British Dramatists from Dryden to Sheridan

By George Henry Nettleton; Arthur Eillicot Case | Go to book overview
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To see thee thus, thou know'st not how it wounds me;
Thy agonies are added to my own,
And make the burden more than I can bear.
Farewell! Good angels visit thy afflictions

And bring thee peace and comfort from above! 405

ALIC. Oh, stab me to the heart, some pitying hand --
Now strike me dead --!

L. HAST. One thing I had forgot:
I charge thee by our present common miseries,
By our past loves, if yet they have a name,

By all thy hopes of peace here and hereafter, 410
Let not the rancor of thy hate pursue The innocence of thy unhappy friend.
Thou know'st who 'tis I mean; oh, shouldst thou
wrong her,
Just heav'n shall double all thy woes upon thee,
And make 'em know no end. Remember this 415
As the last warning of a dying man. Farewell forever! (The Guards carry HASTINGSoff.)

ALIC. Forever! Oh, forever!
Oh, who can bear to be a wretch forever!
My rival too! His last thoughts hung on her,

And, as he parted, left a blessing for her. 420
Shall she be blest, and I be curst, forever? No! Since her fatal beauty was the cause
Of all my suff'rings, let her share my pains;
Let her, like me, of ev'ry joy forlorn,
Devote1 the hour when such a wretch was born: 425
Like me to deserts and to darkness run,
Abhor the day, and curse the golden sun;
Cast ev'ry 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,
And prove the torments of the last despair.
430

Exit.


ACT V

SCENE I
The street.

Enter BELLMOUR and DUMONT, or SHORE.

SH. You saw her then?

BELL. I met her, as returning
In solemn penance from the public cross.
Before her, certain rascal officers,
Slaves in authority, the knaves of justice,

Proclaimed the tyrant Gloster's cruel orders. 5
On either side her marched an ill-looked priest, Who with severe, with horrid, haggard eyes,
Did ever and anon by turns upbraid her,
And thunder in her trembling ear damnation.
Around her, numberless the rabble flowed, 10
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, 15
With insolence and lewd reproach pursued her, Hooting and railing, and with villainous hands
Gathering the filth from out the common ways,
To hurl upon her head.

SH. Inhuman dogs!
How did she bear it?

BELL. With the gentlest patience. 20
Submissive, sad, and lowly was her look; A burning taper in her hand she bore,
And on her shoulders, carelessly confused,
With loose neglect her lovely tresses hung;
Upon her cheek a faintish flush was spread; 25
Feeble she seemed, and sorely smit with pain, While barefoot as she trod the flinty pavement,
Her footsteps all along were marked with blood.
Yet silent still she passed and unrepining;
Her streaming eyes bent ever on the earth, 30
Except when in some bitter pang of sorrow To heav'n she seemed in fervent zeal to raise,
And beg that mercy man denied her here.

SH. When was this piteous sight?

BELL. These last two days.

You know my care was wholly bent on you, 35
To find the happy means of your deliverance, Which but for Hastings' death I had not gained.
During that time, although I have not seen her,
Yet divers trusty messengers I've sent,
To wait about and watch a fit convenience 40
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 succor from her.

SH. Let 'em threaten.

Let proud oppression prove its fiercest malice; 45
So heav'n befriend my soul, as here I vow To give her help and share one fortune with her.

BELL. Mean you to see her thus, in your own form?

SH. I do.

BELL. And have you thought upon the
consequence?

SH. What is there I should fear?

BELL. Have you examined 50
Into your inmost heart, and tried at leisure The several secret springs that move the passions?
Has Mercy fixed her empire there so sure,
That Wrath and Vengeance never may return?
Can you resume a husband's name, and bid 55
That wakeful dragon, fierce resentment, sleep?

____________________
32] Sutherland reports raise them as the reading of one copy of D2.
1
Curse.

-524-

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British Dramatists from Dryden to Sheridan
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