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Am I not scorn'd, forsaken, and abandon'd,
Left, like a common wretch, to shame and infamy,
Giv'n up to be the sport of villains' tongues,
Of laughing parasites, and lewd buffoons;
And all because my soul has deated on thee
With love, with truth, and tenderness unutterable?
Hast. Are these the proofs of tenderness and lover
These endless quarrels, discontents, and jealousies,
These never-ceasing wailings and complainings,
These furious starts, these whirlwinds of the soul,
Which every other moment rise to madness
Alic. What proof, alas I have I not giv'n of love?
What have I not abandon'd to thy arms r
Have I not set at nought my noble birth,
A spotless fame, and an unblemish'd race,
The peace of innocence, and pride of virtue *
My prodigality has giv'n thee all;
And now, I’ve nothing left me to bestow,
You hate the wretched bankrupt you have made.
Hast. Why am I thus pursu’d from place to place,
Kept in the view, and cross'd at every turn
In vain I fly, and, like a hunted deer,
Scud o'er the lawns, and hasten to the covert;
E’er I can reach my safety, you o'ertake me
With the swift malice of some keen reproach,
And drive the winged shaft deep in my heart.
Alic. Hither you fly, and here you seek repose;
Spite of the poor deceit, your arts are known,
Your pious, charitable midnight visits.
Hast. If you are wise, and prize your peace of mind,
Yet take the friendly counsel of my love;
Believe me true, nor listen to your jealousy.
Let not that devil, which undoes your sex,
That cursed curiosity seduce you,
To hunt for needless secrets, which, neglected,
Shall never hurt your quiet; but once known,
Shall sit upon your heart, pinch it with pain,
And banish the sweet sleep for ever from you.
Go to—be yet advis’d—
Alic. Dost thou in scorn,
Preach patience to my rage, and bid me tamely
Sit like a poor contented idiot down,
Nor dare to think thou'st wrong'd met Ruin seize
And swift perdition overtake thy treachery.
Have-I the least remaining cause to doubt
Hast thou endeavour’d once to hide thy falsehood
To hide it might have spoke some little tenderness,
And shewn thee half unwilling to undo me:
But thou disdain'st the weakness of humanity,
Thy words, and all thy actions, have confess'd it;
Ev’n now thy eyes avow it, now they speak,
And insolently own the glorious villany.
Hast. Well, then, I own my heart has broke your
Patient I bore the painful bondage long,
At length my gen’rous love disdains your tyranny;
The bitterness and stings of taunting jealousy,
Vexatious days, and jarring, joyless nights,
Have driv'n him forth to seek some safer shelter,
Where he may rest his weary wings in peace.
Alic. You triumph! do and with gigantic pride
Defy impending vengeance. Heav'n shall wink; f
No more his arm shall roll the dreadful thunder,
Nor send his lightnings forth : no more his justice
Shall visit the presuming sons of men,
But perjury, like thine, shall dwell in safety.
Hast. Whate'er my fate decrees for me hereafter,
Be present to me now, my better angel!
Preserve me from the storm that threatens now,
And if I have beyond attonement sinn'd,
Let any other kind of plague o'ertake me,
So I escape the fury of that tongue.
Alic. Thy pray’r is heard—I go—but know, proud
Howe'er thou scorn'st the weakness of my sex,
This feeble hand may find the means to reach thee,
Howe'er sublime in pow'r and greatness plac'd,
With royal favour guarded round and grac'd;
On eagle's wings my rage shall urge her flight,
And hurl thee headlong from thy topmost height;
Then, like thy fate, superior will I sit,
And view thee fall’n, and grov'ling at my feet;
See thy last breath with indignation go,
And tread thee sinking to the shades below. [Exit.
Hast. How fierce a fiend is passion I With what
What tyranny untam'd it reigns in woman
Unhappy sex whose easy yielding temper
Gives way to ev'ry appetite alike:
“Each gust of inclination, uncontrol’d,
“Sweeps thro’ their souls and sets them in an uproar;
“Each motion of the heart rises to fury,”
And love in their weak bosoms is a rage
As terrible as hate, and as destructive.
“So the wind roars o'er the wide fenceless ocean,
“And heaves the billows of the boiling deep,
“Alike from north, from south, from east, from
“With equal force the tempest blows by turns
“From every corner of the seaman's compass.”
But soft ye now—for here comes one, disclaims
Strife and her wrangling train; of equal elements,
Without one jarring atom was she form’d,
And gentleness and joy make up her being.
Forgive me, fair one, if officious friendship
Intrudes on your repose, and comes thus late
To greet you with the tidings of success.
The princely Gloster has vouchsaf'd your hearing,
To-morrow he expects you at the court;
There plead your cause, with never-failing beauty,
Speak all your griefs, and find a full redress.
J. Sh. Thus humbly let your lowly servant bend.
Thus let me bow my grateful knee to earth,
And bless your noble nature for this goodness.
Hast. Rise, gentle dame, you wrong my meaning
Think me not guilty of a thought so vain,
To sell my courtesy for thanks like these.
J. Sh. 'Tis true, your bounty is beyond my speak-
But tho' my mouth be dumb, my heart shall thank
And when it melts before the throne of mercy,
Mourning and bleeding for my past offences,
My fervent soul shall breathe one pray’r for you,
If pray'rs of such a wretch are heard on high,
That Heav'n will pay you back, when most you need,
The grace and goodness you have shewn to me.
Hast. If there be ought of merit in my service,
Impute it there, where most 'tis due, to love;
Be kind, my gentle mistress, to my wishes,
And satisfy my panting heart with beauty.
J. Sh. Alas! my lord
Hast. Why bend thy eyes to earth
Wherefore these looks of heaviness and sorrow
Why breathes that sigh, my love And wherefore
This trickling show’r of tears, to stain thy sweetness *
J. Sh. If pity dwells within your noble breast,
(As sure it does) Oh, speak not to me thus.
Hast. Can I behold thee, and not speak of love
Ev’n now, thus sadly as thou stand'st before me,
Thus desolate, dejected, and forlorn,
Thy softness steals upon my yielding senses,