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Abb.1 The better; for we love not to be seen :
F. Jac. But, madam, this house
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,
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."
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.
Bar. Why, how now, Abigail,
F. Jac. Hinder her not, thou man of little faith,
Bar. How! mortified?
Bar. Child of perdition, and thy father's shame ! 340
Abig. Father, give 1 me- [She goes to him.
Bar. Nay, back, Abigail,
F. Jac. Barabas, although thou art in misbelief,
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.
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.
Math. Believe me, noble Lodowick, I have seen
Lod. What was't, I prythee?
1 I have added the second "go" for the sake of the metre. VOL. II.
Math. A fair young maid, scarce fourteen years of age,
Lod. But say, what was she?
Lod. What, Barabas, whose goods were lately seized ?
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.
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,
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,”