« ZurückWeiter »
you are. my friend,
Calls back past joys, and warms us into trans- A moment of disquiet, were it not port.
[Music. My instrument of vengeance on this Altamont;
Therefore I mean to wait some opportunity SONG.
Of speaking with the maid we saw this morning, Ah, stay ! ah, turn! ah, whither would you fly, Ros. I wish you, sir, to think upon the danger
Too charming, too relentless maid ? Of being seen; to-day their friends are round I follow, not to conquer, but to die ;
them; You of the fearful are afraid.
And any eye that lights by chance on you, In vain I call; for she, like fleeting air, Shall put your life and safety to the hazard. When pressed by some tempestuous wind,
[They confer aside. Flies swifter from the voice of my despair,
Enter HORATIO. Nor casts one pitying look behind.
Hor. Still I must doubt some mystery of misSci. Take care my gates be open, bid all wel- chief, come;
Some artifice beneath. Lothario's father! All who rejoice with me to-day are friends : I knew him well; he was sagacious, cunning, Let cach indulge his genius, each be glad, Fluent in words, and bold in peaceful counsels, Jocund and free, and swell the feast with mirth; But of a cold, inactive hand in war; The sprightly bowl shall chearfully go round, Yet, with these coward's virtues, he undid None shall be grave, nor too severely wise; My unsuspecting, valiant, honest friend. Losses and disappointments, cares and poverty,
This son, if fame mistakes not, is more hot, The rich man's insolence, and great man's scorn, More
and unartful-Ha ! he is here! In wine shall be forgotten all. To-morrow
(Seeing him. Will be too soon to think, and to be wretched. Loth. Damnation! He again! This second Oh, grant, ye powers, that I may see these happy, time [Pointing to Alt. and Cal.. To-day he has crossed me, like
evil genius. Completely blest, and I have life enough ; Hor. I sought you, sir. And leave the rest indifferently to fate. (Ereunt. Loth. 'Tis well, then, I am found. Hor. What if, while all are here intent on re- Hor. 'Tis well
wrongs velling, I privately went forth, and sought Lothario ? To the earth’s utmost verge I would pursue. This letter may be forged; perhaps the wanton- No place, though e'er so holy, should protect
him; Of his vain youth, to stain a lady's fame; No shape, that artful fear e'er formed, should Perhaps his malice to disturb my friend.
hide him, Oh, no! my heart forebodes it must be true. Till he fair answer made, and did me justice. Methought, even now, I marked the starts of Loth. Ha! dost thou know me, that I am Loguilt
thario? That shook her soul; though damned dissimula- As great a name as this proud city boasts of? tion
Who is this mighty man, then, this Horatio, Screened her dark thoughts, and set to public That I should basely hide me from his anger, view
Lest he should chide me for his friend's displeaA specious face of innocence and beauty.
sure ? Oh, false appearance! What is all our sove- Hor. The brave, it is true, do never shụn the
reignty, Our boasted power? When they oppose their arts, Just are their thoughts, and open are their temStill they prevail
, and we are found their fools. pers, With such smooth looks, and many a gentle Freely without disguise they love and hate, word,
Still are they found in the fair face of day, The first fair she beguiled her easy lord; And Heaven and men are judges of their actions. Too blind with love and beauty to beware, Loth. Such let them be of mine; there is not He fell unthinking in the fatal snare;
a purpose, Nor could believe that such a heavenly face Which my soul ever framed, or my hand acted, Had bargained with the devil, to damn her But I could well have bid the world look on, wretched race.
[Erit. And what I once durst do, have dared to jus
tify. SCENE II.-The street near Sciolto's Palace. Hor. Where was this open boldness, this free
spirit, Enter LOTHARIO and Rossano.
When but this very morning I surprised thee, Loth. To tell thee then the purport of my In base, dishonest privacy, consulting, thoughts;
And bribing a poor mercenary wretch,
And, with a forged contrivance, blast her virtue? | You blame the fair with lies, because they scorn At sight of me thou fled'st.
you, Loth. Ha! fled from thee?
like ugliness and impotence : Hor. Thou fled'st, and guilt was on thee, like Rather than make you blest, they would die vira thief,
gins, A pilferer, descried in some dark corner, And stop the propagation of mankind. Who there had lodged, with mischievous intent, Loth. It is the curse of fools to be secure; To rob and ravish at the hour of rest,
And that be thine and Altamont's. Dream on; And do a midnight murder on the sleepers ! Nor think upon my vengeance till thou feel'st it. Loth. Slave! villain !
Hor. Hold, sir! another word, and then fare[Offers to draw, Rossano holds him.
Yet, as she shares the honour of my Altamont, And shock the peaceful city with a broil. That treasure of a soldier, bought with blood, Loth. Then, since thou dost provoke my ven- And kept at life's expence, I must not have geance, know,
(Mark me, young sir her very name profaned. I would not, for this city's wealth, for all Learn to restrain the licence of your speech; Which the sea wafts to our Ligurian shore, 'Tis held you are too lavish. When you are met But that the joys I reaped with that fond wanton, Among your set of fools, talk of your dress, The wife of Altamont, should be as public Of dice, of whores, of horses, and yourselves; As is the noon-day sun, air, earth, or water, 'Tis safer, and becomes your understandings. Or any common benefit of nature.
Loth. What if we pass beyond this solemn orThink'st thou I meant the shame should be con
der, cealed ?
And, in defiance of the stern Horatio, Oh, no! by hell and vengeance, all I wanted Indulge our gayer thoughts, let laughter loose, Was some fit inessenger to bear the news And use his sacred friendship for our mirth? To the dull doating husband: now. I have found Hor. 'T'is well, sir, you are pleasanthim,
Loth. By the joys And thou art he.
Which my soul yet has uncontrouled pursued, Hor. I hold thee base enough
I would not turn aside from my least pleasure, To break through law, and spurn at sacred order, Though all thy force were armed to bar my way; And do a brutal injury like this;
But, like the birds, great Nature's happy comYet mark me well, young lord; I think Calista
moners, Too nice, too noble, and too great a soul, That haunt in woods, in meads, and flowery garTo be the prey of such a thing as thou art.
dens, 'Twas base and poor, unworthy of a man, Rifle the sweets, and taste the choicest fruits, To forge a scroll so villainous and loose, Yet scorn to ask the lordly owner's leave. And mark it with a noble lady's name:
Hor. What liberty has vain presumptuous youth, These are the mean dishonest arts of cowards, That thou shouldst dare provoke me unchastised? Strangers to manhood, and to glorious dangers; But henceforth, boy, I warn thee, shun my walks! Who, bred at home in idleness and riot,
If, in the bounds of yon
forbidden place, Ransack for mistresses the unwholesome stews, Again thou art found, expect a punishment, And never know the worth of virtuous love. Such as great souls, impatient of an injury, Loth. Think'st thou I forged the letter? Think Exact from those who wrong them much; even so still,
death, Till the broad shame come staring in thy face, Or something worse : an injured husband's venAnd boys shall hoot the cuckold as he passes.
geance Hor. Away! no woman could descend so low: Shall print a thousand wounds, tear thy fair form, A skipping, dancing, worthless tribe you are ; And scatter thee to all the winds of Heaven! Fit only for yourselves, you herd together; Loth. Is, then, my way in Genoa prescribed And when the circling glass warms your vain By a dependent on the wretched Altamont, hearts,
A talking sir, that brawls for him in taverns, You talk of beauties that you never saw,
And vouches for his valour's reputation ? And fancy raptures that you never knew.
Hor. Away! thy speech is fouler than thy Legends of saints, who never yet had being, Or, being, ne'er were saints, are not so false Loth. Or, if there be a name more vile, his paAs the fond tales which you recount of love.
rasite; Loth. But that I do not hold it worth my lei- A beggar's parasite! sure,
Hor. Now, learn humanity, I could produce such damning proof
[Offers to strike him, Rossano interposes Hor. 'Tis false !
Since brutes and boys are only taught with blows
Loth. Damnation !
[They draw. Since love, as well as arms, must grace my triRos. Hold, this goes no further here.
umph. [Exeunt Lothario and Rossano. Horatio, 'tis too much; already see
Hor. Two hours ere noon to-morrow! ha! ere The crowd are gathering to us.
that Loth. Oh, Rossano !
He sees Calista! Oh, unthinking foolOr give me way, or thou art no more my friend. What if I urged her with the crime and danger? Ros. Sciolto's servants, too, have ta'en the If any spark from Heaven remain unquenched alarm;
Within her breast, my breath, perhaps, may wake You'll be oppressed by numbers. Be advised, Or I must force you hence. Take it on my word, Could I but prosper there, I would not doubt You shall have justice done you on Horatio. My combat with that loud vain-glorious boaster. Put up, my lord.
Were you, ye fair, but cautious whom ye trust, Loth. This will not brook delay;
Did you but think how seldom fools are just, West of the town a mile, among the rocks, So many of your sex would not, in vain, Two hours ere noon, to-morrow, I expect thee, Of broken vows, and faithless men, complain : Thy single hand to mine.
Of all the various wretches love has made, Hor. I'll meet thee there.
How few have been by men of sense betrayed ! Loth. To-morrow, oh, my better stars! to-mor- Convinced by reason, they your power confess, row
Pleased to be happy, as you're pleased to bless, Exert your influence : shine strongly for me; And, conscious of your worth, can nerer love you 'Tis not a cominon conquest I would gain,
SCENE I.-An apartment in Sciolto's palace. Yet shouldst thou, (which the powers above for
bid) Enter Sciolto and Calista.
E'er stain the honour of thy name with infamy, Sci. Now, by my life, my honour, 'tis too much! I'll cast thee off, as one whose impious hands Have I not marked thee, wayward as thou art, Had rent asunder nature's dearest ties, Perverse and sullen all this day of joy? Which, once divided, never join again. When every heart was cheered, and mirth went To-day I've made a noble youth thy husband ! round,
Consider well his worth; reward his love; Sorrow, displeasure, and repining anguish, Be willing to be happy, and thou art so. Sat on thy brow, like some malignant planet,
[Erit Sciolto. Foe to the harvest and the healthy year,
Cal. How hard is the condition of our sex, Who scowls adverse, and lours upon the world; Through every state of life the slaves of man! When all the other stars, with gentle aspect, In all the dear delightful days of youth Propitious shine, and meaning good to inan. A rigid father dictates to our wills,
Cal. Is then the task of duty half performed? And deals out pleasure with a scanty hand. Has not your daughter given herself to Altainont, To his, the tyrant husband's reign succeeds; Yielded ihe native freedom of her will
Proud with opinion of superior reason, To an imperious husband's lordly rule,
He holds domestic business and devotion To gratity a father's stern command?
All we are capable to know, and shuts us, Sci. Dost thou complain?
Like cloistered ideots, from the world's acquaintCal. For pity do not frown then,
ance, If, in despite of all my vowed obedience, And all the joys of freedom. Wherefore are we A sigh breaks out, or a tear falls by chance : Born with high souls, but to assert ourselves, For, oh! that sorrow, which has drawn your an- Shake off this vile obedience they exact, ger,
And claim an equal empire o'er the world? Is the sad native of Calista's breast :
Enter HORATIO. And once possessed, will never quit its dwelling, Till life, the prop of all, shall leave the building, Hor. She's here! yet, oh! my tongue is at a To tumble down, and moulder into ruin.
loss, Sci. Now by the sacred dust of that dear saint Teach me, some power, that happy art of speech, That was thy mother; by her wondrous goodness, | To dress my purpose up in gracious words; Her soft, her tender, most complying sweetness, Such as may softly steal upon her soul, I swear, some sullen thought, that shuns the light, and never waken the tempestuous passions. Lurks underneath that sadness in thy visage. By Heaven she weeps !- -Forgive me, fair But mark me well! though, by yon Hicaven, I love Calista, thee
If I presume on privilege of friendship, As much, I think, as a fond parent can; To join my grief to yours, and mourn the evils
That hurt your peace, and quench those eyes in | That, with licentious breath, blows, like the wind,
As freely on the palace as the cottage. Cal. To steal, unlooked for, on my private sor- Cal. What mystic riddle lurks beneath thy row,
words, Speaks not the man of honour, nor the friend, Which thou would'st seem unwilling to express, But rather means the spy.
As if it meant dishonour to my virtue? Hor. Unkindly said !
Away with this ambiguous shuffling phrase, For, oh! as sure as you accuse me falsely, And let thy oracle be understood. I come to prove myself Calista's friend.
Hor. Lothario ! Cal. You are my husband's friend, the friend Cal. Ha! what would'st thou mean by him? of Altamont.
Hor. Lothario and Calista! thus they join Hor. Are you not one? Are you not joined by Two names, which Heaven decreed should never
Hence have the talkers of this populous city
Cal. Death and confusion! Have I lived to this? Cal. Force, and the wills of our imperious Thus to be treated with unmanly insolence ! rulers,
To be the sport of a loose ruffian's tongue ! May bind two bodies in one wretched chain; Thus to be used! thus ! like the vilest creature, But minds will still look back to their own choice. That ever was a slave to vice and infamy! So the poor captive in a foreign realm,
Hor. By honour and fair truth, you wrong me Stands on the shore, and sends his wishes back
much; To the dear native land froin whence he came. For on my soul, nothing but strong necessity Hor. When souls, that should agree to will the Could urge my tongue to this ungrateful office. same,
I came with strong reluctance, as if death To have one common object for their wishes, Ilad stood across my way, to save your honour, Look different ways, regardless of each other, Your's and Sciolto's, your's and Altamont's ; Think what a train of wretchedness ensues : Like one who ventures through a burning pile, Love shall be banished from the genial bed, To save his tender wife, with all her brood The night shall all be lonely and unquiet, Of little fondlings, from the dreadful ruin. And every day shall be a day of cares.
Cal. Is this the famous friend of Altamont, Cal. Then all the boasted oihce of thy friend- For noble worth and deeds of arms renowned ? ship,
Is this the tale-bearing officious fellow, Was but to tell Calista what a wretch she is. That watches for intelligence from eyes; Alas! what needed that?
This wretched Argus of' a jealous husband, Hor. Oh! rather say,
That fills his easy ears with monstrous tales, I came to tell her how she might be happy; And makes him toss, and rave, and wreak at To soothe the secret anguish of her soul;
length To comfort that fair mourner, that forlorn one, Bloody revenge on his defenceless wife, And teach her steps to know the paths of peace. Who guiltless dies, because her fool ran mad?
Cal. Say thou, to whom this paradise is known, Hor. Alas! this rage is vain; for if your fame Where lies the blissful region? Mark my way Or peace be with your care, you must be calm, to it,
And listen to the means are left to save them. For, oh! 'uis sure I long to be at rest.
'Tis now the lucky minute of your
fate. Hor. Then—to be good is to be happy-An- By nie your genius speaks, by me it warns you, gels
Never to see that curst Lothario more; Are happier than mankind, because they're bet- Unless you mean to be despised, be shunred
By all our virtuous maids and noble matrons; Guilt is the source of sorrow! 'tis the fiend, Unless you have devoted this rare beauty The avenging fiend, that follows us behind, To infamy, diseases, prostitutionWith whips and stings. The blest know none of Cal. Dishonour blast thee, base, unmannered this,
slave! But rest in everlasting peace of mind,
That darest forget my birth, and sacred sex, And find the height of all their heaven is good. And shock me with the rude, unhallowed sound!
Hor. Here kneel, and in the awful face of Cal. And what bold parasite's officious tongue Heaven Shall dare to tax Calista's name with guilt? Breathe out a solemn vow, never to sec, Hor. None should; but 'tis a busy, talking Nor think, if possible, on him that ruined thee; world,
Or, by my Altamont's dear life, I swear,
This paper; nay, you must not fly-This paper, But mark me well; while thy divided heart
[Holding her. Doats on a villain that has wronged me thus, This guilty paper shall divulge your shame- No force shall drag me to thy hated bed. Cal. What meanest thou by that paper? What Nor can my cruel father's power do more contrivance
Than shut me in a cloister: there, well pleased, llast thou been forging to deceive my father; Religious hardships will I learn to bear, To turn his heart against his wretched daughter, To fast and freeze at midnight hours of prayer: That Altamont and thou may share his wealth? Nor think it hard, within a lonely cell, A wrong like this will make me even forget With melancholy, speechless saints to dwell ; The weakness of my sex. -Oh, for a sword, But bless the day I to that refuge ran, To urge my vengeance on the villain's hand, Free from the marriage chain, and from that tyThat forged the scroll!
[Erit Calista. Hor. Behold! Can this be forged ?
Alt She's gone; and, as she went, ten thousand See where Calista's name
fires [Shewing the letter near. Shot from her angry eyes; as if she meant Cal. To atoms thus,
[Teuring it. Too well to keep the cruel vow she made. Thus let me tear the vile, detested falsehood, Now, as thou art a man, Horatio, tell me, The wicked, lying evidence of shame.
What means this wild confusion in thy looks, Hor. Confusion !
As if thou wert at variance with thyself, Cal. Henceforth, thou officious fool,
Madness and reason combating within thee, Meddle no more, nor dare, even on thy life, And thou wert doubtful which should get the To breathe an accent that may touch my virtue.
better? I am myself the guardian of my honour,
Hor. I would be dumb for ever; but thy fate And will not bear so insolent a monitor.
Has otherwise decreed it. Thou hast seen
That idol of thy soul, that fair Calista;
Thou hast heheld her tears. Alt. Where is my life, my love, my charming Alt. I have seen her weep; bride,
I have seen that lovely one, that dear Calista, Joy of my heart, and pleasure of my eyes, Complaining, in the bitterness of sorrow, The wish, and care, and business of my youth? That thou, my friend, Iloratio, thou hast wronged Oh, let me tind her, snatch her to my breast,
her. And tell her she delays my bliss too long,
Hor. That I have wronged her! had her eyes Till my soft soul even sickens with desire.
been fed Disordered !-and in tears !-Horatio too! From that rich stream which warms her heart, My friend is in amaze- - What can it mean?
and numbered Tell me, Calista, who has done thce wrong, For every falling tear a drop of blood, That my swift sword may find out the offender, It had not been too much; for she has ruined And do thee ample justice.
thee, Cal. Turn to hiin.
Even thee, my Altamont. She has undone thee. Alt. Horatio !
Alt. Dost thou join ruin with Calista's name? Cal. To that insolent.
What is so fair, so exquisitely good? Alt. My friend!
Is she not more than painting can express, Could he do this? He, who was half myself? Or youthful poets fancy when they love? One faith has ever bound us, and one reason Does she not come, like wisdom, or good fortune, Guided our wills. Have I not found him just, Replete with blessings, giving wealth and honour? Honest as truth itself? And could he break The dowry which she brings is peace and pleaThe sanctity of friendship? Could he wound
sure, The heart of Altamont in his Calista?
And everlasting joys are in her arms. Cal. I thought what justice I should find from Hor. It had been better thou had'st lived a thee!
begrar, Go fawn upon him, listen to his tale,
And fed on scraps at great men's surly doors, Applaud his malice, that would blast my fame, Than to have matched with one so false, so faAnd treat me like a common prostitute.
tal.Thou art perhaps confederate in his mischief, Alt. It is too much for friendship to allow thee. And wilt believe the legend, if he tells it. Because I tamely bore the wrong thou didst her, Alt. Oh, impious! what presumptuous wretch Thou dost avow the barbarous, brutal part, shall dare
And urge the injury even to my face! To offer at an injury like that?
Hor. I see she has got possession of thy heart; Priesthood, nor age, nor cowardice itself, She has charmed thee, like a syren, to her bed, Shall save him from the fury of my vengeance. With looks of love, and with enchanting sounds :
Cal. The man who dared to do it was Horatio; Too late the rocks and quicksands will appear, Thy darling friend; 'twas Altamont's Horatio. When thou art wrecked upon the faithless shore,