« PrécédentContinuer »
In one poor minute gone; at once they withered, And left their place all desolate behind them.
L. J. Gray. Such is this foolish world, and such the certainty
Of all the boasted blessings it bestows : Then, Guilford, let us have no more to do with it;
Think only how to leave it as we ought;
But trust no more, and be deceived no more.
Guil. Yes, I will copy thy divine example,
And tread the paths are pointed out by thee:
By thee instructed, to the fatal block
I bend my head with joy, and think it happiness
To give my life a ransom for my faith.
From thee, thou angel of my heart, I learn
That greatest, hardest task, to part with thee.
L. J. Gray. Oh, gloriously resolved! Heaven
is my witness,
My heart rejoices in thee more even now,
Thus constant as thou art, in death thus faithful,
Than when the holy priest first joined our hands,
And nit the sacred knot of bridal love.
Gar. The day wears fast; Lord Guilford, have you thought?
Will you lay hold on life?
Guil, What are the terms?
Gar. Death, or the mass, attend you.
Guil. 'Tis determined:
Lead to the scaffold.
Gar. Bear him to his fate.
Guil. Oh, let me fold thee once more in my arms,
Thou dearest treasure of my heart, and print
A dying husband's kiss upon thy lip!
Shall we not live again, even in those forms?
Shall I not gaze upon thee with these eyes?
L. J. Gray. Oh, wherefore dost thou soothe me
with thy softness?
Why dost thou wind thyself about my heart,
And make this separation painful to us?
Here break we off at once; and let us now,
Forgetting ceremony, like two friends
That have a little business to be done,
Take a short leave, and haste to meet again.
Guil. Rest on that hope, my soul-my wife-
L. J. Gray. No more.
Guil. My sight hangs on thee-Oh, support
In this last pang-and let us meet in bliss!
[Guilford is led off by the guard,
L. J. Gray. Can nature bear this stroke?
Wom. Alas, she faints!
[Supporting, L. J. Gray. Wilt thou fail nowThe killing stroke is past,
And all the bitterness of death is o'er.
Gar. Here let the dreadful hand of vengeance
But lingers on the wing, and waits for me.
[The scene draws, and discovers a scaf-
fold hung with black, executioner
And see my journey's end.
1 Wom. My dearest lady!
2 Wom. Oh, misery!
L. J. Gray. Forbear, my gentle maids, Nor wound my peace with fruitless lamentations; The good and gracious hand of Providence Shall raise you better friends than I have been. 1 Wom. Oh, never, never!—
L. J. Gray. Help to disarray,
And fit me for the block; do this last service,
And do it cheerfully. Now you will see
Your poor unhappy mistress sleep in peace,
And cease from all her sorrows. These few
The pledges of a dying mistress' love,
Receive and share among you. Thou, Maria,
[To 1 Wom.
Hast been my old, my very faithful servant :
In dear remembrance of thy love, I leave thee
This book, the law of everlasting truth:
Make it thy treasure still; 'twas my support,
When all help clse forsook me.
Repent, be wise, and save your precious life?
L. J. Gray. Oh, Winchester! has learning To latest times the blessing to convey,
taught thee that,
To barter truth for life?
Gar. Mistaken folly!
You toil and travail for your own perdition,
And die for damned errors.
L. J. Gray. Who judge rightly,
And who persists in error, will be known,
Then, when we meet again.
Once more, farewell! [To her women. Goodness be ever with you. When I'm dead, Entreat they do no rude, dishonest wrong To my cold, headless corpse; but see it shrouded, And decent laid in earth.
Gar. Wilt thou then die ? Thy blood be on thy head.
L. J. Gray. My blood be where it falls; let the earth hide it;
And may it never rise, or call for vengeance.
Oh, that it were the last shall fall a victim
To zeal's inhuman wrath! Thou, gracious Hea-
Hear and defend at length thy suffering people;
Raise up a monarch of the royal blood,
Brave, pious, equitable, wise, and good.
In thy due season let the hero come,
To save thy altars from the rage of Rome:
Long let him reign, to bless the rescued land,
And deal out justice with a righteous hand.
And when he fails, oh, may he leave a son,
With equal virtues to adorn his throne;
And guard that faith for which I die to-day! [Lady Jane goes up to the scaffold. The scene closes.
Pem. Horror on horror! Blasted be the hand That struck my Guilford! Oh, his bleeding trunk Shall live in these distracted eyes for ever! Curse on thy fatal arts, thy cruel counsels!
[To Gardiner, The queen is deaf, and pitiless as thou art. Gar. The just reward of heresy and treason Is fallen upon them both, for their vain obstinacy; Untimely death, with infamy on earth, And everlasting punishment hereafter.
Pem. And canst thou tell? Who gave thee to explore
The secret purposes of Heaven, or taught thee
To set a bound to mercy unconfined?
But know, thou proud, perversely-judging Win-
Howe'er you hard, imperious censures doom,
And portion out our lot in worlds to come,
Those, who, with honest hearts, pursue the right,
And follow faithfully truth's sacred light,
Though suffering here, shall from their sorrows
Scene, The City of Damascus, in Syria, and the Saracen Camp before it. And, in the last Act, a Valley adjacent.
Enter EUMENES, followed by a crowd of people.
Eum. I'll hear no more. Begone!
Or stop your clamorous mouths, that still are open
To bawl sedition, and consume our corn.
If you will follow me, send home your women,
And follow to the walls; there earn your safety,
As brave men should. Pity your wives and chil-
Yes, I do pity them, Heaven knows I do,
Even more than you; nor will I yield them up,
Though at your own request, a prey to ruffians
Herbis, what news?
Herb. News! we are betrayed, deserted; The works are but half-manned; the Saracens
Perceive it, and pour on such crowds, they blunt
Our weapons, and have drained our stores of
What will you next?
Eum. I have sent a fresh recruit;
The valiant Phocyas leads them on-whose deeds
In early youth assert his noble race;
A more than common ardour seems to warm
His breast, as if he loved and courted danger.
Herb. I fear it will be too late.
Eum. [Aside.] I fear it too:
And though I braved it to the trembling crowd,
I have caught the infection, and I dread the
Would I had treated-but 'tis now too lateCome, Herbis. [Exeunt. [A noise is heard without, of officers giving orders.
1st. Offi. Help there! more help! all to the eastern gate!
2d Offi. Look where they cling aloft, like clustered bees!
Here, archers, ply your bows.
1st Offi. Down with the ladders!
What, will you let them mount?
Eum. True; they pretend the gates of Paradise
Stand ever open, to receive the souls
Of all that die in fighting for their cause.
Pho. Then would I send their souls to Paradise,
And give their bodies to our Syrian eagles.
Our ebb of fortune is not yet so low
To leave us desperate. Aids may soon arrive;
2d Offi. Aloft there! give the signal, you that Mean time, in spite of their late bold attack,
The city still is ours; their force repelled,
And therefore weaker; proud of this success,
Our soldiers too have gained redoubled courage,
And long to meet them on the open plain.
What hinders, then, but we repay this outrage,
And sally on their camp?
Eum. No-let us first
Believe the occasion fair, by this advantage, To purchase their retreat on easy terms:
Herb. So the tide turns; Phocyas has driven That failing, we the better stand acquitted
The gate once more is ours.
Enter EUMENES, PHOCYAS, ARTAMON, &c. Eum. Brave Phocyas, thanks! Mine and the people's thanks.
[People shout and cry, A Phocyas, &c. Yet, that we may not lose this breathing space, Hang out the flag of truce. You, Artamon, Haste with a trumpet to the Arabian chiefs, And let them know, that, hostages exchanged, I would meet them now upon the eastern plain. [Exit Artamon.
Pho. What means Eumenes?
Eum. Phocyas, I would try
By friendly treaty, if on terms of peace
They will yet withdraw their powers.
Pho. On terms of peace!
What terms can you expect from bands of robbers!
What terms from slaves, but slavery? You know
These wretches fight not at the call of honour;
For injured rights, or birth, or jealous greatness,
That sets the princes of the world in arms.
Base-born, and starved amidst their stoney deserts,
Long have they viewed from far, with wishing eyes,
Our fruitful vales, our fig-trees, olives, vines,
Our cedars, palms, and all the verdant wealth
That crowns fair Lebanon's aspiring brows.
Here have the locusts pitched, nor will they leave
These tasted sweets, these blooming fields of
For barren sands, and native poverty,
Till driven away by force.
Eum. What can we do?
Our people in despair, our soldiers harrassed
With daily toil, and constant nightly watch:
Our hopes of succour from the emperor
Uncertain; Eutyches not yet returned,
That went to ask them; one brave army beaten;
The Arabians numerous, cruel, flushed with con-
Herb. Besides, you know what frenzy fires their
Of their new faith, and drives them on to danger.
To our own citizens. However, brave Phocyas,
Cherish this ardour in the soldiery,
And in our absence form what force thou canst;
Then if these hungry bloodhounds of the war
Should still be deaf to peace, at our return
Our widened gates shall pour a sudden flood
Of vengeance on them, and chastise their scorn.
SCENE II-A Plain before the City. A Prospect of Tents at a distance.
Enter CALED, ABUDAH, and DARAN.
Dar. To treat, my chiefs! what, are we mer-
That only come to traffic with those Syrians,
And poorly cheapen conquest on conditions?
No; we were sent to fight the caliph's battles,
Till every iron neck bend to obedience.
Another storm makes this proud city ours;
What need we treat? I am for war and plunder.
Cal. Why, so am I-and but to save the lives
Of mussulmans, not christians, I would not treat.
I hate these christian dogs; and 'tis our task,
As thou observest, to fight; our law enjoins it:
Heaven, too, is promised only to the valiant.
Oft has our prophet said, the happy plains
Above lie stretched beneath the blaze of swords.
Abu. Yet, Daran's loth to trust that heaven
This earth, it seems, has gifts that please him
At your request, has stilled his angry voice, To hear what will propose.
Eum. We come to know,
After so many troops you have lost in vain,
If you will draw off in peace, and save the rest.
Herb. Or rather to know first-for yet we
Why on your heads you call our pointed arrows,
In our own just defence? What means this visit?
And why see we so many thousand tents
Rise in the air, and whiten all our fields?
Cal. Is that a question now? you had our sum-
When first we marched against you, to surrender.
Two moons have wasted since, and now the third
Is in it's wane. 'Tis true, drawn off awhile,
At Aiznadin we met and fought the powers
Sent by your emperor to raise our siege.
Vainly you thought us gone; we gained a con-
You see we are returned; our hearts, our cause,
Our swords the same.
Herb. But why those swords were drawn, And what's the cause, inform us.
Eum. Speak your wrongs,
If wrongs you have received, and by what means They may be now repaired.
Abu. Then, christians, hear!
And heaven inspire you to embrace its truth!
Not wrongs to avenge, but to establish right,
Our swords were drawn: For such is heaven's
Immutable. By us great Mahomet,
And his successor, holy Abubeker,
Invite you to the faith.
Art. [Aside.] So-then, it seems
There is no harm meant; we are only to be beaten
Into a new religion-If that's all,
I find I am already half a convert.
Eum. Now, in the name of Heaven, what faith
That stalks gigantic forth thus armed with terrors,
As if it meant to ruin, not to save?
That leads embattled legions to the field,
And marks its progress out with blood and
Herb. Bold, frontless men! that impudently
To blend religion with the worst of crimes!
And sacrilegiously usurp that name,
To cover fraud and justify oppression!
Eum. Where are your priests? What doctors
of your law
Have you e'er sent to instruct us in its precepts?
To solve our doubts, and satisfy our reason,
And kindly lead us through the wilds of error
To these new tracts of truth-This would be
And well might claim our thanks.
Cal. Friendship like this
With scorn had been received: your numerous vices,
Your clashing sects, your mutual rage and strife,
Have driven religion and her angel guards,
Like out-casts, from among you. In her stead,
Usurping superstition bears the sway,
And reigns in mimic state, 'midst idol shows,
And pageantry of power. Who does not mark
Your lives! Rebellious to your own great pro-
Who mildly taught you-Therefore Mahomet
Has brought the sword to govern you by force,
Nor will accept obedience so precarious.
Eum. O solemn truths! though from an im-
That we're unworthy of our holy faith,
To Heaven, with grief and conscious shame, we
Our prophet has bestowed them on the faithful, And heaven itself has ratified the grant.
Eum. Oh! now indeed you boast a noble title! What could your prophet grant? a hireling slave! Not even the mules and camels, which he drove, Were his to give; and yet the bold impostor Has cantoned out the kingdoms of the earth, In frantic fits of visionary power, To soothe his pride, and bribe his fellow madmen!
Cal. Was it for this you sent to ask a parley,
To affront our faith, and to traduce our prophet?
Well might we answer you with quick revenge.
Nor such indignities-Yet hear, once more,
Hear this, our last demand; and this accepted
We yet withdraw our war.
Be christians still,
But swear to live with us in firm alliance,
To yield us aid, and pay us annual tribute.
Eum. No-Should we grant you aid, we must
And tribute is the slavish badge of conquest.
Yet since, on just and honourable terms,
We ask but for own-Ten silken vests,
Weighty with pearl and gems, we'll send your ca-
Two, Caled, shall be thine; two thine, Abudah.
To each inferior captain we decree
A turban spun from our Damascus flax,
White as the snows of heaven; to every soldier