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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 ;
What frenzy dictates, jealousy believes.
Resign thy crook, put off this manly vest,
And find that nonght relents Parthenia's scorn,
Sure he will pity thee.
-No, Laura, no.
Should I, alas ! the sylvan dress forego,
That injur'd love instructs me to resent ;
Our secret enterprise might fatal prove :
Man flies the plague of persecuting love.
And jealousy resolve some fatal harm.
Tell him what torments vex my anxious mind;
Should I once more his awful presence seek,
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.
-- See, at the call of Night, And thus I spurn the fawning hypocrite.
The star of evening sheds his silver light
Fresh odours breathe along the winding dales;
To close with cheerful walk the sultry day.
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,
Why hangs a cloud of grief upon thy brows?
ACT V. SCENE I.
part of the stage).
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 ;
So fled her native home.
'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?
O spare me; nor my hapless love upbraid,
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!
Cleanthes now controls thy love no more.
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
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;
Thou art the cruel authoress of his fate;
When shall my soul know rest? Cleanthes slain
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 ?
[Takes up the dagger. -What mov'd thy care, Thus, in these pathless wilds, to search the fair?
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.
No thieves in dreams the fancy'd dagger hold,
And drag him to detect the buried gold;
[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.
'Tis tempting lucre makes the villain bold:
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 !
Had you not rush'd between, my life had flowD;
And I, like him, no more had sorrow known.
(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,
And dash out life against the flints below?
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,
That thou wilt spare the friend I leave behind.
I know his virtue worthy of thy breast.
Long in thy love may Lycidas be blest!
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;
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!
What horrours on the guilty mind attend !
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?
Let not a tear for me roll down thy cheek.
(Snatches the dagger from Parthenia.
O let him ne'er this bleeding victim know;
Methought Distress with shricks alarm'd my car.
Was he thus faithful? thus, to friendship true?
If ebbing life yet beat witbin thy vein,
Alexis, s, eak; unclose those lids again.
(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 ?
When low bencath the sable mould I rest,
May a sincerer friendship share thy breast !
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 !
O cruel shepherdess ! for love of thee (To Parthenia.
SCENE THE LAST.
LYCIDAS, PARTHENIA, LAURA.
Alexis slain !
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!
There bled the chastest, the sincerest maid
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. 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.