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Deck'd fine and pleas'd, the wanton skips and Unfold the truth, and be restòr'd with mercy. plays,
Jaf. Think not, that I to save my life came Trots by th' enticing; flatt'ring priestess' side,
hither; And much transported with its little pride, I know its value belter; but in pity Forgets his dear companions of the plain; To all those wretches whose unhappy dooms Till, by her bound, he's on the altar lain, Are fix'd and seald. You see me bere before you, Yet then too hardly bleats, such pleasure's in) The sworn and covenanted foe of Venice:
But use me as my dealings may deserve,
And I may prove a friend.
Give him the tortures.
Jaf. That you dare not do ; Offi. But what friends are you?
Your fear won't let you, not the longing, itch Bel. Friends to the senate, and the state of To hear a story which you dread the truth of: Venice.
Truth, which the fear of smart shall ne'er get Offi. My orders are to seize on all I find
from me. At this late hour, and bring 'em to the council, Cowards are scard with threat'nings; bors Who are now sitting.
are whipt Jaf. Sir, you shall be obcy'd.
Into confessions: but a steady mind Now the lot's cast, and, fate, do what thou Acts of itself, ne'er asks the body counsel. wilt.: [Exeunt guarded. Give him the tortures! Name but such a thing
Again, by heav'n I'll shut these lips for ever. Scene II.— The Senate-house, where appear Not all your racks, your engines, or your sitting the Duke of VENICE, PRIuli, and
wheels, other Senators.
Shall force a groan away, that you may guess al. Duke. Antony, Priuli, senators of Venice, Duke. Name your conditions. Speak, why are we assembled here this nighi? Jaf. For myself full pardon, What have you to inform us of, concerns Besides the lives of two-and-twenty friends, The state of Venice, honour, or its safety? Whose names are here enrolld-Nay, let their Pri. Could words express the story I've to
Be ne'er so monstrous, I must have the oaths Fathers, these tears were useless, these sad tears And sacred promise of this reverend council
, That fall from my old eyes; but there is cause That, in a full assembly of the senale We all should weep, tear off these purple robes, The thing I ask be ratify’d.' Swear this, And wrap ourselves in sackcloth, sitting down And I'll unfold the secret of
your danger. On the sad earth, and cry aloud to heav'n: Duke. Propose the oath. Heav'n knows, if yet there be an hour to come Jaf. By all the hopes Ere Venice be no more.
Ye have of peace and happiness bereafter, All Sen. How !
Swear.—Ye swear? Pri. Nay, we stand
All Sen. We swear. Upon the very brink of gaping ruin.
Jaf. And, as ye keep the oath, Within this city's form'd a dark conspiracy, May you, and your, posterity be bless'd, To massacre us all, our wives and children, Or curs'd for ever. Kindred and friends, our palaces and temples All Sen. Else be curs'd for ever. To lay in ashes: nay, the hour too fix'd ; Jaf. Then here's the list, and with't the full The swords, for aught I know, drawn e'en
disclose this moment,
Of all that threatens you. [Delivers a Paper. And the wild waste begun. From unknown hands Now, fate, thou hasi caught me, I had this warning; but, if we are men, Duke. Give order that all diligent search Let's not be tamely butcher'd, but do something
be made That may inform the world, in after
ages, To seize these men, their characters are public; Our virtue was not ruin'd, though we were. The paper intimates their rendezvous
[A Noise without. To be at the house of a fam'd Grecian courtezan, Room, room, make room for some prisoners- Call’d Aquilina ; see that place secur'd.
You, Jaffier, must with patience bear till morning Enter Officer and Guards. To be our prisoner. Duke. Speak, there. What disturbance? Jaf. Would the chains of death Offi. Two prisoners have the guards seiz'd Had bound me safe, ere I had known this minute.
Duke. Captain, withdraw your prisoner. Who say, they come t'inform this reverend senate Jaf. Sir, if possible, About the present danger.
Lead me where my own thoughts themselves Enter JAFFIER and Officer.
may lose me;
Where I may doze out what I've left of life, All Sen., Give 'em entrance-Well, who are Forget myself, and this day's guilt and falsehood.
Cruel remembrance, how shall I appease thee? Jaf. A villain,
(Exit guarded Would every man, that hears me,
Offi. [Without] More traitors; room, room, Would deal so honestly, and own his title.
room, make room, there. Duke. 'Tis rumour'd, that a plot has been Duke. How's this? guards! contriv'd
Where are our guards ? Shut up the gates, Against this state; and you've a share in't too.
the treason's If
you are a villain, to redeem your honour Already at our doors,
in the street,
Pier. Death! honourable death! Offi. My lords, more traitors,
Ren. Death's the best thing we ask, or you Seiz'd in the very act of consultation;
can give, Furnish'd with arms and instruments of mischiel. No shameful bonds, but honourable death. Bring in the prisoners.
Duke. Break up the council. Captain, guard
your prisoners. Enter Pierre, Renault, THEODORE, Elliott, Jaffier, you're free, but these must wait for REVILLIDO, and other Conspirators, in
[Exeunt all the Senators. Pier. You, my lords, and fathers
Pier. Come, where's my dungeon? Lead me (As you are pleas'd to call yourselves), of Venice;
to my straw: If you sit here to guide the course of justice, It will not be the first time I've lodg’d hard Why these disgraceful chains upon the limbs to do the senate service. That have so often labour'd in your service? Jaf. Hold, one moment. Are these the wreaths of triumph ye beslow Pier. Who's he disputes the judgment of On those, that bring you conquest home, and
the senate? honours?
Presumptuous rebel-on- [Strikes Jaffer. Duke. Go on; you shall be heard, sir. Jaf. By heav'n, you stir not! Ant. And be hang’d too, I hope.
I must be heard; I must have leave to speak. Pier: Are these the trophies I've deservd Thou hast disgrac'd me, Pierre, by a vile blow: for fighting
Had not a dagger done thee nobler justice ? Your battles with confederated
But use me as thou will, thou canst not wrong me, Wben winds and seas conspir'd to overthrow For I am fallen beneath the basest injuries: you;
Yet look upon me with an eye of mercy, And brought the fleets of Spain to your owr With pity and with charity behold me: harbours;
But as there dwells a godlike nature in thee, When you, great duke, shrunk trembling in Listen with mildness to my supplications. your palace,
Pier. What whining monk art thou? what And saw your wife, the Adriatic, ploughid,
holy cheat, Like a lewd whore, by bolder prows than yours, That wouldst encroach upon my credulous ears, Stepp'd not I forth, and laught your loose Ve- And cant'st thus vilely? Hence! 'I know thee not: netians
Leave, hypocrite. The task of honour, and the way to greatness? Jaf. Not know me, Pierre? Rais'd you from your capitulating fears Pier. No, I know thee not! What art thou ? To stipulate the terms of su'd-for peace? Jaf. Jaffier, thy friend, thy once lov’d, valu’d Ind this my recompense! if I'm a traitor,
friend! Produce my charge; or show the wretch that's Though now deserv'dly scorn'd, and uş'd most base
hardly. And brave enough to tell me I'm a traitor. Pier. Thou, Jaffer! thou, my once lovd, Duke. Know you one Jaffier?
valu'd friend! [Conspirators murmur. By heav'ns thou liest; the man so call'd, my Pier. Yes, and know his virtue.
friend, His justice, truth, his general worth, and sufferings Was generous, honest, faithful, just, and valiant; From a hard father, taught me first to love him. Noble in mind, and in bis person lovely;
Dear to my eyes, and tender to my heart: Enter JAFFier, guarded.
But thou, a wretched, base, false, worthless Duke. See him brought forth.
coward, Pier. My friend too bound! nay then Poor, even in soul, and loathsome in thy aspect; Our fate has conquer'd us, and we must fall. All eyes must shun thee, and all hearts detest thee. Why droops the man whose welfare's so much Pr’ythee avoid; nor longer cling thus round me, mine,
Like something baneful, that my nature's chill'd at. They're but one thing? These reverend tyrants, Jaf. I have not wrong'd thee, by these tears Jallier,
I have not. Call us traitors. Art thou one, my brother? Pier. Hast thou not wrong'd me? Dar'st Jaf. To thee, I am the falsest, veriest slave,
thou call thyself That' e'er betray'd a generous, trusting friend, That once lov'd, valu'd friend of mine, And
gave up honour to be sure of ruin. And swear thou hast not wrong'd me? Whence All our fair hopes, which morning was t' have
these chains ? crown'd,
Whence the vile death which I may meet this Has this curs'd. tongue o'erthrown.
moment? Pirr. So, then all's over:
Whence this dishonour, but from thee, thou Venice has lost her freedom, I my life.
false one ? No more! Farewell!
Jaf. All's true; yet grant one thing, and Duke. Say; will you make confession
I've done asking. of your vile deeds, and trust the senate's mercy? Pier. What's that? Pier. Curs'd be your senate: curs'd your Jaf. To take thy life, on such conditions constitution:
The counsel have propos'd: thou, and thy friends, The curse of growing factions and divisions, May yet live long, and to be better ireated. Still vex your councils, shake your public safety, Pier. Life! ask my life! confess! record myself And make the robes of government you wear A villain, for the privilege to breathe Hateful to you, as these base chains to me. And carry up and down this cursed city, Duke. Pardon, or death?
A discontented and repining spirit,
Burthensome to itself, a few years longer; And here's the portion he has left me:
[Holds the Dagger up. For some new friend, treacherous and false This dagger. Well remember'd! with this dagger, as thou art !
I gave a solemn vow of dire importance; No, this vile world and I have long been jangling, Parted with this, and Belvidera together. And cannot part on better terms than now, Have a care, mem'ry, drive that thought no When only men, like thee, are fit to live in't.
further: Jaf. By all that's just
No, I'll esteem it as a friend's last legacy; Pier. Swear by some other powers,
Treasure it up within this wretched bosom, For thou hast broke that sacred oath too lately. Where it may grow acquainted with my heart, Jaf. Then, by that hell I merit, I'll not That when they meet, they start not from each leave thee,
otber. Till, to thyself, at least thou'rt reconcild, So now for thinking--A blow, calld a traitor, However thy resentment deal with me.
villain, Pier. Not leave me!
Coward, dishonourable coward; fough! Jaf. No; thou shalt not force me from thee. Oh! for a long sound sleep, and so forget it. Use me reproachfully, and like a slave; Down, busy devil! Tread on me, buffet me, heap wrongs on wrongs On my poor head; I'll bear it all with patience
Enter BELVIDERA. Shall weary out thy most unfriendly cruelty: Bel. Whither shall I fly? Lie at thy feel, and kiss 'em, though they spurn me; Where hide me and my miseries together? Till wounded by my sufferings, thou relent, Where's now the Roman constancy Iboasted? And raise me to thy arms, with dear forgiveness. Sunk into trembling fears and desperation, Pier. Art thou not
Not daring to look up to that dear face Jaf. Whai?
Which us'd to smile, eve'n on my faults; but, Pier. A traitor?
down, Jaf. Yes.
Bending these miserable eyes on earth, Pier. A villain?
Must move in penance, and implore much mercy. Jaf. Granted.
Jaf. Mercy! kind heav'n has surely endless Pier. A coward, a most scandalous coward;
stores, Spiritless, void of honour; one who has sold Hoarded for thee, of blessings yet untasted: Thy everlasting fame, for shameless life? Oh, Belvidera! I'm the wretched'st creature Jaf. All, all and more, much more: my faults E’er crawlid on earth. are numberless.
My friend too, Belvidera, that dear friend, Pier. And wouldst thou have me live on Who, next to thee, was all my health rejoic'd in, terms like thine;
Has us'd me like a slave, shamefully us'd me: Base, as thou art falsem
'Twould break thy pitying heart to hear the story. Jaf. No; 'tis to me that's granted:
Bel. What bas he done?
for faith and trust so broken. Ere yet his guards had, led him to his prison, Pier. I scorn it more, because preserv'd by thee; Full of severest sorrows for his sufferings, And, as when first my foolish' heart took pity With eyes o'erslowing, and a bleeding heart, On thy misfortunes, sought thee in thy miseries, As at his feet I kneeld and su'd for mercy, Reliev'd thy wants, and rais'd thee from the state With a reproachful hand he dash'd a blow: Of wretchedness, in which thy fate had plung'd He struck me, Belvidera! by heav'n, he struck me! thee,
Buffetted, call'd me traitor, villain, coward. To rank thee in my list of noble friends; Am I a coward ? Am I a villain? Tell me: All I receiv'd, in surety for thy truth, Thou’rt the best judge, and mad'st me, if I am so! Were unregarded oaths, and this, this dagger, Damnation! Coward! Gir'n with a worthless pledge, thou since hast Bel. Oh! forgive him, Jaffier; stol'n:
And, if his sufferings wound thy heart already, So I restore it back to thee again;
What will they do to-morrow? Swearing by all those pow’rs which thou hast
Jaf. Ab! violated,
Bel. To-morrow, Never, from this curs'd hour to bold communion, When thou shalt see him stretch'd in all the Friendship, or interest, with thee, though our
Of a tormenting and a shameful death; Were to exceed those limited the world. His bleeding bowels, and his broken limbs, Take it-farewell—for now I owe thee nothing. Insulted o'er, by a vile, butchering, villain; Jaf. Say thou wilt live then.
What will thy heart do then? Oh! sure 'twill Pier. For my life, dispose it
stream, Just as thou wili, because'tis what I'm tir'd with. Like my eyes now. Jaf. Ob, Pierre!
Juf. 'What means thy dreadful story? Pier. No more.
Death, and to-morrow! Broken limbs and bowels! Jaf. My eyes won't lose the sight of thee, Bei. The faithless senators, 'tis they've deBut languish after thee, and ache with gazing
creed it: Pier. Leave me— Nay, then thus, thus 1 They say, according to our friends' request,
throw thee from me; They shall have death, and not ignoble bondage : And curses, great as is thy falsehood, catch Declare their promis'd mercy all bas forfeited: thee.
[Exit. False to their oaths, and deaf to intercession, Jaf. Amen.
Warrants are pass'd for public death toHe's gone, my father, friend, preserver,
Jaf. Death! doom'd to die! condemnd un-Witness it, earth, and every being witness: heard! unpleaded!
'Tis but one blow! yet by immortal love, Beh Nay, cruel'st racks and torments are I cannot longer bear a thought to harm thee. preparing
[He throws away the Dagger and To force confession from their dying pangs. The seal of Providence is sure upon thee;
embraces her. Oh! do not look so terribly upon me! How your lips shake, and all your face disorder'd! And thou wert born for yet unheard-of wonders. What means my love?
Oh! thou wert either born to save or damn me. Jaf. Leave me, I charge thee, leave me- By all the power that's giv'n me o'er my soul, Strong temptations
By thy resistless tears and conquering smiles, Wake in my heart.
By the victorious love that still waits on thee, Bel. For what?
Fly to thy cruel father, save my friend, Jaf. No more, but leave me,
Or all our future quiet's lost for ever. Bel. Why?
Fall at his feet, cling round bis reverend knees, Jaf. Oh! by heav'n, I love thee with that Speak to him with thy eyes, and with thy tears, fondness,
Melt his hard heart, and wake dead nature in him, I would not have thee stay a moment longer Crush him in th' arms, torture him with thy Near these curs'd hands : Are they not cold
Nor till thy prayers are granted, set him free, [Pulls the Dagger half out of his But conquer him, as thou hast conquer'd me. Bosom, and puts it back again.
[Exeunt. Bel. No, everlasting comfort's in thy arms. To lean thus on thy breast, is softer ease
ACT V. Than downy pillows, deck'd with leaves of roses. Scene I. – An Apartment in Priuli's House. Jaf. Alas! thou think'st not of the thorns 'tis fill'd with:
Enter PRIULI. Fly, ere they gall thee. There's a lurking serpent, Pri:Why, cruel heav'n, have my unhappy days Ready to leap and sting thee to the heart: Been lengthen'd to this sad one? 'Oh! dishonour Art thou not terrified ?
And deathless infamy is fallen upon me. Bel. No.
Was it my fault? Am I a traitor? No. Jaf. Call to mind
But then, my only child, my daughter wedded; What thou hast done, and whither thou hast There my best blood runs foul, and a disease brought me.
Incurable has seiz'd upon my memory. Bel. Hah! Jaf. Where's my friend ? my friend, thou Enter Belviders, in a long mourning Veil. smiling mischief!
Bel. He's there, my father, my inhuman father, Say, shrink not, now'tis too late; thou shouldst That for three years has left an only child have fled
Expos’d to all the outrages of fate, When thy guilt first had cause; for dire revenge And cruel ruin!-ohk up, and raging for my friend. He groans! Pri. What child of sorrow Hark, how he groans! his screams are in my ears Art thou, that comes wrapt in weeds of sadness, Already; see, they've fix'd him on the wheel, And mov'st as if thy steps were tow'rds a grave? And now they tear him - Murder! Perjur'd Bel. A wretch' who from the very top of senate!
happiness Murder-Oh!-Hark thee, traitress, thou hast Am fall’n into the lowest depths of misery, done this!
And want your pitying hand to raise me up again. Thanks to thy tears, and false persuading love. Pri. What wouldst thou beg for? How her eyes speak! Oh, thou bewitching Bel. Pity and forgiveness. creature!
[Throws up her Veil. [Fumbling for his Dagger. By the kind, tender names of child and father, Madness can't hurt thee. Come, thou little Hear my complaints, and take me to your love. trembler,
Pri: My daughter! Creep even into my heart, and there lie safe: Bel. Yes, your daughter. Tis thy own citadel-Hah-yet stand off. Pri. Don't talk thus. Hear'n must have justice, and my broken vows Bel. Yes, I must; and you must hear too. Will sink me else beneath its reaching mercy. I have a husband. 11 wink, and then 'tis done
Pri. Damn him. Bel. What means the lord
Bel. Oh! do not curse him; Of me, my life, and love? What's in thy bosom, He would not speak so hard a word towards you Thou grasp’st at so? Nay, why am I thus treated? On any terms, howe'er he deals with me.
[Draws the Dagger and offers to stab her. Pri. Ha! what means my child ? Jaf. Know, Belvidera, when we parted last, Bel. Oh! my husband, my dear husband, 1
gare this dagger with thee, as in trust, Carries a dagger in his once kind bosom,
[offers to stab her again. And covenant against your state and senate, Bel. Oh! Mercy!
[Kneeling. He gave me up a hostage for his truth: Jar. Nay, no struggling:
With me a dagger and a dire commission, Bél. Now then, kill me.
Whene'er he faild, to plunge it through this [Leaps on his Neck, and kisses him.
bosom. Jaf. I am, I am a coward; witness heav'n, I learnt the danger, chose the hour of love
T'attempt his heart, and bring it back to honour. Jaf. No. I'll bless thee.
Till, reverend grown for age and love, we go Gall'd with remembrance of what then was Down to one grave, as our last bed, together; sworn,
There sleep in peace, till an eternal morning. If they are lost, he vows t'appease the gods Jaf. Did I not say, I came to bless thee? With' bis poor life, and make my blood th' Bel.. You did. alonement.
Jaf. Then hear me, bounteous heav'n: Pri. Heav'ns!
Pour down your blessings on this beauteoushead, Bel. If I was ever then your care, now hear me; \Vhere everlasting sweets are always springing, Fly to the senate, save the promis'd lives With a continual giving hand: let peace, of his dear friends, ere mine be made the sacrifice. Honour, and safety, always bover round her; Pri. Oh, my heart's comfort!
Feed ber with plenty; let her eyes ne'er see Bel. Will you not, my father?
A sight of sorrow, nor her heart know mourning: Weep not, but answer me.
Crown all her days with joy, her nights with rest, Pri. By heav'n I will.
Harmless as her own thoughts; and prop ber Not one of them but what shall be immortal.
virtue, Canst thou forgive me all my follies past? To bear the loss of one that too much lov'd; I'll henceforth be indeed a father; never, And comfort her with patience in our parting. Never more thus expose, but cherish thee, Bel. How! Parting, parting! Dear as the vital warmth that feeds my life, Jaf. Yes, for ever parting; Dear as these eyes that weep in fondness o'er thee. I have sworn, Belvidera, by yon hear'n, Peace to thy heart. Farewell.
That best can tell how much I lose to leave thee, Bel. Go and remember,
We part this hour for ever. 'Tis Belvidera's life her father pleads for. Bei. O! call back
[Exeunt severally. Your cruel blessing; stay with me, and curse me.
Jaf. Now hold, heart, or never.
. By all the tender days we've liv'd together, Enter JAFFIER.
Pity' my sad condition; speak, but speak. Jaf. Final destruction seize on all the world. Jaf. Oh! h h! Bend down ye heav'ns, and shutting round Bel. By these arms, that now cling round this earth,
thy neck, Crush the vile globe into its first confusion! By these poor streaming eyes
Jaf. Murder! unhold me:
By th' immortal destiny that doom'd me.
[Draws the Dagger. Jaf. My plague- [Turning from her. To this curs'd minute, I'll not live one longer; Bel. Nay, then I see my ruin.
Resolve to let me go, or see me fall If I must die!
Hark, the dismal bell
[Passing-bell tolls. Jaf. Nor let the thoughts of death perplex Tolls out for death! I must allend its call too; thy fancy;
For my poor friend, my dying Pierre, expects me: But answer me to what I shall demand, He sent a message to require I'd see him With a firm temper and unshaken spirit. Before he died, and take his last forgiveness.
Bel. I will, when I've done weeping- Farewell, for ever.
Bel. Leave thy dagger with me,
parling? Bel. Oh! hh!
Oh! my poor heart, when wilt thou break? Jaf. Nay, keep in thy tears,
[Going out, looks back at him, Lest they unman me too.
Jaf. Yet stay: Bel. Heav'n knows I cannot;
We have a child, as yet a tender infant: The words you utter sound so very sadly, Be a kind mother to him when I'nı gone; The streams will follow
Breed him in virtue, and the paths of honour, Jaf. Come, I'll kiss. 'em dry then. But never let him know his father's story; Bel. But was't a miserable day?
I charge thee, guard him from the wrongs my fate Jaf. A curs’d one.
May do his future fortune, or his name. Bél. I thought it otherwise; and you've often Now-nearer yet- [ Approaching each other. sworn,
Oh! that my arms were rivetted In the transporting hours of warmest love, Thus round ihee ever! But my friend! my oath! When sure you spoke the truth, you've sworn This and no more.
Bel. Another, sure another, Jaf. 'Twas a rash oath.
For that poor little one you've ta'en such care of. Bel. Then why am I not curs'd too? I'll gir't him truly.
Jaf. No, Belvidera; by th' eternal truth, Jaf. So now farewell.
Bel. For ever?
Jaf. Heav'n knows for ever; all good angels Still then do you love me?
[E.rit. Juf. Man ne'er was blest
Bel. All ill ones sure had charge of me this Since the first pair met, as I have been.
moment. Bel. Then sure you will not curse me? Curs'd be my days, and doubly curs'd my nights.
you bless'd it.