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Rut. Thou sole delight—
Thou onlyjoy which life could ever give,,
Or death deprive me of—-my wedded lord !
I come, with thee, determin'd to endure
The utmost rigour of our angry stars !—
To join thee, fearless, in the grasp of death,
And seek some dwelling in a world beyond it!
Essex. Too much, thou partner of this dismal hour,
Thy gen'rous soul would prompt thee to endure!
And smiling time his treasures shall unfold
To bribe thy stay!
Rut. Thou cruel comforter !
Alas! what's life—-what's hated life to me?
Alas, this universe, this goodly frame,
Shall all as one continued curse appear,
And every object blast, when thou art gone.
Essex. Oh, strain not thus the little strength I've left,
The weak support that holds up life ! to bear
A few short moments more, its weight of woe, _
Nor with that look melt down my fix’d resolve!
On that lov’d form! Alas! I feel my sight
Grows dim, and reason from her throne retires:
And leave me to my fate!
Rut. Why wiltthou still
Of parting talk ?
Oh, that the friendly hand of Heaven would snatch
Where fortune's venom’d shafts can never pierce,
Essex. The awful Searcher, whose impartial eye
Explores the secrets of each human heart,
Demands me. [Exeunt Essex and Lravrmunr.
Rut. Where has my lost, benighted, soul been wand'ring ?F
What means this mist, that hangs about my mind,
Through which reflection's painful eye discerns
Imperfect forms, and horrid shapes of woe ?----
The cloud dispels, the shades withdraw, and all
My dreadful fate appears.—Oh! where's my lord ?—
My life ! my Essex ! Oh! whither have they ta'en him ? ‘
Qu. Eliz. To execution !—Fly with lightning's wing,
And save him!
Be calm, he shall not die! Rise up—I came
To save his life.
Rut. 'Tis mercy's voice that speaks !—
My Essex shall again be mine! My queen,
‘My bounteous, gracious queen, has said the word ! May troops of angels guard thy sacred life!
And, in thy-latest moments, waft thy soul,
To meet that mercy in the realms ofjoy, _
Qu. Eliz. Alas! her sorrows pierce my suffering heart! Rut. Eternal discord tear the social world,
And nature's laws dissolve! expunge—erase
The hated marks of time's engraving hand,
And every trace destroy! Arise, Despair!
Assert thy rightful claim—possess me all !
Bear, bear me to my murder'd lord—to clasp
His bleeding body in my dying arms !
And, in the tomb, embrace his dear remains,
And mingle with his dust—for ever! [E.rit.
Qu. Eliz. Hapless woman !
She shall henceforth be partner of my sorrows:
And we'll contend who most shall weep for Essex.
Could no pretext be found—no cause appear,
To lengthen mercy out a moment more,
And stretch the span of grace ?—Oh, cruel Bur
leigh ! This, this was thy dark work, unpitying man ! Bur. My gracious mistress, blame not thus my dut , '
My firm oliiadience to your high command.
The laws condemn'd him first to die; nor think
I stood between your mercy, and his life.
It was the Lady Nottingham, not I.
Herself confess'd it all, in wild despair,
That, from your majesty to Essex sent
With terms of proffer'd grace, she then ,receiv’d,
It seems, of much importance, which the earl,
With earnest suit, and warm entreaty, begg’d her,
As she would prize his life, to give your majesty;
In this she fail'd—~In this she murder'd Essex.
Qu. Eliz. Oh, barbarous woman! Surrounded still by treachery and fraud !