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THE INJURED MOTHER.
From the Rev. JOHN BROWN's tragedy of BARBAROSSA.
BARBAROSSA, an Usurper,
OTHMAN, an Officer,
ZAPHIRA, the Widowed Queen.
[This play has many passages of splendid diction, well calculated for bold declamation. The plot of the piece runs thus: Barbarossa having killed, and then usurped the throne of his friend and master, tries to obtain the hand of Zaphira, the late monarch's widow-having previously destroyed, (as, is supposed) her son, Selim. The following scene represents the interviews between the unhappy queen and her faithful Othman, and of the queen with Barbarossa.
COSTUMES.- Barbarossa, green velvet robe, scarlet satin shirt, white trousers, russet boots, and turban. Othman, scarlet fly, yellow satin shirt, white slippers, turban white, scarlet cashmere vest. Zaphira, white dress, embroidered with silver, turban, and Turkish shoes.
NOTE.-A little taste will enable any smart young lady to make up these dresses. They are mostly loose, and the embroidery may be of tinsel-while cheap velveteen looks as well as the bost velvet on the stage.]
SCENE 1.-An apartment, with sofa.
Enter ZAPHIRA, R.
ZAP. (C.). When shall I be at peace? O, righteous heaven Strengthen my fainting soul, which fain would rise To confidence in thee! But woes on woes O'erwhelm me. First my husband, now my sonBoth dead-both slaughter'd by the bloody hand Of Barbarossa! What infernal power Unchain'd thee from thy native depth of hell, To stalk the earth with thy destructive train, Murder and lust! To wake domestic peace, And every heart-felt joy!
O, faithful Othman !
Enter OTHMAN, L.
Our fears were true: my Selim is no more!
Отн. Has, then, the fatal secret reach'd thine ear, Inhuman tyrant!
ZAP. Strike him, heav'n with thunder,
Nor let Zaphira doubt thy providence!
OTH. "Twas what we fear'd. Oppose not heav'n's high will,
Nor struggle with the ten-fold chain of fate,
ZAP. Whom stylest thou king?
ОTH. "Tis Barbarossa.
ZAP. Does he assume the name of king?
Отн. He does.
ZAP. O, title vilely purchas'd!-by the blood
Of innocence-by treachery and murder!
May heav'n, incens'd, pour down its vengeance on him,
Till phrensv rise, and bid him curse the hour
That gave his crimes their birth !-My faithful Othman,
No secret means, by which I may escape
This hated palace?
Oтн. That hope is vain. The tyrant knows thy hate; Hence, day and night, his guards environ thee.
Rouse not, then, his anger:
Let soft persuasion and mild eloquence
Redeem that liberty, wdich stern rebuke
Would rob thee of for ever.
ZAP. An injur'd queen
To kneel for liberty!-And, oh! to whom!
O, perish first, Zaphira! Yes, I'll die!
For what is life to me? My dear, dear lord
My hapless child—yes, I will follow you!
OTH. Wilt thou not see him, then
ZAP. I will not, Othman;
Or, if I do, with bitter imprecation
More keen than poison shot from serpents' tongue
OTH. Will Zaphira
Thus meanly sink in woman's fruitless rage,
When she should wake revenge?
ZAP. Revenge!-O, tell me
Tell, me but how ?-What can a helpless woman?
ОTH. (C.). Gain but the tyrant's leave, and seek thy father;
Pour thy complaints before him: let thy wrongs
This vile usurper, till unceasing war
Blast his ill-gotten pow'r,
ZAP. (L. C.). Ah! say'st thou, Othman ?
Thy words have shot like lightning through my frame,
In deadlier poison, to revenge my wrongs! (crosses to R.) OTH. (C.). There spoke the queen.-But, as thou lov'st thy freedom,
Touch not on Selim's death, Thy soul wiil kindle,
Oтн. Peace, peace!-the tyrant comes. Now, injur'd
Plead for thy freedom, hope for just revenge,
[Exit OTHMAN, R.
Enter BARBAROSSA, L.
BAR. (L.. Hail sovereign fair! in whom Beauty and majesty conspire to charm:
Behold the conqu'ror.
ZAP. (R. C.) O, Barbarossa,
No more the pride of conquest e'er can charm.
! Then turn thee to some happier fair, whose heart
BAR. Love ne'er should die :
"Tis the soul's cordial-'tis the front of life;
Therefore should spring eternal in the breast.
One object lost, another should succeed,
And all our life be love.
ZAP. Urge me no more.-Thou mightst with equal hope Woo the cold marble, weeping o'er a tomb,
To meet thy wishes. But, if generous love (approacnes
Dwell in thy breast, vouchsafe me proof sincere:
Give me safe convoy to the native vales
BAR. O, blind to proffer'd bliss!-What! fondly quit This pomp
Of empire for an Arab's wand'ring tent.
Where the mock chieftain leads his vagrant tribes
Here shall attend thy call :
Shall bow the neck; and swarthy kings and queens,
ZAP. Pomp and pow'r are toys,
Which e'en the mind at ease may well disdain :
Lies desolate within!-Such, such is mine!
BAR. Thy suit is vain.
ZAP. Thus, kneeling at thy feet-(kneels.)
Had I not seiz'd the throne when Selim died,
I check'd the warring pow'rs, and gave you peace,
I will descend the throne, and call thy son
From banishment to empire.
ZAP. O, my heart!
Can I bear this?
Inhuman tyrant!-curses on thy head!
May dire remorse and anguish haunt thy throne,
And gender in thy bosom fell despair,
Despair as deep as mine! (crosses to L.)
BAR. (R. C.). What means Zaphira?
What means this burst of grief?
ZAP. (L.). Thou fell destroyer!
Had not guilt steel'd thy heart, awak'ning conscience Would flash conviction on thee, and each look,
Shot from these eyes, be arm'd with serpent horrors,
Who did the bloody deed ?-O, tremble, guilt,
BAR. What envious tongue
Hath dar'd to taint my name with slander?
ZAP. Never, O, never !-Sooner would I roam
Of Afric-sooner dwell with wolves and tigers,
I am omnipotent. Yield thee, then ;
Avert the gath'ring horrors that surround thee,
And dread my pow'r incens'd.
ZAP. Dares thy licentious tongue pollute mine ear
With that foul menace? Tyrant! dread'st thou not
For crimes like thine ?-Yet know, Zaphira scorns thee. [Crosses to R.
Though robb'd by thee of ev'ry dear support,
No tyrants threat can awe the free-born soul,
That greatly dares to die.
[Exit ZAPHIRA, R.
BAR. (C), Where should she learn the tale of Selim's
Could Othman dare to tell it ?-If he did,
My rage shall sweep him, swifter than the whirlwind,
THE LAST MAN.
[The recitation of this fine poem should be marked by a decided solemnity of voice and gesture: at the same time it should not be de. void of a certain amount of spirited animation, as the speaker contra-ts the eternity of the soul with the mortality of all else in the Universe.!
All worldly shapes shall melt in gloom.
Before this mortal shall assume
I saw a vision in my sleep,