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Which nought but death can end.—Come, end it Yet I've the deepest, deadliest cause of hate, here.
I am but Percy, thou'rt—Elwina's husband. Elw. [Kneels.) Hold, Douglas, hold !--not for
(Exeunt myself I kneel,
SCENE I.-Elwina's Apartment.
Elw. Thou who in judgment still rememberist
mercy, For, oh! as surely as thou strik'st at Percy, Thou wilt for ever stab the fame of Douglas.
Look down upon my woes, preserve my husband! Per. Finish the bloody work.
Preserve my husband! Ah, I dare not ask it; Dou. Then take thy wish.
My very prayers may pull down ruin on me!
If Douglas should survive, what then becomes Per. Why dost thou start? (Percy bares his bosom. Douglas advances of-him—I dare not name? And if he conquers,
l've slain my husband. Agonizing state ! to stab him, and discovers the scarf.
When I can neither hope, nor think, nor pray, Dou. Her scarf upon his breast!
But guilt involves me. Sure to know the worst The blasting sight converts me into stone;
Cannot exceed the torture of suspense,
When each event is big with equal horror. And palsies my bold arm.
[Looks out. Per. (Ironically to the Knights.] Hear you, his What
, no one yet? This solitude is dreadful? friends!
My horrors multiply ! Bear witness to the glorious, great exploit,
Thou messenger of wo!
-I am the very stain of knighthood. He was the tenderest, truest ! -Bless him, Heaven, How is my glory dimm'd!
With crowns of glory and immortal joys! Elw. It blazes brighter !
Bir. Still are you wrong; the combat is not over. Douglas was only brave-he now is generous ! Stay, flowing tears, and give me leave to speak,
Per. This action has restor'd thee to thy rank, Élw. Thou sayest that Percy and my husband And makes thee worthy to contend with Percy. Then why this sorrow ?
[live; Dou. Thy joy will be as short as 'tis insulting. Bir. What a task is mine!
(T. ELWINA. Elw. Thou talk'st as if I were a child in grief, And thou, imperious boy, restrain thy boasting. And scarce acquainted with calamity. Thou hast sav'd my honour, not remov'd my hate, Speak out, unfold thy tale, whate'er it be, For my soul loathes thee for the obligation. For I am so familiar with affliction, Give him his sword.
It cannot come in any shape will shock me. Per. Now thou'rt a noble foe,
Bir. How shall I speak? Thy husbandAnd in the field of honour I will meet thee, Elw. What of Douglas ? As knight encount'ring knight.
Bir. When all was ready for the fatal combat, Elw. Stay, Percy, stay,
He call'd his chosen knights, then drew his sword, Strike at the wretched cause of all, strike here, And on it made them swear a solemn oath, Here sheathe thy thirsty sword, but spare my Confirm'd by every rite religion bids, husband.
[me, That they would see perform'd his last request, Dou. Turn, Madam, and address those vows to Be it whate'er it would. Alas! they swore. To spare the precious life of him you love. Elw. What did the dreadful preparation mean? Even now you triumph in the death of Douglas ; Bir. Then to their hands he gave a poison'd cup, Now your loose fancy kindles at the thought, Compounded of the deadliest herbs and drugs; And, wildly rioting in lawless bope,
Take this, said he, it is a husband's legacy; Indulges the adultery of the mind.
Percy may conquer-and-I have a wife! But I'll defeat that wish.-Guards, bear her in. If Douglas falls, Elwina must not live. Nay, do not struggle.
[She is borne in. Elw. Spirit of Herod! Why, 'twas greatly Per. Let our deaths suffice,
thought! And reverence virtue in that form inshrin'd. 'Twas worthy of the bosom which conceiv'd it! Dou. Provoke my rage no farther.--I have Yet 'twas too merciful to be his own. kindled
Yes, Douglas, yes, my husband, I'll obey thee, The burning torch of never-dying vengeance And bless thy genius which has found the means At love's expiring lamp.-But mark me, friends, To reconcile thy vengeance with my peace, If Percy's happier geníus should prevail, The deadly means to make obedience pleasant And I should fall, give him safe conduct hence, Bir. O spare, for pity spare, my bleeding heart: Be all observance paid him.-Go, I follow thee. Inhuman to the lastUnnatural poison !
l'Aside to EDRIC. Elw. My gentle friend, what is there in a name? Within l've something for thy private ear. The means are little where the end is kind.
Per. Now siiall this mutual fury be appeas'd! If it disturb thee, do not call it poison; These eager hands shall soon be drench'd in Call it the sweet oblivion of my cares, slaughter!
My balm of wo, my cordial of affliction, Yos-like two famish'd vultures snuffing blood, The drop of mercy to my fainting soul, Ano panting to destroy, we'll rush to combat ; My kind dismission from a world of sorrow,
of bliss, my passport to the skies. Say but that little word, that Percy lives, Bir. Hark! what alarm is that?
And Alps and oceans shall divide us ever,
Elw. Tell me that he lives,
From cheerful day-light, and the haunts of men,
Where sad austerity, and ceaseless prayer (ELWINA looks steadfastly at her without Shall share my uncomplaining day between them. speaking,
Dou. O, hypocrite! now, Vengeance, to thy Bir. Douglas is fallen.
office. Elw. Bring me the poison.
I had forgot—Percy commends him to thee, Bir. Never.
[approach! And by my hand-
Dou. Has sent thee
(He gives her Percy's scurf. Defrauds the injur'd dead.-Go, haste, my friend, Elw. Then Percy's dead!
(mine! See that the castle be securely guarded,
Dou. He is.—0 great revenge, thou now art Let every gate be barr'd-prevent his entrance. See how convulsive sorrow rends her frame! Bir. Whose entrance ?
This, this is transport Linjur'd honour now Elw. His—the murderer of my husband. Receives its vast, its ample retribution. Bir. He's single, we have hosts of friends. She sheds no tears, her grief's too highly wrought; El. No matter;
'Tis speechless agony. --She must not faintWho knows what love and madness may attempt? She shall not ’scape her portion of the pain. But here I swear by all that binds the good, No! she shall feel the fulness of distress, Never to see him more.-Unhappy Douglas! And wake to keen perception of her loss. O if thy troubled spirit still is conscious
Bir. Monster! Barbarian! leave her to her Of our past woes, look down, and hear me swear, That when the legacy thy rage bequeath'd me Elw. (In a low broken voice.) Douglas-think Works at my heart, and conquers struggling
not I faint, because thou seest
Bir. O unexampled virtue! (A noise without. And bear thy mighty load a little longer.
Dou. Percy, I must avow it, bravely fought,-
(Hear it, fund wanton !) calld upon thy name, Enter DOUGLAS.
And his last guilty breath sigh'd out--Elwina !
Come-give a loose to rage, and feed thy soul Heaven and earth, my husband !
With wild complaints, and womanish upbraidings. Dou. Yes
Elw. (In a low solemn voice.) No. To blast thee with the sight of him thou hat'st, The sorrow 's weak that wastes itself in words, or him thou hast wrong'd, adultress, 'tis thy Mine is substantial anguish-deep, not loud; husband.
(mercy, I do not rave-Resentment 's the return Elw. (Kneels,] Bless'd be the fountain of eternal Of common souls for common injuries. (sion; This load of guilt is spar'd me! Douglas lives ! Light grief is proud of state, and courts compas Perhaps both live! [To Birtha.] Could I be sure But there's a dignity in cureless sorrow, of that,
A sullen grandeur which disdains complaint ; The poison were superfluous, joy would kill me.
Rage is for little wrongs- Despair is dumb. Dou. Be honest now, for once, and curse thy
(Exeunt Elwina and BIRTHA stars;
Dou. Why, this is well ! her sense of wo is Curse thy detested fate which brings thee back
[her, A hated husband, when thy guilty soul
The sharp, keen tooth of gnawing grief devours Revelld in fond, imaginary joys
Feeds on her heart, and pays me back my pangs With my too happy rival: when thou flewist, Since I must perish, 'twill be glorious ruin: To gratify impatient, boundless passion, I fall not singly, but, like some proud tower, And join adulterous lust to bloody murder;
I'll crush surrounding objects in the wreck, Then to reverse the scene! polluted woman ! And make the devastation wide and dreadful. Mine is the transport now, and thine the pang. Elw. Whence sprung the false report that thou
Enter Raby. had'st fall'n?
Raby. O whither shall a wretched father turn, Dou. To give thy guilty breast a deeper wound, Where fly for comfort ? Douglas, art thou here To add a deadlier sting to disappointment, I do not ask for comfort at thy hands. I rais'd it, I contriv'd I sent it thee. (virtue. 1'd but one little casket, where I lodged
Elw. Thou seest me bold, but bold in conscious My precious hoard of wealth, and, like an idiot, —That my sad soul may not be stain'd with bloodI gave my treasure to another's keeping, That I may spend my few short hours in peace, Who threw away the gem, nor knew its value And die in holy hope of Heaven's forgiveness, But left the plunder'd owner quite a beggar. Relieve the terrors of my lab'ring breast,
Dou. What art thou come to see thy race dis Say I am clear of murder-say he lives,
honour'd? VOL. I. ...3 X 45
And thy bright sun of glory set in blood ? Despair had been my portion! Fly, good Birtha, I would have spar'd thy virtues, and thy age, Find out the suffering saint_describe my peniThe knowledge of her infamy.
tence, Raby. 'Tis false.
(blood. And paint my vast extravagance of fondness, Flad she been base, this sword had drank her Tell her I love as never mortal lor'd
Dou. Ha! dost thou vindicate the wanton ? Tell her I know her virtues, and adore theinRaby. Wanton ?
Tell her I come, but dare not seek ber presence, Thou hast defam'd a noble lady's honour Till she pronounce my pardon. My spotless child-in ine behold her champion : Bir. I obey.
[Erit Birtaa The strength of Hercules will nerve this arm, Raby. My child is innocent! ye choirs of saints, When lifted in defence of innocence.
Catch the bless'd sounds--my child is innocent! The daughter's virtue for the father's shield, Dou. O I will kneel, and sue for her forgiveness, Will make old Raby still invincible.
And thou shalt help me plead the cause of love,
[Offers to draw. And thou shalt weep-she cannot sure refuse Dou. Forbear.
A kneeling husband and a weeping father. Raby. Thou dost disdain my feeble arm, Thy venerable cheek is wet already. And scorn my age.
Řaby. Douglas! it is the dew of grateful joy! Dou. There will be blood enough;
My child is innocent! I now would die, Nor need thy wither'd veins, old lord, be drain'd, Lest fortune should grow weary of her kindness, To swell the copious stream.
And grudge me this short transport. Raby. Thou wilt not kill her ?
Dou. Where, where is she? Dou. Oh, 'tis a day of horror!
My fond impatience brooks not her delay; Enter Edric and Birtha.
Quick, let me find her, hush her anxious soul,
And sooth her troubled spirit into peace.
Bir. O horror, horror, horror! Dou. What meanest thou ?
(wife. Dou. Ah! what mean'st thou ? Edr. This instant fly, and save thy guiltless Bir. ElwinaDou. Save that perfidious
Dou. SpeakEdr. That much-injur'd woman.
Bir. Her grief wrought up to frenzy, Bi. Unfortunate indeed, but most innocent! She has, in her delirium, swallow'd poison ! Edr. In the last solemn article of death,
Raby. Frenzy and poison ! That truth-compelling state, when even bad men Dou. Both a husband's gift; Fear to speak falsely, Percy cleard her fame. But thus I do her justice. Dou. I heard him.-'Twas the guilty fraud of As Douglas goes to stab himself, enter ELWINA love.
distracted, her hair dishevelled, PERCY's scarf T'he scarf, the scarf! that proof of mutual passion, in her hand. Given but this day to ratify their crimes !
Elw. (Goes up to Douglas.) What, bloed Bir. What means my lord ? This day? That again? We cannot kill him twice! fatal scarf
Soft, soft-no violence-he's dead already Was given long since, a toy of childish friendship; I did it-Yes I drown'd bim with my tears;Long ere your marriage, ere you knew Elwina. But hide the cruel deed! I'll scratch him out Raby. 'Tis I am guilty.
A shallow grave, and lay the green sod on it; Dou. Ha!
Ay-and I'll bind the wild briar o'er the turf, Raby. I,--I alone.
And plant a willow there, a weeping willowConfusion, honour, pride, parental fondness,
(She sits on the ground. Distract my soul, Percy was not to blame, But look you tell not Douglas, he'll disturb him; He was the destin'd husband of Elwina ! He'll pluck the willow up-and plant a thorn. He lov'd her-was belov'd-and I approv'd. He will not let me sit upon his grave, The tale is long - I chang'd my purpose since, And sing all day, and weep and pray all night. Forbade their marriage
Raby. Dost thou not know me? Dou. And confirm'd my mis’ry !
Elv. Yes—I do remember Twice did they meet to-day—my wife and Percy. You had a harmless lamb. Raby. I know it.
Raby. I had indeed!
(mate, Dou. Ha! thou knew'st of my dishonour ? Elw. From all the flock you chose her out a Thou wast a witness, an approving witness, In sooth a fair one-you did bid her love itAt least a tame one!
But while the shepherd slept the wolf derour'd it Raby. Percy came, 'tis true,
Raby. My heart will break. This is too much, A constant, tender, but a guiltless lover!
too much! Dou. I shall grow mad indeed; a guiltless lover ! Elw. [Smiling.) O 'twas a cordial draught-1 Percy, the guiltless lover of my wife ?
drank it all. Raby. He knew not she was married.
Raby. What means my child ? Dou How? is't possible ?
(cent; Dou. The poison! On the poison ! Ruby. Douglas, 'tis true ; both, both were inno- Thou dear wrongd innocence He of her marriage, she of his return. (vow'd Elu. Off-murderer, off!
Bir. But now, when we believ'd thee dead, she Do not defile me with those crimson hands. Never to see thy rival. Instantly,
[Shows the scarf Not in a state of momentary passion,
This is his winding sheet—I'll wrap him in it-, But with a martyr's dignity and calmness, I wrought it for my love-there--now I've dress' She bade me bring the poison
him. Dou. Had'st thou done it,
How brave he looks! my father will forgive him,
He dearly lov'd him once--but that is over. But something tells me those painful struggles!,
(She sees the body of DOUGLAS And there's the dark, dark palace of Revenge! What sight is that?
(der'd See the pale king sits on his blood-stain'd throne! A sword, and bloody? Ah! and Douglas murHe points to me I come, I come, I come. Edr. Convinc'd too late of your unequallid [She faints, they run to her, Douglas takes
(wrongs, up lis sword and stabs himself. And wrung, with deep compunction for your Dou. Thus, thus I follow thee.
By his own hand the wretched Douglas fell. Edr. Hold thy rash hand!
Elw. This adds another, sharper pang to death. Dou. It is too late. No remedy but this O thou Eternal ! take him to thy mercy, Could medicine a disease so desperate.
Nor let this sin be on his head, or mine! Raby. Ah, she revives !
Raby. I have undone you all—the crime is mine! Dou. (Raising himself.] She lives! bear, bear o thou poor injur'd saint, forgive thy father, me to her!
He kneels to his wrong'd child. We shall be happy yet.
El. Now you are cruel, (He struggles to get to her, but sinks down. Come near, my father, nearer-I would see you, It will not be
But mists and darkness cloud my failing sight. O for a last embrace- Alas! I faint
O death! suspend thy rights for one short moment, She lives--Now death is terrible indeed - Till I have ta'en a father's last embrace-Fair spirit, I lov'd thee-O-Elwina! (Dies. A father's blessing.-Once—and now 'tis over. Elw. Where have I been? The damps of Receive me to thy mercy, gracious Heaven! death are on me. (thus !
(She dies. Raby. Look up, my child ! O do not leave me Raby. She's gone! for ever gone! cold, dead Pity the anguish of thy aged father.
and cold. Hast thou forgot me ?
Am I a father? Fathers love their childrenElu. No--you are my father ;
! murder mine! With impious pride I snatch'd O you are kindly come to close my eyes, The bolt of vengeance from the hand of Heaven. And take the kiss of death from my cold lips ! My punishment is great—but oh! 'tis just. Raby. Do we meet thus?
My soul submissive bows. A righteous God Elw. We soon shall meet in peace.
Has made my crime become my chastisement. I've but a faint remembrance of the past,
THE BELLE'S STRATAGEM:
IN FIVE ACTS.
BY MRS. CROWLEY.
Tuis successful play first appeared at Covent Garden in 1780, and was particularly patronised by the royal family, who frequently commanded its representation.
The Biographia Dramatica says: "To speak of it as a first-rate performance would be doing injustice to the piece, as it possesses little originality either in plot, character, or situation; it however always gives pleasure in the exhibition." A late editor has observed, that the mind must have been gifted with various powers that could produce such a comedy as this, and such a poem as the Siege of Acre."
DRURY LANE, 1815.
COVENT GARDEN, 1780.
Mr. Lee Lewis.
Mr. W. Bates.
Mr. Thompson. .
.... Miss Stewart...
Mr. J. Wallack
Enter Courtall, singing.
Ha, Courtall !—Bid him keep the horses in mo Enter Saville, followed by a SERVANT, at the [Exit Servant.) What the devil brings you to
tion, and then inquire at all the chambers mond top of the Stage, looking round as if at a loss. this part of the town? Have any of the long robes
Sav. Lincoln's inn !-Well, but where to find handsome wives, sisters, or chambermaids ? him, now I am in Lincoln's-inn? Where did he Court. Perhaps they have; but I came on a say his master was?
different errand: and had thy good fortune brought Sero. He only said in Lincoln's-inn, Sir. thee here half an hour sooner, I'd have given thee
Sad. That's pretty ?-And your wisdom never such a treat! ha, ha, ha! inquired at whose chambers ?
Sav. I'm sorry I miss'd it. What was it? Sero. Sir, you spoke to the servant yourself. Court. I was informed, a few days since, that
Sad. If I was too impatient to ask questions, my cousins Fallow were come to town, and de you ought to have taken directions, blockhead ! sired earnestly to see me at their lodgings, in