Page images
PDF
EPUB

But faith, 't is well, 't is very well as 't is;
Passing, most passing well.
Enter CLEOPHILA leading EROCLEA, and followed by

RHETIAS.
Cleo The sovereign greatness,
Who, by commission from the powers of heaven,
Sways both this land and us, our gracious prince,
By me presents you, sir, with this large bounty,
A gift more precious to him than his birthright.
Here let your cares take end; now set at liberty
Your long-imprison'd heart, and welcome home
The solace of your soul, too long kept from you.

Ero. [kneeling.] Dear sir, you know me?

Mel. Yes, thou art my daughter;
My eldest blessing. Know thee! why, Eroclea,
I never did forget thee in thy absence;
Poor soul, how dost?

Ero. The best of my well-being
Consists in yours.

Mel. Stand up; the gods, who hitherto Have kept us both alive, preserve thee ever! Cleophila, I thank thee and the prince; I thank thee, too, Eroclea, that thou wouldst, In pity of my age, take so much pains To live, till I might once more look upon thee, Before I broke my heart: 0,'t was a piece Of piety and duty unexampled! Rhe. The good man relisheth his comforts

strangely; The sight doth turn me child.

(Aside. Ero. I have not words That can express my joys.

Cleo. Nor I.

Mel. Nor I:
Yet let us gaze on one another freely,
And surfeit with our eyes ; let me be plain:
If I should speak as much as I should speak,
I should talk of a thousand things at once,

in caves,

And all of thee; of thee, my child, of thee!
My tears, like ruffling winds lock'd up
Do bustle for a vent;-on th' other side,
To fly out into mirth were not so comely.
Come hither, let me kiss thee!To Ero.)—with a

pride, Strength, courage, and fresh blood, which now thy

presence
Hath stored me with, I kneel before their altars,
Whose sovereignty kept guard about thy safety:
Ask, ask thy sister, prithee, she will tell thee
How I have been much mad.

Cleo. Much discontented,
Shunning all means that might procure him com-

fort. Ero. Heaven has at last been gracious.

Mel. So say I ; But wherefore drop thy words in such a sloth, As if thou wert afraid to mingle truth With thy misfortunes ? Understand me thoroughly; I would not have thee to report at large, From point to point, a journal of thy absence, "T will take up too much time; I would securely Engross the little remnant of my life, That thou mightst every day be telling somewhat, Which might convey me to my rest with comfort. Let me bethink me; how we parted first, Puzzles my faint remembrance—but softCleophila, thou told'st me that the prince Sent me this present.

Cleo. From his own fair hands
I did receive my sister.

Mel. To requite him,
We will not dig his father's grave anew,
Although the mention of him much concerns
The business we inquire of :-as I said,
We parted in a hurry at the court;
I to this castle, after made my jail ;
But whither thou, dear heart

[ocr errors]

Rhe. Now they fall to't;
I look'd for this.

Ero. I, by my uncle's care,
Sophronos, my good uncle, suddenly
Was like a sailor's boy convey'd a-shipboard,
That very night.

Mel. A policy quick and strange.
Ero. The ship was bound for Corinth, whither first,
Attended only with your servant Rhetias,
And all fit necessaries, we arrived;
From thence, in habit of a youth, we journey'd
To Athens, where, till our return of late,
Have we liv'd safe.

Mel. Oh, what a thing is man,
To bandy factions of distemper'd passions,
Against the sacred Providence above him!
Here, in the legend of thy two years' exile,
Rare pity and delight are sweetly mix'd-
And still thou wert a boy?

Ero. So I obey'd
My uncle's wise command.

Mel. 'Twas safely carried ;
I humbly thank thy fate.

Ero. If earthly treasures Are pour'd in plenty down from heaven on mortals, They reign among those oracles that flow In schools of sacred knowledge, such is Athens ; Yet Athens was to me but a fair prison: The thoughts of you, my sister, country, fortunes, And something of the prince, barr'd all contents, Which else might ravish sense: for had not Rhetias Been always comfortable to me, certainly Things had gone worse.

Mel. Speak low, Eroclea, That “something of the prince" bears danger in it: Yet thou hast travell’d, wench, for such endowments, As might create a prince a wife fit for him, Had he the world to guide; but touch not there, How cam'st thou home?

1

Rhe. Sir, with your noble favour,
Kissing your hand first, that point I can answer.

Mel. Honest, right honest Rhetias !

Rhe. Your grave brother
Perceiv'd with what a hopeless love his son,
Lord Menaphon, too eagerly pursued
Thamasta, cousin to our present prince;
And, to remove the violence of affection,
Sent him to Athens, where, for twelve months' space,
Your daughter, my young lady, and her cousin,
Enjoy'd each other's griefs : till by his father,
The lord Sophronos, we were all call'd home.
Mel. Enough, enough! the world shall henceforth

witness My thankfulness to heaven, and those people Who have been pitiful to me and mine. Lend me a looking-glass.—How now! how came I So courtly, in fresh raiments ?

Rhe. Here's the glass, sir.

Mel. I'm in the trim too.-0 Cleophila,
This was the goodness of thy care and cunning-

(Loud music. Whence comes this noise ?

Rhe. The prince, my lord, in person. [They kneel. Enter PALADOR, SOPHRONOS, ARETUS, AMETHUS, MENA

PHON, CORAX, THAMASTA, and KALA.. Pal. You shall not kneel to us; rise all, I charge

you. Father, you wrong your age; henceforth my arms

[Embracing MEL. And heart shall be your guard: we have o'erheard All passages of your united loves. Be young again, Meleander, live to number A happy generation, and die old In comforts, as in years! The offices And honours, which I late on thee conferr'd, Are not fantastic bounties, but thy merit; Enjoy them liberally.

1

Mel. My tears must thank you, For my tongue cannot.

Cor. I have kept my promise,
And given you a sure cordial.

Mel. Oh, a rare one.
Pal. Good man! we both have shar'd enough of

sadness,
Though thine has tasted deeper of the extreme:
Let us forget it henceforth. Where's the picture
I sent you ? . Keep it; 't is a counterfeit;
And, in exchange of that, I seize on this,

4

*

[Takes Ero. by the hand,
The real substance: with this other hand
I give away, before her father's face,
His younger joy, Cleophila, to thee,
Cousin Amethus; take her, and be to her
More than a father, a deserving husband.
Thus, robb'd of both thy children in a minute,
Thy cares are taken off.

Mel. My brains are dull'd;
I am entranced, and know not what you mean.
Great, gracious sir, alas! why do you mock me?
I am a weak old man, so poor and feeble,
That my untoward joints can scarcely creep
Unto the grave, where I must seek my rest.

Pal. Eroclea was, you know, contracted mine;
Cleophila my cousin's, by consent
Of both their hearts; we both now claim our own :
It only rests in you to give a blessing,
For confirmation.

Rhe. Sir, 't is truth and justice.
Mel. The gods, that lent you to me, bless your

vows!
Oh, children, children, pay your prayers to heaven,
For they have show'd much mercy. But, Sophronos,
Thou art my brother-I can say no more
A good, good brother!

Pal. Leave the rest to time
Cousin Thąmasta, I must give you too;

1

1

« PreviousContinue »