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Glos. Then judge, yourselves, convince your eyes of truth:
Behold my arm, thus blasted, dry, and wither'd,
(Pulling up his sleeee.) Shrunk like a foul abortion, and decay'd, Like some untimely product of the seasons, Robb'd of its properties of strength and office t This is the sorcery of Edward's wife, Who, in conjunction with that harlot Shore, And other like confederate midnight hags, By force of potent spells, of bloody characters, And conjurations horrible to hear, Call fiends and spectres from the yawning deep, And set the ministers of hell at work, To torture and despoil me of my life,
Has. If they have done this deed—
Glos. If they have done it!
[Exeunt Gloster, the Lords following. Manet LORD HASTINGS, SIR RICHARD RATCLIFFE, and Guards.
Has. What! and no more but this!—How! to the scaffold t O gentle Ratcliffe! tell me, do I hold thee? Or if I dream, what shall I do to. wake, To break, to struggle through this dread confusion? For surely death itself is not so painful As is this sudefen horror and surprise. i
Sir £. You heard the duke's commands to mo were absolute, Therefore, my lord, address you to your shrift. 'With all good speed you may. Summon your courage,
And be yourself; for you must die this instant.
Has. Yes, Ratcliffe, I will take thy friendly counsel And die as a man should; 'tis somewhat hard, To call my scatter'd spirits home at once: But since what must be, must be;—let necessity Supply the place of time andpreparation, And arm me for the blow. 'Tie but to die, •Tie but to venture on the common hazard, Which many a time in battle I have run; 'Tis but to close my eyes and shut out day-light, To view no more the wicked ways of men; No longer to behold the tyrant Gloster, And be a weeping witness of the woes, The desolation, slaughter, and calamities, Which he shall bring on this unbappy land. Enter ALIOIA.
Alic. Stand off, and let me pass: I will, I must Catch him once more in these despairing arms. And hold him to my heart. O Hastings! Hastings I
Has. Alas! why comest thou at this dreadful moment,
To fill me with new terrors, new distractions;
Alic. Stop a minute—
Has. What means thy frantic grief?
Alic . I eannot speak-.
But I have murder'd thoeOh, I could tell thee—
Has. Speak, and give ease to thy confiicting pas. Be quick, nor keep me longer in suspense; [slon! Time pcesses, and a thousand crowding thoughts Break in at once;—this way and that they snatch, They tear my hurried Soul ; all claim attention, And yet not one is heard. Oh! speak, and leave For I have business would employ an ago, [me. And but a minute's time to get it done in- [on,
Alic. That—that's my grief: 'tis I that urge thee Thus hunt thee to the toil, sweep thee from earth. And drive thee down this precipice of fate. fhaud
Has. Thy reason is grown wild. Could thy weak Bring on this mighty ruin? If it could. What have I done so grievous to thy soul, So deadly, so beyond the reach of pardon. That nothing but my life can make atonement?
Alic. Thy crnel scorn bath stung me to the heart, And set my burning bosom all in fiames: Raving and mad I fiew to my revenge, And writ I knew not what;-*-told the protector, That Shore's detested wife, by wiles, hod won thoo To plot against his greatness. He believ'd it, (Oh, dire event of my pernicious counsel!) And, while I meant destruction on her head, He has turn'd it all on thine.
Has. O thou inhuman I turn thine eyes away, And blast me not with their destructive beams; Why should I curse thee with my dying breath? Be gone! and let me die in peace.
Alic. Canst thou, 0 crnel Hastings, leave me thus? Hear me, I beg thee!—I conjure thee, hear me i While, with an agonizing heart, l swear, By all the pangs I feel, by all the sorrows, The terrors and despair thy loss shall give me, My hate was on my rival bent alone. Oh! had I once divin'd, false as thou art, A danger to thy life, I would have died— I would have met it for thee. [award:
Has. Now mark! and tremble at heav'n's jast While thy insatiate wrath and fell revenge, Pursu'd the innocence which never wrong'd thee, Behold the mischief falls on thee and inp: Remorse and heaviness of heart shall wait thee, And everlasting anguish be thy portiop; For me, the snares of death are wound about me, And now, in one poor moment, I am gone. Oh! if thou hast one tender thought remaining, Fly to thy closet, fall upon thy knees, And recommend my parting soul to mercy.
Alic, Oh! yet before I go for ever from thee, Turn thee in gentleness and pity to me, (Kneeling.) And, in compassion of my strong affiiction, Say, is it possible you can forgive The fatal rashness of ungovern'd love? For, oh! 'tis certain, if I had not lov'd thee Beyond my peace, my reason, fame, and life, This d*y of horror never would have known us.
Has. Oh, rise, and let me hush thy sttormy sorrows. (Ramny hut)
Assuage thy tears, for I will chide no more,
Alic. And does thy heart relent for my undoing?
(t'atesby enters, and whispers HuMiffe. )
Has. Here, then, exchange we mutual forgiveSo may the guilt of all my broken vows, [ness: My perjuries to thee, be all forgotten, As here my Soul acquits thee of my death. As here I part without one angry thought, As here I leave thee with the softest tenderness, Mourning the chance of our disastrous loves, And begging heav'n to bless and to support thee.
Sir R. My lord, despatch; the duke has sent to For loitering in my duty— [chide me,
Has. I obey.
Alic . Insatiate, savage monster t Is a moment So tedious to thy malice ¥ Oh, repay him, Thou great Avenger! Give him blood for blood: Guilt baunt him I fiends pursne him I lightnings That he may know how terrible it is [blast him|I To want that moment he denies thee now.
Has. This rage is all in vain, that tears thy bosom: Retire, I beg thee;
To see thee thus, thou know'st not how it wounds
And make the burden more than 1 can bear.
Alic. Oh I stab me to the heart, some pitying Now strike me dead. [hand. Re-enter LORD HASTINGS.
Has. One thing I had forgot l— I charge thee, by our present common miseries; By our past loves, if they have yet a name; By all thy hopes of peace here and hereafter, Let not the rancour of thy hate pursne The innocence of thy unhappy friend; [wrong her, Thou know'st who 'tis I mean: Oh! shouldst thou Just heav'n shall double all thy woes upon thee, And make 'em know no end;—remember this, As the last warning of a dying man. Farewell, for ever! (The Guards carry Hastings off-)
Alic. Forever! Oh, forever! Oh, who can bear to be a wretch for ever? My rival, too! His last thoughts hung on her, And, as he parted, left a blessing for her? Shall she be blest, and I be curst, for ever? No; since her fatal beauty was the cause Of all my suffrings, let her share my pains; Let her, like me, of ev'ry joy forlorn, Devote the hour when such a wretch was born; Cast eVry good, and ev'ry hope behind: Detest the works of nature, loathe mankind: Like me, with cries distracted, fill the air, Tear her poor bosom, rend her frantic hair, AasVprove the torment of the last despair. [Exit. ACT V. SCENE I.—A Street. Enter BELMOUR and DUMONT.
Dum. You saw her, then?
Bel. I met her, as returning, In solemn penance from the public cross. Before her, certain rascal officers, Staves in authority, the knaves of justice, I Proclaim'd the tyrant Gloster's crnel orders. Around her, numberless, the rabble fiow'd, Should'ring each other, crowding for a view, Gaping and gazing, taunting and reviling; Some pitying,—but those, alas! how few! The most, such iron hearts we are, and such The base barbarity of human kind, With insolence and lewd reproach pursu'd her, Hooting and railing, and with villainous handr, Gath'ring the filth from out the common ways. To hurl upon her head.
Dum. Inhuman dogs I How did she bear it r
Bel. With the gentlest patience;
Dum. When was this piteous sight?
Bel. TheBe last two days, You know my care was wholly bent on you, To find the happy means of your deliverance: Which, but for Hastings' death, I had not gain'd. During that time, although I have not seen her, Yet divers trusty messengers I've sent, To wait about, and watch a lit convenience To give her some relief, but all in vain; A churlish guard attends upon her steps, Who menace those with death, that bring her comAnd drive all succour from her. [fort,
Dum. Let 'em threaten; Let proud oppression prove its fiercest malice; So heav'n befriend my soul, as here I vow To give her help, and share one fortune with her.
Bel. Mean you to see her thus, in your own form?
Dum. I do.
Bel. And have you thought upon the conseqnence?
Dum. What is there I sh ou Id fear?
Bel. Have you examin'd Into your inmost heart, and try'd at leisure The sev'ral secret springs that move the passions? Has mercy fix'd her empire there so sure, That wrath and vengeance never may return? Can you resume a hushand's name, and bid That wakeful dragon, fierce resentment, sleep?
Dum. O thou hast set my busy brain at work, And now she musters up a traim of images, Which, to preserve my peace, I had oast aside, And sunk in deep oblivion.—Oh, that form! That angel face on which my dotage hung I How I have gaz'd upon her, till my soul With very eagerness went forth towards her, And issu'd at my eyes.—Was there a gem Which the sun ripens in the Indian mine, Or the rich bosom of the ocean yields? [ I ii i v.
What was there art oould make, or wealth could Which I have left unsought to deck her beauty? What could her king do more?—And yet she fied.
Bel Away with that sad fancy.
Dum. Oh, that day! The thought of it must live for ever with me. I met her, Behnour, when the royal spoiler Bore her in trinmph from my widow'd homo! Within his chariot, by his side she sat, And listen'd to his talk with downward looks, 'Till sudden as she chane'd aside to glahae. Her eyes encounter'a mine:—Oh! then, my friend! Oh I who can paint my grief, and her amazement 'i As at the stroke of death, twice turn'd she pale: And twice a burning crimson blush'd all o'er hen Then, with a shriek heart-wounding, loud she cry'd, While down her cheeks two gushing torrents ran, Fast falling on her hands, which thus she wrung :— Mov'd at her grief, the tyrant ravisher, With courteous action woo'd her oft to turn; Earnest he seem'd to plead, but all in vain; Ev'n to the last she bent her sight towards me, And follow'd me,—till I had lost myself.
Bet Alan, for pity! Oh, those speaking tears! Could they be false? Did she not suffer with you? For though the king by force possess'd her person, Her unconsenting heart dwelt still with you. If all her former woes were not enough, Look on her now; behold her where she wanders, Hunted to death, distress'd on every side, With no one hand to help; and tell me then, If ever misery were known like hers?
Dum. And can she bear it? Can that delicate Endure the heating of a storm so rude? [frame Can she, for whom the various seasons chang'd To court her appetite and crown her board. For whom the foreign vintages were press'd, For whom the merchant spread his silken stores, Can she— Entreat for bread, and want the needful raiment To wrap her shiv'ring bosom from the weather? When she was mine, no care came ever nigh her; I thought the gentlest breeze that wakes the spring, Too rough to breathe upon her; cheerfulness Danc'd all the day before her, and at night Soft slumbers waited on her downy pillow:— Now, sad and shelterless, perhaps she lies, [rain Where piercing winds blow sharp, and the chill Drops from some pent-house onhcr wretched head, Drenches her locks, and kills her with the cold. It is too much:—hence with her past offences. They are aton'd at full.—Why stay we, then? Oh! let us haste, my friend, and find her out
Bel. Somewhere about this quarter of the town, I hear the poor abandon'd creature lingers: Her guard, though set with strictest watch to keep All food and friendship from her, yet permit her To wander in the streets, there choose her bed, And rest her head on what cold stone she pleases.
Dum. Here then let us divide; each in his round To scarch her sorrows out; whose hap it is First to behold her, this way let him lead Her fainting steps, and meet we here together.
SCENE II.—A Street. Enter JANE SHORE, her hair hanging loose on her shoulders, and bare-footed. Jane S. Yet, yet endure, nor murmur, O my soul! For are not thy transgressions great and numberDo they not cover thee like rising fioods, [less? And press thee like a weight of waters down? Wait then with patience, till the circling hours Shall bring the time of thy appointed rest, And lay thee down in death. And hark! methinks the roar that late pursu'd me, Sinks like the murmurs of a falling wind, And softens into silence. Does revenge And malice then grow weary, and forsake me? My guard, too, that observd me still so close, Tire in the task of their inhuman office, And loiter far behind. Alas! I faint, My spirits fall at once.—This is the door Of my Alicia;—blessed opportunity! I'll steal a little succour from her goodness, Now, while no eye observe me. (She knocks.) Enter Servant.
Is your lady,
My gentle friend, at home! Oh! bring me to her.
Serc. Hold, mistress, whither would you?
(Throwing her back.) Jane S. Do you not know me? Serc. I know you well, and know my orders too: You must not enter here. Jane S. Tell my Alicia, 'tis 1 would see her. Serc. She is ill at ease, and will admit no visitor. Jane & But tell her
'Tis I, her friend, the partner of her heart,
Serc. 'Tis all in vain:—
(Shuts the door.)
Jane S. It was not always thus: the time hai
When this unfriendly door, that bars my passage
(She sits down.)
Hangs on my door : whose hateful whine ot woe
Jane S. A very beggar, and a wretch, indeed;
Alic. And dost thou come tome, tome forbread? I know thee not—Go; hunt for it abroad, (it, Where wanton hands upon the earth have scattcr'a Or cast it on the waters.—Mark the eagle, And hungry vulture, where they wind tho prey; Watch where the ravens of the valley feed. And seek thy food with them:—I know thee not
Jane S. (Rises.) And yet, there was a time, when my Alicia
Has thought unhappy Shore her dearest blessing.
'Tis trne;—I know thee now;—a mischief on thee!
Jane S. To thy hand
Alic Nay, tell not me! Where is thy king, thy And all the cringing train of courtiers, [Edward, That bent the knee before thee?
Jane S. O! for mercy!
Alic. Mercy! I know it not!—f or I am miserable. I'll give thee Misery, for here she dwells; This is her house, where the sun never dawns; The blrd of night sits screaming o'er the roof, Grim spectres sweep along the horrid gloom, And nought is heard but waitings and lamenting*. Hark! something cracks above! it shakes! it totters,
And see tho nodding ruin falls to crush me!
'Tis fall'n, 'tis here 1 I felt it on my brain!
Let her take my counsel: [heart,
Whyshouldst thou be a wretch? Stah, tear thy
And rid thyself of this detested being;
I wo' not linger long behind thee here.
A waving fiood of bluish fire swells Q'cr me;
And now 'tis out, and I am drown'd in blood.
Jane S. Alas ! she raves! her brain I fear is turn'd.
Thou common parent, take me to thy bosom,
Bel. Upon the ground! Thy miseries can never lay thee lower. Look up, thou poor afflicted one! thou mourner, Whom none has comforted! Wherearethy friends, The dear companions of thy joyful days, Whose hearts thy warm prosperity made glad. Whose arms were taught to grow like ivy round thee, And bind thee to their bosoms?—Thus with thee, Thus let us live, and let us die, they said. Now where are they? [aloof,
Jane S. Ah, Belmour! where indeed? they stand And view my desolation from afar! And yet thy goodness turns aside to pity me. Alas! there may be danger; get thee gone, Let me not pull a ruin on thy head, Leave me to die alone, for I am fall'n. Never to rise, and all relief is vain.
Bet. Yet raise thy drooping head; for I am come To chase away despair. Behold! where yonder That honest man, that faithful, brave Dumont, Is hasting to thy aid—
JaaeS. Dumont I Hal Where?
(Raising herself, and looking about.) Then heaven has heard my pray'r; his very name Renews the springs of life, and cheers my souL Has he then 'scap'd the snare?
BeL He has; but see—
Jane S. Speak, tell me! Which is he? and, oh! what would This dreadful vision? See, it comes upon melt is my husband—Ah! (She swoons.)
Shore. She faints: support her I [prise.
Bet Her weakness could not bear the strong surBut see, she stirs t and the returning blood Faintly begins to blush again, and kindle Upon her ashy cheek:—
Shore. So,—gently raise her,—(Raising Iter up.)
Jane S. Ha! What art thou? Belmour.
Bel. How fare you, lady?
Jane S. My heart is thrili'd with horror.
Bel. Be of courage ;— Your hushand lives! 'tis he, my worthiest friend.
Jam 3. Still art thou there? still dost thou hover round me?
Oh, save me Belmour, from his angry shade!
BeL 'Tis he himself! he lives! lookup:—
Jane S. I dare not
Shore. Am I so hateful, then, so deadly to thee.
Jane S. Oh! thou most injur'd—dost thou live, inFall then, ye mountains, on myguilty.head: [deed? Hide me, ye rocks, within your secret caverns;
Cast thy black veil upon my shame, 0 night!
Shore. Why dost thou turn away ?—Why tremble
Now while occasion seems to smile upon us.
Jane S. What shall I say to you? But I obey.
Shore. Lean on my arm.
Jane & Alas I I'm wondrous faint: [days. But that's not strange, I have not eat these three
Shore. Oh, merciless!
Jane S. Oh! I am sick at heart!
Shore. Thou murd'rous sorrow! Wo't thou still drink her blood, pursne her still? Must she then die? O my poor penitent! Speak peace to thy sad heart: she hears me not: Grief masters ev'ry sense—
Enter CATESBY, with a Guard.
Cates. Seize on 'em both, as traitors to the state!—
Bel. What means this violence?
(Guards lay hold on Shore and Belmour.)
Cates, Have we not found you,
Shore. Infamy on thy head;
Cates. You'll answer this at full:—away with
Shore. Is charity grown treason to your court? What honest man would live beneath such rulers? I am content that we should die together.
Cates. Convey the men to prison; but for her,— Leave her to hunt her fortune as she may. [me!—
Jane S. I will not part with him:—for mo !—for Oh! must he die for me?
(Following him as he is carried off—she falls.)
Shore. Inhuman villains!
(Breaks from the Guards.) Stand off! the agonies of death are on her! She pulls, she gripes me hard with her cold hand.
Jane S. Was this blow wanting to complete my Oh! let me go, ye ministers of terror, [ruin i
He shall offend no more, for I will die,
Shore. Oh, my love!
Jane S. Forgive me!—but forgive me!
Shore. Be witness for me, ye celestial host, Such mercy and such pardon as my soul Accords to thee, and begs of heav'n to show thee, May such befall me at my latest hour, And make my portion blest or curst for ever.
Jane & Then all is well, and I shall sleep in peace;—
'Tis very dark, and I have lost yon now:— [yon?
ACT I.—SCENE I—.1 Library. Enter BETTY and SAM. Betty. The postman is at the gate, Sam; pray step and take in the letters. [Betty. Sam, John the gardener is gono Ior them, Mrs. Betty. Bid John bring them to me, Sam: tell him I am here in the library. Sam. I'll send him to your ladyship in a crack.
Enter NANNY. Nanny. Miss Constantia desires to speak to yon, Mrs. Betty.
Betty. How is she now ?—any better, Nanny?
Nanny. Something; but very low-spirited still. I verily believe it is as you say.
Betty. O! I would take my book oath of it I cannot be deceived in that point, Nanny.—Ay, ay, her business is done: she is certainly breeding, depend upon it.
Nanny. Why, So the housekeeper thinks, too. Betty. Nay, I know the father, tho man that ruined her. Nanny. The dense you do!
Betty. As sure as you are alive, Nanny; or I am greatly deceived; and yet—I can't bo deceived neither. Was not that the cook that came galloping so hard over the common juat now?
Nanny. The same: how very hard he galloped! he has been but three quarters of an hour, he aajts, coming from Hyde-park Corner.
Betty. And what time will the family be down? .
Nanny. He has orders to have dinner ready by five: there are to be lawyers, and a great deal of company here: he fancies there is to be a private wedding to-night, between our young Master Charles, and Lord Lumbercourt's daughter, tho Scotch lady; who, he says, is just come post from Bath, in order to bo married to him.