« AnteriorContinuar »
This wretched state has starved them in its ser- | To the arsenal, and set its gates on fire. vice;
Ren. You talk this well, sir. And, by your bounty quickened, they are resol- Jaf. Nay-by Heaven, I'll do this. ved
Come, come, I read distrust in all your faces : To serve your glory, and revenge their own: You fear me a villain, and, indeed, 'tis odd
They've all their different quarters in this city, To hear a stranger talk thus, at first meeting, Watch for the alarm, and grumble 'tis so tardy. Of matters that have been so well debated; Bed. I doubt not, friend, but thy unwearied di- But, I come ripe with wrongs, as you with counligence
cils ! Has still kept waking, and it shall have ease; I hate this senate, am a foe to Venice; After this night it is resolved we meet
A friend to none, but men resolved, like me, No more, till Venice owns us for her lords. To push on mischief. Oh! did you but know Pier. How lovelily the Adriatic whore,
me, Dressed in her fames, will shine! Devouring I need not talk thus ! flames !
Bed. Pierre, I must embrace him. Such as shall burn her to the watery bottom, My heart beats to this man, as if it knew him. And biss in her foundation,
Ren. I never loved these huggers. Bed. Now, if any
Jaf. Still I see Amongst us, that owns this glorious cause, The cause delights ye not. Your friends survey Have friends or interest he would wish to save, Let it be told: the general doom is sealed; As I were dangerous But I come armed But I'd forego the hopes of a world's empire, Against all doubts, and to your trust will give Rather than wound the bowels of my friend. A pledge, worth more than all the world can pay Pier, I must confess, you there have touched for. my weakness.
My Belvidera! Hoa! my Belvidera! I have a friend; hear it! such a friend,
Bed. What wonder is next? My heart was ne'er shut to him. Nay, I'll tell Jaf. Let me entreat you, you:
As I have henceforth hopes to call you friends, He knows the very business of this hour; That all but the ambassador, and this But he rejoices in the cause, and loves it : Grave guide of councils, with my friend, that We've changed a vow to live and die together,
owns me, And he's at hand to ratify it here.
Withdraw a while, to spare a woman's blushes, Ren. How ! all betrayed !
[Exeunt all but Bed. Ren. Jaf. Pier. Pier. No-I've nobly dealt with you;
lead you : Receive and cherish him; or if, when seen Jaf. My Belvidera! Belvidera ! And searched, you find him worthless, as my Bel. Who tongue
Who calls so loud at this late peaceful hour? Has lodged this secret in his faithful breast, That voice was wont to come in gentle whispers To ease your fears, I wear a dagger here And fill my ears with the soft breath of love. Shall rip it out again, and give you rest. Thou hourly image of my thoughts, where art Come forth, thou only good I'e'er could þoast thou? of!
Jaf. Indeed 'ris late.
Bel. Oh! I have slept and dreamt,
And dreamt again. Where hast thou been, thou Bod. His presence bears the shew of manly loiterer? virtue.
Though my eyes closed, my arms have still been Jaf. I know you'll wonder all, that thus, un- opened, called,
Stretched every way betwist my broken slumbers, I dare approach this place of fatal councils; To search, if thou wert come to crown my rest : But I'm amongst you, and, by Heaven, it glads me There's no repose without thee : Oh! the day To see so many virtues thus united,
Too soon will break, and wake us to our sorrow, To restore justice and dethrone oppression. Come, come to bed, and bid thy cares good-night. Command this sword, if you would have it quiet, Jaf: Oh, Belvidera! we must change the scene, Into this breast; but, if you think it worthy In which the past delights of life were tasted: To cut the throats of reverend rogues in robes, The poor sleep little; we inust learn to watch Send me into the cursed assembled senate : Our labours late, and early every morning, It shrinks not, though I meet a father there, Midst winter frosts, thin clad, and fed with spaWould you bebold this city flaming? here is
ring, A hand, shall bear a lighted torch at noon Rise to our toils, and drudge away the day,
Bel. Alas! where am I! whither is it you lead Should reach his guilty ears, and shake his peace. me?
Jaf. No, Belvidera, I have contrived thy honour. Methinks I read distraction in your face, Trust to my faith, and he but fortune kind Something less gentle than the fate you tell me. To me, as I'll preserve that faith unbroken : You shake and tremble too! your blood runs When next we meet, I'll lift thee to a height cold !
Shall gather all the gazing world about thee, Heavens guard my love, and bless his heart with To wonder what strange virtue placed thee there. patience!
But, if we ne'er meet moreJaf. That I have patience, let our fate bear Bel. 0! thou unkind one! witness,
Ne'er meet more! have I deserved this from you? Who has ordained it so, that thou and I, Look on me, tell me, speak, thou fair deceiver ! (Thou, the divinest good man e'er possessed, Why am I separated from thy love? And I, the wretchedest of the race of man) If I am false, accuse me, but if true, This very hour, without one tear, must part. Don't, prithee don't, in poverty forsake me; Bel. Part! must we part? Oh! am I then for- But pity the sad heart, that's torn with parting, saken?
Yet hear me, yet recal meWill my love cast me off? Have my misfortunes
[Exeunt Ren. Bed. and Bel. Offended him so highly, that he'll leave me! Jaf. Oh! my eyes, Why drag you from me? Whither are you going, Look not that way, but turn yourselves a while My dear! my life! my love!
Into my heart, and be weaned altogether! Jaf. Oh, friends!
My friend, where art thou? Bel. Speak to me.
Pier. Here, my honour's brother. Jaf. Take her from my heart,
Jaf. Is Belvidera gone? She'll gain such hold else, I shall ne'er get loose. Pier. Renault has led her I charge thee, take her, but with tenderest care Back to her own apartment; but, by Heaven, Relieve her troubles, and assuage her sorrows. Thou must not see her more, till our work's over. Ren. Rise, madam, and command amongst
Pier. Not for your life. Jaf. To you, sirs, and your honours, I bequeath Jaf. Oh, Pierre, wert thou but she, her,
How I would pull thee down into my heart,
[Gives a dagger love!
Own 'twas a fault, but swear to give it o'er,
SCENE I.-A Chamber,
Where shall I go? Oh! whither, whither, wander? Enter BELVIDERA.
Enter JAFFIER. Bel. I'm sacrificed! I'mn sold! betrayed to Jaf. Can Belvidera want a resting-place, shame!
When these poor arms are ready to receive her? Inevitable ruin has enclosed me!
Oh ! 'tis in vain to struggle with desires ! No sooner was I to my bed repaired,
Strong is my love to thee; for, every moment To weigh and, weeping, ponder my condition; I'm from thy sight, the heart within my bosom But the old hoary wretch, to whose false care Mourns, like a tender infant in its cradle, My peace and honour were entrusted, came, Whose nurse had left it. Come, and with the (Like Tarquin) ghastly, with infernal lust.
songs Oh, thou Roman Lucrece!
Of gentle love, persuade it to its peace. Thou could'st find friends, to vindicate thy wrong! Bel. I fear the stubborn wanderer will not own I never had but one, and he's proved false !
me; He, that should guard my virtue, has betrayed it! 'Tis grown a rebel, to be ruled no longer; Left me! Undone me! Oh, that I could hate Scorns the indulgent bosom, that first lulled it, binn!
And, like a disobedient child, disdai.rs
The soft authority of Belvidera.
Bel. Do not despise me: that's the all, I ask. Juf. There was a time
Jaf. Despise thee! Hear me Bel. Yes, yes, there was a tiine,
Bel. Oh! thy charming tongue
Jaf. What shall I do?
Why dwells that busy cloud upon thy face? Cry, till she rend the earth; sigh, till she burst Why am I made a stranger? Why that sigh, Her heart asunder; still be bears it all,
And I not know the cause? Why, when the world Deaf as the winds, and as the rocks unshaken. Is wrapped in rest, why chuses then my love Jaf. Have I been deaf? Am I that rock un- To wander up and down in horrid darkness, moved,
Loathing his bed, and these desiring arms? Against whose root, tears beat, and sighs are sent, Why are these eyes blood-shot with tedious In vain? have I beheld thy sorrows calmly?
watching? Witness against me, Heavens, have I done this? Why starts he now; and looks, as if he wished Then bear me in a whirlwind back again, His fate were finished? Tell me, ease my fear; And let that angry dear one ne'er forgive me. Lest, when we next time meet, I want the Oh! thou too rashly censurest my love!
power Could'st thou but think how I have spent this To search into the sickness of thy mind, night,
But talk as wildly then as thou look’st now. Dark, and alone, no pillow to my head,
Jaf. Oh, Belvidera! Rest in my eyes, nor quiet in my heart,
Bel, Why was I last night delivered to a vilThou would'st not, Belvidera, sure thou would'st lain not,
Jaf. Ha! a villain? Talk to me thus; but, like a pitying angel, Bel
. Yes, to a villain! Why at such an hour Spreading thy wings, come settle on my breast, Meets that assembly, all made up of wretches, And hatch warm conforts there, ere sorrows That look as hell had drawn them into league? freeze it.
Why, I in this hand, and in that a dagger, Bel. Why then, poor mourner, in what baleful Was I delivered with such dreadful ceremonies ?
• To you, sirs, and to your honours I bequeath Hast thou been talking, with that witch, the night? her, On what cold stone hast thou been stretched And with heị this: Whene'er I prove unworthyalong,
You know the rest—then strike it to her heart.' Gathering the grumbling winds about thy head, Oh! why is that rest concealed from me!To mix with thcirs, the accent of thy woes?
For such I know I am; that's all my value.
All that I think, all that my fears inform me. Bel. That Portia was a woman; and when Jaf. Is this the Roman virtue? this the blood Brutus,
That boasts its purity with Cato's daughter? Big with the fate of Rome, (Heaven guard thy Would she have e'er betrayed her Brutus? safety!)
Bel. No: Concealed from her the labours of his mind, For Brutus trusted her. Wert thou so kind, She let him see her blood was great as his, What would not Belvidera suffer for thee? Flowed from a spring as noble, and a heart Jaf. I shall undo myself, and tell thee all. Fit to partake his troubles as his love.
Bel. Look not upon me as I am, a woman : Fetch, fetch that dagger back, the dreadful dower, But as a bone, thy wife, thy friend; who long Thou gavest last night in parting with me;- Haş had admission to thy heart, and there strike it
Studied the virtues of thy galļant nature. Here to my heart; and, as the blood flows from it, Thy constancy, thy courage, and thy truth, Judge if it run not pure, as Cato's daughter's. Have been my daily lesson: I have learned them, Jaf. Thou art too good, and I indeed unwor- And, bold as thou, can suffer or despise thy,
The worst of fates for thee, and with thee share Unworthy so much virtue. Teach me how
them. I may deserve such matchless love as thine, Jaf. Oh, you divinest powers, look down and And see with what attention I'll obey thee.
My prayers ! instruct me to reward this virtue! Thy Belvidera's peace deserved thy care,
Left in the power of that old son of mischief; Then, if thou should'st betray me!
No sooner was I laid on my sad bed, Bel. Shall I swear?
But that vile wretch approached me. Jaf. No, do not swear: I would not violate
heart Thy tender nature, with so rude a bond : Throbbed with its fears : Oh, how I wept and But as thou hop'st to see me live my days,
sighed, And love thee long, lock this within thy breast; And shrunk and trembled ! wished in vain for him, I have bound myself, by all the strictest sacraments, That should protect me! Thou, alas ! wert gone. Divine and human
Jaf. Patience, sweet heaven, 'till I make venBel. Speak! Jaf. To kill thy father
Bel. He drew the hideous dagger forth, thou Bel. My father!
gavest him, Jaf. Nay, the throats of the whole senato And with upbraiding smiles, he said, 'Behold it! Shall bleed, my Belvidera. He, amongst us, This is the pledge of a false husband's love.' That spares his father, brother, or his friend, And in my arms then pressed, and would have Is damned. How rich and beauteous will the clasped me; face
But with my cries, I scared his coward heart, Of ruin look, when these wide streets run blood ! | Till he withdrew, and muttered vows to hell. I, and the glorious partners of my fortune, These are thy friends! with these thy life, thy Shouting and striding o'er the prostrate dead,
honour, Still to new waste ; whilst thou, far off in safety, Thy love, all staked, and all will go to ruin. Smiling, shalt see the wonders of our daring, Jaf. No more : I charge thee keep this secret And, when night comes, with praise and love re- close.
thy sorrows; look as if thy wrongs Bel. Oh!
Were all forgot, and treat him like a friend, Jaf. Have a care, and shrink not even in As no complaint were made. No more; retire, thought!
Retire, my life, and doubt not of my honour; For if thou dost
I'll heal its failings, and deserve thy love. Bel. I know it; thou wilt kill me.
Bel. Oh! Should I part with tijee, I fear thou Do, strike thy sword into this bosom : lay me
Jaf. Anon; at twelve
Come like a travelled dove, and bring thee peace. Nay, be a traitor too, and sell thy country?
Bel. Indeed! Can thy great heart descend so vilely low,
Jaf. By all our loves. Mix with hired slaves, bravoes, and common stab- Bel. I'is hard to part : bers,
But sure no falsehood ever looked so fairly. Nose-slitters, alley-lurking villains ! join
Farewell! remember twelve.
[Erit. With such a crew, and take a ruffian's wages, Juf. Let heaven forget me, To cut the throats of wretches as they sleep? When I remember not thy truth, thy love! Jaf. Thou wrong'st me, Belvidera! I have en- How cursed is my condition, tossed and jostled gaged,
From every corner; fortune's common fool, With men of souls, fit to reform the ills
The jest of rogues, an instrumental ass, Of all mankind: there's not a heart amongst them For villains to lay loads of shame upon, But's stout as death, yet honest as the nature And drive about just for their ease and scorn. Of man first made, ere fraud and vice were fashion.
Enter PIERRE. Bel. What's he, to whose curst hands last Pier. Jaffier ! night thou gavest me?
Juf. Who calls ? Was that well done? Oh! I could tell a story, Pier. A friend, that could have wished Would rouse thy lion-heart out of its den, To have found thee otherwise employed. What, And make it rage with terrifying fury.
hunt Jof. Speak on, I charge thee.
A wife on the dull soil! Sure a staunch husband Bel. O my love! if e'er
Of all hounds is the dullest. Wilt thou never,
Never be weaned from caudles and confections ? Pier. Be careful, then.
[Esit. What feminine tales hast thou been listening to, Jaf. Nay, never doubt, but trust me. Of unaired shirts, catarrhs and tooth-ach, got What! be a devil, take a damning oath By thin-soaled shoes? Damnation ! that a fellow, For shedding native blood ! Can there be a sin Chosen to be a sharer in the destruction
In merciful repentance? Oh, this villain! Of a whole people, should sneak thus into corners,
Enter RENAULT. To ease his fulsome lusts, and fool his mind.
Jaf. May not a man then trifle out ar hour Ren. Perverse and peerish! What a slave is With a kind woman, and not wrong his calling? Pier. Not in a cause like ours.
To let his itching flesh thus get the better of him! Jaf. Then, friend, our cause
Dispatch the tool her husband that were well. Is in a damned condition : for I'll tell thee, Who's there? That canker-worm, called lechery, has touched Jaf. A man. it:
Ren. My friend, my near ally, Tis tainted vilely. Would'st thou think it? Re- The hostage of your faith, my beauteous charge, is
nault (That mortified old withered winter rogue) Jaf. Sir, are you sure of that? Loves simple fornication like a priest;
Stands she in perfect health? beats her pulse I found him out for watering at my wifc;
even? He visited her last night, like a kind guardian : Neither too hot nor cold? Faith! she has some temptation, that's the truth Ren. What means that question? on't.
Jaf. Oh, women have fantastic constitutions, Pier. He durst not wrong his trust?
Inconstant in their wishes, always wavering, Jaf. 'Twas something late, though,
And never fixed. Was it not boldly done, To take the freedom of a lady's chamber. Even at first sight, to trust the thing I loved Pier. Was she in bed?
(A tempting treasure too) with youth so fierce Juf. Yes, faith, in virgin sheets,
And vigorous as thine ? but thou art honest.
Jaf. Cursed he he, that doubts
Were I to chuse a guardian of my honour, Pier. Patience guide me!
I'd put it in thy keeping : for I know thee. He used no violence ?
Ren. Know me! Jaf. No; no; out on it, violence !
Jaf. Ay, know thee. There's no falsehood in Played with her neck; brushed her with his grey beard :
Thou look’st just as thou art. Let us embrace ! Struggled and touzed; tickled her, till she squeak- Now, would'st thou cut my throat, or I cut tine! ed a little,
Ren. You dare not do it. May be, or so—but not a jot of violence
Jaf. You lie, sir. Pier. Damn him.
Ren. How ! Jaf. Ay, so say I : but hush, no more of it. Jaf. No more, All hitherto is well, and I believe
'Tis a base world, and must reform, that's all. Myself no monster yet: though no man knows What fate he is born to. Sure it is near the hour Enter Spinosa, THEODORE, Eliot, RevillidO. We all should meet for our concluding orders:
Durand, BROMvell, and the rest of the ConWill the ambassador be here in person?
spirators. Pier. No, he has sent commission to that Ren. Spinosa, Theodore ! villain Renault,
Spin. The same. To give the executing charge :
Řen. You are welcome. I'd have thee be a man, if possible,
Spin. You are trembling, sir. And keep thy temper; for a brave revenge Ren. 'Tis a cold night, indeed, and I am aged; Ne'er comes too late.
Full of decay and natural infirmities: Jaf. Fear not, I am as cool as patience.
(Pier. re-enters. Had he completed my dishonour, rather We shall be warm, my friends, I hope to-morThan hazard the success our hopes are ripe for, I'd bear it all with mortifying virtue.
Pier. 'Twas not well done; thou should'st Pier. He's yonder, coming this way through
have stroaked him, the hall;
And not have galled him. His thoughts seem full.
Jaf. Damn him, let him chew on it. Jaf. Prithee retire, and leave me
Heaven! Where am I? beset with cursed fiends With him alone; I'll put him to some trial; That wait to damn me! What a devil's man, See how his rotten part will bear the touching. When he forgets his nature-hush, my heart.