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PUBLISHED BY WILLIAM MILLER, OLD BOND-STREET.
PRINTED BY JAMES BALLANTYNE,
Absent Nerestan then? whose generous friendship
So nobly vowed redemption from your chains!
How oft have you admired his dauntless soul!
Osman, his conqueror, by his courage charmed,
Trusted his faith, and on his word released him:
Though not returned in time--we yet expect him.
Nor had his noble journey other motive,
Than to procure our ransom.-And is this,
This dear, warm hope, become an idle dream?
Sur. Since after two long years he not returns,
'Tis plain his promise stretched beyond his power.
A stranger and a slave, unknown, like him,
Proposing much, means little ;-talks and vows,
Delighted with a prospect of escape:-
He promised to ransom ten Christians more,
And free us all from slavery!--I own
I once admired the unprofitable zeal,
But now it charms no longer.
He, faithful, should return, and hold his vow; Would you not, then
Zar. No matter-Time is past,
And every thing is changed
Sel. But, whence comes this?
I rank myself, with joy, among your slaves. Zar. Be still my equal-and enjoy my blessings;
For, thou partaking, they will bless me more.
Sel. Alas! but Heaven! will it permit this
Will not this grandeur, falsely called a bliss,
Plant bitterness, and root it in your heart?
Have you forgot you are of Christian blood?
Zar. Ah me! What hast thou said? why wouldst
Recal my wavering thoughts? How know I, what, Or whence I am? Heaven kept it hid in darkness, Concealed me from myself, and from my blood. Sel. Nercstan, who was born a Christian, here Asserts, that you, like him, had Christian parents;
Besides that cross, which, from your infant
Has been preserved, was found upon your bosom,
As if designed by Heaven, a pledge of faith
Due to the God you purpose to forsake!
Zar. Can my fond heart, on such a feeble proof,
Embrace a faith, abhorred by him I love?
I see too plainly custom forms us all;
Zur. Go-twere too much to tell thee Zara's Our thoughts, our morals, our most fixed belief,
But, know me better-'twas unjust suspicion. All emperor as he is, I cannot stoop
To honours, that bring shame and baseness with thei:
Reason and pride, those props of modesty,
Sustain my guarded heart, and strengthen virtue:
Rather than sink to infamy, let chains
Embrace me with a joy, such love denies!
No-I shall now astonish thee;-His greatness
Submits to own a pure and honest flame.
Among the shining crowds, which live to please
His whole regard is fixed on me alone :
He offers marriage; and its rites now wait,
To crown me empress of this eastern world.
Sel. Your virtue and your charms deserve it
My heart is not surprised, but struck to hear it.
If to be empress can complete your happiness,
Are consequences of our place of birth:
Born beyond Ganges, I had been a Pagan;
In France, a Christian; I am here a Saracen :
'Tis but instruction, all! Our parents' hand
Writes on our heart the first faint characters,
Which time, re-tracing, deepens into strength,
That nothing can efface, but death or Heaven!
Thou wert not made a prisoner in this place,
Till after reason, borrowing force from years,
Had lent its lustre to enlighten faith:
For me, who, in my cradle, was their slave,
Thy Christian doctrines were too lately taught
Yet, far from having lost the reverence due,
This cross, as often as it meets my eye,
Strikes through my heart a kind of awful fear!
I honour, from my soul, the Christian law;
Those laws, which, softening nature by humanity,
Melt nations into brotherhood;-no doubt
Christians are happy; and 'tis just to love them.
Sel. Why have you, then, declared yourself
Why will you join your hand with this proud Osman's,
Who owes his triumph to the Christian ruin?
Zar. Ah!-who could slight the offer of his
Nay-for I mean to tell thee all my weakness—
Perhaps I had, ere now, profest thy faith,
But Osman loved me--and I've lost it all:-
I think on none but Osman-my pleased heart,
Filled with the blessing, to be loved by him,
Wants room for other happiness. Place thou
Before thy eyes, his merit and his fame,
His youth, yet blooming but in manhood's dawn,