페이지 이미지

world holds not such another wretch. All this] Stuke. Rather let him fly. His evidence large fortune, this second bounty of heaven, may crush his master. that might have healed our sorrows, and satisfied our utmost hopes, in a cursed hour I sold last night.

Mrs. B. Impossible!

Beo. That devil, Stukely, with all hell to aid him, tempted me to the deed. To pay false debts of honour, and to redeem past errors, I sold the reversion-Sold it for a scanty sum, and lost it among villains.

Char. Why, farewell all then!

Beo. Liberty and life-Come, kneel and

curse me.

Mrs B. Then hear me, heaven! [Kneels] Look down with mercy on his sorrows! Give softness to his looks, and quiet to his heart! Take from his memory the sense of what is past, and cure him of despair! On me, on me, if misery must be the lot of either, multiply misfortunes! I'll bear them patiently, so he is happy! These hands shall toil for his support! These eyes be lifted up for hourly blessings on him! And every duty of a fond and faithful wife be doubly done, to cheer and comfort him! So hear me!-So reward me! [Rises. Beo. I would kneel too, but that offended heaven would turn my prayers into curses. For I have done a deed to make life horrible

[blocks in formation]

Enter STUKely.

Bev. Why is this villain here!

Stuke. To give you liberty and safety. There, madam, is his discharge. [Giving a Paper to Mrs. Beverley] The arrest last night was meant in friendship, but came too late. Char. What mean you, sir?

Stuke. The arrest was too late, I


Bev. Why ay; this looks like management. Bates. He found you quarrelling with Lewson in the streets last night. [To Beverley Mrs. B. No; I am sure he did not. Jar. Or if I did

[blocks in formation]

Stuke. Who sent for Dawson? Bates. Twas I-We have a witness too you little think of-without there! Stuke. What witness?

Bates. A right one. Look at him.

Enter LEWSON and CHARLOTTE. Stuke. Lewson! O villains! villains!

[To Bates and Dawson. Mrs. B. Risen from the dead! Why, this is unexpected happiness!

Char. Or is it his ghost? [To Stukely] That sight would please you, sir.

Jar. What riddle's this?

Beo. Be quick and tell it—My' minutes are but few.

Mrs. B. Alas! Why so? You shall live long and happily.

Lew. While shame and punishment shall rack that viper! [Pointing to Stukely] The tale is short-I was too busy in his secrets. and therefore doomed to die. Bates, to pre vent the murder, undertook it—I kept aloof t

give it credit.

Char. And gave me pangs unutterable. Lew. I felt them all, and would have tok you-But vengeance wanted ripening. villain's scheme was but half executed.



would have kept his hands from blood, but arrest by Dawson followed the supposed murde -And now, depending on his once wicked as Mrs. B. His hands from blood!—whose blood?sociates, he comes to fix the guilt on Beverley

was too late.

Stuke. From Lewson's blood.

Char. No, villain! Yet what of Lewson? Speak quickly.

Stuke. You are ignorant then! I thought

heard the murderer at confession.


[blocks in formation]

Bates. Dawson and I are witnesses of this Lew. And of a thousand frauds. His for tune ruined by sharpers and false dice; an Stukely sole contriver and possessor of all. Daw. Had he but stopped on this side murder we had been villains still.

Lew. How does my friend? [To Beverley Bee. Why, well. Who's he that asks me look so at him? Mrs. B. Tis Lewson, love-Why do you

Beo. They told me he was murdered.


Mrs. B. Ay; but he lives to save us. Beo. Lend me your hand-The room turns round.

Lew. This villain here disturbs him. Remove him from his sight-And, for your lives, see that you guard him. [Stukely is taken off by Dawson and Bates] How is it, sir?

Bev. 'Tis here--and here. [Pointing to his Head and Heart] And now it tears_me.

Mrs. B. You feel convulsed too-What ist disturbs you?

Beo. A furnace rages in this heart-Down, restless flames! [Laying his Hand on his Heurt] Down to your native hell-There you shall rack mee-Oh! for a pause from pain!

Where's my wife?-Can you forgive me, love?

Mrs. B. Alas! for what?

Bev. For meanly dying.

Mrs. B. No-do not say it.

Mrs. B. Restore him, heaven! Oh, save him! save him! or let me die too.

Bev. No; live, I charge you. We have a little one.- -Though I have left him, you will

Beo. As truly as my soul must answer it-not leave him.-To Lewson's, kindness I beHad Jarvis staid this morning all had been queath him.-Is not this Charlotte?-We have well. But, pressed by shame-pent in a prison lived in love, though I have wronged you.-tormented with my pangs for you-driven Can you forgive me, Charlotte?

to despair and madness-I took the advantage
of his absence, corrupted the poor wretch he
left to guard me, and swallowed poison.
Lew. Oh, fatal deed!

Char. Dreadful and cruel!

Char. Forgive you! Oh, my poor brother!
Beo. Oh! for a few short moments to tell
you how my heart bleeds for you-That even
now, thus dying as I am, dubious and fearful
of hereafter, my bosom-pang is for your mis-
eries! Support her, heaven!-And now I go-
Oh, mercy! mercy!

Lew. How is it, madam?
Char. Her grief is speechless.

Bev. Ay, most accursed-And now I go to my account. Bend me, and let me kneel. [Kneels.] I'll pray for you too. Thou power that madest me, hear me! If for a life of frailty, and this too hasty deed of death, thy justice Lew. Remove her from this sight-lead and dooms me, here I acquit the sentence; but if, support her-Some ministering angel bring her enthroned in mercy where thou sittest, thy peace! [Charlotte leads her off] And thou, pity has beheld me, send me a gleam of hope, poor, breathless corpse, may thy departed soul that in these last and bitter moments my soul have found the rest it prayed for! Save but may taste of comfort! and for these mourners one error, and this last fatal deed, thy life was here, oh! let their lives be peaceful, and their lovely. Let frailer minds take warning; and deaths happy! from example learn, that want of prudence is [They lift him to the Chair. want of virtue. [Exit.


Was not more remarkable for moving the tender passions, than for the variety of fortune to which he himself subjected. He was the son of the Rev. Mr. Humphrey Otway, rector of Wolbeding, in Sussex, and was born at Tretton in that county, the 5d of March in the year 1651. He received his education at Wickeham school, near Winchester, and became a commoner of Christ Church, in Oxford, in 1669. But on his quitting the university, in 17, and coming to London, he turned player. His success as an actor was but indifferent, having made only one mpt in Mrs. Behn's tragedy of The Fore'd Marriage; or, Jealous Bridegroom; he was more valued for the sprightLaess of his conversation and the acuteness of his wit; which gained him the friendship of the Earl of Plymouth, who procured him a cornel's, commission in the troops which then served in Flanders. At his return from Flanders he gave his commission and had recourse to writing for the stage; and now it was that he found out the only employment that nature seems to have fitted him for. In comedy he has been deemed to licentious; which, however, was great objection to those who lived in the profligate days of Charles II. But in tragedy few of our English poets ever equalled him; and perhaps none ever excelled him in touching the passions, particularly that of love. There is serally something familiar and domestic in the fable of his tragedy, and there is amazing energy in his expression but though Otway possessed, in so eminent a degree, the rare talent of writing to the heart, yet he was not very farably regarded by some of his contemporary poets; nor was he always successful in his dramatic compositions. Af1 experiencing many reverses of fortune, in regard to his circumstances, but generally changing for the worse, he at at died wretchedly in a house, known by the sign of a Bull, on Tower Hill, April 14, 1685. whither he had retired avoid the pressure of his creditors. Some have said, that downright hunger compelling him to fall too eagerly upon 1 piece of bread, of which he had been some time in want, the first mouthful choked him, and instantly put a period to his days.



ACTED at the Duke's Theatre, 1682. This interesting tragedy is borrowed, with respect to the plan of it at least, from a little book that relates the circumstances of the Spanish conspiracy at Venice, i. c. the Abbé de St. Real's Hiswire du la Conjuration du Marquis de Badamar. The speech of Renault to the conspirators is translated word for word from this author. It has been remarked, that though, on the whole, the incidents of Otway's piece are interesting, nd the catastrophe affecting, there is not one truly valuable character in the whole drama, except that of Belvidera. To this, however, we cannot entirely subscribe. The character of Pierre is nobly drawn His public services had been Peturned with ingratitude, and he was a greatly injured character; but was justly punished for taking a treasonable mode of redressing his wrongs. The scene lies in Venice. By comparing this with The Orphan, it will appear images were by time become stronger, and his language more energetic. The public seems to judge rightly of the frails and excellencies of this play; that it is the work of a man not attentive to decency, nor zealous for virtue, but of ee who conceived forcibly, and drew originally, by consulting nature in his own breast, Mr. Dryden says, "the mobees which are studied are never so natural as those which break out in the height of a real passion. Mr. Otway pussessed this part as thoroughly as any of the ancients or moderns. I will not defend every thing in his Venice Prered; but I must bear this testimony to his memory, that the passions are truly touched in it, though perhaps there 4 somewhat to be desired, both in the grounds of them, and in the height and elegance of expression; but nature is there, which is the greatest beauty."

[blocks in formation]


SCENE I-A Street in Venice.

Pri. No more! I'll hear no more! Be gone
and leave me.

Jaf. Not hear me! By my suffering but you shall!

May all your joys in her prove false, like mine;
A sterile fortune, and a barren bed,
Attend you both; continual discord make
Your days and nights bitter and grievous; still
May the hard hand of a vexatious need
Oppress and grind you; till at last you find
The curse of disobedience all your portion.
Jaf. Half of your curse you have bestow'd
in vain:

My lord, my lord! I'm not that abject wretch
You think me. Patience! where's the distance Heav'n has already crown'd our faithful loves
With a young boy, sweet as his mother's


Me back so far, but I may boldly speak

In right, though proud oppression will not hear May he live to prove more gentle than his


Pri. Have you not wrong'd me?
Jaf. Could my nature e'er

Have brook'd injustice, or the doing wrongs,
I need not now thus low have bent myself
To gain a hearing from a cruel father.
Wrong'd you?

Pri. Yes, wrong'd me! In the nicest point, The honour of my house, you've done me wrong.

You may remember (for I now will speak, And urge its baseness) when you first came home

From travel, with such hopes as made you

look'd on,

By all men's eyes, a youth of expectation;


And happier than his father.

Pri. Rather live

To bait thee' for his bread, and din your ears
With hungry cries; whilst his unhappy mother
Sits down and weeps in bitterness of want.
Jaf. You talk as if 'twould please you.
Pri. Twould, by heav'n!

Jaf. Would I were in my grave!

Pri. And she too with thee:

For, living here, you're but my curst remembrancers.

I once was happy.

Jaf. You use me thus, because you know my soul Is fond of Belvidera. You perceive

Pleas'd with your growing virtue, I receiv'd My life feeds on her, therefore thus you treat



Courted, and sought to raise you to your Oh! could my soul ever have known satiety;
Were I that thief, the doer of such wrongs
As you upbraid me with, what hinders me
But I might send her back to you with con-

My house, my table, nay, my fortune too,
My very self was yours; you might have us'd


To your best service; like an open friend
I treated, trusted you, and thought you mine:
When, in requital of my best endeavours,
You treacherously practis'd to undo me;
Seduc'd the weakness of my age's darling,
My only child, and stole her from my bosom.
Oh Belvidera!

And court my fortune where she would be kinder?

Pri. You dare not do't.

Jaf. Indeed, my lord, I dare not.
My heart, that awes me, is too much my


Three years are past, since first our vows were plighted,

During which time, the world must bear me

I've treated Belvidera like your daughter,
The daughter of a senator of Venice:
Distinction, place, attendance, and observance,
Due to her birth, she always has commanded
Out of my little fortune I've done this;
Because (though hopeless e'er to win your

Jaf. 'Tis to me you owe her: Childless you had been else, and in the grave Your name extinct; no more Priuli heard of. You may remember, scarce five years are past, Since in your brigantine you sail'd to see The Adriatic wedded by our duke; And I was with you: your unskilful pilot Dash'd us upon a rock; when to your boat You made for safety: enter'd first yourself; Th' affrighted Belvidera following next, As she stood trembling on the vessel's side, Was, by a wave, wash'd off into the deep; When instantly I plung'd into the sea, And buffeting the billows to her rescue, Jaf. Yes, all, and then adieu for ever. Redeem'd her life with half the loss of mine.There's not a wretch, that lives on common Like a rich conquest, in one hand I bore her, And with the other dash'd the saucy waves, That throng'd and press'd to rob me of my prize.

I brought her, gave her to your despairing


Indeed you thank'd me; but a nobler gratitude
Rose in her soul: for from that hour she lov'd

Till for her life she paid me with herself.
Pri. You stole her from me; like a thief
you stole her,

At dead of night! that cursed hour you chose
To rifle me of all my heart held dear.

The world might see I lov'd her for herself;
Not as the heiress of the great Priuli.
Pri. No more.


But's happier than me: for I have known
The luscious sweets of plenty; every night
Have slept with soft content about my head,
And never wak'd, but to a joyful morning;
Yet now must fall, like a full ear of corn,
Whose blossom 'scap'd, yet's wither'd in

Pri. Home, and be humble; study to retrench
Discharge the lazy vermin of thy hall,
Those pageants of thy folly:
Reduce the glitt'ring trappings of thy wife
To humble weeds, fit for thy little state:
Then, to some suburb cottage both retire;







[ocr errors]


[blocks in formation]

Pier. My friend, good morrow!
How fares the honest partner of my heart?
What, melancholy! not a word to spare me?
Jaf. I'm thinking, Pierre, how that damn'd
starving quality,
Call'd honesty, got footing in the world.

Pier. Why, powerful villany first set it up,
For its own ease and safety. Honest men
Are the soft easy cushions on which knaves
Repose and fatten. Were all mankind villains,
They'd starve each other; lawyers would want

Cut-throats rewards: each man would kill his

Himself; none would be paid or hang'd for

Honesty! 'twas a cheat invented first
To bind the hands of bold deserving rogues,
That fools and cowards might sit safe in power,
And lord it uncontrol'd above their betters.
Jaf. Then honesty is but a notion?
Pier. Nothing else;

Like wit, much talk'd of, not to be defin’d:
He that pretends to most, too, has least share in't.
Tis a ragged virtue: Honesty! no more on't.
Jaf. Sure thou art honest!

Pier. So, indeed, men think me;
But they're mistaken, Jaffier: I'm a rogue .
As well as they;

A fine, gay, bold-fac'd villain as thou seest me.
Tis true, I pay my debts, when they're con-

1 steal from no man; would not cut a throat
To gain admission to a great man's purse,
Or a whore's bed; I'd not betray my friend
To get his place or fortune; I scorn to flatter
A blown-up fool above me, or crush the wretch
beneath me;
Yet, Jaffier, for all this I'm a villain.
Jaf. A villain!

Pier. Yes, a most notorious villain;
To see the sufferings of my fellow creatures,
And own myself a man: to see our senators
Cheat the deluded people with a show
Of liberty, which yet they ne'er must taste of.
They say, by them our hands are free from

Yet whom they please they lay in basest bonds;
Bring whom they please to infamy and sorrow;
Drive us, like wrecks, down the rough tide

of power,
Whilst no hold's left to save us from destruction.
All that bear this are villains, and I one,
Not to rouse up at the great call of nature,
And check the growth of these domestic spoilers,
That make us slaves, and tell us, 'tis our charter.

Jaf. I think no safely can be here for virtue,
And grieve, my friend, as much as thou, to live
In such a wretched state as this of Venice,
Where all agree to spoil the public good;
And villains fatten with the brave man's labours.

Pier. We've neither safety, unity, nor peace,
For the foundation's lost of common good;
Justice is lame, as well as blind, amongst us;
The laws (corrupted to their ends that make 'em)
Serve but for instruments of some new tyramry, ·
That every day starts up, t'enslave us deeper.
Now could this glorious cause but find out friends
To do it right, oh, Jaffier! then might'st thou
Not wear these seals of woe upon thy face;
The proud Priuli should be taught humanity,
And learn to value such a son as thou art.
I dare not speak, but my heart bleeds this moment.
Jaf. Curs'd be the cause, though I thy friend
be part on't:

Let me partake the troubles of thy bosom,
For I am us'd to misery, and perhaps
May find a way to sweeten't to thy spirit.

Pier. Too soon 'twill reach thy knowledge-
Jaf. Then from thee

Let it proceed. There's virtue in thy friendship,
Would make the saddest tale of sorrow pleasing,
Strengthen my constancy and welcome ruin.
Pier. Then thou art ruined!


Jaf. That I long since knew;

and ill fortune have been long acquainted.
Pier. I pass'd this very moment by thy doors,
And found them guarded by a troop of villains;
The sons of public rapine were destroying.
They told me, by the sentence of the law,
They had commission to seize all thy fortune:
Nay more, Priuli's cruel hand had sign'd it.
Here stood a ruffian with a horrid face,
Lording it o'er a pile of massy plate,
Tumbled into a heap for public sale;
There was another, making villanous jests
At thy undoing: he had ta'en possession
Of all thy ancient, most domestic ornaments,
Rich hangings intermix'd and wrought with gold;
The very bed, which on thy wedding-night
Receiv'd thee to the arms of Belvidera,
The scene of all thy joys, was violated
By the coarse hands of filthy dungeon villains,
And thrown amongst the common lumber.
Jaf. Now thank heaven-

Pier. Thank heaven! for what?
Jaf. That I'm not worth a ducat.
Pier. Curse thy dull stars, and the worse
fate of Venice,
Where brothers, friends, and fathers, all are

Where there's no truth, no trust; where in


Stoops under vile oppression, and vice lords it.
Hadst thou but seen, as I did, how at last
Thy beauteous Belvidera, like a wretch.
That's doom'd to banishment,came weeping forth,
Shining through tears, like April suns in showers,
That labour to o'ercome the cloud that loads 'em;
Whilst two young virgins, on whose arms
she lean'd,

Kindly look'd up, and at her grief grew sad,
As if they catch'd the sorrows that fell from her.
Ev'n the lewd rabble, that were gather'd round
To see the sight, stood mute when they beheld her;
Govern'd their roaring throats, and grumbled pity.
I could have hugg'd the greasy rogues: they
pleas'd me.

[ocr errors]

Jaf. Ithank thee for this story, from my soul; | Were in their spring! Has then our fortune Since now I know the worst that can befal me.


Ah, Pierre! I have a heart that could have borne Art thou not Belvidera, still the same,
The roughest wrong my fortune could have Kind, good, and tender, as my arms first found

done me;

But when I think what Belvidera feels,
The bitterness her tender spirit tastes of,
I own myself a coward: bear my weakness:
If throwing thus my arms about thy neck,
I play the boy, and blubber in thy bosom.
Oh! I shall drown thee with my sorrows.
Pier. Burn,

First, burn and level Venice to thy ruin.
What! starve, like beggars' brats, in frosty

Under a hedge, and whine ourselves to death!
Thou or thy cause shall never want assistance,
Whilst I have blood or fortune fit to serve thee:
Command my heart, thou'rt every way its master.
Jaf. No, there's a secret pride in bravely dying.
Pier. Rats die in holes and corners, dogs
run mad;


If thou art alter'd, where shall I have harbour?
Where ease my
loaded heart? Oh! where
Bel. Does this appear like change, or love

When thus I throw myself into thy bosom,
With all the resolution of strong truth!
Beats not my heart, as 'twould alarum thine
To a new charge of bliss?—I joy more in thee,
Than did thy mother, when she hugg'd thee first,
And bless'd the gods for all her travail past.
Jaf. Can there in woman be such glorious

Sure all ill stories of thy sex are false!
Oh woman! lovely woman! nature made thee
To temper man: we had been brutes without you!
Angels are painted fair to look like you:
There's in you all that we believe of heaven;
Amazing brightness, purity, and truth,
Eternal joy, and everlasting love.

Man knows a braver remedy for sorrow:
Revenge, the attribute of gods; they stamp'd it,
With their great image, on our natures. Die!
Consider well the cause, that calls upon thee: Bel. Iflove be treasure, we'll be wondrous rich;
Aud, if thou'rt base enough, die then. Remember, I have so much, my heart will surely break with't:
Thy Belvidera suffers; Belvidera!
Vows can't express it. When I would declare
Die-damn first-What! be decently interr'd How great's my joy, I'm dumb with the big
In a church-yard, and mingle thy brave dust
With stinking rogues, that rot in winding-sheets, I swell, and sigh, and labour with my longing.
Surfeit-slain fools, the common dung o'th' soil! O! lead me to some desert wide and wild,
Jaf. Oh!
Barren as our misfortunes, where my soul
Pier. Well said, out with't, swear a little-May have its vent, where I may tell aloud
Jaf. Swear! By sea and air; by earth, by To the high heavens, and ev'ry list'ning planet,
heav'n, and hell,
With what a boundless stock my bosom's

I will revenge my Belvidera's tears.
Hark thee, my friend-Priuli-is-a senator.
Pier. A dog.

Jaf. Agreed.

Pier. Shoot him.

Jaf. With all my heart.

No more; where shall we meet at night?
Pier. I'll tell thee;

On the Rialto, every night at twelve,
I take my evening's walk of meditation;
There we two will meet, and talk of precious

Jaf. Farewell.

Pier. At twelve.

[blocks in formation]

Poor Belvidera!



Where I may throw my eager arms about thee,
Give loose to love, with kisses kindling joy,
And let off all the fire that's in my heart.

Jaf. Oh, Belvidera! doubly I'm a beggar:
Undone by fortune, and in debt to thee.
Want, worldly want, that hungry, meagre fiend,
Is at my heels, and chases me in view.
Canst thou bear cold and hunger? Can these

Fram'd for the tender offices of love,
Endure the bitter gripes of smarting poverty?
When banish'd by our miseries abroad
(As suddenly we shall be) to seek out
In some far climate, where our names are

For charitable succour; wilt thou then,
When in a bed of straw we shrink together,
And the bleak winds shall whistle round our

[blocks in formation]

Though my distracted senses should forsake me,
I'd find some intervals, when my poor heart
Should 'swage itself, and be let loose to thine.
Though the bare earth be all our resting-place,
Its roots our food, some clift our habitation,
I'll make this arm a pillow for thine head;
And, as thou sighing ly'st, and swell'd with


Bel. Lead me, lead me, my virgins, To that kind voice. My lord, my love, my refuge! Happy my eyes, when they behold thy face! My heavy heart will leave its doleful beating At sight of thee, and bound with sprightly joys. Creep to thy bosom, pour the balm of love Oh smile! as when our loves were in their spring, Into thy soul, and kiss thee to thy rest; And cheer my fainting soul. Then praise our God, and watch thee till the Jaf. As when our loves morning.

« 이전계속 »