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Committed to my trust; much more expos'd
To the great world than yours; and, sir, unless
Nearness of blood deceive me, short of few
In those perfections which invite the gallants:
Yet, thanks to my temper, cousin, as well
As to her virtue, I have seen her grow,
Even from her childhood to her dangerous age,
Without the least disturbance to my rest;
And when with equal justice I reflect
On the great modesty and circumspection
Of lovely Porcia, I conclude that you
Might well have slept as undisturb'd as I.

Don Henrique. Sir, I complain not of my sister's conduct;

But you know well, young maids are so expos'd

To the invasion of audacious men,

And to the malice of their envious sex,

You must confess the confines of their fame
Are never safe, till guarded by a husband.
'Tis true, discreet relations ought to use
Preventions of all kinds; but, dear Carlos,
The blemish once receiv'd, no wash is good
For stains of honour, but th' offender's blood.

Don Carlos. Y'are too severe a judge of points of honour.

Don Henrique. And therefore, having not long since receiv'd

The news, that Don Antonio de Mendoza

Is likely to be here this night, from Flanders;
To whom my sister, by th' intervention
O'th' Marquis D' Olivera, is contracted;

I will not close these eyes till I have seen

Her, and my cares, safe lodg'd within his arms.
Don Carlos. I find your travels, cousin, have not

cur'd you

Of that innate severity to women,
Urg'd justly as a national reproach
To all of us abroad; the rest o' th' world
Lament that tender sex amongst us here,
Born only to be honourable prisoners;

VOL. XII.

C

The greater quality, the closer kept:

Which cruelty is reveng'd upon ourselves,
Whilst, by immuring those whom most we love,
We sing, and sigh only to iron-gates.
As cruel is that over-cautious custom,
By proxy to contract parties unknown
To one another; this is only fit
For sovereign princes, whose high qualities
Will not allow of previous interviews:
They sacrifice their love to public good,
Consulting interest of state and blood;
A custom, which as yet, I never knew
Us'd amongst persons of a lower rank,
Without a sequel of sad accidents.
Sir, understand me right; I speak not this
By way of prophecy: I am no stranger
To Don Antonio's reputation,

Which I believe so just, I no way doubt
Your sister's being happy in him.

Don Henrique. Don Carlos, let us quit this argu

ment:

I am now going to our noble friend
And kinsman the Corrigidor, to see
If he'll oblige us with his company

At my sister's wedding: will you come along?
Don Carlos. Most willingly, as soon as I have
brought

My sister hither, who has given this evening
To her cousin Porcia.

Don. Henrique. I have some business, cousin, by
the way,

I'll go before, and wait you i' th' piazza.

Your servant, sir:

[Don Henrique waits on him to the door. Exit Don Carlos.

Don Henrique. This kinsman is my bosom friend;

and yet,

Of all men living, I must hide from him

My deep resentments of his sister's scorn,
That cruel maid, to wound me to the heart,

Then close her ears against my just complaints!
But though as yet I cannot heal my wound,
I may, by my revenge upon my rival,
Divert the pain, and I will drive it home.
There's in revenge a balm, which will appease
The present grief, and time cure the disease.

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[Exit Don Henrique.

Porcia. My heart is so oppress'd with fear and grief, That it must break, unless it finds relief; The man I love, is forc'd to fly my sight, And like a Parthian' kills me in his flight: One whom I never saw, I must embrace, Or else destroy the honour of my race. A brother's care, more cruel than his hate; Oh how perplexed are the intrigues of fate! Enter DON CARLOS and CAMILLA. Don Carlos. Cousin, I thought my sister's Would not displease you, whilst I wait upon Your brother in a visit.

company

Porcia. Sir, you oblige me with a welcome favour. I rather should have styl'd it charity,

To bring a friend to her, whose cruel fate

Has robb'd her of herself.

[Aside.

Camilla. Methinks, 'tis pity that a wall should make

The houses two, of friends so entirely one,

As

you, and I, and our two brothers are.

Porcia. If it be true, that lovers live much more There where they love, than where they breathe, I'm

sure

No walls can sever us, we're still together.

Don Carlos. Were I not much engag'd, I would not

quit

So sweet a conversation; but, sister,

1 And like a Parthian, &c.] Prior has adopted this image.

"So when the Parthian turn'd his steed,

And from the hostile camp withdrew,

He backward sent the fatal reed,

Secure of conquest as he flew."

Poems, vol. 1. p. 40. edition 1778.

At my return I'll wait upon you home.

Porcia. For this night, cousin, pray let her be mine, I beg it of you both.

Don Carlos. You may command, we are both yours. [Exit Don Carlos. Porcia. My dear Camilla, how I long'd to have thee, [Porcia throws herself on Camilla's neck. Where, freely breathing out my grief, I might Some mitigation from thy pity find!

But since there's no true pity without pain,
Why should I ease by thy affliction gain?
Camilla. Ah, Porcia! if compassion suffering be,
And to condole be pain, my destiny

Will full revenge in the same kind afford,
Should I but my unequal'd griefs relate,
And you but equally participate.

Porcia. If your's as mine, from love-disasters rise, Our fates are more allied than families.

Camilla. What to our sex and blooming age can prove

An anguish worthy of our sighs, but love?

Porcia. 'Tis true, Camilla, were your fate like mine, Hopeless to hold, unable to resign.

Camilla. Let's tell our stories, then we soon shall

see

Which of us two excels in misery.

Porcia. Cousin, agreed.

Camilla. Do you begin then.

Porcia. You know, Camilla, best, how generously,

How long, and how discreetly, Don Octavio
Has serv❜d me; and what trials of his faith
And fervour I did make, ere I allow'd him
The least hope to sustain his noble love.
Cousin, all this you know: 'twas in your house
We had our interviews; where you were pleas'd
To suffer feign'd addresses to yourself,
To cover from my watchful brother's eyes
The passion which Octavio had for me.

Camilla. My memory in this needs no refreshing.
Porcia. And how one evening (O that fatal hour!)

My brother passing by Don Carlos' house,
With his great friend and confident Don Pedro,
Did chance to see the unfortunate Octavio
In your balcony, entertaining me:

Whom, not believing there, he took for you;
My back being towards him, and both dress'd alike.
Enraged with jealousy, this cruel man

(To whom all moderation is unknown)
Resolves to stamp all your neglects of him
In's suppos'd rival, poor Octavio's heart.
They take their stand i' th' corner of our street;
And after some little time, Octavio,
Free from suspicion, as design of ill,

Retires they assault him, and in 's own defence
He kills Don Pedro, and is forc'd to fly.
My brother cruelly pursues him still,
With such insatiate thirst after revenge,
That nothing but Octavio's blood can quench,
Covering his ill-nature and suspicion

With the resentment of Don Pedro's death.

Camilla. Is this the sum of your sad story, Porcia? Is this all?

Porcia. No, no, Camilla, 'tis the prologue only,
The tragedy will follow-This brother,

To whose impetuous will my deceas'd parents,
(May their souls rest in peace) having condemn'd
Me and my fortune, treats me like a slave:
So far from suff'ring me to make my choice,
That he denounces death if I refuse;

And now, to frustrate all my hopes at once,
Has very lately made me sign a contract
To one in Flanders, whom I never saw,*

And is this night (they say) expected here.

Camilla. Is such a rigour possible, dear Porcia?

This speech is very much altered from the first and second editions, where it stands that Don Henrique has already married Porcia

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