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526 If friendship can excite such strong emotions, Dou. Dost thou expect I should recount my What tremors had a lover's presence caus'd ?'
shame, Elw. Ungenerous man!
Dwell on each circumstance of my disgrace, Dou. I feast upon her terrors. [Aside. And swell my infamy into a tale ? The story of his death was well contriv'd; Rage will not let me-But-my wife is false.
[To her. Edr. Art thou convinc'd ? But it affects not me; I have a wife,
Dou. The chronicles of hell
[Takes her hand. Or her cursed paramour? But mark me well-though it concerns not Edr. He has escap'd. you
Dou. Hast thou examin'd every avenue? If there's a sin more deeply black than others, Each spot? the grove? the bower, her faDistinguishi'd from the list of common crimes,
vourite haunt? A legion in itself, and doubly dear
Edr. I've search'd them all. To the dark prince of hell, it is—hypocrisy. Dou. He shall be yet pursued.
[Throws her from him, and exit. Set guards at every gate.—Let none depart Elw. Yes, I will bear this fearful indigna- Or gain admittance here, without my knowtion !
ledge. Thou melting heart, be firm as adamant; Edr. What can their purpose be ? Ye shatter'd nerves, be strung with manly Dou. Is it not clear? force,
Harcourt has raised his arm against my life; That I may conquer all my sex's weakness, He fail'd; the blow is now reserv'd for Percy; Nor let this bleeding bosom lodge one thought, Then, with his sword fresh reeking from my Caerish one wish, or harbour one desire,
heart, That angels may not bear and Douglas know. He'll revel with that wanton o'er my tomb;
[Exit. Nor will he bring her aught she'll hold so dear,
(husband. ACT IV.
As the curs'd hand with which he slew her
But he shall die! I'll drown my rage in blood, SCENE 1.—The Hall.
Which I will offer as a rich libation Enter Douglas, his sword drawn and bloody in On thy infernal altar, black revenge!
[Exeunt. one hand, in the other a letter. HARCOURT, wounded.
SCENE II.-The Garden. Dou. Traitor, no more! this letter shows
Enter ELWINA. thy office.
(venge. Elw. Each avenue is so beset with guards, Twice hast thou robb'd me of my dear re- And lynx-ey'd Jealousy so broad awake, I took thee for thy leader.—Thy base blood Would stain the noble temper of my sword;
He cannot pass unseen. Protect him, Heaven ! But as the pander to thy master's lust,
Enter BIRTHA. Thou justly fallist by a wrong'd husband's My Birtha, is he safe ? has he escap'd ? hand.
Bir. I know not. I despatch'd young Har. Har. Thy wife is innocent. Dou. Take him away.
court to him,
To bid him quit the castle, as you order'd, Hur. Percy, revenge my fall!
Restore the scarf, and never see you more. (Guards bear HARCOURT in. But how the hard injunction was receiv’d, Dou. Now for the letter!
Or what has happen'd since, I'm yet to learn. He begs once more to see her.--So 'tis plain
Elw. O when shall I be easd of all my They have already met !—but to the rest
And in the quiet bosom of the grave (cares, [Reuds.)" In vain you wish me to restore the Lay down this weary head I'm sick at
scarf; Dear pledge of love, while I have life I'll
Should Douglas intercept his Night! [heart!
Bir. Be calm ; wear it, 'Tis next my heart; no power shall force it with seeming peace.
(thence; Douglas this very moment left the castle, Whene'er you see it in another's hand, Conclude me dead.”—My curses on them Birtha, whene'er Suspicion feigns to sleep,
Elw. Ah, then, indeed there's danger! both!
'Tis but to make its careless prey secure. How tamely I peruse my shame! but thus, Thus let me tear the guilty characters
Bir. Should Percy once again entreat to see Which register my infamy; and thus,
thee, Thus would I scatter to the winds of heaven
'Twere best admit him ; from thy lips alone The vile complotters of my foul dishonour.
He will submit to hear his final doom
Of everlasting exile.
Elw. Birtha, no;
If honour would allow the wife of Douglas
To meet his rival, yet I durst not do it. Edr. My lord
Percy! too much this rebel heart is thine: Dou. In the utmost fury, not seeing Edric.] Too deeply should I feel each pang I gave; The scarf!
I cannot hate-but I will banish-thee.
Inexorable duty, o forgive,
'I'were best I sought him out. Edr. My lord !
Elw. Then tell him, Birtha, Dou. How ! Edric here?
But, Oh! with gentleness, with mercy, teli Edr. What new distress?
That we must never, never meet again.
527 The purport of my tale must be severe, Stands guard on every charm.-Elwina, yes, But let thy tenderness embalm the wound To triumph over Douglas, we'll be virtuous. My virtue gives. O soften bis despair ;
Elw. "l'is not enough to be,-we must apBut say-we meet no more.
pear so :
Great souls disdain the shadow of offence, Enter PERCY.
Nor must their wbiteness wear the stain of Rash man, he's here!
Per. I shall retract-I dare not gaze upon Per. I will be heard; nay, dy, not; I wil! The fiends of jealousy torment and hauni me.
(thee; Lost as I am, I will not be denied (speak; The mournful consolation to complain.
They tear my heart-strings. -Oh! Elu. Percy, I charge thee, leave me.
Elu. No more ; Per. Tyrant, no:
But spare my injur'd honour the affront
To vindicate itself.
Per. But, love!
Elw. But, glory! Elw. That danger's past :
Per. Enough! a ray of thy sublimer spirit Douglas was soon appeas'd; he nothing knows. One effort and 'tis done. The world
Has warm’d my dying honour to a flame! Then leave me, I conjure thee, nor again Endanger my repose. Yet, ere tbou goest,
When they shall speak of my disastrous love, Restore the scarf.
Percy deserv'd Elwina though he lost her. Per. Unkind Elwina, never!
Fond tears, blind me not yet ! a little longer, 'Tis all that's left me of my buried joys,
Let my sad eyes a little longer gaze, All which reminds me thai I once was happy.
And leave their last beams here. My letter told thee I would ne'er restore it.
Elw. (Turns from him.) I do not weep. Elw. Letter! what letter?
Per. Not weep? then why those eyes avoidPer. That I sent by Harcourt.
(accents ? Elu. Which I ne'er receiv'd. Douglas per- And why that broken voice? those trembling Who knows?
That sigh which rends my soul ? Bir. Harcouri, telude his watchfulness,
Elw. No more, no more. Might prudepily retire.
Per. That pang decides it. Come- I'll die Elw. Grant Heaven it prove so !
at once ;
[days, [Elwina going, Percy holds her. Thou Power supreme ! take all the length of Per. Hear me, Elwina; the most savage And add to her account. Yet turn once more,
And all the blessings kept in store for me, honour Forbids not that poor grace.
One little look, one last, short glimpse of day, Elw. It bids me fly thee.
And then a long dark night.-Hold, hold my Per. Then, ere thou goest, if we indeed o break not yet, while I behold her sweetness ;
must part, To sooth the horrors of eternal exile,
For after this dear, mournful, tender moment, Say but-thou pity'st me!
I shall have nothing more to do with life.
Elw. I do conjure thee, go.
Per. ”Tis terrible to nature !
With pangs like these the soul and body part ! For thou hast still the liberty to weep,
And thus, but oh, with far less agony, In thee 'twill be no crime: thy tears are guilt. Thus
clings to life, thus dreads the dark un
The poor departing wretch still grasps at being, less,
known, For they infringe no duty, stain po honour, And blot no vow; but mine are criminal,
Thus struggles to the last to keep his hold; Are drops of shame which wash the cheek of And when the dire convulsive groan of death guilt,
Dislodges the sad spirit-thus it stays, And every tear I shed dishonours Douglas. And fondly hovers o'er the form it loy'd. Per. I swear my jealous love e'en grudges Once and no more—farewell, farewell ! thee
Elw. For ever! Thy sad pre-eminence in wretchedness.
[They look at each other for some time, then
exit PERCY, After a puuse ; Élu. Kouse, rouse, my slumb'ring virtue !
'Tis past-the conflict's past! retire, my Bir. Percy hear me. Heaven, when it gives such high-wrought
I would address me to the throne of grace. souls as thine, Still gives as great occasions to exert them.
Bir. May Heaven restore that peace thy bosom wants !
(Exit BIRTHA. If thou wast form’d so noble, great, and gen’
Elw. (Kneels.] Look down, thou awful, rous, 'Twas to surmount the passions
heart-inspecting Judge, The gross of human-kind. Then think, 0 Look down with mercy on thy erring creature, think,
And teach my soul the lowliness it needs !
And if some sad remains of human weakness She, whom thou once didst love, is now anPer. Go on and tell me that that other's Should sometimes mingle with my best re
solves, Douglas. Elw. W bate'er bis dame, he claims respect And teach me to repent th' intruding sin
O breathe thy spirit on this wayward heart, from me:
In it's first birth of thought!
(Noise within.) What noise is that? (turn'd! E'en by thy presence.
The clash of swords ! should Douglas be rePer. Thou again hast conquer'd.
Enter Douglas and Percy, fighting.
Per. Not tiil this good right arm
Dou. Her scarf upon his breast! Sball fail its master.
The blasting sight converts me into stone; Dou. This to thy heart, then.
Withers my powers like cowardice or age, Per. Defend thy own.
Curdles the blood within my shiv'ring veins, [They fight; PERCY disarms DouGLAS. And palsies my bold arm. Dou. Confusion, death, and hell!
Per. (Ironically to the Knights.] Hear you, Edr. [Without.) This way I heard the noise.
Bear witness to the glorious, great exploit, Enter EDRIC, and many Knights and Guards,
Record it in the annals of his race, from every part of the Stage.
That Douglas, the renown'd—the valiant Per. Cursed treachery!
(castle, But dearly will I sell my life.
Fenc'd round with guards, and safe in his own Dou. Seize on him.
Surpris'd a knight unarm’d, and bravely slew Per. I'm taken in the toils.
him. [Percy is surrounded by Guards, whw take Dou. [Throwing away his dagger.] Tis true his Sword.
- I am the very stain of knighthood. Dou. In the cursed snare
How is my glory dimm'd! Thou laidst for me, traitor, thyself art caught. Elw. It blazes brighter! Elw. He never sought thy life.
Douglas was only brave-he now is generous ! Dou. Adulteress, peace !
Per. This action has restor'd thee to thy The villain Harcourt too-but he's at rest.
rank, Per. Douglas, I'm in thy power; but do not And makes thee worthy to contend with Percy. triumph,
Dou. Thy joy will be as short as 'tis insultPercy's betray'd, not conquer'd. Come, des
[To Elwina. patch me.
And thou,imperious boy, restrain thy boasting. Elw. (To DOUGLAS.] O do not, do not kill Thou hast sav'd my honour, not remor'd my him !
hate, Per. Madam, forbear;
For my soul loathes thee for the obligation. For by the glorious shades of my great fathers, Give him his sword. Their godlike spirit is not so extinct,
Per. Now thou'rt a noble foe, That I should owe my life to that vile Scot. And in the field of honour I will meet thee, Though dangers close me round on every side, As knight encount'ring knight. And death besets me, I am Percy still.
Elw. Stay, Percy, stay, Dou. Sorceress, I'll disappoint thee—he Strike at the wretched cause of all, strike shall die,
[husband. Thy minion shall expire before thy face, Here sheathé thy thirsty sword, but spare my That I may feast my hatred with your pangs, Dou. Turn, Madam, and address those vows And make his dying groans, and thy fond tears, A banquet for my vengeance.
To spare the precious life of him you love. Elw. Savage tyrant!
Even now you triumph in the death of DougI would have fallen a silent sacrifice, So thou had'st spar'd my fame—I never Now your loose fancy kindles at the thought, wrong'd thec.
And, wildly rioting in lawless hope, Per. She knew not of my coming ;-I alone Indulges the adultery of the mind.
(in. Have been to blame-Spite of her
interdiction, But I'll defeat that wish.-Guards, bear her I hither came. She's pure as spotless saints. Nay, do not struggle. [She is borne in.
Elw. I will not be excus'd by Percy's crime; Per. Let our deaths suffice, So wbite my innocence, it does not ask And reverence virtue in that form inshrin'd. The shade of others' faults to set it off;
Dou. Provoke my rage no farther. I have Nor shall he need to sully his fair fame
kindled To throw a brighter lustre round my virtue. The burning torch of never-dying vengeance Dou. Yet he can only diebut death for At love's expiring lamp.-But mark me, honour !
friends, Ye powers of hell, who take malignant joy If Percy's happier genius should prevail, In human bloodshed, give me some dire means, And I should fall, give him safe conduct hence, Wild as my hate, and desperate as my wrongs! Be all observance paid him.-Go, I follow Per. Enough of words. Thou know'st I
(Aside to EDRIC. hate thee, Douglas ;
Within I've something for thy private ear. 'Tis steadfast, fix'd, hereditary hate,
Per. Now shall this mutual fury be apAs thine for me ; our fathers did bequeath it
[slaughter! As part of our unalienable birthright,
These eager hands sha!l soon be drench'd in Which nought but death can end. Come, end | Yes-like two famish'd vultures snuffing it here.
blood, Elw. (Kneels.) Hold, Douglas, hold !--not And panting to destroy, we'll rush to combat; for myself I kneel,
Yet I've the deepest, deadliest cause of hate, I do not plead for Percy, but for thee: I am but Percy, thou’rt-Elwina's husband. Arm not thy hand against thy future peace,
[Exeunt. Spare thy brave breast the tortures of remorse,
ACT V. Stain not a life of unpolluted honour, for, oh! as surely as thou strik'st at Percy,
SCENE 1.-ELWINA's Apartment. Thou wilt for ever stab the fame of Douglas. Elu. Thou who in judgment still rememPer. Finish the bloody work.
[band! Dou. Then take thy wish.
Look down upon my woes, preserve my husPer. Why dost thou start?
Preserve my husband ! Ah, I dare not ask it; [Percy bares his bosom. DovoLAs adrances My very prayers may pull down ruin on ne!
to stab him, and discorers the scarf. If Douglas should survive, what then becomes
Of-him-I dare not name? And if he con- | Now, gracious Heaven, sustain me in the trial, quers,
And bow my spirit to thy great decrees !
[ELWINA looks steadfastly at her without
speaking, When each event is big with equal horror.
Bir. Douglas is fallen.
Elw. Bring me the poison. What, no one yet? This solitude is dreadful!
Bir. Never. My horrors multiply !
Elw. Where are the knights? I summon you
-approach ! Enter BIRTHA.
Draw near, ye awful ministers of fate,
Dire instruments of posthumous revenge! Tbou messenger of wo!
Come, I am ready, but your tardy justice Bir. Of wo, indeed !
Defrauds the injur'd dead.-Go, baste, my Elw, How, is my husband dead ?
friend, Oh, speak!
See that the castle be securely guarded, Bir, Your husband lives.
Let every gate be barr'd-prevent his entrance. Elw. Then farewell, Percy!
Bir. Whose entrance ? He was the tenderest, truest !-Bless him, Elw. His—the murderer of my husband. Heaven,
Bir. He's single, we have hosts of friends. With crowds of glory and immortal joys! Elw. No matter; Bir. Still are you wrong; the combat is not Who knows what love and madness may at.
tempt ? Stay, flowing tears, and give me leave to speak. But here I swear by all that binds the good, Elw. Thou sayest that Percy and my hus- Never to see him more.-Unhappy Douglas ! band live;
O if thy troubled spirit still is conscious Then why this sorrow?
Of our past woes, look down, and hear me Bir. What a task is mine!
swear, Elw. Thou talk'st as if I were a child in That when the legacy thy rage bequeath'd me grief,
Works at my heart, and conquers struggling And scarce acquainted with calamity.
nature, Speak out, unfold.thy tale, whate'er'it be, Ev'n in that agony I'll still be faithful. For I am so familiar with affliction,
She who could never love, sball yet obey thee, It cannot come in any shape will shock me. Weep thy hard fate, and die to prove her truth.
Bir. How shall I speak? Thy husband- Bir. O unexampled virtue !
[4 noise without. Bir. When all was ready for the fatal com. Elw. Heard you nothing? bat,
(sword, By all my fears the insulting conqueror comes.
To blast thee with the sight of him thou bat'st, Bir. Then to their hands he gave a poison'a Of him thou hast wrong'd, adultress, 'tis thy cup,
husband. Compounded of the deadliest herbs and drugs; Elw. (Kneels.] Bless'd be the fountain of eterTake this, said he, it is a husband's legacy;
nal mercy, Percy may conquer-and-I have a wife? This load of guilt is spard me! Douglas lives! If Douglas falls, Elwina must not live. Perhaps both live ! [To BirTHA.] Could I be Elu. Spirit of Herod! Why, 'twas greatly
sure of that,
[me. thought !
The poison were superfluous, joy would kill 'Twas worthy of the bosom which conceiv'd it! Dou. Be honest now, for once, and curse thy Yet 'twas too merciful to be his own.
stars; Yes, Douglas, yes, my husband, I'll obey thee, Curse thy detested fate which brings thee back And bless thy genius which has found the A hated husband, when thy guilty
Revell’d in fond, imaginary joys To reconcile thy vengeance with my peace, With my too happy rival ; when thou flew'st, The deadly means to make obedience pleasant. To gratify impatient, boundless passion, Bir. O spare, for pity spare, my bleeding And join adulterous lust to bloody murder; heart :
Then to reverse the scene ! polluted woman! Inhuman to the last! Unnatural poison ! Mine is the transport now, and thine the pang. Elw. My gentle friend, wbat is there in a Elw. Whence sprung the false report that name?
thou had'st falin ? The means are little where the end is kind. Dou. To give thy guilty breast a deeper If it disturb thee, do not call it poison ;
wound, Call it the sweet oblivion of my cares,
To add a deadlier sting to disappointment, My balm of wo, my cordial of affliction, I rais'd it-I contriv'd-] sent it thee. The drop of mercy to my fainting soul,
Elw. Thou seest me bold, but bold in conMy kind dismission from a world of sorrow,
(blood, My cup of bliss, my passport to the skies. - That my sad soul may not be stain'd with Bir. Hark! what alarm is that?
That I may spend my few short hours in peace, Elw. The combat's over! (BIRTH A goes out. And die in holy hope of Heaven's forgiveness, [ElwinA stands in a fixed attitude, her hands Relieve the terrors of my lab'ring breast, clasped.
Say I am clear of murder-say he lives,
Say but that little word, that Percy lives, I gave my treasure to another's keeping,
But left the plunder'd owner quite a beggar. Dou. Canst thou renounce him ?
Dou. What art thou come to see thy race Elw. Tell me that he lives,
dishonour'd ? And thou shalt be the ruler of my fate, And thy bright sun of glory set in blood ? For ever hide me in a convent's gloom, I would have spar'd thy virtues, and thy age, From cheerful day-light, and the haunts of The knowledge of her infamy. men,
Raby. "Tis false.
(blood. Where sad austerity, and ceaseless prayer Had she been base, this sword had drank ber Shall share my uncomplaining day between Dou. Ha! dost thou vindicate the wanton ? them.
Raby. Wanton ? Dou. O, hypocrite! now, Vengeance, to thy Thou hast defam'd a noble lady's honouroffice.
My spotless child-in me behold her champion: I had forgot-Percy commends him to thee, The strength of Hercules will nerve this arm, And by my band
When lifted in defence of innocence. Elw. How-by thy band ?
The daughter's virtue for the father's shield, Dou, Has sent thee
Will make old Raby still invincible. This precious pledge of love.
[Offers to dras. (He gives her Percy's scarf. Dou. Forbear. Elw. Then Percy's dead !
Raly. Thou dost disdain my feeble arm, Dou. He is.- great revenge, thou now art And scorn my age. mine!
Dou. There will be blood enough; See how convulsive sorrow rends her frame ! Nor need thy wither'd veins, old' lord, be This, this is transport !-injur'd honour now To swell the copious stream. Edrain'd, Receives its vast, its ample retribution.
Raby. Thou wilt not kill her? She sheds no tears, her grief's too highly Dou. Oh, 'tis a day of horror!
wrought; "Tis speechless agony.- She must not faint
Enter EDRIC and BIRTHA. She shall not 'scape her portion of the pain. No! she shall feel the fulness of distress, Edr. Where is Douglas ? And wake to keen perception of her loss. I come to save him from the deadliest crime Bir. Monster! Barbarian ! leave her to ber Revenge did ever meditate, sorrows.
Dou. What meanest thou ? Elw. [In a low broken voice.] Douglas—think Edr. This instant fly, and save thy guiltless not I faint, because thou seest
wife. The pale and bloodless cheek of wan despair. Dou. Save that perfidious Fail me not yet, my spirits ; thou cold heart, Edr. That much-injur'd woman. Cherish thy freezing current one short moment, Bir. Unfortunate indeed, but ( most innoAnd bear thy mighty load a little longer.
cent! Dou. Percy, I must avow it, bravely fought,- Edr. In the last solemn article of death, Died as a hero should ;-but, as he fell, That truth-compelling state, when even bad (Hear it, fond wanton !) call'd upon thy name, And his last guilty breath sigh'd out-Elwina! Fear to speak falsely, Percy clear'd her fame. Come-give a loose to rage, and feed thy soul Dou. I beard him.-'Twas the guilty fraud With wild complaints, and womanish upbraid
The scarf, the scarf! that proof of mutual pasElw. (In a low solemn voice.] No.
Given but this day to ratify their crimes ! The sorrow's weak that wastes itself in words, Bir. What means my lord ? This day? That Mine is substantial anguish-deep, not loud
(ship; I do not rave--Resentment's the return Was given long since, a toy of childish friend Of common souls for common injuries. Long ere your marriage, ere you knew Elwina. Light grief is proud of state, and courts com- Raby. 'Tis I am guilty. passion;
Dou. Ha! But there's a dignity in cureless sorrow, Raby. I,-1 alone. A sullen grandeur which disdains complaint; Confusion, honour, pride, parental fondness, Rage is for little wrongs–Despair is dumb. Distract my soul,- Percy was not to blame,
[Exeunt Elwina an 1 BIRTHA. He was--the destin'd husband of Elwina! Dou. Why, this is well! her sense of woe is He loved her—was belov'd-and I approv'd. strong!
The tale is long. I chang'd my purpose since, The sharp, keen tooth of gnawing grief de- Forbade their marriagevours her,
(pangs. Dou. And confirm d my mis'ry ! [Percy.
Ruby. Percy came, 'tis true,
A constant, tender, but a guiltless lover!
Dou. I shall grow mad indeed ; a guiltless Raby. O whither shall a wretched father
[here? Percy, the guiltless lover of my wife? Where fly for comfort? Douglas, art thou Raby. Ile knew not she was married. I do not ask for comfort at thy hands.
Dou. How? is't possible ? I'd but one little casket, where I lodged
Raby. Douglas, 'tis true; both, both were My precious hoard of wealth, and, like an
He of her marriage, she of his return.