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Sel. Hope better for us both; nor let thy
Like an unlucky omen, cross my way.
My father, rough and stormy in his nature,
To me was always gentle, and, with fondness
Paternal, ever met me with a blessing.
Oft, when offence had stirred him to such fury,
That not grave counsellors, for wisdom famed,
Nor hardy captains, that had fought his battles,
Presumed to speak, but struck with awful dread,
Were hushed as death; yet has he smiled on me,
Kissed me, and bade me utter all my purpose,
Till, with my idle prattle, I had soothed him,
And won him from his anger.
Thou hast a tongue to charm the wildest tempers.
Herds would forget to graze, and savage beasts
Stand still and lose their fierceness, but to hear
As if they had reflection, and by reason
Forsook a less enjoyment for a greater.
But, oh! when I revolve each circumstance,..
My Christian faith, my service closely bound
To Tamerlane, my master, and my friend,
Tell me, my charmer, if my fears are vain?
Think what remains for me, if the fierce sultan
Should doom thy beauties to another's bed!
Sel. 'Tis a sad thought: but to appease thy
Here, in the awful sight of Heaven, I vow
No power shall e'er divide me from thy love,
Even duty shall not force me to be false.
My cruel stars may tear thee from my arms,
But never from my heart; and when the maids
Shall yearly come with garlands of fresh flowers,
To mourn with pious office o'er my grave,
They shall sit sadly down, and weeping tell
How well I loved, how much I suffered for thee:
And while they grieve my fate, shall praise my
Ar. But see, the sultan comes!My beat-
Bounds with exulting motion; hope and fear
Fight with alternate conquest in my breast.
Oh! can I give her from me? Yield her up?
Now mourn, thou god of love, since honour
And crowns his cruel 'altars with thy spoils.
Sel. My lord! my royal father!
Baj. Ha! what art thou?
What heavenly innocence! that in a form
So known, so loved, hast left thy paradise,
For joyless prison, for this place of woe!
Art thou my Selima ?
Sel. Have you forgot me?
Alas, my piety is then in vain!
Your Selima, your daughter whom you loved,
The fondling once of her dear father's arms,
Is come to claim her share in his misfortunes;
To wait and tend him with obsequious duty;
To sit, and weep for every care he feels;
To help to wear the tedious minutes out,
To soften bondage, and the loss of empire.
Baj. Now, by our prophet, if my wounded mind
Could know a thought of peace, it would be now!
Even from thy prating infancy thou wert
My joy, my little angel; smiling comfort
Came with thee, still to glad me.
Even in thee too. Reproach and infamy
Attend the Christian dog, to whom thou wert
To see thee here-'twere better see thee dead!
Ar. Thus Tamerlane, to royal Bajazet,
With kingly greeting sends; since with the brave
(The bloody business of the fight once ended)
Stern hate and opposition ought to cease;
Thy queen already to thy arms restored,
Receive this second gift, thy beauteous daughter;
And if there be aught farther in thy wish,
Demand with honour, and obtain it freely.
Baj. Bear back thy fulsome greeting to thy
Tell him, I'll none of it. Had he been a god,
All his omnipotence could not restore
My fame diminished, loss of sacred honour,
The radiancy of majesty eclipsed:
For aught besides, it is not worth my care;
The giver and his gifts are both beneath me.
Ar. Enough of war the wounded earth has
Weary at length, and wasted with destruction,
Sadly she rears her ruined head, to shew
Her cities humbled, and her countries spoiled,
And to her mighty masters sues for peace.
Oh, sultan! by the Power divine I swear,
With joy I would resign the savage trophies
In blood and battle gained, could I atone
The fatal breach 'twixt thee and Tamerlane;
Baj. To have a nauseous courtesy forced on And think a soldier's glory well bestowed
To buy mankind a peace.
Baj. And what art thou,
That dost presume to mediate 'twixt the rage
Of angry kings?
Ax. A prince, born of the noblest,
And of a soul that answers to that birth,
That dares not but do well. Thou dost put on
A forced forgetfulness, thus not to know me,
A guest so lately to thy court, then meeting
On gentler terms.—
Sel. Could aught efface the merit
Of brave Axalla's name, yet when your daughter
Shall tell how well, how nobly she was used,
How light this gallant prince made all her bond-
Most sure the royal Bajazet will own
That honour stands indebted to such goodness,
Nor can a monarch's friendship more than pay it.
Baj. Ha! know'st thou that, fond girl? Go
-'tis not well,
And when thou couldst descend to take a benefit
From a vile Christian, and thy father's foe,
Thou didst an act dishonest to thy race:
Henceforth, unless thou mean'st to cancel all
My share in thee, and write thyself a bastard,
Die, starve, know any evil, any pain,
Rather than taste a mercy from these dogs.
Sel. Alas! Axalla!
Ar. Weep not, lovely maid!
I swear, one pearly drop from those fair eyes
Would over-pay the service of my life!
One sigh from thee has made a large amends
For all thy angry father's frowns and fierceness.
Baj. Oh, my curst fortune !-Am I fallen thus
Dishonoured to my face! Thou earth-born thing!
Thou clod! how hast thou dared to lift thy eyes
Up to the sacred race of mighty Ottoman,
Whom kings, whom even our prophet's holy off-
At distance have bebeld? And what art thou?
What glorious titles blazon out thy birth?
Thou vile obscurity! ha!-say-thou base one.
Ar. Thus challenged, virtue, modest as she is,
Stands up to do herself a common justice;
To answer, and assert that inborn merit,
That worth, which conscious to herself she feels.
Were honour to be scanned by long descent,
From ancestors illustrious, I could vaunt
A lineage of the greatest, and recount,
Among my fathers, names of ancient story,
Heroes and god-like patriots, who subdued
The world by arms and virtue, and, being Romans,
Scorned to be kings; but that be their own praise:
Nor will I borrow merit from the dead,
Myself an undeserver. I could prove
My friendship such, as thou mightest deign to accept
With honour, when it comes with friendly office, To render back thy crown, and former greatness; And yet even this, even all is poor, when Selima, With matchless worth, weighs down the adverse scale.
Baj. To give me back what yesterday took from me,
Would be to give like Heaven, when having finish ed
This world (the goodly work of his creation),
He bid his favourite man be lord of all.
Ar. Nor is this gift beyond my power.
Oft has the mighty master of my arms.
Urged me, with large ambition, to demand
Crowns and dominions from his bounteous power:
'Tis true, I waved the proffer, and have held it
The worther choice to wait upon his virtues,
To be the friend and partner of his wars,
Than to be Asia's lord. Nor wonder then,
If, in the confidence of such a friendship,
I promise boldly for the royal giver,
Thy crown and empire.
Baj. For our daughter thus
Meanest thou to barter? Ha! I tell thee, Christian,
There is but one, one dowry thou canst give,
And I can ask, worthy my daughter's love.
Ar. Oh! name the mighty ransom; task my
With a vile peace, patched up on slavish terms?
With tributary kingship?No!-To merit
A recompence from me, sate my revenge.
The Tartar is my bane, I cannot bear him :
One heaven and earth can never hold us both;
Still shall we hate, and with defiance deadly
Keep rage alive, till one be lost for ever;
As if two suns should meet in the meridian,
And strive, in fiery combat, for the passage.
Weep'st thou, fond girl? Now, as thy king, and
I charge thee, drive this slave from thy remembrance!
Hate shall be pious in thee. Come, and join [Laying hold on her hand.
To curse thy father's foes.
Sel. Undone for ever!
Now, tyrant duty, art thou yet obeyed?
There is no more to give thee. Oh, Axalla!
[Bajazet leads out Selima, she looking
back on Axalla.
Ar. 'Twas what I feared; fool that I was to obey!
The coward, Love, that could not bear her frown,
Has wrought his own undoing. Perhaps e'en now
The tyrant's rage prevails upon her fears:
Fiercely he storms: she weeps, and sighs, and
But swears at length to think on me no more.
He bade me take her. But, oh, gracious honour!
Upon what terms? My soul yet shudders at it,
And stands but half recovered of her fright.
The head of Tamerlane! monstrous impiety!
Bleed, bleed to death, my heart, be virtue's mar-
In reverend regard holds all that bear
Relation to religion, and, on notice
Of his request, received him on the instant.
Mon. We will attend his pleasure. [Exeunt.
Enter TAMERLANE and a Dervise.
Tam. Thou bring'st me thy credentials from the highest,
From Alla, and our prophet. Speak thy message; It must import the best and noblest ends.
Der. Thus speaks our holy Mahomet, who has given thee
To reign and conquer: ill dost thou repay.
The bounties of his hand, unmindful of
The fountain whence thy streams of greatness flow.
Thou hast forgot high Heaven, hast beaten down And trampled on religion's sanctity.
Tam. Now, as I am a soldier and a king (The greatest names of honour), do but make Thy imputation out, and Tamerlane Shall do thee ample justice on himself. So much the sacred name of Heaven awes me, Could I suspect my soul of harbouring aught To its dishonour, I would search it strictly, And drive the offending thought with fury forth. Der. Yes, thou hast hurt our holy prophet's honour,
By fostering the pernicious Christian sect: Those, whom his sword pursued, with fell destruction,
Thou takest into thy bosom, to thy councils! They are thy only friends. The true believers Mourn to behold thee favour this Axalla.
Tam. I fear me, thou outgoest the prophet's order,
And bring'st his venerable name to shelter
A rudeness, ill-becoming thee to use,
Or me to suffer. When thou namest my friend,
Thou namest a man beyond a monk's discerning,
Virtuous and great, a warrior and a prince.
Der. He is a Christian; there our law condemns him,
Although he were even all thou speakest, and
Tam. 'Tis false; no law divine condemns the
For differing from the rules your schools devise.
Look round, how Providence bestows alike
Sunshine and rain, to bless the fruitful year,
On different nations, all of different faiths;
And (though by several names and titles wor-
Heaven takes the various tribute of their praise;
Since at agree to own, at least to mean,
One best, one greatest, only Lord of all.
Thus, when he viewed the many forms of nature, He found that all was good, and blest the fair va riety.
Der. Most impious and profane !-Nay, frown not, prince!
Full of the prophet, I despise the danger
Thy angry power may threaten. I command thee
To hear, and to obey; since thus says Mahomet:
Why have I made thee dreadful to the nations?
Why have I given thee conquest, but to spread
My sacred law even to the utmost earth,
And make my holy Mecca the world's worship?
Go on, and wheresoe'er thy arms shall prosper,
Plant there the prophet's name; with sword and
Drive out all other faiths, and let the world
Confess him only.
Tum, Had he but commanded
My sword to conquer all, to make the world
Know but one lord, the task were not so hard;
'Twere but to do what has been done already;
And Philip's son, and Cæsar, did as much;
But to subdue the unconquerable mind,
To make one reason have the same effect
Upon all apprehensions; to force this
Or this man, just to think as thou and I do;
Impossible! Unless souls were alike
In all, which differ now like human faces.
Der. Well might the holy cause be carried on, If Musselmen did not make war on Musselmen. Why holdest thou captive a believing monarch? Now, as thou hopest to 'scape the prophet's
Release the royal Bajazet, and join,
With force united, to destroy the Christians.
Tam. 'Tis well-I've found the cause that moves thy zeal.
What shallow politician set thee on,
In hopes to fright me this way to compliance?
Der. Our prophet only-
Tam. No-thou dost belie him,
Thou maker of new faiths! that darest to build
Thy fond inventions on religion's name.
Religion's lustre is, by native innocence,
Divinely pure, and simple from all arts;
You daub and dress her like a common mistress,
The harlot of your fancies; and, by adding
False beauties, which she wants not, make the
Suspect her angel's face is foul beneath,
And would not bear all lights.
Der. I have but one resort. prophet!
Yet I have somewhat further to unfold;
Our prophet speaks to thee in thunder-thus-
[The Dervise draws a concealed dagger,
and offers to stab Tamerlane.
Tam. No, villain, Heaven is watchful o'er its
[Wresting the dagger from him. And blasts the murderer's purpose. Think, thou wretch!
Think on the pains that wait thy crime, and tremble
When I shall doom thee
Der. 'Tis but death at last;
And I will suffer greatly for the cause,
That urged me first to the bold deed.
Tum. Oh, impious!
Enthusiasm thus makes villains martyrs.
[Pausing.] It shall be so-To die! "twere a re-
Now, learn the difference 'twixt thy faith and
Thine bids thee lift thy dagger to my throat;
Mine can forgive the wrong, and bid thee live.
Keep thy own wicked secret, and be safe!
If thou repentest, I have gained one to virtue,
And am, in that, rewarded for my mercy;
If thou continuest still to be the same,
'Tis punishment enough to be a villain.
And tell how boldly that might bid thee ask,
Lest I should make a merit of my justice,
The common debt I owe to thee, to all,
Even to the meanest of mankind, the charter
By which I claim my crown, and Heaven's pro-
Speak, then, as to a king, the sacred name
Where power is lodged, for righteous ends alone.
Mon. One only joy, one blessing, my fond heart
Had fixed its wishes on, and that is lost;
That sister, for whose safety my sad soul
Endured a thousand fears-
When, ere the battle joined, I saw thee first,
With grief uncommon to a brother's love,
Thou told'st a moving tale of her misfortunes,
Such as bespoke my pity. Is there aught
Thou canst demand from friendship? Ask, and
Mon. First, oh! let me entreat your royal
Forgive the folly of a lover's caution,
That forged a tale of folly to deceive you.
Said I, she was my sister?-Oh! 'tis false;
She holds a dearer interest in my soul,
Such as the closest ties of blood ne'er knew;.
An interest, such as power, wealth, and honour,
Cannot buy, but love, love only, can bestow:
She was the mistress of my vows, my bride,
By contract mine; and long ere this the priest
Had tied the knot for ever, had not Bajazet-
Tam. Ha! Bajazet!-If yet his power withholds
The cause of all thy sorrows, all thy fears,
E'en gratitude for once shall gain upon him,
Spite of his savage temper, to restore her.
This morn a soldier brought a captive beauty,
Sad, though she seemed, yet of a form most rare,
By much the noblest spoil of all the field;
E'en Scipio, or a victor yet more cold,
Might have forgot his virtue at her sight,
Struck with a pleasing wonder, I beheld her,
Hence! from my sight-It shocks my soul to Till, by a slave that waited near her person,
That there is such a monster in my kind.
Whither will man's impiety extend?
Oh, gracious Heaven! dost thou withhold thy
When bold assassins take thy name upon them,
And swear they are the champions of thy cause?
Mon. Oh, emperor! before whose awful throne
The afflicted never kneel in vain for justice;
[Kneeling to Tam.
Undone, and ruined, blasted in my hopes,
Here let me fall before your sacred feet,
And groan out my misfortunes, till your pity
I learned she was the captive sultan's wife:
Straight I forbid my eyes the dangerous joy
Of gazing long, and sent her to her lord.
Mon. There was Moneses lost! Too sure my
(From the first mention of her wondrous charms)
Presaged it could be only my Arpasia.
Tam. Arpasia! didst thou say?
Mon. Yes, my Arpasia.
Tam. Sure I mistake, or fain I would mistake
I named the queen of Bajazet, his wife.
Mon. His queen! his wife! he brings that ho-
To varnish o'er the monstrous wrongs he has done
Tam. Alas! I fear me, prince, thy griefs are 'Shall wake my drowsy soul from her dead sleep, just;
Thou art, indeed, unhappy
Mon. Can you pity me,
And not redress? Oh, royal Tamerlane!
Thou succour of the wretched, reach thy mercy
To save me from the grave, and from oblivion!
Be gracious to the hopes that wait my youth.
Oh let not sorrow blast me, lest I wither,
And fall in vile dishonour! Let thy justice
Restore me my Arpasia; give her back,
Back to my wishes, to my transports give her,
To my fond, restless, bleeding, dying bosom!
Oh give her to me yet while I have life
To bless thee for the bounty! Oh, Arpasia!
Tam. Unhappy, royal youth, why dost thou ask
What honour must deny? Ha! is she not
His wife, whom he has wedded, whom enjoyed?
And wouldst thou have my partial friendship
That holy knot, which, tied once, all mankind
Agree to hold sacred and undissolveable?
The brutal violence would stain my justice,
And brand me with a tyrant's hated name
To late posterity.
Mon. Are then the vows,
The holy vows we registered in heaven,
But common air?
Tam. Could thy fond love forget
The violation of a first enjoyment?-
But sorrow has disturbed and hurt thy mind. Mon. Perhaps it has, and, like an idle mad
That wanders with a train of hooting boys,
I do a thousand things to shame my reason.
Then let me fly, and bear my follies with me,
Far, far from the world's sight. Honour and
Arms, and the glorious war shall be forgotten;
No noble sound of greatness, or ambition,
Till the last trump do summon.
Tam. Let thy virtue
and answer to these warring passions, That vex thy manly temper. From the moment When first I saw thee, something wondrous noble Shone through thy form, and won my friendship for thee,
Without the tedious form of long acquaintance;
Nor will I lose thee poorly for a woman.
Come, droop no more! thou shalt with me pursue
True greatness, till we rise to immortality.
Thou shalt forget these lesser cares, Moneses;
Thou shalt, and help me to reform the world.
Mon. So the good genius warns his mortal
To fly the evil fate that still pursues him,
Till it have wrought his ruin. Sacred Tamer-
Thy words are as the breath of angels to me.
But, oh! too deep the wounding grief is fixt,
For any hand to heal.
Tam. This dull despair
Is the soul's laziness. Rouse to the combat,
And thou art sure to conquer. War shall re-
The sound of arms shall wake thy martial ardour,
And cure this amorous sickness of thy soul,
Begun by sloth, and nursed by too much ease.
The idle god of love supinely dreams,
Amidst inglorious shades and purling streams;
In rosy fetters and fantastic chains,
He binds deluded maids and simple swains;
With soft enjoyments wooes them to forget
The hardy toils and labours of the great.
But, if the warlike trumpet's loud alarms
To virtuous acts excite, and manly arms,
The coward boy avows his abject fear,
On silken wings sublime he cuts the air,
Scared at the noble noise and thunder of the
Der. Just entering here, I met the Tartar general, Fierce Omar.
Ha. He commands, if I mistake not, This quarter of the army, and our guards.
Der. The same. By his stern aspect, and the fires
That kindled in his eyes, I guessed the tumult
Some wrong had raised in his tempestuous soul;
A friendship of old date had given me privilege
To ask of his concerns. In short, I learned,
That, burning for the sultan's beauteous daughter,
He had begged her, as a captive of the war,
From Tamerlane; but meeting with denial
Of what he thought his services might claim,
Loudly he storms, and curses the Italian,
As cause of this affront. I joined his rage,