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What will they all produce but Zara's tears, Had I not seen, had I not read, such proof
And let some trusty slave convey the letter,What, harsh, mysterious words were those I Re-clos'd to her own hand: then shall you
Spfte of her frauds, disguise, and artifice,
Here, take this fatal letter; choose a slave
So, madam! fortune will befriend my cause,
To end our mutual pain, that both may rest.
But you deceiv'd yourself, and injur'd me. There is, I'm told, an object more deserving Your love than Osman: I would know his
Be just, nor trifle with my anger: tell me.
While yet the thunder rolls suspended, stay it;
Let thy voice charm me, and recall my soul, That turns averse, and dwells no more on Zara. Zara. Can it be Osman speaks, and speaks
Learn, cruel! learn that this afflicted heart, This heart which heaven delights to prove by
Osman. What fears should Osman feel, since Zara loves him?
Zara. I cannot live, and answer to your voice
In that reproachful tone; your angry eye
Osman should disbelieve it?-Again, again :
Re-enter ORASMIN. Orasmin, she's perfidious, even beyond. Her sex's undiscover'd power of seeming. Say, hast thou chosen a slave? Is he instructed?..
Haste to detect her vileness and my wrongs. Oras. Punctually I have obey'd your whole
Enter OSMAN and ORASMIN. Osman. Swifter, ye hours, move on; my fury glows
In secret witness I am wholly yours. [Zara reads the Letter. Sel. Thou everlasting Ruler of the world! Shed thy wish'd mercy on our hopeless tears; Impatient, and would push the wheels of time. Redeem us from the hands of hated infidels, How now? What message dost thou bring? And save my princess from the breast of Osman. Speak boldly. [Aside. What answer gave she to the letter sent her? Zura. I wish, my friend, the comfort of Mel. She blush'd, and trembled, and grew pale, and paus'd;
Sel. Retire-you shall be call'd-wait near Then blush'd, and read it, and again grew pale; -go, leave us., And wept, and smil'd, and doubted, and re[Exit Melidor. solv'd: Zara. Read this, and tell me what I ought For after all this race of varied passions, When she had sent me out, and call'd me back,
For I would gladly hear my brother's voice.
Tis not your brother calls you, but your God.
But can I, ought I, to engage myself,
Your love speaks loudest to your shrinking soul.
Yet cannot your neglected heart efface
Zara. What reproach
Orasmin! Friend! return, I cannot bear This absence from thy reason: 'twas unkind, ready?"Twas cruel to obey me, thus distress'd,
Can T with justice make him?-I indeed
Sel. Talk we no more of this unhappy pas-
What resolution will your virtue take?
From the seraglio death alone will free me.
Re-enter MELIDOR, with Selima.
And wanting power to think, when I had lost
But drag him down to my impatient eye.
Osman. Dost thou behold her, slave?
Osman. Sister! Didst thou say sister? If thou didst,
Bless me with deafness, heaven!
Ner. Tyrant! I did.
She was my sister. All that now is left thee,
Enter ZARA and SELIMA, in the dark.
It is so dark, I tremble as I step,
Sent his too wretched son, with his last bless-
With fears and startings, never felt till now! To his now murder'd daughter!
Would blush, should I forbear: now, Zara, now [Drops the Dagger.
I must not, cannot strike, the starting steel, Unwilling, flies my hand, and shuns to wound her.
Zara. This is the private path; come near-
Are we not notic'd, think'st thou?
It cannot now be long, ere we shall meet him.
Zara. I walk in terror, and my heart forebodes.
Sel. Thy love was all the cloud 'twixt her and heav'n
Osman. Be dumb! for thou art base, lo
To my already more than bleeding heart.
ebbing rage. There now remains but mine of all the blood, [Recovers the Dagger. Which through thy father's cruel reign and Has never ceas'd to stream on Syria's sands, Who's there? Nerestan! Is it you? O wel-Restore a wretch to his unhappy race; Nor hope that torments, after such a scene, Osman. [Stabs her.] This to thy heart. Can force one feeble groan to feast thy anger, 'Tis not the traitor meets thee, I waste my fruitless words in empty air; Tis the betray'd, who writes it in thy blood. The tyrant, o'er the bleeding wound he made, Zara. Oh, gracious heaven! receive my Hangs his unmoving eye, and heeds not me. parting soul, Osman. Oh, Zara!
And take thy trembling servant to thy mercy.
Oras. Alas, my lord, return! Whither would grief
Osman. Soul! then revenge has reach'd Transport your gen'rous heart? This Christian
To him and all his friends, give instant liberty:
Osman. Reply not, but obey.
Unhappy warrior-yet less lost than I—
Thy miseries, shall mourn 'em with their tears; in But, if thou tell'st 'em mine, and tell'st 'em truly,
Whose love, descending to a slave like thee,
Ner. Oh, fatal, rash mistake!
They who shall hate my crime, shall pity me. Take too, this poniard with thee, which my
Has stain'd with blood far dearer than my own;
Tell 'em with this I murder'd her I lov'd;
The soul of innocence, and pride of truth:
Rev'rence this hero, and conduct him safe.
JOHN HOME, a native of Scotland, born in the vicinity of Ancrum, in Roxburgshire, in 1724, after the usual course of education for the church, was ordained and inducted to the living of Athelstaneford, and was the successor of the Rev. Mr Blair, author of The Grave. In the rebellion of 1745 he took up arms in defence of the existing government. He was present at the battle of Falkirk; where he was taken prisoner, and, with five or six other gentlemen, escaped from the castle of Down. After the rebellion he resumed the duties of his profession. Having a natural inclination for the Belles Lettres, which he had cultivated with some care; he wrote his tragedy of Douglas, and presented it to the managers of the Edinburgh Theatre. Its reception will be easily imagined from the following anecdote. During the representation a young and sanguine Scotchman, in the pit, transported with delight and enthusiasm, cried out on a sudden with an air of triumph, "Weel lods; hwar's yeer Wolly Shokspeer nou!" (where is your William Shakspeare now). The author being a clergyman, the resentment of the elders of the kirk, and many other zealous members of that sect was inflamed, not only against him, but the performers also; on whom, together with him, they freely denounced their anathemas in pamphlets and public papers. The latter indeed it was out of their power greatly to injure; but their rod was near falling very heavy on the author, whom the assembly repudiated, and cut off from his preferments. In England, however, he had the good fortune to meet with friends, and being through the interest of the Earl of Bute and some other persons of distinction, recommended to the notice of his present majesty, then Prince of Wales, his Royal Highness was pleased to bestow a pension on him; thus, sheltering him under his own patronage, he put it out of the power of either bigotry, envy, or malevolence to blast his laurels. Mr Home afterwards pursued his poetical efforts, and produced more dramatic pieces, which were brought on the stage in London; but Douglas must always stand as his master-piece in dramatic writing. He never afterwards resumed his clerical profession, which he had abandoned in 1757; but enjoyed a place under government in Scotland. Mr. Home, always the friend and patron of merit, as far as his circumstances would admit, was the means of bringing the celebrated poems of Ossian to light. While Macpherson was schoolmaster of Ruthven in Badenoch, he occupied his leisure hoars in collecting, from the native, but illiterate bards of the mountains of Scotland, fragments of these inimitable poems; a few of them he translated, and inserted in a weekly Miscellany, then publishing at Edinburgh. The beauty of these pieces soon attracted the notice of Mr. Home, Dr. Robertson and Dr. Blair; and they resolved to sent Macpherson on a journey all over the Highlands, at their expence, to collect the originals of those poems, which have since been a subject of so much controversy. Mr. Home died at Manchester-house near Edinburgh, Sept. the 4th 1808.
THIS piece was first produced at Edinburgh, 1756; and the success it met with, induced our author to offer it to the London managers; where, notwithstanding all the influence exerted in its favour, it was refused by Garrick. Mr. Rich, however, accepted it, and it was acted the first time at Covent-garden, March the 14th 1757; where its real worth soon placed it out of the reach of critical censure. The plot was suggested by the pathetical old Scotch ballad of Gil (or Child) Morrice, reprinted in the third volume of Percy's Reliques of Ancient Poetry, and it is founded on the quarrels of the families of Douglas and other of the Scots clans. This tragedy has a great deal of pathos in it, some of the narratives are pleasingly affecting, and the descriptions poetically beautiful. On its first appearance Hume gave his opinion, that is was one of the most interesting and pathetic pieces ever exhibited in any theatre. He declared, that the author possessed the true theatric genius of Shakspeare and Otway; but we must remember, that the author was a Scotchman, consequently such extravagant praise requires no comment. Gray however had so high an opinion of this first drama of Mr. Home, that in a letter to a friend in 1757, he says, "I am greatly struck with the tragedy of Douglas, though it has infinite fanlts: the author seems to have retrieved the true language of the Stage, which had been lost for these hundred years; and there is one scene (between Matilda and the Old Peasant) so masterly, that it strikes me blind to all the defects in the world." To this opinion every reader of taste will readily subscribe. Johnson blames Mr. Gray for concluding his celebrated ode with suicide; a circumstance borrowed perhaps from Douglas, in which lady Randolph, otherwise a blameless character, precipitates herself, like the Bard, from a cliff, into eternity.
Still hears and answers to Matilda's moan.
SCENE I.-The Court of a Castle, surrounded Are e'er permitted to review this world,
Enter LADY RANDOLPH.
Within the circle of that wood thou art, And with the passion of immortals hear'st Lady R. YE woods and wilds, whose me-My lamentation: bear'st thy wretched wife Weep for her husband slain, her infant lost. Accords with my soul's sadness, and draws forth My brother's timeless death I seem to mourn, The voice of sorrow from my bursting heart, Who perish'd with thee on this fatal day. Farewell awhile I will not leave you long; But Randolph comes, whom fate has made For in your shades I deem some spirit dwells, my lord,
Who from the chiding stream, or groaning oak, To chide my anguish, and defraud the dead.
Enter LORD RANDOLPH.
To feed a passion which consumes thy life?
Childless, without memorial of his name,
Has past o'er thee in vain.
Implacable resentment was their crime,
I never ask'd of thee that ardent love
I love thy merit, and esteem thy virtues.
Lord R. Straight to the camp,
Lady R. O, may adverse winds,
And every soldier of both hosts return
Right from their native land, the stormy north,
Anna. Forgive the rashness of your Anna's
Urg'd by affection, I have thus presum'd
Lady R. So to lose my hours
But sure I am, since death first prey'd on man,
What had your sorrows been if you had lost,
Anna. Have I distress'd you with officious,
And ill-tim'd mention of your brother's fate?
I These piteous tears, I'd throw my life away.
To speak as thou hast done? to name-
But since my words have made my mistress
I will speak so no more; but silent mix
Lady R. No, thou shalt not be silent.
Anna. What means my noble mistress?
If I in early youth had lost a husband?
And in some cavern of the ocean lies
Anna. Oh! lady most rever'd!
Lady R. Alas! an ancient feud,
Of my misfortunes. Ruling fate decreed,
Had o'er us
To fight his father's battles; and with him,
That the false stranger was lord Douglas' son.
And from the gulf of hell destruction cry,
Anna. Alas! how few of women's fearful
Lady R. The first truth
Is easiest to avow. This moral learn,