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Pier, Come, where's my dungeon ? Lead me , For thou hast broke that sacred oath too lately. to my straw:
Jaf. Then, by that hell I merit, I'll not leave It will not be the first time I've lodg'd hard
thee, To do the senate service.
Till, to thyself, at least, thou’rt reconcil'd, Jaf. Hold, one moment,
However thy resentment deal with me. Pier. Who's he disputes the judgment of the Pier. Not leave me? senate ?
Jaf. No; thou shalt not force me from thee. Presumptuous rebel-on- [Strikes JAFFIER. Use me reproachfully, and like a slave; Jaf. By Heaven, you stir not!
Tread on me, buffet me, heap wrongs on wrongs I must be heard; I must have leave to speak. On my poor head ; I'll bear it all; with patience Thou hast disgrac'd me, Pierre, by a vile blow: Shall weary out thy most unfriendly cruelty : Had not a dagger done thee nobler justice? Lie at thy feet, and kiss 'em, though they But use me as thou wilt, thou canst not wrong
spurn me; me,
Till, wounded by my sufferings, thou relent,
Pier, Art thou not
(ears, Pier, A villain?
(not; Spiritless, void of honour; one who has soid Jaf. Not know me, Pierre ?
Thy everlasting fame, for shameless life? Pier. No, I know thee not! What art thou ? Jaf. All, all, and more, much more; my Jaf. Jaffier, thy friend, thy once lov’d,
faults are numberless. valu'd friend!
Pier. And wouldst thou have me live on Though now deservedly scorn'd, and used terms like thine ? most bardly.
Base, as thou art falsePier, Thou, Jaftier! thou, my once lov'd, Jaf. No; 'tis to me that's granted; valued friend!
[friend The safety of thy life was all I aim'd at, By heavens, thou liest; the man so call'd, my In recompense for faith and trust so broken. Was generous, honest, faithful, just, and val- Pier. I scorn it more, because preserv'd by Noble in mind, and in his person lovely; And as, when first my foolish heart took pity Dear to my eyes, and tender to my heart : On thy misfortunes, sought thee in thy misBut thou, a wretched, base, false, worthless eries,
[pect; Reliev'd thy wants, and rais'd thee from the Poor, even in soul, and loathsome in thy as. Of wretchedness, in which thy fate had All eyes must shun thee, and all hearts detest
plung'd thee, thee.
[me, To rank thee in my list of noble friends, Pr’ythee avoid ; nor longer cling thus round All I receiv'd, in surety for thy truth, Like something banetul, that my nature's Were unregarded oaths, and this, this dagger, chill's at.
Given with a worthless pledge, thou since Jaf. I have not wrong'd thee, by these tears hast stolen,I have not.
So I restore it back to thee again; Pier. Hast thou not wrong'd me? Dar'st Swearing, by all those powers which thou thou call thyself
(munion, That once lov’d, valued friend of mine, Never, from this curs'd hour, to hold comAnd swear thou hast not wrong'd me? Whence Friendship, or interest with thee, though our these chains ?
years Whence the vile death wbich I may meet this Were to exceed those limited the world. moment?
Take it-farewell-for now I owe thee nothing. W hence this dishonour, but from thee, thou Jaf. Say thou wilt live then. false one?
Pier. For my life, dispose it [with. Jaf. All's true; Yet grant one thing, and Just as thou wilt, because 'tis what I'm tir'd I've done asking.
Jaf. Oh, Pierre ! Pier. What's that?
Pier. No more. Jaf. To take thy life on such conditions Jaf. My eyes wont lose the sight of thee, The council have propos'd: thou, and thy But languish after thee, and ache with gazing friends,
Pier. Leave me-Nay, then thus, thus I May yet live long, and to be better treated.
throw thee from me: Pier. Life! ask my life ! confess! record And curses, great as is thy falsehood, catch myself
[Exit. A villain, for the privilege to breathe!
And here's the portion he has left me:
[Shows the dagger. To lose it, may be at last, in a lewd quarrel This dagger. Well remember'd! with this For some new friend, treacherous and false as
dagger, thou art !
[ling, I gave a solemn vow of dire importance; No, this vile world and I have long beep jang- Parted with this, and Belvidera together. And cannot part on better terms than now, Have a care, mem'ry, drive that thought no When only men, like thee, are fit to live in't.
further: Jaf. By all that's just
No, I'll esteem it as a friend's last legacy ; Pier, Swear by some other power,
Treasure it up within this wretched bosom,
Where it may grow acquainted with my Jaf. Leave me, I charge thee, leave me.-heart,
Strong temptations That, when they meet, they start not from each Wake in my heart. other.
(villain, Bel. For what? So now for thinking—A blow, call’d a traitor, Jaf. No more, but leave me. Coward, dishonourable coward ; fough ! Bel. Why? Oh! for a long sound sleep, and so forget it. Jaf. Oh! by Heaven, I love thee with that Down, busy devil !
fondness, I would not have
thee stay a moment longer Enter BelVIDERA.
Near these curs'd hands. Are they not cold Bel. Whither shall I fly?
[Pulls the dagger half out of his bosom, Where hide me and my miseries together?
and puts it back again. Where's now the Roman constancy I boasted? Bel. No, everlasting comfort's in thy arms. Sunk into trembling fears.and desperation, To lean thus on thy breast, is softer ease Not daring to look up to that dear face Than downy pillows, deck'd with leaves of Which used to smile, even on my faults; but, down,
Jaf. Alas! thou think'st not of the thorns Bending these miserable eyes on earth,
'tis fill’d with :
(pent, Must move in penance, and imploré much Fly, ere they gall thee. There's a lurking sermercy,
Ready to leap and sting thee to the heart : Jaf. Mercy ? kind Heaven has surely endless Art thou not terrified ? stores,
Bel. No. Hoarded for thee, of blessings yet untasted: Juf. Call to mind Oh, Belvidera! I'm the wretched'st creature What thou hast done, and whither thou hast E'er crawl'd on earth.
brought me. My friend, too, Belvidera, that dear friend, Bel, Hah! Who, next to thee, was all my health rejoic'd Jaf. Where's my friend ? my friend, thou in,
smiling mischief! Has us’d me like a slave, shamefully us’d me; Nay, shrink not, now 'tis too late; thou 'Twould break thy pitying heart to hear the shouldst have fled
When thy guilt first had cause ; for dire reBel. What has he done?
Is up, and raging for my friend. He groans ! Jaf. Before we parted,
Hark, how he groans ! his screams are in my Ere yet his guards had led him to his prison, Full of severest sorrows for his sufferings, Already : see, they've fix'd him on the wheel, With eyes o'erflowing, and a bleeding heart, And now they tear him.-Murder! Perjur'd As at his feet I kneel'd, and sued for mercy,
senate ! With a reproachful hand he dash'd a blow: Murder.-Oh!-Hark thee, traitress, thou He struck me, Belvidera! by Heaven, he
hast done this! struck me!
Thanks to thy tears, and false persuading love. Buffeted, call'd me traitor, villain, coward. How her eyes speak! Oh, thou bewitching Am I coward ? Am I a villain? Tell me :
creature! [Fumbling for his dagger. Thou’rt the best judge, and mad'st me, if I Madness can't hurt thee. Come, thou little am so!
trembler, Damnation! Coward !
Creep even into my heart, and there lie safe : Bel. Oh! forgive him, Jaffier;
'T'is thy own citadel.-Hah-yet stand off. And, if his sufferings wound thy heart already, Heaven must have justice, and my broken vows What will they do to-morrow?
Will sink me else beneath its reaching mercy. Jaf. Ah!
wink, and then 'tis doneBel. To-morrow,
[agonies, Bel. What means the lord When thou shalt see him stretch'd în all the Of me, my life, and love? What's in thy bosom, Of a tormenting and a shameful death; Thou grasp'st at so? Nay, why am I thus His bleeding bowels, and his broken limbs,
treated? Insulted o'er, by a vile butchering villain ;
[Draws the dagger and offers to stab her. What will thy heart do then? Oh! sure 'twill Jaf. Know, Belvidera, when
we parted last, Like my eyes now.
(stream I gave this dagger with thee, as in trust, Jaf. What means thy dreadful story? To be thy portion if I e'er prov'd false. Death, and to-morrow! Broken limbs and On such condition was my truth believ'd: bowels !
But now 'tis forfeited, and must be paid for. Bel. The faithless senators, 'tis they've de
[Offers to stab her again. creed it:
Bel. Oh ! Mercy!
(Kneeling. They say, according to our friends' request, Ja. Nay, no struggling. They shall have death, and not ignoble bon- Bel. Now then, kill me. dage :
(Leaps on his neck, kisses him. Declare their promis'd mercy all has forfeited : Jaf. I am, I am a coward; witness, Heaven, False to their oaths, and deaf to intercession, Witness it, earth, and every being, witness : Warrants are pass'd for public death to "Tis but one blow! yet, by immortal love,
I cannot longer bear a thought to harm thee. Jaf. Death! doom'd to die! condemn'd un- [He throws away the dagger and embraces her. heard ! unpleaded !
The seal of Providence is sure upon thee: Bel. Nay, cruel'st racks and torments are And thou wert born for yet unheard-of wonpreparing
[me. To force confession from their dying pangs. Oh! thou wert either born to save or damn Oh! do not look so terribly upon me! By all the power that's given me o'er thy soul, How your lips shake, and all your face dis- By thy resistless tears and conquering smiles, What means my love ?
[order'd! By the victorious love that still waits on thee.
Fly to thy cruel father, save my friend,
Pri. Heavens ! Or all our future quiet's lost for ever.
Bel. If I was ever then your care, now hear Fall at his feet, cling round his reverend knees, Speak to him with thy eyes, and with thy tears, Fly to the senate, save the promis'd lives Melt his hard heart, and wake dead nature in Of his dear friends, ere mine be made the him,
(Exeunt. Pri. By Heaven I will.
Not one of them but what shall be immortal. ACT V.
Canst thou forgive me all my follies past? SCENE I.-An Apartment in Priulr's House. I'll henceforth be indeed a father; never,
Never more thus expose, but cherish thee, Enter PRIULI.
Dear as the vital warmth that feeds my life, Pri. Why, cruel Heaven, have my unhappy Dear as these eyes that weep in fondness o'er days
our Peace to thy heart. Farewell. [thee. Been lengthen’d to this sad one? Oh! dishon- Bel. Go, and remember And deathless infamy is fallen upon me. 'Tis Belvidera's life her father pleads for. Was it my fault? Am I a traitor? No.
[Exeunt. But then, my only child, my daughter wedded; There my best blood runs foul, and a disease
SCENE II.-A Garden. Incurable has seiz'd upon my memory.
Enter JAFFIER. Enter BELVIDERA, in a long mourning veil.
Jaf. Final destruction seize on all the world! Bel. He's there, my father, my inhuman Bend down, ye Heavens, and shutting round father,
this earth, That for three years has left an only child Crush the vile globe into its first confusion ! Expos'd to all the outrages of fate, And cruel ruin !-oh!
Enter BELVIDERA. Pri. What child of sorrow
(ness, Art thou, that comes wrapt in weeds of sad- Bel. My life
[Meeting him, And moy'st as if thy steps were tow'rds a
Jof. My plague
[Turning from her. grave?
Bel. Nay, then I see my ruin. Bel. A wretch who from the very top of If I must die ! happiness
Jaf. Nor let the thoughts of death perplex Am fallen into the lowest depths of misery,
thy fancy; And want your pitying hand to raise me up But answer me to what I shall demand, again.
With a firm temper and unshaken spirit. Pri. What wouldst thou beg for?
Bel. I will, when I've done weepingBel. Pity and forgiveness.
Jof. Fie, no more on't
(Throws up her reil. How long is't since that miserable day By the kind, tender names of child and father, We wedded first? Hear my complaints, and take me to your love.
Bel. Oh!-oh!Pri. My daughter!
Jaf. Nay, keep in thy tears, Bel. Yes, your daughter.
Lest they unman me too. Pri. Don't talk thus.
Bel. Heaven knows I cannot ; Bel. Yes, I must; and you must hear too.
The words you utter sound so very sadly, I have a husband.
The streams will followPri. Damn him.
Jaf. Come, I'll kiss 'em dry then. Bel. Oh! do not curse him;
Bel. But was't a miserable day? He would not speak so hard a word towards
Jaf. A curs'd one. On any terms, howe'er he deals with me.
Bel. I thought it otherwise; and you've often Pri. Ha! what means my child ?
Sworn, Bel. Oh! my husband, my dear husband,
In the transporting hours of warmest love, Carries a dagger in his once kind bosom,
When sure you spoke the truth, you've sworn To pierce the heart of your poor Belvidera.
you bless'd it. Pri. Kill thee!
Jaf. 'Twas a rash oath, Bel. Yes, kill me. When he pass'd his Bel. Then why am I not curs'd too ? faith
Jaf. No, Belvidera ; by th'eternal truth, And covenant against your state and senate,
I dote with too much fondness.
Bel. Still so kind ?
Still then do you love me?
Jaf. Man ne'er was bless'd bosom.
Since the first pair met, as I have been. I learnt the danger, chose the hour of love Bel. Then sure you will not curse me? T attempt his heart, and bring it back to Jaf. No, I'll bless thee. honour.
[cess! I came on purpose, Belvidera, to bless thee. Great love prevail'd, and bless'd me with suc- 'Tis now, I think, three years, we've liv'd He came, confess'd, betray'd his dearest
[suffer. Bel. And may no fatal minute ever part us, For promis’d mercy. Now they're doom'd to Till, reverend grown for age and love, we go Gall'd with remembrance of what then was Down to one grave, as our last bed, together; sworn,
There sleep in peace, till an eternal morping. If they are lost, he vows t' appease the gods Jaf. Did I not say, I came to bless thee? With this poor life, and make my blood th? Bel. You did. atonement.
Juf. Then hear me, bounteous Heaven :
Pour down your blessings on this beauteous SCENE III. A Scaffold, and a Wheel prehead,
pared for the execution of PIERRE. Where everlasting sweets are always springing With a continual giving hand: let peace,
Enter Officer. PIERRE, Guards, ExecuHonour, and safety, always hover round her;
tioner, sc. Feed her with plenty; let her eyes ne'er see
Pier. My friend not come yet?
Enter J AFFIER.
(virtue, Harmless as her own thoughts; and prop, her Jaf. Oh, Pierre ! To bear the loss of one that too much lov'd;
Pier. Yet nearer. And comfort her with patience in our parting. Dear to my arms, though thou'st undone my Bel. How! Parting, parting!
fame, Jaf. Yes, for ever parting ;
I can't forget to love thee. Pr'ythee, Jaffier, I have sworn, Belvidera, by yon Heaven, Forgive that filthy blow my passion dealt thee; That best can tell how much I lose to leave I'm now preparing for the land of peace, We part this hour for ever.
(thee, And fain would have the charitable wishes Bel. 0! call back
(me. Of all good men, like thee, to bless my jourYour cruel blessing; stay with me and curse
ney. Jaf. Now hold, heart, or never.
Jaf. Good! I am the vilest creature, worse Bel. By all the tender days we've liv'd to
then e'er gether,
Suffer'd the shameful fate thou'rt going to Pity my sad condition ; speak, but speak.
taste of. Jaf. Oh!-oh!
Offi. The time grows short, your friends are Bel. By these arms, that now cling round
dead already. thy neck,
Jaf. Dead ! By these poor streaming eyes,
Pier. Yes, dead, Jaffier; they've all died Jaf. Murder! unbold me:
like men too, By th’immortal destiny tbat doom'd me Worthy their character.
[Draws the dagger. Juf. And what must I do? To this curs'd minute, I'll not live one longer ; Pier. Oh, Jaffier ! Resolve to let me go, or see me fall
Jaf. Speak aloud thy burden'd soul, Hark, the dismal bell [Passing-bell tolls. And teli thy troubles to thy tortur'd friend. Tolls out for death! I must attend its call too; Pier. Friend! Couldst thou yet be a friend, For my poor friend, my dying Pierre, expects
a generous friend,
I might hope comfort from thy noble sorrows. He sent a message to require I'd see him Heaven knows I want a friend. Before he died, and take his last forgiveness.
Jaf. And I a kind one,
[tue, Farewell, for ever.
That would not thus scorn my repenting virBel. Leave thy dagger with me,
Or think, when he's to die, my thoughts are Bequeath me something-Not one kiss at
Pier. No ! live, I charge thee, Jaffier. Oh! my poor heart, when wilt thou break ? Jaf. Yes, I will live:
[Going out, looks back at him. But it shall be to see thy fall reveng'd Jaf. Yet stay:
At such a rate, as Venice long shall groan for. We have a child, as yet a tender infant.
Pier, Wilt thou ? Be a kind mother to him when I'm gone : Juf. I will, by Heaven. Breed him in virtue, and the paths of honour, Pier. Then still thou'rt noble, But never let him know his father's story; And I forgive thee. Oh!-yet-shall I trust I charge thee, guard him from the wrongs
Juf. No; I've been false already. May do his future fortune, or his name.
Pier. Dost thou love me? Now-nearer yet, (Approaching each other. Jaf. Rip up my heart, and satisfy my doubtOb! that my arms were rivetted
ings. Thus round thee ever! But my friend! my Pier. Curse on this weakness! [Weeps. oath!
Jaf. Tears! Amazement! Tears ! This and no more.
(Kisses her. I never saw thee melted thus before ; Bel. Another, sore another,
And know there's something labouring in thy For that poor little one you've ta’en such care
bosom, I'll give't him truly.
[of. That must have vent: though I'm a villain, Jaf. So now, farewell.
tell me. Bel. For ever?
Pier. See'st thou that engine? Jaf. Heaven knows, for ever; all good an
[Points to the Wheel gels guard thee.
[Exit. Jaf. Why? Bel. All ill ones sure had charge of me this Pier. Is't fit a soldier, who has liv'd with moment.
(nights. honour, Curs’d be my days, and doubly cursd my Fought nations' quarrels, and been crown'd Oh! give me daggers, fire, or water :
with conquest, How I could bleed, 'how burn, how drown, Be expos'd a common carcass on a wheel ? the waves
Jaf. Ha ! Huzzing and booming round my sinking head, Pier. Speak ! is't fitting? Till I descended to the peaceful bottom! Jaf. Fitting ! Oh! there's all quiet, here all rage and fury: Pier. Yes; is't fitting ? The air's too thin, and pierces my weak brain Jaf. What's to be done? I long for thick substantial sleep; hell! hell! Pier. I'd have thee undertake [ory. Burst from the centre, rage and roar aloud, Something that's noble to preserve my memIf thou art half so hot, so mad, as I am. (Exit. From the disgrace that's ready to attaint it.
Offi. The day grows late, Sir.
SCENE IV.-An Apartment at PRIULI's. Pier. I'll make haste. Oh, Jaffier !
Soft music;, enter BELVIDERA, distracted, led by Though thou'st betray'd me, do me some way two of her women; PRIULI and Servants.
justice. Jaf. No more of that: thy wishes shall be Pri. Strengthen her heart with patience, satisfied;
pitying Heaven. I bave a wife, and she shall bleed; my child,
Bel. Come, come, come, come, come, nay Yield up his little throat and all
come to bed.
(whistle ; Tappease thee
Pr’ythee, my love. The winds ! hark how they (Going away, Pierre holds him. And the rain beats: Oh! how the weather Pier. No-this-no more.
(deed, [Whispers JAFFIER. You are angry pow, who cares? pish, do inJaf. Ha ! is't then so ?
Choose then ; I say you shall not go, you shall Pier. Most certainly.
not; Jaf. I'll do it.
Whip your ill nature ; get you gone then. Oh Pier. Remember!
Are you return'd; see, father, here he's come Offi. Sir.
again : Pier. Come, pow I'm ready.
Am I to blame to love him ? (), thou dear one, [He & Jac. ascend the scaffold. Why do
you fly me? are you angry still then ? Captain, you should be a gentleman of hon. Jaftier, where 'art thou ? father, why do you
[somewhere. Keep off the rabble, that I may have room
Stand off, don't bide him from me. He's here To entertain my fate, and die with decency.
Stand off, I say: what, gone! remember't, tyCome. [Takes off his gown, Executioner prepares. I may revenge myself of this trick, one day.
rant: You'll think on't.
[TO JAFFIER. Jaf. 'Twon't grow stale before to-morrow.
I'll do'-I'll do't. Píer. Now, Jaffier! now I'm going. Now,
Enter OFFICER. (Executioner having bound him. Jaf. Have at thee,
Pri. News, what news ? Thou honest heart, then-here- (Stubs him.
[OFFICER whispers PRIULI. And tbis is well.
[Stabs himself. Offi. Most sad, Sir; Pier. Now thou hast indeed been faithful. Jaffier, upon the scaffold, to prevent This was done nobly-We've deceiv'd the se. A shameful death, stabb’d Pierre, and next nate.
Both fell together.
[himself; Jaf. Bravely.
Pri. Daughter! Pier. Ha, ha, ha- -oh! oh!
Bel. Ha ! look there! Jaf. Now, ye curs'd rulers,
My husband bloody, and his friend too! murThus of the blood y' have shed, I make libation
[vision : And sprinkle it, mingling. May it rest upon Who has done this? speak to me, thou sad you,
On these poor trembling knees I beg it. VanAnd all your race! Be henceforth peace a
Here they went down-Oh, I'll dig, dig the Within your walls ; let plagues and famine
You sha'n't delude me thus. Hoa, Jaffier, Your generation--Ob, poor Belvidera ! Peep up, and give me but a look. I have him! Sir, I have a wife, bear this in safety to her; I've got him, father : Oh! A token that with my dying breath'I bless'd | My love ! my dear! my blessing! help me! her,
[bottom. And the dear little infant left behind me. They bave hold on me, and drag me to the I'm sick-I'm quiet.
Nay-now they pull so hard-farewell[Dies ; scene shuts upon them. [Dies; the curtain fulls slowly to music.