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Cast. Oh! think a little what thy heart is do
How, from our infancy, we, hand in hand,
Have trod the path of life in love together;
One bed hath held us, and the same desires,
The same aversions, still employed our thoughts:
When e'er had I a friend, that was not Polydore's?
Or Polydore a foe, that was not mine?
Even in the womb we embraced; and wilt thou
For the first fault, abandon and forsake me,
Leave me, amidst afflictions, to myself,
Plunged in the gulf of grief, and none to help me?
Fol. Go to Monimia, in her arms thoul't find
Repose; she has the art of healing sorrows.
Cast. What arts?
Pol. Blind wretch! thou husband! there is a
Go to her fulsome bed, and wallow there:
"Till some hot ruffian, full of lust and wine,
Come storm thee out, and shew thee what's thy
Cast. Hold there, I charge thee.
Pol. Is she not a-
Pol. Ay, whore; I think that word needs no
Cast. Álas! I can forgive even this, to thee!
But let me tell thee, Polydore, I am grieved
To find thee guilty of such low revenge,
To wrong that virtue, which thou couldst not
Pol. It seems I lie, then?
Cast. Should the bravest man
That e'er wore conquering sword, but dare to whisper
What thou proclaim'st, he were the worst of liars:
My friend may be mistaken.
Pol. Damn the evasion!
Thou meanest the worst; and he is a base-born villain,
Cast. Do, draw thy sword, and thrust it through
There is no joy in life, if thou art lost.
A base-born villain!
Pol. Yes; thou never cam'st
From old Acasto's loins; the midwife put
A cheat upon my mother, and instead
Of a true brother, in a cradle by me,
Mon. I am here, who calls me?
Methought I heard a voice,
Sweet as the shepherd's pipe upon the mountains,
When all his little flock's at feed before him.
But what means this? Here's blood,
Cust. Ay, brother's blood.
Art thou prepared for everlasting pains?
Pol. Oh, let me charge thee, by the eternal
Hurt not her tender life!
Cast. Not kill her? Rack me,
Ye powers above, with all your choicest torments,
Horror of mind, and pains yet uninvented,
If I not practise cruelty upon her,
And wreak revenge some way yet never known.
Mon. That task myself have finished; I shall
Pol. O she's innocent!
Cast. Tell me that story,
And thou wilt make a wretch of me indeed.
Pol. Hadst thou, Castalio, used me like a friend,
This ne'er had happened; hadst thou let me know
Placed some coarse peasant's cub, and thou art he. Thy marriage, we had all now met in joy;
Cast. Thou art my brother still,
Pol. Thou liest.
Cast. Nay then
Yet I am calm.
Hearing the appointment made, enraged to think [He draws. Thou hadst outdone me in successful love,
Pol. A coward's always so.
Cast. Ah!-ah—that stings home-Coward!
Pol. Ay, base-born coward! villain!
Cast. This to thy heart, then, though my mother
I, in the dark, went and supplied thy place;
Whilst, all the night, 'midst our triumphant joys,
The trembling, tender, kind, deceived Monimia,
Embraced, caressed, and called me her Castalio.
Cast. And all this is the work of my own for-
None but myself could e'er have been so cursed! | But here remain, till my heart burst with sobbing. My fatal love, alas! has ruined thee,
Thou fairest, goodliest frame the gods e'er made, Or ever human eyes and hearts adored.
I've murdered too my brother.
Why wouldst thou study ways to damn me farther,
And force the sin of parricide upon me?
Pol. 'Twas my own fault, and thou art innocent;
Forgive the barbarous trespass of my tongue; 'Twas a hard violence: I could have died With love of thee, even when I used thee worst; Nay, at each word, that my distraction uttered, My heart recoiled, and 'twas half death to speak them.
Mon. Now, my Castalio, the most dear of men, Wilt thou receive pollution to thy bosom, And close the eyes of one, that has betrayed thee? Cast. Oh, I am the unhappy wretch, whose cursed fate
Has weighed thee down into destruction with him. Why then, thus kind to me?
Mon. When I am laid low in the grave, and quite forgotten,
Mayst thou be happy in a fairer bride; But none can ever love thee like Monimia. When I am dead, as presently I shall be, (For the grim tyrant grasps my heart already) Speak well of me; and, if thou find ill tongues Too busy with my fame, don't hear me wronged; Twill be a noble justice to the memory Of a poor wretch, once honoured with thy love. How my head swims! 'tis very dark. Good-night. [Dies. Cast. If I survive thee-what a thought was that?
Thank Heaven, I go prepared against that curse. Enter CHAMONT, disarmed and seized by ACASTO
Cast. Vanish, I charge thee, or
Cha. Thou canst not kill me;
That would be kindness, and against thy nature. Acast. What means Castalio? Sure thou wilt not pull
More sorrows on thy aged father's head.
Tell me, I beg you, tell me the sad cause
Of all this ruin.
Pol. That must be my task:
But 'tis too long for one in pain to tell;
You'll in my closet find the story written
Of all our woes. Castalio is innocent,
And so is Monimia; only I am to blame.
Enquire no farther.
Cast. Thou, unkind Chamont,
Unjustly hast pursued me with thy hate,
And sought the life of him, that never wronged
Now, if thou wilt embrace a nobler vengeance,
Come, join with me, and curse-
As I do, and the hour, that gave thee birth:
Confusion and disorder seize the world,
To spoil all trust and converse amongst men!
'Twixt families engender endless feuds,
In countries needless fears, in cities factions,
In states rebellion, and in churches schism!
Till all things move against the course of nature,
Till form's dissolved, the chain of causes broken,
And the original of being lost!
Cast. Patience! preach it to the winds,
The roaring seas, or raging fires! the knaves
That teach it, laugh at ye, when ye believe them.
Strip me of all the common needs of life,
Scald me with leprosy, let friends forsake me,
I'll bear it all; but cursed to the degree
That I am now, 'tis this must give me patience :
Thus I find rest, and shall complain no more.
Pol. Castalio! oh!
Cast. I come.
Chamont, to thee my birth-right I bequeath;
Comfort my mourning father, heal his griefs,
[Acasto faints into the arms of a servant. For I perceive they fali with weight upon him. And, for Monimia's sake, whom thou wilt find I never wronged, be kind to poor Serina. Now, all I beg, is, lay me in one grave Thus with my love. Farewell. I now am-nothing. [Dies. Chu. Take care of good Acasto, whilst I go To search the means, by which the fates have plagued us.
'Tis thus that Heaven its empire does maintain; It may afflict, but man must not complain.
SCENE L-A Street in Venice.
Enter PRIULI and JAFFIER.
Pri. No more! I'll hear no more! Begone and leave me.
Jaf. Not hear me! By my suffering but you
My lord, my lord! I'm not that abject wretch,
You think me. Patience! where's the distance
Me back so far, but I may boldly speak
And urge its baseness) when you first came home
From travel, with such hopes as made you look-
By all men's eyes, a youth of expectation,
Pleased with your growing virtue, I received you;
Courted, and sought to raise you to your merits:
My house, my table, nay, my fortune too,
My very self was yours; you might have used me
To your best service; like an open friend
I treated, trusted, you, and thought you mine:
When, in requital of my best endeavours,
In right, though proud oppression will not hear me? You treacherously practised to undo me;
Pri. Have you not wronged me?
Jaf. Could my nature e'er
Have brooked injustice, or the doing wrongs,
I need not now thus low have bent myself,
To gain a hearing from a cruel father.
Pri. Yes, wronged me! In the nicest point, The honour of my house, you have done me wrong.
You may remember (for I now will speak,
Seduced the weakness of my age's darling,
My only child, and stole her from my bosom.
Juf. 'Tis to me you owe her!
Childless you had been clse, and in the grave
Your name extinct; no more Priuli heard of.
You may remember, scarce five years are past,
Since in your brigantine you sailed to see
The Adriatic wedded by our duke;
And I was with you: your unskilful pilot
Dashed us upon a rock; when to your boat
You made for safety; entered first yourself;
The affrighted Belvidera, following next,
As she stood trembling on the vessel's side,
Was by a wave washed off into the deep;
When instantly I plunged into the sea,
And, buffetting the billows to her rescue,
Redeemed her life with half the loss of mine.
Like a rich conquest, in one hand I bore her,
And with the other dashed the saucy waves,
That thronged and pressed to rob me of my prize.
I brought her, gave her to your despairing arms:
Indeed you thanked me; but a nobler gratitude
Rose in her soul: for from that hour she loved
Till for her life she paid me with herself.
Pri. You stole her from me; like a thief you stole her,
At dead of night! that cursed hour you chose,
To rifle me of all my heart held dear.
May all your joys in her prove false, like mine;
A sterile fortune, and a barren bed,
Attend you both; continual discord make
Your days and nights bitter and grievous: still
May the hard hand of a vexatious need
Oppress and grind you; till at last you find
The curse of disobedience all your portion!
Jaf Half of your curse you have bestowed in
Heaven has already crowned our faithful loves
With a young boy, sweet as his mother's beauty:
May he live to prove more gentle than his grand-
And happier than his father!
Pri. Rather live
I've treated Belvidera like your daughter,
The daughter of a senator of Venice:
Distinction, place, attendance, and observance,
Due to her birth, she always has commanded.
Out of my little fortune I've done this;
Because (though hopeless e'er to win your na
The world might see I loved her for herself;
Not as the heiress of the great Priuli.
Pri. No more.
Jaf. Yes, all, and then adieu for ever. There's not a wretch, that lives on common charity,
But's happier than me: for I have known
The luscious sweets of plenty; every night
Have slept with soft content about my head,
And never waked, but to a joyful morning :
Yet now must fall, like a full ear of corn,
Whose blossom 'scaped, yet's withered in the
Pri. Home, and be humble; study to re-
Discharge the lazy vermin of thy hall,
Those pageants of thy folly:
Reduce the glittering trappings of thy wife
To humble weeds, fit for thy little state:
Then, to some suburb cottage both retire;
Drudge to feed loathsome life; get brats and
Cut-throats rewards: each man would kill his
Himself; none would be paid or hanged for murder.
Honesty! 'twas a cheat invented first
To bind the hands of bold deserving rogues,
That fools and cowards might sit safe in power,
And lord it uncontrouled above their betters.
Jaf. Then honesty is but a notion?
Pier. Nothing else;
Like wit, much talked of, not to be defined.
He, that pretends to most, too, has least share in
'Tis a ragged virtue: Honesty! no more of it. Jaf. Sure thou art honest?
Pier. So, indeed, men think me;
But they are mistaken, Jaffier: I am a rogue
As well as they;
A fine, gay, bold faced villain, as thou seest me. 'Tis true, I pay my debts, when they're contracted;
I steal from no man; would not cut a throat,
To gain admission to a great man's purse,
Or a whore's bed; I'd not betray my friend
To get his place or fortune; I scorn to flatter
A blown-up fool above me, or crush the wretch
Yet, Jaffier, for all this, I am a villain.
Jaf. A villain!
Pier. Yes, a most notorious villain;
To see the sufferings of my fellow-creatures,
And own myself a man: to see our senators
Cheat the deluded people with a shew
Of liberty, which yet they ne'er must taste of.
They say, by them our hands are free from fet-
Yet, whom they please, they lay in basest bonds;
Bring, whom they please, to infamy and sorrow;
Drive us, like wrecks, down the rough tide of
While no hold's left to save us from destruction.
All that bear this are villains, and I one,
Not to rouse up at the great call of nature,
And check the growth of these domestic spoilers,
That make us slaves, and tell us, 'tis our charter.
Jaf. Oh, Aquilina! Friend, to lose such beauty!
The dearest purchase of thy noble labours!
She was thy right by conquest, as by love.
Pier. Oh! Jaffier! I had so fixed my heart upon her,
That, wheresoe'er I framed a scheme of life,
For time to come, she was my only joy,
With which I wished to sweeten future cares:
I fancied pleasures; none but one, that loves
And doats as I did, can imagine like them :
When in the extremity of all these hopes,
In the most charming hour of expectation,
Then, when our eager wishes soared the highest,
Ready to stoop and grasp the lovely game,
A haggard owl, a worthless kite of prey,
With his foul wings, sailed in, and spoiled my
Jaf. I know the wretch, and scorn him as thou hatest him.
Pier. Curse on the common good, that's so protected,
Where every slave, that heaps up wealth enough
To do much wrong, becomes the lord of right!
I, who believed no ill could e'er come near me,
Found in the embraces of my Aquilina
A wretched, old, but itching senator;
A wealthy fool, that had bought out my title;
A rogue, that uses beauty like a lamb-skin,
Barely to keep him warm; that filthy cuckoo
Was, in my absence, crept into my nest,
And spoiling all my brood of noble pleasure.
Jaf. Didst thou not chase him thence?
Pier. I did, and drove
The rank old bearded Hirco stinking home.
The matter was complained of in the senate,
I summoned to appear, and censured basely,
For violating something they called privilege
This was the recompence of all my service.
Would I'd been rather beaten by a coward!
A soldier's mistress, Jaffier, is his religion;
When that's profaned, all other ties are broken:
That even dissolves all former bonds of service;
And from that hour I think myself as free
To be the foe, as e'er the friend, of Venice-
Nay, dear revenge, whene'er thou call'st, I'm
Jaf. I think no safety can be here for virtue,
And grieve, my friend, as much as thou, to live
In such a wretched state as this of Venice,
Where all agree to spoil the public good;
And villains fatten with the brave man's labours.
Pier. We have neither safety, unity, nor peace, For the foundation's lost of common good; Justice is lame, as well as blind, amongst us; The laws (corrupted to their ends that make them)
Serve but for instruments of some new tyranny,
That every day starts up, to enslave us deeper.
Now, could this glorious cause but find out friends
To do it right, oh, Jaffier! then mightest thou
Not wear these seals of woe upon thy face;
The proud Priuli should be taught humanity,
And learn to value such a son as thou art.
I dare not speak, but my heart bleeds this mo
Jaf. Cursed be the cause, though I, thy friend, be part on't!
Let me partake the troubles of thy bosom,
For I am used to misery, and perlaps
May find a way to sweeten it to thy spirit.
Pier. Too soon 'twill reach thy knowledge-
Jaf. Then from thee
Let it proceed. There's virtue in thy friendship,
Would make the saddest tale of sorrow pleasing,
Strengthen my constancy, and welcome ruin.
Pier. Then thou art ruined!
Jaf. That I long since knew;
I and ill fortune have been long acquainted.