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To serve your glory, and revenge their own:
They've all their different quarters in this city,
Watch for the alarm, and grumble 'tis so tardy.
Bed. I doubt not, friend, but thy unwearied di-

Has still kept waking, and it shall have ease;
After this night it is resolved we meet
No more, till Venice owns us for her lords.

Pier. How lovelily the Adriatic whore, Dressed in her flames, will shine! Devouring flames!

Such as shall burn her to the watery bottom,
And hiss in her foundation,

Bed. Now, if any

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Has lodged this secret in his faithful breast,
To ease your fears, I wear a dagger here
Shall rip it out again, and give you rest.
Come forth, thou only good I e'er could boast

Enter JAFFIER, with a Dagger.

Bed. His presence bears the shew of manly virtue.

Jaf. I know you'll wonder all, that thus, uncalled,

I dare approach this place of fatal councils;
But I'm amongst you, and, by Heaven, it glads me
To see so many virtues thus united,

To restore justice and dethrone oppression.
Command this sword, if you would have it quiet,
Into this breast; but, if you think it worthy
To cut the throats of reverend rogues in robes,
Send me into the cursed assembled senate :
It shrinks not, though I meet a father there.
Would you behold this city flaming? here is
A hand, shall bear a lighted torch at noon

To the arsenal, and set its gates on fire.
Ren. You talk this well, sir.

Jaf. Nay-by Heaven, I'll do this.
Come, come, I read distrust in all your faces:
You fear me a villain, and, indeed, 'tis odd
To hear a stranger talk thus, at first meeting,
Of matters that have been so well debated;
But, I come ripe with wrongs, as you with coun-

I hate this senate, am a foe to Venice;
A friend to none, but men resolved, like me,
To push on mischief. Oh! did you but know

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Jaf. Indeed 'tis late.

Bel. Oh! I have slept and dreamt, And dreamt again. Where hast thou been, thou loiterer?

Though my eyes closed, my arms have still been opened,

Stretched every way betwixt my broken slumbers, To search, if thou wert come to crown my rest: There's no repose without thee: Oh! the day Too soon will break, and wake us to our sorrow, Come, come to bed, and bid thy cares good-night.

Jaf. Oh, Belvidera! we must change the scene, In which the past delights of life were tasted: The poor sleep little; we must learn to watch Our labours late, and early every morning, Midst winter frosts, thin clad, and fed with spar

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Bel. Alas! where am I! whither is it you lead | Should reach his guilty ears, and shake his peace.


Methinks I read distraction in your face, Something less gentle than the fate you tell me. You shake and tremble too! your blood runs . cold!

Heavens guard my love, and bless his heart with patience!

Jaf. That I have patience, let our fate bear witness,

Who has ordained it so, that thou and I,
(Thou, the divinest good man e'er possessed,
And I, the wretchedest of the race of man)
This very hour, without one tear, must part.
Bel. Part! must we part? Oh! am I then for-

saken ?

Will my love cast me off? Have my misfortunes Offended him so highly, that he'll leave me! Why drag you from me? Whither are you going, My dear! my life! my love!

Jaf. Oh, friends!

Bel. Speak to me.

Jaf. Take her from my heart,

She'll gain such hold else, I shall ne'er get loose. I charge thee, take her, but with tenderest care Relieve her troubles, and assuage her sorrows. Ren. Rise, madam, and command amongst your servants.

Jaf. To you, sirs, and your honours, I bequeath her,

And with her this; when I prove unworthy

[Gives a dagger. You know the rest-Then, strike it to her heart! And tell her, he, who three whole happy years Lay in her arms, and cach kind night repeated The passionate vows of still increasing love, Sent that reward for all her truth and sufferings. Bel. Nay, take my life, since he has sold it cheaply!

Or send me to some distant clime, your slave; But let it be far off, lest my complainings

Jaf. No, Belvidera, I have contrived thy honour. Trust to my faith, and be but fortune kind To me, as I'll preserve that faith unbroken: When next we meet, I'll lift thee to a height Shall gather all the gazing world about thee, To wonder what strange virtue placed thee there. But, if we ne'er meet more

Bel. O! thou unkind one!

Ne'er meet more! have I deserved this from you?
Look on me, tell me, speak, thou fair deceiver!
Why am I separated from thy love?

If I am false, accuse me, but if true,
Don't, prithee don't, in poverty forsake me;
But pity the sad heart, that's torn with parting,
Yet hear me, yet recal me―

[Exeunt Ren. Bed. and Bel.

Jaf. Oh! my eyes,

Look not that way, but turn yourselves a while
Into my heart, and be weaned altogether!
My friend, where art thou?

Pier. Here, my honour's brother.
Jaf. Is Belvidera gone?

Pier. Renault has led her

Back to her own apartment; but, by Heaven, Thou must not see her more, till our work's over. Jaf. No!

Pier. Not for your life.

Jaf. Oh, Pierre, wert thou but she,
How I would pull thee down into my heart,
Gaze on thee, till my eye-strings cracked with

Till all my sinews, with its fire extended,
Fixed me upon the rack of ardent longing!
Then, swelling, sighing, raging to be blest,
Come, like a panting turtle, to thy breast;
On thy soft bosom hovering, bill and play,
Confess the cause why last I fled away;
Own 'twas a fault, but swear to give it o'er,
And never follow false ambition more. [Exeunt.

SCENE I-A Chamber,



Bel. I'm sacrificed! I'm sold! betrayed to shame!

Inevitable ruin has enclosed me!
No sooner was I to my bed repaired,
To weigh and, weeping, ponder my condition;
But the old hoary wretch, to whose false care
My peace and honour were entrusted, came,
(Like Tarquin) ghastly, with infernal lust.
Oh, thou Roman Lucrece!

Thou could'st find friends, to vindicate thy wrong!
I never had but one, and he's proved false !
He, that should guard my virtue, has betrayed it!
Left me! Undone me! Oh, that I could hate

Where shall I go? Oh! whither, whither, wander? Enter JAFFIER.

Jaf. Can Belvidera want a resting-place, When these poor arms are ready to receive her? Oh! 'tis in vain to struggle with desires! Strong is my love to thee; for, every moment I'm from thy sight, the heart within my bosom Mourns, like a tender infant in its cradle, Whose nurse had left it. Come, and with the songs

Of gentle love, persuade it to its peace.

Bel. I fear the stubborn wanderer will not own me;

'Tis grown a rebel, to be ruled no longer; Scorns the indulgent bosom, that first lulled it, And, like a disobedient child, disdains

The soft authority of Belvidera. Juf. There was a time

Bel. Yes, yes, there was a time,
When Belvidera's tears, her cries, and sorrows,
Were not despised; when, if she chanced to sigh,
Or looked but sad-there was indeed a time,
When Jaffier would have taken her in his arms,
Eased her declining head upon his breast,
And never left her, till he found the cause.
But let her now weep seas;

Cry, till she rend the earth; sigh, till she burst
Her heart asunder; still he bears it all,
Deaf as the winds, and as the rocks unshaken.
Jaf. Have I been deaf? Am I that rock un-

Against whose root, tears beat, and sighs are sent,
In vain? have I beheld thy sorrows calmly?
Witness against me, Heavens, have I done this?
Then bear me in a whirlwind back again,
And let that angry dear one ne'er forgive me.
Oh! thou too rashly censurest my love!
Could'st thou but think how I have spent this

Dark, and alone, no pillow to my head,
Rest in my eyes, nor quiet in my heart,
Thou would'st not, Belvidera, sure thou would'st

Talk to me thus; but, like a pitying angel,
Spreading thy wings, come settle on my breast,
And hatch warm comforts there, ere sorrows
freeze it.

Bel. Why then, poor mourner, in what baleful


Hast thou been talking, with that witch, the night? On what cold stone hast thou been stretched along,

Gathering the grumbling winds about thy head,
To mix with theirs, the accent of thy woes?
Oh! now I find the cause my love forsakes me ;
I am no longer fit to bear a share

In his concernments-My weak female virtue
Must not be trusted: 'tis too frail and tender.
Jaf. Oh, Portia, Portia! What a soul was

Bel. That Portia was a woman; and when Brutus,

Big with the fate of Rome, (Heaven guard thy


Concealed from her the labours of his mind,
She let him see her blood was great as his,
Flowed from a spring as noble, and a heart
Fit to partake his troubles as his love.
Fetch, fetch that dagger back, the dreadful dower,
Thou gavest last night in parting with me;-

strike it

Here to my heart; and, as the blood flows from it,
Judge if it run not pure, as Cato's daughter's.
Jaf. Thou art too good, and I indeed unwor-

Unworthy so much virtue. Teach me how
I may deserve such matchless love as thine,
And see with what attention I'll obey thee.

Bel. Do not despise me: that's the all, I ask. Jaf. Despise thee! Hear me

Bel. Oh thy charming tongue

Is but too well acquainted with my weakness;,
Knows, let it name but love, my melting heart
Dissolves within my breast; till, with closed eyes,
I reel into thy arms, and all is forgotten.
Juf. What shall I do?

Bel. Tell me; be just, and tell me,
Why dwells that busy cloud upon thy face?
Why am I made a stranger? Why that sigh,
And I not know the cause? Why, when the world
Is wrapped in rest, why chuses then my love
To wander up and down in horrid darkness,
Loathing his bed, and these desiring arms?
Why are these eyes blood-shot with tedious

Why starts he now; and looks, as if he wished His fate were finished? Tell me, ease my fear; Lest, when we next time meet, I want the


To search into the sickness of thy mind,
But talk as wildly then as thou look'st now.
Jaf. Oh, Belvidera!

Bel. Why was I last night delivered to a villain?

Jaf. Ha! a villain?

Bel. Yes, to a villain! Why at such an hour Meets that assembly, all made up of wretches, That look as hell had drawn them into league? Why, I in this hand, and in that a dagger, Was I delivered with such dreadful ceremonies? 'To you, sirs, and to your honours I bequeath her,

And with her this: Whene'er I prove unworthy-
You know the rest-then strike it to her heart.'
Oh! why is that rest concealed from me?-
Must I

Be made the hostage of a hellish trust!
For such I know I am; that's all my value.
But, by the love and loyalty I owe thee,
I'll free thee from the bondage of these slaves;
Straight to the senate, tell them all I know,
All that I think, all that my fears inform me.

Jaf. Is this the Roman virtue? this the blood
That boasts its purity with Cato's daughter?
Would she have e'er betrayed her Brutus ?
Bel. No:

For Brutus trusted her. Wert thou so kind,
What would not Belvidera suffer for thee?

Jaf. I shall undo myself, and tell thee all.
Bel. Look not upon me as I am, a woman:
But as a bone, thy wife, thy friend; who long
Has had admission to thy heart, and there
Studied the virtues of thy gallant nature.
Thy constancy, thy courage, and thy truth,
Have been my daily lesson: I have learned them,
And, bold as thou, can suffer or despise
The worst of fates for thee, and with thee share

Jaf. Oh, you divinest powers, look down and hear

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geance sure!

Bel. He drew the hideous dagger forth, thou gavest him,

And with upbraiding smiles, he said, 'Behold it!
This is the pledge of a false husband's love.'
And in my arms then pressed, and would have
clasped me;

But with my cries, I scared his coward heart,
Till he withdrew, and muttered vows to hell.
These are thy friends! with these thy life, thy

Thy love, all staked, and all will go to ruin.

Jaf. No more: I charge thee keep this secret


Clear up thy sorrows; look as if thy wrongs 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,


For if thou dost

Bel. I know it; thou wilt kill me.


Do, strike thy sword into this bosom lay me
Dead on the earth, and then thou wilt be safe.
Murder my father! though his cruel nature
Has persecuted me to my undoing;
Driven me to basest wants; can I behold him,
With smiles of vengeance, butchered in his age?
The sacred fountain of my life destroyed?

And can'st thou shed the blood, that gave me being?

Nay, be a traitor too, and sell thy country?
Can thy great heart descend so vilely low,
Mix with hired slaves, bravoes, and common stab-


Nose-slitters, alley-lurking villains! join
With such a crew, and take a ruffian's wages,
To cut the throats of wretches as they sleep?
Jaf. Thou wrong'st me, Belvidera! I have en-

With men of souls, fit to reform the ills

Of all mankind: there's not a heart amongst them
But's stout as death, yet honest as the nature
Of man first made, ere fraud and vice were fa-

Bel. What's he, to whose curst hands last night thou gavest me?

Was that well done? Oh! I could tell a story,
Would rouse thy lion-heart out of its den,
And make it rage with terrifying fury.
Jaf. Speak on, I charge thee.

Bel. O my love! if e'er

Retire, my life, and doubt not of my honour;
I'll heal its failings, and deserve thy love.

Bel. Oh! Should I part with thee, I fear thou wilt

In anger leave me, and return no more.

Juf. Return no more! I would not live without thee

Another night, to purchase the creation.
Bel. When shall we meet again?
Jaf. Anon; at twelve

I'll steal myself to thy expecting arms:
Come like a travelled dove, and bring thee peace.
Bel. Indeed!

Jaf. By all our loves.

Bel. Tis hard to part:

But sure no falsehood ever looked so fairly. Farewell! remember twelve.

Jaf. Let heaven forget me,


When I remember not thy truth, thy love!
How cursed is my condition, tossed and jostled
From every corner; fortune's common fool,
The jest of rogues, an instrumental ass,
For villains to lay loads of shame upon,
And drive about just for their ease and scorn.

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Never be weaned from caudles and confections?
What feminine tales hast thou been listening to,
Of unaired shirts, catarrhs and tooth-ach, got
By thin-soaled shoes? Damnation! that a fellow,
Chosen to be a sharer in the destruction
Of a whole people, should sneak thus into corners,
To ease his fulsome lusts, and fool his mind.

Jaf. May not a man then trifle out ar hour
With a kind woman, and not wrong his calling?
Pier. Not in a cause like ours.

Jaf. Then, friend, our cause

Is in a damned condition: for I'll tell thee,
That canker-worm, called lechery, has touched

'Tis tainted vilely. Would'st thou think it? Re


(That mortified old withered winter rogue)
Loves simple fornication like a priest;

I found him out for watering at my wife;
He visited her last night, like a kind guardian:
Faith! she has some temptation, that's the truth

Pier. He durst not wrong his trust?
Juf. 'Twas something late, though,

To take the freedom of a lady's chamber.
Pier. Was she in bed?

Juf. Yes, faith, in virgin sheets,

White as her bosom, Pierre, dished neatly up,
Might tempt a weaker appetite to taste.
Oh! how the old fox stunk, I warrant thee,
When the rank fit was on him!

Pier. Patience guide me!

He used no violence?

Jaf. No; no; out on it, violence!

Played with her neck; brushed her with his grey beard:

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Jaf. A man.

Ren. My friend, my near ally,

The hostage of your faith, my beauteous charge, is very well.

Jaf. Sir, are you sure of that?

Stands she in perfect health? beats her pulse even?

Neither too hot nor cold?

Ren. What means that question?

Jaf. Oh, women have fantastic constitutions,
Inconstant in their wishes, always wavering,
And never fixed. Was it not boldly done,
Even at first sight, to trust the thing I loved
(A tempting treasure too) with youth so fierce
And vigorous as thine? but thou art honest.
Ren. Who dares accuse me?
Jaf. Cursed be he, that doubts

Thy virtue! I have tried it, and declare,
Were I to chuse a guardian of my honour,
put it in thy keeping: for I know thee.
Ren. Know me!

Juf. Ay, know thee. There's no falsehood in

Struggled and touzed; tickled her, till she squeak-Now,
ed a little,

May be, or so-but not a jot of violence-
Pier. Damn him.

Jaf. Ay, so say I: but hush, no more of it.
All hitherto is well, and I believe

Myself no monster yet: though no man knows
What fate he is born to. Sure it is near the hour
We all should meet for our concluding orders:
Will the ambassador be here in person?

Pier. No, he has sent commission to that
villain Renault,

To give the executing charge:
I'd have thee be a man, if possible,
And keep thy temper; for a brave revenge
Ne'er comes too late.

Jaf. Fear not, I am as cool as patience.
Had he completed my dishonour, rather
Than hazard the success our hopes are ripe for,
I'd bear it all with mortifying virtue.

Pier. He's yonder, coming this way through
the hall;

His thoughts seem full.

Jaf. Prithee retire, and leave me
With him alone; I'll put him to some trial;
See how his rotten part will bear the touching.

Thou look'st just as thou art. Let us embrace!
would'st thou cut my throat, or I cut thine?
Ren. You dare not do it.
Jaf. You lie, sir.

Ren. How!
Jaf. No more,

'Tis a base world, and must reform, that's all.

DURAND, BROMVEIL, and the rest of the Con

Ren. Spinosa, Theodore!
Spin. The same.

Ren. You are welcome.

Spin. You are trembling, sir.

Ren. 'Tis a cold night, indeed, and I am aged; Full of decay and natural infirmities:

[Pier. re-enters. We shall be warm, my friends, I hope to-mor


Pier. Twas not well done; thou should'st have stroaked him,

And not have galled him.

Jaf. Damn him, let him chew on it.
Heaven! Where am I? beset with cursed fiends,
That wait to damn me! What a devil's man,
When he forgets his nature-hush, my heart.

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