« ZurückWeiter »
Hast. Tis well, madam.
Alicia. Oh, thou false lord!
Hast. Are you wise?
Alicia. Oh, thou cool traitor! thou insulting tyrant! Dost thou behold my poor distracted heart, Thus rent with agonizing love and rage, And ask me what it means? Art thou not false? Am I not scorn'd, forsaken, and abandon'd, Left, like a common wretch, to shame and infamy, Giv'n up to be the sport of villains' tongues, Of laughing parasites, and lewd buffoons; And all because my soul has doted on thee With love, with truth, and tenderness unutterable!
Hast. Are these the proofs of tenderness and love? These endless quarrels, discontents, and jealousies, These never-ceasing wailings and complainings, These furious starts, these whirlwinds of the soul, Which every other moment rise to madness?
Alicia. What proof, alas! have I not giv'n of love? What have I not abandon'd to thy arms? Have I not set at nought my noble birth, A spotless fame, and an unblemished race, The peace of innocence, and pride of virtue? My prodigality has giv'n thee all; And, now I've nothing left me to bestow, You hate the wretched bankrupt you have made.
Hast. Why am I thus pursu'd from place to place, Kept in the view, and cross'd at ev'ry turn? In vain I fly, and, like a hunted deer,
Scud o'er the lawns, and hasten to the covert;
Alicia. Hither you fly, and here you seek repose;
Hast. If you are wise, and prize our peace of mind, Yet take the friendly counsel of my love; Believe me true, nor listen to your jealousy. Let not that devil, which undoes your sex, That cursed curiosity seduce you, To hunt for needless secrets, which, neglected, Shall never hurt your quiet; but once known, Shall sit upon your heart, pinch it with pain, And banish the sweet sleep for ever from you. Go to—be yet advis'd
Alicia. Dost thou in scorn, Preach patience to my rage, and bid me tamely Sit like a poor contented ideot down, Nor dare to think thou'st wrong'd me? Ruin seize
thee, And swift perdition overtake thy treachery. Have I the least remaining cause to doubt? Hast thou endeavour'd once to hide thy falsehood? To hide it might have spoke some little tenderness, And shown thee half unwilling to undo me; But thou disdain'st the weakness of humanity, Thy words, and all thy actions have confess'd it; Ev'n now thy eyes avow it, now they speak, And insolently own the glorious villainy.
Hast. Well, then, I own my'heart has broke your chains. Patient I bore the painful bondage long, At length my gen'rous love disdains your tyranny; The bitterness and stings of taunting jealousy, Vexatious days, and jarring, joyless nights,
Have driven him forth to seek some safer shelter,
Alicia. You triumph! do! and with gigantic
Hast. Whate'er my fate decrees for me hereafter, Be present to me now, my better angel! Preserve me from the storm that threatens now, And if I have beyond atonement sinn'd, Let any other kind of plague o'ertake me, So I escape the fury of that tongue.
Alicia. Thy pray'r is heard—I go—but know, proud lord, Howe'er thou scorn'st the weakness of my sex, This feeble hand may find the means to reach thee, Howe'er sublime in pow'r and greatness plac'd, With royal favour guarded round and grac'd; On eagle's wings my rage shall urge her flight, And hurl thee headlong from thy topmost height; Then, like thy fate, superior will I sit, And view thee fall'n, and growling at my feet; See thy last breath with indignation go, And tread thee sinking to the shades below. [Exit.
Hast. How fierce a fiend is passion! With what wildness, What tyranny, untam'd it reigns in woman! Unhappy sex! whose easy yielding temper Gives way to ev'ry appetite alike; And love in their weak bosoms is a rage As terrible as hate, and as destructive. But soft ye now—for here comes one, disclaims Strife and her wrangling train; of equal elements, Without one jarring atom was she form'd, And gentleness and joy make up her being.
Enter Jane Shore.
Forgive me, fair one, if officious friendship
Intrudes on your repose, and comes thus late,
To greet you with the tidings of success.
The princely Gloster has vouchsaf'd your hearing,
To-morrow he expects you at the court;
There plead your cause, with never-failing beauty,
Speak all your griefs, and find a full redress.
/. Shore. Thus humbly let your lowly servant bend; [Kneeling.
Thus let me bow my grateful knee to earth,
Hast. Rise, gentle dame; you wrong my meaning
J. Shore. 'Tis true, your bounty is beyond my speaking: But tho' my mouth be dumb, my heart shall thank
Hast. If there be ought of merit in my service,
J. Shore. Alas! my lord
Hast. Why bend thy eyes to earth? Wherefore these looks of heaviness and sorrow? Why breathes that sigh, my love? And wherefore falls This trickling show'r of tears, to stain thy sweetness }
J. Shore. If pity dwells within your noble breast, (As sure it does) oh, speak not to me thus.
Hast. Can I behold thee, and not speak of love f Ev'n now, thus sndly as thou stand'st before me, Thus desolate, dejected, and forlorn, Thy softness steals upon my yielding senses, Till my soul faints, and sickens with desire; How can'st thou give this motion to my heart, And bid my tongue be still?
J. Shore. Cast round your eyes Upon the high-born beauties of the court; Behold, like opening roses, where they bloom, Sweet to the sense, unsully'd all, and spotless; There chuse some worthy partner of your heart, To fill your arms, and bless your virtuous bed; Nor turn your eyes this way, where sin and misery, Like loathsome weeds, have over-run the soil, And the destroyer, Shame, has laid all waste.
Hast. What means this peevish, this fantastic change? Where is thy wonted pleasantness of face, Thy wonted graces, and thy dimpled smiles? Where hast thou lost thy wit, and sportive mirth? That cheerful heart, which us'd to dance for ever, And cast a day of gladness all around thee?
J. Store. Yes, I will own I merit the reproach; And for those foolish days of wanton pride, My soul is justly humbled to the dust; All tongues, like yours, are licens'd to upbraid me, Slill to repeat my guilt, to urge my infamy, And treat me like that abject thing I have been.
Hast. No more of this dull stuff. Tis time enough To whine and mortify thyself with penance; The present moments claim more gen'rous use; Thy beauty, night, and solitude, reproach me, For having talk'd thus long—come, let me press thee,
[Laying hold on her. Pant on thy bosom, sink into thy arms, And lose myself in the luxurious flood. .