Abbildungen der Seite

Has dealt among mankind, (so many widows
And helpless orphans has thy batlle made,
That half our eastern world this day are mourners)
Well may I, in behalf of Heav'n and earth,
Demand from thee atonement, for this wrong.

Baj. Make thy demand to those that own thy pow'r,
Know, I am still beyond it; and tho' fortune
(Curse on that changeling deity of fools !) ....; , -
Has stript me of the train and pomp of greatness,
That outside of a king, yet still my soul,
Fixt high, and of itself alone dependent,
Is ever free and royal, and ev'n now,
As at the head of battle, does defy thee:
I know what power the chance of war has giv'n,
And dare thee to the use ou't. This vile speeching,
This after-game of words, is what most irks me;
Spare that, and for the rest 'tis equal all
Be it as it may.

Tarn. Well was it for the world,
When on their borders neighbouring princes met,
Frequent in friendly parle, by cool debates
Preventing wasteful war:

Canst thou believe thy prophet, or, what's more,
That Pow'r supreme, which made thee and tby pro-
Will, with impunity, let pass that breach
Of sacred faith giv'n to the royal Greek?

Baj. Thou pedant talker! ha! art thou a king
Possest of sacred pow'r, Heav'n's darling attribute,
And dost thou prate of leagues, and oaths, and pro-
phets! .,,,,»,
I hate the Greek (perdition on his name)
As I do thee, and would have met you both,
As death does human nature, for destruction.

Tarn. Causeless to hate, is not of human kind:
The savage brute, that haunts in woods remote
And desert wilds, tears not the fearful traveller,
If hunger or some injury provoke not.

Baj. Can a king want a cause, when empire bids Goon? What is he born for, but ambition? It is his hunger, 'tis his call of nature, The noble appetite which will be satisfy'd, And, like the food of gods, makes him immortal. . ..•J

Tarn. Henceforth I will not wonder we were foes, Since souls that differ so by nature, hate, And strong antipathy forbids their union.

Baj. The noble fire, that warms me, does indeed
Transcend thy coldness. I am pleas'd we differ,
Nnr think alike.

Tim. No—for I think like man.
Thou, like a monster, from whose baleful presence
Nature starts back; and thu' she fix'd her stamp
On thy rough mass, and mark'd thee for a man,
Now, conscious of her error, she disclaims thee

As form'd for her destruction.

Tis true, I am a king, as thou hast been:
Honour and glory too have been my aim;
But, tho' I dare face death, and all the dangers
Which furious war wears in its bloody front,
Yet would I chuse to fix my name by peace,
By justice, and by mercy; and to raise
My trophies on the blessings of mankind.

Baj. Prophet, I thank thee:

Damnation!—Couldst thou rob me of my glorj,;;'

To dress up this tame king, this preaching deryisef*

Unfit for war, thou shouldst have liv'd secure

In lazy peace, and with debating senates

Shar'd a precarious sceptre, sat tamely still, t\

And let bold factions canton out thy pow'r,

And wrangle for the spoils they robb'd thee of;

Whilst I (curse on the pow'r that stops my ardour !)

Would, like a tempest, rush amidst the nations/.,;/

Be greatly terrible, and deal, like Alia.

My angry thunder on the frighted world.

Tarn. The world!—'twould be too little for thy pride: .■

Thou wouMst settle Heav'n'

Biij. I would :—Away! my soul Disdains thy conference.

Tam. Thou vain, rash thing,

[ocr errors]

That, with gigantic insolence, hast dar'd
To lift thy wretched self above the stars,
And mate with pow'r almighty: Thou art fall'n!'

Baj. 'Tis false! I am not fall'n from aught I have
At least my soul resolves to keep her state,
And scorns to take acquaintance with ill fortune.

Tam. Almost beneath my pity art thou fall'n; Say, what had I to expect, if thou hadst conquer'd?

Baj. Oh, glorious thought! By Heav'n I will en-
joy it,
Tho' but in fancy; imagination shall
Make room to entertain the vast idea.
Oh! had I been the master but of yesterday,
The world, the world had felt me; and for thee/
I had us'd thee, as thou art to me—a dog,
The object of my scorn and mortal hatred:
I would have taught ihy neck to know my weight,
And mounted from that footstool to my saddle:
Then, when thy daily servile task was done,
I would have cag'd thee, for the scorn of slaves,
Till thou hadst begg'd to die; and ev'n that mercy
I had deny'd thee. Now thou know'st my mind,
And question me no farther.

Tam. Well dost thou teach me
What justice should exact from thee. Mankind,
With one consent, cry ont for vengeance on thee j
Loudly they call to cut off this league breaker,
This wild destroyer, from the face of earth.

Baj. Do it, and rid thy shaking soul at once
Of its worst fear.

Tam. Hadst thou an arm To make thee fear'd, thou shouldst have prov'd it on me,


Amidst the sweat and blood of yonder field,

When, thro' the tumult of the war I sought thee,

Fenc'din with nations.
Boj. Curse upon the stars

That fated us to different scenes of slaughter!

Oh! could my sword have met thee!

Tam. Thou hadst then,

As now, been in my pow'r, and held thy life

Dependent on my gift—Yes, Bajazet,

I bid thee, live.

Nay more; couldst thou forget thy brutal fierceness,

And form thyself to manhood, I would bid thee

Live, and be still a king,

This royal tent, with such of thy domestics

As can be found, shall wait upon thy service;

Nor will I use my fortune to demand

Hard terms of peace, but such as thou may'st offer

With honour, I with honour may receive.
Baj. Ha! say'st thou—no—our prophet's vengeance
blast me,
If thou shall buy my friendship with thy empire.
Thou smooth fawning talker!
Give me again my chains, that I may curse thee,
And gratify my rage: or, if thou wilt
Be a vain fool, and play with thy perdition,
Remember I'm thy foe, and hate thee deadly.
Thy folly on thy head 1
Tam. Be still my foe.
Great minds, like Heav'n, are pleas'd in doing good,
Tho' the ungrateful subjects of their favours
Are barren in return:
Virtue still does

With scorn the mercenary world regard,
Where abject souls do good, and hope reward:
Above the worthless trophies men can raise,
She seeks not honours, wealth, nor airy praise,
But with herself, herself the goddess pays.

[Exeunt all but Bajazet and Omar

Baj. Come, lead me to my dungeon; plunge me down Deep from the hated sight of man and day, Where, under covert of the friendly darkness, My soul may brood, at leisure, o'er its anguish.

Omar. Our royal master would with noble usage, Make your misfortunes light: he bids you hope— Baj. I tell thee, slave, I have shook hands with hope, And all my thoughts are rage, despair, and horror.

[Exit Omar. Ha! wherefore am I thus ?—Perdition seize me! But my cold blood runs shiv'ring to my heart, The rage and fiercer passions of my breast Are lost in new confusion.

Enter Haly and Arpasia.

Arpasia !—Haly!

Haly. Oh, emperor! for whose hard fate our prophet And all the heros of thy sacred race Are sad in paradise, thy faithful Haly," The slave of all thy pleasures, in this ruin, This universal shipwreck of thy fortunes, Has gather'd up this treasure for thy arms: Nor ev'n the victor, haughty Tamerlane, (By whose command once more thy slave beholds

thee) Denies this blessing to thee, but, with honour, Renders thee back thy queen, thy beauteous bride.

Baj. Oh ! had her eyes, with pity, seen my sorrows, Had she the softness of a tender bride, Heav'n could not have bestow'd a greater blessing. And love had made amends for loss of empire. But see, what fury dwells upon her charms! What lightning flashes from her angry eyes! With a malignant joy she views my ruin:

« ZurückWeiter »