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Unjustly hast pursued me with thy hate,
thee; Now, if thou wilt embrace a nobler vengeance, Come, join with me, and curse
Cust. First, thyself, As I do, and the hour that gave thee birth : Confusion and disorder seize the world, To spoil all trust and converse amongst men ! 'Twixt families engender endless feuds, In countries needless fears, in cities factions, In states rebellion, and in churches schism ! Till all things move against the course of nature, Till form's dissolved, the chain of causes broken, And the original of being lost!
Acast. Have patience.
Cast. Patience! preach it to the winds, The roaring seas, or raging fires ! the knaves That teach it, laugh at ye, when ye believe them. Strip me of all the common needs of life, Scald me with leprosy, let friends forsake me,
I'll bear it all; but cursed to the degree
(Stabs himself. Pol. Castalio! oh!
Cast. I come.
(Acas. faints into the arms of a servant. For I perceive they fall with weight upon him. And, for Monimia's sake, whom thou wilt find I never wronged, be kind to poor Serina. Now, all I beg, is, lay me in one grave Thus with my love. Farewell. I now am-no- ! thing.
(Dies. Cha. Take care of good Acasto, whilst I go To search the means, by which the fates have
plagued us. 'Tis thus that heaven its empire does maintain ; It may afflict, but man must not complain.
You've seen one Orplan ruin'd here, and I
go a conventicling twice a week?
Or shall I (as I guess the poet may
And fit his pliant limbs to ride in chair: When we have feared three years we know not Yet here's an army raised, though under ground, what,
But no man seen, nor one commission found: Till witnesses begin to die o'th' rot,
Here is a traitor too, that's very old, What made our poet meddle with a plot ? Turbulent, subtle, mischievous, and bold, Was't that he fancied, for the very sake Bloody, revengeful, and, to crown his part, And name of plot, his trifling play might take? Loves fumbling with a wench, with all his beart; For there's not in't one inch-broad evidence, Till after having many changes past, But 'tis, he says, to reason plain and sense, In spite of age, (thanks t'heaven) is hang d at last. And that he thinks a plausible defence. Next is a senator that keeps a whore; Were truth by sense and reason to be tried, In Venice none a higher office bore; Sure all our swearers might be laid aside. To lewdness every night the letcher ran, No, of such tools our author has no need, Shew me, all London, such another man, To make his plot, or make his play succeed. Match him at Mother Creswold's, if you can. He, of black bills, has no prodigious tales, Oh Poland ! Poland! had it been thy lot, Or, Spanish pilgrims cast ashore in Wales; T’have heard in time of this Venetian plot, Here's not one murdered magistrate at least : Thou surely chosen had'st one king from thence, Kept rank like ven’son for a city feast:
And honour'd them as thou hast England since
Conspirators. Priuli, father of Belvidera.
AQUILINA, a Courtezan.
Two Women, attendants on Belvidere.
The Council of Ten.
Officer, Guard, Friar,
Executioner, and Rabble.
SCENE I.-A Street in Venice.
To rifle me of all my heart held dear.
May all your joys in her prove false, like mine; Enter PRIULI and JAFFIER.
A sterile fortune, and a barren bed, Pri. No more! I'll hear no more! Begone Attend you both; continual discord make and leave me.
Your days and nights bitter and grievous: still Jaf. Not hear me! By my suffering but you shall! May the hard hand of a vexatious need My lord, my lord, I'm not that abject wretch Oppress and grind you; till at last you find You think me. Patience! where's the distance The curse of disobedience all your portion ! throws
Jaf. Half of your curse you have bestowed in Me back so far, but I may boldly speak
vain; In right, though proud oppression will not hear me? Heaven has already crowned our faithful loves Pri. Have you not wronged me?
With a young boy, sweet as his mother's beauty, Jaf: Could my nature e'er
May helive to prove more gentle than his grandsire: Have brooked injustice, or the doing wrongs, And happier than his father! I need not now thus low have bent myself,
Pri. Rather live To gain a hearing from a cruel father.
To bait thee for his bread, and din your ears Wronged you !
With hungry cries; whilst his unhappy mother Pri. Yes, wronged me! In the nicest point, Sits down and weeps in bitterness of want, The honour of my house, you have done me wrong.
Jaf. You talk as if 'twould please you. You may remember (for I now will speak,
Pri. 'Twould, by heaven! And urge its baseness) when you first came home Once she was dear indeed; the drops that fell From travel, with such hopes as made you look. From my sad heart, when she forgot her duty,
The fountain of my life was not so precious— | By all men's eyes, a youth of expectation, But she is gone, and, if I am a man,
Pleased with your growing virtue, I received you, I will forget her.
Pri. And she too with thee:
brancers, I treated, trusted you, and thought you mine: I once was happy. When, in requital of my best endeavours,
Jaf: You use me thus, because you know my soul You treacherously practised to undo me; Is fond of Belvidera. You perceive * Seduced the weakness of my age's darling, My life feeds on her, therefore thus you treat me. My only child, and stole her from my bosom.
Oh! could my soul ever have known satiety, Oh Belvidera!
Were I that thief, the doer of such wrongs Jaf. 'Tis to me you owe her!
As you upbraid me with, what hinders me Childless you had been else, and in the grave
But I might send her back to you with contumely, Your name extinct ; no more Priuli heard of. Andcourt my fortune, where she would be kinder? You may remember, scarce five years are past,
Pri. You dare not do it.
My heart, that awes me, is too much my master: And I was with you : your unskilful pilot Three years are past, since first our vows were Dashed us upon a rock; when to your boat
plighted, You made for safety; entered first yourself; During which time, the world must bear me witThe affrighted Belvidera, following next,
Distinction, place, attendance, and observance, And, buffetting the billows to her rescue, Due to her birth, she always has commanded. Redeemed her life with half the loss of mine.) Out of
little fortune I've done this; Like a rich conquest, in one hand I bore her, Because (though hopeless e'er to win your naAnd with the other dashed the saucy waves,
ture) That thronged and pressed to rob me of my prize. The world might see I loved her for herself; I brought her, gave her to your despairing arms:
Not as the heiress of the great Priuli. Indeed you thanked me; but a nobler gratitude
Pri. No more. Rose in her soul: for from that hour she loved me.. Jaf. Yes, all, and then adieu for ever. 'Till for her life she paid me with herself. - There's not a wretch, that lives on common chaPri. You stole her from me; Tike a thief you
rity, stole her,
But's happier than me: for I have known At dead of night! that cursed hour you chose,
The luscious sweets of plenty; every night
Have slept with soft content about my head, Yet, Jaffier, for all this, I am a villain.
Jaf. A villain!
Pier. Yes, a most notorious villain ; Whose blossom 'scaped, yet's withered in the To see the sufferings of my fellow-creatures, ripening.
And own myself a man: to see our senators Pri. Home, and be humble; study to retrench; Cheat the deluded people with a shew Discharge the lazy vermin of thy hall,
Of liberty, which yet they ne'er must taste of. Those pageants of thy folly:
They say, by them our hands are free from fetReduce the glittering trappings of thy wife
ters; To humble weeds, fit for thy little state : Yet, whom they please, they lay in basest bonds; Then, to some suburb cottage both retire; Bring whom they please to infamy and sorrow; Drudge to feed loathsome life; get brats and Drive us, like wrecks, down the rough tide of starve
power, Home, home, I say:
[Erit. While no hold's left to save us from destruction. Jaf. Yes, if my heart would let me
All that bear this are villains, and I one, This proud, this swelling heart : home I would go, Not to rouse up at the great call of nature, But that my doors are hateful to my eyes, And check the growth of these domestic spoilers, Filled and dammed up with gaping creditors;
That make us slaves, and tell us, 'tis our charter. Watchful as fowlers, when their game will spring. Jaf. Oh, Aquilina! Friend, to lose such beauty I've now not fifty ducats in the world,
The dearest purchase of thy noble labours! Yet still I am in love, and pleased with ruin. She was thy right by conquest, as by love. Oh! Belvidera! Oh! she is my wife
Pier. Oń! saffier! I had so fixed my heart And we will bear our wayward fate together, But ne'er know comfort more.
That, wheresoe'er I framed a scheme of life,
For time to come, she was my only joy,
With which I wished to sweeten future cares: Pier. My friend, good-morrow.
I fancied pleasures; none but one, that loves How fares the honest partner of my heart? And doats as I did, can imagine like them: What, melancholy! not a word to spare me? When in the extremity of all these hopes, Jaf. I'm thinking, Pierre, how that damned In the most charming hour of expectation, starving quality,
Then, when our eager wishes soared the highest, Called honesty, got footing in the world. Ready to stoop and grasp the lovely game,
Pier. Why, powerful villany first set it up, A haggard owl, a worthless kite of prey, For its own ease and safety. Honest men With his foul wings, sailed in, and spoiled my Are the soft easy cushions, on which knaves
quarry: Repose and fatten. Were all mankind villains, Jaf. I know the wretch, and scorn him as thou They'd starve each other; lawyers would want
hatest him. practice,
Pier. Curse on the common good, that's so proCut-throats rewards : each man would kill his
Where every slave, that heaps up wealth enough Ilimself; none would be paid or hanged for mur- To do much wrong, becomes the lord of right! der.
I, who believed no ill could e'er come near me, llonesty! 'twas a cheat invented first
Found in the embraces of my Aquilina To bind the hands of bold deserving rogues, A wretched, old, but itching
senator; That fools and cowards might sit safe in power, A wealthy fool, that had bought out my title; And lord it uncontrouled above their betters. A rogue, that uses beauty like a lamb-skin, Jaf. Then honesty is but a notion ?
Barely to keep him warm; that filthy cuckoo too Pier. Nothing else ;
Was, in my absence, crept into my nest, Like wit, much talked of, not to be defined. And spoiling all my brood of noble pleasure. He, that pretends to most, too, has least share Jaf. Didst thou not chase him thence ? in it.
Pier. I did, and drove 'Tis a ragged virtue: Honesty! no more of it. The rank old bearded Hirco stinking home. Jaf. Sure thou art honest ?
The matter was complained of in the senate, Pier. So, indeed, men think me;
I summoned to appear, and censured basely, But they are mistaken, Jaffier: I am a rogue For violating something they called privilege As well as they;
This was the recompence of all my service. A fine, gay, bold-faced villain, as thou seest me. Woʻld I'd been rather beaten by a coward! 'Tis true, I pay my debts, when they're con- A soldier's mistress, Jaffier, is his religion ; tracted;
When that's profaned, all other ties are broken: I steal from no man; would not cut a throat, That even dissolves all former bonds of service; To gain admission to a great man's purse, And from that hour I think myself as free Or a whore's bed; I'd not betray my friend To be the foe, as e'er the friend, of Venice To get his place or fortune; I scorn to flatter Nay, dear revenge, whene'er thou call'st, I'm A blown-up fool above me, or crush the wretch
ready. beneath me;
Jaf. I think no safety can be here for virtue,
And grieve, my friend, as much as thou, to live Whilst two young virgins, on whose arms she In such a wretched state as this of Venice,
leaned, Where all agree to spoil the public good; Kindly looked up, and at her grief grew sad, And villains fatten with the brave man's labours. As if they catched the sorrows, that fell from her!
Pier. We have neither safety, unity, nor peace, Even the lewd rabble, that were gathered round For the foundation's lost, of common good : To see the sight, stood mute, when they beheld Justice is lame, as well as blind, amongst us;
her, The laws (corrupted to their ends that make Governed their roaring throats, and grumbled them)
pity. Serve but for instruments of some new tyranny,
I could have hugged the greasy rogues : they That every day starts up, to enslave us deeper.
pleased me. Now,could this glorious cause but find out friends Jaf. I thank thee for this story, from my soul; To do it right, oh, Jaffier! then might'st thou Since now I know the worst, that can befal me. Not wear these seals of woe upon thy face; Ah, Pierre! I have a heart, that could have borne The proud Priuli should be taught humanity, The roughest wrong, my fortune could have done And learn to value such a son as thou art.
me; I dare not speak, but my heart bleeds this mo- But, when I think what Belvidera feels, ment.
The bitterness her tender spirit tastes of, Jaf. Cursed be the cause, though I, thy friend, I own myself a coward: bear my weakness, be part on't!
If, throwing thus my arms about thy neck, Let me partake the troubles of thy bosom, I play the boy, and blubber in thy bosom. For I am used to misery, and perhaps
Oh ! I shall drown thee with my sorrows.
What! starve, like beggars' brats, in frosty weaLet it proceed. There's virtue in thy friendship,
ther, Would make the saddest tale of sorrow pleasing, Under a hedge, and whine ourselves to death! Strengthen my constancy, and welcome ruin, Thou, or thy cause, shall never want assistance, Pier. Then thou art ruined !
Whilst I have blood or fortune fit to serve thee: Jaf. That I long since knew;
Command my heart! thou art every way its masI and ill fortune have been long acquainted.
Pier. I passed this very moment by thy doors, Jaf. No, there's a secret pride in bravely dying. And found them guarded by a troop of villains :
Pier. Rats die in holes and corners ; dogs run The sons of public rapine were destroying.
mad: They told me, by the sentence of the law, Man knows a braver remedy for sorrowThey had commission to seize all thy fortune : Revenge, the attribute of gods; they stamped it Nay, more, Priuli's cruel hand had signed it. With their great image on our natures: Die! Here stood a ruffian with a horrid face,
Consider well the cause, that calls upon thee, Lording it o'er a pile of massy plate,
And, if thou’rt base enough, die then. RememTumbled into a heap for public sale ;
ber, There was another, making villainous jests Thy Belvidera suffers ; Belvidera ! At thy undoing: he had taken possession
Die—damn first-What! be decently interred Of all thy ancient, most domestic, ornaments, In a church-yard, and mingle thy brave dust Rich hangings intermixed and wrought with gold; With stinking rogues, that rot in winding-sheets, The very bed, which on thy wedding-night Surfeit-slain fools, the common dung o'th' soil ! Received thee to the arms of Belvidera,
Jaf. Oh! The scene of all thy joys, was violated
Pier. Well said, out with't, swear a little By the coarse hands of filthy dungeon villains, Jaf. Swear! by sea and air ; by earth, by heaAnd thrown amongst the common lumber. Jaf. Now thank heaven
I will revenge my Belvidera's tears. Pier. Thank heaven! for what?
Hark thee, my friend-Priuli is—a senator, Jaf. That I'm not worth a ducat.
Pier. A dog. Pier. Curse thy dull stars, and the worse fate Jaf. Agreed. of Venice,
Pier. Shoot him,
Pier. I'll tell thee;
There we two will meet, and talk of precious That's doomed to banishment, came weeping Mischiefforth,
Will keep me waking.