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B. Will. We shall take care, however, for our own sakes.
Mos. 'Tis very well—I hope we all are friends. So—softly—softly—Michael, not that door—
[michael uomg out at the wrong door.
So—make what speed you can: I'll wait you
SCENE 11.—A Hall in Arden's House.
They must pass undescried: gardens and fields Are dreary deserts now. Night-fowls and beasts
of prey Avoid the pinching rigour of the season, Nor leave their shelter at a time like this. And yet this night, this lingering winter night, Hung with a weight of clouds, that stops her
course, Contracts new horrors, and a deeper black, From this damned deed.—Mosby, thou hast thy
wish; Arden is dead; now count thy gains at leisure. Dangers without, on every side suspicion; Within, my starting conscience marks such
wounds, As hell can equal, only murderers feel, [A pause. This, this the end of all my flattering hopes!
0! happiest was I in my humble state:
My night's repose made day-light pleasing to me.
Mich. Dead Arden lies
Mos. And not as you returned?
Mich. No, sir—
Mos. That's much— Should you be questioned as to Arden's death, You'll not confess?
Mich. No, so Maria's mine.
Mos. She's thine, if all a brother can—
Mich. What's if?
1 bought her dear, at hazard of my soul, And force sliall make her mine.—
Mos. Why, how now, coward!
Mar. The guests refuse to take their seats without you; Alicia's grief too borders on distraction. Thy presence may appease—
Mos. Increase it rather.
Mar. Michael, your absence too has been observed.
Mos. Say we are coming. [Exit Maria.
Mich. One thing I'd forgot. [Returning.
Soon as the company have left the house,
Mos. What would the villains?
Mich. They muttered threats and curses, And seemed not satisfied with their reward.
Mos. Let them take all. Ambition, avarice, lust, That drove me on to murder, now forsake me. Oh Arden! if thy discontented ghost Still hovers here to see thy blood revenged, View, view the anguish of this guilty breast, And be appeased! [Exit.
SCENE III.—A Room in Arden's House. A Table spread for Supper.
Green, Bradshaw, Adam Fowl, Alicia, Maria, £c.
Brad. Madam, be comforted. A. Fowl. Some accident, or business unforeseen, detains him thus. Brad. I doubt not of his safety. Alic. I thank you, gentlemen; I know you loved My Arden well, and kindly speak your wishes.
Mos. I am ashamed I've made you wait: be seated.
Green. Madam, first take your place.
Alic. Make me not mad— To me henceforth all places are alike. [Sits.
Mos. Come, since we want the master of the house, I'll take his seat for once.
Alic. Dares he do this? [Aside.
Mos. I'm much afflicted, that he stays so late; The times are perilous.
Green. And he has enemies. Though no man, sure, did e'er deserve them less.
Mos. This day he was assaulted in the street.
Green. You saved him then.
Mos. Would I were with him now!
Mar. She starts, her looks are wild. [Aside. How fare you, madam?
Alic. I'm lost in admiration of your brother.
Mar. I fear her more than ever. [Aside.]— Madam, be merry.
jkfos. Michael, some wine. Health and long life to Arden! [Rising.
Alic. The good you wish, and have procured for Arden, [Rising.
Light on thyself!
Jlfor. For Heaven's sake!—
Alic. Give me way. [Comes forward.
Let them dispatch, and send me to my husband:
[All rise. I've lived too long with falsehood and deceit.
[Knocking at the gate.
A. FowL What noise is that? [Exit Michael.
Brad. Pray Heaven, that all be right!
Mos. Bar all the doors.
Mich. We are discovered, sir! [To Mosbt. The major with officers, and men in arms.
Enter Mayor, t;c.
Mayor. Go you with these, and do as I directed. [Ereunt officers and others. I'm sorry that the duty of my office Demands a visit so unseasonable.
Mot. Your worship doubtless were a welcome piest At any hour; but wherefore thus attended?
Mayor. I have received a warrant from the council, To apprehend two most notorious ruffians; And information being made, on oath, That they were seen to enter here to-night, I'm come to search.
Green. I'm glad it is no worse. [Aside.
Mm. And can you think, that Arden entertains Villains like those you speak of? Were he here, You'd not be thanked for this officiousness.
Mayor. I know my duty, sir, and that respect, So justly due to our good neighbour's worth.— But where is Arden t
Alic. Heavens! where indeed!
ilfar. Alicia, for my sake [Aside.
Alic. If I were silent, Each precious drop of murdered Arden's blood Would find a tongue, and cry to Heaven for vengeance!
Mayor. What says the lady?
Mm. Oh! sir, heed her not;
Mayor. Scarce an hour
Mos. The darkness of the night deceived you, sir; It was a stranger, since departed hence. •
Mayor. That's most surprising! No man knows him l>ettcr.
Frank. [Without.] Within there—ho—bar up your gates with care, And set a watch. Let not a man go by
FRANKLIN, and others, enter with lights.
And every tongue, that gave not its consent
Mm. By whom?
Frank. How shall I utter what my eyes have seen! Horrid, with many a gaping wound, he lies Behind the abbey, a sad spectacle. O vengeance! vengeance.
Mayor. Justly art thou moved. Passion is reason in a cause like this.
Frank. Eternal Providence, to whose bright eye
Darkness itself is as the noon-day blaze.
Mayor. Here seize them all—this instant:
[alicia taints, and is carried off". Look to the lady; this may be but feigned. Your charge but goes along with my suspicionsBrad. And mine.
A. Foul. And mine.
Frank. First hear me, and then judge, Whether, on slight presumptions, I accuse them. These honest men (neighbours and townsmen all) Conducted me, dropping with grief and fear, To where the body lay: with them I took these
notes, Not to be trusted to the faithless memory.
* Hitiic clots of blood, and some of Ar Jen's hair,
These are presumptions he was murdered here,
Frank. And this scarf,
Mayor. Search them.
Mich. I thought I'd thrown it down the well.
[Atide. Mayor. [To an Officer.] Enter that room, and search the lady there; We may, perhaps, discover more.
[Officer goes out, and re-enters; in the mean time, another Officer searches Mosbt and Green.
1 Offi. On Arden's wife I found this letter.
2 Offi. And I this ring on Mosby.
Well may'st thou hang thy head, detested villain!
Mot. I freely yield me to my fate.
Enter another Officer.
Offi. We've seized two men behind some stacks
of wood. Mayor. Well, bring them in.
Black Will and Shakebao brought in. They answer the description; But let them wait, till 1 have done with these. Heavens! what a scene of villany is here!
[Having read the letter.
B. Will. Since we are sure to die, though I could wish it were in better company (for I hate that fawning rascal, Mosby,) I will tell the truth for once. He lias been long engaged in an affair with Arden's wife there; but fearing a discovery, and hoping to get into his estate, hired us to hide him. That's all.
Mayor. And you the horrid deed performed?
Shake. We did, with his assistance, and Green's and Michael's.
Mayor. This letter proves Alicia, from the first, Was made acquainted with your black design.
B. Will. I know nothing of that; but if she was, she repented of it afterwards. So, I think, you call a change of mind.
Mayor. That may avail her at the bar of heaven, But is no plea at ours: [alicia brought in.] Bear
them to prison; Load them with irons, make them feel their guilt, And groan away their miserable hours, Till sentence of the law shall call them forth To public execution.
A lie. I adore The unerring hand of justice; and with silence Had yielded to my fate, but for this maid, Who, as my soul dreads justice on her crimes, Knew not, or e'er consented to, this deed.
Mayor. But did she not consent to keep it secret?
Mot. To save a brother, and most wretched friend—
Mayor. She has undone herself. Behold how innocence May suffer in bad fellowship.—And Bradshaw, My honest neighbour Bradshaw, too: I read it With grief and wonder.—
Brad. Madam, I appeal
Alic. You brought the letter,
Mayor. Hence with them all, till time and farther light Shall clear these mysteries.
A. Fowl. If I'm condemned, My blood be on his head, that gives the sentence. I'm not accused, and only ask for justice.
Frank. You shall havejustice all, and rigorous justice. So shall the growth of such enormous crimes, By their dread fate, be checked in future times. Of avarice, Mosby a dread instance prove, And poor Alicia of unlawful love!
The French, liowe'cr mercurial they may seem,
Howe'er to-night—(to promise much we're loth)
But you've a chance, to have a taste of both.
From English plays, Zara's French author fiVd,
As for our English friend, he leaves to you,
Thus far the author speaks but now the
player, With trembling heart, prefers his humble prayer.
To-night, the greatest venture of my life,
Is lost or sav'd, as you receive a wife: *
If time, you think, may ripen her to merit,
To please is unpresuming innocence.
When a chaste heart's distress your grief de-
Let interposing pity break her fall.
In you it rests, to save her, or destroy;
If she draws tears from you, I weep—for joy.
* Zara was performed ia 1735, and first introduced to the stage the justly celebrated Mrs Cibbek. She had not then attained her twentieth year, but those, who witnessed the whole of her after theatrical career, hare declared that her talents admitted no improvement:—She burst forth at once in the maturity of grace and excellence. The effect on the audience may be conceived. The prologue was, of course, spoken by Mr Cibber.
Enter ZARA and SELIMA. SeL It moves my wonder, young and beauteous iiara, Whence these new sentiments inspire your heart! Your peace of mind increases with your charms: Tears now no longer shade your eyes' soft lustre: You meditate no more those happy climes, To which Nerestan will return to guide you. You talk no more of that gay nation now, Where men adore their wives, and woman's
Sel. Have you forgot
Zar. Since after two long years he not returns, 'Tis plain his promise stretch d beyond his power. A stranger and a slave, unknown, like him, Proposing much, means little;—talks and vows,
Delighted with a prospect of escape:
He proinis'd to ransom ten Christians more,
Sel. What if yet,
Would you not then
Zar. No matter Time is past,
An.l every thing is changed—
Sel. But, whence comes this .' Zar. Go—'twere too much to tell thee Zara's fate: The sultan's secrets, all, are sacred here: But my fond heart delights to mix with thine. Some three months past, when thou, and other
slaves, Were fore'd to quit fair Jordan's flowery bank, Heaven, to cut snort the anguish of my days, Rais'd me to comfort by a powerful hand:
This mighty Osman
Sel. What of him?
This conqueror of the Christians, loves
Thou blushest, and I guess thy thoughts accuse me:
But, know me better 'twas unjust suspicion.
All emperor as he is, I cannot stoop
To honours, that bring shame and baseness with
them: Reason and pride, those props of modesty, Sustain my guarded heart, and strengthen virtue: Rather than sink to infamy, let chains Embrace me with a joy, such love denies. No—I shall now astonish thee;—His greatness Submits to own a pure and honest flame. Among the' shining crowds, which live to please
him, His whole regard is fixed on me alone: He offers marriage; and its rites now wait, To crown me empress of this eastern world. Sel. Your virtue and your charms deserve it all: My heart is not surpris'd but struck to hear it. If to be empress can complete your happiness, I rank myself with joy among your slaves.
Zar. Be still my equal and enjoy my blessings; For, thou partaking, they will bless me more. Sel. Alas! but Heaven! will it permit this marriage? Will not this grandeur, falsely called a bliss, Piant bitterness, and root it in your heart? Have you forgot you are of Christian blood? Zur. Ah me! What hast thou said? why wouldst thou thus Rccal my wavering thoughts ? How know I, wliat, Or whence 1 am ? Heaven kept it hid in darkness, Concealed me from myself, and from my blood. Sel. Nerestan, who was born a Christian, here Asserts, thnt you, like him, had Christian parents; •
Besides that cross, which, from your infant
years Has been preserved, was found uponyour bosom, As if designed by Heavm, a pleJge of faith