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Not that I fear, or reverence thee, thou tyrant! |
But that my soul, conscious of whence it sprung,
Sits unpolluted in its sacred temple,
And scorns to mingle with a thought so mean.
Tam. Oh, pity! that a greatness so divine
Should meet a fate so wretched, so unequal.
Thou, blind and wilful to the good that courts
With open-handed bounty Heaven pursues thee,
And bids thee, (undeserving as thou art,
And monstrous in thy crimes) be happy yet;
Whilst thou, in fury, dost avert the blessing,
And art an evil genius to thyself,
Baj. No-Thou! thou art my greatest curse on earth!
Thou, who hast robbed me of my crown and glory,
And now pursuest me to the verge of life,
To spoil me of my honour. Thou! thou hypo-
That wearest a pageant outside shew of virtue,
To cover the hot thoughts that glow within!
Thou rank adulterer!
Tam. Oh, that thou wert
By that bright glory thy great soul pursues,
Call back the doom of death!
Tam. Fair injured excellence,
Why dost thou kneel, and waste such precious prayers,
As might even bribe the saints to partial justice, For one to goodness lost; who first undid thee, Who still pursues and aggravates the wrong? Baj. By Alla! no, I will not wear a life Bought with such vile dishonour. Death shall free me
At once from infamy, and thee, thou traitress! Arp. No matter, though the whistling winds grow loud,
And the rude tempest roars, 'tis idle rage:
Oh! mark it not; but let thy steady virtue
Be constant to its temper. Save his life,
And save Arpasia from the sport of talkers.
Think, how the busy, meddling world will toss
Thy mighty name about, in scurril mirth;
Shall brand thy vengeance, as a foul design,
And make such monstrous legends of our lives,
As late posterity shall blush in reading.
Tam. Oh, matchless virtue! Yes, I will obey;
The lord of all those thousands, that lie breath-Though laggard in the race, admiring yet,
On yonder field of blood, that I again Might hunt thee, in the face of death and danger,
Through the tumultuous battle, and there force thee,
Vanquished and sinking underneath my arm,
To own thou hast traduced me like a villain!
Baj. Ha! Does it gall thee, Tartar? By re-
It joys me much to find thou feel'st my fury.
Yes, I will echo to thee, thou adulterer!
Thou dost prophane the name of king and sol-
And like a ruffian bravo, cam'st with force
To violate the holy marriage-bed.
Tam. Wert thou not sheltered by thy abject
The captive of my sword, by my just anger, My breath, like thunder, should confound thy pride,
And doom thee dead, this instant, with a word. Baj. It is false! my fate's above thee, and thou darest not.
Tam. Ha! dare not! Thou hast raised my ponderous rage,
And now it falls, to crush thee at a blow.
A guard there! Seize and drag him to his fate!
[Enter a guard, they seize Bajazet.
Tyrant, I will do a double justice on thee;
At once revenge myself, and all mankind.
Baj. Well dost thou, ere thy violence and lust Invade my bed, thus to begin with murder: Drown all thy fears in blood, and sin securely. Tam. Away!
Arp. [Kneeling.] Oh, stay! I charge thee, by
I will pursue the shining path thou tread'st. Sultan, be safe! Reason resumes her empire,
[The guards release Bajazet. And I am cool again.-Here break we off, Lest farther speech should minister new rage. Wisely from dangerous passsons I retreat, To keep a conquest which was hard to get: And, oh! 'tis time I should for flight prepare, A war more fatal seems to threaten there, And all my rebel-blood assists the fair: One moment more, and I too late shall find, That love's the strongest power that lords it o'er the mind.
[Exit Tamerlane, followed by the guards. Baj. To what new shame, what plague am I reserved!
Why did my stars refuse me to die warm,
While yet my regal state stood unimpeached,
Nor knew the curse of having one above me?
Then too (although by force I grasped the joy)
My love was safe, nor felt the rack of doubt.
Why hast thou forced this nauseous life upon me?
Is it to triumph o'er me?---But I will,
I will be free; I will forget thee all;
The bitter and the sweet, the joy and pain,
Death shall expunge at once, and ease my soul.
Prophet, take notice, I disclaim thy Paradise,
Thy fragrant bowers, and everlasting shades;
Thou hast placed woman there, and all thy joys
Arp. A little longer yet, be strong, my heart;
A little longer let the busy spirits
Keep on their cheerful round. It will not be!
Love, sorrow, and the sting of vile reproach,
Succeeding one another in their course,
Like drops of eating water on the marble,
At length have worn my boasted courage down:
I will indulge the woman in my soul,
And give a loose to tears and to impatience;
Death is at last my due, and I will have it.-
And see, the poor Moneses comes, to take
One sad adieu, and then we part for ever.
Mon. Already am I onward of my way,
Thy tuneful voice comes like a hollow sound
At distance, to my ears. My eyes grow heavy,
And all the glorious lights of Heaven look dim;
'Tis the last office they shall ever do me,
To view thee once, and then to close and die.
Arp. Alas! how happy have we been, Mo-
Ye gentle days, that once were ours, what joys
Did every cheerful morning bring along!
No fears, no jealousies, no angry parents,
That for unequal births, or fortunes frowned;
But love, that kindly joined our hearts, to bless
Made us a blessing too to all besides.
Have sworn to own my cause, and draw their
To-morrow, from the ungrateful Parthian's side:
The day declining seems to yield to night,
Mon. Oh, cast not thy remembrance back, Ere little more than half her course be ended.
'Tis grief unutterable, 'tis distraction!
But let this last of hours be peaceful sorrow!
Here let me kneel, and pay my latest vows.
Be witness, all ye saints, thou Heaven and Na-
Be witness of my truth, for you have known it!
Be witness, that I never knew a pleasure,
In all the world could offer, like Arpasia!
Be witness, that I lived but in Arpasia!
And, oh, be witness, that her loss has killed me!
Arp. While thou art speaking, life begins to
And every tender accent chills like death.
Oh! let me haste then, yet, ere day declines
And the long night prevail, once more to tell
What, and how dear, Moneses has been to me.
What has he not been?-All the names of love,
Brothers, or fathers, husbands, all are poor:
Moneses is myself; in my fond heart,
Even in my vital blood, he lives and reigns:
The last dear object of my parting soul
Will be Moneses; the last breath that lingers
Within my panting breast, shall sigh Moneses.
Mon. It is enough! Now to thy rest, my soul! The world and thou have made an end at once. Arp. Fain would I still detain thee, hold thee still:
Nor honour can forbid, that we together Should share the few poor minutes that remain. I swear, methinks this sad society
Has somewhat pleasing in it.-Death's dark shades
Seem, as we journey on, to lose their horror;
At near approach the monsters, formed by fear,
Are vanished all, and leave the prospect clear;
Amidst the gloomy vale, a pleasing scene,
With flowers adorned, and never-fading green,
In an auspicious hour prepare for flight;
The leaders of the troops, through which we pass,
Raised by my power, devoted to my service,
Shall make our passage secret and secure.
Der. Already, mighty sultan, art thon safe, Since, by yon passing torches' light, I guess, To his pavilion Tamerlane retires,
Attended by a train of waiting courtiers.
All who remain within these tents are thine,
And hail thee as their lord.-
Ha! the Italian prince,
With sad Moneses, are not yet gone forth.
Baj. Ha! with our queen and daughter!
Om. They are ours:
I marked the slaves, who waited on Axalla;
They, when the emperor past out, prest on,
And mingled with the crowd, nor missed their
He is your prisoner, sir: I go this moment,
To seize, and bring him to receive his doom.
[Exit Omar, Baj. Haste, Haly, follow, and secure the Greek :
Him too I wish to keep within my power.
[Exit Haly. Der. If my dread lord permit his slave to speak,
I would advise to spare Axalla's life,
Till we are safe beyond the Parthian's power:
Him, as our pledge of safety, may we hold;
And, could you gain him to assist your flight,
It might import you much.
Baj. Thon counsellest well;
And though I hate him (for he is a Christian,
And to my mortal enemy devoted),
Yet, to secure my liberty and vengeance,
I wish he now were ours.
Der. And see, they come!
Fortune repents; again she courts your side,
And, with this first fair offering of success,
She wooes you to forget her crime of yesterday.
Enter OMAR, with AXALLA Prisoner, SELIMA
Ar. I will not call thee villain; 'tis a name
Too holy for thy crime: to break thy faith,
And turn a rebel to so good a master,
Is an ingratitude unmatched on earth.
The first revolting angel's pride could only
Do more than thou hast done. Thou copiest
And keepest the black original in view.
Om. Do rage, and vainly call upon thy master To save his minion. My revenge has caught thee,
And I will make thee curse that fond presumption,
That set thee on to rival me in aught.
Baj. Christian, I hold thy fate at my disposal!
One only way remains to mercy open;
Be partner of my flight and my revenge,
And thou art safe. Thy other choice is death.
Om. What means the sultan ?
Der. I conjure you, hold-
Your rival is devoted to destruction:
[Aside to Omar. Nor would the sultan now defer his fate, But for our common safety.-Listen further.
[Whispers. Ar. Then briefly thus. Death is the choice I make;
Since, next to Heaven, my master and my friend
Has interest in my life, and still shall claim it.
Baj. Then take thy wish-Call in our mutes!
Sel. My father,
If yet you have not sworn to cast me off,
And turn me out to wander in misfortune;
If yet my voice be gracious in your ears;
If yet my duty and my love offend not,
Oh, call your sentence back, and save Axalla!
Baj. Rise, Selima! The slave deserves to die,
Who durst, with sullen pride, refuse my mercy:
Yet, for thy sake, once more I offer life.
Sel. Some angel whisper to my anxious soul,
What I shall do to save him.-Oh, Axalla!
Is it so easy to thee to forsake me?
Canst thou resolve, with all this cold indifference,
Never to see me more? To leave me here
The miserable mourner of thy fate,
Condemned to waste my widowed virgin youth,
My tedious days and nights, in lonely weeping,
And never know the voice of comfort more?
Ar. Search not too deep the sorrows of my
Thou say'st I am indifferent and cold;
Oh! is it possible my eyes should tell
So little of the fighting storm within?
Oh! turn thee from me, save me from thy beau-
Falsehood and ruin all look lovely there.
Oh! let my labouring soul yet struggle through—
I will-I would resolve to die, and leave thee.
Baj. Then let him die!-He trifles with my
I have too long attended his resolves.
Sel. Oh! stay a minute, yet a minute longer!
A minute is a little space in life.
There is a kind consenting in his eyes,
And I shall win him to your royal will.
Oh, my Axalla! seem but to consent.-
[To Ax. aside.
Unkind and cruel, will you then do nothing?
I find I am not worth thy least of cares.
Ar. Oh! labour not to hang dishonour on me!
I could bear sickness, pain and poverty,
Those mortal evils worse than death, for thee.
But this-It has the force of fate against us,
And cannot be.
Sel. See, see, sir, he relents! [To Bajazet.
Already he inclines to own your cause.
A little longer, and he is all yours.
Baj. Then mark how far a father's fondness
Till midnight I defer the death he merits,
And give him up 'till then to thy persuasion.
If by that time he meets my will, he lives;
If not, thyself shalt own he dies with justice.
Ar. 'Tis but to lengthen life upon the rack.
I am resolved already.
Nor rashly urge a ruin on us both!
'Tis but a moment more I have to save thee.
Be kind, auspicious Alla, to my prayer!
More for my love, than for myself, I fear;
Neglect mankind awhile, and make him all thy
[Exeunt Axalla and Selima.
Baj. Moneses-is that dog secured?
Om. He is.
Baj. 'Tis well-My soul perceives returning
As nature feels the spring. Lightly she bounds,
And shakes dishonour, like a burden, from her;
Once more imperial, awful, and herself.
So, when of old, Jove from the Titans fled,
Ammon's rude front his radiant face belied,
And all the majesty of Heaven lay hid.
At length, by fate, to power divine restored,
His thunder taught the world to know its Lord,
The God grew terrible again, and was again
SURE 'tis a horror, more than darkness brings,
That sits upon the night! Fate is abroad;
Some ruling fiend hangs in the dusky air,
And scatters ruin, death, and wild distraction,
O'er all the wretched race of man below.
Not long ago, a troop of ghastly slaves
Rushed in, and forced Moneses from my sight;
Death hung so heavy on his drooping spirits,
That scarcely could he say-Farewell for ever!
And yet, methinks, some gentle spirit whispers,
Thy peace draws near, Arpasia, sigh no more!
And see! the king of terrors is at hand;
Enter BAJAZET and HALY. Baj. [Aside to Haly.] The rest I leave To thy dispatch. For, oh! my faithful Haly, Another care has taken up thy master. Spite of the high-wrought tempest in my soul, Spite of the pangs which jealousy has cost me, This haughty woman reigns within my breast; In vain I strive to put her from my thoughts, To drive her out with empire, and revenge. Still she comes back, like a retiring tide, That ebbs awhile, but strait returns again, And swells above the beach.
Ha. Why wears my lord
An anxious thought for what his power commands?
When, in a happy hour, you shall, ere long,
Have borne the empress from amidst your foes,
She must be yours, be only and all yours.
Baj. On that depends my fear. Yes, I must have her;
I own, I will not, cannot, go without her,
But such is the condition of our flight,
That should she not consent, 'twould hazard all
To bear her hence by force. Thus I resolve
By threats and prayers, by every way, to move her;
If all prevail not, force is left at last;
And I will set life, empire, on the venture,
To keep her mine-Be near to wait my will.
[Exit Haly. When last we parted, 'twas on angry terms; Let the remembrance die, or kindly think That jealous rage is but a hasty flame, That blazes out, when love too fiercely burns. Arp. For thee to wrong me, and for me to suffer,
Is the hard lesson that my soul has learnt,
And now I stand prepared for all to come;
Nor is it worth my leisure to distinguish
If love or jealousy commit the violence.
Each have alike been fatal to my peace,
Confirming me a wretch, and thee a tyrant.
Baj. Still to deform thy gentle brow with
And still to be perverse, it is a manner
Abhorrent from the softness of thy sex:
Women, like summer storms, awhile are cloudy,
Burst out in thunder, and impetuous showers;
But strait, the sun of beauty dawns abroad,
And all the fair horizon is serene.
Arp. Then, to retrieve the honour of my sex, Here I disclaim that changing and inconstancy: To thee I will be ever as I am.
Baj. Thou sayest I am a tyrant; think so still,
And let it warn thy prudence to lay hold
On the good hour of peace, that courts thee now.
Souls, formed like mine, brook being scorned but
Be well advised, and profit by my patience;
It is a short-lived virtue.
Arp. Turn thine eyes
Back on the story of my woes, barbarian!
Thou that hast violated all respects
Due to my sex, and honour of my birth.
Thou brutal ravisher! that hast undone me,
Ruined my love! Can I have peace with thee?
Impossible! First heaven and hell shall join;
They only differ more.
To court thy stubborn temper with endearments.
Resolve, this moment, to return my love,
And be the willing partner of my flight,
Or, by the prophet's holy law, thou diest!
Arp. And dost thou hope to fright me with the phantom,
Death Tis the greatest mercy thou canst give; So frequent are the murders of thy reign,
One day scarce passing by unmarked with blood, That children, by long use, have learnt to scorn it.
Know, I disdain to aid thy treacherous purpose,
And shouldst thou dare to force me, with my cries
I will call Heaven and earth to my assistance.
Baj. Confusion! dost thou brave me? But
Shall find a passage to thy swelling heart,
And rack thee worse than all the pains of death.
That Grecian dog, the minion of thy wishes,
Shall be dragged forth, and butchered in thy sight;
Thou shalt behold him when his pangs are
Come, all ye great examples of my sex,
Chaste virgins, tender wives, and pious matrons!
Ye holy martyrs, who, with wondrous faith
And constancy unshaken, have sustained
The rage of cruel men, and fiery persecution,
Come to my aid, and teach me to defy
The malice of this fiend! I feel, I feel
Your sacred spirit arm me to resistance.
Yes, tyrant, I will stand this shock of fate;
Will live to triumph o'er thee, for a moment,
Then die well pleased, and follow my Moneses.
Baj. Thou talkest it well. But talking is thy
'Tis all the boasted courage of thy sex;
Though, for thy soul, thou darest not meet the
Arp. By all my hopes of happiness, I dare!-
My soul is come within her ken of heaven;
Charmed with the joys and beauties of that place,
Her thoughts and all her cares she fixes there,
And 'tis in vain for thee to rage below:
Thus stars shine bright, and keep their place
Though ruffling winds deform this lower world.
Baj. This moment is the trial.
Arp. Let it come!
This moment then shall shew I am a Greek,
And speak my country's courage in my suffering.
Baj. Here, mercy, I disclaim thee! Mark me,
My love prepares a victim to thy pride,
And when it greets thee next, 'twill be in blood.
Arp. My heart beats higher, and my nimble
Ride swiftly through their purple channels round.
'Tis the last blaze of life. Nature revives,
Like a dim winking lamp, that flashes brightly
With parting light, and straight is dark for ever.
And see, my last of sorrows is at hand;
Death and Moneses come together to me;
As if my stars, that had so long been cruel,
Grew kind at last, and gave me all I wish.
Mon. There is no room for doubt; 'tis certain
The tyrant's cruel violence, thy loss,
Already seem more light; nor has my soul
One unrepented guilt upon remembrance,
To make me dread the justice of hereafter;
But standing now on the last verge of life,
Boldly I view the last abyss, eternity,
Eager to plunge, and leave my woes behind me.
Arp. By all the truth of our past loves, I vow,
To die appears a very nothing to me.
But, oh, Moneses! should I not allow
Somewhat to love, and to my sex's tenderness?
This very now I could put off my being
Without a groan; but to behold thee die!-
Nature shrinks in me at the dreadful thought,
Nor can my constancy sustain this blow.
Mon. Since thou art armed for all things after
Why should the pomp and preparation of it
Be frightful to thy eyes? There's not a pain,
Which age or sickness brings, the least disorder
That vexes any part of this fine frame,
But is full as grievous.
Is much, much more.
All that the mind feels
And see, I go to prove it.
Enter a Mute; he signs to the rest, who proffer
a bow-string to Moneses.
Arp. Think, ere we part!
Mon. Of what?
Arp. Of something soft,
Tender and kind, of something wondrous sad.
Oh, my full soul!
Mon. My tongue is at a loss;
Thoughts crowd so fast, thy name is all I have
My kindest, truest, dearest, best Arpasia!
[The Mutes struggle with him. Arp. I have a thousand, thousand things to
A thousand more to hear yet. Barbarous villains!
Give me a minute. Speak to me, Moneses!
Mon. Speak to thee? Tis the business of my
Enter MONESES, guarded by some Mutes; others
attending with a cup of poison, and a bow-Tis all the use I have for vital air.
Mon. I charge ye, O ye ministers of fate!
Be swift to execute your master's will;
Bear me to my Arpasia; let me tell her,
The tyrant is grown kind. He bids me go,
And die beneath her feet. A joy shoots through
My drooping breast; as often, when the trumpet
Has called my youthful ardour forth to battle,
High in my hopes, and ravished with the sound,
I have rushed eager on, amidst the foremost,
To purchase victory, or glorious death,
Arp. If it be happiness, alas! to die,
To lie forgotten in the silent grave,
To love and glory lost, and from among
The great Creator's works expunged and blotted,
Then, very shortly, shall we both be happy.
Stand off, ye slaves! To tell thee that my heart
Is full of thee; that, even at this dread mo-
My fond eyes gaze with joy and rapture on thee;
Angels, and light itself, are not so fair.
Enter BAJAZET, HALY, and Attendants.
Baj. Ha! wherefore lives this dog? Be quick,
And rid me of my pain.
Mon. For only death,
And the last night, can shut out my Arpasia.
[The Mutes strangle Moneses.
Arp. Oh, dismal! 'tis not to be borne! Ye moralists!
Ye'talkers! what are all your precepts now?