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So let my death coine now, and I'll not shrink Where everlasting sweets are always springing, from it.
With a continual giving hand, let peace, Jaf. Nay, Belvidera, do not fear my cruelty, Honour, and safety, always hover round her; Nor let the thoughts of death perplex thy fancy; Feed her with plenty; let her eyes ne'er see But answer me to what I shall demand,
A sight of sorrow, nor her heart know inourving; 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 of it
virtue, How long is it, since that miserable day
To bear the loss of one, that too much loved, We wedded first?
And comfort ber 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. Ileaven 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. 0! call back Jaf. Come, I'll kiss them dry then.
Your cruel blessing ! stay with me and curse me! Bel. But was it a miserable day?
Jaf. No, 'tis resolved. Jaf. A cursed one.
Bel. Then hear me too, just heaven! Bel. I thought it otherwise; and you have of- Pour down your curses on this wretched head, ten sworn,
With never-ceasing vengeance; let despair, In the transporting hours of warmest love, Danger and infamy, nay all, surround ine; When sure you spoke the truth, you have sworn, Starve me with wantings; let my eyes ne'er see you blessed it.
A sight of coinfort, nor my heart kuow pea e: Jaf. 'Twas a rash oath.
But dash my days with sorrow, nights with horrors, Bel. Then why am I not cursed too? Wild as my own thoughts now, and let foose tury,
Jaf. No, Belvidera; by the eternal truth, To make me mad enough for what I lose, I doat with too much fondness.
If I must lose hiin! If I must? I will not, Bel. Still so kind !
Oh ! turn and hear me! Still then do you love me?
Jaf. Now, hold heart, or neyer, Juf. Nature, in her workings,
Bel. By all the tender days we have lived to Inclines not with more ardour to creation,
gether, Than I do now towards thee: Man ne'er was Pity my sad condition! speak, but speak! blessed,
Juf, 'Oh! Oh! Since the first pair met, as I have been.
Bel. By these arms, that now cling round thy Bel. Then sure you will not curse me?
neck, Jaf. No I'll bless thee.
By this dear kiss, and by ten thousand more, 'Tis now, I thiuk, three years we have lived to By these poor streaming eyes--gether.
Jaf. Murder! unhold me:
(Draws his dagyer.
[Sighing. Bel. Hold, sir, be patient ! Bel. I hope, long ages hence.
Jaf. Hark, the disinal bell [Passing bell tolls. Jaf. Have I not hitherto, (I beg thee tell me Tolls out for death! I must attend its call too; Thy very fears) used thee with tenderest love? For my poor friend, my dying Pierre, expects Did e'er my soul rise up in wrath against thce?
me; Did I c'er frown, when Belvidera smiled? He sent a message to require I would see him Or by the least unfriendly word, betray
Before he died, and take his last forgiveness. Abating passion? have I ever wronged thee? Farewell, for ever! Bel. No.
Bel. Leave thy dagger with me, Jaf. IIas my heart, or have my eyes, e'er wan- Bequeath me something-Not one kiss at partdered
ing? To any other woman?
Oh! my poor heart, when wilt thou break! Bel. Never, never-I were the worst of false
[Going out, looks luck at him. ones, should I accuse thee.
Jaf. Yet stay :
Be a kind mother to him, when I am gone; Jaf. Did I not say, I came to bless thee? Breed him in virtue, and the paths of honour, Bel. You did,
But never let him know his father's story; Jaf. Then hear me, bounteous Ileaven! I charge thee, guard him from the wrongs my Pour down voar blessings on this beauteous head, fate
May do his future fortune, or his name.
Pier. I tell thee, Heaven and I are friends: Now-nearer yet- [Approaching each other. I ne'er broke peace with it yet by cruel murders, Oh! that my arms were rivetted
Rapine, or perjury, or vile deceiving; Thus round thee ever! But my friend ! my oath! But lived in moral justice towards all men : This, and no more.
[Kisses her. Nor am a foe to the most strong believers, Bel. Another, sure another,
my own short-sighted faith confine me. For that poor little one you have taken such Fri. But an all-seeing Judge
Pier. You say my conscience I will give it him truly.
Must be my accuser; I have searched that conJaf. So now, farewell!
science, Bel. For ever?
And find no records there of crimes, that scare Jaf. Heaven knows for ever; all good angels guard thee,
Erit. Fri. 'Tis strange, you should want faith. Bel. All ill ones sure had charge of me this Pier. You want to lead moment.
My reason blind-fold, like a hampered lion, Cursed be my days, and doubly cursed my nights, Checked of its nobler vigour; then, when baited Which I must now mourn out with widowed Down to obedient tameness, make it couch, tears;
And shew strange tricks, which you call signs of Blasted be every herb, and fruit, and tree;
faith : Cursed be the rain, that falls upon the earth, So silly souls are gulled, and you get money, And may the general curse reach man and beast! Away; no more. Captain, I'd have hereafter Oh! give me daggers, fire or water!
This fellow write no lies of my conversion, How I could bleed, how burn, how drown, the Because he has crept upon my troubled hours. Huzzing and booming round my sinking head,
Enter JAFFIER, Till I descended to the peaceful bottom!
Jaf. Hold: eyes be dry; Oh! there all is quiet, here all rage and fury: Heart, strengthen me to bear The air's too thin, and pierces my weak brain; This hideous sight, and humble me, to take I long for thick substantial sleep: Hell! hell! The last forgiveness of a dying friend, Burst from the centre, rage and roar aloud, Betrayed by my vile falsehood, to his ruin. If thou art half so hot, so mad as I am.
Pier. Yet nearer.
Jaf. Crawling on my knees,
[They raise her. And prostrate on the earth, let me approach thee: Pri. Run, seize, and bring her safely home; How shall I look up to thy injured face, Guard her as you would life! Alas, poor crea- That always used to smile with friendship on me? ture!
It darts an air of so much manly virtue, Bel. What to my husband! then conduct me That I, methinks, look little in thy sight, quickly;
And stripes are fitter for me, than embraces. Are all things ready? Shall we die most glori- Pier. Dear to my arms, though thou hast unously?
done my fame, Say not a word of this to my old father : I can't forget to love thee. Prithee, Jaffier, Murmuring streams, soft shades, and springing Forgive that filthy blow my passion dealt thee; flowers!
I'm now preparing for the land of peace, Lutes, laurels, seas of milk, and ships of amber! And fain would have the charitable wishes
(Exeunt. Of all good men, like thee, to bless my journey.
Jaf. Good! I am the vilest creature, worse SCENE III.
than e'er Opening, discovers a scaffold, and a wheel prepa
Suffered the shameful fate, thou'rt going to taste red for the erecution of PIERRE; then enter Why was I sent for to be used thus kindly? Officer, Pierre, and Guards, a Friur, Execu- | Cali
, call me villain, as I am! describe tioner, and a great rubble.
The foul complexion of my hateful deeds: Offi. Room, room there-stand all by, make Lead me to the rack, and stretch me in thy stead! rooin for the prisoner.
I have crimes enough to give it its full load, Pier. My friend not come yet?
And do it credit : thou wilt but spoil the use of Fri. Why are you so obstinate?
it Pier. Why you so troublesome, that a poor And honest men hereafter bear its figure wretch can't dic in peace,
About them, as a charm from treacherous friendBut you, like ravens, will be croaking round ship. him
Ofi. The time grows short, your friends are l'ri. Yet Hcaven
'Jaf. Dead !
Jaf. Ha! is it then so ? Pier. Yes, dead, Jaffier; they have all died like Pier. Most certainly. men, too,
Jaf. I'll do it. Worthy their character.
Pier. Remember. Jaf. And what must I do?
. Sir! Pier. Oh, Jaffier!
Pier. Come, now I'm ready, Jaf. Speak loud thy burthened soul,
[He and Jaffier ascend the scaffold. And tell thy troubles to thy tortured friend. Captain, you should be a gentleman of honour; Pier. Friend! Couldst thou yet be a friend, a Keep off the rabble; that I may have room generous friend,
To entertain my fate, and die with decency. I might hope comfort from thy noble sorrows. Come. Heaven knows, I want a friend.
[Takes off his gown, erecutioner preJaf. And I a kind one,
pares to bind him. That would not thus 'scorn my repenting virtue,
Offi. Stand off
, priest. Jaf. Yes, I will live :
Pier. I thank you, sir. [To the Officer. But it shall be to see thy fall revenged
You'll think on't
[To Jaffier. At such a rate, as Venice long shall groan for. Jaf. It won't grow stale before to-morrow. Pier. Wilt thou?
Pier. Now, Jaffier! now I'm going. Now, Jaf. I will, by Heaven.
(Executioner having bound him. Pier. Then still thou art noble,
Jaf. Have at thee, And I forgive thee. “' Oh!-yet-shall I trust Thou honest heart, then--here! [Stabs him. thee?
And this is well too.
[Stabs himself. *Jaf. No; I have been false already.
Fri, Damnable deed ! Pier. Dost thou love me?
Pier. Now thou hast indeed been faithful. Jaf. Rip up my heart, and satisfy thy doubtings! This was done nobly-We have deceived the sePier. Curse on this weakness!
[He weeps. Jaf. Tears! Amazement! Tears!
Jaf. Bravely. I never saw thee melted thus before;
Pier. Ha, ha, ha- -oh! oh! (Dies. And know there's something labouring in thy bo- Jaf. Now, ye cursed rulers, som,
Thus of the blood ye have shed I make a libaThat must have vent: Though I am a villain, tell tion,
And sprinkle it mingling. May it rest upon you, Pier. See'st thou that engine?
And all your race! Be henceforth peace a stran(Pointing to the wheel.
ger Jaf. Why?
your walls; let plagues and famine waste Pier. Is it fit a soldier, who has lived with Your generation-Oh, poor Belvidera ! honour,
Sir, I have a wife, bear this in safety to her, Fought nation's quarrels, and been crowned with A token, that with my dying breath Í blessed her, conquest,
And the dear little intant left behind me. Be exposed a common carcase on a wheel? I'ın sick - I'm quiet.
[Dies. Jaf. Ha!
Offi. Bear this news to the senate, Pier. Speak! is it fitting?
Aud guard their bodies, till there's further orders. Jaf. Fitting !
Heaven grant I die so well! Pier. Yes; is it fitting?
[Scene shuts upon them. Jaf. What's to be done? Pier I'd have thee undertake
Soft Music.--Enter Belvidera distracted, led Off. The day grows late, sir.
by two of her Women, Priuli and Servants. Pier. I'll make haste. Oh, Jaffier!
Pri. Strengthen her heart with patience, pityThough thou'st betrayed me, do me some way ing Heaven! justice,
Bel. Come, come, come, come, come, nay, Jaf. No more of that: thy wishes shall be sa- come to bed, tisfied;
Prithee, my love! The winds; hark how they I have a wife, and she shall bleed: my child, too, whistle; Yield up his little throat, and all
And the rain beats: Oh! how the weather To appease thee
shrinks me! [Going away, Pierre holds him. You are angry now, who cares? Pish, no indeed, Pier. No-this-no more.
Chuse then; 1 say you shall not go, you shall not; [He whispers Jaffier. Whip your ill-nature; get you gone then. Oh!
Are you returned? See, father, here he's come Who has done this ? Speak to me, thou sad viagain :
sion ! Am I to blame to love him? O, thou dear one, On these poor trembling knees I beg it. Va Why do you fly me? Are you angry still then?
nished Jaffier, where art thou? father, why do you do Here they went down-Oh, I'll dig, dig the den
thus? Stand off, don't hide him from me. He's here You shan't delude me thus. Hoa, Jaffier, Jaffier! somewhere,
Peep up, and give me but a look. I have him! Stand off, I say: What, gone? Remember it, ty- I've got him, father : Oh! now how I'll smuggle rant :
him ! I may revenge myself for this trick, one day, My love! my dear! my blessing! help me! help I'll do't-I'll do't. Renault's a nasty fellow; Hang him, hang him, hang him.
They have hold on me, and drag me to the bottom. Enter Officer.
Nay-now they pull so hard-farewell— (Dies.
Maid. She's dead; Pri. News, what news?
Breathless and dead. [Officer whispers Priuli. Pri. Oh! guard me from the sight on't! Offi. Most sad, sir;
Lead me into some place that's fit for mourning: Jaffier, upon the scaffold, to prevent
Where the free air, light, and the cheerful sun, A shameful death, stabbed Pierre, and next him- May never enter: hang it round with black : self;
Set up one taper, that may last a day, Both fell together.
As long as I've to live; and there all leave me: Pri. Daughter!
Sparing no tears, when you this tale relate, Bel. Ha ! look there!
But bid all cruel fathers dread my fate. My husband bloody, and his friend toq! Murder!
Why am not I at peace? A room of state.
Leon. Dear madam, cease, The curtain rising slowly to soft music, discovers Almeria in mourning,
Or moderate your grief; there is no cause Leoxora wuiting in mourning.
Alm. No cause! Peace, peace; there is eter
nal cause, After the music, Almeria rises from her chair, And misery eternal will succeed. and comes forward.
Thou canst not tell thou hast indeed no cause. Alm. Music has charms to sooth a savage breast, Leon. Believe me, madam, I lament Anselmo, To soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak.
And always did compassionate' his fortune; I've read, that things inanimate have moved, Have often wept, to see how cruelly And, as with living souls, have been informed Your father kept in chains his fellow-king: By magic numbers and persuasive sound. And oft, at night, when all have been retired, What then am I? Am I more senseless grown Have stolen from bed, and to his prison crept; Than trees or flint? O, force of constant woe! Where, while his gaoler slept, I thro' the grate 'Tis not in harmony to calm my gricfs.
Have softly whispered, and enquired his health ; Anselmo sleeps, and is at peace; last night Sent in my sighs and prayers for his deliverance; The silent tomb received the good old king; For sighs and prayers were all that I could offer. He and his sorrows now are safely lodged
Alm. Indeed thou hast a soft and gentle naWithin its cold, but hospitable bosom.