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If thou wilt sooth me, tell some dismal tale
Of pining discontent, and black despair;
For, Oh! I've gone around through all my thoughts,
But all are indignation, love, or shame,
of mind is lost for ever. Luc. Why do you follow still that wand'ring fire, That has misled your weary steps, and leaves you Benighted in a wilderness of woe, That false Lothario? Turn from the deceiver; Turn, and behold where gentle Altamont, “ Kind as the softest virgin of our sex, " And faithful as the simple village swain, “ That never knew the courtly vice of changing," Sighs at your feet, and woes you to be happy.
Cal. Away! I think not of him. My sad soul
Has form'd a dismal melancholy scene,
Such a retreat as I would wish to find;
An unfrequented vale, o'ergrown with trees
Mossy and old, within whose lonesome shade
Ravens, and birds ill-omen’d only dwell :
No sound to break the silence, but a brook
That bubbling winds among the weeds: no mark
any human shape that had been there,
Unless a skeleton of some poor wretch,
Who had long since, like me, by love undone,
Sought that sad place out, to despair and die in.
Luc. Alas, for pity!
Cal. There I fain would hide me From the base world, from malice, and from shame; For 'tis the solemn counsel of my soul
Never to live with public loss of honour :
'Tis fix'd to die, rather than bear the insolence
Of each affected she that tells my story,
And blesses her good stars that she is virtuous.
To be a tale for fools! Scorn'd by the women,
And pity'd by the men! Oh, insupportable !
Luc. Can you perceive the manifest destruction,
The gaping gulf that opens just before you, 41
And yet rush on, tho'conscious of the danger?
Oh, hear me, hear your ever faithful creature!
By all the good I wish, by all the ill
My trembling heart forebodes, let me intreat you,
Never to see this faithless man again;
Let me forbid his coming.
Cal. On thy life
I charge thee no: my genius drives me on;
I must, I will behold him once again :
Perhaps it is the crisis of my fate,
And this one interview shall end my cares.
My lab'ring heart that swells with indignation,
Heaves to discharge the burthen ; that once done,
The busy thing shall rest within its cell,
And never beat again.
Luc. Trust not to that:
Rage is the shortest passion of our souls:
Like narrow brooks that rise with sudden show'rs,
It swells in haste, and falls again as soon;
60 Still as it ebbs the softer thoughts flow in, And the deceiver Love supplies its place.
Cal. I have been wrong'd enough to arm my temper
Against the smooth delusion; but alas !
(Chide not my weakness, gentle maid, but pity me)
A woman's softness hangs about me still:
Then let me blush, and tell thee all my folly.
I swear I could not see the dear betrayer
Kneel at my feet, and sigh to be forgiven,
But my relenting heart would pardon all,
And quite forget 'twas he that had undone me.
“ Luc. Ye sacred pow'rs, whose gracious provie
dence “ Is watchful for our good, guard me from men, “ From their deceitful tongues, their vows, and flat
“ teries; “ Still let me pass neglected by
eyes, “ Let my bloom wither, and my form decay, “ That none may think it worth his while to ruin
“ And fatal love may never be my bane.” [Exit.
Cal. Ha, Altamont! Calista, now be wary, And guard thy soul's accesses with dissembling: 80 Nor let this hostile husband's eyes explore The warring passions, and tumultuous thoughts, That rage within thee, and deform thy reason.
Alt. Begone, my cares, I give you to the winds, Far to be borne, far from the happy Altamont; “ For from this sacred æra of my love, “ A better order of succeeding days
“ Comes smiling forward, white and lucky all."
Calista is the mistress of the year;
She crowns the season with auspicious beauty,
And bids ev'n all my hours be good and joyful.
Cal. If I were ever mistress of such happiness,
Oh! wherefore did I play th' unthrifty fool,
And, wasting all on others, leave myself
Without one thought of joy to give me comfort ?
Alt. Oh, mighty Lovel Shall that fair face profane
This thy great festival with frowns and sadness!
I swear it shall not be, for I will woo thee
With sighs so moving, with so warm a transport,
That thou shalt catch the gentle flame from me, 100
And kindle into joy.
Cal. I tell thee, Altamont,
Such hearts as ours were never pair'd above:
Ill-suited to each other; join'd, not match'd ;
Some sullen influence, a foe to both,
Has wrought this fatal marriage to undo us,
Mark, but the frame and temper of our minds,
much we differ. Evin this day, That fills thee with such ecstacy and transport, To me brings nothing that should make me bless it, Or think it better than the day before, Or any
other in the course of time, That duly took its turn, and was forgotten.
Alt. If to behold thee as my pledge of happiness, To know none fair, none excellent but thee; If still to love thee with unwearied constancy, “ Through ev'ry season, ev'ry change of life,
“ Thro' wrinkled age, thro' sickness and misfortune,”
Be worth the least return of grateful love,
Oh, then let my Calista bless this day,
And set it down for happy.
Cal. 'Tis the day
In which my father gave my hand to Altamont;
As such, I will remember it for ever.
Enter Sciolto, HORATIO, and LAVINIA.
Scio. Let mirth go on, let pleasure know no pause,
But fill up ev'ry minute of this day.
'Tis yours, my children, sacred to your loves;
The glorious sun himself for you looks gay ;
He shines for Altamont and for Calista.
Let there be music ; let the master touch
The sprightly string, and softly-breathing Aute,
'Till harmony rouse ev'ry gentle passion,
Teach the cold maid to lose her fears in love,
And the fierce youth to languish at her feet.
Begin : ev'n age itself is cheard with music;
It wakes a glad remembrance of our youth,
Calls back past joys, and warms us into transport.
" BY MR. CONGREVE.
“ Ah, stay! ah, turn! ah, whither would you fly,
“ Too charming, too relentless maid? “ I follow not to conquer, but to die;
140 “ You of the fearful are afraid.