« السابقةمتابعة »
What is your boast !-Would you, like me, have And let me hint the only way to keep it. done,
Let men of vain ideas have their fill, To free a captive wife, or save a son ?
Frown, bounce, stride, strut,—while you, with Rather than run such danger of your lives,
happy skill, You'd leave your children, and lock up your wives. Like anglers, use the finest golden thread; When with your noblest deeds a nation rings, Give line enough-nor check the tugging head: You are but puppets, and we play the strings. The fish will founder-you with gentle hand, We plan no battles--true-but those of sight, And soft degrees, must bring the trout to land: Crack goes the fan, and armies halt or fight! A more specific nostrum cannot be You have th' advantage, ladies, wisely reap it, Probatum est—and never fails with Me.
SCENE I.-MATILDA's Tent, with a View of the | The flowery path, that tempts our wandering distant Country.
But leads to misery; what thou fondly deem'st MATILDA, BERTHA.
My soul's best comfort, is its bitterest woe. Mat. I thank thee, gentle Bertha, for thy good- Earl Morcar loves me. To the generous mind ness;
The heaviest debt is that of gratitude,
Ber. Oft have I heard thee say, to him thon To hope and joy, 'twould be thy generous friend
Thy honour and thy life. But I am sunk so deep in misery,
Mat. I told thee truth. That comfort cannot reach me.
Beneath my father's hospitable roof Ber. Talk not thus,
I spent my earlier, happier days, in peace My sweet Matilda ; innocence, like thine, And safety : When the Norman conqueror came, Must be the care of all-directing Heaven.
Discord, thou know'st, soon lit her fatal torch, Already bath the interposing hand
And spread destruction o'er this wretched land Of Providence redeemed thee from the rage The loyal Ranulph flew to William's aid, Of savage war, and sheltered thee within
And left me to a faithful peasant's care, This calm asylum. Mercia's potent earl, Who lived, sequestered, in the fertile plains The noble Morcar, will protect thy virtues; | Of rich Northumbria: There, awhile, I dwelt And, if I err not, wishes but to share
In sweet retirement, when the savage Malcolm llis conquests with thee.
Rushed on our borders. Mat. O my friend, oft times,
Ber. I remember well
The melancholy hour. Confusion raged The noble Edwin! Often have I heard
And often would lament the dire effects
The bitterest foes. If right I learn, lord Edwin To brutal rage, and lawless violence,
Is William's firmest friend, and still supports Had not the generous Morcar interposed
His royal master.
I still find comfort: Edwin ne'er was stained, Such violation. At his awful voice,
As Morcar is, with foul disloyalty,.. The surly ruffians left me, and retired.
But stands betwixt his sovereign and the rage He bore me, half expiring, in his arms,
Of rebel multitudes, to guard his throne. Back to bis tert; with every kind attention If, nobly fighting in his country's cause, There strove to sooth my griefs, and promised, My hero falls, I shall not weep alone; soon
The king, he loved and honoured, will lament As fit occasion offered, to restore me
him, To my afflicted father.
And grateful England mix her tears with mine. Ber. Something, sure,
Ber. And doth carl Morcar know of Edwin's Was due to generous Morcar for his aid,
love? So timely given.
Mat. Oh, no! I would not, for a thousand Mal. No doubt: But mark what followed.
worlds, In my deliverer, too soon I found
He shouid suspect it, lest his fiery soul An ardent lover, sighing at my feet.
Should catch the alarm, and kindle to a flame, Ber. And what is there the proudest of our sex
That might destroy us all. Could wish for more? To be the envied bride Ber. I know his warmth Of noble Morcar, first of England's peers
And vehemence of temper; unrestrained In fame and fortune.
By laws, and spurning at the royal power; Mat. Never trust, my Bertha,
Which he contemns, he rules despotic here. To outward shew. 'Tis not the smiles of fortune, Mat. Alas! how man from man, and brother The pomp of wealth, or splendour of a court,
oft Can make us happy. In the mind alone From brother, differs ! Edwin's tender passion Rests solid joy, and true felicity,
Is soft and gentle, as the balmy breath Which I can never taste: For, oh, my friend! Of vernal zephyrs; whilst the savage north, A secret sorrow weighs upon my heart.
That curls the angry ocean into storms, Ber. Then pour it in the bosom of thy friend; Is a faint image of earl Morcar's love: Let me partake it with thee.
'Tis rage, 'tis fury all. When last we met, Mat. Generous maid !
He knit his angry brow, and frowned severe Know, then, for nought will I conceal from thee, Upon me; then, with wild distracted look, I honour Mercia's earl, revere his virtues, Bade me beware of trifling with his passion, And wish I could repay him with myself: He would not brook it-trembling I retired, But, blushing, I acknowledge it, the heart And bathed my couch in tears. His vows solicit, is not mine to give.
Ber. Unhappy maid! Ber. Has, then, some happier youth
But time, that softens every human woe, Mat. Another time
Will bring some blest event, and lighten thine. I'll tell thee all the story of our loves.
Mat. Alas! thou know'st not what it is to But, oh, my Bertha ! didst thou know to whom
love. My virgin faith is plighted, thou wouldst say Haply thy tender heart hath never felt I am, indeed, unhappy.
The tortures of that soul-bewitching passion. Ber. Could Matilda
Its joys are sweet and poignant ; but its pangs Bestow the treasure of her heart on one
Are exquisite, as I have known too well: Unworthy of her choice?
For, oh, my Bertha ! since the fatal hour Mat. Unworthy! No.
When Edwin left me, never hath sweet peace, I glory in my passion for the best,
That used to dwell, with all its comforts, here, The loveliest of his sex. Oh! he was all E'er deigned to visit this afflicted breast. That bounteous nature, prodigal of charms, Ber. Too plain, alas ! I read thy sorrows; grief Did on her choicest favourite e'er bestow. Sits in sad triumph on thy faded cheek, His graceful form, and sweet deportment, spoke And half obscures the lustre of thy beauties. The fairer beauties of his kindred soul,
Mat. Talk not of beauty, 'tis our sex'an, Where every grace and every virtue shone. And leads but to destruction. I abhor But thou wilt tremble, Bertha, when I tell thee, The fatal gilt. Oh! would it had pleased Heaven le is earl Morcar's brother.
To brand my homely features with the dark Ber. Ha! his brother!
Of foul deforinity, or let me pass VOL. II.
Unknown, and undistinguished from the herd
Six. Ha! in tears,
To innocence and beauty, thus could sex
Thy gentle spirit ! *Tis now three years, since last these eyes beheld Mat. Canst thou ask the cause, Their dearest object. In that humble vale, When thou behold'st me still in shameful bonds, Whence, as I told thee, Malcolm's fury drove me, | A wretched captive, friendless and forloro, There first we met. Oh ! how I cberish still Without one ray of hope to sooth my sorrows? The fond remembrance ! There we first exchan- | Siu. Can she, whose beauteous form and fair ged
demeanour Our mutual vows; the day of happiness
Charm every eye, and conquer every heart, Was fixt; it came, and in a few short hours Can she be wretched ? can she want a friend, He had been made indissolubly mine,
Whom Siward honours, and whom Morcar loves! When fortune, envious of our happiness,
Oh! if thou knew'st with what unceasing ardour,
At least to pity.
The ungrateful subject; but too well I know Of love's pleasures, brings us oft together. How much thy friend deserves, how much, alas, Oft as I sit within my lonely tent,
I owe him !-If it be earl Morcar's wish And cast my wishful eyes o'er yonder plain, To make me happy, why am I detained In every passing traveller I strive
A prisoner here; spite of his solemn promise To trace his image, hear his lovely voice
He would restore me to my royal master, In every sound, and fain would flatter me Or send me back to the desiring arms Edwin still lives, still loves his lost Matilda. Of the afflicted Ranulph, who, in tears Ber. Who knows but fate, propitious to thy Of bitterest anguish, mourns his long-lost daugh, love,
ter? May guide him hither?
Surely, my lord, it ill becomes a soldier Mut. Gracious heaven forbid !
To forfeit thus his honour and bis word. Consider, Bertha, if the chance of war
Siw. I own it; yet the cause pleads strongti Should this way lead him, he must come in arms for him. Against his brother : Oh! 'tis horrible
If, by thy own too powerful charms misled, To think on. Should they meet, and Edwin fall, He deviates from the paths of rigid honour, What shall support me? And if victory smiles Matilda might forgive. Thou know'st be lives Upon my love, bow dear will be the purchase But in thy smiles; his love-enchanted soul By Morcar's blood! Then must I lose my friend, Hangs on those beauties, he would wish to keep My guardian, my protector-every way
For ever in his sight. Matilda must be wretched.
Mat. Indulgent Heaven Ber. Is there aught
Keep me for ever from it! Oh, my lord! In Bertha's power?
If e'er thy heart with generous pity glowed Mat. Wilt thou dispatch, my friend,
For the distressed; if e'er thy honest zeal Some trusty messenger with these?-Away. Could boast an influence o'er the man you lote :
(Gives her letters. Oh! now exert thy power, assist, direct, I'll meet thee in my tent-Farewell.
And save thy friend from ruin and Matilda. [Erit BerTHA.
There are, my lord, who most offend, where most Mean time,
They wish to please. Such often is the fate One hope remains, the generous Siward-he Of thy unhappy friend, when he pours forth Might save me still. His sympathetic heart His ardent soul in vows of tenderest passion Can feel for the afflicted.- I have heard,
'Tis with such rude and boisterous violence, (Such is the magic power of sacred friendship) As suits but ill the hero or the lover. When the impetuous Morcar scatters fear
Siw. I know his weakness, know his follies al, And terror round him, he, and he alone,
And feel them but too well: He loves with tra Can stem the rapid torrent of his passion,
sport, And bend him, though reluctant, to his will And hates with fury. Warmed with fierce desire, And see, in happy hour, he comes this way. Or strong resentment, his impetuous soul Now fortune, be propitious ! if there be,
Is hurried on, till reason quits her seat, As I have heard, an eloquence in grief,
And passion takes the loosely-flowing rein; And those can most persuade, who are most Then all is rage, confusion, and despair. wretched,
And yet, when cool reflection hath removed I shall not pass unpitied.
The veil of error, he will weep his fauts
With such a sweet contrition, as would melt | This sad idea rises to my mind,
Recoils with horror.
Siw. 'Tis a dreadful thought: A sovereiga's love, and claim a nation's praise ; Would I could heal that cruel breach! but then, Virtues, that merit happiness and thee.
Thou might'st do much ; the task is left for thee. Why wilt thou thus despise my noble friend ? Mat. For me! Alas! it is not in my power. His birth and fortune, with the rank he bears Siw. In thine, and thine alone. O think, MaAmong the first of England's peers, will raise thee
tilda ! As far above thy sex, in wealth and power, How great thy glory, and how great thy praise, As now thou art in beauty.
To be the blessed instrument of peace; Mat. Oh, my lord !
The band of union 'twixt contending brothers. 'Tis not the pride, the luxury of life,
Thou see'st them, now, like two descending floods, The splendid robe and glittering gem, that knits Whose rapid torrents meeting, half o'erwhelm The lasting bonds of mutual happiness :
The neighbouring plains: thy gentle voice might Where manners differ, where affections jar,
still And will not kindly mix together, where
The angry waves, and bid their waters flow, The sweet harmonious concord of the mind In one united stream, to bless the land. Is wanting, all is misery and woe.
Mut. That flattering thought beams comfort Siw. By Heaven! thou plead'st thy own and on my soul virtue's cause,
| Amidst my sorrows; bear me witness, Heaven !
In the firm cords of amity and love,
For all my griefs, nor would I more complain, And I could wish to find, there is a bar
But rest me in the silent grave, well pleased That must for ever disunite us-Born
To think, at last, I had not lived in vain. Of Norman race, and from my earliest years
Siw. Cherish that virtuous thought, illustrious Attached to William's cause, I love my king,
maid! And wish my country's peace : That king, my And let me hope my friend may still be happy.
Mat. I wish it from my soul : but see, my Whom Morcar wishes to dethrone; that peace, Which he destroys: Had he an angel's form, Earl Morcar comes this way, with hasty steps, With all the virtues that adorn his sex,
Across the lawn. I must retire: farewell ! With all the riches fortune can bestow,
You'll not forget my humble suit. I would not wed a traitor.
Siw. Oh! no. Sim. Call not his errors by so harsh a name; I will do all that loveliest innocence He has been deeply wronged, and souls, like his, And worth, like thine, deserve. Farewell: mean Must feel the wounds of honour, and resent
time, . them.
Remember, Siward's every wish, the bliss Alas! with thee I weep my country's fate, Of Morcar, Edwin's life, the public peace, Nay wish, perhaps, as well to William's cause, And England's welfare, all depend on thee. And England's peace, as can the loyal daughter
[Erit MATILDA. Of gallant Ranulph; and would, therefore, joy There's no alternative but this; my friend To see Matilda lend a gracious ear
Must quit Matilda, or desert the cause To Morcar's suit. Thy reconciling charms We have lavishly promised to support-perhaps Might sooth his troubled soul, might heal the The last were best— both shall be tried h e wounds
comes. Of bleeding England, and unite us all
Enter MORCAR. 'n one bright chain of harmony and love. The gallant Edwin too
Mor. O Siward! was not that Mat. Ha! what of him?
The fair Matilda, whom you parted from? Know'st thou that noble youth?
Siw. It was. Siw. So many years
Mor. What says she ! the dear, cruel maid lave past since last we met, by different views Is she still deaf? inexorable still? Ind our unhappy feuds so long divided,
Siw. You must not think of her. should not recollect him ; but report
Mor. What say'st thou, Siward ? peaks loudly of his virtues. He, no doubt, Not think of her! 1 yet he lives
Siw. No. Root her from thy heart, Mat. Yet lives! why, what, my lord ? And gaze no inore. I blush to see my friend Siw. You seem much moved.
So lost to honour: Is it for a man Mat. Forgive me, but whene'er
On whom the fate of England may depend,