who groans and dies.) Life, that hovered on his lips but till he had sealed my pardon, in that kiss expired. He's gone forever -- and oh! I follow. (Swoons away upon his uncle's dead body.) -- Do I still live to press the suffering bosom of the earth? Do I still 55 breathe, and taint with my infectious breath the wholesome air? Let heaven from its high throne, in justice or in mercy, now look down on that dear murdered saint and me the murderer, and, if his vengeance spares, let pity strike and end my 60 wretched being! -- Murder the worst of crimes, and parricide the worst of murders, and this the worst of parricides! Cain, who stands on record from the birth of time, and must to its last final period, as accursed, slew a brother favored above him. De 65 tested Nero by another's hand dispatched a mother that he feared and hated. But I, with my own hand, have murdered a brother, mother, father, and a friend most loving and beloved. This execrable act of mine's without a parallel. Oh, may it ever stand 70 alone -- the last of murders, as it is the worst!
The rich man thus, in torment and despair,
Preferred his vain but charitable prayer.1
The fool, his own soul lost, would fain be wise
For others' good; but heaven his suit denies. 75 By laws and means well known we stand or fall, And one eternal rule remains for all. [Exit.]
A room in THOROWGOOD'S house.
MA. How falsely do they judge who censure or applaud, as we're afflicted or rewarded here! I know I am unhappy, yet cannot charge myself with any crime more than the common frailties of our kind, that should provoke just heaven to mark 5 me out for sufferings so uncommon and severe. Falsely to accuse ourselves, heaven must abhor; then it is just and right that innocence should suffer, for heaven must be just in all its ways. Perhaps by that we are kept from moral evils much worse than 10 penal, or more improved in virtue; or may not the lesser ills that we sustain be made the means of greater good to others? Might all the joyless days and sleepless nights that I have passed but purchase peace for thee, 15
Thou dear, dear cause of all my grief and pain,
Small were the loss, and infinite the gain;
Though to the grave in secret love I pine,
So life and fame and happiness were thine.
-- What news of Barnwell? 20
TR. None. I have sought him with the greatest diligence, but all in vain.
MA. Does my father yet suspect the cause of his absence?
TR. All appeared so just and fair to him, it is 25 not possible he ever should; but his absence will no longer be concealed. Your father's wise; and, though he seems to hearken to the friendly excuses I would make for Barnwell, yet I am afraid he regards 'em only as such, without suffering them to influence 30 his judgment.
MA. How does the unhappy youth defeat all our designs to serve him! Yet I can never repent what we have done. Should he return, 'twill make his reconciliation with my father easier, and pre 35 serve him from future reproach from a malicious, unforgiving world.
Enter THOROWGOOD and LUCY.
THOR. This woman here has given me a sad, and (bating some circumstances) too probable account of Barnwell's defection. 40
LUCY. I am sorry, sir, that my frank confession of my former unhappy course of life should cause you to suspect my truth on this occasion.
THOR. It is not that; your confession has in it all the appearance of truth. (To them.) Among 45 many other particulars, she informs me that Barnwell has been influenced to break his trust, and wrong me at several times of considerable sums of money; now, as I know this to be false, I would fain doubt the whole of her relation, too dreadful to be will 50 ingly believed.
MA. Sir, your pardon; I find myself on a sudden so indisposed that I must retire. -- (Aside.) Providence opposes all attempts to save him. Poor ruined Barnwell! Wretched, lost Maria! 55
THOR. How am I distressed on every side! Pity for that unhappy youth, fear for the life of a much valued friend -- and then my child, the only joy and hope of my declining life! Her melancholy increases hourly, and gives me painful apprehensions 60 of her loss. O Trueman! this person informs me that your friend, at the instigation of an impious woman, is gone to rob and murder his venerable uncle.
TR. Oh, execrable deed! I am blasted with 65 the horror of the thought.
LUCY. This delay may ruin all.
THOR. What to do or think I know not. That he____________________