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And spread their flames resistless o'er the world? Or flights of power, or projects of ambition ! What sleepy charms benumb these active heroes, My hopes, my wishes, terminate in life, Depress their spirits, and retard their speed A little life for grief, and for repentance. Beyond the fear of lingering punishment?
Abd. I marked her wily messenger afar, Aspasia, now within her lover's arms,
And saw him skulking in the closest walks: Securely sleeps, and, in delightful dreams, I guessed her dark designs, and warned the sulSmiles at the threatenings of defeated rage.
tan, Car. We come, bright virgin, though relenting And bring her former sentence new confirmed. nature
Has. Then call it not our cruelty, nor crime; Shrinks at the hated task, for thy destruction; | Deem us not deaf to woe, nor blind to beauty, When, summoned by the sultan's clamorous fury, That, thus constrained, we speed the stroke of We asked, with timorous tongue, the offender's
[Beckons the mutes. name,
Irene. O name not death! distraction and He struck his tortured breast, and roared, 'Irene!'
amazement, We started at the sound ; again enquired; Horror and agony, are in that sound ! Again his thundering voice returned, Irene! Let me but live, heap woes on woes upon me; Irene. Whence is this rage? what barbarous Hide me with murderers in the dungeon's gloom; tongue has wronged me?
Send me to wander on some pathless shore; What fraud misleads him, or what crimes incense? | Let shame and hooting infamy pursue me;
Has. Expiring Cali named Irene's chamber Let slavery harass, and let hunger gripe ! The place appointed for his master's death.
Car. Could we reverse the sentence of the Irene. Irene's chamber ! From my faithful sultan, bosom
Our bleeding bosoms plead Irene's cause. Far be the thought !-But hear my protestation. But cries and tears are vain ; prepare, with paCar. 'Tis ours, alas ! to punish, not to judge!
tience, Not called to try the cause, we heard the sen- | To meet that fate we can delay no longer. tence,
(The mutes, at the sign, lay hold of her. Ordained the mournful messengers of death. Abd. Dispatch, ye lingering slaves ! or nimbler Irene. Some ill-designing statesman's base in
Quick at my call, shall execute your charge; Some cruel stratagem of jealous beauty !
Dispatch, and learn a fitter time for pity. Perhaps yourselves the villains that defame me, Irene. Grant me one hour, O grant me but a Now haste to murder, ere returning thought
moment, Recall the extorted doom.-It must be so; And bounteous Heaven repay the mighty mercy Confess your crime, or lead me to the sultan. With peaceful death, and happiness eternal ! There, dauntless truth shall blast the vile accuser; Car. The prayer I cannot grant - I dare not Then shall you feel what language cannot utter,
hear. Each piercing torture, every change of pain, Short be thy pains. (Signs again to the mutes. That vengeance can invent, or power inflict. Irene. Unutterable anguish!
Guilt and despair ! pale spectres grin around me, Enter ABDALLA, he stops short and listens.
| And stun me with the yellings of damnation ! Aid. (Aside.] All is not lost, Abdalla! see the O, hear my prayers ! accept, all-pitying Heaven, queen,
These tears, these pangs, these last remains of See the last witness of thy guilt and fear,
life, Enrobed in death-Dispatch her, and be great. Nor let the crimes of this detested day
Car. Unhappy fair! Compassion calls upon me Be charged upon my soul. O, mercy! mercy ! To check this torrent of imperious rage.
(Mutes force her out. While unavailing anger crowds thy tongue
Abd. (Aside. Safe in her death, and in DemeWith idle threats and fruitless exclamation,
trius' flight, The fraudful moments ply their silent wings, Abdalla, bid thy troubled breast be calm; And steal thy life away. Death's horrid angel Now shalt thou shine the darling of the sultan, Already shakes his bloody sabre o'er thee. The plot all Cali's, the detection thine. The raging sultan burns till our return,
Has. [To CAR.) Does not thy bosom, for I Curses the dull delays of lingering mercy,
know thee tender, And thinks his fatal mandates ill obeyed.
A stranger to the oppressor's savage joy, Abd. Is then your sovereign's life so cheaply | Melt at Irene's fate, and share her woes? rated,
Car. Her piercing cries yet fill the loadedar, That thus you parley with detected treason? Dwell on my ear, and sadden all my soul : Should she prevail to gain the sultan's presence, But let us try to clear our clouded brows, Soon might her tears engage a lover's credit; | And tell the horrid tale with cheerful face; Perhaps her malice might transfer the charge; The stormy sultan rages at our stay. ; Perhaps her poisonous tongue might blast Ab Abd. Frame your report with circumspective
dalla. Irene. O let me but be heard, nor fear from Inflame ber crimes, exalt your own obedience,
But let no thoughtless hint involve Abdalla. 10
Car. What need of caution to report the fate | And if one varied accent prove thy falsehood, Of her the sultan's voice condemned to die? Or but one moment's pause betray confusion, Or why should he, whose violence of duty Those trembling limbs - Speak out, thou shiverHas served his prince so well, demand our si . ing traitor! lence
Mur. The queen requested Abd. Perhaps my zeal, too fierce, betrayed my Mah. Who? the dead Irene? prudence;
Was she then guiltless ! Has my thoughtless Perhaps my warmth exceeded my commission;
rage Perhaps--I will not stoop to plead my cause, Destroyed the fairest workmanship of heaven! Or argue with the slave that saved Demetrius. Doomed her to death, unpitied and unheard, Car. From his escape learn thou the power of Amidst her kind solicitudes for me! virtue,
Ye slaves of cruelty, ye tools of rage, Nor hope his fortune while thou want’st his
(TO HAS. and CAR. worth.
Ye blind officious ministers of folly, Has. The sultan comes, still gloomy, still en Could not her charms repress your zeal for murraged.
Could not her prayers, her innocence, her tears, Enter MAHOMET and MUSTAPHA.
Suspend the dreadful sentence for an hour? Mah. Where's this fair traitress? Where's this One hour had freed me from the fatal error ; smiling mischief,
One hour had saved me from despair and madWhom neither vows could fix, nor favours bind ?
ness Has. Thine orders, mighty sultan! are per- Car. Your fierce impatience forced us from formed,
your presence, And all Irene now is breathless clay!
Urged us to speed, and bade us banish pity, Mah. Your hasty zeal defrauds the claim of Nor trust our passions with her fatal charms. justice,
Mah. What hadst thou lost by slighting those And disappointed vengeance burns in vain;
commands? I came to heighten tortures by reproach,
Thy life perhaps-Were but Irene spared, And add new terrors to the face of death. Well if a thousand lives like thine had perished! Was this the maid whose love I bought with em Such beauty, sweetness, love, were cheaply pire!
bought, True, she was fair; the smile of innocence With half the grovelling slaves that load the globe. Played on her cheek-So shone the first apose Mus. Great is thy woe! but think, illustrious tate
sultan, Irene's chamber! Did not roaring Cali,
Such ills are sent for souls like thine to conquer. Just as the rack forced out his struggling soul, Shake off this weight of unavailing grief; Name, for the scene of death, Irene's chamber? Rush to the war, display thy dreadful banners, Mus. His breath, prolonged but to detect her | And lead thy troops victorious round the world. treason,
Mah. Robbed of the maid, with whom I wishThen; in short sighs, forsook his broken frame.
ed to triumph, Muh. Decreed to perish in Irene's chamber! No more I burn for fame or for dominion; There had she lulled me with endearing false Success and conquests now are empty sounds. hoods,
Remorse and anguish seize on all my breast; Clasped in her arms, or slumbering on her breast, Those groves, whose shades embowered the dear And bared my bosom to the ruffian's dagger.
Heard her last cries, and fanned her dying beauEnter MURZA.
ties, Mur. Forgive, great sultan! that, by fate pre Shall hide me from the tasteless world for ever. vented,
[MAH. goes out and returns. I bring a tardy message from Irene.
Yet ere I quit the sceptre of dominion, Mah. Some artful wile of counterfeited love! Let one just act conclude the hateful day. Some soft decoy to lure me to destruction! Hew down, ye guards, those vassals of destrucAnd thou, the cursed accomplice of her treason,
tion, (Pointing to Has. and CAR. Declare thy message, and expect thy doom. Those hounds of blood, that catch the hint to Mur. The queen requested, that a chosen troop
Bear off, with eager haste, the unfinished senMight intercept the traitor Greek, Demetrius,
tence, Then lingering with his captive mistress here. And speed the stroke, lest mercy should o'ertake Mus. The Greek, Demetrius, whom the ex
them. piring Bassa
Car. Then hear, great Mahomet, the voice of Declared the chief associate of his guilt !
truth! Mah. A chosen troop-to intercept-Deme Mah. Hear? shall I hear thee! didst thou trius
hear Irene? The queen requested-Wretch, repeat the mes Car. Hear but a moment! sage;
Mah. Hadst thou heard a moment,
in vain !
Thou might'st have lived, for thou hadst spared Contrive nəw racks, imbitter every pang,
Inflict whatever treason can deserve, Car. I heard her, pitied her, and wished to Which murdered innocence that called on me. save her.
(Ereunt MAH. ABD. &c. Mah. And wished-Be still thy fate to wish Must. [To MUR.) What plagues, what tor
tures are in store for thee, Car. I beard, and softened, till Abdalla brought Though sluggish idler, dilatory slave! Her final doom, and hurried her destruction." Behold the model of consummate beauty, Mah. Abdalla brought her doom! Abdalla Torn from the mourning earth by thy neglect. brought it!
Mur. Such was the will of Heaven-A band The wretch, whose guilt, declared by tortured of Greeks, Cali,
That marked my course, suspicious of my purMy rage and grief had hid from my remembrance !
pose, Abdalla brought her doom !
Rushed out and seized me, thoughtless and unHas. Abdalla brought it,
armed, While she yet begged to plead her cause before Breathless, amazed, and on the guarded beach thee.
Detained me, till Demetrius set me free. Mah. O seize me, madness! Did she call on Mus. So sure the fall of greatness raised on me?
crimes; I feel, I see the ruffian's barbarous rage. So fixed the justice of all-conscious Heaven. He seized her melting in the fond appeal, When haughty guilt exults with impious joy, And stopped the heavenly voice that called on Mistake shall blast, or accident destroy ; me.
Weak man, with erring rage, may throw the dart, My spirits fail ; awhile support me, vengeance But Heaven shall guide it to the guilty heart. Be just, ye slaves, and to be just, be cruel! !
| Ereunt omnes.
SPOKEN BY ASPASIA.
MARRY a Turk! a haughty tyrant king, And for one man-one wife's enough in con Who thinks us women born to dress and sing,
science. To please his fancy-see no other man
In vain proud man usurps what's woman's due; Let him persuade me to it-if he can:
For us alone, they honour's paths pursue: Besides, he has fifty wives; and who can bear Inspir'd by us, they glory's heights ascend; To have the fiftieth part her paltry share ? Woman the source, the object, and the end. 'Tis true, the fellow's handsome, strait and Though wealth and power and glory they receive, tall;
These all are trifles, to what we can give. But how the devil should he please us all ? For us the statesman labours, hero fights, My swain is little-true-but be it known, Bears toilsome days, and wakes long tedious My pride's to have that little all my own.
nights; Men will be ever to their errors blind,
And when blest peace has silenc'd war's alarms, Where woman's not allow'd to speak her mind; Receives his full reward in beauty's arms. I swear this eastern pageantry is nonsense,
BRITONS, to-night, in native pomp we come, Stripp'd each luxuriant plume from fancy's wings,
Where not the character but poet spoke, And, safe from ills which force or faction brings, He lopp’d, as foreign to his chaste design, Saw freedom reign beneath the smile of kings. Nor spar'd a useless though a golden line. Yet, from such times, and such plain chiefs as These are his arts; if these cannot atone these,
For all those nameless errors yet unknown, What can we frame, a polish'd age to please? If, sbunning faults which nobler bards commit, Say, can you listen to the artless woes
He wants the force to strike th' attentive pit, Of an old tale, which every school-boy knows? Be just, and tell him so; he asks advice, Where to your hearts alone the scenes apply, Willing to learn, and would not ask it twice. No merit theirs but pure simplicity ?
Your kind applause may bid him write-beware! Our bard has play'd a most adventurous part, Or kinder censure teach him to forbear. And turn'd upon himself the critic's art:
Citizens, Guards, and Attendants.
| And who can blame thy fears ? If fortune make SCENE I.-A Room in HORATIUS's House.
| Awhile thy country's foe, she cannot cancel A Soldier crosses the Stage, HORATIA following. Vows registered above. What though the priest Horatia. Stay, soldier. As you parted from Had not confirmed it at the sacred altar; my father,
Yet were your hearts united, and that union Something I overheard, of near concern,
Approved by each consenting parent's choice. But all imperfectly. Said you not Alba
Your brothers loved him as a friend, a brother : Was on the brink of fate, and Rome determined, | And all the ties of kindred pleaded for him, This day, to crush her haughty rival's power, And still must plead, whate'er our heroes teach Or perish in the attempt ?
us, Sold. 'Twas so resolved
Of patriot strength. Our country may demand This morning, lady, ere I left the camp.
We should be wretched, and we must obey; Our heroes are tired out with lingering war, But never can require us not to feel, And half-unmeaning fight.
That we are miserable : nature there Horatia. Alas! I hoped
Will give the lie to virtue. The kind remorse, which touched the kindred Horatiu. True; yet sure states,
A Roman virgin should be more than woman. And made their swords fall lightly on the breasts Are we not early taught to mock at pain, Or foes they could not hate, might have produced And look on danger with undaunted eyes ?-A milder resolution. Then this day
But what are dangers ? what the ghastliest form Is fixed for death or conquest? (He bows.] To me | Of death itself?-Oh, were I only bid, death,
To rush into the Tiber's foaming wave, Whoever conquers ! (Aside.] I detain you, sir. Swoln with uncommon floods, or from the height Commend me to my brothers ; say, I wish Of yon Tarpeian rock, whose giddy steep. But wherefore should I wish? The gods will Has turned me pale with horror at the sight, . crown
I'd think the task were nothing!-but to bear Their virtues with the just success they merit These strange vicissitudes of torturing pain, Yet let me ask you, sir
To fear, to doubt, and to despair as I do! Sold. My dut , lady,
Valeria. And why despair? Have we so idly Commands me hence. Ere this they have en
The noblest lessons of our infant days, And conquest's self would lose its charms to me, Our trust above? Does there not still remain Should I not share the danger.
The wretch's last retreat—the gods, Horatia?
'Tis from their awful wills our evils spring, As the Soldier goes out, VALERIA enters, who
And at their altars may we find relief. - looks first on him, and then on HORATIA.
Say, shall we thither?-Look not thus dejected, l'eleria. My dear Horatia, wherefore wilt thou But answer me. A confidence in them, court
E'en in this crisis of our fate, will calm The means to be unhappy ? Still enquiring, Thy troubled soul, and fill thy breast with hope. Still more to be undone. I heard it too;
Horatia. Talk not of hope ; the wretch on And flew to find thee, ere the fatal news
yonder plain, Had hurt thy quiet, that thou might'st have Who hears the victor's threats, and sees his learnt it
sword From a friend's tongue, and dressed in gentler | Impending o'er him, feels no surer fate, terms.
Though less delayed than mine! What should I Horatia. Oh, I am lost, Valeria, lost to virtue !
hope? Even while my country's fate, the fate of Rome, | That Alba conquer ?-Cursed be every thought Hangs on the conqueror's sword, this breast can Which looks that way! The shrieks of captive feel
matrons A softer passion, and divide its cares !
Sound in my cars! Alba to me is Rome. Wouldst thou believe it? | Valeria, Forbear, forbear, Horatia, I would have sent, by him thou saw'st departing, Nor fright me with the thought. Rome cannot Kind wishes to my brothers; but my tongue
fall. Denied its office, and this rebel heart
Think on the glorious battles she has fought; Even dreaded their success. Oh, Curiatius! Has she once failed, though oft exposed to danWhy art thou there, or why an enemy?
ger? Valeria. Forbear this self-reproach; he is thy | And has not her immortal founder promised, husband,
That she should rise the mistress of the world?