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All we are capable to know, and shuts us,
Like cloister'd ideots, from the world's acquaintance,
And all the joys of freedom. Wherefore are we
Born with high souls, but to assert ourselves,
Shake off this vile obedience they exact,
And claim an equal empire o'er the world ?
Hor. She’s here! yet, Oh! my tongue is at a loss.
Teach me, some pow'r, that happy art of speech,
To dress my purpose up in gracious words;
Such as may softly steal upon her soul,
And never waken the tempestuous passions.
By Heav'n she weeps !- Forgive me, fair Calista,
If I presume on privilege of friendship, 60
To join my grief to yours, and mourn the evils
That hurt your peace, and quench those eyes in tears.
Cal. To steal, unlook'd for, on my private sorrow, Speaks not the man of honour, nor the friend, But rather means the spy.
Hor. Unkindly said ! For, Oh! as sure as you accuse me falsely, I come to prove myself Calista's friend. Cal. You are my husband's friend, the friend of
Hor. Are you not one ? Are you not join'd by
Each interwoven with the other's fate?
Are you not mixt like streams of meeting rivers,
Wliose blended waters are no more distinguish’d,
But roll into the sea, one common flood ?
Then who can give his friendship but to one ?
Who can be Altaniont's and not Calista's ?
Cal. Force, and the wills of our imperious rulers, May bind two bodies in one wretched chain; But minds will still look back to their own choice. “ So the poor captive in a foreign realm, “ Stands on the shore, and sends his wishes back " To the dear native land from whence he came,
Hor. When souls that should agree to will the same, To have one common object for their wishes, Look different ways, regardless of each other, Think what a train of wretchedness ensues : Love shall be banish'd from the genial bed, The night shall all be lonely and unquiet, And ev'ry day shall be a day of cares.
Cal. Then all the boasted office of thy friendship,
Was but to tell Calista what a wretch she is.
Alas! what needed that ?
Hor. Oh! rather say,
I came to tell her how she might be happy ;
To sooth the secret anguish of her soul ;
To comfort that fair mourner, that forlorn one,
And teach her steps to know the paths of peace.
Cal. Say thou, to whom this paradise is known, Where lies the blissful region ? Mark my way to it, For, Oh! 'tis sure I long to be at rest.
160 Hor. Then-to be good is to be happy--Angels Are happier than mankind, because they're better.
Guilt is the source of sorrow! 'tis the fiend,
Th’avenging fiend that follows us behind
With whips and stings. The blest know none of this,
But rest in everlasting peace of mind,
And find the height of all their heav'n is goodness.
Cal. And what bold parasite's officious tongue
Shall dare to tax Calista's name with guilt?
Hor. None should; but 'tis a busy, talking world, That with licentious breath blows like the wind,.. As freely on the palace as the cottage.
Cal. What mystic riddle lurks beneath thy words, :
Which thou would'st seem unwilling to express,
As if it meant dishonour to my virtue ?
Away with this ambiguous shuffling phrase,
And let thy oracle be understood.
Cal. Ha! what would'st thou mean by him ?
Hor. Lothario and Calista! thus they join 120
Two names, which Heav'n decreed should never meet.
Hence have the talkers of this populous city
A shameful tale to tell, for public sport,
Of an unhappy beauty, a false fair one,
Who plighted to a noble youth her faith,
When she had giv'n her honour to a wretch.
Cal. Death and confusion ! Have I liv'd to this ?
Thus to be treated with unmanly insolence !
To be the sport of a loose ruffian's tongue!
Thus to be us'd! thus ! like the vilest creature,
That ever was a slave to vice and infamy.
Hor. By honour and fair truth, you wrong me much; For, on my soul, nothing but strong necessity Could urge my tongue to this ungrateful office. I came with strong reluctance, as if death Had stood across my way, to save your honour, Your's and Sciolto's, your's and Altamont's; Like one who ventures through a burning pile; To save his tender wife, with all her brood Of little fondlings, from the dreadful ruin. 1 140
Cal. Is this the famous friend of Altamont,
For noble worth and deeds of arms renown'd ?
Is this the tale-bearing officious fellow,
That watches for intelligence from eyes;
This wretched Argus of a jealous husband,
That fills his easy ears with monstrous tales,
And makes him toss, and rave, and wreak at length
Bloody revenge on his defenceless wife,
Who guiltless dies, because her fool ran mad ?
Hor. Alas! this rage is vain; for if your fame
Or peace be with your care, you must be calm,
And listen to the means are left to save 'em.
'Tis now the lucky minute of your fate.
By me your genius speaks, by me it warns you,
Never to see that curst Lothario more;
Unless you mean to be despis'd, be shunn'd
By all our virtuous maids and noble matrons ;
Unless you have devoted this rare beauty
To infamy, diseases, prostitution-
Cal. Dishonour blast thee, base, unmanner'd slave! That dar’st forget my birth, and sacred sex, 161
And shock me with the rude, unhallow'd sound!
Hor. Here kneel, and in the awful face of Heav'n Breathe out a solemn vow, never to see, Nor think, if possible, on him that ruin'd thee; Or, by my Altamont's dear life, I swear, This paper; nay, you must not fly-This paper,
[ Holding her. This guilty paper shall divulge your shame Cal. What mean'st thou by that paper ? What
Hast thou been forging to deceive my father;
To turn his heart against his wretched daughter,
That Altamont and thou may share his wealth ?
A wrong like this will make me ev'n forget
The weakness of my sex.- Oh, for a sword,
To urge my vengeance on the villain's hand
That forg'd the scroll!
Hor. Behold! Can this be forg’d?
See where Calista's name— [Shewing the letter near.
Cal. To atoms thus,
[Tearing it. Thus let me tear the vile, detested falshood, 180 The wicked, lying evidence of shame.
Hor. Confusion !
Cal. Henceforth, thou officious fool,
Meddle no more nor dare, ev'n on thy life,
To breathe an accent that may touch my virtue.
I am myself the guardian of my honour,
And will not bear so insolent a monitor.