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Ant. Indeed I do. Speak this, and this, and this.
Vent. And will you leave this-
And I will leave her; though, heav'n knows, I love
Vent. That's my royal master.
And shall we fight?
Ant. I warrant thee, old soldier ;
Vent. Oh, now I hear my emperor! In that word Octavius fell. Gods, let me see that day, And, if I have ten years behind, take all; I'll thank you for th' exchange.
Ant. Oh, Cleopatra !
Ant. I've done. In that last sigh she went; Cæsar shall know what 'tis to force a lover From all he holds most dear.
Vent. Methinks you breathe
Ant. Oh, thou hast fir'd me; my soul's up in arms,
Vent. Ye gods, ye gods,
For such another honour!
Ant. Come on, my soldier;
Our hearts and arms are still the same. I long
[Scene between Dorax and Sebastian.]
[Don Sebastian, King of Portugal, is defeated in battle, and taken prisoner by the Moors. He is saved from death by Dorax, a noble Portuguese, then a renegade in the court of the Emperor of Barbary, but formerly Don Alonzo of Alcazar. The train being dismissed, Dorax takes off his turban, and assumes his Portuguese dress and manner.]
Dor. Now, do you know me?
Seb. Thou shouldst be Alonzo.
Dor. So you should be Sebastian; But when Sebastian ceas'd to be himself,
I ceased to be Alonzo.
Seb. As in a dream
I see thee here, and scarce believe mine eyes.
Dor. Is it so strange to find me where my wrongs, And your inhuman tyranny, have sent me? Think not you dream: or, if you did, my injuries Shall call so loud, that lethargy should wake, And death should give you back to answer me. A thousand nights have brush'd their balmy wings Over these eyes; but ever when they clos'd, Your tyrant image forc'd them ope again, And dried the dews they brought.
The long-expected hour is come at length,
Dor. "Tis the first justice thou hast ever done me; Then, though I loathe this woman's war of tongues, Yet shall my cause of vengeance first be clear; And, Honour, be thou judge.
Seb. Honour befriend us both.
Beware, I warn thee yet, to tell thy griefs
I warn thee thus, because I know thy temper
Dor. And well I might, when you forgot reward,
Seb. How, tyrant?
Seb. Traitor that name thou canst not echo back: That robe of infamy, that circumcision,
Ill hid beneath that robe, proclaim thee traitor;
More foul than traitor be, 'tis renegade.
Dor. If I'm a traitor, think, and blush, thou tyrant, Whose injuries betray'd me into treason, Effac'd my loyalty, unhing'd my faith, And hurried me from hopes of heav'n to hell; All these, and all my yet unfinish'd crimes, When I shall rise to plead before the saints, I charge on thee, to make thy damning sure.
Seb. Thy old presumptuous arrogance again, That bred my first dislike, and then my loathing; Once more be warn'd, and know me for thy king.
Dor. Too well I know thee, but for king no more:
Thy hungry minions thought their rights invaded,
To save his king's, the boon was begg'd before.
Thou mov'st me more by barely naming him,
Dor. And therefore 'twas to gall thee that I nam'd him;
That thing, that nothing, but a cringe and smile; That woman, but more daub'd; or if a man, Corrupted to a woman; thy man-mistress.
Seb. All false as hell or thou.
Dor. Yes; full as false
As that I serv'd thee fifteen hard campaigns,
Seb. I see to what thou tend'st; but tell me first,
With palm and olive, victory and peace,
Seb. I meant thee a reward of greater worth. Dor. Where justice wanted, could reward be hop'd? Could the robb'd passenger expect a bounty From those rapacious hands who stripp'd him first? Seb. He had my promise ere I knew thy love. Dor. My services deserv'd thou shouldst revoke it. Seb. Thy insolence had cancell'd all thy service; To violate my laws, even in my court, Sacred to peace, and safe from all affronts; Ev'n to my face, and done in my despite, Under the wing of awful majesty
To tell me what I durst not tell myself:
Seb. Now, by this honour'd order which I wear, More gladly would I give than thou dar'st ask it. Nor shall the sacred character of king
Be urg'd to shield me from thy bold appeal. If I have injur'd thee, that makes us equal: The wrong, if done, debas'd me down to thee: But thou hast charg'd me with ingratitude; Hast thou not charg'd me? Speak.
Dor. Thou know'st I have:
If thou disown'st that imputation, draw,
Seb. No; to disprove that lie, I must not draw:
Dor. I'll cut that isthmus :
Thou know'st I meant not to preserve thy life,
I sav'd thee out of honourable malice:
Seb. Oh, patience, heav'n!
Dor. Beware of patience too; That's a suspicious word: it had been proper, Before thy foot had spurn'd me; now 'tis base: Yet, to disarm thee of thy last defence, I have thy oath for my security:
The only boon I begg'd was this fair combat:
Seb. Now can I thank thee as thou wouldst be
Never was vow of honour better paid,
If my true sword but hold, than this shall be.
Dor. His ghost! then is my hated rival dead? Seb. The question is beside our present purpose; Thou seest me ready; we delay too long.
Dor. A minute is not much in either's life, When there's but one betwixt us; throw it in, And give it him of us who is to fall.
Seb. He's dead: make haste, and thou may'st yet o'ertake him.
Dor. When I was hasty, thou delay'dst me longer. I pr'ythee, let me hedge one moment more Into thy promise: for thy life preserved, Be kind; and tell me how that rival died, Whose death, next thine, I wish'd.
Seb. If it would please thee, thou shouldst never But thou, like jealousy, inquir'st a truth, [know. Which found, will torture thee: he died in fight: Fought next my person; as in concert fought: Kept pace for pace, and blow for every blow; Save when he heav'd his shield in my defence, And on his naked side received my wound: Then, when he could no more, he fell at once, But roll'd his falling body cross their way, And made a bulwark of it for his prince.
Dor. I never can forgive him such a death! Seb. I prophesied thy proud soul could not bear it. Now, judge thyself, who best deserv'd my love. I knew you both; and, durst I say, as heav'n Foreknew among the shining angel host Who should stand firm, who fall.
Dor. Had he been tempted so, so had he fall'n; And so had I been favour'd, had I stood.
Seb. What had been, is unknown; what is, appears ; Confess he justly was preferr'd to thee.
Dor. Had I been born with his indulgent stars,
Seb. The more effeminate and soft his life,
Dor. Oh, whither would you drive me! I must grant, Yes, I must grant, but with a swelling soul, Henriquez had your love with more desert: For you he fought and died; I fought against you; Through all the mazes of the bloody field Hunted your sacred life; which that I miss'd, Was the propitious error of my fate, Not of my soul; my soul's a regicide.
Seb. Thou mightst have given it a more gentle name; Thou meant'st to kill a tyrant, not a king. Speak; didst thou not, Alonzo ?
Dor. Can I speak?
Alas! I cannot answer to Alonzo:
Seb. Yet twice this day I ow'd my life to Dorax. Dor. I sav'd you but to kill you: there's my grief. Seb. Nay, if thou canst be griev'd, thou canst repent; Thou couldst not be a villain, though thou wouldst': Thou own'st too much, in owning thou hast err'd; And I too little, who provok'd thy crime.
Dor. Oh, stop this headlong torrent of your goodness; It comes too fast upon a feeble soul
Half drown'd in tears before; spare my confusion:
For yet I have not dar'd, through guilt and shame,
Seb. Indeed thou shouldst not ask forgiveness first;
So, still indulging tears, she pines for thee,
Dor. Have I been cursing heav'n, while heaven bless'd me?
shall run mad with ecstacy of joy:
Seb. Art thou so generous, too, to pity him?
Dor. What! my Alonzo, said you? My Alonzo?
Words were not made to vent such thoughts as mine.
Where Dryden failed, one of his young contemporaries succeeded. The tones of domestic tragedy and the deepest distress were sounded, with a power and intenseness of feeling never surpassed, by the unfortunate THOMAS OTWAY; a brilliant name associated with the most melancholy history. Otway was born at Trotting in Sussex, March 3, 1651, the son of a clergyman. He was educated first at Winchester school and afterwards at Oxford, but left college without taking his degree. In 1672 he made his appearance as an actor on the London stage. To this profession his talents were ill adapted, but he probably acquired a knowledge of dramatic art, which was serviceable to him when he began to write for the theatre. He produced three tragedies, Alcibiades, Don Carlos, and Titus and Berenice, which
travagance, was prematurely closed in 1685. One of his biographers relates, that the immediate cause of his death was his hastily swallowing, after a long fast, a piece of bread which charity had supplied. According to another account he died of fever, occasioned by fatigue, or by drinking water when violently heated. Whatever was the immediate cause of his death, he was at the time in circumstances of great poverty.
The fame of Otway now rests on his two tragedies, the 'Orphan,' and 'Venice Preserved;' but on these it rests as on the pillars of Hercules. His talents in scenes of passionate affection 'rival, at least, and sometimes excel, those of Shakspeare: more tears have been shed, probably, for the sorrows of Belvidera and Monimia than for those of Juliet and Desdemona.* The plot of the 'Orphan,' from its inherent indelicacy and painful associations, has driven this play from the theatres; but 'Venice Preserved' is still one of the most popular and effective tragedies. The stern plotting character of Pierre is well contrasted with the irresolute, sensitive, and affectionate nature of Jaffier; and the harsh unnatural cruelty of Priuli serves as a dark shade, to set off the bright purity and tenderness of his daughter. The pathetic and harrowing plot is well managed, and deepens towards the close; and the genius of Otway shines in his delineation of the passions of the heart, the ardour of love, and the excess of misery and despair. The versification of these dramas is sometimes rugged and irregular, and there are occasional redundancies and inflated expressions, which a more correct taste would have expunged; yet, even in propriety of style and character, how much does this young and careless poet excel the great master Dryden !
*Sir Walter Scott.
[Scenes from Venice Preserved.]
Scene St Mark's. Enter PRIULI and JAFFIER.
Pri. No more! I'll hear no more! begone, and leave me!
Jaf. Not hear me! by my sufferings but you shall! My lord-my lord! I'm not that abject wretch You think me. Patience! where's the distance throws Me back so far, but I may boldly speak
In right, though proud oppression will not hear me? Pri. Have you not wrong'd me?
Jaf. Could my nature e'er
Have brook'd injustice, or the doing wrongs,
Pri. Yes, wrong'd me! in the nicest point,
I treated, trusted you, and thought you mine;
Jaf. 'Tis to me you owe her:
Childless had you been else, and in the grave
Pri. You stole her from me; like a thief you stole her,
At dead of night! that cursed hour you chose
May all your joys in her prove false, like mine!
Jaf. Half of your curse you have bestow'd in vain.
Pri. Rather live
To bait thee for his bread, and din your ears With hungry cries; whilst his unhappy mother Sits down and weeps in bitterness of want.
Jaf. Yes, all, and then adieu for ever.
Reduce the glitt'ring trappings of thy wife
Jaf. Yes, if my heart would let me-
Bel. My lord, my love, my refuge!
Jaf. As when our loves
Were in their spring! Has, then, my fortune chang'd thee?
Art thou not, Belvidera, still the same, Kind, good, and tender, as my arms first found thee?
If thou art alter'd, where shall I have harbour?
Than did thy mother, when she hugg'd thee first,
Jaf. Can there in woman be such glorious faith? Sure, all ill stories of thy sex are false! Oh, woman! lovely woman! Nature made thee To temper man: we had been brutes without you! Angels are painted fair, to look like you: There's in you all that we believe of Heav'n; Amazing brightness, purity, and truth, Eternal joy, and everlasting love!
Bel. If love be treasure, we'll be wondrous rich; Oh! lead me to some desert, wide and wild, Barren as our misfortunes, where my soul May have its vent, where I may tell aloud To the high heavens, and ev'ry list'ning planet, With what a boundless stock my boson's fraught. Jaf. Oh, Belvidera! doubly I'm a beggar: Undone by fortune, and in debt to thee. Want, worldly want, that hungry meagre fiend, Is at my heels, and chases me in view. Canst thou bear cold and hunger? Fram'd for the tender offices of love, Endure the bitter gripes of smarting poverty? When banish'd by our miseries abroad (As suddenly we shall be), to seek out In some far climate, where our names are strangers, For charitable succour, wilt thou then, When in a bed of straw we shrink together, And the bleak winds shall whistle round our heads; Wilt thou then talk thus to me? Wilt thou then Hush my cares thus, and shelter me with love?
Can these limbs,
Bel. Oh! I will love, even in madness love thee! Though my distracted senses should forsake me, I'd find some intervals when my poor heart Should 'suage itself, and be let loose to thine. Though the bare earth be all our resting place, Its roots our food, some cliff our habitation, I'll make this arm a pillow for thine head; And, as thou sighing liest, and swell'd with sorrow, Creep to thy bosom, pour the balm of love Into thy soul, and kiss thee to thy rest; Then praise our God, and watch thee till the morning. Jaf. Hear this, you Heav'ns, and wonder how you
Reign, reign, ye monarchs, that divide the world,
Like gaudy ships, the obsequious billows fall,
[Jaffier joins with Pierre and others in a conspiracy against the senate. He communicates the secret to Belvidera, and she, anxious to save her father's life, prevails on Jaffier to disclose the whole to the senators. The betrayed conspirators are condemned to death.]
Scene A Street. Enter JAFFIER.
Jaf. Final destruction seize on all the world! Bend down, ye heav'ns, and, shutting round the earth, Crush the vile globe into its own confusion!
Bel. My life
Jaf. My plague
Bel. Nay, then, I see my ruin.
If I must die!
Jaf. No, death's this day too busy ;
I thank thee for thy labours, though; and him too.
Jaf. A curs'd one.
Bel. I thought it otherwise; and you have often
When sure you spoke the truth, you've sworn, you bless'd it.
Jaf. "Twas a rash oath.
Bel. Then why am I not curs'd too.
Jaf. No, Belvidera; by th' eternal truth,
I dote with too much fondness.
Still, then, do you love me?
Jaf. Man ne'er was bless'd,
Since the first pair first met, as I have been.
I came on purpose, Belvidera, to bless thee.
Jaf. Then hear me, bounteous Heaven, Pour down your blessings on this beauteous head, Where everlasting sweets are always springing, With a continual giving hand: let peace, Honour, and safety, always hover round her: Feed her with plenty; let her eyes ne'er see A sight of sorrow, nor her heart know mourning; Crown all her days with joy, her nights with rest, Harmless as her own thoughts; and prop her virtue, To bear the loss of one that too much lov'd; And comfort her with patience in our parting. Bel. How? parting, parting?
Jaf. Yes, for ever parting!
I have sworn, Belvidera, by yon Heav'n,
Jaf. Yet stay:
We have a child, as yet a tender infant: Be a kind mother to him when I am gone: