Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

He

Bel. Pity and forgiveness. (Throws up her veil. Pri, Kill thee! By the kind tender names of child and father, Be!. Yes, kill me. When he passed bis faith Hear my coinplaints, and take me to your love! And covenant against your state and senate, Pri. My daughter !

gave me up a hostage for his truth: Bel. Yes, your daughter, by a mother

With me a dagger and a dire commission, Virtuous and noble, faithful to your honour, Whene'er he failed, to plunge it through this boObedient to your will, kind to your wishes,

som! Dear to your arms: By all the joys she gave you, I learnt the danger, chose the hour of love When, in her blooming years, she was your trea- To attempt his heart, and bring it back to honour. sure,

Great love prevailed, and blest me with success! Look kindly on me. In my face behold

He came, confessed, betrayed his dearest friends The lineaments of her's you have kissed so often, For promised mercy. Now they are doomed to Pleading the cause of your poor cast-off child.

suffer, Pri. Thou art my daughter.

Galled with remembrance of what then was sworn, Bel. Yes and you have often told me, If they are lost, he vows to appease the gods With smiles of love and chaste paternal kisses, With this poor life, and make my blood the atoneI had much resemblance of my mother.

ment! Pri. Oh!

Pri. Heavens ! Hadst thou inherited her matchless virtues, Bel. Think you saw what passed at our last I had been too blessed !

parting: Bel. Nay, do not call to memory

Think you beheld him like a raging lion, My disobedience; but let pity enter

Pacing the earth, and tearing up his steps, Into your heart, and quite deface the impression. Fate in his eyes, and roaring with the pain For could you think how mine’s perplexed, what of burning fury: think you saw his one hand sadness,

Fixed on my throat, whilst the extended other Fears and despairs distract the peace within me, Grasped a keen threatening dagger: Oh! 'twas Oh! you would take me in your dear, dear arms,

thus Hover with strong compassion o'er your young We last embraced, when, trembling with revenge, one,

He dragged me to the ground, and at my bosom To shelter me, with a protecting wing,

Presented horrid death. Cried out, “My friends! From the black gathering storm, that's just, just Where are my friends?' swore, wept, raged, breaking

threatened, loved, Pri. Don't talk thus.

(For yet he loved,) and that dear love preserved Bel. Yes, I must; and you must hear too. I have a husband.

To this last trial of a father's pity. Pri. Damn him.

I fear not death; but cannot bear the thought, Bel. Oh! do not curse him;

That that dear hand should do the unfriendly ofHe would not speak so hard a word towards you

fice. On any terms, howe'er he deals with me. If I was ever then your care, now hear me; Pri: Ha! what means my child?

Fly to the senate, save the promised lives Bel. Oh! there's but this short moment of his dear friends, ere mine be made the sacri'Twixt me and fate: yet send me not with curses

fice.
Down to my grave; afford me one kind blessing Pri. Oh, my heart's comfort !
Before we part; just take me in your arms, Bel. Will you not, my father?
And recommend me with a prayer to heaven, Weep not, but answer me!
That I may die in peace; and when I am dead Pri. By Heaven I will.
Pri. How my soul's catched !

Not one of them but what shall be immortal. Bel. Lay me, I beg you, lay me

Canst thou forgive me all my follies past? By the dear ashes of my tender mother.

I'll henceforth be indeed a father; never, She would have pitied me, had fate yet spared | Never more thus expose, but cherish thee, her.

Dear as the vital warmth, that feeds my life, Pri. By heaven, my aching heart forebodes Dear as these eyes, that weep in fondness o'er much mischief!

thee: Tell me thy story, for I'm still thy father, Peace to thy heart! Farewell. Bel. No; I'm contented.

Bel. Go, and remember, Pri. Speak!

'Tis Belvidera's life her father pleads for. Bel. No matter.

(Exeunt sevcrally. Pri. Tell me: By yon blessed Heaven, my heart runs o'er with

SCENE II-A Garden. fondness! Bel. Oh!

Enter JAFFIER. Pri. Utter it!

Juf. Final destruction seize on all the world! Bel. Oh! my husband, my dear husband, Bend down, ye heavens, and, shutting round this Carries a dagger in his once kind bosom,

earth, To pierce the heart of your poor Belvidera!

me

Crush the vile globe into its first confusion; In the transporting hours of warmest love, Scorch it with elemental flames to one cursed When sure you spoke the truth, you have swom, cinder,

you blessed it. And all us little creepers in't, called men,

Jaf. 'Twas a rash oath.
Burn, burn to nothing; but let Venice burn, Bel. Then why am I not cursed too?
Hotter than all the rest: Here kindle hell,

Jaf. No, Belvidera; by the eternal truth,
Ne'er to extinguish; and let souls hereafter I doat with too much fondness.
Groan here, in all those pains, which mine feels Bel. Still so kind !
now!

Still then do you love me?

Jaf. Nature, in her workings,
Enter BELVIDERA.

Inclines not with more ardour to creation, Bel. My life

(Meeting him. Than I do now towards thee: Man ne'er was Jaf. My plague! (Turning from her.

blessed, Bel. Nay, then I see my ruin.

Since the first pair met, as I have been. If I must die

Bel. Then sure you will not curse me? Jaf. No, death's this day too busy;

Jaf. No, I'll bless thee. Thy father's ill-timed mercy came too late, I came on purpose, Belvidera, to bless thee! I thank thee for thy labours though; and him 'Tis now, I think, three years we have lived totoo;

gether. But all my poor, betrayed, unhappy friends, Bel. And may no fatal minute ever part us, Have summons to prepare for Fate's black hour; Till, reverend grown for age and love, we go And yet I live.

Down to one grave, as our last bed, together; Bel. Then be the next my doom :

There sleep in peace, till an eternal morning. I see, thou hast passed my sentence in thy heart, Jaf. When will that be?

[Sighing, And I'll no longer weep, or plead against it, Bel. I hope long ages hence. But with the humblest, most obedient patience, Jaf. Have I not hitherto, (I beg thee tell me Meet thy dear hands, and kiss them when they Thy very fears) used thee with tenderest love? wound me.

Did e'er

my soul rise up in wrath against thee? Indeed I am willing, but I beg thee do it Did I e'er frown, when Belvidera smiled? With some remorse; and when thou giv’st the Or, by the least unfriendly word, betray blow,

Abating passion ? have I ever wronged thee? View me with eyes of a relenting love,

Bel, No, And shew me pity, for 'twill sweeten justice. Jaf. Has my heart, or have my eyes, e'er wanJaf. Shew pity to thee!

dered Bel. Yes; and when thy hands,

To
any

other woman? Charged with my fate, come trembling to the Bel. Never, never-I were the worst of false deed,

ones, should I accuse thee. As thou hast done a thousand thousand times I own I have been too happy, blessed above To this poor breast, when kinder rage hath My sex's charter, brought thee,

Jaf. Did I not say, I came to bless thee? When our stung hearts have leap'd to meet each Bel. You did. other,

Jaf. Then hear me, bounteous Heaven! And melting kisses sealed our lips together; Pour down your blessings on this beauteous head, When joys have left me gasping in thy arms- Where everlasting sweets are always springing, So let my death come now, and I'll not shrink With a continual giving hand; let peace, from it.

Honour, and safety, always hover round her; Jaf. Nay, Belvidera, do not fear my cruelty, Feed her with plenty; let her eyes ne'er see Nor let the thoughts of death perplex thy fancy; A sight of sorrow, nor her heart know mournBut answer me to what I shall demand,

ing; With a firm temper and unshaken spirit. Crown all her days with joy, her nights with rest,

Bel. I will, when I have done weeping- Harmless as her own thoughts; and prop her Jaf. Fy, no more on't

virtue, How long is it, since that miserable day To bear the loss of one, that too much loved, We wedded first?

And comfort her with patience in our parting! Bel. Oh! Oh!

Bel. How! parting, parting! Jaf. Nay, keep in thy tears,

Jaf. Yes, for ever parting; Lest they unman me too.

I have sworn, Belvidera, by yon heaven, Bel. Heaven knows I cannot ;

That best can tell how much I lose to leave thee, The words you utter sound so very sadly, We part this hour for ever, The streams will follow

Bel, O! call back Jaf. Come, I'll kiss them dry then.

Your cruel blessing! stay with me, and curse me. Bel. But was't a miserable day?

Juf. No, 'tis resolved. Jaf. A cursed one,

Bel. Then hear me too, just heaven! Bel. I thought it otherwise; and you've of- Pour down your curses on this wretched head, ten sworn,

With never-ceasing vengeance; let despair,

waves

Danger, and infamy, nay all, surround me; And may the general curse reach man and beast!
Starve me with wantings; let my eyes ne'er see Oh! give me daggers, fire or water !
A sight of comfort, nor my heart know peace: How I could bleed, how burn, how drown, the
But dash my days with sorrow, nights with hor.
rors,

Huzzing and booming round my sinking head,
Wild as my own thoughts now, and let loose fury, Till I descended to the peaceful bottom!
To make me mad enough for what I lose, Oh! there's all quiet, here all rage and fury:
If I must lose him ! If I must? I will not. The air's too thin, and pierces my weak brain;
Oh! turn and hear me !

I long for thick substantial sleep: Hell! hell! Jaf. Now, hold heart, or never,

Burst from the centre, rage and roar aloud, Bel. By all the tender days we have lived to- If thou art half so hot, so mad as I am.

gether, By all our charming nights, and joys that crown'd

Enter PRIULI and Servants. 'em,

Who's there?

[They raise her. Pity my sad condition! speak, but speak!

Pri. Run, seize, and bring her safely home: Jaf. Oh! Oh!

Guard her as you would life! Alas, poor creaBel. By these arms, that now cling round thy

ture! neck,

Bel. What, to my husband! then conduct me By this dear kiss, and by ten thousand more,

quickly; By these poor streaming eyes

Are all things ready? Shall we die most gloriJaf. Murder! unhold me:

ously? By the immortal destiny, that doomed me Say not a word of this to my old father :

(Draws his dagger. Murmuring streams, soft shades, and springing To this cursed minute, I'll not live one longer;

flowers! Resolve to let me go, or see me fall

Lutes, laurels, seas of milk, and ships of amber! Bel. Hold, sir, be patient!

(Ereunt. Jaf. Hark, the dismal bell [Passing bell tolls. Tolls out for death! I must attend its call too;

SCENE III.
For my poor friend, my dying Pierre, expects me;
He sent a message to require I would see him

Opening, discovers a scaffold, and a wheel preBefore he died, and take his last forgiveness.

pared for the execution of PIERRE; then enter Farewell, for ever!

Officer, PIERRE, and Guards, a Friar, Execuo Bel. Leave thy dagger with me,

tioner, and a great rabble. Bequeath me something-Not one kiss at part- Offi. Room, room there-stand all by, make ing?

room for the prisoner. Oh! my poor heart, when wilt thou break! Pier. My friend not come yet?

(Going out, looks back at him. Fri. Why are you so obstinate? Jaf. Yet stay:

Pier. Why you so troublesome, that a poor We have a child, as yet a tender infant;

wretch can't die in peace, Be a kind mother to him, when I am gone; But you, like ravens, will be croaking round Breed him in virtue, and the paths of honour,

him?-But never let him know his father's story;

Fri. Yet HeavenI charge thee, guard him from the wrongs my Pier. I tell thee, Heaven and I are friends : fate

I ne'er broke peace with it yet by cruel murders, May do his future fortune, or his name. Rapine, or perjury, or vile deceiving, Now-nearer yet

(Approaching each other. But lived in moral justice towards all men; Oh! that my arms were rivetted

Nor am a foe to the most strong believers, Thus round thee ever ! But my friend! my oath! Howe'er my own short-sighted faith confine me, This, and no more.

[Kisses her. Fri. But an all-seeing JudgeBel. Another, sure another,

Pier. You say my conscience For that poor little one you have ta'en such care Must be my accuser; I have searched that conof!

science, I will give it him truly.

And find no records there of crimes, that scare meg Jaf. So now, farewell!

Fri. 'Tis strange, you should want faith. Bel. For ever?

Pier. You want to lead Jaf. Heaven knows for ever; all good angels My reason blindfold, like a hampered lion, guard thee!

[Erit. Check'd of its nobler vigour; then, when baited Bel. All ill ones sure had charge of me this Down to obedient tameness, make it couch, moment.

And shew strange tricks, which you call signs of Cursed be my days, and doubly cursed my nights,

faith : Which I must now mourn out with widowed So silly souls are gulled, and you get money. tears;

Away; no more. -Captain, I'd have hereafter Blasted be every herb, and fruit, and tree; This fellow write no lies of my conversion, Cursed be the rain, that falls upon the earth, Because he has crept upon my troubled hours.

(He weeps.

me.

my fame,

Pier, Curse on this weakness!
Inter JAFFIER.

Juf. Tears! Amazement! Tears!
Jaf. Hold: eyes, be dry;

I never saw thee melted thus before; Heart, strengthen me to bear

And know there's something labouring in thy This hideous sight, and humble me, to take

bosom, The last forgiveness of a dying friend,

That must have vent: Though I'm a villain, tell Betrayed by my vile falsehood, to his ruin. Oh, Pierre

Pier. Seest thou that engine? Pier. Yet nearer.

(Pointing to the wheel. Jof. Crawling on my knees,

Jaf. Why? And prostrate on the earth, let me approach thee: Pier. Is't fit a soldier, who has lived with How shall I look up to thy injured face,

honour, That always used to smile with friendship on me? Fought nations' quarrels, and been crowned with It darts an air of so much manly virtue,

conquest,
That I, methinks, look little in thy sight, Be exposed a common carcase on a wheel?
And stripes are fitter for me, than embraces. Juf. Ha!
Pier. Dear to my arms, though thou'st undone Pier. Speak! is it fitting?

Juf. Fitting!
I can't forget to ve thee. Prithee, Jaffier, Pier. Yes; is it fitting?
Forgive that filthy blow my passion dealt thee; Jaf. What's to be done?
I'm now preparing for the land of peace,

Pier. I'd have thee undertake
And fain would have the charitable wishes Something that's noble, to preserve my memory
Of all good men, like thee, to bless my journey. From the disgrace that's ready to attaint it.
Jaf. Good! I am the vilest creature, worse Offi. The day grows late, sir.
than e'er

Pier. I'll make haste. Oh, Jaffier! Suffer’d the shameful fate, thou'rt going to taste of. Though thou'st betrayed me, do me some way Why was I sent for to be used thus kindly?

justice. Call, call me villain, as I am! describe

Jaf. No more of that: thy wishes shall be saThe foul complexion of my hateful deeds :

tisfied; Lead me to the rack, and stretch me in thy I have a wife, and she shall bleed: my child, stead!

too,
I have crimes enough to give it its full load, Yield up his little throat, and all
And do it credit: thou wilt but spoil the use of it-To appease thee
And honest men hereafter bear its figure

[Going away, PIERRE holds him, About them, as a charm from treacherous friend- Pier. No-this-no more. ship.

(He whispers JAFFIER, Offi. The time grows short, your friends are Jaf. Ha! is't then so ? dead already

Pier. Most certainly. Jaf. Dead!

Jaf. I'll do it. Pier. Yes, dead, Jaffier; they have all died Pier. Remember. like men, too,

Offi. Sir! Worthy their character.

Pier. Come, now I'm ready. Jaf. And what must I do?

(He and JAFFIER ascend the scaffold. Pier. Oh, Jaffier !

Captain, you should be a gentleman of honour; Jaf. Speak aloud thy burthened soul,

Keep off the rabble, that I may have room And tell thy troubles to thy tortured friend. To entertain my fate, and die with decency. Pier. Friend! Could'st thou yet be a friend, a Come. [Takes off his gown, erecutioner pregenerous friend,

pares to bind him. I might hope comfort from thy noble sorrows. Fri. Son. Heaven knows, I want a friend.

Pier. Hence, tempter! Jaf. And I a kind one,

Offi. Stand off, priest. That would not thus scorn my repenting virt!e, Pier. I thank you, sir. [To the Officer, Or think, when he's to die, my thoughts are idle. You'll think on't?

[To JAFFIER. Pier. No! live, I charge thee, Jallier.

Jaf. It won't grow stale before to-morrow. Jaf. Yes, I will live;

Pier. Now, Jaffier! now I'm going. NowBut it shall be to see thy fall revenged

[Erecutioner having bound him. At such a rate, as Venice long shali groan

for.

Jaf. Have at thee, Pier. Wilt thou ?

Thou honest heart, then-here! [Stabs him. Jaf. I will, by Heaven.

And this is well too.

(Stabs himself Pier. Then still thou art noble,

Fri. Damnable deed! And I forgive thee. Oh !--yet-shall I trust Pier. Now thou hast indeed been faithful. thee?

This was done nobly—We have deceived the seJaf. No; I have been false already.

nate. Pier. Dost thou love me?

Jaf. Bravely.
Jaf. Rip up my heart, and satisfy thy doubtings! Pier. Ha, ha, ha-oh! oh!

[Dies. up!

Juf. Now, ye cursed rulers,

I may revenge myself for this trick, one day. Thus of the blood ye have shed I make liba- I'll do't-I'll do't. Renault's a nasty fellow; tion,

Hang him, hang him, hang him. A sprinkle it mingling. May it rest upon you, and all your race! Be henceforth peace a stran

Enter Officer. ger

Pri. News, what news? Within your walls; let plagues and famine waste

(Officer whispers PRIULI. Your generation—Oh, poor Belvidera!

Offi. Most sad, sir; Sir, I've a wife, bear this in safety to her, Jaffer, upon the scaffold, to prevent A token, that with my dying breath I blessed A shameful death, stabbed Pierre, and next limher,

self; And the dear little infant left behind me.

Both fell together. I'm sick-I'm quiet.

[Dies. Pri. Daughter! Oti. Bear this news to the senate,

Bel. Ha! look there! And guard their bodies, till there's further orders. My husband bloody, and his friend too! Murder! Heaven grant I die so well!

Who has done this? Speak to me, thou sad vi[Scene shuts upon them.

sion !

On these poor trembling knees I beg it. VaSCENE IV.

nished

Here they went down-Oh, I'll dig, dig the den Soft Music-Enter Belvidera distracted, led by two of her women, PRIULI and Servants.

You shan't delude me thus. Hoa, Jaffier, Jaffier! Pri. Strengthen her heart with patience, pity- Peep up, and give me but a look. I have him! ing Heaven!

I've got him, father: Oh! now how I'll smuggle Bel. Come, come, come, come, come, nay,

him ! come to bed,

My love! my dear! my blessing! help me! help Prithee, my love ! The winds; hark how they

me! whistle;

They have hold on me, and drag me to the botAnd the rain beats: Oh! how the weather

tom, shrinks me!

Nay-now they pull so hard-farewell - (Dies. You are angry now, who cares? Pish, no indeed, Maid. She's dead; Chuse then; I say you shall not go, you shall not; Breathless and dead. Whip your ill-nature; get you gone then. Oh! Pri. Oh! guard me from the sight on't! Are you returned? See, father, here he's come Lead me into some place that's fit for mourning: again :

Where the free air, light, and the cheerful sun, Am I to blame to love him? O, thou dear one, May never enter: hang it round with black: Why do you fly me? Are you angry still then? Set up one taper, that may last a day, Jaffier, where art thou ? father, why do you do As long as I've to live; and there all leave me: thus?

Sparing no tears, when you this tale relate, Stand off, don't hide him from me. He's here But bid all cruel fathers dread my fate. somewhere.

[Exeunt omnes. Stand off, I say: What, gone? Remember it, ty

rant:

EPILOGUE

The text is done, and now for application ;
And when that's ended, pass your approbation.
Though the conspiracy's prevented here,
Methinks I see another hatching there;
And there's a certain faction fain would sway,
If they had strength enough,and damn this play:
But this the author bade me boldly say;
If any take this plainness in its part,
He's glad on't from the bottom of his heart;
Poets in honour of the truth should write,
With the same spirit brave inen for it fight.

And though against him causeless hatreds rise,
And daily where he goes of late, he spies
The scowl of sullen and revengeful eyes,
'Tis what he knows, with much contempt to

bear,
And serves a cause too good to let him fear:
He fears no poison from an incens'd drab,
No ruffan's five-foot sword, nor rascal's stab;
Nor any other spares of mischief laid,
Not a Rose-alley-cudgel ambuscade,
From any private cause where malice reigns,

« НазадПродовжити »