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LYCIDAS.

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LYCIDAS.

If this be she for whom Alexis pind,

A perjur'd lover first he sought these plains, She now no more is to thy vows unkind.

And now my friendship like my love disdains. Behind the thicket's twisted verdure laid,

As I new otiers to Parthenia made, I witness'd every tender thing she said;

Conceald he stood behind the woodbine shade. I saw bright pleasure kindle in her eyes,

lle says, my treacherous tonguc his heart betray'd, Lore wara'd each feature at thy soft replies. That my false speeches have misled the maid, DIONE.

With groundless fear he thus his soul deceives ;
Yet hear me speak.

What frenzy dictates, jealousy believes.
LYCIDAS.

LAURA.
-In vain is all defence.

Resign thy crook, put off this manly vest,
Did not thy treacherous hand conduct her hence ! And let the wrong'd Dione stand coufest;
Haste, from my sight. Rage burns in every vein; When he shall learn what sorrows thou bast borze,
Never approach my just revenge again.

And find that nonght relents Parthenia's scorn,

Sure he will pity thee.
DIONE.
O search my heart; there injur'd truth thou'lt sind.

DIONE.

-No, Laura, no.
Talk not of truth ; long since she left mankind.

Should I, alas ! the sylvan dress forego,
So smooth a tongue! and yet so false a heart ! Then might he think that I her pride foment,
Sure courts first taught thee fawning friendship's

That injur'd love instructs me to resent ;
No. Thou art false by nature.

(art!

Our secret enterprise might fatal prove :
DIONE.

Man flies the plague of persecuting love.
-Let me clear

LAURA.
This heavy charge, and prove my trust sincere. Avoid Parthenia; lest his rage grow warm,

And jealousy resolve some fatal harm.
Boast then her favours; say what happy hour

DIONE.
Next calls to meet her in the appointed bower; O Laura, if thou chance the youth to find,
Say, when and where you met.

Tell him what torments vex my anxious mind;

Should I once more his awful presence seek,
Be rage supprest.

The silent tears would bathe my glowing check; In stabbing mine, you wound Parthenia's breast. By rising sighs my faultering voice be stay'd, She said, she still defy'd Love's keenest dart; And treinbling fear too soon confess the maid. Yet purer friendship might divide her heart, Haste, Laura, then; his vengeful soul assuage, Friendship's sincerer bands she wish'd to prove. Tell him, I'm guiltless; cool his blinded rage; LYCIDAS.

Tell him that truth sincere my friendship brought, A woman's friendship ever ends in lore.

Let him not cherish one suspicious thought. Think not these foolish tales my faith command;

'Then, to convince him his distrust was vain, Did not I see thee press her snowy hand ?

I'll never, never see that nymph again.
O may her passion like thy friendship last! This way he went.
May she betray thee ere a day be past !
Hence then. Away. Thou’rt hateful to my sight,

-- See, at the call of Night, And thus I spurn the fawning hypocrite.

The star of evening sheds his silver light
[Exit Lycidas. High o'er yon western bill : the cooling gales
SCENE VII.

Fresh odours breathe along the winding dales;
Far from their home as yet onr shepherds stray,

To close with cheerful walk the sultry day.
Was ever grief like mine! O wretched maid !

Methinks from far I hear the piping swain; My friendship wrong'd! my constant love betray’d! Hark in the breeze now swells, now sinks the Misfortune haunts my steps where'er I go,

Thither I'll seek him.

(strain! And all my days are overcast with woe. Long have 1 strove th' increasing load to bear,

DIONE. Now faints my soul, and sinks into despair.

-While this length of glade O lead me to the hanging mountain's cell,

Shall lead me pensive through the sable shade; In whose brown cliffs the fowls of darkness dwell; Where on the branches murmur rushing winds, Where waters, trickling down the rifted wall,

Grateful as falling foods to love-sick minds; Shall lull my sorrows with the tinkling fall.

() may this path to Death's dark vale descend! There seek thy grare. How canst thou bear the There only can the wretched hope a friend. When banish'd ever from Evander's sight! (light,

[Er severally.

DIOXF.

1

LAURA.

DIONE.

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SCENE VIII.

DIONE, LAURA.

LAURA.

Why hangs a cloud of grief upon thy brows?
Does the proud nymph accepi Evander's vows?

DIONE.
Can I bear life with these new pangs opprest!
Again he tears me from his faithless breast :

ACT V. SCENE I.

A wood.
Dione, Cleanthes (who lies wounded in a distant

part of the stage).

DONE.
The Moon serene now climbs th' aërial way;
Sce, at her sight ten thousand stars decay :

DIONE.

CLEANTHES.

DIONE.

CIEANTHES.

CLEANTHES.

DIONE.

With trembling gleam she tips the silent grove,

A father's power to me the virgin gave, While all beneath the chequer'd shadows move.

But she disdain'd to live a duptial slave ;
Turn back thy silver axles, downward roll,

So fled her native home.
Darkness best fits the horrours of my soul.
Rise, rise, ye clouds ; the face of Heaven deform,

'Tis then from thee Veil the bright goddess in a sable storm:

Springs the foul source of all her misery. O look not down upon a wretched maid!

Could'st thou, thy selfish appetite to please, Let thy brigit torch the happy lover aid,

Condemn to endless woes another's peace?
And light his wandering footsteps to the bower
Where the kind nymph attends th' appointed hour.
Yet thou best seen unhappy love, like mine ;

O spare me; nor my hapless love upbraid,
Did not thy lamp in Heaven's blue forehead shine, While on my heart Death's frozen hand is laid !
When Thisbe sought her love along the glade?

Go, seek her, guide her where Cleanthes bleil ; Didst thou not then behold the gleaming blade,

When she surveys her lover pale and dead, And gild the fatal point that stabb’d her breast?

Tell her, that since she fled my hateful sight, Soon I, like her, shall seek the realms of rest.

Without remorse I sought the realms of night. Let groves of mournful yew a wretch surround !

Methinks I see her view these poor remains, sooth my ear with melancholy sound !

And on her cheek indecent gladness reigns ! The village-curs now stretch their yelling throat,

Pull in her presence cold Cleanthes lies, And dogs from distant cots return the note;

And not one tear stands trembling in her eyes ! The ravenous wolf along the valley prowls,

O let a sigh my hapless fate deplore!
And with his famish'd cries the mountain howls.

Cleanthes now controls thy love no more.
But hark! what sudden noise advances near ?
Repeated groans alarm my frighted car!

How shall my lids confine these rising woes ? [Asidle.

[glade. Shepherd, approach; ah! fly not through the O might I see her, ere Death's finger close A wretch all dy'd with wounds invokes thy aid. These eyes for ever! might her soften'd breast

Forgive my love with too much ardour prest!

Then I with peace could yield my latest breath. jay then, unhappy stranger, how you bled; Collect thy spirits, raise thy drooping head.

DIONE. [Cleanthes raises himself on his arm.

Shall I not calm the sable hour of death, O horrid sight! Cleanthes gasping lies;

And show myself before him !--Ha! he dies. And Death's black shadows float before his eyes.

See from his trembling lip the spirit fies! [Aside. Unknown in this disguise, I'll check my woe,

Stay yet awhile. Dione stands confest. And learn what bloody hand has struck the low.

He knows me not. He faints, he sinks to rest.

[ Aside. ay, youth, ere Fate thy feeble voice confounds,

Tell her, since all my hopes in her were lost, What led thee bither? whence these purple That death was welcome

[Dies. wounds?

DIONE.
Stay, Aeeting life; may strength a-while prevail, What sudden gusts of grief my bosom rend!
Lest my clos'd lips contine th' imperfeet tale. A parent's curses v'er my head impend,
fre the streak'd east grew warm with amber ray,

For disobedient vows; O wretched maid, from the city took my doubtful way;

Those very vows Fvander hath betray'd. far o'er the plains I sought a beauteous maid, See, at thy feet Cleanthes bath'd in blood ! Who, from the court, in these wide forests stray'd,

For love of thee he trod this lonely wood;
Wanders unknown; as I, with weary pain,

Thou art the cruel authoress of his fate;
Cry'd every path, and opening glade, in vain, He falls by thine ; thou, by Evander's hate.
I band of thieves, forth-rushing from the wood,

When shall my soul know rest? Cleanthes slain
Insheath'd their daggers warm with daily blood; No longer sighs and weeps for thy disdain.
Deep in my breast the barbarous steel is dy'd, Thou still art curst with love. Bleed, virgin, bleed.
Ind purple hands the golden prey divide.

How shall a wretch from anxious life be freed! fence are these mangling wounds. Say, gentle

My troubled brain with sudden frenzy turns, f thou hast known among the sylvan train (swain, And shatter'd thought now this, now that way turns. l'he vagrant nymph I seek?

What do I see thus glittering on the plains ?
Ha! the dread sword yet warm with crimson stains !

[Takes up the dagger. -What mov'd thy care, Thus, in these pathless wilds, to search the fair?

SCENE II.
DIONE, PARTHENIA.

7 ! charge you, O ye daughters of the grove, Ye Najads, who the mossy fountains love,

Sweet is the walk when night has cool'd the hour. l'e happy swains, who range the pastures wide, le tender nymphs, who feed your flocks beside;

This path directs me to my sylvan bower. [Aside. 'f my last gasping breath can pity move,

DIONE. 'fe'er ye knew the pangs of slighted love,

Why is my soul with sudden fear dismay'd? show her, I charge you, where Cleanthes dy'd ; Why drops my trembling hand the pointed blade? The grass yet reeking with the sanguine tide. O string my arm with force!

[Asitle VOL X.

CLEANTHES.

CLEANTHES.

DIONE.

CLEANTHES.

PARTHENIA.

PARTHENIA

DIONE.

DIONE.

PARTHENIA.

DIONE.

DIONE.

PARTHENIA.

No thieves in dreams the fancy'd dagger hold,
-Methought a noise

And drag him to detect the buried gold;
Broke through the silent air, like human voice. Nor starts he from his couch aghast and pale,

[Aside. When the door murmurs with the hollow gale. DIONE.

While he, whose iron coffers rust with wealth, One well-aim'd blow shall all my pangs remove, Harbours beneath his roof Deceit and Stealth; Grasp firm the fatal steel, and cease to love. (Aside. Treachery with lurking pace frequents his walks,

And close behind him horrid Murder stalks.
PARTHENIA.

'Tis tempting lucre makes the villain bold:
Sure 'twas Alexis. Ha! a sword display'd !
The streaming lustre darts across the shade. [ Aside. There lies a bleeding sacrifice to gold.

To live, is but to wake to daily cares, May Heaven new vigour to my soul impart,

And journey through a tedious vale of tears. And guide the desperate weapon to my heart !

[Aside.

Had you not rush'd between, my life had flowD;

And I, like him, no more had sorrow known.
PARTHENIA.
May I the meditated death arrest!

(Holds Pione's hand. When anguish in the gloomy bosom dwells, Strike not, rash shepherd; spare thy guiltless breast.

The counsel of a friend the cloud dispels. O give me strength to stay the threaten'd harm,

Give thy breast vent, the secret grief impart, And wrench the dagger from his lifted arm!

And say what woe lies heavy at thy beart.

To save thy life, kind Heaven has succour sent, What cruel hai with-holds the welcome blow? The gods by me thy threaten'd fate prevent In giving life, you but prolong my woe. O may not thus th' expected stroke impend ! l'nloose thy grasp, and let swift death descend.

No. To prevent it, is beyond thy power ; Put if yon' murder thy red hands hath dy'd ;

Thou only canst defer the welcome hour. Here-pierce me deep; let forth the vital tide. When you the lifted dagger turn'd aside, [Dione quits the dagger. Still fate is in my reach. From mountains high,

Only one road to death thy force deny'd.

Deep in whose shadow craggy ruins lie,
Wait not thy fate ; but this way turn thy eyes : Can I not headlong Qing this weight of woe,
My virgin hand no purple murder dyes.

And dash out life against the flints below?
Turn then, Alexis; and Parthenia know,

Are there not streams, and lakes, and rivers wide, "Tis she protects thee from the fatal blow.

Where my last breath may bubble on tbe tide?

No. Life shall never fatter me again, Must the night-watches by my sighs be told?

Nor shall to morrow bring new sighs and pain. And must these eyes another morn behold

PARTHENIA. Through dazzling Hoods of tears? I'ngenerous maid, 'The friendly stroke is by thy hand delay'd ;

Can I this burthen of thy soul relieve, Call it not meri'y to prolong my breath ;

And calm thy grief? 'Tis but to torture me with lingering death.

-If thou wilt comfort give, PARTHENIA. What moves thy hand to act this bloody part)

Plight me thy word, and to that word be just, Whence are these guawing pangs that tear thy heart? That pride no longer shall command thy mind,

When poor Alexis shall be laid in dust,
Is that thy friend who lies before thee slain?
Is it his wound that recks upon the plain?

That thou wilt spare the friend I leave behind.

I know his virtue worthy of thy breast.
Is 't Lycidas?

Long in thy love may Lycidas be blest!
DIONE.
No. I the stranger found,

PARTHENIA.
Ere clilly death his frozen longue had bound. That swain (who would my liberty control,
He said : As at the rosy dawn of day,

To please some short-liv'd transport of his soul) He from the city took his vagrant way,

Shows, while his importuning dame he mores, A murdering band pour'd on him from the wood,

That 'tis not me, himself alone he loves. First seiz'd his gold, then bath'd their swords in

O live, nor leave him by misfortune prest: blood.

'Tis shameful to desert a friend distrest. PARTHENIA. Yon, whose ambition labours to be great,

DIONE. Think on the perils which on riches wait.

Alas! a wretch like me no loss would prove, Safe are the shepherd's paths; when sober Even

Would kind Parthenia listen to his love. Streaks with pale light the bending arch of Heaven,

PARTHENIA. From danger free, through deserts wild he hies,

Why bides thy bosom this mysterious grief? The rising smoke far o'er the mountain spies, Which marks his distant cottage ; on he fares,

Ease thy o'erburthen'd heart, and hope relief. For him no murderers lay their nightly snares;

DIONE.
They pass him by, they turn their steps away: What profits it to touch thy tender breast,
Safe Poverty was ne'er the villain's prey.

With wrongs, like mine, which ne'er can be redrest? At home he lies secure in easy sleep,

Let in my heart the fatal secret lie, No bars his ivy-mantled cottage keep;

Nor call up sorrow in another's eye!

DIONE.

DIONE.

LYCIDAS.

SCENE III.

What horrours on the guilty mind attend !
DIONE, PARTHENIA, LYCIDAS.

His conscience had reveng'd an injur'd friend,

Hadst thou not held the stroke. In death he sought LYCIDAS. If Laura right direct the darksome ways,

To lose the heart-consuming pain of thought. Along these paths the pensive shepherd strays.

Did not the smooth-tongu'd boy perfidious prove, [ Aside. Plead bis own passion, and betray my love?

DIONE.

DIONE.

Let not a tear for me roll down thy cheek.
O would my throbbing sighs my heart-strings break!
Why was my breast the lifted stroke deny’d?
Must then again the deathful deed be try'd ?
Yes. "Tis resolv'd.

(Snatches the dagger from Parthenia.

PARTHENIA.
-Ah, bold! forbear, forbear!

O let him ne'er this bleeding victim know;
Lest his rash transport, to revenge the blow,
Should in his dearer heart the dagger stain !
That wound would pierce my soul with double
pain.

(Aside.
PARTHENIA.
How did his faithful lips (now pale and cold)
With moving eloquence thy griefs unfold !

LYCIDAS.

LYCIDAS.

PARTHENIA.

DIONE.

LYCIPAS.

Methought Distress with shricks alarm'd my car.

Was he thus faithful? thus, to friendship true?
Then I'm a wretch! All peace of mind, adieu !

If ebbing life yet beat witbin thy vein,
Strike not. Ye gods, defend him from the wound!

Alexis, s, eak; unclose those lids again.
LYCIDAS.

(Flings himself on the ground near Dione. Yes. 'Tis Parthenia's voice, I know the sound. See at thy feet the barbarous villain kneel! Some svlvan ravisher would force the maid,

'Tis Lycidas who grasps the bloody steel, And Laura sent me to her virtue's aid.

Thy once-lov'd friend.-Yet, ere I cease to live, Die, villain, die! and seek the shades below.

Canst thou a wretched penitent forgive ?
[Lycidas snalches the dagger from Dione, and stabs
her.

When low bencath the sable mould I rest,
DIONE.

May a sincerer friendship share thy breast !
Whoe'er thou art, I bless thee for the blow.

Why are those heaving groans? (ah! cease to weep!)

May my lost name in dark oblivion sleep; Since Heaven ordain'd this arm thy life should guard, Let this sad tale no speaking stone declare, O hear my vows! be love the just reward.

From future eyes to draw a pitying tear.

Let o'er my grave the leveling plough-share pass, PARTHENIA.

Mark not the spot; forget that e'er I was. Rather let Vengeance, with her swiftest speed, Then may'st thou with Parthenia's love be blest, O'ertake thy fight, and recompense the deed ! And not one thought on me thy joys molest! Why stays the thunder in the upper sky?

My swimming eyes are overpower'd with light, Gather, ye clouds; ye forky lightnings, fly : And darkening shadows fleet before my sight: On ihee may all the wrath of Heaven descend, May'st thou be happy ! ah ! my soul is free. Whose barbarous hand hath slajn a faithful friend.

(Dies. Behold Alexis !

LYCIDAS.
LYCIDAS.

O cruel shepherdess ! for love of thee (To Parthenia.
-Would that treacherous boy This fatal deed was done.
Have forc'd thy virtue to his brutal joy?
What rous'd his passion to this bold advance ?

SCENE THE LAST.
Did c'er thy eyes confess one willing glance ?
I know, the faithless youth his trust betray'd ;

LYCIDAS, PARTHENIA, LAURA.
And well the dagger hath my wrongs repaid.

Alexis slain !
DIONE. [Raising herself on her arm.
Breaks not Evander's voice along the glade?

LYCIDAS.
Ha! is it he who holds the reeking blade!

Yes. 'Twas I did it. See this crimson stain! There needed not or poison, sword, or dart;

My hands with blood of innocence are dy'd. Thy faithless vows, alas! had broke my heart.

O may the Moon her silver beauty hide [Aside.

In rolling clouds! my soul abhors the light;

Shade, shade the murderer in eternal night!
O tremble, shepherd, for thy rash offence,
The sword is dy'd with murder'd innocence ! No rival shepherd is before thee laid;
His gentle soul no brutal passion seiz'd,

There bled the chastest, the sincerest maid
Nor at my bosorn was the dagger rajs'd;

That ever sigh'd for love. On her pale face, Self-murder was his aim ; the youth I found Cannot thy weeping eyes the feature trace Whelm'd in despair, and stay'd the falling wound. Of thy once dear Dione. With wan care

Sunk are those eyes, and livid with despair! Into what mischiefs is the lover led,

LYCIDAS. Who calls down vengeance on his perjur'd head!

Dione! O may he ne'er bewail this desperate deed,

LAURA. And may, unknown, uuwept, Dione bleed ! ( A side.

- There pure Constancy lies dead!

LAURA.

PARTHENIA.

LAURA.

DIONE.

PARTHENIA.

LYCIDAS.

LAURA. May Heavenshower vengeance on this perjur'd head! From thence shall thyme and myrtle send perfume, As the dry branch that withers on the ground,

And laurel ever-green o'ershade the tomb. So, blasted be the hand that gave the wound! Off! hold me not. This heart deserves the stroke; Come, Laura, let us leave this horrid wood, 'Tis black with treachery. Yes: the vows are broke Where streams the purple grass with lovers' blood;

(Stabs himself. Come to my bower. And, as we sorrowing go, Which I so often swore. Vain world, adieu ! Let poor Dione's story feed my woe Though I was false in life, in death I'm true. [Dies. With beart-relieving tears.

[Pointing to Dione. To morrow shall the funeral rites be paid,

-l'nhappy maid! And these love-victims in one grave be laid.

Hadst thou a parent's just command obey'd,

Thou yet hadst liv’d.But who shall Love adrise : PARTHENIA.

Love scorns command, and breaks all other lies. There shall the yew her sable branches spread, Henceforth, ye swains, be true to vows profest; And mournful cypress rear her fringed head. For certain vengeance strikes the perjur'd breast.

LAURA.

LAURA.

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