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Y. Wilm. You are, I presume,
Surprised, and robbed on shore ; and once reThe gentleman to whom this is directed.
(Gives a letter. To worse than these, the sum of all distress What wild neglect, the token of despair, | That the most wretched feel on this side hell, What indigence, what misery appears
Ev'n slavery itself: Yet here I stand,
The happiest of mankind.
0. Wilm. A rare example 0. Wilm. (Having read the letter.]
Of fortune's changes; apter to surprise -Sir, such welcome
Or entertain, than comfort or instruct. As this poor house affords, you may command. If you would reason from events, be just, Oar ever friendly neighbour-Once we hoped And count, when you escaped, how many perished; To have called fair Charlotte by a dearer name, And draw your inference thence. But we have done with hope-I pray excuse Agn. Alas! Who knows, This incoherence-We had once a son. [Weeps. But we were rendered childless by some storm, Agn. That you are come from that dear vir In which you, though preserved, might bear a part? tuous maid,
Y. Wilm. How has my curiosity betrayed me Revives in us the memory of a loss,
Into superfluous pain! I faint with fondness; .. Which, though long since, we have not learned | And shall, if I stay longer, rush upon them, to bear.
Proclaim myself their son, kiss and embrace them, Y. Wilm. The joy to see them, and the bitter 'Till, with the excess of pleasure and surprise, pain
Their souls, transported, their frail mansions quit, It is to see them thus, touches my soul
And leave them breathless in my longing arms. With tenderness and grief, that will o'erflow. By circumstances then and slow degrees,
-They know me not, and yet I shall, I fear, They must be let into a happiness, Defeat my purpose, and betray myself. [Aside. Too great for them to bear at once, and live : 0. Wilm. The lady calls you here her valued That Charlotte will perform. I need not feign friend;
To ask an hour for rest. (Aside.) Sir, I entreat Enough, though nothing more should be implied, The favour to retire, where for a while To recommend you to our best esteem;
I may repose myself. You will excuse -A worthless acquisition ! May she find . This freedom, and the trouble that I give you. Some means that better may express her kind "Tis long since I have slept, and nature calls. ness!
1 0. Wilm. I pray, no more: Believe, we're only But she, perhaps, has purposed to enrich
troubled, You with herself, and end her fruitless sorrow That you should think any excuse were needful. For one, whom death alone can justify
Y. Wilm. The weight of this to me is some inFor leaving her so long. If it be so,
cumbrance, May you repair his loss, and be to Charlotte
[Takes a casket out of his bosom, and gives A second, happier Wilmot! Partial nature,
it to his mother. Who only favours youth, as feeble age
And its contents of value: If you please Were not her offspring, or below her care, To take the charge of it 'till I awake, Has sealed our doom: No second hope shall I shall not rest the worse. If I should sleep spring,
'Till I am asked for, as perhaps I may, To dry our tears, and dissipate despair.
I beg that you would wake me. Agn. The last and most abandoned of our Agn. Doubt it not: kind,
Distracted as I am with various woes, By heaven and earth neglected or despised, I shall remember that. [Erit, with Old WILMOT. The loathsome grave, that robbed us of our son, Y. Wilm. Merciless grief And all our joys in him, must be our refuge. What ravage has it made ! how has it changed Y. Wilm. Let ghosts unpardoned, or devoted Her lovely form and mind! I feel her anguish, fiends,
And dread I know not what from her despair. Fear without hope, and wail in such sad strains ; | My father too- Ogrant them patience, HeaBut grace defend the living from despair!
ven! The darkest hours precede the rising sun, A little longer, a few short hours more, And mercy may appear, when least expected. And all their cares, and mine, shall end for ever. 0. Wilm. This I have heard a thousand times. How near is misery and joy allied ! repeated,
Nor eye, nor thought can their extremes divide: And have, believing, been as oft deceived. A moment's space is long, and lightning slow
Y. Wilm. Behold in me an instance of its truth. To fate descending to reverse our woe, At sea twice shipwrecked, and as oft the prey Or blast our hopes, and all our joys o'erthrow. Of lawless pirates ; by the Arabs thrice
0. Wilm. There is a kind of pride, a decent SCENE I.-The Scene continues.
Due to ourselves ; which, spite of our misforEnter AGNES alone; with the casket in her hand.
tunes, Agn. Who should this stranger be? And then May be maintained, and cherished to the last. this casket
| To live without reproach, and without leave He says it is of value, and yet trusts it,
To quit the world, shews sovereign contempt, As if a trifle, to a stranger's hand
And noble scorn of its relentless malice. His confidence amazes me-Perhaps
| Agn. Shews sovereign madness, and a scorn of It is not what he says-I am strongly tempted
sense. To open it, and see- No, let it rest!
Pursue no farther this detested theme: Why should I pry into the cares of others, I will not die ; I will not leave the world Who have so many sorrows of my own?
For all that you can urge, until compelled. With how much ease the spring gives way-Sur- O. Wilm. To chase a shadow, when the setting prising!
sun My eyes are dazzled, and my ravished heart Is darting his last rays, were just as wise Leaps at the glorious sight. How bright's the As your anxiety for fleeting life, lustre,
Now the last means for its support are failing: And how immense the worth, of these fair jewels ! Were famine not as mortal as the sword, Ay, such a treasure would expel for ever
Your warmth might be excused-But take thy Base poverty, and all its abject train ;
Agn. Nor live, I hope.
Agn. Then, we'll live both.
0. Wilm. Ha !. Take heed ! Though but a moment, such a treasure mine. Perhaps thou dost but try me yet take heed! Nay, it was more than thought I saw and There's nothing so monstrous but the mind of touched
man, The bright temptation, and I see it yet
In some conditions, may be brought to approve: 'Tis here'tis mine-I have it in possession Theft, sacrilege, treason, and parricide, Must I resign it ? Must I give it back?
When flattering opportunity.enticed, Am I in love with misery and want,
And desperation drove, have been committed To rob myself, and court so vast a loss?
| By those, who once would start to hear them Retain it then-But how? There is a way
named. Why sinks my heart? Why does my blood run Agn. And add to these detested suicide, cold?
Which, by a crime much less, we may avoid. Why am I thrilled with horror? 'Tis not choice, 0. Wilm. How couldst thou form a thought so But dire necessity suggests the thought.
So advantageous, so secure, and easy;
And yet so cruel, and so full of horror! 0. Wilm. The mind contented, with how little Agn. "Tis less impiety, less against nature, pains
To take another's life, than end our own. The wandering senses yield to soft repose !
0. Wilm. No matter which the less or greatHe's fallen asleep already---Happy man!
er crime: What dost thou think, my Agnes, of our guest? Howe'er we may deceive ourselves or others, He seems to me a youth of great humanity: We act from inclination, not by rule, Just ere he closed his eyes, that swam in tears, Or none could act amiss : and that all err, He wrung my hand, and pressed it to his lips; None but the conscious hypocrite denies. And with a look, that pierced me to the soul, O! what is man, his excellence and strength, Begged me to comfort thee: Anddost thou When in an hour of trial and desertion, hear me?
Reason, his noblest power, may be suborned What art thou gazing on ?-Fie, 'tis not well! To plead the cause of vile assassination ! This casket was delivered to you closed :
Ågn. You're too severe: Reason may justly Why have you opened it? Should this be known,
plead How mean must we appear! .
For our own preservation. Agn. And who shall know it?
0. Wilm. Rest contented :
Whate'er resistance I may seem to make,
Enter Agnes, with Young Wilmot's dagger. I am betrayed within : My will's seduced, And my whole soul infected. The desire
Agn. The stranger sleeps at present; but so Of life returns, and brings with it a train
restless Of appetites, that rage to be supplied !
His slumbers seem, they can't continue long, Whoever stands to parley with temptation,
Here, I've secured his dagger. Parleys to be o'ercome.
0. Wilm. O Agnes ! Agnes ! if there be a Agn. Then nought remains
hell, But the swift execution of a deed,
'Tis just we should expect it. That is not to be thought on, or delayed
[Goes to take the dagger, but lets it fall. 0. Wilm. Generous, unhappy man'! 0! what Agn. Shake off this panic, and be more your
could move thee To put thy life and fortune in the hands
0. Wilm. What's to be done ? On what had Of wretches mad with anguish!
we determined ? Agn. By what means
Agn. You're quite dismayed. Shall we effect his death?
[Takes up the dagger. 0. Wilm. Why, what a fiend!
0. Wilm. Give me the fatal steel. How cruel, how remorseless and impatient 'Tis but a single murder, Have pride and poverty made thee!
Necessity, impatience, and despair, Agn. Barbarous man !
The three wide mouths of that true Cerberus, Whose wasteful riots ruined our estate,
| Grim poverty, demand: they shall be stopped. And drove our son, ere the first down had spread | Ambition, persecution, and revenge, His rosy cheeks, spite of my sad presages, Devour their millions daily: And shall IEarnest intreaties, agonies, and tears,
But follow me, and see how little cause To seek his bread amongst strangers, and to
You had to think, there was the least remain perish
Of manhood, pity, mercy, or remorse, In some remote, inhospitable land;
Left in this savage breast. The loveliest youth, in person and in mind,
[Going the wrong way. That ever crowned a groaning mother's pains ! Agn. Where do you go? Where was thy pity, where thy patience then ? The street is that way. Thou cruel husband! thou unnatural father! 0. Wilm. True; I had forgot. Thou most remorseless, most ungrateful man! Agn. Quite, quite confounded! To waste my fortune, rob me of my son,
0. Wilm. Well, I recover.-I shall find the To drive me to despair, and then reproach me
(Exit. For being what thou hast made me!.
Agn. Ó softly! softly! The least noise un0. Wilm. Dry thy tears :
does us. I ought not to reproach thee. I confess
What are we doing? Misery and want That thou hast suffered much: So have we both. Are lighter ills than this! I cannot bear it! But chide no more; I am wrought up to thy pur- Stop, hold thy hand! Inconstant, wretched wopose.
man! The poor, ill-fated, unsuspecting victim, What! doth my heart recoil ? 0 Wilmot ! Ere he reclined him on the fatal couch,
Wilmot! From which he's ne'er to rise, took off the sash, What power shall I invoke to aid thee, Wilmot ! And costly dagger that thou saw'st him wear,
[Erit. And thus, unthinking, furnished us with arms Against himself. Steal to the door,
Enter Charlotte, EUSTACE, and RANDAL. And bring me word, if he be still asleep.
Char. What strange neglect ! The doors are
[Exit AGNES. all unbarred,
Enter Old Wilmot and AGNES.
Char. Sir, we are come to give and to receive Are withering in their bloom-But, thought ex A thousand greetings-Ha! what can this mean tinguished,
Why do you look with such amazement on us? He'll never know the loss,
Are these your transports for your son's return?
Or could a habit so disguise your son,
Agn. Heard you that?
What prodigy of horror is disclosing,
0. Wilm. Prithee, peace! lle's to be envied, if compared with me.
The miserable damned suspend their howling,
And the swift orbs are fixed in deep attention. Are these the fruits of all thy anxious cares Rand. What mean these dreadful words, and For thy ungrateful parents ? - Cruel fiends! frantic air?
0. Wilm. What whining fool art thou, who That is the dagger my young master wore.
would'st usurp Eust. My mind misgives me. Do not stand My sovereign right of grief !_Was he thy son ?to gaze
Say, canst thou shew thy hands reeking with On these dumb phantoms of despair and horror !
blood, Let us search further; Randal, shew the way. That flowed, through purer channels, from thy
loins? Agn. Let life forsake the earth, and light the Compute the sands that bound the spacious ocean, sun,
And swell their number with a single grain; And death and darkness bury in oblivion
Increase the noise of thunder with thy voice; Mankind and all their deeds, that no posterity Or, when the raging wind lays nature waste, May ever rise to hear our horrid tale,
Assist the tempest with thy feeble breath; Or view the grave of such detested parricides ! | But name not thy faint sorrow, with the anguish
0. Wilm. Curses and deprecations are in vain : Of a curst wretch, who only hopes from this The sun will shine, and all things have their
(Stabbing himself. course,
To change the scene, but not relieve his pain ! When we, the curse and burden of the earth, Rand. A dreadful instance of the last remorse! Shall be absorbed, and mingled with its dust. May all your woes end here! Our guilt and desolation must be told,
O. Wilm. O would they end From age to age, to teach desponding mortals, A thousand ages hence, I then should suffer How far beyond the reach of human thought Much less than I deserve. Yet let me say, Heaven, when incensed, can punish-Die thou You'll do but justice to inform the world, • first.
[Stabs AGNES. This horrid deed, that punishes itself, I durst not trust thy weakness.
Was not intended, thinking him our son; Agn. Ever kind,
For that we knew not till it was too late. But most in this!
Proud, and impatient under our afflictions, 0. Wilm. I will not long survive thee. While Heaven was labouring to make us happy,
Agn. Do not accuse thy erring mother, Wilmot, | We brought this dreadful ruin on ourselves. With too much rigour, when we meet above! Mankind may learn- but- oh- (Dies. To give thee life for life, and blood for blood, Rand. Heaven grant they may ! Is not enough. Had I ten thousand lives, And may thy penitence atone thy crime ! I'd give them all to speak my penitence,
Tend well the hapless Charlotte, and hear hence
The wretched parents and ill-fated son.
(Eseunt omnes. Eust. O Wilmot ! Wilmot!
| For the abbey-lands, to which the hot youth SCENE I.-The Street before ARDEN's Door. pleads
Some fancied right. Michael, the trencher fa- . Enter Mosby.
vourite, Mos. The morning's dark, and horrid as my A bastard, bred of Arden's charity, purpose.
He has been privy to our secret joys, Thrice have my snares been laid for Arden's life, And, on that trust presuming, loves my sisterAnd thrice hath he escaped. I am not safe : Winks at adultery, and may at murder. The living may revenge. Oh! could I win Maria is his price. I've placed her here, Alicia to conspire her husband's fall,
Companion of my sweet Alicia's hours, Then might I say, security, thou'rt mine,
To spread her charms forever in his eye: And laugh at all to come. For other instruments, | To her are all my visits. But AliciaThere's Green : he bears him hard about this suit | She must, she shall comply: when to my arms .