The Broken Heart "He Has Shook Hands With Time"
by John Ford

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"He Has Shook Hands With Time"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

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Context: At a dance Calantha learns from Armostes that by her father's death, just occurred, she is now Queen of Sparta. Within a few moments she also learns, from Bassanes, that his wife is dead, and from Orgilus that Ithocles, a favorite, has been murdered. Calantha takes all this news calmly; when Orgilus boasts that it was he who murdered Ithocles, for revenge, she coolly tells him that he must die, with the mode of execution his own choice. Orgilus chooses to be his own executioner by cutting his veins. He props himself upon a staff and cuts the veins in one arm; then he asks Bassanes, as a favor, to cut the veins in the other arm. As he stands with his life running out, he recalls that Tecnicus, moved by the power of Apollo, has foretold that revenge would prove its own executioner. Even to the moment of his death Orgilus retains his courage and his presence of mind:

ORGILUSSo falls the standardOf my prerogative in being a creature!A mist hangs o'er mine eyes, the sun's bright splendourIs clouded in an everlasting shadow:Welcome, thou ice, that sitt'st about my heart!No heat can ever thaw thee.[Dies.]NEARCHUSSpeech hath left him.BASSANESHe has shook hands with time; his funeral urnShall be my charge: remove the bloodless body.The coronation must require attendance;That past, my few days can be but one mourning.