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And pining discontent, a rueful train,
Dwell on my brow, all hideous and forlorn.
One only shadow of a hope is left me;
The noble-minded Hastings, of his goodness,
Has kindly underta'en to be my advocate,
And move my humble suit to angry Gloster.
Alic. Does Hastings undertake to plead your cause
But wherefore should he not Hastings has eyes;
The gentle lord has a right tender heart,
Melting and easy, yielding to impression,
And catching the soft flame from each new beauty;
But yours shall charm him long.
J. Sh. Away, you flatterer! Nor charge his gen’rous meaning with a weakness, Which his great soul and virtue must disdain. Too much of love thy hapless friend has prov’d, Too many giddy foolish hours are gone, And in fantastic measures danc'd away: May the remaining few know only friendship. So thou, my dearest, truest, best Alicia, Vouchsafe to lodge me in thy gentle heart, A partner there; I will give up mankind, Forget the transports of increasing passion, And all the pangs we feel for its decay.
Alic. Live! live and reign for ever in my bosom ;
[Embracing. Safe and unrivall'd there possess thy own; And you, the brightest of the stars above, Ye saints that once were women here below, Be witness of the truth, the holy friendship,
Which here to this my other self I vow.
If I not hold her nearer to my soul,
Than every other joy the world can give;
Let poverty, deformity, and shame,
Distraćtion and despair seize me on earth,
Let not my faithless ghost have peace hereafter,
Nor taste the bliss of your celestial fellowship.
J. Sh. Yes, thou art true, and only thou art true;
Therefore these jewels, once the lavish bounty
Of royal Edward's love, I trust to thee;
[Giving a casket.
Receive this, all that I can call my own,
And let it rest unknown, and safe with thee:
That if the state's injustice should oppress me,
Strip me of all, and turn me out a wanderer,
My wretchedness may find relief from thee,
And shelter from the storm.
Alic. My all is thine;
One common hazard shall attend us both,
And both be fortunate, or both be wretched.
. But let thy fearful doubting heart be still;
The saints and angels have thee in their charge,
And all things shall be well. Think not, the good,
The gentle deeds of mercy thou hast done,
Shall die forgotten all; “the poor, the pris'ner,
“ The fatherless, the friendless, and the widow,
“Who daily own the bounty of thy hand,
“Shall cry to Heav'n and pull a blessing on thee;”
Ev’n man, the merciless insulter man,
Man, who rejoices in our sex's weakness,
Shall pity thee, and with unwonted goodness
Forget thy failings, and record thy praise.
3. Sh. Why should I think that man will do for me,
*What yet he never did for wretches like me?
Mark by what partial justice we are judg’d :
Such is the fate unhappy women find,
| And such the curse entail’d upon our kind,
That man, the lawless libertine, may rove,
Free and unquestion'd through the wilds of love;
While woman, sense and nature's easy fool,
If poor weak woman swerve from virtue's rule,
If, strongly charm’d, she leave the thorny way,
And in the softer paths of pleasure stray,
Ruin ensues, reproach and endless shame, -
And one false step entirely damns her fame :
In vain with tears the loss she may deplore,
In vain look back on what she was before ;
She sets, like stars that fall, to rise no more. [Excunt.
Continues. Enter Alicia, speaking to JANE SHORE as entering.
Alicia. No farther, gentle friend; good angelsguard you, And spread their gracious wings about your slumbers. The drowsy night grows on the world, and now The busy craftsmen and o'er-labour'd hind
Forget the travail of the day in sleep:
Care only wakes, and moping pensiveness;
With meagre discontented looks they sit,
And watch the wasting of the midnight taper.
Such vigils must I keep, so wakes my soul,
Restless and self-tormented Oh, false Hastings |
Thou hast destroy'd my peace. [Knocking without.
What noise is that
What visitor is this, who with bold freedom,
Breaks in upon the peaceful night and rest,
With such a rude approach
Ser. One from the court, Lord Hastings (as I think) demands my lady. Alic. Hastings! Be still, my heart, and try to meet him. With his own arts: with falshood—But he comes.
Enter Lord HAs TINGs, speaks to a Servant as entering.
Hast. Dismiss my train, and wait alone without.
Alicia here ! Unfortunate encounter |
But be it as it may.
Alic. When humbly, thus,
The great descend to visit the afflićted,
When thus, unmindful of their rest, they come
To sooth the sorrows of the midnight mourner,
Comfort comes with them; like the golden sun,
Dispels the sullen shades with her sweet influence,
And chears the melancholy house of care.
Hast. 'Tis true, I would not over-rate a courtesy,
Nor let the coldness of delay hang on it,
To nip and blast its favour, like a frost;
But rather chose, at this late hour, to come,
That your fair friend may know I have prevail'd;
The lord protector has receiv'd her suit,
And means to shew her grace.
Alic. My friend I my lord.
Hast. Yes, lady, yours : none has a right more
To task my pow'r than you.
Alic. I want the words,
To pay you back a compliment so courtly ;
But my heart guesses at the friendly meaning,
And wo’ not die your debtor.
Hast. 'Tis well, madam.
But I would see your friend.
Alic. Oh, thou false lord I
I would be mistress of my heaving heart,
Stifle this rising rage, and learn from thee
To dress my face in easy dull indiff'rence:
But 'two' not be; my wrongs will tear their way,
And rush at once upon thee.
Hast. Are you wise
Have you the use of reason Do you wake
What means this raving, this transporting passion
Alic. Oh, thou cool traitor I thou insulting tyrant.
Dost thou behold my poor distracted heart,
Thus rent with agonizing love and rage,
And ask me what it means ? Art thou not false