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النشر الإلكتروني

Ven. Now let my duty o'er my fear prevail,
Fill my whole breast with tenderness, and heal
With sweetest comfort thy distress.

Dum. My wife !
Thou most unlike to yon degen’rate woman,
Her country's bane !

Ven. I tremble at thy words.

Dum. Be not dismay'd; the camp is still our own. Night is impending, and the Romans halt.

Ven. But what of Boadicea ?

Dum. Hear and mourn.
The Trinobantians scarce had fill'd the vale,
When from a narrow pass between the woods
Forth burst the Romans, wedg'd in deep array.
I found our struggle vain, and sent for aid
To Boadicea ; she with scorn reply'd,
I did not want th' assistance of a woman;
Nor left her station, till my broken ranks
Were driv’n among th’ Icenians; in a moment
All was confusion, slaughter, and defeat.

Dum. Gods! art thou safe?

Ven. Oh! most unhappy sister !
When last we parted, cruel were thy words,
A sure presage of endless grief to me;
Yet my desponding spirit ne'er forboded,

That thou couldst deviate from a prosp'rous course, When ev'ry gale conspir'd to swell thy glory.

Boad. Throw not on me the crime of envious for


Dum. Dost thou blame fortune, traitress?

Boad. Then the blame
Take on thy single head.

Dun. Avoid my sight.
Boad. Thou led'st the van.
Dum. Avaunt!

Boad. Thou Aed'st the first.
Now find'st too late th’importance of a woman.

Dum. Too true I find a woman curs'd with pow'r
To blast a nation's welfare. Heavenly rulers!
How have the Britons merited this shame?
Have we with fell ambition, like the Romans,
Unpeopled realms, and made the world a desert?
Have we your works defac'd; or how deserv'd
So large a measure of your bitt'rest wrath,

you should clothe this spirit of a wolf
In human form, and blend her lot with ours?

Boad. Beset with perils, as I am, pursu'd
By rout and havoc to th' encircl’ing toil;
Untam'd by this reverse, my lofty soul,
Upbraiding still thy arrogance, demands,
Who spar'd the captive Romans ? Who provok'd
My just resentment? Who, in pow'r, in name
And dignity inferior, but elate
With blind presumption, and by envy stung,

Dar'd to dispute with me supreme command,
Then pale and trembling turn’d his back on danger ?

Ven. Oh, once united by the friendliest ties,
And leaders both of nations, shall this land
Still view its bulwarks, tott'ring with disunion,
Enhance the public and their own misfortunes?
Thou, my complacent lord, wert wont to smooth
That manly front at pity's just complaint ;
And thou, entrusted with a people's welfare,
A queen and warrior, let disdain no more
Live in the midst of danger-See Venusia
Upon her knees

Dum. Shall thy perfections kneel
To this

Ven. Oh! stop, nor give resentment utt'rance.
In such a cause the proudest knee might sue
To less than Boadicea Turn not from me!

[To Boadicea.
Look on a prostrate sister; think, thou hear'st
Our children's plaintive notes enforce my pray'r,
And Albion's genius mix his solemn moan ;
That lamentations through thy ears resound
From all the wives and mothers of those thousands,
Whose limbs lie stretch'd on yonder fields of death;
“ Those wretched wives and mothers, ohl reflect,
« But for the fatal discord of this day,
« With other looks, with other cries and gestures,
“ With diff'rent transports, and with diff'rent tears,
“ Might have receiv'd their sons and husbands home,
“ Than they will now survey their pale remains,

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Which there lie mangled by the Roman sword”
o feed the raven's hunger-yet relent!
Yet let restoring union close our wounds,
And to repair this ruin be thy praise !
Dum. Rise, rise. Thy mildness, whose persuasive

No cruelty, but hers, could hear unmov'd,
In vain would render placable and wise
That malice, inhumanity and frenzy,
Which have already wasted such a store
Of glory and success.

Boad. Oh!
Dum. Dost thou groan ?
Boad. No, no, I do not feel a moment's pain.
Dum. Thy words are false. Thy heart o’erflows

with anguish.
Boad. No, I despise both thee and fortune still.

Dum. By Heav'n, I know distraction rends thy soul, And to its view presents th' approaching scene Of shame and torture, when th' indignant Romans Exact a tenfold vengeance for their suff'rings; And when thou passest through their streets in chains, The just derision of insulting foes, A frantic woman, who resign'd her hopes, And to indulge an empty pride, betray'd Her children, friends, and country; then recal, What once was Boadicea, fall'n how low From all her honours, by her folly fallin From pow'r, from empire, victory, and glory, To vilest bonds, and ignominious stripes.

Boad. May curses blast thee, worse than I can utta And keener pangs than whips or shackles seize thee?

Ven. Oh! sister, how unseemly is this rage ! Whom dost thou load with these ungen'rous curses? Thy faithful friend, thy counsellor and brother, Whom thou has injur’d, injur'd past the pow'r Of reparation. “ Dost thou call for whips “ To print those venerable limbs with shame, « For bonds to humble that majestic head, “ Which foes themselves must honour? Yet, if chains “ Must be our fate, what cruel hand hath forg'd

them, “ But thine alone? Thy hand hath heap'd destruction « On him, thy once rever'd ally, on me, “ On my poor children, guiltless of offence, « And on thy own, who claim'd protection from

thee ;'' Yet thou, obdurate, to thy rage a prey, Dost chide remorse and pity from thy breast. Dum. Source of thy own afflictions! to behold thee

[To Boadicea. Distracted thus, thus fall'n and lost, to see Thus strongly painted on thy lab'ring features The pangs, thou feel'st within, awakes compassion.

Boad. Hal no -divine Andate shall uphold me Above thy pity. Think'st thou, Boadicea Is thus deserted by her patron goddess, Thus void of all resources? Think so still, And be deceiv'd. Ev'n now I feel her aid ; [Aside. I feel her here; the warlike queen inspires

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