« ZurückWeiter »
And added to his injuries, the wrongs
Our prophet daily meets with from Axalla.
But see, he comes. Improve what I shall tell,
And all we wish is ours.
[They seem to talk together aside.
Dishonour blast my name! Was it for this
That I directed his first steps to greatness,
Taught him to climb, and made him what he is?
When our great Cham first bent his eyes towards
(Then petty prince of Parthia) and, by me
Persuaded, raised him to his daughter's bed,
Called him his son, and successor of the empire;
Was it for this, that like a rock I stood,
And stemmed a torrent of our Tartar lords,
Who scorned his upstart sway? When Calibes,
In bold rebellion, drew e'en half the provinces
To own his cause, I, like his better angel,
Stood by his shaking throne, and fixed it fast:
And am I now so lost to his remembrance,
That, when I ask a captive, he shall tell me,
She is Axalla's right, his Christian minion?
Der. Allow me, valiant Oinar, to demand, Since injured thus, why right you not yourself? The prize you ask is in your power.
And I will seize it in despite of Tamerlane,
And that Italian dog.
Ha. What need of force,
When every thing concurs to meet your wishes?
Our mighty master would not wish a son
Nobler than Omar. From a father's hand
Receive that daughter, which ungrateful Tamer-Yet lane
And adds even beauty to adorn his conquest,
she ordains the fair should know no fears,
No sorrows to pollute their lovely eyes,
But should be used even nobly, as herself,
The queen and goddess of the warrior's vows.
Such welcome as a camp can give, fair sultaness,
We hope you have received; it shall be larger,
And better as it may.
Arp. Since I have borne
That miserable mark of fatal greatness,
I have forgot all difference of conditions;
Sceptres and fetters are grown equal to me,
And the best change my fate can bring is death.
Tam. When sorrow dwells in such an angel
Well may we guess that those above are mourn
Virtue is wronged, and bleeding innocence
Suffers some wondrous violation here,
To make the saints look sad. Oh! teach my
Draws, and discovers ARPASIA lying on a couch. To cure those ills which you unjustly suffer,
To thee, O gentle Sleep, alone
Is owing all our peace,
By thee our joys are heightened shown, By thee our sorrows cease.
Lest Heaven should wrest it from my idle hand, If I look on, and see you weep in vain.
Arp. Not that my soul disdains the generous
Thy royal goodness proffers; but, oh, emperor ! It is not in my fate to be made happy;
Nor will I listen to the cozener, Hope,
But stand resolved to bear the beating storm
That roars around me; safe in this alone,
That I am not immortal. Though 'tis hard,
'Tis wondrous hard, when I remember thee,
Dear native Greece! and you, ye weeping
That were companions of my virgin youth!
My noble parents! Oh, the grief of heart,
The pangs, that, for unhappy me, bring down
Their reverend ages to the grave with sorrow.
And yet there is a woe surpassing all:
Ye saints and angels, give me of your constancy,
If you expect I shall endure it long!
Tam. Why is my pity all that I can give
To tears like yours? And yet I fear 'tis all;
Nor dare I ask, what mighty loss you mourn,
Lest honour should forbid to give it back.
Arp. No, Tamerlane, nor did I mean thou
Bat know, (though to the weakness of my sex
I yield these tears) my soul is more than man.
Think, I am born a Greek, nor doubt my virtue ;
A Greek! from whose famed ancestors of old
Rome drew the patterns of her boasted heroes.
They must be mighty evils that can vanquish
A Spartan courage, and a Christian faith.
Baj. To know no thought of rest! to have the mind
Still ministering fresh plagues, as in a circle,
Where one dishonour treads upon another;
What know the fiends beyond it? Ha! by hell,
[Seeing Arp. and Tum.
There wanted only this to make me mad.
Comes he to triumph here? to rob my love,
And violate the last retreat of happiness?
Tam. But that I read upon thy frowning brow,
That war yet lives, and rages in thy breast,
Once more (in pity to the suffering world)
I meant to offer peace.
Baj. And meanest thou too
To treat it with our empress? and to barter
The spoils, which fortune gave thee, for her fa-
Arp. What would the tyrant? Baj. Seekest thou thus our friendship? Is this the royal usage thou didst boast? Tam. The boiling passion, that disturbs thy soul, Spreads clouds around, and makes thy purpose dark
Unriddle what thy mystic fury aims at.
Baj. Is it a riddle? Read it there explained; There, in my shame. Now judge me thou, O prophet,
And equal Heaven, if this demand not rage!
The peasant-hind, begot and born to slavery,
Yet dares assert a husband's sacred right,
And guards his homely couch from violation:
And shall a monarch tamely bear the wron
Tum. If I could have wronged thee, If conscious virtue, and all-judging Heaven, Stood not between to bar ungoverned appetite, What hindered, but in spite of thee, my captive, I might have used a victor's boundless power, And sated every wish my soul could form? But to secure thy fears, know, Bajazet, This is among the things I dare not do.
Baj. By hell, it is false! else wherefore art
What cam'st thou for, but to undo my honour?
I found thee holding amorous parly with her,
Gazing and glutting on her wanton eyes, i
And bargaining for pleasures yet to come:
My life, I know, is the devoted price-
But take it! I am weary of the pain.
Tam. Yet ere thou rashly urge my rage too far,
I warn thee to take heed: I am a man,
And have the frailties common to man's nature:
The fiery seeds of wrath are in my temper,
And may be blown up to so fierce a blaze,
As wisdom cannot rule. Know, thou hast touch-
Even in the nicest, tenderest part, my honour; My honour; which, like power, disdains being questioned;
Thy breath has blasted my fair virtue's fame,
And marked me for a villain, and a tyrant.
Arp. And stand I here an idle looker-on,
To see my innocence murdered and mangled
By barbarous hands, nor can revenge the wrong?
Art thou a man, and dar'st thou use me thus?
Hast thou not torn me from my native country,
From the dear arms of my lamenting friends,
From my soul's peace, and from my injured love!
Hast thou not ruined, blotted me for ever,
And driven me to the brink of black despair?
And is it in thy malice yet to add
A wound more deep, to sully my white name,
Baj. Yes, thou hast thy sex's virtues,
Their affectation, pride, ill-nature, noise,
Proneness to change, even from the joy that
gracious is your idol, dear variety, That for another love you would forego An angel's form, to mingle with a devil's; Through every state and rank of men you wander, Till even your large experience takes in all The different nations of the peopled earth.
Arp. Why soughtst thou not from thy own impious tribe
A wife like one of these? For such thy race (If human nature brings forth such) affords. Greece, for chaste virgins famed, and pious matrons,
Teems not with monsters like your Turkish wives, Whom guardian eunuchs, haggard and deformed, Whom walls and bars make honest by constraint. Know, I detest, like hell, the crime thou mentionest:
Not that I fear, or reverence thee, thou tyrant!
But that my soul, conscious of whence it sprung,
Sits unpolluted in its sacred temple,
And scorns to mingle with a thought so mean.
Tam. Oh, pity! that a greatness so divine
Should meet a fate so wretched, so unequal.
Thou, blind and wilful to the good that courts
With open-handed bounty Heaven pursues thee,
And bids thee, (undeserving as thou art,
And monstrous in thy crimes) be happy yet;
Whilst thou, in fury, dost avert the blessing,
And art an evil genius to thyself,
Baj. No-Thou! thou art my greatest curse
Thou, who hast robbed me of my crown and
And now pursuest me to the verge of life,
To spoil me of my honour. Thou! thou hypo-
That wearest a pageant outside shew of virtue,
To cover the hot thoughts that glow within!
Thou rank adulterer!
Tam. Oh, that thou wert
The lord of all those thousands, that lie less,
On yonder field of blood, that I again
Might hunt thee, in the face of death and dan
Through the tumultuous battle, and there force thee,
By that bright glory thy great soul pursues,
Call back the doom of death!
Tam. Fair injured excellence,
Why, dost thou kneel, and waste such precious
As might even bribe the saints to partial justice,
For one to goodness lost; who first undid thee,
Who still pursues and aggravates the wrong?
Baj. By Alla! no, I will not wear a life
Bought with such vile dishonour.. Death shall
At once from infamy, and thee, thou traitress!
Arp. No matter, though the whistling winds
And the rude tempest roars, 'tis idle rage:
Oh! mark it not; but let thy steady virtue
Be constant to its temper. Save his life,
And save Arpasia from the sport of talkers.
Think, how the busy, meddling world will toss
Thy mighty name about, in scurril mirth;
Shall brand thy vengeance, as a foul design,
And make such monstrous legends of our lives,
As late posterity shall blush in reading.
Tam. Oh, matchless virtue! Yes, I will obey;
breath-Though laggard in the race, admiring yet,
I will pursue the shining path thou tread'st.
Sultan, be safe! Reason resumes her empire,
[The guards release Bajazet.
And I am cool again.-Here break we off,
Lest farther speech should minister new rage.
Wisely from dangerous passsons i retreat,
To keep a conquest which was hard to get:
And, oh! 'tis time I should for flight prepare,
A war more fatal seems to threaten there,
And all my rebel-blood assists the fair:
One moment more, and I too late shall find,
That love's the strongest power that lords it o'er
Vanquished and sinking underneath my arm,
To own thou hast traduced me like a villain!
Baj. Ha! Does it gall thee, Tartar? By re-
It joys me much to find thou feel'st my fury.
Yes, I will echo to thee, thou adulterer!
Thou dost prophane the name of king and sol-
And like a ruffian bravo, cam'st with force
To violate the holy marriage-bed.
Tam. Wert thou not sheltered by thy abject
The captive of my sword, by my just anger,
My breath, like thunder, should confound thy
And doom thee dead, this instant, with a word.
Baj. It is false my fate's above thee, and
thou darest not.
Tam. Ha! dare not! Thou hast raised my
And now it falls, to crush thee at a blow.
A guard there! Seize and drag him to his fate!
[Enter a guard, they seize Bajazet.
Tyrant, I will do a double justice on thee;
At once revenge myself, and all mankind.
Baj. Well dost thou, ere thy violence and lust
Invade my bed, thus to begin with murder:
Drown all thy fears in blood, and sin securely.
Arp. [Kneeling.] Oh, stay! I charge thee, by
Why did my stars refuse me to die warm,
While yet my regal state stood unimpeached,
Nor knew the curse of having one above me?
Then too (although by force I grasped the joy)
My love was safe, nor felt the rack of doubt.
Why hast thou forced this nauseous life upon me?
Is it to triumph o'er me?-But I will,
I will be free; I will forget thee all;
The bitter and the sweet, the joy and pain,
Death shall expunge at once, and ease my soul.
Prophet, take notice, I disclaim thy Paradise,
Thy fragrant bowers, and everlasting shades;
Thou hast placed woman there, and all thy joys
Arp. A little longer yet, be strong, my heart;
A little longer let the busy spirits
Keep on their cheerful round. It will not be!
Love, sorrow, and the sting of vile reproach,
Succeeding one another in their course,
Like drops of eating water on the marble,
At length have worn my boasted courage down:
I will indulge the woman in my soul,
And give a loose to tears and to impatience;
Death is at last my due, and I will have it.-
And see, the poor Moneses comes, to take
Que sad adieu, and then we part for ever.
Mon. Already am I onward of my way,
Thy tuneful voice comes like a hollow sound
At distance, to my ears. My eyes grow heavy,
And all the glorious lights of Heaven look dim;
'Tis the last office they shall ever do me,
To view thee once, and then to close and die.
Arp. Alas! how happy have we been, Mo-
Ye gentle days, that once were ours, what joys
cheerful morning bring along!
No fears, no jealousies, no angry parents,
That for unequal births, or fortunes frowned;
But love, that kindly joined our hearts, to bless
Made us a blessing too to all besides.
Inviting stands, to take the wretched in:
No wars, no wrongs, no tyrants, no despair,
Disturb the quiet of a place so fair,
But injured lovers find Elysium there. [Exeunt.
Enter BAJAZET, OMAR, HALY, and the Dervise.
Baj. Now, by the glorious tomb that shrines our prophet,
By Mecca's sacred temple, here I swear,
Our daughter is thy bride! and to that gift
Such wealth, such power, such honours will I add,
That monarchs shall with envy view thy state,
And own thou art a demi-god to them."
Thou hast given me what I wished, power of re-
And when a king rewards, 'tis ample retribution. Om. Twelve Tartar lords, each potent in his
Have sworn to own my cause, and draw their
To-morrow, from the ungrateful Parthian's side:
The day declining seems to yield to night,
Mon. Oh, cast not thy remembrance back, Ere little more than half her course be ended.
'Tis rief unutterable, 'tis distraction!
But let this last of hours be peaceful sorrow!
Here let me kneel, and pay my latest vows.
Be witness, all ye saints, thou Heaven and Na-
Be witness of my truth, for you have known it!
Be witness, that I never knew a pleasure,
In all the world could offer, like Arpasia!
Be witness, that I lived but in Arpasia!
And, oh, be witness, that her loss has killed me!
Arp. While thou art speaking, life begins to
And every tender accent chills like death.
Oh! let me haste then, yet, ere day declines
And the long night prevail, once more to tell
What, and how dear, Moneses has been to me.
What has he not been?-All the names of love,
Brothers, or fathers, husbands, all are poor:
Moneses is myself; in my fond heart,
Even in my vital blood, he lives and reigns:
The last dear object of my parting soul
Will be Moneses; the last breath that lingers
Within my panting breast, shall sigh Moneses.
Mon. It is enough! Now to thy rest, my soul!
The world and thou have made an end at once.
Arp. Fain would I still detain thee, hold thee
Nor honour can forbid, that we together
Should share the few poor minutes that remain.
I swear, methinks this sad society
Has somewhat pleasing in it.-Death's dark shades
Seem, as we journey on, to lose their horror;
At near approach the monsters, formed by fear,
Are vanished all, and leave the prospect clear;
Amidst the gloomy vale, a pleasing scene,
With flowers adorned, and never-fading green,
In an auspicious hour prepare for flight;
The leaders of the troops, through which we pass,
Raised by my power, devoted to my service,
Shall make our passage secret and secure.
Der. Already, mighty sultan, art thou safe, Since, by you passing torches' light, I guess, To his pavilion Tamerlane retires,
Attended by a train of waiting courtiers.
All who remain within these tents are thine,
And hail thee as their lord.-
Ha! the Italian prince,
With sad Moneses, are not yet gone forth.
Baj. Ha! with our queen and daughter!
Om. They are ours:
I marked the slaves, who waited on Axalla;
They, when the emperor past out, prest on,
And mingled with the crowd, nor missed their
He is your prisoner, sir: I go this moment,
To seize, and bring him to receive his doom.
[Exit Omar, Baj. Haste, Haly, follow, and secure the Greek:
Him too I wish to keep within my power.
[Exit Haly. Der. If my dread lord permit his slave to speak,
I would advise to spare Axalla's life,
Till we are safe beyond the Parthian's power:
Him, as our pledge of safety, may we hold;
And, could you gain him to assist your flight,
It might import you much.
Baj. Thou counsellest well;
And though I hate him (for he is a Christian,
And to my mortal enemy devoted),
Yet, to secure my liberty and vengeance,
I wish he now were ours.
Der. And see, they come !
Fortune repents; again she courts your side,
And, with this first fair offering of success,
She wooes you to forget her crime of yesterday.
Enter OMAR, with AXALLA Prisoner, SELIMA
Ar. I will not call thee villain; 'tis a name
Too holy for thy crime: to break thy faith,'
And turn a rebel to so good a master,
Is an ingratitude unmatched on earth.
The first revolting angel's pride could only
Do more than thou hast done. Thou copiest
And keepest the black original in view.
Om. Do rage, and vainly call upon thy master
To save his minion. My revenge has caught
And I will make thee curse that fond presump-
That set thee on to rival me in aught.
Baj. Christian, I hold thy fate at my disposal!
One only way remains to mercy open;
Be partner of my flight and my revenge,
And thou art safe. Thy other choice is death.
Om. What means the sultan ?
Der. I conjure you, hold-
Your rival is devoted to destruction:
[Aside to Omar.
Nor would the sultan now defer his fate,
But for our common safety.-Listen further.
Ar. Then briefly thus. Death is the choice I
Since, next to Heaven, my master and my friend
Has interest in my life, and still shall claim it.
Baj. Then take thy wish-Call in our mutes!
Sel. My father,
If yet you have not sworn to cast me off,
And turn me out to wander in misfortune;
If yet my voice be gracious in your ears;
If yet my duty and my love offend not,
Oh, call your sentence back, and save Axalla!
Baj. Rise, Selima! The slave deserves to die,
Who durst, with sullen pride, refuse my mercy:
Yet, for thy sake, once more I offer life.
Sel. Some angel whisper to my anxious soul,
What I shall do to save him.-Oh, Axalla!
Is it so easy to thee to forsake me?
Canst thou resolve, with all this cold indifference,
Never to see me more? To leave me here
The miserable mourner of thy fate,
Condemned to waste my widowed virgin youth,
My tedious days and nights, in lonely weeping,
And never know the voice of comfort more?
Ax. Search not too deep the sorrows of my
Thou say'st I am indifferent and cold;
Oh! is it possible my eyes should tell
So little of the fighting storm within?
Oh! turn thee from me, save me from thy beau-
Falsehood and ruin all look lovely there.
Oh! let my labouring soul yet struggle through—
I will-I would resolve to die, and leave thee.
Baj. Then let him die!—He trifles with my
I have too long attended his resolves.
Sel. Oh! stay a minute, yet a minute longer!
A minute is a little space in life.
There is a kind consenting in his eyes,
And I shall win him to your royal will.
Oh, my Axalla! seem but to consent.-
[To Ax. aside.
Unkind and cruel, will you then do nothing?
I find I am not worth thy least of cares.
Ar. Oh! labour not to hang dishonour on me!
I could bear sickness, pain and poverty,
Those mortal evils worse than death, for thee.
But this-It has the force of fate against us,
And cannot be.
Sel. See, see, sir, he relents! [To Bajazet.
Already he inclines to own your cause.
| A little longer, and he is all yours.
Baj. Then mark how far a father's fondness
Till midnight I defer the death he merits,
And give him up 'till then to thy persuasion.
If by that time he meets my will, he lives;
If not, thyself shalt own he dies with justice.
Ar. Tis but to lengthen life upon the rack.
I am resolved already.
Nor rashly urge a ruin on us both!
'Tis but a moment more I have to save thee.
Be kind, auspicious Alla, to my prayer!
More for my love, than for myself, I fear;
Neglect mankind awhile, and make him all thy
[Exeunt Axalla and Selima.
Baj. Moneses is that dog secured?
Om. He is.
Baj. 'Tis well-My soul perceives returning
As nature feels the spring. Lightly she bounds,
And shakes dishonour, like a burden, from her;
Once more imperial, awful, and herself.
So, when of old, Jove from the Titans fled,
Ammon's rude front his radiant face belied,
And all the majesty of Heaven lay hid.
At length, by fate, to power divine restored,
His thunder taught the world to know its Lord,
The God grew terrible again, and was again