame is the trumpet which the people found.


The trumpet where still variously they blow,

and seeking ecchos, sound both high and low.


Can no expedient stop their will?


The practice grows above our skill.

Last night, in secret, I a pris'ner sent

to Mustapha, with deep acknowledgement

for fair Ianthe's former libertie,

and passports, offer'd since, to set her free.

My letters have no ill acceptance met;

but his reply forbids all means to treat,

unless Ianthe, who has oft refus'd

that pass, which honour might have safely us'd,

appear before great Solyman, and sue

to save those lives which famine must subdue.



Sad fate! Were all those drowsie sirrups here

which art prescribes to madness, or to fear,

to jealousie, or carefull statesmen's eyes,

to waking tyrants, or their watchfull spies,

they could not make me sleep when she is sent

to lie love's lieger in the sultan's tent.

A great shout within.


What sodain pleasure makes the crowd rejoyce?

What comfort can thus raise the publique voice?


'Tis fit that with the people's insolence,

when in their sorrows rude, we should dispence,

since they are seldome civil in their joys:

their gladness is but an uncivil noise.


They seldome are in tune, and their tunes last

but like their loves rash sparkles struck in haste.


Still brief, as the concordance of a shout.


What is so short as musick of the rout?


Though short, yet 'tis as hearty as 'tis loud.


Dissembling is an art abobe the crowd.


Whom do they dignifie with this applause?

Enter Alphonso, Ianthe.


Of this, grave prince, Ianthe is the cause.

I from the temple led her now,

where she for Rhodes pay'd many a vow,

and did for ev'ry Rhodian mourn

with sorrows gracefully devout:

but they pay'd back at our return

more vows to her than she laid out.


If they such gratutude express

for your kind pray'rs in their distress,

Ianthe, think, what the besieg'd will do

when the besieger is o'recome by you?

Though Rhodes by kings has quite forsaken bin

without, whilst all forsake their chiefs within,

yet who can tell but heav'n has now design'd

your shining beauty and your brighter mind

to lead us from the darkness of this warr,

where the besieg'd, forgotten pris'ners are:

where glorious minds have been so much obscur'd

that fame has hardly known

what they have boldly done,

and with a greater boldness have endur'd.


If heav'n of innocence unmindfull were,

Ianthe then might many dangers fear.

Your hazards, and what Rhodes does hazard too,

are less then mine when I adventure you;

who doubtfull perills run

that we may try to shun

such certain loss as nought can else prevent.



Revolted jealousie! can he consent?


If Rhodes were not concern'd at all

in what I am desir'd to undertake

I should it less than duty call

to seek the sultan for Alphonso's sake.


The sultan has with forward haste

climb'd to the top of high renown;

and sure, he cannot now as fast,

by breaking trust, run beckward down.


We should not any with suspition wound

whom none detect, much less believe that those

in whom by trial we much virtue found

can quickly all their stock of virtue lose.



How sweetly she, like infant-innocence,

run harmlessly to harm?

High honour will unarm

it self to furnish others with defence.


Her mind, ascending still o're human heights,

has all the valour of our Rhodian knights.


What more remains but pray'rs to recommend

your safety to the heav'nly pow'rs,

you being theirs much more than ours.

I'l to the sultan for your passport send.


That may disgrace the trust which we should give,

and lessen the effects we should receive.

Let such use forms so low

as not by trial know

how high the honour is of Solyman,

who never will descend

till he in valleys end

that race which he on lofty hills began.

His pow'r does every day increase,

and can his honour then grow less?

Bright power does like the sun

tow'rds chief perfection run,

when it does high and higher rise.

From both the best effects proceed,

when they from heights their glories spread,

and when they dazzle gazing eyes.


How far, Ianthe, will these thoughts extend?

Vain question, honour has no journey's end!


Her honor's such, as he who limits it

must draw a line to bound an infinite.


Since fate has long resolv'd that you must go,

and you a pass decline, what can we do?


The great example which the sultan gave

of virtue, when he did my honour save,

and yours, Alphonso, too in me,

when I was then his enemy,

shall bring me now a suppliant to his tent,

without his plighted word or passport sent.

So great a test of our entire belief

of clemency, in so renown'd a chief,

is now the greatest present we can make:

his passport is the least that we can take.


Ianthe, I am learning not to prize

those dangers, which your virtue can despise.


My love is better taught,

for with the pangs of thought,

I must that safety much suspect,

which she too nobly does neglect.

A shout within.


You hear them, Admiral!


Agen the people call,

our hast provoking by a shout.


Go hang a flag of treaty out,

high on Saint Nich'las fort!

Then clear the western port

to make renown'd Ianthe way!

Shout agen.


Heark! they grow loud!

That tide, the crowd,

will not for lovers' leisure stay.


That storm by suddenness prevails,

and makes us lower all our sails.


To Mustapha I'l strait a herald send,

that Solyman may melt when he shall know,

how much we on his mighty mind depend

by trusting more than Rhodes to such a foe.

Exeunt Villerius, Admiral, Marshal.


How long, Ianthe, should I grieve

if I perceiv'd you could believe

that I the Rhodians can so much esteem,

as to adventure you to rescue them?

Yet I for Rhodes would frankly hazard all

that I could mine, and not Ianthe's call.

But now I yield to let you go

a pledge of treaty to the foe,

in hope that saving Rhodes you may

prepare to Cicily your way.

Were Rhodes subdu'd, Ianthe being there,

Ianthe should the only loss appear.


Much from us both is to the Rhodians due,

but when I sue for Rhodes, it is for you.


Ianthe, we must part! you shall rely

on hope, whilst I in parting learn to dye.


Take back that hope! your dealing is not fair,

to give me hope, and leave your self despair.


I will but dream of death, and then

as virtuously as dying men

let me to scape from future punishment

come to a clear confession, and repent.


I cannot any story fear

which of Alphonso I shall hear,

unless his foes in malice tell it wrong.


Ianthe, my confession is not long,

for since it tells what folly did commit

against your honour, shame will shorten it.


Lend me a little of that shame,

for I perceive I grow to blame

in practising to guess what it can be.


It is my late ignoble jealousie.

Though parting now seems death, yet but forgive

that crime, and after parting I may live.

And as I know again great sorrow show,

though I repented well for it before,

so let your pardon with my sorrows grow;

you much forgave me, but forgive me more.


Away! away! How soon will this augment

the troubled people's fears,

when they shall see me by Alphonso sent

to treat for Rhodes in tears?


What in your absence shall I do

worthy of fame, though not of you?


By patience, not by action now,

your virtue must successfull grow.

A shout within.


In throngs the longing people wait

your comming at the palace gate.

Let me attend you to peer.


But we must leave our sorrows here.

Let not a Rhodian witness be

of any grief in you or me;

for Rhodes, by seeing us at parting mourn,

will look for weeping clouds at my return.


The scene is chang'd to the camp of Solyman, the tents and guards seem near, and part of Rhodes at a distance.

Enter Solyman, Pirrhus, Rustan.


None (glorious sultan) can your conquest doubt,

when Rhodes has hung a flagg of treaty out.


Thy courage, haughty Rhodes,

(when I account the odds

thou hast oppos'd, by long and vain defence)

is but a braver kind of impudence.

Thou knew'st my strength, but thou didst better know

how much I priz'd the brav'ry's of a foe.


Their sallies were by stealth, and faint of late.


Can flowing valour stay at standing flood?


No, it will quickly from the mark abate.


And then soon shew the dead low ebb of blood.


When those who did such mighty deeds before,

shall less, but by a little, do,

it shews to me and you,

old Pirrhus, that they mean to do no more.

By treaty they but boldly begg a peace.


Shall I command that all battries cease?


You may, then draw our out-guards to the line.


And I'l prevent yhe springing of the mine.


Enter Mustapha.


Villerius send his homage to your feeet:

and, to declare how low

the pride of Rhodes can bow,

Ianthe will be here to kneel and treat.


What more can fortune in your favour do?

Beauty, which conquers victors, yields to you.


What wandring star does lead her forth? Can she

who scorn'd a passport for her liberty,

vouchsafe to come, and treat without it now?

The first did glory, this respect may show.

Pow'r's best religion she

perhaps does civilly believe

to be establish'd, and reform'd in me,

which counsels monarchs to forgive.

Enter Pirrhus.


A second morn begins to break from Rhodes;

and now that threatning skie grows clear,

which was o're cast with smoke of cannon-clouds,

the fair Ianthe does appear.


Pirrhus, our forces from the trenches lead,

and open as our flying ensigns spread.

And, Mustapha, let her reception be

as great as is the faith she has in me.

I keep high int'rest hid in this command,

which you with safety may

implicity obey,

but not without your danger understand...

Your try'd obedience I shall much engage,

join'd to the prudence of your practis'd age.


We are content with age, because we live

so long beneath your sway.


Age makes us fit t'obey

commands which none but Solyman can give.

Exeunt Pirrhus, Mustapha, Rustan.


Of spacious empire, what can I enjoy?

Gaining at last but what I first destroy.

'Tis fatal (Rhodes) to thee,

and troublesome to me

that I was born to govern swarms

of vassals boldly bred to arms:

for whose accurs'd diversion, I must still

provide new towns to sack, new foes to kill.

Excuse that pow'r, which by my slaves is aw'd:

for I shall find my peace

destroy'd at home, unless

I seek for them destructive warr abroad.


Enter Roxolana, Haly, Pirrhus, Mustapha, Rustan, Pages, Women.


Th'ambassadors of Persia, are they come?


They seek your favour and attend their doom.


The vizier bashaw, did you bid him wait?


Sultana, he does here expect his fate.


You take up all our sultan's bosome now;

have we no place, but that which you allow?


Your beautious gratness does your ear incline

to rumors of those crimes which are not mine.

My foes are prosp'rous in their diligence,

and turn ev'n my submission to offence.


Rustan, your glories rise, and swell too fast.

You must shrink back, and shall repent your haste.


Th'Egyptian presents which you pleas'd t'assign

as a reward to th'eunuch Salladine,

are part of those allotments Haly had.


Let a division be to Haly made.


Th'Armenian cities have their tribute paid,

and all Georgian Princes sue for ay'd.


Those cities, Mustapha, deserve our care.

Pirrhus, send succours to the Georgian warr.


Th'embassador which did the jewels bring

from the Hungarian Queen, does audience crave.


Pirrhus, be tender of her infant king.

Who dares destroy that throne which I would save?


Sultana, humbly at your feet I fall,

do not your sultan's will, my counsel call.


Rustan! go mourn! But you may long repent:

my busie pow'r wants leisure to relent.


Think me not wicked, till I doubt to find

some small compassion in so great a mind.


These are court-monsters, corm'rants of the crown:

they feed on favour till th'are over-grown,

then sawcily believe, we monarchs wives

were made but to dress't

for a continu'd feast,

to hear soft sounds, and play away our lives.

They think our fullness is to vain so soon

as if our sexe's governess, the moon,

had plac'd us, but for sport on fortune's lapp;

they with bold pencils, by the changing shape

of our frail beauty, have our fortune drawn,

and judge our breasts transparent as our lawn;

our hearts as loose, and soft, and slight

as are our summer vests of silk;

our brains, like to our feathers light;

our blood, as sweet as is our milk:

and think, when fav'rites rise, we are to fall

meekly as doves, whose livers have no gall.

But they shall find, I'm no European queen,

who in a throne does sit but to be seen;

and lives in peace with such state-thieves as these

who robb us of our business for our ease.

Exeunt omnes.

The third act

Enter Solyman, Mustapha, Pirrhus, Rustan.


Majestick sultan! at your feet we fall:

our duty 'tis and just

to say, you have encompass'd us with all

that we can private trust

or publique honours call.


In fields our weak retiring age you grace

with forward action; and in court,

where all your maghty chiefs resort,

even they to us, as kings to them, give place.


The cords by which we are oblig'd are strong.


You all have loyal been, and loyal long.

To shew I this retain in full belief,

I'le doubly trust you with my shame and grief.

A grief which takes up all my breast:

yet finds the room so narrow too

that being straightned there it takes no rest,

but must get out to trouble you.

That grief begets a shame which would disgrace

my pow'r, if it were publisht in my face.


Your outward calm does well

your inward storm disguise.


But long dead calms fore-tell

that tempests are to rise.


My Roxolana, by ambitious strife,

to get unjust succession for her son,

has put in doubt

or blotted out

all the heroique story of my life,

and will lose back the battails I have wonn.


Ere ill advice shall lead her far, shee'l skorn

her guide, and, faster than she went, return.


Those who advis'd her ill, in that did do

much more than we dare hear except from you.


O Mustapha! is it too much for me

to think, I justly may possessor be

of one soft bosom, where releas'd from care,

I should securely rest from toils of warr?

But now, when daily tir'd with watchfull life,

(with various turns in doubtfull fight,

and length of talking councils) I at night

in vain seek sleep with a tempestuous wife.

Wink at my shame, that I, whose banners brave

the world, should thus to beauty be a slave.


This cloud will quickly pass

from Roxolana's face.


The weather then will change from foul to fair.


Tempests are short, and serve to clear the air.


Since I have told my sickness, it is fit

you hear what cure I have prescrib'd to it.

Those lovers' knots I cannot strait untwine,

which, sure, were made to last

since they were once ty'd fast

with strings of Roxolana's heart and mine.


How can she vast possession more improve?

Has she not all in having all your love?


I have design'd a way to check her pride.

It is not yet forgot,

that even the gordian knot

at last was cut, which could not be unty'd.

Does not the fair Ianthe wait

without, in hope to mitigate,

by soft'ning looks, the Rhodians' fate?

Let that new moon appear,

and try her influence here.

Exit Mustapha.


What lab'rynth does our sultan mean to tread?

Shall straying love the world great leader lead?

Enter Mustapha, Ianthe.


When warlick cities (fair embassadress)

begin to treat, they cover their distress.

In shewing you, the artfull Rhodians know

they hide distress and all their triumphs show.

From with'ring Rhodes you fresher beauty bring,

and sweeter than the bosom of the spring.


Cities (propitious sultan) when they treat,

conceal their wants, and strength may counterfeit:

but sure the Rhodians would not get esteem,

by ought pretended in my self or them.

If I could any beauty wear

where Roxolana fills the sphear

yet I bring griefs to cloud it here.


Your Rhodes has hung a flagg of treaty out.


You can as little then my sorrows doubt

as I can fear that any humble grief

may sue to Solyman and want relief.


You oft the proffer'd freedome did refuse,

which now you seek, and would have others use.


I then did make my want of merit known,

and thought that gift too much for me alone;

and as 'twas fit

to reckon it

more favour than Ianthe should receive,

so it did then appear

that single favours were

too little for great Solyman to give.


Much is to every beauty due:

then how much more to all

those divers forms we beauty call,

and all are reconcil'd in you?

But those who here for peace by treaty look,

must meet with that which beauty least can brook,

delay of court, which makes the blood so cold

that youngest agents here look pale and old.

Here you must tedious forms of pow'r obey. ~

Your bus'ness will all night require your stay.


Bus'ness, abroad at night? sure bus'ness then

only becomes the confidence of men.

Those who the greatest wand'rers are,

wild birds, that in the day

frequent no certain way,

and know no limits in the air,

will still at night discreetly come

and take their civil rest at home.


Is the protection of my pow'r so slight,

that in my camp you are affraid of night?


Stay in the camp at night, and Rhodes so near,

honour my guide, and griev'd Alphonso there?


Treaties are long, my bassas old and slow,

with whom you must debate before you go.

Let not your cause by any absence fail.

Your beautious presence may on age prevail.


Alas, I came not to capitulate,

and shew a love of speech by long debate:

She kneels.

but to implore from Solyman what he

to Rhodes may quickly grant,

and never feel a want

of that which by dispatch would doubled be.


Ianthe, rise! your grief may pitty move;

but gracefull grief,

whilst it does seek relief,

may pitty lead to dang'rous ways of love.


Why heav'n, was I mistaken when I thought

that I the coursest shape had brought

and the most wither'd too that sorrow wears?


If you would wither'd seem, restrain your tears.

The morning dew makes roses blow

and sweeter smell and fresher show.

Take heed, Ianthe, you may be too blame.

Did you not trust me when you hither came?

Will you my honour now too late suspect,

when only that can yours protect?


If of your virtue my extreme belief

may virtuous favour gain,

my tears I will restrain.

It is my faith shall save me, not my grief.


Conduct her strait to Roxolana's tent,

and tell my haughty empress I have sent

such a mysterious present as will prove

a riddle both to honour and to love.

Exeunt sev'ral ways.

The scene returns to that of the town besieg'd.

Enter Admiral.


Dwells not Alphonso in Ianthe's breast,

as prince of that fair palace, not a guest?

Can it be virtue in a Rhodian knight

to seek possession of anothe right?

Yet how can I his title there destroy

by loving that which he may still enjoy?

My passion will no less than virtue prove,

whilst it does much Ianthe's virtue love,

if in her absence I her safety fear,

'tis virtuous kindness then to wish her here.

But of her dangers I in vain

shall with my watchfull fears complain

till he grow fearfull too, whose fears must be

rais'd to the husband's virtue, jealousie. ~

Enter Villerius, Marshal.


Does he not seem

as if in dream,

his course by storm were on the ocean lost?


He now draws cards to shun a rocky coast.


The foolish world does jealouisie mistake:

'tis civil care, which kindness does improve.

Perhaps the jealous are too much awake,

but others dully sleep o're those they love.

He must be jealous made, for that kind fear,

when known, will quickly bring and stay her here.


What can thy silence now portend,

when the assembled people send

their thankfullness to heav'n in one loud voice?

The hungry, wounded, and the sick rejoice.


Our quires in long procession sing,

the bells of all our temples ring,

our enemies

begin to rise,

and from our walls are to their camp retir'd

to see Ianthe there in triumph shown.

Their cannon in a loud salute are fir'd,

and eccho'd too by louder of our own.

Who is so dully bred,

or rather who so dead

whom fair Ianthe's triumph cannot move?

From th'ocean's bosom it will call

a sinking admiral

who flies to stormy seas from storms of love.


Enter Alphonso.


Our foes (Great Master) wear the looks of friends.

A Zanjack from the camp attends

behind the out-let of the peer,

and he demands your private ear.

Exit Villerius.


Would you had met Ianthe there!


Since well receiv'd, you wish her here too soon.

The morning led her out

and we may doubt

how her dispatch could bring her back ere noon.


Her high reception was but justly due,

who with such noble confidence,

could with her sexe's fears dispence,

and trusting Solyman could part from you.


By that we may discern her rising mind

o're all the pinnacles of female kind.


Strangely she shun'd what custom does afford,

the pledges of his pass and plighted word.


Not knowing guilt, she knows no fear,

and still must strange in all appear,

as well as singular in this;

the crowd of common gazers fill

their eyes with objects low and ill,

but she a high and good example is.

Enter Villerius, Marshal.


Ianthe's lawrels hourly will increase!


I have receiv'd some secret signs of peace

from Mustapha, whose trusted messenger

has brought me counsel how to counsel her.

She must a while make such appliances

as may the haughty Roxolana please,

to whom she now by Solyman is sent,

and does remain our lieger in her tent.


In Turkish dialects, that word, remain,

may many summs of tedious hours contain:

and in a Rhodian lover's swift accompt,

to what a debt will that sad reck'ning mount?


To night, Alphonso, you must sleep alone.

But time is swift, a night is quickly gone.

For lovers' nights are like their slumbers, short. ~

I must dispatch this Zanjack to the court.


The quiet bed of lovers is the grave,

for we in death, no sence of absence have.

Exeunt Villerius, Marshal.


Rhodes in her view, her tent within your sight!

And yet to be divided a whole night!


A single night would many ages seem,

were I not sure that we shall meet in dream.


She must no more such dang'rous visits make,

me-thinks I grow malicious for your sake,

and rather wish Rhodes should of freedome fail,

than that Ianthe's power should now prevail.


Your words mysterious grow.

Alphonso, no.

For if whilst thus you for her absence mourn

her pow'r should much appear,

she'l want excuse,

unless she use

a little of that power, for her return

to day, and nightly resting here.

The hardned steel of Solyman is such,

as with the edge does all the world command,

and yet that edge is softned with the touch

of Roxolana's gentle hand.

And as his hardness yields, when she is near,

so many Ianthe's softness govern her.


The day sufficient seems for all address,

and is at court the season of access;

deprive not Roxolana of her right;

let th'empress lye with Solyman at night.

And as that privilege to her is due,

so should Ianthe sleep at Rhodes with you.


I'le write! The Zanjack for my letter stays;

love walks his round, and leads me in a maze.



Love does Alphonso in a circle lead;

and none can trace the wayes which I must tread.

Lovers, in searching love's records, will find

but very few like me,

that still would virtuous be,

whilst to another's wife I like a lover woo,

I use all art

that form her husband she may never part,

and yet even then would make him jealous too.


The scene returns to that of the camp.

Enter Roxolana, Haly.


Think, Haly, think, what I should swiftly do?

A Rhodian lady, and a beauty too,

in my pavillon lodg'd? It serves to prove

his setled hatred and his wandring love.

Who did he send to plant this canker here?


Old Bassa Mustapha.


Bid him appear.

Exit Haly.

Hope, thou grow'st weak, and thou hast been too strong.

Like night, thou com'st too soon, and stay'st too long.

Hence! smiling hope! with growing infants' play:

if I dismiss thee not, I know

thou of thy self wilt go,

and canst no longer than my beauty stay.

I'le open all the doors to let thee out:

and then call in thy next successor, doubt.

Come, doubt, and bring thy lean companion, care.

And, when you both are lodg'd, bring in despair.

Enter Mustapha, Haly.


Our op'ning buds, and falling blossoms, all

that we can fresh and fragrant call,

that spring can promise, and the summer pay,

be strew'd in Roxolana's way.

On nature's fairest carpets let her tread;

and there, through calms of peace, long may she lead

that pow'r which we have follow'd farr,

and painfully, through storms of warr.


Blessing are cheap, and those you can afford:

yet you are kinder than your frowning lord.

I dare accuse him; but it is too late. ~


What means that pretty property of state,

which is from Rhodes for midnight treaties sent?

Private caballs of lovers in my tent?

Your valour, Mustapha, serv'd to convay

love's fresh supplies. You soldiers can make way.

Was it not greatly done to bring her here?


Duty in that did over-rule my fear.

It was the mighty Solyman's command.


Thou fatal fool! how canst thou think

to find a basis where thou firm mayest stand

on those rough waters where I sink?


If Roxolana were not rank'd above

mankind, she straight would fall

before that pow'r which all

the valiant follow, and the virtuous love.


I grow immortal, for I life disdain:

which ill with thy dislike of dying suits.

Yet thou, for safety, fear'st great pow'r in vain,

who here art but a subject to my mutes. ~

Mustapha draws a parchment.


Peruse the dreaded will of anger'd pow'r,

toucht with the signet of the emperour:

it does enjoyn Ianthe's safety here:

she must be sought with love, and serv'd with fear.

This disobey'd, your mutes, who still make haste

to cruelty, may rest for want of breath.

'Tis order'd they shall suddenly be past

their making signs, and shall be dumb with death.

This dreadfull doom from Solyman I give.

But if his will, which is our law,

be met with an obedient awe,

the empress then may long in triumph live.

She weeps.


Begon! thy duty is officious fear.

If I am soft enough to grieve,

it is to see the sultan leave

the warring world, and end his conquest here. ~

Crawl to my sultan still, officious grow!

Ebb with his love, and with his anger flow.

Exit Mustapha.


Preserve with temper your imperial mind;

and, till you can express

your wrath with god success,

by angring others to your self be kind. ~


If thou canst weep, thou canst endure to bleed:

men who compassion feel have valour too:

I shall thy courage more than pitty need:

dar'st thou contrive as much as I dare do?


I'le on, as far as weary life can go.


Then I shall want no aid to my design:

wee'l digg below them, and blow up their mine.


The fourth act

The scene returns to that of the town beleaguer'd.
Enter Solyman, Mustapha, Rustan.


Can Roxolana such a rival bear?


She has her fits of courage and of fear.

As she does high against your anger grow,

so, trusting strait your love, she stoops as low.


Her chamber-tempests I have known too well:

she quickly can with winds of passion swell,

and then as quickly has the woman's pow'r

of laying tempests with a weeping showr.

What looks does the detain'd Ianthe shew?


She still is calm in all her fears.


And seems so lovely in her tears,

as when the morning's face is whasht in dew.

Enter Pirrhus.


The world salutes you sultan! Ev'ry pow'r

does shrink before your throne; and ev'ry how'r

a flying packet or an agent brings

from Asia, Afrique, and European kings. ~


With packets to old Zanger go;

who, free'd from action, can with sleep dispence;

and having little now to do,

may read dull volumes of intelligence.

These writing-princes covet to seem wise

in packets, and by formal embassies:

they would with symphonies of civil words

(sweet sounds of court) charm rudeness from our swords:

teach us to lay our gauntlets by,

that they unarm'd, and harmlessly,

from farthest realms, by proxy, might shake hands;

and, off'ring useless friendshiep, save their lands.


Enter Villerius, Alphonso, Admiral, Marshal.


He came disguis'd, who brought your letter here,

and sought such privacy as argu'd fear.


But (sov'raign Master) yours did seem to be

convey'd by one less pain'd with secresie,

who does for answer stay.


Mine came from Mustapha.

It would import a promising increase

of our conditions by approaching peace.

But does request us to consent

that fair Ianthe may yet longer stay

in pow'rfull Roxolana's tent;

and that request we understand

as a command

which, though we would not grant, we must obey.


Mine by a christian slave was brought,

who from the eunuch Bassa, Haly, came;

and was by Roxolana wrote:

see the sultana's signet and her name.

She writes ~ but oh! why have I breath

to tell, how much 'tis worse than death

not to be dead

ere I agen this letter read?


Oh my prophetick fear!


She writes, that if I hold my honour dear,

or if Ianthe does that honour prize,

I should with all the art

of love, confirm her heart,

and strait from Solyman divert her eyes.


Who knows what end this dire beginning bodes?


And here she likewise says,

he to Ianthe lays

a closer siege than ere he did to Rhodes.



Ianthe, I will still my love pursue;

be kind to thee, and to Alphonso true:

but love's small policies great honour now

will hardly to my rival-ship allow:

those little arts, bold duke, I must lay by

and urge thy courage more than jealousie.


Where is thou honour now, fam'd eastern lord?


Why sought we not his passport or his word?


How durst Ianthe have so little fear

as to believe

that in the camp she could receive

freedome from him who did besiege her here?


Whilst in her own dispose she here remain'd

I of the brav'ry of her trust complain'd:

her gen'rous faith too meanly was deceiv'd,

and must not be upbraided but reliev'd.


To rescue Rhodes she did her self forsake;

and Rhodes shall nobly pay that virtue back.


Great Master! what shall poor Alphonso do?

Since all he has Ianthe's is;

and now in this

must owe Ianthe and her fame to you.


If any virtue can in valour be,


or any valour in a Rhodian knight,


or any lover can have loyalty,


or any warriour can in love delight,


if absence makes not mighty love grow less,


or gentle lovers can compassion feel,


if loyal beauty, when in deep distress,

can melt our hearts, and harden all our steel:


then let us here in sacred vows combine.

My vow is seal'd ~

They join their swords.


and mine. ~


And mine. ~


And trebly mine. ~


Behold us, fame, then stay thy flight,

and hover o're our towers to night.

Fresh wings together with the morning take;

as early as afflicted lovers' wake.

Then tell the world that we have join'd our swords

but 'tis for griev'd Ianthe, not for Rhodes.


Now we shall prosper, who were weary grown

in Rhodes, and never could successfull prove

when empire led us forth to seek renown,

for honour should no leader have but love.

Exeunt omnes.

The scene is chang'd.

Being wholly fill'd with Roxolana's rich pavilion, wherein is discern'd at distance, Ianthe sleeping on a couch; Roxolana at one end of it, and Haly at the other; guards of eunuchs are discover'd at the wings of the pavilion; Roxolana having a Turkish embroidered handkerchief in her left hand, and a naked ponyard in her right.


Thou dost from beauty, Solyman,

as much refrain as nature can,

who, making beauty, meant it should be lov'd.

But how can I my station keep

till you, Ianthe, art by death remov'd?

To dye, when thou art young,

is but too soon to fall asleep

and lye asleep too long.


Your dreadfull will what power can here command

but pitty? Oh let pitty stay your hand! ~


Sultan, I will not weep, because my tears

cannot suffice to quench thy love's false flame:

nor will I to a paleness bleed,

to show my love's true fears,

because I rather need

more blood to help to blush away thy shame.


How far are all his former virtues gone?

Turn back the progress of forgetfull time:

the many favours by your sultan done

should now excuse him for one purpos'd crime.


Haly, consult! Can I do ill

if many foul adult'ries I prevent,

when I but one fair mistress kill?


Be not too early here with punishment.

Your sultan now

does only show

the grudgings of a lover's feavrish fit.

You find his inclinations strange,

but, being new, they soon may change;

and they have reacht but to intention yet.


Long before deeds heav'n calls intention sin.

'Tis good to end what he would ill begin.


Do not relinquish yet your first design.

Before you darken all her light

examine, by your judging sight,

if in your sphear she can unblemisht shine.

You ment to prove her virtue and first try

how well she here could as a rival live,

ere as a judg'd adultress she should dye:

in pard'ning her you Solyman forgive.

And can you add to your lov'd greatness more

when able to forgive the greatest pow'r?


Tell me agen Alphonso's short reply

when I by letter wak'd his jealouisie,

and counsel'd him to write and to advise

his wife to lock her breast, and shut her eyes?


With silence first he did his sorrows bear;

then anger rais'd him, till he fell with fear:

at last, said she was now past counsel grown,

or else could take no better than her own.


His thoughts a double vizard wear,

and only lead me tu suspence,

it seems he does her dangers fear,

and fain would trust her innocence.

Wake her! I will pursue my first design. ~


I go to draw the curtain of a shrine. ~

Awake! Behold the pow'rfull empress here.

Ianthe rises and walks at distance from Roxolana.


Heav'n has the greatest pow'r;

heav'n seeks our love, and kindly comforts fear.

This is my fatal how'r.


Though beautious when she slept,

yet now would I had kept

her safely sleeping still.

She, waking, turns my envy into shame,

and does it so reclaim

that I am conquer'd who came here to kill.


What dangers should I fear?

her brow grows smooth and clear:

yet so much greatness cannot want disguise.

The great live all within,

and are but seldome seen

looking abroad through casements of their eyes.


Have courage, fair Sicilian, and come near. ~


My distance shew my duty more than fear.


I have a present for you, and 'tis such

as comes from one who does believe

it is for you too little to receive;

and I, perhaps, may think it is too much.


Who dares be bountifull to low distress?

Who to Ianthe can a present make

when Rhodes besieg'd has all she would possess,

and all the world does ruin'd Rhodes forsake?


The present will not make the giver poor;

and, though 'tis single now, it quickly can

be multipli'd; you shall have many more.

It is this kiss ~ it comes from Solyman.


You did your creature courage give,

and made me hope that I had leave to live,

when you from dutious distance call'd me near:

but now I soon shall courage lack:

I am amaz'd, and must go back:

amazement is the uggli'st shape of fear.


Are christian ladies so reserv'd and shy?


Our sacred law does give

them precepts how to live.

And nature tells them they must dye.


'Tis well they to their husbands are so true.

But speak, Ianthe, are they all like you?


I hope they are, and better too,

or, if they are not, will be so.


They have been strangely injur'd then.

But rumour does mistake.

Some say they visits make,

and they are visited by men.


What custom does avow

our laws in time allow;

and those who never guilty be

suspect not others' liberty.


This would in Asia wonderfull appear:

but time may introduce that fashion here.

Come nearer! Is your husband kind and true?


If good to good I may compare

(excepting greatness) I would dare

to say, he is as Solyman to you.


As he to me? How strong is innocence?

Prevailing till 'tis free to give offence.

Indeed, Alphonso has a large renown,

which does so daily spread,

as it the world may lead,

and should not be contracted in a town.


As we in all agree,

so he will prove like me

a lowly servant to your rising fame.


But is he kind to you, and free from blame?

Civil by day, and loyal too at night?


By nature, not by skill,

he is as cheerfull still

and as unblemisht as unshaded light.


These christian-turtles live too happily.

I wish, for breed, they would to Asia fly. ~

You must not at such distance stand;

draw near, and give me your fair hand. ~

I have another present for you now,

and such a present as I know

you will much better than the first allow,

though Solyman will not esteeem it so.

'Tis from my self ~ of friendship such a seal. ~

(Kisses her)

As you to Solyman must ne'r reveal. ~

And that I may be more assur'd,

by this agen you are conjur'd. ~


Presents so good and great as these

I should receive upon my knees.


I will not, lest I may revive your fear,

relate the cause of your confinement here.

But know, I must

your virtue trust,

which, proving loyal, you are safe in mine.


The light of angels still about you shine!


The dang'rous secrets of th'imperial bed

(takes Ianthe aside)

are darker than the riddles of the throne.

The glass, in which their characters are read,

we eunuchs grin'd, and 'tis but seldome shown.


I shall with close and wary eyes

retire from all your mysteries.

And when occasion shall my honour trust,

you'l find I have some courage, and am just.


Perhaps, Ianthe, you may shortly hear

of clouds, which threatning me, may urge your fear.

Be virtuous still! 'tis true my sultan frowns, ~

(She weeps)

but let him winn more battails, take more towns,

and be all day the fore-most in the fight,

yet he shall find that I will rule at night.


(looks in)

The guards increase, and many mutes appear,

lifting their lights, to shew the sultan near.


My new seal'd frienship I must now lay by

a while, and seem your jealous enemy.

Be to your self, and to Alphonso true.


As he to me, and virtue is to you.

(steps at distance)

Enter Solyman.


Has night lost all her dark dominion here?

High hopes disturb your sleep,

but I suspect you keep

Ianthe waking not with hope but fear.


Too well, and much too soon I know

whom you are pleas'd to grace:

however, since it must be so,

you'l find I can give place.


You had a place, too near me, and too high.

If but a little you remove

from place of empire or of love,

you soon become but as a stander-by.

One step descending from a shining throne,

you to the darkest depth fall swiftly down.


If I sat nearer to you than 'twas fit

for empires, heraulds to admit,

(I being born below, and you above)

pray call in death, and I'le, even then, bring love.

To these all places equal be,

for love and death know no degree.


I cannot passion's riddles understand.


You still have present death at your command;

but former love you have laid by,

which, being gone, you know that I can dye. ~



I better know that you have cause to weep.

(Turns to Ianthe)

Ianthe, all is calm within your breast,

retire into the quiet shade of sleep,

and let not watchfull fear divert your rest.

Let all the nations of my camp suffice,

as guards, to keep you from my enemies,

(for of your own

you can have none)

whilst I but as love's sent'nel on you wait,

arm'd with his bow, at your pavilion gate.


Heav'n put it in your mighty mind

quickly to be,

more than to me,

to all the valiant Rhodians kind.

And may you grieve to think how many mourn

till you shall end their griefs at my return.


You shall not languish with delay.

But this is bus'ness for the day.

'Tis now so late at night that all love's spies,

parents, and husbands too,

the watchfull and the watcht seal up their eyes,

and lovers cease to woo.

Exeunt Haly, Ianthe.


You alter ev'ry year the world's known face;

whilst cities you remove, and nations chace.

These great mutations (which, with shril

and ceaseless sounds, fame's trumpet fill,

and shall seem wonders in her brazen books)

much less amaze me than your alter'd looks;

where I can read your love's more fatal change.


You make my frowns, yet seem to think them strange.


You seek a stranger, and abandon me.


Strange coasts are welcome after storms at sea.


That various mind will wander very farr,

which, more than home, a forein land preferrs.


The wise, for quietness, when civil warr

does rage at home, turn private travailers.


Your love's long frost has made my bosom cold.


Let not the cause be in your story told.


A colder heart death's hand has never felt:

but 'tis such ice as you may break, or melt. ~

(She weeps)


I never shall complain

when you are wet with rain,

which softer passion, does thus gently pow'r.

What more in season is than such a show'r?

You still, through little clouds, would lovely show,

were all your April-weather calm as now.

But March resembles more your haughty mind,

froward and loud oftner than calmly kind.

Weather which may not inconvenient prove

to country lovers, born but to make love,

who grieve not when they mutual kindness doubt,

but with indiff'rence meet a frown or smile,

as having frequent leisure to fall out,

and their divided breasts to reconcile.


The world had less sad bus'ness known, if you

had been ordain'd for so much leisure too.


Monarchs, who onward still with conquest move,

can only for their short diversion love.

When a black cloud in beauties' sky appears,

they cannot wait till time the tempest clears.

Whilst they, to save a sullen mistress, stay,

the world's dominion may be cast away.


Why is dominion priz'd above

wise nature's great concernment, love?


Of heav'n what have we found, which we do more

and sooner, than exceeding pow'r adore?

The wond'rous things which that chief pow'r has done,

are to those early spies, our senses, shown,

and must at length to reason be assur'd:

yet how, or what, heav'n love is much obscur'd.

And our uncertain love

(perhaps not bread above,

but in low regions, like the wandring winds)

shews diff'rent sexes more than equal minds.


Your love, indeed, is prone to change,

and like the wandring wind does range.

The gale awhile tow'rds Cyprus blew;

it turn'd to Creet, and stronger grew;

then, on the Lycian shore, it favour'd me:

but now, Ianthe seeks in Sicily.


In progresses of warr and love

victors with equal haste must move,

and in attempts of either make no stay:

they can but visit, conquer, and away.


Love's most victorious and most cruel foe!

Forsake me, and to meaner conquests go!

To warrs, where you may sack and over-run,

till your success has all the world undone.

Advance those trophies which you ought to hide;

for wherefore are they rais'd

but to have slaughter prais'd,

and courage, which is but applauded pride?


In so much rain I knew a gust would come:

I'le shun the rising storm and give it room.


Love's foes are ever hasty in retreat;

you can march off; but 'tis for fear

lest you should hear

those mournings which your cruelties beget.


The fear is wise which you upbraid;

for, whilst thus terrible you grow,

I must confess, I am affraid,

and not asham'd of being so.


Go where you cover greater fear

than that which you dissemble here:

where you breed ill your mis-begotten fame

when charging armies and assaulting towns,

you ravish nations with as little shame

as now you shew in your injurious frowns.


If we grow fearfull at the face of warr,

you, justly, may our terrour blame,

since, by your darings, we might learn to dare.

Would you as well could teach us shame.


Your fears appear, even in your darings, great;

you would not else sound cheerfull trumpets when

the charge begins, whilst drumms with clamour beat,

to raise the courage of your mighty men.

With warr's loud musick showts are mingled too;

which boastingly such cruel deeds proclaim

as beasts, through thickest furrs, would blush to do.

Your wives may breed up wolves to teach you shame.


'Tis not still dang'rous when you angry grow:

for, Roxolana, you can anger show

to those whom you, perhaps, can never hate.

This passion is; but you have crimes of state.


Call nature to be judge! What have I done?


You have a husband lost to save a son.


Sultan, that son is yours as much as mine.


He has some lustre got in fight;

but yet, beyond the dawning light

of his new glory, Mustapha does shine,

who is the pledge of my Circasian wife,

and from my blood as great a share of life

may challenge as your son. Has he not worn

a victor's wreath? He is my eldest born.


Because her son the empire shall enjoy,

must therefore strangling mutes my son destroy?

Since eldest born you may him empire give:

but mine, as well as he were born to live.

They may, as yours, though by a second wife,

inherit that which nature gave them, life.


Whilst any life I shew by any breath,

who dares approach them in the shape of death?


When you to heav'n's high palace shall remove,

to meet much more compassion there

than you have ever felt, and far more love

than ere your heart requited here;

will not your bassas then presume to do

what custom warrants and our priesthood too?


Those are the secret nerves of empire's force.

Empire grows often high

by rules of cruelty,

but seldome prospers when it feels remorse.


Accursed empire! got and bred by art!

Let nature govern, or at least

divide our mutual interest:

yield yours to death, and keep alive my part.


Beauty, retire! Thou dost my pitty move!

Believe my pitty, and then trust my love! ~

Exit Roxolana.

At first I thought her by our prophet sent

as a reward for valour's toils,

more worth than all my fathers' spoils:

and now, she is become my punishment.

But thou art just, o pow'r divine!

With new and painfull arts

of study'd warr I break the hearts

of half the world, and she breaks mine.


The fifth act

The scene is chang'd to a prospect of Rhodes by night, and the Grand Master's palace on fire.
Enter Solyman, Pirrhus, Rustan.


Look, Pirrhus, look! what means that sudden light,

which casts a paleness o're the face of night?

the flame shews dreadfull, and ascends still higher!


The Rhodian Master's palace is on fire!


A greater from Saint George's tower does shine!


Chance it would seem, but does import design!

Enter Mustapha.


Their flagg of treaty they have taken in!


Dare they this ending warr again begin?


They feed their flames to light their forces out!


And now, seem sallying from the French redoubt!


Old Orchan takes already the alarm!


Need they make fires to keep their courage warm?


The English now advance!


Let them proceed!

Their cross is bloody, and they come to bleed.

Set all the turn-pikes open, let them in!

Those island gamesters may,

(who desperately for honour play)

behold fair stakes, and try what they can winn.

Exeunt omnes.

Enter Villerius, Alphonso, Admiral, Marshal.


Burn, palace, burn! Thy flame more beautious grows

whilst higher it ascends.

That now must serve to light us to our foes

which long has lodg'd our friends.


It serves not only as a light

to guide us in so bleck a night,

but to our enemies will terrour give.


Who (seeing we so much destroy,

what we in triumph did enjoy,

that now we know not where to live)

will strait conclude that boldly we dare dye.


And those who to themselves lov'd life deny

want seldome pow'r to aid their will

when they would others kill.


Speak both of killing and of saving too.

The utmost that our valour now can do

is when, by many bassas, pris'ners ta'ne,

we freedome for distrest Ianthe gain.


A jewel too sufficient to redeem

great Solyman were he in chains with them.


Here spread our front! Our rear is all come forth.

We lead two thousand Rhodian knights,

all skill'd in various fights:

fame's role contains no names of higher worth.

In whispers give command

to make a stand!











Divide our knights, and all their martial train!


Let me by storm the sultan's quarter gain.


My lot directs my wing to Mustapha.


To Pirrhus, o'er his trench, I'le force my way.


Our honour bids us give a brave defeat,

whilst prudence leaves reserves for a retreat.

All lovers are concern'd in what we do.

Love's crown depends on you, on you, and you.

Love's bow is not so fatal as my sword.


As mine.


And mine.


Ianthe is the word.


A symphony expressing a battail is play'd awhile.

Enter Solyman.


More horse! more horse, to shake their ranks!

Bid Orchan haste to gaul their flanks.

Few Rhodian knights, making their several stands,

out-strike assemblies of our many hands.

Enter Mustapha, Rustan.


Morat and valiant Zangiban are slain.


But Orchan does their yielded ground regain.


Our crescents shine not in the shade of night.

But now the crescent of the sky appears,

our valour rises with her lucky light,

and all our fighters blush away their fears.

Enter Pirrhus.


More pikes! and pass the French! fall in! fall in!

That we may gain the day ere day begin.


Advance with all our guards! This doubtfull strife

less grieves me than our odds

of number against Rhodes,

by which we honour lose to rescue life.


A symphony sounds a battail again.

The scene returns to the town besieg'd.

Enter Villerius, Marshal.


Send back! send back! to quench our fatal fire!

Ere morning does avance we must retire;

justly asham'd to let the day's great light

shew what a little we have done to night.


We have been shipwrackt ina midnight storm,

who hither came (Great Master) to perform

such deeds as might have given us cause to boast.


We found the night too black,

and now no use can make

of day but to discern that we are lost.


Can thy great courage mention our defeat

whilst any life is left to make retreat?


It is just a rebuke.


Where is the duke?


Long tir'd with valour's toils, and in his breast

o're charg'd with lover's griefs, he sought for rest.

To Fame's eternal temple he is gone.

And I may fear

is enter'd there,

where death does keep the narrow gate,

and lets in none

but those whom painfull honour brings,

many, without, in vain for entrance wait,

with warrants seal'd by mighty kings.


Villerius never yet by Turkish swords

was cut so deep as by thy wounding words.

Is that great youth, the prince of lovers, slain?


Who knows how much of life he doas retain?

Twice I reliev'd him from the double force

of Zangibans old foot, and Orchan's horse.

My strength was overpow'rd; and he still bent

to follow honour to the sultan's tent.


Alphonso's story has this sodain end:

Ianthe may a longer fate attend.


Of life's chief hope we are bereft.

Go rally all whom death has left:

let our remaining knights make good the peer.

Our hearts will serve to beat,

unheard, a stoln retreat.


But shall we leave Ianthe captive here?


I'le to our temple force our way,

and there for her redemption pray:

her freedome now depends on our return.

In temples we shall nothing gain

from heav'n, whilst we of loss complain:

wee'l for our crimes, not for our losses, mourn.


Enter Solyman, Pirrhus.


Let us no more the Rhodians' flight pursue;

who since below our anger, need our care.

Compassion is to vanquisht valour due

which was not cruel in successfull warr.


Our sultan does his pow'r from heav'n derive,

'tis rais'd above the reach of human force:

it could not else with soft compassion thrive:

for few are gain'd or mended by remorse.

The world is wicked grown, and wicked men

(since jealous still of those whom they have harm'd)

are but enabled to offend agen,

when they are pardon'd and left arm'd.

Enter Mustapha, Rustan.


The Rhodians will no more in arms appear:

they now are lost before they lose their town.


They may their standards hide and ensigns tear,

for what's the body when the soul is gone?


The prison'r whom in doubtfull fight we took

(who long maintain'd the strife,

for freedome more than life)

is young Alphonso, the Sicilian duke.


Fortune could never find, if she had eyes,

a present for me which I more would prize.

Enter Haly.


Your bosom-slave (the creature which your pow'r

has made in all the world the greatest wife)

did all this dang'rous night kneel and implore

that heav'n would give you length of happy life,

in measure to your breadth of spreading fame,

and to the heighth of Ottamans high name.


Tell Roxolana I esteem her love

so much that I her anger fear;

and whilst with passion I the one approve,

the other I with temper bear.


She charged me not to undertake t'express

with how much grief her eyes did melt

when she this night your dangers felt,

nor how much joy she shew'd at your success.

She hears that you have pris'ner took

the bold Sicilian duke,

and begs he may be strait at her dispose,

that you may try how she can use your foes.


This furious Rhodian sally could not be

provokt but by his jealousie of me.


He wanted honour who could yours suspect.


The rash, by jealousie, themselves detect.


His jealouisie shall meet with punishment.

Convay him strait to Roxolana's tent.

Exit Pirrhus.

But, Haly, know, the fair Ianthe must

be safe and free, who did my honour trust.

You want no mutes, nor can they want good skill

to torture or dispatch those whom they kill.

But since this duke's renown did spread and rise

(who in attempt at night

has often scap'd my sight)

take care that I may see him ere he dyes.

Exeunt several ways.

The scene returns to Roxolana's pavilion.

Enter Ianthe in her night dress.


In this pavilion all have been alarm'd.

The eunuchs, mutes, and very dwarfs were arm'd.

The Rhodians have a fatal sally made;

and many now, to shun

the griefs of love, are run

through night's dark walks to death's detested shade.

An eunuch lately cry'd, Alphonso's slain;

now others change my grief,

and give some small relief,

by new report that he's but pris'ner ta'ne.

Where, my afflicted lord,

is thy victoriuos sword?

For now (though 'twas too weak to rescue thee)

it might successfull grow

if thy triumphant foe

would make an end of love by ending me.

Enter Roxolana.


How fares my rival, the Sicilian flower?


As wet with tears as roses in a show'r.


I brought you presents when I saw you last.


Presents? If you have more,

like those you brought before,

they come too late, unless they make great haste.


Are you departing without taking leave?


I would not you, nor can your guards deceive.


You'l pay a farewell to a civil court?


Souls make their parting ceremonies short.


The present which the sultan sent before

(who means to vex your bashfulness no more)

was to your lips, and that you did refuse:

but this is to your ear. I bring you news.


I hear, my lord and Rhodes have been too blame.


It seems you keep intelligence with fame,

or with some frighted eunuch, her swift post,

who often has from camps to cities brought

the dreadfull news of battails lost

before the field was fought.


Then I may hope this is a false alarm,

and Rhodes has neither done nor taken harm.


You may believe Alphonso is not slain.


Blest angel, speak! Nor is he pris'ner ta'ne?


He is a pris'ner, and is given to me.


Angels are kind, I know you'l set him free.


He has some wounds, plac'd nobly in his breast.


You soon take back the comfort you have given.


They are not deep, and are securely drest.


Now you are good agen! O heal them, heav'n!


In heav'n, Ianthe, he may mercy find,

he must go thiter, and leave you behind.


I hope I shall discern your looks less strange,

and your expressions not so full of change. ~


Weep'st thou for him, whose sawcy jealousie

durst think the sultan could be false to me?


Though his offence makes him unfit to live,

I hope it is no crime in me to grieve.


Soft fool! bred up in narrow western courts,

which are by subjects storm'd like paper-ports,

Italian courts, fair inns for forein posts

where little princes are but civil hosts,

think'st thou that she, who does wide empire sway,

can breed such storms as lovers' show'rs allay?

Can half the world be govern'd by a mind

that shews domestick pitty, and grows kind?


Where are those virtuous vows you lately seal'd?


I did enjoy they should not be reveal'd.


But could you mean they should be broken too?


Those seals were counterfeit, and pass

for nothing, since my sealing was

but to a christian when I seal'd to you.


Seal'd by your pretious lipps? What is so sure

as that which makes the sultan's heart secure?

You to religion many temples rere;

justice may find one lodging in your breast.


Religion is but publique fashion here,

and justice is but private interest.

Nature our sex does to revenge incite,

and int'rest counsels us to keep our own.

Were you not sent to rule with me at night?

Love is as shy of partners as the throne.

Haly, prepare the pris'ner; he must dye.

Enter Haly.


If any has offended, it is I. ~

O think! think upward on the thrones above.

Disdain not mercy, since they mercy love.

If mercy were not mingled with their pow'r,

this wretched world could not subsist an how'r.

Excuse his innocence; and seize my life!

Can you mistake the husband for the wife?


Are christian wives so true, and wondrous kind?

Ianthe, you can never change my mind,

for I did ever mean to keep my vow,

which I renew, and seal it faster now. ~

(Kisses her)

The sultan franckly gave thy lord to me,

and I freely render him to thee.


To all the world be all your virtues known

more than the triumphs of the sultan's throne.


Send in her lord, to calm her troubled breast.

Exeunt Roxolana, Haly, several ways.


Now his departing life may stay;

but he has wounds. Yet she did say

thay were not deep, and are securaly drest.

Enter Haly, Alphonso, his arms bound.


Fate holds your dice; and here expect the cast.

Your chance, if it be bad, will soon be past.



My doom contains not much diversity.

To live, to dye, to be a slave, or free?

Death summs up all! by dying we remove

from all the frowns of pow'r, and grief of love.

Ianthe, are you here?

I will dismiss my fear.

Death's dreaded journey I

have ended ere I dye.


Death does to heav'n the virtuous lead,

which I enjoy ere I am dead.

For it is heav'n to me where e're thou art,

and those who meet in heav'n shall never part.


Stay, stay, Alphonso! you proceed too fast,

for I am chang'd since you beheld me last.

In Rhodes I wholly did myself resign

to serve your pow'r, but you are now in mine.

And that you may perceive how soon I can

melt the obdurate heart of Solyman,

let this confirm your restless jealouisie:

you came in bound, and thus I make you free. ~

(Unbinds him)


By this, Ianthe, you express no more

dominion o're me than you had before.

In Rhodes I was a subject to your will:

your smiles preserv'd me, and your frowns did kill.


I know your tongue too well, which should deceive

one who had study'd all the art

of love rather than her whose heart

too simply would your very looks believe.

But now you know, that though you are unbound,

yet still your walk is on the sultan's ground.


Ianthe, you are chang'd indeed

if, cruelly, you thus proceed.


In tracing human story we shall find

the cruel more successfull than the kind.

Whilst you are here submitted to my sway,

it safe discretion were to make you pay

for all those sighs and tears my heart and eyes

have lost to make you lose your jealousies.

But I was bred in nature's simple school,

and am but love's great fool,

with whom you rudely play,

and strike me hard, then stroke the pain away. ~

How are wounds? I hope you find them slight.


They scarce will need the rip'ning of a night:

unless, severe Ianthe, you

by chiding me, their pains renew.


Was it not jealousie which brought you here?


It was my love, conducted by my fear.

Fear of your safety, not of virtue, made

the Rhodians, by surprize, this camp invade.

In hope, by bringing home great pris'ners, we

might set the Rhodians' greater mistress free.


The safety of Ianthe was not worth

that courage which mis-led the Rhodians' fort.

The world's contagion, vice, could ne'r infect

the sultan's heart: but when you did suspect

his favours were too great for me to take,

you then, Alphonso, did unkindly make

my merit small; as if you knew

there was to that but little due.

Or if he wicked were,

what danger could you fear?

Since virtue's force all viciou's pow'r controles.

Lucrece a ponyard found, and Porcia coals.


How low to your high virtue shall I fall?


What chance attended in this fatal night

the Master, Marshal, and the Admiral?


I lost them in the thickest mist of fight.

Yet did from Haly this short comfort get

that they to Rhodes have made a brave retreat,

as love's great champions we must them adore.


Be well Alphonso, I will chide no more.

Enter Solyman, Roxolana, Mustapha, Pirrhus, Haly, Rustan.


Haly, I did declare that I would see

the jealous pris'ner ere he dy'd.


Look there! you are oby'd, yet pardon me

who, ere you pardon'd him, did make him free.


In this I have your virtue try'd.

If Roxolana thus revengeless proves

to him whom such a beautious rival loves,

it does denote she rivals can endure,

yet think she still is of my heart secure.

Duke, this example of her trust may be

a cure for your distrustfull thoughts of me.

You may imbark for the Sicilian coast,

and there possess your wife when Rhodes is lost.


Since freedome, which is more than life, you give

to him, who durst not ask you leave to live,

I cannot doubt your bounty when I crave

that, granting freedome, you will honour save.

My honour I shall lose, unless I share

in Rhodes, the Rhodians' worst effects of warr.

To Sicily let chaste Ianthe steer,

and sing long stories of your virtue there:

whilst, by your mercy sent, to Rhodes I go,

to be in Rhodes your suppliant, not your foe.


Alphonso, I have honour too;

which calls me back to Rhodes with you.

Were this, through tenderness, by you deny'd

for soft concerns of life,

yet gracious Solyman will ne'r divide

the husband from the wife.


Both may to Rhodes return: but it is just

that you, who nobly did my honour trust,

(without my pass, or plighted word)

should more by your advent'rous visit get

than empires int'rest would afford,

or you expected when you came to trest.

Go back, Ianthe; make your own

conditions boldly for the town.

I am content it should recorded be,

that, when I vanquisht Rhodes, you conquer'd me.


Not fame's free voice, nor lasting numbers can

disperse, or keep, enough of Solyman.


From lovers' beds, and thrones of monarchs, fly

thou ever waking madness, jealousie.

And still, to nature's darling, love

(that all the world may happy prove)

let giant-virtue be the watchfull guard,

honour, the cautious guide, and sure reward:

honour, adorn'd in such a poets' song

as may prescribe to fame

what loyal lovers' name

shall farr be spread, and shall continue long.

Exeunt omnes.


Though, bashfully, we fear to give offence,

yet, pray allow our poet confidence.

He has the priv'lege of old servants got,

who are conniv'd at, and have leave to doat,

to boast past service, and be chol'rique too,

till they believe at last that all they do

does far above their masters' judgements grow:

much like to theirs is his presumption now.

For free, assur'd, and bold his brow appears,

because he serv'd your fathers many years.

He says he pleas'd them too, but he may find

you wits not of your duller-fathers' mind.

Which, well consider'd, Mistress Muse will then

wish for her old gallants at Fri'rs agen;

rather than be by those neglected here,

whose fathers civilly did court her there.

But as old mistresses who meet disdain,

forbear through pride, or prudence, to complain,

and satisfie their hearts, when they are sad,

with thoughts of former lovers they have had:

even so poor Madam-Muse this night must bear,

with equal pulse, the fits of hope and fear,

and never will against your passion strive:

but, being old, and therefore narrative,

comfort her self with telling tales too long,

of many plaudits had when she was young.

End of the libretto.

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Locandina Part I The First Entry The Second Entry The Third Entry The Fourth Entry The Fifth Entry Part II Act the first The second act The third act The fourth act The fifth act