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Sci. Oh! truly guess'd—see'st thou, this trembling hand
[Holding up a dagger. Thrice justice urg'd—and thrice the slack’ning sinews Forgot their office, and confess'd the father. At length the stubborn virtue has prevailid, It must, it must be so-Oh! take it then,
[Giving the dagger. And know the rest untaught.
Cal. I understand you.
[She offers to kill herself : Sciolto catches hold
of her arm. Sci. A moment, give me yet a moment's space. The stern, the rigid judge has been obey'd; Now nature, and the father, claim their turns. I've held the balance with an iron hand, And put off ev'ry tender human thought, To doom my child to death; but spare my eyes The most unnatural sight, lest their strings crack, My old brain split, and I grow mad with horror.
Cal. Hal is it possible; and is there yet Some little dear remain of love and tenderness For poor, undone Calista, in your
heart Sci. Oh! when I think what pleasure I took in
thee, What joys thou gav'st me in thy prattling infancy, Thy sprightly wit, and early blooming beauty; How have I stood, and fed my eyes upon thee, Then, lifting up my hands, and wond'ring, blest thee; By my strong grief, my heart ev'n melts within me;
I could curse Nature, and that tyrant, honour,
Cal. For that kind word,
Sci. Would it were otherwise-but thou must die.
Cal. That I must die, it is my only comfort; Death is the privilege of human nature, And life without it were not worth our taking: “ Thither the poor, the pris’ner, and the mourner, 140
Fly for relief, and lay their burthens down." Come then, and take me into thy cold arms, Thou meagre shade; here let me breathe my last, Charm'd with my father's pity and forgiveness, More than if angels tun'd their golden viols, And sung a requiem to my parting soul. Sci. I'm summon’d hence; ere this my friends ex.
pect me. There is I know not what of sad presage, That tells me, I shall never see thee more ; If it be so, this is our last farewel, And these the parting pangs, which nature feels, When anguish rends the heart-strings—Oh, my daughter!
[Exit Sciolto. Cal. Now think, thou curst Calista, now behold
The desolation, horror, blood, and ruin,
Enter ALTAMONT. Alt. Hail to you, horrors! hail, thou house of
death! And thou, the lovely mistress of these shades, Whose beauty gilds the more than midnight darkness, And makes it grateful as the dawn of day. Oh, take me in, a fellow-mourner, with thee, I'll number groan for groan, and tear for tear; And when the fountain of thy eyes are dry, Mine shall supply the stream, and weep for both.
Cal. I know thee well, thou art the injur'd Altamont; Thou com'st to urge me with the wrongs I've done
Dost thou accuse me! When did I complain, 180 Or murmur at my fate ? " For thee I have “ Forgot the temper of Italian husbands, " And fondness has prevail'd upon revenge.'' I bore my load of infamy with patience, “ As holy men do punishment from Heav'n;" Nor thought it hard, because it came from thee. Oh, then, forbid me not to mourn thy loss, To wish some better fate had rul'd our loves, And that Calista had been mine, and true.
Cal. Oh, Altamont! 'tis hard for souls like mine, Haughty and fierce, to yield they've done amiss. But, Oh, behold! my proud disdainful heart Bends to thy gentler virtue. Yes, I own, Such is thy truth, thy tenderness, and love; “ Such are the graces that adorn thy youth,” That, were I not abandon’d to destruction, With thee I might have liv'd for ages bless’d, And dy'd in peace within thy faithful arms.
Alt. Then happiness is still within our reach.
Cal. What! in death?
But be it so ;. We'll go together; my advent'rous love Shall follow thee " to those uncertain beings. " Whether our lifeless shades are doom'd to wander “ In gloomy groves, with discontented ghosts;
«« Or whether thro’ the upper air we fleet, “ And tread the fields of light; still I'll pursue thee,” "Till fate ordains that we shall part no more.
Cal. Oh, no! Heav'n has some other better lot in
To crown thee with. Live, and be happy long;
Hor. Oh, 'tis dreadful!
Cal. My father!
Hor. Not long ago he privately went forth,