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nature,

Would sell her free estate for marriage bonds?
From vows and oaths, and every servile tye,
The tyrant man at pleasure is set free;
The holy nuptial bond leaves him at large;
Yet vests him with a power, that makes us slaves.
'Tis heavenly this-

Ard. To stop my just reproach,

Art thou the first to tax the marriage state?

Alic. Are you not jealous? do you not give ear To vain surmises and malicious tongues, That hourly wound my yet untainted fame? Ard. And wouldst thou make me author of the shame,

Thy guilt has brought on us!-I'll bear no longer. The traitor Mosby, cursed, detested Mosby, Shall render an account for both your crimes. Alic. What do I hear!

Ard. The base mechanic slave Shall answer with his blood.

Alic. O hear me speak!

[Aside.

Ard. No, I am deaf: As thou hast ever been To fame, to virtue, and my just complaints. Alic. Thus on my knees

Ard. Adultress! dost thou kneel And weep, and pray, and bend thy stubborn heart (Stubborn to me) to sue for him? Away! Away this instant, lest I kill thee too.

[Recovering himself. No-not the hell, thou hast kindled in this bo

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Why have you driven me to these extremes? Why sacrificed my peace, and your own fame, By corresponding with a menial slave?

Alic. Thou canst not think, that I have wronged thy bed?

Ard. Would I could not!
Alic. By Heaven-

Ard. No perjuries.

But now, as you lay slumbering by my side,
I still awake, anxious and full of thought,
(For thou hast banished sleep from these sad eyes)
With gentle accents, thrilling with desire,
You called on Mosby. Love made me doubt my
ears,

And question, if the dark and silent night
Conspired not with my fancy to deceive me :
But soon I lost the painful pleasing hope;
Again you called upon your minion Mosby.
Confirmed, I strove to fly your tainted bed,
But, wanting strength, sunk lifeless on my pillow.
You threw your eager arms about my neck,
You pressed my bloodless cheeks with your warm
lips,

Which glowed, adultress! with infernal heat;
And called, a third time, on the villain Mosby.

Alic. A dream indeed, if I e'er called on him. Ard. Thy guilty dreams betray thy waking thoughts.

Alic. I know I'm simple, thoughtless, and un-
guarded;

And what is carelessness you construe guilt.
Yet were I weak as those fantastic visions,
Sure I could never have condemned you, Arden,
On circumstances and an idle dream.

Ard. But such a dream!

Alic. Yet was it but a dream, Which, though I not remember, I abhor, And mourn with tears, because it gives you pain. Arden, you do not wish me innocent,

Or on suspicions could you doom me guilty?

Ard. Not wish thee innocent! do sinking mariners,

When struggling with the raging seas for life, Wish the assistance of some friendly plank? 'Tis that, and that alone, can bring me comfort.

Alic. O jealousy! thou fierce remorseless fiend, Degenerate, most unnatural child of love! How shall I chase thee from my Arden's bosom? Ard. There is a way, an easy way, Alicia. Alic. O name it-speak.

Ard. What's past may be forgotten.

Your future conduct-

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Alic. That always was your own.

Alic. Thou canst say nothing.-Get thee from my sight!

Yet stay-no matter. I'll myself go seek him. [Exeunt Alicia and Servant. Mar. Where reason is, can passion thus prevail? [Exit Maria.

SCENE III-A parlour in ARDEN's house. Enter ALICIA, meeting MOSBY.

Alic. Mosby, that brow befits our wayward fate.

The evil hour, long feared, is fallen upon us,

Ard. Thou flatterer-then whence this cruel And we shall sink beneath it. Do not frown

strife?

Still art thou cold: nor warm are thy embraces,
Nor sparkle in thine eyes the fires of love:
Cold, cold, and comfortless.

Alic. Indeed you fright me.

Ard. 'Tis possible

Alic. What?

Ard. That thou may'st yet deceive me.
Alic. O! I am wretched!

Ard. Both perhaps are so.

But, if thou ever lov'dst, thou'lt not despise me, And wilt forgive me, if indeed I've wronged thee, As I've forgiven thee-Pity, I'm sure, I need.

[Exit Arden. Alic. Thou hast it, Arden, even from her, that wrongs thee.

All, all shall pity thee, and curse Alicia.
Can I feel this, and further tempt the stream
Of guilty love! O whither am I fallen!

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Mar. Perhaps————

If you're unkind, to whom shall I complain?
Mos. Madam, it was my sister I expected.
Alic. Am I forgotten then? Ungrateful man!
This only could have added to my woes.
Did you but know what I have borne for you,
You would not thus, unmoved, behold my tears.
Mos. Madam, you make me vain.
Alic. Insult not, Mosby:

You were the first dear object of my love;
And could my heart have made a second choice,
I had not been the object of your scorn:
But duty, gratitude, the love of fame,
And pride of virtue, were too weak to erase
The deep impression of our early vows.

Mos. Therefore you kindly chose to wed ano

ther.

Alic. Reproach me not with what I deemed my duty.

Oh! had I thought I could assume the name,
And never know the affection of a wife,

I would have died ere given my hand to Arden.
Mos. You gave him all.-

Alic. No, no, I gave him nothing:

Words without truth-an hand without a heart! But he has found the fraud; the slumbering lion At length hath roused himself.

Mos. And I must fall

The victim

Alic. No; he knows not yet his wrongs.
Mos. But quickly will.

Alic. That, that's my greatest fear.

Mos. Then, branded with a strumpet's hated

name,

The cause abhorred of shame, of blood, and ruin, Thou'lt be exposed, and hooted through the world! Alic. O hide the dreadful image from my view! Chaste matrons, modest maids, and virtuous wives,

Scorning a weakness which they never knew, Shall blush, with indignation, at my name! Mos. My death-but that, though certainAlic. Labour not

Alic. Pray, give me leave-looks he in health? To drive me to despair. Fain would I hope

Serv. He seems in health.

Alic. Here, and not ask for me!

Seems he or angry then, or melancholy? Answer me, stock, stone.

Serv. Truly I can't say.

Mos. You may, and be deceived. For me, I

know

My fate resolved-and thee the instrument,

The willing instrument, of Mosby's ruin!
Inconstant, false Alicia!

Alic. False indeed,

But not to thee, cruel, injurious Mosby !

The law, and this good seal, is my security;
To them I leave Green, and his groundless claim.

Mos. Injurious! false one! might not all these But my just right to false Alicia's heart

dangers,

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Mos. And, not preventing, art not thou the cause?

Alic. Ah! whither, Mosby, whither wouldst thou drive me?

Mos. Nay, didst thou love, or wouldst secure thy fame,

Preserve my life, and bind me yours for ever'Tis yet within your power.

Alic. By Arden's death!

Meanest thou not so? Speak out, and be a devil. Mos. Yes, 'tis for thee I amn so. But your looks

Declare, my death would please you better, madam!

Alic. Exaggerating fiend! be dumb for ever! His death! I must not cast a glance that way.

Mos. Is there another way? O think, Alicia! Alic. I will, for that will make me mad: And madness

Were some excuse. Come, kind distraction! come, And Arden dies! My husband dies for Mosby ! [Shrieks, and runs to Mosby.

Enter ARDEN and FRANKLIN,

He's here! O save me! tell me, did he hear?
Ard. [Starting.] Franklin, support your friend!
I shake with horror!

Frank. What moves you thus?
Ard. See!-Mosby with my wife!

Mos. But, madam, I shall spare your farther
trouble;

In happy time behold my neighbour here!
[As taking leave of Alicia.
Alic. Mischief and wild confusion have begun,
And desolation waits to close the scene!

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(So dearly purchased with a husband's name, And sacred honour of a gentleman),

I shall assert myself, and thus secure
From further violation,

Mos. Her known virtue
Renders the injury, your fancy forms,
A thing of air.

[Draws.

Frank. Impossible to thought! Whence, Arden, comes this sudden madness on thee,

That your Alicia, ever dear esteemed,
And deeply loved-

Ard. Out on the vile adultress!
But thou, demure, insinuating slave,
Shalt taste my vengeance first. Defend thyself!
Mos. I scorn to take advantage of your rage,
Ard. A coward too! O my consummate shame!
Mos. This I can bear from you.

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more;

Pray quit the house.

Mos. Sir, I shall take your counsel.

[Exit Mosby. Ard. He hath escaped me then. But for my wifeFrank. What has she done?

Ard. Done! must I tell my shame? Away! begone! lest, from my prey withheld, I turn, and tear the officious band, that lets meSoft! art thou Franklin? Pardon me, sweet friendMy spirits fail- -I shakeFrank. To your Alicia. Ard. To my lonely couch;

-I must retire.

For I must learn to live without her, Franklin. Frank. Pray Heaven forbid !

Ard. To hate her, to forget her, if I can: No easy task for one, who doats like me. From what an height I'm fallen! Once smiling

love

Of all its horrors robbed the blackest night, And gilt with gladness every ray of light; Now, tyrant-like, his conquest he maintains, And o'er his groaning slave with rods of iron reigns! [Exeunt

SCENE I.-The Street.

Enter GREEN and MOSBY.

ACT. II.

Green. You pity me, and know not my estate. I'm ruined, Mosby; thoughtless, and ill-advised, My riotous youth will leave my age a beggar. These abbey-lands were all the hopes I'd left; My whole support.

Mos. Base and ungenerous Arden, To force a man, born equal to himself, To beg, or starve!

Green. By Heaven, I will do neither: I'll let the proud oppressor know

Mos. How blind is rage!

Who threats his enemy, lends him a sword
To guard himself,

Green. Robbed of the means of life,
What's life itself?-an useless load, a curse!
Which yet I'll dearly sell to my revenge!

Mos. You mean to kill him, then?

Green. I do, by Heaven!

Mos. Suppose you fail.

Green. I can but lose my life.

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Mos. Then where is your revenge, when he, Disguise your hand.

secure,

Riots, unbounded, in his ill-got wealth?

Green, What can I do?

Mos. 'Tis plain you wish him dead.

Green. Each moment of his life is to my soul
A tedious age of pain; for, while he lives,
Contempt, and all the ills a lazar knows,
Must be my wretched lot, and lengthen out
The miserable hours. What grovelling wretch
Would wish to hold his life on such conditions?
Mos. But change the scene: suppose but
Arden dead,

Your land restored, and fortune in your power;
Honour, respect, and all the dear delights,
That wait on wealth, shall wing the joyful hours,
And life contracted seem one happy day.
I hate this Arden, and have stronger motives
Than any you can urge to wish his death.
He has accused, insulted, struck me!
Nay, his fair virtuous wife, on my account-
Green. If fame speaks true, you're to be envied
there.

Mos. The world will talk; but be that as it may:

I want not cause nor will, not means nor friends

Green. Nor opportunity shall long be wanting. Mos. Enough: his fate is fixed, See! Bradshaw's here!

Enter BRADSHAW.

Brad. Save, save you, gentlemen!

Mos. We thank you, neighbour.

But whither in such haste?

Brad. To the isle of Shippey,

it.

His family-name I never

A word-write you a let

This honest fool may bear

Hint at these men. In case her courage fail, She will be glad to shift the deed on them. Green. I am instructed.

Enter BLACK WILL and SHAKEBAG.

B. Will. What! comrade Bradshaw! How fare you, man? S'blood! dost not remember honest Black Will? Why, thou art grown purseproud sure.

Brad. Why, you're not easily forgotten, Will. But, prithee, what brings thee to Feversham?

B. Will. A soldier, you know, is at home, wherever he comes. Omne solum forti patria! There's Latin-Give's a tester.

Brad. In time of peace, we should apply to some honest creditable business, and not turn the name of soldier into vagabond.

B. Will. Yes, as you have done. I'm told you keep a goldsmith's shop here in Feversham, and, like a mechanical rogue, live by cheating, I have more honour.

Brad. Would thou hadst honesty.

B. Will. Where do our honesties differ? I take a purse behind a hedge, and you behind a counter.

Brad. Insolent slave!

B. Will. You cent. per cent. rascal! I may find a time to teach you better manners. Brad. Go, mend thy own.

B. Will. Thou wert always a sneaking fellow, Bradshaw, and couldst never swear, nor get drunk. Come, shall I and my comrade Shakebag taste your ale?

Brad. My house entertains no such guests— Farewell, gentlemen.

Mos. Along with Bradshaw,

And leave the management of these to me. [Aside to Green. Green. It shall be done. Bradshaw, a word with thee.

Brad. Your pardon, gentlemen.

[Exeunt Green and Bradshaw. B. Will. He was a cadet in the last French war, like other soldiers, then; but now he has got a nest, and feathered it a little, he pretends to reputation. S'blood! had this been a fit place, he had not escaped me so. You have surveyed us well. [To Mosby.] How do you like us? Mos. Methinks I read truth, prudence, secrecy,

And courage, writ upon your manly brows.

B. Will. What hellish villainy has this fellow in hand, that makes him fawn upon us? [Aside. Mos. I fear the world's a stranger to your merit.

If this may recommend me to your friendship— [Gives a purse. B. Will. Of what damned deed is this to be the wages?

Shake. Hast ever an elder brother's throat to
cut?

B. Will. Or an old peevish father to be buried?
Mos. Neither of these.

Shake. A rival then mayhap

Mos. There you come nearer to me.

Shake. Then speak out.

We're honest, sir.

B. Will. Trusty, and very poor.

Mos. Metal too fit for me. [Aside.] Then

hear me, sirs.

But you must both, ere I disclose my purpose,
Promise, and bind that promise by your oaths-
Never They both laugh.] Why this unseasona-
ble mirth?

B. Will. You'd have us swear?-
Mos. Else why did I propose it?

B. Will. There's the jest. Are men, who act in despite of all law, honour, and conscience; who live by blood (as it is plain you think we do) are we free-thinkers, like silly wenches and canting priests, to be confined by oaths?

Shake. Would you bind us, let the price equal the purchase, and we'll go to hell for you with pleasure.

Mos. Horrid! they shake even me, who would
employ them.
[Aside.

I apprehend-The business then is this:
In Feversham their lives a man, called Arden;
In general esteem, and ample means;
And has a wife, the very pride of nature.
I have been happy long in her affections,
And, he once dead, might with her share his for-

tunes.

He's jealous too of late, and threatens me. Love, interest, self-defence, all ask his death.

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