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And spread their flames resistless o'er the world?
What sleepy charms benumb these active heroes,
Depress their spirits, and retard their speed
Beyond the fear of lingering punishment i
Aspasia, now within her lover's arms,
Securely sleeps, and, in delightful dreams,
Smiles at the threatening^ of defeated rage.

Car. We come, bright virgin, though relenting
nature
Shrinks at the hated task, for thy destruction;
When, summoned by the sultan's clamorous fury,
We asked, with timorous tongue, the offender's

name, He struck his tortured breast, and roared,' Irene!' We started at the sound; again enquired; Again his thundering voice returned,' Irene!'

Irene. Whence is this rage? what barbarous tongue has wronged ine? What fraud misleads him, or what crimes incense?

Hu<. Expiring Cali named Irene's chamber The place appointed for his master's death.

Irene. Irene's chamber! From my faithful bosom Far be the thought!—But hear my protestation.

Car. 'Tis ours, alas! to punish, not to judge! Not called to try the cause, we heard the sentence, Ordained the mournful messengers of death.

Irene. Some ill-designing statesman's base intrigue! Some cruel stratagem of jealous beauty! Perhaps yourselves the villains that defame me, Now haste to murder, ere returning thought Recall the extorted doom.—It must be so; Confess your crime, or lead mc to the sultan. There, dauntless truth shall blast the vile accuser; Then shall you feci what language cannot utter, Each piercing torture, even- change of pain, Tl«at vengeance can invent, or power inflict.

Enter Aboalla, he stops short and listens.

Aid. [Aside.] All is not lost, Abdalla! see the queen, See the last witness of thy guilt and fear, Enrobed in death—Dispatch her, and be great.

Car. Unhappy fair! Compassion calls upon me To check this torrent of imperious rage. While unavailing anger crowds thy tongue With idle threats and fruitless exclamation, The fraudful moments ply their silent wings, And steal thy life away. Death's horrid angel Already shakes his bloody sabre o'er thee. Tlie raging sultan bums till our return, Curses the dull delays of lingering mercy, And thinks his fatal mandates ill obeyed.

Abd. Is then your sovereign's life so cheaply rated, That thus you parley with detected treason? Should she prevail to gain the sultan's presence, Soon might her tears engage a lover's credit; Perhaps her malice might transfer the charge; Perhaps her poisonous tongue might blast Abdalla.

Irene. O let me but be heard, nor fear from

10

Or flights of power, or projects of ambition!
My hopes, my wishes, terminate in life,
A little life for grief, and for repentance.

Abd. I marked her wily messenger afar,
And saw him skulking in the closest walks:
I guessed her dark designs, and warned the sul-
tan,
And bring her former sentence new confirmed.
Has. Then call it not our cruelty, nor crime;
Deem us not deaf to woe, nor blind to beauty,
That, thus constrained, we speed the stroke of
death. [Beckons the mutes.

Irene. 0 name not death! distraction and amazement, Horror and agony, are in that sound! Let me but live, heap woes on woes upon me; Hide me with murderers in the dungeon's gloom; Send me to wander on some pathless shore; Let shame and hooting infamy pursue me; Let slavery harass, and let hunger gripe!

Car. Could we reverse the sentence of the sultan, Our bleeding bosoms plead Irene's cause. But cries and tears are vain; prepare, with patience, To meet that fate we can delay no longer.

[The mutes, at the sign, lay hold of her. Abd. Dispatch, ye lingering slaves! or nimbler hands, Quick at my call, shall execute your charge; Dispatch, and learn a fitter time for pity.

Irene. Grant me one hour, O grant mc but a moment, And bounteous Heaven repay the mighty mercy With peaceful death, and happiness eternal!

Cor. The prayer I cannot grant 1 dare not

hear. Short be thy pains. [Signs again to the mutes.

Irene. Unutterable anguish 1 Guilt and despair! pale spectres grin around mc, And stun me with the yellings of damnation! O, hear my prayers! accept, all-pitying Heaven, These tears, these pangs, these last remains of

life, Nor let the crimes of this detested day Be charged upon my soul. O, mercy! mercy! [Mutes force her out. Abd. [Aside."] Safe in her death, and in Demetrius' flight, Abdalla, bid thy troubled breast be calm; Now shalt thou shine the darling of the sultan, The plot all Cali's, the detection thine.

Has. [To Car.] Does not thy bosom, for I know thee tender, A stranger to the oppressor's savage joy, Melt at Irene's fate, and share her woes?

Car. Her piercing cries yet fill the loadedar, Dwell on my ear, ami sadden all my soul: But let us try to clear our clouded brows, And tell the horrid tale with cheerful face; The stormy sultan rages at our stay. •

Abd. Frame your report with circumspective art, Inflame her crimes, exalt your own obedience, But let no thoughtless hint involve Abdalla.

Car. What need of caution to report the fate Of her the sultan's voice condemned to die? Or why should he, whose violence of duty Has served his prince so well, demand our silence? Aid. Perhaps my zeal, too fierce, betrayed my prudence; Perhaps my warmth exceeded my commission; Perhaps—I will not stoop to plead my cause, Or argue with the slave that saved Demetrius. Car. From his escape learn thou the power of virtue, Nor hope his fortune while thou want'st his worth. Has. The sultan comes, still gloomy, still enraged.

Enter MAHOMET and MUSTAPHA.

Muh. Where's this fair traitress? Where's this smiling mischief, Whom neither vows could fix, nor favours bind > Hat. Thine orders, mighty sultan! are performed, And all Irene now is breathless clay!

Muh. Your hasty zeal defrauds the claim of justice, And disappointed vengeance burns in vain; I came to heighten tortures by reproach, And add new terrors to the face of death.— Was this the moid whose love I bought with empire! True, she was fair; the smile of innocence Played on her check—So shone the first apostateIrene's chamber! Did not roaring Cali, Just as the rack forced out his struggling soul, Name, for the scene of death, Irene s chamber? Mus. His breath, prolonged but to detect her treason, Then", in short sighs, forsook his broken frame. Muh. Decreed to perish in Irene's chamber! There had she lulled me with endearing falsehoods, Clasped in her arms, or slumbering on her breast, And bared my bosom to the ruffian's dagger.

Enter MunzA.

Mur. Forgive, great sultan! tliat, by fate prevented, I bring a tardy message from Irene.

Muh. Some artful wile of counterfeited love! Some soft decoy to lure me to destruction! And thou, the cursed accomplice of her treason, Declare thy message, and expect thy doom. Mur. The queen requested, that a chosen troop Might intercept the traitor Greek, Demetrius, Then lingering with his captive mistress here. Mus. The Greek, Demetrius, whom the expiring Bassa Declared the chief associate of his guilt!

Muh. A chosen troop—to intercept—Demetrius— The queen requested—Wretch, repeat the message;

And if one varied accent prove thy falsehood,

Or but one moment's pause betray confusion,

Those trembling limbs— Speak out, thou shiver-
. ing traitor!
Mur. The queen requested!—
Muh. Who? the dead Irene?

Was she then guiltless 1 Has my thoughtless rage

Destroyed the fairest workmanship of heaven!

Doomed her to death, unpitied and unheard,

Amidst her kind solicitudes for me!

Ye slaves of cruelty, ye tools of rage,

[To Has. ami Car.

Ye blind officious ministers of folly,

Could not her charms repress your zeal for murder?

Could not her prayers, her innocence, her tears,

Suspend the dreadful sentence for an hour i

One hour had freed me from the fatal error;

One hour had saved me from despair and madness. Car. Your fierce impatience forced us from your presence,

Urged us to speed, and bade us banish pity,

Nor trust our passions with her fatal charms. Muh. What hadst thou lost by slighting those commands?

Thy life perhaps—Were but Irene spared,

Well if a thousand lives like thine had perished!

Such beauty, sweetness, love, were cheaply bought,

With half the grovelling slaves that load the globe. Mus. Great is thy woe! but think, illustrious sultan,

Such ills are sent for souls like thine to conquer.

Shake off this weight of unavailing grief;

Rush to the war, display thy dreadful tanners,

And lead thy troops victorious round the world. Muh. Robbed of the maid, with whom I wished to triumph,

No more I bum for fame or for dominion;

Success and conquests now are empty sounds.

Remorse and anguish seize on all my breast;

Those groves, whose shades embowered the dear Irene,

Heard her last cries, and fanned her dying beauties,

Shall hide me from the tasteless world for ever. [M Ah. goes out and returns.

Yet ere I quit the sceptre of dominion,

Let one just act conclude the hateful day.

Hew down, ye guards, those vassals of destruction, [Pointing to Has. and Car.

Those hounds of blood, that catch the hint to kill;

Bear off) with eager haste, the unfinished sentence,

And speed the stroke, lest mercy should o'ertake them. Car. Then hear, great Mahomet, the voice of

truth! Muh. Hear? shall I hear thee! didst thou

hear Irene? Car. Hear but a moment! Muh. Hadst thou heard a moment.

Thou might'st have lived, for thou hadst spared
Irene.
Car. I heard her, pitied her, and wished to

save her.
Mah. And wished—Be still thy fate to wish

in vain! Car. I beard, and softened, till Abdalla brought Her final doom, and hurried her destruction. Mah. Abdalla brought her doom! Abdalla brought it! The wretch, whose guilt, declared by tortured

Cab", My rage and grief had hid from my remembrance! Abdalla brought her doom! Hat. Abdalla brought it, While she yet begged to plead her cause before thee. Mah. O seize me, madness! Did she call on me? I feel, I see the ruffian's barbarous rage. He seized her melting in the fond appeal, And stopped the heavenly voice that called on

me. My spirits fail; awhile support me, vengeance— Be just, ye slaves, and to be just, be cruel!

Contrive naw racks, imbitter every pang, Inflict whatever treason can deserve, Which murdered innocence that called on me. [Exeunt Mah. Abd. IfC. Must. [To MuR.] What plagues, what tortures are in store for thee, Though sluggish idler, dilatory slave! Behold the model of consummate beauty, Torn from the mourning earth by thy neglect. .11m;-. Such was the will of Heaven—A band of Greeks, That marked my course, suspicious of my purpose, Rushed out and seized me, thoughtless and unarmed, Breathless, amazed, and on the guarded beach Detained me, till Demetrius set me free.

Mus. So sure the fall of greatness raised on crimes; So fixed the justice of all-conscious Heaven. When haughty guilt exults with impious joy, Mistake shall blast, or accident destroy; Weak man, with erring rage, may throw the dart, But Heaven shall guide it to the guilty heart.

[Exeunt omnes.

EPILOGUE.

SPOKEN BY ASPAS1A.

Marry a Turk! a haughty tyrant king,
Who thinks us women born to dress and sing,
To please his fancy—see no other man—
Let him persuade me to it—if he can:
Besides, he has fifty wives; and who can bear
To have the fiftieth part her paltry share?
'Tis true, the fellow's handsome, strait and
tall;
But how the devil should he please us all?
My swain is little—true—but be it known,
My pride's to have that little all my own.
Men will be ever to their errors blind,
Where woman's not allow'd to speak her mind;
I swear this eastern pageantry is nonsense,

And for one man—one wife's enough in con-
science.
In vain proud man usurps what's woman's due;
For us alone, they honour's paths pursue:
Inspir'd by us, they glory's heights ascend;
Woman the source, the object, and the end.
Though wealth and power and glory they receive,
These all ore trifles, to what we can give.
For us the statesman labours, hero fights,
Bears toilsome days, and wakes long tedious

nights; And when blest peace has silene'd war's alarms, Receives his full reward in beauty's arms.

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Britoxs, to-niglit, in native pomp we come,
True heroes all, from virtuous ancient Rome;
In those far distant times, when Romans knew
The sweets of guarded liberty, like you;
And, safe from ills which force or faction brings,
Saw freedom reign beneath the smile of kings.

Yet, from such times, and such plain chiefs as
these,
What can we frame, a polish'd age to please?
Say, can you listen to the artless woes
Of an old tale, which every school-boy knows?
Where to your hearts alone the scenes apply,
No merit theirs but pure simplicity?

Our bard has play d a most adventurous part, And turn'd upon himself the critic's art:

Stripp'd each luxuriant plume from fancy's wing;,
And torn up similies from vulgar things:'
Nay, even each moral, sentimental stroke,
Where not the character but poet spoke,
He lopp'd, as foreign to his chaste design,
Nor spar'd a useless though a golden line.

These are his arts; if these cannot atone
For all those nameless errors yet unknown,
If, shunning faults which nobler bards commit,
He wants the force to strike tli' attentive pit,
Be just, and tell him so; he asks advice,
Willing to learn, and would not ask it twice.
Your kind applause may bid him write—beware!
Or kinder censure teach him to forbear.

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ACT I.

SCENE I.—A Room in HoRATIUS's House. A Soldier crosses the Stage, HORATIA following.

Horatio. Stay, soldier. As you parted from my father, Something I overheard, of near concern, But all imperfectly. Said you not Alba Was on the brink of fate, and Rome determined, This day, to crush her haughty rival's power, Or perish in the attempt? Sold. 'Twas so resolved This morning, lady, ere I left the camp. Our heroes arc tired out with lingering war, And half-unmeaning fight. Horatia. Alas! I hoped The kind remorse, which touched the kindred

states, And made their swords fall lightly on the breasts Of foes they could not hate, might have produced A milder resolution. Then this day Is fixed for death or conquest I [He botes.] To me

death, Whoever conquers! [Aside.] I detain you, sir.

Commend me to my brothers; say, I wish

But wherefore should I wish? The gods will

crown Their virtues with the just success they merit—

Tet let me ask vu, sir

Sold. My due , lady, Commands me hence. Ere tin's they have engaged; And conquest's self would lose its charms to me, Should I not share the danger.

As the Soldier goes out, VALERIA enters, who hxiksfirst on him, and then on HoRATIA.

Valeria. My dear Horatia, wherefore wilt thou

court The means to be unhappy? Still enquiring, Still more to be undone. I heard it too; .And flew to find thee, ere the fatal news Hail hurt thy quiet, that thou might'st have

learnt it From a friend's tongue, and dressed in gentler

terms. Horatia. Oh, I am lost, Valeria, lost to virtue! Even while my country's fate, the fate of Rome, Hangs on the conqueror's sword, this breast can

feel A softer passion, and divide its cares! Alba to me is Rome. Wouldst thou believe it? I would have sent, by him thou saw'st departing, Kind wishes to my brothers; but my tongue Denied its office, and this rebel heart Even dreaded their success. Oh, Curiatius! Why art thou there, or why an enemy? i Valeria. Forbear this self-reproach; he is thy

husband,

And who can blame thy fears? If fortune make

him Awhile thy country's foe, she cannot cancel Vows registered above. What though the priest Had not confirmed it at the sacred altar; Yet were your hearts united, and that union Approved by each consenting parent's choice. Your brothers loved him as a friend, a brother: And all the ties of kindred pleaded for him, And still must plead, whatc er our heroes teach

us, Of patriot strength. Our country may demand We should be wretched, and we must obey; But never can require us not to feel, That we are miserable: nature there Will give the lie to virtue. Horatiu. True; yet sure A Roman virgin should be more than woman. Are we not early taught to mock at pain, And look on danger with undaunted eyes ?— But what are dangers ? what the ghastliest form Of death itself?—Oh, were I only bid, To rush into the Tiber's foaming wave, Swoln with uncommon floods, or from the height Of yon Tarpeian rock, whose giddy steep Has turned me pale with horror at the sight, I'd think the task were nothing!—but to bear These strange vicissitudes of torturing pain,

To fear, to doubt, and to despair as 1 do!

Valeria. And why despair? Have we so idly

learned The noblest lessons of our infant days, Our trust above? Does there not still remain The wretch's last retreat—the gods, Horatia? 'Tis from their awful wills our evils spring, And at their altars may we find relief. Say, shall we thither ?—Look not thus dejected, But answer me. A confidence in them, E'en in this crisis of our fate, will calm Thy troubled soul, and fill thy breast with hope. Horatia. Talk not of hope; the wretch on

yonder plain, Who hears the victor's threats, and sees his

sword Impending o'er him, feels no surer fate, Though less delayed than mine! What should I

hope? That Alba conquer ?—Cursed be every thought Which looks that way! The shrieks of captive

matrons Sound in my cars!

Valeria. Forbear, forbear, Horatia, Nor fright me with the thought. Rome cannot

fall. Think on the glorious battles she has fought; Has she once failed, though oft exposed to danger? And has not her immortal founder promised, That she should rise the mistress of the world I

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