Abbildungen der Seite

I could produce such damning proof

Hor, 'Tis false !
You blast the fair with lies, because they scorn you,
Hate you like age, like ugliness and impotence: 280
Rather than make you blest, they would die virgins,
And stop the propagation of mankind.

Loth. It is the curse of fools to be secure,
And that be thine and Altamont's. Dream on;
Nor think upon my vengeance till thou feel'st it.

Hor. Hold, Sir; another word, and then farewel:
Tho' I think greatly of Calista's virtue,
And hold it far beyond thy pow'r to hurt;
Yet, as she shares the honour of my Altamont,
That treasure of a soldier, bought with blood,
And kept at life's expence, I must not have
(Mark me, young Sir) her very name profan'd.
Learn to restrain the licence of your speech;
'Tis held you are too lavish. When you are met
Among your set of fools, talk of your dress,
Of dice, of whores, of horses and yourselves;
'Tis safer, and becomes your understandings.

Loth. What if we pass beyond this solemn order, And, in defiance of the stern Horatio, Indulge our gayer thoughts, let laughter loose, 300 And use his sacred friendship for our mirth?

Hor. 'Tis well, Sir, you are pleasant

Loth. By the joys
Which my soul yet has uncontrol'd pursu'd,
I would not turn aside from my least pleasure,
Tho'all thy force were arm’d to bar my way;

But like the birds, great Nature's happy commoners,
That haunt in woods, in meads, and flow'ry gardens,
Rifle the sweets and taste the choicest fruits,
Yet scorn to ask the lordly owner's leave.

Hor. What liberty has vain presumptuous youth,
That thou should'st dare provoke me unchastis’d?
But henceforth, boy, I warn thee, shun my walks.
If in the bounds of yon forbidden place
Again thou’rt found, expect a punishment,
Such as great souls, impatient of an injury,
Exact from those who wrong 'em much, ev'n death;
Or something worse : an injur'd husband's vengeance
Shall print a thousand wounds, tear thy fair form,
And scatter thee to all the winds of Heav'n.

320 Loth. Is then my way in Genoa prescrib’d By a dependent on the wretched Altamont, A talking Sir, that brawls for him in taverns, And vouches for his valour's reputation ?

Hor. Away! thy speech is fouler than thy manners.

Loth. Or, if there be a name more vile, his parasite; A beggar's parasite! Hor. Now learn humanity,

[Offers to strike him, Rossano interposes. Since brutes and boys are only taught with blows. Loth. Damnation !

[They draw.
Ros. Hold, this goes no further here.
Horatio, 'tis too much; already see
The crowd are gath’ring to us.

Loth. Oh, Rossano!
Or give me way, or thou’rt no more my friend,

Ros. Sciolto's servants, too, have ta'en th’alarm; You'll be oppress'd by numbers. Be advis'd, Or I must force you hence. Tak’t on my word, You shall have justice done you on Horatio. Put up, my lord.

340 Loth. This wo'not brook delay; West of the town a mile, among the rocks, Two hours ere noon, to-morrow, I expect thee, Thy single hand to mine.

Hor. I'll meet thee there.

Loth. To-morrow, Oh, my better stars ! to-morrow Exert your influence; shine strongly for me ; 'Tis not a common conquest I would gain, Since love as well as arms, must grace my triumph.

[Exeunt LOTHARIO and Rossano, Hor. Two hours ere noon to-morrow! ha! ere that He sees Calista! Oh, unthinking foolWhat if I urg'd her with the crime and danger ? If any spark from Heav'n remain uinquench'd Within her breast, my breath perhaps may wake it. Could I but prosper there, I would not doubt My combat with that loud vain-glorious boaster. Were you, ye fair, but cautious whom ye trust, Did you but think how seldom fools are just, So many of your sex would not in vain Of broken vows, and faithless men, complain: 360 Of all the various wretches love has made, How few have been by men of sense betray'd? Convinc'd by reason, they your pow'r confess,


Pleas'd to be happy, as you're pleas’d to bless,
And conscious of your worth can never love you less.



An Apartment in Sciolto's Palace. Enter SCIOLTO


Sciolto. Now, by my life, my honour, 'tis too much! Have I not mark'd thee, wayward as thou art, Perverse and sullen all this day of joy? When ev'ry heart was cheer'd and mirth went round, Sorrow, displeasure, and repining anguish, Sat on thy brow; “ like some malignant planet, “ Foe to the harvest and the healthy year, “ Who scowls adverse, and lours upon the world ; " When all the other stars, with gentle aspect, “ Propitious shine, and meaning good to man."

Cal. Is then the task of duty half perform’d?
Has not your daughter giv’n herself to Altamont,
Yielded the native freedom of her will
To an imperious husband's lordly rule,
To gratify a father's stern command?

Sci. Dost thou complain?

Cal. For pity do not frown then,
If in despite of all my vow'd obedience,
A sigh breaks out, or a tear falls by chance :

For, Oh! that sorrow which has drawn your anger, Is the sad native of Calista's breast : And once possess’d, will never quit its dwelling, “ Till life, the prop of all, shall leave the building, “To tumble down, and moulder into ruin."

Sci. Now by the sacred dust of that dear saint That was thy mother; “ by her wond'rous goodness, “ Her soft, her tender, most complying sweetness,” I swear, some sullen thought that shuns the light, Lurks underneath that sadness in thy visage. But mark me well, tho' by yon Heav'n I love thee As much, I think, as a fond parent can; Yet should'st thou, (which the pow’rs above forbid) E’er stain the honour of thy name with infamy, I'll cast thee off, as one whose impious hands Had rent asunder nature's nearest ties, Which, once divided, never join again. To-day I've made a noble youth thy husband ! Consider well his worth; reward his love ; Be willing to be happy, and thou art so.

[Exit Sciolto. Cal. How hard is the condition of our sex, 40 Thro' ev'ry state of life the slaves of man! In all the dear delightful days of youth A rigid father dictates to our wills, And deals out pleasure with a scanty hand. To his, the tyrant husband's reign succeeds; Proud with opinion of superior reason, He holds domestic bus'ness and devotion

« ZurückWeiter »