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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; /
My honour now is up; in spite of thee,
A world combined against me, I will give
This scattered will in fragments to the winds,
Assert my rights, the freedom of my heart,
Crush all who dare oppose me to the dust,
And heap perdition on thee!

Sif, Sir, 'tis just.
Exhaust on me thy rage; I claim it all.
But for these public threats thy passion utters,
'Tis what thou canst not do.

Tan. I cannot hal
What shall arrest my vengeance? Who?

Sif, Thyself.

Tan. Away! dare not to justify thy crime!
That, that alone can aggravate its horror,
Add insolence to insolence—perhaps
May make my rage forget—

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
Her hideous front—and misery and ruin.
Why have you raised this miserable conflict
Betwixt the duties of the king and man :
Set virtue against virtue 2 But hold, my soul,
Thy steady purpose Toss'd by various passions,
To this eternal anchor keep There is,
Can be, no public without private virtue—
Then, mark me well, observe what I command;
To-morrow, when the senate meets again,
Unfold the whole, unravel the deceit.—
Start not, my lord—This must and shall be done !
Or here our friendship ends—Howe'er disguised,
Whatever thy pretence, thou art a traitor.
Sif. I should indeed deserve the name of traitor,
And even a traitor's fate, had I so slightly,
From principles so weak, done what I did,
As e'er to disavow it
Tan. Ha! -
Sis. My liege,
Expect not this Though practised long in courts,
I have not so far learn'd their subtle trade,
To veer obedient with each gust of passion.
I honour thee, I venerate thy orders,
But honour more my duty.
Tan. You will not then 2
Sif. I cannot.
Tan. Away! begone!—Oh, my Rodolpho,

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.
But this, my friend, this black, unheard-of outrage,
I cannot now impart Till Sigismunda
Be disabused, my breast is tumult all.
Come, then, my friend, and by the hand of Laura,
Oh, let me steal a letter to her bosom,
And this evening

Secure an interview—I would not bear
This rack another day, not for my kingdom.
Thought drives on thought, on passions passions roll;
Her smiles alone can calm my raging soul. [Exeunt.

Who had nor heart, nor spirit, thou wilt stand


A Chamber.

SIGISMUNDA alone, sitting in a disconsolate Posture.

Sig. Ah, tyrant prince 1 ah, more than faithless
Tancred 1

Ungenerous and inhuman in thy falsehood!
Hadst thou this morning, when my hopeless heart,
Submissive to my fortune and my duty,
Ah hadst thou then
Confess'd the sad necessity thy state
Imposed upon thee,
Since we must part at last, our parting soften’d ;
I should indeed, I should have been unhappy,
But not to this extreme.—

Is there, kind Heaven, no constancy in man?
Even Tancred is inconstant 1 [Rising.
Hence let me fly this scene —Whate'er I see,
These roofs, these walls, each object that surrounds
Are tainted with his vows—
My father comes—How, sunk in this disorder,
Shall I sustain his presence 2


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,
That, should it kill me, shall control this passion,

And make me all submission and obedience

To you, my honour'd lord, the best of fathers.
Sis. Come to my arms, thou comfort of my age,

Come, let me take thee to a parent's heart;

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