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Thy voice would be a trumpet in the mountains,
That from their snow-crowned tops and hollow vales,
Dost thou not understand me?
Hem. Speak! can I free my people? can I rend Our shameful bonds asunder, and revenge?
Mal. Canst thou?
Hem. Do not command me not to love;
Stand at its entrance-speak! is there a way?
We'd hew one in the rock!-there is a way. [Crosses, L.
Mal. I fear thee still. I fear thy wav'ring nature.
And by thy father's sacred memory—
By all thy people's wrongs-by Allah's name-
Enter FLORINDa, r.
Flor. [Interrupting him.] Hold! what is it that I see! Hem. A wretch !
Mal. Swear! quickly swear, before a woman's art Turns thee to that a woman's self should spurn.
Flor. What should he swear?
Mal. Forever to renounce thee!
Flor. Ay! let him, if he will; let him renounce me. I will not say that I am hardly used,
Nor load him with my love! I can bear all,
Except to see him perish.
Mal. Swear, Hemeya, never to be a Christian!
Flor. Hold, for heaven's mercy!
Hem. Bright angel, art thou come to save, or damn me? Flor. I'm come to tell the perils that surround thee.
Cruel, unkind Hemeya! I perceive
The power that Malec holds upon thy soul.
But yesterday, e'en at the cloister's gates,
You vowed you would renounce the world for me.
Mal. Ay! what is worth much more than all the world,
More than the crescent diadem that shines
On Selim's turbaned brow! more than the heaven
The prophet's eye beheld; nay, more than thee— His honour and his truth! Rightly thou hast said 'Tis I who snatch him from thee.
Flor. Not from me-
It is from life you snatch him! Let him leave me, Never behold me more!
Hem. Can I do that?
Flor. Do anything but perish.
1 reck not of myself; but I have heard,
Hemeya, be a Christian, or you perish!
Hem. It is not hard to die; thou, thou alone Art all that makes life worth the keeping to me. Mal. I will not think a well-wrought tear or two Can make thee base again.
Hem. [To Malec.] Within thy bosom I'll bury all my face; for, if I dare
To gaze upon her charms, they will unman me.
Weigh not your country with a woman's tears.
And flattered, and adored, until at last
We own our nature's folly ;-then you spurn,
Mal. Are you a man? are you his son
Whose heart ne'er felt a throb but for his country? Hem. Look here, and pity me! behold this face, Where shines a soul so pure, so sweet a spiritCan I renounce her? tell me if I can!
Look on him, my Florinda! lift those eyes,
Look on him, and he'll pity me.
Art thou so kind again, and wilt thou live?
Hem. Stay near my heart, and, as I
I shall no longer feel this agony:
I never can resign thee.
Mal. Worthless Moor!
Why does my poniard tremble in my grasp?
Flor. You shall not tear him into death.
Mal. [Aside.] I cannot do it-yet, must I behold
Mal. Traitor! and, if there be a name more foul,
Flor. Spare him, spare him! dost thou see How his frame trembles, and what agony
Is stamped upon his face? Oh, pity him!
Mal. I do, indeed, I spurn him for his weakness; But, woman, have a care-leave him, renounce him, Or else
Flor. I can resign Hemeya's heart,
But cannot give his life; nay, tell me, Malec,
You who have loved him, watched his tenderest youth,
And hold him in your heart-would you consent
To yield him up to burning martyrdom,
And cast him in the raging furnace
That persecution lights with blasts of hell?
Mal. Better that he should perish
Flor. Dost thou say so?
Wouldst plunge him in destruction? wouldst thou see
In all the torments of a ling'ring death,
To glut themselves upon his agonies?
Mal. Woman, thou hast employed thy sex's cunning,
To make my friend a villain; but beware,
Else I will break thy spells; I will unloose
The charméd threads thou wind'st around his soul.
Can I behold his face, and not exclaim,
E'en now I place my hand upon my heart,
He gave that life Hemeya did preserve;
Pes. I thank you, madam ;
And, since it seems that gratitude's the fashion,
Be wedded to a Moor; nay, do not start-
Hem. My lord !
Alv. Count Pescara! what is it that you mean?
That others have more care of your nobility
Than you have ta'en yourself. Ha! ha! a Moor!
From empire's height, and crushed-a damned Morisco,
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;
Pes. My birth!-confusion
And must I ever feel the reptile crawl,
And with a blow strike life from out his heart?
[Draws a roll of parchment from his bosom.
[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,
A terror in my heart? [Crosses to Hemeya.] Tell me,
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 fate
Can kings and priests-e'er pluck thee from my soul?