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Thou most remorseless, most ungrateful man
A Room, with Young WILMot asleep upon a Bed, in the Distance.
Enter OLD WILMoT and AGNEs
Agnes. The stranger sleeps at present; but so restless His slumbers seem, they can't continue long. Here, I've secur'd his dagger. O. Wilm. Oh, Agnes | Agnes! if there be a hell, 'Tis just we should expect it. [Goes to take the Dagger, but lets it fall. Agnes. Shake off this panic, and be more yourself. O. Wilm. What's to be done? On what had we determin'd? Agnes. You're quite dismay’d. [Takes up the Dagger. O. Wilm. Give me the fatal steel. 'Tis but a single murder, Necessity, impatience, and despair, The three wide mouths of that true Cerberus, Grim poverty, demand: they shall be stopp'd. Ambition, persecution, and revenge, Devour their millions daily : And shall I— But follow me, and see how little cause You had to think there was the least remain Of manhood, pity, mercy, or remorse, Left in this savage breast. [Going the wrong Way. Agnes. Where do you go? The street is that way. O Wilm. True! I had forgot. Agnes. Quite, quite confounded ! 0. Wilm, Well, I recover.—I shall find the way. [Retires towards the Bed. Agnes. Oh, softly' softly The least noise undoes uS. What are we doing 2 Misery and want, Are lighters ills than this I cannot bear it !— Stop, hold thy hand!—Inconstant, wretched woman What! doth my heart recoil —O, Wilmot! Wilmot What pow'r shall I invoke to aid thee, Wilmot ? [Scene closes.
Enter CHARLoTTE, EUSTAcE, and RANDAL.
Char. What strange neglect The doors are all unbarr'd, And not a living creature to be seen!
Enter OLD WILMoT and AGNEs.
Sir, we are come to give and to receive
Rand. What mean these dreadful words, and frantic air That is the dagger my young master wore. Eust. My mind misgives ine. Do not stand to gaze On these dumb phantoms of despair and horror! Let us search further; Randal, show the way. [Ereunt RANDAL, EUSTAcE, and CHARLoTTE, Agnes. Let life forsake the earth, and light the Sun, And death and darkness bury in oblivion Mankind and all their deeds, that no posterity May ever rise to hear our horrid tale, Or view the grave of such detested parricides : O. Wilm. Curses and deprecations are in vain : The sun will shine, and all things have their course, When we, the curse and burden of the earth, Shall be absorb'd, and mingled with its dust. Our guilt and desolation must be told, From age to age, to teach desponding mortals, How far beyond the reach of human thought Heaven, when incens'd, can punish—Die thou first. [Stabs AGNEs. I durst not trust thy weakness. Agnes. Ever kind, But most in this ' O. Wilm. I will not long survive thee. Agnes. Do not accuse thy erring mother, Wilmot ? With too much rigour, when we meet above. To give thee life for life, and blood for blood, Is not enough. Had I ten thousand lives, I'd give them all to speak my penitence, Deep, and sincere, and equal to my crime. Oh, Wilmot 1 oh, my son my son! [Dies. Enter RANDAL and EUsTAcE. Eust. Oh, Wilmot ? Wilmot
Are these the fruits of all thy anxious cares
O. Wilm. What whining fool art thou, who wouldst usurp My sovereign right of grief?—Was he thy son — Say, Canst thou show thy hands, reeking with blood, That flow'd, through purer channels, from thy loins? Compute the sands that bound the spacious ocean, And swell their numbers with a single grain; Increase the noise of thunder with thy voice; Or, when the raging wind lays nature waste, Assist the tempest with thy feeble breath; But name not thy faint sorrow with the anguish Of a curs'd wretch, who only hopes from this [Stabbing himself. To change the scene, but not relieve his pain. Rand. A dreadful instance of the last remorse ! May all your woes end here ! O. Wilm. O, would they end A thousand ages hence, I then should suffer Much less than I deserve. Yet let me say, You'll do but justice to inform the world, This horrid deed, that punishes itself, Was not intended, thinking him our son; For that we knew not, till it was too late. Proud and impatient under our afflictions, While Heaven was labouring to make us happy, We brought this dreadful ruin on ourselves. Mankind may learn but—oh Rand. Heaven grant they may ! And may thy penitence atone thy crime ! "Tend well the hapless Charlotte, and bear hence These bleeding victims of despair and pride; Toll the death bell ! and follow to the grave The wretched parents and ill-fated son.
Printed by Augustus Applegath and Edward Cowper,