Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

ACT I.

parts?

Leon. Well might the weakness of our empire SCENE I.

sink DEMETRIUS and LEONTIUS in Turkish habits. Some power invisible, from Heaven or hell,

Before such foes, of more than human force; Leon. And is it thus Demetrius meets his Conducts their armies, and asserts their cause. friend,

Dem. And yet, my friend, what miracles were Hid in the mean disguise of Turkish robes,

wrought With servile secrecy to lurk in shades, Beyond the power of constancy and courage ? And vent our sufferings in clandestine groans? Did unresisted lightning aid their cannon? Dem. Till breathless fury rested from destruc- Did roaring whirlwinds sweep us from the ram

tion, These groans were fatal, these disguises vain : 'Twas vice that shook our nerves; 'twas vice, But now our Turkish conquerors have quenched Leontius, Their rage, and palled their appetite of murder ; That froze our veins, and withered all our powers. No more the glutted sabre thirsts for blood, Leon. Whate'er our crimes, our woes demand And weary cruelty remits her tortures.

compassion. Leon. Yet Greece enjoys no gleam of transient Each night, protected by the friendly darkness, hope,

Quitting my close retreat, I range the city, No soothing interval of peaceful sorrow ; And, weeping, kiss the venerable ruins : The lust of gold succeeds the rage of conquest, With silent pangs I view the towering domes, The lust of gold, unfeeling and remorseless ! Sacred to prayer; and wander through

the streets, The last corruption of degenerate man ! Where commerce lavished unexhausted plenty, Urged by the imperious soldier's fierce command, And jollity maintained eternal revelsThe groaning Greeks break up their golden ca- Dem. How changed alas Now, ghastly verns,

desolation Pregnant with stores, that India's mines might In triumph sits upon our shattered spires ; envy,

Now superstition, ignorance, and error, The accumulated wealth of toiling ages. Usurp our temples, and profane our altars. Dem. That wealth, too sacred for their coun- Leon. From every palace burst a mingled clatry's use!

mour, That wealth, too pleasing to be lost for freedom! The dreadful dissonance of barbarous triumph, That wealth, which, granted to their weeping Shrieks of affright, and wailings of distress. prince,

Oft when the cries of violated beauty Had ranged embattled nations at our gates- Arose to Heaven, and pierced my bleeding breast, But thus reserved to lure the wolves of Turkey, I felt thy pains, and trembled for Aspasia. Adds shame to grief, and infamy to ruin.

Dem. Aspasia ! spare that loved, that mournLamenting avarice now too late discovers

ful name! Her own neglected, in the public safety. Dear hapless maid! tempestuous grief o'erbears Leon. Reproach not misery.The sons of My reasoning powers-Dear, bapless, lost AsGreece,

pasia! Ni-fated race ! so oft besieged in vain,

Leon. Suspend the thought. With false security beheld invasion.

Dem. All thought on her is madness : Why should they fear !—That Power, that kindly Yet let me think I see the helpless maid ! spreads

Behold the monsters gaze with savage rapture, The clouds, a signal of impending showers, Behold how lust and rapine struggle round her! To warn the wandering linnet to the shade, Leon. Awake, Demetrius, from this dismal Beheld, without concern, expiring Greece,

dream; And not one prodigy foretold our fate.

Sink not beneath imaginary sorrows : Dem. A thousand horrid prodigies foretold it. Call to your aid your courage and your wisdom; A feeble government, eluded laws,

Think on the sudden change of human scenes ; A factious populace, luxurious nobles,

Think on the various accidents of war; And all the maladies of sinking states.

Think on the mighty power of awful virtue ; When public villany, too strong for justice, Think on that providence that guards the good. Shows his bold front, the harbinger of ruin, Dem. O Providence! extend thy care to me, Can brave Leontius call for airy wonders, For courage droops unequal to the combat, Which cheats interpret, and which fools regard? And weak philosophy denies her succours. When some neglected fabric nods beneath Sure some kind sabre, in the heat of battle, The weight of years, and totters to the tempest, Ere yet the foe found leisure to be cruel, Must Heaven dispatch the messengers of light, Dismissed her to the sky. Or wake the dead to warn us of its fall ?

Leon. Some virgin martyr, 7

rows :

Perhaps, enamoured of resembling virtue, Or wandering in the wilds of future being, With gentle hand restrained the streams of life, A single thought now rove, recall it home. And snatched her timely from her country's fate, But can thy friend sustain the glorious cause, Dem. From those bright regions of eternal The cause of liberty, the cause of nations ? day,

Dem. Observe him closely with a statesman's Where now thou shin'st among thy fellow saints,

eye, Arrayed in purer light, look down on me! Thou, that hast long perused the draughts of naIn pleasing visions, and assuasive dreams,

ture, 0! soothe my soul, and teach me how to lose And know'st the characters of vice and virtue, thee!

Left by the hand of heaven on human clay. Leon. Enough of unavailing tears, Demetrius: Cali. His mien is lofty, his demeanour great ; I came obedient to thy friendly summons, Nor sprightly folly wantons in his air, And hoped to share thy counsels, not thy sor- Nor dull serenity becalms his eye.

Such had I trusted once as soon as seen ; While thus we mourn the fortune of Aspasia, But cautious age suspects the flattering form, To what are we reserved ?

And only credits what experience tells. Dem. To what I know not;

Elas silence pressed her seal upon bis lips? But hope, yet hope, to happiness and honour Does adamantine faith invest his heart? If happiness can be without Aspasia.

Will he not bend beneath a tyrant's frown? Leon. But whence this new-sprung hope? Will he not melt before ambition's fire? Dem. From Cali Bassa ;

Will he not soften in a friend's embrace, The chief, whose wisdom guides the Turkish Or flow dissolving in a woman's tears? counsels.

Dem. Sooner these trembling leaves shall find He, tired of slavery, though the highest slave,

a voice, Projects at once our freedom and his

own ; And tell the secrets of their conscious walks; And bids us, thus disguised, await him here. Sooner the breeze shall catch the Aying sounds, Leon. Can he restore the state he could not And shock the tyrant with a tale of treason. save?

Your slaughtered multitudes, that swell the shore In vain, when Turkey's troops assailed our walls, With monuments of death, proclaim his courage; His kind intelligence betrayed their measures ; Virtue and liberty engross his soul, Their arms prevailed, though Cali was our friend. And leave no place for perfidy or fear. Dam. When the tenth sun had set upon our Leon. I scorn a trust unwillingly reposed. sorrows,

Demetrius will not lead me to dishonour; At midnight's private hour, a voice unknown Consult in private; call me when your scheme Sounds in my sleeping year, “ Awake, Deme- Is ripe for action, and demands the sword. trius !

(Going. • Awake, and follow me to better fortunes.' Dem. Leontius, stay. Surprised, I start, and bless the happy dream; Cali. Forgive an old man's weakness, Then, rousing, know the fiery chief Abdallah, And share the deepest secrets of my soul, Whose quick impatience seized my doubtful My wrongs, my fears, my motives, my designs.hand,

When unsuccessful wars, and civil factions, And led me to the shore where Cali stood, Embroiled the Turkish state, our sultan's faPensive, and listening to the beating surge.

ther, There, in soft hints, and in ambiguous phrase, Great Amurath, at my request, forsook With all the diffidence of long experience, The cloister's ease, resumed the tottering throne, That oft bad practised fraud, and oft detected, And snatched the reins of abdicated power The veteran courtier half revealed his project. From giddy Mahomet's unskilful hand. By his command, equipped for speedy flight, This fired the youthful king's ambitious breast ; Deep in a winding creek a galley lies,

He murmurs vengeance at the name of Cali, Manned with the bravest of our fellow captives, And dooms my rash fidelity to ruin. Selected by my care, a hardy band,

Dem. Unhappy lot of all that shine in courts! That long to hail thee chief.

For forced compliance, or for zealous virtue, Leon. But what avails

Still odious to the monarch or the people. So small a force ? Or why should Cali fly? C'ali. Such are the woes, when arbitrary power, Or how can Cali's flight restore our country? And lawless passion, hold the sword of justice.

Dem. Reserve these questions for a safer hour, If there be any land, as fame reports, Or hear himself; for see, the Bassa comes. Where common laws restrain the prince and

subject, Enter CALI BASSA.

A happy land, where circulating power Cali. Now summon all thy soul, illustrious Flows through each member of the embodied Christian !

state ; Awake each faculty that sleeps within thee, Sure, not unconscious of the mighty blessing, The courtier's policy, the sage's firmness, Her grateful sons shine bright with every virtue; The warrior's ardour, and the patriot's zeal; Untainted with the lust of innovation, If, chasing past events with vain pursuit, Sure all unite to hold her league of rule

try,

Unbroken as the sacred chain of nature, At length rekindled his accustomed fury,
That links the jarring elements in peace. And changed the endearing smile and amorous
Leon. But say, great Bassa, why the Sultan's whisper

To threats of torture, death, and violation. anger, Burning in vain, delays the stroke of death? Dem. These tedious narratives of frozen age Cali. Young, and unsettled in his father's king Distract my soul! dispatch thy lingering tale; doms,

Say, did a voice from Heaven restrain the tyrant? Fierce as he was, he dreaded to destroy

Did interposing angels guard her from him? The empire's darling, and the soldier's boast; Cali. Just in the moment of impending fate, But now confirmed, and swelling with his con- Another plunderer brought the bright Irene; quests,

Of equal beauty, but of softer mien, Secure he tramples my declining fame,

Fear in her eye, subinission on her tongue, Frowns unrestrained, and dooms me with his Her mournful charms attracted his regards, eyes.

Disarmed his rage, and in repeated visits Dem. What can reverse thy doom?

Gained all his heart; at length his eager

love Cali. The tyrant's death.

To her transferred the offer of a crown. Dem. But Greece is still forgot.

Leon. Nor found again the bright temptation Cali. On Asia's coast,

fail ? Which lately blessed my gentle government, Cali. Trembling to grant, nor daring to refuse Soon as the sultan's unexpected fate

While Heaven and Mahomet divide her fears, Fills all the astonished empire with confusion, With coy caresses and with pleasing wiles My policy shall raise an easy throne;

She feeds his hopes, and soothes him to delay. The Turkish powers from Europe shall retreat, For her, repose is banished from the night, And harass Greece no more with wasteful war. And business from the day. In her apartments A galley manned with Greeks,-thy charge, Le He livesontius,

Leon. And there must fall. Attends to waft us to repose and safety.

Cali. But yet the attempt Dem. That vessel, if observed, alarms the Is hazardous. court,

Leon. Forbear to speak of hazards ! And gives a thousand fatal questions birth;

What has the wretch that has survived his counWhy stored for flight ? and why prepared by Cali ?

His friends, his liberty, to hazard? Cali. This hour I'll beg, with unsuspecting Cali, Life, face,

Dem. The inestimable privilege of breathing! Leave to perform my pilgrimage to Mecca ; Important hazard! What's that airy bubble, Whịch, granted, hides my purpose from the When weighed with Greece, with virtue, with world,

Aspasia ?
And, though resused, conceals it from the sultan. A floating atom, dust that falls unheeded

Leon. How can a single hand attempt a life, Into the adverse scale, nor shakes the balance.
Which arinies guard, and citadels inclose? Cali. At least this day be calm-If we suc-
Cali. Forgetful of command, with captive ceed,
beauties,

Aspasia's thine, and all thy life is raptureFar from his troops, he toys his hours away. See! Mustapha, the tyrant's minion comes. A roving soldier seized in Sophia's temple

Invest Leontius with his new command; A virgin, shining with distinguished charins, And wait Abdalla's unsuspected visits : And brought his beauteous plunder to the sultan. Remeinber frecdom, glory, Greece, and love. Dem. In Sophia's temple !-What alarm !-

[Ereunt DEM. and LEON, Proceed.

Enter MUSTAPHA. Cali. The sultan gazed, he wondered, and he

Mus. By what enchantment does this lovely la passion lost, he bade the conquering fair

Greek
Renounce her faith, and be the queen of Turkey; Hold in her chains the captivated sultan ?
The pious maid, with modest indignation, He tires his favourites with Irene's praise,
Threw back the glittering bribe.

And seeks the shades to musę upon Irene ;
Dem. Celestial goodness !

Irene steals unheeded from his tongue, It must, it must be she !-Her nare?

And mingles unperceived with every thought. Cali. Aspasia.

Cali. Why should the sultan shun the joys of Dem. What hopes, what terrors rush upon my

beauty, soul !

Or arm his breast against the force of love? O lead me quickly to the scene of fate; Love, that with sweet vicissitude relieves Break through the politician's tedious forms ! The warrior's labours, and the monarch's cares. Aspasia calls me, let me fly to save her.

But will she yet receive the faith of Mecca ? Leon. Did Mahomet reproach or praise her Mus. Those powerful tyrants of the female virtue?

breast, Cali. His offers oft repeated, still refused,

Fear and ambition, urge her to compliance;

loved ;

comes

Dressed in each charm of gay magnificence, Remote from tumult, in the adjoining palace, Alluring grandeur courts her to his arms; Thy care shall guard this treasure of my soul; Religion calls her from the wished embrace, There let Aspasia, since my fair entreats it, Paints future joys, and points to distant glories. With converse chase the melancholy moments. Cali. Soon will the unequal contest be deci- Sure, chilled with sixty wintry camps, thy blood, ded;

At sight of female charms, will glow no more. Prospects obscured by distance faintly strike, Cali. These years, unconquered Mahomet, deEach pleasure brightens at its near approach,

mand And every danger shocks with double horror. Desires more pure, and other cares than love. Must. How shall I scorn the beautiful apos- Long have I wished, before our prophet's tomb, tate!

To pour my prayers for thy successful reign, How will the bright Aspasia shine above her! To quit the tumults of the noisy camp, Cali. Should she, for proselytes are always zea

And sink into the silent grave in peace. lous,

Mah. What! Think of peace while haughty With pious warmth receive our prophet's law

Scanderbeg, Must. Heaven will contemn the mercenary Elate with conquest, in his native mountains, feryour,

Prowls o'er the wealthy spoils of bleeding TurWhich love of greatness, not of truth, inflames.

key? Cali. Cease, cease thy censures; for the sultan While fair Hungaria's unexhausted vallies

Pour forth their legions, and the roaring Danube Alone, with amorous haste, to seek his love. Rolls half his floods, unheard, through shouting

camps ? Enter MAHOMET.

Nor couldst thou more support a life of sloth, Hail, terror of the monarchs of the world! Than AmurathUnshaken be thy throne, as earth’s firm base, Cali. Still full of Amurath!

(Aside: Live till the sun forgets to dart his beams,

Mah. Than Amurath, accustomed to command, And weary planets loiter in their courses ! Could bear his son upon the Turkish throne.

Mah. But, Cali, let Irene share thy prayers ; Cali. This pilgrimage our lawgiver ordained For what is length of days without Irene?

Mah. For those who could not please by noI come from empty noise, and tasteless pomp,

bler service. From crowds, that hide a monarch from himself, Our warlike prophet loves an active faith. To

prove the sweets of privacy and friendship, The holy flame of enterprising virtue And dwell upon the beauties of Irene.

Mocks the dull vows of solitude and penance, Cali. O may her beauties last, unchanged by And scorns the lazy hermit's cheap devotion; time,

Shine thou, distinguished by superior merit, As those that bless the mansions of the good! With wonted zeal pursue the task of war, Mah. Each realm, where beauty turns the Till every nation reverence the Koran, graceful shape,

And every suppliant lift his eyes to Mecca. Swells the fair breast, or animates the glance, Cali. This regal confidence, this pious ardour, Adorns my palace with its brightest virgins ; Let prudence moderate, though not suppress. Yet, unacquainted with these soft emotions, Is not each realm, that smiles with kinder sums, I walked superior, through the blaze of charms, Or boasts a happier soil, already thine ? Praised without rapture, left without regret. Extended empire, like expanded gold, Why rove I now, when absent from my fair, Exchanges solid strength for feeble splendour. From solitude to crowds, from crowds to soli- Mah. Preach thy dull politics to vulgar kings! tude,

Thou know'st not yet thy master's future greatStill restless, till I clasp the lovely maid,

ness, And ease my loaded soul upon her bosom? His vast designs, his plans of boundless power,

Mus. Forgive, great sultan, that intrusive duty When every storm in my domain shall roar, Inquires the final doom of Menodorus,

When every wave shall beat a Turkish shore; The Grecian counsellor.

Then, Cali, shall the toils of battle cease, Mah. Go, see him die :

Then dream of prayer, and pilgrimage, and peace! His martial rhetoric taught the Greeks resistance;

(Ereunt. Had they prevailed, I ne'er had known Irene.

[Exit Mus.

ACT II.

SCENE 1.

Enter CALI and ABDALLA.

Cali. (To ABDALLA, as they advance.] Bchold Enter ASPASIA and IRENE.

our future sultaness, Abdalla; Irene. Aspasia, yet pursue the sacred theme; Let artful fattery now, to lull suspicion, Exhaust the stores of pious eloquence,

Glide through Irene to the sultan's ear. And teach me to repel the sultan's passion. Wouldst thou subdue the obdurate cannibal Still, at Aspasia's voice, a sudden rapture To tender friendship, praise him to his mistress. Exalts my soul, and fortifies my heart.

[TO IRENE. The glittering vanities of empty greatness,

Well
may
those
eyes,

that view these heavenly The hopes and fears, the joys and pains, of life, charms, Dissolve in air, and vanish into nothing. Reject the daughters of contending kings; Asp. Let nobler hopes, and juster fears, suc- For what are pompous titles, proud alliance, ceed,

Empire or wealth, to excellence like thine And bar the passes of Irene's mind

Abd. Receive the impatient sultan to thy arms; Against returning guilt.

And may a long posterity of monarchs, Irene. When thou art absent,

The pride and terror of succeeding days, Death rises to my view, with all his terrors; Rise from the happy bed; and future queens Then visions, horrid as a murderer's dream, Diffuse Irene's beauty through the world! Chill my resolves, and blast my blooming virtue ; Irene. Can Mahomet's imperial hand descend Stern torture shakes his bloody scourge before to clasp a slave? or, can a soul like mine, me,

Unused to power, and formed for humbler scenes, And anguish gnashes on the fatal wheel!

Support the splendid miseries of greatness? Asp. Since fear predominates in every thought,

Cali. No regal pageant, decked with casual And sways thy breast with absolute dominion,

honours, Think on the insulting scorn, the conscious pangs, Scorned by his subjects, trampled by his foes; The fature miseries that wait the apostate ; No feeble tyrant of a petty state So shall timidity assist thy reason,

Courts thee to shake on a dependent throne; And wisdom into virtue turn thy frailty.

Born to command, as thou to charm mankind, Irene. Will not that power, that formed the The sultan from himself derives his greatness. heart of woman,

Observe, bright maid, as his resistless voice And wove the feeble texture of her nerves,

Drives on the tempest of destructive war, Forgive those fears that shake the tender frame? How nation after nation falls before him. Asp. The weakness we lament, ourselves

Abd. At his dread name the distant mountains create.

shake Instructed from our infant years to court, Their cloudy summits, and the sons of fierceness, With counterfeited fears, the aid of man,

That range uncivilized from rock to rock, We learn to shudder at the rustling breeze, Distrust the eternal fortresses of nature, Start at the light, and tremble in the dark ;

And wish their gloomy caverns more obscure. Till, affectation ripening to belief,

Asp. Forbear this lavish pomp of dreadful And Folly frighted at her own chimeras,

praise; Habitual cowardice usurps the soul.

The horrid images of war and slaughter Irene. Not all like thee can brave the shocks

Renew our sorrows, and awake our fears. of fate;

Abd. Cali, methinks yon waving trees afford Thy soul, by nature great, enlarged by knowledge, A doubtful glimpse of our approaching friends ; Soars unencumbered with our idle cares,

Just as I marked them, they forsook the shore, And all Aspasia, but her beauty, is man.

And turned their hasty steps towards the garden. Asp. Each generous sentiment is thine, Deme

Cali. Conduct these queens, Abdalla, to the trius,

palace: Whose soul, perhaps, yet mindful of Aspasia,

Such heavenly beauty, formed for adoration, Now hovers o'er this melancholy shade, The pride of monarchs, the reward of conquest Well pleased to find thy precepts not forgotten. Such beauty must not shine to vulgar eyes, O! could the grave restore the pious hero,

(Exeunt ABD. and Asp, Soon would his art or valour set us free, How Heaven, in scorn of human arrogance, And bear us far from servitude and crimes ! Commits to trivial chance, the fate of nations ! Irene. He yet may live.

While, with incessant thought, laborious man Asp. Alas! delusive dream!

Extends his mighty schemes of wealth and power, Too well I know him; his immoderate courage, And towers and triumphs in ideal greatness, The inpetuous sallies of excessive virtue, Some accidental gust of opposition Too strong for love, have hurried him on death. Blasts all the beauties of his new creation,

« ZurückWeiter »