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my

Can I behold his face, and not exclaim,
« This is the man who saved me !" can I feel
The pleasures of existence-can I breathe
The morning air, or see the dying day
Sink in the western sky-can I inhale
The rose's perfume, or behold the lights
That shine forever in yon infinite heaven –
Or can I taste one joy that nature gives
To this, our earthly tarrying-place-nor think
That 'tis to him I owe each little flower
I tread on in life's bleakness ?
E'en now I place my

hand

upon my heart,
And, as it throbs, there is a voice within
That tells this throbbing heart it would be still,
Were not Hemeya brave. This is father-

Crosses to Alvarez, He gave that life Hemeya

did

preserve ;
And when he gives my hand in recompense,
I cannot but obey.

Pes. I thank you, madam ;
And, since it seems that gratitude's the fashion,
Your pains shall be requited.-Know, fair maid,
The daughter of Alvarez never shall
Be wedded to a Moor; nay, do not start-
Never!
Hem. My lord !
Pes. No!-never!
Alv. Count Pescara! what is it that you mean?

Pes. I mean, my lord,
That others have more care of your nobility
Than you have ta’en yourself.—Ha! ha! a Moor!
One of that race that we have trodden down
From empire's height, and crushed-a damned Morisco,
Accursed of the church, and by the laws
Proscribed and branded.—What, you choose a Moor
To swell the stream of your nobility
With his polluted blood ?-in sooth, 'tis pleasant !

Hem. You have forgot me; you forget yourself.Through centuries of glory, on the heads Of my great ancestors, the diadem Shone through the world, and from each royal brow Came down with gath'ring splendour ;—and if here

It shines no more 'tis fate! but what art thou ?

Crosses to Pescara.
The frown of fortune could not make me base ;
The smile of fortune could not make thee noble.-
Who knows not that Pescara once, within
The Inquisition's dungeons, toiled at torture -
There Philip found you, and his kindred soul
Owned the soft sympathy.

Pes. My birth confusion-
And must I ever feel the reptile crawl,
And see it pointed at ?—what if I rush,
And with a blow strike life from out his heart?
Norno! my dagger is

my

last resource. [Draws a roli of parchment from his bosom. Here, Moor, within thy grasp I plant a serpent, And, as it stings, think 'tis Pescara's answer This very night it reached me from Madrid, And thou art first to hear it. Look

you

here :
If Caucasus were heaped between you both,
With all his snows—his snows have not the pow'r
To freeze your amorous passion half so soon
As Philip's will.-Farewell—but not forever!

[Gives the parchment to Hemeya, and exit, L.
Alv. As Philip's will!-rumour went late abroad,
Spain's gloomy sovereign had decreed to crush
Your race to deeper servitude.-Florinda,
Be not so terrified.

Flor. Can I behold
The quick convulsive passions o'er his face,
And read his soul's deep agony, nor feel
A terror in my heart? [Crosses to Hemeya.] Tell me,

Hemeya,
What heavy blow relentless fortune strikes-
What other misery is still in store
To fall upon our heads.

Hem. A Christian !--no!
Flor. Wilt thou not speak to me? wilt thou not chase
The dreadful fears that throng about my soul !
Wilt thou not speak to me?

Hem. Accursed tyrant!
Florinda, wilt thou leave me?-can my

fateCan kings and priests-e'er pluck thee from my soul?

Flor. No!.

Hem. Then, Florinda, thus I spurn the tyrant !
They'd make a Christian of me-Philip proscribes
My nation and my creed; and on the pain
of instant death, unless he publicly
Abjure his prophet's law, no Moor can wed
A Christian woman.

Flor. Well, dost thou renounce me?

Alv. Hear me, Hemeya !-will you yield obedience To Philip's will, and swear yourself a Christian?

Hem. A Christian !
Alv. Ay! it is the law.

Hem. The law !
What law can teach me to renounce my country?

Alv. Then choose between your prophet and Florinda.
Hem. Wilt thou abandon me ?

[To Florinda. Alv. Let my deep curse fall on her head

Flor. Don't breathe those dreadful words
Do I deserve that you should doubt me -no!
In infancy I gazed upon your face
With an instinctive reverence,

that

grew
To reason's tender dictate: never yet
Have I offended you ; and let me say,
My tears may flow from eyes long used to weeping-
My form may wither in the gripe of grief-
My heart

may

break indeed, love can do this ;
But never can it teach Florinda's hand
To draw down sorrows on a father's age,
Or to deserve his curse.

Hem. This, this from thee?

Flor. You've found the dreadful secret of my soul!
But hold—what am I doing ?-pride, where art thou ?
Am I so fallen in passion ?-oh, my father,
Lead me from hence !

Hem. Florinda, stay one moment-
Don't leave me-don't abandon me.

Flor. My father, lead me hence !

Alv. [To Hemeya.] You have heard Alvarez' will Take one day for decision : if to-morrow You do not, in the face of heav'n, renounce The faith of Mahomet, renounce Florinda ! [Exit, R.

Hem. Oh, misery!--my Florinda, look upon me!

Flor. Yes, I will look upon thee, and perhaps
Shall never look again--for, from this hour,
You never may behold or hear me more.

Hem. Then let me die!

Flor. Hemeya, listen to me! My heart has owned its weakness : yet, thank heav'n, With all my sex's folly, still I bear My sex's dignity : I've not the pow'r To crush the fatal passion in my breast, But I can bury it : yes, yes, Hemeya, I feel my blood is noble, and Florinda Shall never stoop before thee : from the world I'll fly, from thee forever !—tears may fall, But none shall see the blushes where they hang !Thou shalt not see me weep-thou shalt not have The cruel pleasure; in religion's cells I'll hide my wretchedness! Farewell, Hemeya ! And, heaven, if I may dare to lift to thee A pray'r of earthly passion, touch his heart, Fill it with holy light, and make him thine : And, howsoe'er thou shalt decide my doom, On him pour down thy blessings !

[As she goes out, she looks back for an instant. Oh, Hemeya !

[Erit, R. Hem. She blest me as she parted; yet I feel A curse fall on my heart! I am doomed to choose Between despair and crime! my fate cries out, Be wretched or be guilty; but, Florinda, How could I live without thee !-can I see That form, to which I stretched my desp’rate arms In the wild dream of passion and despair, Brought to my bosom in assured reality, Nor rush to clasp it here ?-would the faint traveller, Who long hath toiled through Afric's sultry sands, Droop o'er the fount that mid the desert gushed, Even from the burning rock, and die with thirst, While its clear freshness wooed him to be blest ?No! he would drink, though there were poison in it.

[Exit, L.

END OF ACT I.

[blocks in formation]

SCENE I.-The Exterior of the Inquisition.

Enter Malec and Haly, L.
Mal. Renounce his people! Haly, I did not think,
As here I journeyed from yon ragged cliffs,
To hear these fatal tidings. Oh, Hemeya !

Hal. After long struggles of reluctant honour,
He promised to abjure his nation's creed.
To-day the public rite of abjuration
Is to be solemnized.

Mal. I have heard enough.
Hal. But when you tell what you had come to teach

him;

may

And he has heard that on his brows shall shine
The crown his fathers wore; when you have told him-

Mal. I will not tell him, till he has deserved
He shall not wear a crown. A diadem
Shall never call him back to honour's road,
If honour could not do it.

But I'll try
My wonted power upon him; from its ashes
'Twill not be hard to wake the expiring flame
That once burnt bright within him. Thou, meanwhile,
Call at the Cadi's house the noblest Moors,
That to their secret ears I unfold
The cause of my return,

[Exit Haly, L.
Renounce the faith
That suffering had endeared, when twenty thousand
Of his brave countrymen are leagued together,
To break the bonds of Philip's tyranny !
When freedom's flame from yonder mountain tops
Will blaze through Spain's wide realm, he basely falls
Before the tyrant's edict, and obeys !
; But hold ! he comes! there was a time, Hemeya,
When I had rushed to catch thee in my arms !

Enter HEMEYA, R.
I charge thee not to touch my garment's edge !

Hem. Oh, Malec, this from thee! when I behold thee, After long months of absence, dost thou scorn me?

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