—primus amor deceptam morte fefellit. VIRG.





FROM Thespis' days to this enlighten'd hour,
The stage has shewn the dire abuse of power;
What mighty mischief from ambition springs;
The fate of heroes, and the fall of kings.
But these high themes, howe'er adorn'd by art,
Have seldom gain'd the passes of the heart:
Calm we behold the pompous mimick woe,
Unmov'd by sorrows we can never know.
[...]ar other feelings in the soul arise,
When private griefs arrest our ears and eyes;
When the false friend, and blameless, suffering wife,
Reflect the image of domestick life:
And still more wide the sympathy, more keen,
When to each breast responsive is the scene;
And the sine cords that every heart intwine,
Dilated, vibrate with the glowing line.—
Such is the theme, that now demands your ear,
And claims the silent plaudit of a tear.
One tyrant passion all mankind must prove;
The balm or poison of our lives—is love.
Love's sovereign sway extends o'er every clime,
Nor owns a limit or of space or time.
For love, the generous fair one hath sustain'd
More poignant ilis than ever poet feign'd.
For love, the maid partakes her lover's tomb,
O [...] pines long life out in sad foothless gloom.
[Page]Ne'er shall Oblivion shroud the Grecian wife*,
Who gave her own, to save a husband's life.
With her contending, see our Edward's bride,
Imbibing poison from his mangled side.
Nor less, though proud of intellectual sway,
Does haughty man the tyrant power obey:
From youth to age by love's wild tempest tost,
For love, even mighty kingdoms has he lost.
Vain—wealth, and fame, and Fortune's fost'ring care,
If no fond breast the splendid blessings share;
And, each day's bustling pageantry once past,
There, only there, his bliss is found at last.
For woes fictitious oft your tears have flow'd;
Your cheek for wrongs imaginary glow'd.
To-night our poet means not to assail
Your throbbing bosoms with a fancy'd tale.
Scarce sixty suns their annual course have roll'd,
Since all was real that our scenes unfold.
To touch your breasts with no unpleasing pain,
The Muse's magick bids it live again:
Bids mingled character, as once in life,
Resume their functions, and renew their strife;
While pride, revenge, and jealousy's wild rage,
Rouse all the genius of the impassion'd stage.

Persons Represented.

  • Duke of Genoa, Mr. PACKER.
  • Durazzo, a Nobleman, father of Julia, Mr. BENSLEY.
  • Mentevole, a young Nobleman, in love with Julia, Mr. KEMBLE.
  • Marcellus, a young Nobleman, son of Fulvia, Mr. PALMER.
  • Camillo, his cousin, and friend, Mr. WHITFIELD.
  • Manoa, a Merchant, Mr. AIKIN.
  • Fulvia, mother of Marcellus, Mrs. WARD.
  • Julia, daughter of Durazzo, Mrs. SIDDONS.
  • Olympia, her friend, and sister of Mentevole, Mrs. BRERETON.
  • Nerina, attendant on Julia, Miss TIDSWELL.

Officer, Guards, and Attendants.

SCENE, Genoa.



SCENE I. A Platform.

Enter MARCELLUS, supporting MANOA; Attendants behind.

LOOK up, sir; you are safe. The tempest's wildness Seems hush'd on shore. Where was your vessel bound?

Ancona was her port; the hurricane
Baffled our pilot's skill, and drove us headlong
(Just as your ship made good her anchorage,)
On the sharp rock, where you beheld her split.
All my companions, fifty luckless men,
Sunk in my sight; and I had shar'd their fate,
Had not your strong arm sav'd me. But, alas,
We are in Genoa, if mine eyes deceive not.

The fame.

[Page 2]
Too well I know it. Shield me Heaven!
For what am I reserv'd?
I hope, to lose
The memory of your grief, and find peace here.

O no! to lose my life, if I'm found here.

Pray, let me know your story. By your habit
I guess you are not of our faith or nation.
I am by birth of Syria; but here sojourn'd
Twice twenty years in wealth and fair repute,
Till Christian malice, or my nation's curse,
Or both combining, turn'd me forth a wanderer.
Look there, that very mansion once was mine.
I now recall some traces of that face:
Your name is Manoa?
Ay, that wretch am I.
Thou hast an aspect to benign and noble,
Thou could'st not injure me.

Myself much sooner.

This state, for its late levies 'gainst the Turk,
Call'd on all traffickers for sums of gold;
[Page 3]Our tribe, at my persuasion, furnish'd them,
On rates so easy to the borrowers,
The native merchants' offers were refus'd,
And publick clamour, and disgrace, pursued them:
Thence grew their hate. Of black and monstrous crimes,
Avouch'd on oath by witnesses suborn'd,
They charg'd me guiltless: flight alone was left,
To save my hunted life.
And I remember,
'Twas rumour'd you had perish'd by the sea,
Attempting your escape; and so believ'd:
Knaves call'd your fate a judgment.
To prevent
A hot pursuit, the Hebrews here in Genoa
By common concert spread abroad that rumour.
The death they feign'd, this morning, but for thee,
My brave preserver, had indeed o'erta'en me.

I can do more to serve you. Name your wish.

At present, this. Not far from hence resides
The lord Durazzo, whose great wealth and power,
As heaven sends dews and sunshine, are dispens'd
To gladden every humble thing beneath them.
Let your men help me there, for I am feeble;
And this disguise may save me from the note
Of those who pass,—though in this slothful city
Few leave their down so early.
[Page 4]
Sir, farewel!
You shall hear more of me.
Accept my prayers!
My heart's too full to speak the thanks I owe you.
Exit MANOA. with Attendants.
He has been sorely wrong'd.—But who goes there?
CAMILLO passes over the stage.
I cannot sure mistake him: 'Tis Camillo.
Good kinsman, turn, and own a friend who loves you.
CAMILLO returns.


A gentle invitation. Ha! Marcellus!
Welcome once more to Genoa, my dear cousin,
We heard you had escap'd with some slight hurts
That bloody lingering business there at Candia;
But such fierce storms of late have swept our coasts,
Our fears were, lest the angry elements,
Leaguing alike against the Christian cross,
Might prove worse foes even than the infidels.
We had rough weather, but our sturdy bark
Out-rode it. Is my mother well? At leisure
I shall fatigue your ear with other questions
My ignorance and your kindness must excuse.
[Page 5]

You have not seen her then?

No. I arriv'd
Within this hour; and knowing how she lov'd,
Lov'd even to dotage, my poor brother Claudio,
(Lost by a fate so strange and horrible,)
I would not rush at once into her presence,
Till some kind friend, like you, should first inform me,
How best to assuage her grief, and hide my own.
Thought like a son. But O, his vanish'd form,
Again presented in your living likeness,
Will with the strong extreme convulse her soul,
And joy so mix'd with anguish doubly shake her.
'Twas what I fear'd, Camillo. I must try then
To fix her fond attention on myself,
And shun that direful theme.
Direful indeed!
(How my heart shrinks even now think of it!)
'Tis ever present to her tortur'd fancy:
And we who daily see her, have observ'd,
Our care to give the current of her thoughts
A different course, but swells up her impatience.
You know the lady Fulvia's ardent temper,
How sudden, yet how strong in every feeling.
Our burning mountains, when their fires burst forth,
[Page 6]Rage not more fiercely than her breast inflam'd.
But is it possible, in all this time,
Months after months elaps'd, no light, no spark,
To guide to a discovery has been trac'd?
The Turkish gallies so o'erspread the sea,
My letters rarely reach'd me while at Candia.

What have you heard?

But thus much, and no more:
Two days ere that for his intended marriage
With good Durazzo's daughter, lovely Julia,
Was Claudio missing; two days more were pass'd
In fruitless search, and sad anxiety:
When on the fifth, some weary mariners,
Flying for shelter from a furious storm,
Midst the white caverns on the western shore,
A mile from Genoa, found his lifeless body:
In his clench'd hand was his own blood-stain'd sword,
And in his manly breast a mortal wound.
And there ends all our knowledge. Proclamation
Of vast rewards to find his murderer,
Is still abroad through all the Italian states.
The untouch'd jewels of his costly habit,
Bright and conspicuous, clearly manifest
'Twas not the crime of men who kill for spoil.
Alas, Camillo, well I know the place;
When we were boys it was our favourite haunt.
He could not sure have fall'n by his own sword?
[Page 7]
Impossible: A thought so black and sullen
Ne'er dim'd the sunshine of his chearful breast.
The joy he long had sigh'd for in his reach,
Possess'd of all that gilds the morn of life,
And each fair prospect bright'ning to his hopes;
Besides, the exalted tenour of his mind,
Too firm and full for wild extremities;
They crush that black conclusion: nay, the skilful,
Who search'd the wound with closest art and care,
Pronounc'd it, not the execrable work
Of his own sword, but some assassin's steel.
May wakeful conscience, like a writhing snake,
If still he lives, curl round the villain's heart,
With sharpest venom to consume and gnaw him!
I know our base, Italian, stabbing spirit;
In the close art of murder none excell us.
We read the very earth, breathe the same air,
With our old Latian fires; but, for their virtues,
As well might eagles rustle their large plumes
Where owlets roost, or filthy kites engender.
As they find shelter in our dastard breasts.
Let others rail; but thine's a nobler task;
To shame desen'racy by fair example:
For twenty forward spirits, like thine own,
Might shake this state from its inglorious trance.
And rouse our sloth to gallant enterprise.
I left it a luxurious, worthless city,
[...] of its trash, its wealth, if such I find it,
[Page 8]I will not strike my lazy root at home,
To rot in rank contagious apathy,
But seek again a scene of vigorous action.
The unskilful perseverance of the Turk
Still wakes excitement for a soldier's ardour.—
But who are those to earnest in discourse?
This way they move.

Durazzo is the eldest.


Fair Julia's father; him I know. The other?

Mentevole his name, a noble youth,
And suitor (hopelessly, I think,) to Julia,
Though vulgar fame calls him a favour'd wooer.
But this report, startling your mother's ear,
(Who brooks no slight to her son's memory,)
Has much estrang'd her from Durazzo's house:
And thus, the bonds of their long amity
The lie with many mouths has puff'd asunder.
My care all be to reunite their friendship.
But how must I esteem Mentevole?
As one accomplish'd, brave, and liberal.
Soon after your departure for the siege,
He came from travel home, and was to Claudio
A second self.
So shall he be to me;
[Page 9]I'll wear him here. But go thou to my mother,
Prepare her for my coming. For a moment
Leave me to greet this venerable lord,
And beg his introduction to the stranger.


The ruddy hue your visage owns, my lord,
I see with pleasure is sound health's true ensign:
Your eye's quick spirit too, proclaims you fresh
As when the race of careless youth began.
Such is your wish, Marcellus, and I thank you.
O welcome, to thy country! thy smooth cheek
Has chang'd its down for manhood since we parted.
But for these well-known kindred lineaments,
I scarce durst swear, thou wert that playful boy,
Whose frolicks used to mar our gravity,
And make us smile while chiding.
I remember
Your goodness always; now entreat your favour,
To recommend me to this lord's esteem,
As, by the title of my brother's friend,
He claims already mine.
Give him your hand.
My heart too, 'twas his brother's;
And by that pledge grows thus at once acquainted.
[Page 10]
Marcellus, you must tell me of your wars,
Your mines, your sallies, ambuscades, and dangers.
Though now 'tis long since I was cased in steel,
The cresent of our swarthy foe has felt me.
They are slugglish soldiers, but right obstinate:
So numerous too, it seems an caller task
To kill, than count them. Now twice fifty thousand,
And more, have fall'n, in sacking one poor isle;
Yet, like light foam chaf'd by the curling surge,
Each hour new turbans whiten round its shores.—
But yet I have not visited my mother,
And she by this expects me.
Get thee to her.
Unhappy lady, may your presence cheer her!



Is he not like to Claudie?

Rather say,
Is't not himself, as ere the tomb receiv'd him?
But dear my lord, by all that charm'd your youth,
Forgive me, though I seem importunate:
O, win your daughter to accept my vows;
For I have lov'd to such a mad excess,
So stor'd up every thought of happiness
[Page 11]In that fond hope, should I prove bankrupt there,
I dare not look to earth or Heaven for comfort.
Mentevole, I doubt not of your love;
My daughter too believes it; a feign'd passion
Speaks not your fervent language:—
A feign'd passion!
Thus hear me swear—
Oaths are unnecessary.
My tongue has not been niggard of your praise;
I've tried entreaties too. A harsh command,
Heard with repugnancy, that she should love,
Because her anxious father deems it meet,
Or you would have it so, might change at once
The indifference you complain of to aversion.
Thus the calm lake that slept at peace before,
Turns a strong tide, and sets against your wishes.
O, the degrees, my lord, are infinite,
Between a harsh command, and such persuasion
As every day the fondest parents use,
In tender strife with a coy maid's reluctance.
Were I to plead as a feed advocate,
Even for a scanty rood of barren earth,
I should account me faithless to my charge,
My rhetorick o'erpriz'd at one poor ducat,
Did I neglect a gloss, or argument,
Might sway the unwilling judge to my decision.
[Page 12]

Instruct me to speed better. I shall thank you.

My words, my action, should have life and grace;
I'd probe his reason, try his every humour,
Wind to his inmost soul, grow to his eye,
Watch where impression stole upon his sense;
There ply my strength, where most I found him weak,
Nor cease to urge till I had conquer'd him.
Passion thus blindfold sees no obstacle.
Young man, young man, be calm a while, and hear me.
Yet tell me not, my suit is desperate;
Sooth, though you cannot heal; and I will listen,
As if I liv'd by every sound you utter'd,
And death and inattention were the same.
You knew long since, to see my daughter wedded,
Without a variance 'twixt her choice and mine,
Was my prime wish. Malignant destiny
Marr'd that fair prospect. The assassin's stab
Had almost pierc'd with one pernicious stroke
Two faithful breasts. Anguish unutterable
On her soft frame lay'd such a deadly grasp,
Too long I trembled for her life and reason.
Spare me, my lord, O spare me the remembrance;
It harrows me too deeply.
[Page 13]
Can you question,
I wish to see her unavailing sorrow
Chang'd to gay festivals, and bridal joy?
Or think you, that supinely I can view
(Thus childless, but in her,) my house's honours,
My large estates, sunk in a virgin's tomb,
Or scatter'd 'mongst remote and thankless kindred;
When, by alliance with your well-match'd love,
Such near and natural heirs may spring to bless me?
Why, grant it all, yet how have I prevail'd?
My presence she endures, for you desir'd it;
Yet, if the only theme can touch me nearly,
But trembles from my tongue, her cheek turns pale;
Her blood runs back, as mustering to her heart,
To fortify the access more strong against me.
I pity him, who thinks he has known distress,
And never felt the pang of hopeless love:
The consummation of all other ills
Is light and trivial to that misery.
Time may do much, nor shall my aid be wanting.
Urge me no more, nor doubt me. Your kind sister,
Olympia, the companion she holds dear,
May unobserv'd watch every soft approach,
And steal a lover's image on her fancy.
But lo, she comes. Farewel! I go to serve you.


He goes to serve me! Let his feeble breath
Turn ice to fire, wake in her frozen bosom
Such hot consuming flames as I feel here!
O, I could sluice my veins, mangle this form,
This common form, that wants the power to move her.


Tell me, Olympia, are not women woo'd
By constancy, and deep-protested oaths?
By living on their smiles, by nice attentions?
By yielding up our reason to their humours?
By adoration of their beauty's power?
By sighs, and tears, by flattery, kneeling, fawning?
Tell me how many ways a manly mind
Must be debas'd, to win a lady's smile?
That which by baseness only can be gain'd,
Were better undesir'd. But say, good brother,
Why do you question with such angry haste,
And what strange fury ruffles all your mien?
Give me your hand: it burns. You are not well.
Your mind unquiet fevers thus your blood.
No, no: a woman's coldness. Your fair friend,—
Teach her to smile, and my distemper dies.
She has no sense of joy: that beauteous flower
Bows its sweet head o'er Claudio's bloody grave.
[Page 15]
Must that eternal sound grate on me still!
Hast thou been faithful to me? Hast thou told her,
How thou hast seen these lids, even at her name.
Swell with unbidden tides or melting fondness?
Whole nights how I have fill'd thy patient ear,
And she my only theme? How many times,
When chance has given her beauties to my sight,
Thou hast beheld me, trembling, try to speak,
And gaze away my meaning?
Nay, my lord,
Endeavours true as mine disdain suspicion:
And let me say, if she should ne'er consent,—
How's that? take heed! if she shou'd ne'er consent?
Put not my life on chilling supposition;
Make it the doubt, Olympia, of a moment,
And though thou art my sister, and a dear one.
By heaven, I almost think that I shall hate thee:
For here I swear, deeply and calmly swear it,
The hour which sees me desperate of her love,
S [...]l be my last.

For shame! be more a man.

By the great power which gave me sense and being,
I'll wrest from fate my folly's chastisement,
And this right hand shall end me.
Oh! how shocking,
To hear with what devout impiety,
[Page 16]Thou dar'st call heaven the witness of an oath,
Outrageous to its own bless'd providence!
Well, be it as it may, I have sworn it.
Knows she that young Marcellus is arriv'd?
Yes; and the pleasing tidings for a moment
Dispell'd the cloud that dim'd her beauteous eyes.
Instant she beg'd me, and with warmth unusual,
To bear her greetings to his mother Fulvia;
I now was on my way.
Then, bear thy message;
Go, be the agent to destroy thy brother.
This compliment, I know, is but the prelude,
To invite a second Claudio, in Marcellus.
If peace be worth a wish, and love be such
In every other bosom, as in thine,
Let the short story on my grave-stone tell,
"Nor loving, nor belov'd, Olympia died."
You never wish'd more wisely: but forgive me:
Pardon my infirmity, 'tis too like madness.
'Tis worse, for madmen have their intervals;
Thine's an eternal rage.
[Page 17]
Go not in anger:
Return; I will be calm; return, Olympia.
Thus on my knee let me entreat you hear me.
offering to knee.

Pray, rise. We may be seen. What is't? go on.

I have a never-failing instinct here,
Which prompts me what to dread. This young Marcellus,—

Well, what of him?

I know, will see her shortly▪
Crowd all thy faculties into thine eye;
Read his reception keenly; mark him too;
And give me note of every circumstance:
Their words, their looks, let not a glance escape thee.
Promise me so, and from this hour, Olympia,
Thy prudence shall be my sole counsellor:
Though you enjoin me to be blind and mute,
I'll bear it patient as the tutor'd child,
Whose fond instructor smiles, and teaches him.
Keep these conditions, and command my service.
I linger here too long.—Remember patience.


And what more likely? He is Claudio's brother;
[Page 18]Noble as he, and deck'd too with the plume
Of brave adventure in the Candian war;
Younger, and not less comely. She may call it
(As women make shrewd logick for their likings)
Truth to the memory of her former vows,
To embrace the living brother for the dead;
And so find faith in her inconstancy.
I know not why, my genius shrinks at him:
The very fear craves vengeance, like a wrong.
Beware, gay stripling! no degenerate awe
Of what may be, can check my firy course:
She must be mine, and shall be. For the means,
Or good or ill, necessity must shape them.


SCENE I. A Chamber in Durazzo's Palace.

JULIA, alone at a Table, putting up papers which she has been reading. She presses them passionately to her heart, kisses them, and speaks.
Dear, sad remembrances, my tears have stain'd you.
O, foolish drops, wash not away my treasure!
Unenvied, unobserv'd, and solitary,
Let me indulge this luxury of grief.
My Claudio's soul was pour'd out on these papers;
And every little word recalls him to me,
Lovely, belov'd, in beauty's manly bloom,
Protesting welcome vows, and breathing passion.


Return'd so speedily, my gentle friend?
Your cares are so preventive of my wishes.
I shall begin to expect beyond all bounds,
And grow presuming from too much indulgence.
From Fulvia and her son I bring, my Julia,
A thousand kind endearments. Both together
With cordial acceptation heard your message,
And presently both mean to visit you.
Why does not pleasure kindle through my frame,
And mount up to my cheek, at such glad tidings?
The time has been, I should have glow'd at this,
[Page 20]Counting the impatient moments till her coming:—
But my repining heart deserves no blessings.
To labour to forget, I know, is vain;
The fond endeavour toils against itself,
And deeper graves the idea 'twould efface;
Yet there are means—
Unprofitable all.
How have I dragg'd about this weary load,
Through every change of place and circumstance!
I mingled with the young, the gay, the happy;
Forcing a hollow smile at giddy joy,
While my pale heart sat mocking it within:
The arrow sticking here, from scene to scene
You led my sad insensibility,
The objects varying, but my soul the same.
Too much, I fear, we try'd, and you endur'd
Our well-meant, unavailing services.
Could I forbear, I would not weep, Olympia;
Indeed I would not; for it pains my friends.
'Twas such a black, unapprehended horrour,
So sudden, and so dreadfully consummate,
I sometimes for a moment close my eyes,
And strive to think, I've had a hideous dream;
That, quite awake, 'twill vanish from my brain;
That, still he lives, and I again shall see him:
Ah, no! the short illusion is the dream;
Claudio, thy death the dire reality.
[Page 21]
The volume of his days too soon was clos'd;
But grace and honour had so fill'd the record,
Each page out-weigh'd a long life's history.
This was the hour, when my dear father came,
Trembling and pale, to falter out the tidings.
That instant, mighty ruler of our fates!
Had thy exterminating arm reach'd here,
These floods of bitter tears, this black despair,
Had not beep number'd with the sins of Julia.
Tame languid minds, whose course glides dully on,
Yield, as the stream to the sharp severing keel,
To close as quickly on each transient wound;
But woe's deep traces never leave thy breast.
Was I not mad, Olympia? I remember,
I felt the stab in Genoa.—When I wak'd,
The place, nor aught around me, were the fame:
I saw the smooth Bisagnio, as I lay,
Rolling his quiet tide beneath my window;
It seem'd Elysium, and the peaceful shades
Where guiltless lovers are no more divided.
But now, my friend, collect your fortitude;
Nor start, when you behold your Claudio's image
Recall'd to life, and blooming in Marcellus:
I know, he'll soon be here.
[Page 22]
Why should I dread it?—
Disus'd even to the shadow of a joy,
My fickly apprehension plays the coward:
Yet I will see him.
You turn pale, my Julia;
Shall I forbid his coming?
No. This weakness
Will pass away. A treacherous hectick wastes me:
I shall not suffer long.—Is he to like,
So very like his brother?
Features, stature,
Almost the same. Somewhat a bolder air,
Yet gentle still; and (youthful as he is)
A little frown of discontented thought
Casts o'er his brow a momentary shade,
That seems not native to his generous aspect.
In such an aspect was my paradise.
But now pale lead lies on that mouldering face:
Whose beams shot rapture once to Julia's bosom.
By nature fram'd for every genial bliss,
Turn, gently turn, from that cold retrospect!
And there is one—

I know whom you would name.

[Page 23]

Then smile, and name him for me.

No, I cannot;
I cannot smile, and name Mentevole:
But yet, I much respect him.
Bare respect
For passion such as his!
Olympia, spare me;
In this alone I must seem obstinate.

Alas, poor brother!

Hark! my father comes;
Hold him a little moment in discourse;
I would not have him see I had been weeping.
JULIA retires a little.


I come, Olympia, to this chamber door,
To learn my destiny. As we inquire
From those who wake us, if the sun looks bright,
Or clouds obscure him, and then suit our garments
To meet the changeful temper of the sky,
So, by the colour of my daughter's health,
My mind is dress'd for gladness or dejection.
[Page 24]
I think, she mends. Her sorrow, that was silent,
Finds some relief in utterance. She approaches.

Your blessing, sir!

O, may it drop upon thee,
Refreshing as mild dews on vernal flowers,
To kill the canker that consumes thy fragrance!
My heart, my grateful heart, owns all your goodness;
And could my first devotion reach the sky,
Time and your honour'd days should end together.
Not too long life, pray not for curses on me!
Helpless, uncomely, loath'd, and burdensome,
I would not cling to the last hold of nature,
Nor lag without one social cord to aid me.
Surviving my companions of the voyage,
The world to me would seem a ruin'd vessel,
A worthless wreck, when mann'd alone by strangers.
Let my heart burst at once with some great feeling!
Let me go all together to my grave,
Not maim'd and piece-meal with infirmity!—
I have liv'd enough, could I but see thee happy.

That will not be.

I swear, it must, it shall be;
And come, I have a suit which you must grant me.
[Page 25]

My dearest father!

throwing her arms round him.
Change these mourning weeds:
For outward signs, though trifles in themselves,
When the mind's weak, and spirits delicate,
To fancy, in herself too powerful,
Lend their mute aid, and make her workings stronger.
This habit was best suited to my mood,
But shall no more offend you.
Fair Olympia,
I now must beg your aid. Your constant brother,
(Nor does proud Genoa boast a nobler youth,)
With adoration such as saints pay heaven,
Devotes his service here.
Ah sir, for pity!
I feel myself not worthy of his passion.
My soul is out of tune to flattery:
The fondest vows that ever lover sigh'd,
Might wring my eyes, but never warm my heart.
Nay, stop these tears; I'll urge this theme no more.
And see, an honour'd visitant approaches;
Receive her not in sorrow.


To them FULVIA; MARCELLUS behind. JULIA and FUL­VIA embrace.
Lovely Julia,
In this embrace I hop'd to have clasp'd a daughter;
To have call'd thee mine, by an endearing tie,
That yields alone to nature's closest bond:
But though that fleet delusive dream is vanish'd,
With pride I own thy native excellence.
These eager throbbings, while I hold thee thus,
Are stronger protestations how I prize thee,
Than all the lavish praise my tongue could utter.
Here let me grow for ever, none divide us!
Methinks, when these protecting arms enfold me,
Long-vanish'd peace seems to return once more,
And spread her dove-like wings again to shield me.

They told me truth, I never saw such beauty.

aside, looking at JULIA.
Vile slander, on my life, has wrong'd her virtue.—
Have I not seem'd unkind, so many months
A stranger here, where ever-new delight
Sprung in our paths; where each returning morn,
Among the happy, found me happiest?
But O, I fear'd for thee, and for myself;
Our walks, these chambers, every senseless object,
[Page 27]By known relation to our common loss,
Had conjur'd up to our accustom'd sense
Sad visions of his looks, his gestures, words,
And multiplied the ideas we should banish.
I judg'd it not unkindness, for I know
Your generous nature feels for all who suffer.
And if to have been once supremely bless'd,
To have reach'd the height of every human wish,
Then sudden—but your swelling eyes reproach me.
You own'd him first, before his birth you lov'd him;
But O, this selfish grief forgets all titles.
Yet join with me to bless that providence,
Which bending gracious to a parent's prayer,
'Midst all the perils of destructive war,
Preserv'd one pillar of my falling house.
Come near, my son; and in this fair perfection.
Behold, what, next to thee, the world contains
Most precious to thy mother.
MARCELLUS, who has been behind with DURAZZO, advances.
Saints and angels!
Am I awake, or is this mockery?
O, I could gaze for ever on that face,
Nor wish to rouse me from the dear delusion.
Still let me know him only by my eyes!
O, do not speak, lest some unusual sound,
An alien to my ear, dissolve this vision,
And tell me thou but wear'st my Claudio's outside!
[Page 28]
If it commend me, Madam, to your favour,
I would not change it for the comliest form
That ever charm'd the eye with fair proportion.
But stop not at the exterior, search me deeply;
For proof, command me instant to your service:
Though peril walk with death in the achievement,
Swifter than falcons through the trackless air
My eager thoughts shall fly to your obedience.
Take heed, take heed, tempt not the dangerous shore;
Rocks, shelves, and quicksands lurk, I fear, around me;
And let one gallant vessel's shipwreck warn thee,—
Shun the same course, and find a happier fortune.
I fear no shelves, no quicksands, but thy frown.
Aw'd and enraptur'd I behold such beauty;
And while I talk thus, wish to find some language
Fit for a being of a sphere above me.
A Servant enters, and whispers OLYMPIA.
Julia, a word. Mentevole attends,
to JULIA aside.
And asks to be admitted.
Now! Not now;
Indeed I cannot see him. Quick, my Olympia.
Prevent his entrance. My poor fluttering heart,
(If suddenly that name is founded to me,)
Beats, like a prison'd bird against its cage,
When some annoying hand is stretch'd to seize it.
[Page 29]
Madam, this day which brings you back to us,
We should make festival. Your presence here
Has wrought a miracle. I have not seen
A smile of joy enlighten that dear face,
Heaven knows how long, till you brought sunshine with you.
I have upbraidings for my absence, here;
The cause, I'm sure, a false one. In atonement,
Let me observe her with a mother's care.
Invention shall be rack'd to find new means,
To lure her thoughts to sweet serenity.
She shall not see the frequent tears that wear
Their woeful channel down a parent's cheeks;
And to the brightest source of mortal comfort,
I will commend her, when I kneel to heaven.
May plumes of seraphs waft your pious prayers!
The tenderness of women has a charm,
Our rougher natures can attain but rudely.
Your voices are such dulcet instruments,
They steal the listening soul from its affliction,
To wind it gently in the soft enchantment.
O, may that power be mine! Observe, my Julia,
My lord commits you to my guardianship;
Do you confirm the trust?
An outcast's fortune
A light pitiless fall on me, could I fail
To bend with reverence for your dear protection.
[Page 30]
Come, let us hence; the air is mild abroad.
Julia, we must not sink, but strive to banish
That restless inbred foe to the afflicted,
Reflection, from our bosoms.
Would, I could!
But death's long sleep alone can banish him.
Exeunt all but MARCELUS.
My soul and all its faculties go with her:
looking after JULIA.
Grace, beauty, sweetness, all that captivates,
And holds us long in dear delicious bonds,
Indissoluble bonds, for time too strong,
For change, or casualty, are summ'd up there.
Divinity of love, absolute master,
From this white hour, to thy all-potent sway
Thus I submit me: hence, all idle thoughts,
I chase you forth. Full-plum'd ambition, glory,
Arms, and the war, farewel! Her brighter image
Claims all my bosom, and disdains a rival.

SCENE VI. A Place before Durazzo's Palace.

MENTEVOLE, with a letter; and a Servant.
Convey this letter to the lady Fulvia;
Be muffled close, and cloak'd, that none may know you:
Speak not a word, but leave it, and return.
Exit Servant
Pride and suspicion, in her violent temper,
From this short scroll will work rare mischief for me;
One spark will set her passions in a blaze:
A hint to her is proof demonstrative.—
[Page 31]So,—I must bear this too; she will not see me,
Her health is delicate. But young Marcellus,
He fits a lady's chamber at all seasons;
Soft as Favonius,—and a cherub's cheek
Is not so smooth and rosy. Precious minion!
They think me sure a tame enduring slave,
A trampled clod: they shall not find me such.
The scanty drop which once was patience here,
Flames as it flows, and kindles all my nature
To its own element of tire within me.
Ha! he appears. Choke me not, indignation!
Prey inwards! down! while I dissemble calmness.
MENTEVOLE retires a little.


MARCELLUS enters, looking back.
Ay, there's the attraction. Thou unconscious house,
Thy turrets should be cased with beaten gold;
For thou enshrin'st a goddess.—Can it be?
Not three years pass'd, regardless of her charms
Day after day I saw her, and forgot them.
Or does the beauty of the full-blown rose
Surpass the promise of the opening bud?
I sure lov'd Claudio well; no brother's bond
Was truer to a brother; yet self! self!
This sudden flower now springs up from his grave,
That in a brother lies a rival buried.
My lord, well met. You then have seen this wonder.
Has fame exceeded, think you?

How exceeded?

[Page 32]

Spoke Julia fairer than your eyes confess her?


All eyes, all hearts, with rapture must confess her.

Then I must think, you do not mean to pine
In silent adoration?
What bless'd strain
Can touch that gentle bosom?
Take my counsel;
Devote thy soul to any thing but love;
Steep thy drench'd senses in the mad'ning bowl;
Heap gold, and hug the mammon for itself;
Set provinces on dice; o'er the pale lamp
Of sickly science waste thy vigorous youth;
Rush to the war, or cheer the deep-tongu'd hound;
Be thou the proverb'd slave of each, or all;
They shall not be so noxious to thy soul,
As dainty woman's love.
If this be counsel,
It comes with such a harsh and boisterous breath,
I more discern the freedom, than the friendship.
Falsly our poets deck the barbarous god
With roseat hue, with infants' dimpling smiles,
With wanton curls, and wings of downy gold:—
He dips his darts in poisonous aconite;
[Page 33]The firy venom rankles in our veins,
Infuses rage, and murderous cruelty.
The richest juice pour'd in a tainted jar,
Turns to a nauseous and unwholesome draught,
But we condemn the vessel, not the wine;
So gentle love, lodg'd in a savage breast,
May change his nature to a tyger's fierceness.
Away with vain disguise! Mark me, my lord,
I long have lov'd this lady with a passion,
Too quick and jealous, not to find a rival,
Too fierce to brook him. She receives my vows;
Her father favours them. Wealth, titles, honour,
My rank in the state, and many fair additions
(Surpass'd by none) keep buoyant my full hopes.
If yet your heart's untouch'd, I ask, entreat it,
(And strangers grant such common courtesies,)
Forbear your visits to her.
Believe this;
Were there a fasting lion in my path,
I'd rather this good steel here by my side
Should grow one piece with the sheath, or in my grasp
Shrink to a bulrush, but to mock the wielder,
Than feed you with the smallest hope or promise
I mean, not to fulfil.

Then we are [...]oes.


I'm sorry for't.

[Page 34]
Deadly, irreconcilable.
Two eager racers starting for one goal,
Both cannot win, but shame must find the loser.
You step between me, and the light of heaven,
You strive to rob me of my life's best hope,
(For life without her were my curse, my burden,)
With cruel calmness you pluck out my heart;
Therefore, were the world's bounds more wide and large,
They could not hold us both.
I little thought
To draw my sword against my brother's friend;
And here attest heaven, and my peaceful soul,
You drag this quarrel on me.
Yonder herd,
Who prying now would interrupt our purpose,
Will two hours hence be hous'd, to avoid the sun,
Then riding at his height; at home I'll wait you,
And lead you thence to a sequester'd spot,
Fit for the mortal issue of our meeting.

Since you will have it so,—

The die is cast.
Have I the bulk, and sinewy strength of man,
But to sustain a heavier injury?
Let cowards shiver with a smother'd hate,
And fear the evil, valour might avert:
The brave man's sword secures his destiny.
Exeunt severally.


SCENE I. A Garden, behind Mentevole's house.

MENTEVOLE alone, on a garden seat, looking at a picture.
And must I be content with thee, poor shadow?
Yet she's less kind than this her counterfeit,
For this looks pleas'd, and seems to smile upon me.
O, what a form is here! her polish'd front,
Blue slender veins, winding their silken maze,
Through flesh of living snow. Young Hebe's hue,
Blushing ambrosial health. Her plenteous tresses,
Luxuriant beauty! Those bewitching eyes,
That shot their soft contagion to my soul;—
But where's their varied sweetness? Where the fire
To drive men wild with passion to their ruin?
Where are her gentle words? the dewy breath
Balming the new-blown roses 'tis exhaled through?
Thou envious happy lawn, hide those white orbs
That swell beneath thy folds! O power of beauty,
If thou canst sanctify—By heaven, my sister:—
Up fair perdition!
attempting hastily to put up the picture, he drops it on the ground.


To him, OLYMPIA,
'Twas not well, Olympia,
To break thus on my privacy. My orders
Were strictly given that none should now have entrance.
I would not be deny'd; and when you know
[Page 36]Why I am here, you will have cause to bless,
Not chide me for the intrusion.
Then be quick;
For other cares, and of more serious import,
Will presently demand me. Speak your purpose.
My lips would give my purpose little grace,
When she, who sent me forward but to find you,
Can speak it for herself, I came with Julia.

With Julia? Do not mock me.

Turn your eyes
To yonder cypress, see who there expects you.
By all my hopes of happiness 'tis she:
Like a descended angel there she stands.

Herself indeed; then haste, conduct her hither.

MENTEVOLE rushes out.


OLYMPIA sees, and take up the picture.
Ay, as I thought, her picture. On this face
His eyes were fed, when my approach surpris'd him.
Thou fair consumer of his pining soul,
O, thou delicious poison, for a while,
[Page 37]Though he may grieve, let me withhold thee from him!
With what a blaze of wealth has he adorn'd it!
What gems are here! I'll leave it in her sight;
This silent proof should more commend his suit,
Than hot-breath'd vows, whose common vehemence
Their common violation quickly follows.


Well may you be surpris'd, nor can you question,
When you behold me here, how deep the interest
That urges me to seek you.
To behold you,
(Whate'er the cause) is such excess of bliss,
How, how shall I pour out my enraptur'd sense,
How thank this condescension?
Good my lord,
The anxious bosom, ill at ease like mine,
Partakes no raptures. Calmness and attention,
(If I deserve your thanks,) will better thank me.
Thou soul of all my passions! this fond breast
Is but the obedient instrument, whose chords,
As you think meet, sound high, or sink to silence.

I have heard of your late outrage to Marcellus.

[Page 38]

Has he complain'd, and to a lady's ear?

Wrong not his well-tried courage. No; the attendants
Saw all your furious gestures, heard your challenge;
And, for prevention, to Olympia ran,
To alarm us of the danger.
He's conceal'd,
And has been since your parting. That confirms it.

Waste not the precious minutes in denial.

Fool that I was! no kind concern for me,
The safety of Marcellus, made you seek me
And I avow the motive. Am I held,
Like those grim idols barbarous nations worship,
By cruel rites to be propitiated?
If love prevail not, dress'd in smiles and softness,
Array'd in blood will the fell monster charm me?
No; if you prize my peace, it you desire
I ever more should name Mentevole,
Or suffer him in thought, but with abhorrence,
Dismiss your causeless hate to Claudio's brother.

Let him dismiss his love to Claudio's mistress.

Your own, imaginary, light suggestion
[Page 39]He boasts it, glories in it. Causeless hate!
Causeless, to hate the envenom'd thing that stings me?
Diseases curdle up his youthful blood,
And mar his specious outside!
Watchful angels,
Keep him in charge, and o'er his gallant head
Spread their protecting wings, to avert thy curses!

Ha! am I then—


Is this your promis'd patience?


What can I do?

What reason bids you do.
Not to repent, but to commit a wrong,
Gives shame's true crimson to the ingenuous cheek.
Ask his indulgence, and confess your frenzy.

The boy may think I fear him.

No, not so.
What generous spirit is not slow to ascribe
Motives to others, which itself would scorn?
Are you alone too mighty to have err'd?
Rather suspect, your pride revolts to own it;
Acknowledge it, and then have cause for pride,
And rise exalted by humility.
[Page 40]Contrition is fair virtue's meek-ey'd sister;
Her drops can wash offence to fleecy white,
Turning our sins to gracious intercessors.
The wisest sometimes may do wrong from passion;
But conscious of that wrong, the ruffian only,
By brutal perseverance, twice does wrong:
Mean pride! false principle! true honour scorns them.

It goes against my nature's bent.

Then hear me, hear this solemn protestation:
If you persist, by that benevolent power,
Whose blessed beams avert from violence,
Whose law forbids it,—
O, enough; forbear
Yes, you shall be obey'd; I will put on
The meek demeanour of repenting rashness;
And to the foe I hate, thus bending, cry,
Forgive me, since you will it. Yet remember,
I thus degrade me in mine own esteem,
Only to rise in yours. Your liberal nature
Will give my free compliance its best gloss.
It shews your full dominion o'er my soul,
That joyfully prefers your least command,
Even to my honour, which I risk to obey you.
The act bespeaks itself. I must remember,
My peace, or misery, was in your power:
You chose the gentler part, and made me happy.
[Page 41]
Transporting thought! behold, I fly to meet him.
The hour is come. Marcellus now expects me.
Farewel! my eyes, at variance with my tongue,
Still gaze, and cannot bear to lose thy beauties.



Indeed he loves you.

'Would to heaven he did not!
It looks, methinks, like hard ingratitude,
To render aught for love, but equal love.
Esteem, the best affection I can offer,
Seems but a dull, unvalued counterpoise,
And pays the glowing ore with worthless lead.
Though all be little, to give all, is bounty.


Enter, at an opposite side, MARCELLUS and MENTEVOLE.
Enough, my lord. This fair acknowledgment
Has rais'd your justice high in my esteem.
A soldier's honour can require no more;
And sure, tis better, thus to join our hands,
Than try their strength in rude hostility.
I was your brother's friend; and while he liv'd,
[Page 42]Though the same passion that still fires my soul,
Then fiercely burn'd for this enchanting Julia;
Yet, from respect for his precedent claim,
And to her choice avow'd, within my breast
I kept the painful secret. He so lov'd me,
The wound he could not heal, I would not shew:
Then sure, full equally, from you, Marcellus,
New to her charms, at least I may expect
A like declining.
Good Mentevole,
Let's find some safer subject.
No, this only.
I cannot speak, or think, of aught but her:
She is my essence; feeds, wakes, sleeps, with me;
Is vital to me as the air I breathe.
But mark, I am compos'd; no violence
Lives in my thoughts, or shall disgrace my tongue.

Then, lest I move your temper, let me leave you.

No, pr'ythee no, not thus unsatisfied.
I'll not contend, but her transcendent beauty,
Even at first sight, must strike the gazer's eye
With admiration, which might grow to love.
But is it possible, one interview,
(For you but once have seen her,) should so root
Her image in your soul, that all your bliss,
Or future misery, depends on her?
[Page 43]
Regard not me, but reason for yourself.
If all your faithful vows, your length of courtship,
Her father's favour, and the nameless aids
Which time and opportunity have furnish'd,
Raise not your hopes above a rival's power;
Say, were it not more wise, and manly too,
To rouse, and shake off such a hard dominion?
How cold you talk? Good heaven! I might as well
Resolve to change my nature; bid my ear
See for my eye, or turn my blood to milk;
New-stamp my features, and new-mould my limbs;
Make this soft flesh, that yields to every print,
Impassive as thin air; waste time and thought
On any wild impossibility;
As be the thing I am, and cease to love her.
Then take, my lord, your course, while I shall follow
The counsel which I offer. Once rejected,
No more to persecute, where most I love,
I shall retire, and mourn repulse in silence.

So then, my lord, my suit is persecution?

I said it not; but since you will search further,
I've heard almost as much.

And who inform'd you?

[Page 44]

A lower tone, perhaps, may meet an answer.


I will be answered.


Will!—hot man, farewell!


Come back. I'll answer for you. Your own pride;—


Ha! have a care!

Your boyish vanity;
Your fond conceit of that imposing form;—
I'll bear no more; this insolence and rudeness
Have rous'd my rage, and thus I answer thee.
They fight. MENTEVOLE is disarmed.

My life is yours. Strike home.

shewing his breast.
Take back your sword;
And when your peevish spleen next swells within you,
Let this deserv'd rebuke subdue your choler.


He triumphs every way, Vile baffled wretch!
[Page 45]Where shall I hide my ignominious head,
While love, remorse, and rage, at once o'erwhelm me.

SCENE VIII. A Chamber in Durazzo's Palace, with a toilet, &c.

OLYMPIA, with a picture in her hand; NERINA attending
The danger's pass'd, and Julia smiles again.
My brother, thy divining was too true;
Her fears were not for thee. But now, to try
This new, this last expedient.—Good Nerina.
Observe this picture. This day, in his garden,
Mentevole, my enamour'd brother, dropp'd it.
It is the lovely likeness of thy lady.
I leave it here. Should it escape her view,
Find you some means to bring it to her notice.
If prodigality proclaim a passion,
The diadems of kings are here outluster'd.
And yet I fear—The mother of Marcellus:—
Her eye looks cold upon me. I'll not meet her.
OLYMPIA hangs the picture on the frame of JULIA's dressing-glass, and exit. NERINA retires.


FULVIA, with a paper.
What can this mean? They draw me here to insult me.
I ask for this disconsolate, this mourner,
And find her, where? Why, with a second lover,
With young Mentevole. Her panting bosom
Cannot expect his visit, bur explores
[Page 46]His chambers secretly. O my poor son!
And could not all thy graces, all thy virtues,
One twelvemonth, keep a mistress faithful to thee?
The Indian pile, that, with the bridegroom dead,
In the same blaze consumes his life-warm bride,
Is wild romance to our Italian ladies.—
Who cheers our inconsolable in private?
Why, the kind sister of Mentevole.
Then rumour, which I slander'd, told me truth,
And this tells truth. Let me once more peruse it.
If you respect the safety of Marcellus,
Prevent his visits to Durazzo's daughter.
A favour'd lover has her plighted faith,
Who will not brook a rival. Trust this warning.
And see, the fair dissimulation comes,
Again to sigh, to flatter,—and deceive me.


To her, JULIA.
Madam, forgive my anxiety: that paper,—
I hope it brought you no distressful tidings.
When your eye ran it o'er, your colour chang'd,
And a sad presage instant seiz'd my heart,
Fearful perhaps from weakness, more than reason.
I thank you, no; the import is not new;
It tells me, what the world has long believ'd,
That women can dissemble, and are sickle.
[Page 47]

But why choose you for the rude confidence?


I fear, there was a reason.

Pardon me;
Perhaps I've been intrusive; for that brow
Seems to reprove me, for a wish to know,
What you think fit to hide.
My interests, madam,
Must henceforth be confin'd to my own breast.
I have no sunshine there; and would not cloud
The cheerful prospect of your coming joys
With ill-tim'd sorrow.
Have I Joys to come?—
To mix my grief with yours; dejected, lost,
To keep one object in my wounded mind;
To hold discourse with his ideal form;
To make my present state, my future hope,
Fears, wishes, prayers, all studies of my life,
But slaves to one afflicting memory;
These are my joys, and who shall envy them?
Hateful hypocrisy! O ten times devil,
When, to beguile, at wears an angel's outside!
Turning from JULIA, she sees the picture on the table.
Ha! can I trust my sight? What's this before me?
[Page 48]

What's this, indeed?

It curdles up my blood
The very same; I know these precious gems,
Bought with such cost: the east was ransack'd for them.
How came it here?
By all my tears and sorrows,
My murder'd Claudio, on the day we lost him,
Wore this around his neck.

He did, he did.

He shew'd it to me; next his heart it hung
That fatal morning. By what means unknown,
What wond'rous magick I again behold it,
Confounds me with amazement.
Madam, hear me.
In part I can explain the mystery.
Olympia, but a little ere you enter'd,
Thus plac'd it on the table. bade me mark it,
And should it chance to escape my lady's eye,
Present it to her notice. In his garden,
This morn, (she added) Lord Mentevole,
Her brother, dropp'd it. But I know no further.

Dropp'd by Mentevole! his sister said so?

[Page 49]

Madam, she did.


Ha! did you hear that tale?

Eternal providence! 'twill then be found;
The hellish deed be traced to its dark source.
O true-divining instinct! now I know,
Why, at his sight, oppress'd with chilling horrour,
Cold tremörs crept through all my shivering frame;
Why faithful nature, shrinking, felt the alarm,
As if some fatal deadly thing approach'd me.
Haste, madam, haste! that clue shall be our guide.
Yes, I shall live to see the black detection;
The secret villain's shame, blood shed for blood;
While Claudio's sainted spirit from above
Smiles to applaud, and urge the righteous justice.
Can I bear this! Such zeal is worthy of you,
It quite transports you. But first answer me,
How did Mentevole possess this picture?

O, 'would I knew!—But let us fly this moment.—

Did you not secretly, this morning, see him?
Answer me quick.

I did. Of that hereafter.

Hold, When a lover has a lady's picture,
[Page 50]A favour'd lover too, though she should swear,
Swear deeply, till the host of heaven blush for her,
She's ignorant how he had it, O, to trust her,
Asks such a reach of blind credulity,
As turns belief to folly.
Your fierce looks,
This sudden anger, are so strange to me,
I stand like one just startled from a dream,
And cannot, dare not, think, I wake and hear you.
Then let me rouse you from your lethargy.
The flimsy tissue of your artifice
Is all unravell'd. By no doubtful proofs
I am confirm'd,—your fondness for my son,
Your tender care of me, your tears, distractions,
Your mourning weeds, (which now, I see, are chang'd,)
Ay, and your high-wrought rhapsody this moment,
Were all a publick ostentatious sorrow,
Nought but an acted passion, a stage transport;
And I, the fool who pitied you, your scorn.
Do you now wake? Now do you understand me?
Too well, too well. The peal of dreadful thunder
Will sound till death in my astonish'd ears.
O, stab me to the heart, dash me to earth,
And trample my poor body in the dust;
Try every labour'd, cunning cruelty,
That rage, revenge, or malice, e'er devised,
Or was sustain'd by woman's constancy;
I'll bear it all,—I would not shed one tear;
[Page 51]Would bless you, think it mercy, to the pangs
Which wring my soul from every word you have utter'd.
And may the fiend who visits guilt like thine,
If my reproaches fail, or the world's justice,
Supply a sharper scourge, and more afflict thee!
I thought the rigour of my fate accomplish'd
By Claudio's death; secure in one great woe,
Look'd forward with a smile to all the ills
Adversity's worst wrath could pour upon me:
But you, inhuman! you have found the way,
To wake such new, such unimagin'd horrours!—
If there be any power, whose melting eye
Sheds soft compassion on us, may that power
Hear, and receive my fervent supplication;
Let me be mad, and lose this sense of anguish!

What can'st thou hope from me, but rage and vengeance?


No, nothing else, I have deserv'd them from thee.

I'll to the duke, the senate shall assemble.
When this dumb evidence appears before them,
With all that chance has now reveal'd against thee,
Think, when thou art summon'd to their dread tribunal,
Will that fair face of innocence and wonder,
This wringing of thy hands, a few false tears,
Shake their stern justice?
[Page 52]

O, heaven pardon you!

If you have prayers, reserve them for yourself,
Your state perhaps may need them.

Turn, and hear me!


Kneel not to me.

I kneel not for myself.
To thee I am as spotless from offence
As the soft sleep of cradled infancy.
But when your cruelty has broke my heart,
And sunk me unresenting to my grave,
If your mistaken rage gives way to reason,
(As sure it will,) in that calm, searching hour,
When you shall find how sorely you have wrong'd me,
Wrong'd her, who lov'd you with a child's affection,
Then censure not your rashness too severely;
Then try to reconcile your soul to peace,
And O, forgive yourself, as I forgive you.


To them, DURAZZO.
How's this? my daughter kneeling, and in tears!
And anger glowing on the cheek of Fulvia!
Rise, Julia, rise.—Madam, that stern regard—
[Page 53]
O, sir, you must not pity, nor approach me;
I dare not trust to nature or affection:
Your breast perhaps may turn to marble too.
Source of my life! dear even as thee, my father,
Your Julia lov'd her:—See these bitter tears;
With agonies like these am I requited.
A fury's brand must sure have sear'd the breast,
That could give thee a pang, my joy! my comfort!—
What have you done?
Do you behold this picture?
Claudio my son, the day the assassin stabb'd him,
Wore this detested bawble next his heart.
Mentevole, that weeping lady's lover,
This morning dropp'd it. Ask you, how he had it,
Let that light woman, and her minion, answer.
And is that scornful finger for my daughter?
Injurious as thou art—
For pity, hold!
I have enough of misery already,
Revil'd, upbraided, charg'd with monstrous guilt;
She knew not what she said,—indeed I hope so;
But let me here fall lifeless at her feet,
My heaving heart burst with its throbs before her,
Rather than hear your tongue cast back reproach,
To violate the reverence I still owe her.
[Page 54]

Hear'st thou, inhuman?

Yes, with scorn I hear her;
That syren's voice has lost the power to charm.
Why stay I here to breathe the infectious air?
May curses rest on these devoted walls,
Till livid lightning to the centre shake them!


Heaven be our guard! What means she by that picture,
Mentevole, and thee?
I cannot speak it.
Pray, lead me hence.

Scarce have I power to aid thee.

O for a friendly draught of long oblivion,
To freeze up every feeling faculty!
Against calamity I strive in vain;
Since thus each distant gleam of flattering hope
Mocks with false light, or bursts in storms upon me.


SCENE I. A Chamber in Durazzo's Palace.

Not so, not so; deem me not lost to reason;
My breast is ever open to receive you.
Though Fulvia's son, I hold you not allied
To Fulvia's enmity, and violence.
Nay, were we foes, (which I should grieve to think,)
The qualities and virtue of Marcellus
Could find no tongue more prompt in their report,
Than old Durazzo's.
My much honour'd lord,
These friendly sounds are cordials to my ear.
Soon as I heard my mother's frantick tale,
(Though tears and exclamations scarce gave room
For her distemper'd rage to tell the story,)
Such consternation seiz'd me, as if earth
Convuls'd had yawn'd at once beneath my feet,
And livid flames shot upwards to consume me,
Did I not scorn to mate a woman's malice,
What vengeful spunge, though steep'd in Stygian gall,
Could wipe away my deep-dy'd injuries?
My house's ancient honour set at nonght;
The little spark of health, which, just rekindling,
Glow'd in the check of my dear innocent child,
[Page 56]And warm'd her father's hopes, rudely extinguish'd;
Her name that like a holy word was utter'd,
Grace and good will still ushering the sound,
Cast for vile question to the publick streets,
'Midst scurril casuists, and the lees of Genoa:—
By my just rage, the sanctity of virtue
Never sustain'd so gross a profanation.
With burning blushes, as the shame were mine,
And hooting crowds made me derision's scoff,
I own the justice of a father's anger.
Descend, mild patience, to her harrow'd breast!
What fortitude can arm her feeling heart
Against the rankling barb of this fell arrow?
'Gainst galling taunts, 'gains mortal accusations,
From lips whose every sound should sooth and bless her?
The malice of a foe may be endur'd;
But friendship's stab,—the very plank we cling to
Turn'd to a barbarous engine for destruction!—
And yet her gentle, her forgiving nature
Unwillingly permits my just reproach;
She checks my indignation, by rememb'ring,
How kind, how tender, Fulvia once was to her;
And how the exalted virtues of her soul
Transcend her frailties, and efface this error.


Enter an Officer.
Be on your guard, my lord; we have certain notice,
The rabble stir'd up by some strange report,
Mustering from every quarter are assembled,
And threaten insult here.
I thank you, sir.
Let them come on, we are prepar'd to meet them.
The love of tumult, and not zeal for justice,
Is their great principle. What think you now?
Exit Officer.
The wretch arraign'd, whose gasping expectation
Hangs on the aweful pause that dooms or saves him,
Feels peace and bliss to what my breast endures,
Till, prostrate at her feet, I clear my honour,
My reason, and each spark of manhood in me,
From vile concurrence in this monstrous outrage.
This instant lead me to her.
Hold, Marcellus.
We must not give too loose a rein to passion,
At such a trembling crisis. Good my lord,
To check the shameful licence, and disorder,
Which hourly spread more wide by our inaction,
One way at least is plain.
[Page 58]
My mind's distracted.
I should before have told you our resolves;
But my vex'd spirit this way finds relief,
And vents itself in railing. But 'tis thus.
The duke, (and much I'm bound to thank his grace.)
Though urg'd to every harsh extremity
By that fierce woman, kindly has determin'd
To take the milder course. Himself in person,
When I appoint the hour, will visit us.
He knows already every circumstance,
In its true state, nor heeds our foe's perversion;
And resting so, with honour I must own,
Suspicion has its mark.


My favour to that lord, his daily boast,
The prattle of this busy babbling city,
Pregnant and positive in slanderous falshoods,
The picture dropp'd by him, and found with Julia,
But most, her secret meeting him this morning,
(Which, till explain'd, gives colour to suggestion,)
Have so perversely wound us in the snare;
We stand, like him, expos'd the common butt
For every shaft of venom'd calumny.
Heavens, can it be? That angel! she expos'd
To bear the prying eye, the insidious question,
Of proud, unfeeling, quaint authority;
[Page 59]Each sauntering varlet, worthless of the honour
To strew her paths with rushes, unabash'd
Gaze on the emotions of her lovely face,
And find a heighten'd zest in her confusion!
I will not trust myself to wear my sword,
Lest, with a firy instinct, from my side
It start at once, and in their blood avenge her.
Reason and justice are her best avengers.
Be calm then, good Marcellus; hear the means.
Just now, an order issued from the state,
That none should pass the city's suburb gates,
Nor vessel leave the port, till the duke's licence
Permits the usual egress. This, though pointed
But at Mentevole, being general,
Wounds not his pride; nor can awake suspicion.
I fear the wise precaution was in vain;
Suspicion will awake, when conscience sleeps not,
And his—but I am to blame;—appearances
Are indexes full oft which point to error.
His sister, as we learn; has sought a convent,
And will no more be found.
I pity her,
Poor wretch! unconsciously, the instrument
To speed perhaps a brother's infamy:
But all she knew already is divulg'd.
[Page 60]Keep eye, Camillo, on Mentevole.
For you, dear youth, be sure, no mean mistrust
Unworthy my esteem, and your high honour,
Can ever harbour here.
Yet, O, Durazzo,
I feel but half assur'd. An ugly shame,
Chilling the native freedom of my spirit,
Hangs on me, loads me, drags me to the ground.
Nor can I shake the vile dejection off,
Till sweeter than the gale from new-born flowers;
Her balmy lips breathe peace into my bosom.
Will you not lead me to her?
Yes, Marcellus,
Deplore with me the ruins of a mind
Where nature lavish'd every grace and virtue,
To make misfortune still more eminent.
Come then, let's on.—Without there?
Enter Sarv.
Is my daughter
Still in her chamber?
She but now was seen,
Without attendants, near the orange grove.
Ere we return here, should the duke arrive,
You'll find us near the grove. Now I attend you.
to MAR.
My lord, the stranger we this morn admitted,
Waits in the outward chamber.—If your leisure—
[Page 61]
I had forgot. Good man! yes, bid him enter.
Exit Serv.
Marcellus, for a moment, pardon me.


DURAZZO, alone.
He has known better days; and, to my thought,
No cares, however near us, can excuse
Our hard neglect of humble misery.


To DURAZZO, MANOA enters with humility.

I am too bold.

No, worthy Manoa;
Pride may intrude, but not the unfortunate.
But how? Thy cheeks are pale; thy started eye
Looks fearfully around. What sudden terrour
Shakes thus thy manhood?
O, my gracious lord,
In vain I hoped, your pity and protection
Might be stretch'd forth to screen me from my foes.
The cruel vigilance of fate has found me;
I am discover'd, lost.
[Page 62]

I trust, not so.

A dreadful order is but now gone forth,
To close the port up, and the city gates.
It must be meant 'gainst me; to hem me in,
And yield my life to cruel men who hate me.
Dismiss that fear, I know the cause too well;
'Tis distant far from thee.



Most sure.


I breathe again. May every blessing crown you!

I know your innocence, and will not fail
To impress the duke and senate in your favour.
Nor can I think but for some special end
A providence so visible preserv'd you.
Mean time, take comfort to you, and rest here,
Secure; these walls shall be your sanctuary.
O, ever-bounteous to the oppress'd and wretched,
The strength of our forefathers be your shield!
And, for this manna to my famish'd hopes,
[Page 63]When full of age and honours you lie down,
Protect your generations to time's end!
Who waits?
Enter Serv.
Observe that stranger with respect,
And see that none molest him.
Exit Serv.
O, Mentevole!—
It must be so. A thousand distant hints,
Like meteor glancing through a dusky sky,
That nothing shew distinctly, cross my brain.
But soon the dim horizon will be clear,
And truth's bright ray dispel the doubtful twilight.

SCENE V. The Garden of DURAZZO's Palace.

MENTEVOLE, alone. A Whistle is heard.
Hark! that's my signal. Then she's near the grove:
And see, a woman's form. Be firm, my heart!
No fluttering now. Let dire necessity
(That in itself contains all arguments)
Fix its strong fiat on my resolution,
And cancel nature's fear. She must be mine.
I have buffetted beyond the midway flood;
Nor shall my sinews shrink so near the shore.
But come the worst, 'gainst shame and disappointment,
Thou sharp, but friendly leech, I will apply thee.
He draws a dagger, which he holds up, and returns again to his bosom.
Soft, soft; from hence, unseen I may observe her.
he retires.
Enter JULIA.
No, I must still endure; for death is proud,
Owes none obedience; nor will come when summon'd:
[Page 64]The happy who avoid him, he pursues;
And with malignant triumph loves to enter,
Where dreams of long security and joy
Give ten-fold terrours to the grim intruder.
To thee I stretch my arms, thee I invoke,
For in thy cold and leaden grasp there—Ha!
seeing MENTEVOLE, she starts.
Why start you, madam? Have a few short hours
So chang'd the man you sought, nay, kinder still,
With gentle intercession sooth'd, and won
To mercy for a rival, that a serpent
Rising on mortal spires to sting your life,
Could not excite more horrour than his presence?
Thou art, indeed, a serpent, coil'd for mischief;
To dart out on the unwary, drink his blood,
And slink again to thy dark lurking place.
Why art thou here?

To talk to thee of love.


Of murder rather.—Hence!

I must detain you.
holding her.
A moment is not long. And can thy wisdom,
For such a feather, for one light surmise,
That picture, rashly deem me capable
Of shedding human blood, nay, a friend's blood?
[Page 65]
Of every crime I deem thee capable:
Thy furious temper knows no sacred bond;
Death on thyself, even kneeling at my feet,
Thou hast vow'd with frantick oaths. O, patient heaven!
Why did not fire from yon insulted sky
Consume him quick, ere his pernicious rage
Had plung'd me in this gulph of wretchedness?
I am so clear from any conscious taint,
On that foul charge, I would not waste a moment
To purge me of so gross a villainy.
What state, what sex, what excellence of mind,
E'er found an armour against calumny?
Give the most monstrous slander but a birth,
Folly shall own, and malice cherish it.
It moves but my contempt. Consider this,
Art not thou too accus'd? thy spotless self,
Alike call'd criminal? by what? by madness.
I thank thee, yes. Thy most unwelcome love,
Like some contagious vapour breath'd upon me,
Has made me loathsome to the publick view:
The persecution of thy hateful vows,
That first disturb'd my peace, now blasts my honour.
I stand a poor, defam'd, suspected creature:
The eyes, whose gentle pity balm'd my sorrows,
Now turn their beams with indignation on me;
And thou the cause of all.

You hate me then?

[Page 66]
Hate thee! the term's too weak. 'Tis vital horrour:
The helpless dove views not the ravening kite,
With such instinctive dread, and detestation.
The principle by which we start from death,—
Crave needful food,—nature's original print
To shun our evil, and pursue our good,
By reason strengthen'd with increasing age,
Are not so mix'd, and general through my frame.
Hence from my eyes! Thy sight is deadly to me.
O, thou unthankful beauty! think a little,
How envy'd, but for thee, had been my lot:
My youth had glided down life's easy stream,
With every sail out-spread for every pleasure.
But since the hour I saw thy fatal charms,
My bosom has been hell. How I have lov'd,
All my neglected duties of the world,
Friends, parents, interest, country, all forgotten.
Cry out against me; now I count the exchange,
And find all barter'd for thy hate and scorn.
Dar'st thou upbraid me, or assume a pride
Even from the homely meanness of thy soul,
Thy long ungenerous importunity?
Mere sensual love, contented with the outside?
The pure, exalted, incorporeal flame,
Fann'd not by sympathy's soft breath, expires.
I never gave thee hope, no, not a look,
Thy vanity could construe into kindness.
I play'd no hypocrite; my heart at once
Diffus'd its honest dictates to my eyes;
[Page 67]They told thee my aversion, my disdain;
And were this air the last I should respire,
Here, in the face of heaven, my tongue confirms them.
O eloquence of hatred! noble candour!
I am thy fool no more, my doubts are vanish'd.
Thou hast not left in all my swelling veins,
One cold compunctious drop, to chill my purpose:
The lover scorn'd, the man now rouses here.
Mark me, ungrateful!

Ha! what means the traitor?

This garden leads to mine; the passages
Are all secur'd. A ready priest within
Waits to unite us; therefore yield at once;
Vain is resistance. If I raise my voice,
Four faithful slaves behind yon thicket lodg'd,
Will bear thee off.

Am I betray'd thus vilely?

Look round, no aid is near thee. Thou art mine:
All thy reluctant beauties are my spoil,
And, won by wit, shall be enjoy'd at will.
Come;—nay, no strife.
O, give me instant death!
See, at your feet I fall.
[Page 68]
For worlds on worlds,
I would not hurt thy charms. My eyes, my soul,
Are not so dear to me.
Satiate thy rage;
With new-invented cruelty deface me;
I will but smile at the uplifted steel,
And bless you while you kill me.
Have a care!
I mean thee no dishonour; but these struggles,
That heaving bosom, those resistless beams,
Darting their subtle heat through all my frame,
May fire my senses to so wild a tumult,—
O, fatal thought! I will choke in my breath;
Fall lifeless here. Is there no pitying power?
Are prayers in vain above?
As empty air.
Love only wakes, for he inspires my ardour.
O, fond reluctance! must I call for aid?
No, gently thus—
stooping to raise her, in the struggle, the dagger falls from his breast, which she seizes instantly, and rises.
Ha! was it sent from heaven?
Lo, thine own dagger. See, I grasp it strongly:
Now, monster, I defy thee.
[Page 69]

Plagues! confusion!

The righteous guardian of the innocent
Has look'd from yon bright firmament to earth,
And sends this timely succour.
Meddling daemons,
In black confed'racy combin'd against me,
Turn all my engines to their own destruction.
Yet hear with patience—
If thou dar'st approach me,
Stir but thy foot, or call thy bate associates,—
Swift as the ray that darts from yonder orb,
(I feel the artery here,) this friendly point
Shall pierce my heart, and, as death's shades close round me,
I'll bless the night which shuts thee out for ever.
Obdurate as thou art, alas, my dotage
Would still preserve thee; and implores thee, pardon
The mad attempt by desperation prompted.
Sunk to the lowest in my esteem before,
Lower thou could'st not fall. Degrading guilt,
How mean, how abject, are the souls which own thee!
How vile thy thraldom! See the baffled ruffian,
Though bravoes lurk all round to abet his fury,
Abash'd, and pale, before an injur'd woman.
[Page 70]

I must endure it all;—perfidious fortune!

But lo, my father and Marcellus near.
Keep thy dark secret, for I will not rouse
Their indignation to demand thy life,
And snatch the forfeit from impending justice:
Thou should'st not die so nobly. Hence! begone!
JULIA throws down the dagger, and exit.


Again I grasp thee, faithless instrument!
takes up the dagger.
Revenge, that latest sunshine of the accurs'd,
If I must perish, still may gild my downfall.


SCENE I. A Chamber in Durazzo's Palace.

'Tis true, too true; my astonish'd eyes beheld it.
The duke is come, is in the hall this instant;
And (shame to Genoa!) armed guards are posted,
To save this palace from the people's outrage.
O, if my prayers have any power to move you,
Or, if you would not add to my distress,
(Most sure you cannot mean it,) I implore you,
Wide, as if spotted plagues encompass'd me,
Avoid me, fly me, in fierce Fulvia's presence.
With joy, in all but this, I would obey you.
Shall I retire, and seem to abet a cause,
By tame neutrality, and timorous silence,
Which, but to think of, chills my heart's warm blood,
And drives my sober sense to wild amazement?
Think then what I feel here! yet, O, remember
She has a parent's claim to your respect;
And how I lov'd her, heaven that knows can witness;
In publick to confront her, might enkindle
Her rage to madness. Has she not accus'd me
(O, that I could forget it!) of such crimes,
As calumny's foul lips might shrink to utter?
[Page 72]

Her's is the shame, but our's, alas, the anguish.

Stung thus to frenzy, she would hurl on me
Your disobedience; all her house's woe
Impute to me alone, unhappy me;
While trembling, sinking, I could but oppose
The feeble shield of innocence and tears.
No, justice must for once give way to duty.
O, do not freeze me with so cold a word;
Nor wrong the ardours of my glowing bosom.
The great disposer of events on earth,
For some unsearchable, mysterious end,
Has pleas'd to mark me for adversity.
With constancy unshaken, my firm soul
Shall meet the black succession of my fates.
When the full storm has emptied all its fury,
This shatter'd bark may sink at length to peace;
And the last wave that rolls the welcome death,
Bury my much-wrong'd name in cold oblivion.
What eye that with delight has gaz'd on beauty;
What ear that e'er was ravish'd with sweet sounds;
Who that has sense and soul to feel perfection,
And witness'd thy unrivall'd excellence;
Can let thee be forgotten? Hear, O, hear me!
I Can no more suppress my burning passion;
[Page 73]It will have way. My fate is in thy breath,
And all my enamour'd soul, enslav'd, adores thee.


Ha! that cold averted brow,
Presumptuous man! bespeaks my doom too plainly.

Is this an hour for love?

At every hour,
(Enchanting as thou art) thy eyes command it.
Thus on my knee I seize the blest occasion,
To tell thee all thy wond'rous charms inspire,
Though ages might glide by, ere half was utter'd.
There is an aweful witness of this scene,
For ever present here, who hovers round me.
Through the still void I hear a solemn voice;
On his pale lips the unwilling accents hang:
Our vows, he cries, were register'd above;
For thee my breast was pierc'd; see this red wound,
Nor lose the memory in a brother's arms.
What canst thou mean? Why do thy lovely eyes
Thus waste their beams on air? O, turn them here,
To warm my breast, and light up ecstacy!
May ghastly spectres deck my bridal couch,
[Page 74]Hemlock and poisonous weeds be strew'd for flowers,
The nuptial torch scatter despair and death,
And mutter'd curses blast the unhallow'd rite,
If my false hand receive another love,
Or my frail heart forget its early passion!
O, fatal sound! my inauspicious sighs
Awake no gentle sympathy for me;
But fan the flame for a dead rival's ashes.
All the most tender interest can inspire,
Soft friendship, and an anxious sister's kindness,
Unask'd I offer; but of love no more:
The object, and the passion died with him.
Too near, and too remote. It cannot be:
For, O, 'tis lingering torment, hourly death,
To touch the cup might quench our fever's thirst,
And know we must not taste it. Angels guard you!
Farewel! Let chance direct my wandering way;
The world, without thee, has no choice for me.


JULIA, alone.
Most brave, most generous, and by me undone!
Judge of the secret heart, what unknown sin
Did I commit, that fate stands ready arm'd,
To visit all whose peace is dear to me?
[Page 75]Take me, O, take me, to thy wish'd-for rest,
And leave mankind to their own destiny!


A magnificent Hall in Durazzo's Palace. The Duke of Genoa, with Guards and other Attendants in the center; FULVIA, &c. on one side; DURAZZO, CAMILLO, and JULIA, with their Attendants, on the other.
I have obey'd the summons of your grace.
Yet when I see the seat of justice chang'd
From the grave bench, where once she us'd to frown,
Even to the chambers of my adversaries,
I look for such an issue, as hereafter
Will make this novelty no precedent;
But to be shun'd, and noted for the abuse.
The sanctity of justice is the heart
Of him who judges; place makes no distinction.
And when the veil of passion is remov'd,
When with clear eyes you see the good we mean you,
Yourself, I know, will thank us for this course;
And own our swerving from the common form
Was kind to all concern'd.

May it prove so!

You see me here, brought for so strange a cause,
I can but with astonishment look round,
Nor know I whom to oppose, or what to answer.
[Page 76]'Tis hard to make my affliction my offence;
And the black deed which saddens all my days,—
The source, the bitter source, of every sorrow,—
The ground to load me with reproach and shame.
Yet here am I accus'd,—I cannot speak it,—
Accus'd of what?—To say, I am innocent,
Would be such mean, such base indignity
To the great spirit of my exalted love,
I'd rather burst with the proud sense of scorn,
And leave my silence to your worst surmise,
Than utter such a word.

O! 'tis too much.

You are appris'd, my lord, with what intent
My daughter secretly this morning sought
A meeting with Mentevole?

I know it;

And grieve to find so gentle an intent
Has met such hard construction from good Fulvia.
Reserve, my lord, your pity till we ask it,
And counsel ignorance. We know our purpose▪
As we our duty. And behold the man
First in our present search.
takes his seat.


Know you, my lord,
Why we assemble here?
Yes. Clamour's throat
Has roar'd it in our streets. I pass'd along
Through files of obloquy. Our sapient rabble
Reverse the order of the magistracy,
And, ere they hear, condemn us.
Then, my lord,
As you regard your honour, and your life,
Touch'd by suspicion to the quick, this instant
Account for your possession of that picture.
That lady there, dead Claudio's mother, swears,
It was her son's, and worn around his neck
The day he disappear'd. Behold, do you know it?
Do you allow you dropp'd it?
Yes; but not
That it was Claudio's. Yet, I cannot wonder,
Two objects so alike, should seem the same.

Should seem the same!


Have patience, gentle lady.

I say, should seem; for it is barely seeming.
From that which Claudio own'd, (the artist's boast,)
[Page 78]Myself, not meanly in the science skill'd,
Painted this picture; love, my pencil's guide;
And, from the image in my heart engrav'd,
Assisted by the model, such I made it,
That not the most discerning, nicest eye
From the first beauteous draught could know that copy.
And had you skill to paint those jewels too,
Those jewels in the round? their hue and lustre
So singular, and bright? By every power,
These were my son's.
No. Give me hearing, madam.
Those too I purchas'd from the very merchant
Who furnish'd Claudio. All who hear me, know
The name of Manoa; his services
To this ungrateful state; his flight, his death;
Which I lament, since living, he could witness,
And strike you dumb, that by my special order
He chose these precious gems, in form and colour
So like to Claudio's, none could mark distinction.
To pay their value, my estate was strain'd;
But had their estimation been twice doubled,
A crown imperial deem'd the mighty price,
Rather than yield him preference in aught
Might seem a test of my extravagant love,
I would have grasp'd at it; and so remain'd
The ruin'd, happy lord of that sole treasure.
Now learn from hence, how wisdom should demur
To found a sentence on appearances.
Your grace is satisfied.
Here DURAZZO whispers CA­MILLO, who goes out.
[Page 79]
I own, to me,
(No proof appearing to the contrary,)
If this be so, your honour seems acquitted.
But not to me. O, undiscerning lord!
Is this your inquisition, this your justice?
I am not satisfied; my heart still tells me,
That picture was my son's; so reason tells me;
Nor should a voucher from the yawning grave
Shake my conviction.—That good Manoa
Did sell these jewels to my slaughter'd son;
And he, 'tis true, conveniently is dead:
But he had heirs and kindred; summon them;
A treasure such as this, could not be sold
Without their knowledge; instantly convene them,
And act through shame, as if you sought for truth;
Else, your grave robes will be the jest of boys,
And my son's blood will cry till death against you.
Do not suppose I scoff at this grave presence,
When thus I smile in my security.
Produce such witnesses, what could they prove?
Their ignorance perhaps in what you ask them;
But we have clear and positive laws to guard us.
So long I have said little, fearful ever
To give offence, where all my care has been
To manifest respect, esteem, and honour,
Even with a daughter's duteous humbleness.
But thus much let me add: I here disclaim
[Page 80](As most abhorrent to my thoughts, and nature,)
All common interest, union, and accord,
With him, for whom I suffer in the censure
Of that ungentle lady; and believe,
Firmly, like her, that picture was her son's,
And there, before you, stands his murderer.
Why stay I here? My lord, if you have power
To give me reparation for the stain
Cast on my honour by this foolish process,
Pronounce it straight; if not, thus I withdraw
From those vex'd eyes which glare with fury on me.
Soft you a while; for lo you, who comes here,
Even to your wish, to make all clear for you.


Re-enter CAMILLO, leading in MANOA.

Swallow me, earth! he lives. But I must brave it.


Ha! can I trust my senses? Manoa!


The same, my lord, and by no miracle.

Yet things so strange are next to miracles,
And his appearance such. We thought him dead.—
This is beyond your hopes.
[Page 81]
O, much beyond them.—
All curses of his nation light upon him!

The villain's cheek turns pale; his fate has found him.

Surprise to see you here, no way abates
Our pleasure at your welfare. Blushing deeply,
We own the state has wrong'd you, but soon purpose
To give you full redress.

My humblest thanks.

takes is seat.
At present we must set aside that care
For one which now employs us. No more thanks,
We yet deserve them not.—Come nearer still;
gives MANOA the picture.
Take this, examine it. Do you remember
(Observe them well) the jewels round that picture?
Most sure, my lord; they are by no means common;
But all, indeed, most rare and singular.

They once were yours. Who was their purchaser?

A noble youth, by whose untimely death
Genoa has lost her brightest ornament,
[Page 82]Even in the depth of my own misery,
My heart dropp'd blood to hear the fate of Claudio.
Did you at any time, (think, ere you answer,)
Procure for any other purchaser
Jewels like these?

Never, my lord.

Out, dotard!
Thy miseries have craz'd thy memory.
To me these gems were sold; look on me well,
I was the friend of Claudio: think, old man,
A noble person's life, and reputation,
(More dear than life,) hang on the words you utter.
I've said, what I have said; were my soul's fate
Link'd to the testimony, thus I stake it:
As I do hops forgiveness of my sins,
And peace in death, I never sold these gems,
Nor any like them, save to noble Claudio.

Hear you, my lord?

I hear a faithless Jew.
A slave suborn'd, a traitor to the state,
A bankrupt, fugitive, and outcast Hebrew,
[Page 83]Aver—he knows not what;—and still more strange,
I see the credulous duke of Genoa,
The first in estimation as in place,
Gaping to swallow monstrous perjuries.
What interest, lord, have I to do this wrong?
I enter'd, uninstructed of the cause
For which you summon'd me; nor know I now,
Why I am thus revil'd for my true answer.
It can avail you nought, to disallow
The proof yourself appeal'd to.
Mighty signor,
I have an attestation of my truth,
Beyond all oaths, or sacred form of words.
If I am not a liar, and suborn'd,
There rests within this frame a spring conceal'd
With nicest art, and known to me alone,
And its first master. Touch'd, it will discover
The noble Claudio's image.—Ay, 'tis here.—
Ill-fated youth!—Is this to be a liar?
He touches a spring, and shews a picture of CLAUDIO beneath that of JULIA.
Give me that picture. O, my promis'd love,
This was thy form. Thy brow, the throne of honour,
And grace thy minister.—For ever gone!
So look'd those glossy eyes when turn'd on Julia.—
Cold is that tongue.—Come, animating warmth,
[Page 84]Breathe through my lips, give life to this dear shade,
And let me die thus gazing!
Daemons seize thee!
Cramps and cold palsies wither thy curs'd hand!
Thou hast undone me.
Sir, you are our prisoner;
And in our palace you must hear your sentence.—
Bear him away this instant.
Two of the Guards attempt to seize him.
Stand aloof!
Nor raise a hand in violence against me;
Or with one stroke I'll frustrate all your forms,
And the dark tale dies with me.

Hold;—let's hear him.

I did kill Claudio. On the morn you miss'd him,
We took together our accustom'd walk;
When this too certain arm achiev'd the deed,
Which long lay brooding in my jealousy.

Deliberate, curs'd assassin!


O, my heart!

[Page 85]
He talk'd with rapture of the approaching bliss,
Till passion drown'd his sight; with eyes upcast,
Then drew that picture, hanging round his neck,
From underneath his garment; glew'd his lips
With transport, to the beauteous, lifeless form.
My smother'd fury rose at once to madness;
With one hand, from his grasp I tore the picture,
And with the other smote him to the heart.
JULIA faints.
My daughter! ha! the blood forsakes her cheeks.
My life, my all, look up!
running to JULIA.
Dear, injur'd, maid,
Live but to see my penitence, my tears!
Thou lovely sufferer, O wake, and hear me!
Alas! she heeds me not. My barbarous tongue,
Sharp as the felon's steel, was fatal to thee,—
See, she revives.

Thank heaven! she breathes again.

O, who has call'd me back to this dark world,
From choirs of angels, and celestial light,
To view that murderer? Yet, let me view him:
For I would find the speediest way to peace;
And in the hollow of his cruel eye,
There should be mortal mischief, freezing terror,
To stop the tide of nature.—Monster, think,
Pain, ignominy, death, which wait thee here,
[Page 86]Will have their lengthen'd end, but to consign thee
To ever-during misery hereafter.
My sentence here I know; the rest's uncertain.
But least of all, fair sorceress! that tongue
Should aggravate the crime, those eyes persuaded;
Thou, thou, the cause of all this guilt and ruin.
Why did I kill my friend? Why, but for thee,
Why risk my soul's perdition? Still for thee.
Why forfeit life and honour? All for thee.
Then where should I seek vengeance, but from thee?
And thus, insulted love thus bids me take it.
He stabs JULIA, and attempts to stab himself, but is prevented.


Seize his arm! O, execrable wretch!
Fly, fly for succour! See, she bleeds, she dies:
The fiend, the inhuman fiend has kill'd my daughter.
Quick, bear him hence; each hour while he draws breath,
All laws divine and human are insulted.
Exit DUKE.
'Tis done; I laugh at you. Your triumph's past.
See there, the last despair of outraged love.
Now plunge me in your dungeons; tire your code,
To wake new torments for me. The great spirit
Which dared such deeds, shall brave their penalty.
MENTEVOLE is carried off.
[Page 87]
Good heaven, in pity to a father's anguish,
Let me not lose her thus!—my child, my child!
The pain of this deep wound is light, my father;
But O, to think, that your declining age
Will want the comfort of a daughter's care;
That cold obedience must discharge the office
Affection made so welcome to your Julia!

My heart's best blood! I shall not long survive thee.

Hide me, O earth! I tremble to approach.——
Has thy soft generous heart one drop of mercy,
To fall upon a wretch, whose savage fury
Outraged thy virtues, pierc'd thy tender soul,
Mocking thy bitterest pangs. O, Julia! Julia!
Rise, madam, rise. These supplicating hands,
Your streaming eyes, and that respected body,
Thus bow'd with grief, and groveling on the earth,
Are sights unfit for her, whose dying beams
With tender reverence must still behold you.
Alas! resentment, at this awful moment,
Can find no place in my departing spirit;
For all will soon be peace.
Thou saint-like goodness!
Unmov'd I saw thy tears, saw the sweet blush
[Page 88]Of thy wrong'd innocence. For pity hate me;
In life, in death, rise not so much above me.
Give me your hand; my last tears fall upon it.
As these dissolving drops part from my eyes,
So melts the memory of all past unkindness.

O, could they quench my everlasting shame!

I will not be withheld.
O, grief and horrour,
Why, why did I obey?—thy cruel order
Kept me far off. My presence might have saved thee:
The ruthless ruffian in my faithful breast
Should first have drench'd his steel. These fruitless tears
Are all I now have left thee.
Thus 'tis better.
A life of sorrow, (such alas, was mine,)
Is well exchang'd for bless'd eternity;
Thine shall be long and happy.
Never, never:
Infinite woe from this black hour awaits me.
Yet let me print on that pale beauteous hand
One sad adieu. O, that my soul could pass thus!
By every sacred power that hears, I swear,
My lips thus hallow'd by this holy kiss,
Shall ne'er again—
[Page 89]
As you regard my peace,
My last, my earnest prayer, let no rash vow,
Blasting the hopes of all your noble race,
Replunge the dagger in my bleeding bosom.

Yet, there are means of death—


My best Marcellus!

I beg you do not leave my poor remains,
But lighten that sad office to my father.

O, misery!

taking papers from her breast.
These papers,—pray observe me,—
Bury these papers with me. Lay that picture
Close to my heart, and let my coffin rest
In the same tomb which holds my murder'd Claudio;
One love, one death, and the same sepulchre.
I thank your tender tears.—Fountain of mercy!
Mild peace, and heavenly light, dawn on my sense;
My pains grow less; this load will soon fall off:
I shall be happy. Weep not. Mercy! Oh!
Curtain falls.


THOUGH tender sighs breathe in the tragick page,
What lover now complains—but on the stage?
No suitor now attempts his rival's life,
But lets him take that cordial balm—a wife:
And yet, to prove his pure and constant flame,
Still loves his mistress in the wedded dame;
Still courts his friend, and still devoutly bows
At the fair shrine where first he breath'd his vows.
For love, she knows some gratitude is due,
Searches her heart, and finds there's room for two;
And often sees, her coy reluctance o'er,
Good cause to prize her caro sposo more.
Thus modish wives, with sentimental spirit,
May go astray, to prove their husbands' merit,—
Or ope the door, in this commodious age,
Without death's aid, to 'scape from wedlock's cage.—
Abjuring rules, that soon will seem romance,
Love's gayer system we import from France;
Rescind politely our old English duty,
And take off all restraints from wine and beauty;
While lighter manners cheer our native gloom,
As Spanish wool refines the British loom.
Had fashion's law of old such influence shed,
The raptur'd Claudio ne'er had timeless bled:
His bliss with joy Mentevole had seen,
And Julia's favourite Cicishe' had been.
The assiduous lover, and the husband bland,
Like Brentford's kings, had still walk'd hand in hand;
Together still had shone at Park, and play,
Quaffing the fragrance of the same bouquet.
[Page]Our varlet poet, with licentious speech,
Thus far our injur'd sex has dar'd impeach.
The female character thus rudely slurr'd,
'Tis fit, at last, that I should have a word.—
First then, without rejoinder or dispute,
This virtuous circle might each charge refute.
That 'tis a nuptial age, I sure may say,
With their own wives when husbands run away.—
But truce with jest. Howe'er the wits may rail,
The cause of truth and virtue must prevail.
Of former times whatever may be told,
We are just as good as e'er they were of old.
Connubial Love here long has fix'd his throne,
And bliss is ours, to foreign climes unknown.
If now and then a tripping fair is sound,
On Scandal's wings the buzzing tale flies round:
While blameless thousands, in sequester'd life,
Adorn each state, of parent, friend, and wife;
From private cares ne'er wish abroad to roam,
And bless, each day, the sunshine of their home;
Unnoticed keep their noiseless happy course,
Nor dream of second wedlock or divorce.—
I see the verdict's ours; you smile applause;
So, with your leave, again I'll plead our cause;
New triumphs nightly o'er this railer gain,
And to the last our female rights maintain.

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