« AnteriorContinuar »
"Like a poor bird that flutters in its cage,
"Thou beat'st thyself to death." Retire, I beg thee;
To see thee thus, thou know'st not how it wounds me;
Thy agonies are added to my own,
And make the burthen more than I can bear.
Farewell-Good angels visit thy afflictions,
And bring thee peace and comfort from above.
Alic. Oh! stab me to the heart, some pitying hand. Now strike me dead
Hast. One thing I had forgot
I charge thee, by our present common miseries;
By our past loves, if yet they have a name;
By all thy hopes of peace here and hereafter,
Let not the rancour of thy hate pursue
The innocence of thy unhappy friend ;
Thou know'st who 'tis I mean; Oh should'st thou wrong her,
Just Heav'n shall double all thy woes upon thee,
And make 'em know no end-Remember this,
As the last warning of a dying man.
Farewell, for ever!
[The guards carry Hastings off.
Alic. For ever! Oh, for ever!
Oh, who can bear to be a wretch for ever!
My rival, too! His last thoughts hung on her,
And as he parted, left a blessing for her:
Shall she be blest, and I be curst, for ever?
No; since her fatal beauty was the cause
Of all my suff'rings, let her share my pains;
Let her, like me, of ev'ry joy forlorn,
Devote the hour when such a wretch was born;
"Like me, to desarts and to darkness run,
"Abhor the day, and curse the golden sun;"
Cast ev'ry good, and ev'ry hope behind;
Detest the works of nature, loath mankind:
Like me, with cries distracted, fill the air,
Tear her poor bosom, rend her frantic hair;
And prove the torments of the last despair.
The Street. Enter BELMOUR and DUMONT.
You saw her, then?
Bel. I met her, as returning,
In solemn penance from the public cross.
Before her, certain rascal officers,
Slaves in authority, the knaves of justice,
Proclaim'd the tyrant Gloster's cruel orders.
"On either side her march'd an ill-look'd priest,
"Who with severe, with horrid haggard eyes,
"Did, ever and anon, by turns, upbraid her,
"And thunder in her trembling ear damnation."
Around her, numberless, the rabble flow'd,
Should'ring each other, crowding for a view,
Gaping and gazing, taunting and reviling;
Some pitying-but those, alas! how few!
The most, such iron hearts we are, and such
The base barbarity of human kind,
With insolence and lewd reproach pursu'd her, Hooting and railing, and with villanous hands Gath'ring the filth from out the common ways, To hurl upon her head.
Dum. Inhuman dogs!
How did she bear it?
Bel. With the gentlest patience; Submissive, sad, and lowly was her look; A burning taper in her hand she bore, And on her shoulders carelessly confus'd, With loose neglect, her lovely tresses hung; Upon her cheek a faintish flush was spread; Feeble she seem'd, and sorely smit with pain. While barefoot as she trod the flinty pavement, Her footsteps all along were mark'd with blood. Yet, silent still she pass'd and unrepining; Her streaming eyes bent ever on the earth, Except when in some bitter pang of sorrow, To Heav'n she seem'd in fervent zeal to raise, And beg that mercy man deny'd her here. Dum. When was this piteous sight? Bel. These last two days.
You know my care was wholly bent on you,
To find the happy means of your deliverance,
Which but for Hastings' death I had not gain'd.
During that time, altho' I have not seen her,
Yet divers trusty messengers I've sent,
To wait about, and watch a fit convenience
To give her some relief, but all in vain;
A churlish guard attends upon her steps,
Who menace those with death, that bring her com
And drive all succour from her.
Dum. Let 'em threaten ;
Let proud oppression prove its fiercest malice;
So Heav'n befriend my soul, as here I vow
To give her help, and share one fortune with her.
Bel. Mean you to see her, thus, in your own form?
Dum. I do.
Bel. And have you thought upon the consequence? Dum. What is there I should fear?
Bel. Have you examin'd
Into your inmost heart, and try'd at leisure
The sev'ral secret springs that move the passions ? Has mercy fix'd her empire there so sure, That wrath and vengeance never may return? Can you resume a husband's name, and bid That wakeful dragon, fierce resentment, sleep? "Dum. Why dost thou search so deep, and urge my memory,
"To conjure up my wrongs to life again? "I have long labour'd to forget myself,
To think on all time backward, like a space "Idle and void, where nothing e'er had being ; "But thou hast peopled it again: Revenge
And jealousy renew their horrid forms,
Shoot all their fires, and drive me to distraction. "Bel. Far be the thought from me! My care was only
"To arm you for the meeting: better were it
"Never to see her, than to let that name
"Recall forgotten rage, and make the husband
"Destroy the gen'rous pity of Dumont."
Dum. O thou hast set my busy brain at work,
And now she musters up a train of images,
Which, to preserve my peace, I had cast aside,
And sunk in deep oblivion-Oh, that form!
That angel face on which my dotage hung!
How I have gaz'd upon her, till my soul
With very eagerness went forth towards her,
And issu'd at my eyes-Was there a gem
Which the sun ripens in the Indian mine,
Or the rich bosom of the ocean yields;
What was there art could make, or wealth could buy,
Which I have left unsought to deck her beauty?
What could her king do more ?—And yet she fled.
Bel. Away with that sad fancy—
Dum. Oh, that day!
The thought of it must live for ever with me.
I met her, Belmour, when the royal spoiler
Bore her in triumph from my widow'd home!
Within his chariot, by his side she sat,
And listen'd to his talk with downward looks,
'Till sudden as she chanc'd aside to glance,
Her eyes encounter'd mine-Oh! then my friend!
Oh! who can paint my grief and her amazement!
As at the stroke of death, twice turn'd she pale;
And twice a burning crimson blush'd all o'er her;
Then, with a shriek, heart-wounding, loud she cry'd,
While down her cheeks two gushing torrents ran