Page images
PDF
EPUB

Still ministering fresh plagues, as in a circle, Hast thou not torn me from my native country, Where one dishonour treads upon another; From the dear arms of my lamenting friends, What know the fiends beyond it? Ha! by hell, From my soul's peace, and from my injured love?

(Seeing ARP. and Tam. Hast thou not ruined, blotted me for ever,
There wanted only this to make me mad! And driven me to the brink of black despair?
Comes he to triumph here? to rob my love, And is it in thy malice yet to add
And violate the last retreat of happiness? A wound more deep, to sully my white name,

Tan. But that I read upon thy frowning brow, My virtue :
That war yet lives, and rages in thy breast, Baj. Yes, thou hast thy sex's virtues,
Once more (in pity to the suffering world) Their affectation, pride, ill-nature, noise,
I meant to offer peace.

Proneness to change, even from the joy that, Baj. And mean'st thou too

pleased them; To treat it with our empress ? and to barter So gracious is your idol, dear variety, The spoils, which fortune gave thee, for her fa- That for another love, you would forego. vours?

An angel's form, to mingle with a devil's; Arp. What would the tyrant ? (Aside. Through every state and rank of men you wanBaj. Seek’st thou thus our friendship?

der, Is this the royal usage thou didst boast? Till even your large experience takes in all Tam. The boiling passion, that disturbs thy The different nations of the peopled earth. soul,

Arp. Why sought'st thou not from thy owa Spreads clouds around, and makes thy purpose

impious tribe dark

A wife like one of these? For such thy race Unriddle what thy mystic fury aims at.

(If human nature brings forth such) affords. Baj. Is it a riddle? Read it there explained ; Greece, for chaste virgins famed, and pious maThere, in my shame. Now judge me thou, O

trons, prophet,

Teems not with monsters like your Turkish wives, And equal Heaven, if this demand not rage! Whom guardian eunuchs, haggard and deformed, The peasant-hind, begot and born to slavery, Whom walls and bars make honest by constraint Yet dares assert a husband's sacred right, Know, I detest, like hell, the crime thou menAnd guards his homely couch from violation :

tion'st : And shall a monarch tamely bear the wrong, Not that I fear, or reverence thee, thou tyrant! Without complaining ?

But that my soul, conscious of whence it sprung, Tam. If I could have wronged thee,

Sits unpolluted in its sacred temple, If conscious virtue, and all-judging Heaven, And scorns to mingle with a thought so mean. Stood not between to bar ungoverned appetite, Tam. Oh, pity! that a greatness so divine What hindered, but in spite of thee, my captive, Should meet a fate so wretched, so unequal. I might have used a victor's boundless power, Thou, blind and wilful to the good that courts And sated every wish my soul could form?

thee,

.(To BAJAZET, But, to secure thy fears, know, Bajazet, With open-handed bounty Heaven pursues thee, This is among the things I dare not do. And bids thee (undeserving as thou art, Baj. By hell, 'tis false! else wherefore art And monstrous in thy crimes) be happy yet; thou present?

Whilst thou, in fury, dost avert the blessing, What cam’st thou for, but to undo my honour? And art an evil genius to thyself. I found thee holding amorous parly with her, Baj. No-Thou! thou art my greatest curse Gazing and glutting on her wanton eyes,

on earth! And bargaining for pleasures yet to come: Thou, who hast robbed me of my crown and My life, I know, is the deyoted price

glory, But take it! I am weary of the pain.

And now pursu'st me to the verge of life, Tam. Yet ere thou rashly urge my rage too far, To spoil me of my honour. Thou! thou hypoI warn thee to take heed: I am a man,

crite! And have the frailties common to man's nature: That wear'st a pageant outside shew of virtue, The fiery seeds of wrath are in my temper, To cover the hot thoughts that glow within ; And may be blown up to so fierce a blaze, Thou rank adulterer! As wisdom cannot rule. Know, thou hast touch Tam. Oh, that thou wert ed me

The lord of all those thousands, that lie breathEven in the nicest, tenderest part, my honour;

less My honour, which, like power, disdains being On yonder field of blood, that I again questioned;

Might hunt thee, in the face of death and dan, Thy breath has blasted my fair virtue's fame,

ger, And marked me for a villain, and a tyrant. Through the tumultuous battle, and there force Arp. And stand I here an idle looker-on,

thee, To see my innocence murdered and mangled Vanquished and sinking underneath my arm, By barbarous hands, nor can revenge the wrong? To own thou hast traduced me like a villain ! Art thou a man, and dar'st thou use me thus? Buj. Ha! Does it gall thee, Tartar? By re

[To BAJAZET.

venge,

me?

renown;

It joys me much to find thou feelst my fury. Baj. To what new shame, what plague ata 1 Yes, I will echo to thee, thou adulterer!

reserved! Thou dost prophane the name of king and soldier, Why did my stars refuse me to die warm, And, like a ruffian bravo, cam'st with force While yet my regal state stood unimpeached, To violate the holy marriage-bed.

Nor knew the curse of having one above me? Tam. Wert thou not shelter’d by thy abject Then too (although by force 1 grasped the joy) state,

My love was safe, nor felt the rack of doubt. The captive of my sword, by my just anger, Why hast thou forced this nauseous life upon My breath, like thunder, should confound thy pride,

Is it to triumph o'er me?-But I will, And doom thee dead, this instant, with a word. I will be free; I will forget thee all ; Baj. 'Tis false! my fate's above thee, and The bitter and the sweet, the joy and pain, thou dar'st not.

Death shall expunge at once, and ease my soul. Tam. Ha! dare not ! Thou hast raised my Prophet, take notice, I disclaim thy paradise, ponderous rage,

Thy fragrant bowers, and everlasting shades; And now it falls, to crush thee at a blow. Thou hast placed woman there, and all thy jors A guard there! Seize, and drag him to his fate!

are tainted.

(Erit BAJAZET. [Enter a guard: they seize BAJAZET. Arp. A little longer yet, be strong, my heart; Tyrant, I'll do a double justice on thee; A little longer let the busy spirits At once revenge myself, and all mankind. Kecp on their cheerful round.—It will not be!

Baj. Well dost thou, ere thy violence and lust Love, sorrow, and the sting of vile reproach, Invade my bed, thus to begin with murder: Succeeding one another in their course, Drown all thy fears in blood, and sin securely. Like drops of eating water on the marble, Tam. Away!

At length have worn my boasted courage dowa: Arp. (Kneeling.) Oh, stay! I charge thee, by I will indulge the woman in my soul,

And give a loose to tears and to impatience; By that bright glory thy great soul pursues, Death is at last my due, and I will have it.Call back the doom of death!

And see the poor Moneses comes, to take Tam. Fair injured excellence,

One sad adieu, and then we part for ever. Why dost thou kneel, and waste such precious

Enter MONESES. prayers, As might even bribe the saints to partial justice, Mon. Already am I onward of my way; For one to goodness lost; who first undid thee, Thy tuneful voice comes like a hollow sound Who still pursues and aggravates the wrong? At distance, to my ears. My eyes grow heavy,

Baj. By Alla! no, I will not wear a life And all the glorious lights of Heaven look dim; Bought with such vile dishonour. Death shall 'Tis the last office they shall ever do me,

To view thee once, and then to close and die. At once from infamy and thee, thou traitress! Arp. Alas! how happy have we been, MoArp. No matter, though the whistling winds

neses !

Ye gentle days, that once were ours, what joys And the rude tempest roars ; 'tis idle rage: Did every cheerful morning bring along! Oh! mark it not ; but let thy steady virtue No fears, no jealousies, no angry parents, Be constant to its temper. Save his life, That for unequal births, or fortunes frowned; And save Arpasia from the sport of talkers. But love, that kindly joined our hearts, to bless Think, how the busy, meddling world will toss

us, Thy mighty name about, in scurril mirth; Made us a blessing too to all besides. Shall brand thy vengeance, as a foul design, Mon. Oh, cast not thy remembrance back, And make such monstrous legends of our lives,

Arpasia! As late posterity shall blush in reading.

'Tis grief unutterable, 'tis distraction! Tam. "Oh, matchless virtue! Yes, I will obey; But let this last of hours be peaceful sorrow! Though laggard in the race, admiring yet, Here let me kneel, and pay my latest vows. I will pursue the shining path thou tread'st. Be witness, all ye saints, thou Heaven and NaSultan, be safe! Reason resumes her empire,

ture, [The guards release BAJAZET. Be witness of my truth, for you have known it! And I am cool again.—Here break we off, Be witness, that I never knew a pleasure, Lest farther speech should minister new rage. In all the world could offer, like Arpasia! Wisely from dangerous passions I retreat, Be witness, that I lived but in Arpasia! To keep a conquest which was hard to get : And, oh, be witness, that her loss has killed me! And, oh! 'tis time I should for flight prepare, Arp. While thou art speaking, life begins to A war more fatal seems to threaten there,

fail, And all my rebel-blood assists the fair :

And every tender accent chills like death. One moment more, and I too late shall find, Oh! let me haste then, yet,-ere day declines, That love's the strongest power that lords it o'er And the long night prevail, once more to tell the mind.

thee (Exit TAM. followed by the guards. What, and how dear, Moneses has been to me.

free me

grow loud,

That has he not been ? -All the names of love, Baj. Haste, Haly, follow, and secure the rothers, or fathers, husbands, all are poor:

Greek: loneses is myself; in my fond heart,

Him too I wish to keep within my power. Even in my vital blood, he lives and reigns :

(Erit HALY. he last dear object of my parting soul

Der. If my dread lord permit his slave to ’ill be Moneses; the last breath that lingers

speak, 'ithin my panting breast shall sigh Moneses. I would advise to spare Axalla's life,

Mon. It is enough! Now to thy rest, my soul! Till we are safe beyond the Parthian's power: he world and thou have made an end at once. Him, as our pledge of safety, may we hold; · Arp. Fain would I still detain thee, hold thee And, could you gain him to assist your flight, still:

It might import you much. for honour can forbid, that we together

Baj. Thou counsell'st well; hould share the few poor minutes that remain. And though I hate him (for he is a Christian, swear, methinks this sad society

And to my mortal enemy devoted) as somewhat pleasing in it.-Death's dark Yet, to secure my liberty and vengeance, shades

I wish he now were ours. eem, as we journey on, to lose their horror; Der. And see, they come! t near approach the monsters, formed by fear, Fortune repents; again she courts your side, re vanished all, and leave the prospect clear; And, with this first fair offering of success, midst the gloomy vale, a pleasing scene, She wooes you to forget her crime of yesterday. Vith flowers adorned, and never-fading green, nviting stands, to take the wretched in:

Enter OMAR, with AXALLA prisoner, SELIMA To wars, no wrongs, no tyrants, no despair,

following, weeping. Disturb the quiet of a place so fair,

Ax. I will not call thee villain; 'tis a name lut injured lovers find Elysium there. (Ereunt. Too holy for thy crime: to break thy faith,

And turn a rebel to so good a master,
Enter BAJAZET, OMAR, HALY, and the Dervise. Is an ingratitude unmatched on earth.
Buj. Now, by the glorious tomb that shrines The first revolting angel's pride could only
our prophet,

Do more than thou hast done. Thou copiest ly Mecca's sacred temple, here I swear,

well, Jur daughter is thy bride! and to that gift And keep’st the black original in view. such wealth, such power, such honours will I add, Om. Do rage, and vainly call upon thy master Chat monarchs shall with envy view thy state, To save bis minion. My revenge has caught Ind own thou art a demi-god to them.

thee, Thou hast given me what I wished, power of re

And I will make thee curse that fond presumpvenge,

tion, And when a king rewards, 'tis ample retribution. That set thee on to rival me in aught. Om. Twelve Tartar lords, each potent in his Baj. Christian, I hold thy fate at my disposal! tribe,

One only way remains to mercy open; Have sworn to own my cause, and draw their Be partner of my flight and my revenge, thousands,

And thou art safe. Thy other choice is death. To-morrow, from the ungrateful Parthian's side: Om. What means the sultan ? The day declining seems to yield to night, Der. I conjure you, hold Ere little more than half her course be ended. Your rival is devoted to destruction, In an auspicious hour prepare for flight;

(Aside to OMAR The leaders of the troops, through which we pass, Nor would the sultan now defer bis fate, Raised by my power, devoted to my service, But for our common safety. Listen further. Shall make our passage secret and secure.

[Whispers. Der. Already, mighty sultan, art thou safe, Ar. Then briefly thus. Death is the choice I Since, by yon passing torches' light, I guess,

make; To his pavilion Tamerlane retires,

Since, next to Heaven, my master and my friend Attended by a train of waiting courtiers. Has interest in my life, and still shall claim it. All who remain within these tents are thine, Baj. Then take thy wish-Call in our mutes ! And hail thee as their lord.

Sel. My father, Ha! the Italian prince,

If yet you have not sworn to cast me off,
With sad Moneses, are not yet gone forth. And turn me out to wander in misfortune;

Baj. Ha! with our queen and daughter! If yet my voice be gracious in your ears;
Om. They are ours :

If yet my duty and my love ottend not,
I marked the slaves, who waited on Axalla; Oh, call your sentence back, and save Axalla!
They, when the emperor past out, prest on, Baj. Řise, Selima! The slave deserves to die,
And mingled with the crowd, nor missed their Who durst, with sullen pride, refuse my mercy:

Yet, for thy sake, once more I offer life. He is your prisoner, sir: I go this moment, Sel. Some angel whisper to my anxious soul, To seize, and bring him to receive his doom. What I shall do to save him.- Oh, Axalla!

(Erit OMAR. | Is it so easy to thee to forsake me?

[ocr errors]

lord:

Canst thou resolve, with all this cold indifference, Sel. See, see, sir, he relents! (To BAJAZI
Never to see me more? To leave me here Already he inclines to own your cause.
The miserable mourner of thy fate,

A little longer, and he is all yours.
Condemned to waste my widowed virgin youth, Baj. Then mark how far a father's fondres
My tedious days and nights, in lonely weeping,

yields. And never know the voice of comfort more? Till midnight I defer the death he merits, Ar. Search not too deep the sorrows of my And give him up 'till then to thy persuasion. breast:

If by that time he meets my will, he lives; Thou say'st I am indifferent and cold;

If not, thyself shalt own he dies with justice. Oh! is it possible my eyes should tell

Ar. 'Tis but to lengthen life upon the rack So little of the fighting storm within?

I am resolved already. Oh! turn thee from me, save me from thy beau Sel. Oh! be still, ties!

Nor rashly urge a ruin on us both! Falsehood and ruin all look lovely there. 'Tis but a moment more I have to save thee.Oh! let my labouring soul yet struggle through— Be kind, auspicious Alla, to my prayer! I will—I would resolve to die, and leave thee. More for my love, than for myself, I fear; Baj. Then let him die!-He trifles with my Neglect mankind awhile, and make him all thy favour.

care! (Ereunt AXALLA and SELIMA. I have too long attended his resolves.

Baj. Moneses—is that dog secured? Sel. Oh! stay a minute, yet a minute longer ! Om. He is.

[To BAJAZET. Baj. 'Tis well-My soul perceives returning A minute is a little space in life.

greatness, There is a kind consenting in his eyes,

As nature feels the spring. Lightly she bounes, And I shall win him to your royal will. And shakes dishonour, like a burden, from ber; Oh, my Axalla! seem but to consent!

Once more imperial, awful, and herself

. [To Ax. aside. So, when, of old, Jove from the Titans Aled, Unkind and cruel, will you then do nothing? Ammon's rude front his radiant face belied, I find I am not worth thy least of cares. And all the majesty of Heaven lay hid,

Ar. Oh! labour not to hang dishonour on me! At length, by fate, to power divine restored, I could bear sickness, pain, and poverty, His thunder taught the world to know its Lont, Those mortal evils worse than death, for thee, The God grew terrible again, and was again But this-It has the force of fate against us,

adored.

(Ercant And cannot be.

ACT V.

SCENE I.-BAJAZET'S Tent.
Arp. Sure 'tis a horror more than darkness

brings,
That sits upon the night! Fate is abroad;
Some ruling fiend hangs in the dusky air,
And scatters ruin, death, and wild distraction,
O'er all the wretched race of man below,
Not long ago, a troop of ghastly slaves
Rushed in, and forced Moneses from my sight;
Death hung so heavy on his drooping spirits,
That scarcely could he say—Farewell-for ever!
And yet, methinks, some gentle spirit whispers,
Thy peace draws near, Arpasia, sigh no more!
And see! the king of terrors is at hand;
His minister appears.

Enter BAJAZET and HALY.
Baj. (Aside to Haly.) The rest I leave
To thy dispatch; for, oh! my faithful Haly,
Another care has taken up thy master.
Spite of the high-wrought tempest in my soul,.
Spite of the pangs which jealousy has cost me,
This haughty woman reigns within my breast;
In vain I strive to put her from my thoughts,

To drive her out with empire, and revenge.
Still she comes back, like a retiring tide,
That ebbs awhile, but strait returns again,
And swells above the beach.

Ha. Why wears my lord
An anxious thought for what his power com-

mands?
When, in a happy hour, you shall ere long
Have borne the empress from amidst your foes,
She must be yours, be only and all yours.
Baj. On that depends my fear. Yes, I must

have her;
I own, I will not, cannot, go without her.
But such is the condition of our flight,
That should she not consent, 'twould hazard all
To bear her hence by force. Thus I resolve

then,
By threats and prayers, by every way, to move

her;
If all prevail not, force is left at last;
And I will set life, empire on the venture,
To keep her mine-Be near to wait my will.

[Erit HALY.
When last we parted, 'twas on angry terms;
Let the remembrance die, or kindly think
That jealous rage is but a hasty flame,

now.

That blazes out, when love too fiercely burns. Till thou shalt rend thy hair, tear out thy cyes, E drp. For thee to wrong me, and for me to And curse thy pride; while I applaud my vensuffer,

geance. Is the hard lesson that my soul has learnt, Arp. Oh, fatal image! All my powers give And now I stand prepared for all to come;

way, Nor is it worth my leisure to distinguish And resolution sickens at the thought ; If love or jealousy commit the violence.

A flood of passion rises in my breast, Each have alike been fatal to my peace,

And labours fiercely upward to my eyes. . Confirming me a wretch, and thee a tyrant. Come, all ye great examples of my sex, Baj.. Still to deform thy gentle brow with Chaste virgins, tender wives, and pious matrons! frowns,

Ye holy martyrs, who with wondrous faith And still to be perverse, it is a manner

And constancy unshaken, have sustained Abhorrent from the softness of thy sex:

The rage of cruel men, and fiery persecution, Women, like summer storms, awhile are cloudy, Come to my aid, and teach me to defy Burst out in thunder and impetuous showers; The malice of this fiend! I feel, I feel But strait, the sun of beauty dawns abroad, Your sacred spirit arm me to resistance. And all the fair horizon is serene.

Yes, tyrant, I will stand this shock of fate; Arp. Then, to retrieve the honour of my sex, Will live to triumph o'er thee, for a moment, Here I disclaim that changing and inconstancy: Then die well pleased, and follow my Moneses. To thee I will be ever as I am.

Baj. Thou talkost it well. But talking is thy Baj. Thou say'st I am a tyrant; think so

privilege; still,

'Tis all the boasted courage of thy sex; And let it warn thy prudence to lay hold Though, for thy soul, thou dar’st not meet the On the good hour of peace, that courts thee

danger.

Arp. By all my hopes of happiness, I dare ! Souls, formed like mine, brook being scorned My soul is come within her ken of Heaven; but ill.

Charmed with the joys and beauties of that Be well advised, and profit by my patience;

place, It is a short-liv'd virtue.

Her thoughts and all her cares she fixes there, Arp. Turn thine eyes

And 'tis in vain for thee to rage below: Back on the story of my woes, barbarian! Thus stars shine bright, and keep their place Tbou, that hast violated all respects

above, Due to my sex, and honour of my birth. Though ruffling winds deform this lower world. Thou brutal ravisher! that hast undone me, Baj. This moment is the trial. Ruined my love! Can I have peace with thee? Arp. Let it come! Impossible! First Heaven and hell shall join; This moment then shall shew I am a Greek, They only differ more.

And speak my country's courage in my suffering. Baj. I see 'tis vain

Baj. Here, mercy, I disclaim thee! Mark me, To court thy stubborn temper with endearments.

traitress! Resolve, this moment, to return my love, My love prepares a victim to thy pride, And be the willing partner of my flight, And when it greets thee next, 't will be in blood. Or, by the prophet's holy law, thou diest !

[Erit BAJAZET. Arp. And dost thou hope to fright me with Arp. My heart beats higher, and my nimble the phantom,

spirits Death? 'Tis the greatest mercy thou canst give; Ride swiftly through their purple channels round. So frequent are the murders of thy reign, 'Tis the last blaze of life. Nature revives, One day scarce passing by, unmark'd with blood, Like a dim winking lamp, that flashes brightly That children, by long use, have learnt to scorn it. With parting light, and straight is dark for ever. Know, I disdain to aid thy treacherous purpose; And see, my last of sorrows is at hand; And shouldst thou dare to force me, with my

Death and Moneses come together to me; cries

As if my stars, that had so long been cruel, I will call Heaven and earth to my assistance. Grew kind at last, and gave me all I wish. Baj. Confusion ! dost thou brave me? But my wrath

Enter Moneses, guarded by some Mutes; others Shall find a passage to thy swelling heart,

attending with a cup of poison, and a bouAnd rack thee worse than all the pains of death.

string. That Grecian dog, the minion of thy wishes, Mon. I charge ye, O ye ministers of fate! Shall be drago'd forth, and butcher'd in thy Be swift to execute your master's will; sight;

Bear me to my Arpasia; let me tell her, Thou shalt behold him when his pangs are The tyrant is grown kind. He bids me go, terrible,

And die beneath her feet. A joy shoots through Then, when he stares, and gasps, and struggles My drooping breast; as often, when the trumpet strongly,

Has called my youthful ardour forth to battle, Even in the bitterest agony of dying;

High in my hopes, and ravish'd with the sound,

« PreviousContinue »