Of a poor wretch, that hurries to her grave.
Look, look upon me; I behold thee not
With unforgiving and resentful eyes ;
I deem thee but the destin'd instrument
Of righteous Heaven, to punish my misdeeds.
Queen. A fiood of agony o'erwhelms


soul, And all my pride and rage is wash'd away.

[ Aside.
Rosa. Now cast an eye of pity on my tears,
Now, in these awful, these tremendous moments,
Thou canst not doubt my truth. By my warm hopes
Of mercy at that throne where all must bow,
My only crime was love. No pow'r on earth
Could have impell’d me to a further wrong
Against thy state or peace.

Queen. I must believe thee
What then remains for me ; 0, rise, and wreak
Thy vengeance on my now-relenting rage.
Behold these tears-My wrongs are all forgot.-
Excess of passion, love, that knew no bounds,
Drove me, with execrable haste, to acto
What now I would resign all earthly bliss
To have undone again.

King. [Within.] Seize all that haunt
These winding avenues-let none escape.

Rosa. Ah me! that voice!

Queen. 'Tis Henry's ; let him come
And take his share of mis’ry.
Enter the King, ETHELINDA, and Atiendants,

wiib Torches. King. Where, where is she 3:

O, fell, vindi&tive fiend! what horrid aet
Hath thy dark rage been dealing ?

Queen. Mad revenge !
Etbel, Lo! the dread means ! all this my mind fore.

When the queen's train first met my startled eye.

Rosa. Ev'n now my flitting spirit is on the wing; The deadly draught runs thro' my scorching blood, I feel it at my heart-0, Henry! Henry!. King. Malicious rage, thou rid'st the lightning's

flash To execute thy vengeance! Ethelinda, Thy zeal was cool, thy expedition slow, Compar'd to that fell tyrant's rapid heat. Lift thine eyesmo! do not leave me yet Why melts compassion in thy languid looks? The flames of fury should be kindled there, 'Gainst him, who left thee to invading fate, Who saw not thy distress, heard not thy cries, When black revenge was pouring torments on thee! O, cruel woman, unrelenting fiend!

Rosa. Calm, calm thy mind; vent not thy fury there, Her wrongs cried loud, and her great heart is wrapt In sorrow for the deed.

King. What now avails it?
Compunction should have sprang when she beheld
The streaming tears course one another down
Thy beauteous cheek, and read the speechless grief
Of thy imploring eyes.-U! was it thus
I thought to see my Rosamond again!



Hath fury, like an Eastern-blast, destroy'd
The sweetest, loveliest flow'r that ever bloom'd ?
But I will die beside thee, never more
Revisit cheerful day, nor dream of comfort,
When thou art parted from me.

Rosa. Cease, O! cease
These useless plainings; consecrate to peace
The few remaining moments-nur let rage
Impel thy soul to meditate revenge
For a poor wretch, who justly thus atones
Her num'rous crimes. O, royal Eleanor !
Hear these last accents—Howsoe'er I lov'd,
However guilty I have seem'd to you,
This very night I had resolv'd to leave
These fatal walls, and, by my father's guidance,
Devote my future days to penitence.

King. Doth not tlıy blood, like mine, halt in thy veins, And chill the seat of life?

Rosa. Extend thy pity,
(I cannot wrong thee further) grant me now
One moment to indulge the tender feelings
Of hapless love, and breathe a fond adieu,
Ere this poor l’arrass'd spirit quit my breast.

King. Why this compassion to the wretched cause
Of all thy nuis’ries! I ain the source
Of every pang, that feeds on thy lov'd heart-
of this thy fatal end.-Reproach, revile me-
Do any thing but look thus kindly on me,
And I will struggle with my mighty woes,
Taught by the great example.

Rosa. O, my Henry !
Let not the sad remembrance of my fate
Sit on thy heart, nor call my present state
A misery ; I wish'd some sure retreat.
From grief and shame, and Heaven hath heard my

Queen. Unhappy victim of my blinded fury,
I almost envy thee thy present state ;
Thou soon wilt be at ease; while I must live
To all the torments which a guilty mind

upon myself.
King. Canst thou feel thus,
Yet couldst remain obdurate to her tears,
And deaf to her entreaties?

Queen. A deed like this
Was foreign to my heart, had not the fraud
Been pour’d into my ears, that I was nicant
To be divorc'd for ever from thine arms,
Be made an outcast from thy bed and throne,
That she might rise my substitute in all.
King. What black-foul'd damon could possess thy

With such a hellish falsehood ?
Queen. He-that fiend!

CLIFFORD brought on in his disguise.
King. Wretch! take thy death.
Rosa. Forbear!

Cliff. Strike, Henry, strike ! - [Discovers himself.
Why start'st thou back? I shrink not from the blow;

[ocr errors]


New woes assail me at that sinking object,
And all thy sword can do is mercy now.
King. Thou, Night, in tenfold darkness close me

From that much injur'd form!

Cliff. My child, my child,
Oh! wake, and let me once more hear thy voice.
Speak, speak, my Rosamond; tell my sad heart
What further woe awaits it. Hath affliction
Robb'd me of sense, or do I see the pangs
Of ruthless death within thy struggling eye.
Rosa. Thou dost, my father; let me bless thy

Ere speech forsake me; thou art come to execute
Thy pious promise-Fate prevents thy care,
And I submit. My penitential tears,
My hopes of heavenly mercy, and thy pardon,
Alleviate death's sharp terrors.

Cliff. O! what hand
Hath robb'd me of the latest
That trembling glitter'd on my eve of life?

Queen. In me behold the murderer of thy peace !
Vent thy reproaches, load me with thy curses,
I'll bear them all; high as I am in rank,
And proud in heart, I bend to make atonement.
My rage unsex'd me ; and the dire remembrance
Will ever haunt


King. It will have vent.
Lo, injur'd Clifford, Henry kneels before thee!
Henry, who spurn'd the holy ties of friendship,


of hope,

« VorigeDoorgaan »