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Cha. My Lord, I stand in need of your assistance
In something that concerns my peace and honour. 160
Acast. Spoke like the son of that brave man I lov'd:
So freely, friendly, we convers'd together.
Whate'er it be, with confidence impart it,
Thou shalt command my fortune and my sword.
Cha. I dare not doubt your friendship, nor your
justice,

Your bounty shewn to what I hold most dear,
My orphan sister must not be forgotten;

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Acast. Pr'ythee no more of that, it grates my nature. Cha. When our dear parents dy'd, they dy'd together,

One fate surpris'd 'em, and one grave receiv'd 'em; My father, with his dying breath, bequeath'd

Her to my love. My mother, as she lay

Languishing by him, call'd me to her side,

Took me in her fainting arms, wept, and embrac'd me:
Then press'd me close, and as she observ'd my tears,
Kiss'd them away. Said she, Chamont, my son,
By this and all the love I ever shew'd thee,
Be careful of Monimia; watch her youth;
Let not her wants betray her to dishonour :

Perhaps kind Heav'n may raise some friend. Then

sighed,

Kiss'd me again; so bless'd us, and expir'd.

Pardon my grief.

Acast. It speaks an honest nature.

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Cha. The friend Heav'n rais'd was you; you took

her up

An infant, to the desert world expos'd,
And prov'd another parent.
Acast. I've not wrong'd her.

Cha. Far be it from my fears.

Acast. Then why this argument?

Cha. My lord, my nature's jealous, and you'll bearit.

Acast. Go on.

Cha. Great spirits bear misfortunes hardly.

Good offices claim gratitude; and pride,

Where pow'r is wanting, will usurp a little,

And make us, rather than be thought behind-hand, Pay over-price.

Acast. I cannot guess your drift;

Distrust you me?

Cha. No, but I fear her weakness

May make her pay her debt at any rate;

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And, to deal freely with your lordship's goodness,

I've heard a story lately much disturbs me.

Acast. Then first charge her; and if th' offence be found

Within my reach, though it should touch my nature,
In my own offspring, by the dear remembrance

Of thy brave father, whom my heart rejoic'd in,
I'd prosecute it with severest vengeance.

Cha. I thank you from my soul.

Mon. Alas! my brother!

What have I done? and why do you abuse me?
My heart quakes in me; in your settled face,
And clouded brow, methinks I see my fate.
You will not kill me!

[Exit.

Cha. Pr'ythee, why dost thou talk so?
Mon. Look kindly on me then: I cannot bear
Severity; it daunts, and does amaze me.

My heart's so tender, should you charge me rough,
I should but weep, and answer you with sobbing;
But use me gently like a loving brother,

And search through all the secrets of my soul.

Cha. Fear nothing, I will shew myself a brother, A tender, honest, and a loving brother.

You've not forgot our father?

Mon. I shall never.

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Cha. Then you'll remember too, he was a man That liv'd up to the standard of his honour, And priz'd that jewel more than mines of wealth. He'd not have done a shameful thing but once, Though kept in darkness from the world, and hidden, He could not have forgiven it to himself. This was the only portion that he left us ; And I more glory in't, than if possest

Of all that ever fortune threw on fools.

'Twas a large trust, and must be managed nicely;

Now, if by any chance, Monimia,

You have soil'd this gem, and taken from its value, How will you account with me?

Mon. I challenge envy,

Malice, and all the practices of hell,

To censure all the actions of my past
Unhappy life, and taint me if they can!

Cha. I'll tell thee, then; three nights ago, as I

Lay musing in my bed, all darkness round me,

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A sudden damp struck to my heart, cold sweat
Dew'd all my face, and trembling seiz'd my limbs.
My bed shook under me, the curtains started,
And to my tortur'd fancy there appear'd
The form of thee, thus beauteous as thou art ;
Thy garments flowing loose, and in each hand
A wanton lover, who by turns caress'd thee,
With all the freedom of unbounded pleasure.
I snatch'd my sword, and in the very moment
Darted it at the phantom; straight it left me.
Then rose, and call'd for lights, when, oh, dire omen!
I found my weapon had the arras pierc'd,
Just where that famous tale was interwoven,
How the unhappy Theban slew his father.

Mon. And for this cause my virtue is suspected!

Because in dreams your fancy has been ridden,
I must be tortur'd waking!

Cha. Have a care!

Labour not to be justify'd too fast.

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Hear all, and then let justice hold the scale.
What follow'd was the riddle that confounds me.
Through a close lane, as I pursu'd my journey,
And meditating on the last night's vision,
I spy'd a wrinkled hag, with age grown double,
Picking dry sticks, and mumbling to herself;
Her eyes with scalding rheum where gall'd and red;
Cold palsy shook her head, her hands seem'd wither'd,
And o'er her crooked shoulders had she wrapp'd
The tatter'd remnant of an old strip'd hanging,
Which serv'd to keep her carcass from the cold;

So there was nothing of a piece about her.

Her lower weeds were all o'er coarsely patch'd

With diff'rent colour'd rags, black, red, white, yel. low,

And seem'd to speak variety of wretchedness.

I ask'd her of my way, which she inform`d me;
Then crav'd my charity, and bade me hasten
To save a sister: at that word I started!

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Mon. The common cheat of beggars, every day They flock about our doors, pretend to gifts Of prophecy, and telling fools their fortunes. Cha. Oh! but she told me such a tale, Monimia, As in it bore great circumstance of truth; Castalio and Polydore, my sister.

Mon. Hah!

Cha. What, alter'd! does your courage fail you! Now, by my father's soul, the witch was honest. Answer me, if thou hast not lost to them Thy honour at a sordid game?

Mon. I will,

I must, so hardly my misfortune loads me,

That both have offer'd me their loves most true.

Cha. And 'tis as true too, they have both undone thee.

Mon. Though they both with earnest vows

Have prest my heart, if e'er in thought I yielded

To any but Castalio

Cha. But Castalio!

Mon. Still will you cross the line of my discourse.

Yes, I confess that he has won my soul

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