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'tw'as once the mode inglorious war to wage With each bold bard that durst attempt the stage, And prologues were but preludes to engage. Then mourn'd the muse not story\l woes alone, Condemn'd to weep, with tears unfeign'd, her

own. Past are those hostile days: and wits no more One undistinguished fate with fools deplore. No more the muse laments her long-felt wrongs, From the rude licence of tumultuous tongues: In peace each bard prefers his doubtful claim, And as he merits, meets, or misses, fame. Twas thus in Greece (when Greece fair science

blest. And Heav'n-born arts their chosen land possest) Th' assembled people sate with decent pride, Patient to hear, and skilful to decide; Less forward far to censure than to praise, Unwillingly refus'd the rival bays.

Yes; they whom candour and true taste inspire,
Blame not with half the passion they admire;
Each little blemish with regret descrv.
But mark the beauties' with a rapturd eye.
Yet modest fears invade our author's breast,
With Attic lore, or Latian, all unblest;
Dcny"d by Fate through classic fields to stray,
Where bloom these wreaths which never bo*

decay;
Where arts new force from kindred arts acquire,
And poets catch from poets genial fire.
Not thus he boasts the breast humane to prove,
And touch those springs which generous passion

move, To melt the soul by scenes of fabled woe, And bid the tear for fancy'd sorrows flow; Far humbler paths he treads in quest of fame, And trusts to Nature what from Nature came.

DRAMATIS PERSONJE.

MEN.

SlFROY, a General Officer,

BEAUFORT senior, lather of Cleonc.

BEAUFORT junior, her Brother.

PAULET, the Friend of Si/rot/.

Glanville, a near Helation.

Ragozix, a Servant corrupted by Glanville.

WOMEN.

CLEONE, the Wife qfSifroy.
Isabella, her Companion.
A Child about five yean old.

Officer! of Justice, Servants, SfC.

Scene,Sifroy's House, and an adjoining Wood.

ACTI.

SCENE I.—A Room in Sifroy'i House.

Enter GLANVILLE and ISABELLA.

Clan. What means this diffidence, this idle fear? Have I not given thee proof my heart is thine? Proof that I mean to sanctify our joys By sacred wedlock! Why then doubt my truth? Why hesitate, why tremble thus to join In deeds, which justice and my love to thee Alone inspire? If we are one, our hopes, Our views, our interests ought to be the same. And canst thou tamely see this proud Sifroy Triumphant lord it o'er my baffled rights? Those late acquir'd demesnes, by partial hand Consign'd to him, in equity are mine.

Itab. The story oft I ve heard: yet sure Sifroy I Lull every legal title to that wealth By will bequeathed; and childless should he die, The whole were thine. Wait then till time—

Glun. Art thou, My Isabella, thou an advocate For him whose hand, with felon arts, with-holds Those treasures which I covet but for thee? Where is thy plighted faith ?—thy vows ?—thy truth?

Itab. Forbear reproach !—0 Glanville, love to thee Hath robb'd me of my truth—sedue'd me on From step to step, till virtue quite forsook me. False if I am, 'tis to myself, not thee; Thou bast my heart, and thou shalt guide my

will, Obedient to thy wishes.

Glun. Hear me then—
This curst Sifroy stands in my fortune's way:
I must remove him.—Well 1 know his weakness—
His fiery temper favours mv design,
And aids the plot that works his own undoing.
Yet whilst far off remov'd, he leads our troops,
The nation's doughty chief, he stands secure,
Beyond the reach of my avenging hand.
But this will force him home—I have convey'd,
By Ragozin his servant, whom I sent
On other business, letters which disclose
His wife's amour with Paulct.

Itab. Ah! though me
Thou hast convine'd, and I believe her false,
Think'st thou Sifroy will credit the report?
Will not remembrance of her ^ eeming truth,
Her artful modesty, and acted fondness,
Secure the easy confidence of love?

Glan. I know it ought not. Weak must be
the man
Who builds his hopes on such deceitful ground.
Paulct is young, not destitute of passion;
Iter husband absent, they are oft together:

Then she hath charms to warm the coldest breast,
Melt the most rigid virtue into love,
And tempt the firmest friendship to be frail.
All this I ve urg'd, join'd with such circumstance,
Such strong presumptive proof, as cannot fail
To shake the firm foundations of his trust.
This once accomplish'd, his own violence
And heated rage, will urge him to commit
Some desperate act, and plunge him into ruin.

I sub. But grant thou should'st succeed, what
will ensue?
Suppose him dead, doth ho not leave an heir,
An infant son, that will prevent thy claim?

Glan. That bar were easily remov'd.—But soft, Who's here? 'Tis Ragozin return'd.

Enter Ragozin.

Glan. What news, Dear Ragozin? How did Sifroy receive My letters? Speak—My vast impatience would Know all at once.—What does his rage intend?

Rag. All you could wish. A whirlwind is but weak To the wild storm that agitates his breast. At first indeed he doubted—swore 'twas false— Impossible—But as he read, his looks Grew fierce; pale horror trembled on his cheek;

0 she is vile !—It must, it must be so— Glanville is just, is good, and scorns to wrong

her—

1 know his friendship, know his honest heart— Then falling, sobb'd in speechless agony.

Glan. Good, very good !—I knew 'twould gall—proceed.

Rag. His smother'd grief at length burst forth in rage. He started from the floor—he drew his sword— And fixing it with violence in my graspPlunge this, he cried, O plunge it in the heart Of that vile traitor, Paulet!—Yet forbearThat exquisite revenge my own right liand Demands, nor will I give it to another 1 This said—push'd on by rage, lie to her sire Dispatch'd a letter, opening to him all Her crime, and his dishonour. This to you.

[Gives a letter.

Glan. How eagerly he runs into the toils,

Which I have planted for his own destruction!

Dear Hagozin, success shall double all
My promises; and now we are embark'd,
We must proceed, whatever storms arise.

hub. But read the letter.

[glanville opens the letter and reads.

* Though thou haststabb'd metotheheart,Icannot but thank thy goodness for the tender regard thou hast shewn to my honour. The traitor Paulct shall die by my own hand: that righteous vengeance must be mine. Mean time, forbi

the villain's entrance to my house. As to her who was once my wife, let her go to her father's, to whom I have w ritten; leaving it to him to vindicate her virtue, or conceal her shame. I am in too much confusion to add more. Si Fro Y.'

This is enough—by Heaven ! I sought no more.
It is the point at which my wishes aim'd.
The death of Paulet must include his own;
Justice will take that life my injuries seek,
Nor sliall suspicion cast one glance on me.
But does he purpose soon to leave the army,
Or let bis vengeance sleep .'

Id/:. All wild he raves,
That honour should forb:d to quit his charge.
Yvt uhat resolves the tumult in his breast
May urge, is hard to say.

Glan. We must prepare
For his arrival; well 1 know his rage
Will burst all bounds of prudence. Thou, my

friend, (For from the hour which shall complete our business, Thy servitude shall cease) be diligent To watch all accidents, and well improve Whatever chance may rise.

Rag. Trust to my care. [Exit.

Glan. Now, Isabella! now th' important hour To prove mv truth, arises to my wish. No longei slialt thou live the humble friend Of this Cleone, but, her equal born, Shalt rise by me to grace an equal sphere.

/■•■/'. Her equal bom I am—nor can my heart A keener pang than base dependence feel. Yet weak by nature, and in fear for thee, I tremble for th' event.—O should'st thou fail—

Glan. To me, my Isabella, trust the proof Of her conceal'd amour. I know full well Her modesty is mere disguise, assum'd To cheat the world; but it deceives not mc. I shall unveil her latent wickedness, And on her midnight revels pour the day. Itab. Scarce can my heart give credit— (ilnn. Thou, alas, Art blinded by the semblance she displays Of truth and innocence; but I explore Her inmost soul, and in her secret thoughts Read wantonness. Believe me, this gav youth, Mask'd in the guise of friendship to Sifroy, Is her vile paramour. But I forget; Tell Ragozin, mv love, to wait without; This business asks dispatch, and I may want His useful aid.

Itab. I go; but still my heart Beats anxious, lest the truth of thy suspicions Should lad of proof. [Eta Isabella.

Glan. Fear nothing, I'm secure.— Fond, easy fool! whom for mv use alone, Not pleasure, I've ensnar'd; thou little drcam'st, That fir'd with fairCleone's heaven of charms, I burn for their enjoyment. There, there too, Did this Sifroy, this happy hated rival, Defeat the first warm hopes that lir'd my bosom. I mark'd her beauties ri»rng in their bloom, And puriion'd for my»i If the rip'ning sweetness; But ere uiy hand coi.ld reach the tempting fruit,

Twas ravish'd from its eager grasp. And, oh
Would fate at last permit me to prevail,
Vengeance were satisf/d. I will attend her;
And urge my suit, though oft repuls'd, once more.
If she's obdurate still, my slighted love
Oonverts to hatred: I will then exert
The power which her deluded lord hath given,
Drive her this instant hence,and in her right,
To glut mv great revenge, she too shall (all

IE-1.

SCENE II.- Changes to another Room.

Enter CLEONE and a Servant. Cte. Paulet! my husband's friend! give hia admittance; His friendship sympathizes with my love, Cheers me by talking of my absent lord, And sooths my heart with hopes of his return

Enter PAULET. Pan. Still do these low'ring clouds of sorrv* shade Clcone's brow, and sadden all her hours? Ctc. Ah Paulet! have I not just cause to mourn? Three tedious years have past since these sales Beheld my dear Sifroy: and the stern brow Of horrid war still frowns upon mv hopes. Pau. The fate of war, 'tis true," hath Ion; it tain'd My noble friend from your fond arms anil nunc But his redoubted sword by this last stroke Must soon reduce the foe to sue for peace. The gallant chief who led the barbarous bo-t, And was himself their soul, is fallen in bank', Slain by the valiant hand of your Sifroy.

Cte. To me, alas, his courage seems novirtaf; Dead to all joy, but what his safety pv«> To every hope, but that of his return, I dread the danger which his valour seeks, • And tremble at his glory. O good Heaven. Restore him soon to these unhappy arms, Or much I fear, they'll never more enfokl him Pau. What means Cleone? No new dan?' can Affright you for my friend. I fear your breast Beats with the dread of some impending ill, Threatening yourself. Now, by the love ft"

binds My heart to your Sifroy, let me entreat, If my assistance can avail you aught. That, to the utmost hazard of my life, You will command mv service. .

Cte. Kind Heaven," I thank thee! MySuV hath vet One faithful 'friend. O Paulet—but to thee, Thcmanv virtues that adorn the mind ()f my lo'v'd lord, and made mc once so blest, Tvverc needless to display. In mine alone His happiness was plac'd; no grief,■ no &"> Came ever near my bosom; not a pain Hut what his tenderness partaking, sooth d. All day with fondness would he gaze upon^ And to my listening heart repeat such uunpi

As only love like his knew liow to feel.
O my 'sifroy! when, w hen wilt thou return .'
Alas, thou know'st not to what bold attempts
Thy unsuspecting virtue has betray'd me!

Pau. What danger thus alarms Cleonc's fear?

Clc. I am ashom'd to think, and blush to say, That in my husband's absence this poor form, These eyes, or any feature should retain The power to please—but Glanville well you

klll>V.

Pau. Sure you suspect not hiin of base designs! lie wears the semblance of much worth and honour. Clc. So to the eye the speckled serpent wears A shining beauteous form; but deep within, Foul stings and deadly poisons lurk unseen. O Paulet, this smooth serpent hath so crept Into the bosom of Sifroy, so wound Himself about my love's unguarded heart, That he believes him harmless as a dove.

Pau. Good Heaven, if thou abhorr'st deceit,
why suffer
A villain's face to wear the look of virtue:'
Who wotdd have thought his loose desires had

flown
So high a pitch !—Have you imparted aught
Of his attempts to Isabella?
Clc. No.

Pau. I had suspicion his designs were there.
Clc. I've thought so too: nay have some cause
to fear
That she's his wife. This hath restrain'd my
tongue.
Pau. 'Tis well if she deserve your tenderness.
But say, Clcone, let me know the means,
Which this most impious man, this trusted friend,
Hath taken to betray—
Clc. I hear his voice;
And this way he directs lus hated steps.
Retire into that room—he seldom fails
To hint his bold desires. Yourself perhaps
May thence detect him, and by open shame
Peter him from persisting.

[pau. goes into the room.

Enter Glanville.

Glan. I greet you, lady, with important news. The Saracens arc beaten—vet Sifroy, Coldly neglectful of your blooming charms, Pursues a remnant of the flying foe To strong Avignon's walk, where shcltcr'd safe, The hardy troops may bear a tedious siege. Wh) then, Cleone, should you still resist The soft entreaties of my warm desire? .\U iIniik- the man but dl deserves your truth, Who leaves the sweet Elysium of your arms To tread the dangerous fields of horrid war.

Clc And what, O Glanville, what dost thou deserve? Tliou, who with treachery repay'st the trust Of sacred friendship ? Thou, who but to quench A loose desire, a lawless passion's rage, W'ould'st banish tiuth and honour from thy breast?

Glan. Honour!—What's honour? a vain phantom, rais'd To fright the weak from tasting those delights, Which nature's voice, that law supreme, allows. Ik- wise, and laugh at all its idle threats. Besides, with me your fame would be secure, Discretion guards my namefrom censure's tongue. Cte. And dost thou call hypocrisy, discretion.' Say'st thou that vice is wisdom? Glanville, hear

me. With thee, thou say'st, my fame would be secure; Unsully'd by the world. It might. Yet know, Though hill beneath the centre of the earth, Remov'd from Envy's eye, and Slander's tongue, Nay from the view of Heaven itself conceal'd, Still would I shun the very thought of guilt, Nor wound my secret conscience with reproach. Clan. Romantic all! Come, come, why were you formed So tempting fair; why grae'd with ev'ry charm, With eyes that languish, limbs that move with

"grace— Why were these beauties given you, but to sooth The sweet, the strong sensations they excite? Why were you made so beauteous, yet so coy? [Offers to embrace her, she putt him by tcith

disdain. Clc. Base hypocrite! why rather wert thou sufferM Beneath fair Virtue's mien to hide a heart So vile? Why this, good Heaven! But dost thou

think
Thy foul devices shall be still conceal'd?
Sifroy shall know thee; thy detested crime
Shall stand reveal'd in all its horrid form.

Clan. Is love a crime? O ask your feeling
heart— [pau. bursts from the room.

Pau. Villain, desist! Glan. Ha! Paulet here !—'Tis well: He is her minion then! 'Tis as I guess'd; My letters to Sifroy tradue'd them not. [Aside. Pau. Vile hypocrite!—what! lurk such warm desires Beneath that sober mask of sanctity? Is this the Ann undoubted honesty, In which Sifroy confiding, sleeps secure?

Glan. And is it fit that thou should'st lecture vice? Thou who, even here, this moment wcrt conceal'd, The favourite object of lewd privacy? Should'st thou declaim against the rich repast. Thy gluttonous appetite alone enjoys To all the heights of luxury ?—Sweet lady! Who now shall stand reveal'd before Sifroy? But I have long, long known your intercourse. Nor wanted clearer proof to speak your crimes

[Going. Cle. O heaven and earth! Pau. Stay, monster! by high Heaven, Thy life shall answer this vile calumny.

Glan. Dream not I fear!—thy thrtatcnings I despise. Soon I'll return, to thine and her confusion.

[Exit Glas.

Cle. What have I done? unhappy rash concealincnt! This may, alas! give colour to his charge. Pau. He dares not wrong you with the least surmise, The slightest imputation on your fame! Kor would the world believe him. Your fair

deeds,
The constant tenor of your virtuous life,
Would triumph o'er tli' audacious tale.

C/e. Ah, Paulet!
The sting of Slander strikes her venom deep.
An envious world with joy devours the tale,
That stains with infamy a spotless name.
Yet what's the vain opinion of the world!
To keep one voice, one single heart's esteem,

Is all my wish. If my Sifroy but think

Pau. Wound not your peace with vain ungrounded fears. My friend is noble, knows your virtues well; Nor will he suffer jealousy to shake His generous mind with doubt. And for that

wretch. This arm shall give him chastisement.

Cle. Ah! no; I fear the chastisement of Glanville's guilt May loose the tongue of censure on my innocence, And can I bear, now, in my husband's absence, The whisper'd falsehood of malicious tales, That cast a doubt on his Cleone's truth? O rather leave his punishment to Heaven! At least defer it till my lord's return.

Pan. And shall the man I love return, and find A villain unchastis'd, who in mv sight Presumptuous dar'd to wound his honour! It must not, shall not be.

Re-enter GLANVILLE with RAGOZIN.

Glan. Mark me, young sir, 'Tis with authority that I forbid Your entrance in this house. Sifroy, convine'd Of all your secret crimes with that vile wanton, Spurns from his door the falsehood he disdains.

Clc. I.ct me not hear it! I! am I a wanton? Docs my dear lord think his Cleone vile?

(Hun. He knows it well.

Pau. Villain,'tis false! He scorns So mean a thought.

Glan. To silence even- doubt, Sec his own hand.

Pau. [Shewing the letter to Rag.] Say, whence is this? who brought it?

Rag. I brought it from my master.

Glan. Look upon it.

[Cl.E. and PAU. look over it.

Cle. Am I then banish'd from my husband's house? Branded with infamy !—was once his wife! Unkind Sifroy! am I not still thy wife? Indeed thy faithful wife! and when thou know'st, As know thou wilt, how falsely I'm accus'd, This cruel sentence sure will pierce thy heart.

Pau. Amazement strikes me dumb!—This inpious scroll Is forg'd. Sifroy, though rash, is noble, just, And good. Too good, too noble to permit So mean a thought to harbour in his breast.

Cle. No: 'tis his hand—his seal. And can 1 bar Suspicion! Ah! Sifroy, didst thou not know

My heart incapable

Pau. Licentious wretch! At what fell mischief has thy malice aim'd? Glan. At thine and her detection, which i: length I have accomplish'd.

Pau. Impudent and vain! Think'st thou Cleone's virtue, her fair truth, Can suffer taint from thy unhallow'd breath? Were they not proof but now against thy «rts' Glan. Mistaken man! To gain one penotu! proof Of her incontinence, that feign'd attempt Was made; all other proof I had before. And why I fail'd thou know'st; Who, in her private chamber close conceal'd, Mad'st it imprudent she should then oomph;. Cle. Detested slanderer! I despise thy fewness; Disdain reply; and trust in Heaven's high hu»'. To dash thy bold designs. [Exit Cu

Pau. [Whispering.] Observe me, sir— This insult on the honour of my friend Must be chastis'd. At morning's earliest dim In the close vale, behind the castle's wall, Prepare to meet me arm'd,

Glan. Be well assur'd, I will not fail. [EiU

Yet stay—let Prudence guide roe

Courage, what is't ?—'tis folly's boisterous raw-
ness,
And draws its owner into hourly dangers.
I hold it safer he were met to-night [J**-
Thou seest, my Ragozin, we are embark'd
Upon a troubled sea: our safeties now
Depend on boldly stemming every wave,
That might o'erwhelm our hopes. Paulet met

die—
He's dangerous, and not only may defeat
Our enterprise, but bring our lives in hazard.
Rag. Snail we not frustrate thus your first de-
sign.
To make the law subservient to your aims
Against the life and fortunes of Sifroy?
Glan. Leave that tome. Sifroy," full well 1
know,
Will soon arrive. Thou, when the gloom of D^ht
Shall cast a veil upon the deeds of men,
Trace Paulet's steps, and in his bosom plunge
Thy dagger's point; thus shall thy care prevent
His future babbling j and to prove the deed
Upon Sifroy, be mine.
Rag. He dies this night.
< I In a. Let thy first blow make sure his des&
So shall no noise detect thee. Hither strait
Convey his corpse, which secretly interrM
Within the garden's bound, prevents discover;''

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