Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

me.

The vile dependent of my foe professed, Why have you driven me to these extremes?
Lord Clifford's full-fed flatterer! O damned ! Why sacrificed my peace, and your own fame,
Come, Franklin, come: Arden, thy friend, invites By corresponding with a menial slave?
thee;

Alic. Thou canst not think, that I have wronged And let me pour my griefs into thy bosom,

thy bed?
And find in friendship what I've lost in love. Ard. Would I could not !

Alic. By Heaven
Enter Alicia.

Ard. No perjuries. Alic. Why, Arden, do you leave your bed thus But now, as you lay slumbering by my side, early?

I still awake, anxious and full of thought, Have cold and darkness greater charms than I? (For thou hast banished sleep from these sad eyes) There was a time, when winter nights were short, With gentle accents, thrilling with desire, And Arden chid the morn, that called him froin You called on Mosby. Love made me doubt my

ears, Ard. This deep dissembling, this hypocrisy, And question, if the dark and silent night (The last worst state of a degenerate mind) Conspired not with my fancy to deceive me: Speaks her in vice determined and mature. But soon I lost the painful pleasing hope ;

[Aside. Again you called upon your minion Mosby. Alic. What maid, that knows man's variable Confirmed, I strove to fly your tainted bed, nature,

But, wanting strength, sunk lifeless on my pillow. Would sell her free estate for marriage bonds? You threw your eager arms about my neck, From vows and oaths, and every servile tye, You pressed my bloodless cheeks with your warın The tyrant man at pleasure is set free;

lips, The holy nuptial bond leaves him at large; Which glowed, adultress! with infernal heat; Yet vests him with a power, that makes us slaves. And called, a third time, on the villain Mosby. 'Tis heavenly this

Alic. A dream indeed, if I e'er called on him. Ard. To stop my just reproach,

Ard. Thy guilty dreams betray thy waking Art thou the first to tax the marriage state?

thoughts. Alic. Are you not jealous ? do you not give ear Alic. I know I'm simple, thoughtless, and unTo vain surmises and malicious tongues,

guarded; That hourly wound my yet untainted tame? And what is carelessness you construe guilt. Ard. And wouldst thou make me author of the Yet were I weak as those fantastic visions, shame,

Sure I could never have condemned you, Arden, Thy guilt has brought on us !-I'll bear no longer. On circumstances and an idle dream. The traitor Mosby, cursed, detested Mosby, Ard. But such a dream! Shall render an account for both your crimes. Alic. Yet was it but a dream, Alic. What do I hear!

[Aside. Which, though I not remember, I abhor, Ard. The base mechanic slave

And mourn with tears, because it gives you pain. Shall answer with his blood.

Arden, you do not wish me innocent, Alic. O hear me speak!

Or on suspicions could you doom me guilty ? Ard. No, I am deaf: As thou hast ever been Ard. Not wish thee innocent! do sinking maTo fame, to virtue, and my just complaints.

riners, Alic. Thus on my knees

When struggling with the raging seas for life, Ard. Adultress! dost thou kneel

Wish the assistance of some friendly plank? And weep, and pray, and bend thy stubborn heart | 'Tis that, and that alone, can bring me comfort. (Stubborn to me) to sue for him Away!

Alic. O jealousy! thou fierce remorseless fiend, Away this instant, lest I kill thee too.

Degenerate, most unnatural child of love!

[Recovering himself. How shall I chase thee from my Arden's bosom? No-not the hell, thou hast kindled in this bo- Ard. There is a way, an easy way, Alicia. som,

Alic. O name it-speak. Shall make me shed thy blood.

Ard. What's past may be forgotten.
Alic. I do not hope it.

Your future conduct--
Ard. For me, be as immortal as thy shame. Alic. You distract me, Arden.

Alic. I see your cruel purpose: I must live, Say, how shall I convince you of my truth?
To see your hand and honour stained with blood, Ard. I ask but this : never see Mosby more!
Your ample fortune seized on by the state,

[He starts. Your life a forfeit to the cruel laws.

By Heaven, she's dumb!
O Arden, blend compassion with your rage, Alic. O how shall I conceal
And kindly kill me first!

My own confusion, and elude his rage? [Aside. Ard. Not for my sake

Ard. Thou’rt lost, Alicia !- lost to me and Are all thy tears; then had you felt them sooner; Heaven. Plead not the ruin you have made; but say, Alic. Indeed I'm lost, if you unkindly doubt ine, Vol. I.

30

my sight!

Ard. Wilt thou, then, ne'er converse with Alic. Thou canst say nothing.–Get thee from

Mosby more? Alic. If I e'er do, may Heaven, and you, for- Yet stay--no matter. I'll myself go seek him. sake me!

(E.reunt Alicia and Servant. Ard. You'll keep your word, Alicia! Prithee, Mar. Where reason is, can passion thus pre say

vail ?

[Erit Maria. Alic. You'll break my heart. Ard. I'd rather break my own.

SCENE III-A parlour in Ardex's house. Then thou art innocent, and lov'st me still? Alic. And ever will.

Enter Alicia, meeting Mosby. Ard. Give me thy hand—thy heart !

Alic. Mosby, that brow befits our wayward O give me that!

fate. Alic. That always was your own.

The evil hour, long feared, is fallen upon us, Ard. Thou Aatterer--then whence this cruel And we shall sink beneath it. Do not frownstrife?

If you're unkind, to whom shall I complain? Still art thou cold: nor warm are thy embraces, Mos. Madam, it was my sister I expected. Vor sparkle in thine eyes the fires of love: Alic. Am I forgotten then? Ungrateful man! Cold, cold, and comfortless.

This only could have added to my woes. Alic. Indeed you fright me.

Did you but know wbat I have borne for you, Ard. 'T'is possible

You would not thus, unmoved, behold my tears. Alic. What i

Mlos. Madam, you make me vain.
Ard. That thou may'st yet deceive me. Alic. Insult not, Mosby :
Alic. O! I am wretched !

You were the first dear object of my love; Ard. Both perhaps are so.

And could my heart have made a second choice, But, if thou ever lov’dst

, thou'lt not despise me, I had not been the object of your scorn : And wilt forgive me, if indeed I've wronged thee, But duty, gratitude, the love of fame, As I've forgiven thee-Pity, I'm sure, I need. And pride of virtue, were too weak to erase

[Erit Arden. The deep impression of our early vows. Alic. Thou hast it, Arden, even from her, thạt Mos. Therefore you kindly chose to wed anowrongs thee.

ther. All, all shall pity thee, and curse Alicia.

Alic. Reproach me not with what I deemed (an I feel this, and further tempt the stream

my duty. Of guilty love! ( whither am I fallen!

Oh! had'I thought I could assume the name,

And never know the affection of a wife,
Enter Maria.

I would have died ere given my hand to Arden. Mar. An happy day, Alicia; and may each Mos. You gave him all.morn

Alic. No, no, I gave him nothing:
Of coming life be ushered with like joy. Words without truth-an hand without a heart!
Franklin, from court returned, has brought the But he has found the fraud; the slumbering lion
grant

At length hath roused himself.
Of the abbey-lands, confirmed by the young king, Mos. And I must fall
To Arden for his life: nor will deliver,

The victim-
But to himself, the deed.

Alic. No; he knows not yet his wrongs.
Alic. A worthy friend!

Mos. But quickly will.
The grant is not more welcome to my husband, Alic. That, that's my greatest fear.
Than Franklin's company.

Mos. Then, branded with a strumpet's hated Mlar. He's flown to meet him.

name,

The cause abhorred of shame, of blood, and ruin, Enter a Servant.

Thou'lt be exposed, and hooted through the world! Serr. Madam, your brother Mosby

Alic. O hide the dreadful image from my view! Alic. Where is Mosby?

Chaste matrons, modest maids, and virtuous Sero. He waits below.

wives, Alic. O haste, and lead me to him !

Scorning a weakness which they never knew, Serv. Madam, he but desires to see his sister. Shall blush, with indignation, at my name! Alic. His sister! what! did he not ask for me? Mos. My death—but that, though certain Mar. Perhaps

Alic. Labour not Alic. Pray, give me leave-looks he in health? To drive me to despair. Fain would I hope Serv. He seems in health.

Mos. You may, and be deceived. For me, I Alic. Here, and not ask for me!

know Seems he or angry then, or melancholy? My fate resolved and thee the instrument, Answer me, stock, stone.

The willing instrument, of Mosby's ruin ! Serv. Truly I can't say.

Inconstant, false Alicia!

'Tis yet

But your

Alic. False indeed,

The law, and this good seal, is my security; But not to thee, cruel, injurious Mosby! To them I leave Green, and his groundless claim. Mos. Injurious ! false one ! might not all these But my just right to false Alicia's heart dangers,

(So dearly purchased with a husband's name, That threaten to involve us both in ruin, And sacred honour of a gentleman), Ere this have been prevented ?

I shall assert inyself, and thus secure Alic. Ha ! say on.

From further violation,

[Draws. Mos. And, not preventing, art not thou the Mos. Her known virtue cause?

Renders the injury, your fancy forms, Alic. Ah! whither, Mosby, whither wouldst A thing of air. thou drive me?

Frank. Impossible to thought! Mos. Nay, didst thou love, or wouldst secure Whence, Arden, comes this sudden madness on thy fame,

thee, Preserve my life, and bind me yours for ever- That your Alicia, ever dear esteemed, within your power:

And deeply loved Alic. By Arden's death!

Ard. Out on the vile adultress! Meanest thou not so ? Speak out, and be a devil. But thou, demure, insinuating slave, Mos. Yes, 'tis for thee I am so.

Shalt taste my vengeance first. Defend thyself! looks

Mos. I scorn to take advantage of your rage. Declare, my death would please you better, ma- Ard. A coward too! O my consummate shame! dam!

Mos. This I can bear froin

you. Alic. Exaggerating fiend! be dumb for ever! Ard. Or ang man! His death! I nust not cast a glance that way. Why hangs that useless weapon by thy side,

Mos. Is there another way? O think, Alicia! Thou shame to manhood ? Draw! Will nothing Alic. I will, for that will make me mad: And

move thee!

[Strikes him. madness

Frank. Hold! Whither would your mad reWere some excuse. Come, kind distraction! come, venge transport you? And Arden dies ! My husband dies for Mosby! Ard. Shall slameful cowardice protect a vil[Shrieks, and runs to Aloshy. lain?

Nos. You chuse a proper place to shew your Enter Arden and FRANKLIN,

courage! He's here! O save me! tell me, did he hear? Ard. Go on. I'll follow to the ocean's brink, Ard. (Starting:) Franklin, support your friend! Or to the edge of some dread precipice, I shake with horror!

Where terror and despair shall stop thy flight, Frank. What moves you thus?

And force thy trembling hand to guard thy life! Ard. See !-Mosby with my

wife!

Mas. What I endure to save a lady's honou! Mos. But, madam, I shall spare your farther

[To Frank. trouble;

Frank. Your longer stay will but inceuse bim In happy time behold my neighbour here!

more; [As taking leave of Alicia. Pray quit the house. Alic. Mischief and wild confusion have begun, Níos. Sir, I shall take your counsel. And desolation waits to close the scene!

[Exit Alosby. [Exit Alicia. Ard. IIc hath escaped me then. But for my witeMos. Sir, I would gladly know, whether your Frank. What has she done? grant,

Ard. Done! must I tell ny shame? Of the rich abbey-lands of Feversham,

Away! begone! lest, from my prey withheld, Be yet confirmed or not?

I turn, and tear the oflicious band, that lets meArd. What if I tear

Soft! art thou Franklin? Pardon me, sweet Her faithless heart, even in the traitor's sight,

friend Who taught it falsehood !

[ Aside. My spirits fail- -I shake

-I must retire. Frank. He is lost in thought.

Frank. To your Alicia. But I can answer that: It is confirmed.

Ard. To my lonely couch; I brought the deed, with the great seal annexed, For I must learn to live without her, Franklin. Signed by our pious Edward, and his council. Frank. Pray Heaven forbid ! Mos. I'm satisfied.

Ard. To hate her, to forget her, if I can: Ard. So am not I. By hell,

No easy task for one, who doats like me. There's justice in the thought I'in strangely From what an height I'ın fallen! Once smiling tempted.

Aside.

love Mos. My friend seems wrapt in thought.--I Of ail its horrors robbed the blackest night, came to advise him,

And gilt with gladness every ray of light; That Green, by virtue of a former grant Now, tyrant-like, his conquest he maintains, Ilis father long enjoyed

And o'er his groaning slave with rods of iron Ard. For my estate,

reigns !

(Exeunt,

ACT. II.

SCENE I.-The Street.

To wait on good lord Cheyney. As he holds

In high esteem our worthy townsman, Arden, Enter GREEN and Mosby.

I shall first call on him. Tis well I inet you, Green. You pity me, and know not my estate. For yonder two were but bad road-companions. I'm ruined, Mosby; thoughtless, and ill-advised, Green. They seem of desperate fortunes. My riotous youth will leave iny age a beggar. Mos. Have they names? These abbey-lands were all the hopes I'd left; Brad. One I know not; but judge him from My whole support.

his comrade. Mos. Base and ungenerous Arden,

The foremost of the two I knew at Boulogne, To force a man, born equal to himself,

Where, in the late king's reign, I served myself. To beg, or starve !

He was a corporal then; but such a villainGreen. By Heaven, I will do neither :

Beneath a soldier's name; a common cut-throat, I'll let the proud oppressor know

That preys on all mankind, and knows no party. Mos. How blind is rage!

Mos. An horrid character you give him, BradWho threats his enemy, lends him a sword

shaw. To guard himself,

Brad. No worse than he deserves. Green. Robbed of the means of life,

Mos. [Aside.] An useful hint: What's life itself?-an useless load, a curse! He shall not want employment: What's his Which yet I'll dearly sell to my revenge !

name? Mos. You mean to kill him, then?

Brad. Black Will. His family-name I never Green. I do, by Heaven!

heard, Mos. Suppose you fail.

Mos. [To Green.] A word—write you a letGreen. I can but lose my life.

ter to Alicia : Mos. Then where is your revenge, when he, Disguise your hand. This honest fool may bear secure,

it. Riots, unbounded, in his ill-got wealth?

Hirit at these men. In case her courage fail, Green, What can I do?

She will be glad to shift the deed on them.
Mus. 'Tis plain you wish him dead.

Green. I am instructed.
Green. Each moment of his life is to my soul
A tedious age of pain; for, while he lives,

Enter Black Will and SHAKEBAG.
Contempt, and all the ills a lazar knows,
Must be my wretched lot, and lengthen out B. Will. What! comrade Bradshaw! How
The miserable hours. What grovelling wretch fare you, man? S'blood! dost not remember
Would wish to hold his life on such conditions ? honest Black Will? Why, thou art grown purse-
Mos. But change the scene: suppose but proud sure.
Arden dead,

Brad, Why, you're not easily forgotten, Will. Your land restored, and fortune in your power; But, prithee, what brings thee to Feversham? Honour, respect, and all the dear delights, B. Will. A soldier, you know, is at home, That wait on wealth, shall wing the joyful hours, wherever he comes. Omne solum forti patria! And life contracted seem one happy day. There's Latin-Give's a tester. I bate this Arden, and have stronger motives brad. In time of peace, we should apply to Than any you can urge to wish his death. some honest creditable business, and not turn He has accused, insulted, struck me!

the name of soldier into vagabond. Nay, his fair virtuous wife, on my account- B. Will. Yes, as you have done. I'm told Green. If fame speaks true, you're to be envied you keep a goldsmith's shop here in Feversham, there.

and, like a mechanical rogue, live by cheating, Mos. The world will talk; but be that as it I have more honour, may :

Brad. Would thou hadst honesty, I want not cause nor will, not means B. Will. Where do our honesties differ? I friends

take a purse behind a hedge, and you behind a Green. Nor opportunity shall long be wanting counter. Nos. Enough : bis fate is fixed. See! Brad- Brad. Insolent slave! shaw's here !

B. Will. You cent. per cent. rascal! I may

find a time to teach you better manners. Enter BRADSHAW,

Brad. Go, mend thy own. Brad. Save, save you, gentlemen!

B. Will. Thou wert always a sneaking fellos, Mos. We thank you, neighbour,

Bradshaw, and couldst never swear, nor get But whither in such haste?

drunk. Come, shall I and my comrade Shaše Brad. To the isle of Shippey,

bag taste your ale?

nor

Brad. My house entertains no such guests, B. Will. This man you'd have dispatched ? Farewell, gentlemen.

Mos. I would. Mos. Along with Bradshaw,

B. Will. Rich, say you? And leave the management of these to me. Mos. Immensely so.

(Aside to Green. B. Will. And much beloved ? Green. It shall be done. Bradshaw, a word Mos. By all degrees of men, with thee.

B. Will. George! this will be a dangerous Brad. Your pardon, gentlemen.

piece of work. (E.reunt Green and Bradshaw. Shake. Damned dangerous. A man so known; B. Will. He was a cadet in the last French and his reputation too. war, like other soldiers, then; but now he has B. Will. And then the power and number of got a nest, and feathered it a little, he pretends his friends must be considered. to reputation. S'blood! had this been a fit Mos. What! does your courage shrink already, place, he had not escaped me so. You have sur

sirs ? veyed us well. (To Mosby.] How do you like us? Shake. No. Mos. Methinks 1 read truth, prudence, se- B. Will. This is ever the curse of your men of crecy,

true valour; to be the tools of crafty cowardly And courage, writ upon your manly brows. knaves, who have not the heart to execute what

B. Will. What hellish villainy has this fellow their heads have projected. It is a damned unin band, that makes him fawn upon us ? [Aside. grateful world—What money have you more aMos. I fear the world's a stranger to your bout you? merit.

Mlos. Ten pieces. If this may recommend me to your friendship B. Will. I've had as much for stealing a dog.

[Gives a purse. Mos. I give you that as a retaining fee : B. Will. Of what damned deed is this to be When the deed's done, each shall have twice that the wages?

sum, Shake. Hast ever an elder brother's throat to And a good horse to further his escape. cut?

B. Will

. Sir, will you have him murdered in a B. Will. Or an old peevish father to be buried ? church? Mos. Neither of these.

Shake. Or on the altar; say the word, and it Shake. A rival then mayhap

shall be done. Mos. There you come nearer to me.

Mos. Some safer place, the street, highway, or Shake. Then speak out.

fields, We're honest, sir.

Will serve my turn as well. B. Will. Trusty, and very poor,

Shake. Just as you please. Mos. Metal too fit for me. [Aside.] Then Mos. Where may I find you, gentlemen? hear me, sirs.

B. Will. At Adam Fowl's, the Flower-de-luce. But you must both, ere I disclose my purpose, Mos. I have confederates in this design; Promise, and bind that promise by your oaths- When we have contrived the manner of his death, Never-[ They both laugh.] Why this unseasona- I'll send you word. ble mirth?

B. Will. You'll find us always ready. B. Will. You'd have us swear?

Mos. And determined ? Mos. Else why did I propose it?

B. Will. Ay, fear it not. Farewell. B. Will. There's the jest. Are men, who act

[Ereunt several ways. in despite of all law, honour, and conscience; who live by blood (as it is plain you think we do)

SCENE III.- À Room in Arden's house. are we free-thinkers, like silly wenches and canting priests, to be contined by oaths ?

Enter Alicia, with a letter. Shake. Would you bind us, let the price equal the purchase, and we'll go to hell for you with Alic. He doubts me; yet he dares not tell me pleasure.

SO, Mos. Horrid! they shake even me, who would But thus, by Green, whets my unsettled mind. employ them. (Aside.

[Reads. I apprehend - The business then is this: • Strike home, or not at all. In case you fail, In Fevershain their lives a man, called Arden; • We have found instruments by means of BradIn general esteem, and ample means;

shaw.' And has a wife, the very pride of nature. He shall not find me undetermined now. I have been happy long in her affections, Hark! Michael's on the watch. If Arden sleeps, And, he once dead, might with her share his for- (For so he seemed disposed,) he'll bring me word. tunes.

That, that's the safest time. This proinised marHe's jealous too of late, and threatens me.

riage Love, interest, self-defence, all ask his death.— With Mosby's sister has removed his qualms.

« ZurückWeiter »