Page images
PDF
EPUB

IRENE

Swells in the breast, and with resistless force Charm'd with the thonght of blessing human O'erbears each gentler motion of the miud. kind,

As when a deluge overspreads the plains,
Too calm I listen to the flatt'ring sounds.

The wand'ring rivulet and silver lake
Mix undistinguish'd in the general roar.

MAHOMET.

IRENE

МАНОМЕТ.

ABDALLA.

ABDALLA.
O seize the power to bless-frene's nod
Shall break the fetters of the groaning Christian; Yet can ambition in Abdalla's breast,
Greece, in her lovely patroness secure,

Claim but the second place: there mighty love Shall mourn no more her plunder'd palaces.

Has fix'd his hopes, inquietudes, and fears,
His glowing wishes, and his jealous pangs.

CALI.
Forbear--O do not urge me to my ruin!

Love is indeed the privilege of youth;

Yet on a day like this, when expectation To state and pow'r I court thee, not to ruin: Pants for the dread event-But let us reasonSinile on my wishes, and cominand the globe. Security shall spread her sneid before thee, And love infold thee with his downy wings. Hast thon grown old amidst the crowd of courts, It greatness please thee, mount th' imperial And turn'd th’instructive page of human life, seat;

To cant, at last, of reason to a lover? If pleasure charm thee, view this soft retreat;

Such ill-tim'd gravity, such serious folly, Here ev'ry warbler of the sky shall sing ;

Might well befit the solitary student, Here ev'ry fragrance breathe of ev'ry spring :

Th’unpractis'd dervise, or sequestèr'd faquir. To deck these bow'rs each region shall com

know'st thou not yet, when love invades the bine,

soul, And e'en our Prophet's gardens envy thine:

That all her facnlties receive his chains? Empire and love shall share the blissful day,

That reason gives ber sceptre to his hand, And varied life steal unperceiv'd away.

Or only struggles to be more enslav'd ?
(Exeunt.

Aspasia, who can look upon thy beauties?
Who hear thee speak, and not abandon reason?

Reason ! the hoary dotard's dull directress,
ACT III. .

'That loses all because she hazards nothing !
SCENE I.

Reason! the tim'rous pilot, that, to shuu

The rocks of life, for ever flies the port! CALI, ABDALLA. [Caut enters with a discontented air ; to him enter ABDALLA,]

Put why this sudden warmth?

CALI.

ABDALLA.

CALI.

CALI.

ABDALLA.

Is this the fierce conspirator Abdalla?

Because I love ; Is this the resistless diligence of treason?

Because my slighted passion burns in vain! Where hast thou linger'd while th' encumber'd Why roars the lioness distress'd by hunger? hours

Why foams the swelling wave when tempests rise? Fly lab'ring with the fate of future nations, Why shakes the ground when subterraneous fires And hungry slaughter scents imperial blood ? Fierce through the bursting caverns rend their

way?
ABDALLA.
Important cares detain'd me from your counsels.

Not till this day thon sawst this fatal fair;
CALJ.

Did ever passion make so swift a progress?
Some petty passion! some domestic trifle ! Once more reflect, suppress this infant folly,
Some rain amusement of a vacant soul!
A weeping wife, perhaps, or dying friend,
Hung on your neck, and kinder'd your departure. Gross fires, enkindled by a mortal hand,
Is this a time for softness or for sorrow)

Spread by degrees, and dread th’ oppressing Unprofitable, peaceful, fernale virtues ?

stream; When eager vengeance shoss a naked foe,

The subtler flames emitted from the sky And kind ambition points the way to greatness. Flash out at once, with strength above resistance. ABDALLA.

CALI. Must then ambition's rotaries infringe

How did Aspasia welcome your address? The laws of kindness, break the bonds of nature, And quit the names of brother, friend, and fa- or pay with speaking eyes a lover's humage?

Did you proclaim this unexpected conquest? ther? CALI.

ABDALLA. This sov'reign passion, scornful of restraint, Confounded, aw'd, and lost in admiration, E'en from the birth affects supreme command, I gaz'd, I trembled; but I could not speak;

DEMETRIUS.

more

CALI.

LEONTIUS.

When e'en as love was breaking off from wonder,

ABDALLA.
And tender accents quiverd on my lips,
She mark'd my sparkling eyes, and heaving we still had wander'd on Tartarian hills.

Had our first Asian foes but known this ardour, breast; And smiling, conscious of her charms, withdrew Rouse, Cali; shall the sons of conquer'd Greece [Enter Demetrius and Leontius. Lead us to danger, and abash their victors ?

This night with all her conscious stars be witness,
CALI.

Who merits most, Demetrius or Abdalla.
Now be some moments master of thyself;
Nor let Demetrius know thee for a rival.

Who merits most !-I knew not we were rivals, Hence ! or be calm-To disagree is ruin.

CALI.
SCENE II.

Young man, forbear-the heat of youth, LO CALI, DEMETRIUS, LEONTIUS, ABDALLA.

Well, 'tis decreed-this night shall fix our fate. DEMETRIUS.

Soon as the reil of evening clouds the sky, When will occasion smile upon our wishes, With cautious secrecy, Leontius, steer And give the tortures of suspense a period? Th' appointed vessel to yop shaded bay, Still must we linger in uncertain bope? [dom, Form’d by this garden jutting on the deep; Still languish in our chains, and dream of free-There, with your soldiers arm'd, and sails er. Like thirsty sailors gazing on the clouds, Await our coming, equally prepar'd (panded, Till burning death shoots through their wither'd for speedy flight, or obstinate defence. limbs?

[Esit Leont.

SCENE III.
Deliverance is at hand; for Turkey's tyrant,

CALI, ABDALLA, DEMETRIOS,
Sunk in his pleasures, confident and gay,
With all the hero's dull security,

DEMETRIUS.
Trusts to my care his mistress and his life, Now pause, great bassa, from the thoughts of
And laughs and wantons in the jaws of death.

blood,
And kindly grant an ear to gentler sounds.

If e'er thy youth has known the pangs of absence So weak is man when destin'd to destruction !

Or felt th' impatience of obstructed love, The watehful slumber, and the crafty trust. 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. At my command yon iron gates unfold; At my command the sentinels retire;

CALI. With all the license of authority, Through bowing slaves, I range the private rooms, Impartial weigh the pleasure with the danger.

Let prudence, ere the suit be farther urg'd,
And of to morrow's action tix the scene.

A little longer, and she's thine for ever.
DEMETRIUS.

DEMETRIUS.
To morrow's action! Can that hoary wisdom,
Borne down with years,still doat upon to morrow! Lest, unacquainted with our bold attempt,

Prudence and love conspire in this reqnest,
That fatal mistress of the young, the lazy,
The coward, and the fool, condemn’d to lose

Surprise o'erwhelm her, and retard our flight An useless life in waitiog for to morrow,

CALI To gaze with longing eyes upon to morrow, 'Till interposing death destroys the prospect!

What I can grant, you cannot ask in rain, Strange! that this gen’ral fraud from day to day

DEMETRIUS.
Should fill the world with wretches undetected.
The soldier, lab'ring through a winter's march,

I go to wait thy call; this kind consent
Still sees to morrow drest in robes of triumph;

Completes the gift of freedom and of life. Still to the lover's long-expecting arms

[Erit Dém, To morrow brings the visionary bride.

SCENE IV.
But thou, too old to bear another cheat,
Learn, that the present hour alone is man's.

CALI, ABDALLA.
LEONTIUS.

ABDALLA.
The present hour with open arms invites; And this is my reward-to burn, to languish,
Seize the kind fair, and press her to thy bosom, To rave unbeeded; while the happy Greek,

The refuse of our swords, the dross of com

quest, Who knows, ere this important morrow rise, Throws his fond arms about Aspasia's neck, But fear or mutiny may taint the Greeks? Dwells on her lips, and sighs upon her breast. Who knows, if Mahomet's awaking anger Is't not enough he lives by our indulgence, May spare the fatal bow-string till to mortow? But he must live to make his masters wretched!

CALI.

DEMETRIUS.

IREVE.

[ocr errors]

CALI

CALI.

When Cali mounts the throne, Abdalla dies. What claim hast thou to plead ?

Too fierce, too faithless, for neglect or trust.

[Enter Irene with Attendants, ABDALLA The claim of pow'r,

SCENE VII.
Th’unquestion'd claim of conquerors and kings!

CALI, IRENE, ASPASIA, &c.
CALI.

CALI.
Yet in the use of pow'r remember justice. Amidst the splendour of encircling beauty,

Superior majesty proclaims thee queen,
ABDALLA.

And nature justifies our monarch's choice.
Can then th' assassiu lift bis treach'rous hand
Against his king, and cry, remember justice ?
Justice demands the forfeit life of Cali;

Reserve this homage for some other fair;
Justice demands that I reveal your crimes; Urge me not on to glittring guilt, nor pour
Justice deinands—but see th' approaching sul- | In my weak ear th' intuxicating sounds.

tan! Oppose my wishes, and remember justice.

CALI,

Make haste, bright maid, to rule the willing CALI,

world; Dişorder sits upon thy face-retire.

Av'd by the rigour of the sultan's justice,
[Erit Abdalla, enter Mahomet.

We court thy gentleness.
SCENE V.

ASPASIA.
CALI, MAHOMET.

Can Cali's voice

Concur to press a hapless captive's ruin?
CALI,
Long be the sultan bless'd with happylove!
My zeal marks gladuess dawning on thy cheek, Long would my zeal for Mahomet and thee
With raptures such as fire the Pagan crowds, Detain me here. But nations call upon me,
When, pale and anxious for their fears to come, And duty bids me chuse a distant walk,
They see the Sun surmount the dark eclipse, Nor taint with care the privacies of love.
And hail unanimous their conqu’ring god.

SCENE VIII.
MAHOMET.
My vows, 'tis true, she hears with less aversiun; IRENE, ASPASIA, Attendants.
She sigbs, she blushes, but she still denies,

ASPASIA.
CALI.

If yet this shining pomp, these sudden honours, With warmer courtship press the yielding fair:

Swell not thyself beyond advice or friendship, Call to your aid, with boundless promises,

Nor yet inspire the follies of a queen, Each rebel wislı, each traitor inclination,

Or tune thine ear to soothing adulation, That raises tumults in the female breast

Suspend awhile the privilege of pow'r The love of pow'r, of pleasure, and of show.

To hear the voice of truth; dismiss thy train,

Shake off th' encumbrances of state a moment, MAHOMET.

And lay the tow'ring sultaness aside, These arts I try'd, and, to inflame her more,

[Irene signs to her atlendants to retire.

While I foretel thy fate; that office done, By hateful business hurried from her sight, I bade a hundred virgins wait around her,

No more I boast th' anibitious name of friend, Sooth her with all the pleasures of command,

But sink among thy slaves without a murmur. Applaud her charms, and court her to be great.

[Exit Mahomet.

Did regal diadems invest my brow,
SCENE VI.

Yet should my soul, still faithful to her choice,
Esteem Aspasia's breast the noblest kingdom.

IRENE.

CALI, solus.

He's gone--Here resi, iny soul, thy fainting wing,
Here recollect thy dissipated pow'rs. -
Our distant int'resis, and our diff'rent passions,
Now haste to mingle in one common centre,
And fate lies crowded in a narrow space.
Yet in that narrow space what dangers rise !-
Far more I dread Abdalla's fiery folly,
Than all the wisdom of the grave divan.
Reason with reason fights on equal terms;
The raging padman's unconnected schemes
We cannot obviate, for we cannot gliess.
Deep in my breast be treasur'd this resolve,

ASPASIA.
'The soul, once tainted with so foul a crime,
No more shall glow with friendship’s hallcw'd

ardour:
Those holy beings, whose superior care
Guides erring inortals to the paths of virtue,
Affrighted at inipiety like thine,
Resign their charge to ba -eness and to ruin.

IRENE.

Upbraid me not with fanc el wickedness;
I am rut yet a quern or an apostate.

ASPASIA.

IREXE.

ASPASIA.

ASPASI...

Dut should I sin beyond the hope of mercy,

ASTASIA. If, when religion prompts me to refuse, The dread of instant death restrains my tongue? | Freed from the tumults of nasettled conquest,

When soft security shall prompt the sullan,

To fix his court, and regulate his pleasures, Reflect that life and death, affecting sounds! Soou shall the dire seraglio's horrid gates Are only varied inodes of endless being;

Close like th' eternal bars of death upon thee. Reflect that life, like ev'ry other blessing, Immur'd, and buried in perpetual sloth, Derives its value from its use alone;

That gloomy slumber of the stagnant soul, Not for itself, but for a nobler end,

There shalt thou view from far the quiet cottage, 'Th' Eternal gave it, and that end is virtue,

And sigh for cheerful poverty in vain; When inconsistent with a greater good,

'There wear the tedious bours of life away, Reason coinmands to cast the less away;

Beneath each curse of unrelenting Hear'a,
Thus life, with loss of wealth is well preservd, Despair and slav'ry, solitude and guilt.
And virtue cheaply sav'd with loss of life.
IRENE

There shall we find the yet untasted bliss
If built on seitled thought, this constancy Of grandeur and tranquillity combia’d.
Not idly tłusturs on a boastful tongue,
Why, when destruction rag'd around our walls,
Why fled this haughty heroine from the battle? Tranquillity and guilt, disjoin'd by Heaven,
Why then did not this warlike Amazon

Still stretch in vain their longing aros afar; Mix in the war, and shine ainong the heroes? Nor dare to pass th' insuperable bound.

Ah ! let me rather seek the convent's cell ;

There when my thoughts, at interval of pray't, Ilearn, when its hand pour'd softness on our

Descend to range these mansions of misfortuos, limbs,

Oft shall I dwell on our disastrous friendship, l'nfit for toil, and polish'd into weakness.

And shed the pitying tear for lost Irene,
Alade passive fortitude the praise of woman:
Our only arms are innocence and meekness.

IRENE.
Not then with raving cries I fill'd the city; Go, languish on in dull obscurity ;
But, while Demetrius, dear lamented name!

Thy dazzled soul, with all its boasted greatness, Pour'd storms of fire upon our fierce invaders,

Shrinks at th' o'erpow’ring gleams of regal Implor'd th'Eternal Pow'r to shield my country,

state, With silent sorrows, and with calm devotion.

Stoops from the blaze like a degenerate eagle,

And flies for shelter to the shades of life,
O! did Irene shine the queen of Turkey,
No more should Greece lament those pray’rs re-

On me should Providence, without a crime,
jected ;

The weighty charge of royalty confer; Again should goden splendour grace her cities,

Call me to civilize the Russian wilds, Again her prostrate palaces should rise,

Or bid soft science polish Britain's heroes : Again ber temples sound with holy music:

Soon should'st thou see, how false thy weak No more should danger fright, or want distress

reproach. The smiling widows, and protected orphans.

My bosom feels, enkindled from the sky,

The lambent flames of mild benevolence,
Se virtuous ends pursu'd by virtuous means,

Untouch'd by fierce ambition's raging fires.
Nor think th' intention sanctifies the deed:
That maxim, publish'd in an impious age,

Ambition is the stamp impress'd by Hearen
Wonld loose the wild enthusiast to destroy,

To mark the noblest minds; with actire beat And fix the fierce usurper's bloody title;

Inform’d, they mount the precipice of pow't, Then bigotry might send her slaves to war,

Grasp at command, and tow'r in quest of And bid success become the test of truth:

empire ; Unpitying massacre might waste the world,

While vulgar souls compassionate their cares, And persecution boast the call of Heaven.

Gaze at their height, and tremble at their dan-
Thus meaner spirits with amazement mark (ger :

The varying seasons, and revolving skies,
Shall I not wish to cheer amicted kings,

And ask, what guilty pow'r's rebellious band And plan the bappiness of mourning millions ?

Rolls witli eternal toil the pond'rous orbs :

While some archangel, nearer to perfection, Dream not of pow'r thou never canst attain:

In easy state presides o'er all their motions, When social laws first harmonis'd the world,

Directs the planets with a careless nod,

Conducts the Sun, and regulates the spheres. Superior man possess'd the charge of rule, The scale of justice, and the sword of power, Vor left us ought but fattery and state,

Well mayst thou hide in labyrinths of sound

The cause that shrinks from reason's porisfa! To me my lover's fondness will restore

roice.

[thought, Wate'er man's pride has ravish'd from our sex. Stoop froin thy fight, trace back th' entangled

IRENE.

ASPASIA.

ASPASIA.

IRENE.

INENE.

ASPASIA.

ASPASIA.

IRENE.

ASPASIA.

MAID.

DEMETRIUS.

And set the glittring fallacy to view.

Say, how the tyrant threaten'd, flatter'd, sigh'd ! Not pow'r I blame, but pow'r obtain’d by crime; Say, how he threaten'd, flatter'd, sigh'd in vain ! Angelic greatness is angelic virtue.

Say, how the hand of violence was rais'd! Amidst the glare of courts, the shout of armies, Say, how thou call’dst iu tears upon Demetrius! Will not th' apostate feel the pangs of guilt, And wish, too late, for innocence and peace, Curst as the tyrant of th' infernal realms, Inform me rather how thy happy courage With gloon state and agonizing pomp? Stemm'd in the breach the deluge of destruction,

And pass'd uninjur'd through the walks of death. SCENE IX.

Did savage anger and licentious conquest

Behold the hero with Aspasia's eyes ?
IRENE, ASPASIA, MAID.

And, thus protected in the gen’ral ruin,

O say, what guardian pow'r convey'd thee hither. A Turkish stranger, of majestic mien, Asks at the gate admission to Aspasia, Commission'd, as he says, by Cali Bassa. Such strange events, such unexpected chances,

Beyond my warmest hope, or wildest wishes,

Concurr'd to give me to Aspasia's arms, Whoe'er thou art, or whatsoe'er thy message,

I stand amaz'd, and ask, if yet I clasp thee.

[aside. Thanks for this kind relief-With speed admit him.

Sure Heaven (for wonders are not wrought in

vain !)

That joins us thus, will never part us more.
He comes, perhaps, to separate us for ever ;
When I am gone, remember, 0 ! remember,

SCENE XI.
That none are great, or happy, but the virtuous,
[Exit Irene; enter Demetrius,

DEMETRIUS, ASPASIA, ABDALLA.
SCENE X.
ASPASIA, DEMETRIUS.

It parts you now—The hasty sultan sign'd
DEMETRIUS.

The laws unread, and files to bis Irene.
'Tis shemy hope, my happiness, my love!
Aspasia ! do I once again behold thee?
Still, still the same-unclouded by misfortune! Fix'd and intent on bis Irene's charms

He envies none the converse of Aspasia,
Let my blest eyes for ever gaze-

IRENE.

ASPASIA.

ASPASIA.

ADDALLA,

DEMETRIUS.

[blocks in formation]

ASPASIA.

DEMETRIUS.

A thousand thoughts, imperfect and distracted, will not admit a Jover's long farewell,

Dispatch ; tb' increasing danger Demand a voice, and struggle into birth;

The long-drawn intercourse of siglas and kisses. A thousand questions press upon my tongue, But all give way to rapture and Demetrius.

Thep-O my fair, I cannot bid thee go. O say, bright being, in this age of absence, Receive her, and protect her, gracious Heav'n! What fears, what griefs, what dangers, hast thou Yet let me watch her dear departing steps, known

If fate pursues me, let it find me here.

DEMETRIUS.

« EelmineJätka »