Page images

Acast. Delay not then, but haste and cheer thy love.

Cast. Oh! I will throw my impatient arms about her,

In her soft bosom sigh my soul to peace,
Till through the panting breast she finds the way
To mould my heart, and make it what she will."
Monimia! oh! [Exeunt Acasto and Cast.


A Chamber. Enter MONIMIA. Mon. Stand off, and give me room! I will not rest till I have found Castalio, My wishes' lord, comely as the rising day, Amidst ten thousand eminently known! Flowers spring up where'er he treads; his eyes, Fountains of brightness, cheering all about him! When will they shine on me?--Oh, stay my soul! I cannot die in peace till I have seen him.

CASTALIO within.

Cast. Who talks of dying with a voice so sweet, That life's in love with it?

Mon. Hark! 'tis he that answers.
So, in a camp, though at the dead of night,
If but the trumpet's cheerful noise is heard,
All at the signal leap from downy rest,
And every heart awakes, as mine does now.
Where art thou?

Cast. [Entering.] Here, my love.
Mon. No nearer, lest I vanish.

Cast. Have I been in a dream, then, all this

And art thou but the shadow of Monimia?
Why dost thou fly me thus?

Mon. Oh, were it possible, that we could drown
In dark oblivion but a few past hours,
We might be happy.

Cast. Is it then so hard, Monimia, to forgive A fault, where humble love, like mine, implores thee?

For I must love thee, though it prove my ruin.
Which way shall I court thee?

What shall I do to be enough thy slave,
And satisfy the lovely pride that's in thee?
I'll kneel to thee, and weep a flood before thee.
Yet prithee, tyrant, break not quite my heart;
But when my task of penitence is done,
Heal it again, and comfort me with love.

Mon. If I am dumb, Castalio, and want words
To pay thee back this mighty tenderness,
It is because I look on thee with horror,
And cannot see the man I have wronged.
Cast. Thou hast not wronged me.
Mon. Ah! alas, thou talk'st

Just as thy poor heart thinks! Have not I wronged thee?

Cast. No.

Mon. Still thou wander'st in the dark, Castalio; But wilt, ere long, stumble on horrid danger. Cast. What means my love?

[blocks in formation]

Deaf to my criefs, and senseless of my pains?

Mon. Did not I beg thee to forbear inquiry? Readst thou not something in my face, that speaks

Wonderful change, and horror from within me? Cast. Then there is something yet, which I have not known:

What dost thou mean by horror and forbearance
Of mine inquiry? Tell me, I beg thee, tell me,
And don't betray me to a second madness!
Mon. Must I?

Cast. If, labouring in the pangs of death,
Thou wouldst do any thing to give me ease,
Unfold this riddle ere my thoughts grow wild,
And let in fears of ugly form upon me.

Mon. My heart won't let me speak it; but

Monimia, poor Monimia, tells you this,
We ne'er must meet again-

Cast. What means my destiny?

For all my good or evil fate dwells in thee!
Ne'er meet again!

Mon. No, never.

Cast. Where's the power

On earth, that dare not look like thee, and say so?

Thou art my heart's inheritance; I served
A long and painful faithful slavery for thee:

And who shall rob me of the dear bought blessing?

Mon. Time will clear all; but now, let this content you.

Heaven has decreed, and therefore I'm resolved
(With torment I must tell it thee, Castalio)
Ever to be a stranger to thy love,

In some far distant country waste my life,
And, from this day, to see thy face no more.
Cast. Where am I? Sure I wander amidst en-

And never more shall find the way to rest;
But, oh, Monimia! art thou indeed resolved
To punish me with everlasting absence?
Why turnest thou from me? I am alone already;
Methinks I stand upon a naked beach,
Sighing to winds, and to the seas complaining,
Whilst afar off the vessel sails away,
Where all the treasure of my soul's embarked.
Wilt thou not turn? Oh! could those eyes but

I should know all, for love is pregnant in them;
They swell, they press their beams upon me still:
Wilt thou not speak? If we must part for ever,
Give me but one kind word to think upon,
And please myself withal, whilst my heart's

[Exit Monimia.

Mon. Ah, poor Castalio! Cast. Pity, by the gods, She pities me! then thou wilt go eternally, What means all this? Why all this stir to plague A single wretch? If but your word can shake This world to atoms, why so much ado With me? Think me but dead, and lay me so.

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

Pol. Well, go on.

Cast. Our destiny contrived

To plague us both with one unhappy love.
Thou, like a friend, a constant, generous friend,
In its first pangs didst trust me with thy passion,
Whilst I still smoothed my pain with smiles be-
fore thee,

And made a contract I ne'er meant to keep,
Pol. How!

Cast. Still new ways I studied to abuse thee,
And kept thee as a stranger to my passion,
'Till yesterday I wedded with Monimia.
Pol. Ah, Castalio, was that well done!

Cast. No; to conceal it from thee was much

a fault.

Pol. A fault! when thou hast heard

The tale I tell, what wilt thou call it then?
Cast. How my heart throbs!

Pol. First for thy friendship, traitor,

I cancel it thus; after this day, I'll ne'er
Hold trust or converse with the false Castalio:
This, witness Heaven!

Cast. What will my fate do with me?
I've lost all happiness, and know not why.
What means this, brother?

Pol. Perjured, treacherous wretch, Farewell!

Cast. I'll be thy slave, and thou shalt use me Just as thou wilt, do but forgive me. Bb

Pol. Never.

Cast. Oh! think a little what thy heart is do-

How, from our infancy, we, hand in hand,
Have trod the path of life in love together;
One bed bath held us, and the same desires,
The same aversions, still employed our thoughts:
When e'er had I a friend, that was not Polydore's?
Or Polydore a foe, that was not mine?

Even in the womb we embraced; and wilt thou


For the first fault, abandon and forsake me,
Leave me, amidst afflictions, to myself,
Plunged in the gulf of grief, and none to help me?
Pol. Go to Monimia, in her arms thoul't find
Repose; she has the art of healing sorrows.
Cast. What arts?

Pol. Blind wretch! thou husband! there is a

Go to her fulsome bed, and wallow there:
'Till some hot ruffian, full of lust and wine,
Come storm thee out, and shew thee what's thy

Cast. Hold there, I charge thee.
Pol. Is she not a-

Cast. Whore?

Pol. Ay, whore; I think that word needs no

Cast. Alas! I can forgive even this, to thee!
But let me tell thee, Polydore, I am grieved
To find thee guilty of such low revenge,

To wrong that virtue, which thou couldst not


Pol. It seems I lie, then?

Cast. Should the bravest man

That e'er wore conquering sword, but dare to whisper

What thou proclaim'st, he were the worst of liars:

My friend may be mistaken.

Pol. Damn the evasion!

Thou meanest the worst; and he is a base-born villain,

That said I lied.

Cast. Do, draw thy sword, and thrust it through
my heart;

There is no joy in life, if thou art lost.
A base-born villain!

Pol. Yes; thou never cam'st

From old Acasto's loins; the midwife put
A cheat upon my mother, and instead

Of a true brother, in a cradle by me,

[blocks in formation]

Mon. I am here, who calls me?
Methought I heard a voice,

Sweet as the shepherd's pipe upon the mountains,
When all his little flock's at feed before him.
But what means this? Here's blood.

Cast. Ay, brother's blood.

Art thou prepared for everlasting pains?
Pol. Oh, let me charge thee, by the eternal

Hurt not her tender life!

Cast. Not kill her? Rack me,

Ye powers above, with all your choicest torments,
Horror of mind, and pains yet uninvented,
If I not practise cruelty upon her,

And wreak revenge some way yet never known.
Mon. That task myself have finished; I shall


Before we part; I have drank a healing draught
For all my cares, and never more shall wrong


Pol. O she's innocent!

Cast. Tell me that story,

And thou wilt make a wretch of me indeed.

Pol. Hadst thou, Castalio, used me like a friend,

This ne'er had happened; hadst thou let me know

Placed some coarse peasant's cub, and thou art he. Thy marriage, we had all now met in joy;

Cast. Thou art my brother still.

Pol. Thou liest.

Cast. Nay then———

Yet I am calm.

Pol. A coward's always so.

But, ignorant of that,

Hearing the appointment made, enraged to think [He draws. Thou hadst outdone me in successful love,

Cast. Ah!-ah-that stings home-Coward!
Pol. Ay, base-born coward! villain!

Cast. This to thy heart, then, though my mother
bore thee.

I, in the dark, went and supplied thy place;
Whilst, all the night, 'midst our triumphant joys,
The trembling, tender, kind, deceived Monimia,
Embraced, caressed, and called me her Castalio.
Cast. And all this is the work of my own for


None but myself could e'er have been so cursed! | But here remain, till my heart burst with sobbing. My fatal love, alas! has ruined thee,

Thou fairest, goodliest frame the gods e'er made,
Or ever human eyes and hearts adored.
I've murdered too my brother.

Why wouldst thou study ways to damn me farther,

And force the sin of parricide upon me? Pol. Twas my own fault, and thou art cent;

Cast. Vanish, I charge thee, or—

[Draws a dagger. Cha. Thou canst not kill me;

That would be kindness, and against thy nature.
Acast. What means Castalio? Sure thou wilt
not pull

More sorrows on thy aged father's head.
inno-Tell me, I beg you, tell me the sad cause
Of all this ruin.

Forgive the barbarous trespass of my tongue; 'Twas a hard violence: I could have died With love of thee, even when I used thee worst; Nay, at each word, that my distraction uttered, My heart recoiled, and 'twas half death to speak them.

Mon. Now, my Castalio, the most dear of men, Wilt thou receive pollution to thy bosom, And close the eyes of one, that has betrayed thee? Cast. Oh, I am the unhappy wretch, whose cursed fate

Has weighed thee down into destruction with him. Why then, thus kind to me?

Mon. When I am laid low in the grave, and
quite forgotten,

Mayst thou be happy in a fairer bride;
But none can ever love thee like Monimia.
When I am dead, as presently I shall be,
(For the grim tyrant grasps my heart already)
Speak well of me; and, if thou find ill tongues
Too busy with my fame, don't hear me wronged;
Twill be a noble justice to the memory
Of a poor wretch, once honoured with thy love.
How my head swims! 'tis very dark. Good-night.
Cast. If I survive thee-what a thought was

Thank Heaven, I go prepared against that curse. Enter CHAMONT, disarmed and seized by ACASTO and Servants.

Cha. Gape earth, and swallow me to quick de-

If I forgive your house! if I not live
An everlasting plague to thee, Acasto,
And all thy race. Ye've overpowered me now;
But hear me, Heaven!-Ah, here's a scene of

My sister, my Monimia breathless!Now,
Ye powers above, if ye have justice, strike,
Strike bolts through me, and through the cursed

Acast. My Polydore !

Pol. Who calls?

Acast. How camest thou wounded?

Cast. Stand off, thou hot-brained, boisterous, noisy ruffian,

And leave me to my sorrows!

Cha. By the love

I bore her living, I will ne'er forsake her;

Pol. That must be


But 'tis too long for one in pain to tell;
You'll in my closet find the story written
Of all our woes. Castalio is innocent,
And so is Monimia; only I am to blame.
Enquire no farther.

Cast. Thou, unkind Chamont,
Unjustly hast pursued me with thy hate,
And sought the life of him, that never wronged

Now, if thou wilt embrace a nobler vengeance, Come, join with me, and curse

Cha. What?

Cast. First, thyself,

As I do, and the hour, that gave thee birth:
Confusion and disorder seize the world,
To spoil all trust and converse amongst men!
'Twixt families engender endless feuds,
In countries needless fears, in cities factions,
In states rebellion, and in churches schism!
Till all things move against the course of nature,
Till form's dissolved, the chain of causes broken,
And the original of being lost!

Acast. Have patience.

Cast. Patience! preach it to the winds,
The roaring seas, or raging fires! the knaves
That teach it, laugh at ye, when ye believe them.
Strip me of all the common needs of life,
Scald me with leprosy, let friends forsake me,
I'll bear it all; but cursed to the degree
That I am now, 'tis this must give me patience:
Thus I find rest, and shall complain no more.
[Stabs himself.

Pol. Castalio! oh!
Cast. I come.
Chamont, to thee my birth-right I bequeath;
Comfort my mourning father, heal his griefs,

[Acasto faints into the arms of a servant. For I perceive they fall with weight upon him. And, for Monimia's sake, whom thou wilt find I never wronged, be kind to poor Serina. Now, all I beg, is, lay me in one grave Thus with my love. Farewell. I now am-nothing. [Dies. Chu. Take care of good Acasto, whilst I go To search the means, by which the fates have plagued us.

'Tis thus that Heaven its empire does maintain; It may afflict, but man must not complain.

[Exeunt omnes.

[blocks in formation]

SCENE I-A Street in Venice.

Enter PRIULI and JAFFIER. Pri. No more! I'll hear no more! Begone and leave me.

Jaf. Not hear me! By my suffering 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

And urge its baseness) when you first came home
From travel, with such hopes as made you look-
ed on,

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
To your best service; like an open friend

I treated, trusted, you, and thought you mine:
When, in requital of my best endeavours,

In right, though proud oppression will not hear me? You treacherously practised to undo me;

Pri. Have you not wronged me?

Jaf. 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.
Wronged you!

Pri. Yes, wronged me! In the nicest point,
The honour of my house, you have done me


You may remember (for I now will speak,

Seduced the weakness of my age's darling,
My only child, and stole her from my bosom.
Oh Belvidera!

Jaf. 'Tis to me you owe her!

Childless you had been else, and in the grave
Your name extinct; no more Priuli heard of.
You may remember, scarce five years are past,
Since in your brigantine you sailed to see
The Adriatic wedded by our duke;
And I was with you: your unskilful pilot

« PreviousContinue »