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Hast thou grown old amidst the crowd of courts,
And turn'd th’ instructive page of human life,
To cant, at last, of reason to a lover ?
Such ill-tim’d gravity, such serious folly,
Might well befit the solitary student,
Th’ unpractis'd dervise, or sequester'd faguir.
Know'st thou not yet, when Love invades the soul,
That all her faculties receive his chains?
That Reason gives her sceptre to his hand,
Or only struggles to be more enslav'd P
Aspasia, who can look upon thy beauties?
Who hear thee speak, and not abandon reason f
Reason the hoary dotard's dull directress,
That loses all because she hazards nothing !
Reason the tim’rous pilot, that, to shun
The rocks of life, for ever flies the port
CA LI. But why this sudden warmth P
- Because I love: Because my slighted passion burns in vain Why roars the lioness distress'd by hunger? Why foams the swelling waye when tempests rise? Why shakes the ground when subterraneous fires Fierce through the bursting caverns rend their way?
Not till this day thou sawst this fatal fair;
Did ever passion make so swift a progress?
Once more reflect, suppress this infant folly,
A BID ALL.A. Gross fires, enkindled by a mortal hand, Spread by degrees, and dread th' oppressing stream; The subtler flames emitted from the sky Flash out at once, with strength above resistance.
CALI. How did Aspasia welcome your address * Did you proclaim this unexpected conquest? Or pay with speaking eyes a lover's homage 2 ABDALLA. Confounded, aw'd, and lost in admiration, I gaz'd, I trembled ; but I could not speak; When e'en as love was breaking off from wonder, And tender accents quiver'd on my lips, She mark'd my sparkling eyes, and heaving breast, And, smiling, conscious of her charms, withdrew. [Enter Demetrius and Leontius,
Now be some moments master of thyself;
Nor let Demetrius know thee for a rival.
Hence 1 or be calm–To disagree is ruin.
CALI, DEMETRIUS, LEONTIUS, ABDALLA.
When will occasion Smile upon our wishes,
And give the tortures of suspense a period?
Still must we linger in uncertain hope?
Still languish in our chains, and dream of freedom,
Like thirsty sailors gazing on the clouds,
Till burning death shoots through their wither'd limbs;
Deliverance is at hand; for Turkey's tyrant,
Sunk in his pleasures, confident and gay,
With all the hero's dull security,
Trusts to my care his mistress and his life,
And laughs and wantons in the jaws of death.
So weak is man when destin'd to destruction —
The watchful slumber, and the crafty trust.
At my command yon iron gates unfold;
At my command the sentinels retire ;
With all the license of authority,
Through bowing slaves, I range the private rooms,
And of to-morrow's action fix the scene.
To-morrow's action Can that hoary wisdom,
Born down with years, still doat upon to-morrow !
That fatal mistress of the young, the lazy,
The coward, and the fool, condemn'd to lose
An useless life in waiting for to-morrow,
To gaze with longing eyes upon to-morrow,
Till interposing death destroys the prospect
Strange that this gen'ral fraud from day to day
Should fill the world with wretches undetected.
- S 4 The
The soldier, labring through a winter's march,
Still sees to-morrow drest in robes of triumph;
Still to the lover's long-expecting arms
To-morrow brings the visionary bride.
But thou, too old to bear another cheat,
Learn, that the present hour alone is man's.
The present hour with open arms invites;
Seize the kind fair, and press her to thy bosom,
Who knows, ere this important morrow rise,
But fear or mutiny may taint the Greeks 2
Who knows, if Mahomet's awaking anger
May spare the fatal bow-string till to-morrow?
Had our first Asian foes but known this ardour,
We still had wander'd on Tartarian hills.
Rouse, Cali; shall the sons of conquer’d Greece
Lead us to danger, and abash their victors 2
This might with all her conscious stars be witness,
Who merits most, Demetrius or Abdalla.
Who merits most 1–I knew not we were rivals.
CALI. Young man, forbear—the heat of youth, no more— Well,—’tis decreed—This night shall fix our fate. Soon as the veil of ev'ning clouds the sky, With cautious secrecy, Leontius, steer - Th’ ap
Th' appointed vessel to yon shaded bay,
Form'd by this garden jutting on the deep ;
There, with your soldiers arm’d, and sails expanded,
Await our coming, equally prepar’d
For speedy flight, or obstinate defence. [Erit Leont,
CALI, ABDALLA, DEMETRIUS.
I) EMETRIUSe . Now pause, great Bassa, from the thoughts of blood, And kindly grant an ear to gentler sounds. If e'er thy youth has known the pangs of absence, Or felt th' impatience of obstructed love, Give me, before th' approaching hour of fate, Once to behold the charms of bright Aspasia, And draw new virtue from her heav'nly tongue.
Let prudence, ere the suit be farther urg’d,
Impartial weigh the pleasure with the danger.
A little longer, and she's thine for ever.
Prudence and love conspire in this request,
Lest, unacquainted with our bold attempt,
Surprise o'erwhelm her, and retard our flight,
What I can grant, you cannot ask in vain—
DEMETRIUs. I go to wait thy call; this kind consent - Completes the gift of freedom and of life. [Erit Dem,