THE ORPHAN; OR, The Unhappy Marriage.
A TRAGEDY, IN FIVE ACTS.
BY THOMAS OTWAY.
CORRECTLY GIVEN, AS PERFORMED AT THE THEATRES ROYAL. With Remarks.
London: Printed by D. S. Maurice, Fenchurch-street;
T. HUGHES, 35, LUDGATE STREET; J. BYSH, 52, PATERNOSTER ROW; & J. CUMMING, DUBLIN.
To the great merit of Miss O'Neil, in Monimia, we are indebted for the revival of this tragedy, which was originally played at the Duke's Theatre, in 1680; and long kept possession of the stage. The language of this play is poetical and tender, and the incidents affecting; but, amidst many beauties, there is great inconsistency.
Dr. Johnson observes,—"This is one of the few pieces that has pleased for almost a century, through all the vicissitudes of dramatic fashion. Of this play, nothing new can easily be said. It is a domestic tragedy, drawn from middle life:—its whole power is upon the affections; for it is not written with much comprehension of thought, or elegance of expression. But, if the heart is interested, many other beauties may be wanting; yet not be missed."
 Many readers will, probably, exclaim with the critic, when he first saw it,—"Oh! what an infinite deal of mischief would a farthing rush-light have prevented!"
Drury-Lane, 1780. Covent Garden, 1815. Castalio Mr. Reddish Mr. C. Kemble. Acasto Mr. Packer Mr. Egerton. Polydore Mr. Brereton Mr. Conway. Chaplain Mr. Usher Mr. Chapman. Ernesto Mr. Wrighten Mr. Jefferies. Page Master Pulley Miss Prescott. Chamont Mr. Smith Mr. Young.
Serina Miss Platt Miss Boyce. Florella Mrs. Johnston Mrs. Seymour. Monimia Miss Younge Miss O'Neil.
ACT THE FIRST.
SCENE I. A GARDEN.
Enter Castalio, Polydore, and Page.
Cas. Polydore, our sport Has been to-day much better for the danger: When on the brink the foaming boar I met, And in his side thought to have lodg'd my spear, The desperate savage rush'd within my force, And bore me headlong with him down the rock.
Pol. But then——
Cas. Ay, then, my brother, my friend, Polydore, Like Perseus mounted on his winged steed, Came on, and down the dang'rous precipice leap'd To save Castilio.—'Twas a godlike act!
Pol. But when I came, I found you conqueror. Oh! my heart danc'd, to see your danger past! The heat and fury of the chase was cold, And I had nothing in my mind but joy.
Cas. So, Polydore, methinks, we might in war Rush on together; thou shouldst be my guard, And I be thine. What is't could hurt us then? Now half the youth of Europe are in arms, How fulsome must it be to stay behind, And die of rank diseases here at home!
Pol. No, let me purchase in my youth renown, To make me lov'd and valu'd when I'm old; I would be busy in the world, and learn, Not like a coarse and useless dunghill weed, Fix'd to one spot, and rot just as I grow.
Cas. Our father Has ta'en himself a surfeit of the world, And cries, it is not safe that we should taste it. I own, I have duty very pow'rful in me: And though I'd hazard all to raise my name, Yet he's so tender, and so good a father, I could not do a thing to cross his will.
Pol. Castalio, I have doubts within my heart, Which you, and only you, can satisfy. Will you be free and candid to your friend?
Cas. Have I a thought my Polydore should not know? What can this mean?
Pol. Nay, I'll conjure you too, By all the strictest bonds of faithful friendship, To show your heart as naked in this point, As you would purge you of your sins to heav'n. And should I chance to touch it near, bear it With all the suff'rance of a tender friend.
Cas. As calmly as the wounded patient bears The artist's hand, that ministers his cure.
Pol. That's kindly said.——You know our father's ward, The fair Monimia:—is your heart at peace? Is it so guarded, that you could not love her?
Cas. Suppose I should?
Pol. Suppose you should not, brother?
Cas. You'd say, I must not.
Pol. That would sound too roughly Twixt friends and brothers, as we two are.
Cas. Is love a fault?
Pol. In one of us it may be—— What, if I love her?
Cas. Then I must inform you I lov'd her first, and cannot quit the claim; But will preserve the birthright of my passion.
Pol. You will?
Cas. I will.
Pol. No more; I've done.
Cas. Why not?
Pol. I told you, I had done. But you, Castalio, would dispute it.
Cas. No; Not with my Polydore:—though I must own My nature obstinate, and void of suff'rance; I could not bear a rival in my friendship, I am so much in love, and fond of thee.
Pol. Yet you will break this friendship!
Cas. Not for crowns.
Pol. But for a toy you would, a woman's toy, Unjust Castalio!
Cas. Pr'ythee, where's my fault?
Pol. You love Monimia.
Pol. And you would kill me, If I'm your rival?
Cas. No;—sure we're such friends, So much one man, that our affections too Must be united, and the same as we are.
Pol. I dote upon Monimia.
Cas. Love her still; Win, and enjoy her.
Pol. Both of us cannot.
Cas. No matter Whose chance it prove; but let's not quarrel for't.
Pol. You would not wed Monimia, would you?
Cas. Wed her! No—were she all desire could wish, as fair As would the vainest of her sex be thought, With wealth beyond what woman's pride could waste, She should not cheat me of my freedom.—Marry! When I am old and weary of the world, I may grow desperate, And take a wife to mortify withal.
Pol. It is an elder brother's duty, so To propagate his family and name. You would not have yours die, and buried with you?
Cas. Mere vanity, and silly dotage, all:— No, let me live at large, and when I die——
Pol. Who shall possess th' estate you leave?
Cas. My friend, If he survive me; if not, my king, Who may bestow't again on some brave man, Whose honesty and services deserve one.
Pol. 'Tis kindly offer'd.
Cas. By yon heaven, I love My Polydore beyond all worldly joys; And would not shock his quiet, to be blest With greater happiness than man e'er tasted.
Pol. And, by that heaven, eternally I swear To keep the kind Castalio in my heart. Whose shall Monimia be?
Cas. No matter whose.
Pol. Were you not with her privately last night?
Cas. I was; and should have met her here again. The opportunity shall now be thine? But have a care, by friendship I conjure thee, That no false play be offer'd to thy brother. Urge all thy powers to make thy passion prosper; But wrong not mine.
Pol. By heaven, I will not.
Cas. If't prove thy fortune, Polydore, to conquer (For thou hast all the arts of soft persuasion); Trust me, and let me know thy love's success, That I may ever after stifle mine.
Pol. Though she be dearer to my soul than rest To weary pilgrims, or to misers gold, To great men pow'r, or wealthy cities pride; Rather than wrong Castalio, I'd forget her. [exeunt Castalio and Polydore.
Mon. Pass'd not Castalio and Polydore this way?
Page. Madam, just now.
Mon. Sure, some ill fate's upon me: Distrust and heaviness sit round my heart, And apprehension shocks my tim'rous soul. Why was I not laid in my peaceful grave With my poor parents, and at rest as they are? Instead of that, I'm wand'ring into cares.—— Castalio! O Castalio! hast thou caught My foolish heart; and, like a tender child, That trusts his plaything to another hand, I fear its harm, and fain would have it back. Come near, Cordelio; I must chide you, sir.
Page. Why, madam, have I done you any wrong?
Mon. I never see you now; you have been kinder; Perhaps I've been ungrateful. Here's money for you.
Page. Madam, I'd serve you with all my soul.
Mon. Tell me, Cordelio (for thou oft hast heard Their friendly converse, and their bosom secrets), Sometimes, at least, have they not talk'd of me?
Page. O madam! very wickedly they have talk'd: But I am afraid to name it; for, they say, Boys must be whipp'd, that tell their masters' secrets.
Mon. Fear not, Cordelio; it shall ne'er be known; For I'll preserve the secret as 'twere mine. Polydore cannot be so kind as I. I'll furnish thee with all thy harmless sports, With pretty toys, and thou shalt be my page.
Page. And truly, madam, I had rather be so. Methinks you love me better than my lord; For he was never half so kind as you are. What must I do?
Mon. Inform me how thou'st heard Castalio and his brother use my name.
Page. With all the tenderness of love, You were the subject of their last discourse. At first I thought it would have fatal prov'd; But, as the one grew hot, the other cool'd, And yielded to the frailty of his friend; At last, after much struggling, 'twas resolv'd——
Mon. What, good Cordelio?
Page. Not to quarrel for you.
Mon. I would not have 'em, by my dearest hopes; I would not be the argument of strife. But surely my Castalio won't forsake me, And make a mock'ry of my easy love! Went they together?
Page. Yes, to seek you, madam. Castalio promis'd Polydore to bring him, Where he alone might meet you, And fairly try the fortune of his wishes.
Mon. Am I then grown so cheap, just to be made A common stake, a prize for love in jest? Was not Castalio very loth to yield it? Or was it Polydore's unruly passion, That heighten'd the debate?
Page. The fault was Polydore's. Castalio play'd with love, and smiling show'd The pleasure, not the pangs of his desire. He said, no woman's smiles should buy his freedom; And marriage is a mortifying thing. [exit.
Mon. Then I am ruin'd! if Castalio's false, Where is there faith and honour to be found? Ye gods, that guard the innocent, and guide The weak, protect and take me to your care. O, but I love him! There's the rock will wreck me! Why was I made with all my sex's fondness, Yet want the cunning to conceal its follies? I'll see Castalio, tax him with his falsehoods, Be a true woman, rail, protest my wrongs; Resolve to hate him, and yet love him still.
Re-enter Castalio and Polydore.
Cas. Madam, my brother begs he may have leave To tell you something that concerns you nearly. I leave you, as becomes me, and withdraw.
Mon. My lord Castalio!
Mon. Have you purpos'd To abuse me palpably? What means this usage? Why am I left with Polydore alone?
Cas. He best can tell you. Business of importance Calls me away: I must attend my father.
Mon. Will you then leave me thus?
Cas. But for a moment.
Mon. It has been otherwise: the time has been, When business might have stay'd, and I been heard.
Cas. I could for ever hear thee; but this time Matters of such odd circumstances press me, That I must go. [exit.
Mon. Then go, and, if't be possible, for ever. Well, my lord Polydore, I guess your business, And read th' ill-natur'd purpose in your eyes.
Pol. If to desire you, more than misers wealth, Or dying men an hour of added life; If softest wishes, and a heart more true Than ever suffer'd yet for love disdain'd, Speak an ill nature; you accuse me justly.
Mon. Talk not of love, my lord, I must not hear it.
Pol. Who can behold such beauty, and be silent? Desire first taught us words. Man, when created, At first alone long wander'd up and down Forlorn and silent as his vassal beasts: But when a heav'n-born maid, like you, appear'd, Strange pleasures fill'd his eyes and fir'd his heart, Unloos'd his tongue, and his first talk was love.
Mon. The first created pair indeed were bless'd; They were the only objects of each other, Therefore he courted her, and her alone; But in this peopled world of beauty, where There's roving room, where you may court, and ruin A thousand more, why need you talk to me?
Pol. Oh! I could talk to thee for ever. Thus Eternally admiring, fix, and gaze, On those dear eyes; for every glance they send Darts through my soul.
Mon. How can you labour thus for my undoing? I must confess, indeed, I owe you more Than ever I can hope, or think, to pay. There always was a friendship 'twixt our families; And therefore when my tender parents dy'd, Whose ruin'd fortunes too expir'd with them, Your father's pity and his bounty took me, A poor and helpless orphan, to his care.
Pol. 'Twas Heav'n ordain'd it so, to make me happy. Hence with this peevish virtue, 'tis a cheat; And those who taught it first were hypocrites. Come, these soft tender limbs were made for yielding.
Mon. Here, on my knees, by heav'n's blest pow'r I swear, [kneels. If you persist, I ne'er henceforth will see you, But rather wander through the world a beggar, And live on sordid scraps at proud men's doors; For, though to fortune lost, I'll still inherit My mother's virtues, and my father's honour.
Pol. Intolerable vanity! your sex Was never in the right! y'are always false, Or silly; ev'n your dresses are not more Fantastic than your appetites; you think Of nothing twice; opinion you have none. To-day y'are nice, to-morrow not so free; Now smile, then frown; now sorrowful, then glad; Now pleas'd, now not: and all, you know not why!
Mon. Indeed, my lord, I own my sex's follies; I have 'em all; And, to avoid its fault, must fly from you. Therefore, believe me, could you raise me high As most fantastic woman's wish could reach, And lay all nature's riches at my feet; I'd rather run a savage in the woods, Amongst brute beasts, grow wrinkled and deform'd, So I might still enjoy my honour safe, From the destroying wiles of faithless men. [exit.
Pol. Who'd be that sordid thing call'd man? I'll yet possess my love; it shall be so. [exeunt.
ACT THE SECOND.
SCENE I. A SALOON.
Enter Acasto, Castalio, Polydore, and Attendants.
Acas. To-day has been a day of glorious sport: When you, Castalio, and your brother, left me, Forth from the thickets rush'd another boar, So large, he seem'd the tyrant of the woods, With all his dreadful bristles rais'd up high, They seem'd a grove of spears upon his back; Foaming he came at me, where I was posted Best to observe which way he'd lead the chase, Whetting his huge large tusks, and gaping wide, As if he already had me for his prey! Till, brandishing my well-pois'd javelin high, With this bold executing arm I struck The ugly brindled monster to the heart.
Cas. The actions of your life were always wondrous.
Acas. No flattery, boy! an honest man can't live by't; It is a little sneaking art, which knaves Use to cajole and soften fools withal. If thou hast flattery in thy nature, out with't, Or send it to a court, for there 'twill thrive.
Cas. Your lordship's wrongs have been So great, that you with justice may complain; But suffer us, whose younger minds ne'er felt Fortune's deceits, to court her, as she's fair: Were she a common mistress, kind to all, Her worth would cease, and half the world grow idle. Methinks, I would be busy.
Pol. So would I, Not loiter out my life at home, and know No further than one prospect gives me leave.
Acas. Busy your minds then, study arts and men; Learn how to value merit, though in rags, And scorn a proud, ill-manner'd, knave in office.
Ser. My lord, my father!
Acas. Blessings on my child! My little cherub, what hast thou to ask me?
Ser. I bring you, sir, most glad and welcome news; The young Chamont, whom you've so often wish'd for, Is just arriv'd, and entering.
Acas. By my soul, And all my honours, he's most dearly welcome; Let me receive him like his father's friend.
Welcome, thou relic of the best lov'd man! Welcome, from all the turmoils and the hazards Of certain danger and uncertain fortune! Welcome, as happy tidings after fears.
Cham. Words would but wrong the gratitude I owe you! Should I begin to speak, my soul's so full, That I should talk of nothing else all day.
Mon. My brother!
Cham. O my sister, let me hold thee Long in my arms. I've not beheld thy face These many days; by night I've often seen thee In gentle dreams, and satisfy'd my soul With fancy'd joys, till morning cares awak'd me. Another sister! sure, it must be so; Though I remember well I had but one: But I feel something in my heart that prompts, And tells me, she has claim and interest there.
Acas. Young soldier, you've not only studied war; Courtship, I see, has been your practice too, And may not prove unwelcome to my daughter.
Cham. Is she your daughter? then my heart told true, And I'm at least her brother by adoption; For you have made yourself to me a father, And by that patent I have leave to love her.
Ser. Monimia, thou hast told me men are false, Will flatter, feign, and make an art of love: Is Chamont so? no, sure, he's more than man; Something that's near divine, and truth dwells in him.
Acas. Thus happy, who would envy pompous pow'r, The luxury of courts, or wealth of cities? Let there be joy through all the house this day! In ev'ry room let plenty flow at large! It is the birth day of my royal master! You have not visited the court, Chamont, Since your return?
Cham. I have no bus'ness there; I have not slavish temperance enough T' attend a favourite's heels, and watch his smiles, Bear an ill office done me to my face, And thank the lord that wrong'd me, for his favour.
Acas. This you could do. [to his Sons.
Cas. I'd serve my prince.
Acas. Who'd serve him?
Cas. I would, my lord.
Pol. And I; both would.
Acas. Away! He needs not any servants such as you. Serve him! he merits more than man can do! He is so good, praise cannot speak his worth; So merciful, sure he ne'er slept in wrath! So just, that, were he but a private man, He could not do a wrong! How would you serve him?
Cas. I'd serve him with my fortune here at home, And serve him with my person in his wars: Watch for him, fight for him, bleed for him.
Pol. Die for him, As ev'ry true-born, loyal, subject ought.
Acas. Let me embrace ye both! now, by the souls Of my brave ancestors, I'm truly happy! For this, be ever blest my marriage day! Blest be your mother's memory, that bore you; And doubly blest be that auspicious hour That gave ye birth!
Enter a Servant.
Serv. My lord, th' expected guests are just arriv'd.
Acas. Go you and give 'em welcome and reception. [exeunt Castalio and Polydore.
Cham. My lord, I stand in need of your assistance, In something that concerns my peace and honour.
Acas. Spoke like the son of that brave man I lov'd! So freely, friendly, we convers'd together. Whate'er it be, with confidence impart it; Thou shalt command my fortune and my sword.
Cham. I dare not doubt your friendship, nor your justice, Your bounty shown to what I hold most dear, My orphan sister, must not be forgotten!
Acas. Pr'ythee no more of that, it grates my nature.
Cham. When our dear parents dy'd, they dy'd together; One fate surpris'd 'em, and one grave receiv'd 'em; My father, with his dying breath, bequeath'd Her to my love; my mother, as she lay Languishing by him, call'd me to her side, Took me in her fainting arms, wept, and embrac'd me; Then press'd me close, and, as she observ'd my tears, Kiss'd them away: said she, "Chamont, my son, By this, and all the love I ever show'd thee, Be careful of Monimia: watch her youth; Let not her wants betray her to dishonour; Perhaps, kind heav'n may raise some friend." Then sigh'd, Kiss'd me again; so bless'd us, and expir'd. Pardon my grief.
Acas. It speaks an honest nature.
Cham. The friend heav'n rais'd was you; you took her up, An infant, to the desert world expos'd, And prov'd another parent.
Acas. I've not wrong'd her.
Cham. Far be it from my fears.
Acas. Then why this argument?
Cham. My lord, my nature's jealous, and you'll bear it.
Acas. Go on.
Cham. Great spirits bear misfortunes hardly; Good offices claim gratitude; and pride, Where pow'r is wanting, will usurp a little, And make us (rather than be thought behind hand) Pay over price.
Acas. I cannot guess your drift; Distrust you me?
Cham. No, but I fear her weakness May make her pay her debt at any rate: And, to deal freely with your lordship's goodness, I've heard a story lately much disturbs me.
Acas. Then first charge her; and if th' offence be found Within my reach, though it should touch my nature, In my own offspring, by the dear remembrance Of thy brave father, whom my heart rejoic'd in, I'd prosecute it with severest vengeance. [exit.
Cham. I thank you, from my soul.
Mon. Alas, my brother! what have I done? My heart quakes in me; in your settled face, And clouded brow, methinks I see my fate. You will not kill me?
Cham. Pr'ythee, why dost thou talk so?
Mon. Look kindly on me then; I cannot bear Severity; it daunts, and does amaze, me; My heart's so tender, should you charge me rough, I should but weep, and answer you with sobbing; But use me gently, like a loving brother, And search through all the secrets of my soul.
Cham. Fear nothing, I will show myself a brother, A tender, honest, and a loving, brother. You've not forgot our father?
Mon. I never shall.
Cham. Then you'll remember too he was a man That liv'd up to the standard of his honour, And priz'd that jewel more than mines of wealth: He'd not have done a shameful thing but once: Though kept in darkness from the world, and hidden, He could not have forgiv'n it to himself. This was the only portion that he left us; And I more glory in't than if possess'd Of all that ever fortune threw on fools. 'Twas a large trust, and must be manag'd nicely; Now, if by any chance, Monimia, You have soil'd this gem, and taken from its value, How will you account with me?
Mon. I challenge envy, Malice, and all the practices of hell, To censure all the actions of my past Unhappy life, and taint me if they can!
Cham. I'll tell thee, then; three nights ago, as I Lay musing on my bed, all darkness round me, A sudden damp struck to my heart, cold sweat Dew'd all my face, and trembling seiz'd my limbs: My bed shook under me, the curtains started, And to my tortur'd fancy there appear'd The form of thee, thus beauteous as thou art; Thy garments flowing loose, and in each hand A wanton lover, who by turns caress'd thee With all the freedom of unbounded pleasure. I snatch'd my sword, and in the very moment Darted it at the phantom; straight it left me; Then rose, and call'd for lights, when, O dire omen! I found my weapon had the arras pierc'd, Just where that famous tale was interwoven, How the unhappy Theban slew his father.
Mon. And for this cause my virtue is suspected! Because in dreams your fancy has been ridden, I must be tortur'd waking!
Cham. Have a care; Labour not to be justify'd too fast: Hear all, and then let justice hold the scale. What follow'd was the riddle that confounds me. Through a close lane, as I pursu'd my journey, And meditating on the last night's vision, I spy'd a wrinkled hag, with age grown double, Picking dry sticks, and mumbling to herself; Her eyes with scalding rheum were gall'd and red: Cold palsy shook her head, her hands seem'd wither'd, And on her crooked shoulders had she wrapp'd The tatter'd remnant of an old strip'd hanging, Which serv'd to keep her carcase from the cold: So there was nothing of a piece about her. Her lower weeds were all o'er coarsely patch'd With diff'rent colour'd rags, black, red, white, yellow, And seem'd to speak variety of wretchedness. I ask'd her of my way, which she inform'd me; Then crav'd my charity, and bade me hasten To save a sister! at that word, I started!
Mon. The common cheat of beggars; every day They flock about our doors, pretend to gifts Of prophecy, and telling fools their fortunes.
Cham. Oh! but she told me such a tale, Monimia, As in it bore great circumstance of truth: Castalio and Polydore, my sister.
Cham. What, alter'd? does your courage fail you? Now, by my father's soul, the witch was honest. Answer me, if thou hast not lost them Thy honour at a sordid game?
Mon. I will, I must, so hardly my misfortune loads me:— That both have offer'd me their love's most true.
Cham. And 'tis as true too they have both undone thee.
Mon. Though they both with earnest vows Have press'd my heart, if e'er in thought I yielded To any but Castalio——
Cham. But Castalio!
Mon. Still will you cross the line of my discourse. Yes, I confess that he hath won my soul By gen'rous love and honourable vows, Which he this day appointed to complete, And make himself by holy marriage mine.
Cham. Art thou then spotless? hast thou still preserv'd Thy virtue white, without a blot, untainted?
Mon. When I'm unchaste, may heaven reject my prayers; O more, to make me wretched, may you know it!
Cham. Oh then, Monimia, art thou dearer to me Than all the comforts ever yet bless'd man. But let not marriage bait thee to thy ruin. Trust not a man; we are by nature false, Dissembling, subtle, cruel, and unconstant: When a man talks of love, with caution trust him; But if he swears, he'll certainly deceive thee. I charge thee, let no more Castalio sooth thee; Avoid it, as thou wouldst preserve the peace Of a poor brother, to whose soul thou'rt precious.
Mon. I will.
Cham. Appear as cold, when next you meet, as great ones, When merit begs; then shalt thou see how soon His heart will cool, and all his pains grow easy. [exit.
Mon. Yes, I will try him, torture him severely; For, O Castalio, thou too much hast wrong'd me, In leaving me to Polydore's ill usage. He comes; and now, for once, O Love, stand neuter, Whilst a hard part's perform'd; for I must tempt, Wound, his soft nature, though my heart aches for't.
Cas. Monimia, my angel! 'twas not kind To leave me here alone.
Re-enter Polydore, with Page, at the door.
Pol. Here place yourself, and watch my brother thoroughly; Pass not one circumstance without remark. [apart to Page, and exit.
Cas. When thou art from me, every place is desert, And I, methinks, am savage and forlorn: Thy presence only 'tis can make me blest, Heal my unquiet mind, and tune my soul.
Mon. O the bewitching tongues of faithless men! 'Tis thus the false hyena makes her moan, To draw the pitying traveller to her den: Your sex are so, such false dissemblers all; With sighs and plaints y' entice poor women's hearts, And all that pity you are made your prey.
Cas. What means my love? Oh, how have I deserv'd This language from the sovereign of my joys? Stop, stop, these tears, Monimia, for they fall Like baneful dew from a distemper'd sky; I feel 'em chill me to my very heart.
Mon. Oh, you are false, Castalio, most forsworn! Attempt no further to delude my faith; My heart is fix'd, and you shall shake't no more.
Cas. Who told you so? what hell-bred villain durst Profane the sacred business of my love?
Mon. Your brother, knowing on what terms I'm here, Th' unhappy object of your father's charity, Licentiously discours'd to me of love, And durst affront me with his brutal passion.
Cas. 'Tis I have been to blame, and only I; False to my brother, and unjust to thee. For, oh! he loves thee too, and this day own'd it, Tax'd me with mine, and claim'd a right above me.
Mon. And was your love so very tame, to shrink? Or, rather than lose him, abandon me?
Cas. I, knowing him precipitate and rash, Seem'd to comply with his unruly will; Lest he in rage might have our loves betray'd, And I for ever had Monimia lost.
Mon. Could you then, did you, can you, own it too? 'Twas poorly done, unworthy of yourself! And I can never think you meant me fair.
Cas. Is this Monimia? Surely, no! till now I ever thought her dove-like, soft, and kind. Who trusts his heart with woman's surely lost: You were made fair on purpose to undo us, While greedily we snatch th' alluring bait, And ne'er distrust the poison that it hides.
Mon. When love, ill-plac'd, would find a means to break—
Cas. It never wants pretences or excuse.
Mon. Man therefore was a lord-like creature made, Rough as the winds, and as inconstant too: A lofty aspect given him for command; Easily soften'd when he would betray. Like conqu'ring tyrants, you our breasts invade; But soon you find new conquests out, and leave The ravag'd province ruinate and waste. If so, Castalio, you have serv'd my heart, I find that desolation's settled there, And I shall ne'er recover peace again.
Cas. Who can hear this and bear an equal mind? Since you will drive me from you, I must go: But, O Monimia! when thou hast banish'd me, No creeping slave, though tractable and dull As artful woman for her ends would choose, Shall ever dote as I have done.
Mon. Castalio, stay! we must not part. I find My rage ebbs out, and love flows in apace. These little quarrels love must needs forgive. Oh! charm me with the music of thy tongue, I'm ne'er so blest as when I hear thy vows, And listen to the language of thy heart.
Cas. Where am I? Surely, Paradise is round me! Sweets planted by the hand of heaven grow here, And every sense is full of thy perfection. Sure, framing thee, heaven took unusual care; } As its own beauty it design'd thee fair, } And form'd thee by the best lov'd angel there. } [exeunt.
ACT THE THIRD.
SCENE I. A GARDEN.
Enter Polydore and Page.
Pol. Were they so kind? Express it to me all In words; 'twill make me think I saw it too.
Page. At first I thought they had been mortal foes: Monimia rag'd, Castalio grew disturb'd: Each thought the other wrong'd; yet both so haughty, They scorn'd submission, though love all the while The rebel play'd, and scarce could be contain'd.
Pol. But what succeeded?
Page. Oh, 'twas wondrous pretty! For of a sudden all the storm was past: A gentle calm of love succeeded it: Monimia sigh'd and blush'd; Castalio swore; As you, my lord, I well remember, did To my young sister, in the orange grove, When I was first preferr'd to be your page.
Pol. Boy, go to your chamber, and prepare your lute. [exit Page. Happy Castalio! now, by my great soul, My ambitious soul, that languishes to glory, I'll have her yet; by my best hopes, I will; She shall be mine, in spite of all her arts. But for Castalio, why was I refus'd? Has he supplanted me by some foul play? Traduc'd my honour? death! he durst not do't. It must be so: we parted, and he met her, Half to compliance brought by me; surpris'd Her sinking virtue, till she yielded quite. So poachers pick up tir'd game, While the fair hunter's cheated of his prey. Boy!
Enter a Servant.
Serv. Oh, the unhappiest tidings tongue e'er told!
Pol. The matter?
Serv. Oh! your father, my good master, As with his guests he sat in mirth rais'd high, And chas'd the goblet round the joyful board, A sudden trembling seiz'd on all his limbs; His eyes distorted grew, his visage pale, His speech forsook him, life itself seem'd fled, And all his friends are waiting now about him.
Enter Acasto and Attendants.
Acas. Support me, give me air, I'll yet recover. 'Twas but a slip decaying nature made; For she grows weary near her journey's end. Where are my sons? come near, my Polydore! Your brother—where's Castalio?
Serv. My lord, I've search'd, as you commanded, all the house! He and Monimia are not to be found.
Acas. Not to be found? then where are all my friends? 'Tis well— I hope they'll pardon an unhappy fault My unmannerly infirmity has made! Death could not come in a more welcome hour; For I'm prepar'd to meet him; and, methinks, Would live and die with all my friends about me.
Cas. Angels preserve my dearest father's life! Oh! may he live till time itself decay, Till good men wish him dead, or I offend him!
Acas. Thank you, Castalio: give me both your hands. So now, methinks, I appear as great as Hercules himself, Supported by the pillars he has rais'd.
Ser. My father!
Acas. My heart's darling!
Ser. Let my knees Fix to the earth. Ne'er let my eyes have rest, But wake and weep, till heaven restore my father.
Acas. Rise to my arms, and thy kind pray'rs are answer'd. For thou'rt a wondrous extract of all goodness; Born for my joy, and no pain's felt when near thee. Chamont!
Cham. My lord, may't prove not an unlucky omen! Many I see are waiting round about you, And I am come to ask a blessing too.
Acas. May'st thou be happy!
Acas. In all thy wishes.
Cham. Confirm me so, and make this fair one mine: I am unpractis'd in the trade of courtship, And know not how to deal love out with art: Onsets in love seem best like those in war, Fierce, resolute, and done with all the force; So I would open my whole heart at once, And pour out the abundance of my soul.
Acas. What says Serina? canst thou love a soldier? One born to honour, and to honour bred? One that has learn'd to treat e'en foes with kindness, To wrong no good man's fame, nor praise himself?
Ser. Oh! name not love, for that's ally'd to joy; And joy must be a stranger to my heart, When you're in danger. May Chamont's good fortune Render him lovely to some happier maid! Whilst I, at friendly distance, see him blest, Praise the kind gods, and wonder at his virtues.
Acas. Chamont, pursue her, conquer, and possess her, And, as my son, a third of all my fortune Shall be thy lot. Chamont, you told me of some doubts that press'd you: Are you yet satisfy'd that I'm your friend?
Cham. My lord, I would not lose that satisfaction, For any blessing I could wish for: As to my fears, already I have lost them: They ne'er shall vex me more, nor trouble you.
Acas. I thank you. My friends, 'tis late: Now my disorder seems all past and over, And I, methinks, begin to feel new health.
Cas. Would you but rest, it might restore you quite.
Acas. Yes, I'll to bed; old men must humour weakness. Good night, my friends! Heaven guard you all! Good night! To-morrow early we'll salute the day, Find out new pleasures, and renew lost time. [exeunt all but Chamont and Chaplain.
Cham. If you're at leisure, sir, we'll waste an hour: 'Tis yet too soon to sleep, and t'will be charity To lend your conversation to a stranger.
Chap. Sir, you're a soldier?
Chap. I love a soldier; And had been one myself, but that my parents Would make me what you see me.
Cham. Have you had long dependance on this family?
Chap. I have not thought it so, because my time's Spent pleasantly. My lord's not haughty nor imperious, Nor I gravely whimsical; he has good nature. His sons too are civil to me, because I do not pretend to be wiser than they are; I meddle with no man's business but my own, So meet with respect, and am not the jest of the family.
Cham. I'm glad you are so happy. A pleasant fellow this, and may be useful. [aside.
Knew you my father, the old Chamont?
Chap. I did; and was most sorry when we lost him.
Cham. Why, didst thou love him?
Chap. Ev'ry body lov'd him; besides, he was my patron's friend.
Cham. I could embrace thee for that very notion: If thou didst love my father, I could think Thou wouldst not be an enemy to me.
Chap. I can be no man's foe.
Cham. Then pr'ythee, tell me; Think'st thou the lord Castalio loves my sister?
Chap. Love your sister?
Cham. Ay, love her.
Chap. Either he loves her, or he much has wrong'd her.
Cham. How wrong'd her? have a care; for this may lay A scene of mischief to undo us all. But tell me, wrong'd her, saidst thou?
Chap. Ay, sir, wrong'd her.
Cham. This is a secret worth a monarch's fortune: What shall I give thee for't? thou dear physician Of sickly wounds, unfold this riddle to me, And comfort mine——
Chap. I would hide nothing from you willingly.
Cham. By the reverenc'd soul Of that great honest man that gave me being, Tell me but what thou know'st concerns my honour, And, if I e'er reveal it to thy wrong, May this good sword ne'er do me right in battle! May I ne'er know that blessed peace of mind, That dwells in good and pious men like thee!
Chap. I see your temper's mov'd and I will trust you.
Cham. Wilt thou?
Chap. I will; but if it ever 'scape you——
Cham. It never shall.
Chap. Then, this good day, when all the house was busy, When mirth and kind rejoicing fill'd each room, As I was walking in the grove I met them.
Cham. What, met them in the grove together?
Chap. I, by their own appointment, met them there, Receiv'd their marriage vows, and join'd their hands.
Cham. How! married?
Chap. Yes, sir.
Cham. Then my soul's at peace: But why would you so long delay to give it?
Chap. Not knowing what reception it may find With old Acasto; may be, I was too cautious To trust the secret from me.
Cham. What's the cause I cannot guess, though 'tis my sister's honour, I do not like this marriage, Huddled i'the dark, and done at too much venture; The business looks with an unlucky face. Keep still the secret: for it ne'er shall 'scape me, Not e'en to them, the new-match'd pair. Farewel! Believe the truth, and know me for thy friend. [exeunt.
Re-enter Castalio, with Monimia.
Cas. Young Chamont and the chaplain! sure 'tis they! No matter what's contriv'd, or who consulted, Since my Monimia's mine; though this sad look Seems no good boding omen to our bliss; Else, pr'ythee, tell me why that look cast down, Why that sad sigh, as if thy heart was breaking?
Mon. Castalio, I am thinking what we've done; The heavenly powers were sure displeas'd to-day; For, at the ceremony as we stood, And as your hand was kindly join'd with mine, As the good priest pronounc'd the sacred words, Passion grew big, and I could not forbear: Tears drown'd my eyes, and trembling seiz'd my soul. What should that mean?
Cas. O, thou art tender all! Gentle and kind as sympathising nature!
Re-enter Polydore, unobserved.
But wherefore do I dally with my bliss? The night's far spent, and day draws on apace; To bed, my love, and wake till I come thither.
Mon. 'Twill be impossible: You know your father's chamber's next to mine, And the least noise will certainly alarm him.
Cas. No more, my blessing. What shall be the sign? When shall I come? for to my joys I'll steal, As if I ne'er had paid my freedom for them.
Mon. Just three soft strokes upon the chamber door, And at that signal you shall gain admittance: But speak not the least word; for, if you should, 'Tis surely heard, and all will be betray'd.
Cas. Oh! doubt it not, Monimia; our joys Shall be as silent as the ecstatic bliss Of souls, that by intelligence converse. Away, my love! first take this kiss. Now, haste: I long for that to come, yet grudge each minute past. My brother wand'ring too so late this way! [exit Mon.
Cas. My Polydore, how dost thou? How does our father? is he well recover'd?
Pol. I left him happily repos'd to rest: He's still as gay as if his life was young. But how does fair Monimia?
Cas. Doubtless, well: A cruel beauty, with her conquest pleas'd, Is always joyful, and her mind in health.
Pol. Is she the same Monimia still she was? May we not hope she's made of mortal mould?
Cas. She's not woman else: Though I'm grown weary of this tedious hoping; We've in a barren desart stray'd too long.
Pol. Yet may relief be unexpected found, And love's sweet manna cover all the field. Met ye to-day?
Cas. No; she has still avoided me; I wish I'd never meddled with the matter, And would enjoin thee, Polydore——
Pol. To what?
Cas. To leave this peevish beauty to herself.
Pol. What, quit my love? as soon I'd quit my post In fight, and like a coward run away. No, by my stars, I'll chase her till she yields To me, or meets her rescue in another.
Cas. But I have wond'rous reasons on my side, That would persuade thee, were they known.
Pol. Then speak 'em: What are they? Came ye to her window here To learn 'em now? Castalio, have a care; Use honest dealing with a friend and brother. Believe me, I'm not with my love so blinded, But can discern your purpose to abuse me. Quit your pretences to her. You say you've reasons: why are they conceal'd?
Cas. To-morrow I may tell you.
Pol. Why not now?
Cas. It is a matter of such consequence, As I must well consult ere I reveal. But pr'ythee cease to think I would abuse thee, Till more be known.
Pol. When you, Castalio, cease To meet Monimia unknown to me, And then deny it slavishly, I'll cease To think Castalio faithless to his friend. Did I not see you part this very moment?
Cas. It seems you've watch'd me, then?
Pol. I scorn the office.
Cas. Pr'ythee avoid a thing thou may'st repent.
Pol. That is, henceforward making league with you.
Cas. Nay, if ye're angry, Polydore, good night. [exit.
Pol. Good night, Castalio, if ye're in such haste. He little thinks I've overheard th' appointment: But to his chamber's gone to wait awhile, Then come and take possession of my love. This is the utmost point of all my hopes; Or now she must, or never can, be mine. Oh, for a means now how to counterplot, And disappoint this happy elder brother In every thing we do or undertake, He soars above me, mount what height I can, And keeps the start he got of me in birth. Cordelio!
Page. My lord!
Pol. Come hither, boy! Thou hast a pretty, forward, lying face, And may'st in time expect preferment. Canst thou Pretend to secresy, cajole and flatter Thy master's follies, and assist his pleasures?
Page. My lord, I could do any thing for you, And ever be a very faithful boy. Command, whate'er's your pleasure I'll observe; Be it to run, or watch, or to convey A letter to a beauteous lady's bosom: At least, I am not dull, and soon should learn.
Pol. 'Tis pity then thou shouldst not be employ'd. Go to my brother, he's in his chamber now, Undressing, and preparing for his rest; Find out some means to keep him up awhile: Tell him a pretty story, that may please His ear; invent a tale, no matter what: If he should ask of me, tell him I'm gone To bed, and sent you there to know his pleasure, Whether he'll hunt to-morrow. But do not leave him till he's in his bed; Or, if he chance to walk again this way, Follow, and do not quit him, but seem fond To do him little offices of service. Perhaps at last it may offend him; then Retire, and wait till I come in. Away! Succeed in this, and be employ'd again.
Page. Doubt not, my lord: he has been always kind To me; would often set me on his knee, Then give me sweetmeats, call me pretty boy, And ask me what the maids talk'd of at nights.
Pol. Run quickly then, and prosp'rous be thy wishes. Here I'm alone, and fit for mischief. [exit Page. I heard the sign she order'd him to give. "Just three soft strokes against the chamber door; But speak not the least word, for, if you should, It's surely heard, and we are both betray'd." Blest heav'ns, assist me but in this dear hour, And, my kind stars, be but propitious now, Dispose of me hereafter as you please. Monimia! Monimia! [gives the sign.
Flo. [At the window.] Who's there?
Pol. 'Tis I.
Flo. My lord Castalio?
Pol. The same. How does my love, my dear Monimia?
Flo. Oh! She wonders much at your unkind delay; You've staid so long, that at each little noise The wind but makes, she asks if you are coming.
Pol. Tell her I'm here, and let the door be open'd. [Florella withdraws.
Now boast, Castalio, triumph now, and tell Thyself strange stories of a promis'd bliss! [exit.
Re-enter Castalio and Page.
Page. Indeed, my lord, 'twill be a lovely morning: Pray, let us hunt.
Cas. Go, you're an idle prattler: I'll stay at home to-morrow; if your lord Thinks fit, he may command my hounds. Go, leave me: I must to bed.
Page. I'll wait upon your lordship, If you think fit, and sing you to repose.
Cas. No, my kind boy. Good night: commend me to my brother.
Page. Oh! You never heard the last new song I learn'd; It is the finest, prettiest, song indeed, Of my lord and my lady, you know who, that were caught Together, you know where. My lord, indeed it is.
Cas. You must be whipp'd, youngster, if you get such songs as those are. What means this boy's impertinence to-night? [aside.
Page. Why, what must I sing, pray, my dear lord?
Cas. Psalms, child, psalms.
Page. O dear me! boys that go to school learn psalms; But pages, that are better bred, sing lampoons.
Cas. Well, leave me; I'm weary.
Page. Indeed, my lord, I can't abide to leave you.
Cas. Why, wert thou instructed to attend me?
Page. No, no, indeed, my lord, I was not. But I know what I know.
Cas. What dost thou know?——'Sdeath! what can all this mean? [aside.
Page. Oh! I know who loves somebody.
Cas. What's that to me, boy?
Page. Nay, I know who loves you too.
Cas. That's a wonder! pr'ythee, tell it me.
Page. 'Tis—'tis—I know who—but will You give me the horse, then?
Cas. I will, my child.
Page. It is my lady Monimia, look you; but don't you tell her I told you: she'll give me no more playthings then. I heard her say so, as she lay abed, man.
Cas. Talk'd she of me when in her bed, Cordelio?
Page. Yes; and I sung her the song you made too; and she did so sigh, and look with her eyes!
Cas. Hark! what's that noise? Take this; be gone, and leave me. You knave, you little flatterer, get you gone. [ex. Page. Surely it was a noise, hist!——only fancy; For all is hush'd, as nature were retir'd. 'Tis now, that, guided by my love, I go To take possession of Monimia's arms. Sure Polydore's by this time gone to bed. [knocks. She hears me not? sure, she already sleeps! Her wishes could not brook so long delay, And her poor heart has beat itself to rest. [knocks. Once more——
Flo. [at the window] Who's there, That comes thus rudely to disturb our rest?
Cas. 'Tis I.
Flo. Who are you? what's your name?
Cas. Suppose the lord Castalio.
Flo. I know you not. The lord Castalio has no business here.
Cas. Ha! have a care! what can this mean? Whoe'er thou art, I charge thee, to Monimia fly: Tell her I'm here, and wait upon my doom.
Flo. Whoe'er you are, you may repent this outrage: My lady must not be disturb'd. Good night!
Cas. She must! tell her, she shall; go, I'm in haste, And bring her tidings from the state of love.
Flo. Sure the man's mad!
Cas. Or this will make me so. Obey me, or, by all the wrongs I suffer, I'll scale the window and come in by force, Let the sad consequence be what it will! This creature's trifling folly makes me mad!
Flo. My lady's answer is, you may depart. She says she knows you: you are Polydore, Sent by Castalio, as you were to-day, T'affront and do her violence again.
Cas. I'll not believe't.
Flo. You may, sir.
Cas. Curses blast thee!
Flo. Well, 'tis a fine cool ev'ning! and I hope May cure the raging fever in your blood! Good night.
Cas. And farewell all that's just in woman! This is contriv'd, a study'd trick, to abuse My easy nature, and torment my mind! 'Tis impudence to think my soul will bear it! Let but to-morrow, but to-morrow, come, And try if all thy arts appease my wrong; Till when, be this detested place my bed; [lies down. Where I will ruminate on woman's ills, Laugh at myself, and curse th' inconstant sex. Faithless Monimia! O Monimia!
Ern. Either My sense has been deluded, or this way I heard the sound of sorrow; 'tis late night, And none, whose mind's at peace, would wander now.
Cas. Who's there?
Ern. Castalio!—My lord, why in this posture, Stretch'd on the ground? your honest, true, old servant, Your poor Ernesto, cannot see you thus. Rise, I beseech you.
Cas. Oh, leave me to my folly.
Ern. I can't leave you, And not the reason know of your disorders. Remember how, when young, I in my arms Have often borne you, pleas'd you in your pleasures, And sought an early share in your affection. Do not discard me now, but let me serve you.
Cas. Thou canst not serve me.
Cas. Because my thoughts Are full of woman; thou, poor wretch, art past them.
Ern. I hate the sex.
Cas. Then I'm thy friend, Ernesto! [rises. I'd leave the world for him that hates a woman! Woman, the fountain of all human frailty! What mighty ills have not been done by woman? Who was't betray'd the capitol?—a woman! Who lost Mark Antony the world?—a woman! Who was the cause of a long ten years' war, And laid at last old Troy in ashes?—Woman! Destructive, damnable, deceitful woman! Woman, to man first as a blessing given; When innocence and love were in their prime. Happy awhile in Paradise they lay; But quickly woman long'd to go astray: Some foolish new adventure needs must prove, And the first devil she saw, she chang'd her love: To his temptations lewdly she inclin'd Her soul, and for an apple damn'd mankind. [exeunt.
ACT THE FOURTH.
SCENE I. A CHAMBER.
Cas. Wish'd morning's come! And now upon the plains, And distant mountains, where they feed their flocks, The happy shepherds leave their homely huts, And with their pipes proclaim the new-born day. There's no condition sure so curs'd as mine—— Monimia! O Monimia!
Enter Monimia and Florella.
Mon. I come! I fly to my ador'd Castalio's arms, My wishes' lord. May every morn begin Like this; and, with our days, our loves renew!
Mon. Art thou not well, Castalio? Come, lean Upon my breast, and tell me where's thy pain.
Cas. 'Tis here—'tis in my head—'tis in my heart— 'Tis every where: it rages like a madness, And I most wonder how my reason holds. No more, Monimia, of your sex's arts: They're useless all—I'm not that pliant tool; I know my charter better——I am man, Obstinate man, and will not be enslav'd!
Mon. You shall not fear't; indeed, my nature's easy: I'll ever live your most obedient wife! Nor ever any privilege pretend Beyond your will; for that shall be my law;— Indeed, I will not.
Cas. Nay, you shall not, madam; By yon bright heaven, you shall not: all the day I'll play the tyrant, and at night forsake thee; Nay, if I've any too, thou shalt be made Subservient to my looser pleasures; For thou hast wrong'd Castalio.
Mon. Oh, kill me here, or tell me my offence! I'll never quit you else; but, on these knees, Thus follow you all day, till they're worn bare, And hang upon you like a drowning creature. Castalio!——
Cas. Away!——Last night! last night!——
Mon. It was our wedding night.
Cas. No more!—Forget it!
Mon. Why! do you then repent?
Cas. I do.
Mon. O heaven! And will you leave me thus?—Help! help! Florella!
[Castalio drags her to the door, breaks from her, and exit.
Help me to hold this yet lov'd, cruel man! Castalio!—Oh! how often has he sworn, Nature should change—the sun and stars grow dark, Ere he would falsify his vows to me! Make haste, confusion, then! Sun, lose thy light! And, stars, drop dead with sorrow to the earth, For my Castalio's false! False as the wind, the waters, or the weather! Cruel as tigers o'er their trembling prey! I feel him in my breast; he tears my heart, And at each sigh he drinks the gushing blood! Must I be long in pain?
Cham. In tears, Monimia!
Mon. Whoe'er thou art, Leave me alone to my belov'd despair!
Cham. Lift up thy eyes, and see who comes to cheer thee! Tell me the story of thy wrongs, and then See if my soul has rest, till thou hast justice.
Mon. My brother!
Cham. Yes, Monimia, if thou think'st That I deserve the name, I am thy brother.
Mon. O Castalio!
Cham. Ha! Name me that name again! my soul's on fire Till I know all!—There's meaning in that name:— I know he is thy husband; therefore, trust me With the following truth.
Mon. Indeed, Chamont, There's nothing in it but the fault of nature: I'm often thus seiz'd suddenly with grief, I know not why.
Cham. You use me ill, Monimia; And I might think, with justice, most severely Of this unfaithful dealing with your brother.
Mon. Truly I'm not to blame. Suppose I'm fond, And grieve for what as much may please another? Should I upbraid the dearest friend on earth For the first fault? You would not do so, would you?
Cham. Not if I'd cause to think it was a friend.
Mon. Why do you then call this unfaithful dealing? I ne'er conceal'd my soul from you before: Bear with me now, and search my wounds no further; For every probing pains me to the heart.
Cham. 'Tis sign there's danger in't, and must be prob'd. Where's your new husband? Still that thought disturbs you— What! only answer me with tears?—Castalio! Nay, now they stream:— Cruel, unkind, Castalio!—Is't not so?
Mon. I cannot speak;—grief flows so fast upon me, It chokes, and will not let me tell the cause. Oh!——
Cham. My Monimia! to my soul thou'rt dear As honour to my name! Why wilt thou not repose within my breast The anguish that torments thee?
Mon. Oh! I dare not.
Cham. I have no friend but thee. We must confide In one another.—Two unhappy orphans, Alas! we are! and when I see thee grieve, Methinks it is a part of me that suffers.
Mon. Could you be secret?
Cham. Secret as the grave.
Mon. But when I've told you, will you keep your fury Within its bounds? Will you not do some rash And horrid mischief? For, indeed, Chamont, You would not think how hardly I've been us'd From a dear friend—from one that has my soul A slave, and therefore treats it like a tyrant.
Cham. I will be calm.—But has Castalio wrong'd thee? Has he already wasted all his love? What has he done?—quickly! for I'm all trembling With expectation of a horrid tale!
Mon. Oh! could you think it?
Mon. I fear, he'll kill me!
Mon. Indeed, I do: he's strangely cruel to me; Which, if it last, I'm sure must break my heart.
Cham. What has he done?
Mon. Most barbarously us'd me. Just as we met, and I, with open arms, Ran to embrace the lord of all my wishes, Oh then——
Cham. Go on!
Mon. He threw me from his breast, Like a detested sin.
Mon. As I hung too Upon his knees, and begg'd to know the cause, He dragg'd me, like a slave, upon the earth, And had no pity on my cries.
Cham. How! did he Dash thee disdainfully away, with scorn?
Mon. He did.
Cham. What! throw thee from him?
Mon. Yes, indeed, he did!
Cham. So may this arm Throw him to th' earth, like a dead dog despis'd. Lameness and leprosy, blindness and lunacy, Poverty, shame, pride, and the name of villain, Light on me, if, Castalio, I forgive thee!
Mon. Nay, now, Chamont, art thou unkind as he is! Didst thou not promise me thou wouldst be calm? Keep my disgrace conceal'd? Alas, I love him still; and though I ne'er Clasp him again within these longing arms, Yet bless him, bless him, gods, where'er he goes!
Acas. Sure some ill fate is tow'rds me; in my house I only meet with oddness and disorder. Just this very moment I met Castalio too——
Cham. Then you met a villain.
Cham. Yes, a villain!
Acas. Have a care, young soldier, How thou'rt too busy with Acasto's fame. I have a sword, my arm's good old acquaintance:— Villain, to thee.
Cham. Curse on thy scandalous age, Which hinders me to rush upon thy throat, And tear the root up of that cursed bramble!
Acas. Ungrateful ruffian! sure my good old friend Was ne'er thy father! Nothing of him's in thee! What have I done, in my unhappy age, To be thus us'd? I scorn to upbraid thee, boy! But I could put thee in remembrance——
Acas. I scorn it.
Cham. No, I'll calmly hear the story; For I would fain know all, to see which scale Weighs most.——Ha! is not that good old Acasto? What have I done?—Can you forgive this folly?
Acas. Why dost thou ask it?
Cham. 'Twas the rude o'erflowing Of too much passion—Pray, my lord, forgive me. [kneels.
Acas. Mock me not, youth! I can revenge a wrong.
Cham. I know it well—but for this thought of mine, Pity a madman's frenzy, and forget it.
Acas. I will; but henceforth pr'ythee be more kind. Whence came the cause? [raises him.
Cham. Indeed, I've been to blame; For you've been my father— You've been her father too. [takes Monimia's hand.
Acas. Forbear the prologue, And let me know the substance of thy tale.
Cham. You took her up, a little tender flower, Just sprouted on a bank, which the next frost Had nipp'd; and with a careful, loving hand, Transplanted her into your own fair garden, Where the sun always shines: there long she flourish'd; Grew sweet to sense, and lovely to the eye; Till at the last a cruel spoiler came, Cropp'd this fair rose, and rifled all its sweetness, Then cast it like a loathsome weed away.
Acas. You talk to me in parables, Chamont: You may have known that I'm no wordy man. Fine speeches are the instruments of knaves, Or fools, that use them when they want good sense. But honesty Needs no disguise or ornament. Be plain.
Cham. Your son——
Acas. I've two; and both, I hope, have honour.
Cham. I hope so too; but——
Cham. I must inform you, Once more, Castalio——
Acas. Still Castalio!
Cham. Yes; Your son Castalio has wrong'd Monimia!
Acas. Ha! wrong'd her?
Cham. Marry'd her.
Acas. I'm sorry for't.
Cham. Why sorry? By yon blest heaven, there's not a lord But might be proud to take her to his heart.
Acas. I'll not deny't.
Cham. You dare not; by the gods, You dare not. All your family combin'd In one damn'd falsehood, to outdo Castalio, Dare not deny't.
Acas. How has Castalio wrong'd her?
Cham. Ask that of him. I say, my sister's wrong'd: Monimia, my sister, born as high And noble as Castalio.—Do her justice, Or, by the gods, I'll lay a scene of blood Shall make this dwelling horrible to nature. I'll do't.—Hark you, my lord, your son Castalio, Take him to your closet, and there teach him manners.
Acas. You shall have justice.
Cham. Nay, I will have justice! Who'll sleep in safety that has done me wrong? My lord, I'll not disturb you to repeat The cause of this; I beg you (to preserve Your house's honour) ask it of Castalio. [exit.
Acas. Farewell, proud boy.— Monimia!
Mon. My lord.
Acas. You are my daughter.
Mon. I am, my lord, if you'll vouchsafe to own me.
Acas. When you'll complain to me, I'll prove a father. [exit.
Mon. Now I'm undone for ever! Who on earth Is there so wretched as Monimia? First by Castalio cruelly forsaken; I've lost Acasto now: his parting frowns May well instruct me, rage is in his heart. I shall be next abandon'd to my fortune, Thrust out, a naked wand'rer to the world, And branded for the mischievous Monimia! What will become of me? My cruel brother Is framing mischiefs, too, for aught I know, That may produce bloodshed and horrid murder! I would not be the cause of one man's death, To reign the empress of the earth; nay, more, I'd rather lose for ever my Castalio, My dear, unkind, Castalio. [sits down.
Pol. Monimia weeping! I come, my love, to kiss all sorrow from thee. What mean these sighs, and why thus beats thy heart?
Mon. Let me alone to sorrow; 'tis a cause None e'er shall know; but it shall with me die.
Pol. Happy, Monimia, he to whom these sighs, These tears, and all these languishings, are paid! I know your heart was never meant for me; That jewel's for an elder brother's price.
Mon. My lord!
Pol. Nay, wonder not; last night I heard His oaths, your vows, and to my torment saw Your wild embraces; heard the appointment made; I did, Monimia, and I curs'd the sound. Wilt thou be sworn, my love? wilt thou be ne'er Unkind again?
Mon. Banish such fruitless hopes! Have you sworn constancy to my undoing? Will you be ne'er my friend again?
Pol. What means my love?
Mon. What meant my lord? Last night?
Pol. Is that a question now to be demanded?
Mon. Was it well done T' assault my lodging at the dead of night, And threaten me if I deny'd admittance—— You said you were Castalio.
Pol. By those eyes, It was the same: I spent my time much better.
Mon. Ha!—have a care!
Pol. Where is the danger near me?
Mon. I fear you're on a rock will wreck your quiet, And drown your soul in wretchedness for ever. A thousand horrid thoughts crowd on my memory. Will you be kind, and answer me one question?
Pol. I'd trust thee with my life; on that soft bosom Breathe out the choicest secrets of my heart, Till I had nothing in it left but love.
Mon. Nay, I'll conjure you, by the gods and angels, By the honour of your name, that's most concern'd, To tell me, Polydore, and tell me truly, Where did you rest last night?
Pol. Within thy arms.
Mon. 'Tis done. [faints.
Pol. She faints!—no help!—who waits?—A curse Upon my vanity, that could not keep The secret of my happiness in silence! Confusion! we shall be surpris'd anon; And consequently all must be betrayed. Monimia!—she breathes!—Monimia!
Mon. Well—— Let mischiefs multiply! let every hour Of my loath'd life yield me increase of horror! O let the sun, to these unhappy eyes, Ne'er shine again, but be eclips'd for ever! May every thing I look on seem a prodigy, To fill my soul with terrors, till I quite Forget I ever had humanity, And grow a curser of the works of nature!
Pol. What means all this?
Mon. O Polydore! if all The friendship e'er you vow'd to good Castalio Be not a falsehood; if you ever lov'd Your brother, you've undone yourself and me.
Pol. Which way can ruin reach the man that's rich, As I am, in possession of thy sweetness?
Mon. Oh! I'm his wife!
Pol. What says Monimia?
Mon. I am Castalio's wife!
Pol. His marry'd, wedded, wife?
Mon. Yesterday's sun Saw it perform'd!
Pol. My brother's wife?
Mon. As surely as we both Must taste of misery, that guilt is thine.
Pol. Oh! thou may'st yet be happy!
Mon. Couldst thou be Happy, with such a weight upon thy soul?
Pol. It may be yet a secret—I'll go try To reconcile and bring Castalio to thee! Whilst from the world I take myself away, And waste my life in penance for my sin.
Mon. Then thou wouldst more undo me: heap a load Of added sin upon my wretched head! Wouldst thou again have me betray thy brother, And bring pollution to his arms?—Curs'd thought! Oh! when shall I be mad indeed! [exit.
Pol. Then thus I'll go;— Full of my guilt, distracted where to roam: I'll find some place where adders nest in winter, Loathsome and venomous; where poisons hang Like gums against the walls: there I'll inhabit, And live up to the height of desperation. Desire shall languish like a with'ring flower, Horrors shall fright me from those pleasing harms, And I'll no more be caught with beauty's charms. [exit.
ACT THE FIFTH.
SCENE I. A GARDEN.
Castalio discovered lying on the ground; soft music.
Cas. See where the deer trot after one another; No discontent they know; but in delightful Wildness and freedom, pleasant springs, fresh herbage, Calm arbours, lusty health, and innocence, Enjoy their portion:—if they see a man, How will they turn together all, and gaze Upon the monster! Once in a season, too, they taste of love: Only the beast of reason is its slave; And in that folly drudges all the year.
Acas. Castalio! Castalio!
Cas. Who's there So wretched but to name Castalio?
Acas. I hope my message may succeed.
Cas. My father! 'Tis joy to see you, though where sorrow's nourish'd.
Acas. Castalio, you must go along with me, And see Monimia.
Cas. Sure my lord but mocks me: Go see Monimia?
Acas. I say, no more dispute. Complaints are made to me that you have wrong'd her.
Cas. Who has complain'd?
Acas. Her brother to my face proclaim'd her wrong'd, And in such terms they've warm'd me.
Cas. What terms? Her brother! Heaven! Where learn'd he that? What, does she send her hero with defiance? He durst not sure affront you?
Acas. No, not much: But——
Cas. Speak, what said he?
Acas. That thou wert a villain: Methinks I would not have thee thought a villain.
Cas. Shame on the ill-manner'd brute! Your age secur'd him; he durst not else have said.
Acas. By my sword, I would not see thee wrong'd, and bear it vilely: Though I have pass'd my word she shall have justice.
Cas. Justice! to give her justice would undo her. Think you this solitude I now have chosen, Wish'd to have grown one piece With this cold day, and all without a cause?
Cham. Where is the hero, famous and renown'd For wronging innocence, and breaking vows; Whose mighty spirit, and whose stubborn heart, No woman can appease, nor man provoke?
Acas. I guess, Chamont, you come to seek Castalio?
Cham. I come to seek the husband of Monimia.
Cas. The slave is here.
Cham. I thought ere now to have found you Atoning for the ills you've done Chamont: For you have wrong'd the dearest part of him. Monimia, young lord, weeps in this heart; And all the tears thy injuries have drawn From her poor eyes, are drops of blood from hence.
Cas. Then you are Chamont?
Cham. Yes, and I hope no stranger To great Castalio.
Cas. I've heard of such a man, That has been very busy with my honour. I own I'm much indebted to you, sir, And here return the villain back again You sent me by my father.
Cham. Thus I'll thank you. [draws.
Acas. By this good sword, who first presumes to violence, Makes me his foe. [draws and interposes.
Cas. Sir, in my younger years with care you taught me That brave revenge was due to injur'd honour: Oppose not then the justice of my sword, Lest you should make me jealous of your love.
Cham. Into thy father's arms thou fly'st for safety, Because thou know'st that place is sanctify'd With the remembrance of an ancient friendship.
Cas. I am a villain, if I will not seek thee, Till I may be reveng'd for all the wrongs Done me by that ungrateful fair thou plead'st for.
Cham. She wrong'd thee? By the fury in my heart, Thy father's honour's not above Monimia's; Nor was thy mother's truth and virtue fairer.
Acas. Boy, don't disturb the ashes of the dead With thy capricious follies; the remembrance Of the lov'd creature that once fill'd these arms——
Cham. Has not been wrong'd.
Cas. It shall not.
Cham. No, nor shall Monimia, though a helpless orphan, destitute Of friends and fortune, though the unhappy sister Of poor Chamont, whose sword is all his portion, Be oppress'd by thee, thou proud, imperious traitor!
Cas. Ha! set me free.
Cham. Come, both.
Cas. Sir, if you'd have me think you did not take This opportunity to show your vanity, Let's meet some other time, when by ourselves We fairly may dispute our wrongs together.
Cham. Till then I am Castalio's friend. [exit.
Acas. Would I'd been absent when this boist'rous brave Came to disturb thee thus. I'm griev'd I hinder'd Thy just resentment——But, Monimia——
Cas. Damn her!
Acas. Don't curse her.
Cas. Did I?
Cas. I'm sorry for't.
Acas. Methinks, if, as I guess, the fault's but small, It might be pardon'd.
Acas. What has she done?
Cas. That she's my wife, may heaven and you forgive me.
Acas. Be reconcil'd then.
Acas. For my sake, Castalio, and the quiet of my age.
Cas. Why will you urge a thing my nature starts at?
Acas. Pr'ythee, forgive her.
Cas. Lightnings first shall blast me! I tell you, were she prostrate at my feet, Full of her sex's best dissembled sorrows And all that wondrous beauty of her own, My heart might break, but it should never soften.
Acas. Did you but know the agonies she feels— She flies with fury over all the house; Through every room of each department, crying, "Where's my Castalio! Give me my Castalio!" Except she sees you, sure she'll grow distracted!
Cas. Ha! will she? Does she name Castalio? And with such tenderness? Conduct me quickly To the poor lovely mourner.
Acas. Then wilt thou go? Blessings attend thy purpose!
Cas. I cannot hear Monimia's soul's in sadness, And be a man: my heart will not forget her.
Acas. Delay not then; but haste and cheer thy love.
Cas. 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.
SCENE II. A CHAMBER.
Mon. Stand off, and give me room; I will not rest till I have found Castalio, My wish's lord, comely as the rising day. I cannot die in peace till I have seen him.
Cas. Who talks of dying, with a voice so sweet That life's in love with it?
Mon. Hark! 'tis he that answers. Where art thou?
Cas. Here, my love.
Mon. No nearer, lest I vanish.
Cas. Have I been in a dream then all this while? 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.
Cas. Is't then so hard, Monimia, to forgive A fault, when humble love, like mine, implores thee? For I must love thee, though it prove my ruin. I'll kneel to thee, and weep a flood before thee. Yet pr'ythee, 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 so wrong'd.
Cas. Thou hast not wrong'd me.
Mon. Ah! alas, thou talk'st Just as thy poor heart thinks. Have not I wrong'd thee?
Mon. Still thou wander'st in the dark, Castalio; But wilt, ere long, stumble on horrid danger.
Cas. My better angel, then do thou inform me What danger threatens me, and where it lies; Why wert thou (pr'ythee, smile, and tell me why) When I stood waiting underneath the window, Deaf to my cries, and senseless of my pains?
Mon. Did I not beg thee to forbear inquiry? Read'st thou not something in my face, that speaks Wonderful change, and horror from within me?
Cas. If, lab'ring 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 remember, Monimia, poor Monimia, tells you this: We ne'er must meet again——
Cas. Ne'er meet again?
Mon. No, never.
Cas. Where's the power On earth, that dares not look like thee, and say so? Thou art my heart's inheritance: I serv'd A long and 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've resolv'd (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.
Cas. Why turn'st thou from me? I'm 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 embark'd; Wilt thou not turn?—Oh! could those eyes but speak, I should know all, for love is pregnant in 'em; 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 breaking.
Mon. Ah! poor Castalio! [exit.
Cas. 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.
Pol. To live, and live a torment to myself, What dog would bear't, that knew but his condition? We've little knowledge, and that makes us cowards, Because it cannot tell us what's to come.
Cas. Who's there?
Pol. Why, what art thou?
Cas. My brother Polydore?
Pol. My name is Polydore.
Cas. Canst thou inform me——
Pol. Of what?
Cas. Of my Monimia?
Pol. No. Good day!
Cas. In haste! Methinks my Polydore appears in sadness.
Pol. Indeed! and so to me does my Castalio.
Cas. Do I?
Pol. Thou dost.
Cas. Alas, I've wondrous reason! I'm strangely alter'd, brother, since I saw thee.
Cas. I'll tell thee, Polydore; I would repose Within thy friendly bosom all my follies; For thou wilt pardon 'em, because they're mine.
Pol. Be not too credulous; consider first, Friends may be false. Is there no friendship false?
Cas. Why dost thou ask me that? Does this appear Like a false friendship, when, with open arms And streaming eyes, I run upon thy breast? Oh! 'tis in thee alone I must have comfort!
Pol. I fear, Castalio, I have none to give thee.
Cas. Dost thou not love me then?
Pol. Oh, more than life; I never had a thought of my Castalio, Might wrong the friendship we had vow'd together. Hast thou dealt so by me?
Cas. I hope I have.
Pol. Then tell me why, this morning, this disorder?
Cas. O Polydore, I know not how to tell thee; Shame rises in my face, and interrupts The story of my tongue.
Pol. I grieve, my friend Knows any thing which he's asham'd to tell me.
Cas. Oh, much too oft. Our destiny contriv'd To plague us both with one unhappy love! Thou, like a friend, a constant, gen'rous friend, In its first pangs didst trust me with thy passion, Whilst I still smooth'd my pain with smiles before thee, And made a contract I ne'er meant to keep.
Cas. 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?
Cas. No; to conceal't from thee was much a fault.
Pol. A fault! when thou hast heard The tale I'll tell, what wilt thou call it then?
Cas. How my heart throbs!
Pol. First, for thy friendship, traitor, I cancel't thus: after this day I'll ne'er Hold trust or converse with the false Castalio! This, witness, heaven.
Cas. What will my fate do with me? I've lost all happiness, and know not why! What means this, brother?
Pol. Perjur'd, treach'rous wretch, Farewell!
Cas. I'll be thy slave, and thou shalt use me Just as thou wilt, do but forgive me.
Cas. Oh! think a little what thy heart is doing: How, from our infancy, we hand in hand Have trod the path of life in love together. One bed has held us, and the same desires, The same aversions, still employ'd our thoughts. Whene'er had I a friend that was not Polydore's, Or Polydore a foe that was not mine? E'en in the womb we embrac'd; and wilt thou now, For the first fault, abandon and forsake me? Leave me, amidst afflictions, to myself, Plung'd in the gulf of grief, and none to help me?
Pol. Go to Monimia; in her arms thou'lt find Repose; she has the art of healing sorrows.
Cas. What arts?
Pol. Blind wretch! thou husband? there's a question! Is she not a——
Pol. Whore? I think that word needs no explaining.
Cas. Alas! I can forgive e'en this to thee; But let me tell thee, Polydore, I'm griev'd To find thee guilty of such low revenge, To wrong that virtue which thou couldst not ruin.
Pol. It seems I lie, then!
Cas. Should the bravest man That e'er wore conq'ring 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 mean'st the worst! and he's a base-born villain That said, I lied!
Cas. 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 the cradle by me Plac'd some coarse peasant's cub, and thou art he!
Cas. Thou art my brother still.
Pol. Thou liest!
Cas. Nay, then—— [draws. Yet, I am calm.
Pol. A coward's always so.
Cas. Ah!—ah!—that stings home! Coward!
Pol. Ay, base-born coward! villain!
Cas. This to thy heart, then, though my mother bore thee! [they fight; Polydore runs on Castalio's sword.
Pol. Now my Castalio is again my friend.
Cas. What have I done? my sword is in thy breast.
Pol. So would I have it be, thou best of men, Thou kindest brother, and thou truest friend!
Cas. Ye gods! we're taught that all your works are justice: Ye're painted merciful, and friends to innocence: If so, then why these plagues upon my head?
Pol. Blame not the heav'ns, 'tis Polydore has wrong'd thee; I've stain'd thy bed; thy spotless marriage joys Have been polluted by thy brother's lust.
Cas. By thee?
Pol. By me, last night, the horrid deed Was done, when all things slept but rage and incest.
Cas. Now, where's Monimia? Oh!
Mon. I'm 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!
Cas. Ay, brother's blood! Art thou prepar'd for everlasting pains?
Pol. Oh! let me charge thee, by th' eternal justice, Hurt not her tender life!
Cas. Not kill her?
Mon. That task myself have finish'd: I shall die Before we part: I've drunk a healing draught For all my cares, and never more shall wrong thee.
Pol. Oh, she's innocent.
Cas. Tell me that story, And thou wilt make a wretch of me, indeed.
Pol. Hadst thou, Castalio, us'd me like a friend, This ne'er had happen'd; hadst thou let me know Thy marriage, we had all now met in joy: But, ignorant of that, Hearing th' appointment made, enrag'd to think Thou hadst undone me in successful love, I, in the dark, went and supplied thy place; Whilst all the night, midst our triumphant joys, The trembling, tender, kind, deceiv'd Monimia, Embrac'd, caress'd, and call'd me her Castalio. [dies.
Mon. Now, my Castalio, the most dear of men, Wilt thou receive pollution to thy bosom, And close the eyes of one that has betray'd you?
Cas. O, I'm the unhappy wretch, whose cursed fate Has weigh'd you down into destruction with him: Why then thus kind to me!
Mon. When I'm laid low i'th' grave, and quite forgotten, May'st 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 hand already), Speak well of me: and if thou find ill tongues Too busy with my fame, don't hear me wrong'd; 'Twill be a noble justice to the memory Of a poor wretch, once honour'd with thy love. [dies.
Enter Chamont and Acasto.
Cham. Gape, earth, and swallow me to quick destruction, If I forgive your house! Ye've overpower'd me now! But, hear me, heav'n!—Ah! here's a scene of death! My sister, my Monimia, breathless!——Now, Ye powers above, if ye have justice, strike! Strike bolts through me, and through the curs'd Castalio!
Cas. Stand off; thou hot-brain'd, boisterous, noisy, ruffian! And leave me to my sorrows.
Cham. By the love I bore her living, I will ne'er forsake her; But here remain till my heart burst with sobbing.
Cas. Vanish, I charge thee! or— [draws a dagger.
Cham. Thou canst not kill me! That would be a kindness, and against thy nature!
Acas. What means Castalio? Sure thou wilt not pull More sorrows on thy aged father's head! Tell me, I beg you, tell me the sad cause Of all this ruin.
Cas. Thou, unkind Chamont, Unjustly hast pursu'd me with thy hate, And sought the life of him that never wrong'd thee: Now, if thou wilt embrace a noble vengeance, Come join with me, and curse——
Acas. Have patience.
Cas. Patience! preach it to the winds, To roaring seas, or raging fires! for, curs'd As I am now, 'tis this must give me patience: Thus I find, rest, and shall complain no more. [stabs himself. Chamont, to thee my birthright 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 wrong'd, 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.
Cham. Take care of good Acasto, whilst I go To search the means by which the fates have plagu'd us. 'Tis thus that heav'n its empire does maintain: It may afflict; but man must not complain. [exeunt.
To you, great judges, in this writing age, The sons of wit, and patrons of the stage, With all those humble thoughts, which still have sway'd His pride much doubting, trembling and afraid Of what is to his want of merit due, And aw'd by every excellence in you, The author sends to beg you will be kind, And spare those many faults you needs must find. You, to whom wit a common foe is grown, The thing ye scorn and publicly disown. Though now, perhaps, ye're here for other ends, He swears to me ye ought to be his friends: For he ne'er call'd ye yet insipid tools, Nor wrote one line to tell ye you were fools; But says of wit ye have so large a store, So very much you never will have more. He ne'er with libel treated yet the town, The names of honest men bedaub'd and shown. Nay, never once lampoon'd the harmless life Of suburb virgin, or of city wife. Satire's th' effect of poetry's disease, } Which, sick of a lewd age, she vents for ease, } But now her only strife should be to please; } Since of ill fate the baneful cloud's withdrawn, And happiness again begins to dawn, Since back with joy and triumph he is come, That always drew fears hence, ne'er brought 'em home. Oft has he plough'd the boist'rous ocean o'er, } Yet ne'er more welcome to the longing shore, } Not when he brought home victories before; } For then fresh laurels flourish'd on his brow; And he comes crown'd with olive-branches now; Receive him—oh, receive him as his friends, Embrace the blessing which he recommends: Such quiet as your foes shall ne'er destroy; Then shake off fears, and clap your hands for joy.
SPOKEN BY SERINA.
You've seen one orphan ruin'd here; and I May be the next, if old Acasto die: Should it prove so, I'd fain amongst you find Who 'tis would to the fatherless be kind. To whose protection might I safely go? Is there among you no good nature? No. What shall I do? Should I the godly seek, And go a conventicling twice a week? Quit the lewd stage, and its profane pollution, } Affect each form and saint-like institution; } So draw the brethren all to contribution? } Or shall I (as I guess the poet may Within these three days) fairly run away? No; to some city lodgings I'll retire; Seem very grave, and privacy desire; Till I am thought some heiress, rich in lands, Fled to escape a cruel guardian's hands; Which may produce a story worth the telling, Of the next sparks that go a fortune stealing.
Two changes have been made to the text:
Act 3, scene 1: In the conversation between Chamont and the Chaplain, the speech beginning "Not knowing what reception it may find" was assigned to the Chaplain (Chap.) rather than to Chamont (Cham.), in keeping with the dialogue sequence.
Act 4, scene 1: Monimia's line "Ill ever live your most obedient wife" was changed to read: "I'll ever live your most obedient wife"