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Nurse. Odso, my master! we must not be seen.


En'er VILLEROY, with a letter, and ISABELLA.

Vil. I must away this moment-see his letter, Sign'd by himself. Alas! he could no more; My brother's desperate, and cannot die In peace, but in my arms.

Isa. So suddenly!

Vil. Suddenly taken, on the road to Brussels, To do us honour, love; unfortunate;

Thus to be torn from thee, and all those charms,
Though cold to me and dead.

Isa. I'm sorry for the cause.
Vil. Oh! could I think,

Could I persuade myself, that your concern
For me, or for my absence, were the spring
The fountain of these melancholy thoughts,
My heart would dance, spite of the sad occasion,
And be a gay companion in my journey;

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Vil. Oh, that it must.

Car. To leave your bride so soon!

Vil. But having the possession of my love,

I am the better able to support

My absence in the hopes of my return.
Car. Your stay will be but short?

Vil. It will seem long,

The longer that my Isabella sighs:

I shall be jealous of this rival grief,

It takes so full possession of thy heart,

There is not room enough for mighty love. Enter Servant, bows, and exit.

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SCENE I.-The Street.


Bir. The longest day will have an end; we are got home at last.

Bel. We have got our legs at liberty; and liberty is home, where'er we go; though mine lies most in England.

Bir. Pray, let me call this yours; for what I can command in Brussels, you shall find your own. I have a father here, who, perhaps, after seven years' absence, and costing him nothing in my travels, may be glad to see me. You know my story; how does my disguise become me?

Bel. Just as you would have it; 'tis natural, and will conceal you.

Bir. To-morrow you shall be sure to find me here, as early as you please. This is the house; you have observed the street.

Bel. I warrant you; your directions will carry me to my lodgings. [Exit.

Bir. Good night, my friend.

The long-expected moment has arrived;
And if all here is well, my past sorrows
Will only heighten my excess of joy.;

And nothing will remain to wish or hope for.



Sam. Who's there? What would you have?
Bir. Is your lady at home, friend?

Samp. Why, truly, friend, it is my employment to answer impertinent questions; but for my lady's being at home, or no, that's just as my lady pleases.

Bir. But how shall I know whether it pleases her or no?

Samp. Why, if you'll take my word for it, you may carry your errand back again; she never pleases to see anybody at this time of night, that she does not know: and by your address and appearance I am sure you must be a stranger to ber.

Bir. But I have business; and you don't know how that may please her.

Samp. May, if you have business, she is the best judge whether your business will please her or no; therefore I will proceed in my office, and know of my lady whether or no, she is pleased to be st home, or no. (Going.)

Enter Nurse.

Nurse. Who's that you are so busy withal? Methinks you might have found an answer in fewer words; but, Sampson, you love to hear yourself prate sometimes, as well as your betters, that I must say for you. Let me come to him. Who would you speak with, stranger?

Bir. With you, mistress, if you could help me to speak to your lady.

Nurse. Yes, sir, I can help you in a civil way; but can nobody do your business but my lady?

Bir. Not so well: but if you carry her this ring, she'll know my business better.

Nurse. There's no love-letter in it, I hope; you look like a civil gentleman. In an honest way, I may bring you an answer.


Bir. My old nurse, only a little older; they say [Exit. the tongue grows always; mercy on me! then hers

is seven years longer since I left her. Yet there is | something in these servants' folly pleases me; the cautious conduct of the family appears, and speaks in their impertinence. Well, mistress.

Re-enter Nurse.

Nurse. I have deliver'd your ring, sir. Pray heaven, you bring no bad news along with you. Bir. Quite contrary, I hope.

Nurse. Nay, I hope so to; but my lady was very much surprised when I gave it her. Sir, I am but a servant, as a body may say; but if you'll walk in, that I may shut the doors, (for we keep very orderly hours;) I can shew you into the parlour, help you to an answer, perhaps, as soon as those that are wiser.

Bir. I'll follow you.

Now all my spirits hurry to my heart, And every sense has taken the alarm At this approaching interview! Heavens! how I tremble!

SCENE II.-A Chamber.



This ecstacy has made my welcome more
Than words could say. Words may be counterfeit,
False coin'd and current only from the tongue,
Without the mind; but passion's in the soul,
And always speaks the heart.

Isa. Where have I been? Why do you keep him from me?

I know his voice; my life, upon the wing,
Hears the soft lure that brings me back again;
'Tis he himself, my Biron.
Do I hold you fast.
Never to part again?

If I must fall, death's welcome in these arms.
Bir. Live ever in these arms.
Isa. But pardon me,

Excuse the wild disorder of my soul;
The joy, the strange surprising joy of seeing you,
Of seeing you again, distracted me.
Bir. Thou everlasting goodness!

Isa. Answer me:

Exit. What hand of Providence has brought you back
To your own home again?

Isa. I've heard of witches, magic spells, and charms,

That have made nature start from her old course;
The sun has been eclipsed, the moon drawn down
From her career, still paler, and subdued
To the abuses of this under world.
Now I believe all possible. This ring,
This little ring, with necromantic force,
Has rais'd the ghost of pleasure to my fears,
Conjur'd the sense of honour, and of love,
Into such shapes, they fright me from myself!
I dare not think of them.

Enter Nurse.

Nurse. Madam, the gentleman's below. Isa. I had forgot, pray let me speak with him; [Exit Nurse. This ring was the first present of my love To Biron, my first husband; I must blush To think I have a second. Biron died (Still to my loss) at Candy; there's my hope. Oh, do I live to hope that he died there?

It must be so; he's dead, and this ring left,

By his last breath, to some known faithful friend, To bring me back again;

That's all I have to trust to.

Enter BIRON. (Isabella looking at him)

My fears were woman's-I have view'd him all;

And let me, let me say it to myself,

I live again, and rise but from his tomb.

Bir. Have you forgot me quite ?

Isa. Forgot you!

O, tell me all,

For every thought confounds me.

Bir. My best life! at leisure, all.

Isa. We thought you dead; kill'd at the siege of Candy.

Bir. There I fell among the dead;

But hopes of life reviving from my wounds,
I was preserved but to be made a slave.

I often writ to my hard father, but never had
An answer; I writ to thee, too.

Isa. What a world of woe

Had been prevented but in hearing from you!
Bir. Alas! thou could'st not help me.

Isa. You do not know how much I could have done;

At least, I'm sure I could have suffer'd all;

I would have sold myself to slavery.
Without redemption; giv'n up my child,
The dearest part of me, to basest wants.
Bir. My little boy!

Isa. My life, but to have heard

You were alive.

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I hear he's living still.

Isa. Well, both, both well;

And may he prove a father to your hopes,
Though we have found him none.

Bir. Come, no more tears.

Isa. Seven long years of sorrow for your loss,

Bir. Then farewell my disguise, and my misfor-Have mourn'd with me. tunes!

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Bir. And all my days to come

Shall be employ'd in a kind recompense
For thy afflictions. Can't I see my boy?

Isa. He's gone to bed; I'll have him brought to


Bir. To-morrow I shall see him; I want rest

Myself, after this weary pilgrimage.

Isa. Alas! what shall I get for you?

Bir. Nothing but rest, my love! To-night I

would not

Be known, if possible, to your family:

I see my nurse is with you; her welcome

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To make this wondrous goodness some amends; And let me then forget her, if I can.

O! she deserves of me much more than I

Can lose for her, though I again could venture
A father, and his fortune, for her love!
You wretched fathers, blind as fortune all!
Not to perceive, that such a woman's worth
Weighs down the portions you provide your sons.
What is your trash, what all your heaps of gold,
Compared to this, my heartfelt happiness?
What has she, in my absence, undergone!
I must not think of that; it drives me back
Upon myself, the fatal cause of all.

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[Exit Biron.

My prayers! no, I must never pray again.
Prayers have their blessings, to reward our hopes,
But I have nothing left to hope for more.
What Heav'n could give I have enjoy'd; but now
The baneful planet rises on my fate,
And what's to come is a long life of woe;
Yet I may shorten it-

I promised him to follow-him!

Is he without a name? Biron, my husbandMy husband! Ha! What then is Villeroy? Oh, Biron, hadst thou come but one day sooner!


What's to be done? for something must be done.
Two husbands! married to both,
And yet a wife to neither. Hold, my brain-
Ha! a lucky thought

Works the right way to rid me of them all;
All the reproaches, infamies, and scorns,
That every tongue and finger will find for me.
Let the just horror of my apprehensions
But keep me warm; no matter what can come.
"Tis but a blow, yet I will see him first,
Have a last look, to heighten my despair,
And then to rest for ever.

Re-enter BIRON, meeting her.

Bir. Despair, and rest for ever? Isabella! These words are far from thy condition; And be they ever so. I heard thy voice,

And could not bear thy absence; come, my love! You have stay'd long: there's nothing, nothing


Now to despair of in succeeding fate.

Isa. I am contented to he miserable,
But not this way: I've been too long abused,
Let me sleep on, to be deceived no more.

Bir, Look up, my love, I never did deceive thee,

Nor ever can; believe thyself, thy eyes
That first inflamed, and light me to my love,
Those stars, that still must guide me to my joys.
Isa. And me to my undoing: I look round,
And find no path, but leading to the grave.
Bir. I cannot understand thee.

Isa, If marriages

Are made in heav n, they should be happier:
Why was I made this wretch?

Bir. Has marriage made thee wretched?
Isa. Miserable, beyond the reach of comfort.
Bir. Do I live to hear thee say so?

Isa. Why, what did I say?

Bir. That I have made thee miserable.

Isa. No; you are my only earthly happiness; And my false tongue belied my honest heart, If it said otherwise.

Bir. And yet you said,

Your marriage made you miserable.

Isa. I know not what I said;

I've said too much, unless I could speak all. Bir. Thy words are wild; my eyes, my ears, my heart,

Were all so full of thee, so much employ'd

In wonder of thy charms, I could not find it;
Now I perceive it plain-

Isa. You'll tell nobody-
Bir. Thou art not weli.

Isa. Indeed I am not; I knew that before;

But where's the remedy?

Bir. Rest will relieve thy cares; come, come, no more;

I'll banish sorrow from thee.

Isa. Banish first the cause.
Bir. Heaven knows how willingly.
Isa. You are the only cause.

Bir. Am I the cause? the cause of thy misfor

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Poor Isabella! now I know the cause,
The cause of thy distress, and cannot wonder
That it has turn'd thy brain. If I look back
Upon thy loss, it will distract me too.
Oh, any curse but this might be remov'd!
But 'twas the rancorous malignity.

Of all ill stars combin'd, of heav'n and fate-
Hold, hold my impious tongue. Alas! I rave:
Why do I tax the stars, or heav'n, or fate?
My father and my brother are my fates,
That drive me to my ruin. They knew well
I was alive. Too well they knew how dear
My Isabella-Oh! my wife no more!
How dear her love was to me; yet they stood,
With a malicious silent joy, stood by,
And saw her give up all my happiness,
The treasure of her beauty to another;
Stood by, and saw her married to another.
Oh, cruel father, and unnatural brother!
I have but to accuse you of my wrongs,
And then to fall forgotten. Sleep or death
Sits heavy on me, and benumbs my pains:
Either is welcome; but the hand of death
Works always sure, and best can close my eyes.

Enter Nurse and SAMPSON.


Nurse. Here's strange things towards, Sampson; what will be the end of 'em, do you think? Samp. Nay, marry, nurse, I can't see so far; but the law, I believe, is on Biron, the first husband's side.

Nurse. Yes; no question, he has the law on his side.

Samp. For I have heard, the law says, a woman must be a widow, all out seven years, before she can marry again, according to law.

Nurse. Ay, so it does; and our lady has not been a widow altogether seven years.

Samp. Why, then, nurse, mark my words, and say I told you so: the man must have his wife again, and all will do well.

Nurse. But if our master, Villeroy, comes back again

Samp. Why, if he does, he is not the first man that has had his wife taken from him.

Nurse. For fear of the worst, will you go to the old Count, and desire him to come as soon as he

can; there may be mischief, and he is able to pre

vent it.

Samp. Now you say something; now I take you, nurse; that will do well, indeed; mischief should be prevented; a little thing will make a quarrel, when there's a woman in the way. I'll about it instantly. [Exeunt.

SCENE II-A Chamber. BIRON asleep on a couch. Enter ISABELLA.

Isa. Asleep so soon? Oh, happy, happy thou,
Who thus can sleep! I never shall sleep more.
If then to sleep be to be happy, he,
Who sleeps the longest, is the happiest;
Death is the longest sleep. Oh! have a care;
Mischief will thrive apace. Never wake more,
(To Biron.)

If thou didst ever love thy Isabella;
To-morrow must be doomsday to thy peace.
The sight of him disarms ev'n death itself,
And pleasure grows again

With looking on him. Let me look my last;
But is a look enough for parting love?

Sure I may take a kiss. Where am I going?
Help, help me, Villeroy! Mountains and seas
Divide your love, never to meet my shame.

What noise was that? a knocking at the gate!
It may be Villeroy. No matter who.
Bir. Come, Isabella, come.

Isa. Hark! I'm call'd..

Bir. You stay too long from me.

Isa. A man's voice! in my bed! How came he


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And there has left me.

Bir. Why dost thou fly me so?

Isa. I cannot bear his sight; distraction, come, Possess me all.

Shake off my chains, and hasten to my aid!
Thou art my only cure.

(Running out.)
Bir. Poor Isabella! she's not in a condition
To give me any comfort, if she could;
Lost to herself, as quickly as I shall be
To all the world: Horrors come fast around me;
My mind is overcast; the gathering clouds
Darken the prospect; I approach the brink,
And soon must leap the precipice. Oh! heav'n!


While yet my senses are my own, thus kneeling,
Let me implore thy mercies on my wife:
Release her from her pangs; and if my reason,
O'erwhelm'd with miseries, sink before the tem-

Pardon those crimes despair may bring upon me.

Enter Nurse.

Nurse. Sir, there's somebody at the door must needs speak with you; he won't tell his name

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Enter CARLOS, PEDRO, and three Ruffians.
Car. A younger brother; I was one too long
Not to prevent my being so again.

We must be sudden. Younger brothers are
But lawful bastards of another name,
Thrust out of their nobility of birth
And family, and tainted into trades.
Shall I be one of them? bow, and retire,
To make more room for the unwieldy heir
To play the fool in? No;

But how shall I prevent it? Biron comes
To take possession of my father's love:
Would that were all! there's a birthright, too,
That he will seize. Besides, if Biron lives,
He will unfold some practices, which I
Cannot well answer, therefore he shall die;
This night must be disposed of: I have means
That will not fail my purpose. Here he comes.
Enter BIRON.

Bir. Ha! am I beset? I live but to revenge me. (They surround him, fighting; Villeroy enters with two Servants; they rescue him; Carlos and his party fly.

Vil. How are you, sir? Mortally hurt, I fear. Take care, and lead him in.

Bir. I thank you for this goodness, sir: though


Bestow'd upon a very wretch; and death, Though from a villain's hand, had been to me An act of kindness, and the height of mercy; But I thank you, sir.

Vil. Take care, and lead him in.

SCENE IV.-A Chamber.


Enter BIRON, bloody, leaning upon his sword. Before that streaming evidence appears,

In bloody proof against me.

(She seeing Biron, swoons; Villeroy helps her.)

Vil. Help there! Biron alive?

(Sees Biron.)

Bir. The only wretch on earth that must not live
Vil. Biron, or Villeroy, must not, that's decreed.
Bir. You've saved me from the hands of mur-

Would you had not, for life's my greatest plague!
And then, of all the world, you are the man
I would not be obliged to. Isabella!

I came to fall before the: I had died
Happy, not to have found your Villeroy here.
A long farewell, and a last parting kiss.

(Kisses her.)

Vil. A kiss! confusion! it must be your last. Bir. I know it must. Here I give up that death The work of fate, thus we must finish it. Thrust home; be sure.


Vil. Alas! he faints! some help there! Bir. 'Tis all in vain; my sorrows soon will end. Oh, Villeroy! let a dying wretch entreat you To take this letter to my father. My Isabella! Couldst thou but hear me, my last words should bless thee.

I cannot, though in death, bequeath her to thee.
(To Villeroy.)

But could I hope my boy, my little one,
Might find a father in thee-Oh! I faint;

I can no more. Hear me, heav'n! Oh, support
My wife, my Isabella! Bless my child!
And take a poor unhappy-

Vil. He's gone!

My care of her is lost in wild amaze.
Who waits there?

Isa. (Recovering.) Where have I been? thinks I stand upon


[Exit. Me

(He is led in.) The brink of life, ready to shoot the gulph
That lies between me and the realms of rest,
But still detain'd, I cannot pass the strait;
Deny'd to live, and yet I must not die;
Doom'd to come back, like a complaining ghost,

(Throws herself on Biron's body.)

Isa. Murder my husband! Oh! I must not dare To my unbury'd body. Here it lies:
To think of living on; my desperate hand,
In a mad rage, may offer it again;
Stab me anywhere but there. Here's room enough
In my own breast to act the fury in,
The proper scene of mischief.

(Going to stab herself, Villeroy runs in and prevents her, by taking the dagger from her.)

Vil. Angels defend and save thee! Attempt thy precious life!

Lay violent hands upon thy innocent self!

Isa. Swear I am innocent, and I'll believe you.
What would you have with me? Pray let me go.
Are you there, sir? You are the very man
Have done all this. You would have made

Me believe you married me; but the fool
Was wiser.

Vil. Dost thou not know me, love?

'Tis Villeroy, thy husband.

Isa. I have none; no husband;


Never had but one, and he died at Candy. Speak, did he not die there?

Vil. He did, my life.

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