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And crash of rusty bars and creaking hinges!
And ever and anon the sight was dashed
With frightful faces, and the meagre
Of grim and ghastly executioners.
Yet more this stillness terrifies my soul,
Than did that scene of complicated horrors.
It may be, that the cause of this my errand
And purpose, being changed from life to death,
Had also wrought this chilling change of temper.
Or does my heart bode more? What can it, more
Let them set down the bowls, and warn Alphonso
That I am here so. You return, and find'
[Mutes going in.
The king; tell him, what he required, I've done,
And wait his coming to approve the deed.
Zara. What have you seen? Ha! wherefore
stare you thus,
[The mutes return, and look affrighted. With haggard eyes? Why are your arms across? Your heavy and desponding heads hung down? Why is it you more than speak in these sad signs?
Give me more ample knowledge of this mourning.
[They go to the scene, which openeng, she perceives the body.
Ha! prostrate! bloody! headless! Oh
Oh, Osmyn! Oh, Alphonso! Cruel fate!
Cruel, cruel, oh, more than killing object!
I came prepared to die, and see thee die
Nay, came prepared myself to give thee death-
But cannot bear to find thee thus, my Osmyn-
Oh, this accursed, this base, this treacherous
A martyr, and a victim to my vows.
Insensible of this last proof he's gone;
Yet fate alone can rob his mortal part
Of sense his soul still sees, and knows each pur-
And fixed event, of my persisting faith.
Then wherefore do I pause? Give me the bowl.
[A mute kneels, and gives one of the bowls.
Hover a moment, yet, thou gentle spirit,
Soul of my love, and I will wait thy flight.
This to our mutual bliss, when joined above.
Oh, friendly draught, already in my heart.
Cold, cold; my veins are icicles and frost.
I'll creep into his bosom, lay me there;
Cover us close-or I shall chill his breast,
And fright him from my arms-See, see, he
Still farther from me; look, he hides his face,
I cannot feel it-quite beyond my reach,
Oh, now he's gone, and all is dark-
[Dies. [The mutes kneel, and mourn over her. Enter ALMERIA and LEONORA.
Alm. Oh, let me seek him in this horrid cell;
For in the tomb, or prison, I alone
Must hope to find him.
Leon. Heavens! what dismal scene
Of death is this? The eunuch, Selim, slain!
Alm. Shew me, for I am come in search of
But want a guide; for tears have dimmed my
Leon. Alas, a little farther, and behold
Zara all pale and dead! two frightful men,
Who seem the murderers, kneel weeping by ;
Feeling remorse, too late, for what they've done.
But, oh, forbear-lift up your eyes no more;
But haste away, fly from this fatal place,
Where miseries are multiplied; return,
Return, and look not on; for there's a dagger
Sel. I've sought in vain, for no where can the Ready to stab the sight, and make your eyes king
Zara. Get thee to hell, and seek him there.
Ilis hellish rage had wanted means to act,
But for thy fatal and pernicious counsel.
Sel. You thought it better then-but I am re-
The mute you sent, by some mischance was seen,
And forced to yield your letter with his life;
I found the dead and bloody body stripped-
My tongue faulters, and my voice fails-I sink—
Drink not the poison-for Alphonso is[ Dies.
Zara. As thou art now-and I shall quickly be.
'Tis not that he is dead: for 'twas decreed
We both should die. Nor is it that I survive;
I have a certain remedy for that.
But, oh, he died unknowing in my heart!
He knew I loved, but knew not to what height;
Nor that I meant to fall before his eyes,
Alm. Oh, I foreknow, foresee that object.
Is it at last then so? Is he then dead?
What! dead at last? quite, quite, for ever dead?
There, there, I see him; there he lies, the blood
Yet bubbling from his wounds-Oh, more than
Had they or hearts or eyes, that did this deed?
Could eyes endure to guide such cruel hands?
Are not my eyes guilty alike with theirs,
That thus can gaze, and yet not turn to stone?
I do not weep! The springs of tears are
And of a sudden I am calm, as if
All things were well; and yet my husband's mur-
Yes, yes, I know to mourn! I'll sluice this heart,
The source of woe, and let the torrent loose.
-Those men have left to weep! they look on
Seest thou not there? Behold who prostrate lies, And pleads against thee; who shall then prevail?
Yet I will take a cold and parting leave
From his pale lips; I'll kiss him ere I drink,
Lest the rank juice should blister on my mouth,
And stain the colour of my last adieu.
Horror! a headless trunk! nor lips nor face,
[Coming near the body, starts and lets fall
the cup. But spouting veins, and mangled flesh! Oh, Oh!
Enter ALPHONSO, HELI, PEREZ, with GARCIA prisoner. Guards and Attendants.
Alph. Away, stand off! Where is she? let me fly,
Save her from death, and snatch her to my heart. Alm. Oh!
Alph. Forbear; my arms alone shall hold her
Into thy lips pour the soft trickling balm
Of cordial sighs; and re-inspire thy bosom
With the breath of love. Shine, awake, Almeria!
Give a new birth to thy long-shaded eyes,
Then double on the day reflected light.
Alm. Where am I? Heaven! what does this
Alph. Oh, may'st thou never dream of less delight,
Nor ever wake to less substantial joys!
Alm. Given me again from death! Oh, all ye powers,
Confirm this miracle! Can I believe
My sight against my sight? and shall I trust
That sense, which, in one instant, shews him dead
And living?-Yes, I will; I've been abused
With apparitions and affrighting phantoms:
This is my lord, my life, my only husband;
I have him now, and we no more will part.
My father, too, shall have compassion-
Alph. Oh, my heart's comfort; 'tis not given
Frail life to be entirely blessed. Even now,
In this extremest joy my soul can taste,
Yet I am dashed to think that thou must weep;
Thy father fell where he designed my death.
Gonsalez and Alonzo, both of wounds
Expiring, have, with their last breath, confessed
The just decree of Heaven, which on themselves
Has turned their own most bloody purposes.
Nay, I must grant, 'tis fit you should be thus-
Let them remove the body from her sight.
Ill-fated Zara! Ha! a cup! Alas!
Thy error then is plain! but I were flint
Not to o'erflow in tribute to thy memory.
Whose virtue has renounced thy father's crimes, Seest thou how just the hand of Heaven has been?
Let us, who through our innocence survive,
Still in the paths of honour persevere,
And not from past or present ills despair;
For blessings ever wait on virtuous deeds;
And, though a late, a sure reward succeeds.
SCENE I.-Before Tamerlane's Tent. Enter the PRINCE of TANAIS, ZAMA, and MIR
As if it said, 'Go forth, and be my champion,
Thou, most like me of all my works below.'
Pr. No lust of rule, the common vice of kings,
No furious zeal, inspired by hot-brained priests,
Pr. HAIL to the sun! from whose returning Ill hid beneath religion's specious name,
The cheerful soldier's arms new lustre take,
To deck the pomp of battle. O, my friends!
Was ever such a glorious face of war?
See, from this height, how all Galatia's plains,
With nations numberless, are covered o'er;
Who, like a deluge, hide the face of earth,
And leave no object in the vast horizon,
But glittering arms, and skies.
Zam. Our Asian world,
From this important day, expects a lord;
This day they hope an end of all their woes,
Of tyranny, of bondage, and oppression,
From our victorious emperor, Tamerlane.
Mir. Well has our holy Alla marked him out,
The scourge of lawless pride, and dire ambition,
The great avenger of the groaning world.
Well has he worn the sacred cause of justice
Upon his prosperous sword. Approving Heaven
Still crowned the righteous warrior with success;
E'er drew his temperate courage to the field:
But to redress an injured people's wrongs,
To save the weak one from the strong oppressor,
Is all his end of war. And, when he draws
The sword to punish, like relenting Heaven,
He seems unwilling to deface his kind.
Mir. So rich his soul, in every virtuous grace,
That, had not nature made him great by birth,
Yet all the brave had sought him for their friend.
The Christian prince, Axalla, nicely bred
In polished arts of European courts,
For him forsakes his native Italy,
And lives a happy exile in his service.
Pr. Pleased with the gentle manners of that prince,
Our mighty lord is lavish of his friendship;
Though Omar and the Tartar lords repine,
And loudly tax their monarch as too partial.
Zam. Ere the mid-hour of night, from tent to
Unwearied, through the numerous host he past,
Viewing, with careful eye, each several quarter;
Whilst from his looks, as from divinity,
The soldiers took presage, and cried, Lead on,
Great Alla, and our emperor;
To victory, and everlasting fame.'
Mir. Hear you of Bajazet?
Pr. Late in the evening
A slave, of near attendance on his person,
'Scaped to our camp. From him we learned, the
With rage redoubled, for the fight prepares;
Some accidental passion fires his breast,
(Love, as 'tis thought, for a fair Grecian captive)
And adds new horror to his native fury.
For five returning suns, scarce was he seen
By any, the most favoured of his court,
But in lascivious ease, among his women,
Lived, from the war retired; or else alone,
In sulien mood, sat meditating plagues
And ruin to the world; till yester morn,
Like fire, that, labouring upwards, rends the earth,
He burst with fury from his tent, commanding
All should be ready for the fight this day.
Zam. I know his temper well, since in his court,
Companion of the brave Axalla's embassy,
I oft observed him proud, impatient
Of aught superior, e'en of Heaven, that made him;
Fond of false glory, of the savage power
Of ruling without reason, of confounding
Just and unjust, by an unbounded will;
By whom religion, honour, all the bands
That ought to hold the jarring world in peace,
Were held the tricks of state, snares of wise
To draw their easy neighbours to destruction.
Mir. Thrice, by our law and prophet, has he
By the world's lord and maker, lasting peace,
With our great master, and his royal friend,
The Grecian emperor; as oft, regardless
Of plighted faith, with most unkingly baseness,
Has ta'en the advantage of their absent arms,
Without a war proclaimed, or cause pretended,
To waste, with sword and fire, their fruitful fields;
Like some accursed fiend, who, 'scaped from hell,
Poisons the balmy air through which he flies,
He blasts the bearded corn, and loaded branches,
The labouring hind's best hopes, and marks his
way with ruin.
Pr. But see his fate! The nighty Tamerlane
Comes, like the proxy of inquiring Heaven,
To judge, and to redress. [Flourish of trumpets.
Enter TAMERLANE, Guards, and other
Tam. Yet, yet a little, and destructive slaughter Shall rage around, and mar this beauteous prospect;
Pass but an hour, which stands betwixt the lives
Of thousands and eternity. What change
Shall hasty death make in yon glittering plain!
Oh, thou fell monster, War! that in a moment Layest waste the noblest part of the creation, The boast and masterpiece of the great Maker, That wears, in vain, the impression of his image, Unprivileged from thee.
Health to our friends, and to our arms success,
[To the Prince, Zama, and Mirvan.
Such as the cause for which we fight deserves!
Pr. Nor can we ask beyond what Heaven be-
Preventing still our wishes. See, great sir,
The universal joy your soldiers wear,
Omen of prosperous battle.
| Impatient of the tedious night, in arms
Watchful they stood, expecting opening day;
And now are hardly by their leaders held
From darting on the foe. Like a hot courser,
That bounding paws the mouldering soil, dis-
The rein that checks him, eager for the race.
Tam. Yes, prince, I mean to give a loose to
Thou brother of my choice, a band more sacred
Than nature's brittle tie. By holy friendship,
Glory and fame stood still for thy arrival!
My soul seemed wanting in its better half,
And languished for thy absence; like a prophet,
That waits the inspiration of his god.
Ar. My emperor! My ever royal master!
To whom my secret soul more lowly bends,
Than forms of outward worship can express;
How poorly does your soldier pay this goodness,
Who wears his every hour of life out for you!
Yet 'tis his all, and what he has, he offers;
Nor now disdain to accept the gift he brings,
Enter SELIMA, MONESES, STRATOCLES, Prison-
ers; Guards, Mutes, &c.
This earnest of your fortune. See, my lord,
The noblest prize that ever graced my arms!
Approach, my fair-
Tam. This is indeed to conquer,
And well to be rewarded for thy conquest;
The bloom of opening flowers, unsullied beauty,
Softness, and sweetest innocence she wears,
And looks like nature in the world's first spring.
But say, Axalla-
Sel. Most renowned in war,
Look with compassion on a captive maid,
Though born of hostile blood; nor let my birth,
Derived from Bajazet, prevent that mercy,
Which every subject of your fortune finds.
War is the province of ambitious man,
Who tears the miserable world for empire;
Whilst our weak sex, incapable of wrong,
On either side claims privilege of safety.
Tam. [raising her.] Rise, royal maid! the pride
of haughty power
Pays homage, not receives it, from the fair.
Thy angry father fiercely calls me forth,
And urges me, unwillingly, to arms.
Yet, though our frowning battles menace death,
And mortal conflict, think not that we hold
Thy innocence and virtue as our foe.
Here, till the fate of Asia is decided,
In safety stay. To-morrow is your own.
Nor grieve for who may conquer, or who lose;
Fortune on either side shall wait thy wishes.
Sel. Where shall my wonder and my praise
From the successful labours of thy arms,
Or from a theme more soft, and full of peace,
Thy mercy and thy gentleness? Oh, Tamerlane!
What can I pay thee for this noble usage,
But grateful praise? So Heaven itself is paid.
Give peace, ye powers above, peace to mankind;
Nor let my father wage unequal war,
Against the force of such united virtues!
Dwells with the brave, unknown to fawning sycophants,
And claims a privilege of being believed.
I take thy praise as earnest of thy friendship.
Mon. Still you prevent the homage I should offer.
O, royal sir! let my misfortunes plead,
And wipe away the hostile mark I wore.
I was, when, not long since, my fortune hailed me,
Blessed to my wish, I was the prince Moneses;
Born, and bred up to greatness: witness the blood,
Which, through successive heroes' veins, allied
Tam. Heaven hear thy pious wish!—But since To our Greek emperors, rolled down to me,
Looks darkly on futurity, till fate
Determine for us, let thy beauty's safety
Be my Axalla's care; in whose glad eyes,
I read what joy the pleasing service gives him.
Is there amongst thy other prisoners aught
Worthy our knowledge?
Ar. This brave man, my lord,
[Pointing to Mon. With long resistance held the combat doubtful. His party, prest with numbers, soon grew faint, And would have left their charge an easy prey; Whilst he alone, undaunted at the odds, Though hopeless to escape, fought well and firmly;
Nor yielded, till, o'ermatched by many hands, He seemed to shame our conquest, whilst he owned it.
Tam. Thou speak'st him as a soldier should a soldier,
Just to the worth he finds. I would not war
[To Mon. With aught that wears thy virtuous stamp of
Thy habit speaks thee Christian-Nay, yet more, My soul seems pleased to take acquaintance with thee,
As if allied to thine: perhaps 'tis sympathy
Of honest minds; like strings wound up in music,
Where, by one touch, both utter the same harmony.
Feeds the bright flame of glory in my heart.
Tam. Even that, that princely tie should bind thee to me,
If virtue were not more than all alliance.
Mon. I have a sister,-oh, severe remembrance! Our noble house's, nay, her sex's pride; Nor think my tongue too lavish, if I speak her Fair as the fame of virtue, and yet chaste As its cold precepts; wise beyond her sex And blooming youth; soft as forgiving mercy, Yet greatly brave, and jealous for her honour: Such as she was, to say I barely loved her, Is poor to my soul's meaning. From our infancy, There grew a mutual tenderness between us, Till, not long since, her vows were kindly plighted To a young lord, the equal of her birth. The happy day was fixed, and now approaching, When faithless Bajazet (upon whose honour, In solemn treaty given, the Greeks depended,) With sudden war, broke in upon the country, Secure of peace, and for defence unready.
Tam. Let majesty no more be held divine, Since kings, who are called gods, profane themselves.
Mon. Among the wretches, whom that deluge swept
Away to slavery, myself and sister,
Then passing near the frontiers to the court,
(Which waited for her nuptials) were surprised,
And made the captives of the tyrant's power.
Soon as we reached his court, we found our usage