British Women Romantic Poets Project

Plays and Poems : electronic version.

Brand, Hannah, d. 1821.



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Davis British Women Romantic Poets Series

I.D. no. 86


-- Managing Editor
Charlotte Payne
-- Founding Editor
Nancy Kushigian

Plays and poems.

Brand, Hannah, d. 1821.



-- by
Miss Hannah Brand.

Beatniffe and Payne Norwich F. and C. Rivington London Elmsley and Bremner London 1798

This text was scanned from its original in the Shields Library Kohler Collection, University of California, Davis, Kohler I Suppl:100. Another copy available on microfilm as Kohler I Suppl:100mf.

All poems, line groups, and lines are represented. All material originally typeset has been preserved with the exception of original prose line breaks and line-end hyphens (except in headings and title pages), lines of poetry divided due to length of line, running heads, signature markings, smallcaps, and decorative typographical elements. Page numbers and page breaks have been preserved. The long "s" is displayed as a standard "s". Pencilled annotations and other damage to the text have not been preserved.

March 14, 2008

Charlotte Payne
-- ed.

  • Proofed and entered final corrections.





  • Page [i]



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    [Title Page]

    PLAYS,
    AND
    POEMS;

    BY
    MISS HANNAH BRAND.

            Here then I rest; sooth'd with the hope to prove
            The approbation of "the few I love,"
            Join'd (for ambitious thoughts will sometimes rise)
            Join'd to th' endurance of the good and wise.


    GIFFORD.
    Norwich:
    PRINTED BY BEATNIFFE AND PAYNE;
    And sold by Messrs. F. and C. Rivington, St. Paul's Church-yard; and
    Messrs. Elmsley and Bremner, in the Strand, London.
    1798.
    Entered at Stationer's Hall.
    Page [ii]



    Page [iii]

    TO
    MISS BRAND,
    THE FOLLOWING PAGES
    ARE RESPECTFULLY INSCRIBED,
    As a Small,
    But sincere Memorial,
    OF THE
    ESTEEM AND REGARD
    OF HER
    FAITHFUL FRIEND,
    AND
    MOST AFFECTIONATE SISTER,

    Hannah Brand.


    Page [iv]


    Page [v]

    SUBSCRIBERS.


    Page xi


    Page [xvi]

    Contents.


    [Note *:]

    Altered from D. Sanche d'Aragon, by P. Corneille.


    [Note †:]

    Altered from La Force du Naturel, by Destouches.

    ERRATA.



    Page [1]

    HUNIADES;

    OR,
    THE SIEGE OF BELGRADE:
    A Tragedy.


    Page [2]


    Page [3]

    INTRODUCTION.

    SIGISMOND, the son of the Emperor Charles IV. was elected King of Hungary 1386, and Emperor of Germany 1410. His first wife, Mary, being dead, he espoused, about the year 1414, Barbara, the daughter of Hernan, Count of Cilley. Sigismond made the Counts of Cilley independent Princes of the Empire; and called them to the Diets, without the consent of the House of Austria, their supreme Lords, who, unwilling to emancipate the County from its dependance upon them, declared war against the Count in possession. By Barbara, Sigismond had only one child, a daughter, named Elizabeth. Sigismond died 1437.

    Albert V. Duke of Austria, who had married Elizabeth, Sigismond's daughter, succeeded him in the Empire, and the Kingdom of Hungary. Albert died 1440, leaving two daughters; his Queen Elizabeth was big with child at the time of his death; the child proved a son, and was named Ladislaus.

    Upon the death of Albert II. as Emperor, and V. as Duke of Austria, his cousin, Frederick, great grandson of Albert II. Duke of Austria, was immediately elected Emperor.


    Page 4

    The Hungarians, almost constantly engaged in war against the Turks, either for the defence of their own country, or of the neighbouring states, deemed an infant Prince and a Queen Regent unequal to the safe government of a kingdom which, by frequent wars, was kept in continual alarm. The crown of Hungary, by the constitution of the kingdom, being elective, (though sometimes possessed in hereditary succession) Uladislaus, the young King of Poland, was chosen King, by the advice of John Corvin Huniades, Earl of Bistrie, whom Uladislaus made Vaywode of Transylvania. Huniades was as celebrated for his virtues as for his valour. He was pious towards God, faithful to his country and his prince, and kind and benevolent to his friends; as a warrior he was politic, of invincible courage, and mostly fortunate: he was the first Christian commander who showed that the Turks might be overcome; and he obtained more victories against them than any one of the Christian Princes before him* .

    Elizabeth, unable to prevent this choice, put her son, Uladislaus, under the protection of the Emperor Frederick III. Thus, of Albert's possessions, only Austria, and the kingdom of Bohemia, remained unalienated from his posthumous son, Ladislaus.


    [Note *:]

    Sir William Temple says that, "Huniades was one of the three worthies who deserved a Crown without wearing one." The reward, merited by the virtues and great talents of the father, was paid to the son; for in 1458, the Hungarians, from their love to Huniades, and grateful remembrance of his long services, chose his son, Matthias Corvinus, for their King.


    Page 5

    In the battle of Varna, 1444, fought between the Turks, commanded by their King, Amurath II. and the Hungarians, led by Huniades, Uladislaus the King of Hungary was slain; Huniades, by whose side he fought, having left him to go and rally the left wing of the Christian army.

    The Hungarians now elected Albert's son Ladislaus King; and they chose Huniades, their General, Governor of Hungary during his minority. The Emperor Frederick detaining the infant King in Germany, Huniades, as Governor of Hungary, declared war against him. After a long contest, which the Hungarians were obliged to intermit, on account of their wars against the Turks, the Emperor, not strong enough to defend his dominions from being ravaged by the incursions of the Hungarians, at last in 1452 delivered up their king; then eleven years of age. An assembly was appointed at Vienna, to which the nobles of Hungary and Bohemia were invited. At this assembly it was decreed that, during the minority of Ladislaus, Huniades should govern Hungary; that George Podiebrad should govern Bohemia; and that Ulrick, Count of Cilley, great uncle to the King, should govern Austria, and be guardian of his person.

    Count Cilley, envious of the glory of Huniades, excited some parties of Bohemians and Moravians to attack Upper Austria: but they proved unsuccessful when opposed by Huniades. Ambitious of the government of Hungary, Count Cilley accused Huniades, the Governor, to the King; but he justified


    Page 6

    himself from the accusation. Count Cilley's ambition increasing with the power which he derived from being the King's guardian; he attempted to make himself absolute master of Austria. To effect which, he secured the principal fortresses, by giving them to the command of unprincipled people whom he had attached to his interest; gradually removing Elsinger, and the Austrian nobility, from all offices of importance. This conduct gave great umbrage to the people. Elsinger took advantage of their discontent; and, aided by Huniades, obliged Ulrick to retire to his own territory of Cilley. Thus, by the bravery and conduct of these two warriors, Austria was wrested from Count Cilley's usurpation.

    Mahomet II. the seventh King, and the first Emperor of the Turks, who took Constantinople May 29, 1453, which his great grandfather, Bajazet I. and his father Amurath II. had unsuccessfully besieged, marched 1456* with an army of 150,000 men to besiege Belgrade, then thought the key to Hungary.

    As soon as the report of Mahomet's intention to besiege Belgrade, reached the young King Ladislaus, then fifteen years of age, he fled to the court of the Emperor Frederick; which much displeased his Hungarian subjects, as it had before cost them a long and tedious contest to get him out of the Emperor's power.


    [Note *:]

    New Universal History, vol. XXVI. p. 296, there is a mistake in the date of this Siege of Belgrade, which is there put down A.D. 1459; and in vol. XXXII. p. 149, the date is 1456, which last agrees with other Historians.


    Page 7

    Besides his numerous army, of 150,000 men, Mahomet provided a fleet, of 200 ships and gallies, which he sent up the Danube from Viden to Belgrade; to the intent that no relief, or aid, should be brought into the city out of Hungary by the great rivers of the Danube and the Save; upon the confluence of which, the city of Belgrade stands. Not contented with thus closely blockading the city on all sides, Mahomet sent part of his fleet further up the Danube, and landing troops spoiled the country in many places on the banks of the river. On his first coming before Belgrade, he made a fierce assault but was repulsed: he found the Hungarians ready to receive him, and prepared to skirmish with his troops, without the walls, as well as to defend the city. Mahomet, finding his arms so resolutely opposed, began to proceed more warily; and intrenched his army. He provided for its safety, against the sudden sallies of the besieged, by casting up deep trenches and strong rampires. After planting his battery, he began to shake the wall of the city most furiously with his great artillery: insomuch that he battered down a part of it level with the ground. But the defendants with great labour and industry speedily repaired it, by casting up new fortifications and rampires, so that it was stronger than before.

    Campestran, a Franciscan monk, having at this time preached, in Germany, a crusade against the Turks, had collected an army of 40,000 men. With


    Page 8

    these, his followers, he entered Belgrade to assist in its defence against Mahomet, who was become the terror of all Christendom by his conquests, his enterprising genius, his capacious mind improved by all the learning of the age, his indefatigable industry in the pursuit of whatever he undertook, his irresistible courage, his insatiable cruelty, his avowed impiety, his blood-thirstiness, his immeasurable ambition, his impious treachery, and his unrelenting flinty-hearted severity; so that against his ambition there was no mound, on his faith or friendship no dependance, and in his least displeasure death.

    Huniades, who was gone to Upper Hungary, to raise supplies, was expected to sail from Buda, with a fleet of ships and gallies stored with warlike provisions; when Mahomet, having been a month before Belgrade, prepared to give a general assault, although his superstitious troops were much dispirited from the appearance of two comets* ; and the death of Carazius the Lieutenant-General, who was killed by a canon-shot from the city; which circumstances they considered as prognosticks of ill success. At this time, A.D. 1456, August 5, the fleet of Huniades came in sight, and was met by Mahomet's fleet four miles up the Danube beyond Belgrade.


    [Note *:]

    D'Ohsson's Hist. Gen. of the Othoman Empire, vol. I. p. 539.


    Page [9]

    DRAMATIS PERSONÆ.

      Christians.

    • JOHN CORVIN HUNIADES;
      Regent of Hungary, Vaywode of Transilvania , Guardian to the Princess Agmunda, and General of the King's Forces.
    • NICHOLAS VILACH; the Friend of Huniades.
    • LADISLAUS CORVINUS;
      The eldest Son of the Regent Huniades, his Lieutenant General, and Deputy Governor of Transylvania.
    • ULRICK, COUNT OF CILLEY;
      (Great Uncle to Ladislaus, King of Hungary and Bohemia, and Duke of Austria,) appointed by the States Regent of Austria, and Guardian to the King during his minority.
    • RODOLPHO; the Confident of Count Cilley.
    • CAMPESTRAN; a Franciscan Monk.
    • MICHAEL ZILUGO;
      Governor of Belgrade, and President of the Council.
    • First Lord. Old Officer. Herald.
    • Lords of the Council, Officers, Soldiers, People, Guards.
    • AGMUNDA;
      Daughter to the late Emperor Albert, and Sister to the young King Ladislaus.
    • ELLA; an Attendant on the Princess Agmunda.

    • Page 10

      Turks.

    • MAHOMET II. Emperor of the Turks.
    • MUSTAPHA; his Minister and Favourite.
    • CHUSANES; the General of the Turkish Forces.
    • ZOGANUS; a Bashaw, Ambassador to the Hungarians.
    • Bashaws, Agas, Janizaries, Guards, Mutes, &c.
        Scene
    THE CITY OF BELGRADE, AND THE SULTAN'S TENT BEFORE IT.

        Era
    A.D. 1456: Time—from the Noon of the 5th of August to Sun-rising, August 6th.

    ADVERTISEMENT.

    In the representation, many passages were left out: they are not however distinguished; as they will easily be perceived by persons acquainted with the nature of stage effect.


    Page [11]

    HUNIADES;
    OR,
    THE SIEGE OF BELGRADE.

    Act First.

    SCENE FIRST—A HALL OF STATE.

        Several doors, from inner apartments, opening into the hall. In the front folding doors, Count Cilley coming forward through them; a couch seen in the inner apartment, from which he rises as the curtain draws up. Rodolpho following him.

         COUNT CILLEY, RODOLPHO.

        COUNT CILLEY.

    IT mocks belief. Huniades arriv'd?
    His fleet in sight, engaging with the Turk's?
    Demons of air, in whirlwinds scatter both!
    Thou roaring Danube whelm them in thy flood!
    Destroy Huniades, though, he destroy'd,
    Plumed victory should forsake the Christian banner,
    And give to Mahomet unbounded empire.


    Page 12

        RODOLPHO.

            This passionate deportment tends to ruin;
    Your bounty has allur'd the people's hearts,
    Because they see no motive, but their interest,
    Which stimulates your ardour to relieve them;
    The mine you dig, should they suspect your purpose,
    Would be blown up with danger to yourself.
    Let circumspection guard what art has won;
    Opposeless is a foe new-crown'd by victory;
    Huniades now reigns in every heart.
    These succours, swiftly rais'd, and timely come
    To their relief, have chang'd the people's murmurings
    To joy and gratitude. Should you exclaim
    Against their idol, you excite suspicion.
    Still in the people's interest seem absorb'd,
    Seem joyful that Huniades is come
    With fresh supplies to feed their wives and children.
    This if he bring them not sows discontent.

        COUNT CILLEY.

            Curse on his coming! for it gives the lie
    To all I prophesy'd of his delay,
    And drooping courage. Long has he been seen?

        RODOLPHO.

            Three hours.

        COUNT CILLEY.

                    Why instantly was I not told,
    When the fleet came in sight? Art thou too leagu'd


    Page 13

    With fortune, and my foes, against my wishes?
    My favours merit better service from thee;
    Thy too late warning leaves me now no power
    To form such plans, as should have foil'd his speed.

        RODOLPHO.

            Vain, fruitless thought! thy passion warps thy judgment.
    Thou might'st as well hope to arrest yon Sun
    In mid career, as stop this gallant chief,
    When ardent in his country's cause he comes.
    Yet had I known, my Lord, you would have thank'd
    The man who told you that your foe was near,
    I could have summon'd you from needed sleep
    To see a grateful people mad with joy;
    To hear one voice of praise ascend the skies,
    That great Huniades, their guardian genius,
    Their tutelary God, was come to save them.

        COUNT CILLEY.

            Peace! for my ill-placed anger taunt me not.
    Huniades, the man I fear and envy,
    Whom I with deadly hate detest—he comes.
    Unfated vengeance fires my soul to phrenzy.
    Gods, he triumphant comes! Give me some hope,
    Contrive some means, that he may fall my victim!

        RODOLPHO.

            Be calm! and opportune event may aid you;
    Without supplies the city must surrender.


    Page 14

    If now Huniades relieve Belgrade,
    The frighted King will strait return to celebrate
    His sister's marriage with the Servian prince.
    The Princess gone, the Regent's power is sapp'd;
    The guardianship of such a peerless gem,
    As your fair niece, gives power to rise still higher.
    'Tis rumour'd, that his son Corvinus dar'd
    To ask her hand——

        COUNT CILLEY.

                    How! my niece wed Corvinus?
    By heaven she never shall, whilst I have life;
    I first would give Belgrade, although the key
    Of the Hungarian realm, to Mahomet;
    And he would rid me both of son and father.
    Huniades! his blood commix with mine?
    Corvinus and Agmunda then would mount
    My coward nephew's throne, supplanting me.
    Accursed scheme! rise every fiend to blast it.

        RODOLPHO.

            The Regent has himself that danger warded;
    Glory, and not ambition, is his God:
    He made the Princess, at the altar, swear
    Never to wed his son. But other cares
    Demand your present thoughts. A hasty council
    Has been conven'd; which soon broke up, commanding
    Such troops to muster in Saint Julian's Square,
    As can be spar'd from duty on the walls.


    Page 15

    These, from the western gate, led by Corvinus,
    In one vast column, through the Turkish camp,
    Must fight their way against redoubling foes;
    Whilst with his troops, and hoped supplies, Huniades
    Shall disembark. In this their purpos'd sally,
    A thousand of your Austrian troops they ask
    To march with the rear-guard, and flank the river,
    The ground maintaining which the van shall gain,
    And their retreat back to Belgrade secure.

        COUNT CILLEY.

            Ask me to aid the triumph of Huniades?
    Bid the wreck'd seaman quit the plank he clings to!
    Bid the parch'd wretch, when fever fires his blood,
    Part with the cooling beverage from his lip!
    'Tis a gross insult to demand my troops;
    Not one shall march beneath Corvinus' standard.

        RODOLPHO.

            Think of the consequence of this refusal.
    'Twould sound unpopular, and most suspicious,
    That Austria's Regent, the King's guardian,
    And his great Uncle too, refus'd his aid
    Stores to convey into a town besieged,
    Where every citizen eats scanty bread.
    Without these succours famine will ensue,
    Belgrade must yield, and with it falls a kingdom.
    Your aid is not of service to your foe,
    But to yourself; worded the people's friend,
    You lose their confidence, if in this misery


    Page 16

    Your deeds desert them. Let not fury blind you,
    Weigh, with your wonted policy, your interest.
    Revenge and hate must wait a riper hour.

        COUNT CILLEY.

            I know not that; their hour perhaps is now,
    My spirits feel a prescience which prolaims
    The balance of my fate aloft is pois'd;
    And shall I make the adverse scale preponderate?

         (pauses.)

    Gods! give me empire, let me reign or die!
    I would command my fate, nor owe to chance
    My envy'd height. Huniades destroy'd,
    The Regency of Hungary is mine;
    Then, this Boy King, the people will depose:
    Huniades, whilst Regent, more defends him
    Than could embattled legions arm'd to save him.

        RODOLPHO.

            My Lord! the exigence demands despatch,
    Zilugo urged me for a speedy answer;
    Resolve, lest your delay excite suspicion,
    And make him penetrate your secret motive.
    I know he views your conduct with distrust,
    And lynx-eyed jealousy may view it right;
    Unless you warily avoid its ken.

        COUNT CILLEY.

            Be thine the craft t'elude his penetration,
    Smoothing my answer to a courteous form.


    Page 17

    This Governour I fain would win: so tell him,
    My troops should in this enterprise take part,
    To the last man; but, that I fear the Sultan,
    When we shall sally to convoy the succours,
    Will try to force the eastern gate by storm.
    This and the wall adjacent I must guard.
    To draught my troops, should an assault be given,
    Would be most certain danger to Belgrade.
    I but withhold them for important service,
    More perilous far than that which I decline.
    Grace this with all the artifice of speech,
    And speak me such as he would wish to find me.
            To my Lieutenant then the order give,
    That Cosmo shall the eastern gate command;
    And Hernan's regiment surround the palace.
    Report my fears that the Turks mean to storm.
    And instantly to arms my Austrians call.

        RODOLPHO.

            Is this parade meant but to blind the council?
    Or have these preparations other motives?
    Instruct me, lest I fail to aid your purpose.

        COUNT CILLEY.

            This palace I will seize. My niece the Princess,
    Leagu'd with my foes or not, shall be my prisoner
    Till I succeed; and, if I fail, my victim.
    I must harangue the crowd, distribute money,
    Accuse Huniades of breach of faith,
    That he has plann'd his son should wed the Princess,


    Page 18

    Dethrone my nephew, and usurp his crown.
    If this inflame the people, as I wish,
    Corvinus and Huniades return'd

         (spoken with insidious meaning.)

    Shall be for treason seiz'd, and thou their guard,
    As thou wast Elsinger's. The Monk Campestran,
    Fanatic priest, shall writhe beneath my vengeance.
    I'll seize the Sword his insolence refus'd me:
    Bless'd by the Pope, the people hold it sacred,
    Thinking miraculous power attends the wearer.
    Campestran shall repent his proud defiance:
    Without his aid, sole Regent of this realm
    Belgrade shall hail me, and ere long its King.
    With thy accustom'd zeal my orders execute.

         Exit Rodolpho.

    SCENE SECOND.

         COUNT CILLEY, THE GOVERNOR MICHAEL ZILUGO.

         (Zilugo enters hastily as Rodolpho goes out.)

        COUNT CILLEY.

            What trouble read I in your looks, Zilugo?

        ZILUGO.

            Grief at the loud laments of starving thousands,
    And at the silent tears of hardy veterans,
    Drooping dismay'd.—The fleet is now in flames——


    Page 19

        COUNT CILLEY.

            The Regent's fleet, which came this morn in sight?

        ZILUGO.

            Is now destroying. Nought can be seen of it,
    For bursting flames, and volumes of thick smoke,
    Which the west wind towards the city blows.
    We fear our godlike champion now expires,
    Or, chain'd, is led in triumph by the victor.
    I have just call'd the council to advise
    What, in this exigence, we ought to do.
    Fain would Corvinus sally forth, with all
    Our force, at the west gate, and through the invaders,
    On that side now redoubling, force a passage;
    And save, from Mahomet, his gallant Father,
    With those brave troops who may escape the flames.

        COUNT CILLEY.

    The attempt is madness. What, risk our whole force
    To save one man? Hazard Belgrade for him?

        ZILUGO.

            Huniades that One,—hazard an Empire.
    Though gratitude were dumb, yet interest pleads;
    For seven score thousand Turks, inur'd to war,
    Round our beleaguer'd walls have trenches open'd,
    And our own safety now demands his aid.
    Who but himself had fought against their fleet
    This morn? Yet he, undaunted Chief, engag'd
    Their ships at fearful odds. Had victory smil'd,


    Page 20

    Boldly must he his landing have made good
    I' the teeth of all the Sultan's chosen soldiers.
    And after that, although you think it madness
    For us to pass athwart the Turkish lines,
    Yet he, with not the tenth of half our force,
    Would, through their camp, have hewn himself a path;
    Then with tir'd troops, from a third battle panting,
    Belgrade had been again by him reliev'd.
    This godlike man shall we, with coward caution,
    Desert, now, when for us, he stands the mark
    Of hostile rage?

        COUNT CILLEY.

                    Defeat, in mid career,
    His boldness stops; and, with less daring, prudence
    Warns us to act, nor, by our ruin, grace
    His fall. Huniades, or dead, or captive,
    The tottering state must chuse another Regent:
    A Nation's praise will that brave man deserve,
    Who, in this peril, dares to take the helm.

        ZILUGO.

            Now, at this stormy crisis, to be Regent
    Is to encounter toil and certain danger:
    A thankless office, where all may be lost,
    And nothing can be won. Much the King's flight
    To Frederick's court, the people has displeas'd.
    This beardless King, deserting his own cause,
    Is grown unpopular. The soldiers fight


    Page 21

    Dead-hearted. Yet where great Corvinus leads,
    Adoring him, with ready swords they follow.
    Another Regent strew'd with thorns will find
    His road, unless our well-plac'd choice select
    That hero whom the soldiers love and fear.

        COUNT CILLEY.

            A Regent must be chosen, or this Corvinus,
    This boy, will arrogate his Father's power,
    Defy the council's orders, waste our strength,
    And lose the city of the most importance
    In the Hungarian realm. If you should aid
    This rash exploit, I shall suspect your loyalty.
    Traitors I deem Corvinus, and Huniades,
    Who would usurp my infant Nephew's throne.
    To guard his rights, I claim the General's truncheon.

         Enter a Messenger.

        MESSENGER (addressing the Governor).

            My Lord! approaching tow'rds the eastern gate
    A train of Turks appears, so very numerous,
    That it resembles more a hostile army
    Than a state embassy. They found a parley.

        ZILUGO.

            Let trumpets from the eastern tower accept it,
    And send forth Heralds to demand their purpose,
    Which here report.

         Exit Messenger.


    Page 22

        COUNT CILLEY.

                    Now shew your zeal to serve
    The state; and in the council name me Regent.

         ZILUGO.

            Forego that thought, nor hazard a repulse.
    My Lord! at present, if the council chuse
    A man for that high office, much I doubt,
    Nay I foretell, they never will name you.

        COUNT CILLEY.

            And yet this realm demands my care, Zilugo!
    This new alliance with the Prince of Servia,
    Will keep the sword for ever in our hands
    Against the Turk, who, when he quits Belgrade,
    With fire and sword, will ravage Servia,
    Which, by the treaty, we are bound to succour.
    Huniades has some base views in this;
    Some secret tribute, or some promis'd service.
    My Niece is sold.

        ZILUGO.

                    Unjust are your suspicions.
    The Regent knows no interest, but his Country's;
    And Servia, aided by our arms, will prove
    Hungaria's bulwark 'gainst the Turk's invasion.
    Therefore he gives the Princess to Matthias.
    Although her heart in secret loves another;
    Yet has his counsel o'er that love prevail'd,
    For the state's welfare, and his sovereign's safety.


    Page 23

        COUNT CILLEY.

            And can you, Governor! approve this marriage?
    The Servian Prince will like his treacherous father,
    Deceitful prove; that father who, before you,
    Murder'd your Brother, basely, in cold blood.

        ZILUGO.

            My sword the traitor slew; and, justice satisfy'd,
    Resentment sleeps within its victim's tomb.

        COUNT CILLEY.

            Had I a Regent's power, I would oppose
    This purpos'd marriage: highly I dislike it.
    Form'd by Huniades, it hides some treason.
    Let my Niece wed with some Hungarian Lord,
    Whose service such a high reward may merit.
    Amongst the gallant nobles of this realm,
    I know not who has from the state, Zilugo!
    Such claims to honour as yourself. Your son——

        ZILUGO (haughtily).

            I understand you, Count! I know, my interest
    Is, with the Council, of sufficient weight
    For such a bribe: and, when inclin'd to sell
    Honour and faith, I know a purchaser,
    Who, wanting both, would give a prodigal price,
    Glut my revenge, and my ambition feed.

        COUNT CILLEY.

            I prize your zeal, and therefore court your friendship.


    Page 24

    'Tis my esteem for you, which makes me chuse
    Your Son to wed my Niece. Whilst to your merit
    I am thus just, you through mistake oppose me.

        ZILUGO.

            It now behoves me bluntly to inform you,
    You lose your dignity in these attempts.
    Your sanguine temper grasps at unjust power,
    Which vested in you would prove dangerous.
    The man who asks more than he ought to have,
    Must meet repulse. When honest minds are rous'd
    To oppose audacity, respect is lost
    In that contempt, which, all unfair designs,
    Whether in public or in private life,
    Sooner or later ever must incur.

        COUNT CILLEY (half drawing his sword).

            I'll teach your bluntness to contemn my power,

        ZILUGO (drawing his sword and retreating).

            Ulrick! this sword is practis'd 'gainst assassins—

        COUNT CILLEY (drawing his sword advances).

            As man to man, in equal fight advance.

        ZILUGO.

            No! whilst my sword can serve my Country's cause,
    I will not use it but for her; except
    To guard my life. If I escape the peril,


    Page 25

    Which now awaits us, call me forth—the friend
    Of Elsinger will meet you; brave, fallen Elsinger!
    His, and our noble Regent's, threatening sword
    Kept from your grasp all Austria's rich domains;
    For had not they in your career oppos'd you,
    Instead of Guardian to your infant Nephew,
    You first had rebel been, and then usurper.
    The power you have our nobles think unsafe;
    Therefore the Council will not chuse you Regent.

        COUNT CILLEY.

            They shall by force elect me, if not peaceably;
    The army shall control them in my favour.

        ZILUGO.

            Only that army, which you hither brought.
    Ulrick! you now confess, what all suspected,
    That here your troops were station'd with design
    Most hostile to this State; we knew, your purpose
    Was not to grace the nuptials of your Niece,
    Though that was your pretence to gain them entrance:
    Yet, as 'twas rumour'd, that the unnumber'd host,
    Which Mahomet led, was marching to Belgrade,
    Its gates were open'd to receive your forces,
    Unquestion'd your designs.

        COUNT CILLEY.

                    And who should question them?
    Am I, a German Prince, and Austria's Regent,
    To move without due state, lest you should frown?


    Page 26

        ZILUGO.

            Conceal'd ambition lures you to a plan,
    In which success will prove most fatal to you.
    I know your valour; but in Europe's wars
    However skill'd, in Asiatic modes
    Of wily fight, or fierce terrific onset,
    Your courage and your conduct are untry'd.
    Your first essay, in this extreme of danger,
    Cannot be made. We must give battle soon,
    Or else by famine perish. I am your friend——

        COUNT CILLEY.

            Let me but find you so. Such vast returns——

        ZILUGO.

            Mistake me not: I am your friend who warns you
    To shun dishonour's gulph, which yawns beneath
    The mouldering precipice, whose brink you tread
    With such temerity. Mark, that I speak not,
    Solely, to save your honour; but to avoid
    Intestine war, to you, to us, unsafe;
    To avoid disgrace and ruin, chains and slavery,
    Which, if you lead our troops, must be our fate.
    Then be advis'd——

         Enter Heralds.

        FIRST HERALD.

                    Impatient to gain entrance,
    The Turks declare they come with terms of honour,


    Page 27

    Though, our fleet burnt, they might as victors come;
    And that, provided the Hungarians
    Aid not the Servian Prince, and instant give
    Agmunda for a bride to Mahomet,
    With thirty thousand ducats yearly tribute,
    The Sultan will consent to raise the siege;
    But if refus'd, Belgrade he means to storm.

        ZILUGO.

            I fear some craft. The Council now is met:
    These terms, unlook'd for, shall be laid before them.
    May Heaven direct their choice! Admit the embassy!

         Exit Heralds.

            Your Austrian troops, my Lord! in serried files,
    So guard this palace, and the eastern gate,
    We need not fear their numbers should surprise us.

        COUNT CILLEY.

            It will be well, if their best services
    Can make me less suspected by Zilugo.

        ZILUGO.

            My Lord! will you with me the Council join?
    There your advice, as Uncle to the Princess,
    With due respect and deference will meet.


    Page 28

    SCENE THIRD.

         CORVINUS, COUNT CILLEY, THE GOVERNOR MICHAEL ZILUGO.

        CORVINUS.
         (In complete armour: his casque gold, the crest a raven, a large plume of black feathers waving over it. Speaking to an Officer as he enters.)

            Campestran is not here. In his own chapel,
    Or in the council-hall, Ernesto! seek him.
            Zilugo! will the Council grant my prayer,
    Empower me to avenge, or save my Father?

        COUNT CILLEY.

            We mourn his fate, but must avoid to share it.

        CORVINUS.

            Matchless ingratitude! Desert Huniades!
    So oft his Country's tutelary God?
    Is this the last, brave battle he shall fight?

        ZILUGO.

            My Lord! the Council is but just assembled;
    Hope in their justice for your Father's rescue.
    Corvinus, have you heard the Turkish embassy?

        CORVINUS.

            With grief, with indignation, I have heard it;


    Page 29

    Peace on such terms makes us the slaves of Mahomet.
    The giddy people think it of advantage,
    And joyful shout "Our Princess will redeem us."
    A Turkish marriage is most vile disgrace.
    We will not tamely wear the chains of Mahomet;
    This shameful union never shall take place.

        COUNT CILLEY.

            Speech so peremptory becomes you not,
    Young Lord! I think compliance will be prudent.

        CORVINUS.

            Heavens! to this spoiler would you give the Princess?
    His sword yet reeks with his Sultana's blood* ,
    Wantonly slain, by his own hand, to shew
    His whole, astonish'd court, he could in cruelty
    Exceed whatever monster yet debas'd
    The nature, or disgrac'd the name of man.
    Hence let us drive this fierce, imperial ruffian,
    Or nobly perish in the just attempt.
    Let him the city storm; it shall be sav'd,


    [Note *:]

    This alludes to the fate of the Sultaness Irene. Mahomet, being told that the Janizaries, and the great officers murmured, that he spent so much time in her company, and were ready to revolt, assembled the Divan, and brought Irene before them; and after severely reproaching them for daring to murmer at his attachment to her, he, to shew them that he was master over his affections, twisted his hand in her hair which hung flowing over her shoulders, and with one blow of his scymitar struck off her head, to the horror and surprise of all present.
    KNOLLES, p. 353.


    Page 30

    Or I will perish in its last intrenchment;
    Leave him of my defeat a sad memorial,
    A trophy, which shall make my victor mourn.

        COUNT CILLEY (very sarcastically).

            For tilts and tournaments, vain-glorious stripling!
    Save idle gallantry.

        CORVINUS.

                    Injurious Prince!
    That stripling's sword has gain'd a coat of mail,
    Which malice cannot pierce. My past success
    Warrants my present hopes.

        COUNT CILLEY (going out).

                    Think not to risk
    Belgrade, and slaughter thousands at thy will.

         Exit Count Cilley.

    SCENE FOURTH.

         CORVINUS, THE GOVERNOR MICHAEL ZILUGO.

        ZILUGO.

            Ulrick's ambition plans to seize the crown;
    But thou wilt guard it for its trembling master.


    Page 31

        CORVINUS.

            May Heaven forsake me, when I him forsake.
    Bred up my foe, yet still he is my King:
    And could ambition warp my sworn allegiance,
    A panoply invulnerable guards him,
    Which courage, or which honour ne'er assails;
    Namely—his helpless state,——sacred to me
    As sainted shrines, nor dare I to invade it.

        ZILUGO.

            O more than monarch, princely-minded youth!
    Worthy to mount that throne thy temperance shuns.
    More glorious thus to guard a crown than wear it.
    The spirit of Huniades lives in thee,
    O Son, most worthy of thy godlike Father!
    Thou know'st my heart; say how I best may serve thee.

        CORVINUS.

            Haste, join the assembled Council, and oppose
    With all your influence this hated marriage.
    Speak my great Father's claim to ev'ry aid,
    E'en to the last, brave man the State can raise:
    Speak for a friend, a patriot, and a Son,
    With all a friend's, a Son's, a patriot's, zeal.
    But should'st thou fail in these, protract the council;
    A moment now is worth an age hereafter.

        ZILUGO.

            I to the Council will prefer your suit.


    Page 32

         (To Campestran as he enters.)

    Campestran comes. Hail, saintly warrior!
    Advise, assist us, in this hour of fate,
    To save a Throne, a Kingdom, and a Friend.

         (Zilugo goes out.)

    SCENE FIFTH.

         CAMPESTRAN, CORVINUS.

        CORVINUS.

            Good father! hast thou heard the Sultan's embassy,
    His arrogant demands?

        CAMPESTRAN.

                    I have, my son!
    Ernesto found me in the council-hall,
    Where Ulrick now harangues in praise of peace.

        CONVINUS (with great eagerness).

            Our warriors surely execrate the terms;
    Nor will ignobly sacrifice Agmunda
    To this barbarian.

        CAMPESTRAN.

                    A general panic
    Has, like some sudden pestilence, unstrung
    Each heart: the icy poison of dismay


    Page 33

    Freezes the life-blood of their vaunted courage.
    Though murmuring, all consent to purchase peace,
    To yield the Princess, and to pay the tribute.

        CORVINUS.

            Curse on the unmanly spirits which desert her!
    We shall be chronicled to future times
    For traitors, cowards, to devote a Princess
    To slavery, nay to death, to ransom Us
    Only from sharing in the chance of war.
    Our fortune ebbs, but is not desperate yet;
    Even then, our lives with loss of honour bought,
    Were purchas'd at a price beyond their worth.
    Then let us save her, and prevent our shame.
    O father!——(pauses much agitated).

        CAMPESTRAN.

                    Why dejected dost thou pant,
    Like timorous fawn caught in the snarer's toils?
    I know thee not; thou art so fallen and spiritless.
    What trouble thus unnerves thee? Rouse, Corvinus!
    Collect thy thoughts. Support thy present woes
    With the same equal mind, and dauntless courage,
    Thou at an army's head repell'st thy enemy.
    Thy grief, though just, should not disarm thy mind.
    Recall thy godlike energy of soul;
    Reflect on thy own fame; respect thyself.
    Can courage aid us, or can wisdom save?
    In every exigence they still were thine.
    Oft has thy valour sav'd the doubtful field,


    Page 34

    And oft thy counsel has inform'd the wise.
    If aught can now be done, thou canst achieve it;
    Thy arm our bulwark, and thy mind our helm.

        CORVINUS.

            Faint hope gleams on my soul; but so o'ercast
    With fears, which, like to cowardice, unman me;
    Thus sunk, through very weakness, I could weep.
            There is one step which might avert these ills;
    A venturous act befits a losing cause.

         (Recovering his spirit.)

    These coward nobles will our honour stain;
    Ingrates, who leave my Father to his fate,
    A slave, or fallen, unrescu'd, unreveng'd.

        CAMPESTRAN.

            Where glory leads, my troops, thou may'st command:
    They are not veterans; but zeal supplies
    Experience. Wait not the Council's orders;
    Lead forth my troops. I by thy side will fight,
    Conquer, or die.

        CORVINUS.

                    Dost thou dislike this marriage?

        CAMPESTRAN.

            Yes; as a man, and Christian. Canst thou think,
    I left my blest retreat, my holy brethren,
    Hither to come to place a helpless lamb


    Page 35

    Upon the altar, for the cruel Turk
    To immolate, beneath the olive branch
    Of peace, held forth in treachery to blind us?
    Does the Crusade I preach admit such peace;
    Or our religion hold such nuptials holy?
    What is thy aim? If in thy self-desertion,
    Thou canst a purpose form, give me to know it.

        CORVINUS.

            Oh! canst thou not divine from looks my wishes,
    Learn, from the throbbings of my heart, my hopes,
    And from these tears of anguish, that despair
    Which blasts them all? Wert thou but skill'd to read
    My inmost soul—— Let me not give it speech,
    Unless thou, father! kindly wilt recall
    Thy youthful ardour, ere the cloyster's gloom
    Chasten'd thy thoughts to dwell on Heaven alone.
    Love once——

        CAMPESTRAN.

                    Befits this time a lover's tale?
    When Ulrick plots against thy fame and life,
    When peace, alike impolitic and shameful,
    Thy country threats with everlasting chains?

        CORVINUS.

            To avert that peace one way alone remains,
    If you consent.

        CAMPESTRAN.

                    Speak but the means.


    Page 36

        CORVINUS.

                            Ah! wilt thou? (falters.)

        CAMPESTRAN.

            Why falter thus? Declare; what can I do
    To avert this shameful peace?

        CORVINUS.

                            Persuade the Princess
    To accept my vows—unite us instantly,
    And supersede this most unchristian sacrifice.

        CAMPESTRAN.

            'Tis the sure means to avoid this fatal peace.
    Hast thou a hope she will consent to this?
    Betroth'd to Servia's Prince, who would be here
    To claim her hand, but for the Sultan's army;
    A part of which invades the Servian frontiers,
    Whilst he, in person, storms Belgrade.

        CORVINUS.

                                    Once, highly
    Was I esteem'd. The fair Agmunda gave
    Consent, that to my Father I should tell
    My love. State-policy, usurping tyrant
    Over domestic bliss, destroy'd my hopes;
    The Regent heard my suit, but not the Parent.
    Parental love Agmunda's rigid Guardian
    Now first forgot: he sent me from Belgrade.
    The Princess, by my Father's firmness aw'd,


    Page 37

    (Her ductile mind won by delusive reasons)
    Promis'd——— Oh horrour! by a solemn Oath,
    Never to wed but with his full consent;
    And should he die, ere yet the nuptial torch
    For her was lighted, ne'er to wed his Son.

        CAMPESTRAN.

            Oh most unjust! an oath like this to exact
    Her tyrant Uncle better had become
    Than our brave Chief; nor ought she to have sworn it.
    Surely thy rank, thy fame, merits her hand.

        CORVINUS.

    Then, good Campestran! thou wilt plead my cause?

        CAMPESTRAN.

            Plead for thyself; and with a lover's haste.

        CORVINUS.

            How shall I gain admission to her presence?
    She will not see me since her fatal oath.
    Though you consent, I have a thousand fears,
    Perhap she'll scorn me, will not let me save her;
    Her hand is to another lover promis'd.

        CAMPESTRAN.

            This marriage with the Turk she must abhor.
    From his detested nuptials you redeem her,
    When all desert her, Uncle, Nobles, People.
    Plead this, and speak the hazard, which your love
    For her encounters.


    Page 38

        CORVINUS.

                    Should my generosity
    Appear beyond my love, I meet repulse.
    Great souls from obligations nobly fly.
    She must be won, ere she has time to think
    Herself oblig'd.

        CAMPESTRAN.

                    Take courage, son! her love
    You merit. In my chapel dormitory,
    Behind the altar of the palace church,
    I'll wait your coming, and there join your hands.
    Then will I gird you with that blessed Sword,
    There plac'd in trust upon that sacred altar:
    That Sword which Ulrick has in vain demanded.
    Farewell. An old man's half prophetic zeal
    Foretells a cause so just will meet success.

        CORVINUS.

        Transporting thought, Agmunda for my bride!
    Grant me to save my Father and my Country,
    And make the measure of my bliss complete.

         Exeunt separately.

    End of the First Act.


    Page 39

    Act Second.

    SCENE FIRST—A CHURCH.

        

    The platform of the high altar raised a step above the floor of the church, and of sufficient breadth for any body to walk upon it, without coming to the edge of the step, which is covered with crimson cloth. A large altar table, covered with crimson velvet, fringed with gold. At the back of the altar, over the table, a luminous Cross; under which hangs a magnificent Sword, suspended from a rich belt. On each side of the altar, upon the raised platform, footstools covered like the altar table. The Princess Agmunda, kneeling upon the footstool on the south side, or left hand, of the altar.

        PRINCESS (alone).

    IF for its sins, THOU visitest this land,
    Destroy it not in wrath! O! let the wings
    Of mercy shield us from thy dread displeasure;
    If we must suffer, be it from thy hand.
    Give us not up to our blood-thirsty foes;
    But grant us strength, and courage, to withstand them:
    Defeat their stratagems, confound their counsels;
    And aid thy servant who now fights our cause.


    Page 40

    SCENE SECOND.

         THE PRINCESS; ELLA.

        PRINCESS.
         (Descending from the altar, and coming forward soon as Ella enters).

            Is the fight over; Is our fleet victorious?
    Why this long interval, without intelligence?

        ELLA.

            The anxious multitude have so beset
    The watch-tower, that your messengers can scarce
    Pass through the throng.

        PRINCESS.

                    But what account bring'st thou?

        ELLA.

    I must conceal the news (aside). Corvinus wishes——

        PRINCESS.

            I will not hear.—Have I not oft conjured thee,
    For my mind's peace, to speak that name no more?
    Duty commands, that I forget our loves:
    All thoughts of him, whenever they obtrude,
    Must unapprov'd, undwelt on, be dismiss'd.
    O ceaseless anguish! Ere I chase one thought,
    Another and another, torturing comes,
    Mocking my best resolves.


    Page 41

        ELLA.

                            Corvinus begs,
    That you would see him now.

        PRINCESS.

                            To bring this message
    Was wrong; and, although check'd, again to speak it,
    Argues unfriendliness, tempting to crime.
    Ella! thou knew'st I dar'd not see Corvinus.

        ELLA.

            Forgive me. Yet his wretchedness so struck me,
    That, ere my judgment weigh'd, my heart was won
    To pity his distress, and tell his suit.

        PRINCESS.

            Rash, thoughtless, that thou art! to be thus won
    To tempt my soul. If thou could'st not resist
    His sorrows, how shall I be proof against them?
    Injur'd Corvinus! I destroy thy peace;
    I dare not see thee more; for should'st thou sue,
    And plead, despair might urge my tortur'd soul
    To violate the unjust, the guilty Oath,
    Which I, in bitterness of heart, repent.
    Ye soft ideas! Ye illusive hopes
    Of love and bliss, begone! Assail me not.
    Whatever joys fate had reserv'd for me,
    Thristless I mortgag'd, ere possession came:
    The ruinous payment beggars future hours.


    Page 42

    Oh, to forget! for thoughts of happier prospects
    Embitter misery.

        ELLA.

                    Yet see Corvinus;
    Somewhat of moment has he to impart,
    Which it imports you instantly to learn.

        PRINCESS.

            Forbear! 'Tis virtue bids me shun the conflict.
    Tell him, I cannot see him; I'm at the altar,
    Imploring Heaven's protection for my Country.
    I am its victim.—Say not that to him.

         (Exit Ella.)

    A voluntary wretch, I made myself,
    Alas! ere my heart knew how much it lov'd.
    Why did I swear for ever to renounce him?
    Aid me, kind heaven! against this rooted passion;
    Assist me to forget this dear Corvinus!

    SCENE THIRD.

         THE PRINCESS, CORVINUS.

        CORVINUS (entering his Casque in his hand).

    Heaven, hear her not! but now two faithful hearts
    Reward.


    Page 43

        PRINCESS (turning from Corvinus).

                    Why is this trying moment come?

        CORVINUS (kneeling).

            Agmunda! bless the lover who adores you,
    And pitying end his woes! When last we parted——

        PRINCESS.

            We parted then for ever. Rise, my Lord!

         (He rises.)

    It was not well to invade this holy place,
    When my sad heart was communing with Heaven.
    The affianc'd bride of brave Matthias grieves,
    That you should dare infringe the sacred mound
    Of female delicacy, wounding her soul
    By searching out those secret, inmost sentiments,
    Which duty, time, and absence, will o'ercome.
    On earth we meet no more. Regard this moment,
    As if, from awful summons, thou stood near
    The death-bed of a soon departing friend:
    Let my Request, I solemnly adjure thee,
    As if it were that dying friend's Request,
    Be sacred held. My Brother is thy King;
    Take no advantage of the People's love,
    Remain his Subject. Then, to her last of life,
    With sisterly affection, will Agmunda
    Remember thee. Farewell—resign—forget me—
    Honour and Fame demand the sacrifice.

         (Goes towards the altar, Corvinus following her, she stops, and again comes forward.)


    Page 44

        CORVINUS.

            To call thee mine, is the first honour which
    My soul desires. Alas! I once had hopes
    That the sweet dreams of childhood were not false.

        PRINCESS.

            Ah! flattering dreams! they fled with infancy.
    Inexorable fate has seal'd our doom;
    Nor leaves one hope of happier days to cheer us.
    But virtue still is left us midst our woes;
    Then let us summon courage to sustain them,
    As virtue bids.

        CORVINUS.

                    Heaven first, of each perfection,
    Must thee deprive, ere I with courage can.

        PRINCESS.

            Thy duties all command it. Think, Corvinus!
    Reflect on all the reasons, duties, claims,
    Thy Father wisely urg'd when he forbad thee
    Ever to hope my hand. Chaste honour, conscience,
    Filial obedience, a patriot's duty,
    And sacred friendship's debt of gratitude,
    Have plac'd their adamantine bars against
    Thy love. Respect my peace, forbear thy suit.

        CORVINUS.

            Thy heart can plead for every claim but mine.
    My love is sacrific'd to raise thy glory.
    Be songs of triumph thine—


    Page 45

        PRINCESS.

                            Unjust Corvinus!
    Accuse me not of such vain-glorious pride.
            My rank demands the sacrifice I make,
    The subject's fealty claims the Prince's love.
    To the State's interest I am now devote;
    To insure its happiness my own is yielded.
    A Nation's welfare, and my Brother's safety,
    Bade me forego the choice my heart had made:
    'Twas reason's dictate, and made honour's law,
    By the strong Oath exacted by thy Father:
    To spotless honour sacred be that Oath.
    Let thy firm soul resist its present feelings;
    Reproach me not——Alas! I know thy woes;
    I—I inflict them——but I more than share them.

        CORVINUS.

            My anguish canst thou feel, and yet persist?
    Let thy relenting pity end my torments.

        PRINCESS.

            Seek not to melt my heart to vain repentance;
    The motives which impell'd forbid retreat.

        CORVINUS.

            Obdurate Princess! Thou hast never lov'd.

        PRINCESS.

            Leave me! To see thee thus distress'd, Corvinus!
    Adds to the conflict of my tortur'd soul:


    Page 46

    Spare! spare! my grief, I agonize at thine.
    All dearer ties forget;——think me thy sister;
    And urge my duties with a Brother's sternness.

        CORVINUS.

            Oh! has thy heart no pity for my sufferings?
    Forgive the boldness of despair! Thou must
    Be mine.

         (He seizes her hand wildly; and draws her further from the altar.)

        PRINCESS.

                    Add not thy phrensy to my woes:
    I pity, I esteem,——Oh release me!

         (Endeavours to withdraw her hand.)

    My hand cannot be thine. My Oath forbids it.

        CORVINUS.

            Wilt thou not hazard something to redeem me?

        PRINCESS.

            All! All! but truth and honour: these I dare not.
    Strive not to make me hateful to myself—
    Oh! what can I, to mitigate thy grief?

        CORVINUS.

            Let pity plead; be generous, be just:
    Recall my doom, and save thyself, sweet excellence!
    From our curs'd foe, from treacherous, savage Mahomet,
    Who now insulting claims thee for his bride.


    Page 47

        PRINCESS.

            Detested thought!

        CORVINUS.

                            Prevent the hell I must
    Endure to see thee in base Mahomet's arms.
    Think what the rage of madness and despair,
    Might make me do against us both.

        PRINCESS.

                                    No more:
    I never will consent to such a sacrifice.
    Oh! dire dishonour! wed a Turk! a murderer!
    An Infidel! who Christian rites abhors!
    When was this fatal proposition made?

        CORVINUS.

            Even now. Ambassadors attend the Council,
    Demanding tribute, and thy hand in marriage,
    For price of peace with their inhuman master:
    And they will take thee hence this very day,
    Unless thou give me sacred right to claim thee.
    The coward Council all desert thy cause:
    Except myself, Campestran, and Zilugo,
    They are unanimous, sway'd by thy Uncle,
    Basely to yield thee to this ravage Prince.

        PRINCESS.

            The people will not: I'll appeal to them;
    Invoke their justice, and implore their pity.
    Let rank, and proud prerogative, desert me;


    Page 48

    My Uncle scorn, defame, oppress, insult me;
    Still fearless will I urge my freeborn right,
    And whilst with conscious virtue glows my breast,
    As suff'ring now in their, and honour's, cause,
    What more I fear'd, Heaven knows, than death itself,
    I will dare hope that worthy, generous hearts
    Will not be steel'd when helpless woman pleads.
    Though human nature hardily may err,
    And with rash judgment to oppression lean,
    Mercy and Justice for a while be hush'd;
    Their heavenly voice will not be silenc'd long,
    But like the glorious Sun will burst the cloud,
    Dispel the storm, and with more radiance shine.
    A people truly brave are kind and just,
    They will protect me till thy father comes.

        CORVINUS.

            Thy Uncle's emissaries sap their fealty:
    Easily led, they to the palace fly
    In crowds, and think this marriage their sole hope.

        PRINCESS.

            Has Heaven withdrawn its attributes from man?
    Mercy and Justice, are they fled from earth?
    Inhuman people! To devote me thus,
    To such a wretch! A more than Moloch Sacrifice!
    Let bold rebellion rear its fiend-like arm,
    Belie the sacred oath of its allegiance,
    And immolate that blood it swore to guard.


    Page 49

    My life their swords may take; but to this marriage
    Never will I consent; nor be the victim
    Of a peace, inglorious and unsafe;
    A peace that would dethrone my infant Brother,
    And for his kingdom forge eternal chains;
    Which crafty Mahomet as my right would claim.
            No! with the dauntless spirit of my race,
    With firmness will I meet the coming storm.
    'Tis but to die;—and for his Prince's welfare,
    Bravely each soldier death defies; shall I,
    With a dear Brother's cause conjoin'd, dare less
    Than the poor peasant, for my anointed King?
            Leave me alone, to meet my dubious fate,
    And in thy turn, abandon me, Corvinus!
    From coward nobles, an ungrateful people,
    From an insidious Uncle, take example.

        CORVINUS.

            Honour and love forbid me to obey thee.
    Campestran sanctifies, by his consent,
    The only means that can from slavery save us.
    When duty pleads my cause can love be silent?
    Is there no gentle voice that moves thy heart,
    To pity, and reward, my tried affection?

        PRINCESS.

            My hand to thee would be a fatal gift.
    My Uncle seeks thine, and thy Father's ruin.
    He envies your high fame, and dreads your power:
    Were we united, some perfidious act,


    Page 50

    (In which the ill-tutor'd King might blindly join,)
    Would for the victim of his hatred mark thee;
    And thou might'st fall; or else, to guard thy life,
    Thy sword must be unsheath'd against thy Sovereign;
    Perhaps the crown thou from his brow might'st tear—

        CORVINUS.

            Canst thou suspect my faith? All that I ought
    To promise, here I swear. Thy Brother's Throne,
    His sacred Person, and his Rights inviolate,
    My sword and life shall guard. Myself I must
    Protect; but if I ever pass the bounds
    Of self-defence against him, then may'st thou,
    May Heaven desert me; may its vengeance strike me,
    And by that hand which two-fold power would give it,

         (Draws a dagger from his bosom.)

    By thine——Take this, my honest pledge of faith;
    If I invade thy Brother's Rights, or wink
    When aught invades them, plunge it in my heart.
         (He offers the dagger; the Princess turns aside and retires a step, he still offers the dagger.)

    O trust my zeal, my honour, and my loyalty!
    Reward my faithful love, or be this night
    The Tyrant's Bride.

        PRINCESS (walking from Corvinus).

                            What ought I to resolve?
    I shrink with terrour from a fate so cruel;
    What to avoid, or what to choose, I know not.


    Page 51

         (Returning to Corvinus.)

    I know thy love, and I will trust thy honour.
    Corvinus! I accept this horrid pledge.

         (Takes the dagger.)

    If thou betray thy King, know, in my right,
    Thou ne'er shalt wear his crown. Great Albert's Daughter
    Will use this dagger, as her Father ought,
    Against herself, the Accomplice of thy crime,
    If she should fail to guard his infant Son,
    For giving Thee the power to shake his Throne.

         (She puts the dagger into her bosom.)

        CORVINUS.

            I wish no empire but Agmunda's heart.
    My love! my bride! sweet source of ev'ry joy!
    My soul exults that thou, at last, art mine.
    Devoted to thy cause, my zeal and loyalty
    Shall show the rapturous gratitude I feel.
    This instant must we plight our mutual faith.

         (Corvinus opens the door on the North side of the altar, speaking to Campestran, who comes forward.)

    Campestran waits to join our hands. Good father!


    Page 52

    SCENE FOURTH.

         THE PRINCESS, CORVINUS, CAMPESTRAN.

        PRINCESS.

            Campestran! holy man! do thou direct me.

        CAMPESTRAN.

            May heaven direct us for our good; and guide
    Our erring minds to what is best. Your hands
    I will consent to join. Thy unjust Oath,
    And thy pledged faith, to Servia's brave Prince,
    I own are obstacles against these nuptials.
    But I so much abhor a human sacrifice,
    And such, thou must be, to the faithless Mahomet,
    That I dare urge thy marriage with Corvinus;
    Rome's Pontiff will absolve thy breach of Oath;
    Rash was the vow; unjust was its exaction.
    Huniades has err'd through over zeal,
    Which should have met rejection, not compliance.

         (The Princess weeps much agitated.)

    This deep distress is thy own act and deed.
    The Council's sitting cannot be prolong'd;
    Your Uncle loudly calls for its decision,
    Which, well he knows, will be to yield you up.
    To supererrogate has been thy fault,
    This Oath no duty could require; thou, having
    Thy free-will fetter'd, hast but choice of evil.


    Page 53

    Choose;—wed this Turk; your life, your faith, endanger;
    Or break your oath, and be this Hero's Bride.

         (Campestran takes her hand, and gives it to Corvinus.)

    Corvinus! she is yours. Lead to the altar.

        PRINCESS.
         (Retreating from Corvinus and withdrawing her hand).

            Lead to some altar where light never gleams;
    Befitting oaths that sinfully are sworn.
    This is no altar for our vows. Here Heaven,
    With all its hosts of Angels, Saints, and Martyrs,
    Witness'd my promise, "never to be thine."

         (Pointing to the altar.)

    Should I approach yon awful shrine, that sword,
    Some Angel's vengeful arm would raise to strike me,
    For breaking thus my Oath to thy stern Father.

        CAMPESTRAN.
         (Going to the altar, takes down the magnificent Sword which hangs at the front of the altar, under the luminous cross).

            This Sword I had reserv'd for great Huniades;
    Rome's holy Pontiff sent it forth to arm
    Our Chief, in the Crusade, against curs'd Mahomet.
    Now, champion of our cause, I hail Corvinus.

        CORVINUS (taking the Sword).

            The sacred pledge with reverence I receive,
    And I will wield it with no common zeal;


    Page 54

    Oh, may supernal power my arm invigorate,
    And be our cause invincible, as holy!

        CAMPESTRAN (to the Princess).

            Let us this altar quit, since it excites
    Thy fears. My chapel, through the dormitory,
    Is more retir'd. We might be here surpriz'd.
    Speed to reward this hero with thy hand;
    And from a lawless tyrant save thyself.
    Hither return; nor sanctuary quit
    Except with us. Here let the Council find thee.

        PRINCESS.

            Must I be left to meet my Uncle's rage?

        CAMPESTRAN.

            This altar, from his violence, protects thee;
    Here then remain; and, when the dastard nobles
    To yield thee come, declare thou art espous'd:
    Acknowledge, if occasion call, to whom
    Thy hand is given. War's various toils demand
    Elsewhere our presence. Corvinus and myself
    Must to the troops declare his happy fortune.
    The soldiers love, they idolize Corvinus:
    Their joy the echoing people soon will catch,
    And make their own; they will applaud thy choice.

        PRINCESS.

            I dread the event; the people are against me.


    Page 55

        CORVINUS.

            Dismiss thy fears, the people still adore thee,
    E'en whilst their terrour to desert thee leads them:
    All will be well, I shall return triumphant
    To guard my Princess, and my charming Bride.

         (Campestran goes through the altar door by he entered; Corvinus follows him leading the Princess.)

    End of the Second Act.


    Page 56

    Act Third.

    SCENE FIRST—THE CHURCH.

        PRINCESS (entering the Church).

    OH! let the terrour, which compell'd my perjury,
    Plead for its pardon!—Heaven! I fear thy wrath;
    No longer pure of heart, my Sweet affiance,
    In thy love, fled with my innocence and truth.
    Thy Mercy is Omnipotent,——but Justice too
    Is thy dread Attribute.——Imploring pardon,
    Dare I to hope protection in my guiltiness?
    Hope, Mercy ne'er recorded my rash Oath.

    SCENE SECOND.

         THE PRINCESS, COUNT CILLEY, MICHAEL ZILUGO, & THE LORDS OF THE COUNCIL.

         The Governor Michael Zilugo, and the Lords of the Council, in their robes over their armour; their swords by their sides, ranged on the North side of the altar. Zilugo much nearer the altar than the other Lords; very attentive to all Count Cilley's movements.

        COUNT CILLEY.

            Princess! we hail Thee Empress of the East.


    Page 57

        PRINCESS.

            I never will accept that hated title.

        COUNT CILLEY.

            The People, Council, and I, Princess! will it:
    And your reluctance to our power must yield.

        PRINCESS.

            Nor you, nor they, my Lord! shall thus enslave me.

         (She kneels on the footstool of the altar, her right arm extended on the altar table.)

    This sacred altar shall protect me from you.

        COUNT CILLEY (aside).

            'Tis to my wish. Now let the whirlwind rise;
    I can direct the storm, and point its rage.

         (Exit Count Cilley.)

    SCENE THIRD.

         THE PRINCESS, MICHAEL ZILUGO, LORDS OF THE COUNCIL.

        PRINCESS (with her right hand upon the altar).

            I solemnly declare, I will not wed

         (Rising and coming forward.)

    The Turkish Sultan.—I disdain alliance


    Page 58

    With a vile Infidel, a dark assassin
    Practis'd in death;—with one whose hands are stain'd
    With kindred blood;—by whom four Brothers fell.
    A wretch who knows no touch of nature's kindness;
    No tie of justice that binds man to man;
    Who e'en the sacred laws of Heaven defies,
    Scoffs at Religion* , and disowns all Faiths.
    Well is his want of truth and honour known;
    Yet, to the power of this inhuman Turk,
    The Christian Lords, and people of this realm,
    Betray their Princess, and resign themselves.

        FIRST LORD.

        To save our wives and children, we implore her—

        PRINCESS.

            By you, they should be sav'd, and I protected.
    The man who will not risk his life to save
    His wife, his children, and his native land,
    Has lost great Nature's first, best energies;
    A patriot's valour, and a parent's love.
    And have ye lost them then, beyond redemption?
    O, dead to shame! who thus unblushing force
    Imperial Albert's Daughter to an altar,

         (She retreats back a step, and kneels at the altar as before.)

    As her last refuge; force her to oppose


    [Note *:]

    Mahomet was altogether irreligious, and of all others most perfidious, ambitious above measure, and he delighted in nothing more than in blood.
    KNOLLES'S HIST. OF THE TURKS, p. 433


    Page 59

    Subjects, disloyal, recreant, and unmanly,
    In their base tameness to desert her cause.

        FIRST LORD.

            Princess! we grieve to meet this stern rebuke:
    We have not merited in aught thy anger.
    Complete are all the Sultan's preparations
    To storm Belgrade. His batteries are rais'd,
    And ordnance, of enormous size, are mounted
    Against our walls; of such tremendous force,
    As, to their deep foundations, will destroy them.
    The people wild, tumultuous, fierce, from terrour,
    The sacking of the City dread to madness.
    You are their hope; for you alone can save them.
    This night, unless with their Ambassadors
    You will return, the Turks will storm our works;
    And, if you should refuse, I fear the citizens,
    By force, will yield YOU up, to save themselves.

        PRINCESS (rising, very indignantly).

    Am I your slave by Charter, that ye threat me?
    Are ye so much dismay'd, that ye forget,
    How from before Belgrade, Huniades
    Drove haughty Amurath? Is this young Sultan,
    Less vincible than was his veteran Sire?
    His Father's conqueror comes to vanquish him;
    Huniades is come. Peers! will ye sell
    Your Princess in his sight? He now destroys
    This Mahomet's fleet; its close blockade he raises;


    Page 60

    And comes triumphant, to our gates, to save us.
    I trust in Heaven ye soon shall see these Infidels
    Flying before him, as the heartless wren
    Before the towering eagle. Let them but hear
    His Name:—from rank to rank, wild rout, and flight,
    And terrour, spoil the harvest of his sword.
    Countless the times the Turks have fled before him.
    Trust to his feats in arms, so great, so swift,
    That ere the echo of one victory ceases,
    Fame's oft-swell'd trump proclaims another conquest.

        FIRST LORD.

            No longer have we hope in great Huniades.
    His Fleet is now in flames, and all is lost.

        PRINCESS (with surprise and agitation).

    Heavens! did I hear thee right? The Fleet in flames?
    Where is Huniades? (To Zilugo.)

        ZILUGO.

                            Slain, say the Turks;
    As sword in hand, first in the fight, he leap'd
    Upon the deck of their great Admiral.

        PRINCESS.

            Alas! my more than Parent! other griefs
    Defraud thee of thy due. O sainted spirit!
    Look down, forgive me, pity my distress!


    Page 61

    SCENE FOURTH.

         THE PRINCESS, MICHAEL ZILUGO, THE LORDS OF THE COUNCIL.

         A numerous crowd of People and Soldiers, COUNT CILLEY in the midst of them, burst open the great doors of the Church in the side scene, on the South side of the altar. The Princess, on this alarm, again kneels, and extends her right arm upon the altar table.

        PRINCESS (with terrour and distress).

            Oh! can I hope to find this Altar sacred,
    When I myself have daringly profan'd it?
    Why are ye thus tumultuously assembled?
    And, with licentious disrespect, how dare ye,
    With force profane, pollute this Sanctuary?

        OLD OFFICER (amongst the foremost of the people).

            To supplicate our Princess to redeem us,
    To beg her mercy, in this hour of woe.

        PRINCESS (with extreme anguish rising).

    Oh! would to Heaven that I had power to save you!

        OLD OFFICER.

            O Princess! You, and You alone, can save us.
    Your godlike Father's, and your Grandsire's, battles
    I've toil'd to win, in many a hard-fought field:


    Page 62

    But never saw I such unequal war,
    As threats us now.

        PRINCESS.

                    The valour of our troops,
    So oft victorious, shall conquer still.

        OLD OFFICER.

            Bootless is valour 'gainst unnumber'd legions;
    Our succours are cut off, our Regent lost.
    Soon must the Turk be master of our walls.
    Think of this city sack'd, given up a prey
    To cruel, lustful, soldiers, drunk with victory——
    Nothing but Hell, with all its Fiends unchain'd,
    Can be so dreadful. The old man's groan, half-butcher'd,
    Dragg'd by the hair, from out the victor's path;
    The infant's plaintive cry, and the shrill shriek
    Of helpless virgins, then must strike your ear:
    Such scenes of carnage meet your eyes, as nature
    Shudders to view: dire miseries, unknown,
    Save, where stern War fixes his iron seat.

        PRINCESS.

            Fight, gracious Heaven! our cause.

        OLD OFFICER.

                                    Agmunda! Heaven
    Vouchsafes to you alone, the power to save us.
    Could all our lives redeem you from this marriage,


    Page 63

    Freely each Youth, each Veteran, would bleed.
    But, from the Sultan's power, they cannot save you:
    And it' they cannot save, why should they fall?
    Will thy own woes be less, if thousands share them?
    Belgrade in flames, a People massacred,
    A Kingdom lost, would these be consolations?
    'Tis not in us to mitigate thy fate;
    Then nobly bear it, shield us from destruction.
    Ransom the Throne of thy renown'd Forefathers:
    Ransom our matrons, virgins, helpless infants:
    Ransom thy native Land from desolation!

        PRINCESS.

            Can life that ransom pay? I will consent
    To suffer any death; unmov'd will meet it,
    With patient firmness, and my blood pour forth,
    A free libation, in your heartfelt cause.
    I love my Father's and my Brother's Subjects;
    And I should glory in that Death which saves them:

         (In a lowered voice, with fear and horrour.)

    But——— I can never wed this savage Infidel.

        COUNT CILLEY.

            Inhuman Princess! wilt thou then decree
    Half our brave citizens to death? the rest,
    To be driven forth, to distant lands, and sold
    For slaves?

        PRINCESS.

                    Seek not to aggravate my fate
    I am most wretched.


    Page 64

        COUNT CILLEY (pointing to the people).

                    Think! what then are these,
    Who supplicate thy mercy? View thy victims.
    This City, for three days, thou doom'st to pillage,
    To rapine, fire, and the destructive sword;
    For such are Mahomet's compacts with his soldiers.

         (Pointing to the Nobles.)

    Turn here, and view the fourth day's sacrifice.
    For Mahomet then Belgrade in triumph enters,
    To take his Spoil; when to a bloody banquet,
    In chains, these Nobles, with their wives and children,
    Before the insulting Victor will be dragg'd;
    And there, with barbarous taunts, midst revelling
    And minstrelsy, will be, with study'd cruelty,
    Mangled, and slain, to crown the ravage feast.
    Constantinople thus, this Sultan enter'd;
    Nor spar'd the Imperial Race of Constantine,—
    They, at his first infernal banquet bled;
    And, at succeeding feasts, the Grecian Nobles
    Were slaughter'd, in cold blood,—nor found a grave.

        FIRST LORD.

            'Tis from no common fate we beg redemption,
    When such a peerless Victim we must yield.
    Peace, on such terms, brings tears, and mourning with it,
    And not rejoicing. Thy great soul, Agmunda!
    Is equal to this godlike deed of mercy;
    To wed this Tyrant, and redeem a people.
    Be greatly worthy of thy royal race,


    Page 65

    Be more than thy Imperial Fathers were,
    O! be the Guardian Genius of thy Country!
    Save, with Belgrade, the whole Hungarian Realm:
    If once the Turk be master of this City,
    Hungaria is no more. Then, Princess, save us!

         (When the first Lord has done speaking, the people kneel. The Lords of the Council, their hands crossed on their breasts, bend forward, with supplicating solemnity.—a pause.)

        PRINCESS (with a voice half-suppressed by tears).

            O! rise.—My soul feels all your woes. The fate
    Which threatens you, freezes my heart with horrour.
    Oh! were but this my funeral hour; and all
    Your tears for me alone.      (Falters)

    I plead for mercy;
    I claim protection from this holy Altar.

         (Kneels at the altar as before.)

    O People! do not violate its sanctity!
         (Weeping)

    Give me not up by force to this destroyer!

        OLD OFFICER.

            Have royal tears more power to melt than ours?
    Or is not pity, in a princely breast,
    Assailable by common woes? We plead
    For thousands, you reject our supplications.
    And were we, hard of heart, to think of force,
    You clasp an altar, and prevent the deed.
    At thought of sacrilege we tremble, Princess!
    But when fierce Mahomet comes, then can no church
    Protect; no holy altar guard; no tears,


    Page 66

    Though Saints should shed them, save you from his power,
    Since you must suffer, doom not thousands with you.

        PRINCESS.

            'Twould be an action, worthy of my Race,
    To prop a tottering Throne, redeem a People,
    Myself the sole, sad, victim of misfortune.

         (Pauses from terrour almost breathless.)

    This glorious sacrifice———I cannot make.
    Alas! devoted People! 'tis too late;——

         (Wringing her hands and weeping.)

    I am a Wife.

         (The People retreat a few steps back, as terrified, making a confused noise of sorrow.)

        OLD OFFICER.

                    Then we are lost indeed!
    Our succours are cut off, our Regent fallen,
    Our King is fled, our Princess too deserts us.
    Let us return to our sad homes. Not long
    They will be ours: for desolation comes.

        COUNT CILLEY.

            Remain! I am your friend; and I will save you.
    O'er your misfortunes, People! my heart weeps:
    Though by your King abandon'd, I'll protect you.

         (To the Princess, with contemptuous rage, who rises.)

    Whose Wife art thou? What wretch has dar'd accept
    Thy hand? Him instant death awaits for treason;


    Page 67

    And thou deserv'st no less. Who has betray'd us?

        PRINCESS (with a resolute voice).

            Myself.

        COUNT ClLLEY.

                    Who is thy paramour? Declare!

        PRINCESS.

            I will not answer this licentious mode
    Of disrespectful speech.

        COUNT CILLEY.

                            But thou shalt answer it.
    Hast thou so vilely cast thyself away,
    Hast thou so low descended, that thou blushest
    To own thy choice, before this injur'd People?

        PRINCESS (with great dignity and firmness).

            A Hero, from his cradle, known to fame,
    His country's honour, and her best support;
    Pride of her councils, victor in her wars;
    The soul of justice, and the arm of power;
    Him, has my heart selected for its lord;
    Him, do I glory to esteem, and love;
    To him, intrust this People, and Myself,—
    He can protect their rights, and guard his own.

        COUNT CILLEY.

            My friends! ye shall have retribution still:


    Page 68

    The voice of Justice bids you right yourselves.

         (Pointing to the Princess. Zilugo half draws his sword.)

    That woman seize; unless she now declare
    What wretch is rais'd to trample on your necks;
    That ye may piece-meal scatter his vile limbs:
    Then she, to Mahomet, shall your ransom be.
    Speak! for that shrine shall not protect thee, silent.
    Perhaps thy coward Brother, who is fled,
    Clings to some altar too. The King who can
    Desert his throne, from all allegiance frees
    The People; he dissolves their compact with him;
    And they may choose a King whose heart can feel
    Their woes, whose arm can succour their distress,
    Who, in their utmost need, will not desert them.

        SOME OF THE PEOPLE.

            Let Ulrick be our King!

        ZILUGO (with anger, to the People).

                                    We have a King,
    He who bereaves his Crown, shall feel my justice:

         (The Lords half draw their swords, as approving what Zilugo says.)

    My sword shall strike him, though he were Count Cilley,
    Hemm'd in by thousands, singly I'd oppose him.

        SOME OF THE PEOPLE.

            Our King deserts us.


    Page 69

        COUNT CILLEY (to the People).

                                    I will save you still.
    Assert yourselves, and all your foes shall tremble.

         (To the Princess.)

    Speak, I command thee! and declare thy partner
    In this complotted treason, which demands
    A punishment condign on thee, and him.

        PRINCESS.

    Art thou, Count Cilley? Surely some base impostor,
    Beneath his name, thus loudly bawls sedition,
    Excites revolt, and tempts to foulest murder.
    You whom the States chose Guardian to their King,
    Because his Uncle, have their choice dishonour'd.
    They hop'd to train a tender vine around
    A healthy parent elm: but, when the tendrils
    Of the young plant shoot curling up to climb,
    They clasp a wither'd branch, which, treacherous snapping,
    Yields no support, but lets it fall to ruin.
    Now, when my Brother wants your aid and counsel,
    When I might have found comfort from your friendship,
    Oh! you forsake, defame, and plot against us.
    False to your trust, rebellious to your Prince,
    To your own blood a traitor, I disclaim you.
    O'er me, my Lord! henceforth; you have no power.

        COUNT CILLEY.

            I'll shew thee that I have, and courage too,


    Page 70

    To execute a speedy vengeance on thee.
    Speak! give thy vile seducer to our wrath,
    Or with that Sword, which Rome's great Pontiff sent,
    To guard our cause, I'll sacrifice thee here,
    As excommunicate, as one unhallow'd,
    To whom an Altar's sanctity extends not.

         (Count Cilley advances to the step of the platform. Zilugo draws his sword, advances up the step, and stands before the altar table. The Lords of the Council draw their swords.)

        ZILUGO.

            Ulrick! that Sword is here in trust: 'tis sacrilege
    To seize it.

        PRINCESS.

                    That sacred Sword my Husband wears;
    And your ambitious hand shall never grasp it.
    You are my Brother's Subject. In his absence,
    If you rebel, and prove disloyal to him,
    Know that in ME resides my Father's spirit;
    Call'd forth, it shall invigorate my soul;
    And Albert's fearless Daughter shall protect
    His infant Son, whilst she has life, or friend,
    Upon the throne of his Imperial Fathers.
    Your house was honour'd by their high alliance:
    But when my Grandsire wedded with your Sister,
    You were Count Cilley still: no royal blood
    Flows in your veins to give a right to Empire.


    Page 71

         (To the People.)

            My friends! this is no time for civil broils:
    Concord and union are the arms of safety.

         (Pointing to her Uncle.)

    You are my hope 'gainst this unnatural foe;
    O! be yourselves the Guardians of your Princes.
    We are the last of our Imperial Race;
    Protect the offspring of your ancient Kings:
    Let each brave man think Albert's Son his own,
    Then feel how sacred is his Monarch's cause.

        COUNT CILLEY (to the People).

            Has not your coward Monarch left his throne,
    At rumour only of the Turks' invasion?
    Will you, brave Men, support a dastard Prince,
    Who flies to prison, rather than share your danger?

        PRINCESS.

            Malicious slanderer! 'Tis true, O citizens!
    Your King is fled. His Uncle, and his Guardian,
    Should, telling this, have told his tender Youth:
    Fear is the state of childhood, not its crime.
    Your Monarch, by his future deeds of fame,
    Shall gloriously retrieve this childish flight;
    Efface from memory's record this stain,
    And emulate the Race from which he springs.
            People and Peers! be guardians of his Throne,
    As ye would wish your children should, in peace,
    Possess their just hereditary rights.
            If I have done aught criminal against you,


    Page 72

    I ask to suffer singly, in myself;
    Your victim immolate,—or guard your Princess.
    Trusting to find you just, I quit all Sanctuary,
    Fly to your arms, confiding in your faith.

         (She flies amongst the people, who in part, surround her, at a little distance.)

        OLD OFFICER.

    We'll fight your cause. We'll die or suffer with you.

         (Kneeling.)

    Princess! for all, I swear allegiance to you:
    We trust your heart has made a worthy choice.

        PRINCESS.

            The Regent's Son, Corvinus, is my Husband.

        COUNT CILLEY (aiming his sword at her).

            Traitress! my tardy justice finds thee. Die.

         (The Old Officer throws himself before the Princess, and seizes Count Cilley's arm uplifted to strike, and holds it suspended. Zilugo and the Lords of the Council advance with drawn swords; Zilugo foremost, who takes Count Cilley's sword from his hand.)

        PRINCESS.

            Spare, spare my Uncle; I command you, friends!
    Restore his sword.

         (Zilugo gives back the sword.)

                    Cruel, insidious Uncle!
    Retire!—Reflect! that treason, and foul murder,


    Page 73

    Are such deep crimes, as with confusion load
    Even the time-honour'd head of age with shame.

        COUNT CILLEY

    Traitress! may she be curs'd. Oh! may'st thou keep
    Thy faith with this mean slave, this wretch Corvinus,
    As to his Father thou hast kept thy Oath.

         (Exit in a rage.)

    SCENE FOURTH .

         THE PRINCESS, MICHAEL ZILUGO, THE LORDS OF THE COUNCIL, PEOPLE.

        ZILUGO (to the Princess).

            We glory in your choice. And had we not
    A lawful Prince, all here, I know, would think
    Corvinus worthy of Hungaria's throne.

        OLD OFFICER (to the Council).

            My Lords! we ask Corvinus for our Regent;
    For him we will submit to war's dread hazard:
    We'll fight like lions for our brave young Chief,
    And trust some miracle from Heaven shall save us.

        ZILUGO.

            May favouring Heaven now grant its servants aid!


    Page 74

         (To the People.)

    Retire, my friends! in peace, each to his duty;
    Exhort your fellow citizens to theirs.

         (The crowd retires.)

    Princess! we go the Ambassadors to answer:
    Soon we'll return, and place you in the Castle.
    This quarter of the City is unsafe,
    Your Uncle's troops command it; much I fear,
    That his mad rage, bent on revenge and power,
    Will to some act of desperation tempt him.

         (The Princess returns to the altar; the Governor and Council go out: the scene closes.)

    End of the Third Act.


    Page 75

    Act Fourth.

    SCENE FIRST—THE TENT OF MAHOMET.

        

    A magnificent Tent, occupying the greatest part of the stage, in width; its form circular. The outer tent forming a hall of audience. Two doors, at the back of the tent, conducting to the interior part of it. In the middle, between the two doors, a splendid Throne, with a canopy over it; the drapery of the canopy hanging from a large crescent, representing gems. At each side of the tent, near the front, a rich sofa. The side scenes about the tent trees. The scene behind the tent the Turkish Camp; a crescent on the top of each tent.

    The scene drawing discovers Mustapha, seated on one of the sofas. An Aga enters the tent, holding his right hand motionless on his breast, according to the Turkish manner of salutation.

        AGA.

    CHUSANES waits without.

        MUSTAPHA.

                            Conduct him hither.

         (Exit Aga.)


    Page 76

    SCENE SECOND.

         MUSTAPHA, CHUSANES.

        CHUSANES.

            Impatient of my messenger's delay,
    I come before he brings me leave of audience.

        MUSTAPHA.

            You will not gain it yet; for disappointment,
    Rage, and revenge, possess the Sultan's soul
    By turns. His pride is wounded at the thought
    Of that disgrace, his fame will now sustain,
    Unless Belgrade should fall, by storm, or stratagem.
    Now, whilst he vents his rage, he will not see you.

        CHUSANES.

            My orders from his Highness are imperfect:
    And, I suspect, the business of this night
    Teems with no common danger to our arms.
    Why does he now negotiate for this Princess?

        MUSTAPHA.

            If she be gain'd, these Christian Dogs will rest
    Secure of peace: and, when they find our Fleet
    Was burnt, but to molest Huniades,
    They will impute this marriage to our fears.
    They will exult: but when in midnight wine,
    Supine they're drown'd, and unprepar'd to meet us,


    Page 77

    Then shall we thunder, at their half-arm'd walls,
    With all our mighty war: at once assault,
    And level, their high towers, ere they have time
    To weep their falling.

        CHUSANES.

                            Should they this intent
    Suspect, and much I fear they will, we're caught
    In our own toils. This policy may fail,
    They may refuse the Princess to our Sultan.
    Then great advantage does this parley give them.
    Ere we can storm, Huniades may land;
    Though half our host is gone to stop this Christian.
    But what are legions 'gainst this favour'd mortal?
    Whose prophet sends him signs, and prodigies* ,
    To affright and terrify the stoutest hearts.
    Our soldiers tremble at his hated Voice:
    'Tis as the blast of Israfel's dread Trump,
    To their astonish'd ears: They fly before him,
    With the same fatal speed, as will the accursed,
    Over the sword-edg'd Sirat , when fallen Eblis
    Despairing drives them. Our selected men,
    Even the Oglani, I beheld at Vascape
    Desert our mighty Prophet's holy standard,
    By Christian hands defil'd, led on to havock
    By fierce Huniades; who, o'er fourscore thousand,


    [Note *:]

    The bad success of the enterprise against Belgrade was attributed to the appearance of two Comets on the concluding days of that memorable Siege. See D'Ohsson's Hist. Gen. of the Othoman Empire, vol. I. p. 246.


    [Note †:]

    See Sale's Translation of the KORAN.


    Page 78

    Of the brave Faithful, there exulting triumph'd;
    And with a puny army, far less numerous
    Than our great Sultan's train* , when in the field,
    To unbend his mind, he takes his hunting sport.

        MUSTAPHA.

            Victorious Mahomet now leads the Faithful.
    Shall this Belgrade resist that mighty arm,
    Which raz'd Imperial Constantine's proud towers?

        CHUSANES.

            Another destiny, now frowning, threats us.
    Our Fleet was burnt but to prevent its capture;
    And, if the Christians, thinking it their fleet,
    Should yield to peace, our standard from their towers
    May wave; yet if our terms should be refus'd,
    The event is doubtful; they can still defy us.
    What 'vantage, by a month's blockade, is gain'd?
    If. at this time, they knew but their own strength,
    What shall we gain? The Christian Dervis aids them:
    Corvinus too, that Son of fierce Huniades,
    In strength, and years, our youthful Sultan's peer,
    Is in Belgrade: his fame and courage equal
    His veteran Sire's.——What hope of conquest then


    [Note *:]

    The Sultan Amurath had seven thousand Falconers, and seven thousand Huntsmen; and at the head of ten thousand men, Huniades defeated the whole Turkish army, commanded by Amurath in person. At Vascape, at the head of fifteen thousand men, he defeated an army of eighty thousand Turks: and for this signal victory, Te Deum was sung for three days throughout Hungary.


    Page 79

    O'er Men whom, singly, we have found invincible?
    Their valour claims that victory, which Heaven
    To them predestinates. In vain we strive;
    We cannot stem the tide, nor stand its force.——
            Will you not tell the Sultan, that his slave
    Waits for his further orders?

        MUSTAPHA.

                                    As my life
    I value, in his present mood, I dare not
    Venture, unsummon'd, to appear before him.
    "Let none approach me till Zoganus comes,"
    Were his commands.

        CHUSANES.

                            One, privileg'd like you,
    Might, in such exigence, dispense with orders,
    And disobey the injunctions passion gave.
    You are the only man who can control him.

        MUSTAPHA.

            I never dar'd but once* : nor dare I now.
    It were as safe to face the cannon's mouth,
    When its fierce blast sends forth pernicious deaths,
    As seek the Sultan in his ireful mood.
    Alas! his passions know no wholesome bounds.
    Nature has left her noblest work imperfect,
    In mighty Mahomet's splendid, savage soul.


    [Note *:]

    See Knolles, p. 351.


    Page 80

    SCENE THIRD.

         MAHOMET, MUSTAPHA, CHUSANES.
    (Mahomet enters from the left hand door of the inner tent; Chusanes prostrates himself; Mustapha offers to retire.)

        MAHOMET.

        Mustapha, stay!      (To Chusanes.)

    Rise, slave!
         (To Mustapha.)

    What, no Zoganus?——
    Is there no messenger?

        MUSTAPHA.

                            Great Sultan, no!

        MAHOMET.

            Curse on his tardiness, and negligence,
    Which disappoint my hopes, and keep my soul
    In this suspense.

        MUSTAPHA.

                    He doubtless waits to come
    In greater pomp, and bring the Princess forth
    In state, attended by her Lords and Chiefs.

        MAHOMET.

            Hah! say'st thou so.—Be they as princes feasted;
    Till night has thrown her starry mantle o'er
    Our warring hosts.      (To Chusanes.)

    Then give them chains, not death.
    Belgrade shall be their ransom, they my hostages.

    Page 81

    Soul of my Father Amurath! I swear,
    The affront thy arms sustain'd from this proud City,
    Thy Son shall see aveng'd. This fierce Huniades,
    Who drove thee hence, with shame, and fell defeat,
    Shall round thy tomb be dragg'd, a second Hector.
    Curse on his glory, it obscures my own.
    Though giant terrour's self stalks in my van,
    And bows the trembling Nations ere I strike;
    Yet he refills the conqueror of the East,
    Stops my career, and bids my fame stand still.
    By force, or stratagem, Belgrade shall yield,
    And suffer for this obstinate resistance;
    For all the pangs my wounded pride has felt,
    For all I still may feel, should dismal overthrow
    Disgrace my arms———I will not think it can;
    For if I do, I shall grow mad with rage.

        MUSTAPHA.

            If this strong City can be overthrown,
    You gain the Realm, of which it is the key.
    Surely they'll give their Princess to our Emperor?

        MAHOMET.

            But I must send, and sue, for this Agmunda;
    I, who had will'd, amidst the smoking ruins
    Of proud Belgrade, as royal spoil, to seize her.
    I fear these Christian Dogs are not deceiv'd,
    And that they know the blazing fleet is mine.
    But yet, Belgrade! thy towers shall kiss the ground.


    Page 82

        MUSTAPHA.

            All that men dare attempt, your troops will do;
    Inspir'd, and aided, by your great example.

        MAHOMET.

            Chusanes, have our orders been obey'd;
    And does each Chieftain know his post of honour?
    Is all in readiness to storm the City?

        CHUSANES.

            All that the mighty Sultan has commanded;
    And his Slave waits to know his further orders.

        MAHOMET.

            Let fires throughout the camp, ready for midnight,
    Be prepar'd. Plant the ordnance 'gainst the postern,
    North of the Eastern tower; for there I deem
    The wall is most assailable. Let Tura
    Lead on the main assault; and his worst troops
    First climb the scaling ladders. To the left,
    Let Isa Beg lead on the Tartar slaves.
    To the command of that brave veteran, Cali,
    Appoint five thousand chosen Janizaries,
    To back the assault, and drive the caitiffs on.
    He dies, who turns his back, or breaks the ranks.

        CHUSANES.

            What is the signal for our troops to leave
    The outer camp?


    Page 83

        MAHOMET.

                    The word be "Mahomet,"
    Let all, in silence, march without the lines;
    And then, from host to host, the word be"Amurath,"
    And instant let the cover'd fires blaze forth,
    To light them to their fame. To-morrow, tell them,
    Ere the Sun gilds the East, their conquering Sultan,
    Bearing the holy Prophet's sacred standard,
    Will view their glorious deeds, and aid their prowess.
    Should any dire mishap o'ertake our purpose,
    Let "Duma" be the word to spread the alarm.
    Within yon Grove, see my rear-guard be posted.
    Be my ten thousand troops all night in arms;
    That, if aught intervene, before day dawns,
    Worthy my Sword, all may be ready for me.

        CHUSANES.

            Say, what reward shall victory bring the Faithful?

        MAHOMET.

            Three days I give the Town to their sole pillage;
    With power of life and death o'er ev'ry citizen:
    And to each Captain, choice of twenty slaves,
    Amongst their Merchants. But their Princely Nobles,
    For me, and my Bashaws, must be reserv'd.
            Now send a summons, to the City walls,
    To know, why our Ambassadors are thus
    Detain'd?      (Chusanes goes out, and instantly returns, as meeting Zoganus; he conducts him in, and then retires.)



    Page 84

    SCENE FOURTH.

         MAHOMET, MUSTAPHA, ZOGANUS.

        ZOGANUS (prostrating himself).

                            Great Sultan!

        MAHOMET (signing to him to rise).

                                    Instant give your tidings!
    Did the Foe think the burning Fleet was theirs?

        ZOGANUS.

            They did, dread Sultan! and such consternation,
    As their looks shew'd, I never saw before.
    The Governor received your gracious message
    With much dislike; though he oppos'd, the Council
    Acceded to your terms: Count Cilley sway'd them.
    They went, in form, to bring the Princess to us.
    Long time we waited in the audience-hall.
    Back came Count Cilley: passion shook his frame,
    Aside he took me: "We're betray'd," said he;
    "Take your dismission peaceably, retire.——
    "When your first troops have reach'd the City gate
    "Halt, and expect your just revenge from me.
    "Let that commend me to your Sultan's friendship."

        MAHOMET.

    Dispatch—What means this many-worded mystery?


    Page 85

        ZOGANUS.

    Then came the Council, and with thanks dismiss'd us.
    The Princess had just own'd herself the Wife
    Of bold Corvinus.——

        MAHOMET (in a rage).

                            How! said'st thou his Wife?
    Corvinus' Wife? This Father and this Son
    Cast a more deadly shade upon my glory,
    Than curs'd Al Zackum* on Hell's barren plain.

        ZOGANUS.

            Sultan! you triumph over both——

        MAHOMET (half drawing his sabre).

                                    Peace, Slave
    On thy life, Say not I triumph! In love,
    Revenge, and glory, they impede my course.
    But for their swords, my conquests had outstripp'd
    The victories of mighty Alexander :
    Ere at his age arriv'd, the world had own'd
    Me for its Lord supreme; for like young Ammon,
    The world alone can bound my daring views:
    But these Hungarian Chiefs arrest my speed;


    [Note *:]

    See Sale's Translation of the KORAN.


    [Note †:]

    Alexander and Julius Cæsar were the models which Mahomet strove to imitate. Homer, Quintius Curtius, and Cæsar's Commentaries, were his favourite studies. He was master of all the learning of his time, and understood six or seven different languages. At this period, he was in the twenty-fifth year of his age.


    Page 86

    Else, like the first, intrepid, godlike Cæsar,
    Mahomet too had come, and seen, and conquer'd;
    Swifter than Fame, had she ten thousand tongues,
    Could speak his deeds. The haughty Eastern Empire
    In ruin lies beneath my feet: I'll reap
    Like harvest in the West Immortal Cæsar!
    In thy Imperial Rome I will be crown'd* :
    I'll plant the Crescent, where thy Eagles soar'd,
    And conquer Worlds to rule upon thy Throne.

        ZOGANUS.

            O, mighty Sultan! wilt thou hear thy Slave?

        MAHOMET.

            Yes; if thou canst but make me know I triumph
    O'er these aspiring Men. Gods! that such Heroes,
    Worthy to cope with Me, and cross my fortune,
    Should fight for a boy King, a coward boy!——
    If they be fallen, then speak; if not, away!
    Away! for my chafed soul is rous'd, and thirsts
    To wreak its vengeance. Speak! say! If I triumph
    O'er these destructive foes? And if I do,

         (Strikes his forehead)

    By heaven, I grieve—There's not a Hero left,
    Worthy to meet my prowess in the field,
    If these be overthrown .


    [Note *:]

    This, through life, was Mahomet's ambition, and he would have accomplished it, had he not been killed at the siege of Otranto in Italy.


    [Note †:]

    Mahomet said this when informed of the death of Huniades.


    Page 87

        ZOGANUS.

                            Hear first my tale;
    Then Sultan! of your triumph judge.

        MAHOMET.
                                    Proceed.——

        ZOGANUS.

            We halted at the city gate. A man
    Of noble port advanc'd. "Count Cilley sends me;
    Follow."—We did; and to a Temple, close
    Bordering upon the inner rampart wall,
    He led us. Kneeling, at an Altar there,
    Alone, we law a beauteous, female form.
    "That," said the stranger, "is Count Cilley's gift
    "To Mahomet. That is his Niece, the Princess."

        MAHOMET (drawing his sabre).

            Is she my conquest, Slave? Else, by this sword,
    Thou art but dust.

         (Zoganus terrified kneels.)

        ZOGANUS.

    Dread Emperor! she is:

         (Mahomet, with his sabre, motioning to him to rise, he rises.)

    Weeping, and trembling, hither she approaches.
    When our whole train had pass'd the city gate,
    Corvinus fell upon our rear. I left
    The skirmish to the conduct of Mesetes;
    Whilst I, with your fair prize, the trenches gain'd.


    Page 88

    Corvinus still maintains the fight; I saw
    His towering helmet glittering midst our troops.

        MAHOMET (to Mustapha).

    Mesetes may want aid: see to the field.

         (Exit Mustapha.)

         Enter an Aga.

        AGA (to Zoganus).

            Abdalla sends to say, the female prisoner
    Waits at the outside of his Highness' guard.

        MAHOMET.

        Bid him conduct her to our presence instantly.

         (Exit Aga.)

    Thou hast thy master's thanks for this good service.

         (Exit Zoganus.)

    SCENE FIFTH.

         MAHOMET, THE PRINCESS.
    (The Aga conducting the Princess; a Guard enters with her; an untwisted turban covering her face as a veil: the Aga takes it off, and then retires.)

        MAHOMET (as the veil is taking off the Princess).

            This is a prize well worth a kingdom's contest!


    Page 89

        PRINCESS.

            Prince! I thy justice claim. The faith of Nations
    Is, by thy treacherous servants, violated.
    A Truce protected them; but they profan'd
    Its sanctity and from an Altar tore me.
    Redress this wrong; give me safe conduct back.

        MAHOMET.

            Princess! I would forego my throne, my life,
    Sooner than part with her, whose charms would add
    Splendour to Empire, Paradise to earth.
    My faithful servants' zeal deserves my praise;
    I sent them for thee; sent them for my Bride.

        PRINCESS.

            Thy Bride! Alas! thou know'st not, Prince, the wrong
    I have sustain'd; I'm torn from all my soul
    Esteems; from all my anguish'd heart holds dear;
    Torn, from each social bliss, from life, from joy,
    From honour, from the Husband of my love.
    Restore me then, to all these sacred ties,
    By thy own Christian Mother* , I conjure thee!

        MAHOMET.

            No ties exist which can withstand my claims.
    What Husband, Princess! That mean slave, Corvinus,
    Shall not exult in such a beauteous Wife,


    [Note *:]

    Mary, the Daughter of George, the Despot of Servia.


    Page 90

    Radiant with youth, and love's attractive grace;
    More fair than are the Daughters of our Paradise;
    Worthy to share in Mahomet's soft retirement,
    When war relaxes his stern brow, and gives
    An interval of peace, to taste repose:
    Then will he joyful wear Agmunda's chains;
    And own, no other Deity, but Love.
    Oh, to possess thy heart! that when I come
    From conquest, thou may'st fly to meet me, chide
    My thirst for fame, yet glory in my laurels:
    Then tell me, how thou hadst thought, lov'd, dreamt of me.——
    I hail thee, charming Princess! my Sultana;
    Sweet partner of my Imperial bed and throne;
    For, by the Soul of my great Father Amurath,
    By this good Sword, I swear* ne'er to resign——

         (During the greatest part of this speech, the Princess seems absorbed in deep thought, and solemn grief; her eyes bent on the ground. When Mahomet says, "ne'er to resign—" with sudden burst of anguish and terrour, as of one awaked in a fright, She throws herself at the Sultan's feet.)


    [Note *:]

    The following is the Oath of the Turkish Sultans. "By the Immortal God, by the four hundred Prophets, by Mahomet, by my Father's Soul, by my own Children, by the Sword wherewith I am girt, I solemnly swear to perform what I have now promised." This Oath was sworn by Mahomet at the sacking of Constantinople, 1453, three years before the Era of this Tragedy, when he promised the soldiers, that if they could take the City, they should have the spoil of it for three days.


    Page 91

        PRINCESS.

            End not thy oath, I solemnly adjure thee!

        MAHOMET (offering to raise her, she rises).

            'Tis sworn already, I cannot resign thee;
    For by my Father's Soul the Oath was sworn,
    And 'tis so sacred, did our Prophet live,
    Not he himself could with the Vow dispense.
    Thou shalt exult in Mahomet's ardent love,
    Thy every wish prevented, thy whole life
    One splendid feast of sumptuous delight.

        PRINCESS.

            Since the sole benefit I could accept,
    Thou dost refuse; know, in the whole, wide range,
    Of all thy power, thou hast nought left to give,
    Worthy Agmunda's thanks, except a grave.

        MAHOMET.

            No, beauteous Scorner! no; a tomb ill suits
    Thy youth. Whole ages of delight await us;
    Thou my Sultana, I thy humble Slave.

        PRINCESS.

            I am the Wife of an illustrious Hero:
    My hand and heart are to Corvinus given.
    Respect the sacred tie of nuptial Faith.

        MAHOMET.

            Fate has dissolv'd it. For you are my Slave,


    Page 92

    Taken in war. When you refus'd my nuptials,
    The truce was void. Fate has decreed you mine.

        PRINCESS.

            My Faith is pledg'd. I never can be yours.
    Your prophet, Sultan! has forbidden marriage
    With one who is a wife.—Revere his law.

        MAHOMET.

            With a free woman, marriage is forbidden.
    But my bond Slave* , although her Husband live,
    I by my Law may wed.

        PRINCESS.

                            Or Slave, or free,
    I am Corvinus' Wife. Marriage with thee,
    Wen if I were thy Slave, my Law would punish.

        MAHOMET.

    Renounce thy Christian Worship;—own our Prophet.

        PRINCESS.
         (Regarding Mahomet for a moment with haughtiness and contempt).

            Forsake my everlasting Hope!—For what?
    The privilege to quit a noble Husband,
    Whom I adore for his unblemish'd honour,


    [Note *:]

    "Ye are also forbidden to take to wife free women who are married, except those women whom your right hand shall possess as Slaves."
    SALE'S Translatiou of the KORAN, p. 63.


    Page 93

    A gallant Youth who is his Country's bulwark?
    Forsake my GOD! that I may wed a Tyrant,
    Whom my soul spurns at, and my heart abhors!

        MAHOMET.

            What's thy resistance, to a Monarch's power?
    Thy scorn may, to resentment, turn my love.
    Thou hast forgotten then, that I am Mahomet?
    Whose frown annihilates the wretch it lights on;
    Whose least displeasure is such certain Death,
    The stoutest Warrior trembles to excite it.

        PRINCESS.
         (With a swiftness, as if some sudden illumination of thought at that instant struck her).

            I, with unspeakable contempt, behold it.
    Scoff at this dreaded tyrant, who could send
    Thousand of slaves, beneath a lying embassy,
    To seize one Woman. Heavens! Art thou a Prince?
    Where, is the honour, that should grace thy rank,
    And give its brightest splendour to a throne?
    Thou base, dishonourable, treacherous, coward!

        MAHOMET.
         (Half drawing his sabre, but sheathing it as he speaks).

    Audacious Fair! that coward's power can crush thee;
    Make thy proud soul, with fear, shrink shuddering,
    And, prostrate in the dust, implore his mercy.

        PRINCESS.

            Derision, and not fear, thy taunts inspire.


    Page 94

    Dismay and terrour, come they at thy beck?
    Behold! a Woman braves, a woman scorns thee.
    Her Soul superiour, lords it o'er thy Spirit;
    Which aw'd, and cow'ring, droops before its greater.
    Thou, Mahomet! Thou! appall'd shrink'st shudd'ring,

         (Mahomet lays his hand on his sabre.)

    Before a Christian foe, before thy Captive.——
    The Daughter of that sceptred Ancestry,
    The constant scourge of thy barbarian Race,
    Protected by thy fear, defies thy sword;
    Disdains thy mercy; she would shew thee none:
    The axe of Justice on thy neck should fall,
    And rid mankind of Thee! their dire disgrace.
    Know, trembling coward! that I fear thee not.
    Thou dar'st not take my life.

         (Mahomet in a rage draws his sabre, having kept his hand upon it during the latter part of this speech, advancing to strike the Princess, she advances.)

        MAHOMET.
         (Turning away, and dropping the point of his sabre, leans upon it).

    I will not kill her.

         (The instant that the Princess perceives that he will not kill her, she retreats from him.)

        PRINCESS.

            Tyrant! art thou in abjectness, so sunk,
    That thou hast not one generous vice? Hast thou


    Page 95

    No manly rage 'gainst an insulting enemy?
    Rouse thee to anger, Prince! Do not, when scoff'd,
    And coward call'd, forego a signal vengeance.
    Wreak thy revenge against an insolent foe,
    Who lives, but to revile thee.

        MAHOMET.

                                    At thy call,
    I wake to rage, resentment, and revenge.
    Soon I'll repay thee this vindictive scorn.
    I see thy drift, Agmunda! Thou would'st die,
    And me, the instrument of death, would make.
    Thou bidd'st me vengeance take,—and I will take it.

         (Sheaths his sabre. Terrour takes possession of the Princess's countenance for an instant.)

    For thou shalt live. I'll seize by force, proud Woman!
    Those charms which vainly I have stoop'd to sue for.

         (Mahomet advances to seize her; she draws the Dagger from her bosom that Corvinus had given her as the pledge of his loyalty to her Brother. Retreating as she speaks, holding the Dagger fast clenched in her hand, in readiness to strike it into her bosom. Mahomet starts at seeing it, and, perceiving her intention to stab herself, does not advance.)

        PRINCESS (with a resolute, solemn voice).

    This Dagger guards my Husband's honour, Sultan.
    If thou approach, I strike it to my heart.
    Death from dishonour saves me, and from thee.


    Page 96

         (Mahomet advances a step, she extends her hand strike, he retires.)

    Prince! I dare pay that awful debt to Virtue,
    Which I to Nature owe. And I will die,
    On the most slight suspicion of Dishonour:
    The moment that alarms my wakeful fears,
    Remember————is my last.

        MAHOMET.
         (Striving to restrain his rage, and disappointment).

                                    To save thy life,
    I promise, that thy honour shall be safe.

        PRINCESS.

            Sultan! I thank thee. O! relent, and make
    The life thou deign'st to save, a blessing to me.
    Redeem thy honour, and retrieve thy glory;
    Win, by thy noble conduct, my esteem;
    Yet, yet, be just; permit me to depart!

        MAHOMET (with gloomy haughtiness).

            Unless thou wilt, this hour, consent to wed me,
    Thou art MY Slave no longer.

        PRINCESS (with joy and exultation).

                                    Unbounded gratitude,
    My heart repays thee, noble, generous, Sultan!
    May joy, like mine, irradiate ev'ry gloom,
    That dark despair upon thy mind may cast.


    Page 97

        MAHOMET (fiercely).

    Forbear thy thanks.—For since, imprudent Princess!
    Thou dar'st disdain my love, I here resign thee.——
    Thou art my Slave no longer——I bestow thee
    Upon the vilest Tartar in my camp:
    The prince thou scorn'st makes thee a reptile's slave.

         (The Princess raising her dagger.)

         (Mahomet hastily.)

    Thy honour shall be safe—fifty brave Janizaries
    Shall be thy guard, to keep thee from all danger.
    In this, thy bondage, there is no dishonour.
    It is affliction only, such affliction.——

         (Looking at her with the most taunting scorn.)

    As CHRISTIAN Slaves must patient bear, and live.

        PRINCESS.
         (With extreme anguish, looking up to Heaven).

    This————is affliction's iron hand indeed.
    All gracious heaven! for my one, deep offence,
    Let this dire retribution make atonement.
    In mercy, guard me from my own despair;
    And give me fortitude to meet my fate!

         (Panting with terrour, she supports herself by the drapery of the tent.)

        MAHOMET.

            Art thou then, obstinately bent, to brave me?

         (With entreaty, mingled with admiration.)

    Think of thy youth, the graces of thy form,
    Thy ev'ry elegance, thy winning charms,


    Page 98

    Have pity on thyself! Doom not thy beauty,
    To a curs'd fate, that chills my heart with horrour.
    Wilt thou not deign to deprecate thy doom?

        PRINCESS.

            If there be aught of human in thy heart,
    Say, by what virtuous means I may awaken it.

    SCENE SIXTH.

         MAHOMET, THE PRINCESS, MUSTAPHA.
    (Mustapha comes in sight on the same side on which the Princess stands; but does not enter the tent.)

        MAHOMET.

            Guards!      (They appear.)

    To the inner tent conduct the Princess:
    Let none presume, on pain of instant death,
    Her sacred person to approach uncall'd.

         (To the Princess.)

    This order may suffice, to hush thy fears.
    Retire, and let repose thy spirits calm.
    Have pity on thyself, nor seal thy doom.

        PRINCESS (retiring to the inner tent).

    Sultan! reflect, nor force me to accept it.

         (The Aga of the Guards opens the door of the inner tent on the right-hand side: the Guards
    Page 99

    range themselves on the same side with the Sultan, so that the Princess may enter the tent without passing near them. When entered, the door of the tent closes; the Guards retire.)

    SCENE SEVENTH.

         MAHOMET, MUSTAPHA.

        MUSTAPHA.

            Sultan! the Christian Dervis is thy prisoner,
    And waits without. The Christians still maintain
    The fight, led by Corvinus.

        MAHOMET.

                                    Curse on his courage!
    Ten thousand sequins shall reward the man
    Who kills Corvinus. This proclaim. Return,
    And here, before the Princess, say he's slain:
    Or true, or false, I have a rich revenge:
    But add such circumstance, as may gain credence
    To what thou say'st.——      (Exit Mustapha.)


                            She must, she shall be mine.
    What an exalted soul Agmunda owns:
    My spirit never was so mated yet,
    Envy and admiration both contend,
    And love, and hate, alternate, swell my breast.


    Page 100

         (To the Guards at the side scene.)

    Conduct the Christian Dervis to our presence,
    He shall persuade the Princess.

    SCENE EIGHTH.

         MAHOMET, CAMPESTRAN (in Chains).

        MAHOMET.

                            Art thou Campestran?

        CAMPESTRAN (proudly).

            I am.

        MAHOMET.

            Better it would become thy Prophet's Minister
    To preach of peace, than, clad in priestly vestments,
    The torch of Discord waving in thy hand,
    Thus to run madding, wild, from clime to clime,
    Leading enthusiasts to certain death;
    Battening our vultures with thy pious fools.
    Attend to heavenly cares; leave arms, and war,
    To Monarchs and to Heroes. Priest! I want
    A peaceful service from thee; reward awaits thee,
    If thou succeed.

        CAMPESTRAN.

                            With Infidels I hold
    No fellowship. From me expect no service.


    Page 101

        MAHOMET.

            Thou art my Slave.

        CAMPESTRAN.

                            The prisoner of thy arms,
    I know I am.

        MAHOMET.

                            Thy life is in my hands.

        CAMPESTRAN.

            Take it; a Christian warrior fears not death;
    Nor looks for noble treatment from base Mahomet.

        MAHOMET.

            And dost thou know me, yet insult my power?

        CAMPESTRAN.

            Thy power, thou lawless Ravager! and Thee,
    My soul regards, as Heaven's afflicting scourge.
    Gaunt famine, pestilence, and spotted plague,
    And curs'd, imperial Plunderers, like thyself,
    Are but its instruments of wrath, to visit
    Bad men's impiety. Heaven's end obtain'd,
    Then are your waves of desolation stay'd;
    Ye shall not pass the bounds of its behests.
    Thy crimes accomplish'd, yet thou shalt not triumph.
    The partner, in thy ruffian treachery,
    Has paid the forfeit of His two-fold guilt;
    Zilugo's sword has punish'd Cilley's treason;


    Page 102

    He dies, first victim to the injur'd Princess.
    Restore her then, and thus avert thy punishment.

        MAHOMET.

            Till thou canst rail the eagle to forsake
    Her sky-built aerie, for the wren's humble nest,
    Thou dost but lose thy pains to lesson me.
            Say, does thy Prophet's Law permit thee death,
    By thy own hands?

        CAMPESTRAN.

                        No: it forbids all murder.

        MAHOMET.

            Instruct thy Princess better, in her duty;
    She dares uplift her hand against her life.
    Rail forth thy Law to her. For if she die
    By her own hand, thou shalt expire in torments.

         (Mahomet goes to the door of the inner Tent, which is opened at his approach; the Princess seen sitting on a sofa, weeping.)

    Princess! thy warrior Dervis is my slave;
    Here, I allow thee to hold converse with him.

         (Campestran goes towards the inner Tent, the Princess, seeing him, comes forward, the dagger in her hand.)


    Page 103

    SCENE NINTH.

         MAHOMET, THE PRINCESS, CAMPESTRAN.

        PRINCESS.

            O holy father! much I grieve to see thee!
    Exhaustless is, I fear, my cup of woe;
    And thousands, of the baleful draught, drink with me.
    Say, does my Hero live?

        CAMPESTRAN.

                                    Corvinus lives.

         (The Princess looks up with thankfulness, to Heaven.)

    Long by his side I fought: He still maintains
    The fight, with more than human strength. His arm
    The sword of Justice wields; 'tis Heav'n's own sword,
    And he, vicegerent of the wrath of Heaven,
    Exterminates, from earth, its scoffing foes.
    He will avenge the insult done to Thee,
    And to the Faith of Nations, by thy capture.

        PRINCESS.

            Thou God of battles! in a cause thus just,
    Raise thy strong arm and buckler on his side!
    Ye sainted Spirits of my royal Fathers,
    Implore the Throne of Mercy for this Hero,
    And save the guardian Genius of your Race!


    Page 104

    SCENE TENTH.

         MAHOMET, THE PRINCESS, CAMPESTRAN, MUSTAPHA.
    (Mustapha enters, and lays the Sword and Casque of Corvinus at the feet of Mahomet.

        MUSTAPHA.

            Our Prophet fights the mighty Sultan's cause.

        MAHOMET.

            Whose Sword and Casque are these?

        MUSTAPHA.

                                    They are the spoils
    Of fallen Corvinus————whom Mesetes slew.

        PRINCESS.

    Oh!——      (falls fainting into Campestran's arms.)


        CAMPESTRAN.
         (Supporting the Princess, and raising his eyes to Heaven).

    O! send her strength proportion'd to her woes!

         (The Princess recovering, looks earnestly at the Sword and Casque, and lifts the Dagger to kill herself: Campestran stays her hand, and continues.)

    Rely on Heaven! nor rashly shed thy blood:


    Page 105

    For life, or death, are not in mortals' choice.
    Bow down thy soul with patience to this grief;
    And, as this separation wounds thy spirit,
    Let not thy rebel hand eternal make it,
    And lose the hope, in realms of bliss, to meet
    The worthy object of thy love on earth.
    Resign this Dagger.——

        PRINCESS.

                        No: as 'twas Honour's pledge,
    It shall be Honour's guardian.

        MAHOMET.

                                    Princess! thy faith,
    According to thy Law, is disengag'd.
    Consent, that by thy Christian Rites, Campestran
    Shall now unite us.

        PRINCESS.

                    Never, will I consent!
    Never! Corvinus! to thy Tomb I'm wedded!

         (To the Sultan.)

    O, let me see him! that the sight may end me!
    Then give us the fame grave: And spare Belgrade;
    Her matrons, virgins, and her tender infants;
    And my last breath shall praise and bless thy mercy.

        MAHOMET.

            If thou wouldst have thy ardent prayers prevail,
    And save thy native City from my wrath,
    By all that's sacred, to a Christian's soul,


    Page 106

    Thou first must swear, not to attempt thy life;
    And, in this very hour, be my Sultana:
    Or else, with fire and sword, this night, Belgrade
    Receives my troops; and sates my great revenge.
    To-morrow thou shalt see thy City delug'd
    With blood; her Nobles, in thy presence, slain.
    Thou shalt behold my hated foe, Corvinus,
    Piece-meal devour'd, by our fierce ravening dogs:
    No other sepulchre will Mahomet grant him.

        CAMPESTRAN.

            This godlike youth, shall he not find a grave?

        MAHOMET.

            Ask that obdurate Fair, who gives remorseless
    Her Husband's mangled corpse to vile dishonour,
    Her Country to the sword: it is her will.
    Corvinus was my foe; as such, I treat him.
    Belgrade contains no friend who fight my cause;
    I plunge no sword into my Country's bosom;
    Nor sentence thousands to indulge my scorn.

        PRINCESS.

            Show Mercy, Prince! as thou wouldst wish to find it;
    Nor ask a price thou wouldst disdain to pay.
    Think on the chance of War, and nobly use
    The power, which Heaven, in vengeance to this Land,
    Ordains thy desolating sword to gain.      (Kneels.)


    Think, if some treacherous turn of human fate,

    Page 107

    Should thus bow down thy struggling mind to earth;
    Thus humbled, thus abas'd, in abject woe,
    If mercy thou wouldst hope, O, grant it now!
    By me the sorrowing People, thus implore thee;
    Their anguish'd souls, thus humbled to the dust,
    They deprecate thy rage, and sue for mercy.

        MAHOMET.

            Did the whole Heavenly Hierarchy kneel,
    Unmov'd I'd act the purpose of my soul.

         (Campestran raises, and supports the Princess.)

    But, on the terms I proffer'd, will I spare:
    Thou art the sovereign of thy Country's Fate.
    Live; and be partner of my bed and throne:
    Else, thy obdurate scorn shall wake more crimes,
    Than war's inventive cruelty yet knows.
    Pronounce the Doom—If mercy be thy will,
    Urge not my rugged soul, by vain resistance;
    Lest thou shouldst rouse a storm beyond control.
    If thou wilt yield, this moment is thy own;
    The next, may be too late, e'en for repentance.

         (He walks away from the Princess.)

        PRINCESS.

    Thy justice, Heaven! o'ertakes me for my perjury;
    For my transgression my brave Husband falls.
    Though great my fault, yet dire, beyond compare,
    On me, thy over-whelming justice comes.
    Yet, awful Power! if sufferings can for crimes
    Atone, sure mine may hope to find remission.


    Page 108

    Let this dread expiation clear my guilt,
    Make me so pure, that I may prove a victim,
    Acceptable to thee, and save my country still.

         (Mahomet approaches.)

    O! Mahomet! I'll be ransom for this People;
    I swear, till Heaven shall call my spirit hence,
    I will bear life, nor free me from its load.
    And,—if thou still insist to force my hand,
    I'll sacrifice myself——nay,——even to Thee;
    But thou must swear to give my Country peace,
    On fair and honourable, Princely Terms;
    Nor ask another Victim than myself;
    Must swear to grant my Husband's corpse a grave;
    And once again permit me to review
    My native palace, give me three, sad days,
    To take a last farewell, and see entomb'd
    The Husband of my love.

        MAHOMET.

                            I swear to grant
    All thou hast ask'd; but on this one condition,
    Instant be mine. If thou attempt thy life,
    Thou doom'st Belgrade to an unheard-of vengeance.
    Princess! retire. Thou Dervis with her go,
    And, on thy life, protect her from herself.
    Prepare thy nuptial rites; I will but give
    The orders which befit this change, then come
    And take my bride, my fair, my bright Sultana.

         (The Princess, supported by Campestran, goes into the inner tent; stopping at the Sword and Casque as she passes them.)


    Page 109

    SCENE ELEVENTH.

         MAHOMET, MUSTAPHA.

        MAHOMET.

            Vengeance, and love! ye both are in my power!

        MUSTAPHA.

            Corvinus, though disarm'd, was not o'ercome;
    Sav'd by his troops, who gave their lives for his.
    Within our trenches they maintain their ground,
    Corvinus still is foremost in the fight.
    He will not yield; nor can he now retreat:
    Dearly he sells his life, and like Corvinus.

        MAHOMET.

            Come, I will see him fall. When dauntless heroes
    Firm, meet their fate, they are more great than monarchs,
    Whom favouring fortune crowns with easy conquests:
    They are a sight for Gods to view, and praise.

         (Exeunt.)

    End of the Fourth Act.
    Page 110

    Fifth Act.

    SCENE FIRST—THE SULTAN'S TENT.

         (In the interval between the Fourth and Fifth Act, the word "Mahomet" given; first heard near, and distinctly, from many voices; then dying away at a distance. Just before the scene draws for the Fifth Act, a discharge of several canon ; then shouting and warlike music. The scene drawing discovers Mustapha in the Tent. The Sultan's Guards ranged on the outside of the Tent. Another discharge of cannon. The door of the inner tent opens: the Princess seen seated on a sofa, fainting, attendants supporting her.)

        MAHOMET.
         (Coming forward, to the Attendants in the tent).

    SEE, she attempts no deed of desperation.

         (Door of the inner tent closes.)

    Haste, call Chusanes.      (To one of the Guards.)


         (To an Aga of the Guards.)

    Aga! sound my charge,
    That my ten thousand Spahies* form their ranks.

         (The Aga goes out.)


    [Note *:]

    The Body Guards of the Turkish Sultans are selected from the Janizaries. The better sort amongst them are honoured with the name of Spahi, Oglani, that is to say, the Sultan's Knights and Sons.
    See KNOLLES, p. 485, 1463; and Brief Discourse, p. 5 and 6.


    Page 111

    Day dawns too slowly for my fierce impatience.
    Mustapha! thou must guard my tent, and watch
    Over the life of this disdainful Princess:
    Maddening with grief and rage, she, when our cannon
    Open'd their brazen throats, feeling at once
    Her Country's certain fate, with all the energy
    Of deep despair, her bosom on the earth,
    Invok'd her God, "By his dread Attribute
    "Of fearful Justice, to assert himself,
    "And curse me in the snare my falshood form'd."
    Grief shakes her frame almost to dissolution.

         (The Sultan's Charge sounded.)

    Soon as returning life comes to her cheek,
    Be it thy care to impress her mind with hopes
    Of winning mercy for her Country still,
    If she but live. She must not dare to die,
    Against my will. Death would impede my triumph
    O'er these proud Huniads.      (Canon again.)


                                    Roar on! and sweep
    My foes from earth. Hark!!——

         (The alarm word, "Duma," from many voices. Mahomet takes his sabre from the throne. The alarm word again and again. Then, "Huniades," from many voices.)


    Page 112

    SCENE SECOND.

         MAHOMET, MUSTAPHA, CHUSANES, AGAS AND JANIZARIES.

        CHUSANES (entering).

            Arm! mighty Sultan! arm! Our troops are slaughter'd:      (Mahomet strikes his forehead.)


    Caught in our own curs'd Toil. For when our fires
    Blaz'd forth, they show'd our marshall'd foe prepar'd,
    With battle-axe, and pointed spear uplift,
    To hurl destruction with their wonted rage.
    Our foremost dauntless fought, and bravely fell.
    But all our valiant hosts at once gave way,
    At the re-echoed shout of fierce Huniades:
    They fly, like carded wool* before the wind
    At his approach, nor dare abide his presence.
    Huniades is master of our trenches,

         (Mahomet girds on his sabre.)

    And our own cannon are against us fir'd:
    The Oglani fly; all fly before Huniades;
    And our own Fires light Him to victory.

        MAHOMET (drawing his Sabre).

            Light Him! vile Slave! they shall light Me to vengeance.


    [Note *:]

    Koran, chap. 101.


    Page 113

         (To an Aga.)

    Give orders, that the troops in yonder grove
    Move not, till I demand their aid; when wanted,
    I'll send this signal to approach my standard.

         (Showing the scabbard of his sabre.)

         (The Aga goes out.)

         (In a lower voice to Mustapha, showing an immense ruby Ring on his left hand.)

    If I send this, give the Sultana poison.      (To an Aga.)


    Unfurl our mighty Prophet's standard.——Follow!

         (Addressing himself to all.)

    And view the triumphs of my conquering Arm.

         (A magnificent Green Standard unfurled; the Turkish Arms emblazoned in gold and precious stones. The Agas, as the standard is unfurled, draw their sabres.)

        ONE OF THE AGAS.

    Or Death, or Victory; lead, mighty Prince!

         (Mahomet goes out, attended by Chusanes, the Agas, and the Janizaries. The standard borne before him.)


    Page 114

    SCENE THIRD.

         THE PRINCESS, MUSTAPHA, GUARDS.
    (A loud shout heard.—A discharge of cannon. After which, the door of the inner tent opens.—The Princess enters with precipitation, as breaking from those within. The Guards retire from sight, when the Princess comes into the outer tent.)

        PRINCESS (to Mustapha).

            Where, Messenger of woe! where is thy Sultan?

        MUSTAPHA.

            Gone forth to lead the Faithful on to battle.

        PRINCESS.

            Heaven!—let thy signal vengeance strike this monster;
    Harrow his soul at once with all his crimes;
    Let every woe his savage heart inflicts,
    In all its bitterest agony, recoil upon
    His head, till in despair he curse himself.——
            ——In vain I'm sacrific'd—this tyrant's Wife;
    And not the saviour of my wretched Country.
    Has Hell a torment that can equal this?
    Had I but sav'd the People from destruction,
    Though plung'd in woe, my fate would have been bliss
    To what I feel. Offended Heaven rejects me.


    Page 115

    Justly the fate I broke my oath to shun,
    O'erwhelms me now———

        MUSTAPHA.

                        Restrain this tide of grief!

        PRINCESS (to Heaven).

    Punish my guilt upon myself alone!—      (Cannon heard.)


    ———O infants! virgins! matrons! of Belgrade!
    'Tis my transgression draws this ruin on you!
    Then, curse the hand which to the spoiler gives you!
    Perjur'd and lost Agmunda! Thou hast orphann'd
    Thy country's helpless babes, widow'd her wives,
    Hast forc'd her heroes on to certain death,
    And made thy native Land, a land of slaves.

        MUSTAPHA.

            Your love may win the Sultan's heart to spare.

        PRINCESS.

            Spare!!—When his sword reeks in my Country's blood?
    Corvinus lost, torn from my arms in wrath,
    Why should I live, given to the fiend, I loathe?
    His Wife! Distraction! Curs'd, curs'd, Mahomet's Wife!
    Me Heaven itself forsakes;—      (pauses from grief.)


                            —a wretch, an outcast——

         (With resolution bordering upon phrenzy.)

    I'll face the injur'd heroes of my Land,


    Page 116

    And perish by their swords.

         (Going from the tent by the side on which she entered, when brought in by Abdalla.)

        MUSTAPHA,
         (Going between the Princess and the side scene).

                                          (Cannon heard.)

    You must not pass.
    This way lies danger; here the battle rages.

        PRINCESS,
         (With feigned composure, yet breathless from agitation.)

    I heed not danger; let me view the fight.

        MUSTAPHA.

            Bright Sultaness! I cannot grant your prayer;
    Beyond this Tent I dare not let you pass.

         (She forces past him, he takes her in his arms, and brings her back.)

        PRINCESS (as Mustapha strives to prevent her going).

            Detain me not!——
         (When forced back.)

    Inhuman Slave! unhand me!

         (Cannon heard.)

    O wretched Country! O Friends! Brother! Husband!
    But I will join you.——

         (She again attempts to go; Mustapha prevents her; and signs to the Guards, who advance & stop the passage.)

                    —Slave! swift palsy blast
    Thy ruffian arm; unheard-of plagues torment thee.
    Oh! may'st thou share the maddening pangs I feel,
    And be so curs'd, thou canst not even die!


    Page 117

         (A Slave advances through the Guards, and presents the Sultan's Ring to Mustapha, who starts with horrour at the sight of it.)

        MUSTAPHA (apart).

    Why came he not himself?

         (He whispers to a Slave, who retires; then signs to the Guards, who advance on both sides; their hands on their sabres.)

         (Kneeling to the Princess.)

    O peerless Woman!
    Hard is my fate, to be again the messenger
    Of woe, to seal thy Doom. The will of Heaven,

         (The Slave appears with the cup of Poison; the Guards draw their sabres, and advance nearer to the Princess.)

    And of my Master, must be done. Resistance
    Would be in vain.      (Shows the Sultan's Ring.)


                            Your instant death he orders.

         (Mustapha rises, and takes the Cup of Poison from the Slave.)

        PRINCESS (with rapture).

            Bless'd sound!

        MUSTAPHA.

                            This draught——

        PRINCESS (taking the Poison with great eagerness).

                                    Is the Viaticum,
    Which Heaven has sent. My deep contrition has


    Page 118

    Acceptance found. Death is the sign of pardon.
    Tyrant! thy crime is mercy to thy Victim.
    Corvinus! husband of my heart! I join thee.

         (She drinks the Poison; the Guards sheath their sabres, and retire.)

         (Kneeling.)

    All gracious Power! complete this bless'd deliverance.
    Redeem my Country! and protect my Brother!
    Forgive the frailties of my erring mind,
    And let thy Peace, in this dread hour, support me!
         (To Mustapha, rising.)

    How long must I still live?

        MUSTAPHA.

                            A little span;
    This lowering dawn is thy whole sum of life;
    The Sun will never rise for thee again.

        PRINCESS.

    Thou hast thyself to tread through Death's dark vale.
    Anticipate that hour, when nature trembling,
    E'en though resign'd, wants some sustaining friend.
    Then think how bitterly that hour would linger,
    To have about thy bed of death none other,
    Than objects of thy hate, to see thee die,
    To view thy last, sad pang, and close thy eyes.
    Reflect on this, and pity Me. O, lead me!
    Where, in vile chains, the good Campestran groans.
    Though deep my anguish, and though fix'd my woes,
    His prayers will calm my soul, and I shall die
    Resign'd.


    Page 119

        MUSTAPHA.

                    I grieve I cannot grant your wish.

        PRINCESS (with agitation).

    Such cruelty excites————

         (Stops short, repressing her anger.)

         (Recovering her solemn composure.)

    But what have I
    To do with human passions now? The sorrows
    Of my torn heart are just absolv'd. My soul,
    Be firm; the peaceful sleep of friendly death
    Medicines thy load of woes! Would I had where
    To lay my weary head, till that sleep comes!

         (The Princess retires into the inner Tent.)

         (A discharge of Cannon, a confused noise, & shrieks heard.)

    SCENE FOURTH.

         MAHOMET, CHUSANES, ZOGANUS, AGAS, SPAHIES, JANIZARIES, MUSTAPHA, &c.
    (Mahomet, wounded and exhausted, brought in by the Agas; a turban bound round him. The Agas support him; as he recovers, he struggles to shake them off; they still hold him.)

        CHUSANES.

            All, Mustapha, is lost! Our Sultan wounded,
    As thou seest, almost to death. Flight alone


    Page 120

    Can be our refuge, in this wreck of fortune;
    Only the Rear-Guard is yet unassail'd:
    Let us with that retreat and save our Emperor.
    'Twill be a bloody and a desperate service;
    But better death than chains from Christian foes.

        MAHOMET (recovering).

            Ye curs'd rebellious Slaves! give me a sabre!
    I'll not retreat before these scoffing Christians.
    Had I ten thousand lives, I'd give them all,
    Rather than yield such triumph to my foes.
    Let me not live, unless I live to glory.

         (Struggling to get from them.)

    Give me but arms;—I'll slay whole hecatombs;
    And, if at last I fall, a trophy leave,
    Such hosts of slain, as shall record, that Mahomet
    With an unconquer'd spirit brav'd his fate.

        CHUSANES.

            Think of your wound.

        MAHOMET.

                                    Unhand me to revenge it.
    Begone, ye recreant traitors! Christian Slaves!

         (He bursts from them.)

    Nor hope to chain the whirlwind of my rage:
    I will have vengeance. Dastards! from the field,
    Ye forc'd your prince; forc'd Mahomet to fly
    Before a Christian Foe.


    Page 121

        CHUSANES.

                            You were disarm'd,
    Wounded, and fallen. Our Prophet frowns upon us,
    And lets the Christians triumph.

        MAHOMET.

                                    Curse on his frowns* .
    Let him be satisfy'd to reign in Heaven;
    And leave this world to me.——Why does he aid
    These Christians? Man alone, could not achieve
    Deeds like Huniades.—Think of his feats,
    Since yester morn. Though I destroy'd my Fleet,
    In hopes to stop his landing, in the teeth
    Of half my troops he lands; swift mows his way
    Athwart their serried ranks; flies through Belgrade;
    Defeats my Army; storms my Camp; and turns
    E'en my own Cannon 'gainst my flying Slaves.
    Though Amurath fled hence, Gods! must I fly ?

         (Strikes his forehead.)


    [Note *:]

    Mahomet, repulsed at the siege of Scodra, blasphemed in his choler and frantic rage most horribly against God; most impiously saying, "that it were enough for him to have care of Heavenly things, and not to cross him in his worldly actions."
    KNOLLES, p. 423.


    [Note †:]

    This was Mahomet's manner of expressing rage, grief, or disappointment. And, when under the influence of his rage, he never thought of his own personal safety. Once seeing his Admiral going to strike to a Genoese ship, he spurred his horse so far into the sea, that he narrowly escaped being drowned.

    After this siege of Belgrade, no one dared to mention that city in his presence; and he never mentioned it himself without expressions of grief.


    Page 122

        CHUSANES.

            But yesterday, his vaunted Son, Corvinus,
    Whose fame transcends his own, fled from your arms.

        MAHOMET.

            By Heaven! that flight was great; great as the triumph
    Of cursed Huniades. Like a chas'd Lion,
    Did he not rush from his insulted lair,
    Come forth, with a few hundred men, against
    Embattled myriads? Were not our slain
    Double the number of his band? With more
    Than half his troops, went he not back, to tell
    What he had dar'd? Flight call you that from 'midst
    An army such as mine? 'Twas like a God,
    Lancing his terrours, and then stepping back
    To grasp more dreadful thunder 'gainst his foes.

        MUSTAPHA.

            The troops, in yonder grove, await your signal.
    Submit to fate, retreat. Allow your judgment——

        MAHOMET.

            Give me a sabre, or I'll go unarmed.

         (He attempts to go, crossing the stage to pass the Agas.)

        MUSTAPHA (to the Agas).

    Friends! beyond men be bold to save your Sultan.

         (Whispers to Chusanes and the Aga next him; the
    Page 123

    whisper circulated round. Chusanes, Mustapha and the Agas range themselves to prevent Mahomet's passing.)

        CHUSANES (raising his sabre).

            Yes, gallant Mustapha!

        MUSTAPHA.

                            Great Mahomet, hear me!
    Let reason's voice now sway——

        MAHOMET (offering to go).

                                    I will not hear it.——

        MUSTAPHA.
         (Drawing his sabre, and opposing his passage; Chusanes and the Agas at same time raise theirs, and point them against Mahomet).

            Then this—      (lifting his sabre)

    must make it beam upon thy mind:
    Our Sabres reason with thy mad temerity.
    Sultan! thou shalt not live to be a captive.
    No Christian shall exulting give thee chains:
    Thy faithful Slaves will and thee, and then die.
    Mustapha's arm shall let the great example,
    Pierce thy brave heart, then turn the reeking blade
    Against his own.

         (Trumpets sound an alarm, the Turks face about, surrounding their Sultan.)


    Page 124

         Enter a Janizary.

        JANIZARY.

            Fly! Fly! Huniades has forc'd the Guard.

         (A shout nearer, and a discharge of cannon; the Turks surround the Sultan.)

        HUNIADES (spoken behind the scene).

            Rally the troops; for Mahomet is here.
    Surround the tent. This fiend shall not escape me.

        MUSTAPHA.

            Guards! force the Sultan hence!—Save him, ye Faithful!

         (Gives Mahomet his own sabre, and takes one from a Janizary.)

    Deign to retreat; stay not to be a captive!

         (The Janizaries force Mahomet back; Mustapha, Chusanes, Zoganus, range themselves before the Sultan, so as to face the Hungarians.)

    SCENE FIFTH.

         (A shout. HUNIADES enters, followed by VILACH and the Hungarians.)

        HUNIADES.

            Tyrant, thy fate, Huniades, is come!


    Page 125

         (Mahomet bursts from the Janizaries. Huniades and he aim at each other: Mustapha catches upon his sabre the blow which Huniades strikes at Mahomet; by which means his sabre is struck from his hand, and the Hungarians make him prisoner. The Janizaries rush before Mahomet, those behind, force him back; Zoganus and Chusanes, retreating, oppose Huniades, still keeping between him and the Sultan, who is forced away.)

        HUNIADES.

            Stay, treacherous Infidel! Barbarian, fly not!

        MAHOMET (as he is forced away).

            Huniades! Thy arm I still defy.

         (Cannon and shouts.)

    SCENE SIXTH.

         HUNIADES, VILACH, MUSTAPHA, HUNGARIAN OFFICERS AND SOLDIERS.

        VILACH (stopping Huniades).

            Your valour wings you to forget your orders;
    "Not to pursue the Foe beyond the Camp."

        HUNIADES (going).

    Mahomet is here. My sword shall free mankind—

         (Cannon on the side to which Huniades is going.)


    Page 126

        VILACH.

            Pursue him not. The cannon are come round;

         (A discharge of cannon.)

    Our soldiers fire upon the flying Sultan.

        HUNIADES (returning).

            Prudence indeed forbids us the pursuit.

         (Another discharge of cannon.)

    What right good service has their Ordnance done us!
    Mahomet may fall by his own dreadful enginery:
    Some Heaven-sent shot may execute that justice,
    Which Providence denies my trusty sword.

        VILACH.
         (Seeing Huniades lean fainting upon the Officer next to him).

            General, you droop!—Your wounds I fear are mortal?
    Alas! if great Huniades survive not,
    Though the Turks quit the field, they conquer Us.
    If you be lost, our hearts will be subdued.
    Like dastards shall we fall, and not like men.

         (The Soldiers who fought against the Turk, when Mahomet is forced away, return with the royal Turkish standard.)

        HUNIADES (looking at the standard).

            Belgrade is sav'd. Grieve not for me, my friend!
    I thought my death, though certain, not thus near.
    Think not of me, the Princess claims your aid:


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    Unless found here, brave Friends! pursue the foe,
    At any risk.

        MUSTAPHA (pointing to the inner tent).

            She is within that tent.

        HUNIADES (extremely faint).

            Thanks for her safety, Heaven! That care is o'er.

        VILACH.

            Oh! must this Day be mention'd but with tears!
    These wondrous acts be told but to record,
    How much this day we lose, in losing thee?

        HUNIADES.

            Bathe not our laurels with your tears, my Friends!
    Our Virgins, Matrons, Children, Sires, are sav'd;
    Rejoice! Exult! We fought, we bled, we conquer'd,
    The glorious work of Freedom is achiev'd,
    Yon field is won. The struggle is no more.
    From Infidels our Country is redeem'd,
    Our infant King in safety wears his Crown.

         (Sinks faint.)

        VILACH.

            Must our bright Sun, in his meridian blaze,
    Be veil'd in night? his light and warmth withdrawn,
    His course of glory stemm'd in mid career?

        HUNIADES (reviving).

            Lament not thus: for long has been my course;


    Page 128

    And war has with no common favour spar'd me.
    My Friends! I led your Grandsires to the field:
    Aiding my arm, your valiant Fathers bled.
    My glory is not stemm'd in mid career:
    Death comes but when my age demands repose.
    My wounds, though mortal, yet have miss'd my heart:
    My strength returns, my spirits feel renew'd.
         (Kneels.)

    Leader of armies! King of Kings! accept
    The silent tribute of thy Servants' hearts,
    Till with due Rites, their solemn sacrifice,
    They grateful pay, for this their bless'd deliv'rance.
    Resign'd to thy decrees, I wait for death;
    Thankful that, when thou call'st me hence, my debt
    To Nature, in my Country's cause, is paid.
    Bless our young Monarch with his People's love;
    His People bless, as they to him prove faithful.      (Rises.)


            Vilach! take you the conduct of the field,
    And let my care devolve on you my friend.

        VILACH.

            Hard is the task to follow thee in fame.
    But must I leave thee thus, struggling with death?

        HUNIADES.

            Companion of my Wars! my brother! friend!
    We yet shall meet again.

        VILACH.

                            Heaven grant we may!


    Page 129

    SCENE SEVENTH.

         HUNIADES, MUSTAPHA, OFFICERS AND SOLDIERS.

        HUNIADES.

            Retire, my friends! withdraw your noble prisoner;
    Guard him; and give him honourable treatment.

         (To Mustapha.)

    Brave I esteem thee, though thou art my captive.
    Say, is Campestran in these Tents?

        MUSTAPHA.

                                    He is.
    O gen'rous Christian! when my deeds are known,
    Revenge will take my life. But I have sav'd
    My Prince; and, on such terms, death is most welcome.

         (Exit guarded.)

         (Exeunt Hungarian Soldiers.)

    SCENE EIGHTH.

         HUNIADES, THE PRINCESS.

        HUNIADES (going towards the tent).

            Oh! that my King had but Agmunda's virtues!
    Child as he is, he then would grace a throne;


    Page 130

    And give transcendent hopes of future fame.
    Agmunda!

         (Huniades opens the door of the inner tent; the Princess discovered kneeling.)

        PRINCESS.
         (Starting, and looking with astonishment at Huniades.)

            Hah!

        HUNIADES.

                    The Victory is ours.

        PRINCESS.

            Ours??—Heavens! Speak! speak again! but say 'tis Ours!

        HUNIADES.

            Yes; Victory indeed is ours. I come
    To guard you back, in triumph, to Belgrade.

         (The Princess rises, and comes panting and much agitated to Huniades; looking very earnestly, and rather wildly, at him. He supports and leads her forward to the front of the stage. She falls at his feet, attempting to speak, but is unable.)

        PRINCESS.

                    Oh!

        HUNIADES.

            By fear bereav'd of sense! she knows me not.

         (Huniades throws away his helmet.)

    Huniades, thy friend, thy Guardian, saves thee;
    Thy Father's old, grey-headed, faithful Servant.


    Page 131

        PRINCESS.

            I know thee well; thou art the guardian genius
    Of this freed land,—Heaven's delegate,—Huniades!

        HUNIADES.

            Why, Princess! dost thou kneel? For Heaven's sake, rise!

         (Raises her.)

        PRINCESS.

            I swore an oath to Thee; which Heaven attested,
    When thy persuasion, arm'd against my peace,
    Fatally triumph'd o'er my ductile mind.
    I am forsworn. For yester-morn my faith
    Was, at the Altar, plighted to thy Son.
    I knelt for pardon, for this breach of Oath,
    Which, thou forgiving, I then shall hope
    Heaven will remit hereafter punishment;
    And its retributory justice end,
    When my vex'd spirit quits its mortal clay.

        HUNIADES.

            O Princess! pardon me, that I exacted
    An Oath, so fatal to thy peace. State policy,
    Combin'd with honest zeal, to fix the Crown
    Safe on thy Brother's brow, made me unjust.
    I curb'd the dearer wishes of my heart,
    Silenc'd ambition and parental love,
    To serve my Country, and protect my King.
    May Heaven, and you, forgive the erring zeal
    Which wrought the ill thy conscience thus deplores.


    Page 132

    But I must now rejoice; and Heaven be witness,
    Pride of my soul! admir'd, belov'd Agmunda!
    How much I glory, that thou art my Daughter.
    Exalted Princess! may these faithful arms——

        PRINCESS (falling on his neck).

            My Father! from my cradled infancy,
    Thou kindly hast supply'd my Parent's loss;
    And I have lov'd thee with a daughter's love.
    But, ah!, that scarf?      (to Heaven.)

    O, spare Huniades!

        HUNIADES.

            Huniades is bless'd, beyond his hopes!
    Not quiring Angels could impart more peace,
    Chaunting a Requiem to my parting soul,
    Than the dear comfort that thy pious hand,
    Most gracious Princess! will perform a Child's
    Last duty—close my eyes.

        PRINCESS.

                            That Heaven forbids;
    For, by the Sultan's order, I am poison'd.

        HUNIADES.

            Poison'd? O my lov'd Princess! O my child!
    My ill-starr'd zeal expos'd thee to this fate.
    Blood-thirsty fiend! my vengeance shall o'ertake him.
    Arnulph!      (going to the side scene, an Officer appears.)


                    Fly to Belgrade for ev'ry help
    Which poison can expel. The Princess—fly—

         (Exit Arnulph.)


    Page 133

        PRINCESS.

            Oh! send him not; there is no aid for Me.
    The tyrant's ruffians know too well the trade
    Of death, to give a drug that has an antidote.
    I would not live. What has the bride of Mahomet
    To do with life?

         (Huniades starts with surprise and horrour.)

        HUNIADES.

                        The Bride of Mahomet?
    The Sultan's Bride? Didst thou not wed my Son?

        PRINCESS.

            Yes! the last, fatal day saw me his Bride,
    His Widow——and the inhuman Sultan's Wife.
    When tidings came that thy brave Son was slain;
    In hopes to save the People from destruction,
    I gave my hand to this infernal spoiler.
    But first, he kneeling, swore to save Belgrade,
    And give my Country honourable peace.
    Betray'd, forlorn, of ev'ry hope bereft,
    Save, to protect Belgrade from Fire and Sword,
    I gave myself Victim for the Many;
    Sav'd, at that price, my gallant Husband's corpse,
    From those vile insults which the tyrant threaten'd.
    I gave my hand a ransom for his dust;
    Thus bought a Grave, which fate had cursed me so,
    I could not share; for I was sworn to live.
    The miracle which Heaven has wrought to save us
    By sending Thee, whom I had mourn'd as dead,


    Page 134

    Was beyond thought. Hope of deliv'rance perish'd
    When dear Corvinus died.

        HUNIADES.
         (Goes to the side scene, and speaks to an Officer).

                                    Surround the Tent.
    Nor suffer any, above the Rank of Soldier,
    To enter here.

        PRINCESS.
         (Following Huniades, and drawing him back).

                    Stay with me, till the strife
    Is past. Forsake me not, in death's dread hour.
    My woes hang heavy on my parting soul.

        HUNIADES (with much emotion).

            They will embitter my last hours of life.

        PRINCESS.
         (Her eyes fixed wildly upon Huniades, taking his hand).

            Do not grieve thus: see, I am calm, unmov'd,
    Patient, amidst there horrours, and sedate.

        HUNIADES (aside)

    Heavens! madly calm, and dreadfully sedate.

        PRINCESS.

            Alas! this poison gives a cruel death,
    Fierce pangs, and sad, wild thoughts——

         (Holding up her hands in a supplicating manner.)


    Page 135

                                    Forsake me not!

         (During this speech, Huniades is much agitated. The Princess hangs upon his arm: he turns from her to hide his tears, covering his face with his hand. When she says, with a voice of heart-piercing anguish, "forsake me not," Huniades clasps her in his arms.)

        HUNIADES.

            Forsake thee!——      (Pauses from grief.)


                    Angel sufferer!—not for worlds,
    Were I a spirit beatify'd, I'd pray
    To quit the realms of bliss, to be thy comforter.

        PRINCESS.

            Then thou wilt calm the terrours of this hour.

         (With transient joy.)

    My Country is redeem'd, the People sav'd.
    And thou, their Champion, com'st to soothe my soul,
    Let the same earth entomb me with thy Son.

         (With wild emotion.)

    Think——how I love his dear, his sacred dust,
    When, at such hellish price, I bought that dust
    A Grave:——Shall I not share it?—Am I poison'd?
    Death's icy hand arrests me; that, that consoles me,—
    My troubled brain rolls like a sea of fire,
    My heart heaves cold, damp sighs, which freeze my lips.      (Strives to recollect)


    All is confusion—strange thoughts come—they're gone——

    Page 136

    Spare me a moment, Heaven! Avert these horrours;
    Divide us not in death——

         (Clasping the hand of Huniades.)

                                    Give us one Grave.

         (With recollection and something of composure.)

    Tell to the people, how I strove to save them.
    Tell them to love my Brother, for my sake.
    Reward my servants——I——forgive my Uncle,
    Wicked, unprincely man!

        HUNIADES.

                            Whate'er thy wrongs,
    They have been well aveng'd; for when Belgrade
    Open'd her gates to Me, he had just suffer'd
    Death, by Zilugo's sword.

        PRINCESS.

                            Forgive him, Heaven!
    This poison's terrible; it warps my mind,
    Benumbs its firmness; like a wither'd limb
    Its active energy is lost and gone.
    I wish for death; yet I feel terrour at it,—
    I know not why; horrour more fearful to me,
    Than midnight silence, when cold, breathless fear
    Suspends the labouring soul in dread expectance
    Of a fell murderer's stab,——the bloody hand
    Uplift to strike——

         (She looks wildly, as if she saw what she describes, shrinking from it.)

         (Grasping Huniades' arm.)

    Speak to me! hold me!
         (Lays her head on his shoulder.)

    Hide me!

    Page 137

    The quiv'ring earth disparts—the chasm yawns for me.

         (Sinks into the arms of Huniades, gasping with terrour; and struggling for support.)

    Support me—save me—Oh!

        HUNIADES.

                                    Though not for life,
    Heaven! let her virtues plead for peaceful rest.

        PRINCESS (breaking from Huniades).

            Here is no rest for Me. I cannot rest.
    The ground flies from me.      (Leans on Huniades.)


                                    Oh! it looks so dreadfully.

         (Her hand held up a moment, as if to hide the ground from her sight.)

    What flames of sparkling fire! Are these my punishment?

        HUNIADES.

            No; thou sweet excellence! The poison now
    Exerts its baleful powers, and clouds thy sight.

        PRINCESS.

            I hope 'tis that——But yet, I have my senses;

         (Looking at him.)

    You are Huniades—This      (looking round)

    is the Tent;
    'Tis Hell, it is all flames: and what am I?

         (She flies wildly from Huniades.)


    Page 138

        HUNIADES (following her, and taking her hand).

            Agmunda soon will be a radiant Angel,
    Her Virtues all rewarded.

        PRINCESS (withdrawing from his hold.)

                                    Where's the dagger?
    No! no! I prize it for the Giver's sake——
    Mark me, Campestran! I'll not kill myself.
    Corvinus is in Heaven——I would go to him.——

        HUNIADES (taking her hand).

            Be calm!

        PRINCESS (breaking from him).

                    Bid calmness come! does it obey thee?
    And can a mind distracted, ruin'd, calm
    Despair. Oh! when I am most mute 'tis worst.
    Bid me not think:—for then—I ponder mischief
    Against myself; and I would go to Heaven;
    Therefore no mischief.—Fain I'd bide the storm.—
    Speak comfort, say my heart has it's death's wound.

         (Going close up to Huniades, & speaking in a low voice.)

    I swore an Oath to make myself a wretch;
    Then the shaft pierc'd me: sure, though slow, it glided
    To my inmost life; and this day—sends it home.

         (Noise)

        CORVINUS (without).

            Hither I hew'd my path; and I will enter.

         (Huniades shews much horrour and distress at hearing his Son's voice.)


    Page 139

        PRINCESS.
         (Panting with terrour, taking hold of Huniades).

    Hark! Mahomet! Mahomet comes!! Where shall I fly?
    Earth, ope thy caverns! Heaven, thy thunder lance!
    O Death! unbar thy thousand gates to hide me.
    Have mercy, Heaven! Campestran! kneel, and pray,
    Some miracle may save me from this infidel.

         (Huniades supports her.)

         (To Heaven, with outstretched hands.)

    Release my tortur'd soul! O, take me! take me!

         (She sinks into the arms of Huniades.)

    SCENE NINTH.

         CORVINUS, HUNIADES, THE PRINCESS.

        CORVINUS.

            Agmunda! dear Agmunda! why this terrour?

        PRINCESS (raising herself, and looking round).

    What voice is that?

        HUNIADES (keeping between, the Princess and his Son).

                        There is no voice, Agmunda!
    It is the Poison hurts thy mind.

        CORVINUS.

                                    Hah! Poison?


    Page 140

        PRINCESS.

    That voice!      (looking.)

    It has his form! I think it has.
    Look you!      (Hides her face on Huniades.)


        HUNIADES (aside to his Son).

                    For Heaven's sake go!

         (To the Princess.)

    'Tis thy wild thoughts;
    There's no one near the tent,—but thou and I.

        PRINCESS.

            No! I hope not——The vision comes to Me.
    Thou canst not see it.      (Corvinus approaches.)


                                    Thou shalt have a Grave.
    Oh!

         (She averts, with her hand, the approach of Corvinus, who takes her outstretched hand; she manifests, by the horrour of her looks, first turned to Huniades, then on Corvinus, that she knows how fatally she has been deceived by the account of his death: and, with a piercing groan, dies.)

        CORVINUS.

            Alas!, she faints!

        HUNIADES.

                        My Son! that groan was death.

        CORVINUS.
         (Attempting to draw his sword, Huniades prevents him.)

            Detain me not. Tell not the tale of horrour


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    That swells thy heart——and let this give me peace.

         (Again attempts to draw his sword, Huniades prevents him.)

        HUNIADES.

            Hope not for peace through unpermitted means,
    And dread——for thy particular self, Corvinus!
    With wholesome fear, and stand in awe, that Heaven
    Its Mercy veils, when the self-murderer pleads.
    On my grey hairs avenge not thy distress.
    The grave awaits me; bid me not go down to it
    With added grief,—with fear,—with trembling agony,
    That thy rash act, for ever, may divide us.
    My Son!      (Clasps his arms about Corvinus.)


        CORVINUS.

            Oh! do not speak. I will not live.

         (Huniades unclasps his arms, & retires a step from him.)

    I have no use for life.

        HUNIADES (rather sternly).

                            A wounded Father,
    Son! claims thy pious care. Thy life, and sword,
    Thy injur'd Country, and thy King demand.

         (In a softened voice.)

    Agmunda's wrongs claim vengeance from my Son.

         (Corvinus rouses; he kneels and takes hold of Agmunda's hand, as if he were swearing to avenge her wrongs.)


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    She lov'd thee well.      (Corvinus rises.)

    She lov'd thee for thy valour.
    If like a coward, now thou fly'st the field
    Of life, Agmunda will in Heaven know care.
    Continue what she lov'd, a dauntless Hero,
    Firm midst the dangers of terrific war,
    Or the stern trials of domestic woe.
    Joyless thyself, yet live for others bliss.
    O, grant him, Heaven! the patience thou reward'st;
    Preserve this comfort for my hour of death,
    When I no longer fight my Country's cause,
    To know, I leave her Champion in my Son.

         (Leans on Corvinus.)

    End of the Fifth Act.


    Page [143]

    THE CONFLICT;
    OR,
    LOVE, HONOUR, AND PRIDE:
    A HEROIC COMEDY.


    Page [144]


    Page [145]

      Dramatis Personae.

    • CARLOS.
    • DON MANRIQUE; Count of Lara.
    • DON LOPEZ; Count of Guzman.
    • DON ALVAREZ; Count of Lunon.
      • Grandees of Castile.
    • DON RAYMOND; Count of Moncade.
    • DONNA ISABELLA; Queen of Castile.
    • DONNA LEONORA; Queen Dowager of Arragon.
    • DONNA ELVIRA; Princess of Arragon.
    • BLANCHE.
    • Grandees, Officers of the Court, Guards, &c.
        SCENE—VALLADOLID.


    Page [146]


    Page [147]

    THE CONFLICT;
    OR,
    LOVE, HONOUR, AND PRIDE.

    Act First.

    SCENE FIRST—

         The Antichamber to the Queen of Castile's Presence-Chamber, to which it opens by the Scene's dividing.

         DONNA LEONORA, DONNA ELVIRA;
    (Enter opposite sides).

        D. LEONORA.

    HAIL to my darling Child! This smiling morn
    Rises auspicious to behold my joy;
    This is the birth-day of thy regal power:
    And my child mounts this Day her Father's Throne.
    Revolted Arragon now courts thy sway,
    And with repentant heart, wrenching thy sceptre
    From Garcia's grasp, repairs its long rebellion.
            The Deputies ere noon will here arrive,
    From exile to recall thee, and restore,
    With signal honours, thy long ravish'd Kingdom:
    To swear allegiance, and to hail thee Queen.


    Page 148

        D. ELVIRA

            Oh! may that Crown, which Heaven, this Day, restores me,
    Add to my Mother's bliss, as to her power;
    Though Queen, I still her subject shall remain.
    Her prudent counsels, and her wise resolves,
    Will sway and safely guide my youthful mind.
            This is indeed a Day of high import;
    Alike distinguish'd by eventful fate,
    To fix for Arragon, and rich Castile,
    A future Monarch on their envy'd Thrones.
    This Day the beauteous Isabella names
    The Husband of her choice, and crowns him King.

        D. LEONORA.

            O my Elvira! wouldst thou fix thy choice,
    And now select a partner of thy Throne;
    From anxious care my mind would be reliev'd.
    Troubles, from long misrule, will rise in Arragon;
    And I am all thy counsel, or defence:
    And can I on that Throne protect my Child,
    Which all her Father's valour fail'd to guard?
    A valiant Husband's arm would prop thy state;
    Disperse the mutinous, and quell rebellion.
    Let prudence plead the cause of love, Elvira!
    Reward the godlike passion of Alvarez,
    Who fought thy hand, whilst hopeless of a Crown.
    Now emulate the worth thy soul esteems;
    And generous in thy turn, be grateful too:
    Let thy first act, as Queen, be nobly just,
    Ascend thy Throne, and name Alvarez King.


    Page 149

        D. ELVIRA.

            Heaven well rewards his virtuous deeds to me.
    A Throne, more splendid far than mine, now courts him,
    With Isabella, in Castile to reign.
    The brave Castilians name him of the Three
    From whom they wish their Queen to chuse a Consort.
    First, my dear Mother! let me mount my throne,
    Before I fix with whom, that Throne to share.

        D. LEONORA.

            Ah! my foreboding fears! Your choice is made.
    Reflect, my Child! whilst yet the power remains,
    What grief, what dangers may await your love.
    Resist this fatal impulse of your heart,
    Which will embitter all your future life.
    Could my maternal bosom yield consent,
    Yet would the Nobles of your Realm submit
    To bow the knee to one, plebeian born?
    Too much, alas! the valiant Carlos charms you.
    But what avails his matchless worth? His blood
    Springs from some base, contaminated source,
    Which he, through pride, with conscious shame, conceals.

        D. ELVIRA.

    Yet, though conceal'd, its source may be most pure.
    For have not princes, men of high renown,
    Disguis'd themselves, their names, and birth deny'd,
    Whose swords alone have signaliz'd their fame;
    Subduing kingdoms, and bestowing crowns;


    Page 150

    Singly the fate of empires, and of kings.

        D. LEONORA.

            Is this the flattering hope your heart has cherish'd?
    And the distinction which you pay to Carlos,
    Is it then love, grafted on hope fallacious?
    Ah! my dear Child! give not such room for censure,
    Nor cherish sentiments, you must subdue.
    Avoid the converse which destroys your peace,
    And lends the venom'd tongue of slander, speech.

        D. ELVIRA.

            Such rare endowments, and such gallant worth,
    As Carlos owns, in noble minds, excite
    Esteem, complacent friendship, and urbanity.
    I but that tribute of regard bestow,
    Which his transcendent virtues justly claim;
    Chaste as a sister's innocent affection.
    Can this reflect upon my virgin fame,
    Or draw the breath of calumny against me?

        D. LEONORA.

            Beauty and youth, with princely rank combin'd.
    Winning admirers, draw observers too.
    The storm, unheeded, deluges the weed,
    Whilst, on the garden's pride, the peerless lily,
    And the sweet, opening rose, not unobserv'd
    Hang, e'en the freshning dew-drops of the morn.
            Carlos commands respect from ev'ry heart;
    And, did his merits less conspicuous shine,
    Your gentle soul uncensur'd might esteem him.
    But to each virtue, that adorns the man,
    A warrior's valour, and a hero's fame,


    Page 151

    He adds each striking, each attractive grace;
    Commanding, awful, yet inspiring love;
    In port a monarch, and in mind a god.
    When he appears, each eye with pride surveys him;
    All seem to take a fashion from his mien,
    And with complacent hope, admire their model.
    Though ev'ry lady courts him by her smiles,
    Whom has he yet distinguish'd but yourself?
    Save when he pays his duty to his Queen.
    In his attention you such pleasure take,
    That you betray—more than esteem for Carlos.

        D. ELVIRA.

    That homage which queens claim, does Carlos offer;
    He pays his court like others, who approach me;
    Worth, such as his, knows no temerity.

        D. LEONORA.

            With you to Arragon does Carlos go,
    Only to pay his court, as here he pays it?
    The worth he owns may make his thoughts aspire;
    And he, who guards your Throne, may hope your love.

        D. ELVIRA.

            War is the element of souls like his;
    From victory to victory they fly;
    Glory their idol, and their wish distinction.
    Seville dismantled, and the Moors defeated,
    Castile, triumphant, wants his arm no more.
    His great ambition, thus without an object
    Offers his sword against our Rebel, Garcia.
    His valour will achieve, what, with success,


    Page 152

    Our subjects have begun; chase this Usurper,
    And bid fair peace, and safety, grace my Throne.

        D. LEONORA.

    But, when his conqu'ring sword has fix'd your reign,
    Your subjugated Vassals at your feet,
    Will Carlos quit your Realm, to seek fresh toils;
    Nor hope that Crown, his valour may have sav'd?—

        D. ELVIRA.

            Madam! the Queen approaches to give audience.

    SCENE SECOND.

         DONNA ISABELLA, DONNA LEONORA, DONNA ELVIRA, BLANCHE.

        D. LEONORA.

            This Day then, Madam! this distinguish'd Day,
    You will reward some happy lover's flame?

        D. ISABELLA.

            I, at my People's prayer, proclaim a King:
    A Husband chuse, a partner of my Throne.

        D. ELVIRA.

            Alas! methinks my royal friend appears
    With more than usual sadness in her eye.
    Long has her heart conceal'd a load of grief,
    Refus'd to make me partner of the cause,
    And shunn'd my converse, save in hours of state.
    My joy, on this eventful Day, believe me,


    Page 153

    Will want its charms, if Isabella mourn;
    With such delight she hail'd my change of fortune,
    I thought, last night, that all her griefs were fled.

        D. ISABELLA.

            Still, my Elvira! does my heart rejoice
    In thy recover'd Crown; e'en whilst I sigh
    To lose the friend, I from my cradle lov'd.
    Thy joy alone can gladden my sad soul,
    Oppress'd, and harrass'd by corroding care.
    I sacrifice my peace this fatal Day;
    But to the State's repose, I yield my own.
    All the Grandees, ambitious of the Crown,
    Embroil, by their intrigues, the public peace.
    To terminate their feuds, I name a King:
    Castile, through all her States, conjures me to it.
    And, by my order, three Grandees elects,
    To one of whom, I this hour give my Throne.

        D. LEONORA.

            Three most renowned Heroes they elect;
    Don Manrique, Lopez, and the brave Alvarez,
    Though not of royal blood, are worthy thrones.

        D. ISABELLA.

            Ah! what to me avail the shouts of fame,
    Which hail them idols of the public choice,
    If of my heart, the gallant Don Alvarez,
    Lopez, nor Manrique, be the chosen lord?

        D. LEONORA.

    Though nam'd, to them your choice is not confin'd;
    Speak your heart's wish, your Vassals will obey.


    Page 154

        D. ISABELLA.

            Though born my Subjects, yet I am their Slave;
    And bound by laws Kings tremble to infringe.
    A royal rank imposes stern restraints;
    The hearts of Kings must neither love nor hate.
    I am less free than e'en my meaner subject;
    Chain'd by fastidious glory to her car,
    Which nice, imperious, jealous, honour guides:
    My heart must feel for others, not myself,
    Each wish ungratify'd, each grief disdain'd——

         (Stops short.)

         (To Blanche, who speaks to an Attendant.)

            Are the States met?      (Aside.)

    Oh! could this fatal Choice
    Be still delay'd, or never, never, made!
    Calm, gracious Heaven! this conflict of my soul,
    Direct my actions, and inspire my thoughts!

         (The scene dividing gives entrance into a magnificent Presence-Chamber. A royal throne under a canopy. Two chairs of state in a line with the throne. At the right-hand of the throne a small ornamented stand, higher than a table, upon which the Sceptre and Regalia are placed. Seats ranged on each side of the throne to the front of the stage: the Grandees & Officers of the Spanish Court standing before them. The Royal Guards standing behind the seats. The Grandees take off their hats, and remain uncovered till the Queen


    Page 155

    has walked to the platform of the throne; and when she turns round and speaks, they put them on. Carlos only remains uncovered.)

    SCENE THIRD.

         DONNA ISABELLA, DONNA LEONORA, DONNA ELVIRA, BLANCHE, DON MANRIQUE, DON ALVAREZ, DON LOPEZ, CARLOS.
    Grandees, Officers of the Court, Guards, &c. &c.

         (The Queens go towards the throne, the Queen of Castile in the middle. At the foot of the platform, the Queen of Castile turns & addresses the Court.)

        D. ISABELLA.

            Lopez, Alvarez, Manrique! whom my States
    Have nam'd as worthy to ascend my Throne!
    Before I grant their prayer, and name a Sovereign,
    Brave Counts! a solemn Oath, I ask from each.
    Swear, uncontested, to accept my choice;
    That the rejected Two, nay, all the Three,
    (If 'tis my pleasure to reject them all)
    Will, whom I name for King, own as his Master.
    My Right to chuse, my Lords! you must now recognise
    And swear to guard that Right inviolate,
    When I shall name my Husband and your King.
            Both of my Crown, and Self, I may dispose:
    I hold my State's Election as no law;


    Page 156

    Nor shall it subjugate my royal Will:
    Well pleas'd I view their justice to your worth,
    Showing their high esteem of your exploits;
    Which, though it shall not rule, may guide my choice.
    May Heaven's Omniscient Will illume my mind!
    Make me the agent of its high behests,
    That my now choice the worthiest may reward.

         (To the Grandees.)

            Ye Nobles of Castile! my People's Delegates!
    I grant their prayer. Own ye my royal Rights,
    That in myself alone resides the Power
    To chuse my Husband, and divide my Rule?

         (The Whole Court, each having his right hand on his heart, bow assenting.)

         (To the Counts.)

    There Rights, thus recognis'd, swear Counts! to guard.

        D. LOPEZ.

            Unquestion'd, unoppos'd, I swear to guard them.
    Your States but supplicate, nor mean restraint;
    And in obedience solely to your Will,
    Have they made known their sentiments of us.
    Not from their favour, but your own free choice,
    Do I presuming think to gain your hand:
    An honour which I scarcely dare to hope,
    But as a bliss unmerited is hop'd for.
    I own your Power to give, without control,
    That hand, which monarchs proudly might dispute,
    E'en to the meanest subject in Castile.
    Yet this unprecedented grace I trust,
    Will on the least unworthy be conferr'd:


    Page 157

    Justice and prudence must inform your judgment,
    That to use all your power may not behove you.
    Such, Madam! are my thoughts.

        D. ISABELLA.

                            Speak yours, Don Manrique!

        D. MANRIQUE.

    Though, madam! your discourse schools us to fear,
    And inly breeds suspicion in our minds,
    Yet, I attest your Right, and own your Power,
    To chuse a Husband, and to bid him reign.
    Long ere you grac'd a Throne, my soul ador'd you:
    The King your Brother, my lamented Master,
    Deign'd on my love to smile, and bade me hope.
    Fondly my heart the flattering thought has cherish'd,
    That four whole years of anxious, constant love,
    At last, may win your pity and regard.
    Yet if, in this sweet hope, my mind deceive me,
    I swear, since you demand this test of fealty,
    Though to despair you doom my faithful heart,
    That He, whom your free choice pronounces bless'd,
    I, as my King, and Master, will obey,
    Protect his person, and support his power,
    With warmest zeal, and constant, firm allegiance.

        D. ISABELLA.

            Brave, Don Alvarez! what is your resolve?

        D. ALVAREZ.

            I will not be importunate in speech:
    Chuse of us Three,
    or make another choice,
    I swear, implicitly, t'obey your will.


    Page 158

        D. ISABELLA (smiling).

            Beneath this deference, this profound respect,
    We spy the leaven of conceal'd indifference;
    And as your heart sighs for another's charms,
    'Tis thus, on both sides, that you homage pay.

        D. ALVAREZ.

            Madam!

        D. ISABELLA.

                    A truce, my Lord!

         (Donna Isabella mounts the step of the platform, and seats herself upon the throne. The Queens of Arragon mount the platform, and seat themselves. The Dowager Queen Leonora on the right-hand side of the throne, and Elvira on the left.)

        D. ISABELLA.

                            Let each take place.

         (The Three Counts, and the Grandees, who form the Court, seat themselves on the seats prepared for them. Don Lopez, on the right-hand side of the throne, Don Alvarez and Don Manrique on the left. Carlos, who stands on the right-hand side of the throne, in a line with the Grandees, but below them, nearest the audience, seeing a place unoccupied, next to Don Lopez, near to whom he stands, seats himself. Don Manrique rising, steps from his rank, and speaking, Carlos rises. Don Lopez rises, the instant Carlos attempts to seat himself.)

        D. MANRIQUE.

    Rise, Carlos, rise! Whence such audacity?


    Page 159

        D. LOPEZ.

            What title have you to assume this rank,
    And seat yourself with the Grandees of Spain?

        CARLOS.

            Vacant the place, my Lords! and as in camps,
    So oft in council, with my King, I sat,
    I thought in courts to fill a place as well.

        D. MANRIQUE.

            A Soldier! to usurp the rank of Count?
    The favours of your Prince make you forgetful.

        CARLOS.

            Think me not, Count, asham'd of what I am;
    Nor yet forgetful of what first you knew me.
    Soldier's a title for a Prince to boast.
    Carlos, though now he holds a General's truncheon,
    Remembers, that five years are not elaps'd
    Since, as a Soldier, in the common ranks,
    He fought unnotic'd, and without distinction:
    One of that mass whose valour gains the war;
    Whilst he who leads, claims all the wreath of fame.
            The late good King, your royal Master, Lords!
    Who knew my deeds, from rank to rank promoted me.
    He thought, that I had earn'd my General's staff.
    If otherwise you judge, the time is come,
    When Sovereign Power may give you to reclaim it.

        D. MANRIQUE.

            Presumptuous Carlos! how dares your arrogance
    A second time offend? Was't not enough
    To rank yourself with our Nobility,
    That, when rebuk'd, you dare our justice question?


    Page 160

    Had I, or brave Don Lopez, now the power,
    We should disdain to take your honours from you.
    Deeds, which will grace our history's future page,
    Deeds, but acknowledg'd, not rewarded yet,
    Your godlike arm, invincible, has done.
    The Royal Standard of Castile was taken
    In the King's sight; your youthful arm redeem'd it.
    This perilous action turn'd the tide of battle,
    Inspir'd our troops with courage to drive back
    The conqu'ring Moors, e'en to their rocky fastness;
    Till from the vanquish'd, we became the vanquishers.

        CARLOS.

            My Lord! I ask you not to word my deeds;
    A Soldier glories more to act, than vaunt them.

        D. MANRIQUE.

            Unask'd I speak them; to convince your pride,
    I bear no envy to the worth I value.
            From chains you sav'd the King in Andalusia:
    When pierc'd with wounds, upon a heap of dead,
    Your body was so long his shield, his troops
    Gain'd time to rally; those foes, who hemm'd him in,
    Were sacrific'd; and the same squadron, which went
    To rescue him, a victor brought him back,
    And you almost expiring. You mounted first
    Upon the walls of Seville, flew Roderigo,
    And maintain'd the breach, whilst the Castilians enter'd;
    Then, at their head, storm'd the strong citadel,
    And forc'd its gates. Of many great exploits
    These are but some. Don Lopez and myself,


    Page 161

    To you indebted stand for life and liberty:
    For, when surrounded by triumphant Moors,
    Then, when we trembled, prisoners to their arms,
    By you our Guardian Genius bade them fall,
    Fate to our foes, and providence to us;
    You conquer'd numbers, to redeem us bled.

        CARLOS.

            My soul rejoic'd to aid the valiant's cause.
    'T was but a Soldier's part I did, brave Count!
    And, had your fate been mine, yourself or Lopez,
    Would have done more, to guard my life or liberty.

        D. MANRIQUE.

            To speak your worth is due to my own honour,
    Lest I be thought invidious of your glory.
    Your rank, and not your courage I dispute;
    I think your valour has not had its meed;
    The late King promis'd to reward it further,
    But death surpriz'd him just as he resolv'd it.

        D. ISABELLA.

            I, Carlos! who his crown inherit, take
    His debt on me; and amply will repay you.
    My Brother held you high in his esteem;
    He thought few equal, in his court, to Carlos,
    For valour in the field; or in the council,
    For wisdom, prudence, and distinguish'd vigour.—
    Counts! let this difference end! Be seated, Carlos!

        D. LOPEZ.

            Ere he takes Rank with the Grandees of Spain,
    First, Madam! order him to name his Family.
    We, in no wise, contest his bravery,


    Page 162

    Supernal power hath nerv'd his youthful arm,
    To achieve such deeds, as would become a god:
    Let him declare his race and genealogy;
    His lineage state; for valour without birth,
    Had never right to occupy such place.

        CARLOS.

            Let him who wills boast honours others earn'd.
    I will owe nought to those who gave me life.
    I'd rather equal Caesar in the field,
    Than trace my lineage to the Julian Race.
    What do we know of Macedonia's Kings,
    Worthy record, till Philip rose in arms,
    And Alexander triumph'd o'er the world.—
    Hereditary honours I disdain;
    And know, proud Counts! I would not give the name
    My sword has earn'd, to be Medina's Duke,
    E'en though Don Manrique's blood enrich'd his veins.
    I claim no parents, but my past exploits;
    My valour be my Race. My arm my Lineage.

        D. LOPEZ.

            The proof is clear, that Carlos is not Noble.

        D. ISABELLA.

            Then I, whose Son soe'er he be, or what
    His Race, ennoble him. Contest no more!

        D. MANRIQUE.

            Permit me yet one word——

        D. ISABELLA.

                                    Not one, Don Manrique!
    For this audacity assumes too much.
    Must I have leave from you to ennoble Carlos?


    Page 163

        D. MANRIQUE.

            No!—but that place is due to highest dignities;
    And, though ennobled, Carlos cannot take it,
    'T is sacred to the High Grandees of Spain;
    One less than Count, or Marquis, would profane it.

        D. ISABELLA.

            Henceforth then, Carlos! Marquis of Santillane,
    Count of Pennafiel, and Governor of Burgos,
    Your titles claim. Don Carlos! I create thee
    One of the High Grandees. Assert your Privilege—

         (He puts on his hat.)

    And take your Rank.——      (He seats himself.)


                            Is this enough, Don Manrique!
    To give him privilege to take that place?
    Does there remain one scruple in your mind?

        D. MANRIQUE.

    Madam! complete your work, and make him King.
    To grace him by such dignities, is less
    To equal him to us, than to exalt Carlos,
    To your own Rank. Your skilful prelude, Princess!
    And those exacted Oaths, we have just sworn,
    Show that your heart has made its choice of Carlos:
    We, bound by vows, must ratify that choice;
    I shall obey, nor aught attempt against it.
    To him, I here resign, You and your Kingdom:
    I quit your presence, ere you make him King;
    Not as one jealous at it, but through fear,
    Lest for You, Queen! I blush, when you shall name him.

         (Going.)


    Page 164

         (The Queen rises precipitately from her throne, and descends from the platform; the whole Court rises. The Queens of Arragon remain standing upon the platform. Donna Elvira is much agitated during the last speech; when risen, she leans for support upon her chair, her Mother observes her very attentively.)

        D. ISABELLA (with anger).

            Stay, Insolent!———      (D. Manrique returns.)


         (Recovering her temper.)

    Your Queen forgives you, Manrique!
    What an unworthy fear, imprudently suspects;
    To silence which, I condescend so far,
    As to declare, that in my States' just choice,
    I acquiesce; that you——still hold the rank
    You held in my esteem; and I attribute,
    This fiery transport to excess of love.
    Injurious as it is, I pardon it;
    Ere your reflection pleads for love's offence.

        D. MANRIQUE.

            Your conduct, Queen! gave rise to my offence.
    Honours so lavish'd, warranted suspicion:
    Excuse too, Madam! some antipathy——

        D. ISABELLA.

            Forbear, to justify your insolent pride!
    Though pardon'd, Manrique! it shall learn humility.
    My sacred Rights, as woman, and as Queen,
    You have profan'd with impious disrespect;
    Slander'd my conduct, and my power insulted.
    Grant that I Carlos love; or that I solely,


    Page 165

    Through pure esteem, pay tribute to his worth;
    Raising his Rank above your lordly scorn;
    Whate'er be my design, you should respect,
    Either, the choice my heart has made; or what
    My power creates; and, will support, proud Vassal!!
    To curb your scorn, still higher will I raise him,
    Grant him prerogative beyond my own;
    Myself and Crown, I to his power intrust;
    I made Him Marquis, He shall name a King.
    You own his merit, he shall judge of yours.

         (To Don Carlos.)

    Twice has your arm redeem'd my throne and kingdom:
    Now let your wisdom like your valour shine,
    And worthily bestow the Crown you sav'd.

         (Advancing a step or two towards Don Carlos, and presenting her ring to him.)

    Lord Marquis! take my Ring. And, as your testimony,
    On the most worthy of these Three bestow it,
    And hail him King.—What of this Day remains
    Is yours, to weigh their merits, and reward them.
            Ambitious Rivals! pay your court to him:
    He who presents me with my Ring from Carlos,
    Shall instantly receive my hand and Crown.
            Queens! let us go, and leave them to determine,
    To whom, in preference, I would give my Kingdom.

         (The Queens retire; the scene closes upon the Court, leaving the three Counts and Carlos at the front of the stage.)


    Page 166

    SCENE FOURTH.

         DON MANRIQUE, DON ALVAREZ, DON LOPEZ, DON CARLOS.

        D. LOPEZ (ironically).

            Will, my Lord Marquis! deign to inform his suppliants,
    What may be requisite to win his favour?
    He is our judge, he therefore must be soften'd.

        D. CARLOS.

            This ill-plac'd raillery is most unseemly.

        D. MANRIQUE.

            To supplicate You, Carlos! is unseemly.

        D. CARLOS.

            A truce with raillery, or supplication, Lords!
    Let us continue friends. Well will use I use
    The trust, the Queen has in my hands repos'd;
    Nor shall you, Counts! complain of my decision;
    For I refuse to be the Judge myself.
    I give you one, that it will be dishonour,
    But to suspect. The impartial Sword, brave Lords!
            A Queen and Kingdom on this Ring depend;
    Both are well worth the contest, you have courage;—
    I guard this Ring.      (Carlos puts it upon his finger.)


        D. LOPEZ.

                    And, for whom guard it, Carlos?

        D. CARLOS.

            My vanquisher.—He who can take it from me,


    Page 167

    Pledge of his worth, shall to the Queen present it,
    The order, time, and place, amongst yourselves
    Agree; I will await your summons, and obey it.

    SCENE FIFTH.

         DON MANRIQUE, DON ALVAREZ, DON LOPEZ.

        D. MANRIQUE.

            Think of his arrogance!

        D. ALVAREZ.

                                    'T is thus a soul,
    By valour nobly form'd, repels an outrage.

        D. MANRIQUE.

            If he expect to measure Swords with us,
    His pride has most egregiously deceiv'd him.

        D. ALVAREZ.

            Refuse a challenge?

        D. MANRIQUE.

                            Yes: beneath our rank.
    Grandees of Spain, all jealous of their honour,
    Do not expose their lives to bold adventurers.

        D. ALVAREZ.

            How can you thus degrade a valiant warrior?
    Nay; were he what your hatred has presum'd,
    We ought to treat him, as the Queen has rank'd him.

        D. LOPEZ.

    When the Queen braves us, nor regards our blood!


    Page 168

    But dares the lustre of our Rank to tarnish,
    Raising this Minion to an equal rank?

        D. ALVAREZ.

            Are Kings accountable for whom they title?
    Our equals flourish, or neglected fade,
    Just as their pleasure wills.

        D. MANRIQUE.

                                    My Lord! you're politic,
    In the respect you pay to majesty:
    But own your thoughts, do you not judge she loves him,
    That, had she dar'd, she would have nam'd him King?
    Were not her speeches artful, and mysterious?

        D. ALVAREZ.

            You show'd such high disdain of valiant Carlos,
    And, with such contumacy, brav'd the Queen,
    Arraign'd her conduct, and her power disputed,
    She was constrain'd to go the lengths she did;
    Or yield her dignity, forego her power,
    Desert the brave, and side with his high scorners.
    You piqued her pride, her sex's niceness wounded;
    Your speech indelicate, and haughty carriage,
    Were more than Queen, or Woman, ought to bear.
    Would you, my Lord! be by your vassal brav'd,
    Having the power to humble him to earth?
    Would you not use that power, till his pride yielded,
    Subordinate to reason and respect?

        D. MANRIQUE.

            My Lord! you are a warm apologist:
    But are you friend, or lover, in this cause?
    Do you indeed pretend to Isabella?
    'T is said, that Arragon's fair Queen has charms——


    Page 169

        D. ALVAREZ.

            Her charms are not the subject of discussion.
    My Country honours me with that esteem,
    To think me worthy to become its King;
    Grateful for this, and my own fame respecting,
    I will not, Counts! refuse the grace it shews me.
    I therefore with the Marquis, brave Don Carlos,
    Will measure swords; nor think my Rank dishonour'd.
    If, from his valour, I can win the Ring,
    Then, Lords! with you, I will contest the Crown.

        D. LOPEZ.

            Gladly with you, we shall dispute this prize,
    You are a rival worthy of our swords;
    But for this Marquis, he must seek his equals.

         (Exeunt severally. Don Alvarez the same way that Don Carlos went; Don Manrique and Don Lopez at the opposite side.)

    End of the First Act.


    Page 170

    Act Second.

    SCENE FIRST—A ROOM OF STATE.

         DONNA ISABELLA, BLANCHE.

        D. ISABELLA (seated on a sofa).

    I Pray thee, Blanche, retire!

        BLANCHE.

                                    Insist not, Madam!
    I cannot leave you thus.

        D. ISABELLA.

                            Why wilt thou stay?—
    I blush that mortal should behold my tears,
    Or view the pangs, that rend my anguish'd heart.
    Thy feeble pity cannot change my fate,
    Nor thy calm reason argue me to peace:      (Rising.)


    For I am doom'd to feed a hopeless flame.
    Is this to be a Queen? Ah! dear-bought greatness!
    A Queen! A wretch in state! chain'd down by prejudice;
    A pageant slave! a vassal to a throne,
    Great but for others, powerless for myself.

        BLANCHE.

            Madam, control this grief! think of your Rank—

        D. ISABELLA.

            Rank! can it root out passion from my soul,


    Page 171

    And change my mould of mind? annihilate
    The softness from my heart, the cherish'd thoughts,
    The oft-recurring hopes of fabled bliss,
    I have so fondly form'd, but must not share?—
    Pride, guard my mind! and apathy, my heart!
    And let my feelings with my fate agree.

        BLANCHE.

            O Madam! how I trembled for your glory;
    For, from the Oath you made your lovers swear,
    I thought you fix'd to give your Crown to Carlos.
    But you have nobly conquer'd your own heart,
    Whilst you sustain'd your regal dignity.

        D. ISABELLA.

    Say rather, Blanche! that Love usurp'd my throne,
    And with a monarch's wrath aveng'd my lover.
    I thought that I was master o'er my heart;
    I had not plann'd to act, as thou hast seen me,
    Although I mean'd to honour Carlos highly:
    I only will'd to try the Counts' respect,
    And to secure my power, and royal Rights.
    For, as, alas! this choice was dreaded by me,
    It seem'd like a relief, a sort of pleasure,
    To lose a little time, to loiter lingering,
    Thus to retard my doom, and put off fate.
    Yet I was going to name——I had no choice—
    And could Don Manrique have restrain'd his pride,
    Castile perhaps, ere this, had hail'd him King.
    He urg'd my temper to its utmost bearing;
    And scarcely I restrain'd from naming Carlos.
    To gall his pride, for daring to insult me.


    Page 172

        BLANCHE.

            I marvel not that you chastise his insolence,
    Which on you cast such shame, and rude reproach.

        D. ISABELLA.

            Under the specious plea, to avenge my power,
    Love found a fair pretence to scatter favours.
    I have made Carlos, Marquis, Count, and Governor;
    Oh! with what joy could I have hail'd him King!
    How my heart pleaded! Yet by these profusions,
    I thought to satisfy and silence it;
    For to pronounce against him much distress'd me;
    And, when I bade him give away my Crown,
    'Twas only, that he might himself exclude.
    I parley'd with my power to soothe my heart;
    And did an outrage, where I seem'd to honour.

        BLANCHE.

            Fearing to make him King, you make him more.

        D. ISABELLA.

            My heart, indifferent to all the Three,
    Thought, that it best could like, whom Carlos chose;
    This sudden fancy sway'd my conduct, Blanche.
    But now I wish I had repress'd the thought,
    And humbled Manrique by some other means.
    For I have err'd in making Carlos Judge;
    He bids the sword decide. Ah! does he hope
    To gain me thus himself? Does he then love me?—
    I dare not trust my thoughts that dangerous length.
    I must prevent the sword from being drawn,
    And, by my choice, stifle these dreaded feuds.


    Page 173

        BLANCHE.

            'Twill be an arduous task to wrench the sword
    From valour's hand, when custom bids it grasp it.
    He who retracts is ignominious held,
    And honour, to great souls, is more than life.

        D. ISABELLA.

            I would not so disgrace my power to affront,
    That valour I admire. For when obedience
    Is by dishonour stain'd, kings go too far,
    And undermine their own omnipotence.
    Feigning to grant, I will prevent this combat:
    If they remit it, then I hold it broken.
    See, Carlos, to obey my order, comes.

         (Exit Blanche.)

    SCENE SECOND.

         DONNA ISABELLA, DON CARLOS.

        D. ISABELLA.

            Marquis! Castile has by your arm been sav'd:
    Its gratitude I till this Day reserv'd,
    To make its favours more conspicuous shine,
    Granted in full assembly of my States.
    Much has it griev'd me, when I mean'd reward,
    But to stand forth the champion of your worth:
    And, ere my purpose to yourself was known,
    To have those honours, to your merit due,


    Page 174

    Extorted as an act of justice from me;
    As if I wanted soul, in virtue's cause,
    Freely to pay, where I indebted stood,
    For services almost beyond reward.—
    Yet, whilst I own no recompense can reach them,
    I trust that I have shown I prize your virtues.
    Spite of that envy which pursues your merit,
    I, unsolicited, have rais'd your fortune:
    Yet, if not equal to your just ambition,
    If other recompense you hop'd, or wish for,
    Speak! to your own content I will oblige you.

        D. CARLOS.

            My Queen's exalted spirit has bestow'd
    Such high, such full-blown honours, as my soul
    Dar'd not in thought conceive: far less expect.
    Troubled, amaz'd, confus'd, o'erwhelm'd, with bounty,
    Let her not think, I have one wish ungratify'd.

        D. ISABELLA.

            Yet, when above your hopes I raise your fortune,
    Grace and distinguish you with all my favour,
    Lean on your judgment, with a sister's confidence,
    You give me, Marquis! reason for complaint.

        D. CARLOS.

            How, Madam! have I sinn'd?

        D. ISABELLA.

                                    Your sword is rais'd
    Against the State's repose, and against mine.
    The strongest pillars of the State, are Manrique,
    Lopez and Alvarez; in them you undermine it;
    In them you seek to shed its purest blood.


    Page 175

    Think to what height my people prize these Counts,
    Since worthy, each is deem'd, to share my Throne.

        D. CARLOS.

            Madam!——this blame——

        D. ISABELLA.

                    My Lord! when thus I censure you,
    And to yourself, whate'er complaint I make,
    Such frankness tells in what esteem I hold you;
    I would prevent you from incurring blame;
    Guarding your honour thus, I mean you favour.——
    Your pride, against the Counts, has arm'd your vengeance;
    There was no need, my Lord! to draw your sword;
    I had aveng'd the insult you sustain'd,
    Nor did I leave your triumph incomplete,
    When I deputed you to give my diadem.
    I made you the Counts' Judge, but not their foe;
    Bidding the sword decide, you much mistake me.

        D. CARLOS.

            Then has my judgment, not my duty err'd:
    Only my courage do the Counts allow me;
    Therefore in that I humbly put my trust,
    To prove who worthiest——

        D. ISABELLA (interrupting him).

                                    Did you then hope,
    If o'er all Three your prowess gave you 'vantage,
    It would be said, chusing Castile a King,
    The State could find none to compare with you?——
    If thus presumptuous, and thus vain, I thought you—

         (Stops short.)


    Page 176

        D. CARLOS (kneeling, after a moment's pause).

            Oh! spare the injurious accusation, Madam!——
    If you repent your favours, Gracious Queen!
    My ruin is no difficult achievement.
    Yet do not charge me with unthought-of crimes;
    Nor arm your anger with unjust suspicions.

         (The Queen signs to him to rise.)

    I love you, Queen! but with a flame as pure,
    As from the hallow'd sacrifice ascends:
    As we love honour, virtue, Heaven itself.—
    And if the matchless lustre of my Sovereign
    Dazzles a moment my enchanted soul,
    Sudden it back returns, and downcast shrinks
    Into itself. Ambitious sighs, vain hopes,
    And criminal desires, I never breath'd.

        D. ISABELLA.

            'Tis well:——I find myself mistaking, Carlos!

        D. CARLOS.

            I, Madam; only as a Queen can love you.
    For, should unhallow'd passion, rise within
    My guilty breast, should you (O, pardon, Princess!
    The impious thought) should you, so far forget
    Your sacred self, and what you owe your rank,
    As to partake the passion you inspir'd,
    And suffer me to breathe my vows before you;
    If, by some fatal fascination curs'd,
    Your sensibility should so degrade you,
    As to descend, e'en from your Throne, to me,
    Know my esteem would instantly decrease;
    And my love, rais'd on that, would soon expire.


    Page 177

        D. ISABELLA.

            Marquis! your thoughts are worthy a great soul.

        D. CARLOS.

            Your glory, Madam! is my heart's first object.
    In combating the Counts I have no wish,
    But to make known him, who deserves you most.
    Ill should I answer your high confidence,
    If only on my judgment I depended,
    To chuse your Spouse and partner of your Throne.—
    All-seeing power! direct the sword of him,
    Who best deserves her, through my ready heart!

        D. ISABELLA.

            Carlos! forbear; nor interest Heaven itself,
    Against my peace!—Why must the Sword decide?—
    ——Blushing with shame, at weakness unsubdu'd,
    I own I love one of the purpos'd combatants.
    Yet should I not have nam'd whom I prefer;
    For though I love, my Country's good outweighs
    My tenderest thoughts, my heart foregoes its choice,
    And seeks the Hero who deserves to reign;
    And by my subjects' will be most approv'd.
    After Don Manrique's most opprobrious insolence,
    Fearing my partial heart might sway my judgment,
    To yours I trusted, and consign'd my Crown:
    Not thinking you would bid the sword decide,
    And harrass, with new woes, my wounded peace.
    Carlos! respect his life whom I esteem:
    Reflect how hard his fate to lose a Throne.
    Respect the sufferings of my sorrowing soul,
    Torn, for my People's good, from him I love;


    Page 178

    Let me not have to mourn his hapless death,
    With poignant anguish, never-ending tears.

        D. CARLOS.

    O Queen! I would not dare to wrest your confidence,
    Guessing the secret which your scruples veil;
    Nor solve the mystery hidden beneath your words.
    Yet hear your faithful Servant, gracious Princess!
    Trust me, such equal heroes are these Counts,
    On your heart's choice you safely may rely.—
    Why then reject, with cruel heroism,
    The good which Heaven has plac'd within your reach?
    Let not the thirst of glory now deceive you;
    It soon will pall; and to vacuity
    Will leave your heart, or else a prey to grief.
    Did virtue claim the purpos'd sacrifice,
    That motive, in full force, would constant last,
    And lenient sooth at once, and heal your mind.
    O! dread the agony of hopeless passion!
    It steeps the warrior's manly cheek in tears,
    And makes him joyless, though with laurels grac'd.
    Brave not this ceaseless torment of the soul:
    It is the baleful poison of sweet peace,
    No balm can medicate, no time assuage;
    To which, night brings no sleep, nor day-spring joy.
    —O Heaven! instruct me in which happy lover,
    I may revere my gracious, royal Mistress,
    That by an easy, and a sudden victory———

        D. ISABELLA.

            It must not be.——If through respect for me.
    One of the Three you spare, you give the prize;


    Page 179

    You make me Judge.—I dare not, must not chuse.—
    You urge me, Carlos! to the brink of fate;—
    You add fresh conflicts to an o'ercharg'd heart:—
    Your eager valour hazards all my peace,
    Heedless you pierce my heart with wounds immedicable——

         (Turns from D. Carlos to hide her emotion.)

    I would avoid discussion on this subject——
    —Though, as a Queen, I might forbid these combats.
    I will not wound your honour, nor the Counts;
    The Lists shall be prepar'd, the challenge held:
    Who of the Three is first to try his fortune?

        D. CARLOS (observing the Queen).

            Alvarez, Madam!

        D. ISABELLA.

                            He for another sighs!

        D. CARLOS.

            Yet He alone the glorious prize contests.

        D. ISABELLA.

    Gallant Alvarez! first, though thou lov'st me not?
    To-morrow shall his courage be display'd.

        D. CARLOS.

            This day, the challenge of Alvarez names.

        D. ISABELLA.

            If I consent not, what avails his challenge?
    On your allegiance be it then deferr'd.
    Carlos adieu!—Respect my prohibition!


    Page 180

    SCENE THIRD.

        D. CARLOS (alone).

            Defer the fight! Is not my valour stain'd
    By this command? And will not honour blush?
    Has the Queen right to give me law? Am I
    Her Subject? No: I was born in Arragon.—
    Heavens! I remember that, and dare stand here,
    Count,—Marquis,—Governor of Burgos too,—
    Yet know myself born of the meanest race;
    Only the Son of a poor, peasant Shepherd;
    Taught by a pious Priest through charity;
    Till learning made me wild with mad ambition,
    To act the heroic deeds, I joy'd to read;
            Oh! should these Lords discover my mean birth,
    With what insatiate scorn would they exult:
    How would my royal Mistress blush disdainful;
    And sweet Elvira then reject my sword,
    Nor own my arm to prop her tottering Throne.
            Cruel remembrance of my original self!
    Cease! cease! to haunt, and terrify my mind!—
    Kings were once chosen from victorious soldiers:
    Who serves his Country needs no ancestry;
    For, like the Sun, He gives, not borrows, light.
            My Cottage blood has been exhausted all,
    In glory's field, no drop of it remains:
    But it has bought me all my soul holds dear,
    The palm of victory, and the wreath of fame.
    Behold she comes! my rightful unown'd Queen!


    Page 181

    SCENE FOURTH.

         DONNA ELVIRA, DON CARLOS.

        D. ELVIRA.

            Ah! Carlos! scarcely can I call you Marquis,
    (Although you merit your exalted rank,
    But then I wish'd myself to raise you to it);
    Why have the charms of glory, thus seduc'd
    Your wavering honour, to desert that cause,
    To which your faith was pledg'd, your sword devote?
    Your valour should compel the rebel Garcia
    To yield obedience to my sovereign sway:
    Your sword held ready till I bade it strike,
    To place my long-lost sceptre in my hand.
    Yet, Count! and with that self-same sword, your faith
    To me engag'd, you undertake to fight
    Three single combats, which are not for me.
    You have forgotten, Count! what Carlos promis'd.
    Back to the Queen resign Penafiel,
    Burgos, and Santillane. For, trust me, Arragon
    Shall grateful give you more than you refuse.

        D. CARLOS.

            Either as Carlos, or as Marquis, Madam!
    I, nor forget, nor will desert your rights;
    The traitor Garcia shall your victim fall.
    Yet, though this sacrifice I owe to you,
    The Queen, in gratitude, first claims my sword;
    And highly it behoves the favour'd Marquis,


    Page 182

    To pay the mighty debt of humble Carlos,
    And to resent the outrage done the Queen.

        D. ELVIRA.

            Did she intrust her ring with that intent?

        D. CARLOS.

    When your bright Sex, insulted, wants a champion,
    Forbid it honour, glory, courage, manhood,
    That they should need to stoop to ask for aid;
    Or intimate the means to right their cause.

        D. ELVIRA.

            I think these combats might have been avoided,
    Unless the Counts had challeng'd you in arms.

        D. CARLOS.

            Then had I been ungrateful, and dishonour'd.
    Could disrespect assume an air more taunting,
    Than to assert, with scornful insolence,
    That her high heart indulg'd a secret passion,
    Unworthy of herself? Manrique averr'd it;
    And infamy would blot my name with cowardice,
    Not to stand forth in her most sacred cause,
    When duty, honour, gratitude, command it.
    My royal Mistress, in protecting me,
    Incurr'd this insult by her noble spirit;
    Sdeigning submission still the Count defy'd her,
    Forcing her new restrictions to invent,
    Or tamely shrink, insulted on her throne.
    I must protect her rights, assert her power,
    Maintain her cause, her injuries avenge;
    That done, my sword, with heartfelt zeal, is yours.


    Page 183

        D. ELVIRA.

            Carlos! I comprehend, from this excuse,
    That the Queen's service is preferr'd to mine;
    Because her subject, you break faith with me.

        D. CARLOS.

            For her, or you, I feel an equal zeal;
    Your cause, or hers, is mine. Nor have I seen
    Aught yet, of sleepless toil, or perilous hazard,
    But what for either I would wish to encounter.
    Nay, though engag'd to fight for her to-morrow,
    Sustain'd you wrong, which this day call'd for vengeance,
    Instant would I expose my breast, to more
    Than Three such combats in your cause, Elvira!
    Without reflecting what I ow'd the Queen.
    Misconstrue not the conduct which I hold,
    Nor wound my soul by undeserv'd reproaches.
    Know the high rank to which the Queen has rais'd me,
    Has but One charm for Me. But as your champion,
    Donna Elvira! are those honours priz'd,
    Which, in the eye of undiscerning crowds,
    Will give respect to him who fights your battles,
    Beyond what unplum'd courage ever meets.

        D. ELVIRA.

            To grace my cause, I wanted but your valour;
    I can invest you with still higher honours,
    Them, Marquis! you disdain, and me betray.

        D. CARLOS.

            I wish'd but one reward from bright Elvira;
    I thought it mine;——but find myself deceiv'd.


    Page 184

        D. ELVIRA.

            Deceiv'd, my Lord! by whom?

        D. CARLOS.

                                    My own vain thoughts;—
    For, from your gentle manners, I presum'd,
    That in esteem you held the humble Carlos;
    That in your breast such hallow'd friendship dwelt,
    As pure Religion, with all-healing balm,
    Tells us the blest, in the next world, enjoy;
    Where all distinctions cease of earthly rank.
    But I was mock'd with visionary joy;
    The Queen of Arragon suspects my zeal,
    Changes the sweet complacence of her temper,
    For dark distrust, anger, and keen reproach.
    My mind feels anguish, all unknown before;
    A comfortless dismay subdues my spirit;
    Joyless, forlorn, and desolate I seem;
    As if my Guardian Angel left his charge,
    And ev'ry cheering passion join'd his flight.

        D. ELVIRA.

            If I be chang'd, your conduct wrought the change:
    Anger, suspicion, and reproaches, Carlos!
    Are not the natives of Elvira's breast.
    Your instability excites them all;
    Glory allures you to forget your faith,
    Which, uncondition'd, Marquis! Carlos promis'd.
    My friendship brooks not this, nor my esteem.——
            I hear Alvarez enters first the Lists:
    You know the history of his faithful love.


    Page 185

        D. CARLOS.

            Over Alvarez' soul I know your power;
    His virtues make him worthy of your heart.

        D. ELVIRA.

            When you fight with him, think of whom I love;
    And be his blood respected as your own.

        D. CARLOS.

            Do you command me then to make him King?

        D. ELVIRA.

            I only ask, that you would think of me.
    I go, in hopes of justice from the Queen;
    And, if I can, these combats to prevent.

         (Exeunt severally.)

    End of the Second Act.


    Page 186

    Act Third.

    SCENE FIRST.

         DONNA ELVIRA, DON ALVAREZ.

        D. ELVIRA.

    FORBEAR, my Lord! and chuse some other theme.
    How dare you to pretend you love me still,
    When in the Lists you fight to gain the Queen?
    What star malevolent, thus rules your fate,
    Making your arm a traitor to your heart?

        D. ALVAREZ.

            Imperious honour claims excuse from love.

        D. ELVIRA.

            A lover's honour is fidelity.
    My Lord! you now can have no hopes from me;
    To what does your ambitious heart pretend?

        D. ALVAREZ.

    That you should pity a poor wretch's fate,
    Your cruelty involves in such distress.
    Oh! could my faithful love have won your heart,
    This fatal honour never had been mine:
    The States would not have nam'd me as a suitor,
    Nor forced me, by their choice, to woo the Queen.
    Oh, would to Heaven! that I may either die,
    Or win the Queen, but to acquire Elvira.

        D. ELVIRA.

            Vain are your prayers to wish for miracles.


    Page 187

    Embrace the glittering prize which fortune offers;
    So much to your advantage is the change,
    That it wipes off, that censure, and disgrace,
    Which levity and fickleness excite.
    But yet beware, Alvarez! that brave Carlos,
    Does not avenge me, to your glory's downfall;
    And make your pride repent of this desertion.

        D. ALVAREZ.

            Princess! this forc'd desertion more befriends me,
    Than have whole years of persevering love:
    When honour forces me to break my chains,
    How I rejoice to be so much esteem'd,
    As to excite your anger, and resentment.

        D. ELVIRA.

            Count! you mistake the source of my displeasure.
    Much it offends me, that you still persist
    To persecute my heart, when you forsake me:
    And, that you term my coldness cruelty.
    Hope, gave I none, nor fought to gain that love,
    I fear'd my unwilling heart could never share.
    I own, with gratitude, your generous services,
    When Heaven's inflictions did most sore beset me.
    My best esteem must be your sole reward:
    A heart magnanimous expects no more;
    Nor seeks it to enslave, whom it has serv'd.

        D. ALVAREZ.

            Ah! think me not so mean of soul, to plead
    Those services, your sacred Sex commands
    From valour's arm; which I triumphant paid you.
    All the poor merit, that Alvarez claims,


    Page 188

    Is from try'd love. and constant adoration:
    Too happy had I been, could these have won you.

        D. ELVIRA.

            No Consort will I chuse, till I am Queen.
    The nuptial tie, no hero shall involve
    In my disastrous fortunes, to his ruin.
    Europe, through all her States, has no alliance
    For Isabel, or me; no King, nor Prince,
    Whose power might rarely combat for my Kingdom.
    And, should my present shining prospects fade,
    Had I the meanness to accept your hand,
    My Wars would drain the treasures of your House:
    For when contending Monarchs play for Empires,
    The noblest fortune scarcely pays one stake.—
    An undisputed, and more splendid Throne
    Presents itself to your unsteady love;
    Willing, perhaps, it found your heart to share it.

        D. ALVAREZ.

            No! 'T was your cruelty expos'd me to it.
    When on a rock you drive me to destruction,
    Then you revile the shipwreck you have caus'd.

        D. ELVIRA.

            I blame you not, that you accept this fortune;
    More favour'd lovers might have listen'd to it.
    Yet, be what will the motives of your conduct,
    With much less warmth it might have been embrac'd:
    But you fight first, and, this impatient zeal,
    Proclaims, with how much joy, you break the chains,
    Of ill-requited love, and gain your liberty.

        D. ALVAREZ.

            How! could you bear the people should behold


    Page 189

    Your lover, the most cowardly of the Three?
    Not daring to attack this glorious Carlos,
    Till first his rivals had his force exhausted?

        D. ELVIRA.

    Those rivals come, with them, my Lord, I leave you!

         (Exit D. Elvira.)

    SCENE SECOND.

         DON MANRIQUE, DON ALVAREZ, DON LOPEZ.

        D. MANRIQUE.

    Which treats you best, Alvarez! Love or Fortune?
    Can the Queen charm so near the bright Elvira?

        D. ALVAREZ.

            When I have won the Ring, I will declare.

        D. LOPEZ.

            'T is thought, that Carlos rivals you in both;
    And gives you cause for jealousy's keen pangs.

        D. ALVAREZ.

            He makes more jealous than myself, I fear.——

        D. LOPEZ.

    Through pity, he should yield you one, or t' other,
    Ending the contest, who shall make him King.
    The fair Castile, and Arragon both wish it;
    Two Queens, in beauty's prime, both sigh for Carlos.

        D. ALVAREZ.

            Then let that thought our lofty spirits humble:


    Page 190

    Though pride, and honour, storm with giant strength;
    Love gives the palm, where justice might decree it.

        D. MANRIQUE.

            Yet you defy this idol of your praise.

        D. ALVAREZ.

            My Lord! my honour is distinct from pride:
    Honour impels me to demand the Lists;
    And pride alone could make me scorn brave Carlos.

        D. MANRIQUE.

            The Queen has order'd us to meet her here:
    But, on what subject to confer, we know not.
    This is a day of wonders and caprice;
    But you, Alvarez! patient bear each change,
    With calm indifference, and stoic apathy:
    Whilst various torments rack my burning soul,
    And love and pride, by turns, my bosom rule.

    SCENE THIRD.

         DONNA ISABELLA, DON MANRIQUE, DON LOPEZ, DON ALVAREZ.

        D. ISABELLA.

    Leave us, Alvarez! I, to these Counts, would speak,
    On matters of concernment to myself.
    Your interest shall obtain my best regard,
    You shall find all the favour you can wish.

        D. ALVAREZ.

            When you command, I know but to obey.

         (Exit D. Alvarez.)


    Page 191

    SCENE FOURTH.

         DONNA ISABELLA, DON MANRIQUE, DON LOPEZ.

        D. ISABELLA.

            I will remove all cause of discontent;
    And, since my choice more honour will confer,
    I will reclaim my Ring; and chuse myself.
    But, from my choice, Alvarez I exclude;
    Yet, the sole cause of this exclusion, Lords!
    Is, that I know he loves the Queen of Arragon.—
    In one of you, I view the future King.——

        D. MANRIQUE (kneeling).

            O Madam! how your words transport my soul!
    E'en whilst I tremble between hope and fear.
    If Lopez win you, I shall be less wretched,
    Resigning you to such a worthy Lover.
    Speak, Madam! my impetuous soul, eager
    With hope, demands to know my bliss or woe.

        D. ISABELLA.

            Rise!—Ere I speak my choice, fain would I see,
    Some certain proof, that 't is myself you love;
    And not the splendour of my sovereign Rank.
    Counts! I shall think myself most lov'd by him,
    Who can my sentiments and thoughts adopt;
    Like whom I like, and, whom I hate, despise.

        D. LOPEZ.

    Lest we mistake your will, speak plainly, Madam!


    Page 192

        D. ISABELLA.

            If I have liberal been to valiant Carlos,
    Let me behold in you a like esteem;
    Honour his virtues, do his merit justice.
    For ne'er presume, I will a Consort chuse,
    To have the King, I make, my work destroy;
    Reclaim my favours, or disgrace my friends.
    Therefore, let neither hope to share my Throne,
    Till something worthy, on your parts, confirms
    What I have done for Carlos: that by such act,
    I may remain assur'd, the structure which
    My gratitude has rear'd, shall not be raz'd:
    For I must know it safe, from storm, or stratagem.

        D. MANRIQUE.

            Don Carlos, Madam! is most highly honour'd;
    His happiness so much employs your thoughts,
    Ours is to his inthrall'd: yet since to honour him,
    Is to please you, instruct us how to act.——
    The Palm of Victory, nor the Trump of Fame,
    Ne'er gave renown to one more brave than Carlos.
    He is most worthy your munificence;
    And well deserves to be, what you have made him.
    Our gratitude to him indebted stands,
    And we wish'd largely, to acknowledge it.

        D. LOPEZ.

            But after you, we can do nothing for him:
    Carlos is rais'd above our power to favour.
    What is there in our power, left to propose,
    That would not be a degradation to him?


    Page 193

        D. ISABELLA.

            Gifts, in your power there are, he might accept;
    Gifts, that would clear your names from black ingratitude,
    And free my anxious mind from its disquiet;
    Gifts, which, without disgrace, he might possess.

        D. LOPEZ.

            Then name them, Madam! Power, and not will, we lack,
    To clear us from this charge of black ingratitude.

        D. ISABELLA.

            Counts! you have each a Sister. 'T is my will,
    That He, whom I shall please to chuse for King,
    When he receives my hand, at the same Altar,
    Shall, to the Warrior Carlos, give his Sister,

         (The Counts testify by their looks much surprise.)

    Embrace him, as his Brother, and his Friend;
    And thus secure him from my Husband's enmity.
    Not that I need to fear his hate to Carlos;
    As in Castile I shall be always Queen.
    For the new King, whate'er his project be,
    Will, though inthron'd, be only my first subject.
    But to exert my plenitude of power,
    Over the heart to which I gave my own,
    Would pain my inmost soul in the extreme.
    I urge this union as of strife preventive,
    Then answer? Will ye give your full consent?

        D. MANRIQUE.

    Yes, Queen! our full consent—— to doom us both
    To the most cruel death, rather than see,


    Page 194

    The bright, pure honours of a thousand years,
    By such a marriage, in one moment tarnish'd.—
    Too dear an Empire at a price like this!

        D. ISABELLA.

    Thus then, audacious Count! thus then you testify,
    That Carlos is most worthy my munificence;
    And well deserves to be, what I have made him.
    Thus to except against the Rank I give,
    Proud Manrique! is to scorn my sovereign power.

        D. MANRIQUE.

            I do not, Queen! dispute your power to exalt
    Carlos, or whom you please, e'en to our Rank.
    No Sovereign stands accountable for dignities,
    Which he confers, or gifts his liberality
    Bestows. If he support, or raise, the unworthy,
    'Tis his own work, and the shame all his own.
    But to disgrace, by misalliance, blood,
    Which, from my Ancestors, unsully'd flows,
    No Monarch ever shall, by my consent;
    First be it on a Public Scaffold spilt,
    Rather than know such vile contamination;—
    Mine, from inheritance, I owe account of it
    To my brave Ancestors, and all Posterity:
    Pure, from my great Forefathers I receiv'd it,
    Pure, shall it still remain, or cease to flow.

        D. ISABELLA.

            Then, Manrique! I, who owe account to no one,
    Will of your vaunted, noble blood dispose.
    Be mine the shame of its contamination.
    What mad extravagance makes you presume


    Page 195

    To think, I should propose, what would dishonour you?
    How dare you to suspect me of such turpitude?
    What law of rectitude, or nicest honour,
    Have I infring'd, throughout my Life, proud Lord?
    Or what disgrace incurr'd? I know of none,
    But what I now incur——being forc'd to wed,—
    Degrading thought,—the Vassal of my Crown;
    Who,—whil'st I thus descend,—scorns to intrust
    His honour to my care.——Say! in what character,
    Subject, or Lover, dare you to treat me thus?

        D. LOPEZ.

            Pardon the ardour, which infatuates him,
    And makes him disrespectful in his speech:
    In marriage, both our Sisters are betroth'd.

        D. ISABELLA.

            To whom?

        D. MANRIQUE.

                    His Sister, Madam! is to me affianc'd.

        D. ISABELLA (to Manrique).

            To whom is yours engag'd?

        D. MANRIQUE.

                                    To Lopez, Madam!

        D. ISABELLA.

            Then I am wrong in making either King.
    Go, happy Lovers! go to your chosen Mistresses:
    And to enhance the value of your love,
    Tell them, with what contemptuous, galling scorn,
    You have a Queen insulted, and disdain'd
    A throne.—Retire! We hold no further conference.


    Page 196

        D. LOPEZ (kneeling).

             Yet hear us, Madam!

        D. ISABELLA.

                            And what have you to urge?
    To speak in praise of constancy in love;
    And that no earthly grandeur should seduce it?
    If 't is a crime to violate this virtue,
    I too, perhaps, my Lords! may learn to practise it.

        D. LOPEZ.

            Practise it, Madam!—But permit us first
    To explain ourselves; that you may fully know
    Don Manrique's heart, and mine, where you reign absolute;
    As Queen respected, and ador'd as Mistress.——
    Your choice will make the one, on whom it falls,
    Supremely bless'd, the other doom to woe.
    But to prevent all jealous feuds between us,
    A mutual promise binds us in one interest.
    If he be chosen, then I wed his Sister;
    If I obtain you, mine with him unites:
    Thus, Carlos cannot to the King be brother.

        D. ISABELLA.

            And know you not, that, being what you are,
    The feudatory Vassals of my State,
    Your Sisters are my Subjects, and on me
    Depend?—Without my order, and expressly
    Against my will, in marriage to engage them,
    Is to usurp my Throne, and give me law.

        D. MANRIQUE.

            Assert your high prerogative as Sovereign,


    Page 197

    Command us, as the Vassals of your State:
    Do not request, unless we may refuse.
    Command, we, at our peril, must obey.

        D. LOPEZ.

            But, Queen! remember,—never will consent.—

        D. MANRIQUE.

            And yet, in deference to your election,
    Thus far we will recede, through love and duty;
    Carlos is generous and he knows his birth;
    Let him in secret judge upon that knowledge.
    And, if his blood be worthy of such union,
    To us let him this marriage then propose;
    And we the alliance shall an honour deem.
    He has free choice to wed one of our Sisters;
    If, after knowing these strict terms, he dare.
    'T is at his peril if his birth be mean.——
    Thus far we stoop to gain our royal Mistress.
    Modest let Carlos be; or else this marriage,
    Must in innumerable evils plunge him.

        D. ISABELLA.

            Yourself take care, lest him too much disdaining,
    I teach you what a Queen should do, how reign.
            Retire, my Lords!—I wish to be alone.

    SCENE FIFTH.

         DONNA ISABELLA (alone).

            Whence this mysterious mutiny in both,
    When their obedience would a Throne obtain?


    Page 198

    Does it arise from pride, from envy springs it?
    Is it malignity, contempt, defiance?
    Or can it be that noble, generous spirit,
    Which wrestles with the power its fortune wants,
    Fearing complacency might falsely seem
    Like a vile parasite, through interest courteous?
    Perhaps 't is Heaven's high hand that interferes;
    Yet wherefore?—My weak sense searches in vain,—
    Why wars affection with my fame and glory?
    If only by these cruel, ceaseless conflicts
    Of reason, pride, and shame, love is control'd,
    Grant me the fortune, Heaven! I dare not take:
    And, since for me thou hast not made a King,
    To the most worthy of my subjects give me:
    Inspire my people! let them name Don Carlos.

    SCENE SIXTH.

         DONNA ISABELLA, BLANCHE.

        D. ISABELLA.

            I have mispent my time. The haughty Counts,
    At such a price, refuse the Diadem.

        BLANCHE.

            I, Madam! am return'd successless too;
    For Carlos, on such terms, rejects all fortune.

        D. ISABELLA.

            What! Is he bent to render hate for hate,
    And for contempt—contempt?


    Page 199

        BLANCHE.

                                    Oh! no, far otherwise.
    The Sisters of the Counts he much esteems;
    Thinks them deserving of a Monarch's love.

        D. ISABELLA.

            Why does he then reject this high alliance?

        BLANCHE.

            Some secret obstacle obstructs your plan:
    For, though obscure and all confus'd his speech,
    I could perceive a something, from his words,
    As if some vow of constancy were made;
    And his whole soul were wedded to the object.

        D. ISABELLA.

            Ah!—does he love elsewhere?

        BLANCHE.

                                    I judge so, Madam!

        D. ISABELLA.

            Whom does he love?

        BLANCHE.

                            One of exalted Rank.

         ISABELLA.

            Alas!—but tell me whom?

        BLANCHE.

                            He loves a Queen.

        D. ISABELLA.

            He loves a Queen!—Elvira is his choice.
    He quits Castile, and goes with her to Arragon.—
    Love, and not Glory, makes him quit my Court.

        BLANCHE.

            You should desire his absence, as the means
    To root this fatal passion from your heart.


    Page 200

        D. ISABELLA.

            Have I, to lose him, aggrandiz'd him then?
    And shall a Queen, in the same cradle nurs'd with me,
    Rear'd, and protected, by my Royal Parents,
    Castile her refuge, and her sole defence,
    Shall she,—ungrateful as this traitor Carlos,—
    Rob me of what I priz'd the most; of Carlos
    Of ungrateful, artful Carlos rob me?—
    ——I will not take such pains to save his life:
    No; let the ingrate fight, and let him die.

        BLANCHE.

            Why should his love, or his retreat offend you?
    I know not which he loves, you or Elvira;
    Nor can I comprehend your wrathful Jealousy.

         D. ELVIRA.

            Then thou hast never love's disquiet known.
    Stormy and fearful does it make my mind,
    And tempests every feeling of my heart.
    Elvira has no loftiness, no pride;
    More generous, more exalted, than myself,
    She, with the noble spirit of a Queen,
    Bestows her Crown; she is belov'd, ador'd;
    Whilst I am—left, scorn'd, hated, and renounc'd.
    My pride, that dares not chuse him King, yet, brooks not
    His desertion.

        BLANCHE.

                    Since you respect your honour
    Too much to chuse him King, why wish his heart?

        D. ISABELLA.

            I love him.———Can I bear to be disdain'd?
    No; let him doating to distraction love me:


    Page 201

    Yet, so respect me, never to break silence.

        BLANCHE.

    Respect Your Self.—Combat, conceal, this passion.

        D. ISABELLA.

            Carlos contemns me, he can reign without me;
    He loves Elvira, hence his false respect,
    That dar'd not love me, but as Heaven is lov'd.
    She loves him too, and to a Throne will raise him.
    The Queen, her Mother, is indulgent, Blanche!
    And her consent will sanctify their union;
    A Parent's Judgment justifies the Child.
    Elvira loves him, and will make him King.

        BLANCHE.

            Madam! 't is said, she will not now be Queen.
    For Fame reports that yet her Brother lives.

        D. ISABELLA.

            It cannot be; he died in early infancy.

        BLANCHE.

            I but declare the rumour, which I heard,
    That this Prince is not dead, and that he comes
    Now with th' expected Deputies from Arragon.

        D. ISABELLA.

            The Queen of Arragon believes him dead.
    But in a Son restor'd to prop her state,
    How will her sorrowing, widow'd heart rejoice;
    Let mine, though lost to ev'ry hope of bliss,
    Expand benevolent to greet her joy.

         (Exit followed by Blanche.)

    End of Third Act.


    Page 202

    Act Fourth.

    SCENE FIRST.

         DONNA LEONORA, DON MANRIQUE, DON LOPEZ.

        D. MANRIQUE.

    ACCEPT our joint congratulations, Madam!
    That Heaven restores a Son you mourn'd as dead.
    For though a Throne and Queen, in beauty's bloom,
    Were never yielded, but with strong regret;
    Although, to one of us, they both are promis'd,
    We, seeing a King competitor, resign them;
    Before the States revoke their choice of us.
            The Prince, your Son, back to your arms restor'd,
    Shall find us faithful Subjects. Till he claims
    There his high rights, accept for him our homage.

        D. LOPEZ.

            We mourn as Lovers, but rejoice as patriots;
    Our faithful hearts are to the State devoted;
    Therefore we ardent wish Castile with Arragon,
    To be united firm by this Alliance:
    That their leagu'd forces may the Moors subdue.
    Unblushing we resign this, glorious fortune;
    Which, whilst it honour'd us, our Queen degraded.
    Let Isabella and Don Sancho reign.


    Page 203

        D. LEONORA.

            My Lords! this gen'rous resignation flatters
    Too soon my new rais'd hopes—Alas! what hopes?
    My princely Son in infancy expir'd:
    And this report, excites my grief, and wonder,
    Opens the sources of my woes afresh,
    Renews my sorrow for my first-born hope,
    With all the yearning anguish mothers know,
    Who mourn an only Son's untimely death.
    Oh! did he live! now might his arm protect
    His own, his Sister's and his Mother's cause.

        D. LOPEZ.

            Doubtless for this Heaven has preserv'd your Son.

        D. LEONORA.

            Alas! my Lord! He has not been preserv'd.——
    Nineteen long years I o'er his tomb have wept.
    He cannot be alive——unless some miracle,
    From Heaven's high hand, compels the yawning grave
    To yield its prey.——All that concerns my Son,
    I will relate: then judge, if this report
    Have aught, on which a Mother's hope may build.—
            I will not trace my troubles to their source:
    For Arragon's revolt, and Garcia's usurpation,
    From my long biding here, must be well known.

        D. MANRIQUE.

            Oft from our Fathers have we heard your woes;
    How Ferdinand was from his Kingdom driven;
    And you, ere eighteen summers' suns had grac'd
    Your brow, were forc'd to seek for shelter here,


    Page 204

    Before the fair Elvira saw the light.
    Thus much we know; in what remains instruct us.

        D. LEONORA.

            Just as Don Ferdinand beheld the Rebel Garcia
    Ready to mount his Throne, my Son was born:
    Don Sancho was my hapless infant nam'd.
    From barbarous Garcia's fury to protect him,
    My royal Husband urg'd me to consent
    To his conveyance to a safe retreat.
    The place where Ferdinand conceal'd my Child,
    I never knew.

        D. MANRIQUE.

                    Had you no clew to trace him,
    That so one Day you might reclaim your Son?

        D. LEONORA.

            My husband with our Infant tokens sent:
    Mine and his Portrait, with a braid of hair,
    Pledge of my love, ere yet my bridal day;
    And a deed, written by Ferdinand himself,
    That own'd and that identify'd our Son.
    These in an iron Casket were inclos'd;
    Its secret spring known but to him, and me.—
    Ah! these precautions prov'd but useless care.
    Twelve Moons had scarcely wan'd when my Child dy'd;
    Ere I again had clasp'd him to my breast.

        D. LOPEZ.

            Perhaps some false report might then deceive you;
    We came expecting you could solve our doubts,
    And realize the hope and wish of all,


    Page 205

    To find your Son in a most valiant hero.
    Fain would I hope this rumour may prove true;
    And that your Son still lives to glad your eyes.

        D. LEONORA.

            Oh! 't is impossible! His Father, he himself,
    Told the dire tale. He saw my babe expire,—
    Catch'd his last breath,—and clos'd his beamless eyes.

        D. MANRIQUE.

            Would we could doubt the truth of his report!

        D. LEONORA.

            A Year of woe, and bloody contest pass'd,
    Then Ferdinand rejoin'd his son in death,
    Within my arms he died. His last words were,—
    ''Don Raymond has in charge, when time shall be,
    "A most important secret for thy ear;
    "Fly to Castile, live for our unborn Infant.——"
            Long did I hope this secret was my Son:
    But Raymond never gave me hope it was.
    Raymond is lost, and I shall never know it;
    Five years are pass'd since he was prisoner made,
    By Garcia's spies. I fear they murder'd him;
    Too faithful to my cause, brave Raymond perish'd.


    Page 206

    SCENE SECOND.

         DONNA LEONORA, DON MANRIQUE, DON LOPEZ, DON ALVAREZ.

        D. LEONORA.

    Hast thou learn'd, Count! whence this report arises?

        D. ALVAREZ.

    Don Raymond lives; by me he greets you, Madam!

        D. LEONORA.

    For my true Servant's life, kind Heaven! I thank thee!

        D. ALVAREZ.

            More joy awaits you, Queen!———

        D. LEONORA (with wild ecstasy).

                                    Have I, a Son?

        D. ALVAREZ.

            Don Sancho lives.——

        D. LEONORA.

                        Oh, lead me!—let me see him!—
    Weep on his neck, and clasp him in my arms!—
    My Son!!—my Son!!——Yet can it be, Great God!
    Oh! bring me to him! make me know he lives!

         (Going.)

        D. ALVAREZ (staying the Queen).

            Don Raymond seeks him.——

        D. LEONORA.

                            Seeks him? Oh! all is false—

         (Leans half-fainting upon D. Manrique.)

    I hop'd him come with Raymond, this the secret,
    Which, dying Ferdinand declar'd, he knew.


    Page 207

        D. ALVAREZ.

            Madam, it is. And Raymond seeks Don Sancho
    Here, in this Court.

        D. LEONORA.

                        Ah! vain research, Alvarez!
    Will you conduct Don Raymond hither to me.

        D. ALVAREZ.

            He to the assembled troops is gone, in hopes
    To find Don Sancho midst their Captains.
    Don Raymond join'd the Deputies from Arragon,
    After their messengers were sent to announce
    To you their near approach. Then he declar'd
    That their Prince liv'd; that here, he hop'd to find him,
    As in the armies of Castile he long has serv'd.—
    I will seek Raymond, Madam! but so eagerly,
    Do your brave Arragonians press around him,
    Their Prince demanding, that I doubt, to bring
    Him hither, I must bring the whole wild multitude.

    SCENE THIRD.

         DONNA LEONORA, DON MANRIQUE, DON LOPEZ.

        D. MANRIQUE.

            As here Don Raymond seeks him, I believe,
    Either that Heaven has torn Don Sancho from you,
    Or that he lives in the Illustrious Carlos.


    Page 208

        D. LEONORA.

    Carlos, my Lord?—And thinks Don Manrique thus?

        D. LOPEZ.

    This is the thought, and wish of a whole People:—
    When it was known that here your son was sought,
    All with one voice exclaim'd, "He must be Carlos!"
    We judg'd that you could have explain'd the mystery.
    And therefore sought your presence to explore it.

        D. MANRIQUE.

            Madam! though envious of Carlos deem'd,
    I own that his whole life, since we have known him,
    Throughout its wondrous course, appears one miracle:
    Himself and fortune almost supernatural.
    His high strung virtue that enchants all minds;
    His lofty valour, which transcends my praise,
    His port majestic and his winning mien,
    Give him access, beyond a Subject's reach,
    To thrones: Two Queens, all emulous, strive,
    Who shall esteem and honour him the most;
    Nay, e'en from love, can scarce defend their hearts.
    The prompt respect of an adoring People,
    Who, like some god, gaze at him as he passes,
    All, with resistless evidence, evinces
    That valiant Carlos is your long-lost Son.

        D. LEONORA.

            In such a Son, how might a Mother triumph?
    But yet beware, my Lords! how you inspire
    The thought, that Carlos is my long-mourn'd Child;
    Lest I mistake a woman's conscious pride,
    That would exult to own a Son like him,


    Page 209

    For Nature's sacred voice within my breast.
    He has a Prince's spirit, not his birth;
    Himself, by his own conduct, this attests,
    Leaving the Queen to chuse, amongst her Subjects,
    The Partner of her royal bed and Throne.

        D. MANRIQUE.

            See you not, Madam! that his princely spirit
    Prepares to gain this conquest o'er all three.
    Have you forgotten what he said before you?
    "I will owe nought to those who gave me life"—
    Nobly his heart resigns that high advantage,
    To owe his greatness only to his courage.

        D. LOPEZ.

            Behold him! we shall know from him the truth.

    SCENE FOURTH.

         DON LEONORA, DON CARLOS, DON MANRIQUE, DON LOPEZ.

         (Carlos enters with precipitation. Donna Leonora flies to him with open arms; Carlos retreats.)

        D. LEONORA.

            Am I so bless'd to have a Son like Thee?
    A mother's happiness,—a widow's joy,
    Hangs on thy answer;—Carlos! art thou my Son?—
    Speak, ere a Mother's exstasy of hope
    O'ercomes my soul, and my arms clasp thy neck.


    Page 210

    If thou be alien to my blood, O speak!
    But let my long-lost Son come to my arms.

        D. CARLOS.

            O Queen! I grieve to find this errour spread;
    Reserve these transports for your happy Son;
    I am not he.—I sought you to complain;
    And beg release from an offensive honour.—
    The People obstinately bent to take
    Away my name, declare I am Don Sancho,
    And Prince of Arragon. His presence soon
    Will prove how much mistaking they have been,
    In thinking me that Prince. I am rais'd up
    The phantom of an hour. Such cruel mockery
    Abases you, O Queen! as well as Carlos.

        D. LEONORA.

            Oft is the People's voice the voice of Heaven:
    Impulsively at once it bursts inspir'd.

        D. LOPEZ.

            My Lord! we know, from well-confirm'd report,
    That; in the armies of Castile, Don Sancho serves,
    Unknown 't is true, save to himself alone.
    Therefore all eyes are fix'd on you, as one,
    Whose dazzling merit, speaks exalted Rank.
    No longer, Prince! deny what Heaven proclaims.
    You have obliged us to transgress against you,
    When you should not have forc'd our disrespect.
    Our high esteem for Carlos was well known;
    Our pride warr'd not with him, but with his birth.
    Though Carlos we disdain'd, yet we respect
    Don Sancho, will accept him for our Monarch,


    Page 211

    When to our Queen he deigns to own himself.
    Quit your disguise, my Lord! and as Don Sancho,
    And our chosen King, receive our loyal homage.

         (They take off their hats, and with their right hands upon their hearts, they bow.)

        D. CARLOS.

    This false respect, with which you have surpris'd me,
    Is more injurious, Counts! than your contempt.
    I thought this strange report the work of chance;
    Not doubting any bold enough to dare,
    To make a pageant King of me for sport.
    Is this the jest of your exuberant spirits?
    Then learn, gay Lords! that the brave honour valour;
    And that your equals, in the field, respect,
    Nor make of mine a mockery, a may-game.
    If this be your intent, first vanquish, then
    Deride me; victorious, you may railly me
    With grace: Now you anticipate your privilege.
    The Queen's Ring still I guard; and this derided
    Carlos, his family, and race unknown,
    The sceptre of Castile from you withholds.
    This arm which from captivity redeem'd you,
    May still control, and humble your ambition.

        D. MANRIQUE.

            Your speech is that of Monarch, not of Carlos.
    Your mien assumes the prince, though you deny it:
    We still defend the honour of our rank;
    Though prompt to pay what we hop'd due to yours.
            Madam! we leave to you to explain this mystery.
    A secret charm for Carlos pleads most strongly;


    Page 212

    But you can best develop Nature's voice.
            We go; lest, by his pride, Carlos should force us
    To lay aside that high respect we owe you.

    SCENE FIFTH.

         DONNA LEONORA, CARLOS.

        D. CARLOS.

    Madam! you see with what contempt they treat me.

        D. LEONORA.

    Leave this dispute; and speak we of Don Sancho.
    These Lords, though proud, yet generously declare,
    That in this Court, no Stranger, but yourself,
    Has, of a Prince disguis'd, the port and virtues;
    That, if Don Sancho live, he lives in you.
    Say, are you well acquainted with your birth?

        D. CARLOS.

            Alas! I am.——Were I some Infant, winds
    And waves had spar'd, some little wretch forlorn,
    By parents in a desert left,—to milder beasts
    Expos'd,—through hatred, fear, or cruel shame;
    By hazard found, and from kind pity nurtur'd;
    My pride, at this report, would rise to hope,
    Beholding you, thus doubtful, thus distress'd.
    For I am high of heart and most ambitious.
    Sceptres and diadems transport my soul;
    And my presumptuous mind impetuous soars


    Page 213

    Beyond all bounds, in useless, idle flights.
    Whilst a few warlike deeds sustain vain thoughts;—
    Sudden my eyes cast inward, they are dash'd
    From godlike heights to deep humiliation.—
    ——I know my Parents.—I am not Don Sancho.—
    He with your Deputies perhaps is come;
    And a few hours will bring him to your arms.

        D. LEONORA.

            The Counts have lighted in my mind a hope,
    I fain would cherish.—Always I esteem'd you;
    A secret movement, in despite of me,
    Inclin'd me ever to admire, nay love you.
    And something now, intuitively strong,
    Within my breast, disowns your words; and says,
    You are deceiving me, or else deceiv'd.
    What animates me thus I cannot tell;
    Whether the ardour of a Mother's love,
    Or admiration for transcendent merit;
    Whether the sacred voice of Nature speaks,
    Or my esteems pays tribute to your worth;
    Whether my heart, drawn by mysterious instinct,
    Thus owns its blood, or my soul makes a choice.

        D. CARLOS.

            Such thoughts as these deceive their followers,
    As the night-meteor travellers misleads;
    They are delusions all. Then, Queen! resist them.
    If the least gleam of dawning hope could rise
    Within my breast, that I your Son could be,
    Think with what towering joy, what exultation,
    I, at your feet, should fall, and claim your love.


    Page 214

    The lofty pride of my aspiring mind,
    Would glory to be Master of a Throne;
    But, with a dearer triumph would rejoice
    In such a Mother; whose exalted rank,
    Is less conspicuous than her long-try'd virtues.
    Again,—with solemn truth,—I re-assure you—
    I know my Parents:—I am not Don Sancho.

        D. LEONORA.

            With pain my heart relinquishes the thought.—
    O God of Heaven! hadst thou for me preserv'd
    A Son like this, how would my widow'd heart
    Exult with joy, and praise thy wondrous mercy!
    How should I glory if thou wert my Son!

        D. CARLOS.

            Would that I were! but I am not so bless'd.——

        D. LEONORA.

            Since you deny it, you are not my Son:
    No longer hide your Birth; reveal this mystery.
    However high your thoughts may have aspir'd,
    Carlos! my condemnation fear not.
    So great is my esteem, that in your favour,
    My prosperous fortune, and my regal power,
    I will exert to honour and distinguish you,
    E'en to the height of most ambitious thoughts.
    I think your virtues worthy of a Throne:
    If noble blood flow in your veins, Don Carlos!
    A fate awaits you will reward your merits.

        D. CARLOS.

            The secret of myself—must rest with me:
    Never, to mortal ear, to be reveal'd.


    Page 215

        D. LEONORA.

            If, with this secret, you will intrust me,
    At least, refuse me not another boon;
    Which, as a Mother, earnestly I crave.

        D. CARLOS.

            Name it. For you, Elvira, and the Queen,
    I live, and, in the cause of each, had I
    Ten thousand lives, I would expend them all.

        D. LEONORA.

            The boon I ask, is, to withdraw your services.
    We now can reign without your succour, Carlos!
    The death of Garcia has repair'd his crimes;
    And renders Arragon back to its Sovereign.
    A child of mine, in peace, now mounts its Throne:
    Don Sancho if he live; or else my Daughter.
    No longer then prepare to follow us;
    Constrain us not that honour to accept.
    With candour, Carlos! does a Mother own,
    That, with such dazzling virtues, much she fears you.
    To judgment such as yours this may suffice.

        D. CARLOS.

            Why must I thus be treated in extremes?
    Lov'd as a Son, or hated as a foe?
    In what do I offend? Whence your disdain?
    Why, of the only joy I had, bereave me?

        D. LEONORA.

            Brave youth! I see with grief the pain you feel.
    Your birth conceal'd, commands this conduct from me:
    In me 't is prudent, and to you most friendly.


    Page 216

    I but prevent the wretchedness of all;
    Forbidding hopes, which never must be answer'd.
    I am constrain'd your service to relinquish.

        D. CARLOS.

    I thought my griefs had reach'd their worst extreme:
    But this rejection of my humble aid,
    Wounds with a pang, I never thought to feel.
    The last, bright ray, that cheer'd my lonely mind,
    It is your pleasure to obscure for ever;—
    The Sun will never rise for me again.

        D. LEONORA.

            Farewell! grateful I thank the zeal you shew'd
    To serve our cause. I hold you, generous Carlos!
    In high esteem:—respect you——beyond words.
    Accept a friend's best wishes, who regrets you:
    May ev'ry blessing Heaven reserves for virtue,
    Your portion be; may peace, content, and honour,
    Make your life happy, and long flourish round you.
    When next your happy Mother's arms shall clasp you,
    Tell her, she has more joy, than Thrones can give,
    A joy, I would were mine, a Son like you.—
    ——Speak not!—This moment rends my heart—may Heaven!——

         (The Queen retires with precipitation much agitated.)


    Page 217

    SCENE SIXTH.

         DON CARLOS, BLANCHE.

        BLANCHE.

            What can thus agitate the Queen, my Lord!

        D. CARLOS.

            Her just rejection and disdain of me.

        BLANCHE.

            Disdain a hero! who is own'd for King.

        D. CARLOS.

            Fair Lady! aid not envy thus to mock me;
    I have no claim to such a glorious title.

        BLANCHE.

    The Queen herself believes you Prince of Arragon.
    To her your silence has been most ungrateful;
    Her generosity to valiant Carlos,
    Deserv'd the instant thanks e'en of Don Sancho.
    I came to summon your attendance on her.
    And see, she comes to give you audience here.

         (Exit Blanche.)

    SCENE SEVENTH.

         DONNA ISABELLA, DON CARLOS.

        D. ISABELLA.

            Why has Don Sancho thus conceal'd himself?
    I dare not offer gratulations to him,


    Page 218

    Those he despises, since he would not claim them,
    Rejecting his advantages as King.

        D. CARLOS.

            I have no claim to gratulations, Madam!
    You are deceiv'd in thinking me Don Sancho.——
    Permit me instantly to quit Castile,
    And shun the gathering storm, that threats my head.

        D. ISABELLA.

    What can you fear? What thus appals you, Marquis?
    Because a Monarch deem'd are you offended,
    When your own virtues force us to presume it?
            If not Don Sancho, tell me who you are?
    Though you disdain'd, when brav'd, to name your race,
    Yet, I entreat you, now confide in me.

        D. CARLOS.
            Already is my secret half betray'd;

    In vain I hid my country and my race,
    In vain assum'd another name, disdainful,
    Hating the one fate gave me at my birth.
    My Name and Country are discovered both;
    I am of Arragon,—there Sancho nam'd.—
    Thus much this fatal errour has unravell'd,
    I fear Fate's malice will disclose the rest;
    And soon reveal with shame, and dire disgrace,
    What Count, what Marquis, you have deign'd to make.

        D. ISABELLA.

            Have I nor power, nor courage to protect
    The structure I have rear'd? Who shall destroy it?
    Then trust me, Carlos! trust me with this secret,


    Page 219

    As to a chosen and most zealous friend;
    And I who wrought your fortune will maintain it.

        D. CARLOS.

            Let me depart, ere I a victim fall
    To the dire fate, that menaces me here;
    And screen myself from what its wrath prepares.

        D. ISABELLA.

            Count, you deceive me! this weak, idle fear,
    Is love's pretence to quit my Court and Kingdom.
    Hence your disdain of the fair Bride I offer'd you.
    Go into Arragon. Your Princess follow;—
    Go openly! nor thus descend to counterfeit.
    Since your proud heart is by her charms enslav'd,
    Do not abase yourself to ask my leave;
    Depart triumphant, in despite of me.
    To go, without my knowledge, is less insult,
    Than to depart against my prohibition.

        D. CARLOS.

            In mercy, Madam! add not to my woes,
    Your cruel scorn, and undeserv'd reproach.

        D. ISABELLA.

            Why then delude me with evasive art,
    Act from one motive, and another own?
    For such deceit is most ungrateful, Carlos!
    You love Elvira,——therefore quit my Court.

        D. CARLOS.

            No, Madam, no! I love not bright Elvira:
    Though I would fight her cause, and die to serve her.
    Death is my only wish, 't is the sole good,
    Heaven has in store for me——


    Page 220

        D. ISABELLA.

                                    Whence this despair?
    Art thou not grac'd by fortune's richest gifts?
    And has not Nature, with a lavish hand,
    Endow'd thee amply, with her choicest blessings?
    Who is more envy'd, Carlos! than thyself?
    Then why repine, and whence this strange despondency?
    Is it within the compass of my power
    To cure thy griefs?—Speak! for I wish thee happy.

        D. CARLOS.

            Canst thou reverse the stern decrees of Heaven;
    And by a miracle change nature's course?—
    Annul the past, from memory's fix'd record;
    And change the future destiny of things?

        D. ISABELLA.

            I understand a sorrow in your words,
    But not their purport, Carlos! What afflicts you?

        D. CARLOS.

            A cureless grief which I must never speak.
    Which, till it almost bursts, my heart has borne.
    For pity's sake, O Queen! no more reproach me;
    But grant me leave, to spend in solitude,
    My rest of days.——I must not——cannot stay.—

        D. ISABELLA.

            Though to a friend's entreaties you are silent;
    Yet surely to a Queen some reason's due,
    For quitting thus, her service and her Court.
    How can you justify this sudden conduct,
    So strange, and so unlike the intrepid Carlos?


    Page 221

        D. CARLOS (wildly).

            Adoring you, I cease to be myself.
    No more I wish for fame, nor value life.—
    Oh! must I see you in another's arms?
    My mind is fir'd to phrenzy at the thought:
    Love, envy, and despair, uproot my soul.—
    I thought to hide this secret in the grave;
    I fought to die, without offending you.

    But love, this day, dethrones my feeble reason.—
         (Kneels.)

    Can you forgive a wretch, who, on the rack,
    Has fail'd in firmness, and breath'd forth one sigh,
    Which, though repented, cannot be recall'd.
    For you my heart felt the first pulse of love.
    A heaven inspir'd emotion, undebas'd
    By self regard, or thought of due return:
    Hopeless I sigh'd, nor one fond wish dar'd form.—
    I go for ever———must I go unpardon'd?——

         (The Queen turns weeping to him.)

    Madam! you weep! Oh! whence proceed those tears?

        D. ISABELLA.

            Carlos!———      (stops, unable to speak )


        D. CARLOS.

            O Isabella!———O my royal mistress!
    What have I done? Have I fresh cause for anguish?
    Those tears!—burst they from aught but indignation?
    Scorn were less poignant to my tortur'd mind,
    Than to have griev'd your heart, or caus'd one tear.
    And can I ask?——Yes:——pity me and frown!


    Page 222

    Your anger, that will lacerate my heart,
    Will glad my soul, when reason reigns again.

        D. ISABELLA.

            'Gainst one, who so unwillingly offends,
    I feel no anger.——Carlos! you are pardon'd.

         (Signs to him to rise.)

        D. CARLOS.

            That pardon is more dear, than all your gifts.
    Madam! receive your Ring; revoke your trust.
    I must depart, and hide my guilty head.——

        D. ISABELLA (irresolute, after a pause).

            Stay till the Prince of Arragon appears:
    Give him my Ring. A Queen, for all the favours
    She has bestow'd, entreats that one from you.

        D. CARLOS.

            O Madam! let me shun impending fate.
    If I obey you, I incur its wrath.——
    The haughty Counts seek to dishonour me;
    I would preserve my honour to my grave;
    Let my heart burst with grief, but not with shame.

        D. ISABELLA.

            Stay till Don Sancho comes, ere you depart.
    Let me in this command;——oblige me, Carlos!

        D. CARLOS.

            Oh! fatal mandate! but your will is law.
    You doom me, Queen! to what is worse than death;
    To contumelious scorn from those who hate me.
    Yet,—if you wish it,—why should I repine.—
    I'll stay, and brave the malice of my fate:
    When you command, I have no self-regard.


    Page 223

        D. ISABELLA.

            Why art thou not Don Sancho! hapless Carlos!
    O Heaven!——believe me not—what have I said?

         (Going.)

        D. CARLOS.

            What, with strange magic, tortures and delights,
    Consoles me, whilst it wounds my aching sense,
    What, has charm'd all the horrours of my fate;
    What, I most joy to hear, yet grieve to know.

         (Exeunt severally.)

    End of the Fourth Act.


    Page 224

    Act Fifth.

    SCENE FIRST.

         DONNA LEONORA, DONNA ELVIRA.

        D. ELVIRA.

    HAS aught appear'd to justify the rumour,
    That Heaven, in Carlos, sends you back a Son?

        D. LEONORA.

            The haughty Counts, and the whole Court agree,
    That Carlos is Don Sancho, and my Son.——

        D. ELVIRA.

            He is my brother then?——

        D. LEONORA.

                            No, my Elvira!
            Carlos that name disowns. I have just seen him,
    And 't was an interview that pain'd my soul.

    SCENE SECOND.

         DONNA ISABELLA, DONNA LEONORA, DONNA ELVIRA.

        D. ISABELLA.

            Let me not interrupt, but share your converse
    If it regard your Son; what have you learn'd?


    Page 225

        D. LEONORA.

            No more enlighten'd are we than yourself;
    But wait, with doubtful wonder and impatience,
    To have this fateful mystery unravell'd.

        D. ISABELLA.

    But from whom comes the news of Garcia's death,
    And this report, so widely spread, so eagerly
    Receiv'd, that your Son lives? The different couriers,
    Who for this month arrive, come but with Treaties,
    From Arragon revolted in your favour;
    Its Deputies by your appointment come,
    This Day, to swear Allegiance to their Queen:
    But of Don Sancho's life, or Garcia's death,
    Why has the information been delay'd?

        D. LEONORA.

    Nor my Son's life, nor Garcia's death, were known,
    Till Raymond join'd, last night, the Deputies.
    When first from Saragossa they departed;
    Our party were besieging, in their last fortress,
    The traitor Garcia, and his rebel Son;
    They being slain, the garrison surrender'd:
    And Raymond, who was prisoner there, set free.
    He instantly proclaim'd that their Prince liv'd;
    And he set out, with speed, to seek Don Sancho;
    Thinking, with him, to o'ertake the Deputies,
    Who, of his Life, or Garcia's death, were ignorant.
    Last night he join'd them, after their Messengers
    To me had been dispatch'd: and he inform'd them,
    That their young Prince resides, here, in your Court.
    All anxious as I am, no more I know.


    Page 226

    I have not yet seen Raymond, so intent
    Is he in searching for my Son throughout
    Your hosts. But here, each moment, I expect him.

        D. ISABELLA (going).

            I hope he comes to bring you certain tidings.—
    Fearing to interrupt, I leave you, Madam!

        D. LEONORA.

            Remain! For this report concerns us equally.
    If my Son live, a Monarch claims your hand;
    And heaven rewards you for your Fathers virtues.
    That Crown he strove to gain for my Elvira,
    Shall by his Child be worn. Thus, whilst he toil'd
    For others good, he aggrandiz'd his Race.

        D. ELVIRA.

    My Friend! henceforth my Sister, and my Queen,
    Heaven has decreed my Diadem to you:
    Reign with my Brother! and be happy long.

    SCENE THIRD.

         DONNA ISABELLA, DONNA LEONORA, DONNA ELVIRA, BLANCHE.

        D. LEONORA.

    What, news brings Blanche, with that, astonish'd look?
    Is my Son found?

        BLANCHE.

            No, Madam! no!——


    Page 227

        D. ISABELLA.

                            What agitates thee thus?

        BLANCHE.

            O cruel fate!——Oh! Why did Carlos stay?

        D. ISABELLA.

            Speak! What of Him?

        BLANCHE.

                            Dishonour'd! and undone!

        D. ELVIRA.

            Dishonour'd, Blanche!—Carlos dishonour'd—
    It cannot be!

        BLANCHE.

                    His Father is arriv'd.——
    A peasant Shepherd is the Sire of Carlos.

        D. ISABELLA.

            Who told thee this?

        BLANCHE.

                            I saw their meeting, Madam!
    And all the court is witness to the fact.

        D. ISABELLA.

            I scarcely know to credit thy report.

        D. ELVIRA.

            Ah! fortune, how unjust!

        D. ISABELLA.

                                    Unjust indeed!
    Is this great soul and virtue so sublime,
    Sprung from a beggar's race?—What then is blood?
    If Carlos, He, whose high, heroic worth
    Deserves the Throne, his prowess oft has guarded,
    Was in a cottage born, from shepherd parents?


    Page 228

    Has Manrique's blood, or my own royal stream,
    E'er form'd a hero that transcends this Carlos?
    And, though he sprung in an ungenial soil,
    His vigorous soul throve midst its scanty nurture,
    And pair'd with princes nurs'd by fortune's hand.

        D. ELVIRA.

            And must this true-born Eagle be disdain'd,
    Because his aërie was not plac'd on high?
    Men should take rank, not from their birth, but virtue.

        D. ISABELLA.

            But how did Carlos bear this sad reverse?

        BLANCHE.

            Oh! with deep anguish, and exalted courage.
    Along the audience-hall he graceful walk'd,
    And, ever and anon, with courteous speech,
    Check'd the false rumour, as he pass'd the crowd:
    But all your court was bent to change his name;
    And murmur'd round, "Don Sancho, Prince of Arragon."
    When a poor, mean, old, man, in shepherd's garb,
    Burst through your guards, and clasp'd him in his arms.
    "Why didst thou leave me in my age?" he cried.
    Carlos turn'd pale; then blush'd from pride and shame.
    But duty triumph'd, and the hero wept;
    He clasp'd his aged Parent to his breast;
    And "O my Father!" "O my long-lost Son!"
    Echo'd responsive, midst their sighs and tears.

        D. ISABELLA.

            Disdainful of his birth, he loves his Sire;
    Nature and Virtue, rule his noble soul.


    Page 229

        BLANCHE.

            Though strange to tell, these cries of grief and joy
    Were disbeliev'd. The court around them gather'd,
    And this poor, peasant Shepherd, spite of Carlos,
    Is deem'd dishonest torn from his arms,
    And roughly treated. 'T is a cheat they cry,
    A dark impostor, by the Counts suborn'd,
    To throw disgrace on Carlos, and excuse
    Their proud refusal of the proffer'd combat.

        D. ELVIRA.

            'T is surely so!

        D. ISABELLA.

                        We must examine this;
    And, if the Counts be guilty, they shall find,
    Such malice sins beyond a Prince's mercy.

        BLANCHE.

            The Counts themselves deserve your admiration;
    With pains this incredulity they strengthen,
    And generously attest the whole a cheat.
    Not, Madam! that they take this mean, low malice
    Upon themselves; but they declare, that one
    Of their domestics is the guilty author;
    Who, hoping thus to please them, has instructed
    This poor, mean wretch, how to affront brave Carlos.
    Each, with avidity, believes this tale;
    The Counts, to gain more credence to their story,
    Have caus'd this aged man to be imprison'd.

        D. ISABELLA.

            What must we think of this?


    Page 230

        BLANCHE.

                                    In vain does Carlos
    Witness against himself; no one believes him,
    He storms, he menaces, he raves, and, wild
    With anger, loudly claims his Father's liberty.
    All tremble at his wrath, yet disbelieve it;
    And think he cannot be a Shepherd's Son.
            But, see! he comes to make complaint to you.

    SCENE FOURTH.

         DONNA ISABELLA, DONNA LEONORA, DONNA ELVIRA, BLANCHE, DON CARLOS, DON MANRIQUE, DON LOPEZ.

        D. CARLOS.

            Behold the fruit of my obedience, Madam!
    The fatal secret of my birth is known;
    Your will expos'd me to this dire mischance.
    My aged Father from my arms is torn,
    Falsely accus'd, unjustly led to prison.

        D. MANRIQUE.

            Carlos! this Shepherd's claim disgraces you.
    We think him one suborn'd to stain your honour;
    He is to prison led for this injustice.

        D. CARLOS.

            I am this Shepherd's Son. He is no cheat,
    No infamous imposter; though mean of blood,


    Page 231

    He is not vile of soul. And I renounce
    More willingly, the names of Count and Marquis,
    Than a Son's sentiments of love and duty.
    Nought can efface the sacred character
    Of Nature's ties, within an honest breast.
    I left my parents, I disclaim'd my name:
    My soul for honour sigh'd, for glory panted,
    E'en in that cottage where my fate had cast me.
    Your courtly maxims warr'd against my hopes;
    The road of Honour, and the course of Glory,
    Were open but to Lords. I had no means
    To rise, but to conceal my birth. I learn'd
    To blush at what, in other courts, would be
    My praise,—That in five years a peasant youth
    Rose from the Ranks, distinguished by his Sword,
    To be, though so contemn'd what now I am.

         (To the Queen.)

    Madam! command that they should free my Father.
    I claim your justice, though I stand degraded.
    That I am known, I think disgrace enough,
    To satisfy the hate of my proud scorners;
    Let them not vilify my honest Parent.

        D. MANRIQUE (to the Queen).

            Force this great, heart still to preserve his glory;
    Prevent him from attesting his own tale.
    We cannot bear that this exalted Carlos,
    Beneath whose arm the Moors so oft have trembled,
    To whom this Kingdom so indebted stands,
    Should, from his birth, receive a stain indelible.
    A higher rank his godlike valour merits,


    Page 232

    Than custom gives to such ignoble blood.
    I now must own such custom is unwise,
    Alike impolitic, unjust, and cruel.
    The man, whose deeds merit a princely rank,
    Though in a cottage born, that rank should grace.

        D. LOPEZ.

            Most true.—But as that custom is inveterate,
    We must our conduct shape to the now exigence.
    In our deceit deign, gracious Queen! to aid us.
    The people love their errour, they all think
    This peasant Shepherd a suborn'd impostor.
    This errour authorize, in spite of Carlos.
    In justice to his great exploits, defend
    His Honour, and preserve his Rank and Glory.
    Alvarez strives this Father to persuade
    To shew his love, by now disowning Carlos;
    Sustain this artifice our pity rais'd.

        D. CARLOS.

            How am I fallen! if I excite your pity!——
    Retain your scorn, resume your enmity!
    Now my ill fate your envy gratifies,
    It soothes your pride to pity my disgrace.
    But ostentatious shew is this your virtue,
    Which may some ambush haply plan for mine.
    The glory Heaven has will'd that I should reap,
    Has made my name deserving of remembrance.
    My Honours, Count! would be too dearly purchas'd,
    If, by an act of baseness, I retain'd them.
    Though I conceal'd my birth, because 'twas mean,
    Yet know, proud Lords! I'll not disown my Father;


    Page 233

    Nor criminate him, e'en to guard my rank,
    And shield my pride, from your contemptuous scorn.

        D. MANRIQUE.

            Noblest of minds!—Yield to those rigid maxims,
    Which custom has establish'd firm as laws:
    Preserve your honour, and disown your birth.

        D. CARLOS.

            Since known to you, I care not, Lords! who knows it.
    Who tells the meanness of my birth, must tell,
    That Sancho, a poor, honest peasant's Son,
    From bondage sav'd two Counts: and lately held
    In tribulation two illustrious rivals
    On their Queen's choice. Sancho, a peasant's Son,
    Holds in his hand the power to seat a Sovereign
    Upon that Throne, his arm has propp'd, his sword
    Has twice redeem'd.—Spite of himself, this Sancho,
    Though but a shepherd's Son, was thought a Prince.
    Hence learn what mind and courage can achieve,
    And contemplate the building they have rear'd.——
    That want of birth must raze this goodly fabric,
    Is an unwholesome maxim in the state,
    Which saps its vigour, and enslaves its people.
    Virtue or in the Peasant or the Prince,
    Should meet the same impartial, just reward.
    Yet, notwithstanding this unjust disgrace,
    All noble minds will value me the more,
    When they reflect, how much from nothing, (after
    High Heaven's example) my bold heart has made.


    Page 234

        D. LOPEZ.

            This generous pride proclaims a nobler birth;
    It testifies against your own report;
    And wraps again, in mystery's dark veil,
    What we thought fully clear'd. No, valiant Carlos!
    A shepherd's son such sentiments ne'er spoke.
    Your haughty soul is so sublimely form'd,
    That I believe the errour we have spread,
    Rather than your account. And, I maintain,
    That you are not the Son of shepherd Nuna.

        D. CARLOS.

            All-powerful instinct witnesses I am:
    Else would my filial love curb pride, and shame,
    Which like a whirlwind rage within my soul.

        D. MANRIQUE.

            Thou dost mistake thy nobleness of spirit,
    Which scorns the vice of a mean, low-soul'd pride,
    For force of blood. This fancy'd instinct, Carlos!
    By thy own self, is all fallacious prov'd.
    Thou stand'st internal evidence against it.

         (To the Queen.)

            Repent not, Madam! of those dignities
    With which you have rewarded his rare merits;
    No Monarch could more justly favours place;
    Virtues like his adorn and heighten honours,
    And will support them with becoming soul;
    Superiour e'en to fate, which bows before them.

        D. ISABELLA.

            I know not which, my Lords! I most admire,
    His noble nature or your generous minds,


    Page 235

    Thus rendering honour to illustrious worth.

         (To Carlos.)

    And you, miraculous Hero! whose great soul
    Disdains to take advantage of the errour
    Of a whole people, who themselves deceive;
    Say! if amidst the griefs; which you experience,
    I can in aught console your mind, or mitigate
    That destiny, your spirit nobly braves?
    I, in detaining, have disgrace brought on you;—
    Through my whole life, I shall regret your fate;
    And wish your birth had equall'd your high merit,
    That I no bounds might set to its reward.

        D. CARLOS.

            I bow resign'd to what just Heaven ordains;
    But consolation I can never know;——
    Yet, it relieves my fate, that you lament it.——

        D. ISABELLA.

            So lowly born, I think you most unfortunate;
    Yet, in the most supreme degree, I hold you
    Estimable, that being from such Parents sprung,
    Unblushing, and undaunted, thus you own them.
    Astonish'd, I your heart and mind revere;
    Which, in the balance plac'd against your birth,
    Have far uprais'd your lowly cottage blood;
    Which mounts ennobled by high Heaven's award.
    Kings, who give titles, cannot merit give;
    Virtue's a gem their power cannot create;
    They can but set, and bid its splendour blaze,
    When plac'd on high, with more conspicuous lustre:
    Ungrac'd it still retains its native worth,


    Page 236

    On earth neglected, it has Rank in Heaven,
    Angels proclaiming there its just reward.——
            Aid us, O Carlos! to preserve your Honours;
    Concede to custom's strict, establish'd laws:
    Do not proclaim your birth. Preserve my favours.

        D. CARLOS.

    I thank you, Madam!—but—I must forego them.—

         (D. Carlos takes his sword from his belt, and, kneeling, presents it to the Queen.)

    This from your Royal Brother I receiv'd,—
    I now resign it for some worthier hand.——

        D. ISABELLA.

            Oh! pain me not to this extreme degree—
    Carlos!!—retain your sword!—for my sake use it—

        D. CARLOS (rising, and half-drawing the sword).

    With transport, Madam!—for your sake I'll use it.

         (Going.)

        D. ISABELLA.

    Stay, Carlos! stay——I understand your purpose;—
    'Tis self-destruction——

        D. ELVIRA.

                            O Carlos! let me plead!—

        D. LEONORA.

            Why art thou not my Son! For pity's sake!—

        D. CARLOS (with assumed composure).

            What cause for this alarm?—these trembling fears?
    Madam! I must retire,——I, to your goodness,
    My Father's safety earnestly commend.

        D. MANRIQUE.

            On one condition only, grant it, Queen!


    Page 237

         (To Carlos.)

    Swear no attempt to make against your life.

        D. ISABELLA.

    I value much thy life.——Oh! be entreated!
    Summon thy Virtue, and control despair;
    Above all praise remain a bright example,
    Subdue thyself, and be the first of Heroes.
    Carlos! I pray thee,—give me thy word to live!—

         (After a pause.)

    Plant not eternal thorns within that heart,
    Which loves thy virtues, and esteems thy valour;
    Add to the Hero's fame the Saint's submission;
    And patient bear the present torturing hour.
    Thy death would darkly cloud my future days;
    And ev'ry hour embitter with regret.
    O, hapless Carlos! promise me to live!—

        D. CARLOS.

    Till my heart breaks—Here let the cordage crack!—

    SCENE FIFTH.

         DONNA ISABELLA, DONNA LEONORA, DONNA ELVIRA, BLANCHE, DON CARLOS, DON MANRIQUE, DON LOPEZ, DON ALVAREZ.

        D. ISABELLA (to Alvarez).

            Say, what success?—Hast thou obtain'd thy suit?
    And will this Peasant quit his claim to Carlos?


    Page 238

        D. ALVAREZ.

            Nor prayers, nor bribe can win this wretched Shepherd,
    To aid in our design. I strove in vain,
    By every argument, to make him feel
    How irksome his-ungracious presence was.
    That he disgrac'd a generous, valiant Son,
    Ruin'd his fortune, stigmatiz'd his honour:
    That if he lov'd him, he must now declare,
    'T was a mean trick he had been brib'd to play him.
    To all the reasons I could urge, I added menaces—

        D. CARLOS.

            My Father's virtue has withstood them all?——

        D. ALVAREZ.

            Unshaken, unseduc'd—He claims his Son—
    And for his loss of fortune, or of honour,
    He says that he can make him a great Lord.
    Simple and credulous he this believes;
    Because his wife a hundred times has told him,
    That at the sight of a poor paltry token,
    The Queen of Arragon will Carlos aggrandize.
    I, won by the old man's tears, and earnest prayers,
    Present this homely pledge, this Iron Casket.

         (Don Alvarez presents an Iron Casket to Donna Leonora; who starts at the sight of it, and leans for support upon her Daughter.)

        D. ISABELLA.

    What trouble, at this sight, shakes your whole frame?

        D. LEONORA.

            Well may my soul be shaken to behold it.


    Page 239

    That Casket, Queen! is mine: and it contains
    The marks by which I am to know my Son,
    E'en by the King his Father testified.
    Whether he lives, or not, this may declare.

         Enter Guard.

        GUARD (to Donna Leonora).

    Madam! Don Raymond begs an audience of you.

        D. LEONORA.

            Swift let him come.      (Exit Guard.)


         (To Isabella.)

    Forgive my impatient ardour.
    Raymond alone can clear this mystery.

    SCENE SIXTH.

         DONNA ISABELLA, DONNA LEONORA, DONNA ELVIRA, BLANCHE, DON CARLOS, DON MANRIQUE, DON LOPEZ, DON ALVAREZ, DON RAYMOND.

        D. LEONORA.

    Oh! welcome, Raymond! Hast thou found my Son?

        D. RAYMOND.

            I hope he lives; yet, where he is I know not.
    For from five years of bondage just releas'd,
    I've vainly sought him, where, by the late King's order,
    I with such happy secrecy had plac'd him.
    His foster Father thought him his own Son;


    Page 240

    For, being absent when a dead child was born,
    Your living Son was by his wife receiv'd;
    And with kind care was nurtur'd as her own.
    A Priest, by me intruded, form'd his mind,
    As 't were through friendly charity and love:
    And from this pious Pastor have I learn'd
    That your Son fled, at Sixteen years of age,
    As he imagin'd, bent to follow arms,
    From which no prayers could win his princely soul.

        D. LEONORA.

            But whither went he, Raymond! Can they tell?

        D. RAYMOND.

            Large sums of gold were oft mysteriously
    From him receiv'd; but no trace given to find him.
    Anxious, uncertain of his fate, five years
    Did his false parents mourn. When by a neighbour,
    Just from Castile return'd, they were inform'd,
    That he had seen their son, but in such glory,
    And credit, at this Court, that his heart fail'd him,
    He neither dar'd accost him, nor declare,
    That he had known him once a cottage resident.
    The Sire, with joy transported, at such news,
    Set out to seek this boasted Son, two days
    Before I reach'd his dwelling, where I thought
    To find Don Sancho safe. Hither I bent
    My course, o'ertook the Deputies from Arragon,
    And told all this to them. In vain I seek
    To trace this Peasant, or to find your Son.

        D. LEONORA.

    Look round this presence, if amongst these Lords——


    Page 241

        D. RAYMOND (at the feet of Carlos).

            My royal Master! hail!

        D. LEONORA.

                            My Son! My Son!

         (She makes an effort to go to Carlos, but sinks greatly agitated upon Blanche.)

        D. LOPEZ.

            Hail, King of Arragon!—Prince! we exult
    With heart-felt zeal, and homage pay your virtues.

        D. CARLOS.

            Still do I fear some strange reverse of fortune.
    But let us see, if the King's testimony
    Agree with what Don Raymond has declar'd;
    I dare not think such happiness awaits me.

        D. LEONORA (recovering and turning to Carlos).

            Are you alone incredulous? Ope we
    This Casket. Manrique and Lopez both well know
    What it contains.

         (Lopez presents and holds the Casket: its contents seen, the Queen, Leonora, takes out a writing.)

        D. LEONORA.

                    Raymond! whose writing's this?

        D. RAYMOND.

            Don Sancho's Father's; Royal Ferdinand's.

        D. LEONORA.

            Don Manrique! read, and force him to believe.

        D. MANRIQUE (reads).

    To Leonora, Queen of Arragon and Wife of Ferdinand.
            "Fearing to trust maternal tenderness,
    "Which takes not wisdom's counsel for its guide,


    Page 242

    "You are deceiv'd by a fictitious tale,
    "The more securely to deceive the tyrant.
    "That Son, whose death you now in anguish mourn,
    "I hope will to your bosom be restor'd,
    "And your now grief be chang'd to rapturous joy.
            "The wife of Shepherd Nuna tends your child;
    "She has adopted him, his birth unknown,
    "And, with a Mother's tender care, will foster him.
    "She has been told a dark, mysterious tale;
    "And, on her secrecy, promis'd reward:
    "If, when the Child has number'd twenty years,
    "She, with this Iron Casket, send him forth
    "To seek for Leonora Queen of Arragon,
    "Who knows the sacred treasure it contains,
    "And can alone unlock the secret spring;
    "And who will make this, her adopted Child,
    "A powerful Lord, who kindly will maintain her
    "In peace and plenty in her hoary age:
    "If, faithfully from him, and all the world,
    "She keep the secret till the appointed time.
            "Deign, Leonora! when this meets your eye,
    "Howe'er high Heaven has of my fate dispos'd,
    "To own in Nuna's Son, who this presents,
    "Your Son and mine, my rightful lineal Heir.
    "Hail him as lawful King of Arragon,
    "And may he worthy prove to wear my crown,
    "Or never mount his wretched Father's Throne.
                            "Ferdinand, King of Arragon."

        D. LEONORA (to Carlos, who kneels to her).

            Thy mind, thy courage, all attest my Son.


    Page 243

    O! teach me to deserve this blessing, Heaven!
    This more than all a Mother's hopes could ask,
    This ecstasy of joy, too great for words——
    O! bless my Son, and guard his virtues still.

         (She raises Carlos.)

        D. CARLOS.

            No longer can I doubt my birth——My Sister

         (Embraces D. Elvira.)

         (To D. Isabella.)

    Thus grac'd, and thus distinguish'd, still I sigh,
    As incomplete my bliss, if you forbid
    My hopes.

        D. ISABELLA.

                    He is to hope superiour, Prince!
    Who can command his wish. The power to name
    A Monarch for Castile, I with my Ring
    Bestow'd. I begg'd you to remain, to give
    That pledge into Don Sancho's hand; too much
    I him esteem, e'er to revoke that prayer.

        D. CARLOS.

            I thank you, Madam! with a grateful heart.
    I feel the bliss of this ecstatic moment;
    My heart pent up, and bursting through despair,
    Heaven has reliev'd by an unheard-of grace.
    No more I wonder at my high ambition,
    My Queen, and Sister shar'd my hopeless heart;
    The voice of love, and nature undistinguish'd.

        D. ELVIRA.

            My Heart, respecting still my rank, repaid
    That love, which kindred blood inspires and owes.


    Page 244

        D. CARLOS.

            If as a Brother then you love and honour me,
    You will accept a husband from my hand.

        D. ELVIRA.

            If on Alvarez, Prince! your choice is fix'd,
    To all men I preferr'd him, save yourself.

        D. CARLOS (to D. Leonora).

    This fair alliance has your sanction, Madam?

         (D. Leonora bows assent.)

         (To Alvarez, presenting D. Elvira.)

    Accept the brightest gem I can bestow,
    My darling Sister for your bride, Alvarez!

         (To Manrique and Lopez.)

    And you, my Lords! though you disdain'd my birth,
    Yet when these doubts arose, judged in my favour,
    With such generous warmth; by that have shown,
    That your disdain from honour sprang, not pride;
    Your maxims wrong, but virtuous your intent.
    Accept my friendship, and receive my thanks.

        D. RAYMOND (to Isabella).

            Permit the Arragonians to behold him.
    Our Deputies impatient wait for Audience;
    And burn with eagerness to see their King.

        D. ISABELLA (to Leonora).

            Let us in public give them audience, Madam!
    That All may hear this miracle explain'd.
    But let the honest Shepherd share the joy,
    His coming with that Casket makes complete.

         (To D. Carlos and D. Leonora.)

    The trials of your hearts now end in transport,


    Page 245

    That virtue, which our Duties all enjoin,
    Though strongly tried, still meets its sure reward;
    A peaceful Conscience, and approving Heaven.
    Firm midst the Storm, the good Man steers his way;
    Whilst frustrate lightnings innocently play;
    He views their baffled rage with generous scorn;
    Or gild his triumph, or his fall adorn.

    End of the Fifth Act.


    Page [246]


    Page [247]

    ADELINDA;
    A COMEDY.


    Page [248]


    Page [249]

      Dramatis Personae.

    • THE MARQUIS D'OLSTAIN.
    • THE COUNT D'OLSTAIN.
    • STRASBOURG.
    • Servants.
    • THE MARCHIONESS D'OLSTAIN.
    • ADELINDA D'OLSTAIN.
    • ZELLA.
    • DORCAS.——FLORA.
         SCENE—PARIS.


    Page [250]


    Page [251]

    ADELINDA.

    Act First.

    SCENE FIRST—A GARDEN.

         ADELINDA
    (Coming from behind an Alcove, and looking about, as she comes forward).

         Adelinda.

    OH, plague take it! Flora is coming this way. Well, I have had the good luck of a clear coast once to day; and so now I must compound for a little vexation and disappointment.—      (To Flora as as she enters.)

    What is in the wind now? What do you want?

    SCENE SECOND.

         ADELINDA, FLORA.

         Flora.

    Mademoiselle Adelinda! I have been looking for you all over the house and gardens, this long while.


    Page 252

         Adelinda.

    Well then, long-looked-for is found at last.——

         Flora.

    Lord, Mademoiselle! what can you be always in this garden for?

         Adelinda.

    For?——Fresh air; and the dear comfort of being alone, and in peace and quiet.

         Flora.

    You were not formerly so fond of the garden; nor so desirous of being alone. What amusement can you find here, by yourself?

         Adelinda.

    Amusement?—I dance Rigadoons, and study the Stars.

         Flora.

    Study the Stars! at high noon day?

         Adelinda.

    Oh yes! I can read enough in them now to tell you your fortune.

         Flora.

    I did not know, that amongst your other very rare qualifications, that fortune-telling was to be reckoned.

         Adelinda.

    Oh! I will give you an instant proof of that——Shew me your hand——      (She snatches Flora's hand)

    you are in love with a man, who is much younger than yourself:——he has slighted all your advances;—but you have still hopes.—

         Flora (aside).

    How came this into the little serpent's head?—

         Adelinda.

    Keep your eyes fixed upon mine, Flora!—Let me see—what your face says.——Why you are a great mischief maker;—a plotter;—very curious;——malicious;——and,——as I am alive, given to thieving.——

         Flora (in a passion).

    And you, Mademoiselle! are


    Page 253

    given to be vulgar and rude to every body. You are born to disgrace your birth and high rank, and your noble parents. And I tell you, without the help of the stars, that it will be your fortune, to be sent back once more to your Convent:—and for life too this time.—For I heard my Lord swear by St. Dennis that you should be a Nun. So, Mademoiselle! unless you mend your manners and alter you conduct, your fate will be, to wear the Veil,—eat Soup meager, sleep in a Dormitory, and do Pennance for the remainder of your days.——

         Adelinda.

    Bravo, Flora!——A word in your ear.      (Speaking close to her, but in a very loud voice.)

    The next time my Mother lectures me, you shall be turn'd out neck and heels.——You are by nature sufficiently impertinent without the aid of any of the Marchioness's eloquence. Besides you select only the dregs of it; and you deliver her sermons with as ill a grace as you wear her cast-off gowns.

         Flora.

    'T is not what the Marchioness alone says, that I repeat—every body speaks thus of you, and unless——

         Adelinda.

    —You can grow young again, this pretty Youth, on whom you have set your heart, will leave you to hang yourself upon yon willow.

         Flora (sullenly).

    My Lady has waited in her dressing-room this hour for you:—she sent me to look for you.——

         Adelinda.

    Very well! Go you and tell my Mother that I am coming.——


    Page 254

         Flora.

    I wait to attend you to her—

         Adelinda.

    But I do not chuse your attendance; so march without me.

         Flora.

    No, Mademoiselle! I shall wait your leisure here.

         (Adelinda goes searching among the shrubs, and comes back to Flora).

         Adelinda.

    And so you will not go without me?

         Flora.

    No, Mademoiselle! I promise you, that I shall not move from this spot, but to follow you.

         Adelinda.

    Well then, Flora! I find, that I must make you my confident.

         Flora.

    Ah, Mademoiselle! I suspected that you had other amusements in this garden, betides star-gazing and dancing Rigadoons. 'T is well you are willing to tell me; for I was bent upon finding out why you are grown so astonishingly fond of solitude.

         Adelinda.

    I have had a hundred times a mind to trust you, Flora! for I have been in constant fear of your great penetration.—Why you must know then that, through great charity, I keep a whole family here—Father—Mother—Children; and I come every morning, noon, and night, to feed them.

         Flora.

    Lord, Mademoiselle! How do these beggars get into the Garden to be fed by you?

         Adelinda.

    They live here constantly, and this is their eldest Child. See      (opening her hand)

    what a fine large black Spider it is.

         Flora
         (screaming).

    O pray, Mademoiselle!— dear! Oh, dear——


    Page 255

         Adelinda.

    Now decamp without me; or I'll fetch the whole family.—

         Flora.

    If you do I shall faint—or go into fits—

         Adelinda.

    Faint, ha! ha! ha!—

         Flora.

    Indeed, Mademoiselle! I shall faint unless you throw it away.

         Adelinda.

    Then I shall be obliged to let it crawl upon your face, till you have done fainting: for I have no sal volatile, nor eau de luce to recover you. So faint, or go, whichsoever you please instantly.

         Flora (going).

    A perverse little devil!—What mischief is in her wild head now I wonder.

    SCENE THIRD.

        ADELINDA (alone),

         Adelinda.

    So I am rid of this Argus.—      (looking about)

    But here comes my Mother—Well! out of the frying pan into the fire.—Heigh ho!—I must endure it: I cannot frighten her away.

    SCENE FOURTH.

         THE MARCHIONESS, ADELINDA.

         Marchioness.

    Why, Adelinda! when I sent last night to entreat you to spend this morning in my


    Page 256

    dressing-room, would you not oblige me?—You may one day perhaps experience the pang which a mother feels, when she begs in vain, for a proof of kindness, and common civility, from her Child.

         Adelinda.

    Lord, Madam! I thought my father would be there; and I was so wearied out, last night, with hearing of my ungrateful, rebellious conduct, of my incorrigible vulgarity, of my want of taste and judgment; and of what a disgrace I am to his name and blood; that I was truly glad to escape from his passionate exclamations, which gall and irritate me so, that I am forced to say things which he does not like.——

         Marchioness.

    Adelinda! you must take care how you provoke your Father: you made him so very angry last night that I trembled for you.

         Adelinda.

    Yes, there was reason to tremble. I expect that he will give me a good beating in one of his passions: for, sure, never was mortal in such a rage, as he was in with me, last night. It is very unfortunate for me, that I have either eyes, understanding, or the use of speech: since I can neither look, think, nor speak; without putting my father into a most horrible pucker.

         Marchioness.

    It was impossible to forbear from being angry with you last night. I assure you, that I should have joined in resenting your behaviour, but your father's severe determination, after he had commanded you from his presence, terrified me to death; and I forgot my own displeasure against you, in my


    Page 257

    sorrow at the punishment which your father swore to inflict upon you: and, but for my interposition, he would this day have sent you back to your Convent.

         Adelinda.

    What! to make a Nun of me?

         Marchioness.

    I fear so.—

         Adelinda.

    Merciful stars! I did not think that he had been in such a wicked passion as that came to neither.—And all for my telling him an unwelcome truth. I fear and esteem my father; but he has never taught me to love him. He is justice herself, he holds the scales with a steady hand, and wields the sword with unrelenting rigour;—except when he is himself the culprit. But thanks to you, Madam! for interposing, so that he has broken the Oath; 't was rashly made; and not fit to be kept: but in his next passion, he will again swear, and as easily break the vow.

         Marchioness.

    I hope, for your own sake, that you will not make the experiment; for, however willing I may be to sue for your peace, I may lose my influence: for your Mother, Adelinda! could not, last night, obtain your pardon till she knelt for it at your father's feet.

         Adelinda.

    O, my dear Mother! what do I not owe to your patience and your goodness?—But 't is all, all, in vain; for I was born to disgrace and grieve you. Yet do not hate,—do not curse me!—

         Marchioness.

    Horrid thought!—no more of this; we will not awaken humiliating sensations.——Let the future redeem the past.—I have promis'd for


    Page 258

    you, that you will change your conduct. That you will behave with more duty and attention to your Father; and that you will treat your Cousin more properly.

         Adelinda.

    Oh! that Cousin of mine is as plagueful as a Ghost in a haunted house; I am never at quiet for him: I am always engaged, either in a quarrel with himself; or with my father about him. I wish that the Chaplain would exorcise him for an evil spirit; and confine him to the bottom of the Red Sea for nine hundred and ninety-nine years. I am sure that I would never light the end of candle that should release him.

         Marchioness.

    I am astonished that neither his birth, his rank, nor his accomplishments, procure him respect, or even common civility, from you, and yet you are much indebted to his generous disinterestedness.——Your Father has offered, if you will not change your conduct, to settle his whole fortune upon him: but he most nobly rejected it, declaring that he would never enjoy what he considered as your birthright, unless you shared it with him. He laments, yet always lessens, your imperfections.—And he avers, that notwithstanding your foibles, that both in heart and mind you are capable of great things.

         Adelinda.

    He sticks to his text I find; for he always begins his sermons by telling me what fine things I could do, if I would but give my soul elbow room. Yet I suspect he treats me with the oil of fool, alias flattery, only for the ostentation of displaying


    Page 259

    his own sagacity, whilst I question his seeing further into a millstone than other people.

         Marchioness.

    Adelinda! be serious, and give me your attention.——If your father's intentions be not altered, by his last night's anger, you will you know be very shortly your Cousin's Wife; even within a few days. Therefore, my dear Child! this is the crisis of your fate; and I am trembling for your future happiness, with all the anxiety of a Mother, who sees the rock, upon which your heedless youth will drive, to its assured destruction.

         Adelinda.

    Alas! Madam, I cannot new make myself, either to shew my gratitude to you, or my obedience to my Lordly Father. He might as well quarrel with his pack of hounds, because they have not flowing manes like his coach-horses, as with me for not being a fine lady.—And when all is said and done, for my share, I do not perceive what there is so outrageously amiss in me, to make all this constant havock about.

         Marchioness.

    That you have good qualities every body allows—But your bluntness, your rudeness of speech, your intractable temper, your churlish manners, your inflexible obstinate humour, disgrace the nobleness of your birth, and disgust every one who lives, or converses, with you. And, indeed, unless you correct your untoward disposition, you cannot expect to live on comfortable and pleasant terms with the Count, when the lover will be lost in the husband. And would you not wish to be considered as your


    Page 260

    husband's first friend, and favourite companion. Could you like to live neglected, despised, forgotten?

         Adelinda.

    No, faith!! do not say that neither.

         Marchioness.

    Then, for your own sake, determine to polish your manners, and soften the ruggedness of your temper.

         Adelinda.

    There is so much wanting to be done, Madam! to make me what you wish, that I shall never have the heart even to begin. I might toil up a high hill, but, alas! I am quite hopeless of walking up the outside of a church steeple;—indeed, Madam! my reformation is a moral impossibility; and you always paint me so much of a Black-a-moor, that I am sure 't is labour in vain to attempt to wash me white.

         Marchioness.

    No, my dear Child! it is not; if you would but once resolve to constrain your temper:—make the effort at least.—Reflect seriously upon the consequence of your first steps in life; they will stamp your character with the world: and have you no wish to be admired?

         Adelinda.

    Oh, no! there is more cost than worship in it;—to gain your sort of admiration, I must be constantly in the pillory—and for what?—why only the hopes of a mouthful of moon-shine.

         Marchioness.

    But, surely, you would at least wish to be esteemed?

         Adelinda.

    Esteemed? yes! I cannot live in any comfort without that: esteem is requisite to be sure; 't is like the air one breathes, a want, but not a pleasure.


    Page 261

         Marchioness.

    But, Adelinda! even esteem is very reluctantly paid, if not refused, to those whose strange humour, and rude, offensive familiarity, disgust and affront every body. And, if you will persist in retaining your churlishness, and inattention, how will you appear in polished society?

         Adelinda.

    O Lord! Madam! like a carp out of water. The society, which delights you, is not my element: and I shall never be any thing in it, but a queer fish gaping and floundering about. For the fine folks, and fine manners, of your polished societies, are my hatred and utter aversion; their maxims would suffocate every natural feeling of my heart, and annihilate every useful property of my understanding; for I must love and hate by a factitious rule and measure; and judge and give my voice, by weights which I know to be false; the fastidious drams and scruples, illegally stamped as standard, by the usurped authority of folly, falshood, affectation, and nonsense.

         Marchioness.

    What a sarcastic, ungovernable spirit? We have lost our two Sons, and you, the only Child whom Providence has spared to us, are determind to be the constant source of disquiet and affliction to our minds.—O Adelinda! you have blasted all my comfort;——long, very long, have I looked forward to your present age of reason, and anticipated the treasure, that I hoped to find, in your tender affection as a Child, and your sympathy as a friend. But all these flattering dreams vanish. You


    Page 262

    have filled my heart with grief and bitter disappointment for the present; and I look forward to the future, with that fearful agony, which makes even the very thoughts of life painful to me.      (Turns weeping from Adelinda.)

         Adelinda (falling at the Marchioness's feet).

    O, my Mother!——

         Marchioness (leaning over her).

    Can you then feel for me? O! rouse all your affection, all your reason, all your duty. Can you not resolve, my dear Child? will you not promise?—      (raising her.)

         Adelinda (with great agitation).

    I can at this moment resolve, if you speak the word—to die—But, O my dear Mother!—I cannot—indeed—I cannot promise what you wish.—

         Marchioness.

    Alas! Adelinda! can you thus partake the anguish of my soul, and have the power, yet want the will, to give me peace?—

         Adelinda.

    I cannot speak the agonizing grief that tears my heart—to think what sorrow I give to yours. I disdain a falsehood—I cannot promise—because I know, too certainly know, the fatal impossibility of keeping my word. Cease to love me, Mother! I am unworthy your affection. Alas! I know I am.—

         Marchioness.

    Yonder your father comes, the Count is with him, Dear Adelinda!      (takes her hand.)

    at least in your father's presence, for my sake, constrain your temper. Do not speak, if you cannot speak respectfully. I have passed my word, that you will alter your conduct, else your father will break off this
    Page 163

    treaty of marriage, and send you back to a Cloister for life. Think of what I suffered, last night, for your sake; and let not such deep humiliation have been in vain. You are silent, my Child! I will yet hope what you dare not promise.

    SCENE FIFTH.

         THE MARQUIS, THE MARCHIONESS, THE COUNT, ADELINDA.

         Marquis.

    Did the distance deceive me, or did I see Adelinda on her knees?

         Adelinda.

    You did, my Lord!

         Marquis.

    Why, what thunderbolt was strong enough, to bow your stubborn pride?

         Adelinda.

    My Lord! when gentle Angels warn us of impending dangers; there needs no thunderbolt to bow the stubborn will. Their kindness melts the heart, trembling we own their mercy; and kneel, with gratitude and humbleness, to thank that goodness, which we cannot merit.

         Count.

    My charming Cousin!      (takes her hand, which she withdraws.)

         Marquis.

    How came you, Adelinda! to say so gracious, and so proper a thing? Why are you not always thus?

         Adelinda.

    Because, my Lord! I am not like an


    Page 264

    Italian Greyhound; fawning without friendship, and licking the hand of every stranger as cordially as that of his Master. I prefer the disposition of the honest English Mastiff, who is submissive only to the kind master whom he loves, and who will fight till he dies, for those to whom he is attached.

         Marquis.

    I presume, Madam! that you have told Adelinda, what you have promised for her—and, that it was only at your intreaty, that I have forgiven her behaviour to me last night?

         Marchioness.

    I have, my Lord! and Adelinda will, I hope, fulfil the promise which I have ventured to make for her; and by becoming as amiable and as complacent in her manners as you can wish, she will not only rejoice my anxious heart, but reward all my care.

         Adelinda
         (aside).

    Impossible!

         Marquis.

    This day then, my dear Count! we will sign the Settlements, and to-morrow shall be the day of the celebration of your Nuptials—

         Adelinda.

    To-morrow, my Lord? No! no! no! not,—not, to-morrow, for Heaven's sake!——

         Count.

    Shall it be Thursday, Adelinda?

         Adelinda.

    Oh! no! no!

         Count.

    Let it be Saturday then.

         Adelinda.

    No! I beg not.

         Marquis.

    Adelinda! there is no obliging you—I will name the day. To-morrow you give your hand to the Count—      (aside to Adelinda)

    or you return to your Convent for life, whichsoever you please.—


    Page 265

         Marchioness.

    My dear Lord!——

         Marquis.

    Madam! I will not recede—therefore do not request, what I must have the pain of refusing, even to you.      (taking Adelinda's and the Count's hand.)

    Daughter! I give your hand to this young Lord: but for him my ancient name would be extinct. I am proud that he is my relation and my friend: And he is most deservedly the Son of my choice. As you value my blessing, Adelinda! I exhort you to merit his affection and preserve his esteem.

         (Joins their hands, the Count kisses that of Adelinda.)

         Count.

    Most gratefully I thank you, my Lord! for the honour which you confer upon me, and the sacred trust which you repose in me. I will aspire to maintain, in all its lustre, that name which has been for so many ages renowned: and the happiness of your lovely Daughter shall be the constant object of my tenderest attention.

         (The Count attempts to raise Adelinda's hand to his lips—she disappoints him by snatching it back.)

         Marquis.

    I resign her with full confidence to your care. Count! avoid my errours. Adelinda! let your altered conduct oblige me to forget the past. Imitate your Mother's exalted merit; or become an alien to your father's love.

         (Exit Marquis.)


    Page 266

    SCENE SIXTH.

         THE MARCHIONESS, THE COUNT, ADELINDA.

         Marchioness.

    My dear Count! though to call you Son, is the first with of my heart; yet this is a trying moment, which only a Mother, like me, can feel.— Remember, my dear Adelinda! that your own happiness, and the felicity of your parents, depend upon your conduct—      (taking Adelinda' s hand.)

    Heaven bless you, my dear Girl! and may no child of yours ever make you know the anxious care, which at this moment rends my heart—      (Adelinda kisses her hand.)

         (Exit Marchioness.)

    SCENE SEVENTH.

         THE COUNT, ADELINDA
    (Who stands looking after the Marchioness, and drying her eyes).

         Count (taking her hand).

    My fair Adelinda! are my wishes indeed accomplished? Your heart sympathizes with your Mother's feelings; Is it then subdued? are you changed?

         Adelinda
         (recovering her spirits and withdrawing her hand).

    O Lord, yes! changed, yes.——


    Page 267

         Count.

    But seriously?

         Adelinda.

    In down-right earnest to be sure.

         (smiling.)

         Count.

    I know that you are sincere—Therefore tell me—are you now serious?

         Adelinda.

    Oh! I am much too sincere at times, and so as to displease you most mightily.

         Count.

    'T is true. For often your sincerity arises from the peculiarly uncouth ruggedness of your temper, rather than from a scrupulous love of truth. Your sincerity is the squib of peevish petulance, and and not the conscientious award of just judgment.

         Adelinda.

    What a pointed, precise, witty, waspish, wiredrawn, distinction you have made: and your domineering decision amblingly alliterates as agreeably as the clinking cadence of the Church Clock's chimes.

         Count.

    It is but too just a decision:—however let it pass, my fair Cousin!—at this most awful period of our lives, let us rather resolve against all future disputes, than now enter upon new ones. You are my destined Bride;—

         (he offers to take her hand, she puts it behind her.)

         Adelinda.

    Yes.—so it seems.

         Count.

    Seems? why are you not? what do you think of it?

         Adelinda.

    What do I think of it?——— Nothing at all.——

         Count.

    A clear explication truly!—

         Adelinda.

    Rightly observed, Cousin! 'T is a most


    Page 268

    accurate, admirable, excellent explication indeed!— For when despotic authority says, "Daughter, you shall marry that man,"—and that very man says, "Mademoiselle! you are destined to make my fortune, and, therefore, I reject you not."—The girl has nothing to think about: for she is precluded from the privilege of thinking to any purpose,—and I assure you, that I think nothing about marrying you, my Lord!

         Count.

    Still haughty! still intractable!

         Adelinda (laughing).

    Hola, Cousin! have a care, that your sincerity be not the squib of peevish petulance:—It was but this moment that you resolved against all disputes; and you begin already. So to war we go, jangling like hammer and tongs, as usual.

         Count (laughing).

    That phrase is superlatively elegant!

         Adelinda (pettishly).

    Then, if you don't like it, mend it.—

         Count.

    How ill does that rustic speech and manner agree with eyes that seem to sparkle with intelligence as well as beauty. Your countenance and disposition are by no means assorted; they correspond so little together, that they would disappoint and disgust good company.

         Adelinda (sarcastically).

    Good Company! What is Good Company?

         Count.

    Ridiculous question! Do you not know what Good Company is?

         Adelinda.

    No. Nor you neither, Cousin! by your


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    not answering my question. But I suppose that your Good Company, like the Monster that I saw the other Day, is a non-descript; and so are your People of fashion; and polite Circles; and the great World: with all the immense farrago of fashionable phrases, that pretend to class folks into tribes, which I hold to be as non-descript, as my Monster from the Moon Mountains in Africa.

         Count.

    You mistake, fair Lady! Good Company is as easily defined as wit, sense, taste, or judgment. Good Company, Adelinda! is the select part of People of Rank and Education, of People of great talents and amiable manners; who, having, from superior understandings, a stronger claim to distinction and respect, than the generality of the World possess, seek out each other; and being assimilated by the attractive chain of real merit, enter into friendship, assort together, and form that elect part of society, which I distinguish by the name of Good Company.

         Adelinda.

    And do you make one in Good Company.

         Count.

    I have that flattering distinction.

         Adelinda.

    Well! if you be Good Company then is Good Company the most wearisome thing upon the face of God Almighty's Earth—      (yawns, and rubs her eyes)

    Have you any Snuff, my Lord! for your good Company has vapoured me to death.

         Count (bowing).

    I expected not so very enchanting a compliment.

         Adelinda.

    I have told you a hundred times that


    Page 270

    it is the way of me to speak what I think; if it offend you, you can revenge yourself: the catalogue of my manifold imperfections is so very extensive that you can find more ample faults of mine to descant upon, than I have picked out of yours, of your being tiresome, teasing and thwarting:—I do not beg for quarter.——

         Count.

    Indeed you do not deserve it; but your sacred sex protects you; I am bound to respect it, even though you set at defiance, good breeding, politeness, and even the common regards of decent civility.

         Adelinda.

    And where is the real merit of your good breeding, your politeness, and your regards? flummery and nonsense! you flatter, because you want to be flattered in return. Flattery, I suppose, is the current coin which buys a place in Good Company.—Let people speak as they think, and seem only what they are; just as God made them and Nature formed them. As for me, I cannot stem the impulse of my disposition; it carries me away; the current is too strong for my resistance.

         Count.

    But you should endeavour to exterminate so ungracious a disposition.

         Adelinda.

    Yes, and make myself just as artificial and ridiculous a figure as the Yew trees in the Kitchen Garden, tortured into every possible form that can make them appear outlandish and disagreeable—

         Count (to himself).

    What an unbending mind! what a stubborn spirit! What hope is there of softening it?


    Page 271

         Adelinda.

    He is dreaming with his eyes open, and talking Gibberish in his sleep——I'll escape——      (going.)

         Count.

    Adelinda, stay!—I was lost in thought— Can I by any entreaty win you to render your humour complacent——? Beautiful Adelinda! you might, if you pleased, inspire me with the most ardent passion for you. Your heart, I am sure, is good, though so rugged and discourteous to all around you. And (though I lament its constant misapplication) yet I cannot help admiring the strong powers of your understanding. Why then will you call forth dislike, where you might excite love? Why brave censure, when you might create esteem? Make but a just use of the invaluable gifts, with which nature has endowed you, and you will enslave my very soul.

         Adelinda (softened).

    Cousin! you plead so well, that methinks I am half sorry, that 't is impossible for you to gain your suit——

         Count.

    Say not so, Adelinda! Reflect, that in a few hours you will be my Wife: consider that the happiness of my future life is in your hands; and, if you cannot gain a proper ascendancy over your disposition, that I am doomed to be miserable; and every moment of my existence, I shall have to blush with shame and grief, at my Wife's misconduct.—

         Adelinda (haughtily).

    No, my Lord! I will save you from so sad a fate, from this all-dreaded shame; never, I promise you, shall my Husband have to blush at my misconduct.—


    Page 272

         Count.

    How you delight me by this promise: then, my amiable Adelinda! you will correct your failings, and kindly condescend to be guided by the tender advice of the man, who wishes to adore you?

         Adelinda.

    I most devoutly make you a second promise:—and I call Heaven to witness the sincerity of my intentions.—That in no one circumstance of my future life shall the advice of you, my Cousin! the Count D'Olstain,—ever govern me.——

         Count.

    No?—You speak riddles! You promise that I shall never have to blush, at your misconduct; and yet you threateningly promise defiance against me, either as your friend or counsellor.—For Heaven's sake! condescend to explain this mystery.

         Adelinda.

    No: I shall give no explanation; I intend to surprise every body.—

         Count.

    How can you take a pride in torturing me? You suffer your strange temper to drown every benevolent feeling of your heart. Have you no kindness for others? no sympathy for their distress? Why should you rejoice in creating misery when you might——

         Adelinda.

    Stop! stop! for the love of charity, do not stun my ears with any more of your tedious preachments.—Know, my Lord! that such as my manners and disposition are, such I would have them to be; and such they shall remain, if I were to live to the age of Methuselah.—Therefore, if you can work no surer miracle than my reformation, you will never be canonized for a Saint—But to shew you,


    Page 273

    that I can, occasionally, do a civil and polite thing, I rid you of my vulgarity; and leave you to the full enjoyment of your own Good Company.

         (Exit Adelinda.

    SCENE EIGHTH.

        THE COUNT (alone).

         Count.

    What a strange, what a perverse Girl! If I marry her, I sacrifice all my future happiness.—If I reject her, the Marquis will oblige her to take the Veil; and make me the unjust possessor of her birthright.

         (Exit Count.)

    End of the First Act.


    Page 274

    Act Second.

    SCENE FIRST—A SALOON.

         STRASBOURG, FLORA (entering to him).

         Flora.

    YOUR Servant, Monsieur Strasbourg!

         Strasbourg.

    Down to the ground, yours, Madam Flora!

         Flora (aside).

    Charming fellow! how handsome he is! What a fine figure! What an elegant air!— I'll plague him a little, however.—Why, Strasbourg! for a Steward how magnificently you dress—But you are rich; your father had the management of the old Marquis's fortune, and of his Son's, for forty years. You are his heir and still Steward:—And a most pompous fine gentleman to be sure you are; but they say you can afford it: yet, if I were my Lord——

         Strasbourg.

    You would not keep a Steward who looked so much like yourself. Ha! my smart Abigail! but I must decline the felicity of your company just now; for my Lord is coming hither upon business—so permit me to hand you out of the saloon.

         Flora.

    Well, Monsieur! I am here upon my Lady's business; I came here to look for Madamoiselle Adelinda.——


    Page 275

         Strasbourg.

    Then, as she is not here, by all means pursue your business.——

         Flora.

    Suppose, Strasbourg! that to keep your dress in proper countenance, you were to embroider your manners with a slight border of politeness.

         Strasbourg.

    Child! if I did, you would mistake my meaning. I think you most enchantingly agreeable, and you treat me in a manner that flatters me most delightfully: and if it were not for the extraordinary esteem and respect, that I have for your Lady, I should encourage your predilection.——

         Flora.

    What do you mean? what do you insinuate?

         Strasbourg.

    Only, divine perfection of a woman! that your Lady would take it very ill at my hands, if I seduced her favourite Abigail from that path of discretion which her years exact that she should tread in, and the practice of that virtue which she is said, hitherto, to have most religiously observed.—

         Flora.

    Impudent Coxcomb! audacious Slanderer! good-for-nothing Story-teller!—

    SCENE SECOND.

         THE MARQUIS, STRASBOURG, FLORA.

         Marquis.

    Thank your stars, Strasbourg! for my timely appearance—Why I believe that Flora going to beat you.


    Page 276

         Flora. (crying)

    No! no! I was not, but, but, I wish to Heaven that somebody would give him a good caning for me.——

         Marquis.

    Why, Strasbourg! what unpardonable offence have you committed to deserve such treatment from Flora?—

         Strasbourg.

    I only said, my Lord! that the Marchioness would be displeased with me, if I seduced Flora's virtue: and behold, for this, she calls me a slanderer! and a story-teller!

         Flora.

    No! it was not for that, but for supposing, supposing,—indeed, my Lord! I do not deserve, deserve—but I wish that you would not keep such a sop of a Steward—There is no being happy in the house for him—he is so grand and so proud—and he says—and he says—that, that, he looks like your Lordship——

         Marquis (gaily.)

    Why truly, Strasbourg! so I think you do—you are more sumptuous to day than usual, I think. I really must follow Flora's advice and dismiss you—for you always appear so splendid, that indeed there is some hazard of your being mistaken for me.

         Strasbourg.

    In Christian charity, my Lord! you are bound not to dismiss me; for no other Nobleman in all Europe can afford to retain me in his service.

         Marquis.

    How so, Strasbourg?

         Strasbourg.

    Because your Lordship is the only one possessed of such princely manners, as to afford, without any danger of mistakes, or derogation


    Page 277

    from your own dignity and consequence, to keep a Steward who has the vanity to aspire, in his dress and and deportment, to look like a gentleman

         (bowing respectfully).

         Marquis (laughing).

    Now, Flora! if Strasbourg will pay you as curious a compliment, I am sure that you must forgive him.

         Strasbourg.

    Pray, my Lord! do not intercede for me; for a quarrel with Flora is the delight of my soul; her arguments are so terse, her wit so elegantly polished, and her elocution so flowing, and so correct, that to be the object of her anger is the most heavenly amusement that I have any idea of. So no pardon, no quarter, sweet Flora!

         Flora.

    Hang the fellow, he always has the art to have every one of his side always; he knows how to flatter himself into people's liking, and out of their hatred.

         (Exit Flora.)

    SCENE THIRD.

         THE MARQUIS, STRASBOURG.

         Marquis.

    Poor Flora!— Well, Strasbourg! what is the business?

         Strasbourg.

    My Lord! the Widow of your late tenant, Orland, sends me word that she is coming this morning with her rent; and to beg that your Lordship


    Page 278

    will be pleased to renew the lease of the Olstain Farm to her. I suppose that you have no objection to renewing the lease; but at what rent, my Lord? all your other tenants have had their rents raised; but Dorcas tells me, that she hopes as she nursed my Young Lady that you will favour her.—

         Marquis.

    Yes: on that consideration; and as she is a Widow, I will renew the lease, for the term of her life, at the same rent.—I suppose the report of Adelinda's marriage brought her hither just at this time, that she might be present at the wedding. Has she brought her pretty Daughter with her?

         Strasbourg.

    I do not know, my Lord!—'tis not certain—perhaps so—I believe she has—I, I, rather think she may—but I cannot be positive—

         Marquis.

    I begin to think, Strasbourg! that you are in love with that girl: you are always so embarrassed, so shy, and look so very silly, whenever I question you about your visits to that part of the Country. Your confused, mysterious answers, have made me suspect that some love affair was your business at Olstain, and not the barn-building, or seeing after the workmen.—I want to see this girl, this Zella, I have heard so much of her beauty.—But are you seriously in love with her, Strasbourg?

         Strasbourg.

    My Lord! Zella, to be sure, is a sweet pretty creature, a sweet pretty creature, indeed, my Lord! to be sure. So genteel, so delicate, so blooming, one must be a statue not to be struck with her. Every body is in love with her. But she rejects


    Page 279

    every body, and wants her mother to let her be a Nun; but it is pity that she should, as Dorcas can give her a good deal of money whenever she marries.

         Marquis.

    Are your high notions then so far humbled as to marry a farmer's daughter? What is become of your taste and your pride? But do you really intend to make her your Wife?

         Strasbourg.

    Ye—ye—ye—yes, and please your Lo—Lordship!

         Marquis.

    Ha! ha! ha! you may well hesitate, Stasbourg —you who used to pique yourself upon your consequence and your pretensions—A Brother in the Church,—a good fortune of your own—much respected in your Lord's family—much honoured by his kindness—all this I have heard from you——and are you, indeed, going to make love to a Dairymaid?

         Strasbourg.

    Truly, my Lord! I blush at demeaning myself so much—But, my Lord! let love plead my excuse; irresistible love, which, I have been unable to conquer, in spite of every the most powerful reasons for overcoming it.—I love so fervently, that I would rather die, than not win the Woman whom I adore.—      (With much emotion.)

    Believe me, my honoured Lord! that the idea of offending you afflicts me much, though even that fear has not been able to subdue my passion!——

         Marquis.

    You speak as one deeply smitten indeed, Strasbourg! But one thing it behoves me to tell you: Zella, being the daughter of my tenant,


    Page 280

    and very young, as she has lost her Father, whom I very much respected, I think her intitled to my protection; therefore, know certainly your own mind about this girl, before you lay siege to her heart. Your pride may step in now, but I tell you, that it shall not afterwards. You have had several attachments, so I suspect your constancy in this; and I will allow of no foolery in this affair: you have my consent to court her for your wife; but not to dangle after her for your amusement, and then leave her to wear the willow.

         Strasbourg.

    No! to be sure, my Lord! your Lordship is very right, very good——

         Marquis.

    I own that I did not suppose, that the Daughter of Dorcas would have been your choice. I imagined from your spirit and taste that you would have chosen a fine dashing wife, whom all my tenants would have looked upon as fine lady enough to be the wife of a Lord.

         Strasbourg.

    You think my heart lowly. But, alas! my Lord! I fear that it is only too high and too ambitious.

    SCENE FOURTH.

         THE MARQUIS, STRASBOURG, SERVANT.

         Marquis.

    Whom do you seek?

         Servant.

    My Lord! I came to tell Monsieur Stras-


    Page 281

    bourg, that Dorcas, the widow farmer from Olstain, asks for him.

         Marquis.

    Is she come alone?

         Servant.

    No, my Lord! there is the handsomest young Woman with her, that I ever set my eyes upon.

         Marquis.

    Shew them into this room.      (Exit Servant.)

    Now, Strasbourg! I shall see your taste for beauty.

         Servant enters again.

         Servant.

    Walk this way, if you please.

         (Exit Servant.)

         Strasbourg (aside).

    What does he want with them? Has he a mind for the girl himself? 'Tis like enough—

    SCENE FIFTH.

         THE MARQUIS, STRASBOURG, DORCAS, ZELLA.

         (Dorcas, dressed, à la Paysanne, in yellow sattin, trimmed with red ribband; at sight of the Marquis, she begins making very awkward curtsies and advancing: Zella remains at the door).

         Dorcas.

    Oh! 't is yow, my goode Lord Markis! yar Sarvant, your honours lordship!      (runs back to fetch Zella from the door)

    Come, Zalla! come along—
    Page 282

    come in, come in—there's my Lord's worship hisself, yow navvar ramamber to have sat eyes on him, thof he used to take grate notage on yow when yow war tree yare old or fo—      (drawing Zella in.)

         Marquis.

    What a charming creature she is!

         Dorcas

    Come, look up!      (chucks her under the chin.)

    look up—don't be so sheepish, I say—come, maake a low curtsy to my Lord, and ax his worship's Lordship, if yow have the honour to see him well— come, make a fine curtsy      (Zella curtsies.)

         Marquis.

    Why, she curtsies gracefully indeed.

         Dorcas.

    Yas! but why ha' n' t she the good manners to look in yar face as I does when I salute      (Dorcas curtsies.)

    your honour's Lordship—Why look up, I say, ca'n't ye?—what are yow feered of? nobody wull ate yow, child—

         Marquis.

    'T is her enchanting modestly prevents her from taking her eyes from the ground:      (Dorcas chucks her under the chin.)

    You make her blush, Dorcas! consider, she is before strangers.—What a sweet countenance she has; why, Dorcas! what a beautiful girl she is!

         Dorcas.

    Oh, marry! yas, to be sure she is; why ant she my Darter? and thof I ma'n't be so handsome now quite, time was when I was a booty too.—but I am growing old; I was thirty-four last birth-day;—and Zalla will be eighteen to-morrow tree weeks.—I has spared no pains to make har 'greeable: I has had har in a Convent for tan whole yares, wanter and Sommur; and now I think an intands to maake a


    Page 283

    Laady on her, unless she's undutiful and wo'n't be advised for her good.

         Marquis.

    With such a person she may well pretend to be a Lady; she will be admired wherever she goes.

         Dorcas.

    Ah, yah! that's what jantelmen all bedizened with shilver and gewld, an like your Lordship, who saw har at the grate, at the Nun's Convent, used to say. But that war northing to wonder and marval at, for she war a deal finer clod there; for I ollost caparisoned har like a yong Laady; and I gon har the bast of larnein that I could have for money, and har father navvar cared how much was spant upon har; and she ollost took to it kindly, an as te war naturably as thof she war born to be a Schollard: she larnt to dance, and to sing, and all sorts of good gear of larnein (with hard names I ca'n't spake) that I could have for my money. Oh! she's as larned as any laady o'the Land; and so our Parson says.

         Marquis.

    Well, Dorcas! and I hope she is a good girl, and that you have no reason to repent the expense.

         Dorcas.

    Oh! no, not I, not an thof it had been a tan times as much: she had avvery body's goode worde, jantle and semple—She wanted to stay in har nunnery all har life, but a noa says I, and har father, she sha'n't a had all that money bestow'd upon har pracious larnein to barry it narther—So the short and the long ont was, as I wanted har to keep me company, I fached har home last Childermas day twelvemonth—


    Page 284

    Alack and a well a day! I was gone for she, whan yar Coach and Six stopped at my house, with my poor Yong Laady Adelinda in it; that yow war so cruel as to sand back to har Convent for a whole long yare against har will—she cried and took on sorely at my house—and I was mainly sorry at yar barbarousness in sanding har back.

         Marquis.

    Why, Dorcas! I sent her back for improvement—and by what I perceive, sent back an obstinate, ungracious, awkward, unpolite, girl, the same day that you fetched home an amiable, elegant Young Woman.

         Dorcas.

    O! yas, Zalla! is as alagant as any laady, thof she is so plane drassed—but a when she camed home she would not go fine—she sade that te did not become har lowly stachion to be so drassed; and my silly husband that's dade and gon, he was of har side.

         Marquis.

    Ah, Dorcas! you are a widow now.

         Dorcas.

    Yas, thank God, and plase yar Lordship, to my grate joy.

         Marquis.

    Thank God! Why Orland made you a very good husband.

         Dorcas.

    Yas, only we was ollost a quarrelling— he was so surly, so brutal, so obstinate, and so sulky, and plase your Lordship, that he is bast to my liking where he is.——

         Marquis.

    I have formerly often heard him complain of you, Dorcas! He used to say, that you were crossgrained, crabbed, stubborn, passionate, for ever contradicting him, and woefully disobedient.


    Page 285

         Dorcas.

    Oh! yas, an like your Lordship, I scorned all thority, I navvar gon way, and if I could not get my own mind, I ollost got the last ward; that's what I ollost would have—than when he had no more to say, I got banged a bit; but I ollest made my part good blow for blow, and war'n't I in the right ont, plase yar Lordship!      (curtsying.)

         Marquis.

    Oh! as a woman of spirit, very right to be sure      (laughing.)

         Dorcas.

    I'd have aten the flash off my own bones sooner than not have bin as masterly as he; but for all his blows, I could make him afeered of me.

         Marquis

    Why, zounds, Dorcas! you could not thrash him, could you?

         Dorcas.

    No, an plase you, no; I could sooner thrash your worship's Lordship—no! no! at fair blows he was twice my match; 't was not so: why yow must know, that we had a great davvil of a rumpus just arter I fached this here cratur home; and he was woundily purvoking, and contradicted me a little too much for my liking—so I farly swore, that if I had not my own way, I'de drown'd myself, and have him hanged for muddering me—He was fule enough to dar me to it; so egad, my lord! I was in such a raging passion, that I raanned right oute of the house, and he arter me, cross the Orchard, cross the Home-stall, into the parkpiece, and jumps me, out of brathe as I was, before his face, right plump into the pond, where the grate carp are—He got me out, but I did not spake for a whole day, I was so drownded.—and so, my Lord!


    Page 286

    whanaver I talked of the pond, arter that, I was ollost sure of having my own way—and so 't was, that I made him afeered of me—

         Marquis.

    And does Zella promise to have as good a spirit? she does not look as if she had.

         Dorcas.

    She a good spurrit—I am glad yow have thought of that! Why, Lord! she is the poorest, lamb-likest thing that avvar God made: Spurrit, indeed! she'll navvar stand up for har own rights as long as she brathes—she is so tame and so frightful that she is for all the world like a naturable fule; whan she first camed home, I taked har for a down-right fule-born hideot: she had not the sanse to sa boh! to a goose, with all har dancing and larnein—And she would blush, O good lords! I could navvar open my mouth to spake, but she would blush, and then fall a whimpering, whether I spaked snappish to har or no. And yat, for all that, she do n't want sanse in har way, when she is in the yowmour to talk a bit; but that's not often.

         Marquis.

    My Steward tells me that he wishes to marry her—

         Dorcas.

    Yas, an like yore Lordship, so he told me, whan I axt him, pretty roundly, what brought him so often to our side of the country; for I was shrewd enough to pick out, that the barn-building was not all the business—and it' yow give him yar good word, and are agreeable to it, why he shall have her.

         Zella (weeping).

    Dear Mother! I beseech you consider——


    Page 287

         Marquis.

    But how is this, Dorcas? Zella is in tears; how does her heart stand inclined to the match? Does not she prefer somebody else?

         Dorcas.

    Pray now axt har yarself, for I wish I may die, if I can find out what she likes: thof 't is no matters, for I intands that she shall have Mounsheer Strawsbourg, because I like him, and think him the finest jantleman I avvar saw, save and axcept your Lordship's father. But whenever I talks of Mounseer Strawsbourg, she ollost holds down har hade and cries just as she does now; that's har way; so do yow see what yow can make her say.

         Marquis.

    Zella! my fair damsel, Strasbourg is a good sort of young man, and I hope that he will make you a kind husband. I think it a very advantageous, nay even a great match for you—have you any regard for Strasbourg? Do you think you can love him?      (A pause, Zella weeping.)

         Dorcas.

    There, I told ye, that's har way—cry, cry, cry—and hold down her hade, that's har way to the life.—

         Marquis.

    Speak, Zella!—Speak without fear, and tell your real sentiments—Can you like Strasbourg? Speak your mind sincerely.——

         Zella.

    Alas! my Lord! No.—Indeed, I can never like him—never! never!

         Marquis (laughing).

    This is a plain answer, Dorcas—here is nothing to find out:—she speaks decidedly enough.

         Dorcas.

    But I wull have yow like him—'t is


    Page 288

    come in my hade, and yow must and sholl love him: 't will be wicked and undutiful in yow not to love him whan I bid yow love him; and ha'n't I ollost told ye, that the sin of undutifulness is worse than the sin of witchcraft, and the sin of witchcraft is worse than the davvil hisself.

         Zella.

    Mother! I own that it is my duty to please and obey you: and I wish, as you command it, that I could like him; but, indeed, it is not in my power.

         Dorcas.

    But since my Lord says, 't is such a good match, thof yow wo' n't love him, yow can marry him, ca'n't yow?

         Zella.

    My Lord! you were so good as to embolden me, by your permission, to speak my sentiments—encouraged by your condescension, I have spoken them with sincerity, from my inmost soul. Be graciously pleased, then, to plead with my Mother for me, that she may have the kindness to indulge them, and to permit me to spend my life in——

         Dorcas.

    Hold yar tongue this minute about being a Nun, I say—she sha' n't be a Nun, that I swear and declare, for northing shall ever maake me say yas to har going into a Nunnery—for har Father told me, on his dathe-bed, that if avvar I made a Nun of har, that he shode not rest in his grave—and I ha' no mind to see his Ghost, I promise ye—

         Strasbourg.

    Why, my fair one! 't is impossible that you can have any objections to a marriage which my Lord confiders as every way so advantageous to you.—


    Page 289

         Zella.

    Pardon me, Monsieur Strasbourg! but I have objections.

         Strasbourg.

    You are quite in the wrong, my little mistress!

         Dorcas.

    Whather she's right or wrong is nather, hare nor thare, I order it, and that's enough—said is done with me—so as he says, yow are all in the wrong to jangle about it.——

         Zella (weeping).

    Wrong indeed! But my Lord led me into the errour, when he bade me speak my real sentiments and without fear.—For I was wrong in daring to hope for his pity, his protection.—— Alas, Mother! grant me time, that I may try to reconcile my mind to your very hard commands, in forcing me to marry a man whom I cannot like; much less regard with preference.

         Strasbourg.

    The girl is stark staring mad, I think, not to like me——

         Marquis.

    Do not weep, Zella! I advise you, as a friend, to accept of Strasbourg: why can you not love him?

         Zella.

    My Lord! I can only obey my Mother; to love him is not in my power.—If she insist,—now I have lost my poor Father, I have no one friend to save me from wretchedness;——unless—unless, my Lord! I might presume to hope for your mediation, to save me from never-ending misery—Will you not, my Lord?—Alas! I have been too presumptuous to ask it—      (turns to her Mother)

    I am your Child; and it is my duty to obey you, But——


    Page 290

         Dorcas.

    Well, than! I pray why do yow dispute yar duty?

         Zella.

    Mother! I mean not to dispute.—I have several times respectfully declared my sentiments to you, lest, when you find how very dear my obedience will cost me, that you should reproach me, that I was not explicit in my declaration.—But this is the last time that I will remonstrate,—the last time that I will resist; but I owe it to you, and to myself, to declare, before it be too late, even for your repentance, that if you lead me to the Altar with this man, that I go a constrained victim to my duty; and though a patient and unresisting, yet not a willing sacrifice.—And, O Mother! from forcing me to that Altar, may you instantly follow me to my grave!——

         Marquis (turning away).

    What is to be done? her grief, her tears, pierce my very soul——

         Dorcas.

    Hold yar tongue, for I tall yow, yow sholl have him, I am intarminated upon it——

         Marquis.

    Not so hasty, Dorcas! this marriage does not depend upon your will and pleasure.

         Dorcas (sitting her hands by her sides).

    Well! and I pray come tell me, upon whose will and pleasure but Dorcas's does it depand? my silly husband, thanks be to the praise, is not hare to molest it: and who but he can gainsay it?

         Marquis.

    That, will I——If my Steward chuse to keep his place; or if you chuse to have the lease of your farm renewed. And, what is more, till this poor lamb be of age, I will protect her from your un-


    Page 291

    feeling authority. Zella! I declare myself your Guardian. Dorcas! I claim Zella as my ward.— You have lost your Father, I will supply his place.

         Zella (at the feet of the Marquis).

    Thanks, my liege Lord!—but will you, indeed, save me from this marriage?

         Marquis.

    On my sacred word, I promise you that I will.

         Zella (rising).

    O my Lord! your goodness has given me back to life.

         Marquis (taking her hand).

    Poor Child!

         Strasbourg (aside).

    An old fool! he is in love with her himself.

         Marquis.

    My fair Zella! allow me to salute you.

         Zella.

    With my whole heart, my Lord!

         (Reclines for a moment, sobbing on the shoulder of the Marquis.)

         Marquis.

    Compose your spirits, Zella! weep no more;—depend upon my protection; no one shall force your inclinations. Strasbourg! settle Dorcas's accounts with her. And then, Zella! order the Servants to show you and your Mother into my Study.

    SCENE SIXTH.

         ZELLA, STRASBOURG, DORCAS.

         Zella.

    Will you forgive me, dear Mother! for appealing to my Lord?


    Page 292

         Dorcas.

    Forgive you?—force has no choice; I must forgive you. My Lord is against us—so what's to be done now, Mounsheer Strawsbourg?

         Strasbourg.

    What do you advise, Dorcas?

         Dorcas (bridling, and giving herself airs).

    Od zookers! be even with him,—Marry me, out of spite.—

         Strasbourg (laughing).

    Marry You?—

         Dorcas.

    Yas; and lave this baby-faced thing to har salf.—I have a deal of friendship and esteem for yow;—and I have planty of money, and all in my own power—I navvar intanded to marry again—but as she ont have yow, why, I suppose, yow may persuade me to have pity on ye.

         Strasbourg.

    O Madam Dorcas! you do me too much honour.

         Dorcas.

    Not a bit;—there's my hand;—I ar'n't so proud as she yow find.

         Strasbourg.

    What the devil! why you cannot be in earnest? come, come, I am too much grieved, to be in a humour for foolery. You promised Zella to me, and she shall marry me.

         Dorcas (in a passion, stamping).

    I 'd first hang, and then drown'd myself, before yow shall have har now.

         Strasbourg.

    Peace! peace! Dorcas! a truce, a truce; here comes the Count D' Olstain, the finest Gentleman, and the most accomplished Scholar of the age, and the lover of the beautiful Adelinda.


    Page 293

    SCENE SEVENTH.

         THE COUNT, ZELLA, STRASBOURG, DORCAS

         Count (at the bottom of the Stage, to Strasbourg; Zella's back being turned to them; she appearing lost in thought).

    Is that the girl who is thought so pretty? I met the Marquis, and he praised her so highly, that my curiosity brings me to see if she be such a peerless damsel.—That must be she, with her back turned to us. What a fine figure she is! does her face correspond to it?

         Strasbourg.

    Yes, my Lord! that is Zella. And she is completely beautiful.

         Count (advancing towards her).

    I find that they have told me truth, Zella! and that to see you is to be forced to admire you.

         Zella (turning to him, but her eyes on the ground).

    My Lord is pleased to compliment.——

         Count.

    Heavens! surely—that voice—that face—

         Zella.

    My Lord! you distress me.—

         Count.

    Have I not formerly had the pleasure of seeing you at the Convent of Montargo, at the grate of the Abbess's parlour, with my Sister, Augusta D' Olstain, whose friend you were?

         Zella.

    You have, my Lord!

         Count.

    But, in what a different dress do I now behold you! a peasant's habit!—

         Zella.

    My dress, my Lord! is now that which becomes my situation in life.


    Page 294

         Count.

    How then must you murmur against the injustice of fortune!—

         Zella.

    No, my Lord! I murmur not. This, my Lord! is my Mother, whose indulgence placed me, in a Convent, for Education, in a manner far above my sphere, and rank in life.

         Dorcas.

    Yas, har father said she should have the bast of larnein—so I had har put thare, in another guise name; and ollost caparisoned har like a laady, and she did not know no batter, till I fached har home to keep me company——

         Count.

    Charming Zella! what a fate is yours! How do I pity, and admire you.

         Strasbourg.

    You may admire her, if you please, but not too much, my Lord!

         Count.

    Why so, Strasbourg?

         Strasbourg.

    Because she is my bride elect.

         Count.

    She? this Angel?

         Strasbourg.

    Even she, my Lord! are you too surprised at my condescension, in marrying the Daughter of Dorcas?—

         Count.

    No; but I shall be surprised, if she condescend to bestow a thought upon you.

         Strasbourg.

    Now your Lordship appears, if you declare yourself my rival, I stand less chance for Zella's favour.—Your rank, fortune, and accomplishments, are, to be sure, almost irresistible attractions. And, though perhaps I ought to despair, yet my vanity will not suffer me to desist. For it would be a glory, that would flatter the ambition of an Alex-


    Page 295

    ander's heart, if a poor Steward, like me, should win the affections of a beautiful angel, at whose feet the Count D' Olstain had knelt in vain. Now, Zella! tell us, who has the best chance for your favour?— My Lord here,—or poor Strasbourg? Are you not in love with him? come, tell us the choice of your heart.

         Count.

    Strasbourg! this liberty——

         Zella (to Strasbourg).

    My heart has made no choice. And, give me leave to tell you, that in the present conversation, you have treated me with less consideration, and respect, than even the lowly daughter of a peasant has a right to claim from every man, who is not mean enough to take pleasure in giving distress, where he has a secret fear, that he has deserved, by his ungenerous conduct, to excite contempt.

         Count.

    Ah! Heavens! to find again, at such a moment, this divine assemblage of beauty, sense, judgment—O! too charming Zella!—

         Strasbourg.

    Hold, my Lord! you seem at present to forget, that you are in love with my Young Lady, Adelinda!

         Count.

    Peace, Sir! whether I forget, or remember it, is not your concern, but mine.—

         Strasbourg.

    Agreed, my Lord! but seeing you so deeply smitten with Zella's charms, I, as her friend, just take the liberty to hint your engagements: your rank forbids you to court her honourably,—and I


    Page 296

    cannot permit you to court her otherwise, as she is promised to me.

         Dorcas.

    Marry come up! promised? I scorn yar words.

         Strasbourg.

    Why, yes, you yourself promised her to me.

         Dorcas.

    Well, than, I mysalf—my very own salf, Dorcas, who stand here pointing at yow, I now unpromise har; mind yow, that yow sha'n't have her.

         Strasbourg.

    We shall see that, Dorcas! my Lord here, who is so successful a lover with Lady Adelinda, will stand my friend, I hope, and court Zella's favour for me; and his rhetoric, I dare say, will be irresistible: especially as Zella has declared, that her heart has made no choice; therefore, I hope to gain her favour, if my Lord, the Count, will intercede for me.

         Count.

    Will you be pleased to hold your tongue, Sir! or quit the room? Had you been my equal, your insolent impertinence should have met with its proper chatisement .

         Strasbourg.

    Here comes your future Wife, my Lord!—and if this conversation should go on with such spirit and gallantry, you will make her as jealous as you have made me: and then Zella will be triumphant indeed.


    Page 297

    SCENE EIGHTH.

         THE COUNT, ADELINDA, ZELLA, STRASBOURG, DORCAS.

         Adelinda.

    Ah, Nurse! how do you do? I am right glad to see you.

         Dorcas.

    My dear, dear yong Laady! how do yow do?

         Adelinda.

    Well in health, thank you, Nurse! How long have you been come?

         Dorcas.

    I camed this morning, just now: and here's my Darter, Zalla, come with me: yow do' n't remember har, yow ha'n't seen har since she was put to har larnin; ont ye spake to har?—

         Adelinda.

    So, what are you come for, my little Goody?      (Zella curtsies.)

         Dorcas.

    My Lord Markis's worship, yar Farther, thinks har a grate bewty; do n't yow?

         Adelinda.

    Yes! the thing is well enough. Does it know how to speak?

         Count.

    Yes, Mademoiselle! and how to speak properly too.

         Adelinda.

    What is she going away for? Stay, girl! and let's hear you speak properly,—come.—Oh! you give yourself airs, do you?

         Zella.

    Pardon me, Mademoiselle! I do not know any to give myself.

         Adelinda.

    Do not you give yourself airs now?

         Zella.

    Then have the goodness to forgive my ig-


    Page 298

    norance; and tell me, that I may amend it, what it is that offends you.

         Adelinda.

    You, and your words, little minx!

         Dorcas.

    Little minx!—Butter yar words with a little manners. 'T is my belief, if I war to set Zalla to hunt the pigs, she would use batter words to them, and more civiller behalf, than yow give to har. Little minx, indeed! marry come up, little minx!

         Adelinda.

    Why, Nurse! you are putting yourself into one of your passions.

         Dorcas.

    Because yow dominare over Zalla for northing: and if I war not too well brad, to use such words to my Lord Markis's Darter, I should call yow, a saucy slut for yar pains. I brought Zalla on purpose to draw me yar pictur—but, Godlys! I might have spared har the trouble of coming, for a dancing bear from our fair, might have sat for yar likeness, yow are so bad mannered——

         Count.

    Silence, woman! you forget yourself.—Adelinda! let Zella go away. How can you delight in thus overpowering one who is too modest to cope with you; and too meek willingly to give you offence?

         Adelinda.

    Cousin! I, by mistake, turned courtier: and having been most horridly mortified by my father, who sent me hither, I vented any ill-nature where I dared; without reflecting that it was not deserved.—Zella! I have behaved very unhandsomely to you. Be friends with me      (takes her hand.)

    Cousin! you are a casuist in these matters, have I
    Page 299

    said enough for the offence which I gave this gentle-looking spirit? for, in good truth, I feel sorry and ashamed at my own littleness.—Zella! forgive me! but I have offended myself, more than I have offended you.

         Zella.

    O Mademoiselle!

         Count.

    Adelinda! a moment of forgetfulness, when so gracefully acknowledged, is fully atoned. And never did you look so charming in my eyes as at this moment—I am going into your Father's Study, shall I have the honour to conduct you thither?

         Adelinda.

    No, not now, go without me.

         Count.

    Zella! the Marquis expects you and your Mother; I am going to his apartment.

    SCENE NINTH.

         ADELINDA, ZELLA, DORCAS, STRASBOURG.

         Dorcas.

    Well! I 'spose I have affronted yow: but yow should not behave so.

         Adelinda.

    Oh, no! Dorcas! I am as good friends with you as ever. I know you love me; and the saucy slut of a dancing bear owes you no grudge, I promise you. But you and Zella must follow the Count.

         Dorcas.

    Why I ha'n't paid my rent to Mr. Strawsbourg.

         Adelinda.

    My Father expects you; and, as he


    Page 300

    sent me here, he will think, that I make you disobey his orders; and then he will be in a raging with me.

         Dorcas.

    O Lord! then, I'll go: for I ollost thought him mortal crabbed to yow; and so I have told him; but yar sarvant, my dear yong laady; I on't make yow mischief, I'm sure; so yar sarvant.—

    SCENE TENTH.

         ADELINDA, STRASBOURG.

         Adelinda.

    Strasbourg! this Zella is very handsome.—I am half afraid that you repent.

         Strasbourg.

    Repent, my charming Adelinda! had Zella the beauty of ten thousand angels, though my eyes might see it, yet my heart could be inspired with love and adoration, only by your charms, which are so far surpassing hers.

         Adelinda.

    Well! I believe you.

         Strasbourg.

    Indeed you may.—And have you not known, from first to last, why I let the family suppose, that Zella had made an impression on my heart. I could not otherwise have seen you without suspicion from my absences; for, though my pilgrim's weeds, and your great charity, cheated my Lady Abbess, so that she suspected nothing, good soul! yet the barn building was too slight an excuse for your Father. So I was glad you know to avail myself of his


    Page 301

    suspicions about Zella: but, by great good luck, he has forbidden me to think of her.

         Adelinda.

    Indeed?

         Strasbourg.

    Yes; and from his breaking off the match, I have a scheme, which, I trust, will put the house in a confusion for a week to come; therefore impute all that you hear of my passion for Zella to contrivance, and never entertain a thought of my being attached to her. But what can my charming Adelinda have to fear? Is she not my wedded Wife? my this day's Bride?

         Adelinda.

    Peace! peace! lest we be overheard.—We shall need all your schemes and contrivance; for we are in more danger than I feared, or you either.

         Strasbourg.

    Are we suspected?

         Adelinda.

    No! no!——But my marriage with the Count, which, you know, was to be this week,—is fixed for to-morrow——

         Strasbourg.

    But you can beg for time.

         Adelinda.

    That I tried for in vain. My Father was peremptory:—he gave me my choice, either to marry the Count to-morrow, or return for life to my Convent. And an escape from thence, you know, would be impossible.

         Strasbourg.

    Heaven help us! What must we do?

         Adelinda.

    Fly this very evening.

         Strasbourg.

    That's well said; but whither, my charmer! can we fly, so as to avoid pursuit? by the latter end of the week, all would have been safely


    Page 302

    ready—My plans were laid, my Brother is preparing for our flight, and to fly with us—but this night—we cannot fly this night—no precautions taken——my Brother absent—for, as soon as he had joined our hands, he sat off for the coast, in order to secure a ship.

         Adelinda.

    Follow him—

         Strasbourg.

    But whither?—For when he left me, he had not determined what Port he would go to. Adelinda! we can never escape this night, if we attempt it, we shall be discovered and ruined past redemption.

         Adelinda.

    But I tell you, that we must escape, and this very night too.—For, if we stay, all must be confessed to morrow.—And think of the dreadful consequences.

         Strasbourg.

    Distraction!—What can we do?

         Adelinda.

    I must, I think, tell Nurse Dorcas the secret; and persuade her to let us be concealed at her house, till we can get clear off.

         Strasbourg.

    If she should betray us?

         Adelinda.

    She loves me too well to do that; especially as she knows that your life would be forfeited to the law, or fall a sacrifice to my father's first fury; and that I should be a prisoner, in some gloomy dungeon of a Convent, for the rest of my miserable days. With her assistance, and your contrivance, I think that we shall get off undiscovered.

         Strasbourg.

    On what a tottering precipice do we stand!


    Page 303

         Adelinda.

    Do not make me begin to think!—— If we cannot escape, horrour ensues,—If we do, alas! my gentle Mother's heart will break.—I am afraid to think—I dare not reflect—Ah! and does your courage fail you, Strasbourg?

         Strasbourg.

    Adelinda! if you saw my heart, though it beats with fear, yet it is not for myself, but for you. A moment of distraction, in spite of all my duty to my Master, and all my respect for you, made me discover my hopeless passion; you pardoned this act of presumption and despair—you, like an angel, heard and pitied my sufferings,—fatally heard, and pitied them, till you shared them. O Adelinda! do you not hate me, do you not despise the selfishness, that had not the courage to be wretched by itself? I see with deep repentance, for your sake, the dreadful abyss into which you are going to be plunged. Into what peril have I betrayed you!

         Adelinda.

    The peril is equal for both.—Our regard for each other has been highly blameable:—but it is too late now for repentance. The hazard of our enterprise is not so great as you imagine.

         Strasbourg.

    O Adelinda! my eternal gratitude and love will make it the study of my future days——

         Adelinda.

    Peace! peace! I believe you: for when a man is disinterested enough to resign all hopes of fortune, and runs the hazard of his life for marrying his master's daughter,—he certainly loves her to desperation. We must part now, for fear we be surprised. Meet me in an hour in the Alcove.


    Page 304

    When I see which way the land lies, I can give you more directions. Prepare me a disguise, and make what arrangements you can for our departure. Adieu.

         Strasbourg.

    As love conducts may it protect us both.

         (Exeunt severally.)

    End of the Second Act.
    Page 305

    Act Third.

    SCENE FIRST—A DRESSING-ROOM.

         THE MARCHIONESS, FLORA.

         Marchioness.

    I AM astonished that Strasbourg, who thinks himself so adorable and a match for a Princess, should condescend to think of the Daughter of Dorcas for a Wife. My Lord's interfering and breaking off the match is to be sure a very extraordinary step; yet I cannot think it a sufficient reason for your suspicions.

         Flora.

    My suspicions, as you well know, Madam! have been but too often right. And my Lord Marquis has had too many intrigues, for me, not to suspect him very much, of entering into a new one, when he prevents a pretty girl's marriage, and takes away her Mother's authority, by declaring himself her Guardian.

         Marchioness.

    Has he done that too, as well as prevent the marriage?

         Flora.

    Yes, Madam! and Strasbourg is quite jealous about it.—I heard but little, for it was Lucy whom he charged with the embassy to you, but she begged me to tell it to you. I believe that she thinks as I do, for she seemed half frighted out of her wits; she says that Strasbourg has puzzled and confounded


    Page 306

    her, by telling her of his jealousy. I questioned her; but she said she dared not speak what she thought: and ran away from me. I knew not what to think of her flutterings; perhaps she is in love with him herself.

         Marchioness.

    Well! do not tell me of such shadows of suspicions; I have enough for serious uneasiness, without anticipating vexations.

         Flora.

    But, Madam! Strasbourg says, that he will lay his life, that the Marquis has designs upon the Girl; and that he will find her a very easy conquest, unless you interpose. Yet he charged Lucy not to tell you, that my Lord was in love with her, for fear of making you uneasy; but he is sure that he is; and that the girl perceives it, and that as she is quite a village coquette, an artful little monkey, she will know how to secure her conquest.

         Marchioness.

    I hope that my Lord is more honourable than to seduce her.

         Flora.

    You may hope it, Madam! but you will be disappointed. If I were you, I would order the little baggage into my presence, box her ears, and command her to be turned out of doors. She should not stay a minute under my roof.

         Marchioness.

    Such conduct would ill become any woman. And though my Lord appears to be relapsing into his former errours, yet who knows, but what he may have some praiseworthy motive for his conduct.

         Flora.

    Thus you always excuse him, Madam!


    Page 307

    and I could bite my fingers for madness, to see how you appear to study to deceive yourself. When I am sure, Madam! that, in your heart, you must be as unhappy, as jealousy, that worst of demons, can make you. If I were you, I would make a fine bustle, and havoc, about it: all the world should know how vilely I was treated.

         Marchioness.

    That would be the sure way to make my Husband regard me as an enemy; and he would soon hate me, however unjustly, for having the temerity to proclaim his failings.

         Flora.

    O Heavens! I lose all patience. Faith! I shall swear presently as the men do, to vent their rage.

         Marchioness.

    Here comes the Marquis.

         Flora.

    Now for it then, Now we shall hear what excuse he will make for breaking off the match.

    SCENE SECOND.

         THE MARQUIS, THE MARCHIONESS, FLORA.

         Marquis.

    Do you know, Madam! what is going forward?

         Flora (aside).

    Oh yes! but too well.

         Marquis.

    I am charmed, and so will you.

         Marchioness.

    And with what, my Lord?

         Marquis.

    With a young Person who, at first sight,


    Page 308

    captivates the heart, and, on conversing with her, astonishes the mind. The more you look at her, and listen to her, the more she strikes you; and you are attached to her by an irresistible impulse. Her gracefulness, her understanding, her beauty, are enchanting; and the delicate modesty of her deportment adds a thousand winning graces to the bloom of youth, in the most lovely, animated countenance, that I ever beheld.

         Flora (aside).

    If this be a true likeness, the Girl is either angel, or demon—or a witch at least.

         Marchioness.

    And pray, my Lord! who is this young Person.

         Marquis.

    Zella, the Daughter of Dorcas and of poor Orland.

         Marchioness.

    You describe her to be charming indeed, my Lord!

         Marquis.

    I describe her, as she is, with beauty that inspires love, and a mind that creates esteem. She strikes, at once, as an accomplished, and attracts as an amiable, elegant, young woman.

         Marchioness.

    Truly this Girl must be bewitching, else you exaggerate her attractions very much.

         Marquis.

    Believe me, Madam! I do not exaggerate; what I tell you is the simple truth: I have been conversing with her this hour in my study. Dorcas, through foolish vanity, has given her an excellent education, and, for her years, I am astonished at her knowledge. I most sincerely pity the suffering which the elegant mind of this gentle Girl must


    Page 309

    endure, in being subjugated to the authority of so rough, and turbulent a woman, as Dorcas is; and I feel the tenderest friendship for this poor child.

         Flora (aside to the Marchioness).

    A tender friendship! what a tender phrase!

         Marchioness (to Flora).

    Hush!

         Flora (aside).

    Making a confident of his own Wife! well, there is something new, under the Sun, witness this confabulation.

         Marquis.

    The poor Girl applied to me, to set aside her Mother's project, of marrying her to Strasbourg.

         Marchioness.

    It seems to me, my Lord! that Strasbourg's proposal does her much honour; even with all the beauty which you describe her to have, she could scarcely expect so advantageous an offer.

         Marquis.

    But she testified so strong an aversion for him, that, through pity for her, I absolutely forbad the marriage.

         Flora (aside to the Marchioness).

    In order to reserve Zella for himself. Keep a sharp look out, Madam!

         Marchioness.

    Strasbourg has sent to me, through Lucy and Flora, to beg that I will speak to you in his behalf; therefore permit me to become his advocate. I shall esteem it as the higher favour done to me, if you will put him again upon good terms with Dorcas and her Daughter; and persuade the Girl to accept of so good an offer of marriage.

         Marquis.

    That is impossible.

         Marchioness.

    How impossible, my Lord? Dorcas,


    Page 310

    it seems, had consented, very wisely, to the marriage. And why, my Lord! should you protect a rebellious, vain Girl in her opposition to her Mother's authority and judgment? You should rather enforce her obedience, than encourage her in her undutiful obstinacy.

         Marquis.

    Zella, Madam! did not want to have her obedience to her Mother enforced upon her. The sweet Girl was ready to obey her unfeeling mandate, with all the respectful submission of a Daughter, and all the resignation of a martyr, I declare to you, Madam! that, but for her tears, I should have thought an angel stood before me, when, after pleading for pity in vain, she spoke the strong sense which she had of her duty to her Mother, and of her resolution to obey her, though at the price of all her future happiness. Then, and not till then, I interposed my authority in her favour. The thoughts of her being devoted to misery pierced my heart with grief; whilst the fortitude of her resignation almost awed me. I cannot consent that she shall be driven to despair; it would be a deep suffering to myself.

         Marchioness.

    I am astonished, my Lord! at the impression which this Girl has made upon you.

         Marquis.

    Indeed she has charmed my very soul.

         Flora (aside).

    I must go where I may storm and swear at my ease, for my very blood boils in my veins.

         Marquis.

    You are silent, Madam!—

         Flora (aside).

    Silent! why what should she say to this Confidence?


    Page 311

         Marquis.

    What does Flora say?

         Flora.

    Who I, my Lord? I say nothing: I only meditate to myself.

         Marquis.

    Oh! meditate aloud; else we cannot profit from your wisdom.

         Flora.

    No! my meditations would not please your Lordship.

         Marquis (angrily).

    Then keep them wholly to yourself; I will not suffer muttering meditations.

         Marchioness.

    Laugh, as I do, my Lord! at her officiousness. And let us confine the conversation to your Steward. What is to be laid to him, as the result of my intercession to your Lordship? Pronounce his fate, my Lord!

         Marquis.

    Well then! I pronounce his fate. And, though I set going the perpetual motion of Flora's tongue, yet I forbid Strasbourg ever to think of Zella.

         Marchioness.

    Enough, my Lord! I will urge my suit no further.

         Marquis.

    I am come to beg a favour of you, Madam!

         Marchioness.

    Command me, my Lord! What can I do to oblige you?

         Marquis.

    Honour Zella with your protection; and take her into your service, as one of your waiting-women      (The Marchioness testifies uneasiness, and Flora surprise.)

    I have promised to become her Guardian; for Dorcas is so tyrannical, absurd, and wrong-headed, that I am sure so sensible, and so gentle, a girl cannot be happy with her. And when you see Zella, you will think of her as I do.


    Page 312

         Marchioness (agitated).

    As I do not know her, I may be permitted, without offence, to doubt whether she will make the same impression upon me, as she has done upon your Lordship. But, my Lord! as you desire it, if I approve of her, she shall be received amongst the number of my attendants.

         Marquis.

    O Madam! do not think of refusing this favour to one so every way amiable. I will send this charming girl to you; but, for decency's sake, order her to be dressed properly; her peasant's habit is too ordinary, and too particular to be worn here. Condescend, Madam! to honour her with a gracious reception. Receive her with that benignant kindness which you have ever uniformly extended to modest merit.

         (Exit Marquis.)

    SCENE THIRD.

         THE MARCHIONESS, FLORA.

         Flora.

    You see, Madam! what credit is due to my suspicions. You are, I hope, convinced, by this time, that my Lord is in love with this Girl; but his asking you to take her into your service is beyond all bearing.

         Marchioness.

    Heaven, grant me patience!

         Flora.

    Well! when I have done being in a passion, I'll pray for patience too; and I am sure that


    Page 313

    we shall stand in need of a double dose: for you will find, that my suspicions are realities, and not visions.

         Marchioness.

    Alas, Flora! so I begin to fear.

         Flora.

    I am glad that you are convinced of it, Madam! for it is very mortifying to have one's penetration called in question, when one is so certain of being in the right.

         Marchioness.

    And yet there is something very extraordinary and very cruel in my Lord's conduct, if he have any bad intentions towards this Girl. Have you seen her? Is she so very charming?

         Flora.

    No, I have not set eyes upon her. But Lucy, and the Servants who saw her, speak of her as the Marquis does. And Strasbourg said, that every body, at Olstain, was in love with her, for her pretty face.

    SCENE FOURTH.

         THE MARCHIONESS, FLORA, A SERVANT conducting ZELLA.

         Zella.

    Is it here?

         Servant.

    Yes: and that is my Lady.      (Exit Servant)

         Flora.

    I believe——

         Zella.

    Oh! How my heart trembles.

         Flora.

    I believe, Madam! that this must be our beauty come to pay her respects.


    Page 314

         Marchioness.

    Let her come forward.

         Flora.

    Come, come in, come in sight!

         Zella.

    Fear and respect——

         Flora.

    You are bid to come forward;—why do you not move?

         Zella.

    You frighten me; what have I done amiss that you are so angry with me.—My Lord sent me hither.—I should not have dared to come, without being ordered.

         Flora.

    We know it: walk towards my Lady.

         Marchioness. (looking at Zella).

    Heavens! what an amiable countenance—!

         Zella.

    I fear, that I have unknowingly done wrong in coming. I feel that you are displeased, Madam! I am very sorry—yet, indeed—I was told, by my Lord himself, to come.—Pardon me that I did so, I most respectfully retire.

         Marchioness.

    No, Zella! stay.——So, I find that you have insinuated yourself into my Lord's favour.

         Zella.

    Alas, Madam! does the pity which my Lord has shewn to a poor, fatherless girl like me, offend you?

         Marchioness.

    Zella! pity is not always restrained within proper bounds—I am neither unkind, nor unjust, nor willingly suspicious: but Strasbourg is jealous, and you know very well his reasons for being so.

         Zella.

    No, Madam! I know of no reasons for Strasbourg's jealousy. I only know, that he asserted pretensions to my hand: but I cannot love him. This,


    Page 315

    in the honest sincerity of my heart, I declared before the Marquis. Orphaned as I am, he had the goodness to promise, that he would supply my Father's place, and, like an indulgent Father, he set aside the engagement which my Mother had entered into, so very contrary to my inclinations. Indeed, Madam! had I been forced to fulfil it, my future life, short, as I hope, it would have been, would have run in one continued stream of grief, disgust, and wretchedness.

         Marchioness.

    Zella! a girl like you should fear to excite the partiality of a man of high station. Your beauty might awaken love, in a colder heart than that of my Lord; and I am told that he loves you; and that you know that he loves you; and therefore you refuse Strasbourg.—

         Zella.

    O Madam!—Think not thus, I beseech you——

         Marchioness.

    What else can I think? when you refuse so very advantageous an offer, as that which Strasbourg makes you. Your beauty has seduced——

         Zella.

    Gracious Lady! say it not again—Trust me, (and I speak as truly to you as I should were you a messenger from heaven,) trust me, that if the little beauty, which I am mistress of, had seduced the affections of your Lord, Honour, would instantly have made me, a voluntary exile from this house: nor should I have even dared to come into your presence. A thought of such love, as you mean, never entered into my mind, till you yourself, cruelly——pardon me the expression,—suggested, from your own sus-


    Page 316

    picions, this detestable idea: the very existence of which, I had not even feared.

         Flora (aside).

    Well! if she don't speak truth—I must own that she can tell lies, with the most innocent grace I ever saw.

         Zella.

    Had you had a Son, Madam! who had distinguished me by his pity, I should have shrunk back from it, fearing to find, beneath so specious a garb, a licentious Lover. But in your Lord, I saw only the Father, whose protection I wanted, and whose goodness emboldened me to forget his rank, to fly to him with open arms, and hang weeping on his neck.

         Flora (aside).

    Has she wings at her back? or has she a cloven foot in her shoe? is she angel, or demon?——

         Zella.

    And shall my Lord's generous compassion for me, be interpreted into a crime? or my gratitude for his goodness, into unhallowed affection? Can it be?—and can you, Madam! thus wrongfully interpret his pity? or thus wrest my actions from their true motives,—You, whom my gracious Lord, bade me come, and see, and revere, and love, as I did the Saints in Heaven, for that you were good, and kind like them.

         Marchioness.

    This girl, Flora! melts my heart.

         Flora.

    O the little Sorceress! she has the art of taking one by surprise.

         Zella.

    Alas! I know not art. Perhaps I should be silent, wanting the judgment to speak as I ought; but I have spoken from my heart, and without guile,


    Page 317

    Your suspicions, Madam! have wounded my very soul; and have so astonished, and overwhelmed my mind, that what to speak, or what to think, I am altogether ignorant.

         Marchioness.

    Do you wish, Zella! to give me a proof that my suspicions are groundless?

         Zella.

    I have no dearer wish.

         Marchioness.

    Marry Strasbourg.

         Zella.

    O Madam! what have you asked?—

         Flora (aside.)

    If she consent to that, I shall think her a Jew, Turk, or Infidel: if she do, I give her up directly.

         Zella.

    Can you have the cruelty, Madam! to bring me to such a test as that, only to eradicate your unjust suspicions? Can you think, that I had so slight a sense of filial duty, as to plead against my own Mother's authority, if I could have made such a sacrifice at any one's request?

         Flora.

    O Madam! let me plead for her; indeed she may be a very good girl, without marrying Strasbourg.

         Zella.

    Madam! you hold the power to put an end to all your fears.

         Marchioness.

    How Zella? tell me but How?

         Zella.

    Overcome my Mother's objections to my being a Nun. Condescend to be present, Madam! when I take my Vows, and bid the world everlastingly farewell. Then judge, by the serenity with which I dedicate myself to heaven, how free my soul is from guilt or impurity.—And, dear Lady! notwithstanding


    Page 318

    your injustice, yet from henceforth will I never offer up a prayer to the throne of Mercy for myself, without mingling a petition with it, for your felicity.—May all the Saints and Angels have you in their charge.

         (Going.)

         Marchioness.

    Yet, stay, Zella!—Did you wish to remain here? did you wish to live with me?

         Zella.

    Though my reception freezes, nay terrifies me, though your suspicions hurt and grieve me; yet never before stood I in a presence, that inspired my heart with such tender affection, with such respectful awe. But after what you have said, Madam! I ought not to wish to remain here;—Yet it would make me happy;—but I relinquish even the wish:—for I had rather die a thousand deaths, than give you, even a shadow, for the slightest uneasiness.

         Flora.

    Dear Madam! let her stay, I will be surety for her.—

         Marchioness.

    She is her own security. Too charming, too amiable Girl! you have, in spite of my reason, conquered my fears, and subdued every objection. You shall remain here, you shall live with me, as it is your own wish, as well as my Lord's particular request.

         Zella.

    And do you indeed consent, that I should stay?

         Marchioness.

    With perfect satisfaction; and, as a pledge of your duty and attachment to me, let what has now passed be kept within your own bosom.

         Zella.

    Most sacredly, gracious Lady! living in


    Page 319

    the constant presence of you, and of my Lord Marquis, will make me happy, beyond what I had ever thought of being in this world.

         Flora.

    Let us remember the Marquis's orders to have Zella properly dressed. Lady Adelinda's Wardrobe will, on her marriage with the Count, be given away amongst us servants to-morrow, and therefore may I not dress Zella from it now?

         Marchioness.

    Yes: and without consulting me.

         Flora.

    Then she shall for once, be dressed indeed. I want to see how this diamond will look, when it is richly set. Then, Madam! I will shew Zella to my Lord! and this compliance with his orders, will make my peace with him for my saucy meditations.

         Marchioness.

    Be it so. But leave me now; my heart is overpowered: and solitude will best relieve it.

         Flora (to Zella).

    Mind that you continue to hate our sop of a Steward. When I have dressed you, I shall find him out, and fight a good battle with him about you; for he has finely belied you, that I have the honour to tell you.

         (Exit with Zella.)

    End of the Third Act.


    Page 320

    Act Fourth.

    SCENE FIRST.

         STRASBOURG (alone.)

         Strasbourg.

    WELL, thank Heaven! if Dorcas will be our Hostess—I have managed for our escaping this night. I might safely have loved her pretty Daughter, who disdains me. But every one to his fate. It is mine to run away with my Lord's Daughter, and—perhaps, to run my neck into a halter:—two nooses instead of one. I hope that the Marchioness is very uneasy, and that her jealousy will flame out; and then whilst every one is occupied, with thoughts of their own, in the midst of their troubles, we shall be less observed, and escape unsuspectedly; and to-morrow morning,—let them miss us as soon as they please.

    SCENE SECOND.

         ADELINDA, STRASBOURG.

         Adelinda (entering with precipitation).

    Hist! Hist! a word.

         Strasbourg.

    I did not expect to see you, my charmer! I am waiting here, by appointment, to see your


    Page 321

    Maid Lucy, to know her success in an embassy of mine, to your Mother, which I sent her upon, before we met in the Alcove.

         Adelinda.

    I have been upon the watch; and, as I saw nobody about; so I safely pursue my own business. Love, by my hands, presents you with these jewels. They never gave me a moment's pleasure till now; for I detest the fatiguing pomp which obliged me to wear them. But, at this moment, I rejoice in having them, to give to you, as some compensation, for the lucrative post which you quit for my sake.

         Strasbourg.

    My dear Adelinda! you may rely upon my love, and my industry, for our support. And besides all my own property, which, in case of accidents, is all secured to you; here is your own fortune, in good Bills of exchange.      (shews a pocket book.)

         Adelinda.

    I conjure you, Strasbourg! take only what is your proper own. Alas! I have no fortune!

         Strasbourg.

    All your Father's money ought one day to be yours; if you had your natural right.

         Adelinda.

    True, Strasbourg! and so it would, if I did not quit my inheritance, through regard for you. But whilst my father lives, no part of his wealth, by any right, can be mine, unless by his own free gift: and of that all hopes must be resigned:—for you cannot, even think, that he will ever be won to forgive me.

         Strasbourg.

    Forgive you, my sweet Adelinda! Oh, No! He is too much of a Lord for that; unless you


    Page 322

    can support and prop the grandeur of his illustrious house; you have no Father in my Master, I promise you. Therefore I have taken these bills, because we shall never have but this only opportunity of helping ourselves. This is the ready money, which my Lord intended for the Count, your Cousin, on his marriage with you; besides two very fine estates.

         Adelinda.

    For Heaven's sake, Strasbourg! do not take the bills. I have pride, and your honour is dear to me. Let my Father have nothing to reproach you with, but the temerity of your love, in carrying off his Daughter.—Let him have no one thing, I beseech you, against your honour and integrity, as his confidential Servant. The Jewels which I brought you are my proper own, they were my Godmother's Gift to me; and I give them to you, as my own unquestionable property. Therefore, be strictly honest, and restore the bills.

         Strasbourg.

    Honest! You are too scrupulous, Lady Adelinda! No! No! we will take the bills; 't is surely as honest to take them, without my Lord's leave, as to take you. He will think the loss of his money, nothing in comparison with the loss of his Daughter.

         Adelinda.

    But, Strasbourg!

         Strasbourg.

    My sweet Adelinda! you have consented to the greater dishonestly; and now you pretend to have scruples. Truly, you are too nice for the courage, which you have shewn till now.

         Adelinda (with indignant grief).

    And you, for


    Page 323

    whom I have shewn it, are to become the punisher of my transgression, against my Parents, by involving me in fresh, unheard-of Guilt—To what have I reduced myself? I ought to have conquered my regard for you, the moment that my heart spoke in your favour —Oh! that I had but trusted some wise friend, whilst it was yet time, to save me from the folly of my own heart; and from this,—Alas! its bitter,—though deserved consequence.

         Strasbourg.

    For Heaven's sake, calm!——

         Adelinda (with anger).

    Peace, Sir!——Your Master's Daughter, Adelinda D' Olstain, commands your silence!—      (after a pause, in a gentle voice.)

    I am your Wife, Strasbourg! reflect what a deep suffering that will be to my whole family. I tremble to think, that yon Sun, when next it rises, must view my noble Father maddening with rage at my misconduct, and my gentle, my indulgent Mother, dying with grief at my disgrace.——Has not my affection for you enough degraded me?—Must I, henceforth, be classed with the vilest of mankind! with Robbers?—Shall I, a Daughter of the nobler House in France, degenerate beyond all example, all belief——? Shall I become the confident, nay, the unprincipled accomplice, of my Father's plunderer?——No; were I peasant born, not the sharp pang of houseless poverty should tempt me to such base, such low-souled dishonestly—— Go, Strasbourg! seek your own safety, fly! I renounce you.—— As for me, sooner will I brave death, from my father's sword, confessing at
    Page 324

    his feet, my fatal folly, than as a robber quit this sacred house.——      (going.)

         Strasbourg (kneeling).

    Adelinda, forgive me!—— I thank, I applaud your delicacy—blushing, I own, that but for that, I should have acted less scrupulously. But in order to render myself less unworthy of you, I will adopt your principles.—      (she raises him.)

    I will instantly replace this very large sum, and evermore thank my Adelinda, that I remain an honest man.

         Adelinda.

    I am satisfied, Strasbourg! be it forgotten. I must leave you now.

         Strasbourg.

    Will Dorcas consent to receive us for a few days?

         Adelinda.

    I have not yet seen her. She is gone out.

         Strasbourg.

    How unfortunate!

         Adelinda.

    Oh! I have no doubt of her standing our friend.

         Strasbourg.

    Somebody is coming—I have a thousand fears, for when we left the Alcove, I thought I saw Lucy, and at no great distance. Yet it could not be she, as I had employed her elsewhere. I hope nobody saw us.

         Adelinda.

    Oh, no! and if any body had seen us, of what consequence could that be. Adieu! I shall go this way through the back Hall.

         (Exit Adelinda.)


    Page 325

    SCENE THIRD.

         STRASBOURG, FLORA.

         Strasbourg.

    Heigh ho!——

         Flora.

    I am come instead of Lucy.

         Strasbourg.

    Why so?

         Flora.

    Because Lucy has been after other business elsewhere.

         Strasbourg (aside.)

    Then it was she, in the Garden; and perhaps she overheard us.

         Flora.

    You may well be confused. You are found out. I know all.——

         Strasbourg.

    Heaven and Earth! What? Which way?—That devil Lucy! Dear, dear Flora!—

         Flora.

    Why! I see that you have some conscience remaining by the changeable livery of your face, Red and White by turns—The Lilly and the Rose contending for empire. And I judge, that you have a hot fit, and a cold fit, to answer to your looks—but chiefly cold I conjecture; for by your shaking, and the chattering of your teeth, I think that you cannot be over warm. Sir! you are in my power.

         Strasbourg.

    Dear Flora! I do not understand you, you are mysterious.

         Flora.

    Oh! but you shall understand me. You are in my power, I tell you. I can spring a mine, that will blow you up. Ruin hangs over your head—and that ruin will be as full, and as complete, as your worst foe could wish it—


    Page 326

         Strasbourg.

    Dear Flora! What do you tell me?

         Flora.

    I could tell you how to get out of the scrape: but you are too proud to be advised. So, as my Duty binds me, I shall tell my Lord all that I know, and all that I think.

         Strasbourg.

    Indeed, Flora! you are mistaken. I— I—I have the highest love, that is the greater veneration for you. I admire your advice—so, my dear Girl! let me conjure you to be my friend. You shall find me all duty and obedience, to whatever you advise, indeed you shall, and my gratitude shall be eternal. So now, my charmer! be my friend and counsellor, and tell me what I shall do.      (takes her hand.)

         Flora.

    Ah, Strasbourg! You can be civil enough, now I have you in my power. But remember this morning how insolent you were; and before my Lord too. I have not forgotten it, I promise you.

         Strasbourg.

    My sweet Flora! How can you set so little value upon yourself, as to suppose, that I was in earnest. Why did not you stay, and turn the tables upon me, with all that elegant wit, and charming dexterity, with which you always conquer, in any argument, whenever you please to maintain your ground? how could you be so childish, my dear Girl! as to treat my innocent gaiety, as serious disrespect. Indeed I have the highest regard for you.

         Flora.

    Well, Sir! convince me that you did not mean any harm, by changing your mode of behaviour towards me, for one a little more respectful and polite, and then you may expect my friendship.


    Page 327

         Strasbourg.

    I am very sorry, that you did not seriously tell me when first you perceived me wanting in respect and politeness towards you. My dear Flora! I am much obliged to you for the friendly concern that you shew, and I shall be very glad of your advice at all times, as I am sure, that you are blessed with a very superiour understanding.

         Flora.

    Well then! in the First place, notwithstanding my Lady's interposition, my Lord peremptorily refuses to consent to your marrying Zella. And I tell you, if you attempt to plague the poor Girl with your courtship, after you are thus forbidden, my Lord shall know how you have slandered her, and what fine stories you have told to Lucy about his being in love with the poor girl, and of his plotting to seduce her. So you see how much you are in my power; and how near being ruined yourself.

         Strasbourg (with great joy, aside).

    Yes, as near as the King of Prussia is to being made Pope. And is this all?

         Flora.

    All! If my Lord knew this all, you would have a fine downfall: but I am your friend. And I can manage my Lady; and make Lucy hold her tongue.

         Strasbourg.

    I am very much obliged to you, indeed, Flora! I am sure that I meant no harm. I only told Lucy what I saw, and what I heard, and what I thought, and what I suspected. And you know as well as I, that my Lord's heart is very easy of access to every handsome face. But if my Lord orders, and you advise me not to think of Zella—Why I have for-


    Page 328

    gotten her——She would have a pretty fortune, it is true. But, my dear Flora! I shall not regret Zella; for I now feel, that my heart is powerfully fascinated by a most amiable woman, who, though she has very little, if any fortune, will I find make herself mistress of my everlasting love; one who has just convinced me, that she has the virtue, sense, and purity of an Angel.—My sweet Flora! I must leave you now: but remark what a change the next twenty-four hours will make in me; and how gratefully I shall prove my obligations to you, for giving me your advice, and thus kindly becoming my friend.      (Exit Strasbourg.)

    SCENE FOURTH.

         FLORA (alone).

         Flora.

    So! So! my fine gentleman! your heart will be mine at last. Now comes my turn to plague you. Well! he is a charming fellow, that is the truth of it. Then he is rich. And how liberal he is not to mind my having so little money—"His heart fascinates him to a most amiable woman, who has just convinced him, that she has the virtue, sense, and purity of an Angel."— What an elegant way he has of turning a compliment. He is quite a fine Gentleman to be sure. "The virtue, sense, and purity of an Angel." Oh! how I shall be envied, for many a heart aches, and will ache, for Monsieur Strasbourg.


    Page 329

    SCENE FIFTH.

         THE MARQUIS, FLORA.

         Marquis.

    Has not Strasbourg just left you? Is he very much hurt, that his match with Zella is broken off?

         Flora.

    No, not much, my Lord! I fancy, that he will easily console himself, notwithstanding Zella is such a charming Girl.

         Marquis.

    Indeed she is, Flora! I scarcely ever saw her peer in any rank in life, she is a divine assemblage of beauty, sweetness, and good sense.

         Flora.

    What will you say of her beauty, my Lord! when you see how much better she looks, now she is dressed?—for your Lordship's orders have been complied with; and my Lady is now quite struck with her, as well as you are. She sent me to see where you were, that Zella might be shewn to you. Shall she come hither, my Lord?

         Marquis.

    No; I am engaged now. I am going into the Garden. In half an hour, send her into the Elm walk; the Count will be there, and I shall like to see if he will know her again, since, you say, that her dress has so changed her appearance.

         (Exit Marquis.)


    Page 330

    SCENE SIXTH.

         DORCAS, FLORA.

         Dorcas.

    Well, Madam Florrah! I could hardly balieve what the eyes of my own hade told me—Why how yow have transmogrified my Dartar—Why yow ha dizened har out till she looks of as grate magnification as the Queen of Shaba comed to visit King Solomon, in the fine Tapestry, in the grate Hall at Olstain.

         Flora.

    Ah, Dorcas! have not I dressed her with great taste.

         Dorcas.

    Ods! lickens! Yas. She is beautified from hade to foot, from top to toe—Gold, and musling, and Sattin, and pracious Stones, and Dimuns, of all sorts and colours—Why har gownd is all over sprinkled with glow wurrums. When I cumed home here the Sarvants told me she was in yar chamber: so bounce I want, bolt in—but when I sawed such a fine crature, I thought 't was some visitor cumed to the wadding, so I makes one of my bast curtsies, and says I,—I bag yar Laadyship's pardon, says I, but they told me my Darter was hare. And, whan I found 't was Zalla all that there foine, I could not halp jumping for joy—I ha bin looking at har avvar so long, and Gammini! fathers and mothers! why what a foine prasence she is, and how handsome drass makes har. Lord, Florrah! do drass me so, and sat me before a looking-glass; and I shall look at myself for a whole day long——


    Page 331

         Flora.

    I thought you liked dress, Dorcas! you always dress so well, and mix colours with such taste.

         Dorcas

    So I dow—but this hare plane sattin jacket is northing to Zalla's fine long train—Well, I am sure I should think it quite a havvenly blissin for to be so magnanimously drassed—and what a foine, dasperate, beautiful highness I should look, with such grate flippity, flappaty feathers in my hade—I dar sa our fokes would take me for the Quean, and go down of thar knees to me—Do now, pray Madam Florrah, come and drass me up so; and whan I go home, I'll sand yow for a prasant, the gratest, biggest, bast chease, that I ha made all this whole sommer—'T is a thumper, I promise yow, 't is bigger than the biggest church hassock, yow avvar seed in yar life— Come, wull yow now?

         Flora.

    Another time, Dorcas! perhaps to-morrow, to dance at the Wedding.

         Dorcas.

    Indeed!

         Flora.

    Yes: but hush! here comes Adelinda; do n't tell her—

         Dorcas.

    Noa! noa! mum for that—I shall like to show hur, what a foine Laady I should have been.


    Page 332

    SCENE SEVENTH.

         ADELINDA, FLORA, DORCAS.

         Adelinda.

    Nurse! I have wanted and wished to see you, and you must go out truly!

         Dorcas.

    Marry, yas! I did not know as how, that I should ha the blissin to see yow agin to-day, after yow bod me go to yar father; and so I axt his lave, and want out, arter business, whilst he talked to my Darter.

         Adelinda.

    Flora! you may go.

         Flora.

    Mademoiselle! I should be glad, if you would tell me a little more of my fortune first.

         Adelinda.

    Flora! this sweetmeat box is full of spiders, Nurse is very fond of them; she eats them up like poached eggs. So you had better go, lest I persuade you to taste of them.

         Flora.

    Only tell me first, when I am to hang myself upon the willow in the garden, for love of the sweet youth, who, you say, slights me. I should be much obliged to you to tell me the day and hour.

         Adelinda.

    I am not sure of your having courage enough to do so very clever, and complimentary a thing;—but I can tell you a very extraordinary circumstance that will happen, just before you will have the greatest desire in the world, to oblige all your friends, by hanging yourself; whether you will be so kind to them, or not, is dubious, for the stars are silent, as to your being quite desperate.


    Page 333

         Flora.

    Well! and what is this Phenommedra, that is to foretell my fate?

         Adelinda.

    Why, twelve hours, before you will have a mind to hang yourself; a Lion's Whelp will walk tamely through the streets, waiting upon a Fox's Cub.—And, when you hear of this wonder,—then think upon my words. But till then, think of my box full of spiders.—Go, go, go! I will tell you no more now.

         Flora.

    You are all in the wrong; for I shall not even wear the willow; much less hang upon it. So that your Lion's Whelp, and your Fox's Cub are all rhodomontade——      (Adelinda threatens.)

    ———Oh, no Spiders! I am gone.

         (Exit Flora.)

    SCENE EIGHTH.

         ADELINDA, DORCAS.

         Adelinda.

    I must see if she be not listening.      (goes to the door.)

    Yes,      (shuts the door.)

    but now she sees, that she is suspected, she wilt not return to the charge, I presume.      (opens the door again.)

    No: she is gone for good now. Nurse! I have been so perplexed at your being out; I wished to see you. I want to talk with you; and to get you to do me a very great kindness.

         Dorcas.

    Well, my dare young Laady! I'll do it to be sartain; what may it be?—


    Page 334

         Adelinda.

    Your help will secure the peace and happiness of my whole life.

         Dorcas.

    Hoh! than 't is something of very grate magnification!

         Adelinda.

    Yes! 't is an affair of very great consequence: but swear to me to do it.

         Dorcas.

    Well! to be sure I sholl.

         Adelinda.

    Aye, but swear, Nurse!

         Dorcas.

    Well! I swear, tan times over, to dow it, to plase yow.

         Adelinda.

    And you must be very cautious, in the mean time, for one single word said will ruin me for ever.

         Dorcas.

    The dowce it wull though!—Hoity toity! then 't is a woundy grate secret indeed?

         Adelinda.

    Alas, Nurse! yes: and without your assistance, I must be miserable.—But do you love me as well as you used to do?

         Dorcas.

    Yas! Yas! That I dow. I love yow as well as I dow the eyes in my hade: so my dare young Laady, tell me, in two words, what I can dow to maake yow haappy, that I may dow it at once, with as much spurrit as good will—Come, tell, or how the dowce can I do it?—unless yow tache me to conjur and tell fortens.

         Adelinda.

    Why, you must know, my dear Dorcas! that they are going to marry me. And that to-morrow is to be the day. So that I am half wild with vexation and grief.

         Dorcas.

    Well! I know that yow are to be mar-


    Page 335

    ried to-morrow; that is no secret, avvary body in the house, all Paris, all Olstain, know it, my dare young Laady. And where is the grate misfortune, and grief of that?

         Adelinda.

    It is the greatest misfortune and grief in the world to me, Nurse! for the Count, my Cousin, is designed for my Husband; and I hate and detest him.

         Dorcas.

    That's right—for I do n't much like the match. And so yow do n't like him narther?

         Adelinda.

    No, Nurse! because I like another, whom I love to distraction.

         Dorcas.

    I am glad of it.—I am glad of it: thanks be to the praise, I am glad of it.—Well! and come tell me, is this other yow love so, some verraie grate man?—A Duke now?—Is it a Lord Duke?—I hope 't is; and I sholl jump out of my wits for joy; yas, that I sholl—I hope 't is a Lord Duke. They are avvary one of them, they say, Cousins* to the King hisself. Therefore I should darely like that yow should marry a Duke, and be cater cousins to majesty. Oh lud!——Oh! the blissin of blissins! to be called cousin to the King. Faith! I navvar liked the match with yar Cousin. I ollost wanted yow to have martied grander, and to batter yarself.—

         Adelinda.

    Fie, Nurse! How came this into your head?


    [Note *:]

    Archbishops and Dukes, when addressed in writing by the Kings of France have, from time immemorial, been styled, "Mon Cousin:" Whence this idea of Dorcas.


    Page 336

         Dorcas.

    Oh! 't was for avvar my will and fancy that yow should be grate—my heart has ollost been sat upon it that yow should marry some grate, gormandising, grandissimo, and be a greater, biggerer, finerer, Laady than yar Marchioness Mother.

         Adelinda.

    But the man whom I like is not of high rank, and I am so determined upon marrying him, that——

         Dorcas.

    Are yow so intarminated, and positive, as that comes to? faith!——

         Adelinda.

    I will tell you no more, Nurse!——

         Dorcas.

    But yow sholl. I wull know the whole; yow have told me too much, for me to let yow stop short: tell me all, and this minute too; and I'll pravant yar positive intarmination of marrying, I warrant yow.

         Adelinda.

    Dorcas! whatever you may say, is too late,——too late to be regarded now; for——

         Dorcas.

    Ods life!—I hold a wager yow are married awready.——

         Adelinda.

    Yes, Nurse! I am married. And since——

         Dorcas.

    Oh, all the davvils! hare's doings!—— Here's a foine piece of work! Zounds! hare will be swearing and storming—Whew! the house will be too hot to hold me for one.—But I'll cure it all. I'll have yow unmarried. Godly's! that's what I will, as true as my name is Dorcas.—Oh! the davvil fly away with me, if I ha'n't yow unmarried in the twirling of a mop-staff.—My Lord shall tell me how      (going).


    Page 337

         Adelinda.

    Is this your great love for me, Dorcas? Have you then vowed my destruction? If you betray me, my death will be the certain consequence.— Think how very passionate my Father is: he will murder me in his rage, and your treachery will be the cause of my death.

         Dorcas.

    I, the death on ye?

         Adelinda.

    Certainly you will, if you betray me. Indeed, Nurse! I shall be murdered; and you will have it to answer for.

         Dorcas.

    O Lord! O dear! O Lord! What sholl I do? my brain turns topsy turvy—I am all in a mist, I can't see—I am sick at heart—O dear! O dear! What will become of you? Tell my Lord? Tell my Lady? What shall I do?—She's ruinated all ways.—      (Going up to Adelinda.)

    Did the Davvil set his cloven foot into yar heart, and make yow dow this to spite me? Te must be the Davvil's doing; he has long owed me a loaf, and now he pays me with a whole batch!

         Adelinda.

    Dear Nurse! I conjure you to pity me; and to suffer me and my husband to be concealed in your house, for a few days. We have gold and jewels in abundance; and we will give you as much of them as you like.

         Dorcas.

    But who is this Husband? Tell me that —Who is it? Who is it, I say? Tell me this minute.

         Adelinda (with hesitation and confusion).

    Stras— Stras—Strasbourg——


    Page 338

         Dorcas.

    Who? Who? What? Say it again— do n't stammer—Speak!—speak!—it can't be.

         Adelinda.

    Strasbourg, Dorcas!

         Dorcas.

    Strasbourg? a Sarvant! a Coxcomb! a Villain—      (strikes her.)

    Take that—and that—and that —and that—      (beating her).

         Adelinda.

    Are you mad, Dorcas?

         Dorcas.

    Mad! Yas, mad with rage—cursedly mad—Sarpant—Davvil——      (going towards Adelinda, who retreats from her.)

         Adelinda.

    Keep your distance!——You forget yourself, Dorcas!——You mistake me for Zella. Behave with more respect.

         Dorcas.

    I forget myself!——Yow sat me the bad example. Yow first lowered the Laady to a Sarvant —— I trated yow, according as yow valued yarself ——Whan a Laady do n't respact harself—I pray, come talle me, who respacts har?—Not Dorcas, for one, I promise ye.

         Adelinda.

    But for pity's sake, Nurse! moderate your rage.

         Dorcas.

    Do n't talk to me of pity——

         Adelinda.

    Think what will become of me.—— Think, if you betray us, what will be poor Strasbourg's fate.

         Dorcas.

    Oh, a good hanging, thank God!—— And sooner than he should go unhanged, I would commit Sacrifuge mysalf; and rob a Church of a Bell-rope, rather than he should want a halter——


    Page 339

    Oh, you shall be unmarried now by a rope's end: that's one comfort, howaver.

         Adelinda.

    Heaven and earth! to what abjectness has my fatal folly brought me.      (A noise heard.)

    Some one is coming. For Heaven's sake, Dorcas! hold your tongue. My life is in your hands.

    SCENE NINTH.

         ADELINDA, DORCAS, FLORA.

         Adelinda.

    Whence this instrusion?——How dare you come when I ordered you away?——      (Recollecting herself.)

    'T is very hard, Flora! that I cannot speak to Nurse without your haunting me.

         Flora.

    Lord, Mademoiselle! what are you in such a passion for? I do not want to haunt you. One of the Footmen was running into all the rooms to find you. So I, supposing that you were here still, took his message——

         Adelinda.

    Well, dispatch! what is it?

         Flora.

    A Man, who says that he is Zella's Uncle, begs very earnestly to see you. I wanted him to tell me his business; but he would not——I suppose he wants you to ask some favour from the Marquis; he says that he is his tenant.

         Adelinda.

    Well, where is he?

         Flora.

    In the dining parlour.

         Adelinda.

    Dear Nurse! go and wait for me in my dressing-room.


    Page 340

         Dorcas.

    No, my dear young Lady, let me go along with yow, I beg——

         Adelinda.

    Well, you may, it you chuse it.

         (Exeunt.)

    SCENE TENTH—A GARDEN.

         THE MARQUIS, THE COUNT (at a little distance).

         Marquis.

    Here comes the Count: but he seems in a very gloomy humour.

         Count (to himself, not seeing the Marquis).

    There is no room for doubt——Yet I would fain disbelieve it: but I cannot.

         Marquis.

    Count! I attend your summons; and here in the Garden, as you requested. But what has happened to you, my dear Cousin! you seem so agitated? Recover yourself.      (walks from him.)

         Count.

    I neither dare speak, nor yet be silent. I dread the furious transports of his rage.——My dear Marquis! I have an affair to divulge to you, which it imports, you to be informed of. But before I will consent to speak, you must promise,—nay take a solemn Oath,—that you will stifle, and triumph over, the first impulses of painful feelings, which I am unfortunately obliged to excite.

         Marquis.

    Why this preamble?

         Count.

    Alas! it is but too requisite.—For I have a most cruel, heart-wounding affair to break to you.


    Page 341

         Marquis.

    Heavens! what can have happened, that requires such preparation?

         Count.

    What half distracts me——And you have not the least suspicion of it. Would to Heaven! that I could conceal from you, for ever, a secret which terrifies me;——and which,——my Lord dishonours our whole family.

         Marquis.

    Give me to know it!—that my guardian sword may swift revenge the act which stains my honour.——What is it? who has dared invade it?

         Count.

    Sheath your Sword, my Lord! could that have made reparation, I would not have spoken, till mine had redeemed our honour. It would be a prodigy to hear with temper, or even patience, what I have to relate. Therefore, my dear, Marquis! on your honour swear, that you will not listen to the first, violent emotions of your soul. Indeed, my Lord! you must make a noble effort to conquer yourself; in order to assist in searching to the bottom of a mysterious affair, the completion of which,—if it be not now too late to prevent it,—can only be prevented; without public dishonour, by the calmer prudence—; and, alas! one of the unhappy accomplices demands your tenderest humanity.

         Marquis.

    Who? Who is it?——Torture me not with suspense!

         Count.

    The terms, my Lord! or I am silent.

         Marquis.

    Well then, I swear, give you my solemn word of honour, that I will restrain myself within the bound of prudence. Now what am I to learn?——


    Page 342

         Count.

    A fact which staggers belief——

         Marquis.

    Tell me, at once, the worst.

         Count.

    Adelinda has the indiscretion to carry on a clandestine correspondence, with a Man whose specious manners have gained her affections.

         Marquis.

    Who has dared to attempt this?

         Count.

    Think, my Lord! of her extreme youth and inexperience, and let that consideration summon all the Father in your heart, when you shall hear the rest.

         Marquis.

    This caution makes me dread, I know not what,——Spare me a moment, lest I grow mad at hearing it.——Now speak the worst.——      (pause.)

    ——Speak, I stand prepared.——I hope I do, for worse than I shall hear.

         Count.

    My honoured Kinsman, much I grieve to speak it——Strasbourg——

         Marquis.

    Strasbourg and Adelinda D' Olstain—— Horrour! it cannot be.——My Daughter——carry on a clandestine correspondence with my Servant? ——'tis impossible it exceeds belief!

         Count.

    My Lord! had there been but one doubt in my mind, on which hope might have anchored; trust me, I would not thus have wrung a Father's heart. I have not spoken on bare suspicion, but upon unequivocal conviction, dreadful certainty.

         Marquis.

    My Daughter! my only child! to be the curse of my age! the dishonour of my house!—— And dares my hireling Servant thus prophane my honour?—accursed Villain!—by my hand he dies!      (going in a rage.)


    Page 343

         Count.

    My Lord! your oath to me——

         Marquis.

    I must have vengeance. Stay me not!

         Count.

    My dear Lord! that vengeance would only add poison to the wound. The detection of this affair, will enough punish the wretched aggressors.

         Marquis.

    How was this infernal correspondence discovered? Speak all you know!

         Count.

    Lucy, Adelinda's maid, suspected this strange connection, but dared not speak her suspicions. She determined to watch both my cousin and Strasbourg. She saw them this day, before dinner, in deep conference near the Alcove; they entered it, she drew near behind it.—She overheard enough of their conversation to find, that they intend to escape this night.——

         Marquis.

    The Villain!—You have prevented my taking justice on him myself—! but, thank Heaven! the Laws of France shall give me ample vengeance. A Public ignominious death is the awarded punishment for a crime like his. Ungrateful wretch! He whom I trusted as my confidential Servant, who was in duty bound to guard me from injury, yet He, whilst I sleep, turns Robber; steals my Child, and murders the peace, and honour of my whole family, by this vilely disgraceful seduction.

         Count.

    My Lord! you must forego even that justice, which the laws would give you. Strasbourg must not be put to death.

         Marquis.

    Who shall prevent it?——Though I have sworn, my Lord! not to be his executioner, I


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    have taken no oath to screen him from the Laws. Justice shall take place.

         Count.

    My dear Lord! think only of what it will be best to do in this dark affair; and do not aggravate the disgrace, by proclaiming it through the world. Arm yourself with the requisite patience. If they be not yet married—(though I fear that they are) my Cousin may yet be saved.

         Marquis.

    Count! I feel your friendship and attachment in your conduct at this crisis; but for your prudence, my rage would even now flame out too impetuously for my judgment; and I should at this moment heed only my indignation and my vengeance. Prescribe my conduct; your reason can best guide in this deplorable affair? what can you advise? what must I do?

         Count.

    See Lucy, my Lord! and judge from her account, which, though certain as to their correspondence, and their intended flight, is not such as I could make out from—whether they be actually married. When you be certified as to that, command your anger sufficiently to see Strasbourg.——Insist upon his quitting the Kingdom for ever, as the sole means of exemption he can hope, from forfeiting his life, in an ignominious manner, to the offended laws of his country. Conceal this terrible affair from the Marchioness, till every remedy is applied, that can soften it to a Mother's too tender heart.

         Marquis.

    I will endeavour to do this; and to suppress my rage.      (the Marquis turns away from the


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    Count, and, after a struggle with himself, goes to him, and takes his hand with much emotion.)

    My Cousin! my Friend! The Son of my choice!——I——      (stops short)

    ——I release you fully, from every engagement with me upon this unhappy Girl's account. After this degeneracy, a marriage with her would dishonour you; without removing the stain from our house. Let your heart select a worthier partner. My Titles must be yours. And you can now no longer object to my settling my whole fortune upon you. Adelinda shall end her days in a Convent;—dishonoured by herself, she is but too justly disinherited by me.

         Count.

    Marquis! if you have any friendship for me, let it be shewn by your pity for my unfortunate Cousin.—Mitigate, I conjure you, her sentence. Let Strasbourg's exile be the sole forfeiture to save his life. Do not make poor Adelinda purchase it, by forcing her to take the Veil. Think of her youth! Do not cancel the strong, the sacred bond of parental love—let nature—pity—common humanity plead for her:—and do not irrevocably fix her fate in the first effusion of your grief and indignation. However wayward, Adelinda has a high strung mind, a noble soul, and a good heart. Let her not be lost: drive her not to utter desperation.

         Marquis.

    If I restrain the transports of my rage, 't is all that I can do—the very name of Father I disclaim. I am henceforth her judge. My soul is so stung by her infamous conduct, that if she were now before


    Page 346

    me, I fear it would be impossible for me, to restrain from even a Roman Justice on her guilty head; my reason would forsake me, and some rash act would be the fatal consequence. I leave you, Count! I will strive to compose myself: and then I will see this Villain.

         Count.

    I feel your distress, would I could alleviate it.

         (Exit Marquis.)

    SCENE ELEVENTH.

         THE COUNT, ZELLA (just coming in sight).

         Count.

    I dread the transports of his rage. Heaven grant, that he may be able to surmount them! Poor Adelinda! to what has her folly reduced her!—— But what do I behold?——Is it you, Zella? What additional charms! Ah, my Angel! why are your eyes swimming in tears?

         Zella.

    I have been weeping this hour, my Lord! at being thus disguised. 'T is a sad mockery; and I am enough mortified at it. But is he not here?

         Count.

    Whom, Zella! do you seek?

         Zella.

    The Marquis. I came by my Lady's order, all ashamed as I am, to present myself, this figure before him.

         Count (aside).

    Oh! why is she a cottager? cruel custom! imperious honour!

         Zella.

    How grieved he seems!


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         Count (aside).

    The world will not censure me, if I win her heart, and then seduce her;—but if I marry her, the taunting finger of the hand of scorn will be for ever pointed at me, as one degraded and dishonoured by marrying a peasant.

         Zella.

    Perhaps he is angry that I stay——      (as she is going, he turns round.)

         Count.

    Zella, stay!——

         Zella.

    My Lord! I am going to seek for Flora, whom I expected to find here, with the Marquis.

         Count.

    Then she will be here presently.

         Zella.

    I will go and meet her.      (going.)

         Count.

    Stay, Zella! I wish to speak with you. Know that I love and adore you, charming Zella! and that I must be miserable, unless I can win your heart.

         Zella.

    My Lord! this language hurts, as much as it astonishes me.

         Count.

    Why, Zella?

         Zella.

    Because my Lord does not maintain the honour of his own rank, thus infringing upon the decorum which my humble fortune has a right to expect even from him.      (going.)

         Count.

    Stay, Zella! Ah! wherefore so much pride? why shun me?

         Zella.

    Pardon me, my Lord! it is not pride; I am only grieved, that you have made it requisite for me to leave you now, and shun you hereafter.

         Count.

    Ah, cruel! shun me because I love you? For I must confess, that my heart burns with the most


    Page 348

    ardent passion for you.      (Zella attempts to go, the Count, taking her hand, detains her.)

         Zella.

    I beg, my Lord! that you will permit me to go away. I can bear no part in such a conversation as this is,—I cannot listen to it.

         Count.

    O Zella! you must hear me; must listen to all the ardent wishes of my soul. Love fires my mind almost to madness. Zella! my passion shall know no bounds in its gratitude, if I can but win your heart. Whatever my fortune can purchase, or my interest command, shall wait upon your will: and every wish of your heart shall be indulged. My charming Girl! will you not, in pity, love me?

         Zella.

    No, my Lord! nor even hear you, if I were at liberty to retire. Assure yourself that I shall never love or even pity you.

         Count.

    Cruel Girl! not pity that misery, which you yourself cause? Ah! give me at least a ray of hope, that I may win your heart, by my faithful attachment, my constant adoration. Look kindly on me! save me from despair!

         Zella.

    My dear Lord!—Count! you terrify me. Awake from this dream! recover your senses!—I would fain esteem you. It would give me great pleasure, to have reason to respect you: but if you speak thus to me, it will not be in my power.

         Count.

    Zella! 't is impossible to obey you! I have long loved you, and to adoration, admired your beauty and accomplishments; but I fled from your charms, I begged of my Sister to bring you no more to the


    Page 349

    grate with her.—I hoped that I had overcome my passion for you: but it was only stifled, not subdued. The seeing you thus unexpectedly has thrown my soul into tumults which I can scarcely support. But your coldness, your cruelty,—Are you then insensible to love and admiration?

         Zella.

    I have heard too much of both. Release my hand, I beg of you, my Lord!

         Count.

    Zella! I dare not. If I release your hand, you will fly from me. What would I not give to subdue your cruelty, and to win your heart.——Ah! help me to restore my peace! Surely, my love may hope for your pity; if you will not reward it by a richer gift,—your heart. Say then, in kind commiseration for my suffering love, that you will pity me. Whence this sullen silence, this soul-piercing Scorn?

         Zella.

    From the most poignant sensations; from Grief; from Shame; from Indignation; from hatred at your selfishness; from contempt at your meanness. Holy insidious are you, my Lord! thus pretending to admire my beauty, whilst you are seeking to destroy it; for by invading the innocent serenity of my bosom, you would cover my face with the pale hue of discontent, and drown my eyes with tears. How selfish and artful it is to plead your passion for me, which seeks only my destruction. How mean and contemptible to ask my love or implore my pity. Why should I love you? What pity, or what tenderness can my mind feel for you? You yourself, my Lord! now teach me what regard I ought to have for


    Page 350

    the repose of your heart, when you seek to plant endless torments in mine.

         Count.

    O Zella! think not thus hardly of me. Does not my love deserve some regard?

         Zella.

    Oh, no! it makes you an object of detestation, not of affection. Pardon, my Lord! the disrespectful language which you force from me. Let me beg of you to retain that respect, which I wish to pay to you, by neither prolonging now, nor ever renewing this conversation.—Permit me to depart.—Lowly as I am, I have a right to be much offended at this insolent detension. The Count D' Olstain should be too noble to exert his privileges unjustly against the weak and defenceless. Unhand me, my Lord!

         (The Count, very respectfully, releases her hand. She instantly goes.)

         Count.

    Zella! I beseech you hear me.      (kneels)

    Kneeling I beg it. I ask no love. Hear me, I conjure you.      (she returns.)

         Zella.

    Why will you thus artfully distress me? Rise, my Lord! If kneeling would have prevented this conversation, most willingly would I have knelt; to save my mind from the pain, which the remembrance of it will for ever give me.

         Count.

    Zella! I knew not that I should see you here;—therefore I could have formed no fixed plan of villainy; and when I declared my love, I had no settled intentions: I doted on you to distraction; I would have given the empire of the world to gain your heart. And if you would have listened to my


    Page 351

    love; or had you condescended to parley with me; I own that I should have hoped to gain your affections: and, such is the difference of our Rank, I should have expected to win a Mistress, where the prejudices of the world did not permit me to chuse a Wife.——

         Zella.

    My Lord! I feared that I was to understand all this. The repetition only wounds me further. There needs no explanation. I am enough hurt, enough distressed.—      (going).

         Count.

    Oh, stay! I will no further distress you! I have no libertine hopes: These initiatory advances, thus properly, thus indignantly repulsed, I can have none; that virtue, which will not parley, is not to be overcome. Accept of me, charming Zella! as an honourable Lover; and, if I can make myself an interest in your heart, I will take you to my arms, raise you to my rank, make you my Wife.

         Zella.

    My Lord!—I cannot love you as you wish. Our hearts are not formed for each other.——Your own honour forbids you all connection with me. Lady Adelinda is your destined Bride.

         Count.

    Know, my sweet Zella! that I am at liberty to offer you my vows. The Marquis on this very spot, has just released me from all my engagements with my Cousin.

         Zella (with emotion).

    Ah! my Lord! what do you tell me?

         Count.

    Some family reasons have put an end to the projected marriage. Therefore, my love, as it is pure and honourable, cannot offend you now.


    Page 352

         Zella.

    Your being at liberty, my Lord! cannot raise the lowliness of my birth, the abjectness of my situation.

         Count.

    And if it did, could you then love me? Answer me, Zella! let me flatter myself that you could; speak my Angel!

         (Zella pauses much distressed.)

         Zella.

    My Lord! as the thing itself is impossible, no answer can be made.

         Count.

    Are you then insensible even to a laudable ambition? Do you not wish to shine in a more elevated rank, where a soul like yours would find equal fellowship with cultivated spirits? Could you not take a generous pleasure in making the man who adores you happy?

         Zella.

    Alas! I find, that birth and fortune would now indeed have charms for me.

         Count.

    I understand you; and I am delighted to believe——

         Zella.

    O my Lord! believe nothing; do not deceive yourself; my heart must retain its indifference. It may be ambitious in its wishes, but it is rational in its expectations. I must converse with you no more. The World calls you the most amiable of men;—— O my Lord! respect my peace of mind, and do not strive to make me think you so——

         Count.

    Yes, Zella! to make you think so, shall be the business of my life.

         Zella.

    My Lord! the prejudices of the world will not permit you to think of me,—who am only a peasant's daughter,—without degradation to yourself——


    Page 353

         Count.

    My Love, charming Zella! shall defy the unjust prejudices of the World.

         Zella.

    Never for me, my Lord!—for, were I even so unhappy as to esteem you as you wish, my mind is too high strung to bear the idea of dishonouring your rank, and consequence in society, by a disgraceful alliance every way unworthy of you.——Forget me, my Lord! I never will be your Wife.——I must, as bound in honour and duty, communicate this conversation to my Lord Marquis; and he will fix my future residence, where you, the Heir of all his titles, and the Representative of his illustrious House, shall never see me more.—Let your heart make a worthier choice. I will consecrate mine to my Maker, and dedicate my future days to his service. I will for ever renounce the world, but, though buried in the obscurity of a Cloister, the knowledge of your prosperity and happiness will sometimes pleasingly bring back my mind to the social scene of worldly affairs. Adieu!— farewell! my Lord!

         (Exit.)

         Count.

    Zella! cruel Zella!      (Exit after her.)

    End of the Fourth Act.


    Page 354

    Act Fifth.

    SCENE FIRST—A GARDEN.

         (The back ground trees with walks between them, the middle represents a large Canal; a Bridge over it, at one end. Dorcas is seen running through the trees, Adelinda following her:—they disappear, then enter a walk separated from the Canal by a Chinese railing, and pass over the bridge to the front of the stage. Dorcas still running, Adelinda pursuing her.)

         ADELINDA, DORCAS.

         Adelinda.

    STOP, Dorcas! stop! for if you run to the world's end, I will follow you.

         Dorcas (pointing to the water).

    Well! here's the World's end for me; if yow continue obstinate.

         Adelinda.

    Dear Dorcas! pray!——

         Dorcas.

    Don't speak it, I won't hear it—I won't do it——and if yow don't go down of yar knees, and wish that yow may die if yow spake of it—why I'll drown'd mysalf. Here's the water—and I'll jump right in——

         Adelinda.

    I intreat you, for Heaven's sake!——

         Dorcas.

    Well! and I intrate yow; and I may as well have my way, as yow yars.

         Adelinda.

    No, Dorcas, no! my way is that of


    Page 355

    honour, honesty, and justice—In the name of Heaven, I command you, if you hope for mercy here, or hereafter, go with me to my Angel Mother, and at her feet own the whole truth; own——

         Dorcas.

    What! Own and be hanged?——

         Adelinda.

    Trust me, that your only means to avoid it, is no longer to deserve it—Come then to the Marchioness; she is goodness itself—let her be happy; tell her——

         Dorcas.

    Don't dar to spake it; I shall go right raving mad, dasparate if yow dow; and jump into the pond for all yar palavar—ta n't the first time, that I have drownded myself about this varry matter; and I'll dow it again, if yow purvoke me; as sure as can be, and if I do jump in, thank God! yow can't lug me out, as my husband did.——

         Adelinda.

    Would to Heaven that he were here now.——

         Dorcas.

    Hold yar tongue; and don't wish such profanatious things—Come now, hear rason—Yar Mother's fortune, my silly husband told me times and often, was sattled upon har dartar's—thare's none but yow; so 'tis all yar's—so lat har die and brake har heart——than yow'll have a whole twanty thousands of pounds, and be a laady beyond sea—and so now yow and Strasbourg shall run away, this varry blissed night, and hide yow at my house.—Now I'm sure you won't blab—Sha n't I have my own way now?——

         Adelinda.

    No!—long, very long have I been a


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    thorn in the bosom of this best of Mother's——but now that, thank Heaven! I can avoid it, I will not be the Serpent that shall sting her to death.

         Dorcas.

    Why! what wull yow talle now, and be a sarvant's poor wife all yar life long?

         Adelinda.

    I have chosen my own lot. Patiently can I eat the bread of poverty; but, though wandering through a wilderness of distress, never shall dishonesty bring me to shame, and make me chew the bitter weed of repentance—I never will consent.

         Dorcas.

    Then I'll dash yar brains out.

         Adelinda.

    Though I wish to live, I am not so much afraid of dying, as to be frightened by your threatening, into changing my purpose.—This crime shall not be concealed. I will divulge it. And believe me, that I would not thus beg of you to do it, but for the certainty, that them is nothing which will induce the Marquis to pardon you, but your own voluntary confession.—Think what you have to dread from his rage, if you will not strive to mitigate it. I will persuade you no longer.—I quit you to go and unravel this deep-laid iniquity.

         Dorcas.

    Then I'll drown'd myself before yar face.—I'll jump into the pond diractly—      (going to the Canal.)—

         Adelinda.

    That I'll prevent—      (She draws Dorcas by force from the Canal, Dorcas struggles, and gets loose from her, and runs to the Canal.)

         (Kneeling)

    Dorcas! Dorcas!——      (She turns about at the edge of the Canal.)


    Page 357

         Dorcas.

    Well than! wull yow hold yar tongue?

         Adelinda (drawing towards her, as she speaks persuasively).

    Consider, dear Dorcas! and do not let your passion plunge you into endless misery.      (takes her hand, and leads her gently from the Canal, as she speaks.)

    If you dare not appear before the Marchioness, think, I beseech you, how much more terrible it will be for you, with the crimes of impenitence and self-murder on your head, to rush uncalled into the presence of an angry God, from whom you cannot fly.—

         Dorcas.

    Hold yar tongue!—I cannot bear to hear of arther God or Davvil.—I have been such a reprobate, that I never dar to think of arther. Ah! yow may keep hold on me an yow wull, but I am strongest; I can drown'd myself, in spite of yar holding me.

         Adelinda

    True, Dorcas! I fear you can.——But take heed, that I have as much resolution in a good cause, as you have obstinacy in a bad one.—Never will I quit my hold.—I pledge my life to the hope of saving your's. If you persist, and I cannot hinder you, from drowning yourself, then I shall be drowned with you—I will either prevent your wicked Desperation, or become the victim of your headstrong Guilt.

         Dorcas (struggling to shake Adelinda off, but is unable).

    What! maake me yar mudderer? yow that I love so darely!—let me go! let me go!

         (Dorcas bursts into tears, still struggling.)


    Page 358

         Adelinda.

    Dorcas! you struggle in vain.—I will not quit my hold, though a two-edged Sword were uplifted to sever my hands from my body.—Pity me, if you have no love for yourself.—All my sins hang heavy on my soul.—My ingratitude; my disobedience; my deceitful conduct.—O Dorcas! do not drag me, thus unprepared, to my last account,—Now show your great love for me; spare my life.—I wish to live.—Let me have the time, that Heaven allows me, for due repentance and amendment.——O! save me from hereafter punishment!——

         Dorcas.

    Yas, and get hanged myself—For Orland once told me, that he was sure, that I should die with my shoes on.——

         Adelinda.

    Your own free confession shall gain you mercy; but if it should not, I here vow to Heaven, and you, that be your punishment what it may, I will share it with you. If it be Imprisonment, never will I quit the walls of your dungeon.——If you be made a Galley-Slave, thus through life will I cling to your chain. If you must suffer Death, I will weep out the remainder of my life, over your unhallowed Grave: so that my tears, my prayers, and my voluntary sufferings, shall gain you mercy and pardon from Heaven.——All this will I suffer for you; but I will not keep his guilty secret.——I feel that resolution which can endure misery, but, Heaven, I thank thee! I have not the hardihood to dare to be vilely dishonest. Come, I beseech you, let us leave this place.

         Dorcas.

    Aye; but I won't go to yar Mother, and


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    you must not talle—Why yow prache more in arnest than the parson. My heart ha gon way, but I won't go—I ha changed my mind about what I hav done; and I suppose that's what yow fine folks call rapantance.

         (Exeunt.)

    SCENE SECOND—THE MARQUIS'S LIBRARY.

         THE MARQUIS ALONE.
    (Walking about much disordered. He rings: a Servant enters.)

         Marquis.

    If Strasbourg be returned, send him hither instantly.      (Servant bows, and exit.)

    The Villain! I must see him:—but how shall I restrain my rage? O worthless Daughter! opprobrious Girl! My Sons are torn from me; and she, she only, this serpent is left to sting me to death, to poison my age, to cover me with infamy. Shameless, ungrateful Child! Ah! bitter fruit of all our thankless, anxious cares throughout her wayward infancy and stubborn youth.      (rings the bell again.)

         A Servant enters.

         Marquis.

    Strasbourg?—

         Servant.

    My Lord! he is not yet returned.

         Marquis.

    Send in search of him:—but watch you for his return, and send him hither. I want him on most urgent business.

         Servant.

    Yes, my Lord!

         (Exit Servant.)


    Page 360

         Marquis.

    A man of errors have I been;—and is this dishonour a visitation for my sins?—Heaven's judgment now inflicts those pangs on me which I, pitiless libertine! have given to many a father's heart. My Rank alone screened me, from vengeance.— But, ah! that Rank cannot protect me now.—Sorrow strikes as fiercely at my breast, as at the meanest slave's: Ingratitude as sharply wrankles in my soul. My Daughter, the last of my noble race, lost,—dishonoured,—undone,—disgraced for ever!—My peace is destroyed, the honour of my house shaken from its foundation,—my face bowed down with shame. Oh! I never felt till now the pangs which a father feels, when his child, turning to folly, thus inflicts an everlasting curse upon him.—Seduced by my own Servant too!—how vile! how base! how fallen!— this pours a scorpion's venom on the wound, almost to phrenzy fires my mind.—Oh! I could murder both, and then myself.—Gracious Heaven! defend me from this rage!—yet save me from my own desperate thoughts!—Hark! I hear footsteps——! the Villain comes.      (He turns from the side at which Strasbourg appears, the Marquis strives to compose himself.)


    Page 361

    SCENE THIRD.

         THE MARQUIS, STRASBOURG.

         Marquis (turning to Strasbourg).

    Come in!——      (turns away again.)

         Strasbourg (aside).

    How he speaks to me! Are we suspected?

         Marquis.

    So 't is you, at last, my fine fellow! Draw near!—I have a few words for your private ear.—We have some matters to discuss together.

         Strasbourg (taking papers from his pocket, which he presents to the Marquis).

    My account is ready: will you be pleased to settle it now, my Lord!

         Marquis (throwing away the papers).

    Settling an account is not the business of the present moment. I have another more interesting subject, a business of Life and Death to talk over with you.

         Strasbourg (bowing).

    My Lord will talk on whatever subject he pleases.

         Marquis.

    So! you are setting off!

         Strasbourg.

    Who, I, my Lord! I setting off? I do not comprehend your Lordship.

         Marquis.

    Insolent Villain! Unprincipled Wretch! Not comprehend me.——This Night, you, you, Strasbourg, my Servant, my confidential Servant, born in my Father's house, nursed and cherished in mine, educated by my care, you, ungrateful Viper! turn mid-night Ruffian, and plunder my house of what was its dearest treasure, of my now cursed, abandoned


    Page 362

    Daughter. For on this very night the theft is planned to be completed. Diabolical Robber! Have I said enough? do you understand me now?

         Strasbourg (much dismayed).

    My Lord! some one has belied me—some story has imposed upon you—

         Marquis (with much agony).

    Oh! would to Heaven that it were so indeed! But, no! All is discovered, no doubt—no hope is left.—You were suspected, watch'd,—and your plotting in the Alcove, before dinner, with the partner of your guilt, was overheard. I am Master of your whole scheme of iniquity:—— and, tremble Wretch! Master of your Life.——An ignominious, shameful Death is, by the just Law, your lot.—

         Strasbourg (after a pause, with solemn collectedness and resolution).

    My Lord! I know it is.——— And, you my Judge, I have no hope of Mercy.——

         Marquis.

    Yes, Traitor! injured as I am, I will shew Mercy.——

         Strasbourg (kneeling).

    My Lord! My dear Lord! Is it possible? I had no hope of pardon.——

         Marquis.

    I will, on one condition, grant you your Life.—Quit Europe for ever; and go where I appoint you.

         Strasbourg.

    But what, my Lord! is to be your Daughter's fate?

         Marquis.

    Darest thou to question me?

         Strasbourg (rising).

    Yes, my Lord! for, though in this instance, I have been a Villain to you, my Master; I cannot be unprincipled to your Daughter.


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    I adore her;—and I will not accept of life at her expense:——she shall not weep out the remainder of her days imprisoned in a gloomy dungeon—— Promise me, my Lord! that you will neither force Adelinda! to take the Veil, nor confine her in a Convent prison, but treat her as your daughter still;—and I will quit Europe for ever.——Else, (though the law take my life the next hour) I will claim my Wife, and forbid her vows.——I have settled all that I possess upon her; there is too little for grandeur, but enough to spare her heart the affliction of asking her severe Father for bread.

         Marquis.

    Audacious Slave! hast thou no instant dread of my awakened wrath?      (lays his hand on his Sword.)

         Strasbourg.

    None, my Lord!—I have no wish to live, nor use for life.—I have no hope, consequently no fear. Despair alone has possession of my Soul.—I tell you again, that I care not for my own life.— Against my Master's life, I would not lift my hand; no! not to save my own.——See there!      (he takes his Sword, in the Scabbard, out of the belt, and throws it on the ground.)

    I will not even stand on my defence, against your intoxicated rage.—I set all your anger, all your power over me at defiance.—      (kneels.)

    But I implore you for Adelinda!—Do not, in wanton cruelty, add dishonour to her misery: since she must suffer, promise me to make her fate as easy as it can be now made;—and, as for me, I will submit to be sent
    Page 364

    into the most loathsome mine, to toil for my daily bread.——

         Marquis.

    Presume to article with me! Comply, or——      (draws his Sword.)

         Strasbourg (rises).

    Never—!!      (As the Marquis is going to stab Strasbourg, Adelinda rushes in; and, entering at a door to which the Marquis's back is turned, seizes and confines his Sword-arm.)

    SCENE FOURTH.

         THE MARQUIS, ADELINDA, STRASBOURG.

         Adelinda.

    Forbear, my Lord! Spare! O Spare his life!

         Marquis (turning to her as she confines his right arm).

    Darest thou approach me? lost, worthless Wretch!—Fly me! or thy blood too shall wash the stain out which thou hast brought upon my noble House.

         Adelinda (struggling with the Marquis, who strives to shake her off).

    Begone, Strasbourg! you only are in danger.—Quit not the house;—but leave this room.—If you love me, begone! Begone, I say—I am safe:——for my sake, go!

         Strasbourg.

    I dare not.——

         Adelinda.

    I command it.—      (Strasbourg goes, the Marquis bursts from Adelinda to pursue him, she gets before him, shuts the door, and with outstretched arms prevents his opening it.)


    Page 365

    SCENE FIFTH.

         THE MARQUIS, ADELINDA.

         Marquis (raising his Sword; his hand trembling).

    Then die thyself! vile Girl!

         Adelinda (falling on her knees).

    Hear me, my Lord! for I have much to say.

         Marquis.

    I will not hear!

         Adelinda.

    By all your glorious Ancestors, I conjure you, hear me! Let not a Woman's blood pollute your Sword.—Preserve the honour of your house untainted, nor slay prostrate Foe, whose only arms are tears—If you will not be merciful, yet be just! for your own conscience sake only, suspend your rage, and hear me!

         Marquis.

    Speak, wretch!—      (she rises.)

         Adelinda.

    My gracious, honoured Lord! strive to compose your soul, that it may bear as much of joy, as now it feels of grief and rage.

         Marquis.

    Joy! Parricide! when thou hast murdered my peace and honour, and driven my soul to madness, how darest thou mock me with a sound like Joy?

         Adelinda.

    No, my dear Lord! I mock you not. I only dread to speak, fearing the conflict of such fierce extremes, as Grief and Joy. Collect your soul, my Lord! Think! O think! that I come to bring you peace. But seeing you thus agonized with Grief and Rage, I fear to tell the Joy I came to give you.


    Page 366

         Marquis.

    Speak! nor presume to trifle with my vengeance: hope not by new deceit to escape from my too tardy Justice. Speak! and speak truth! if thou hast ought to utter!

         Adelinda.

    I come to take the dagger from your heart with which unwillingly I pierced it. Truth, Honour, Justice, bade me come;—for, rough and rugged as my humour is, yet still my bosom owns an honest heart. Father no more! for I am not your Child!      (the Marquis trembling drops his Sword.)

    I kneel to my Liege Lord for pardon, for my fond ambitious Mother, who placed her Wren within your Eagle's nest;—For I, my Lord! am Zella, Orland's Daughter; and the gentle Maiden whose enchanting beauty and graceful manners have so won all hearts, is the true Adelinda, and your noble Daughter.

         Marquis.

    O Heavens! can this be true?

         (Raises Adelinda.)

         Adelinda.

    Read this writing, and convince yourself      (giving a letter).

         Marquis (opening the letter).

    Hah! this is Orland's writing, my deceased farmer, Dorcas's husband. Why was this mystery concealed till now?

         Adelinda.

    Because, my Lord! I have but now learned this guilty secret. My real Father's Brother brought me, within this hour, that letter.—My poor Father found out the deceit; but my unhappy Mother's threats prevented him from revealing it till he was upon his death-bed: when he told it to his Brother; and with such circumstances as avouch the


    Page 367

    truth, and which await your hearing from my Uncle; who was terrified, by my Mother's threats of destroying herself, from disclosing it at first; but, finding that she was coming hither, he followed her; determined to tell it to me, as my Father had directed him.

         Marquis.

    What obstinate iniquity in Dorcas!

         Adelinda.

    My Lord! she no longer persists. She is now with the Marchioness confessing her guilt and folly. I disdained to continue Impostor, whatever advantages of fortune might, if I had fled, have resulted to me from it. I hastened to make this welcome relation to you, hoping to spare your soul the Grief and Indignation by which I found it agonized. I did not know that my marriage with Strasbourg was discovered, till I saw your sword pointed at his breast. But, my lord! let my real father's letter vouch for the truth of what I speak.

         Marquis (reading).


    To the Lady Adelinda D'Olstain.

    "My Brother will certify to you, that you are my Daughter, and I charge you, as you hope for the blessing of Heaven; not to assist in carrying on the fraud which has been, for so many years, practised against the Marquis and Marchioness D'Olstain. For she who is called Zella, is the real Adelinda D'Olstain, their Daughter:—and you are Zella, Dorcas's Child and mine.—And you were exchanged by my Wife, when the Marchioness followed my Lord into Spain, when he went there as Ambassador.—I am upon my death-bed; and I cannot die easy, nor with the hope of forgiveness


    Page 368

    for my other sins, without confessing this great sin, and doing all that remains in my poor power, to repair the wrong which I have wickedly concealed from my Lord, and suffered to be done to him, in the person of his noble Daughter. Do you yourself reveal this wickedness to my Lord; and implore him, that the pardon of your poor Mother may be the reward of your Justice and Integrity. The blessing of your dying Father is yours, only, as you obey this warning from his timeless Grave.

    "ORLAND."

         Adelinda.

    If, my Lord! the act of Duty and Common Justice which I have just performed, may so embolden me to ask again with hope a favour—      (kneeling)

    pardon my Mother!

         Marquis.

    For the sake of your Father's honest repentance, I forgive Dorcas. Yet, gracious Heaven! may I believe this wondrous providence?

         Adelinda.

    My dying Father attested it; my Mother owns it; and, if you want stronger proof, you have internal evidence, my Lord! for, in spite of care and education, am I not in temper more like Dorcas than like the gentle spirit of the Marchioness? nay, has not your own heart spoken?—for, did you not, this very morning, bid me go and see Zella; and blush at beholding a Peasant Girl far more worthy to be your Daughter, than I was.—But here comes my Mother to confirm this welcome truth.


    Page 369

    SCENE SIXTH.

         THE MARQUIS, ADELINDA, DORCAS.

         Dorcas (sobbing).

    Yas! Yas! This is my Dartar and Zella is yars. My Laady Marchioness has forgon me, and she promised me before I would come, that I should be forgon by yow too——so I hope yow'll keep har words.

         Marquis.

    Was ever joy like mine?—      (To Adelinda)

    Worthy, young Woman! to determine with so much courage and resolution, thus generously, at once to degrade yourself;—When if you had fled, so large a fortune must have been yours, if you had continued the deceit.

         Adelinda.

    I am happy, my Lord! in your joy and recovered peace.

         Dorcas.

    She has narthar taste nor spurrit, she is glad at what maakes me cry and sob.—A silly fule! she had rather be my Child than a laady.

         Marquis (taking Adelinda's hand).

    For your sake, Adelinda! I forgive your Mother's crime.——Your integrity shall not only screen her guilt from punishment, but bring you great reward.


    Page 370

    SCENE SEVENTH.

         THE MARQUIS, ADELINDA, ZELLA, DORCAS.

         Zella.

    O! my Lord! I rejoice to find you.——      (The Marquis takes her hand; but, from emotion, is unable to interrupt her.)

    You must not think amiss of me for what my Duty makes me tell you.—The noble Count, your Cousin, poor and humble as I am, talks of marrying me. And, because I would not consent to keep this from you, for a time, he is raving wildly like one distracted, and he says that he will carry me away without my consent, and that I shall be his Wife.—I beseech you, my Lord! not to suppose, that I have been consenting to any clandestine correspondence with your noble Relation.—Indeed I have not;—for I know, too well, that I am not born to such high fortune as to be his Wife.—Speak to me, my Lord!—I am much grieved to see you thus affected. I know that you will not let me live with the Marchioness now.—But say that you are not angry with me, and send me to whatever Convent you please, and I will instantly take the Veil.      (The Marquis clasps her in his arms).

    My Lord!!—      (withdrawing from him.)

         Marquis.

    O my Child! my Child!—Your pure heart must help me to thank Heaven for joy too big for words.


    Page 371

    SCENE EIGHTH.

         THE MARQUIS, THE COUNT, ADELINDA, ZELLA, DORCAS.

         Marquis.

    Is it true, my dear Count! that you love Zella?

         Count.

    To distraction; and if she will accept my hand, I think that her virtues and her mental accomplishments will gain my pardon, from the world, for overlooking her want of birth.

         Marquis.

    Count! this homage to Zella's virtues does you honour; and, if her heart consents, she has my leave to reward you for your disinterested love.—Receive her from my hand, my Lord!——

         Zella (preventing the Marquis from giving her hand to the Count).

    Never, my Lord! shall he receive my hand.—I will not injure his fortune, nor stain his honour, by so disgraceful an alliance.—You yourself can never mean it.

         Marquis.

    Yes, Zella! for in marrying you, he will espouse my Daughter. You! You! are my Child!—      (Clasping Zella, half fainting, in his arms.)

         Zella.

    Is such happiness for me? And do you own me for your Child.

         Marquis.

    Yes, my dear Zella!

         Count.

    Just Heaven!—my Lord! say, what do your words mean?

         Marquis.

    Zella is my Daughter.

         Zella (quitting the Marquis's arms, and clasping


    Page 372

    her hands together with great earnestness).

    Am I indeed your Child—?

         Marquis.

    No longer doubt; for you are Adelinda, and my Child, changed by Dorcas, in your infancy, and now restored to me.——

         Zella (to Dorcas).

    Mother?——      (unable to proceed, the Marquis supports her.)

         Dorcas.

    Mother me no more, I am only yar Nurse,—My Lady Marchioness is yar Mother; for sure enou