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So let my death come now, and I'll not shrink from it.

Jaf. Nay, Belvidera, do not fear my cruelty,
Nor let the thoughts of death perplex thy fancy;
But answer me to what I shall demand,
With a firm temper and unshaken spirit.
Bel. I will, when I have done weeping-
Jaf. Fy, no more of it-

How long is it, since that miserable day
We wedded first?

Bel, Oh! Oh!

Jaf. Nay, keep in thy tears,

Lest they unman me too.

Bel. Heaven knows I cannot;

The words you utter sound so very sadly, The streams will follow

Jaf. Come, I'll kiss them dry then.

Bel. But was it a miserable day?

Jaf. A cursed one.

Where everlasting sweets are always springing,
With a continual giving hand, let peace,
Honour, and safety, always hover round her;
Feed her with plenty; let her eyes ne'er see
A sight of sorrow, nor her heart know mourning;
Crown all her days with joy, her nights with rest,
Harmless as her own thoughts; and prop her

To bear the loss of one, that too much loved,
And comfort her with patience in our parting!
Bel. How! parting, parting!

Jaf. Yes, for ever parting;

I have sworn, Belvidera, by yon heaven,
That best can tell how much I lose to leave thee,
We part this hour for ever.

Bel. O! call back

Your cruel blessing! stay with me and curse me! Jaf. No, 'tis resolved.

Bel. Then hear me too, just heaven!

Bel. I thought it otherwise; and you have of- Pour down your curses on this wretched head,

ten sworn,

In the transporting hours of warmest love, When sure you spoke the truth, you have sworn, you blessed it.

Jaf. Twas a rash oath.

Bel. Then why am I not cursed too?

Jaf. No, Belvidera; by the eternal truth, I doat with too much fondness.

Bel. Still so kind!

Still then do you love me?

Jaf. Nature, in her workings,

Inclines not with more ardour to creation,

With never-ceasing vengeance; let despair,
Danger and infamy, nay all, surround me;
Starve me with wantings; let my eyes ne'er see
A sight of comfort, nor my heart know peace:
But dash my days with sorrow, nights with horrors,
Wild as my own thoughts now, and let loose fury,
To make me mad enough for what I lose,
If I must lose him! If I must? I will not,
Oh turn and hear me !

Jaf. Now, hold heart, or never,

Bel. By all the tender days we have lived together,

Than I do now towards thee: Man ne'er was Pity my sad condition! speak, but speak!


Since the first pair met, as I have been.

Bel. Then sure you will not curse me?
Jaf. No I'll bless thee.

'Tis now, I think, three years we have lived together.

Bel. And may no fatal minute ever part us, Till, reverend grown for age and love, we go Down to one grave, as our last bed, together; There sleep in peace, till an eternal morning. Jaf. When will that be?

Bel. I hope, long ages hence.


Jaf. Have I not hitherto, (I beg thee tell me Thy very fears) used thee with tenderest love? Did e'er my soul rise up in wrath against thee? Did I e'er frown, when Belvidera smiled? Or by the least unfriendly word, betray Abating passion? have I ever wronged thee? Bel. No.

Jaf. Has my heart, or have my eyes, e'er wandered

To any other woman?

Bel. Never, never-I were the worst of false ones, should I accuse thee.

I own I have been too happy, blessed above
My sex's charter.

Jaf. Did I not say, I came to bless thee?
Bel. You did,

Jaf. Then hear me, bounteous Ileaven!
Pour down your blessings on this beauteous head,

Jaf. Oh! Oh!

Bel. By these arms, that now cling round thy neck,

By this dear kiss, and by ten thousand more,
By these poor streaming eyes-

Jaf. Murder! unhold me:

By the immortal destiny, that doomed me
[Draws his dagger.
To this cursed minute, I'll not live one longer;
Resolve to let me go, or see me fall-
Bel. Hold, sir, be patient!

Jaf. Hark, the disinal bell [Passing bell tolls. Tolls out for death! I must attend its call too; For my poor friend, my dying Pierre, expects

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Huzzing and booming round my sinking head,
Till I descended to the peaceful bottom!
Oh! there all is quiet, here all rage and fury:
The air's too thin, and pierces my weak brain;
I long for thick substantial sleep: Hell! hell!
Burst from the centre, rage and roar aloud,
If thou art half so hot, so mad as I am.

Enter PRIULI, and Servants.

Who's there? [They raise her. Pri. Run, seize, and bring her safely home; Guard her as you would life! Alas, poor creature!

Bel. What to my husband! then conduct me quickly;

Are all things ready? Shall we die most gloriously?

Say not a word of this to my old father: Murmuring streams, soft shades, and springing flowers!

Lutes, laurels, seas of milk, and ships of amber! [Exeunt.

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Pier. I tell thee, Heaven and I are friends: I ne'er broke peace with it yet by cruel murders, Rapine, or perjury, or vile deceiving; But lived in moral justice towards all men: Nor am a foe to the most strong believers, Howe'er my own short-sighted faith confine me. Fri. But an all-seeing Judge Pier. You say my conscience

Must be my accuser; I have searched that conscience,

And find no records there of crimes, that scare


Fri. Tis strange, you should want faith.
Pier. You want to lead

My reason blind-fold, like a hampered lion,
Checked of its nobler vigour; then, when baited
Down to obedient tameness, make it couch,
And shew strange tricks, which you call signs of

So silly souls are gulled, and you get money. Away; no more. Captain, I'd have hereafter This fellow write no lies of my conversion, Because he has crept upon my troubled hours. Enter JAFFIER,

Jaf. Hold: eyes be dry;
Heart, strengthen me to bear

This hideous sight, and humble me, to take
The last forgiveness of a dying friend,
Betrayed by my vile falsehood, to his ruin.
Oh, Pierre!

Pier. Yet nearer.

Jaf. Crawling on my knees,
And prostrate on the earth, let me approach thee:
How shall I look up to thy injured face,
That always used to smile with friendship on me?
It darts an air of so much manly virtue,
That I, methinks, look little in thy sight,
And stripes are fitter for me, than embraces.
Pier. Dear to my arms, though thou hast un-
done my fame,

I can't forget to love thee. Prithee, Jaffier,
Forgive that filthy blow my passion dealt thee;
I'm now preparing for the land of peace,
And fain would have the charitable wishes
Of all good men, like thee, to bless my journey.
Jaf. Good! I am the vilest creature, worse

than e'er

Suffered the shameful fate, thou'rt going to taste
Why was I sent for to be used thus kindly?
Call, call me villain, as I am! describe
The foul complexion of my hateful deeds:
Lead me to the rack, and stretch me in thy stead!
I have crimes enough to give it its full load,
And do it credit: thou wilt but spoil the use of

And honest men hereafter bear its figure About them, as a charm from treacherous friendship.

Ofi. The time grows short, your friends are dead already.

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Jaf. Have at thee,

And I forgive thee. ́ ́ Oh!-yet-shall I trust Thou honest heart, then-here!

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Jaf. What's to be done?

Pier I'd have thee undertake

Something that's noble, to preserve my memory
From the disgrace that's ready to attaint it.
Offi. The day grows late, sir.

Pier. I'll make haste. Oh, Jaffier! Though thou'st betrayed me, do me some way justice,

Jaf. No more of that: thy wishes shall be satisfied;

I have a wife, and she shall bleed: my child, too,
Yield up his little throat, and all
To appease thee—

[Going away, Pierre holds him. Pier. No-this-no more.

[He whispers Jaffier.

And this is well too.

Fri. Damnable deed!

[Stabs him. [Stabs himself.

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Soft Music. Enter BELVIDERA distracted, led by two of her Women, PRIULI and Servants. Pri. Strengthen her heart with patience, pitying Heaven!

Bel. Come, come, come, come, come, nay, come to bed,

Prithee, my love! The winds; hark how they whistle;

And the rain beats: Oh! how the weather shrinks me!

You are angry now, who cares? Pish, no indeed, Chuse then; I say you shall not go, you shall not; Whip your ill-nature; get you gone then. Oh!

Are you returned? See, father, here he's come
again :

Am I to blame to love him? O, thou dear one,
Why do you fly me? Are you angry still then?
Jaffier, where art thou? father, why do you do


Stand off, don't hide him from me. He's here somewhere.

Stand off, I say: What, gone? Remember it, ty


I may revenge myself for this trick, one day.
I'll do't-I'll do't. Renault's a nasty fellow;
Hang him, hang him, hang him.

Enter Officer.

Pri. News, what news?

Offi. Most sad, sir;

[Officer whispers Priuli.

Jaffier, upon the scaffold, to prevent

Who has done this? Speak to me, thou sad vision!

On these poor trembling knees I beg it. Va nished

Here they went down-Oh, I'll dig, dig the den

You shan't delude me thus. Hoa, Jaffier, Jaffier!
Peep up, and give me but a look. I have him!
I've got him, father: Oh! now how I'll smuggle

My love! my dear! my blessing! help me! help

They have hold on me, and drag me to the bottom.
Nay-now they pull so hard-farewell- [Dies.
Maid. She's dead;
Breathless and dead.

Pri. Oh! guard me from the sight on't!
Lead me into some place that's fit for mourning:
Where the free air, light, and the cheerful sun,.

A shameful death, stabbed Pierre, and next him- May never enter: hang it round with black:

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Set up one taper, that may last a day,
As long as I've to live; and there all leave me:
Sparing no tears, when you this tale relate,
But bid all cruel fathers dread my fate.
[Exeunt omnes.

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A room of state. The curtain rising slowly to soft music, discovers ALMERIA in mourning, LEONORA waiting in mourning. After the music, ALMERIA rises from her chair, and comes forward.

Alm. Music has charms to sooth a savage breast, To soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak. I've read, that things inanimate have moved, And, as with living souls, have been informed By magic numbers and persuasive sound. What then am I? Am I more senseless grown Than trees or flint? O, force of constant woe! 'Tis not in harmony to calm my griefs. Anselmo sleeps, and is at peace; last night The silent tomb received the good old king; He and his sorrows now are safely lodged Within its cold, but hospitable bosom.

Why am not I at peace?

Leon. Dear madam, cease,

Or moderate your grief; there is no cause Alm. No cause! Peace, peace; there is eternal cause,

And misery eternal will succeed.

Thou canst not tell-thou hast indeed no cause.

Leon. Believe me, madam, I lament Anselmo, And always did compassionate his fortune; Have often wept, to see how cruelly Your father kept in chains his fellow-king: And oft, at night, when all have been retired, Have stolen from bed, and to his prison crept; Where, while his gaoler slept, I thro' the grate Have softly whispered, and enquired his health; Sent in my sighs and prayers for his deliverance; For sighs and prayers were all that I could offer. Alm. Indeed thou hast a soft and gentle na


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