페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

I see bright truth descending to thy heart, And now my long-lost child is found for ever. Zara. Oh, my father!

Dear author of my life! inform me, teach me, What should my duty do?

Lus. By one short word,

With that Nerestan, whom thou know'stthat Christian!

Oras. And have you, sir, indulg'd that strange desire?

Osman. What mean'st thou? They were infant slaves together;

To dry up all my tears, and make life wel- Friends should part kind, who are to meet

come,

Say thou art a Christian.

Zara. Sir, I am a Christian.

no more.

When Zara asks, I will refuse her nothing:
Restraint was never made for those we love.

Lus. Receive her, gracious heaven! and bless Down with those rigours of the proud seraglio!

her for it.

Enter ORASMIN.

[blocks in formation]

I hate its faws; where blind austerity Sinks virtue to necessity.- My blood Disclaims your Asian jealousy; I hold to The fierce, free plainness of my Scythian ancestors,

That he expects you instant quit this place, And bid your last farewell to these vile Chris

tians.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

Their open confidence, their honest hate,
Their love unfearing, and their anger told.
Go; the good Christian waits; conduct him
to her;
Zara expects thee. What she wills, obey.
[Exit.

Oras. Ho! Christian! enter.
Enter NERESTAN.

Wait a moment here.

Zara will soon approach: I go to find her. [Exit. Ner. In what a state, in what a place, I leave her!

re-Oh, faith! Oh, father! Oh, my poor, lost sister! She's here.

You keep the fatal secret: for the rest, Leave all to heaven-be faithful, and be blest. [Exeunt.

ACT HI

SCENE 1. Enter Osman and OrasMIN. Osman. Orasmin, this alarm was false and groundless;

Lewis no longer turns his arms on me;
The French, grown weary by a length of woes,
Wish not at once to quit their fruitful plains,
And famish on Arabia's desert sands.
Their ships, 'tis true, have spread the Syrian seas:
And-Lewis, hov'ring o'er the coast of Cyprus,
Alarms the fears of Asia,-But I've learn'd,
That, steering wide from our unmenac'd ports,
He points, his thunder at th' Egyptian shore.
There let him war, and waste my enemies;
Their mutual conflict will but fix my throne.
Release those Christians; I restore their freedom:
Twill please their master, nor can weaken me.
Transport 'em, at my cost, to find their king.
I wish to have him know me. Carry thither
This Lusignan; whom, tell him, I restore,
Because I cannot fear his fame in arms,
But love him for his virtue and his blood.
Tell him, my father, having conquer'd twice,
Condemn'd him to perpetual chains; but I
Have set him free, that I might triumph more.
Oras. The Christians gain an army in his

name.

Osman. I cannot fear a sound.
Oras. But, sir, should Lewis-
Osman. Tell Lewis, and the world, it shall
be so:

Zara propos'd it, and my heart approves.
Thy statesman's reason is too dull for love!
But I talk on, and waste the smiling mo-

ments.

For one long hour I yet defer my nuptials; She would employ it in a conference

Enter ZARA.

Thank heaven, it is not then unlawful
To see you yet once more, my lovely sister!
Not all so happy!-VVe, who met but now,
Shall never meet again; for Lusignan-
We shall be orphans still, and want a father.
Zara. Forbid it, heaven!

Ner. His last sad hour's at hand.

That flow of joy, which follow'd our discovery, Too strong and sudden for his age's weakness, Wasting his spirits, dried the source of life, And nature yields him up to time's demand. Shall he not die in peace?-Oh! let no doubt Disturb his parting moments with distrust; Let me, when I return to close his eyes, Compose his mind's impatience too, and tell him,

You are confirm'd a Christian!

Zara. Oh! may his soul enjoy, in earth and heaven,

Eternal rest; nor let one thought, one sigh,
One bold complaint of mine recall his cares!
But you have injur'd me, who still can doubt.
What! am I not your sister? and shall you
Refuse me credit? You suppose me light;
You, who should judge my honour by your

own,

Shall you distrust a truth I dar'd avow,
And stamp apostate on a sister's heart?

Ner. Ah, do not misconceive me; if I er'd,
Affection, not distrust, misled my fear;
Your will may be a Christian, yet not you;
There is a sacred mark, a sign of faith,
A pledge of promise, that must firm your
claim,

Wash you from guilt, and open heaven before you.

Swear, swear by all the woes we all have borne, By all the martyr'd saints who call you daughter,

That you consent, this day, to seal our faith,
By that mysterious rite which waits your call.
Zara. I swear by heaven, and all its holy
host,

Its saints, its martyrs, its attesting angels,
And the dread presence of its living author,
To have no faith but yours-to die a Christian!
Now tell me what this mystic faith requires.
Ner. To hate the happiness of Osman's throne,
And love that God, who, through his maze
of woes,

Has brought us all, unhoping, thus together.
For me I am a soldier, uninstructed,
Nor daring to instruct, though strong in faith:
But I will bring the ambassador of heaven,
To clear your views, and lift you to your God.
Be it your task to gain admission for him.
But where? from whom? Oh! thou immortal
power!

Whence can we hope it, in this curs'd seraglio?
Who is this slave of Osman? Yes, this slave!
Does she not boast the blood of twenty kings?
Is not her race the same with that of Lewis?
Is she not Lusignan's unhappy daughter?
A Christian and my sister? yet a slave,
A willing slave! I dar not speak more plainly.
Zara. Cruel! go on-Alas! you do not

know me.

At once, a stranger to my secret fate,
My pains, my fears, my wishes, and my power:
I am I will be Christian-will receive
This holy priest with his mysterious blessing;
I will not do nor suffer aught unworthy
Myself, my father, or my father's race.
But tell me, nor be tender on this point,
What punishment your Christian laws decree,
For an unhappy wretch, who, to herself
Unknown, and all abandon'd by the world,
Lost and enslav'd, has, in her sovereign master,
Found a protector, generous as great,
Has touch'd his heart, and given him all her
own?

Ner. The punishment of such a slave should be Death in this world, and pain in that to come. Zara. I am that slave! Strike here, and save my shame.

Ner. Destruction to my hopes! Can it be you?,

Zara. It is! ador'd by Osman, I adore him: This hour the nuptial rites will make us one. Ner. What! marry Osman! Let the world grow dark,

Now to subunit to see my sister doom'd
A bosom slave to hire whose tyrant heart
But measures glory by the Christian's woe.
Yes, I will dare acquaint our father with it
Departing Lusignan may live so long,
As just to hear thy shame, and die to 'scape it.
Zara. Stay, my too angry brother; stay,
perhaps,

Zara has resolution great as thine;"
Tis cruel and unkind. Thy words are crimes;
My weakness but misfortune. Dost thou suffer?
I suffer more. Oh! would to heaven this blood
Of twenty boasted kings would stop at once,
And stagnate in my heart! It then no mor
Would rush in hoiling levers through my veins,
And every trembling drop be fill'd with Osman.
How has he lov'd me; how has he oblig'd me
I owe thee to him. VVirat has he not done,
To justify his boundless pow'r of charming?
For me he softens the severe decrees
Of his own faith; and is it just that mine
Should bid me hate him, but because he loves
me?
No- I will be a Christian-but preserve
My gratitude as sacred as my faith;
If I have death to fear for Osman's sake,
It must be from his coldness, not his love,

[ocr errors]

Ner. I must at once condemn and pity thee. Here then begin performance of thy vow Here, in the trembling horrors of thy soul, Promise thy king, thy father, and thy God, Not to accomplish these detested nuptials, Till first the rev'rend priest has cleard your.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

That the extinguish'd sun may hide thy shame! These double weights of duty?-Help me, Could it be thus, it were no crime to kill thee.

heaven!

Zara. Strike, strike! I love him! yes, by To thy hard laws I render up my soul:
But, oh! demand it back; for now 'tis Osman's.

heav'n, I love him.

Ner. Death is thy due; but not thy due

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

1

Osman. Away! this modest, sweet, reluctant trifling

But doubles my desires, and thy own beauties. Zara. Ah, me!

Osman. Nay, but thou shouldst not be too cruel.

Zara. I can no longer bear it.-Oh, my lord

Osman. Ha! What? whence? how? Zara. My lord, my sovereign! Heaven knows this marriage would have been

a bliss

Above my humble hopes: yet, witness, love! Not from the grandeur of your throne, that bliss,

But from the pride of calling Osman mine. But as it is-these Christians

Osman. Christians! What!

How start two images into thy thoughts,
So distant, as the Christians and my love?
Zara. That good old Christian, rev'rend
Lusignan,

Now dying, ends his life and woes together. Osman. Well, let him die. What has thy heart to feel,

Thus pressing, and thus tender, from the death Of an old, wretched Christian?—Thank our prophet,

If it has been that Frenchman- What a thought!
How low, how horrid a suspicion that!
But tell me, didst thou mark 'em at their parting?
Didst thou observe the language of their eyes?
Hide nothing from me.-Is my love betray'd?
Tell me my whole disgrace.-Nay, if thou
tremblest,

I hear thy pity speak, though thou art silent.
Oras. I tremble at the pangs I see you suffer.
Let not your angry apprehensions urge
Your faithful slave to irritate your anguish.
I did, 'tis true, observe some parting tears;
But they were tears of charity and grief.
I cannot think there was a cause deserving
This agony of passion.

Osman. Why, no-I thank thee--
Orasmin, thou art wise. It could not be
That I should stand expos'd to such an insult.
Thou know'st, had Zara meant me the offence,
She wants not wisdom to have hid it better.
How rightly didst thou judge!-Zara shall
know it,

And thank thy honest service.--After all, Might she not have some cause for tears, which I Claim no concern in- but the grief it gives her? What an unlikely fear-from a poor slave Who goes to-morrow, and, no doubt, who wishes,

Nay, who resolves to see these climes no more. Oras. Why did you, sir, against our coun

try's custom,

Thou art no Christian.-Educated here,
Thy happy youth was taught our better faith:
Sweet as thy pity shines, 'tis now mistim'd.
What! though an aged suff'rer dies unhappy, Indulge him with a second leave to come?
Why should his foreign fate disturb our joys? He said he should return once more to see her.
Zara. Sir, if you love me, and would have
me think

That I am truly dear

Osman. Heaven! if I love?

[blocks in formation]

Zara. Oh, I cannot bear his frown. Osman. Of Zara!

[Aside.

Zara. It is dreadful to my heart,
To give you but a seeming cause for anger.
Pardon my grief-alas! I cannot bear it.
There is a painful terror in your eye
That pierces to my soul. Hid from your sight,
I go to make a moment's truce with tears,
And gather force to speak of my despair.
[Exit, disordered.
Osman. I stand immoveable like senseless
marble;

Horror had frozen my suspended tongue,
And an astonish'd silence robb'd my will
Of to tell her that she shock'd my soul.
power
Spoke she to me? Sure I misunderstood her.
Could it be me she left?-What have I seen?

Re-enter ORASMIN.

Orasmin, what a change is here!-She's gone;
And I permitted it, I know not how..
Oras. Perhaps you but accuse the charming
fault

Of innocence, too modest oft in love.
Osman. But why, and whence those tears?
those looks? that flight?
That grief, so strongly stamp'd on every feature?

Osman. Return! the traitor! he return!
Dares he

Presume to press a second interview?
Would he be seen again? He shall be seen;
But dead. I'll punish the audacious slave,
To teach the faithless fair to feel my anger.
Be still, my transports; violence is blind:
I know my heart at once is fierce and weak.
Rather than fall

Beneath myself, I must, how dear soe'er
It costs me, rise-till I look down on Zara!
Away; but mark me-these seraglio doors,
Against all Christians be they henceforth shut,
Close as the dark retreats of silent death.

[Exit Orasmin. What have I done, just heaven! thy rage to

move?

[blocks in formation]

There is a father to be found above,
Opinions which he hates. To-night the priest,
Who can restore that father to his daughter. In private introduc'd, attends you here;
Zara. But I have planted pain in Osman's You promis'd him admission.
Zara. Would I had not!

bosom:

cruel!

He loves me, even to death; and I reward him I promis'd too to keep this fatal secret;
With anguish and despair. How base! how My father's urg'd command requir'd it of me;
I must obey, all dangerous as it is;
Compell'd to silence, Osman is enrag'd,
Suspicion follows, and I lose his love,
Enter OSMAN.

But I deserv'd him not; I should have been
Too happy, and the hand of heav'n repell'd me.
Sel. What! will you then regret the glo-
rious loss

And hazard thus a vict'ry bravely won?

Osman. Madam, there was a time when y
charm'd heart

Made it a virtue to be lost in love;.
When, without blushing, I indulg'd my flame,
And every day still made you dearer to me.
You taught me, madam, to believe my love ·
Rewarded and return'd; nor was that hope,
Methinks, too bold for reason. Emperors
Who choose to sigh devoted at the feet
Of beauties, whom the world conceive their
slaves,

Zara. Inhuman victory!--thou dost not know This love so pow'rful; this sole joy of life; This first best hope of earthly happiness, Is yet less pow'rful in my heart than heaven. To him who made that heart I offer it: There, there I sacrifice my bleeding passion; I pour before him ev'ry guilty tear; I beg him to efface the fond impression, And fill with his own image all my soul. But, while I weep and sigh, repent and pray, Remembrance brings the object of my love,Have fortune's claim, at least, to sure success: But 'twere profane to think of power in love. Dear as my passion makes you, I decline

And ev'ry light illusion floats before bim.

I see, I hear him, and again he charms;

Fills my glad soul, and shines 'twixt me and Possession of her charms, whose heart's ano

heav'n!

Oh, all ye royal ancestors! Oh, father!
Mother! You Christians, and the Christians'
God!

You who deprive me of this gen'rous lover!
If you permit me not to live for him,
Let me not live at all, and I am bless'd.
Sel. Ah! despair not;

Trust your eternal helper, and be happy.
Zara. Why, what has Osman done, that
he too should not?

Has heaven so nobly form'd his heart to hate
it?

Gen'rous and just, beneficent and brave,
Were he but Christian--What can man be

more?

I wish, methinks, this rev'rend priest was come
To free me from these doubts, which shake
my soul:

Yet know not why I should not dare to hope,
That heav'n, whose mercy all confess and feel,
Will pardon and approve th' alliance wish'd.
Perhaps it seats me on the throne of Syria,
To tax my pow'r for these good Christians'
comfort.

ther's.

[blocks in formation]

Go, madam;

mc.

you are free-from Osman's
pow'r :
Expect no wrongs; but see his face no more..
Zara. At last 'tis come -the fear'd, the
murd'ring moment

Is come; and I am curs'd by earth and heaven!
[Throws herself on the Ground.
If it is true that I am lov'd no more;
If you-

Thou know'st the mighty Saladine, who first
Conquer'd this empire from my father's race, Osman. It is true, my fame requires it;
Who, like my Osman, charm'd th' admiring It is too true that I unwilling leave you;
That I at once renounce you and adore-
Zara, you weep!

world,
Drew breath, though Syrian, from a Christian
mother.
Sel. What mean you, madam? Ah, you
do not see—

Zara. Yes, yes, I see it all; I am not blind:
I see my country, and my race condemn me;
I see that, spite of all, I still love Osman.
What if I now go throw me at his feet,
And tell him there sincerely what I am?

Zara. If I am doom'd to lose you!
If I must wander o'er an empty world,
Unloving and unlov'd. Oh! yet do justice
To the afflicted; do not wrong me doubly.
Punish me, if 'tis needful to your peace,
But say not I deserv'd it.

But, ah! my heart was never known to Osman.
May heav'n, that punishes, for ever hate me,

Sel. Consider that might cost your bro-If I regret the loss of aught but you.

ther's life,

Expose the Christians, and betray you all.
Zara. You do not know the noble heart of
Osman.

Sel. I know him the protector of a faith,
Sworn enemy to ours: the more he loves,
The less will he permit you to profess

Osman. Rise!

What! is it love to force yourself to wound
The heart you wish to gladden? But I find
Lovers least know themselves; for I believ'd
That I had taken back the power I gave you
Yet see! you did but weep, and have resum'd
me!

Proud as I am, I must confess one wish
Evades my power-the blessing to forget you.
Zara, thy tears were form'd to teach disdain,
That softness can disarm it. 'Tis decreed,
I must for ever love; but from what cause,
If thy consenting heart partakes my fires,
Art thou reluctant to a blessing meant me?
Speak! is it artifice?

O! spare the needless pains: art was not made
For Zara. Art, however innocent,
Looks like deceiving; I abhorr'd it ever.

Zara. Alas! I have no art; not even enough
To hide this love, and this distress you give me.
Osman. New riddles! Speak with plainness
to my soul;

What canst thou mean?

Zara. I have no power to speak it.
Osman. Is it some secret dangerous to my
state?

Is it some Christian plot grown ripe against me?
·Zara. Lives there a wretch so vile as to
betray you?

Osman is bless'd beyond the reach of fear:
Fears and misfortunes threaten only Zara.
Osman. Why threaten Zara?
Zara. Permit me at your feet,

us trembling to beseech a favour from you.
Isman. A favour! Oh, you guide the will
of Osman.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

Osman. Be as 'twill, it shall be read.
[Opens the Letter.
Fate, be thy call obey'd.-Orasmin, mark—
Hell! tortures! death! and woman!-What,
Orasmin,
Zara?

Ah! would to heav'n our duties were Are we awake?-Heard'st thou?-Can this be

The
Thyra.
Swe
Whis day,

united:

this one sad, unhappy day, permit me, ze, and far divided from your eye, Cover my distress, lest you, too tender, Thuld see and share it with me: from to

morrow

will not have a thought conceal'd from you. Osman. If it must be, it must. Be pleas'd, my will

es purpose from your wishes; and consent pends not on my choice, but your decree: ; but remember how he loves, who thus Finds a delight in pain, because you give it. Zara. It gives me more than pain to make you feel it.

Osman. And can you, Zara, leave me?
Zara. Alas, my lord.
[Exit.
Osman. It should be yet, methinks, too soon
to fly me;

Too soon, as yet, to wrong my easy faith,
The more I think, the less I can conceive
What hidden cause should raise such strange]

despair!

[blocks in formation]

Now, when her hopes have wings, and every This fountain of her tears, which my weak

wish

Is courted to be lively! When I love,
And joy and empire press her to their bosom;
To see her eyes through tears shine mystic love!
Yet, was I blameless? No-I was too rash;
I have felt jealousy, and spoke it to her;
I have distrusted her-and still she loves:
Gen'rous atouement that!-I remark❜d,
Ev'n while she wept, her soul a thousand times
Sprung to her lips, and long'd to leap to mine,
With honest, ardent utt'rance of her love.
Who can possess a heart so low, so base,
To look such tenderness, and yet have none?

Enter MELIDOR, with ORASMIN.
Mel. This letter, great disposer of the world!
Address'd to Zara, and in private brought,

heart

[blocks in formation]
« 이전계속 »