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canor

I'd not admit a doubt to cloud my choice He can, in private, do thee vengeance on him :

[Looking earnestly at Mahomet, for some Thy other favourites, of maturer age,
time, before he speaks.

And more discreetly zealous, would not risk it. Farewell.

[Erit Alcanor. Youth is the stock, whence grafted superstition Mah. Why, fare thee well then-churlish do- Shoots with unbounded vigour. He's a slave tard !

To thy despotic faith; and, urged by thee,
Inexorable fool! Now, by my arms,

However mild his nature may appear,
I will have great revenge ; I'll meet thy scorn Howe'er humane and noble is his spirit,
With treble retribution.

Or strong his reason, where allowed to reason,

He would, for Heaven's sake, martyr half manEnter Mirvan.

kind. Well, my Mirvan,

Mah. The brother of Palmira ! What savest thou to it now?

Mir. Yes, that brother, Mir. Why, that Alcanor

The only son of thy outrageous foe, Or we must fall.

And the incestuous rival of thy love. Mah. Fall, then, the obdurate rebel!

Mah. I hate the stripling, loathe his very name; Mir. The truce expires to morrow, when Al- The manes of my son, too, cry for vengeance

On the cursed sire; but then thou know'st my Again is Mecca's master, and has vowed

love, Destruction on thy head: the senate, too,

Know'st from whose blood she sprang: this stagHave passed thy doom.

gers, Mirvan; Mah. Those heart-chilled paltry babblers, And yet I'm here surrounded with a gulf Placed on the bench of sloth, with ease can nod, Ready to swallow me; come, too, in quest And vote a man to death! Why don't the cow. Of altars and a throne- What must be done!-ards

My warring passions, like contending clouds, Stand me in yonder plain? With half their num- When fraught with thunder's fatal fuel, burst bers

Upon themselves, and rend me with the shock.
I drove them headlong to their walls for shelter, and shall enervating contagious love
And he was deemed the wisest senator, Hlag my aspiring spirit, sink me down
That entered first the gate; but now they think To woman's shackles, inake a lapthing of me?
They've got me in the toil, their spirits mount, Glory! that must not be! ambition still,
And they could prove most valorous assassins. And great revenge, impetuous urge their claims,
Well, this I like-I always owed my greatness And must be noticed. Mirvan, sound this youth;
To opposition; had I not met with struggles, Touch not at once upon the startling purpose,
I'd been obscure.--Enough.- Perish Alcanor ! But make due preparation.
He marbled up, the pliant populace,

Mir. I'll attack him
Those dupes of novelty, will bend before us, With all the forces of enthusiasm;
Like osiers to a hurricane-

There lies our strength.
Mir. No time

Muh. First, then, a solemn vow Is to be lost.

To act whatever Heaven by me enjoins him; Mah. But for a proper arm;

Next, omens, dreams, and visions, may be pleadFor, however irksome, we must save Appearances, and mask it with the vulgar. Ilints, too, of black designs, by this Alcanor, Mir. True, my sage chief.—What think'st thou, Upon Palmira's virtue and his life. then, of Zapba?

But to the proof.—Be now propitious, Fortune ! Mah. Of Zaphna, sayest thou !

Then love, ainbition, vengeance, jointly triumph. Pir. Yes, Alcanor's hostage

[Ereunt,

ed;

ACT III.

SCENE I.- A grand apartment. My face with deep confusion; this he marked;

Then, starting, left me.
Enter ZAPINA and PALMIRA.

Zuph. aside.] Ha! this gives me fear, Zaph. Alcanor claims a private conference That Mirvan's jealousies are too well grounded ; with us!

But I must not distract her tender bosom What has he to unfold ?

With visionary terrors. [To Pal.] Both in private ? Pal. I tremble, Zaphna.

Pal. In private both. Zaph. Time press’d too, did he say?

Zaph. Her virtue and my life! [Apart, Pål. He did; tben cast

It cannot be; so reverend a form A louk so piercing on me, it o'erwhelıncd Could ne'er be pander to such black devices.

up

Pal. But let us shun it, Zaphına ; much I fear | Doubt not but the Supreme, who claims this Alcanor has deceived us : dread the treachery

service, Of this blood-thirsty senate. Trust me, Zaphina, Will prove propitious to our chaste endearments. They have sworn the extirpation of our faith, Farewell, my love; I fly to gain the summit Nor care by what vile means

Of earth’s felicity--to gain Palmira. [Erit. Zaph. My soul's best treasure,

Pal. Where'er I turn me here, 'tis all susFor whose security my every thought

picion. Is in arms, regardless of

my own;

What means this vow ? Mirvan, I like thee not: Shun thou Alcanor's presence. This hour, Pal- Alcanor too distracts my timorous breast : mira,

Even Mahomet's self I dread, whilst I invoke Mirvan, by order of our royal pontiff,

him. Prepares to solemnize some act of worship Like one benighted 'midst a place of tombs, Of a more hallowed and mysterious kind I gaze around me, start at every motion, Than will admit of vulgar eye; myself

And seem hemmed in by visionary spectres. Alone am honoured to assist.

All righteous Power, whom, trembling, I adore, Pal. Alone!

And blindly follow, oh deliver me Zuph. Yes, to devote myself by solemn vow From these heart-rending terrors !-Ha! who's For some great act, of which my fair's the prize. here? Pal. What act?

Enter MAHOMET. Zaph. No matter, since my loved Palmira 'Tis he! 'tis Mahomet himself! kind Hearen Shall be the glorious recompence

Has sent him to my aid-My gracious lord ! Pal. Oh, Zaphna !

Protect the dear, dear idol of my soul !
Methinks I do not like this secret vow.

Save Zaphna; guard him from
Why must not I be present! were I with thee, Mah. From what !-why Zaphna ?
I should not be so anxious ;

Whence this vain terror? is he not with us?
For trust me, Zaphna, my affection for thee Pal. Oh, sir, you double now my apprehen-
Is of that pure disinterested nature,

sions ! So free from passion's taint, I have no one wish Those broken accents and that eager look To have thee more than thus, have thee my Shew you have anguish smothering at the heart, friend,

And prove for once, that Mahomet's a mortal. Share thy loved converse, wait upon thy welfare, Muh. apart.] Ha! I shall turn a traitor to And view thee with a sister's spotless eye.

myselfZaph. Angelic excellence !

Oh woman! woman -Hear nie; ought I not Pál. And let me tell thee,

To be enraged at thy profane attachment.! This Mirvan, this fierce Mirvan, gives me ter- How could thy breast, without the keenest sting,

Harbour one thought not dictated by me? So far from tendering consolation to me, Is that young mind, I took such toil to form, His theme is blood and slaughter. As I met Turned an ingrate and infidel at once? him,

Away, rebellious maidHis eyes flamed fury, whilst in dubious phrase Pal. What dost thou say, He thus bespoke me — The destroying angel My royal lord ? Thus prostrate at your feet • Must be let loose-Palmira, Heaven ordains Let me implore forgiveness, if in aught "Some glorious deed for thee, yet hid in darkness; I have offended : talk not to me thus;

Learn an implicit reverence for its will; A frown from thee, my father and my king,
"And, above all, I warn thee, fear for Zaphna. Is death to poor Palmira. Say then, Mahomet,
Zaph. What could he mean? can I believe, Didst thou not in this very place permit him
Alcanor,

To tender me his vows?
Thy fair deportment but a treacherous mask? Mah. apart.] His vows! perdition !
Yet spite of all the rage that ought to fire me How the soft traitress racks me !—Rise, Pal-
Against this rebel to our faith and prophet,

mira-I have held me happy in his friendship,

Apart.] Down, rebel love! I must be calmAnd bondage wore the livery of choice.

Come hither; Pal. How has Heaven fraught our love-linked Beware, rash naid, of such imprudent steps ; hearts, my Zaphna,

They lead to guilt. What wild pernicious errors With the same thoughts, aversions and desires ! Mayn't the heart yield to, if not greatly watched! But for thy safety and our dread religion,

Pal. In loving Zaphına sure it cannot err; That thunders hatred to all infidels,

There's nothing wild, nothing pernicious
With great remorse I should accuse Alcanor. Mah. How !
Zaph. Let us shake off this vain remorse, Pal- | This theme delights you,
mira,

Pal. I must own it does.
Resign ourselves to Heaven, and act its pleasure. Yes, my great master, for I still have thought
The hour is come, that I must pledge my vow : That Heaven itself approved of my affection,

rors:

act

courage :

And gave a sanction to our mutual ardours. This night the old enthusiast offers incense
Can what was virtue once be now a crime? To his vain gods in sacred Caabo :
Can I be guilty-

Zaphna, who flames with zeal for Heaven and Mah. Yes-towards me you are

thee, You, nursed from infancy beneath my eye, May be won o'er to seize that lucky moment. Child of my care and pupil of my faith,

Mah. He shall; it must be so; he's born to You, whom my partial fondness still distinguished From all the captive youths that graced my The glorious crime ; and let him be at once triumphs,

The instrument and victim of the murder. And you who now, without my leave, permit My law, my love, my vengeance, my own safety, A slave to bear thee from my sight for ever. Have doomed it so--But, Mirvan, dost thou Pal. No, we both live, nay more, would die think for thee :

His youthful courage, nursed in superstition, And oh, my lord ! if all that earth can offer Can e'er be workedOf grandeur, opulence, or pleasure, e'er

Mir. I tell thee, Mahomet, Shall make me deaf to gratitude's demands, He's tutored to accomplish thy design. May Zaphna's self be evidence against me, Palınira too, who thinks thy will is Heaven's, And plead for double vengeance on my treachery! Will nerve his arm to execute thy pleasure. Mah. apart.] Zaphna again ! Furies! I shall Love and enthusiasm blind her youth: relapse,

They're still most zealous who're most ignorant. And make her witness of my weakness.

Mah. Didst thou engage him by a solemn vow? Pal. Sir!

Mir. I did, with all the enthusiastic pomp What sudden start of passion arms that eye? Thy law enjoins; then gave him, as from thee, Mah. Oh, nothing: pray retire a while': take a consecrated sword to act thy will.

Oh, he is burning with religious fury!
I'ın not at all displeased : 'twas but to sound Mah. But hold, he comes
The depth of thy young heart. I praise thy
choice :

Enter Zaphna.
Trust then thy dearest interests to my bosom;

Child of that awful and tremendous power, But know your fate depends on your obedience. Whose laws I publish, whose behests proclaim, If I have been a guardian to your youth,

Listen, whilst I untold his sacred will: If all my lavish bounties past weigh aught,

'Tis thine to vindicate his ways to man, Deserve the future blessings which await you.

| 'Tis thine his injured worship to avenge. Howe'er the voice of heaven dispose of Zaphna, Zaph. Thou lord of nations, delegate of IIeaConfirm him in the path where duty leads,

ven, That he may keep his vow and merit thee. Sent to shed day o'er the benighted world, Pal. Distrust him not, my sovereign ; noble Oh say in what can Zaphna prove his duty! Zaphna

Instruct me how a trail earth-prisoned mortal Disdains to lag in love or glory's course. Can, or avenge, or vindicate a god. Mah. Enough of words-

A1ah. By thy weak arm he deigns to prove his Pal. As boldly I've avowed

cause, The love I bear that hero at your feet,

And launch his vengeance on blaspheming rebels. I'll now to hiin, and fire bis generous breast Zaph. What glorious action, what illustrious To prove the duty he has sworn to thee.

danger,

[Erit Palmira. Does that Supreme, whose image thou, demand? Mah. Confusion! must I, spite of me, be Place me, oh place me, in the front of battle, made

"Gainst odds innumerable! try me there; The confidout of her incestuous passion? Or, if a single combat claim my might, What could I say? such sweet simplicity The stoutest Arab may step forth and see, Lured down my rage, and innocently winged If Zaphna fail to greet him as he ought. The arro'y through my heart. And shall I bear Mah. Oh, greatly said, my son; 'tis inspirathis?

tion! Be made the sport of curst Alcanor's house? But heed me: 'tis not by a glaring act Checked in my rapid progress by the sire,

Of human valour Heaven has willed to prove Supplanted in my love by this rash boy, And made a gentle pander to the daughter? This infidels themselves may boast, when led Perdition on the whole detested race!

By ostentation, rage, or brute-like rashness.

To do whate'er Heaven gives in sacred charge, Enter MIRVAN.

Nor dare to sound its fathomless decrees, Mir. Now, Mahomet, is the time to seize on This, and this only's meritorious zeal. Mecca,

Attend, adore, obey; thou shalt be armed Crush this Alcanor, and enjoy Palmira,

By death's remorseless angel, which awaits me.

thee;

Zaph. Speak out, pronounce ; what victim must | Support my faltering will, harden my heart, I offer?

Lest nature, pity, plead Alcanor's cause, What tyrant sacrifice ? whose blood requirest And wrest the dagger from me. thou?

Ha! who comes here?
Mah. The blood of a detested infidel,

Enter ALCANOR.
A murderer, a foe to Heaven and me,
A wretch, who slew my child, blasphemes my

Alc. Whence, Zaphna, that deep gloom,
god,

That, like a blasting mildew on the ear And, like a huge Colossus, bears a world Of promised harvest, blackens o'er thy visage ? Of impious opposition to my faith :

Grieve not, that here, through form, thou art The blood of-curst Alcanor !

confined ; Zaph. I!-- Alcanor !

I bold thee not as hostage, but as friend, Mah. What! dost thou hesitate? Rash youth, And make thy safety partner with my own. beware;

Zaph. And make my safety partner with thy He that deliberates, is sacrilegious.

own!

(Aside. Far, far from me be those audacious mortals, Alc. The bloody carnage, by this truce susWho for themselves would impiously judge,

pended Or see with their own eyes ; who dares to think, For a few moments, like a torrent checked Was never born a proselyte for me."

In its full flow, will, with redoubled strength, Know who I am; know on this very spot Bear all before itI have charged thee with the just decree of Hea- In this impending scene of public horror, ven,

Be then, dear youth! these mansions thy asylum: And when that Heaven requires of thee no more r'll be thy hostage now, and with my life Than the bare offering of its deadliest foe, Will answer, that no mischief shall befall thee. Nay, thy foe top, and mine, why dost thou ba- I know not why, but thou art precious to me. lance,

Zaph. Ileaven, duty, gratitude, humanity! As thy own father were the victim claimed !

(Aside. Go, vile idolater! false Musselman !

What didst thou say, Alcanor ? Didst thou say, Go seek another master, a new faith!

That thy own roof should shield me from the Zaph. Oh Mahomet!

tempest? Mah. Just when the prize is ready,

That thy own life stood hostage for my safety? When fair Palmira's destined to thy arms Alc. Why thus amazed at my compassion for But what's Palmira ? or what's heaven to thee,

thee? Thou poor weak rebel to thy faith and love! I am a man myself, and that's enough Go serve and cringe to our detested foe. To make me feel the woes of other men,

Zaph. Oh pardon, Mahomet ! methioks I hear And labour to redress them. The oracle of Heaven-It shall be done.

Zaph. (Aside.) What melody these accents Mah, Obey then, strikc, and for his impious make! blood,

And whilst my own religion spurs to murder, Palmira's charms and Paradise be thine. His precepts of humanity prevail. Apart to Mirvan.) Mirvan, attend him close, and [To Alcanor.] Can, then, a foę to Mahomet's salet thy eyes

cred law Be fixed on every movement of his soul. Be virtue's friend?

[Ercunt. Alc. Thou know'st but little, Zaphna, Zaph. Soft, let me think-This duty wears the If thou dost thịak true virtue is confined face

To climes or systems; no, it flows spontaneous, Of something more than monstrous—Pardon, Like life's warm stream, throughout the whole Heaven!

creation, To sacrifice an innocent old man,

And beats the pulse of every healthful heart. Weighed down with age, unsuccoured and un- How canst thou, Zaphna, worship for thy god armed!

A being, claiming cruelty and murders When I am hostage for his safety too!- From his adorers? Such is thy master's god. No matter, Heaven has chose me for the duty; Zaph. (Aside.] Oh, my relenting soul ! thou’rt My vow is past and must be straight fulfilled.

almost thawed Ye stern relentless ministers of wrath,

From thy resolve-I pray you, sir, no more. Spirits of vengeance ! by whose ruthless hands Peace, reason, peace! The haughty tyrants of the earth hare bled, Alc. [.Aside.) The more I view him, talk with Come to my succour, to my flaming zeal

him, observe Join your determined courage;

Ilis understanding towering above his age, And thou, angel

His candour, which even bigotry can't smother, Of Mahomet, exterminating angel!

The more my breast takes interest in his wel. That mow'st down nations to prepare his passage, farç.

[To Euphna] Zaphna, come near-I oft have | This conference with the foe? To Mahomet thought to ask thee,

Away this instant; he commands thy presence. To whom thou owest thy birth; whose generous Zuph. (Aside.] Where am I? Heavens! how blood

shall I now resolve? Swells thy young veins, and mantles at thy heart. How act? A precipice on every side Zaph. That dwells in darkness; no one friend-Awaits me, and the first least step's perdition. ly beam

Mir. Young man, our prophet brooks not such E’er gave me glimpse, from whom I am de- delay; scended.

Go, stop the bolt, that's ready to be launched
The camp of godlike Mahomet has been On thy rebellious head.
My cradle and my country; whilst, of all

Zaph. Yes, and renounce
His captive infants, no one more has shared This horrid vow, that's poison to my soul.
The sunshine of his clemency and care.

[Erit with Mirvan, 8c. Alc. I do not blame thy gratitude, young man:

Re-enter ALCANOR and PHARON.
But why was Mahomet thy benefactor?
Why was not I? I envy him that glory.

Alc. Where is this Zaphna ?-—But he flies me Why, then, this impious man has been a father

still : Alike to thee and to the fair Palmira ?

In vain I call in all the softening arts Zaph. Oh!

Of pity, love, and friendship, to engage him : Alc. What is the cause, my Zaphna, of that sigh, His breast is seared by that impostor's precepts And all that language of a smothered anguish? 'Gainst all who bid defiance to his laws. Why didst thou snatch away thy cordial eye, But, Pharon, didst thou mark the baneful gloom, That shone on ine before ?

The somewhat like reluctance, rage, and pity, Zaph. (Aside.] Oh my torn heart !

That, blended, sat upon his pensive brow? Palmira's name revives the racking thought Pha. I did; there is something at his heartOf my near blunted purpose.

Alc. There is Alc. Come, my friend;

Would I could fathom it! This letter, Pharon, The foodgates of destruction, soon thrown open, His aspect, age, the transport that I taste, Will pour in ruin on that curse of nations. When he is near me; the anxiety If I can save but thee and fair Palmira

His absence gives, do too much violence From this o'erflowing tide, let all the rest To my distracted sense. Hercides here Of his abandoned minions be the victims

Desires to see me; 'twas his barbarous hands, For

your deliverance-I must save your blood. That robbed me of my children; they are living, Zaph. (Aside.) Just Heaven ! and is it not I He tells me, under Mahomet's protection, must shed his blood ?

And he has something to unfold, on which
Alc. Nay, tremble, if thou dar'st to hesitate. Their destiny and mine depend. This Zaphna
Follow me straight.

And young Palmira, vassals of that tyrant,
Enter Pharon.

Are ignorant from whom they are descended.

Imagination's pregnant with that thought. Pha. Alcanor, read that letter,

My wishes mock me. Sinking with my grief, Put in my hands this moment by an Arab, I blindly catch at every flattering error, With utmost stealth, and air bespeaking some- And supplicate deception's self for succour. what

Pha. Hope, but yet fear, Alcanor: think, my Of high importance.

chief, Alc. [Reads.] Whence is this ?-Hercides ! How

many

infants from their parents torn,
Cautious, my eyes! be sure you're not mistaken Ere conscious whose they are, attend that tyrant,
In what you here insinuate. Gracious Heaven! Drink in bis dictates, place their being in him,
Will then thy Providence at length o'errule And deem him an infallible dispenser
My wayward fate, and by one matchless blessing Of Heaven's decisions-
Sweeten the sufferings of a threescore years! Alc. Well, no matter, Pharon;

[After looking for some time earnestly At noon of night conduct Hercides hither;
at Zaphna.

Thy master in the adjoining fane once more

Will importune the gods. with prayers and inZaph. Thee !-But Mahomet

cense, Ale. Thy life

That he may save his friends, and see his children. And all its future bliss dwells on this moment. Pha. Thou shalt not find thy Pharon slack in

[Ereunt Alcunor and Pharon. aught, Enter Mirvan and his attendants, hastily, on

That tends to thy deliverance from this anguish.

[Erit Phar. the other side of the Stage.

Alc. Just Heaven! if, by erroneous thought or Mir. [To Zaphna.) Traitor, turn back! what act,

I have drawn down your fierce displeasure on me,

Follow me.

Follow, I say.

means

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