Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE MOURNING BRIDE, by WILLIAM CONGREVE

Poetry Explorer

Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE MOURNING BRIDE, by                 Poet Analysis     Poet's Biography
First Line: The time has been when plays were not so plenty
Last Line: Which was an offering to the sex designed.
Subject(s): Impostors & Imposture; Mistaken Identity; Suicide; Tragedy


THE time has been when plays were not so plenty.
And a less number new would well content ye.
New plays did then like almanacs appear;
And one was thought sufficient for a year:
Though they are more like almanacs of late;
For in one year, I think, they're out of date.
Nor were they without reason joined together;
For just as one prognosticates the weather,
How plentiful the crop, or scarce the grain,
What peals of thunder, and what showers of rain;
So t'other can foretell, by certain rules,
What crops of coxcombs, or what floods of fools.
In such like prophecies were poets skilled,
Which now they find in their own tribe fulfilled:
The dearth of wit they did so long presage,
Is fallen on us, and almost starves the stage.
Were you not grieved as often as you saw
Poor actors thrash such empty sheafs of straw?
Toiling and labouring at their lungs' expense,
To start a jest, or force a little sense.
Hard fate for us! still harder in the event;
Our authors sin, but we alone repent.
Still they proceed, and, at our charge, write worse.
'Twere some amends if they could reimburse:
But there's the devil, though their cause is lost,
There's no recovering damages or cost.
Good wits, forgive this liberty we take,
Since custom gives the losers leave to speak.
But if provoked, your dreadful wrath remains,
Take your revenge upon the coming scenes:
For that damned poet's spared who damns a brother
As one thief 'scapes that executes another.
Thus far alone does to the wits relate;
But from the rest we hope a better fate.
To please and move has been our poet's theme,
Art may direct, but nature is his aim;
And nature missed, in vain he boasts his art,
For only nature can affect the heart.
Then freely judge the scenes that shall ensue;
But as with freedom, judge with candour too.
He would not lose through prejudice his cause,
Nor would obtain precariously applause;
Impartial censure he requests from all,
Prepared by just decrees to stand or fall.


MANUEL, the King of Granada.
GONSALEZ, his Favourite.
PEREZ, Captain of the Guards.
ALONZO, an Officer, creature to GONSALEZ.
OSMYN, a noble Prisoner.
HELI, a Prisoner, his Friend.
SELIM, a Eunuch.

ALMERIA, the Princess of Granada.
ZARA, a captive Queen.
LEONORA, chief Attendant on the Princess.

ALMERIA'S Women, Eunuchs and Mutes attending ZARA, Guards, Prisoners, and




A Room of State in the Palace

The curtain rising slowly to soft music, discovers ALMERIA in
mourning, LEONORA waiting in mourning. After the music,
ALMERIA rises from her chair and comes forward.

ALM. Music has charms to soothe a savage breast,
To soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak.
I've read that things inanimate have moved,
And, as with living souls, have been informed,
By magic numbers and persuasive sound.
What then am I? Am I more senseless grown
Than trees or flint? O force of constant woe!
'Tis not in harmony to calm my griefs.
Anselmo sleeps, and is at peace; last night
The silent tomb received the good old king;
He and his sorrows now are safely lodged
Within its cold but hospitable bosom.
Why am not I at peace?
Leon. Dear madam, cease,
Or moderate your griefs; there is no cause—
Alm. No cause! peace, peace; there is eternal cause,
And misery eternal will succeed.
Thou canst not tell—thou hast indeed no cause.
Leon. Believe me, madam, I lament Anselmo,
And always did compassionate his fortune:
Have often wept to see how cruelly
Your father kept in chains his fellow-king:
And oft at night when all have been retired,
Have stolen from bed, and to his prison crept;
Where, while his jailor slept, I through the grate
Have softly whispered, and inquired his health;
Sent in my sighs and prayers for his deliverance;
For sighs and prayers were all that I could offer.
Alm. Indeed thou hast a soft and gentle nature,
That thus couldst melt to see a stranger's wrongs.
O Leonora, hadst thou known Anselmo,
How would thy heart have bled to see his sufferings.
Thou hadst no cause, but general compassion.
Leon. Love of my royal mistress gave me cause,
My love of you begot my grief for him;
For I had heard that when the chance of war
Had blessed Anselmo's arms with victory,
And the rich spoil of all the field, and you,
The glory of the whole, were made the prey
Of his success; that then, in spite of hate,
Revenge, and that hereditary feud
Between Valentia's and Granada's kings,
He did endear himself to your affection,
By all the worthy and indulgent ways
His most industrious goodness could invent;
Proposing by a match between Alphonso
His son, the brave Valentia prince, and you,
To end the long dissension, and unite
The jarring crowns.
Alm. Alphonso! O Alphonso!
Thou too art quiet—long hast been at peace—
Both, both—father and son are now no more.
Then why am I? O when shall I have rest?
Why do I live to say you are no more?
Why are all these things thus?—Is it of force?
Is there necessity I must be miserable?
Is it of moment to the peace of Heaven
That I should be afflicted thus?—If not,
Why is it thus contrived? Why are things laid
By some unseen hand so, as of sure consequence,
They must to me bring curses, grief of heart,
The last distress of life, and sure despair?
Leon. Alas, you search too far, and think too deeply!
Alm. Why was I carried to Anselmo's court?
Or there, why was I used so tenderly?
Why not ill-treated like an enemy?
For so my father would have used his child.
O Alphonso! Alphonso!
Devouring seas have washed thee from my sight,
No time shall raze thee from my memory;
No, I will live to be thy monument;
The cruel ocean is no more thy tomb:
But in my heart thou art interred; there, there,
Thy dear resemblance is for ever fixed;
My love, my lord, my husband still, though lost.
Leon. Husband! O Heavens!
Alm. Alas! what have I said?
My grief has hurried me beyond all thought:
I would have kept that secret; though I know
Thy love and faith to me deserve all confidence.
But 'tis the wretch's comfort still to have
Some small reserve of near and inward woe,
Some unsuspected hoard of darling grief,
Which they unseen may wail, and weep and mourn,
And, glutton-like, alone devour.
Leon. Indeed
I knew not this.
Alm. O no, thou know'st not half,
Know'st nothing of my sorrows.—If thou didst—
If I should tell thee, wouldst thou pity me?
Tell me; I know thou wouldst, thou art compassionate.
Leon. Witness these tears!
Alm. I thank thee, Leonora,
Indeed I do, for pitying thy sad mistress;
For 'tis, alas! the poor prerogative
Of greatness, to be wretched and unpitied.
But I did promise I would tell thee—what?
My miseries? thou dost already know 'em;
And when I told thee thou didst nothing know,
It was because thou didst not know Alphonso:
For to have known my loss, thou must have known
His worth, his truth, and tenderness of love.
Leon. The memory of that brave prince stands fair
In all report—
And I have heard imperfectly his loss!
But fearful to renew your troubles past,
I never did presume to ask the story.
Alm. If for my swelling heart I can, I'll tell thee.
I was a welcome captive in Valentia,
Even on the day when Manuel my father
Led on his conquering troops, high as the gates
Of King Anselmo's palace; which in rage,
And heat of war, and dire revenge, he fired.
The good king flying to avoid the flames,
Started amidst his foes, and made captivity
His fatal refuge.—Would that I had fallen
Amid those flames!—but 'twas not so decreed.
Alphonso, who foresaw my father's cruelty,
Had borne the queen and me on board a ship
Ready to sail; and when this news was brought,
We put to sea; but being betrayed by some
Who knew our flight, we closely were pursued,
And almost taken; when a sudden storm
Drove us, and those that followed, on the coast
Of Afric; there our vessel struck the shore,
And bulging 'gainst a rock was lashed in pieces!
But Heaven spared me for yet much more affliction!
Conducting them who followed us to shun
The shoal, and save me floating on the waves,
While the good queen and my Alphonso perished.
Leon. Alas! were you then wedded to Alphonso?
Alm. That day, that fatal day our hands were joined.
For when my lord beheld the ship pursuing,
And saw her rate so far exceeding ours;
He came to me, and begged me by my love,
I would consent the priest should make us one;
That whether death or victory ensued,
I might be his beyond the power of fate:
The queen too did assist his suit—I granted;
And in one day, was wedded and a widow.
Leon. Indeed 'twas mournful.
Alm. 'Twas as I have told thee,
For which I mourn, and will for ever mourn;
Nor will I change these black and dismal robes,
Or ever dry these swollen and watery eyes;
Or ever taste content, or peace of heart,
While I have life, and thought of my Alphonso.
Leon. Look down, good Heaven, with pity on her sorrows,
And grant that time may bring her some relief.
Alm. O no, time gives increase to my afflictions.
The circling hours, that gather all the woes,
Which are diffused through the revolving year,
Come, heavy-laden with the oppressing weight,
To me; with me, successively, they leave
The sighs, the tears, the groans, the restless cares,
And all the damps of grief, that did retard their flight;
They shake their downy wings, and scatter all
The dire collected dews on my poor head;
Then fly with joy and swiftness from me.
Leon. Hark!
The distant shouts proclaim your father's triumph.
[Shouts at a distance.
O cease, for Heaven's sake, assuage a little
This torrent of your grief; for much I fear
'Twill urge his wrath to see you drowned in tears,
When joy appears in every other face.
Alm. And joy he brings to every other heart,
But double, double weight of woe to mine;
For with him Garcia comes—Garcia, to whom
I must be sacrificed, and all the vows
I gave my dear Alphonso basely broken.
No, it shall never be; for I will die;
First, die ten thousand deaths!—Look down, look down,
Alphonso, hear the sacred vow I make;
One moment cease to gaze on perfect bliss,
And bend thy glorious eyes to earth and me;
And thou, Anselmo, if yet thou art arrived,
Through all impediments of purging fire,
To that bright Heaven, where my Alphonso reigns,
Behold thou also, and attend my vow.
If ever I do yield, or give consent,
By any action, word, or thought, to wed
Another lord, may then just Heaven shower down
Unheard-of curses on me, greater far
(If such there be in angry Heaven's vengeance)
Than any I have yet endured.—And now [Rising.
My heart has some relief; having so well
Discharged this debt, incumbent on my love.
Yet one thing more I would engage from thee.
Leon. My heart, my life, and will, are only yours.
Alm. I thank thee. 'Tis but this; anon, when all
Are wrapped and busied in the general joy,
Thou wilt withdraw, and privately with me
Steal forth, to visit good Anselmo's tomb.
Leon. Alas! I fear some fatal resolution.
Alm. No, on my life, my faith, I mean no ill,
Nor violence. I feel myself more light,
And more at large, since I have made this vow.
Perhaps I would repeat it there more solemnly.
'Tis that, or some such melancholy thought,
Upon my word, no more.
Leon. I will attend you.


Alon. The Lord Gonsalez comes to tell your highness
The king is just arrived.
Alm. Conduct him in. [Exit ALONZO.
That's his pretence; his errand is, I know,
To fill my ears with Garcia's valiant deeds,
And gild and magnify his son's exploits.
But I am armed with ice around my heart,
Not to be warmed with words, or idle eloquence.


Gon. Be every day of your long life like this!
The sun, bright conquest, and your brighter eyes,
Have all conspired to blaze promiscuous light,
And bless this day with most unequalled lustre.
Your royal father, my victorious lord,
Loaden with spoils, and ever-living laurel,
Is entering now in martial pomp the palace.
Five hundred mules precede his solemn march,
Which groan beneath the weight of Moorish wealth;
Chariots of war, adorned with glittering gems
Succeed; and next, a hundred neighing steeds,
White as the fleecy rain on Alpine hills,
That bound and foam, and champ the golden bit,
As they disdained the victory they grace.
Prisoners of war in shining fetters follow:
And captains, of the noblest blood of Afric,
Sweat by his chariot wheel, and lick and grind,
With gnashing teeth, the dust his triumphs raise.
The swarming populace spread every wall,
And cling, as if with claws they did enforce
Their hold through clifted stones, stretching and staring,
As if they were all eyes, and every limb
Would feed its faculty of admiration:
While you alone retire, and shun this sight;
This sight, which is indeed not seen (though twice
The multitude should gaze) in absence of your eyes.
Alm. My lord, my eyes ungratefully behold
The gilded trophies of exterior honours.
Nor will my ears be charmed with sounding words,
Or pompous phrase; the pageantry of souls.
But that my father is returned in safety,
I bend to Heaven with thanks.
Gon. Excellent princess!
But 'tis a task unfit for my weak age,
With dying words, to offer at your praise.
Garcia, my son, your beauty's lowest slave,
Has better done, in proving with his sword
The force and influence of your matchless charms.
Alm. I doubt not of the worth of Garcia's deeds,
Which had been brave, though I had ne'er been born.
Leon. Madam, the king! [Flourish.
Alm. My women! I would meet him.
[Attendants to ALMERIA enter in mourning.


The Same

Symphony of warlike music. Enter MANUEL, attended by GARCIA and
several Officers. Files of Prisoners in chains, and Guards,
who are ranged in order round the stage. ALMERIA, attended by LEONORA,
advances to meet MANUEL, and kneels; afterwards GONSALEZ kneels, and
kisses MANUEL'S hand, while GARCIA does the same to ALMERIA.

Man. Almeria, rise!—My best Gonsalez, rise!
What, tears! my good old friend!
Gon. But tears of joy.
Believe me, sir, to see you thus has filled
My eyes with more delight than they can hold.
Man. By Heaven, thou lovest me, and I'm pleased thou dost!
Take it for thanks, old man, that I rejoice
To see thee weep on this occasion.—Some
Here are, who seem to mourn at our success!
Why is't, Almeria, that you meet our eyes,
Upon this solemn day, in these sad weeds?
In opposition to my brightness, you
And yours are all like daughters of affliction.
Alm. Forgive me, sir, if I in this offend.
The year, which I have vowed to pay to Heaven
In mourning and strict life for my deliverance
From wreck and death, wants yet to be expired.
Man. Your zeal to Heaven is great, so is your debt:
Yet something too is due to me, who gave
That life which Heaven preserved. A day bestowed
In filial duty, had atoned and given
A dispensation to your vow—No more.
'Twas weak and wilful—and a woman's error.
Yet—upon thought, it doubly wounds my sight,
To see that sable worn upon the day
Succeeding that, in which our deadliest foe,
Hated Anselmo, was interred.—By Heaven,
It looks as thou didst mourn for him! just so,
Thy senseless vow appeared to bear its date,
Not from that hour wherein thou wert preserved,
But that wherein the cursed Alphonso perished.
Ha! what! thou dost not weep to think of that?
Gon. Have patience, royal sir; the princess weeps
To have offended you. If fate decreed
One pointed hour should be Alphonso's loss,
And her deliverance; is she to blame?
Man. I tell thee she's to blame not to have feasted
When my first foe was laid in earth, such enmity,
Such detestation, bears my blood to his;
My daughter should have revelled at his death,
She should have made these palace walls to shake,
And all this high and ample roof to ring
With her rejoicings. What, to mourn, and weep;
Then, then to weep, and pray, and grieve! By Heaven,
There's not a slave, a shackled slave of mine,
But should have smiled that hour, through all his care,
And shook his chains in transport and rude harmony!
Gon. What she has done was in excess of goodness;
Betrayed by too much piety, to seem
As if she had offended.—Sure, no more.
Man. To seem is to commit, at this conjuncture.
I wo' not have a seeming sorrow seen
To-day.—Retire, divest yourself with speed
Of that offensive black; on me be all
The violation of your vow: for you,
It shall be your excuse, that I command it.
Gar. [Kneeling.] Your pardon, sir, if I presume so far,
As to remind you of your gracious promise.
Man. Rise, Garcia—I forgot. Yet stay, Almeria.
Alm. My boding heart!—What is your pleasure, sir?
Man. Draw near, and give your hand; and, Garcia, yours:
Receive this lord, as one whom I have found
Worthy to be your husband, and my son.
Gar. Thus let me kneel to take—O not to take—
But to devote and yield myself for ever
The slave and creature of my royal mistress!
Gon. O let me prostrate pay my worthless thanks—
Man. No more; my promise long since passed, thy services,
And Garcia's well-tried valour, all oblige me.
This day we triumph; but to-morrow's sun,
Garcia, shall shine to grace thy nuptials.
Alm. Oh! [Faints.
Gar. She faints! help to support her.
Gon. She recovers.
Man. A fit of bridal fear; how is't, Almeria?
Alm. A sudden chillness seizes on my spirits.
Your leave, sir, to retire.
Man. Garcia, conduct her.
[GARCIA leads ALMERIA to the door and returns.
This idle vow hangs on her woman's fears.
I'll have a priest shall preach her from her faith,
And make it sin not to renounce that vow
Which I'd have broken.—


Now, what would Alonzo?
Alon. Your beauteous captive, Zara, is arrived,
And with a train as if she still were wife
To Abucacim, and the Moor had conquered.
Man. It is our will she should be so attended.
Bear hence these prisoners. Garcia, which is he,
Of whose mute valour you relate such wonders?
[Prisoners led off.
Gar. Osmyn, who led the Moorish horse; but he,
Great sir, at her request, attends on Zara.
Man. He is your prisoner; as you please dispose him.
Gar. I would oblige him, but he shuns my kindness;
And with a haughty mien, and stern civility,
Dumbly declines all offers: if he speak,
'Tis scarce above a word; as he were born
Alone to do, and did disdain to talk;
At least, to talk where he must not command.
Man. Such sullenness, and in a man so brave,
Must have some other cause than his captivity.
Did Zara, then, request he might attend her?
Gar. My lord, she did.
Man. That, joined with his behaviour,
Begets a doubt. I'd have 'em watched; perhaps
Her chains hang heavier on him than his own.

Enter ZARA and OSMYN bound, conducted by PEREZ and a Guard,
and attended by SELIM and several Mutes and Eunuchs in a

What welcome and what honours, beauteous Zara,
A king and conqueror can give, are yours.
A conqueror indeed, where you are won;
Who with such lustre strike admiring eyes,
That had our pomp been with your presence graced,
The expecting crowd had been deceived; and seen
Their monarch enter not triumphant, but
In pleasing triumph led; your beauty's slave.
Zara. If I on any terms could condescend,
To like captivity, or think those honours
Which conquerors in courtesy bestow,
Of equal value with unborrowed rule,
And native right to arbitrary sway;
I might be pleased, when I behold this train
With usual homage wait. But when I feel
These bonds, I look with loathing on myself;
And scorn vile slavery, though doubly hid
Beneath mock-praises, and dissembled state.
Man. Those bonds! 'twas my command you should be free.
How durst you, Perez, disobey?
Per. Great sir,
Your order was, she should not wait your triumph;
But at some distance follow, thus attended.
Man. 'Tis false! 'twas more; I bid she should be free:
If not in words, I bid it by my eyes.
Her eyes did more than bid.—Free her and hers
With speed—yet stay—my hands alone can make
Fit restitution here.—Thus I release you,
And by releasing you, enslave myself.
Zara. Such favours so conferred, though when unsought,
Deserve acknowledgment from noble minds.
Such thanks, as one hating to be obliged,
Yet hating more ingratitude, can pay,
I offer.
Man. Born to excel, and to command!
As by transcendent beauty to attract
All eyes, so by pre-eminence of soul
To rule all hearts.
Garcia, what's he, who with contracted brow
[Beholding OSMYN as they unbind him.
And sullen port, glooms downward with his eyes;
At once regardless of his chains, or liberty?
Gar. That, sir, is he of whom I spoke; that's Osmyn.
Man. He answers well the character you gave him.
Whence comes it, valiant Osmyn, that a man
So great in arms, as thou art said to be,
So hardly can endure captivity,
The common chance of war?
Osm. Because captivity
Has robbed me of a dear and just revenge.
Man. I understand not that.
Osm. I would not have you.
Zara. That gallant Moor in battle lost a friend,
Whom more than life he loved; and the regret
Of not revenging on his foes that loss
Has caused this melancholy and despair.
Man. She does excuse him; 'tis as I suspected.
Gon. That friend may be herself; seem not to heed
His arrogant reply: she looks concerned.
Man. I'll have inquiry made; perhaps his friend
Yet lives, and is a prisoner. His name?
Zara. Heli.
Man. Garcia, that search shall be your care:
It shall be mine to pay devotion here:
At this fair shrine to lay my laurels down,
And raise Love's altar on the spoils of war.
Conquest and triumph, now, are mine no more:
Nor will I victory in camps adore:
For, lingering there, in long suspense she stands,
Shifting the prize in unresolving hands:
Unused to wait, I broke through her delay,
Fixed her by force, and snatched the doubtful day.
Now late I find that war is but her sport;
In love the goddess keeps her awful court:
Fickle in fields, unsteadily she flies,
But rules with settled sway in Zara's eyes. [Exeunt.



The Aisle of a Temple


GAR. This way, we're told, Osmyn was seen to walk;
Choosing this lonely mansion of the dead,
To mourn, brave Heli, thy mistaken fate.
Heli. Let Heaven with thunder to the centre strike me
If to arise in very deed from death,
And to revisit with my long-closed eyes
This living light, could to my soul or sense,
Afford a thought, or show a glimpse of joy,
In least proportion to the vast delight
I feel to hear of Osmyn's name; to hear
That Osmyn lives, and I again shall see him!
Gar. I've heard, with admiration, of your friendship.
Per. Yonder, my lord, behold the noble Moor.
Heli. Where? where?
Gar. I saw him not, nor any like him.
Per. I saw him, when I spoke, thwarting my view,
And striding with distempered haste; his eyes
Seemed flame, and flashed upon me with a glance;
Then forward shot their fires, which he pursued,
As to some object frightful, yet not feared.
Gar. Let's haste to follow him, and know the cause.
Heli. My lord, let me entreat you to forbear:
Leave me alone to find, and cure the cause.
I know his melancholy, and such starts
Are usual to his temper. It might raise him
To act some violence upon himself,
So to be caught in an unguarded hour,
And when his soul gives all her passions way
Secure and loose in friendly solitude.
I know his noble heart would burst with shame,
To be surprised by strangers in its frailty.
Gar. Go, generous Heli, and relieve your friend.
Far be it from me, officiously to pry
Or press upon the privacies of others. [Exit HELI.
Perez, the king expects from our return
To have his jealousy confirmed or cleared,
Of that appearing love which Zara bears
To Osmyn; but some other opportunity
Must make that plain.
Per. To me 'twas long since plain,
And every look from him and her confirms it.
Gar. If so, unhappiness attends their love,
And I could pity 'em. I hear some coming.
The friends perhaps are met; let us avoid 'em.
[They retire.


Alm. It was a fancied noise, for all is hushed.
Leon. It bore the accent of a human voice.
Alm. It was thy fear, or else some transient wind
Whistling through hollows of this vaulted aisle.
We'll listen.
Leon. Hark!
Alm. No, all is hushed, and still as death.—'Tis dreadful!
How reverend is the face of this tall pile,
Whose ancient pillars rear their marble heads,
To bear aloft its arched and ponderous roof,
By its own weight made steadfast and immovable,
Looking tranquillity! It strikes an awe
And terror on my aching sight; the tombs
And monumental caves of death look cold,
And shoot a chillness to my trembling heart.
Give me thy hand, and let me hear thy voice
Nay, quickly speak to me, and let me hear
Thy voice—my own affrights me with its echoes.
Leon. Let us return; the horrors of this place,
And silence, will increase your melancholy.
Alm. It may my fears, but cannot add to that.
No, I will on; show me Anselmo's tomb,
Lead me o'er bones and skulls and mouldering earth
Of human bodies; for I'll mix with them.
Or wind me in the shroud of some pale corse
Yet green in earth, rather than be the bride
Of Garcia's more detested bed: that thought
Exerts my spirits; and my present fears
Are lost in dread of greater ill. Then show me.
Lead me, for I am bolder grown: lead on
Where I may kneel, and pay my vows again
To him, to Heaven, and my Alphonso's soul.
Leon. I go: but Heaven can tell with what regret.


The Vaults of the Temple

The Scene opening discovers a place of tombs. One monument fronting the
view greater than the rest.

Enter HELI.

Heli. I wander through this maze of monuments,
Yet cannot find him.—Hark! sure 'tis the voice
Of one complaining.—There it sounds: I'll follow it. [Exit.


Leon. Behold the sacred vault, within whose womb
The poor remains of good Anselmo rest;
Yet fresh and unconsumed by time or worms!
What do I see? O Heaven! either my eyes
Are false, or still the marble door remains
Unclosed: the iron gates that lead to death
Beneath, are still wide-stretched upon their hinge,
And staring on us with unfolded leaves.
Alm. Sure 'tis the friendly yawn of death for me;
And that dumb mouth, significant in show,
Invites me to the bed where I alone
Shall rest; shows me the grave, where nature, weary
And long oppressed with woes and bending cares,
May lay the burden down, and sink in slumbers
Of peace eternal. Death, grim death, will fold
Me in his leaden arms, and press me close
To his cold clayey breast; my father then
Will cease his tyranny; and Garcia too
Will fly my pale deformity with loathing.
My soul, enlarged from its vile bonds, will mount,
And range the starry orbs, and milky ways,
Of that refulgent world, where I shall swim
In liquid light, and float on seas of bliss
To my Alphonso's soul. O joy too great!
O ecstacy of thought! Help me, Anselmo;
Help me, Alphonso: take me, reach thy hand;
To thee, to thee I call, to thee, Alphonso:
O Alphonso!

OSMYN ascends from the tomb.

Osm. Who calls that wretched thing that was Alphonso?
Alm. Angels, and all the host of Heaven, support me!
Osm. Whence is that voice, whose shrillness, from the grave,
And growing to his father's shroud, roots up
Alm. Mercy! providence! O speak!
Speak to it quickly, quickly! speak to me,
Comfort me, help me, hold me, hide me, hide me,
Leonora, in thy bosom, from the light,
And from my eyes!
Osm. Amazement and illusion!
Rivet and nail me where I stand, ye powers;
[Coming forward.
That motionless I may be still deceived.
Let me not stir, nor breathe, lest I dissolve
That tender, lovely form of painted air,
So like Almeria. Ha! it sinks, it falls;
I'll catch it ere it goes, and grasp her shade.
'Tis life! 'tis warm! 'tis she! 'tis she herself!
Nor dead nor shade, but breathing and alive!
It is Almeria, 'tis, it is my wife!

Enter HELI.

Leon. Alas, she stirs not yet, nor lifts her eyes.
He too is fainting.—Help me, help me, stranger,
Whoe'er thou art, and lend thy hand to raise
These bodies.
Heli. Ha! 'tis he! and with Almeria!
O miracle of happiness! O joy
Unhoped for! does Almeria live!
Osm. Where is she?
Let me behold and touch her, and be sure
'Tis she; show me her face, and let me feel
Her lips with mine.—'Tis she, I'm not deceived;
I taste her breath, I warmed her and am warmed.
Look up, Almeria, bless me with thy eyes;
Look on thy love, thy lover, and thy husband.
Alm. I've sworn I'll not wed Garcia; why d'ye force me?
Is this a father?
Osm. Look on thy Alphonso.
Thy father is not here, my love, nor Garcia:
Nor am I what I seem, but thy Alphonso.
Wilt thou not know me? Hast thou then forgot me?
Hast thou thy eyes, yet canst not see Alphonso?
Am I so altered, or art thou so changed,
That seeing my disguise, thou seest not me?
Alm. It is, it is Alphonso! 'tis his face,
His voice! I know him now, I know him all.
O take me to thy arms, and bear me hence,
Back to the bottom of the boundless deep,
To seas beneath, where thou so long hast dwelt.
O how hast thou returned? how hast thou charmed
The wildness of the waves and rocks to this?
That thus relenting, they have given thee back
To earth, to light and life, to love and me.
Osm. Oh I'll not ask, nor answer how, or why
We both have backward trod the paths of fate,
To meet again in life; to know I have thee,
Is knowing more than any circumstance
Or means by which I have thee.
To fold thee thus, to press thy balmy lips,
And gaze upon thy eyes, is so much joy,
I have not leisure to reflect, or know,
Or trifle time in thinking.
Alm. Stay a while—
Let me look on thee, yet a little more.
Osm. What wouldst thou? thou dost put me from thee.
Alm. Yes.
Osm. And why? what dost thou mean? why dost thou gaze so?
Alm. I know not; 'tis to see thy face, I think—
It is too much! too much to bear and live!
To see him thus again is such profusion
Of joy, of bliss—I cannot bear—I must
Be mad—I cannot be transported thus.
Osm. Thou excellence, thou joy, thou heaven of love!
Alm. Where hast thou been? and how art thou alive?
How is all this? All-powerful Heaven, what are we!
O my strained heart!—let me again behold thee,
For I weep to see thee.—Art thou not paler?
Much, much; how thou art changed!
Osm. Not in my love.
Alm. No, no, thy griefs, I know, have done this to thee.
Thou hast wept much, Alphonso; and, I fear,
Too much, too tenderly lamented me.
Osm. Wrong not my love, to say too tenderly.
No more, my life; talk not of tears or grief;
Affliction is no more, now thou art found.
Why dost thou weep, and hold thee from my arms;
My arms which ache to fold thee fast, and grow
To thee with twining? Come, come to my heart.
Alm. I will, for I should never look enough.
They would have married me; but I had sworn
To Heaven and thee, and sooner would have died.
Osm. Perfection of all faithfulness and love!
Alm. Indeed I would.—Nay, I would tell thee all,
If I could speak; how I have mourned and prayed;
For I have prayed to thee as to a saint:
And thou hast heard my prayer; for thou art come
To my distress, to my despair, which Heaven
Could only by restoring thee have cured.
Osm. Grant me but life, good Heaven, but length of days,
To pay some part, some little of this debt,
This countless sum of tenderness and love,
For which I stand engaged in this all-excellence:
Then bear me in a whirlwind to my fate,
Snatch me from life, and cut me short unwarned;
Then, then 'twill be enough!—I shall be old,
I shall have lived beyond all eras then
Of yet unmeasured time; when I have made
This exquisite, this most amazing goodness,
Some recompense of love and matchless truth.
Alm. 'Tis more than recompense to see thy face
If Heaven is greater joy, it is no happiness,
For 'tis not to be borne.—What shall I say?
I have a thousand things to know, and ask,
And speak.—That thou art here, beyond all hope,
All thought; that all at once thou art before me,
And with such suddenness hast hit my sight,
Is such surprise, such mystery, such ecstacy;
It hurries all my soul, and stuns my sense.
Sure from thy father's tomb thou didst arise.
Osm. I did; and thou, my love, didst call me; thou.
Alm. True; but how camest thou there; wert thou alone?
Osm. I was, and lying on my father's lead,
When broken echoes of a distant voice
Disturbed the sacred silence of the vault,
In murmurs round my head. I rose and listened,
And thought I heard thy spirit call Alphonso;
I thought I saw thee too; but oh, I thought not
That I indeed should be so blest to see thee!
Alm. But still, how camest thou hither? how thus?—Ha!
What's he, who like thyself is started here
Ere seen?
Osm. Where? ha! what do I see? Antonio!
I'm fortunate indeed!—my friend too, safe!
Heli. Most happily, in finding you thus blessed.
Alm. More miracles! Antonio too escaped!
Osm. And twice escaped, both from the rage of seas
And war: for in the fight I saw him fall.
Heli. But fell unhurt, a prisoner as yourself,
And as yourself made free; hither I came
Impatiently to seek you, where I knew
Your grief would lead you, to lament Anselmo.
Osm. There are no wonders, or else all is wonder.
Heli. I saw you on the ground, and raised you up:
When with astonishment I saw Almeria.
Osm. I saw her too, and therefore saw not thee.
Alm. Nor I; nor could I, for my eyes were yours.
Osm. What means the bounty of all-gracious Heaven,
That persevering still, with open hand,
It scatters good, as in a waste of mercy!
Where will this end! but Heaven is infinite
In all, and can continue to bestow,
When scanty number shall be spent in telling.
Leon. Or I'm deceived, or I beheld the glimpse
Of two in shining habits cross the aisle;
Who by their pointing seem to mark this place.
Alm. Sure I have dreamt, if we must part so soon.
Osm. I wish, at least, our parting were a dream,
Or we could sleep till we again were met.
Heli. Zara with Selim, sir; I saw and know 'em;
You must be quick, for love will lend her wings.
Alm. What love? who is she? why are you alarmed?
Osm. She's the reverse of thee; she's my unhappiness.
Harbour no thought that may disturb thy peace;
But gently take thyself away, lest she
Should come, and see the straining of my eyes
To follow thee. I'll think how we may meet
To part no more. My friend will tell thee all;
How I escaped, how I am here, and thus;
How I'm not called Alphonso, now, but Osmyn;
And he Heli. All, all he will unfold,
Ere next we meet.
Alm. Sure we shall meet again—
Osm. We shall: we part not but to meet again.
Gladness and warmth of ever-kindling love
Dwell with thee, and revive thy heart in absence. [Exeunt.


The Same

Osm. Yet I behold her—yet—and now no more.
Turn your lights inward, eyes, and view my thought,
So shall you still behold her—'twill not be.
O impotence of sight! mechanic sense,
Which to exterior objects owest thy faculty,
Not seeing of election, but necessity.
Thus do our eyes, as do all common mirrors,
Successively reflect succeeding images;
Not what they would, but must; a star, or toad:
Just as the hand of chance administers.
Not so the mind, whose undetermined view
Revolves, and to the present adds the past:
Essaying further to futurity;
But that in vain. I have Almeria here—
At once, as I before have seen her often.

Enter ZARA and SELIM.

Zara. See where he stands, folded and fixed to earth,
Stiffening in thought a statue among statues!
Why, cruel Osmyn, dost thou fly me thus?
Is it well done? Is this then the return
For fame, for honour, and for empire lost?
But what is loss of honour, fame and empire!
Is this the recompense reserved for love;
Why dost thou leave my eyes, and fly my arms,
To find this place of horror and obscurity?
Am I more loathsome to thee than the grave,
That thou dost seek to shield thee there, and shun
My love? But to the grave I'll follow thee.—
He looks not, minds not, hears not.—Barbarous man,
Am I neglected thus? am I despised?
Not heard? ungrateful Osmyn!
Osm. Ha, 'tis Zara!
Zara. Yes, traitor! Zara, lost, abandoned Zara,
Is a regardless suppliant, now, to Osmyn.
The slave, the wretch that she redeemed from death,
Disdains to listen now, or look on Zara.
Osm. Far be the guilt of such reproaches from me;
Lost in myself, and blinded by my thoughts,
I saw you not, till now.
Zara. Now then you see me—
But with such dumb and thankless eyes you look,
Better I was unseen, than seen thus coldly.
Osm. What would you from a wretch who came to mourn,
And only for his sorrows chose this solitude?
Look round; joy is not here, nor cheerfulness.
You have pursued misfortune to its dwelling,
Yet look for gaiety and gladness there.
Zara. Inhuman! why, why dost thou rack me thus?
And with perverseness from the purpose answer?
What is't to me, this house of misery?
What joy do I require? If thou dost mourn,
I come to mourn with thee; to share thy griefs,
And give thee, for 'em, in exchange my love.
Osm. O that's the greatest grief!—I am so poor,
I have not wherewithal to give again.
Zara. Thou hast a heart, though 'tis a savage one;
Give it me as it is; I ask no more
For all I've done, and all I have endured;
For saving thee, when I beheld thee first,
Driven by the tide upon my country's coast,
Pale and expiring, drenched in briny waves,
Thou and thy friend, till my compassion found thee;
Compassion! scarce will't own that name, so soon,
So quickly was it love; for thou wert godlike
Even then. Kneeling on earth, I loosed my hair;
And with it dried thy wat'ry cheeks; then chafed
Thy temples, till reviving blood arose,
And like the morn vermilioned o'er thy face.
O Heaven! how did my heart rejoice and ache
When I beheld the daybreak of thy eyes,
And felt the balm of thy respiring lips!
Osm. O call not to my mind what you have done;
It sets a debt of that account before me,
Which shows me poor, and bankrupt even in hopes.
Zara. The faithful Selim and my women know
The dangers which I tempted to conceal you.
You know how I abused the credulous king;
What arts I used to make you pass on him,
When he received you as the Prince of Fez;
And as my kinsman, honoured and advanced you.
Oh, why do I relate what I have done?
What did I not? Was't not for you this war
Commenced? not knowing who you were, nor why
You hated Manuel, I urged my husband
To this invasion; where he late was lost,
Where all is lost, and I am made a slave.
Look on me now, from empire fallen to slavery;
Think on my sufferings first, then look on me;
Think on the cause of all, then view thyself:
Reflect on Osmyn, and then look on Zara,
The fallen, the lost, and now the captive Zara,
And now abandoned—say, what then is Osmyn?
Osm. A fatal wretch—a huge stupendous ruin,
That tumbling on its prop, crushed all beneath,
And bore contiguous palaces to earth.
Zara. Yet thus, thus fallen, thus levelled with the vilest,
If I have gained thy love, 'tis glorious ruin;
Ruin! 'tis still to reign, and to be more
A queen; for what are riches, empire, power,
But larger means to gratify the will?
The steps on which we tread, to rise, and reach
Our wish; and that obtained, down with the scaffolding
Of sceptres, crowns, and thrones! they've served their end,
And are, like lumber, to be left and scorned.
Osm. Why was I made the instrument to throw
In bonds the frame of this exalted mind?
Zara. We may be free; the conqueror is mine;
In chains unseen I hold him by the heart,
And can unwind or strain him as I please.
Give me thy love, I'll give thee liberty.
Osm. In vain you offer, and in vain require
What neither can bestow: set free yourself,
And leave a slave the wretch that would be so.
Zara. Thou canst not mean so poorly as thou talk'st.
Osm. Alas! you know me not.
Zara. Not who thou art:
But what this last ingratitude declares,
This grovelling baseness—Thou say'st true, I know
Thee not, for what thou art yet wants a name:
But something so unworthy, and so vile,
That to have loved thee makes me yet more lost,
Than all the malice of my other fate.
Traitor! monster! cold and perfidious slave!
A slave, not daring to be free! nor dares
To love above him, for 'tis dangerous:
'Tis that I know; for thou dost look, with eyes
Sparkling desire, and trembling to possess.
I know my charms have reached thy very soul,
And thrilled thee through with darted fires; but thou
Dost fear so much, thou darest not wish. The king!
There, there's the dreadful sound, the king's thy rival!
Sel. Madam, the king is here, and entering now.
Zara. As I could wish: by Heaven I'll be revenged!

Enter MANUEL, PEREZ, and Attendants.

Man. Why does the fairest of her kind withdraw
Her shining from the day, to gild this scene
Of death and night? Ha! what disorder's this?
Somewhat I heard of king and rival mentioned.
What's he that dares be rival to the king?
Or lift his eyes to like, where I adore?
Zara. There, he; your prisoner, and that was my slave.
Man. [Aside.] How? Better than my hopes! does she accuse him?
Zara. Am I become so low by my captivity,
And do your arms so lessen what they conquer,
That Zara must be made the sport of slaves?
And shall the wretch, whom yester sun beheld
Waiting my nod, the creature of my power,
Presume to-day to plead audacious love,
And build bold hopes on my dejected fate?
Man. Better for him to tempt the rage of Heaven,
And wrench the bold red-hissing from the hand
Of him that thunders, than but think that insolence.
'Tis daring for a god. Hence, to the wheel
With that Ixion, who aspires to hold
Divinity embraced! to whips and prisons
Drag him with speed, and rid me of his face.
[Guards seize OSMYN.
Zara. Compassion led me to bemoan his state,
Whose former faith had merited much more;
And through my hopes in you, I undertook
He should be set at large; thence sprung his insolence,
And what was charity he construed love.
Man. Enough; his punishment be what you please.
But let me lead you from this place of sorrow,
To one, where young delights attend; and joys
Yet new, unborn, and blooming in the bud,
Which wait to be full-blown at your approach,
And spread like roses to the morning sun:
Where every hour shall roll in circling joys,
And love shall wing the tedious-wasting day:
Life without love is load; and time stands still:
What we refuse to him, to death we give;
And then, then only, when we love, we live.



The Inside of a Prison

OSMYN in chains, alone, with a paper.

OSM. But now and I was closed within the tomb
That holds my father's ashes; and but now,
Where he was prisoner, I am too imprisoned.
Sure 'tis the hand of Heaven that leads me thus,
And for some purpose points out these remembrances.
In a dark corner of my cell I found
This paper, what it is this light will show.
[Reads.] "If my Alphonso"—ha!
"If my Alphonso live, restore him, Heaven;
Give me more weight, crush my declining years
With bolts, with chains, imprisonment, and want;
But bless my son, visit not him for me."
It is his hand; this was his prayer—yet more:
[Reads.] "Let every hair, which sorrow by the roots
Tears from my hoary and devoted head,
Be doubled in thy mercies to my son:
Not for myself, but him, hear me, all gracious—"
'Tis wanting what should follow—Heaven should follow,
But 'tis torn off—Why should that word alone
Be torn from his petition? 'Twas to Heaven,
But Heaven was deaf, Heaven heard him not; but thus,
Thus as the name of Heaven from this is torn,
So did it tear the ears of mercy from
His voice, shutting the gates of prayer against him.
If piety be thus debarred access
On high, and of good men the very best
Is singled out to bleed, and bear the scourge,
What is reward? or what is punishment?
But who shall dare to tax eternal justice?
Yet I may think—I may, I must; for thought
Precedes the will to think, and error lives
Ere reason can be born. Reason, the power
To guess at right and wrong, the twinkling lamp
Of wandering life, that winks and wakes by turns,
Fooling the follower, betwixt shade and shining.
What noise! Who's there?

Enter HELI.

My friend! how camest thou hither?
Heli. The time's too precious to be spent in telling;
The captain, influenced by Almeria's power,
Gave order to the guards for my admittance.
Osm. How does Almeria? But I know she is
As I am. Tell me, may I hope to see her?
Heli. You may: anon, at midnight, when the king
Is gone to rest, and Garcia is retired,
(Who takes the privilege to visit late,
Presuming on a bridegroom's right,) she'll come.
Osm. She'll come! 'tis what I wish, yet what I fear.
She'll come; but whither, and to whom? O Heaven!
To a vile prison, and a captived wretch;
To one, whom had she never known, she had
Been happy. Why, why was that heavenly creature
Abandoned o'er to love what Heaven forsakes?
Why does she follow, with unwearied steps,
One who has tired misfortune with pursuing:
One, driven about the world like blasted leaves
And chaff, the sport of adverse winds; till late
At length, imprisoned in some cleft of rock,
Or earth, it rests, and rots to silent dust.
Heli. Have hopes, and hear the voice of better fate.
I've learned there are disorders ripe for mutiny
Among the troops, who thought to share the plunder,
Which Manuel to his own use and avarice
Converts. This news has reached Valentia's frontiers:
Where many of your subjects, long oppressed
With tyranny and grievous impositions,
Are risen in arms, and call for chiefs to head
And lead 'em to regain their rights and liberty.
Osm. By Heaven thou'st roused me from my lethargy!
The spirit which was deaf to my own wrongs,
And the loud cries of my dead father's blood;
Deaf to revenge—nay, which refused to hear
The piercing sighs and murmurs of my love
Yet unenjoyed; what not Almeria could
Revive, or raise, my people's voice has wakened.
O my Antonio, I am all on fire,
My soul is up in arms, ready to charge
And bear amidst the foe, with conquering troops.
I hear 'em call to lead 'em on to liberty,
To victory; their shouts and clamours rend
My ears, and reach the Heavens: Where is the king?
Where is Alphonso?—Ha! Where, where indeed!
Oh I could tear and burst the strings of life,
To break these chains! Off, off ye stains of royalty!
Off, slavery! O curse! that I alone
Can beat and flutter in my cage, when I
Would soar and stoop at victory beneath.
Heli. Our posture of affairs, and scanty time,
My lord, require you should compose yourself,
And think on what we may reduce to practice.
Zara, the cause of your restraint, may be
The means of liberty restored. That gained,
Occasion will not fail to point out ways
For your escape. Meantime, I've thought already
With speed and safety to convey myself
Where not far off some malcontents hold council
Nightly; who hate this tyrant; some, who love
Anselmo's memory, and will, for certain,
When they shall know you live, assist your cause.
Osm. My friend and counsellor, as thou think'st fit,
So do. I will with my patience wait my fortune.
Heli. When Zara comes, abate of your aversion.
Osm. I hate her not, nor can dissemble love:
But as I may, I'll do. I have a paper
Which I would show thee, friend, but that the sight
Would hold thee here, and clog thy expedition.
Within I found it, by my father's hand
'Twas writ; a prayer for me, wherein appears
Paternal love prevailing o'er his sorrows;
Such sanctity, such tenderness so mixed
With grief as would draw tears from inhumanity.
Heli. The care of Providence sure left it there,
To arm your mind with hope. Such piety
Was never heard in vain: Heaven has in store
For you those blessings it withheld from him.
In that assurance live; which time, I hope,
And our next meeting will confirm.
Osm. Farewell,
My friend; the good thou dost deserve attend thee.
[Exit HELI.
I have been to blame, and questioned with impiety
The care of Heaven. Not so my father bore
More anxious grief. This should have better taught me;
This lesson, in some hour of inspiration,
By him set down; when his pure thoughts were borne,
Like fumes of sacred incense, o'er the clouds,
And wafted thence on angels' wings through ways
Of light, to the bright source of all. For there
He in the book of prescience saw this day;
And waking, to the world, and mortal sense,
Left this example of his resignation,
This his last legacy to me, which, here,
I'll treasure as more worth than diadems,
Or all extended rule of regal power.

Enter ZARA veiled.

What brightness breaks upon me thus through shades,
And promises a day to this dark dwelling?
Is it my love?—
Zara. O that my heart had taught
Thy tongue that saying. [Lifting up her veil.
Osm. Zara! [Aside.] I am betrayed
By my surprise.
Zara. What, dost my face displease thee?
That having seen it, thou dost turn thy eyes
Away, as from deformity and horror.
If so, this sable curtain shall again
Be drawn, and I will stand before thee seeing,
And unseen. "Is it my love?" ask again
That question, speak again in that soft voice,
And look again with wishes in thy eyes.
O no, thou canst not, for thou seest me now,
As she whose savage breast has been the cause
Of these thy wrongs; as she whose barbarous rage
Has loaden thee with chains and galling irons:
Well dost thou scorn me, and upbraid my falseness;
Could one who loved, thus torture whom she loved?
No, no, it must be hatred, dire revenge,
And detestation, that could use thee thus.
So thou dost think; then do but tell me so
Tell me, and thou shalt see how I'll revenge
Thee on this false one, how I'll stab and tear
This heart of flint till it shall bleed; and thou
Shalt weep for mine, forgetting thy own miseries.
Osm. You wrong me, beauteous Zara, to believe
I bear my fortunes with so low a mind,
As still to meditate revenge on all
Whom chance, or fate, working by secret causes,
Has made perforce subservient to that end
The heavenly powers allot me; no, not you,
But destiny and inauspicious stars
Have cast me down to this low being: or,
Granting you had, from you I have deserved it.
Zara. Canst thou forgive me then? wilt thou believe
So kindly of my fault, to call it madness?
O, give that madness yet a milder name,
And call it passion; then, be still more kind,
And call that passion love.
Osm. Give it a name,
Or being as you please, such I will think it.
Zara. O thou dost wound me more with this thy goodness,
Than e'er thou couldst with bitterest reproaches!
Thy anger could not pierce thus to my heart.
Osm. Yet I could wish—
Zara. Haste me to know it: what?
Osm. That at this time I had not been this thing.
Zara. What thing?
Osm. This slave.
Zara. O Heaven! my fears interpret
This thy silence: somewhat of high concern,
Long fashioning within thy labouring mind,
And now just ripe for birth, my rage has ruined.
Have I done this? Tell me, am I so cursed?
Osm. Time may have still one fated hour to come,
Which, winged with liberty, might overtake
Occasion past.
Zara. Swift as occasion, I
Myself will fly; and earlier than the morn
Wake thee to freedom. Now 'tis late; and yet
Some news few minutes past arrived which seemed
To shake the temper of the king.—Who knows
What racking cares disease a monarch's bed?
Or love, that late at night still lights his lamp,
And strikes his rays through dusk, and folded lids,
Forbidding rest, may stretch his eyes awake,
And force their balls abroad at this dead hour.
I'll try.
Osm. I have not merited this grace;
Nor, should my secret purpose take effect,
Can I repay, as you require such benefits.
Zara. Thou canst not owe me more, nor have I more
To give, than I've already lost. But now,
So does the form of our engagements rest,
Thou hast the wrong, till I redeem thee hence;
That done, I leave thy justice to return
My love. Adieu. [Exit.
Osm. This woman has a soul
Of godlike mould, intrepid and commanding,
And challenges, in spite of me, my best
Esteem, to this she's fair, few more can boast
Of personal charms, or with less vanity
Might hope to captivate the hearts of kings.
But she has passions which outstrip the wind,
And tear her virtues up, as tempests root
The sea. I fear when she shall know the truth,
Some swift and dire event of her blind rage
Will make all fatal. But behold she comes
For whom I fear, to shield me from my fears,
The cause and comfort of my boding heart.


My life, my health, my liberty, my all!
How shall I welcome thee this sad place?
How speak to thee the words of joy and transport?
How run into thy arms, withheld by fetters;
Or take thee into mine, while I'm thus manacled
And pinioned like a thief or murderer?
Shall I not hurt and bruise thy tender body,
And stain thy bosom with the rust of these
Rude irons? Must I meet thee thus, Almeria?
Alm. Thus, thus; we parted, thus to meet again.
Thou told'st me thou wouldst think how we might meet
To part no more.—Now we will part no more;
For these thy chains, or death, shall join us ever.
Osm. Hard means to ratify that word!—O cruelty!
That ever I should think beholding thee
A torture!—Yet, such is the bleeding anguish
Of my heart, to see thy sufferings.—O Heaven!
That I could almost turn my eyes away,
Or wish thee from my sight.
Alm. O, say not so!
Though 'tis because thou lovest me. Do not say,
On any terms, that thou dost wish me from thee.
No, no, 'tis better thus, that we together
Feed on each other's heart, devour our woes
With mutual appetite; and mingling in
One cup the common stream of both our eyes,
Drink bitter draughts, with never-slaking thirst.
Thus better, than for any cause to part.
What dost thou think? Look not so tenderly
Upon me,—speak, and take me in thy arms,—
Thou canst not! thy poor arms are bound, and strive
In vain with the remorseless chains which gnaw
And eat into thy flesh, festering thy limbs
With rankling rust.
Osm. Oh! Oh!
Alm. Give me that sigh.
Why dost thou heave and stifle in thy griefs?
Thy heart will burst, thy eyes look red and start;
Give thy soul way, and tell me thy dark thought.
Osm. For this world's rule I would not wound thy breast
With such a dagger as then stuck my heart.
Alm. Why? why? to know it cannot wound me more,
Thank knowing thou hast felt it. Tell it me.
Thou givest me pain with too much tenderness.
Osm. And thy excessive love distracts my sense!
O wouldst thou be less killing, soft or kind,
Grief could not double thus his darts against me.
Alm. Thou dost me wrong, and grief too robs my heart,
If there he shoot not every other shaft;
Thy second self should feel each other wound,
And woe should be in equal portions dealt.
I am thy wife—
Osm. O thou has searched too deep!
There, there I bleed! there pull the cruel cords,
That strain my cracking nerves; engines and wheels,
That piece-meal grind, are beds of down and balm
To that soul-racking thought.
Alm. Then I am cursed
Indeed, if that be so; if I'm thy torment,
Kill me, then kill me; dash me with thy chains,
Tread on me! What! am I the bosom-snake,
That sucks thy warm life-blood, and gnaws thy heart?
O that thy words had force to break those bonds,
As they have strength to tear this heart in sunder!
So shouldst thou be at large from all oppression.
Am I, am I of all thy woes the worst?
Osm. My all of bliss, my everlasting life,
Soul of my soul, and end of all my wishes,
Why dost thou thus unman me with thy words,
And melt me down to mingle with thy weepings?
Why dost thou ask? why dost thou talk thus piercingly?
Thy sorrows have disturbed thy peace of mind,
And thou dost speak of miseries impossible.
Alm. Didst thou not say that racks and wheels were balm,
And beds of ease, to thinking me thy wife?
Osm. No, no; nor should the subtlest pains that hell,
Or hell-born malice can invent, extort
A wish or thought from me, to have thee other.
But thou wilt know what harrows up my heart:
Thou art my wife—nay, thou art yet my bride!
The sacred union of connubial love
Yet unaccomplished; his mysterious rites
Delayed; nor has our hymeneal torch
Yet lighted up his last most grateful sacrifice;
But dashed with rain from eyes, and swaled with sighs,
Burns dim, and glimmers with expiring light.
Is this dark cell a temple for that god?
Or this vile earth an altar for such offerings?
This den for slaves, this dungeon damped with woes;
Is this our marriage-bed? Are these our joys?
Is this to call thee mine? Oh, hold my heart!
To call thee mine? Yes; thus, even thus to call
Thee mine, were comfort, joy, extremest ecstacy.
But O, thou art not mine, not even in misery!
And 'tis denied to me to be so blessed,
As to be wretched with thee.
Alm. No; not that
The extremest malice of our fate can hinder:
That still is left us, and on that we'll feed,
As on the leavings of calamity.
There we will feast, and smile on past distress,
And hug, in scorn of it, our mutual ruin.
Osm. O thou dost talk, my love, as one resolved
Because not knowing danger. But look forward;
Think on to-morrow, when thou shalt be torn
From these weak, struggling, unextended arms
Think how my heart will heave, and eyes will strain,
To grasp and reach what is denied my hands;
Think how the blood will start, and tears will gush
To follow thee, my separating soul!
Think how I am when thou shalt wed with Garcia!
Then will I smear these walls with blood, disfigure
And dash my face, and rive my clotted hair,
Break on the flinty floor my throbbing breast,
And grovel with gashed hands to scratch a grave,
Stripping my nails, to tear this pavement up,
And bury me alive.
Alm. Heart-breaking horror!
Osm. Then Garcia shall lie panting on thy bosom,
Luxurious revelling amidst thy charms;
And thou perforce must yield, and aid his transport.
Hell! hell! have I not cause to rage and rave?
What are all racks, and wheels, and whips to this?
Are they not soothing softness, sinking ease,
And wafting air to this! O my Almeria!
What do the damned endure, but to despair,
But knowing Heaven, to know it lost for ever?
Alm. O, I am struck; thy words are bolts of ice,
Which shot into my breast, now melt and chill me.
I chatter, shake, and faint, with thrilling fears.
No, hold me not—O let us not support,
But sink each other, deeper yet, down, down,
Where levelled low, no more we'll lift our eyes,
But prone, and dumb, rot the firm face of earth
With rivers of incessant scalding rain.


The Same

OSMYN and ALMERIA discovered. Enter ZARA, PEREZ, and SELIM.

Zara. Somewhat of weight to me requires his freedom.
Dare you dispute the king's command? Behold
The royal signet.
Per. I obey; yet beg
Your majesty one moment to defer
Your entering till the princess is returned
From visiting the noble prisoner.
Zara. Ha!
What say'st thou?
Osm. We are lost! undone! discovered!
Retire, my life, with speed.—Alas, we're seen!
Speak of compassion, let her hear you speak
Of interceding for me with the king!
Say somewhat quickly to conceal our loves,
If possible—
Alm. I cannot speak.
Osm. Let me
Conduct you forth, as not perceiving her,
But till she's gone, then bless me thus again.
Zara. Trembling and weeping as he leads her forth!
Confusion in his face, and grief in hers!
'Tis plain I've been abused—Death and destruction!
How shall I search into this mystery?
The bluest blast of pestilential air
Strike, damp, deaden her charms, and kill his eyes!
Perdition catch 'em both, and ruin part 'em!
Osm. [Aloud to ALMERIA as she goes out.] This charity to one
unknown, and thus
Distressed, Heaven will repay; all thanks are poor.
Zara. [Aside.] Damned, damned dissembler! yet I will be calm,
Choke in my rage, and know the utmost depth
Of this deceiver.—You seem much surprised.
Osm. At your return so soon and unexpected!
Zara. And so unwished, unwanted too it seems.
Confusion! yet I will contain myself.
You're grown a favourite since last we parted;
Perhaps I'm saucy and intruding—
Osm. Madam!
Zara. I did not know the princess' favourite;
Your pardon, sir—mistake me not; you think
I'm angry; you're deceived. I came to set
You free: but shall return much better pleased,
To find you have an interest superior.
Osm. You do not come to mock my miseries?
Zara. I do.
Osm. I could at this time spare your mirth.
Zara. I know thou couldst: but I'm not often pleased,
And will indulge it now. What miseries?
Who would not be thus happily confined,
To be the care of weeping majesty?
To have contending queens, at dead of night,
Forsake their down, to wake with wat'ry eyes,
And watch like tapers o'er your hours of rest?
O curse! I cannot hold—
Osm. Come, 'tis too much.
Zara. Villain!
Osm. How, madam!
Zara. Thou shalt die.
Osm. I thank you.
Zara. Thou liest! for now I know for whom thou'dst live.
Osm. Then you may know for whom I'd die.
Zara. Hell! hell!—
Yet I'll be calm—Dark and unknown betrayer!
But now the dawn begins, and the slow hand
Of Fate is stretched to draw the veil, and leave
Thee bare, the naked mark of public view.
Osm. You may be still deceived, 'tis in my power—
Zara. Who waits there? [To the Guard.] As you'll answer it, look
this slave
Attempt no means to make himself away.
I've been deceived. The public safety now
Requires he should be more confined, and none,
No, not the princess, suffered or to see
Or speak with him: I'll quit you to the king.
Vile and ingrate! too late thou shalt repent
The base injustice thou hast done my love:
Yes, thou shalt know, spite of thy past distress,
And all those ills which thou so long hast mourned;
Heaven has no rage, like love to hatred turned,
Nor hell a fury, like a woman scorned. [Exeunt.



A Room of State in the Palace

Enter ZARA and SELIM.

ZARA. Thou hast already racked me with thy stay,
Therefore require me not to ask thee twice;
Reply at once to all. What is concluded?
Sel. Your accusation highly has incensed
The king, and were alone enough to urge
The fate of Osmyn; but to that, fresh news
Is since arrived of more revolted troops.
'Tis certain Heli too is fled, and with him
(Which breeds amazement and distraction) some
Who bore high offices of weight and trust,
Both in the state and army. This confirms
The king, in full belief of all you told him,
Concerning Osmyn and his correspondence
With them who first began the mutiny.
Wherefore a warrant for his death is signed,
And order given for public execution.
Zara. Ha! haste thee! fly! prevent his fate and mine;
Find out the king, tell him I have of weight
More than his crown to impart ere Osmyn die.
Sel. It needs not, for the king will straight be here;
And as to your revenge, not his own interest,
Pretend to sacrifice the life of Osmyn.
Zara. What shall I say? Invent, contrive, advise,
Somewhat to blind the king, and save his life
In whom I live. Spite of my rage and pride,
I am a woman, and a lover still.
O, 'tis more grief but to suppose his death,
Than still to meet the rigour of his scorn.
From my despair my anger had its source;
When he is dead I must despair for ever.
For ever! that's despair—it was distrust
Before; distrust will ever be in love,
And anger in distrust, both short-lived pains.
But in despair, and ever-during death,
No term, no bound, but infinite of woe.
O torment, but to think! what then to bear!
Not to be borne.—Devise the means to shun it,
Quick, or by Heaven this dagger drinks thy blood!
Sel. My life is yours, nor wish I to preserve it,
But to serve you. I have already thought.
Zara. Forgive my rage; I know thy love and truth.
But say, what's to be done? or when, or how,
Shall I prevent, or stop the approaching danger?
Sel. You must still seem more resolute and fixed
On Osmyn's death; too quick a change of mercy
Might breed suspicion of the cause. Advise
That execution may be done in private.
Zara. On what pretence?
Sel. Your own request's enough.
However, for a colour, tell him, you
Have cause to fear his guards may be corrupted,
And some of them bought off to Osmyn's interest,
Who, at the place of execution, will
Attempt to force his way for an escape.
The state of things will countenance all suspicions.
Then offer to the king to have him strangled
In secret by your mutes, and get an order,
That none but mutes may have admittance to him.
I can no more, the king is here. Obtain
This grant—and I'll acquaint you with the rest.

Enter MANUEL, GONSALEZ, PEREZ, and Guards.

Man. Bear to the dungeon those rebellious slaves,
The ignoble curs, that yelp to fill the cry,
And spend their mouths in barking tyranny.
But for their leaders, Sancho and Ramirez,
Let 'em be led away to present death.—
Perez, see it performed.
Gon. Might I presume,
Their execution better were deferred,
Till Osmyn die. Meantime we may learn more
Of this conspiracy.
Man. Then be it so.
Stay, soldier; they shall suffer with the Moor.
Are none returned of those who followed Heli?
Gon. None, sir. Some papers have been since discovered
In Roderigo's house, who fled with him,
Which seem to intimate, as if Alphonso
Were still alive, and arming in Valentia:
Which wears indeed this colour of a truth,
They who are fled have that way bent their course.
Of the same nature divers notes have been
Dispersed to amuse the people; whereupon
Some ready of belief have raised this rumour;
That being saved upon the coast of Afric,
He there disclosed himself to Albucacim,
And by a secret compact made with him,
Opened and urged the way to this invasion;
While he himself, returning to Valentia
In private, undertook to raise this tumult.
Zara. [Aside to SELIM.] Ha! hear'st thou that? Is Osmyn then
O Heaven! a thousand things occur at once
To my remembrance now, that make it plain.
O certain death for him, as sure despair
For me, if it be known!—if not, what hope
Have I? Yet 'twere the lowest baseness, now
To yield him up.—No, I will still conceal him,
And try the force of yet more obligations.
Gon. 'Tis not impossible. Yet, it may be
That some impostor has usurped his name.
Your beauteous captive Zara can inform,
If such a one, so 'scaping, was received
At any time, in Albucacim's court.
Man. Pardon, fair excellence, this long neglect:
An unforeseen, unwelcome hour of business,
Has thrust between us and our while of love;
But wearing now apace with ebbing sand,
Will quickly waste, and give again the day.
Zara. You're too secure; the danger is more imminent
Than your high courage suffers you to see;
While Osmyn lives, you are not safe.
Man. His doom
Is passed; if you revoke it not, he dies.
Zara. 'Tis well. By what I heard upon your entrance,
I find I can unfold what yet concerns
You more. One who did call himself Alphonso
Was cast upon my coast, as is reported,
And oft had private conference with the king;
To what effect I knew not then: but he,
Alphonso, secretly departed, just
About the time our arms embarked for Spain.
What I know more is, that a triple league
Of strictest friendship was professed between
Alphonso, Heli, and the traitor Osmyn.
Man. Public report is ratified in this.
Zara. And Osmyn's death required of strong necessity.
Man. Give order straight that all the prisoners die.
Zara. Forbear a moment; somewhat more I have
Worthy your private ear, and this your minister.
Man. Let all except Gonsalez leave the room.
[Exeunt PEREZ and Guards.
Zara. I am your captive, and you've used me nobly;
And in return of that, though otherwise
Your enemy, I have discovered Osmyn
His private practice and conspiracy
Against your state: and fully to discharge
Myself of what I've undertaken, now
I think it fit to tell you, that your guards
Are tainted: some among 'em have resolved
To rescue Osmyn at the place of death.
Man. Is treason then so near us as our guards!
Zara. Most certain; though my knowledge is not yet
So ripe, to point at the particular men.
Man. What's to be done?
Zara. That too I will advise.
I have remaining in my train some mutes,
A present once from the sultana queen,
In the grand signior's court. These from their infancy
Are practised in the trade of death; and shall
(As there the custom is) in private strangle Osmyn.
Gon. My lord, the queen advises well.
Man. What offering or what recompense remains
In me, that can be worthy so great services?
To cast beneath your feet the crown you've saved,
Though on the head that wears it, were too little.
Zara. Of that hereafter; but, meantime, 'tis fit
You give strict charge, that none may be admitted
To see the prisoner, but such mutes as I
Shall send.
Man. Who waits there?

Re-enter PEREZ.

On your life take heed,
That only Zara's mutes, or such who bring
Her warrant, have admittance to the Moor.
Zara. They and no other, not the princess' self.
Per. Your majesty shall be obeyed.
Man. Retire. [Exit PEREZ.
Gon. [Aside.] That interdiction so particular,
Pronounced with vehemence against the princess,
Should have more meaning than appears barefaced:
The king is blinded by his love, and heeds
It not.—[To ZARA.] Your majesty sure might have spared
That last restraint; you hardly can suspect
The princess is confederate with the Moor.
Zara. I've heard her charity did once extend
So far, to visit him, at his request.
Gon. Ha!
Man. How? she visit Osmyn! What, my daughter?
Sel. [Aside to ZARA.] Madam, take heed; or you have ruined all.—
Zara. And after did solicit you on his
Man. Never. You have been misinformed.
Zara. Indeed? Then 'twas a whisper spread by some,
Who wished it so; a common art in courts.
I will retire, and instantly prepare
Instruction for my ministers of death.
[Exeunt ZARA and SELIM.
Gon. [Aside.] There's somewhat yet of mystery in this;
Her words and actions are obscure and double,
Sometimes concur, and sometimes disagree;
I like it not.
Man. What dost thou think, Gonsalez;
Are we not much indebted to this fair one?
Gon. I am a little slow of credit, sir,
In the sincerity of women's actions.
Methinks this lady's hatred to the Moor
Disquiets her too much; which makes it seem
As if she'd rather that she did not hate him.
I wish her mutes are meant to be employed
As she pretends—I doubt it now—Your guards
Corrupted! how? by whom? who told her so?
I'th' evening Osmyn was to die; at midnight
She begged the royal signet to release him;
I'th' morning he must die again; ere noon
Her mutes alone must strangle him, or he'll
Escape. This put together suits not well.
Man. Yet, that there's truth in what she has discovered,
Is manifest from every circumstance.
This tumult, and the lords who fled with Heli,
Are confirmation:—that Alphonso lives,
Agrees expressly too with her report.
Gon. I grant it, sir; and doubt not, but in rage
Of jealousy, she has discovered what
She now repents. It may be I'm deceived.
But why that needless caution of the princess?
What if she had seen Osmyn? though 'twere strange.
But if she had, what was't to her? unless
She feared her stronger charms might cause the Moor's
Affection to revolt.
Man. I thank thee, friend.
There's reason in thy doubt, and I am warned.
But think'st thou that my daughter saw this Moor?
Gon. If Osmyn be, as Zara has related,
Alphonso's friend; 'tis not impossible,
But she might wish on his account to see him.
Man. Say'st thou? by Heaven thou hast roused a thought,
That like a sudden earthquake shakes my frame:
Confusion! then my daughter's an accomplice,
And plots in private with this hellish Moor.
Gon. That were too hard a thought—but see she comes
'Twere not amiss to question her a little,
And try, howe'er, if I've divined aright.
If what I fear be true, she'll be concerned
For Osmyn's death, as he's Alphonso's friend.
Urge that, to try if she'll solicit for him.


Man. Your coming has prevented me, Almeria;
I had determined to have sent for you.
Let your attendant be dismissed; I have
To talk with you. [Exit LEONORA.] Come near; why dost thou shake?
What mean those swollen and red-flecked eyes, that look
As they had wept in blood, and worn the night
In waking anguish? Why this, on the day
Which was designed to celebrate thy nuptials;
But that the beams of light are to be stained
With reeking gore, from traitors on the rack?
Wherefore I have deferred the marriage rites;
Nor shall the guilty horrors of this day
Profane that jubilee.
Alm. All days to me
Henceforth are equal; this the day of death,
To-morrow, and the next, and each that follows,
With undistinguished roll, and but prolong
One hated line of more extended woe.
Man. Whence is thy grief? give me to know the cause,
And look thou answer me with truth; for know,
I am not unacquainted with thy falsehood.
Why art thou mute? base and degenerate maid!
Gon. Dear madam, speak, or you'll incense the king.
Alm. What is't to speak? or wherefore should I speak?
What mean these tears, but grief unutterable!
Man. They are the dumb confessions of thy mind,
They mean thy guilt; and say thou wert confederate
With damned conspirators to take my life.
O impious parricide! now canst thou speak?
Alm. O earth, behold, I kneel upon thy bosom!
And bend my flowing eyes, to stream upon
Thy face, imploring thee that thou wilt yield;
Open thy bowels of compassion, take
Into thy womb the last and most forlorn
Of all thy race. Hear me, thou common parent!
I have no parent else—be thou a mother,
And step between me and the curse of him
Who was—who was, but is no more a father,
But brands my innocence with horrid crimes;
And for the tender names of child and daughter,
Now calls me murderer and parricide.
Man. Rise, I command thee rise—and if thou wouldst
Acquit thyself of those detested names,
Swear thou hast never seen that foreign dog,
Now doomed to die, that most accursèd Osmyn.
Alm. Never, but as with innocence I might,
And free of all bad purposes. So Heaven's
My witness.
Man. Vile equivocating wretch!
With innocence! O patience! hear! she owns it!
Confesses it! by Heaven I'll have him racked!
Torn, mangled, flayed, impaled! all pains and tortures
That wit of man and dire revenge can think,
Shall he accumulated under-bear.
Alm. Oh, I am lost!—there fate begins to wound.
Man. Hear me, then; if thou canst, reply: know, traitress,
I'm not to learn that cursed Alphonso lives;
Nor am I ignorant what Osmyn is.
Alm. Then all is ended, and we both must die.
Since thou'rt revealed, alone thou shalt not die.
And yet alone would I have died, Heaven knows,
Repeated deaths, rather than have revealed thee.
Yes, all my father's wounding wrath, though each
Reproach cuts deeper than the keenest sword,
And cleaves my heart; I would have borne it all,
Nay, all the pains that are prepared for thee:
To the remorseless rack I would have given
This weak and tender flesh, to have been bruised
And torn, rather than have revealed thy being.
Man. Hell, hell! do I hear this, and yet endure!
What, darest thou to my face avow thy guilt?
Hence, ere I curse!—fly my just rage with speed;
Lest I forget us both, and spurn thee from me.
Alm. And yet a father! think I am your child.
Turn not your eyes away [Kneels.]—look on me kneeling;
Now curse me if you can, now spurn me off.
Did ever father curse his kneeling child?
Never: for always blessings crown that posture.
Nature inclines, and half-way meets that duty,
Stooping to raise from earth the filial reverence;
For bended knees returning folding arms,
With prayers, and blessings, and paternal love.
O hear me then, thus crawling on the earth—
Man. Be thou advised, and let me go, while yet
The light impression thou hast made remains.
Alm. No, never will I rise, nor loose this hold,
Till you are moved, and grant that he may live.
Man. Ha! who may live? take heed, no more of that;
For on my soul he dies, though thou and I,
And all should follow to partake his doom.
Away, off, let me go.—Call her attendants.
[LEONORA re-enters with Attendants.
Alm. Drag me! harrow the earth with my bare bosom!
I'll not let go till you have spared my husband.
Man. Ha! what say'st thou? husband! husband! damnation!
What husband? which? who?
Alm. He, he is my husband.
Man. Poison and daggers! who?
Alm. Oh! [Faints.
Gon. Help, support her.
Alm. Let me go, let me fall, sink deep—I'll dig,
I'll dig a grave, and tear up death; I will;
I'll scrape till I collect his rotten bones,
And clothe their nakedness with my own flesh:
Yes, I will strip off life, and we will change:
I will be death; then though you kill my husband,
He shall be mine, still and for ever mine.
Man. What husband? who? whom dost thou mean?
Gon. She raves!
Alm. O that I did! Osmyn, he is my husband.
Man. Osmyn?
Alm. Not Osmyn, but Alphonso is my dear
And wedded husband.—Heaven, and air, and seas,
Ye winds and waves, I call ye all to witness!
Man. Wilder than winds or waves thyself dost rave.
Should I hear more, I too should catch thy madness.
Yet somewhat she must mean of dire import,
Which I'll not hear, till I am more at peace.
Watch her returning sense, and bring me word;
And look that she attempt not on her life. [Exit.
Alm. O stay, yet stay! hear me, I am not mad.
I would to Heaven I were!—He's gone.
Gon. Have comfort.
Alm. Cursed be that tongue that bids me be of comfort!
Cursed my own tongue, that could not move his pity!
Cursed these weak hands, that could not hold him here!
For he has gone to doom Alphonso's death.
Gon. Your too excessive grief works on your fancy,
And deludes your sense. Alphonso, if living,
Is far from hence, beyond your father's power.
Alm. Hence, thou detested, ill-timed flatterer!
Source of my woes! thou and thy race be cursed!
But doubly thou, who could alone have policy
And fraud, to find the fatal secret out,
And know that Osmyn was Alphonso!
Gon. Ha!
Alm. Why dost thou start? what dost thou see or hear?
Was it the doleful bell, tolling for death?
Or dying groans from my Alphonso's breast?
See, see, look yonder! where a grizzled, pale,
And ghastly head glares by, all smeared with blood,
Gasping as it would speak; and after, see!
Behold a damp, dead hand has dropped a dagger;
I'll catch it—Hark! a voice cries murder! ah!
My father's voice! hollow it sounds, and calls
Me from the tomb—I'll follow it; for there
I shall again behold my dear Alphonso.
[Exeunt ALMERIA, LEONORA, and Attendants.
Gon. She's greatly grieved; nor am I less surprised.
Osmyn, Alphonso! no; she over-rates
My policy: I ne'er suspected it:
Nor now had known it, but from her mistake.
Her husband too! ha! where is Garcia then?
And where the crown that should descend on him,
To grace the line of my posterity?
Hold, let me think—if I should tell the king—
Things come to this extremity; his daughter
Wedded already—what if he should yield?
Knowing no remedy for what is past;
And urged by nature pleading for his child,
With which he seems to be already shaken.
And though I know he hates beyond the grave
Anselmo's race; yet if—that if concludes me.
To doubt, when I may be assured, is folly.
But how prevent the captive queen, who means
To set him free? Ay, now 'tis plain; O well
Invented tale! He was Alphonso's friend.
This subtle woman will amuse the king
If I delay.—'Twill do—or better so.—
One to my wish.—


Alonzo, thou art welcome.
Alon. The king expects your lordship.
Gon. 'Tis no matter.
I'm not i' the way at present, good Alonzo.
Alon. If't please your lordship, I'll return, and say
I have not seen you.
Gon. Do, my best Alonzo.
Yet stay, I would—but go; anon will serve—
Yet I have that requires thy speedy help.
I think thou wouldst not stop to do me service.
Alon. I am your creature.
Gon. Say thou art my friend.
I've seen thy sword do noble execution.
Alon. All that it can your lordship shall command.
Gon. Thanks! and I take thee at thy word; thou'st seen
Among the followers of the captive queen,
Dumb men, who make their meaning known by signs?
Alon. I have, my lord.
Gon. Couldst thou procure with speed
And privacy, the wearing garb of one
Of those, though purchased by his death, I'd give
Thee such reward as should exceed thy wish.
Alon. Conclude it done. Where shall I wait your lordship?
Gon. At my apartment. Use thy utmost diligence;
And say I've not been seen—haste, good Alonzo.
So, this can hardly fail. Alphonso slain,
The greatest obstacle is then removed.
Almeria widowed, yet again may wed;
And I yet fix the crown on Garcia's head. [Exit.



A Room of State in the Palace


MAN. Not to be found? in an ill hour he's absent.
None, say you, none? what, not the favourite eunuch?
Nor she herself, nor any of her mutes,
Have yet required admittance?
Per. None, my lord.
Man. Is Osmyn so disposed as I commanded?
Per. Fast bound in double chains, and at full length,
He lies supine on earth; with as much ease
She might remove the centre of this earth,
As loose the rivets of his bonds.
Man. 'Tis well.
[A Mute appears, and seeing the King retires
Ha! stop, and seize that mute; Alonzo, follow him.
Entering he met my eyes, and started back,
Frighted, and fumbling one hand in his bosom,
As to conceal the importance of his errand.
[ALONZO follows him, and returns with a paper.
Alon. O bloody proof of obstinate fidelity!
Man. What dost thou mean?
Alon. Soon as I seized the man,
He snatched from out his bosom this—and strove
With rash and greedy haste, at once to cram
The morse! down his throat. I catched his arm,
And hardly wrenched his hand to wring it from him;
Which done, he drew his poniard from his side,
And on the instant plunged it in his breast.
Man. Remove the body thence ere Zara see it.
Alon. [Aside.] I'll be so bold to borrow his attire;
'Twill quit me of my promise to Gonsalez.
[Exit ALONZO, bearing off the dead Mute.
Per. [Aside.] Whate'er it is, the king's complexion turns.
Man. [Having read the letter.] How's this? my mortal foe beneath
my roof?
O give me patience, all ye powers! no, rather
Give me new rage, implacable revenge,
And trebled fury.—Ha! who's there?
Per. My lord!
Man. Hence, slave! how darest thou 'bide, to watch and pry
Into how poor a thing a king descends?
How like thyself, when passion treads him down!
Ha! stir not, on thy life! for thou wert fixed
And planted here to see me gorge this bait,
And lash against the hook.—By Heaven, you're all
Rank traitors! thou art with the rest combined;
Thou knew'st that Osmyn was Alphonso, knew'st
My daughter privately with him conferred;
And wert the spy and pander to their meeting.
Per. By all that's holy, I'm amazed—
Man. Thou liest.
Thou art accomplice too with Zara: here
Where she sets down—[Reading.]—"Still will I set thee
That somewhere is repeated—"I have power
O'er them that are thy guards."—Mark that, thou traitor!
Per. It was your majesty's command, I should
Obey her order—
Man. [Reading.] "And still will I set
Thee free, Alphonso."—Hell! cursed, cursed Alphonso!
False and perfidious Zara! Strumpet daughter!
Away, begone, thou feeble boy, fond love!
All nature, softness, pity and compassion!
This hour I throw ye off, and entertain
Fell hate within my breast, revenge and gall.
By Heaven, I'll meet, and counterwork this treachery!
Hark thee, villain, traitor—answer me, slave!
Per. My service has not merited those titles.
Man. Darest thou reply? take that—thy service? thine!
[Strikes him.
What's thy whole life, thy soul, thy all, to my
One moment's ease? Hear my command; and look
That thou obey, or horror on thy head.
Drench me thy dagger in Alphonso's heart:
Why dost thou start? Resolve, or—
Per. Sir, I will.
Man. 'Tis well—that when she comes to set him free,
His teeth may grin, and mock at her remorse.
[PEREZ going.
Stay thee—I've farther thought—I'll add to this,
And give her eyes yet greater disappointment:
When thou hast ended him, bring me his robe;
And let the cell where she'll expect to see him
Be darkened so as to amuse the sight.
I'll be conducted thither—mark me well—
There with his turbant, and his robe arrayed,
And laid along as he now lies supine,
I shall convict her to her face of falsehood.
When for Alphonso's she shall take my hand,
And breathe her sighs upon my lips for his,
Sudden I'll start, and dash her with her guilt.
But see she comes; I'll shun the encounter; thou,
Follow me, and give heed to my direction. [Exeunt.

Enter ZARA and SELIM

Zara. The mute not yet returned!—ha, 'twas the king!
The king that parted hence! frowning he went;
His eyes like meteors rolled, then darted down
Their red and angry beams; as if his sight
Would, like the raging dog-star, scorch the earth,
And kindle ruin in its course. Dost think
He saw me?
Sel. Yes; but then, as if he thought
His eyes had erred, he hastily recalled
The imperfect look, and sternly turned away.
Zara. Shun me when seen! I fear thou hast undone me.
Thy shallow artifice begets suspicion,
And like a cobweb veil, but thinly shades
The face of thy design; alone disguising
What should have ne'er been seen; imperfect mischief!
Thou, like the adder, venomous and deaf,
Hast stung the traveller; and after hear'st
Not his pursuing voice; even where thou think'st
To hide, the rustling leaves and bended grass
Confess, and point the path which thou hast crept.
O fate of fools! officious in contriving;
In executing puzzled, lame and lost.
Sel. Avert it, Heaven, that you should ever suffer
For my defect! or that the means which I
Devised to serve should ruin your design!
Prescience is Heaven's alone, not given to man.
If I have fail'd in what, as being man,
I needs must fail; impute not as a crime
My nature's want, but punish nature in me:
I plead not for a pardon, and to live,
But to be punished and forgiven. Here, strike!
I bare my breast to meet your just revenge.
Zara. I have not leisure now to take so poor
A forfeit as thy life: somewhat of high
And more important fate requires my thought.
When I've concluded on myself, if I
Think fit, I'll leave thee my command to die.
Regard me well; and dare not to reply
To what I give in charge; for I'm resolved.
Give order that the two remaining mutes
Attend me instantly, with each a bowl
Of such ingredients mixed, as will with speed
Benumb the living faculties, and give
Most easy and inevitable death.
Yes, Osmyn, yes; be Osmyn or Alphonso,
I'll give thee freedom, if thou darest be free:
Such liberty as I embrace myself,
Thou shalt partake. Since fates no more afford,
I can but die with thee to keep my word.


The Inside of the Prison

Enter GONSALEZ alone, disguised like a Mute, with a dagger.

Gon. Nor sentinel, nor guard! the doors unbarred!
And all as still as at the noon of night!
Sure death already has been busy here.
There lies my way, that door too is unlocked. [Looks in.
Ha! sure he sleeps—all's dark within, save what
A lamp, that feebly lifts a sickly flame,
By fits reveals.—His face seems turned, to favour
The attempt. I'll steal, and do it unperceived.
What noise! Somebody coming? 'st, Alonzo?
Nobody? Sure he'll wait without—I would
'Twere done—I'll crawl, and sting him to the heart:
Then cast my skin, and leave it there to answer it.
[Goes in.


Gar. Where? where Alonzo? where's my father? where
The king! Confusion! all is on the rout!
All's lost, all ruined by surprise and treachery.
Where, where is he? why dost thou thus mislead me?
Alon. My lord, he entered but a moment since,
And could not pass me unperceived.—What ho!
My lord, my lord! what, ho! my Lord Gonsalez!

Re-enter GONSALEZ, bloody.

Gon. Perdition choke your clamours!—whence this rudeness?
Gar. Perdition, slavery and death,
Are entering now our doors. Where is the king?
What means this blood? and why this face of horror?
Gon. No matter—give me first to know the cause
Of these your rash and ill-timed exclamations.
Gar. The eastern gate is to the foe betrayed,
Who but for heaps of slain that choke the passage
Had entered long ere now, and borne down all
Before 'em, to the palace walls. Unless
The king in person animate our men,
Granada's lost: and to confirm this fear,
The traitor Perez, and the captive Moor,
Are through a postern fled, and join the foe.
Gon. Would all were false as that; for whom you call
The Moor, is dead. That Osmyn was Alphonso;
In whose heart's blood this poniard yet is warm.
Gar. Impossible, for Osmyn was, while flying,
Pronounced aloud by Perez for Alphonso.
Gon. Enter that chamber, and convince your eyes,
How much report has wronged your easy faith.
[GARCIA goes in.
Alon. My lord, for certain truth, Perez is fled;
And has declared the cause of his revolt,
Was to revenge a blow the king had given him.

Re-enter GARCIA.

Gar. Ruin and horror! O heart-wounding sight!
Gon. What says my son? what ruin? ha, what horror?
Gar. Blasted my eyes, and speechless be my tongue!
Rather than or to see, or to relate
This deed.—O dire mistake! O fatal blow!
The king—
Gon. Alon. The king!
Gar. Dead, weltering, drowned in blood.
See, see, attired like Osmyn, where he lies! [They look in.
O whence, or how, or wherefore was this done?
But what imports the manner, or the cause?
Nothing remains to do, or to require.
But that we all should turn our swords against
Ourselves, and expiate with our own his blood.
Gon. O wretch! O cursed, and rash, deluded fool!
On me, on me, turn your avenging sword!
I, who have spilt my royal master's blood,
Should make atonement by a death as horrid;
And fall beneath the hand of my own son.
Gar. Ha! what? atone this murder with a greater?
The horror of that thought has damped my rage.
The earth already groans to bear this deed;
Oppress her not, nor think to stain her face
With more unnatural blood. Murder my father!
Better with this to rip up my own bowels,
And bathe it to the hilt, in far less damnable
Gon. O my son! from the blind dotage
Of a father's fondness these ills arose;
For thee I've been ambitious, base, and bloody:
For thee I've plunged into this sea of sin;
Stemming the tide with only one weak hand,
While t'other bore the crown, (to wreath thy brow,)
Whose weight has sunk me ere I reached the shore.
Gar. Fatal ambition! Hark! the foe is entered. [A shout.
The shrillness of that shout speaks 'em at hand.
We have no time to search into the cause
Of this surprising and most fatal error.
What's to be done? the king's death known, will strike
The few remaining soldiers with despair,
And make 'em yield to mercy of the conqueror.
Alon. My lord, I've thought how to conceal the body;
Require me not to tell the means till done,
Lest you forbid what then you may approve.
[Goes in. More shouting.
Gon. They shout again! Whate'er he means to do,
'Twere fit the soldiers were amused with hopes;
And in the meantime fed with expectation
To see the king in person at their head.
Gar. Were it a truth, I fear 'tis now too late,
But I'll omit no care, nor haste; to try
Or to repel their force, or bravely die. [Exit.

Re-enter ALONZO.

Gon. What hast thou done, Alonzo?
Alon. Such a deed
As but an hour ago I'd not have done,
Though for the crown of universal empire.
But what are kings reduced to common clay?
Or who can wound the dead? I've from the body
Severed the head, and in an obscure corner
Disposed it, muffled in the mute's attire,
Leaving to view of them that enter next,
Alone the undistinguished trunk:
Which may be still mistaken by the guards
For Osmyn, if in seeking for the king
They chance to find it.
Gon. 'Twas an act of horror;
And of a piece with this day's dire misdeeds.
But 'tis no time to ponder or repent.
Haste thee, Alonzo, haste thee hence with speed,
To aid my son. I'll follow with the last
Reserve to re-enforce his arms: at least,
I shall make good, and shelter his retreat. [Exeunt.


The Same

Enter ZARA, followed by SELIM, and two Mutes bearing bowls.

Zara. Silence and solitude are everywhere!
Through all the gloomy ways and iron doors
That hither lead, nor human face nor voice
Is seen or heard. A dreadful din was wont
To grate the sense, when entered here; from groans
And howls of slaves condemned, from clink of chains,
And crash of rusty bars and creeking hinges:
And ever and anon the sight was dashed
With frightful faces, and the meagre looks
Of grim and ghastly executioners.
Yet more this stillness terrifies my soul,
Than did that scene of complicated horrors.
It may be, that the cause of this my errand
And purpose, being changed from life to death,
Has also wrought this chilling change of temper.
Or does my heart bode more? what can it more
Than death?
[To SELIM.] Let 'em set down the bowls, and warn Alphonso
That I am here—so. [The Mutes go in.] You return and find
The king; tell him, what he required I've done,
And wait his coming to approve the deed. [Exit SELIM.

The Mutes return, and look affrighted.

Zara. What have you seen? Ha! wherefore stare you thus
With haggard eyes? why are your arms a-cross?
Your heavy and desponding heads hung down?
Why is't you more than speak in these sad signs?
Give me more ample knowledge of this mourning.
[They go to the Scene, which opening, she
perceives the body.
Ha! prostrate! bloody! headless! O—I'm lost!
O Osmyn! O Alphonso! Cruel fate!
Cruel, cruel, O more than killing object!
I came prepared to die, and see thee die—
Nay, came prepared myself to give thee death—
But cannot bear to find thee thus, my Osmyn—
O this accursed, this base, this treacherous king!

Re-enter SELIM.

Sel. I've sought in vain, for nowhere can the king
Be found.
Zara. Get thee to hell, and seek him there!
[Stabs him.
His hellish rage had wanted means to act,
But for thy fatal and pernicious counsel.
Sel. You thought it better then—but I'm rewarded:
The mute you sent by some mischance was seen,
And forced to yield your letter with his life:
I found the dead and bloody body stripped—
My tongue falters, and my voice fails—I sink—
Drink not the poison—for Alphonso is— [Dies.
Zara. As thou art now—and I shall quickly be.
'Tis not that he is dead; for 'twas decreed
We both should die. Nor is't that I survive;
I have a certain remedy for that.
But oh, he died unknowing in my heart!
He knew I loved, but knew not to what height:
Nor that I meant to fall before his eyes,
A martyr and a victim to my vows:
Insensible of this last proof he's gone.
Yet fate alone can rob his mortal part
Of sense; his soul still sees, and knows each purpose,
And fixed event of my persisting faith.
Then, wherefore do I pause? give me the bowl.
[A Mute kneels and gives one of the bowls.
Hover a moment, yet, thou gentle spirit,
Soul of my love, and I will wait thy flight!
This to our mutual bliss when joined above. [Drinks.
O friendly draught, already in my heart!
Cold, cold! my veins are icicles and frost.
I'll creep into his bosom, lay me there;
Cover us close—or I shall chill his breast,
And fright him from my arms—See, see, he slides
Still further from me! look, he hides his face!
I cannot feel it—quite beyond my reach—
O now he's gone, and all is dark— [Dies.
[The Mutes kneel and mourn over her.


Alm. O let me seek him in this horrid cell;
For in the tomb, or prison, I alone
Must hope to find him.
Leon. Heavens! what dismal scene
Of death is this? The eunuch Selim slain!
Alm. Show me, for I am come in search of death;
But want a guide; for tears have dimmed my sight.
Leon. Alas, a little farther, and behold
Zara all pale and dead! two frightful men,
Who seem the murderers, kneel weeping by,
Feeling remorse too late for what they've done.
But O forbear—lift up your eyes no more;
But haste away, fly from this fatal place!
Where miseries are multiplied; return,
Return! and not look on; for there's a dagger
Ready to stab the sight, and make your eyes
Rain blood.
Alm. Oh I foreknow, foresee that object.
Is it at last then so? is he then dead?
What, dead at last! quite, quite, for ever dead!
There, there I see him! there he lies, the blood
Yet bubbling from his wounds—O more than savage!
Had they or hearts or eyes, that did this deed!
Could eyes endure to guide such cruel hands?
Are not my eyes guilty alike with theirs,
That thus can gaze, and yet not turn to stone?
I do not weep! The springs of tears are dried
And of a sudden I am calm, as if
All things were well: and yet my husband's murdered!
Yes, yes, I know to mourn! I'll sluice this heart,
The source of woe, and let the torrent loose.
Those men have left to weep! they look on me!
I hope they murder all on whom they look.
Behold me well; your bloody hands have erred,
And wrongfully have slain these innocents;
I am the sacrifice designed to bleed;
And come prepared to yield my throat—they shake
Their heads, in sign of grief and innocence!
[The Mutes point to the bowl on the ground.
And point—what mean they? Ha! a cup. O well
I understand what medicine has been here.
O noble thirst! yet greedy to drink all—
Oh for another draught of death.—What mean they?
[The Mutes point to the other cup.
Ha! point again? 'tis there, and full, I hope.
Thanks to the liberal hand that filled thee thus;
I'll drink my glad acknowledgment—
Leon. O hold.
For mercy's sake! upon my knee I beg—
Alm. With thee the kneeling world should beg in vain.
Seest thou not there? behold who prostrate lies,
And pleads against thee? who shall then prevail?
Yet I will take a cold and parting leave,
From his pale lips; I'll kiss him, ere I drink,
Lest the rank juice should blister on my mouth,
And stain the colour of my last adieu.
Horror! a headless trunk! nor lips nor face,
[Coming nearer the body, starts and lets fall the cup.
But spouting veins, and mangled flesh! Oh, oh!

Enter ALPHONSO, HELI, PEREZ, with GARCIA prisoner, Guards
and Attendants.

Alph. Away, stand off! where is she? let me fly
Save her from death and snatch her to my heart.
Alm. Oh!
Alph. Forbear; my arms alone shall hold her up,
Warm her to life, and wake her into gladness.
O let me talk to thy reviving sense,
The words of joy and peace! warm thy cold beauties,
With the new-flushing ardour of my cheek!
Into thy lips pour the soft trickling balm
Of cordial sighs! and re-inspire thy bosom
With the breath of love! Shine, awake, Almeria!
Give a new birth to thy long-shaded eyes,
Then double on the day reflected light!
Alm. Where am I? Heaven! what does this dream intend?
Alph. O mayst thou never dream of less delight,
Nor ever wake to less substantial joys!
Alm. Given me again from death! O all ye powers
Confirm this miracle! Can I believe
My sight, against my sight? and shall I trust
That sense, which in one instant shows him dead
And living? Yes, I will; I've been abused
With apparitions and affrighting phantoms:
This is my lord, my life, my only husband:
I have him now, and we no more will part.
My father too shall have compassion—
Alph. O my heart's comfort! 'tis not given to this
Frail life, to be entirely blessed. Even now,
In this extremest joy my soul can taste,
Yet am I dashed to think that thou must weep;
Thy father fell, where he designed my death.
Gonsalez and Alonzo, both of wounds
Expiring, have with their last breath confessed
The just decrees of Heaven, which on themselves
Has turned their own most bloody purposes.
Nay, I must grant, 'tis fit you should be thus—
[ALMERIA weeps.
Let 'em remove the body from her sight,
Ill-fated Zara! Ha! a cup? Alas!
Thy error then is plain; but I were flint
Not to o'erflow in tribute to thy memory.
O Garcia!
Whose virtue has renounced thy father's crimes;
Seest thou, how just the hand of Heaven has been?
Let us, who through our innocence survive,
Still in the paths of honour persevere,
And not from past or present ills despair:
For blessings ever wait on virtuous deeds;
And though a late a sure reward succeeds.
[Exeunt omnes.


THE tragedy thus done, I am, you know,
No more a princess, but in statu quo:
And now as unconcerned this mourning wear,
As if indeed a widow or an heir.
I've leisure now to mark your several faces,
And know each critic by his sour grimaces.
To poison plays, I see some where they sit,
Scattered, like ratsbane, up and down the pit;
While others watch like parish-searchers, hired
To tell of what disease the play expired.
Oh with what joy they run to spread the news
Of a damned poet, and departed muse!
But if he 'scape, with what regret they're seized!
And how they're disappointed when they're pleased!
Critics to plays for the same end resort,
That surgeons wait on trials in a court;
For innocence condemned they've no respect,
Provided they've a body to dissect.
As Sussex-men that dwell upon the shore,
Look out when storms arise, and billows roar
Devoutly praying, with uplifted hands,
That some well-laden ship may strike the sands;
To whose rich cargo they may make pretence,
And fatten on the spoils of Providence:
So critics throng to see a new play split,
And thrive and prosper on the wrecks of wit.
Small hope our poet from these prospects draws;
And therefore to the fair commends his cause.
Your tender hearts to mercy are inclined,
With whom, he hopes, this play will favour find,
Which was an offering to the sex designed.

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