Page images
[ocr errors]



Car. SLEEP still, sleep sweetly, child; 'tis all thou feed'st on:

No gentle Briton near, no valiant charity

To bring thee food. Poor knave, thou'rt sick, ex

treme sick,

Almost grown wild for meat, and yet thy goodness
Will not confess or show it. All the woods
Are double lined with soldiers, no way left us
To make a noble 'scape. I'll sit down by thee,
And when thou wakest either get meat to save thee,
Or lose my life i'the purchase. Good gods comfort

Enter CARATACH and HENGO on the rock.

Car. Courage, my boy, I've found meat: look,

Look, where some blessed Briton, to preserve thee,
Has hung a little food and drink. Cheer up, boy!
Do not forsake me now.

Hengo. Oh! uncle, uncle,

I feel I cannot stay long; yet I'll fetch it

To keep your noble life. Uncle, I'm heart whole, And would live.

Car. Thou shalt, long, I hope.
Hengo. But-my head, uncle-
Methinks the rock goes round.

Enter MACER and JUDAS, Romans.
Macer. Mark 'em well, Judas.
Judas. Peace, as you love your life.
Hengo. Do not you hear

The noise of bells?

Car. Of bells, boy? 'tis thy fancy. Alas! thy body's full of wind.

Hengo. Methinks, sir,

They ring a strange sad knell, a preparation

To some near funeral of state. Nay, weep not.
Car. Oh! my poor chicken.
Hengo. Fye, faint-hearted uncle ;
Come, tie me in your belt, and let me down.

Car. I'll go myself, boy.

Hengo. No; as you love me, uncle,
I will not eat it if I do not fetch it,

The danger only I desire; pray tie me.
Car. I will, and all my care hang o'er thee.
My valiant child.

[Come, child,

Hengo. Let me down apace, uncle,
And you shall see how like a daw I'll whip it
From all their policies; for 'tis most certain

A Roman train. And you must hold me sure too,
You'll spoil all else. When I have brought it,
We'll be as merry―


Car. Go i'the name of heav'n, boy. Hengo. Quick, quick, uncle, I have it. Oh! [JUDAS shoots HENGO.

Car. What ail'st thou ?

Hengo. Oh! my best uncle, I am slain.

Car. I see you—

[Kills JUDAS with a stone.

[blocks in formation]




SHOULD you lay by the least part of that love You've sworn is mine, your youth and faith have To entertain another, nay, a fairer, [given me, And make the case thus desperate, she must die also; D'ye think I would give way, or count this honest? Be not deceived; these eyes should never see you


This tongue forget to name you, and this heart
Hate you as if you were born my full antipathy:
Empire and more imperious love alone
Rule and admit no rivals. The pure springs,
When they are courted by lascivious land-floods,
Their maiden sweetness and their coolness perish;
And though they purge again to their first beauty,
The sweetness of their taste is clean departed.
I must have all or none; and am not worthy
Longer the noble name of wife, Arnoldo,
Than I can bring a whole heart pure and handsome.

[blocks in formation]

Arn. Not for your beauty; Though I confess it blows the first fire in us; Time as he passes by puts out that sparkle. Nor for your wealth, although the world kneel to it, And make it all addition to a woman; Fortune, that ruins all, make that his conquest. Be honest and be virtuous, I'll admire you; At least be wise and, where you lay these nets, Strew over them a little modesty,

'Twill well become your cause, and catch more fools. Hyp. Could any one, that loved this wholesome counsel,

But love the giver more ?—You make me fonder. You have a virtuous mind-I want that ornament. Is it a sin, I covet to enjoy you ?—

If you imagine I'm too free a lover,

And act that part belongs to you, I'm silent.

Mine eyes shall speak, my blushes parley with you; I will not touch your hand but with a tremble

Fitting a vestal nun; not long to kiss you,
But gently as the air, and undiscern'd too,
I'll steal it thus. I'll walk your shadow by you,
So still and silent, that it shall be equal
To put me off as that.


Valentine having formed the noble resolution of giving up his mistress Cellide to preserve the life of his friend Francis, who is in love with her, is supposed to hear the following dialogue, unknown to Francis.

Francis. BLESS me, what beams

Flew from those angel eyes! Oh, what a misery,
What a most studied torment 'tis to me now
To be an honest man! Dare you sit by me?
Cellide. Yes, and do more than that too-com-
fort you;

I see you've need.

Fran. You are a fair physician;

You bring no bitterness, gilt o'er, to gull us,
No danger in your looks: yet there my death lies!
Cel. I would be sorry, sir, my charity,
And my good wishes for your health, should merit
So stubborn a construction. Will it please you
To taste a little of this cordial?

[Enter VALENTINE privately. For this I think must cure you.

Fran. Of which, lady?—

Sure she has found my grief.-Why do you blush so? Cel. Do you not understand? of this this cordial. Valentine. Oh, my afflicted heart! she's gone

for everd

Fran. What heaven you have brought me, lady!
Cel. Do not wonder:

For 'tis not impudence, nor want of honour,
Makes me do this; but love to save your life, sir,
Your life, too excellent to lose in wishes-
Love, virtuous love!

Fran. A virtuous blessing crown you!
Oh, goodly sweet! can there be so much charity,
So noble a compassion in that heart,
That's fill'd up with another's fair affections?
Can mercy drop from those eyes?
Can miracles be wrought upon a dead man,
When all the power you have, and perfect object,
Lies in another's light, and his deserves it?

Cel. Do not despair; nor do not think too boldly
I dare abuse my promise; 'twas your friend's,
And so fast tied, I thought no time could ruin;
But so much has your danger, and that spell,
The powerful name of friend, prevail'd above him,
To whom I ever owe obedience,

That here I am, by his command, to cure ye;
Nay more, for ever, by his full resignment;
And willingly I ratify it.

Fran. Hold, for heaven's sake!
Must my friend's misery make me a triumph?
Bear I that noble name to be a traitor?

d Valentine is supposed to remain undiscovered, and his speeches not to be heard by Francis and Cellide.

[ocr errors]

Oh, virtuous goodness! keep thyself untainted: You have no power to yield, nor he to render, Nor I to take-I am resolved to die first!

Val. Ha! say'st thou so?-Nay, then thou shalt not perish!

Fran. And though I love ye above the light shines

on me ;

Beyond the wealth of kingdoms; free content
Sooner would snatch at such a blessing offer'd,
Than at my pardon'd life, by the law forfeited.
Yet-yet, oh, noble beauty !-yet, oh, paradise!
(For you are all the wonder reveal'd of it);
Yet is a gratitude to be preserved,
A worthy gratitude, to one most worthy
The name and nobleness of friends!

Cel. Pray tell me,

If I had never known that gentleman,
Would you not willingly embrace my offer?
Fran. D'you make a doubt?

Cel. And can you be unwilling,

He being old and impotent?—his aim, too,
Levell'd at you, for your good; not constrain'd,
But out of cure and counsel ?-Alas! consider ;
Play but the woman with me, and consider,
As he himself does, and I now dare see it—
Truly consider, sir, what misery-

Fran. For virtue's sake, take heed!
Cel. What loss of youth,

What everlasting banishment from that
Our years do only covet to arrive at,

Equal affections, born and shot together!
What living name can dead age leave behind him?
What act of memory, but fruitless doting?
Fran. This cannot be.

Cel. To you, unless you apply it

With more and firmer faith, and so digest it:
I speak but of things possible, not done,
Nor like to be; a posset cures your sickness,
And yet I know you grieve this; and howsoever
The worthiness of friend may make you stagger
(Which is a fair thing in you), yet, my patient,
My gentle patient, I would fain say more,
If you would understand.

Val. Oh! cruel woman!

Cel. Yet, sure your sickness is not so forgetful, Nor you so willing to be lost!

Fran. Pray stay there;

Methinks you are not fair now; methinks more,
That modest virtue, men deliver'd of you,
Shows but like shadow to me, thin and fading!
Val. Excellent friend!

Fran. You have no share in goodness;
You are belied; you are not Cellide,

The modest, the immaculate !-Who are you? For I will know--What devil, to do mischief Unto my virtuous friend, hath shifted shapes With that unblemish'd beauty?

Cel. Do not rave, sir,

Nor let the violence of thoughts distract you;
You shall enjoy me; I am yours; I pity,
By those fair eyes, I do.

Fran. Oh, double hearted!

Oh, woman! perfect woman! what distraction
Was meant to mankind when thou wast made a devil!
What an inviting hell invented!--Tell me,
And if you yet remember what is goodness,
Tell me by that, and truth, can one so cherish'd,
So sainted in the soul of him, whose service
Is almost turn'd to superstition,

Whose every day endeavours and desires
Offer themselves like incense on your altar,
Whose heart holds no intelligence, but holy
And most religious with his love, whose life
(And let it ever be remember'd, lady !)
Is drawn out only for your ends-

Val. Oh! miracle!

Fran. Whose all and every part of man, (pray mark me!)

Like ready pages, wait upon your pleasures,
Whose breath is but your bubble-can you, dare you,
Must you, cast off this man (though he were willing,
Though, in a nobleness to cross my danger,
His friendship durst confirm it), without baseness,
Without the stain of honour?-Shall not people
Say liberally hereafter, "There's the lady
That lost her father, friend, herself, her faith too,
To fawn upon a stranger," for aught you know
As faithless as yourself-in love, as fruitless?
Val. Take her, with all my heart!-Thou art
so honest,

That 'tis most necessary I be undone.
With all my soul possess her!

Cel. Till this minute

I scorn'd and hated you, and came to cozen you ; Utter'd those things might draw a wonder on me, To make you mad.

Fran. Good heaven! what is this woman?

Cel. Nor did your danger, but in charity, Move me a whit; nor you appear unto me More than a common object; yet now, truly, Truly, and nobly, I do love you dearly, And from this hour you are the man I honour; You are the man, the excellence, the honesty, The only friend :—and I am glad your sickness Fell so most happily at this time on you, To make this truth the world's.

Fran. Whither d'you drive me?

Cel. Back to your honesty; make that good ever; "Tis like a strong-built castle, seated high, That draws on all ambitions; still repair it, Still fortify it; there are thousand foes, Besides the tyrant Beauty, will assail it : Look to your centinels, that watch it hourly; Your eyes-let them not wander!

Fran. Is this serious,

Or does she play still with me?

Cel. Keep your ears,

The two main ports that may betray you, strongly
From light belief first, then from flattery,
Especially where woman beats the parley;
The body of your strength, your noble heart,
From ever yielding to dishonest ends,

Ridged round about with virtue, that no breaches,
No subtle mines, may meet you!


Fran. How like the sun Labouring in his eclipse, dark and prodigious, She show'd till now! When, having won his way, How full of wonder he breaks out again, And sheds his virtuons beams! Excellent angel! (Forno less can that heavenly mind proclaim thee.) Honour of all thy sex! let it be lawful (And like a pilgrim thus I kneel to beg it, Not with profane lips now, nor burnt affections, But, reconciled to faith, with holy wishes,) To kiss that virgin hand!

Cel. Take your desire, sir,

And in a nobler way, for I dare trust you;
No other fruit my love must ever yield you,
I fear, no more!-Yet, your most constant memory
(So much I'm wedded to that worthiness)
Shall ever be my friend, companion, husband!
Farewell! and fairly govern your affections;
Stand, and deceive me not!-Oh, noble young man!
I love thee with my soul, but dare not say it !
Once more, farewell, and prosper !-



ARBACES, King of Iberia, reveals to PANTHEA, his sister, the criminality of his love for her.

An Apartment in the Palace.

Enter ARBACES at one door, and GOBRIAS with PANTHEA at another.

Gob. Sir, here's the princess.
Arb. Leave us, then, alone;

For the main cause of her imprisonment
Must not be heard by any but herself.—


You're welcome, sister; and I would to Heaven
I could so bid you by another name.—
If you above love not such sins as these,
Circle my heart with thoughts as cold as snow,
To quench these rising flames that harbour here.
Pan. Sir, does it please you I shall speak?
Arb. Please me?

Ay, more than all the art of music can,
Thy speech doth please me: for it ever sounds
As thou brought'st joyful unexpected news :
And yet it is not fit thou should'st be heard;
I pray thee, think so.

Pan. Be it so I will.

Am I the first that ever had a wrong So far from being fit to have redress, That 'twas unfit to hear it? I will back To prison, rather than disquiet you, And wait till it be fit.

Arb. No, do not go ;

For I will hear thee with a serious thought:
I have collected all that's man about me

Together strongly, and I am resolved
To hear thee largely but I do beseech thee,
Do not come nearer me; for there is
Something in that, that will undo us both.'

Pan. Alas, sir, am I venom ?
Arb. Yes, to me ;

Though, of thyself, I think thee to be in
As equal a degree of heat or cold,
As Nature can make : yet, as unsound men
Convert the sweetest and the nourishing'st meats
Into diseases, so shall 1, distemper'd,

Do thee: I pray thee, draw no nearer to me.
Pan. Sir, this is that I would: I am of late
Shut from the world, and why it should be thus
Is all I wish to know.

Arb. Why, credit me,

Panthea, credit me, that am thy brother,
Thy loving brother, that there is a cause
Sufficient, yet unfit for thee to know,
That might undo thee everlastingly,
Only to hear. Wilt thou but credit this?
By Heaven, 'tis true: believe it, if thou canst.
Pan. Children and fools are very credulous,
And I am both, I think, for I believe,

If you dissemble, be it on your head!
I'll back unto my prison. Yet methinks,

I might be kept in some place where you are;
For in myself, I find, I know not what
To call it, but it is a great desire
To see you often.

Arb. Fy, you come in a step; what do you mean?

Dear sister, do not so! Alas, Panthea,

Where I am would you be? why, that's the

[blocks in formation]

Pan. Heaven forbid !

Arb. Nay, it is gone;

And I am left as far without a bound
As the wild ocean that obeys the winds;
Each sudden passion throws me where it lists,
And overwhelms all that oppose my will.
I have beheld thee with a lustful eye;
My heart is set on wickedness, to act
Such sins with thee, as I have been afraid
To think of. If thou dar'st consent to this,
Which, I beseech thee, do not, thou may'st gain
Thy liberty, and yield me a content;
If not, thy dwelling must be dark and close,
Where I may never see thee for Heaven

That laid this punishment upon my pride,
Thy sight at some time will enforce my madness
To make a start e'en to thy ravishing.
Now spit upon me, and call all reproaches
Thou canst devise together, and at once
Hurl 'em against me; for I am a sickness
As killing as the plague, ready to seize thee.
Pan. Far be it from me to revile the king!
But it is true, that I shall rather choose
To search out death, that else would search
out me,

And in a grave sleep with my innocence,
Than welcome such a sin. It is my fate;
To these cross accidents I was ordain'd,
And must have patience; and, but that my eyes
Have more of woman in 'em than my heart,
I would not weep. Peace enter you again!

Arb. Farewell; and, good Panthea, pray for me,
(Thy prayers are pure) that I may find a death,
However soon, before my passions grow,
That they forget what I desire is sin;

For thither they are tending: if that happen, Then I shall force thee, though thou wert a virgin

By vow to Heaven, and shall pull a heap
Of strange, yet uninvented, sin upon me.

Pan. Sir, I will pray for you! yet you shall

It is a sullen fate that governs us:
For I could wish, as heartily as you,
I were no sister to you; I should then
Embrace your lawful love, sooner than health.
Arb. Couldst thou affect me then?
Pan. So perfectly,

That, as it is, I ne'er shall sway my heart
To like another.

Arb. Then I curse my birth!
Must this be added to my miseries,

That thou art willing too? Is there no stop To our full happiness, but these mere sounds, i Brother and sister?

Pan. There is nothing else:

But these, alas! will separate us more
Than twenty worlds betwixt us.

Arb. I have lived

To conquer men, and now am overthrown
Only by words, brother and sister. Where
Have those words dwelling? I will find 'em out,
And utterly destroy 'em; but they are
Not to be grasp'd let them be men or beasts,
And I will cut 'em from the earth; or towns,
And I will raze 'em, and then blow 'em up:

[blocks in formation]

Thou bought'st thy reason at too dear a rate; For thou hast all thy actions bounded in With curious rules, when every beast is free : What is there that acknowledges a kindred, But wretched man? Who ever saw the bull Fearfully leave the heifer that he liked, Because they had one dam ?

Pan. Sir, I disturb you And myself too; 'twere better I were gone. Arb. I will not be so foolish as I was; Stay, we will love just as becomes our births, No otherwise brothers and sisters may Walk hand in hand together; so shall we. Come nearer Is there any hurt in this? Pan. I hope not.

Arb. 'Faith, there is none at all:
And tell me truly now, is there not one
You love above me?

Pan. No, by Heaven.
Arb. Why, yet

You sent unto Tigranes, sister.

Pan. True,

But for another: for the truth-

Arb. No more,

I'll credit thee; I know thou canst not lie. Thou art all truth.

Pan. But is there nothing else, That we may do, but only walk? Methinks, Brothers and sisters lawfully may kiss.

Arb. And so they may, Panthea; so will we; And kiss again too; we were too scrupulous And foolish, but we will be so no more.

Pan. If you have any mercy, let me go To prison, to my death, to anything:

I feel a sin growing upon my blood,

Worse than all these, hotter, I fear, than yours. Arb. That is impossible: what should we do? Pan. Fly, sir, for Heaven's sake.

Arb. So we must; away!

Sin grows upon us more by this delay.

Exeunt several ways.]

« PreviousContinue »