British Dramatists from Dryden to Sheridan

By George Henry Nettleton; Arthur Eillicot Case | Go to book overview

BLUNT. Yes, so does the smoothness and plumpness of a partridge move a mighty desire in the hawk to be the destruction of it.

LUCY. Why, birds are their prey, as men are 230
ours -- though, as you observed, we are sometimes caught ourselves; but that, I dare say, will never be the case with our mistress.

BLUNT. I wish it may prove so, for you know we

all depend upon her. Should she trifle away her 235
time with a young fellow that there's nothing to be got by, we must all starve.

LUCY. There's no danger of that, for I am sure she has no view in this affair but interest.

BLUNT. Well, and what hopes are there of 240
success in that?

LUCY. The most promising that can be. 'Tis true, the youth has his scruples; but she'll soon teach him to answer them by stifling his conscience.

Oh, the lad is in a hopeful way, depend upon't. 245

Exeunt.

Scene draws and discovers BARNWELL and MILLWOOD at supper. An entertainment of music and singing. After which they come forward.

BARN. What can I answer? All that I know is, that you are fair and I am miserable.

MILL. We are both so, and yet the fault is in ourselves.

BARN. To ease our present anguish by plung­ 250
ing into guilt is to buy a moment's pleasure with an age of pain.

MILL. I should have thought the joys of love as lasting as they are great; if ours prove otherwise, 'tis

your inconstancy must make them so. 255

BARN. The law of heaven will not be reversed, and that requires us to govern our passions.

MILL. To give us sense of beauty and desires, and yet forbid us to taste and be happy, is cruelty to

nature. Have we passions only to torment 260
us?

BARN. To hear you talk, though in the cause of vice; to gaze upon your beauty, press your hand, and see your snow-white bosom heave and fall, en

flames my wishes: my pulse beats high; my 265
senses all are in a hurry, and I am on the rack of wild desire. Yet, for a moment's guilty pleasure, shall I lose my innocence, my peace of mind, and hopes of solid happiness?

MILL. Chimeras all! Come on with me and

prove 270
No joys like woman kind, no heav'n like love.

BARN. I would not, yet must on. -- Reluctant thus, the merchant quits his ease, And trusts to rocks, and sands, and stormy seas;

In hopes some unknown golden coast to find,
Commits himself, though doubtful, to the wind;
Longs much for joys to come, yet mourns those
      left behind.
275

Exeunt.


ACT II

SCENE I

A room in Thorowgood's house.'

Enter BARNWELL.

BARN. How strange are all things round me! Like some thief, who treads forbidden ground and fain would lurk unseen, fearful I enter each apartment of this well-known house. To guilty love, as if that

were too little, already have I added breach of 5
trust. -- A thief! -- Can I know myself that wretched thing, and look my honest friend and injured master in the face? Though hypocrisy may a while conceal my guilt, at length it will be known,
and public shame and ruin must ensue. In the 10
meantime, what must be my life? Ever to speak a language foreign to my heart; hourly to add to the number of my crimes in order to conceal 'em! Sure, such was the condition of the grand apostate,1 when
first he lost his purity; like me, disconsolate he 15
wandered, and, while yet in heaven, bore all his future hell about him.

Enter TRUEMAN.

TR. Barnwell! Oh, how I rejoice to see you safe! so will our master and his gentle daughter, who

during your absence often enquired after you. 20

BARN. (aside). Would he were gone! His officious love will pry into the secrets of my soul.

TR. Unless you knew the pain the whole family has felt on your account, you can't conceive how much you are beloved. But why thus cold and 25 silent? When my heart is full of joy for your return, why do you turn away? why thus avoid me? what have I done? how am I altered since you saw me last? Or rather, what have you done? and why are

you thus changed, for I am still the same.30

BARN. (aside). What have I done, indeed!

TR. Not speak! -- nor look upon me!

BARN. (aside). By my face he will discover all I would conceal; methinks already I begin to hate him.

TR. I cannot bear this usage from a friend -- 35
one whom till now I ever found so loving -- whom yet I love, though this unkindness strikes at the root of friendship, and might destroy it in any breast but mine.

____________________
s.d.] O1O2 BARNWELL and MILLWOOD at an entertainment.
259] D6O7 is a cruelty.
271] O1 nor heav'n.
272] O1O2 yet I must.
ACT 11. 2-3] om. and . . . unseen.
4-5] O1O2 that was.
1
Lucifer.

-609-

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