Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

Enter AGNES.

But reason, and the known decrees of Ileaven.

Yet dreams have sometimes shewn events to Char. This visit's kind.

come, Agn. Few else would think it so :

And may excite to vigilance and care. Those who would once have thought themselves | My vision may be such, and sent to warn us much honoured

(Now we are tried by multiplied afflictions), By the least favour, though 'twere but a look, To mark each motion of our swelling hearts, I could have shewn them, now refuse to see me. Lest we attempt to extricate ourselves, "Tis misery enough to be reduced

And seek deliverance by forbidden waysTo the low level of the common herd,

To keep our hopes and innocence entire, Who, born to beggary, envy all above them; Till we're dismist to join the happy dead, But 'tis the curse of curses, to endure

Or Heaven relieves us here. The insolent contempt of those we scorn.

Agn. Well, to your dream. Char. By scorning, we provoke them to con- Char. Methought I sat, in a dark winter's tempt,

night, And thus offend, and suffer in our turns.

On the wide summit of a barren mountain; We must have patience.

The sharp bleak winds pierced through my shiAgr. No, I scorn them yet!

vering frame, But there's no end of suffering : Who can say, And storms of hail, and sleet, and driving rains, Their sorrows are complete? My wretched hus- Beat, with impetuous fury, on my head, band,

Drenched my chilled limbs, and poured a deluge Tired with our woes, and hopeless of relief,

round me. Grows sick of life,

On one hand, ever-gentle Patience sat, And, urged by indignation and despair,

On whose calm bosom I reclined my head; Would plunge into eternity at once,

And, on the other, silent Contemplation. By foul self-murder!

At length, to my unclosed and watchful eyes, Char. Gracious Fleaven support him! That long had rolled in darkness, dawn appeared; Agn. His fixed love for me,

And I beheld a man, an utter stranger, Whom he would fain persuade to share his fate, But of a graceful and cxalted mien, And take the same, uncertain, dreadful course, Who pressed, with eager transport, to embrace Alone withholds his hand. Char. And may it ever!

I shunned his arms. But at some words he spoke, Agr. I've known with him the two extremes Which I have now forgot, I turned again; of life,

But he was gone. And, oh! transporting sight! The highest happiness, and deepest woe, Your son, my dearest Wilmot ! filled his place. With all the sharp and bitter aggravations

Agn. If I regarded dreams, I should expect Of such a vast transition-Such a fall

Some fair event from yours. In the decline of life !-I have as quick,

Char. But what's to come, As exquisite, a sense of pain as he,

Though more obscure, is terrible indeed. And would do any thing, but die, to end it; Methought we parted soon, and when I sought But there my courage fails. Death is the worst bim, That fate can bring, and cuts off every hope. You, and his father-Yes, you both were thereChar. We must not chuse, but strive to bear Strove to conceal him from me. I pursued you our lot

Both with my cries, and called on Heaven and Without reproach, or guilt. By one rash act

earth Of desperation, we may overthrow

To judge my wrongs, and force you to reveal The merit we've been raising all our days, Where had hid

my love, my life, my Wilmot! And lose our whole reward. And now, methinks, Agn. Unless you mean to offend me, spare the Now, more than ever, we have cause to fear, And be upon our guard. The hand of Ileaven 'Tis just as likely Wilmot should return, Spreads clouds on clouds o'er our benighted heads, As we become your foes. And, wrapt in darkness, doubles our distresses. Char. Far be such thought I liad, the night last past, repeated twice, From Charlotte's breast! But when I heard you A strange and awful dream. I would not yield To fearful superstition, nor despise

Self-murder, it revived the frightful image The admonition of a friendly power,

Of such a dreadful scene!That wished my good.

Agn. You will persist !Agn. I have certain plagues enough,

Char. Excuse me: I have done. Being a dream, Without the help of dreams, to make me wretch-|I thought, at least, it could not give offence. ed.

Agn. You could not think SO,

had

you thought Char. I would not stake my happiness or duty

at all. On their uncertain credit, nor on anght

But I take nothing ill from thee. Adieu !

me.

you

rest.

name

I have tarried longer than I first intended, Death is, no doubt, in every place the same ; And my poor husband mourns the while alone. Yet nature casts a look towards home, and most,

[Exit Agnes. Who have it in their power, chuse to expire Char. She's gone abruptly, and I fear dis- Where they first drew their breath. pleased.

Eust. Believe me, Wilmot, The least appearance of advice or caution, Your grave reflections were not what I smiled at; Sets her impatient temper in a flame.

I own the truth. That we're returned to EngWhen grief, that well might humble, swells our

land pride,

Affords me all the pleasure you can feel. And pride, encreasing, aggravates our grief,

Yet I must think a warmer passion moves you : The tempest must prevail, till we are lost. Thinking of that I shviled. Heaven grant a fairer issue for her sorrows! Y. Wilm. O Eustace ! Eustace !

[Erit. Thou knowest, for I have confest to thee, I love;

But having never seen the charming maid, SCENE III.—The Town and Port of Penryn. Thou canst not know the fierceness of my flame.

My hopes and fears, like the tempestuous seas Enter Young Wilmot and Eustace in Indian That we have past

, now mount me to the skies, habits.

Now hurl me down froin that stupendous height, Y. Wilmot. Welcome, my friend, to Penryn! And drive me to the centre. Did you know Here we're safe.

How much depends on this important hour, Eust. Then we're delivered twice: first from You would not be surprised to see me thus. the sea,

The sinking fortune of our ancient house And then from men, who, more remorseless, prey Compelled me young to leave my native country, On shipwrecked wretches, and who spoil, and My weeping parents, and my lovely Charlotte, murder

Who ruled, and must for ever rule, my fate. Those, whom fell tempests and devouring waves, -0! should my Charlotte, doubtful of my In all their fury, spared.

truth, Y. Wilm. It is a scandal,

Or in despair ever to sec me more, (Though malice must acquit the better sort) Have given herself to some more happy lover! The rude- unpolished people here in Cornwall Distraction's in the thought! Or should my paHave long lain under, and with too much justice : rents, For 'tis an evil grown almost inveterate, Grieved for my absence, and opprest with want, And asks a bold and skilful band to cure. Hlave sunk beneath their burden and expired, Eust. Your treasure's safe, I hope.

While I too late was flying to relieve them; Y. W’ilm. 'Tis here, thank Heaven!

The end of all my long and weary travels, Being in jewels, when I saw our danger, The hope that made success itself a blessing, I hid it in my bosom.

Being defeated and for ever lost Eust. I observed you,

What were the riches of the world to me? And wonder how you could command your Eust. The wretch, who fears all that is posthoughts,

sible, In such a time of terror and confusion.

Must suffer more than he, who feels the worst Y. I'ilm. My thoughts were then at home.- A man can feel, yet lives exempt from fear. O England! England !

A woman may be false, and friends are mortal; Thou seat of plenty, liberty, and health ! And yet your aged parents may be living, With transport I behold thy verdant fields, And your fair mistress constant. Thy lofty mountains rich with useful ore,

Y. Wilm. True, they may; Thý numerous herds, thy Rocks, and winding I doubt, but I despair not. No, my friend! streams!

My hopes are strong and lively as my fears; After a long and tedious absence, Eustace ! They tell me, Charlotte is as true as fair; With what delight we breathe our native air, That we shall meet never to part again; And tread the genial soil that bore us first ! That I shall see my parents, kiss the tears Tis said, the world is every wise man's country; From their pale hollow cheeks, cheer their sad Yet after having viewed its various nations,

bearts, I am weak enough still to prefer my own And drive that gaping phantom, meagre want, To all I've seen beside You smile, iny friend! For ever froin their board ; their days to come And think, perhaps,'tis instinct more than reason. Crown all with peace, with pleasure and abunWhy be it so: Instinct preceded reason,

dance;
Even in the wisest men, and may sometimes Receive their fond embraces and their blessings,
Be much the better guide. But be it either, And be a blessing to them.
I must confess, that even death itself

Eust. 'Tis our weakness :
Appeared to me with twice its native horrors, Blind to events, we reason in the dark,
When apprehended in a foreign land.

And fondly apprehend what none e'er found,

Or ever shall, pleasure and pain unmixt;

Than a Briton.
And Aatter and torment ourselves by turns, Y. Wilm. Well, 'tis no matter, Eustace !
With wbat shall never be.

I hope my mind's not altered for the worse, Y. Wilm. I'll go this instant

And for my outside-But inform me, friend, To seek my Charlotte, and explore my fate. When I may hope to see you. Eust. What, in that foreign habit!

Eust. When you please: Y. Wilm. That's a trifle,

You'll find me at the inn. Not worth my thoughts.

Y. Wilm. When I have learned my doom, exEust. The hardships you've endured,

pect me there. And your long stay beneath the burning zone, 'Till then, farewell! Where one eternal sultry summer reigns,

Eust. Farewell! Success attend you ! Have marred the native hue of your complexion:

[Exeunt severally, Methinks you look more like a sun-burnt Indian,

ACT II.

me know

SCENE I.-Charlotte's House. And left him struggling with the warring waves;

In that dread moment, in the jaws of death, Enter Charlotte thoughtful; and soon after a

When his strength failed, and every hope forsook Seroant from the other side.

him, Sero. Madam, a stranger in a foreign habit And his last breath pressed towards his tremdesires to see you..

bling lips, Char. In a foreign habit!

The neighbouring rocks, that echoed to his moan, 'Tis strange, and unexpected. But admit him. Returned no sound articulate but-Charlotte.

[Erit Servant. Char. The fatal tempest, whose description Who can this stranger be! I know no fo- strikes reigner

The hearer with astonishment, is ceased ;

And Wilmot is at rest. The fiercer storm
Enter Young Wilmot.

Of swelling passions, that o'erwhelms the soul, Nor any man like this.

And rages worse than the mad foaming seas Y. Wilm. Ten thousand joys!

In which he perished, ne'er shall vex him more. (Going to embrace her. Y. Wilm. Thou seemest to think he's dead; Char. Sir, you are too bold-Forbear, and let enjoy that thought;

Persuade yourself that what you wish is true, What business brought you here, or leave the And triumph in your falsehood. Yes, he's dead; place.

You were his fate. The cruel winds and waves, Y. Wilm. Perfidious maid! Am I forgot, or That cast him pale and breathless on the shore, scorned?

Spared him for greater woes—to know his CharChar. Can I forget a man I never knew!

lotte, Y. Wilm. My fears are true; some other has Forgetting all her vows to him and heaven, her heart :

Had cast him from her thoughts—Then, then he She's lost: My fatal absence has undone me.

died;

(Aside. But never can have rest. Even now he wanders, 0! could thy Wilmot have forgot thee, Char- A sad, repining, discontented ghost, lotte !

The unsubstantial shadow of himself, Char. Ha! Wilmot ! say! what do your words And pours his plaintive groans in thy deaf ears, import?

And stalks, unseen, before thee.
O gentle stranger ! ease my swelling heart; Char. 'Tis enough:
What dost thou know of Wilmot?

Detested falsehood now has done its worst. Y. Wilm. This I know :

And art thou dead? And wouldst thou die, my When all the winds of heaven seemed to conspire Wilmot! Against the stormy main, and dreadful peals For one thou thought'st unjust? Thou soul of of rattling thunder deafened every ear,

truth ! And drowned the affrightened mariners' loud What must be done? Which way cries;

Unutterable woe? Or how convince When livid lightning spread its sulphurous flames Thy dear departed spirit of the love, Through all the dark horizon, and disclosed The eternal love, and never-failing faith, The raging seas incensed to his destruction; Of thy much injured, lost, despairing Charlotte When the good ship, in which he was embarked, Y. Wilm. Be still, my fluttering heart; hope Broke, and, o'erwhelmed by the impetuous surge,

not too soon! Sunk to the oozy bottom of the deep,

Perhaps I dream, and this is all illusion. [ Aside. VOL. I.

SN

shall I express Char. If, as some teach, the spirit after death, To bless my longing eyes. But which, my CharFree from the bounds and ties of sordid earth,

lotte ? Can trace us to our most concealed retreat, Char. Afflict yourself no more with groundless See all we act, and read our very thoughts;

fears : To thee, O Wilmot ! kneeling I appeal. Your parents both are living. Their distress, If e'er I swerved in action, word, or thought, The poverty, to which they are reduced, Or ever wished taste a joy on earth

In spite of my weak aid, was what I mourned : That centred not in thee, since last we parted; That poverty in age, to them whose youth May we ne'er meet again, but thy loud wrongs Was crowned with full prosperity, I fear, So close the ear of mercy to my cries,

Is worse, much worse, than death.
That I may never see those bright abodes,

Y. Wilm. My joy's complete!
Where truth and virtue only have admission, My parents living, and possessed of thee !
And thou inhabitest now !

From this blest hour, the happiest of my life, Y. Wilm. Assist me, Heaven!

I'll date my rest. My anxious hopes and fears, Preserve my reason, memory, and sense! My weary travels, and my dangers past, O moderate my fierce tumultuous joys,

Are now rewarded all : Now I rejoice Or their excess will drive me to distraction. In my success, and count my riches gain. O Charlotte ! Charlotte ! lovely, virtuous maid ! For know, my soul's best treasure! I have wealth Can thy firin mind, in spite of time and absence, Enough to glut even avarice itself: Remain unshaken, and support its truth; No more shall cruel want, or proud contempt, And yet thy frailer memory retain

Oppress the sinking spirits, or insult No image, no idea of thy lovers

The hoary heads, of those who gave me being. Why dost thou gaze so wildly? Look on me; Char. "Tis now, O riches, I conceive your Turn thy dear eyes this way; observe me well.

worth: Have scorching climates, time, and this strange You are not base, nor can you be superfluous, habit,

But when misplaced in base and sordid hands. So changed and so disguised thy faithful Wilmot, Fly, fly, my Wilmot ! leave thy happy Charlotte ! That nothing in my voice, my face, or mein, Thy filial piety, the sighs and tears Remains to tell my Charlotte I am he!

Of thy lamenting parents, call thee hence. [After viewing him some time, she approaches Y. Wilm. I have a friend, the partner of my weeping, and gives him her hand; and

voyage, then turning towards him, sinks upon his Who, in the storm last night, was shipwrecked bosom.]

with me. Why dost thou weep? Why dost thou tremble Char. Shipwrecked last night!- you immorthus ?

tal powers ! Why doth thy panting heart and cautious touch What have you suffered! Ilow were you preSpeak thee but half convinced? Whence are thy served? fears?

Y. Wilm. Let that, and all my other strange Why art thou silent ? Canst thou doubt me still? escapes Char. No, Wilmot! no; I'ın blind with too And perilous adventures, be the theme much light,

Of many a happy winter night to come. O'ercome with wonder, and oppressed with joy. My present purpose was to intreat my angel, This vast profusion of extreme delight,

To know this friend, this other better Wilmot, Rising at once, and bursting from despair, And come with him this evening to my father's: Defies the aid of words, and mocks description,

I'll send him to thee. But for one sorrow, one sad scene of anguish, Char. I consent with pleasure. That checks the swelling torrent of my joys, Y. Wilm. Heavens ! what a night! How shall I could not bear the transport.

I bear my joy! Y. Wilm. Let me know it:

My parents', your's, my friend's, all will be mine. Give me my portion of thy sorrow, Charlotte ! If such the early hopes, the vernal bloom, Let me partake thy grief, or bear it for thee. The distant prospect of my future bliss, Char. Alas! my Wilmot! these sad tears are Then what the ruddy autumn! What the fruit, thine;

The full possession of thy heavenly charms ! They flow for thy misfortunes. I am pierced

[Ereunt severally. With all the agonies of strong compassion, With all the bitter anguish you must feel,

SCENE II.-A street in Penryn.
When you shall hear your parents
Y. Wilm. Are no more !

Enter RANDAL.
Char. You apprehend me wrong.

Rand. Poor! poor! and friendless! whither Y. Wilm. Perhaps I do;

shall I wander, Perhaps you mean to say, the greedy grave And to what point direct my views and hopes? Was satisfied with one, and one is left

A menial servant !-No-What! shall I lire,

And yet

Here, in this land of freedom, live distinguished, Indulge my curiosity, and try And marked the willing slave of some proud sub- If it be possible, by sceing first ject !

My parents as a stranger, to improve To swell his useless train for broken fragments, Their pleasure by surprise ? The cold remains of his superfluous board ?- Rand. It may indeed I would aspire to something more and better. Enhance your own, to see from what despair Turn thy eyes then to the prolific ocean, Your timely coming, and unhoped success, Whose spacious bosom opens to thy view : Have given you power to raise them. There deathless honour, and unenvied wealth, Y. Wilm. I remember, Have often crowned the brave adventurer's toils. E'er since we learned together, you excelled This is the native uncontested right,

In writing fairly, and could imitate The fair inheritance, of every Briton,

Whatever hand you saw with great exactness. That dares put in his claim—My choice is made: I therefore beg you'll write, in Charlotte's name A long farewell to Cornwall, and to England ! And character, a letter to my father; If I return-But stay, what stranger's this, And recommend me, as a friend of hers, Who, as he views me, seems to mend his pace? To his acquaintance.

Rand. Sir, if you desire itEnter Young Wilmot. Y. Wilm. Randal SThe dear companion of Y. Wilm. Nay, no objections ! 'Twill save my youth!

time, Sure lavish fortune means to give me all Most precious with me now. For the decepI could desire, or ask for, this blessed day,

tion, And leave me nothing to expect hereafter. If doing what my Charlotte will approve, Rand. Your pardon, sir ! I know but one on ('Cause done for me and with a good intent, earth

Deserves the name, I'll answer it myself. Could properly salute mc by the title

If this succeeds, I purpose to defer You're pleased to give me, and I would not think Discovering who I am till Charlotte comes, That you are he-that you are Wilmot.

And thou, and all who love me. Ev'ry friend Y. Wilm. Why?

Who witnesses my happiness to-night, Rand. Because I could not bear the disap- Will, by partaking, multiply my joys. pointment,

Rand. You grow luxurious in imagination. If I should be deceived.

Could I deny you aught, I would not write Y. Wilm. I am pleased to hear it:

This letter. To say true, I ever thought Thy friendly fears better express thy thoughts Your boundless curiosity a weakness. Than words could do.

Y. Wilm. What canst thou blame in this? Rand. O! Wilmot! O! my master!

Rand. Your pardon, sir ! Are you returned ?

Perhaps I spoke too freely : Y. Wilm. I have not yet embraced

I'm ready to obey your orders. My parents-I shall see you at my father's? Y. Wilm. I am much thy debtor, Rand. No, I'm discharged from thence-0 But I shall find a time to quit thy kindness. sir! such ruin

O Randal ! but imagine to thyself Y. Wilm. I've heard it all, and hasten to re- The floods of transport, the sincere delight, Jieve them :

That all my friends will feel, when I disclose Sure Heaven hath blessed me to that very end : To my astonished parents my return, I've wealth enough; nor shalt thou want a part. And then confess, that I have well contrived,

Rand. I have a part already-I am blessed By giving others joy, to exalt my own. In your success, and share in all your joys.

SCENE III.-Old Wilmat's House discovered. Ý. Wilm. I doubt it not. But tell ine, dost thou

Old Wilmot and AGNES. think, My parents not suspecting my return,

0. Wilm. Here, take this Seneca: this haughty That I may visit them, and not be known?

pedant, Rand. 'Tis hard for me to judge. You are al- Who, governing the master of mankind, ready

And awing power imperial, prates of patience; Grown so familiar to me, that I wonder

And praises poverty--possessed of millions : I knew you not at first: yet it may be; -Sell him, and buy us bread. The scantiest For you're much altered, and they think you dead. meal Y. Wilm. This is certain, Charlotte beheld me The vilest copy of his book e'er purchased, long,

Will give us more relief in this distress, And heard my loud reproaches, and complaints, Than all his boasted precepts.- Nay, no tears; Without remembering she had ever seen me. Keep them to move compassion when you beg. My mind at ease grows wanton: I would fain Agn. My heart may break, but never stoop to Retine on happiness. Why may I not

that.

« НазадПродовжити »