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0. Wilm. Nor would I live to see it-But dis- Who only favours youth, as feeble age patch.
[Exit Agnes. Were not her offspring or below her care, Where must I charge this length of misery, Has sealed our doom: No second hope shall That gathers force each moment as it rolls,
spring, And must at last o'erwhelm me, but on hope : To dry our tears, and dissipate despair. Vain, flattering, delusive, groundless hope, Agn. The last and most abandoned of our That has for years deceived me?-Had I thought kind, As I do now, as wise men ever think,
By heaven and earth neglected or despised, When first this hell of poverty o'ertook me, The loathsome grave, that robbed us of our son, That power to die implies a right to do it, And all our joys in him, must be our refuge. And should be used when life becomes a pain, Y. Wilm. Let ghosts unpardoned, or devoted What plagues had I prevented !- True, my wife fiends, Is still a slave to prejudice and fear
Fear without hope, and wail in such sad strains; I would not leave my better part, the dear But grace defend the living from despair !
[Weeps. The darkest hours precede the rising sun, Faithful companion of my happier days, And mercy may appear, when least expected. To bear the weight of age and want alone. 0. Wilm. This I have heard a thousand times -I'll try once more-
And have, believing, been as oft deceived. Enter Agnes, and after her Young Wilmot. Y. Wilm. Behold in me an instance of its truth. 0. Wilm. Returned, my life! so soon! At sea twice shipwrecked, and as oft the prey
Agn. The unexpected coming of this stranger Of lawless pirates ; by the Arabs thrice Prevents my going yet.
Surprized, and robbed on shore; and once reY. Wilm. You are, I presume,
duced The gentleman to whom this is directed. To worse than these, the sum of all distress
[Gives a letter. That the most wretched feel on this side hell, What wild neglect, the token of despair, Ev'n slavery itself: Yet here I stand, What indigence, what misery, appears
Except one trouble, that will quickly end,
0. Wilm. A rare example Of its dejected owners !
Of fortune's changes; apter to surprise 0. Wilm. [Huving read the letter.)
Or entertain, than comfort or instruct. -Sir, such welcome
If you would reason from events, be just, As this poor house affords, you may command. And count, when you escaped, how many perished; Our ever friendly neighbourOnce we hoped And draw your inference thence. To have called fair Charlotte by a dearer name, Agn. Alas! Who knows, But we have done with hope-I pray excuse But we were rendered childless by some storm, This incoherence—We had once a son. [Weeps. In which you, though preserved, might bear a part? Agn. That you are come from that dear vir- Y. Wilm. How has my curiosity betrayed ine tuous maid,
Into superfluous pain! I faint with fondness; Revives in us the memory of a loss,
And shall, if I stay longer, rush upon them, Which, though long since, we have not learned to Proclaim myself their son, kiss and embrace them, bear.
, with the excess of pleasure and surprize, Y. Wilm. The joy to see them, and the bitter Their souls, transported, their frail mansions quit, pain
And leave them breathless in my longing arins. It is to see them thus, touches my soul
By circumstances then and slow degrees, With tenderness and grief, that will overflow. They must be let into a happiness,
- They know me not, and yet I shall, I fear, Too great for them to bear at once, and live: Defeat my purpose, and betray myself. [Aside. That Charlotte will perform. I need not feign 0. Wilm. The lady calls you here her valued To ask an hour for rest. (Aside.] Sir, I intreat friend;
The favour to retire, where for a while Enough, though nothing more should be implied, I may repose myself. You will excuse To recommend you to our best esteem;
This freedom, and the trouble that I give you. -A worthless acquisition ! May she find 'Tis long since I have slept, and nature calls. Some means that better may express her kind- 0. Wilm. I pray no more: Believe we're only ness!
troubled, But she, perhaps, has purposed to errich
you should think any excuse were needful. You with herself, and end her fruitless sorrow Y. Wilm. The weight of this to me is some inFor one, whom death alone can justify
cumbrance, For leaving her so long. If it be so,
[Takes a casket out of his bosom, and gives May you repair his loss, and be to Charlotte
it to his mother. A second, happier Wilmot ! Partial nature, And its contents of value : If you please
To take the charge of it 'till I awake,
What ravage has it made ! how has it changed I shall not rest the worse. If I should sleep Her lovely form and mind! I feel her anguish, Till I am asked for, as perhaps I may,
And dread I know not what from her despair. I beg that you would wake me.
My father too grant them patience, HeaAgn. Doubt it not:
ven! Distracted as I am with various woes,
A little longer, a few short hours more, I shall remember that. (Erit, with Old Wilmot. And all their cares, and mine, shall end for ever. Y. Wilm. Merciless grief!
SCENE I.-The Scene continues.
And with a look, that pierced me to the soul,
Begged me to comfort thee: And—dost thou Enter Agnes alone, with the casket in her hand.
hear me? Agn. Who should this stranger be? And then What art thou gazing on? Fie, 'tis not well. this casket
This casket was delivered to you closed : He says it is of value, and yet trusts it,
Why have you opened it? Should this be known, As if a trifle, to a stranger's hand
How mean must we appear! His confidence amazes me—Perhaps
Agn. And who shall know it? It is not what he says—I am strongly tempted 0. Wilm. There is a kind of pride, a decent To open it, and see-No, let it rest!
dignity Why should I pry into the cares of others, Due to ourselves; which, spite of our misforWho have so many sorrows of my own?
tunes, With how much ease the spring gives way-Sur- May be maintained, and cherished to the last. prising !
To live without reproach, and without leave My eyes are dazzled, and my ravished heart To quit the world, shews sovereign contempt, Leaps at the glorious sight. How bright's the And noble scorn of its relentless malice. lustre,
Agn. Shews sovereign madness, and a scorn of And how immense the worth, of these fair jewels! Ay, such a treasure would expel for ever
Pursue no farther this detested theme : Base poverty, and all its abject train;
I will not die; I will not leave the world Famine; the cold neglect of friends; the scorn, For all that you can urge, until compelled. Or more provoking pity, of the world.
0. Wilm. To chase a shadow, when the setting Plenty, content, and power might take their turn, And lofty pride bare its aspiring head
Is darting his last rays, were just as wise At our approach, and once more bend before us. As your anxiety for fleeting life, A pleasing dream! 'Tis past; and now I wake. Now the last means for its support are failing: For sure it was a happiness to think,
Were famine not as mortal as the sword, Though but a moment, such a treasure mine. Your warmth might be excused-But take thy Nay, it was more than thought I saw and
choice : touched
Die how you will, you shall not die alone. The bright temptation, and I see it yet
Agn. Nor live, I hope. 'Tis here—'tis mine“I have it in possession- O Wilm. There is no fear of that. Must I resign it? Must I give it back?
Agn. Then, we'll live both. Am I in love with misery and want,
0. Wilm. Strange folly? where the means ?. To rob myself, and court so vast a loss ?
Agn. There—those jewels ! Retain it then-But how? There is a way
0. Wilm. Ha! Take heed! Why sinks my heart? Why does my blood run Perhaps thou dost but try me--yet take heed! cold?
There's nothing so monstrous but the mind of Why am I thrilled with horror? Tis not choice,
man, But dire necessity suggests the thought. In some conditions, may be bought to approve :
Theft, sacrilege, treason, and parricide,
When flattering opportunity enticed, 0. Wilm. The mind contented, with how little And desperation drove, have been committed pains
By those who once would start to hear them named. The wandering senses yield to soft repose ! Agn. And add to these detested suicide, He's fallen asleep already-Happy man! Which, by a crime much less, we may avoid. What dost thou think, my Agnes, of our guest? 0. Wilm. How couldst thou form å thought so He seems to me a youth of great humanity :
very damning? Just ere he closed his eyes, that swan) in tears, So advantageous, so secure, and easy; He wrung my hand, and pressed it to his lips; And yet so cruel, and so full of horror!
Agn. 'Tis less impiety, less against nature, And bring me word, if he be still asleep. To take another's life, than end our own.
Erit Agnes. 0. Wilm. No matter which, the less or great- Or I'm deceived, or he pronounced himself er crime :
The happiest of mankind. Deluded wretch ! Howe'er we may deceive ourselves or others, Thy thoughts are perishing, thy youthful joys, We act from inclination, not by rule,
Touched by the icy hand of grisly death, Or none could act amiss : and that all err, Are withering in their bloom-But, thought exNone but the conscious hypocrite denies.
tinguished, 0! what is man, his excellence and strength, He'll never know the loss, When in an hour of trial and desertion, Nor feel the bitter pangs of disappointmentReason, his noblest power, may be suborned Then I was wrong in counting him a wretch : To plead the cause of vile assassination ! To die well pleased, Ayn. You're too severe: Reason may justly all the happiest of mankind can hope for. plead
To be a wretch, is to survive the loss For our own preservation.
Of every joy, and even hope itself, 0. Wilm. Rest contented :
As I have done—Why do I mourn him then? Whate'er resistance I may seem to make, For, by the anguish of my tortured soul, I am betrayed within : My will's seduced, He's to be envied, if compared with me. And my whole soul infected. The desire Of life returns, and brings with it a train
Enter Agnes with Young Wilmot's dagger. Of appetites, that rage to be supplied !
Agn. The stranger sleeps at present; but so Whoever stands to parley with temptation,
restless Parleys to be c'ercome.
His slumbers seem, they can't continue long. Agn. Then nought remains
Here, I've secured his dagger. But the swift execution of a deed,
0. Wilm. O Agnes ! Agnes! if there be a That is not to be thought on, or delayed
hell, 0. Wilm. Generous unhappy man! 0! what 'Tis just we should expect it. could move thee
[Goes to take the dagger, but lets it fall. To put thy life and fortune in the hands
Agn. Shake off this panic, and be more yourOf wretches mad with anguish!
self! Agn. By what means
0. Wilm. What's to be done? On what had Shall we effect his death?
we determined ? 0. Wilm. Why, what a fiend!
Agn. You're quite dismayed. How cruel, how remorseless and impatient
[Takes up the dagger. Have pride and poverty made thee !
0. Wilm. Give me the fatal steel, Agn. Barbarous man!
'Tis but a single murder, Whose wasteful riots ruined our estate,
Necessity, impatience, and despair, And drove our son, ere the first down had spread | The three wide mouths of that true Cerberus, His rosy cheeks, spite of my sad presages, Grim poverty, demand: they shall be stopped. Earnest intreaties, agonies, and tears,
Ambition, persecution, and revenge, To seek his bread amongst strangers, and to Devour their millions daily: And shall I – perish
But follow me, and see how little cause In some remote, inhospitable land;
You had to think, there was the least remain The loveliest youth, in person and in mind, Of manhood, pity, mercy, or remorse, That ever crowned a groaning mother's pains ! Left in this savage breast. Where was thy pity, where thy patience then?
[Going the wrong way. Thou cruel husband! thou unnatural father! Agn. Where do you go? Thou most remorseless, most ungrateful man! The street is that way. To waste my fortune, rob me of my son,
0. Wilm. True ! I had forgot. To drive me to despair, and then reproach me Agn. Quite, quite confounded ! For being what thou hast made me !
0. Wilm. Well, I recover.--I shall find the 0. Wilm. Dry thy tears :
(Erit. I ought not to reproach thee. I confess
Agn. O softly! softly! The least noise unThat thou hast suffered much: So have we both. But chide no more; I am wrought up to thy pur- What are we doing? Misery and want pose.
Are lighter ills than this! I cannot bear it! The poor, ill-fated, unsuspecting victim,
Stop, hold thy hand !-Inconstant, wretched woEre he reclined him on the fatal couch, From which he's ne'er to rise, took off the sash, What! doth my heart recoil !
-o Wilmot! And costly dagger that thou saw'st him wear,
Wilmot! And thus, unthinking, furnished us with arms What power shall I invoke to aid thee, Wilmot? Against himself. Steal to the door,
Enter CHARLOTTE, EUstace, and Randal.
Agn. Do not accuse thy erring mother,
Wilmot, Char, What strange neglect ! The doors are With too much rigour when we meet above! all unbarred,
To give thee life for life, and blood for blood, And not a living creature to be seen n!
Is not enough. Had I ten thousand lives,
I'd give them all to speak my penitence,
Deep, and sincere, and equal to my crime.
Enter Randal and Eustace. Why do you look with such amazement on us? Are these your transports for your son's return? Eust. O Wilmot! Wilmot! Where is my Wilmot ?-Has he not been here? Are these the fruits of all thy anxious cares Would he defer your happiness so long,
For thy ungrateful parents ? -Cruel fiends! Or could a habit so disguise your son,
0. Wilm. What whining fool art thou, who That you refused to own him? Agn. Heard you that ?
My sovereign right of grief!-Was he thy son?What prodigy of horror is disclosing,
Say! Canst thou shew thy hands reeking with To render murder venial !
blood, 0. Wilm. Prithee,
That flowed, through purer channels, from thy The miserable damned suspend their howling,
loins ? And the swift orbs are fixed in deep attention. Compute the sands that bound the spacious ocean, Rand. What mean these dreadful words, and And swell their number with a single grain; frantic air!
Increase the noise of thunder with thy voice; That is the dagger my young master wore. Or, when the raging wind lays nature waste, Eust. My mind misgives me. Do not stand Assist the tempest with thy feeble breath;
But name not thy faint sorrow, with the anguish On these dumb phantoms of despair and horror! Of a curst wretch, who only hopes from this Let us search further; Randal, shew the way.
(Stabbing himself. (Ereunt. To change the scene, but not relieve his pain! Agn. Let life forsake the earth, and light the Rand. A dreadful instance of the last remorse! sun,
May all your woes end here ! And death and darkness bury in oblivion
O. Wilm. O would they end Mankind and all their deeds, that no posterity A thousand ages hence, I then should suffer May ever rise to hear our horrid tale,
Much less than I deserve. Yet let me say, Or view the grave of such detested parricides ! You'll do but justice to inform the world,
O. Wilm. Curses and deprecations are in vain: This horrid deed, that punishes itself, The sun will shine, and all things have their Was not intended, thinking him our son; course,
For that we knew not, 'till it was too late. When we, the curse and burden of the earth, Proud, and impatient under our afflictions, Shall be absorbed, and mingled with its dust. While Heaven was labouring to make us happy, Our guilt and desolation must be told,
We brought this dreadful ruin on ourselves. From age to age, to teach desponding mortals, Mankind may learn-but- -oh- [Dies. How far beyond the reach of human thought Rand. Heaven grant they may ! Heaven, when incensed, can punish—Die thou And may thy penitence atone thy crime ! first.
[Stabs Agnes. 'Tend well the hapless Charlotte, and hear hence I durst not trust thy weakness.
These bleeding victims of despair and pride; Agn. Ever kind,
Toll the death bell! and follow to the grave But most in this !
The wretched parents and ill-fated son. 0. Wilm. I will not long survive thee.
ARDEN OF FEVERSHAM.
Adam Fowl, an inn-keeper. ARDEN, a gentleman of Feversham.
A Servant to Arden.
Alicia, wife to Arden. BRADSKAW.
Maria, sister to Mosby.
GEORCE SHAKEBAG, } ruffians.
Scenem Feversham, in Kent.
SCENE I.–The street before Arden's door. Maria is his price. I've placed her here,
Companion of my sweet Alicia's hours,
To spread her charms for ever in his eye : Mos. The morning's dark, and horrid as my To her are all my visits. But Alicia purpose.
She must, she shall comply: when to my arms Thrice have my snares been laid for Arden's life, Her honour she resigned, her food reluctance And thrice hath he escaped. I am not safe :
whispered, The living may revenge. Oh! could I win She could deny me nothing. This to try. Alicia to conspire her husband's fall,
[Erit into Arden's house. Then might I say, security, thou'rt mine, And laugh at all to come. For other instruments
SCENE II.-A chamber.
Enter Arden in his night-gown.
Ard. Unhappy Arden, whither canst thou wan. Some fancied right. Michael, the trencher fa- der vourite,
To lay thy heavy load of sorrows down! A bastard, bred of Arden's charity,
Will change of place relieve the afflicted mind, He has been privy to our secret joys,
Or does all nature yield a balm to cure And, on that trust presuming, loves my sister- The pangs of slighted love and broken faith? Winks at adultery, and may at murder. Ungrateful false Alicia! false with Mosby,