Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

Abb.1 The better; for we love not to be seen :
'Tis thirty winters long since some of us
Did stray so far amongst the multitude.

F. Jac. But, madam, this house
And waters ? of this new-made nunnery
Will much delight you.

310 Abb.3 It may be so; but who comes here?

[ABIGAIL comes forward. Abig. Grave abbess, and you, happy virgins' guide, Pity the state of a distressèd maid.

Abb. What art thou, daughter?

Abig. The hopeless daughter of a hapless Jew,
The Jew of Malta, wretched Barabas;
Sometimes 4 the owner of a goodly house,
Which they have now turned to a nunnery.

Abb. Well, daughter, say, what is thy suit with us?

Abig. Fearing the afflictions which my father feels 320 Proceed from sin, or want of faith in us, I'd pass away my life in penitence, And be a novice in your nunnery, To make atonement for my labouring soul. F. Jac. No doubt, brother, but this proceedeth of the

spirit. F. Barn. I, and of a moving spirit too, brother; but

come, Let us intreat she may be entertained.

Abb. Well, daughter, we admit you for a nun.

1 Old ed. " Nun."
2 Can this word be right ? Qu. "cloisters”?
3 Old ed. " Nun."

1.e., sometime.

Abig. First let me as a novice learn to frame My solitary life to your strait laws,

330 And let me lodge where I was wont to lie, I do not doubt, by your divine precepts And mine own industry, but to profit much.

Bar. As much, I hope, as all I hid is worth. [Aside.
Abb. Come, daughter, follow us.

Bar. Why, how now, Abigail,
What makest thou amongst these hateful Christians ?

F. Jac. Hinder her not, thou man of little faith,
For she has mortified herself.

Bar. How! mortified?
F. Jac. And is admitted to the sisterhood.

Bar. Child of perdition, and thy father's shame ! 340
What wilt thou do among these hateful fiends?
I charge thee on my blessing that thou leave
These devils, and their damned heresy.

Abig. Father, give 1 me- [She goes to him.

Bar. Nay, back, Abigail,
(And think upon the jewels and the gold, [Whispers to her.
The board is marked thus that covers it.)
Away, accursèd, from thy father's sight.

F. Jac. Barabas, although thou art in misbelief,
And wilt not see thine own afflictions,
Yet let thy daughter be no longer blind.

350 Bar. Blind friar, I reck not thy persuasions, (The board is markèd thus 2 that covers it.)

1 Dyce reads “ forgive," perhaps rightly.

2 Here the old ed. gives " + " (to indicate the notch in the plank under which the treasure was concealed).

For I had rather die than see her thus.
Wilt thou forsake me too in my distress,
Seducèd daughter? (Go, forget not, go.?)
Becomes it Jews to be so credulous ?
(To-morrow early I'll be at the door.)
No, come not at me; if thou wilt be damned,
Forget me, see me not, and so be gone.
(Farewell, remember to-morrow morning)

360 Out, out, thou wretch !

[Exeunt, on one side Barabas, on the other side Friars, Abbess, Nun and Abigal; as they are going out,

Enter MATHIAS. Math. Who's this? fair Abigail, the rich Jew's daughter, Become a nun! her father's sudden fall Has humbled her and brought her down to this : Tut, she were fitter for a tale of love, Than to be tired out with orisons: And better would she far become a bed, Embraced in a friendly lover's arms, Than rise at midnight to a solemn mass.

Enter LODOWICK.
Lod. Why, how now, Don Mathias ! in a dump? 370

Math. Believe me, noble Lodowick, I have seen
The strangest sight, in my opinion,
That ever I beheld.

Lod. What was't, I prythee?

1 I have added the second "go" for the sake of the metre. VOL. II.

с

Math. A fair young maid, scarce fourteen years of age,
The sweetest flower in Cytherea's field,
Cropt from the pleasures of the fruitful earth,
And strangely metamorphos'd to a nun.

Lod. But say, what was she?
Math. Why, the rich Jew's daughter.

Lod. What, Barabas, whose goods were lately seized ?
Is she so fair ?
Math. And matchless beautiful ;

380 As had you seen her 'twould have moved your heart, Though countermined with walls of brass, to love, Or at the least to pity.

Lod. And if she be so fair as you report, 'Twere time well spent to go and visit her : How say you, shall we?

Math. I must and will, sir ; there's no remedy.

Lod. And so will I too, or it shall go hard. Farewell, Mathias.

Math. Farewell, Lodowick. [Exeunt severally ACT THE SECOND.

SCENE I.

Enter1 BARABAS with a light.

Bar. Thus,like the sad presaging raven, that tolls The sick man's passport in her hollow beak, And in the shadow of the silent night Doth shake contagion from her sable wings; Vexed and tormented runs poor Barabas With fatal curses towards these Christians The uncertain pleasures of swift-footed time Have ta'en their flight, and left me in despair ; And of my former riches rests no more But bare remembrance, like a soldier's scar, That has no further comfort for his maim. O thou, that with a fiery pillar led'st The sons of Israel through the dismal shades, Light Abrahain's offspring; and direct the hand Of Abigail this night; or let the day Turn to eternal darkness after this : No sleep can fasten on my watchful eyes,

10

1 Scene : before Barabas' house.

2 Collier notices that II. 1, 2, are found (with slight variation) in Guil. pin's Skialetheia, 1598. Cf. Peele's David and Bethsabe :

“Like as the fatal raven, that in his voice

Carries the dreadful summons of our death,”

« ZurückWeiter »