A PLOT DISCOVERED
By THOMAS OTWAY
Enter PRIULI and JAFFEIR.
PRIULI. No more! I'll hear no more; begone and leave.
JAFFEIR. Not hear me! by my sufferings, but you shall! My lord, my lord! I'm not that abject wretch You think me. Patience! where's the distance throws Me back so far, but I may boldly speak 5 In right, though proud oppression will not hear me! PRIU. Have you not wronged me?
JAFF. Could my nature e'er Have brooked injustice or the doing wrongs, I need not now thus low have bent myself, To gain a hearing from a cruel father! 10 Wronged you?
PRIU. Yes! wronged me, in the nicest point, The honor of my house; you have done me wrong. You may remember (for I now will speak, And urge its baseness) when you first came home From travel, with such hopes as made you looked on 15
By all men's eyes, a youth of expectation; Pleased with your growing virtue, I received you, Courted, and sought to raise you to your merits: My house, my table, nay, my fortune, too, My very self, was yours; you might have used me 20 To your best service. Like an open friend, I treated, trusted you, and thought you mine; When in requital of my best endeavors, You treacherously practised to undo me, Seduced the weakness of my age's darling, 25 My only child, and stole her from my bosom. O Belvidera!
JAFF. 'Tis to me you owe her; Childless you had been else, and in the grave, Your name extinct, nor no more Priuli heard of. You may remember, scarce five years are past 30 Since in your brigandine you sailed to see The Adriatic wedded by our Duke,1 And I was with you: your unskilful pilot Dashed us upon a rock; when to your boat You made for safety, entrèd first yourself; 35 The affrighted Belvidera following next, As she stood trembling on the vessel side, Was by a wave washed off into the deep; When instantly I plunged into the sea, And buffeting the billows to her rescue, 40 Redeemed her life with half the loss of mine. Like a rich conquest in one hand I bore her, And with the other dashed the saucy waves That thronged and pressed to rob me of my prize: I brought her, gave her to your despairing arms. 45 Indeed you thanked me; but a nobler gratitude Rose in her soul: for from that hour she loved me, Till for her life she paid me with herself.
PRIU. You stole her from me; like a thief you stole her, At dead of night; that cursèd hour you chose 50 To rifle me of all my heart held dear. May all your joys in her prove false like mine; A sterile fortune and a barren bed Attend you both: continual discord make Your days and nights bitter and grievous: still 55 May the hard hand of a vexatious need Oppress and grind you; till at last you find The curse of disobedience all your portion.
JAFF. Half of your curse you have bestowed in vain; Heav'n has already crowned our faithful loves 60 With a young boy, sweet as his mother's beauty. May he live to prove more gentle than his grandsire, And happier than his father!
PRIU. Rather live To bait2 thee for his bread, and din your ears With hungry cries, whilst his unhappy mother 65 Sits down and weeps in bitterness of want.
JAFF. You talk as if it would please you.
PRIU. 'Twould, by heav'n!
Once she was dear indeed; the drops that fell From my sad heart when she forgot her duty, The fountain of my life was not so precious: 70 But she is gone, and if I am a man, I will forget her.____________________