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Bel. With the gentlest patience;
Submissive, sad, and lowly was her look;
A burning taper in ber hand she bore,
And on her shoulders carelessly confus'd,
Witb loose neglect, her lovely tresses hung;
Upon her cheek a faintish blosh was spread;
Feeble she seem'd, and sorely smit with pain.
While barefoot as she trod the flipty pavement,
Her footsteps all along were mark’d with blood.
Yet, silent still she pass’d, and unrepining;
Her streaming eyes bent ever on the earth,
Except when in some bitter pang of sorrow,
To heav'n she seem'd in fervent zeal to raise,
And beg that mercy man deny'd her here.
Dum. When was this piteous sight?
Bel. These 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 gaiu’d. During that time, although I have not seen her, Yel divers trasty messengers I've sent, To wait about, and watch a fit 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 com
fort, And drive all succour from her.
Dum. Let 'em threaten;
Let proud oppression prove its fiercest malice;
So heav'n befriend my soul, as here I vow
To give ber 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 consequenoe?
Dum. What is there I should 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 tix'd her empire there so sure,
Thal wrath and vengeance never may return?
Can you resume a husband'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 train of images,
Which, to preserve my peace, I had cast aside,
And sunk in deep oblivion—Oh, that form!
That angel face on which my dotage bung!
How I have gaz'd upon her, till ny 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?
What was there art could make, or wealth could buy,
Which I have left unsought to deck her beauty?
What could her king do more?-And yet she fled.
Bel. Away with that sad fancy-
Dum. Oh, that day!
The thought of it must live for ever with me.
I met her, Belmour, when the royal spoiler
Bore her in triumph from my widow'd home!
Within his charioi, by his side she sat,
And listen’d to his talk with downward looks,
'Till sudden as she chanc'd aside to glance,
Her eyes encounter'd mine-Oh! then, my friend!
Oh! who can paint my grief and her amazeinent!
As at the stroke of death, twice turn'd she pale;
And twice a burning crimson blush'd all o'er her;
Then, with a shriek beart-wounding, loud she cry'
While down her cheeks two gushing torrents ran
Fast falling on her hands, which thus she wrung-
Mov'd at her grier, 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.
Bel. Alas, 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 frame
Endure the beating of a storm šo rude?
Can she, for whoin 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,
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 breath 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,
Where piercing winds blow sharp, and the chill rain
Drops from some pent-house on her 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,
J hear the poor abandon'd creatore 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 search her sorrows ont; whose hap it is
First to behold her, this way let him lead
Her fainting steps, aud meet we here together.
Enter JANE SHORE, her Hair hanging loose on her
Shoulders, and bare-footed.
Jane S. Yot, yet endure, nor murmur, O my soul !
For are not thy transgressions great and numberless ?
Do they not cover thee like rising floods,
And press thee like a weight of waters down?
Wait then with patience, till the circling hours
Sball bring the time of thy appointed rest,
And lay thee down in death.
And, hark! methinks the roar that late pursu'd me,
Sink's 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 observ'd me still so close,
Tire in the task of their inhuman office,
And loiter far behind. Alas! I faint,
My spirits fail at once. This is the door
of my Alicia-Blessed opportunity!
I'll steal a little succour from her goodness,
Now while no eye observes me. [She knocks at the Door.
Is your lady,
My gentle friend, at home! Oh! bring me to her.
Serv. Hold, mistress, whither would you?"
[Pulling her back.
Jane S. Do you not know me?
Serv. I know you well, and know my orders too:
You must not enter here
Jane S. Tell my Alicia, "Tis I would see her.
Serv. She is ill at ease, And will admit no visitor
Jane S. But tell her 'Tis 1, her friend, the partner of her heart, Wait at the door and beg,
Serv. 'Tis all in vain,
Go hence, and howl to those that will regard you,
[Shuts the Door, and erit.
Jane S. It was not always thus; the time has been,
When this unfriendly door, that bars iny passage,
Flew wide, and almost leap'd from off its hinges,
To give me entrance here; when this good house
Has pour'd forth all its dwellers to receive me;
When my approaches made a little holiday,
And every face was dress'd in smiles to meet me:
But now 'tis otherwise; and those who bless'd me,
Now curse me to my face. Why should I wander,
Stray further on, for I can die ev'n here?
[She sits down at the Door. Enter Alicia in disorder, two Servants following.
Alic. What wretch art thou, whose misery and base-
Hangs on my door; whose hateful whine of woe
Breaks in upon my sorrows, and distracts
My jarring senses with thy beggar's cry?
Jane S. A very beggar, and a wretch, indeed;
One driv'n by strong calamity to seek
For succours here; one perishing for want,
Whose burger has not tasted food these three days;
And humbly asks, for charity's dear sake,
A draught of water and a little bread.
Alic. And dost thou come to me, to me for bread?
I know thee not-Go-hunt for it abroad,
Where wanton hands upon the earth have scatter'd it,
Or cast it on the waters-Mark the eagle,
And hungry vulture, where they wind the prey;
Watch where the ravens of the valley feed,
And seek thy food with them know thee not.
Jane Ş. And yet there was a time, when my Alicia Has thought unhappy Shore her dearest blessing, Aud mourn'd the live-long day she pass'd without me; Inclining fondly to me she has sworn, She lov'd me more than all the world besides.
Alic. Ha! say'st thou! Let une look upon thee well