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And many a spouse caresses such a friend.
But I forgive him. He's a young beginner! Not quite a prostitute, and yet, a sinner! Forward to please, yet awkward to delight! He wants a Kindly hand to guide him right! A novice yet—Instruct him— He will mendFull many a widow wishes such a friend. E'en married dames may think a greater curse,
The slow performer that grows worse and worse! This, with a blush, I say, behind my fanCherish the boy, you'll raise him to a man!
The cause is heard. Ye gentle and ye brave,
bore, But France wasdeaf—for all her priests were sore.
On English ground she makes a firmer stand, And hopes to suffer by no hostile hand: No clergy here usurp the freeborn mind, Ordaia'd to teach, and not enslave mankind; Religion here bids persecution cease, Without all order, and within all peace; Truth guards her happy pale with watchful care, And frauds, though pious, find no entrance there.
Religion, to be sacred, must be free; Men will suspect—where bigots keep the key: Itoodetl, and trained like hawks, th' enthusiasts
And the priests' victims in their pounces die.
Like whelps born blind, by mother church they're
bred, Nor wake to sight to know themselves misled; Murder's the game—and to the sport imprest, Proud of the sin, and in the duty blest, The layman's but the bloodhound of the priest. Whoe'er thou art that dar'st such themes advance, To priest-rid Spain repair, or slavish France, For Juda's here there do the devil's task, And trick up slav'ry in religion's mask; England still free, no surer means requires To sink their sottish souls and damp their martial fires. Britons! these numbers to yourselves you owe; Voltaire has strength to shoot in Shakespeare's
bow; Fame led him at his Hippocrene to drink, And taught to write with nature as to think; With English freedom English wit he knew, And from the inexhausted stream profusely drew: Cherish the noble bard yourselves have made, Nor let the frauds of France steal all our trade. Now of each prize the winner has the wearing, E'en send our English stage a privateering; With your commission we'll our sails unfold, And from their loads of dross import some gold.
SCENE L—An apartment in the Temple of Mecca.
Enter ALCAKOR and PHARON.
Ale. Pharon, no more—shall I Fall prostrate to an arrogant impostor, Homage in Mecca one I banished thence, And incense the delusions of a rebel! No—blast Alcanor, righteous Heaven! if e'er This hand, yet free and uncontaminate, Shall league with fraud, or adulate a tyrant.
Pha. August and sacred chief of Islunael's senate, This zeal of thine, paternal as it is, Is fatal now—our impotent resistance Controuls not Mahomet's unbounded progress, But, without weakening, irritates the tyrant. When once a citizen, you well condemned him As an obscure, seditious innovator; But now he is a conqueror, prince, and pontiff, Whilst nations numberless embrace his laws, And pay him adoration—even in Mecca He boasts his proselytes.
Ale. Such proselytes Are worthy of him—low untutored reptiles, In whom sense only lives—most credulous still Of what is most incredible.
Pha. Be such Disdained, my lord; but may not the pest spread
upwards, And seize the head—Say, is the senate sound I I fear some members of that reverend class Are marked with the contagion, who, from views Of higher power and rank, Worship tnis rising sun, and give a sanction To his invasions.
Ale. If, ye Powers divine! Ye mark the movements of this nether world, And bring them to account, crush, crush those
vipers, Who, singled out by a community To guard their rights, shall, for a grasp of ore. Or jpaltry office, sell them to the foe!
Pita. Each honest citizen, I grant, is thine, And, grateful for thy boundless blessings on them, Would serve thee with their lives; but the approach Of this usurper to their very walls Strikes them with such a dread, that even these Implore thee to accept his proffered peace.
Ale. Oil, people lost to wisdom as to glory!
Pha. Extinguish not, but smother for a while
steams, Would thy slain children be avenged by tlus?
Ale. No, Pharon, no; I live not for myself: My wife and children lost, my country's now My family.
Pha. then let not that be lost.
Ale 'Tis lost by cowardice.
Pha. By rashness often.
Ale. Pharon, desist.
Pha. My noble lortl, I cannot, Must not desist, will not, since you're possessed Of means to bring this insolent invader To any terms you'll claim.
Ale. What means?
Pha. Palmira. That blooming fair, the flower of all his camp, By thee borne off in our last skirmish with him, Seems the divine ambassadress of peace, Sent to procure our safety. Mahomet Has by his heralds thrice proposed her ransom, And bade us fix the price.
Ale. I know it, Pharon: And wouldst thou then restore this noble treasure To that barbarian? Wouldst thou, for the frauds, The deaths, the devastations, he brings on us, Enrich his ruffian hands with such a gem, And render beauty the reward of rapine i Nay, smile not, friend, nor think that at these
years, Well travelled in the winter of my days, I entertain a thought towards this young beauty, But what's as pure as is the western gale, That breathes upon the uncropt violet—
Pha. My lord
Ale. This heart, by age and grief congealed, Is no more sensible to love's endearments Than are our barren rocks to morn's sweet dew, That balmy trickles down their rugged cheeks.
Pha. My noble chief, each master-piece of nature Commands involuntary homage from us.
Ale. I own, a tenderness unfelt before, A sympathetic grief, with ardent wishes To make her happy, fill my widowed bosom: I dread her being in that monster's power, And burn to have her hate him like myself. Twas on this hour I, at her modest suit, Promised her audience in my own pavilion. Pharon, go thou, meanwhile, and see the senate Assembled straight—I'll sound them as I ought. [Exeunt severally.
SCENE II.—Changes to a Room of State.
PaL What means this boding terror, that usurps, In spite of me, dominion o'er my heart, Converting the sweet flower of new-blown hope To deadly nightshade, poisoning to my sou) The fountain of its bliss ?—Oh holy prophet 1 Shall I ne'er more attend thy sacred lessons? O Zaphna' much-loved youth! I feel for thee As for myself—But hold! my iinal audit I« now at hand—I tremble for the event! Here comes my judge—now liberty or bondage!
Ale. Palmira, whence those tears? trust me, fair maid, Thou art not fallen into barbarians' hands; What Mecca can afford of pomp or pleasure, To call attention from misfortune's lap, Demand and share it.
Pal. No, my generous victor! My suit's for nothing Mecca can afford; Prisoner these two long months beneath your
roof, I have tasted such benignity and candour, Whilst your own hands so laboured to beguile The anxious moments of captivity, That oft I have called my tears ingratitude.
Ale. If aught remains, that's in my power, to
The furrows in my cheeks, and make old age
Pal. Thus low I bless thee. [Kneeling.
It is on you, on you alone, Alcanor,
Pity, Alcanor, one, who is torn from all
Ale. Is slavery dear then? is fraud venerable? What country? a tumultuous wandering camp!
Pal. My country, sir, is not a single spot
Ale. Excellent maid! Then Mecca be thy
Pal. Can I be yours, when not my own ? Your bounties Claim and share my gratitude—but Mahomet Claims right o'er me of parent, prince, and prophet.
Ale. Of parent, prince, and prophet! Heavens I that robber, Who, a 'scaped felon, emulates a throne, And. scoffer at all faiths, proclaims a new one!
Pal. Oh, cease, my lord! this blasphemous abuse Of one, whom millions with myself adore, Docs violence to my ear: such black profanr
ness 'Gainst Heaven's interpreter blots out remembrance Of favours past, and nought succeeds but horror.
Air. Oh superstition! thy pernicious rigours, Inflexible to reason, truth, and nature, Banish humanity the gentlest breasts.
Palmira, I lament to see thee plunged
Pal. Do you then reject
Ale. There is no ransom Mahomet can offer,
heart With vile illusions and fanatic terrors !—
What wouldst thou, Pharon?
Pha. From yon western gate, Which opens on Moraida's fertile plains, Mahomet's general, Mirvan, hastes to greet thee.
Ale. Mirvan, that vile apostate!
Pha. In one hand He holds a scimitar, the other bears An olive branch, which to our chiefs he waves, An emblem of his suit—a martial youth, Zuphna by name, attends him for our hostage.
Pal. [Apart.\ Zaphna! mysterious heaven!
Pha. Mirvan advances
Ale. Mirvan advance! how dare the traitor see me? Palmira, thou retire—Pharon, be present
After six years of infamous rebellion
Mir. I pardon thee
Out of compassion to thy age and sufferings,
Plunged in the night of prejudice, and bound
Ale. What death to honour, wakening to such glory!
Pha. Oh, what a fall from virtue was that change!
Mir. Come, embrace our faith, reign with Mahomet, And, clothed in terrors, make the vulgar tremble.
Ate. 'Tis Mahomet, anfl tyrants like to Mahomet, 'Tis Mirvan, and apostates like to Mirvan, I only would make tremble—Is it, say'st thou, Religion, that's the parent of this rapine, This virulence and rage:—No; true religion Is always mild, propitious, and humane, Plays not the tyrant, plants no faith in blood, Nor bears destruction on tier chariot-wheels; But stoops to polish, succour, and redress, And builds her grandeur on the public good.
Mir. Thou art turned Cluistian, sure! some straggling monk Has taught thee these tame lessons—
Ale. If the Christians Hold principles like these, which reason dictates, Which all our notions of the powers divine Declare the social laws they meant for man, And all the beauties and delights of nature Bear witness to, the Christians may be right; Thy sect cannot, who, nursed in blood and
slaughter, Worship a cruel and revengeful being, And draw him always with his thunder round him, As ripe for the destruction of mankind.
Mir. If clemency delights thee, learn it here. Though banished, by thy voice, his native city, Though, by thy hand, robbed of his only son, Mahomet pardons thee; nay, farther, begs The hatred burning 'twixt you be extinguished, With reconciliation's generous tear.
Ale. I know thy master's arts: his generous tears, Like the refreshing drops, that previous fall To the wild outrage of o'ciu helming earthquakes, Only forerun destruction; Courage he has, not bravery; For blood and havock are the sure attendants On his victorious car.
Pha. Leagues he will make too
Ale. Like other grasping tyrants, till he eyes A lucky juncture to enlarge his bounds; Then he 11 deride them, leap o'er every tie Of sacred guarantee, or sworn protection; And when the oppressed ally implores assistance, Beneath that mask invade the wished-for realms, And from pure friendship take them to himself.
Mir. Mahomet lights Heaven's battles, bends the bow To spread Heaven's laws, and to subject to faith The iron neck of error.
A Ic. Lust and ambition, Mirvan, are the springs Of all his actions; whilst, without one virtue, Dissimulation, like a nattering painter, Bedecks him with the colouring of them all:
This is thy master's portrait—But no more
My soul's inexorable, and my hate