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Which thou hast dared, with rash, audacious hand, And impious fraud, in me to violate—
Sif. Behold, my lord, that rash, audacious hand, Which not repents its crime Oh, glorious, happy! If by my ruin I can save your honour.
Tan. Such honour I renounce; with sovereign scorn Greatly detest it, and its mean adviser . Hast thou not dared beneath my name to shelter— Hast thou not, Beneath thy sovereign's name, basely presumed To shield a lie—a lie, in public utter'd, To all deluded Sicily But know, This poor contrivance is as weak as base. What! marry her Constantia! her the daughter Of the fell tyrant who destroy'd my father! The very thought is madness! Ere thou seest The torch of Hymen light these hated nuptials, Thou shalt behold Sicilia wrapt in flames, Her cities razed, her valleys drench'd with slaugh
Love set aside, my pride assumes the quarrel; /
Sif, Sir, 'tis just.
Tan. I cannot hal
Tan. Away! dare not to justify thy crime!
Sif. Oh, let it burst On this grey head, devoted to thy service But when the storm has vented all its fury, Thou then must hear—nay more, I know thou wilt— Wilt hear the calm, yet stronger voice of reason; Thou must reflect that there are other duties, A nobler pride, a more exalted honour.— Yes, thou must, In calmer hours divest thee of thy love, These common passions of the vulgar breast, This boiling heat of youth, and be a king, The lover of thy people! Tan. Yes, I will be a king, but not a slave; In this will be a king; in this my people Shall learn to judge how I will guard their rights, When they behold me vindicate my own. But have I, say, been treated like a king? Heavens! could I stoop to such outrageous usage, I were a mean, a shameless wretch, unworthy To wield a sceptre in a land of slaves, A soil abhorr'd of virtue; should belie My father’s blood, belie those very maxims, At other times, you taught my youth—Siffredi ! [In a softened tone of voice. Sif. Behold, my prince, thy poor old servant, Whose darling care, these twenty years, has been To nurse thee up to virtue; behold him here, Bent on his feeble knees, to beg, conjure thee, With tears to beg thee to control thy passion, To save thyself, thy honour, and thy people! Turn not away Oh, is there not some part In thy great heart, so sensible to kindness, And generous warmth, some nobler part, to feel The prayers and tears of these, the mingled voice Of Heaven and earth 2 Tan. There is, and thou hast touched it. Rise, rise, Siffredi Oh, thou hast undone me ! Unkind old man!—Oh, ill-entreated Tancred'
Which way soe’er I turn, dishonour rears
come, And save me from this traitor —Hence, I say. No reply away ! [Exit SIFFREDI.
Enter Rodolpho. Rod. What can incense my prince so highly Against his friend Siffredi Tan. Friend Rodolpho? When I have told thee what this friend has done, How play'd me like a boy, a base-born wretch, C
Amazed, and wonder at my patience.
Secure an interview—I would not bear
Who had nor heart, nor spirit, thou wilt stand
ACT THE THIRD.
SIGISMUNDA alone, sitting in a disconsolate Posture.
Sig. Ah, tyrant prince 1 ah, more than faithless
Ungenerous and inhuman in thy falsehood!
Is there, kind Heaven, no constancy in man?
Sif, Sigismunda, My dearest child ! I grieve to find thee thus A prey to tears. I know the powerful cause From which they flow, and therefore can excuse them, But not their wilful obstinate continuance. Come, Awake to reason from this dream of love, And show the world thou art Siffredi's daughter. Sig. Alas! I am unworthy of that name. Sis. Thou artindeed to blame; thou hast too rashly Engaged thy heart, without a father's sanction. But this I can forgive; and, if thy heart Will now resume its pride, assert itself, And greatly rise superior to this trial, I to my warmest confidence again Will take thee, and esteem thee more my daughter. Sig. Oh, you are gentler far than I deservel It is, it ever was, my darling pride, To bend my soul to your supreme commands, Your wisest will; and though by love betrayed— Alas! and punished too—yet I feel A sentiment of tenderness, a source
Offilial nature springing in my breast,
And make me all submission and obedience
To you, my honour'd lord, the best of fathers.
Come, let me take thee to a parent's heart;