Page images
PDF
EPUB

ACT V.

SCENE I.-Bajazet's Tent.

Baj. Still to deform thy gentle brow with

frowns, Arpasia.

And still to be perverse, it is a manner SURE 'tis a horror, more than darkness brings, Abhorrent from the softness of thy sex : That sits upon the night! Fate is abroad; Women, like summer storms, awhile are cloudy, Some ruling fiend hangs in the dusky air, Burst out in thunder, and impetuous showers; And scatters ruin, death, and wild distraction, But strait, the sun of beauty dawns abroad, O'er all the wretched race of man below. And all the fair horizon is serene. Not long ago, a troop of ghastly slaves

Arp. Then, to retrieve the honour of my sex, Rushed in, and forced Moneses from my sight; Here I disclaim that changing and inconstancy : Death hung so heavy on his drooping spirits, To thee I will be ever as I am. That scarcely could he say—Parewell—for ever! Baj. Thou sayest I am a tyrant; think so still, And yet, methinks, some gentle spirit whispers, And let it warn thy prudence to lay hold Thy peace draws near, Arpasia, sigh no more! On the good hour of peace, that courts thee now. And see! the king of terrors is at hand;

Souls, formed like mine, brook being scorned bat His minister appears.

ill.

Be well advised, and profit by my patience;
Enter BAJAZET and Haly,

It is a short-lived virtue.
Baj. [-Aside to Haly.] The rest I leave

Arp. Turn thine eyes
To thy dispatch. For, oh! my faithful Haly, Back on the story of my woes, barbarian !
Another care has taken up thy master.

Thou that hast violated all respects
Spite of the high-wrought tempest in my soul, Due to my sex, and honour of my birth.
Spite of the pangs which jealousy has cost me, Thou brutal ravisher! that hast undone me,
This haughty woman reigns within my breast; Ruined my love! Can I have peace with thee?
In vain I strive to put her from my thoughts, Impossible! First heaven and hell shall join;
To drive her out with empire, and revenge. They only differ more.
Still she comes back, like a retiring tide,

Baj. I see, 'tis vain That ebbs awhile, but strait returns again, To court thy stubborn temper with endearments. And swells above the beach.

Resolve, this moment, to return my love, Ha. Why wears my lord

And be the willing partner of my flight, An anxious thought for what his power commands? Or, by the prophet's holy law, thou diest ! When, in a happy hour, you shall, ere long, Arp. And dost thou hope to fright me with the Have borne the empress from amidst your foes, phantom, She must be yours, be only and all yours. Death ? 'Tis the greatest mercy thou canst give; Baj. On that depends my fear. Yes, I must So frequent are the murders of thy reign, have her;

One day scarce passing by unmarked with blood, I own, I will not, cannot, go without her, That children, by long use, have learnt to scorn But such is the condition of our flight,

it. That should she not consent, 'twould hazard all Know, I disdain to aid thy treacherous purpose, To bear her hence by force. Thus I resolve And shouldst thou dare to force me, with my cries then,

I will call Heaven and earth to my assistance. By threats and prayers, by every way, to move Baj. Confusion! dost thou brave me? But

her; If all prevail not, force is left at last;

Shall find a passage to thy swelling heart, And I will set life, empire, on the venture, And rack thee worse than all the pains of death. To keep her mine-Be near to wait my will. That Grecian dog, the minion of thy wishes,

[Erit Haly. Shall be dragged forth, and butchered in thy sight; When last we parted, 'twas on angry terms;

Thou shalt behold him when his pangs are Let the remembrance die, or kindly think

terrible, That jealous rage is but a hasty flame,

Then, when he stares, and gasps, and struggles That blazes out, when love too fiercely burns.

strongly, Arp. For thee to wrong me, and for me to Even in the bitterest agony of dying; suffer,

Till thou shalt rend thy bair, tear out thy eyes, Is the hard lesson that my soul has learnt, And curse thy pride; while I applaud my venAnd now I stand prepared for all to come;

geance. Nor is it worth my leisure to distinguish

Arp. Oh, fatal image! All my powers give way, If love or jealousy commit the violence.

And resolution sickens at the thought; Each have alike been fatal to my peace,

A flood of passion rises in my breast, Confirming me a wretch, and thee a tyrant. And labours fiercely upward to my eyes.

my wrath

Come, all ye great examples of my sex,

Mon. There is no room for doubt; 'tis certain Chaste virgins, tender wives, and pious matrons !

bliss.
Ye holy martyrs, who, with wondrous faith The tyrant's cruel violence, thy loss,
And constancy unshaken, have sustained Already seem more light; nor has my soul
The rage of cruel men, and fiery persecution, One unrepented guilt upon remembrance,
Come to my aid, and teach me to defy

To make me dread the justice of hereafter; The malice of this fiend ! I feel, I feel

But standing now on the last verge of life, Your sacred spirit arm me to resistance. Boldly I view the last abyss, eternity, Yes, tyrant, I will stand this shock of fate; Eager to plunge, and leave my woes behind me. Will live to triumph o'er thee, for a moment, Arp. By all the truth of our past loves, I vow, Then die well pleased, and follow my Moneses. To die appears a very nothing to me. Baj. Thou talkest it well. But talking is thy But, oh, Moneses! should I not allow privilege ;

Somewhat to love, and to my sex's tenderness? 'Tis all the boasted courage of thy sex;

This very now I could put off my being Though, for thy soul, thou darest not meet the Without a groan; but to behold thee die !danger.

Nature shrinks in me at the dreadful thought, Arp. By all my hopes of happiness, I dare - Nor can my constancy sustain this blow. My soul is come within her ken of heaven; Mon. Since thou art armed for all things after Charmed with the joys and beauties of that place, death, Her thoughts and all her cares she fixes there, Why“should the pomp and preparation of it And 'tis in vain for thee to rage below :

Be frightful to thy eyes ? There's not a pain, Thus stars shine bright, and keep their place which age or sickness brings, the least disorder above,

That vexes any part of this fine frame, Though ruffling winds deform this lower world. But is full as grievous. All that the mind feels Baj. This moment is the trial.

Is much, much more. And see, I go to prove it. Arp. Let it come! This moment then shall shew I am a Greek,

Enter a Mute; he signs to the rest, who proffer And speak my country's courage in my suffering.

a bow-string to Moneses. Baj. Flere, mercy, I disclaim thee! Mark me, Arp. Think, ere we part ! traitress!

Mon. Of what? My love prepares a victim to thy pride,

Arp. Of something soft, And when it greets thee next, 'twill be in blood. Tender and kind, of something wondrous sad.

[Erit Bajazet.Oh, my full soul! Arp. My heart beats higher, and my nimble Mon. My tongue is at a loss; spirits

Thoughts crowd so fast, thy name is all I have Ride swiftly through their purple channels round. left, ?Tis the last blaze of life. Nature revives, My kindest, truest, dearest, best Arpasia! Like a dim winking lamp, that flashes brightly

[The Mutes struggle with him. With parting light, and straight is dark for ever. Arp. I have a thousand, thousand things to And see, my last of sorrows is at hand;

utter, Death and Moneses come together to me; A thousand more to hear yet. Barbarous vil. As if my stars, that had so long been cruel,

lains ! Grew kind at last, and gave me all I wish. Give me a minute. Speak to me, Moneses !

Mon. Speak to thee? Tis the business of my Enter Moneses, guarded by some Mutes ; others life,

attending with a cup of poison, and a bow-Tis all the use I have for vital air. string.

Stand off, ye slaves! To tell thee that my heart Mon. I charge ye, Oye ministers of fate! Is full of thee; that, even at this dread moBe swift to execute your master's will;

ment, Bear me to my Arpasia; let me tell her, My fond eyes gaze with joy and rapture on thee; The tyrant is grown kind. He bids me go, Angels, and light itself, are not so fair. And die beneath her feet. A joy shoots through My drooping breast; as often, when the trumpet

Enter BAJAZET, HALY, and Attendants. llas called my youthful ardour forth to battle, Baj. Ha! wherefore lives this dog? Be quick, High in my hopes, and ravished with the sound, I have rushed eager on, amidst the foremost, And rid me of my pain. To purchase victory, or glorious death,

Mon. For only death, Arp. If it be happiness, alas ! to die, And the last night, can shut out my Arpasia. To lie forgotten in the silent grave,

(The Mutes strangle Moneses. To love and glory lost, and from among

Arp. Oh, dismal ! 'tis not to be borne ! Ye The great Creator's works expunged and blotted, moralists ! Then, very shortly, shall we both be happy. Ye'taļkers ! what are all your precepts now?

ye slaves!

my

Patience! distraction! Blast the tyrant, blast Baj. What meanest thou ? bim,

Om. All our hopes of flight are lost. Avenging lightnings! Snatch him hence, ye Mirvan and Zama, with the Parthian horse, fiends!

Inclose us round; they hold us in a toil. Love! Death! Moneses! Nature can no more; Baj. Ha! whence this unexpected curse of Ruin is on her, and she sinks at once.

chance?

[She sinks down. Om. Too late I learnt, that early in the night Baj. Help, Haly! raise her up, and bear her A slave was suffered, by the princess' order, out!

To pass the guard. I clove the villain down, Ha. Alas! She faints.

Who yielded to his flight; but that's poor venArp. No, tyrant, 'tis in vain.

geance !
Oh! I am now beyond thy cruel power; That fugitive has raised the camp upon us,
The peaceful slumber of the grave is on me : And unperceived, by favour of the night,
Even all the tedious days of life I have wandered, In silence they have marched to intercept us.
Bewildered with misfortunes :

Baj. My daughter ! Oh, the traitress!
At length 'tis night, and I have reached my home. Der. Yet we have
Forgetting all the toils and troubles past,

Axalla in our power,

and angry

Tamerlane Weary I'll lay me down, and sleep, till -Oh! Will buy his favourite's life, on any terms.

She dies. Om. With those few friends I have, I for a Baj. Fly, ye slaves !

while And fetch me cordials. No, she shall not die! Can face their force : if they refuse us peace, Spite of her sullen pride, I'll hold in life, Revenge shall sweeten ruin, and 'twill joy me, And force her to be blest against her will. To drag my foe down with me,

in fall. Ha. Already 'tis beyond the power of art;

(Erit Omar. For, see, a deadly cold has froze the blood, The pliant limbs grow stilf, and lose their use,

Enter Haly, with Selima, weeping. And all the animating fire is quenched :

Buj. See where she comes, with well-dissemEven beauty too is dead; an ashy pale

bled innocence; Grows o'er the roses; the red lips have lost With truth and faith so lovely in her face, Their fragrant hue, for want of that sweet As if she durst even disavow the falsehood.breath,

Hop'st thou to make amends with trifling tears, That blest them with its odours as it past. For my lost crown, and disappointed vengeance?

Baj. Can it be possible? Can rage and grief, Ungrateful Selima! thy father's curse!
Can love and indignation be so fierce,

Bring forth the minion of her foolish heart!
So mortal in a woinan's heart? Confusion ! He dies this moment.
Is she escaped then? What is royalty,

Ha. Would I could not speak If those, that are my slaves, and should live for the crime of fatal love! The slave who fled, me,

By whom we are undone, was that Axalla. Can die, and bid defiance to my power?

Baj. Ha! sayest thou?

. Hid beneath that vile appearance,
Enter the Deroise.

The princess found a means for bis escape. Der. The valiant Omar sends, to tell thy Sel. I am undone! even nature has disclaimgreatness

ed me! The hour of Aight is come, and urges haste; My father! have I lost you all ? My father! Since he descries, near Tamerlane's pavilion, Baj. Talk'st thou of nature, who hast broke Bright troops of crowding torches, who from her bands! thence, Thou art my bane, thou witch! thou infant

parOn either hand, stretch far into the night,

ricide! And seem to form a shining front of battle. But I will study to be strangely cruel; Behold, even from this place thou mayst discern I will forget the folly of my fondness; them.

[Looking out. Drive all the father from my breast; now snatch Baj. By Alla, yes! they cast a day around them, thee, And the plain seems thick-set with stars, as Tear thee to pieces, drink thy treacherous blood, heaven.

And make thee answer all my great revenge! Ha! or my eyes are false, they move this way;

Now, now,

thou traitress! [Offers to kill her. 'Tis certain só. Fly, Haly, to our daughter. Sel. Plunge the poignard deep! [Erit Haly.

[She embraces him. Let some secure the Christian prince, Axalla; The life my father gave shall hear his summons, We will begone this minute.

And issue at the wound !-- Start not to feel

My heart's warm blood gush out upon your hands ; Enter OMAR.

Since from your spring I drew the purple stream, Om. Lost! undone!

And I must pay it back, if you demand it.

ence!

Baj. Hence, from my thoughts, thou soft re- Be this the whitest hour of all my life! lenting weakness!

This one success is more than all my wars, Has thou not given me up a prey? betrayed me! The noblest, dearest glory of my sword. Sel. Oh, not for worlds ! not even for all the Sel. Alas, Axalla! Death has been around me; joys,

My coward soul still trembles at the fright, Love, or the prophet's paradise can give ! And seems but half secure, even in thy arins. Amidst the fears and sorrows of my soul,

Ar. Retire, my fair, and let me guard thee Amidst the thousand pains of anxious tenderness, forth: I made the gentle, kind Axalla swear,

Blood and tumultuous slaughter are about us, Your life, your crown, and honour, should be safe. And danger, in her ugliest forms, is here; Baj. Away! my soul disdains the vile depend- Nor will the pleasure of my heart be full,

Till all my fears are ended in thy safety. No, let me rather die, die like a king !

[Exeunt Aralla and Selima, Shall I fall down at the proud Tartar's foot, And say, have mercy on me? Hark! they come! Enter TAMERLANE, the Prince of Tanais, ZA

[Shout.

MA, Mirvan, and Soldiers ; with BAJAZET, Disgrace will overtake my lingering hand;

OMAR, and the Dervise, prisoners. Die then! Thy father's shame, and thine, die Tam. Mercy at length gives up her peaceful with thee! [Offers to kill her.

sceptre, Sel. For Heaven, for pity's sake!

And justice sternly takes her turn to govern; Baj. No more, thou trifler!

'Tis a rank world, and asks her keenest sword, [She catches hold of his arm. To cut up villainy of monstrous growth. Ha! darest thou bar my will? Tear off her hold! Zama, take care, that with the earliest dawn, Sel. What, not for life ! Should I not plead for Those traitors meet the fate their treason merits! life?

[Pointing to Omar and the Derdise. When nature teaches even the brute creation For thee, thou tyrant ! [To Baj.] whose oppresTo hold fast that, her best, her noblest gift.

sive violence Look on my eyes, which you so oft have kissed, Has ruined those thou shouldst protect at home; And swore they were your best-loved queen's, Whose wars, whose slaughters, whose assassinamy mother's;

tions, Behold them now streaming for mercy, mercy ! (That basest thirst of blood ! that sin of cowards!) Look on me, and deny me, if you can!

Whose faith, so often given, and always violated, 'Tis but for life I beg! Is that a boon

Have been the offence of Heaven, and plague of So hard for me to obtain, or you to grant?

earthOh, spare me! Spare your Selima, my father! What punishment is equal to thy crimes ?

Baj. A lazy sloth hangs on my resolution : The doom, thy rage designed for me, be thine : It is my Selima !-Ha! What, my child ! Closed in a cage, like some destructive beast, And can I murder her:-Dreadful imagination! I'll have thee borne about, in public view, Again they come! I leave her to my foes ! A great example of that righteous vengeance,

[Shouts. That waits on cruelty, and pride, like thine. And shall they triumph o'er the race of Bajazet! Baj. It is beneath me to decline my fate; Die, Selima! Is that a father's voice?

I stand prepared to meet thy utmost hate : Rouse, rouse, my fury! Yes, she dies the victim Yet think not I will long thý triumph see: To

my lost hopes ! Out, out, thou foolish nature! None want the means, when the soul dares be Seize her, ye slaves! and strangle her this mo free. ment!

[To the Mutes. I'll curse thee with my last, my parting breath, Sel. Oh, let me die by you ! Behold my breast! And keep the courage of my life, in death; I would not shrink! Oh, save me but from these! Then boldly venture on that world unknown:

Baj. Dispatch! [The Mutes seize her. It cannot use me worse than this has done. Sel. But for a moment, while I pray

[Erit Bajazet, guarded. That Heaven may guard my royal father.

Tam. Behold the vain effects of earth-born Baj. Dogs!

pride, Sel. That you may only bless me, ere I die. That scorned Heaven's laws, and all its power

[Shout. defied ! Baj. Ye tedious villains! then the work is mine! That could the hand, which formed it first, for

[As Bujazet runs at Selima, with his sword, get,

enter Tamerlane, Aralla, &c. Aralla And fondly say, I made myself be great!
gets between Bajazet and Selima, whilst But justly those above assert their sway,
Tamerlane and the rest drive Bajazet And teach even kings what homage they should
and the Mutes off the Stage.

pay,
Ax. And am I come to save thee? Oh, my Who then rule best, when mindful to obey.
joy!

[Exeunt omnes.

[blocks in formation]

Scene,-Sciolto's palace and garden, with some part of the street near it, in Genoa.

ACT I.

Alt. Let this auspicious day be ever sacred, Forget! (but 'tis impossible) then let ine
No mourning, no misfortunes happen on it: Forget the use and privilege of reason,
Let it be marked for triumphs and rejoicings; Be driven from the commerce of mankind,
Let happy lovers ever make it holy,

To wander in the desert among brutes, Chuse it to bless their hopes, and crown their To bear the various fury of the seasons, wishes,

The night's · unwholsome dew, and noon-day's This happy day, that gives me my Calista!

heat, Hor. Yes, Altamont; to-day thy better stars To be the scorn of earth and curse of heaven! Are joined to shed their kindest influence on thee; Hor. So open, so unbounded was his goodness, Sciolto's noble hand, that raised thee first, It reached even me, because I was thy friend. Half dead and drooping o'er thy father's grave, When that great man I loved, thy noble father, Completes it's bounty, and restores thy name Bequeathed thy gentle sister to my arms, To that high rank and lustre which it boasted, His last dear pledge and legacy of friendship, Before ungrateful Genoa had forgot

That happy tie made me Sciolto's son; The merit of thy god-like father's arms; He called us his, and, with a parent's fondness, Before that country, which he long had served, Indulged us in his wealth, blessed us with plenty, In watchful councils, and in winter-camps, Healed all our cares, and sweetened love itself. Had cast off his white age to want and wretch Alt. By Heaven, he found my fortunes so edness,

abandoned, And made their court to faction by his ruin. That nothing but a miracle could raise them : Alt. Oh, great Sciolto! Oh, my more than My father's bounty, and the state's ingratitude, father!

Had stripped him bare, not left him even a grave. Let me not live, but at thy very name,

Undone myself and sinking with his ruin, My eager heart springs up, and leaps with joy. I had no wealth to bring, nothing to succour him, When I forget the vast, vast debt I owe thee But fruitless tears.

« PreviousContinue »