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THE TWO FRIENDS,
From “ VENICE PRESERVED.' OTWAY.
PIERRE, a Venitian Officer,
This magnificent tragedy,,the production of Thomas Otway - has fow equals in the whole range of dramatic literature. It has a melancholy interest from the fact that its gifted author is said to have perished from too hastily devouring food, after almost famishing from hunger.
The story of the play is from the historical records of the Repub. lic of Venice-a conspiracy having been formed to overthrow the tyranny of the Council of Ten. The leading characters-Pierre, Jaffier and Belvidera-have gained renown for such great performers as Garrick, Barry, and Mrs. Siddons, in the past; and in our own time many eminent performers have gathered laurels by their personation of these effective portraitures.
Pierre is a fine, bluff soldier-outspoken, and fearless—Jafer, bis friend, is no less brave, but of a gentle, tender and yielding disposi. tion.
The following scene occurs in front of the Church of St. Mark; but the view of the Cathedral is by no means necessary.
Pierre should wear a white doublet and blue Venitian fly embroi dered, white tights, russet boots, black felt hat, and plumes ; Jaffier, a somewhat similar apparel, but with dark colors predominant. Both have swords.
Note. - It will be borne in mind, that the Scenery and Costume hero described is by no means essential to the recitation of the pieces but they add to the effect.]
Discover JAFFIER, to whom enter PIERRE, L. S. E. PIERRE (L. C.). My friend, good morrow; How fares the honest partner of my heart? What, melancholy ! not a word to spare me! JAF. (C.). I'm thinking, Pierre, how that damned stary
ing quality, Called honesty, got footing in the world.
PIERRE. Why, powerful villainy first set it up, For its own ease and safety. Honest men Are the soft easy cushions on which knaves Repose and fatten. Were all mankind villains They'd starve each other; lawyers would want practice,
Cut-throats, reward : each man would kill his brother
JAF. Then honesty is but a notion ?
JAF. Sure, thou art honest ?
PIERRE. So, indeed, men think me; But they're mistaken, Jaffier; I'm a rogue, As well as they ; A fine, gay, bold-faced villain as thou seest me! 'Tis true, I pay my debts, when they're contracted; I steal from no man; would not cut a throat To gain admission to a great man's purse; Would not betray my friend, To get his place or fortune; I scorn to flatter A blown-up fool above me, or crush the wretch beneath
me; Yet, Jaffier, for all this, I am a villain.
JAF. (R. C.). A villain !
PIERRE. Yes, a most notorious villain; To see the sufferings of my fellow-creatures, And own myself a man ; to see our senators Cheat the deluded people with a show Of liberty, which yet they ne'er must taste of. They say, by them our hands are free from fetters; Yet whom they please, they lay in basest bonds; Bring whom they please to infamy and sorrow; Drive us, like wrecks, down the rough tide of power, Whilst no hold's left to save us from destruction. All that bear this are villains, and I one, Not to rouse up at the great call of nature, And check the growth of these domestic spoilers, That make us slaves, and tell us 'tis our charter! (walks, L.)
JAF. I think no safety can be here for virtue, And grieve, my friend, as much as thou, to live In such a wretched state as this of Venice, Where all agree to spoil the public good, And villains fatten with the brave man's labors. PIERRE (returns to L. C.). We've neither safety, unity,
nor peace, For the foundation's lost of common good; Justiee is lame, as well as blindl, amongst us;
The laws (corrupted to their ends that make them,)
cause but find out friends
'twill reach thy knowledge-
PIERRE. Then thou art ruined !
JAF. That I long since knew ;
PIERRE. I passed this very moment by thy doors,
JAF. Now, thank heaven-
Where there's no truth, no trust; where innocence
JAF. I thank thee for this story, from my soul;
JAF. No; there's a secret pride in bravely dying.
PIERRE. Rats die in holes and corners, dogs run mad!
PIERRE. A dog!
JAF. Agreed. (return to c.)
PIERRE. I'll tell thee:
JAF. Farewell !
SAMUEL ROGERS. (The story of “The Oaken Chest,” has been variously told by many writers; but never so effectively and affectingly as in the following version. The poem admits of much variety of facial expression and vocal modulation. In fact strikes almost every note of human feeling, from tho joyous utterances of the gay young maid, to the solemn depth of misery depicted in tbe closing lines. This piece is alike admirable for either a young lady or young gentleman's recitation.)
IF ever you should come to Modena,
'Tis of a lady in her earliest youth,
She sits, inclining forward as to speak,