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Alv. Ay! it is the law.
Hem. Then, Florinda, thus I spurn the tyrant!
Flor. Well, dost thou renounce me?
Alv. Hear me, Hemeya !-will you yield obedience To Philip's will, and swear yourself a Christian? Hem. A Christian!
What law can teach me to renounce my country?
Alv. Then choose between your prophet and Florinda. Hem. Wilt thou abandon me?
Alv. Let my deep curse fall on her head-
My tears may flow from eyes long used to weeping-
My heart may break indeed; love can do this;
To draw down sorrows on a father's age,
Or to deserve his curse.
Hem. This, this from thee?
Flor. You've found the dreadful secret of my soul! But hold-what am I doing?-pride, where art thou? Am I so fallen in passion ?-oh, my father,
Lead me from hence!
Hem. Florinda, stay one momentDon't leave me-don't abandon me.
Flor. My father, lead me hence!
Alv. [To Hemeya.] You have heard Alvarez' will— Take one day for decision: if to-morrow You do not, in the face of heav'n, renounce The faith of Mahomet, renounce Florinda ! Hem. Oh, misery !-my Florinda, look upon me!
Flor. Yes, I will look upon thee, and perhaps
Hem. Then let me die!
Flor. Hemeya, listen to me!
My heart has owned its weakness: yet, thank heav'n,
[As she goes out, she looks back for an instant. Oh, Hemeya! [Exit, R.
Hem. She blest me as she parted; yet I feel A curse fall on my heart! I am doomed to choose Between despair and crime! my fate cries out, Be wretched or be guilty; but, Florinda, How could I live without thee ?-can I see That form, to which I stretched my desp'rate arms In the wild dream of passion and despair, Brought to my bosom in assured reality, Nor rush to clasp it here ?-would the faint traveller, Who long hath toiled through Afric's sultry sands, Droop o'er the fount that mid the desert gushed, Even from the burning rock, and die with thirst, While its clear freshness wooed him to be blest ?— No! he would drink, though there were poison in it.
END OF ACT I.
SCENE I-The Exterior of the Inquisition.
Enter MALEC and HALY, L.
Mal. Renounce his people! Haly, I did not think,
Hal. After long struggles of reluctant honour,
Mal. I have heard enough.
Hal. But when you tell what you had come to teach him;
And he has heard that on his brows shall shine
The crown his thers wore; when you have told him—
My wonted power upon him; from its ashes
That to their secret ears
The cause of my return.
Renounce the faith
[Exit Haly, L.
That suffering had endeared, when twenty thousand
When freedom's flame from yonder mountain tops
But hold! he comes! there was a time, Hemeya,
Enter HEMEYA, R.
I charge thee not to touch my garment's edge!
Hem. Oh, Malec, this from thee! when I behold thee, After long months of absence, dost thou scorn me?
Mal. Dost thou not scorn thyself? I know it all; Fame has not kept thy baseness from mine ears. What, for a wanton !—
Mal. Ay, a Spanish wanton !
Is she not one of those same melting dames,
That let men's eyes blaze on unveiled charms,
Hem. I permit you
To rail against myself; heap on my head
Mal. What should I fear?
Away, slight boy! and speak not of thy father.
Hem. I am guilty; I confess that I am guilty.
Mal. Forbear, fond youth! my eyes are palled already. Rein in thy wanton fancy; dost thou think That I am made to hear a lover's follies?
Go, tell them to the moon, and howl with dogs!
Hem. We have no country!
Mal. Thou hast, indeed, no country?
Hem. Are we not bound to earth? the lording Spaniard
Treads on our heads! we groan beneath the yoke
That, shaken, gores more deeply!
To gush in foaming torrents. Dost thou forget
Mal. Art thou afraid? look at yon gloomy towers! Has thy fair union told thee to beware
Of damps and rheums, caught in the dungeon's vapours? Or has she said those dainty limbs of thine
Were only made for love? Look on yon towers!
Hem. By heavens !
Thy burning front, thy flaming eyes, proclaim it!
I feel thy spirit's mastery; my soul
Fires in the glowing contact! Malec, speak!
Mal. What can men do
Who groan beneath the lash of tyranny,
Have we not cime
'Twas not in vain I sought those rugged heights, Nor vainly do I now again return;
Amid the Alpuxerra's cragged cliffs,
Are there not myriads of high-hearted Moors,