페이지 이미지

What will they all produce but Zara's tears, Had I not seen, had I not read, such proof
To quench this fancied anger? Your lost heart, Of her light falsehood as extinguish'd doubt,
Seduc'd against itself, will search but reasons I could not be a man, and not believe her.
To justify the guilt which gives it pain: Zara. Alas, my lord! what cruel fears have
Rather conceal from Zara this discovery;

seiz'd you?

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,
The firmness, or abasement of her soul.
Osman. Thy counsel charms me! We'll
about it now.

Here, take this fatal letter; choose a slave
Whom yet she never saw, and who retains
His tried fidelity-dispatch-be gone.
[Exit Orasmin.
Now whither shall I turn my eyes and steps
The surest way to shun her, and give time
For this discovering trial?—Heaven!" she's here!
Re-enter ZARA.

So, madam! fortune will befriend my cause,
And free me from your fetters.-You are met
Most aptly, to dispel a new-ris'n doubt,
That claims the finest of your arts to gloss it.
Unhappy each by other, it is time

To end our mutual pain, that both may rest.
You want not generosity, but love;
My pride forgotten, my obtruded throne,
My favours, cares, respect, and tenderness,
Touching your gratitude, provok'd regard;
Till, by a length of benefits besieg'd,
Your heart submitted, and you thought 'twas


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.
Now, while expiring pity struggles faint;
While I have yet, perhaps, the power to pardon,
Give up the bold invader of my claim,
And let him die to save thee. Thou art known.
Think and resolve. While I yet speak, re-
nounce him;

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

to Zara?

Learn, cruel! learn that this afflicted heart, This heart which heaven delights to prove by

[blocks in formation]


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
Trembles with fury while you talk of love.
Osman. Since Zara loves him!
Zara. Is it possible

Osman should disbelieve it?-Again, again :
Your late repented violence returns.
Alas! what killing frowns you dart against me!
Can it be kind, can it be just to doubt me?
Osman. No! I can doubt no longer. You
may retire.
[Exit Zara.

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


[blocks in formation]

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;

your counsel.

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,

to answer:

For I would gladly hear my brother's voice.
Sel. Say rather you would hear the voice
of heaven.

Tis not your brother calls you, but your God.
Zara, I know it, nor resist his awful will;
Thou know'st that I have bound my soul by

But can I, ought I, to engage myself,
My brother, and the Christians, in this danger?
Sel. "Tis not their danger that alarms your

Your love speaks loudest to your shrinking soul.
This tiger, savage in his tenderness,
Courts with contempt, and threatens amidst

Yet cannot your neglected heart efface
His fated, fix'd impression!

Zara. What reproach

[blocks in formation]

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
Have given him cause to hate me!
Was not his throne, was not his temple
Did he not court his slave to be a queen,
And have not I declin'd it?-I who ought
To tremble, conscious of affronted power!
Have not I triumph'd o'er his pride and love?
Seen him submit his own high will to mine,
And sacrifice his wishes to my weakness?

Sel. Talk we no more of this unhappy pas-

What resolution will your virtue take?
Zara. All things combine to sink me to

From the seraglio death alone will free me.
I long to see the Christians' happy climes;
Yet in the moment while I form that prayer,
I sigh a secret wish to languish here.
How sad a state is mine! my restless soul
All ignorant what to do, or what to wish:
My only perfect sense is that of pain.
Oh, guardian heaven! protect my brother's life,
For I will meet him, and fulfil his prayer:
Then, when from Solyma's unfriendly walls,
His absence shall unbind his sister's tongue,
Osman shall learn the secret of my birth,
My faith unshaken, and my deathless love;
He will approve my choice, and pity me.
I'll send my brother word he may expect me.
Call in the faithful slave. God of my fathers!
[Exit Selima.
Let thy hand save me, and thy will direct.

Re-enter MELIDOR, with Selima.
Go-tell the Christian who intrusted thee,
That Zara's heart is fix'd, nor shrinks at danger;
And that my faithful friend will, at the hour,
Expect and introduce him to his wish.
Away-the sultan comes; he must not find us.
[Exeunt Zara and Selima.

And wanting power to think, when I had lost


[blocks in formation]
[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

But drag him down to my impatient eye.

[Exit Oras.

Osman. Dost thou behold her, slave?
Ner. Unhappy sister!

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,
Dispatch-From my distracted heart drain next
The remnant of the royal Christian blood!

Enter ZARA and SELIMA, in the dark.
Zara. Where art thou, Selima? Give me Old Lusignan, expiring in my arms,

thy hand.

It is so dark, I tremble as I step,

known sound

Sent his too wretched son, with his last bless-

With fears and startings, never felt till now! To his now murder'd daughter!
Osman. Damnation!"tis her voice! the well-Would I had seen the bleeding innocent!
I would have liv'd to speak to her in death;
That has so often charm'd me into baseness! Would have awaken'd in her languid heart
[Draws a Dagger. A livelier sense of her abandon'd God;
Revenge, stand firm, and intercept his wishes! That God, who left by her, forsook her too,
Revenge! On whom? No matter: earth and And gave the poor lost sufferer to thy rage..
Osman. Thy sister! Lusignan her father!


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-
er, lead me.

Are we not notic'd, think'st thou?
Sel. Fear not, madam;

It cannot now be long, ere we shall meet him.
Osman. That word has given me back my

Zara. I walk in terror, and my heart forebodes.


[blocks in formation]

Sel. Thy love was all the cloud 'twixt her and heav'n

Osman. Be dumb! for thou art base, lo
add distraction

To my already more than bleeding heart.
And was thy love sincere? What then remains?
Ner. Why should a tyrant hesitate on mur-



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

[blocks in formation]

dog -
Osman. Take off his fetters, and observe
my will:

To him and all his friends, give instant liberty:
Pour a profusion of the richest gifts
On these unhappy Christians; and when heap'd
With vary'd benefits, and charg'd with riches,
Give 'em safe conduct to the nearest port.
Oras. But, sir -

Osman. Reply not, but obey.
Fly-nor dispute thy master's last command,
Thy prince, who orders-and thy friend, who
loves thee!
Go-lose no time-farewell-be gone -- and

Unhappy warrior-yet less lost than I—
Haste from our bloody land, and to thy own
Convey this poor pale object of my rage.
Thy king, and all his Christians, when they,


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,
From my dishonour'd hand receiv'd her doom.
See! where she lies-

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 noblest and most virtuous among wo-

The soul of innocence, and pride of truth:
Tell 'em I laid my empire at her feet:
Tell 'em I plung'd my dagger in her blood:
Tell 'em I so ador'd and thus reveng'd her.
[Stabs himself.

Rev'rence this hero, and conduct him safe.
Ner. Direct me, great inspirer of the soul!
How I should act, how judge in this distress!
Amazing grandeur! and detested rage!
Ev'n I, amidst my tears, admire this foe,
And mourn his death, who liv'd to give me
[Curtain falls.


[ocr errors]


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.


[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

Still hears and answers to Matilda's moan.
Oh, Douglas! Douglas! if departed ghosts

SCENE I.-The Court of a Castle, surrounded Are e'er permitted to review this world,

with Woods.


lancholy gloom

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.

Lord R. Again these weeds of woe! say,
dost thou well

To feed a passion which consumes thy life?
The living claim some duty; vainly thou
Bestow'st thy cares upon the silent dead.
Lady R. Silent, alas! is he for whom


Childless, without memorial of his name,
He only now in my remembrance lives.
Lord R. Time, that wears out the trace of
deepest anguish,

Has past o'er thee in vain.
Sure thou art not the daughter of sir Malcolm:
Strong was his rage, eternal his resentment:
For when thy brother fell, he smil'd to hear
That Douglas' son in the same field was slain.
Lady R. Oh! rake not up the ashes of my

Implacable resentment was their crime,
And grievous has the expiation been.
Lord R. Thy grief wrests to its purposes
my words.

I never ask'd of thee that ardent love
Which in the breasts of fancy's children burns.
Decent affection and complacent kindness
Were all I wish'd for; but I wish'd in vain.
Hence with the less regret my eyes behold
The storm of war that gathers o'er this land:
If I should perish by the Danish sword,
Matilda would not shed one tear the more.
Lady R. Thou dost not think so: woful
as I am,

I love thy merit, and esteem thy virtues.
But whither goest thou now?

Lord R. Straight to the camp,
Where every warrior on the tiptoe stands
Of expectation, and impatient asks
Each who arrives, if he is come to tell
The Danes are landed.

Lady R. O, may adverse winds,
Far from the coast of Scotland drive


And every soldier of both hosts return
In peace and safety to his pleasant home!
Lord R. Thou speak'st a woman's, hear a
warrior's wish:

Right from their native land, the stormy north,
May the wind blow, till every keel is fix'd
Immoveable in Caledonia's strand!
Then shall our foes repent their bold invasion,
And roving armies shun the fatal shore.
Lady, farewell: I leave thee not alone;
Yonder comes one whose love makes duty

Enter ANNA.

Anna. Forgive the rashness of your Anna's

Urg'd by affection, I have thus presum'd
To interrupt your solitary thoughts;
And warn you of the hours that you neglect,
And lose in sadness.

Lady R. So to lose my hours
Is all the use I wish to make of time.
Anna. To blame thee, lady, suits not with
my state:

But sure I am, since death first prey'd on man,
Never did sister thus a brother mourn.

What had your sorrows been if you had lost,
In early youth the husband of your heart?
Lady R. Oh!

Anna. Have I distress'd you with officious,

And ill-tim'd mention of your brother's fate?
Forgive me, lady: humble though I am,
The mind I bear partakes not of my fortune:
So fervently I love you, that to dry

I These piteous tears, I'd throw my life away.
Lady R. What power directed thy un-
conscious tongue

To speak as thou hast done? to name-
Anna. I know not:

But since my words have made my mistress

I will speak so no more; but silent mix
My tears with hers.

Lady R. No, thou shalt not be silent.
I'll trust thy faithful love, and thou shalt be
Henceforth the instructed partner of my woes
But what avails it? Can thy feeble pity
Rol back the flood of never-ebbing time?
Compel the earth and ocean to give up
Their dead alive?.

Anna. What means my noble mistress?
Lady R. Didst thou not ask, what had my
sorrows been,

If I in early youth had lost a husband?
In the cold bosom of the earth is lodg'd,
Mangled with wounds, the husband of my

And in some cavern of the ocean lies
My child and his-

Anna. Oh! lady most rever'd!
The tale wrapt up in your amazing words
Deign to unfold.

Lady R. Alas! an ancient feud,
Hereditary evil, was the source

Of my misfortunes. Ruling fate decreed,
That my brave brother should in battle save
The life of Douglas' son, our house's foe:
The youthful warriors vow'd eternal friendship.
To see the vaunted sister of his friend,
Impatient, Douglas to Balarmo came,
Under a borrow'd name. My heart be gain'd;
Nor did I long refuse the hand he begg'd:
My brother's presence authoriz'd our marriage.
Three weeks, three little weeks, with wings
of down,
flown, when my lov'd lord was

Had o'er us

To fight his father's battles; and with him,
In spite of all my tears, did Malcolm go.
Scarce were they gone, when my stern sire
was told,

That the false stranger was lord Douglas' son.
Frantic with rage, the baron drew his sword,
And question'd me. Alone, forsaken, faint,
Kneeling beneath his sword, falt'ring, I took
An oath equivocal, that I ne'er would
Wed one of Douglas' name. Sincerity!
Thou first of virtues, let no mortal leave
Thy onward path! although the earth should

And from the gulf of hell destruction cry,
To take dissimulation's winding way.

Anna. Alas! how few of women's fearful
Durst own a truth so hardy!

Lady R. The first truth

Is easiest to avow. This moral learn,
This precious moral, from my tragic tale.--
In a few days the dreadful tidings came
That Douglas and my brother both were slain.

« 이전계속 »