صور الصفحة
PDF

0, Randal! but imagine to thyself | Agnes. That you are come from that dear The floods of transport, the sincere delights,

virtuous maid, That all my friends will feel, when I disclose Revives in us the mem'ry of a loss, To my astonish'd parents my return,

| Which, though long since, we have not learn'd And then confess, that I have well contrived,

to bear. By giving others joy to exalt my own.

Y. Wilm. The joy to see them, and the [Exeunt. bitter pain

It is to see them thus, touches my soul

With tenderness and grief, that will o'erSCENE III.-Old Wilmot's House.

flow. Old Wilmot and Agnes discovered.

They know me not-and yet I shall, I fear,

Defeat my purpose, and betray myself. (Aside. 0. Wilm. Here take this Seneca ; this 0. Wilm. The lady calls you, here, her haughty pedant,

valued friend; Who, governing the master of mankind, Enough, though nothing more should be imAnd awing power imperial, prates of patience; plied, And praises poverty-possess'd of millions : To recommend you to our best esteem,Sell him, and buy us bread. The scantiest A worthless acquisition ! May she find meal

Some means that better may express her kindThe vilest copy of his book e'er purchased,

ness ! Will give us more relief in this distress, But she, perhaps, has purposed to enrich Than all his boasted precepts. -Nay, no tears; You with herself, and end her fruitless sorrow Keep them to move compassion when you beg. For one, whom death alone can justify Agnes. My heart may break, but never stoop For leaving her so long. If it be so, to that.

May you repair his loss, and be to Charlotte 0. Wilm. Nor would I live to see it.-But A second, happier Wilmot ! Partial nature, dispatch.

[Exit Agnes. Who only favours youth, as feeble age Where must I charge this length of misery, Were not her offspring, or below her care, That gathers force each moment as it rolls, | Has seal'd our doom: no second hope shall And must at last o'erwhelm me, but on hope : spring Vain, flattering, delusive, groundless hope, To dry our tears, and dissipate despair. That has for years deceived me!-Had I Agnes. The last, and most abandon'd of our thought

kind ! As I do now,-as wise men ever think, By Heaven and earth neglected or despised ! When first this hell of poverty o'ertook me,

| The loathsome grave, that robb'd us of our son, That power to die implies a right to do it. And all our joys in him, must be our refuge. And should be used when life becomes a pain, Y. Wilm. Let ghosts unpardon'd, or devoted What plagues had I prevented !— True, my fiends,

(strains ; wife

Fear without hope, and wail in such sad Is still a slave to prejudice and fear

But grace defend the living from despair! I would not leave my better part, the dear | The darkest hours precede the rising sun,

[Weeps. And mercy inay appear when least expected. Faithful companion of my happier days,

0. Wilm. This I have heard a thousand To bear the weight of age and want alone.

times repeated, I'll try once more

| And have, believing, been as oft deceived. Enter Agnes, and after her Young Wilmot. Y. Wilm. Behold in me an instance of its Return'd, my life, so soon !-

truth. Agnes. The unexpected coming of this | At sea twice shipwreck’d, and as oft the prey stranger

Of lawless pirates; by the Arabs thrice Prevents my going yet.

Surprised, and robb’d on shore; and once reY. Wilm. You're, I presume,

duced The gentleman to whom this is directed. To worse than these, the sum of all distress

Gives a leller. That the most wretched feel on this side hell; What wild neglect, the token of despair, Even slavery itself: yet here I stand, What indigence, what misery, appears Except one trouble that will quickly end, In this once happy house! What discontent, The happiest of mankind. What anguish and confusion, fill the faces O. Wilm. A rare example Of its dejected owners !

rAside. Of fortune's changes; apter to surprise 0. Wilm. [Having read the letter. Sir, Or entertain, than comfort or instruct. such welcome

If you would reason from events, be just, As this poor house affords, you may command. | And count, when you escaped, how many Our ever friendly neighbour-once we hoped

perish'd ; To have call'd' fair Charlotte by a dearer And draw your inference thence. name

Agnes. Alas! who knows, But we have done with hope I pray excuse But we were render'd childless by some storm, This incoherence.We had once a son. In which you, though preserved, might bear a

(Weeps. part?

Y. Wilm. How has my curiosity betray'd me | Or more provoking pity of the world. [turn, Into superfluous pain! I faint with fondness; Plenty, content, and power, might take their And shall, if I stay longer, rush upon them; | And lofty pride bare iis aspiring head [us. Proclaim myself their son ; kiss, and embrace | At our approach, and once more bend before them;

A pleasing dream !-'Tis past; and now I Till, with the excess of pleasure and surprise, For sure it was a happiness to think, [wake: Their souls, transported, their frail mansions / Though but a moment, such a treasure mine. quit,

Nay, it was more than thought-I saw, and And leave them breathless in my longing arms. touch'd By circumstances then, and slow degrees, | The bright temptation; and I see it yet They must be let into a happiness

'Tis here—'tis mine- I have it in possessionToo great for them to bear at once, and live: Must I resign it? Must I give it back ? That Charlotte will perform. I need not feign Am I in love with misery and want? To ask an hour for rest. [ Aside.] Sir, I entreat To rob myself, and court so vast a loss? The favour to retire; where, for a while, Retain it then-But how?-There is a way I may repose myself. You will excuse Why sinks my heart? Why does my blood run This freedom, and the trouble that I give you: cold ?

[choice, "Tis long since I have slept, and nature calls. Why am I thrill'd with horror ? - Tis not 0. Wilm. I pray, no more: Believe we're | But dire necessity suggests the thought. only troubled,

Enter Old Wilmot. That you should think any excuse were need O. Wilm. The mind contented, with how ful.

[encumbrance, little pains Y. Wilm. The weight of this, to me is some The jand'ring senses yield to soft repose ! [Takes a casket out of his bosom, and gives He's fallen asleep already—Happy man! it to his mother.

What dost thou think, my Agnes, of our guest? And its contents of value: if you please He seems to me a youth of great humanity :: To take the charge of it till l'awake,

Just ere he closed his eyes, that swam in tears, I shall not rest the worse. If I should sleep He wrung my hand, and press'd it to his lips, Till I am ask'd for, as perhaps I may,

And with a look, that pierc'd me to the soul, I beg that you would wake me.

Begg'd me to comfort thee: And- dost thou Agnes. Doubt it not:

hear me? Distracted as I am with various woes,

What art thou gazing on ?-Fie, 'tis not well. I shall remember that.

This casket was deliver'd to you closed : [Exit, with Old Wilmot. Why have you open'd it? Should this be Y, Wilm. Merciless grief !

How mean must we appear! [known, What ravage has it made! how has it changed Agnes. And who shall know it? Her lovely form and mind! I feel her anguish, 1 0. Wilm. There is a kind of pride, a decent And dread, I know not what, from her despair. dignity,

[tunes, My father too- o, grant them patience, Due to ourselves; which, spite of our misforHeaven!

May be maintain'd, and cherish'd to the last. A little longer, a few short hours more, | To live without reproach, and without leave And all their cares, and mine, shall end for To quit the world, shows sovereign contempt, ever.

[Exit. And noble scorn of its relentless malice.

| Agnes. Shows sovereign madness, and a ACT III.

scorn of sense.

Pursue no farther this detested theme: Scene I.-A Room in Old Wilmot's House. I will not die; I will not leave the world,

For all that you can urge, until compellid. is Enter Agnes alone, with the Casket in her hand.

1 0. Wilm. To chase a shadow, when the setAgnes. Who should this stranger be ?-And ting sun then this casket- ,

Is darting his last rays, were just as wise
He says it is of value, and yet trusts it, As your anxiety for Heeting life,
As if a trifle, to a stranger's hand.

Now the last means for its support are failing : His confidence amazes me-Perhaps

Were famine not as mortal as the sword, It is not what he says—I'm strongly tempted Your warmth might be excused-But take thy To open it, and see.—No, let it rest!

choice : Why should I pry into the cares of others, Die how you will, you shall not die alone. Who have so many sorrows of my own?

Agnes. Nor live, I hope.
With how much ease the spring gives way! 0. Wilm. There is no fear of that.
Surprising!

Agnes. Then, we'll live both.
My eyes are dazzl’d, and my ravish'd heart O. Wilm. Strange folly! where the means ?
Leaps at the glorious sight.' How bright's the Agnes. There-those jewels !
lustre,

jewels ! O. Wilm. Ah!--Take heed! . And how immense the worth of these fair Perhaps thou dost but try me-yet take heed ! Ay, such a treasure would expel for ever There's naught so monstrous, but the mind of Base poverty, and all its abject train;

man, Famine; the cold neglect of friends; the scorn, In some conditions, may be brought to approve.

Theft, sacrilege, treason, and parricide, | The poor, ill-fated, unsuspecting victim,
When flatt'ring opportunity entieed,

Ere he reclined him on the fatal couch,
And desperation drove, have been committed From which he's ne'er to rise, took off the sash,
By those who once would start to hear them And costly dagger, that thou saw'st him wear,
named.

And thus, unthinking, furnish'd us with arms Agnes. And add to these detested suicide, Against himself. Steal to the door, Which, by a crime much less, we may avoid. And bring me word, if he be still asleep. 0. Wilm. How couldst thou form a thought

[Exit Agnes. so very damning,

Or I'm deceived, or he pronounced himself So advantageous, so secure, and easy, | The happiest of mankind. Deluded wretch! And yet so cruel, and so full of horfor? Thy thoughts are perishing, thy youthful joys,

Agnes. 'Tis less impiety, less against nature, Touch'd by the icy hand of grisly death, To ask another's life, than end our own. Are with’ring in their bloom. --But, thought 0. Wilm. No matter which, the less or extinguish'd, greater crime:

He'll never know the loss, Howe'er we may deceive ourselves or others, Nor feel the bitter pang of disappointmentWe act from inclination, not by rule,

Then I was wrong in counting him a wretch: Or none could act amiss : and that all err, To die well pleased None but the conscious hypocrite denies. Is all the happiest of mankind can hope for. -Oh! what is man, his excellence and To be a wretch is to survive the loss strength,

Of every joy, and even hope itself, When in an hour of trial and desertion, As I have done-Why do I mourn him then? Reason, bis poblest power, may be subound For, by the anguish of my tortured soul, To plead the cause of vile assassination ! He's to be envied, if compared with me! Agnes. You're too severe : Reason may

(Exit. For our own preservation. (justly plead 0. Wilm. Rest contented :

Scene II.- A Room, with Young Wilmot Whate'er resistance I may seem to make,

asleep upon a Bed, in the Distance.
I am betray'd within: my will's seduced,
And my whole soul's infected. The desire

Enter Old Wilmot and Agnes.
Of life returns, and brings with it a train
Of appetites, that rage to be supplied.

Agnes. The stranger sleeps at present; but Whoever stands to parley with temptation,

so restless Parleys to be o'ercome.

His slumbers seem, they can't continue long. Agnes. Then naught remains,

Here, I've secured his dagger. But the swift execution of a decd

0. Wilm. Oh, Agnes ! Agnes! if there be That is not to be thought on, or delay'd | 'Tis just we should expect it. (a hell, 0. Wilm. Gen'rous, unhappy man! Oh! [Goes to take the dagger, but lets it fall. what could move thee

Agnes. Shake off this panic, and be more To put thy life and fortune in the hands

yourself.

[we determind? Of wretches mad with anguish!

0. Wilm. What's to be done? On what had Agnes. By what means

Agnes. You're quite dismay’d. Shall we effect his death?

[Takes up the dagget. 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, Agnes. Barbarous man!

The three wide mouths of that true Cerberus, Whiose wasteful riots ruin'd our estate, Grim Poverty, demand; they shall be stoppid. And drove our son, ere the first down had Ambition, persecution, and revenge, spread

Devour their millions daily: and shall I His rosy cheeks, spite of my sad presages, But follow me, and see how little cause Earnest entreaties, agonies, and tears, | You had to think there was the least remain To seek his bread 'mongst strangers, and to Of manhood, pity, mercy, or remorse, In some remote, in hospitable land [perish Left in this savage breast. The loveliest yonth, in person and in mind,

[Going the wrong way. That ever crowu'd a groaning mother's pains! | Agnes. Where do you go? Where was thy pity, where thy patience then? The street is that way. Thou cruel husband! thou unnat'ral father! 0. Wilm. True! I had forgot. Thou most remorseless, most ungrateful man! Agnes. 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 way. (Retires towards the bed. For being what thou'st made me!

Agnes. Oh, softly! softly! The least noise 0. Wilm. Dry thy tears:

undoes us. I ought not to reproach thee. I confess | What are we doing? Misery and want That thou hast suffer'd much : so have we both | Are lighter ills than this! I cannot bear it! But chide no more; I'm wrought up to tby Stop, hold thy hand !-Inconstant, wretched purpose.

woman!

[ocr errors]

What! doth my heart recoil 3-0, Wilmot! | Are these the fruits of all thy anxious cares

For thy ungrateful parents --Cruel fiends! What pow'r shall I invoke to aid thee, Wil 10. Wilm. What whining fool art thou, who mot!

[Scene closes. wouldst usurp

My sovereign right of grief?-Was he thy son?

[blood, SCENE IIJ.-Another Room.

Say! canst thou show thy hands, reeking with

That flow'd, through purer channels, from thy Enter Charlotte, Eustace, and Randal.

loins?

[ocean, Char. What strange neglect! The doors are

Compute the sands that bound the spacious all unbarr'd,

And swell their numbers with a single grain; And not a living creature to be seen!

Increase the noise of thunder with thy voice;

Or, when the raging wind lays nature waste, Enter Old Wilmot and Agnes.

Assist the tempest with thy feeble breath; Sir, we are come to give and to receive

| But name not thy faint sorrow with the anguish A thousand greetings-Ha! what can this Of a cursed wreich, who only hopes from this mean?

[Stalbing himself, Why do you look with such amazement on us? | To change the scene, but not relieve his pain. Are these your transports for your son's return?

Rand. A dreadful instance of the last reWhere is my Wilmot ?Has he not been here?

May all your woes end here! [morse! Would he defer your happiness so long,

Ó. Wilm. O would they end Or could a habit so disguise your son,

A thousand ages hence, I then should suffer That you refused to own him?

Much less than I deserve. Yet let me say, Agnes. Heard you that ?

You'll do but justice to inform the world, What prodigy of horror is disclosing,

This horrid deed, that punishes itself, To render murder venial !

Was not intended, thinking him our son ; 0. Wilns. Pr'ythee, peace :

For that we knew not, till it was too late. The miserable damn'd suspend their howling, | Proud and impatient under our afflictions, And the swift orbs are fx'd in deep attention. While Heaven was labouring to make us happy, Rand. What mean these dreadful words, and We brought this dreadful ruin on ourselves. frantic air !

Mankind may learn- But- ohThat is the dagger my young master wore.

[Dies. Ewt. My mind misgives me. Do not stand Rand. Heaven grant they may ! to gaze

, | And may thy penitence atone thy crime ! On these dumb phantoms of despair and horror! 'Tend well the hapless Charloitte, and bear Let us search further; Randal, show the way.

hence Ereunt Randal, Eustace, and Charlotte. These bleeding victims of despair and pride; Agnes. Let life forsake the earth, and light Toll the death-bell! and follow to the grave the sun,

The wretched parents and ill-fated son.
And death and darkness bury in oblivion
Mankind and all their deeds, that no posterity
May ever rise to hear our borrid tale,

§ 49. The Happiness of a free Government. Or view the grave of such detested parricides !

S. JOHNSON. 0. Wilm. Curses and deprecations are in If there be any land, as fame reports, vain :

[course, Where common laws restrain the prince and The sun will shine, and all things have their subject, When we, the curse and burden of the earth, | A happy land, where circulating pow'r Shall be absorb'd, and mingled with its dust. | Flows through each member of th' embodied Our guilt and desolation must be told,

state; From age to age, to teach desponding mortals, Sure, not unconscious of the mighty blessing, How far beyond the reach of human thought Her grateful sons shine bright with ev'ry Heaven, when incensed, can punishDie thou

virtue ; first.

[Stubs Agnes. | Untainted with the last of innovation, I durst pot trust thy weakness.

Sure all unite to hold her league of rule Agnes. Ever kind,

Unbroken as the sacred chain of nature, Bat most in this!

That links the jarring elements in peace. 0. Wilm. I will not long survive thee. Agues. Do not accuse thy erring mother, $ 50. The killing of a Boar. OTWAY. Wilmot!

Forth from the thicket rush'd another With too much rigour, when we meet above.

boar, To give thee life for life, and blood for blood, Is not enough. Had I ten thousand lives,

od, So large, he seem'd the tyrant of the woods,

| With all his dreadful bristles rais'd up high ; I'd give them all to speak my penitence,

They seem'd a grove of spears upon his back : Deep and sincere, and equal to my crime. Oh, Wilmot! oh, my son! my son! [Dies. Whetting his huge long tusks, and gaping

Foaming he came at me, where I was posted, Enter Randal und Eustace.

wide, Eust, Oh, Wilmot! Wilinot !

As he already had me for his prey;

Till, brandishing my well-poisid javelin high, | With joy beholds his hardy youthful offspring With this bold executing arm I struck Forsake the nest, to try his tender pinions The ugly brindled monster to the heart. In the wide untrack'd air ; till, bolder grown,

Now, like a whirlwind on a shepherd's fold, $ 51. Description of a populous City. Young He darts precipitate, and gripes the prey; - This ancient city,

Or fixing on some dragon's scaly hide, How wanton sits she amidst nature's smiles !

Eager of combat, and his future feast, Nor from her highest turret has to view

| Bears him aloft reluctant, and in vain But golden landscapes and luxuriant scenes,

Wreathing his spiry tail. A waste of wealth, the store-house of the world;

| $ 55. The true End of Education. Rowe. Here fruitful vales far stretching fly the sight; And therefore wert thou bred to virtuous There sails unnurnber'd whiten all the stream;

knowledge, While from the banks full twenty thousand

And wisdom early planted in thy soul, cities

That thou mightst know to rule thy fiery pasSurvey their pride, and see their gilded towers

sions, Float on the waves, and break against the

To bind their rage and stay their headlong shore.

course; - Various nations meet

To bear with accidents, and every change As in the sea, yet not confin'd in space,

Of various life; to struggle with adversity; But streaming freely through the spacious

| To wait the leisure of the righteous gods, streets,

Till they, in their own good appointed hour, Which send forth millions at each brazen gate; |

Shall bid their better days come forth at once, Whene'er the trumpet calls, high over head

A long and shining train ; till thou, well pleas'd, On the broad walls the chariots bound along.

18. Shalt bow, and bless thy fate, and say the gods

are just. $ 52. Rural Courtship. Dryden. He preferr'd me

$ 56. Filial Piety. Maller. Above the maidens of my age and rank;

E'er since reflection beam'd her light upon Still shunn'd their company, and still sought

me, mine,

You, Sir, have been my study. I have plac'd I was not won by gifts, yet still he gave;

Before mine eyes, in every light of life, And all his gifts though small, yet spoke his The father and the king. What weight of duty love.

Lay on a son from such a parent sprung,
He pick'd the earliest strawberries in the woods, What virtuous toil to shine with his renown,
The cluster'd filberts, and the purple grapes : Has been my thought by day, my dream by
He taught a prating stare to speak my name;

night:
And when he found a nest of nightingales,
Or callow linnets, he would show 'em me, But first and ever nearest to my heart
And let me take 'em out.

Was this prime duty, so to frame my conduct

Tow'rd such a father, as were I a father, $ 53. Description of a Person left on a desert My soul would wish to meet with from a son. Island.

Thomson. And may reproach transmit my name abhorrd

To latest time--if ever thought was mine Next night-a dreary night!

Unjust to filial reverence, filial love!
Cast on the wildest of the Cyclad Isles,
Where never human foot bad mark'd the
shore,

$57. The same. Thomson. These ruffians left me.

Have I then no tears for thee, my father? Beneath a shade

Can I forget thy cares, from helpless years I sat me down, more heavily oppress'd,

Thy tenderness for me? an eye still beam'd More desolate at heart than e'er I felt

With love? A brow that never knew a frown? Before ; when Philomela o'er my head

Nor a harsirword thy tongue? Shall I for these Began to tune her melancholy strain,

Repay thy stooping venerable age As piteous of my woes : till, by degrees,

With shame, disquiet, anguish, and dishonor? Composing sleep on wounded nature shed

It must not be!-thou first of angels ! come, A kind but short relief. At early morn, Sweet filial piety! and firin my breast : Wak'd by the chant of birds, I look'd around

Yes! let one daughter to her fate submit, For usual objects: objects found I none,

Be nobly wretched-but her father happy. Except before me stretch'd the toiling main, And rocks and woods, in sarage view, behind.

$ 58. Bad Fortune more easily borne than good. $54. The first Feats of a young Eagle. Rowe.

Rowe. So the Eagle,

With such unshaken temper of the soul That bears the thunder of our grandsire Jove, | To bear the swelling tide of prosp'rous fortune,

« السابقةمتابعة »