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“ Oh, merciless, wild, and unforgiving fiend ! “ Blindfold it runs to undistinguish'd mischief, " And murders all it meets. Curst be its rage, “ For there is none so deadly; doubly curs'd “ Be all those easy fools who give it harbour ; “ Who turn a monster loose among mankind, “ Fiercer than famine, war, or spotted pestilence ; “ Baneful as death, and horrible as hell. “ Alic. If thou wilt curse, curse rather thine own
falsehood; “ Curse the lewd maxims of thy perjur'd sex, “ Which taught thee first to laugh at faith and justice; “ To scorn the solemn sanctity of oaths, “ And make a jest of a poor woman's ruin : “ Curse thy proud heart, and thy insulting tongue, “ That rais'd this fatal fury in my soul, “ And urg'd my vengeance to undo us both.”
Hast. On, thou inhuman! Turn thy eyes away,
And blast me not with their destructive beams :
Why should I curse thee with my dying breath ?
Begone! and let me die in peace.
Alic. Can'st thou-Oh, cruel Hastings, leave me
Hear me, I beg thee I conjure thee, hear mel
While with an agonizing heart, I swear,
By all the pangs I feel, by all the sorrows,
The terrors and despair thy loss shall give me,
My hate was on my rival bent alone.
Oh! had I once divin'd, false as thou art,
A danger to thy life, I would have dy'd,
I would have met it for thee, and made bare
My ready faithful breast to save thee from it.
Hast Now mark! and tremble at Heaven's just
While thy insatiate wrath and fell revenge,
Pursu'd the innocence which never wrong'd thee,
Behold, the mischief falls on thee and ne:
Remurse and heaviness of heart shall wait thee,
And everlasting anguish be thy portion :
For me, the snares of death are wound about me,
And now, in one poor moment, I am gone.
Oh! if thou hast one tender thought remaining,
Fly to thy closet, fall upon thy knees,
And recommend my parting soul to mercy.
Alic. Oh! yet before I go for ever from thee,
Turn thee in gentleness and pity to me, [Kneeling
And, in compassion of my strong affliction,
Say, is it possible you can forgive
The fatal rashness of ungovern'd love?
For, oh! 'tis certain, if I had not lov'd thee
Beyond my peace, my reason, fame, and life,
“ Desir'd to death, and doated to destraction,"
This day of horror never should have known us.
Hast. On, rise, and let me hush thy stormy sor-
[Raising her. Assuage thy tears, for I will chide no more, No more upbraid thee, thou unhappy fair one. I see the hand of Heav'n is arm'd against me; And, in mysterious Providence, decrees To punish me by thy mistaken hand,
Most righteous doom! for, Oh, while I behold thee,
in terrible array,
And charge thy ruin on me; thy fair fame,
Thy spotless beauty, innocence, and youth,
Dishonour'd, blasted, and betray'd by me.
Alic. And does thy heart relent for my undoing?
Oh, that inhuman Gloster could be mov'd,
But half so easily as I can pardon !
Hast. Here then exchange we mutually forgiveness :
So may the guilt of all my broken vows,
My perjuries to thee, be all forgotten,
As here my soul acquits thee of my death,
As here I part without one angry thought,
As here I leave thee with the softest tenderness,
Mourning the chance of our disastrous loves,
And begging Heav'n to bless and to support thee.
Rat. My lord, dispatch; the duke has sent to chide
For loitering in my duty-
Hast. I obey.
Alic. Insatiate, savage monster! Is a moment
So tedious to thy malice? Oh, repay him,
Thou great avenger! Give him blood for blood :
Guilt haunt him! fiends pursue him! lightnings blast
“ Some horrid, cursed kind of death o'ertake him,
“ Sudden, and in the fulness of his sins !"
That he may know how terrible it is,
To want that moment he denies thee now.
Hast. This rage is all in vain, " that tears thy bosom;
i Like a poor bird that flutters in its cage, “ Thou beat'st thyself to death." Retire, I beg thee; To see thee thus, thou know'st not how it wounds me; Thy agonies are added to my own, And make the burthen more than I can bear. Farewell-Good angels visit thy afflictions, And bring thee peace and comfort from above.
Alic. Oh! stab me to the heart, some pitying hand. Now strike nie dead
Hast. One thing I had forgot I charge thee, by our present common miseries ; By our past loves, if yet they have a name; By all thy hopes of peace here and hereafter, Let not the rancour of thy hate pursue The innocence of thy unhappy friend ; Thou know'st who 'tis I mean; Oh! should'st thou
Just Heav'n shall double all thy woes upon theen
And make 'em know no end-Remember this,
As the last warning of a dying man.
Farewell, for ever! [The guards carry Hastings off.
Alic. For ever! Oh, for ever!
Oh, who can bear to be a wretch for ever!
My rival, too! His last thoughts hung on her,
And as he parted, left a blessing for her:
Shall she be blest, and I be curst, for ever
No; since her fatal beauty was the cause
Of all my suff'rings, let her share my pains ;
Let her, like me, of ev'ry joy forlorn,
Devote the hour when such a wretch was born;
“ Like me, to desarts and to darkness run,
“ Abhor the day, and curse the golden sun;"
Cast ev'ry good, and ev'ry hope behind ;
Detest the works of nature, loath mankind:
Like me, with cries distracted, fill the air,
Tear her poor bosom, rend her frantic hair;
And prove the torments of the last despair.
The Street. Enter BELMOUR and DUMONT,
You saw her, then ?
Bel. I met her, as returning,
In solemn penance from the public cross.
Before her, certain rascal officers,
Slaves in authority, the knaves of justice,
Proclaim'd the tyrant Gloster's cruel orders.
« On either side her march'd an ill-look'd priest,
« Who with severe, with horrid haggard eyes,
“ Did, ever and anon, by turns, upbraid her,
“ And thunder in her trembling ear damnation."
Around her, numberless, the rabble flow'd,
Should’ring each other, crowding for a view,
Gaping and gazing, taunting and reviling;
Some pitying—but those, alas ! how few !
The most, such iron hearts we are, and such
The base barbarity of human kind,