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Enter FRANKLIN and MARIA.
Frank. Well, in what temper did you find
Mar. Never was anguish, never grief, like hers:
Relenting Arden kindly soothe her sorrows,
Frank. Their mutual peace, Maria!
Ard. No, Franklin, no; your friendly cares are vain :
Were I but certain she had wronged my bed,
Rumour has fewer tongues than she has ears;
Ard. No more, no more:
I know its plagues; but where's the remedy?
Frank. She shall heal these wounds.
Ard. She's my disease, and can she be my cure? My friends should rather teach me to abhor her, To tear her image from my bleeding heart!
Mar. We leave that hateful office to the fiends. Frank. If you e'er loved, you'll not refuse to see her:
You promised that.
Ard. Did I?
Frank. Indeed you did.
Ard. Well, then, some other time.
Ard. Franklin, I know my heart, and dare not see her.
I have a husband's honour to maintain,
Frank. That Arden never will.
Mar. Did you but know her grief———
Have I, just Heaven! have I e'er injured her?
ALICIA enters, not seeing ARDEN. Alic. How shall I bear my Arden's just reproaches!
Or can a reconcilement long continue,
With tearful eyes, and trembling limbs, she stands.
Where indignation seems to strive with grief,
Ard. Who would think,
Ard. Those tears, methinks, even if her guilt were certain,
Might wash away her pains.
Alic. Support me, Heaven!
Ard. Curse on the abject thought! I shall relapse To simple dotage. She steals on my heart, She conquers with her eyes. If I but hear her voice,
Nor earth, nor Heaven, can save me from her snares!
O! let me fly-if I have yet the power. Alic. O Arden! do not, do not leave me thus! [Kneels, and holds him.
Thou treasure of more worth than mines of gold!
Alic. I am, I will. I ne'er knew joy till now.
'Till happy night, farewell! My best Alicia,
Alic. Thus ever may they see us!
Sighs are the language of a broken heart,
Mos. Forbid it, heaven! quick, let me fly for help.
Ard. With sharp reflection: Mosby, I can't bear To be so far obliged to one I've wronged.
Mos. Who would not venture life to save a friend?
Ard. From you I've not deserved that tender
Mos. No more of that-would I were worthy
Ard. I own my heart, by boiling passions torn, Forgets its gentleness-yet is ever open To melting gratitude. O say what price Can buy your friendship?
Mos. Only think me yours.
Ard. Easy, indeed. I am too much obliged. Why recked not your good sword its justice on me, When, mad with jealous rage, in my own house, I urged you to my ruin?
Mos. I loved you then
Ard. What's here! you bleed.
Let me bind up your wound.
Mos. A trifle, sir
Ard. Your friendship makes it so. See, Franklin, see
The man I treated as a coward, bleeding,
Mos. Sir, I will not fail.
Ard. Nay, Franklin, that's unkind.
Frank. Nay, urge me not. I have my reasons. Mos. Avoids my company! So much the better. His may not be so proper. [Aside.] An hour hence,
If you are not engaged, we'll meet at Fowl's.
MOSBY, having watched FRANKLIN out, re-enters with GREEN.
Mos. The surly friend has left him-As I wished
You see how eagerly the foolish fowl
Green. She'll not dare betray us.
Mos. Not when the deed is done. We know
She'll be our prisoner, and shall be observed.
Green. Good-'tis a death, that leaves
Mos. However, come all provided with your daggers.
Do you seek Michael, I'll instruct the rest.
I take you now.
Green. Arden! thou'rt taken now indeed. Mos. His body, thrown behind the abbey-wall, Shall be descried by the early passenger, Returning from the fair. My friend, thy hand; Shakes it? Be firm, and our united strength With ease shall cast dead Arden to the earth.
Green. Thanks to his foolish tenderness of soul! Mos. True; he, who trusts an old inveterate foe, Bares his own breast, and courts the fatal blow.
SCENE I.-Arden's House.
What have I heard! Is this the house of Arden!
Wander no matter where-Turn but from
Thou canst not miss thy way-The house is
I am suspected-Michael guards the door-
The appointed signal to his neighbour's wife!
Green. This inner room.
B. Will. 'Tis well. The word is, Now I take you. [Knocking louder than before. Green. Ay, there's authority. That speaks the
He seems in haste: Twere pity he should wait,
Alic. Now, whither are they gone? The door's
I hear the sound of feet. Should it be Arden,
But hark! the fiends approach. Green had hu- 'Tis Mosby, and alone. [Enter Mosby.] Šir, hear manity.
Enter GREEN, BLACK WILL, SHAKEBAG, and
Could I prevail on him! O sir
[Talks apart with Green. B. Will. What a fair house! rich furniture! what piles of massy plate! And then yon iron chest! Good plunder, comrade.
Shake. And madam Arden there-A prize worth them all to me.
B. Will. And shall that fawning, white-livered coward, Mosby, enjoy all these?
Shake. No doubt he would, were we the fools he thinks us.
Green. Had he as many lives as drops of blood, I'd have them all.
Alic. But for one single night
Green. I'd not defer his fate a single hour,
Alic. O mercy, mercy!
Such mercy as the nursing lioness,
When drained of moisture by her eager young,
B. Will. Who talks of mercy, when I am here?
Mos. Madam, is this a time?
Alic. I will be heard,
Make me not sad, Alicia: For my sake
Ard. Nay, I am too well convinced
Laughs at her coward arts.
Green. Thou bloodless coward, what dost
Dost thou not hear a knocking at the gate?
Alic. Would take my husband's life !—I'll tell
And cast this load of horror from my soul:
Mos. I see my presence is offensive there.
[Going. Ard. Alicia! No-she has no will but mine. Mos. It is not fit she should: and yet-perhaps
Twere better, sir-Permit me to retire.
Ard. No more Our friendship,publicly avowed, Will clear her injured virtue to the world. Mos. Something there is in that-
Ard. It is a debt
I owe to both your fames, and pay it freely.
Ard. Come, take your seat; this shall not save
Bring us the tables, Michael. [They sit and play. Alic. [Aside.] O just Heaven!
Wilt thou not interpose?-How dread this pause!
Mich. Give back, the game's against him.
Murder herself, that chases him in view,
Ard. Come, give it up; I told you I should
Mos. No, I see an advantage; move again.
Mos. Now I take you.
[Black Will throws a scarf over Arden's head, in order to strangle him; but Arden disengages himself, wrests a dagger from Shakebag, and stands on his defence, till Mosby getting behind, and seizing his arm, the rest assassinate him.]
Alic. O Power omnipotent! make strong his arm!
Give him to conquer! Ha! my prayers are curses, And draw down vengeance where they meant a blessing.
Ard. Inhospitable villain!
Ard. O hold your bloody-Mosby too! Nay, then,
I yield me to my fate. Is this, Alicia,
Therefore beyond my hopes.
Ard. O Mosby, Michael, Green! Why have you drawn my blood upon your souls? Mos. Behold her there, to whom I was betrothed,
And ask no further.
Green. Think on thy abbey-lands
From injured Green.
Ard. You now are your own judges,
But we shall meet again, where right and truth
Who who are these? But I forgive you all. Thy hand, Alicia.
Alic. I'll not give it thee.
Ard. O wretched woman! have they killed thee, too?
A deadly paleness, agony, and horror,
Is loth to leave, unreconciled to thee,
How have I doated to idolatry!
Alic. Though blacker, and more guilty, than the fiends,
My soul is white from this accursed deed.
Ard. Full of doubts, I come,
O thou Supreme, to seek thy awful presence.
Alic. Turn not from me: Behold me, pity me, survey my sorrows! I, who despised the duty of a wife, Will be thy slave. Spit on me, spurn me, sir, I'll love thee still. O couldst thou court my