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No shameful bonds, but honourable death.
Pier. Hast thou not wronged me? Dar'st thou Duke. Break up the council. Captain, guard call thyself your prisoners.
That once-loved, valued friend of mine, Jaffier, you ‘are free, but these must wait for And swear thou hast not wronged me? Whence
judgment. [Exeunt all the Senators. these chains ? Pier. Come, where's my dungeon ? Lead me Whence the vile death, which I may meet this to my straw:
moment? It will not be the first time I've lodged hard, Whence this dishonour, but from thee, thou false To do the senate service.
one? Jaf. Hold, one moment.
Jaf. All's true; yet grant one thing, and I've Piek. Who's he disputes the judgment of the
Picr. What's that?
The council have proposed : thou, and thy friends,
And carry up and done this cursed city,
Burthensome to itself, a few years longer;
thou art! Listen with mildness to my supplications ! No, this vile world and I have long been janglPier. What whining monk art thou? what ho ing, ly cheat,
And cannot part on better terins than now, That would encroach upon my credulous ears, When only men, like thee, are fit to live in it. And cant'st thus vilely? Hence! I know thee not; Jaf. By all that's justDissemble and be pasty. Leave, hypocrite. Pier. Swear by some other powers, Jaf. Not know me, Pierre !
For thou hast broke that sacred oath too lately. Pier. No, I know thee not! What art thou? Jaf. Then, by that hell I merit, I'll not leave Juf. Jaffier, thy friend, thy once-loved valued thee, friend!
Till to thyself, at least, thou art reconciled, Tho' now descrvedly scorned, and used most However thy resentment deal with me. hardly.
Pier. Not leave me! Pier. Thou, Jaffier! thou my once-loved va Jaf. No; thou shalt 'not force me from thee. lued friend!
Use me reproachfully, and like a slave; By Heavens thou lyest; the man so called, my Tread on me, buffet me, heap wrongs on wrongs friend,
On my poor head: I'll bear it all with patience, Was generous, honest, faithful, just, and valiant; Shall weary oụt thy most unfriendly cruelty; Noble in mind, and in his person lovely;
Lie at thy feet, and kiss them, though they spurn Dear to my eyes, and tender to my heart :
me; But thou! a wretched, base, false, worthless cow- Till, wounded by my sufferings, thou relent, ard,
And raise me to thy' arms, with dear forgiveness. Poor, even in soul, and loathsome in thy aspect; Pier. Art thou notAll eyes must shun thee, and all hearts detest Jaf. What? thee.
Pier. A traitor?
Pier. A coward, a most scandalous coward;
are numberless. Look back, and see iny sad, sincere submission! Pier. And would'st thou have me live on terms How my heart swells, as e'en 'twould burst my like thine? bosom;
Base, as thou art false-
In recompence for faith and trust sa broked.
Pier. I scorn it more, because preserved by Jaf. Mercy! kind heaven has surely endless thee;
stores, And as, when first my foolish heart took pity Hoarded for thee, of blessings yet untasted : On thy misfortunes, sought thee in thy miseries, Let wretches, loaded hard with guilt, as I am, Relieved thy wants, and raised thee from the Bow with the weight, and groan beneath the bur
then, Of wretchedness, in which thy fate had plunged | Creep with a remnant of that strength, they've thée,
left, To rank thee in my list of noble friends ; Before the footstool of that heaven, they've All I received, in surety for thy truth,
injured. Were unregarded oaths, and this, this dagger, Oh, Belvidera! I'm the wretched'st creature Given with a worthless pledge, thou since has E'er crawled on earth. Now, if thou hast virtue, stolen :
help me; Sa I restore it back to thee again;
Take me into thy arins, and speak the words of Swearing by all those powers, which thou hast
To my divided soul, that wars within me, Never from this cursed hour to hold communion, And raises every sense to my confusion : Friendship, or interest, with thee, though our By heaven, I'm tottering on the very brink years
Of peace, and thou art all the hold I've left. Were to exceed those limited the world.
Bel. Alas! I know thy sorrows are most Take it-farewell—for now I owe thee nothing. mighty : Jaf. Say thou wilt live, then,
I know thou'st cause to mourn; to mourn, my Pier. For my life, dispose it
Jaffier, Just as thou wilt, because 'tis what I'm tired with. With endless cries, and never-ceasing wailing : Jaf. Oh, Pierre !
Thou'st lostPier. No more.
Jaf. Oh! I have lost what can't be counted. Jaf. My eyes won't lose the sight of thee, My friend too, Belvidera, that dear friend, But languish after thec, and ache with gazing. Who, next to thee, was all my heart rejoiced in, Pier. Leave me -Nay, then, thus, thus I throw Has used me like a slave, shamefully used me : thee from me;
'Twould break thy pitying heart to hear the story. And curses, great as is thy falshood, catch thee! What should I do? Resentment, indignation,
[Erit. Love, pity, fear, and memory how I've wronged Jaf. Amen.
him, He's gone, my father, friend, preserver,
Distract my quiet with the very thought of it, And here's the portion he has left me: And tear my heart to pieces in
bosom. [Holds the dagger up.
Bel. What has he done? This dagger. Well reinembered! with this dagger, Jaf. Thou’dst hate me, should I tell thee. I gave a solemn vow of dire importance;
Bel. Why? Parted with this, and Belvidera together.
Juf. Oh! he has used me—yet, by heaven, I Have a care, meinory! drive that thought no
bear it; farther:
He has used me, Belvidera--but first swear,
utterly, Where it may grow acquainted with my heart, Though vilest blots, and stains appear on me; That, when they meet, they start not from each But still, at least, with charitable goodness, other.
Be near me in the pangs of my affliction, So now for thinking—A blow! called traitor, Nor scorn me, Belvidera, as he has done. villain,
Bel. Have I then e'er been false, that now I Coward, dishonourable coward !
am doubted ? Oh! for a long sound sleep, and so forget it. Speak, what's the cause I am grown into distrust! Down, busy devil!
Why thought unfit to hear my love's coinplaining? Enter BELVIDERA.
Bel. Tell me. Bel. Whither shall I Ay?
Jaf. Bear iny failings, for they are many. Where hide me and my miseries together? Oh, my dear angel! in that friend, I have lost Where's now the Roman constancy I boasted? All my soul's peace; for every thought of him Sunk into trembling fears and desperation, Strikes my sense hard, and deads it in my brains ! Not daring to look up to that dear face, Would'st thou believe it? Which used to smile, even on my faults; but, Bel. Speak. down,
Juf. Before we parted, Bending these miserable eyes on earth, E’re yet his guards had led him to his prison, Must move in penance, and implore much mercy. Full of severest sorrow for his sufferings,
With eyes o'erflowing, and a bleeding heart, Than downy pillows, decked with leaves of roses. Humbling myself, almost beneath my nature, Jaf. Alas! thou think'st pot of the thorns 'tis As at his feet I kneeled and sued for mercy,
filled with: Forgetting all our friendship, all the dearness, Fly, e'er they gall thee. There's a lurking serpent In which we have lived so many years together, Ready to leap, and sting thee to the heart. With a reproachful hand he dashed a blow : Art thou not terrified ? He struck me, Belvidera! by heaven, he struck Bel. No. me!
Jaf. Call to mind Buffetted, called me traitor, villain, coward. What thou hast done, and whither thou hast Am I a coward? Am I a villain ? Tell me !
brought me. Thou’rt the best judge, and mad’st me, if I am Bel. Ha ! SO.
Jaf. Where's my friend? my friend, thou smiDamnation! Coward !
ling mischief! Bel. Oh! forgive him, Jaffier;
Nay, shrink not, now 'tis too late; thou shouldst And, if his sufferings wound thy heart already,
have fled What will they do to-morrow?"
When thy guilt first had cause ; for dire revenge Jaf. Ah !
and raging for my friend. He groans ! Bel. To-morrow,
Hark, how he groans ! his screams are in my cars When thou shalt see him stretched in all the Already ; see, they've fixed him on the wheel ! agonies
And now they tear him!-murder! Perjured seOf a tormenting and a shameful death;
nate! His bleeding bowels, and his broken limbs, Murder !-Oh!-Hark thee, traitress, thou hast Insulted o'er by a vile butchering villain ;
done this! What will thy heart do then? Oh! sure 'twill Thanks to thy tears, and false persuading love. stream,
How her eyes speak! Oh, thou bewitching crcaLike my eyes now.
ture! Jaf. What means thy dreadful story? Madness can't hurt thee. Come, thou little tremDeath, and to-morrow! Broken limbs and bowels! bler, Insulted o'er by a vile butchering villain! Creep even into my heart, and there lie safe; By all my fears, I shall start out to madness 'Tis thy own citadel-Ila-yet stand off!
ely guessing, if the truth's hid longer. Heaven must have justice, and my broken vows Bel. The faithless senators, 'tis they've decreed I'll wink, and then 'tis done
Bel. What means the lord They say, according to your friends' request, Of me, my life, and love? What's in thy bosom, They shall have death, and not ignoble bondage; Thou graspest at so? Nay, why am I thus treated? Declare their promised mercy all as forfeited : [Draws the dagger, and offers to stab her. False to their oaths, and deaf to intercession, What wilt thou do? Ah! do not kill me, Jaffer : Warrants are passed for public death to-morrow. Pity these panting breasts, and trembling limbs, Juf. Death! doomed to die ! condemned un- That used to clasp thee, when thy looks were heard ! unpleaded !
milder, Bel. Nay, cruellest racks and torments are pre- That yet hang heavy on my unpurged soul, paring,
And plunge it not into eternal darkness ! To force confession from their dying pangs Jaf. Know, Belvidera, when we parted last, Oh! do not look so terribly upon me!
I gave this dagger with thee, as in trust, How your lips shake, and all your face disor- To be thy portion, if I e'er proved false. dered!
On such condition, was my truth believed; What means my love?
But now 'tis forfeited, and must be paid for. Jaf. Leave me, I charge thee, leave me-Strong
[Offers to stab her again. temptations
Bel. Oh! Mercy!
[Kneeling Wake in my heart.
Jaf. Nay, no struggling. Bel. For what?
Bel. Now, then, kill
me, Jaf. No more, but leave me.
(Leaps on his neck, and kisses him. Bel. Why?
While thus I cling about thy cruel neck, Jaf. Oh! by Heaven, I love thee with that Kiss thy revengeful lips, and die in joys fondness,
Greater than any I can guess hereafter. I would not have thee stay a moment longer Jaf. I am, I am a coward, witness heaven, Near these cursed hands : Are they not cold up Witness it, carth, and every being witness ! on thee?
'Tis but one blow! yet, by immortal love, [Pulls the dagger half out of his bosom, I cannot longer bear a thought to harm thee. and puts it back again.
[He throws away the dagger, und emBèl. No; everlasting comfort's in thy arms.
braces her. To lean thus on thy breast, is softer ease The seal of Providence is sure upon thee;
And thou wert born for yet unheard-of wonders. Speak to him with thy eyes, and with thy tears,
ness; Fly to thy cruel, father, save my friend, Nor, till thy prayers are granted, set him frce, Or all our future quiet's lost for ever!
But conquer him, thou hast conquered me! Fal at his feet, cling round his reverend knees,
SCENE I.–An Apartment in Priuli's House. Pri. What wouldst thou beg for?
Bel. Pity and forgiveness. [ Throws up her veil. Enter Priuli solus.
By the kind tender names of child and father, Pri. WHY, cruel Heaven, have my unhappy Hear my complaints, and take me to your love! days
Pri. My daughter! Been lengthened to this sad one? Oh! dishonour Bel. Yes, your daughter, by a mother And deathless, infamy is fallen upon me! Virtuous and noble, faithful to your honour, Was it my fault? Am I a traitor? No.
Obedient to your will, kind to your wishes, But then, my only child, my daughter wedded; Dear to your arms: By all the joys she gave you, There my best blood runs foul, and a disease
When, in her blooming years, she was your treaIncurable has seized upon my memory;
sure, To make it rot and stink to after-ages!
Look kindly on me.
In my face behold Curst be the fatal minute, when I got her; The lineaments of her’s you have kissed so often, Or would that I had been any thing but man, Pleading the cause of your poor cast-off child. And raised an issue, which would ne'er have Pri. Thou art my daughter. wronged me.
Bel. Yes—and you have often told me, The miserablest creatures (man excepted) With smiles of love and chaste paternal kisses, Are not the less esteemed, though their posterity I had much resemblance of my inother. Degenerate from the virtues of their fathers : Pri. Oh! The vilest beasts are happy in their offspring, Hadst thou inherited her matchless virtues, While only man gets traitors, whores, and villains! I had been too blessed! Cursed be the names, and some swift blow from Bel. Nay, do not call to memory fate
My disobedience; but let pity enter Lay this head deep, where mine may be forgot- Into your heart, and quite deface the impression. ten!
For could you think how mine's perplexed, what
sadness, Enter BELVIDERA, in a long mourning veil. Fears and despair distract the peace within me,
Bel. Ile's there, my father, my inhuman father, Oh! you would take me in your dear, dear arms, That for three years has left an only child Hover with strong compassion o'er your young Exposed to all the outrages of fate,
one, And cruel ruin ! -Oh
To shelter me, with a protecting wing, Pri. What child of sorrow
From the black gathered storm, that's just, just Art thou, that comest wrapt in weeds of sadness, breaking. And movest, as if thy steps were towards a grave? Pri. Don't talk thus. Bel. A wretch, who, from the very top of hap: Bel. Yes, I must; and you must hear too. piness,
I have a husband. Am fallen into the depths of misery,
Pri. Damn him. And want your pitying hand to raise me up again. Bel. Oh! do not curse him; Pri. Indeed thou talkst as thou hadst tasted He would not speak so hard a word towards you sorrows;
any terms, howe'er he deals with me. Would I could help thee!
Pri. Ha ! what means my child? Bel. 'Tis greatly in your power :
Bel. Oh! there's but this short moment The world, too, speaks you charitable; and I, 'Twixt me and fate : yet send me not with curses Who ne'er asked alms before, in that dear hope, Down to my grave; afford me one kind blessing Am come a begging to you, sir.
Before we part : just take me in your arnis, Pri. For what?
And recommend me with a prayer to heaven, Bel. Oh, well regard me! is this voice a strange That I may die in peace; and when I am dead one?
Pri. How my soul's catch'd!
She would have pitied me, had fate yet spared | Not one of them but what shall be immortal. her.
Canst thou forgive nie all my follies past ? Pri. By Heaven, my aching heart forebodes I'll henceforth be indeed a father; never, much mischief!
Never more thus expose, but cherish thee, Tell me thy story, for I'm still thy father. Dear as the vital warmth, that feeds my life, Bel. No; I'm contented:
Dear as these
in fondness over Pri. Speak!
thee : Bel. No matter.
Peace to thy heart! Farewell. Pri. Tell me :
Bel. Go, and remember, By yon blessed Heaven, my heart runs o'er with 'Tis Belvidera's life her father pleads for. fondness!
SCENE II.-A Garden.
Bend down ye heavens, and, shutting round this
Scorch it with elemental flames to one cursed
Burn, burn to nothing; but let Venice burn,
[Meeting him. If they are lost, he vows to appease the gods Jaf. My plague- [Turning from her. With this poor life, and make my blood the atone Bel. Nay, then I see my ruin. ment!
If I must die Pri. Heavens !
Juf. No, death's this day too busy; Bel. Think you sáw what passed at our last Thy father's ill-timed mercy came too late. parting:
I thank thee for thy labours though; and him
And I'll no longer weep, or plead against it,
With some remorse; and when thou givest the he loved, and that dear love preserved blow,
View me with eyes of a relenting love,
And shew me pity, for 'twill sweeten justice.
Charged with iny fate, come trembling to the
deed, Hly to the senate, save the promised lives As thou hast done a thousand times Oi bois dear friends, ere mine be made the sacri- To this poor breast, when kinder rage hath fice.
brought thee, Pri. Oh, my heart's comfort !
When our stung hearts have leaped to meet each Bel. Will you not, my father?
other, Weep not, but answer me!
And melting kisses sealed our lips together ; Tri. By Heaven I will.
When joys have left me gasping in thy arms