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Still in the paths of honour persevere, Whose virtue has renounced thy father's crimes, And not from past or present ills despair; Seest thou how just the hand of Heaven has For blessings ever wait on virtuous deeds, been?
And, though a late, a sure reward succeeds. Let us, who through our innocence survive,
SPOKEN BY ALMERIA.
The tragedy thus done, I am, you know, That surgeons wait on trials in a court:
For innocence condemn'd they've no respect,
As Sussex men, that dwell upon the shore, I've leisure now, to mark your sev'ral faces, Look out when storms arise, and billows roar, And know each critic by his sour grimaces. Devoutly praying, with uplifted hands, To poison plays, I see them where they sit, That some well-laden ship may strike the sands, Scatter'd like ratsbane up and down the pit; To whose rich cargo they may make pretence, While others watch, like parish searchers hir'd, And fatten on the spoils of providence; To tell of what disease the play expir'd. So critics throng to see a new play split, Oh, with what joy they run to spread the news And thrive and prosper on the wrecks of wit. Of a damn'd poet and departed muse!
Small hope our poet from these prospects draws; But if he 'scape, with what regret they're seizd! And therefore to the fair commends his causc. And how they're disappointed, when they're Your tender hearts to mercy are inclin’d, pleas'd!
With whom he hopes this play will favour find, Critics to plays for the same end resort,
Which was an off'ring to the sex design’d.
Of all the muse's various labours, none
Till Heav'n, the growing evil to redress, Have lasted longer, or have higher flown, Sent Tamerlane to give the world a peace. Than those that tell the fame by ancient heroes The hero rous'd, asserts the glorious cause,
And to the field the cheerful soldier draws. With pleasure, Rome, and great Augustus, heard Around, in crowds, his valiant leaders wait, · Arms and the man' sung by the Mantuan bard. Anxious for glory, and secure of fate; In spite of time, the sacred story lives,
Well pleas'd, once more, to venture on his side, And Cæsar and his empire still survives. And prove that faith again, which had so oft Like him (though much unequal to his flame)
been tried, Our author makes a pious prince his theme: The peaceful fathers, who in senates meet, High with the foremost names, in arms he stood, Approve an enterprise so just, so great; Had fought, and suffer'd, for his country's good, While with their prince's arms, their voice thus Yet sought not fame, but peace, in fields of
Gains half the praise of having sav'd mankind. Safe under him his happy people sat,
Ev'n in a circle, where, like this, the fair And griev'd, at distance, for their neighbour's Were met, the bright assembly did declare, fate;
Their house, with one consent, were for the Whilst with success a Turkish monarch crown'd,
war; Like spreading flame, deform’d the nations round; Each urg'd her lover to unsheath his sword, With sword and fire he forc'd his impious way And never spare a man who broke his word. To lawless pow'r, and universal sway.
Thus fir'd, the brave on to the danger press; Some abject states, for fear, the tyrant join, Their arms were crown'd abroad with just suos Others, for gold, their liberties resign,
cess, And venal princes sold their right divine: And blest at home with beauty and with peace,
SCENE I.-Before TAMERLANE's Tent. Some accidental passion fires his breast,
And adds new horror to his native fury.
Por five returning suns, scarce was he seen Pr. Hail to the sun! from whose returning By any, the most favoured of his court, light
But in lascivious ease, among his women,
And ruin to the world ; till yester morn,
Zam. I know his temper well
, since in his court, But glittering arms, and skies.
Companion of the brave Axalla's embassy, Zum. Our Asian world,
I oft observed him; proud, impatient
Mir. Well has our holy Alla mark'd him out, By whom religion, honour, all the bands
sworn, As if it said, “Go forth, and be my champion, By the world's lord and maker, lasting peace, Thou, most like me of all my works below.' With our great master, and his royal friend,
Pr. No lust of rule, the common vice of kings, The Grecian emperor; as oft, regardless No furious zeal, inspir'd by hot-brain'd priests, Of plighted faith, with most unkingly baseness, Ill hid beneath religion's specious name, Has ta’en the advantage of their absent arms, E’er drew his temperate courage to the field: Without a war proclaimed, or cause pretended, But to redress an injur'd people's wrongs, To waste, with sword and fire, their fruitful fields; To save the weak one from the strong oppressor, Like some accursed fiend, who, 'scaped from hell, Is all his end of war. And, when he draws Poisons the balmy air through which he flies, The sword to punish, like relenting Heaven, He blasts the bearded corn, and loaded branches, He seems unwilling to deface his kind.
The labouring hind's best hopes, and marks his Mir. So rich his soul, in every virtuous grace,
way with ruin. That, had not nature made him great by birth, Pr. But see his fate! The mighty Tamerlane Yet all the brave had sought him for their friend. Comes, like the proxy of inquiring Heaven, The Christian prince, Axalla, nicely bred To judge, and to redress. (Flourish of Trumpets. In polished arts of European courts, For him forsakes his native Italy,
Enter TAMERLANE, Guards, and other And lives a happy exile in his service.
Attendants. Pr. Pleased with the gentle manners of that Tom. Yet, yet a little, and destructive slaughter prince,
Shall rage around, and mar this beauteous pros. Our mighty lord is lavish of his friendship;
pect; Though Omar and the Tartar lords repine, Pass but an hour, which stands betwixt the lives And loudly tax their monarch as too partial. Of thousands and eternity, what change
Zam. Ere the mid hour of night, from tent to tent, Shall hasty death make in yon glittering plain! Unwearied, through the numerous host he past, Oh, thou tell monster, War! that in a moment Viewing, with careful eyes, each several quarter; Layest waste the noblest part of the creation, Whilst from his looks, as from divinity,
The boast and masterpiece of the great Maker, The soldiers took presage, and cried, Lead on, That wears, in vain, the impression of his image, Great Alla, and our emperor! lead on
Unprivileged from thee !To victory, and everlasting fame.'
Health to our friends, and to our arms success, Mir. Hear you of Bajazet?
[To the Prince, ZAMA, and MIRVAN, Pr. Late in the evening
Such as the cause for which we fight deserves ! A slave, of near attendance on his person,
Pr. Nor can we ask beyond what Heaven beScaped to our camp. From him we learned, the
Preventing still our wishes. See, great sir With rage redoubled, for the fight prepares ; The universal joy your soldiers wear,
Omen of prosperous battle.
Thy innocence and virtue as our foe. Impatient of the tedious night, in arms
Here, till the fate of Asia is decided, Watchful they stood, expecting opening day; In safety stay. To-morrow is your own. And now are hardly by their leaders held Nor grieve for who may conquer, or who lose; From darting on the foe. Like a hot courser, Fortune on either side shall wait thy wishes. That, bounding, paws the mouldering soil, dis Sel. Where shall my wonder and my praise daining
begin? The rein that checks him, eager for the race. From the successful labours of thy arms, Tam. Yes, prince, I mean to give a loose to Or from a theme more soft, and full of peace,
Thy mercy and thy gentleness? Oh, Tamerlane! This morn Axalla, with my Parthian horse, What can I pay thee for this noble usage, Arrives to join me. He, who, like a storm, But grateful praise? So Heaven itself is paid. Swept, with his flying squadrons, all the plains Give peace, ye powers above, peace to mankind; Between Angoria's walls and yon tall mountains, Nor let my father wage unequal war, That seem to reach the clouds; and now he Against the force of such united virtues ! comes,
Tam. Heaven hear thy pious wish .—But since Loaden with spoils and conquest, to my aid.
our prospect (Flourish of Trumpets. Looks darkly on futurity, till fate Cam. These trumpets speak his presence Determine for us, let thy beauty's safety
Be my Axalla's care ; in whose glad eyes, Enter AXALLA, who kneels to TAMERLANE.
I read what joy the pleasing service gives him.Tum. Welcome! thou worthy partner of my Is there amongst thy other prisoners aught
(Pointing to Mox. My soul seemed wanting in its better half, With long resistance held the combat doubtful. And languished for thy absence; like a prophet, His party, prest with numbers, soon grew faint, That waits the inspiration of his god.
And would have left their charge an easy prey; Ax. My emperor! My ever royal master ! Whilst he alone, undaunted at the odds, To whom my secret soul more lowly bends, Though hopeless to escape, fought well and Than forms of outward worship can express;
firmly; How poorly does your soldier pay this goodness, Nor yielded, till, o'ermatched by many hands, Who wears his every hour of life out for you ! He seemed to shame our conquest, whilst he Yet 'tis his all, and what he has, he offers;
owned it. Nor now disdain to accept the gift he brings, Tam. Thou speak'st him as a soldier should a
soldier, Enter SELIMA, MONESES, STRATOCLES, Pri- Just to the worth he finds. I would not war
soners ; Guards, Mutes, &c. This earnest of your fortune. See, my lord, With aught that wears thy virtuous stamp of The noblest prize that ever graced my arms !
greatness. Approach, my fair
Thy habit speaks thee Christian-Nay, yet more, Tam. This is indeed to conquer,
My soul seems pleased to take acquaintance with And well to be rewarded for thy conquest;
thee, The bloom of opening flowers, unsullied beauty, As if allied to thine: perhaps ’tis sympathy Softness, and sweetest innocence she wears, Of honest minds; like strings wound up in music, And looks like nature in the world's first spring. Where, by one touch, both utter the same harBut say, Axalla
mony. Sel. Most renowned in war,
Why art thou, then, a friend to Bajazet?
(Kneeling to Tam. And why my enemy? Look with compassion on a captive maid,
Mon. If human wisdom Though born of hostile blood ; nor let my birth, Could point out every action of our lives, Derived from Bajazet, prevent that mercy, And say, 'Let it be thus, in spite of fate Which every subject of your fortune finds. Or partial fortune,' then I had not been War is the province of ambitious man,
The wretch I am. Who tears the miserable world for empire; Tam. The brave meet every accident Whilst our weak sex, incapable of wrong, With equal minds. Think nobler of thy foes, On either side claims privilege of safety. Than to account thy chance in war an evil
. Tam. [raising her.] Rise, royal maid! the pride Mon. Far, far from that: I 'rather hold it of haughty power
grievous, Pays homage, not receives it, from the fair, That I was forced even but to seem your enemy; Thy angry father fiercely calls me forth, Nor think the baseness of a vanquished slave And urges me, unwillingly, to arms.
Moves me to flatter for precarious life, Yet, though our frowning battles menace death, Or ill-bought freedom, when I swear, by Heaven! And mortal conflict, think not that we hold Were I to chuse, from all mankind, a master,
It should be Tamerlane.
Has torn thee from his side, and left him naked Tam. A noble freedom
To the avenging bolt, that drives upon him. Dwells with the brave, unknown to fawning syco- Forget the name of captive, and I wish phants,
I could as well restore that fair one's freedom, And claims a privilege of being believed. Whose loss hangs heavy on thee: yet ere night, I take thy praise as earnest of thy friendship. Perhaps, we may deserve thy friendship nobler; Mon. Still you prevent the homage I should The approaching storm may cast thy shipwrecked offer.
wealth O, royal sir! let my misfortunes plead,
Back to thy arms: till that be past, since war And wipe away the hostile mark I wore. (Though in the justest cause) is ever doubtful, I was, when, not long since, my fortune hailed me, I will not ask thy sword to aid my victory, Blessed to my wish, I was the prince Moneses ; Lest it should hurt that hostage of thy valour, Born, and bred up to greatness: witness the blood, Our common foe detains. Which through successive heroes' veins, allied Mon. Let Bajazet To our Greek emperors, rolled down to me, Bend to his yoke repining slaves by force; Feeds the bright flame of glory in my heart. You, sir, have found a nobler way to empire, Tam. Even that, that princely tie should bind Lord of the willing world. thee to me,
Tam. Oh, my Axalla! If virtue were not more than all alliance. Thou hast a tender soul, apt for compassion,
Mon. I have a sister,-oh, severe remembrance! And art thyself a lover and a friend; Our noble house's, nay, her sex's pride; Does not this prince's fortune move thy temper? Nor think my tongue too lavish, if I speak her Ar. Yes, sir, I mourn the brave Moneses' fate, Fair as the fame of virtue, and yet chaste The merit of his virtue hardly matched As its cold precepts; wise beyond her sex With disadventurous chance: yet, prince, allow And blooming youth; soft as forgiving mercy,
me, Yet greatly brave, and jealous for her honour: Allow me, from the experience of a lover, Such as she was, to say I barely loved her, To say, one person, whom your story mentioned, Is poor to my soul's meaning. From our infancy, (If he survive) is far beyond you wretched : There grew a mutual tenderness between us, You named the bridegroom of your beauteous Till
, not long since, her vows were kindly plighted sister. To a young lord, the equal of her birth.
Mon. I did. Oh, most accurst! The happy day was fixed, and now approaching, Ar. Think what he feels, When faithless Bajazet (upon whose honour, Dashed in the fierceness of his expectation: In solemn treaty given, the Greeks depended) Then, when the approaching minute of possession With sudden war, broke in upon the country, Had wound the imagination to the heightSecure of peace, and for defence unready. Think, if he lives !
Tam. Let majesty no more be held divine, Mon. He lives! he does : 'tis true Since kings, who are called gods, profane them. He lives ! But how? To be a dog, and dead, selves.
Were Paradise to such a state as his : Mon. Among the wretches, whom that deluge He holds down life, as children do a potion, swept
With strong reluctance and convulsive strugAway to slavery, myself and sister,
glings, Then passing near the frontiers to the court, Whilst his misfortunes press him to disgorge it. (Which waited for her nuptials) were surprised, Tam. Spare the remembrance; 'tis an useless And made the captives of the tyrant's power.
grief, Soon as we reached his court, we found our usage
And adds to the misfortune by repeating. Beyond what we expected, fair and noble ; The revolution of a day may bring 'Twas then the storm of your victorious arms Such turns, as Heaven itself could scarce have Looked black, and seemed to threaten, when he promised, prest me
Far, far beyond thy wish: let that hope cheer thee. (By oft repeating instances) to draw
Haste, my Axalla, to dispose with safety My sword for him. But when he found my soul Thy beauteous charge, and on the foe revenge Disdained his purpose, he more fiercely told me, The pain which absence gives; thy other care, That my Arpașia, my loved sister's fate,
Honour and arms, now summon thy attendance. Depended on my courage shewn for him. Now do thy office well, my soul ! Remember I had long learnt to hold myself at nothing; Thy cause, the cause of Heaven and injured earth. But for her sake, to ward the blow from her, o thou Supreme! if thy great spirit warms I bound my service to the man I hated. My glowing breast, and fires my soul to arins, Six days are past, since, by the sultan's order, Grant that my sword, assisted by thy power, I left the pledge of my return behind,
This day may peace and happiness restore, And went to guard this princess to his camp: That war and lawless rage may vex the world no The rest the brave Axalla's fortune tells you.
more! Tum. Wisely the tyrant strove to prop his (Exeunt TAMERLANE, MONESES, STRA
TOCLES, Prince of TANAIS, ZAMA, MIRBy leaguing with thy virtue ; but just Heaven
VAN, and Attendants