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Who pourM her sorrows on Horatia's bier,
That still retains so much of flesh and blood,
She'd fairly hang her brother, if she could.
Why, ladies, to be sure, if that be all,
At your tribunal he must stand or fall.
Whate'er his country, or his sire decreed,
You are his judges now, and he must plead,
Like other culprit youths, he wanted grace;
But could have no self-interest in the case.
Had she been wife, or mistress, or a friend,
It might have answer'd some convenient end:

But a mere sister, whom he lov'd—to take
Her life away,—and for his country's sake!
Faith, ladies, you may pardon him; indeed
There's very little fear the crime should spread.
True patriots are but rare among the men,
And really might be useful now and then.
Then do not check, by your disapprobation, )
A spirit which might rule the British nation, C
And still might rule—would you but set theC
fashion. *

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Org. How nobly does this venerable wood, Gilt with the glories of the orient sun, Embosom yon fair mansion I The soft air Salutes me with most cool and temp'rate breath; And, as I tread the flow'r-besprinkled lawn, Sends up a gale of fragrance. I should guess. If e'er Content deign'd visit mortal clime, This was her place of dearest residence. Grant, Heav*n, I find it such! 'Tis now three

months, Since first earl Athelwold espous'd my daughter. He then besought me, for some little space, The nuptials might be secret: many reasons, He said, indue'd to this: I made no pause, But, resting on his prudence, to his will Gave absolute concurrence. Soon as married, He to this secret seat conveyM Elfrida; Convey'd her as by stealth, enjoy 'd, and left her: Yet not without I know not what excuse Of call to court, of Edgar's royal friendship, And England's welfare. To his prince he went: And since, as by intelligence I gather, He oft returns to this his cloister'd wife; But ever with a privacy most studied, Borrowing disguises till inventive art Can scarce supply him with variety. His visits, as they're stol'n, are also short; Seldom beyond the circuit of one sun; Then back to court, while she his absence mourns

4

Full many a lonely hour. I brook not this.
Had Athelwold espous'd some base-born peasant,
This usage had been apt; but when he took
My daughter to his arms, he took a virgin,.
Through whose rich veins the blood ot British

kings
Ran in unsullied stream. Her lineage sure
Might give her place and notice with the noblest
In Edgar's court. Elfrida's beauty too
(I speak not from a father's foolish fondness)
Would shine amid the fairest, and reflect
No vulgar glory on that beauty's master.
This act bespeaks the madman. Who that own'd
An em'rald, jasper, or chrysolite,
Would hide its lustre, or not bid it blaze
Conspicuous on his brow? Haply Athelwold
May have espous'd some other. 'Sdeath, he

durst not! My former feats in arms must have inform'd

him, That Orgar, while he liv'd, would never prove A traitor to his honour. If he has— This aged arm is not so much unstrung By slack'ning years, but just revenge will brace it. And, by yon awful heav'n—But hold, my rage! I came to search into this matter coolly. Hence, to conceal the father and the earl, This pilgrim's statf, and scrip, and all these marks Of vagrant poverty.

[graphic]

Cho. [within.] Hail to thy living light, ambrosial morn! All hail thy roseat ray! Org. But hark, the sound of sweetest minstrelsy Breaks on mine car. The females, I suppose, Whom Athelwold has left my child's attendants; That, when she wails the absence of her lord, Their lenient airs, and sprightly-fancied songs, May steal away her woes. See, they approach: This grove shall shroud me till they cease their

strain; Then I'll address them with some feigned tale.

[He retires.

ODE.

Cho. Hail to thy living light,
Ambrosial morn! all hail thy roseat ray:
That bids young Nature all her charms" display

In varied beauty bright;
That bids each dewy-spangled flowret rise,

And dart around its vermeil dies;
Bids silver lustre grace yon sparkling tide*
That winding warbles down the mountain's side.

Away, ye goblins all,
Wdnt the bewilder'd traveller to daunt;
Whose vagrant feet have trae'd your secret haunt

Beside some lonely wall,
Or shatter" d ruin of a moss-grown tow'f,

Where at pale midnight's stillest hour, Through each rough chink the solemn orb of night Pours momentary gleams of trembling light.

Away, ye elves, away:
Shrink at ambrosial morning's living ray;

That living ray, whose pow'r benign
Unfolds the scene of glory to our eye,

Where, thron'd in artless majesty, The cherub Beauty sits on nature s rustic shrine.—

Chorus, Orgar.

Cho. Silence, my sisters.—Whence this rudeness, stranger, That thus has prompted thiue unbidden ear To listen to our strains?

Org. Youf pardon, virgins:
I nit :int not rudeness, though I dar*d to listen;
For ah! what ear so fortify'd ami barr'd
Against the force of powerful harmony,
But would with transport to such sweet assailants
Surrender its attention? Never yet
Have I pass'd by the night-bird's fay"rite spray,
What time she pours her wild and artless song,
Without attentive pause and silent rapture;
How could I then, with savage disregard,
Hear voices tun'd by nature sweet as her's,
Gnu 'd with all art's addition?

Cho. Thy mean garb,
And this thy courtly phrase but ill accord.
Whence, and what art thou, stranger?

Org. Virgins, know
These limbs have oft been wrapt in richer vest:
But what avails it now ? all have their fate;
And mine has been most wretched.

Cho. May we ask

VOL. II.

What cruel cause—

Ore. No! let this hapless breast
Still hide the melancholy tale.

Cho. We know,
There oft is found an avarice in grief;
Ami the wan eye of Sorrow loves to gaze
Upon its secret hoard of treasur'd woes
In pining solitude. Perhaps thy mind
Takes the same pensive cast: if not, permit
That we, in social sympathy, may drop
The tender tear.

Org. Ah! ill would it become ye,
To let the woes of such a wretch as I am,
E'er dim your bright eyes with a pitying tear.
Cho. The eye, that will not weep another's
sorrow,
Should boast no gentler brightness than the glare,
That reddens in the eye-ball of the wolf.
Let us intreat—

Org. Know, virgins, I was born To ample property of lands and flocks, On this side Tweeda's stream. My youth arid

vigour Atchicv'd full many a feat of martial prowess: Nor was my skill in chivalry unnoted In the fair volume of my sov'reign's love; Who ever held me in his best esteem, Anil closest to his person. When he paid, What all must pay, to fate; and short-liv'd

Edwy
Mounted the vacant throne, which now his bro-
ther
Fills (as loud fame reports) right royally;
I then, unfit for pageantry and courts,
Sat down in peace among my faithful vassals,
At my paternal seat But an! not long
Hail I enjoy'd the sweets of that recess,
Ere, by the savage inroads of base hinds,
That sallied frequent from the Scottish heights.
My lands were all laid waste, My people murder'd;
And I, through impotence of age, unfit
To quell their brutal rage, was fore'd to drag
My mis'ries through the land, a friendless wan-
d'rer.
Cho. We pity and condole thy wretched state,
But we can do no more; which, on thy part,
Claims just returns of pity: for whose lot
Demands it more than theirs, whom fate forbids
To taste the joys of courteous charity;
To wipe the trickling tears, which dew the chesk
Of palsy'd age; to smooth its furrow'd brow,
And pay its grey hairs each due reverence?
Yet such delight we are forbid to taste!
For 'tis our lord's command, that not a stranger,
However high or lowly his degree, \

Have entrance at these gates.
Org. Who may this tyrant—
fit,i. Alas, no twain he; the more our von-
der
At this harsh mandate: Tenderness and pity
Have made his breast their home. He is a man
More apt, through inborn gentleness, to err
In giving mercy's tide too tree a course,
Than with a thrifty and illiberal hand

s

[graphic]

Must greatly fear.

Cho. Yet whence the cause? Your earl Has ever yet (this little breach excepted) Been punctual to appointment. Did his eye Glow with less ardent passion when he left you, Than at the first blest meeting? No! I marked

him, His parting glance was that of fervent love, And constancy unalter'il. Do not fear him. Elf. I should not fear him, were his present stay The only cause. Alas, it is not so! Why comes my earl so secret to these arms! Why, but because he dreads the just reproach Of some deluded fair one i Why am I Here shrouded up, like the pale votarist, Who knows no visitant, save the lone owl, That nightly leaves his ivy-shrouded cell. And sails on slow wing through the cloister'd isles, Listening her saintly orisons! Why am I Deny'd to follow my departed lord Whene'er his duty calls him to the palace?

Cho. Covet not that; the noblest proof of love That Athelwold can give, is still to guard Your beauties from the blast of courtly gales. The crimson blush of virgin modesty, The delicate soft tints of innocence There all fly of£ and leave no boast behind, But well-rang'd, faded features. Ah, Elfrida, Should you be doom'd, which happier fate forbid! To drag your hours through ail that nauseous

scene Of pageantry and vice; your purer breast, True to its virtuous relish, soon would heave A fervent sigh for innocence and Harewood. Elf. You much mistake me, virgins; the throng'd palace Were undesired by me, did not that palace Detain my Athelwold. If he were here, His presence would convert this range of oaks To stately columns; these gay-liv'ried flowers To troops of gallant ladies: and yon deer, That jut their antlers forth in sportive fray, To armed knights at joust or tournament. If Athelwold dwelt here, if no ambition Could lure his steps from love, and this still forest; If I might never moan his time of absence, Longer than that which serv'd him for the chase, Or of ttf wolf, or stag; or when he bore The hood-wink'd falcon forth; might these, my

virgins, And these alone, be love's short intervals, I should not have one thought remote from Harewood. Cho. And would you wish that Athelwold should slight The weal of England, and on these light toys Waste his unvalued hours? No, fond Elfrida; His active soul is wing'd for nobler flights. Elf. What then, must England's welfare hold my earl For ever from these shades! Cho. We say not that.

The youth, who bathes in pleasure's tempting

stream At well-judg'd intervals, feels all his soul Nerv'd with recruited strength; but if too oft He swims in sportive mazes through the flood, It chills his languid virtue. For this cause Your earl forbids, that these enchanting groves, And their fair mistress should possess him wholly. He knows he has a country and a king, That claim his first attention; yet be sure, 'Twill not be long, ere his unbending mind Shall lose in sweet oblivion every care, Among th' embow'ring shades that veil Elfrida. Elf. O be that speech prophetic; may he soon Seek these embowering shades! Meanwhile, my

friends, Sooth me with harmony. I know full well That ye were nurs'd in Cornwall's wizard caves, And oft have pae'd the fairy-peopled voles Of Devon, where posterity retains Some vein of that old minstrelsy, which breath'd" Through each time-honour" d grove of British oak. There, where the spreading consecrated boughs Fed the sage rnisletoc, the holy druids Lay wrapt in moral musings; while the bards Call'd from their solemn harps such lofty airs, As drew down fancy from the realms oflight To paint some radiant vision on their minds, Of high mysterious import. But on me Such strains sublime were wasted: I but ask A sprightly song to speed the lazy flight Of these dull hours. And music sure can find A magic spell to make them skim their round, Swift as the swallow circles. Try its power: While I, from yonder hillock, watch his coming.

[Exit Elfrida.

ODE.

Cho. The turtle tells her plaintive tale,
SequesterM in some shadowy vale;
The lark in radiant ittlicr floats,
And swells his wild extatic notes:
Meanwhile on yonder hawthorn spray
The linnet wake's her temp'rate lay;
She haunts no solitary shade,
She flutters o'er no sunshine mead,
No love-lorn griefs depress her song,
No raptures lift it loudly high,
But soft-she trills, amid th' aerial throng,
Smooth simple strains of sob'rest harmony.

Sweet bird! like thine our Jay shall flow
Nor gaily brisk, nor sadly slow;
For to thy note, sedate and clear,
Content still lends a list'ning ear.
Reclin'd this mossy bank along,
Oft has she heard thy careless song:
Why hears not now? What fairer grove
From Harewood lures her devious love i
What fairer grove than Harewood knows,
More woodland walks, more fragrant gales,
More shadowy bowers, inviting soft repose,
More streams slow wand'ring through her wind-
ing vales i

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