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against my prayers, had I the will to pray. I cannot bear it. Sure 'tis the worst of torments to behold others enjoy that bliss, which we must never taste.

Officer. The utmost limit of your time is expired.

Mill. Encompassed with horror, whither must

I go? I would not live—nor die That I could

i to be or ne'er had been!

Barn. Since peace and comfort are denied her here, may she find mercy where she least expects it, and this be all her hell! From our example may all be taught to fly the first approach of vice: but if o'ertaken,

By strong temptation, weakness, or surprise,
Lament their guilt, and by repentance rise.
The impenitent alone die unforgiven:
To sin's like men, and to forgive like Heaven.

[Exeunt.

Enter TRUEMAN.

Lucy. Heart-breaking sight! Oh, wretched, wretched Millwood!

True. How is she disposed to meet her fate?

Blunt. Who can describe unutterable woe?

Lucy. She goes to death encompassed with horror, loathing life, and yet afraid to die. No tongue can tell her anguish and despair.

True. Heaven be better to her than her fears! May she prove a warning to others, a monument of mercy in herself!

Lucy. Oh, sorrow insupportable! Break, break, my heart!

True. In vain,

With bleeding hearts, and weeping eyes, we show

A humane, generous sense of others' woe;

Unless we mark what drew to ruin on,

And, by avoiding that, prevent our own.

[Exeunt omnes.

EPILOGUE.

BY COLLEY CIBBER.—SPOKEN BY MARIA.

Mvce fate has robb'd me of the hapless youth,
For whom my heart had hoarded up its truth;
By all the laws of love and honour, now,
I'm free again to chuse and one of you.

But soft With caution first I'll round me

peep: Maids, in my case, should look before they leap. Here's choice enough, of various sorts and hue, The cit, the wit, the rake cock'd up in cue, Hie fair spruce mercer, and the tawny Jew.

Suppose I search the sober gallery ?—No; There s none but 'prentices, and cuckolds all-a

row; And these, I doubt, are those that make them so. [Painting to the boxes.

Tis very well, enjoy the jest:—but you, Fine powderM sparks,—nay, I am told 'tis true,— Your happy spouses—can make cuckolds too. 'Twixt you and them the difference this perhaps: The cit s ashamed whene'er his duck he traps; But you, when madam's tripping, let her fall, Cock up your hats, and take no shame at all.

What if some favour'd poet I could meet, Whose love would lay his laurels at my feet I No—painted passions real love abhors—*His flame would prove the suit of creditors.

Not to detain you then with longer pause, In short, my heart to his conclusion draws; I yield it to the hand that's loudest in applause. BY

FATAL CURIOSITY.

LILLO.

PROLOGUE.

BY HEKRY FIELDING.

The Tragic Music has long forgot to please, With Shakespeare's nature and with Fletcher's

ease:
No passion movM, through five long acts you sit,
CiiarniM with the poet's language or his wit.
Fine things are said, no matter whence they fait;
Each single character might speak then all.

But from this modern fashionable way,
To-night our author begs your leave to stray.
No fustian hero rages-bere to-night j
No armies fall to fix a tyrant's right:
From- lower life w,e draw our scene's distress:
—Let not your equals move your pity less!

Virtue distrest in humble state support;
Nor think she never lives without the court.

Though to our scenes no royal robes belong.
And though our little stage as yet be young.
Throw both your scorn and prejudice aside,
Let us with favour, not contempt, be tried;
Through the first acts a kind attention lend,
The growing scene shall force you to attend;
Shall catch the eyes of every tender fair,
And .make them charm, their lovers with a tear.
The lover too by pity shall impart
His tender passion to his fair one's heart:
The breast which others' anguish cannot move,
Was ne'er the seat of friendship, or of love.

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ACT I.

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Old WlLMOT alone.

The day is far advanced. The chearful sun
Pursues with vigour his repeated course:
No labour lessens, nor no time decays
His strength, or splendour: evermore the same,
From age to age his influence sustains
Dependent worlds, bestows both life and motion
On the dull mass, that forms their dusky orbs,
Chears them with heat, and gilds them with his

brightness. Yet man, of jarring elements composed, Who posts from change to change, from the first

hour
Of his frail being to his dissolution,
Enjovs the sad prerogative above him,
To trunk and to be wretched.—What is life
To him, that's born to die!
Or, what the wisdom, whose perfection ends
In knowing, we know nothing!
Mere contradiction all! A tragic farce,
Tedious, though short, elaborate without art,
Ridiculously sad

Enter RANDAL.

Where hast been, Randal?

Rand. Not out of Penryn, sir; but to the strand, To bear what news from Falmouth, since the

storm Of wind last night.

O. Wilm. It was a dreadful one.

Rand. Some found it so. A noble ship from India, Entering the harbour, run upon a rock, And there was lost.

<>. Wilm. What became of those on board her?

Hand. Some few are sav'd, but much the greater part, Tis thought, are perish'd.

O. Wilm. They are past the fear Of future tempests, or a wreck on shore: These, who escaped, are still expos'd to both.

Rand. But I've heard news, much stranger than this shipwreck Here in Cornwall. The brave Sir Walter Raleigh, Being arriv'd at Plymouth from Guiana, A most unhappy voyage, has been betray'd By base Sir Lewis Stukely, his own kinsman, And seiz'd on by an order from the court; And 'tis reported he must lose his head, To satisfy the Spaniards.

O. Wilm. Not unlikely; His martial genius does not suit the times. There's now no insolence that Spain can offer, But, to the shame of this pacific reign, Poor England must submit to.—Gallant man!

Posterity perhaps may do thee justiee,
And praise thy courage, learning, and integrity,
When thou art past hearing: thy successful ene-
mies,
Much sooner paid, have their reward in hand,
And know for what they labour'd.—Such events
Must, questionless, excite all thinking men,
To Jove and practise virtue!
Rand. Nay, 'tis certain,
That virtue ne'er appears so like itself,
So truly bright and great, us when opprcst.

O. Wilm. I understand no riddles.
Where is your mistress?
Rand. I saw her pass the High-street, towards

the Minster. 0. Wilm. She is gone to visit Charlotte. She doth well. In the soft bosom of that gentle maid There dwells more goodness than the rigid race Of moral pedants e'er believed, or taught. With what amazing constancy and truth, Doth she sustain the absence of our son, Whom more than life she loves.' How shun for

him, Whom we shall ne'er see more, the rich and

great, VVhoown her charms, and sigh to make her happy! Since our misfortunes we have found no friend. None who regarded our distress, but her; And she, by what I have observed of late, Is wearied, or exhausted. Curst condition!— To live a burden to one only friend, And blast her youth with our contagious woe !— Who, that had reason, soul, or sense, would

bear it A moment longer? Then this honest wretch !— I must dismiss him—Why should I detain A grateful, generous youth to perish with me? His service may procure him bread elsewhere, Though I have none to give him.—Prithee, Randal, How long hast thou been with me?

Rand. Fifteen years. I was a very child, when first you took mc, To wait upon your son, my dear young master. I oft have wish'd I'd gone to India with him, Though you, desponding, give him o'er for lost.— [Old Wilmot wipes his eves. I am to blame: this talk revives your sorrow For his long absence.

0. Wilm. That cannot be revived, Which never died.

Rand. The whole of my intent
Was to confess your bounty, that supplied
The loss of both my parents: I was long
The object of your charitable care.

O. Wilm. No more of that: Thou hast scrv'd me longer since Without reward; so that account is balanced.

Or rather I'm thy debtor. I remember,
When poverty began to show her face
Within these walls, and all my other servants,
Like pamperM vermin from a falling house,
Retreated with the plunder they had gain'd,
And left me, too indulgent arid remiss
For such ungrateful wretches, to be crush'd
Beneath the ruin they had help'd to make,
That you, more good than wise, refus'd to leave
me.

Rand. Nay, I beseech you, sir!—

O. Wilm. With my distress,
In perfect contradiction to the world,
Thy love, respect, and diligence, increas'd.
Now, all the recompence within my power,
Is to discharge thee, Randal, from my hard,
Unprofitable service.

Hand. Heaven forbid!
Shall I forsake you in your worst necessity ?—
Believe me, sir, my honest soul abhors
The barbarous thought.

O.iWilm. What! canst thou feed on air?
I have not left wherewith to purchase food
For one meal more.

Rand. Rather than leave you thus,
I'll beg my bread, and live on others' bounty,
While I serve you.

O. Wilm. Down, down my swelling heart,
Or burst in silence! 'Tis thy cruel fate
Insults thee by his kindness—Me is innocent
Of all the pain it gives thee.—Go thy ways;
I will Bo more suppress thy youthful hopes
Of rising in the world.

Rand. 'Tis true, I'm young, And never tried my fortune, or my genius, Which may perhaps find out some happy means, As yet unthought of, to supply your wants.

O. Wilm. Thou tortur'st me: I hate all obligations Which I can ne'er return—And who art thou, That I should stoop to take them from thy hand? Care for thyself, but take no thought for me; I will not want thee—trouble me no more.

Rand. Be not offended, sir, and I will go. I ne'er repin'd at your commands before; But, Heaven's my witness, I obey you now With strong reluctance, and a heavy heart! Farewell, my worthy master! [Going.

0. Wilm. Farewell!—Stay! As thou irt yet a stranger to the world, Of which, alas! I've had too much experience, I should, methinks, before we part, bestow A little counsel on thee.—Dry thy eyes: If thou weep'st thus, I shall proceed no farther. Dost thou aspire to greatness, or to wealth i Quit books, and the unprofitable search Of wisdom there, and study human kind: No science will avail thee without that; But that obtain'd, thou need'st not any other. This will instruct thee to conceal thy views, And wear the face of probity and honour, Till thou hast gain'd thy end: which must be

ever Thy own advantage, at that man's expence, Who shall be weak enough to think thee honest.

Rand. You mock me, sure!

O. Wilm. I never was more serious.

Rand. Why should you counsel what you scorn'd to practise?

0. Wilm. Because that foolish scorn has been my ruin. Fve been an idiot, but would have thee wiser, And treat mankind, as they would treat thee,

Randal, As they deserve, and I've been treated by them: Thou'st seen by me, and those who now despise

me, How men of fortune fall, and beggars rise. Shun my example; treasure up my precepts; The world's before thee: be a knave, and prosper! What, art thou dumb i [After a long pause.

Rand. Amazement ties my tongue! Where are your former principles?

0. Wilm. No matter: Suppose I have renounced them : I have passions, And love thee still; therefore would nave thee

think, The world is all a scene of deep deceit, And he, who deals with mankind on the square, Is his own bubble, and undoes himself. Farewell, and mark my counsel, boy. [Exit.

Rand. Amazement! Is this the man I thought so wise and just? What! teach and counsel me to be a villain! Sure grief has made him frantic, or some fiend Assum'd his shape ! I shall suspect my senses. High-minded he was ever, and improvident; But pitiful and generous to a fault. Pleasure he lov d, but honour was his idol. 0 fatal change! O horrid transformation! So a majestic temple, sunk to ruin, Becomes the loathsome shelter and abode Of lurking serpents, toads, and beasts of prey; And scaly dragons hiss, and lions roar, Where wisdom taught, and music charm'd, before. [Exit.

SCENE II.—Charlotte's House.

Enter CHARLOTTE and MARIA.

Char. What terror and amazement must they feel, Who die by shipwreck!

Mar. '1 is a dreadful thought!

Char. Aye! is it not, Maria ?—To descend,

Living and conscious, to the watery tomb!

Alas 1 had we no sorrows of our own,
The frequent instances of others' woe
Must give a generous mind a world of pain.
But you forget you promis'd me to sing.
Though cheerfulness and I have long been stran-
gers,
Harmonious sounds are still delightful to me.
There's sure no passion in the human soul,
But finds its food in music. I would hear
The song, composed by that unhappy maid,
Whose faithful lover 'scap'd a thousand perils.
From rocks, and sands, and the devouring deep;
And, after all, being arrived at home,

Passing a narrow brook, was drowned there,' And perished in her sight

SONG.

Mar. Cease, cease, heart-easing tears!
Adieu, you flattering fears,
Which seven long tedious years

Taught me to bear.
Tears are for lighter woes;
Fear no such danger knows,
As fate remorseless shews,

Endless despair!
Dear cause of all my pain,
On the wide stormy nuiin,
Thou wast preserved in vain,

Though still adored.
Hadst thou died there unseen,
My wounded eyes had been
Sav'dfrom the direst scene

Maid e'er deplored.

[charlotte./{b(/i a letter. Char. What's this ?—A letter superscribed to me! None could convey it here but you, Maria. Ungenerous, cruel maid! to use me thus! To join with nattering men to break my peace, And persecute me to the last retreat!

Mar. Why should it break your peace, to hear the sighs

Of honourable love? This letter is

Char. No matter whence: return it back unopened: I have no love, no charms, but for my Wilmot, Nor would have any.

Mar. Alas! Wilmot's dead; Or, living, dead to you.

Char. I'll not despair: Patience shall cherish hope; Nor wrong his honour by unjust suspicion. I know his truth, and will preserve my own. But, to prevent all future vain, officious importunity, Know, thou incessant foe to my repose, Whether he sleeps secure from mortal cares, Jn the deep bosom of the boisterous main, Or, tost with tempest, still endures its mgc; No second choice shall violate my vows. High Heaven, which heard them, and abhors the

perjurM, Can witness, they were made without reserve; Never to be retracted, ne'er dissolv'd By accident or absence, time or death.

Afar. And did your vows oblige you to support

His haughty parents, to your utter ruin?

Well may you weep to think on what you've
done!
Char. I weep to think, that I can do no more
For their support. What will become of them!
The hoary, helpless, miserable pair!

Mar. What I can't praise, you force me to admire, And mourn for you, as you lament for them.

Your patience, constancy, and resignation,
Merit a better fete.

Char. So pride would tell me,
And vain self-love; but I believe them not:
And if, by wanting pleasure, I have gain'd
Humility, I'm richer for my loss.

Mar. You have the heavenly art still to improve
Your mind by all events.—But here comes one,
Whose pride seems to increase with her misfor-
tunes.
Her faded dress, unfashionably fine,
As ill conceals her poverty, as that
Strain'd complaisance hernaughty, swelling heart.
Though perishing with want, so far from asking,
She ne'er receives a favour uncompelled,
And, while she ruins, scorns to be obliged:
Let me depart; I know she loves me not.

[.Erir Maria.

Enter Agnes.

Char. This visit's kind.

Agn. Few else would think it so: Those who would once have thought themselves

much honour'd By the least favour, though 'twere but a look, I could have shewn them, now refuse to see me. 'Tis misery enough to be reduced To the low level of the common herd, Who, born to beggary, envy all above them; But 'tis the curse of curses, to endure The insolent contempt of those we scorn.

Char. By scorning, we provoke them to contempt, And thus offend, and suffer in our turns. We must have patience.

Agn. No, I scorn them yet!
But there's no end of suffering: Who can say,
Their sorrows are complete? My wretched hus-
band,
Tired with our woes, and hopeless of relief,
Grows sick of life,

And, urged by indignation and despair,
Would plunge into eternity at once,
By foul self-murder!

Char. Gracious Heaven support him!

Agn. His fixed love for me, Whom he would fain persuade to share his fete, And take the same, uncertain, dreadful course. Alone withholds his hand.

Char. And may it ever!

Agn. I've known with him the two extremes of life, The highest happiness, and deepest woe, With all the sharp and bitter aggravations Of such a vast transition—Sucha fall In the decline of life.—I have as quick, As exquisite, a sense of pain as he, And would do any thing, but die, to end it; But there my courage fails. Death is the worst That fate can bring, and cuts off every hope.

Char. We must not chuse, but strive to bear our lot Without reproach, or guilt. By one rash act Of desperation, we may overthrow

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