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Can I behold his face, and not exclaim,
[Crosses to Alvarez.
Pes. I thank you, madam ;-
Hem. My lord !
Pes. I mean, my lord,
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.
Pes. My birth !-confusion-
(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
upon our heads.
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?
Hem. Then, Florinda, thus I spurn the tyrant !
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 !
Hem. The law !
Alv. Then choose between your prophet and Florinda.
[To Florinda. Alv. Let my deep curse fall on her head
Flor. Don't breathe those dreadful words
Hem. This, this from thee ?
Flor. You've found the dreadful secret of my soul!
Hem. Florinda, stay one moment-
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! [Erit, R.
Hem. Oh, misery!--my Florinda, look upon me!
Flor. Yes, I will look upon thee, and perhaps
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 !
[Exit, R. Hem. She blest me as she parted; yet I feel A curse fall
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.
END OF ACT I.
Enter Malec and HALY, L.
Hal. After long struggles of reluctant honour,
Mal. I have heard enough.
And he has heard that on his brows shall shine
Mal. I will not tell him, till he has deserved
But I'll try
anwhile, Call at the Cadi's house the noblest Moors, That to their secret ears I
may unfold The cause of my return,
(Exit Haly, L.
Enter HEMEYA, R.
Hem. Oh, Malec, this from thee! when I behold thee, After long months of absence, dost thou scorn me?