Imágenes de páginas

Fast falling on her hands, which thus she wrung-
Mov'd at her grief, the tyrant ravisher,
With courteous action woo'd her oft to turn;
Earnest he seem'd to plead, but all in vain;
Ev'n to the last she bent her sight towards me,
And follow'd me -till I had lost myself.

Bel. Alas, for pity! Oh! those speaking tears! Could they be false? Did she not suffer with you? For though the king by force possess'd her person, Her unconsenting heart dwelt still with you; If all her former woes were not enough,

Look on her now; behold her where she wanders,
Hunted to death, distress'd on every side,

With no one hand to help; and tell me then,
If ever misery were known like hers?

Dum. And can she bear it? Can that delicate frame Endure the beating of a storm so rude?

Can she, for whom the various seasons chang'd
To court her appetite and crown her board,
For whom the foreign vintages were press'd,
For whom the merchant spread his silken stores,
Can she-

Intreat for bread, and want the needful raiment,
To wrap her shiv'ring bosom from the weather?
When she was mine, no care came ever nigh her;
I thought the gentlest breeze that wakes the spring,
Too rough to breathe upon her; chearfulness
Danc'd all the day before her, and at night
Soft slumbers waited on her downy pillow→→
Now sad and shelterless, perhaps, she lies,


Where piercing winds blow sharp, and the chill rain
Drops from some pent-house on her wretched head,
Drenches her locks, and kills her with the cold.
It is too much-
-Hence with her past offences,
They are aton'd at full-Why stay we, then?
Oh! let us haste, my friend, and find her out.
Bel. Somewhere about this quarter of the town,
I hear the poor abandon'd creature lingers :
Her guard, tho' set with strictest watch to keep
All food and friendship from her, yet permit her
To wander in the streets, there choose her bed,
And rest her head on what cold stone she pleases.

Dum. Here let us then divide; each in his round To search her sorrows out; whose hap it is First to behold her, this way let him lead Her fainting steps, and meet we here together. [Exeunt. Enter JANE SHORE, her hair hanging loose on her shoulders, and bare-footed.

J. Sh. Yet, yet endure, nor murmur, oh, my soul ! For are not thy transgressions great and numberless? Do they not cover thee like rising floods, And press thee like a weight of waters down? "Does not the hand of righteousness afflict thee? "And who shall plead against it? Who shall say "To pow'r almighty, thou hast done enough ; "Or bid his dreadful rod of vengeance stay?" Wait then with patience, till the circling hours Shall bring the time of thy appointed rest,

And lay thee down in death. "The hireling thus "With labour drudges out the painful day, "And often looks with long expecting eyes "To see the shadows rise, and be dismiss'd." And hark, methinks the roar that late pursu'd me, Sinks like the murmurs of a falling wind, And softens into silence. Does revenge

And malice then grow weary, and forsake me?
My guard, too, that observ'd me still so close,
Tire in the task of their inhuman office,
And loiter far behind. Alas! I faint,
My spirits fail at once-This is the door
Of my Alicia-
-Blessed opportunity!

I'll steal a little succour from her goodness,
Now while no eye observes me. [She knocks at the door.

Enter a Servant.

Is your lady,

My gentle friend, at home! Oh! bring me to her. [Going in.

Ser. Hold, mistress, whither would you?

[Pulling her back.

7. Sh. Do you not know me?

Ser. I know you well, and know my orders, too:

You must not enter here

7. Sh. Tell my Alicia, 'Tis I would see her.

Ser. She is ill at ease, And will admit no visitor. J. Sh. But tell her

[ocr errors]

'Tis I, her friend, the partner of her heart,

Wait at the door and beg

Ser. 'Tis all in vain,

Go hence, and howl to those that will regard you.
[Shuts the door, and exit.
J. Sh. It was not always thus'; the time has been,
When this unfriendly door, that bars my passage,
Flew wide, and almost leap'd from off its hinges,
To give me entrance here; "when this good house
"Has pour'd forth all its dwellers to receive me :"
When my approaches made a little holiday,
And every face was dress'd in smiles to meet me :
But now 'tis otherwise; and those who bless'd mè,
Now curse me to my face. Why should I wander,
-Stray further on, for I can die ev'n here!

[She sits down at the door.

Enter ALICIA in disorder, two Servants following.
Alic. What wretch art thou, whose misery and

Hangs on my door; whose hateful whine of woe
Breaks in upon my sorrows, and distracts
My jarring senses with thy beggar's cry?

J. Sh. A very beggar, and a wretch, indeed;
One driven by strong calamity to seek
For succours here; one perishing for want,
Whose hunger has not tasted food these three days;
And humbly asks, for charity's dear sake,

A draught of water and a little bread.

Alic. And dost thou come to me, to me for bread?

I know thee not-Go-hunt for it abroad,

Where wanton hands upon the earth have scatter'd it,
Or cast it on the waters-Mark the eagle,
And hungry vulture, where they wind the prey;
Watch where the ravens of the valley feed,
And seek thy food with them-I know thee not.

J. Sh. And yet there was a time, when my Alicia
Has thought unhappy Shore her dearest blessing,
And mourn'd the live-long day she pass'd without

"When pair'd like turtles, we were still together;
"When often as we prattled arm in arm,”
Inclining fondly to me she has sworn,

She lov'd me more than all the world besides.

Alic. Ha! say'st thou! Let me look upon thee well

'Tis true-I know thee now-A mischief on thee!
Thou art that fatal fair, that cursed she,

That set my brain a madding. Thou hast robb'd me;
Thou hast undone me- -Murder! Oh, my Hastings!

See his pale bloody head shoots glaring by me ! "Give me him back again, thou soft deluder, "Thou beauteous witch."

J. Sh. Alas! I never wrong'd you— "Oh! then be good to me; have pity on me; "Thou never knew'st the bitterness of want, "And may'st nou never know it. Oh! bestow "Some poor remain, the voiding of thy table, "A morsel to support my famish'd soul."

Alic. Avaunt! and come not near me


« AnteriorContinuar »