« PreviousContinue »
AN HISTORICAL TRAGEDY, IN FIVE ACTS.-BY GEO, LILLO.
Some fancied right. Michael, the trencher fav'rite; SCENE I.-The Street before Arden's door.
A bastard, bred of Arden's charity;
He has been privy to our secret joys,
And, on that trust presuming, loves my sister;
Winks at adultery, and may at murder. pose. Thrice have my snares been laid for Arden's life,
Companion of my sweet Alicia's hours, And thrice bath he escap'd. I am not safe:
To spread her charms for ever in his eye :
To her are all my visits. But Alicia-
She must, she shall comply : when to my arnis
Her honour she resign'd, her fond reluctance And laugh at all to come. For other instruments,
whisper'd There's Green: he bears him hard about his suit
She could deny me nothing. This to try. For th' abbey-lands, to which the hot youth pleads
(Exit into Arden's house. No, 12.—THE BRITISH DRAMA,
SCENE II.-A Chamber.
Plead not the ruin you have made; but say
Why have you driven me to these extremes?
Why sacrificed my peace, and your own fame, Ard. Unhappy Arden, whither canst thou By corresponding with a menial slave ?
Ali. Thou canst not think that I have wrong'd wander To lay thy heavy load of sorrows down?
Ard. Would I could not!
Ali. By heaven!
Ard. No perjuries.
But now, as you lay slumb'ring by my side,
I still awake, anxious and full of thought, Lord Clifford's full-fod flatt'rer! Oh, damn'd-
(For thou hast banish'd sleep from these sad
eyes) Come, Franklin, come: Arden, thy friend, invites thee;
With gentle accents thrilling with desire, And let me pour my griefs into thy bosom,
You callid on Mosby; love made me doubt my
ears, And find in friendship what I've lost in love.
And question if the dark and silent night
not with my fancy to deceive me: Ali. Why, Arden, do you leave your bed thus But soon I lost the painful, pleasing hope; early?
Again you call'd upon your minion, Mosby.
Confirm'd, I strove to fly your tainted bed,
But, wanting strength, sunk lifeless on my pillow.
You threw your eager arms about my neck, And Arden chid the morn that call'd him from
You press'd my bloodless cheeks with your warm me. Ard. This deep dissembling, this hypocrisy, (The last worst state of a degenerate mind.)
Which glow'd, adult'ress, with infernal heat!
And cali'd a third time on the villain Mosby. Speaks her in vice determin'd and mature.
Ali. A dream, indeed, if e'er I call'd on him.
(Aside.) Ard. Thy guilty dreams betray thy waking Ali. What maid, that knows man's variable
Ali. I know I'm simple, thoughtless, and unWould sell her free estate for marriage bonds?
guarded From vows and oaths, and every servile tie, And what
is carelessness, you construe guilt The tyrant man at pleasure is set free:
Yet were I weak as those fantastic visions, The holy nuptial bond leaves him at large; Sure, I could ne'er have condemn'd you, Arden, Yet vests him with a power that makes us slaves. On circumstances and an idle dream. 'Tis heavenly this
Ard. But such a dream! Ard. To stop my just reproach,
Ali. Yet were it but a dream, Art thou the first to tax the marriage state?
Which, tho' I not remember, I abhor; Ali. Are you not jealous? Do you not give And mourn with tears, because it gives you pain.
Arden, you do not wish me innocen, To vain surmises and malicious tongues,
Or on suspicions could you doom me guilty? That hourly wound my yet untainted fame?
Ard. Not wish thee innocents Do sinkin Ard. And would'st thou make me author of the
When struggling with thə raging seas for life, Thy guilt has brought on us? I'll bear no longer. Wish the assistance of some friendly plank? The traitor, Mosby, curs'd, detested Mosby,
'Tis that, and that alone, can bring me comfort, Shall render an account for both your crimes. Ali. Oh, jealousy, thou fierce, remorseless fiend, Ali. What do I hear?
(Aside.) Degen'rate, most unnatural child of love; Ard. That base, mechanic slave
How shall I chase thee from my Arden's bosom? Shall answer with his blood.
Ard. There is a way, an easy way, Alicia.
Ali. Oh, name it-speak.
Your future conduct-
Ali. You distract me, Arden. Ard. Adult'ress, dost thou kneel
Say, how shall I convince you of my truth ? And weep, and pray, and bend thy stubborn heart Ard. I ask but this : never see Mosby more. (Stubborn to me) to sue for him? Away!
By heaven, she's durnb!
(He starts.) Away this instant, lest I kill thee, too.
Ali. Oh, how shall I conceal
(Recovering himself.) My own confusion, and elude his rage? No; not the hell thou'st kindled in this bosom
(Aside.) Shall make me shed thy blood.
Ard, Thou'rt lost, Alicia ! lost to me and heav'n. Ali. I do not hope it.
Ali. Indeed I'm lost, if you unkindly doubt me. Ard. For me be as immortal as thy shame.
Ard. Wilt thou, then, ne'er converse with diosby Ali. I see your cruel purpose: I must live, To see your hand and honour : tain'd with blood; Ali. If e'er I do, may heav'n and you forsake Your ample fortune seiz'd on by the
me! Your life a forfeit to the cruel laws.
Ard. You'll keep your word, Alicia ? Prythee, Oh, Arden, blend compassion with your rage,
say. And kindly kill me first.
Ali. You'll break my heart.
Ard. I'd rather break my own.
Ali. And ever will.
Mos. Madam, it was my sister I expectedArd. Give me thy hand-thy heart,
Ali. Am I forgotten, then? Ungrateful man! Oh, give me that. ,
This only could have added to my woes. Ali. That always was your own.
Did you but know what I have borne for you, Ard. Thou flatterer! then whence this cruel | You would not thus, unmovd, behold my tears. strife?
Mos. Madam, you make me vain.
You were the first dear object of my love,
And could my heart have made a second choice, Ali. Indeed you fright me,
I had not been the object of your scorn: Ard. 'Tis possible
But duty, gratitude, the love of fame, Ali. What?
And pride of virtue, were too weak t' eraso Ard. That thou may'st yet deceive me.
The deep impression of your early vows. Ali. Oh, I am wretched.
Mos. Therefore, you kindly chose to wed anArd. Both, perhaps, are so.
other. But if thou ever lov'd, thou'lt not despise me, Ali. Reproach me not with what I deem':1 my And wilt forgive me, if, indeed, I've wrong'd
Oh! had I thought I could assume the name, As I've forgiven thee. Pity, I'm sure, I need. And never know th' affection of a wife,
I would have died ere giv'n my hand to Arden.
Mos. You gave him all. Ali. Thou hast it, Arden, e'en from her that Ali. No, no; I gave him nothing: wrongs thee.
Words without truth; a hand without a heart. All, all shall pity thee, and curse Alicia.
But he has found the fraud; the slumb'ring lion, Can I feel this, and further tempt the stream At length, hath rous'd himselfOf guilty love? Oh, whither am I fallen?
Mos. And I must fall
Ali. No, he knows not yet his wrongs.
Mos. But quickly will.
Ali. That, that's my greatest fear. morn
Mos. Then, branded with a strumpet's hated Of coming life be usher'd with like joy. Franklin, from court return'd has brought the The cause abhorrd of shame, of blood, and ruin,
Thou'lt be expos d and hooted thro'tbe world. Of the abbey-lands, confirm'd by the young king,
Ali. Oh! hide the dreadful image from my view To Arden for his life: nor will deliver
Chaste matrons, modest maids, and virtuous But to himself the deed.
wives, Ali. A worthy friend!
Scorning a weakness, which they never knew, The grant is not more welcome to my husband,
Shall blush with indignation at my name. Than Franklin's company.
Mos. My death-but that, tho' certain-
Ali. Labour not
To drive me to despair. Fain would I hope
Mos. You may-and be deceiv'd. For me, I Serv. (To Maria.) Madam, your brother Mosby
know Ali. Where is Mosby?
My fate's resolv'd: and thee the instruinent; Serv. He waits below.
The willing instrument of Mosby's ruin.
Inconstant, false Alicia !
Mos. Injurious! false one, might not all these Ali. Pray, give me leave-looks he in health ?
dangers Serv. He seems in health.
That threaten to involve us both in ruin, Ali. Here, and not ask for me!
Ere this have been prevented ? Seems he or angry, then, or melancholy?
dli. Ha! Say on. Answer me, stock, stone!
Mos. And not preventing, art not thou the cause ? Serv. Truly, I can't say.
Ali. Ah! whither, Mosby, whither would'st thou Ali. Thou canst say nothing. Get thee from my
drive me? sight.
Mos. Nay, didst thou love, or would'st secure thy Yet, stay-no matter. I'll myself go seek him.
fame, [Exeunt Alicia and Serv.
Preserve my life, and bind me yours for ever,
'Tis yet within your power. Mar. Where reason is, can passion thus prevail ?
Ali. By Arden's death! [Erit. Mean'st thou not so? speak out, and be a devil.
Mos. Yes, 'tis for thee I am so. But your looks SCENE III.--A Parlour in Arden's House.
Declare, my death would please you better, madam.
Ali. Exaggerating fiend! be dumb for ever.
His death! I must not cast a glance that way.
Mos. Is there another way? Oh! think, Alicia. Ali. Mosby, that brow befits our wayward fate. Ali. I will, for that will make me mad : and The evil hour, long fear'd, is fallin upon us,
madness And we shall sink beneath it. Do not frown; Were some excuse. Come, kind distraction ! If you're unkind, to whom shall I complain ?
And Arden dies: my husband dies for Mosby. Mos. What I endure to save a lady's honour ! (Shriks and runs to Mosby.)
Frank. Your longer stay will but incense bim Enter ARDEN and FRANKLIN.
more: He's here! Oh, save me! tell me, did he hear?
Pray, quit the house.
Mos. Sir, I shall take your counsel. (Erit. Ard. (Starting.) Franklin, support your friend.
Ard. He hath escap'd me, then. But, for my I shake with horror.
wife-Frank. What moves you thus?
Frank. What bas she done? Ard. See, Mosby with my wife!
Ard. Done! Must I tell my shame? Mos. But, madám, I shall spare your farther Away, begone ; lest, from my prey withheld, trouble :
I turn, and tear th' officious band that holds me. In happy timo behold my neighbour here.
Soft! art thou Franklin ? Pardon me, sweet (As taking leare of Alicia.)
My spirits fail -I shake-I must retire. Ali. Mischief and wild confusion have begun.
Frank. To your Alicia ? And desolation waits to close the scene. [C.rit. Mos. Sir, I would gladly know, whether your For I must learn to live without her, Franklin.
Ard. To my lonely couch; grant
Frank. Pray beaven forbid ! Of the rich abbey-lands of Feversham
Ard. To hate her, to forget her, if I can: Be yet confirm'd or not?
No easy task for one who doats like me. Ard. What, if I tear
From what a height I'm fallen! Once smiling Her faithless heart, ev'n in the traitor's sight,
love Who taught it falsehood?
(Aside.) or all its horrors robb'd the blackest night, Frank. He is lost in thought.
And gilt with gladness ev'ry ray of light,
Now tyrant-like his conquest he maintains,
And o'er his groaning slave with rods of iron reigos
(Ereunt. Mos. I'm satisfied.
Ard. So am not I. By hell,
(Aside.) Mos. My friend seems rapt in thought: I came
SCENE I.-The Street.
Enter GREEN and MOSBY.
Green. You pity me, and know not my estate The law and this good seal is my security;
I'm ruin'd, Mosby, thoughtless and ill-advis'd; To them I leave Green and his groundless claim. My riotous youth will leave my age a beggar. But my just right to false Alicia's heart,
These abbey-lands were all the hopes I'd left: (So dearly purchas'd with a husband's name, My whole support. And sacred honour of a gentleman)
Mos. Base and ungen'rous Arden! I shall assert myself, and thus secure
To force a man, born equal to himself, From further violation.
(Draus.) To beg or starve. Mos. Her known virtue
Green. By heaven! I will do neither: Renders the injury your fancy forms,
I'll let the proud oppressor knowA thing of air.
Mos. How blind is rage ! Frank. Impossible to thought.
Who threats his enemy, lends him a sword Whence, Arden, comes this sudden madness on To guard himself. thee,
Green, Robb'd of the means of life, That your Alicia, ever dear esteem'd,
What's life itself? an useless load, a curse; And deeply lov'd
Which yet I'll dearly sell to my revenge.
Mos. You mean to kill him, then?
Defend thyself. Mos. Suppose you fail.
cure, Mos. This I can bear from you.
Riots unbounded in his ill-got wealth ? Ard. Or any man.
Green. What can I do? Why haugs that useless weapon by your side, Mos. 'Tis plain you wish him dead. Thou shame to manhood ? Draw. Will nothing Green. Each moment of his life is to my soul move thee?
(Strikes Mosby.) A tedious age of pain; for while he lives, Frank. Hold! Whither would your mad revenge Contempt, and all the ills a lazar knows, transport you?
Must be my wretched lot, and lengthen out Ard. Shall shameful cowardice protect a villain! The miserable hours. What grovelling wretch Mos. You choose a proper place to shew your Would wish to hold his life on such conditions ? courage.
Mos. But change the scene: suppose but Arden Ard. Go on. I'll follow to the ocean's brink,
dead, Or to the edge of some dread precipice,
Your land restor'd, and fortune in your pow'r; Where terror and despair shall stop thy flight, Honour, respect, and all the dear delights And force thy trembling hand to guard thy life. That wait on wealth, shall wing the joyful hours,
And life contracted seem one happy day.
Brad. Go, mend thy own. I hate this Arden, and have stronger motives
B. Will. Thou wert always a speaking fellow, Than any you can urge to wish his death;
Bradshaw, and could'st never swear, nor get drunk. He has accus'd, insulted, struck me;
Come, shall I and my comrade Shakebag laste your
(Aside to Green.) Mos. Enough: his fate is fix'd. See, Bradshaw's here.
Green. It shall be done. Bradshaw, a word with
thee. Enter BRADSHAW.
Brad. Your pardon, gentlemen. Brad. Save, save you, gentlemen.
[Exeunt Green and Brad. Mos. We thank you, neighbour.
B. Will. He was a cadet in the last French war. But whither in such haste ?
like other soldiers, then; but now he has got a nest Brad. To the isle of Sheppey,
and feathered it a little, he pretends to reputation. To wait on good Lord Cheyney. As he holds Sblood! had this been a ft place, he had not esIn high esteem our worthy townsman, Arden, cap'd me so. You have surveyed us well (To I shall first call on him. "Tis well I met you, Mosby.) How do you like us? For yonder two were but bad road-companions, Mosby. Methinks I read truth, prudence, seGreen. They seem of desp'rate fortunes.
crecy, Mos. Have they names?
And courage writ upon your manly brown. Brad. One I know not; but judge him from his B. Will. What hellish villany has this fellow in comrade.
hand, that makes him fawn upon us? (Aside.) The foremost of the two I knew at Boulogne, Mosby. I fear the world's a stranger to your Where, in the late king's reign, I serv'd inyself.
merit. He was a corporal then, but such a villain!
If this may recommend me to your friendshipBeneath a soldier's name: a common cut-throat,
(Gives a pause.) That preys on all mankind, and knows no party.
B. Will. Of what damnd deed is this to be the Mos. A horrid character you give him, Brad. shaw.
wages ? Brad. No worse than he deserves.
Shake. Hast ever an elder brother's throat to
cut? Mos. (Aside.) An useful hint: He shall not want employment. What's his
B. Will.. Ur an old peevish father to be buried ?
Mosby. Neither of these. name? Brad. Black Will. His family-name I never
Shake. A rival then, mayhap. heard.
Mosby. There your come nearer to me. Nos. (To Green.) A word-write you a letter to
Sake. Then speak out.
We're honest, sir.
B. Will. Trusty, and very poor.
Mosby. Metal too fit for me. (Aside.) Then, hear Hint at these men. In case her courage fail,
But you must both, ere I disclose my purpose, She will be glad to shift the deed on them.
Promise, and bind that promise by your oaths, Green. I am instructed.
Never-(They both laughs.) - Why this unseasonable Enter BLACK WILL and SHAKEBAG.
B. Will. You'd have us swear? B. Will. What, comrade Bradshaw. How fare Mosby. Elso why did I propose it? you, man? 'Sblood! dost not remember honest B. Will. There's the jest. Are men who act in Black Will. Why, thou'rt grown purse-proud, despite of all law, honour, and conscience; who sure.
live by blood; (as it is plain you think we do :) are Brad. Why, you are not easily forgotten, Will. we free-thinkers, like silly wenches and canting But, pr'ythee, what brings thee to Feversham ? priests, to be confined by oaths ?
B. Will. A soldier, you know, is at home where Shake. Would you bind us, let the price equal ever he comes. Omne solum forti patri. There's the purchase, and we'll go to bell for you with Latin. Give's a tester.
pleasure. Brad. In time of peace we should apply to some Mosby. Horrid! they shock ev'n me who would honest, creditable business, and not turn the name
(Aside.) of soldier into vagabond.
I apprehend: the business, then, is this: B. Will. Yes, as you have done. I'm told, you In Feversham, there lives a man, callid Arden, keep a goldsmith's shop here in Feversham; and, In general esteem, and ample means; like a mechanical rogue, live by cheating. I have And has a wife the very pride of nature. more honour.
I have been happy long in her affections; Brad. Would thou badst honesty!
And, he once dead, might with her share his forB. Will. Where do our honesties differ? I tako
tunes. & purse behind a hedge, and you behind a coun He's jealous, too, of late, and threatens me. ter.
Love, int'rest, self-defence, all ask his death. Brad. Insolent slave!
B. Will. This man you'd have despatch'd ? B. Will. You cent. per cent. rascall I may
find Mos. I would. a time to teach you better manners.
B. Will. Rich, you say?