Изображения страниц

Into such shapes, they fright me from myself;
I dare not think of them-

Enter Nurse.

Nurse. Madam, the gentleman's below.
Isa. I had forgot; pray let me speak with him.

[Exit Nurse.

This ring was the first present of my love
To Biron, my first husband: I must blush
To think I have a second. Biron died
(Still to my loss) at Candy; there's my hope.
Oh, do I live to hope, that he died there?

It must be so; he's dead, and this ring left,
By his last breath, to some known faithful friend,
To bring me back again;

That's all I have to trust to

Enter BIRON. [ISABELLA looking at him.]

My fears were woman's-I have viewed him all;

And let me, let me say it to myself,

I live again, and rise but from his tomb.

Bir. Have you forgot me quite?

Isa. Forgot you!

Bir. Then farewell my disguise, and my misfortunes: My Isabella! [He goes to her; she shrieks, and faints.

Isa. Ha!

Bir. Oh, come again!

Thy Biron summons thee to life and love;
Thy once loved, ever-loving husband calls-
Thy Biron speaks to thee.

Isa. My husband! Biron!

Bir. Excess of love and joy, for my return,

-I was to blame

Has overpowered her-
To take thy sex's softness unprepared:
But sinking thus, thus dying in my arms,
This ecstasy
has made my welcome more
Than words could say.

Isa. Where have I been? why do you keep him from me? I know his voice: my life, upon the wing,

Hears the soft lute that brings me back again,
'Tis he himself, my
Biron !

If I must fall, death's welcome in these arms.

Bir. Live ever in these arms.

Isa. But pardon me,

Excuse the wild disorder of my soul;

The joy, the strange, surprising joy, of seeing you,

Of seeing you again, distracted me

What hand of Providence has brought you back

To your own home again?

O, tell me all,

For every thought confounds me.

Bir. My best life! at leisure, all.

Isa. We thought you dead; killed at the siege of Candy. Bir. There I fell among the dead;

But hopes of life reviving, from my wounds,

I was preserved, but to be made a slave;

I often writ to my hard father, but never had
An answer; I writ to thee too

Isa. What a world of woe

Had been prevented but in hearing from you!

Bir. Alas! thou couldst not help me.

Isa. You do not know how much I could have done;

At least I'm sure I could have suffered all;
I would have sold myself to slavery,

Without redemption; given up my child,
The dearest part of me.to basest wants-
Bir. My little boy!

Isa. My life! but to have heard

You were alive

Bir. No more, my love; complaining of the past,
We lose the present joy. 'Tis over price
Of all my pains, that thus we meet again;
I have a thousand things to say to thee

Isa. Would I were past the hearing!


Bir. How does my child, my boy, my father, too? I hear he's living still.

Isa. Well, both; both well;

And may he prove a father to your hopes,

Though we have found him none.

Bir. Come, no more tears.

Isa. Seven long years of sorrow for Have mourned with me

[ocr errors]

your loss

Bir. And all my days behind

Shall be employed in a kind recompense

For thy afflictions-Can't I see my boy?

Isa. He's gone to-bed; I'll have him brought to you. Bir. To-morrow I shall see him; I want rest

Myself, after this weary pilgrimage.

Isa. Alas! what shall I get for you?

Bir. Nothing but rest, my love! To-night I would not

Be known, if possible, to your family:

I see my nurse is with you; her welcome

Would be tedious at this time;

To-morrow will do better.

Isa. I'll dispose of her, and order every thing As you would have it.


Bir. Grant me but life, good Heaven! and give the means To make this wondrous goodness some amends, And let me then forget her, if I can!

O she deserves of me much more than I

Can lose for her, though I again could venture
A father, and his fortune, for her love!
You wretched fathers, blind as fortune all!
Not to perceive, that such a woman's worth
Weighs down the portions you provide your sons:
What is your trash, what all your heaps of gold,
Compared to this, my heart-felt happiness?—
What has she, in my absence, undergone!
I must not think of that; it drives me back
Upon myself, the fatal cause of all.

Enter ISABELla.

Isa. I have obeyed your pleasure; Every thing is ready for you.

Bir. I can want nothing here: possessing thee, my desires are carried to their aim


Of happiness: there's no room for a wish,

But to continue still this blessing to me :

I know the way, my love. I shall sleep sound.

Isa. Shall I attend you?

Bir. By no means:

I've been so long a slave to others' pride,

To learn, at least, to wait upon myself;
You'll make haste after-

Isa. I'll but say my prayers, and follow you

My prayers! no, I must never pray again. [Exit BIROn.
Prayers have their blessings, to reward our hopes;
But I have nothing left to hope for more.

O Biron, hadst thou come but one day sooner! [Weeping.
-What's to be done—for something must be done.
Two husbands! yet not one! married to both,
And yet a wife to neither! Hold my brain-
Ha! a lucky thought

Works the right way to rid me of them all;
All the reproaches, infamies, and scorns,
That every tongue and finger will find for me.
Let the just horror of my apprehensions

But keep me warm-no matter what can come.
'Tis but a blow-yet will I see him first—
Have a last look, to heighten my despair,
And then to rest forever.-

BIRON meets her.

Bir. Despair and rest forever! Isabella,
These words are far from thy condition;
And be they ever so. I heard thy voice,
And could not bear thy absence; come, my love!
You have stayed long, there's nothing, nothing sure,
Now to despair of in succeeding fate.

Isa. I am contented to be miserable,

But not this way: I've been too long abused,

And can believe no more.

Let me sleep on, to be deceived no more.

Bir. Look up, my love, I never did deceive thee,

Nor ever can; believe thyself, thy eyes,
That first inflamed and lit me to my love,

Those stars, that still must guide me to my joys.
Isa. And me to my undoing: I look round,
And find no path but leading to the grave.
Bir. I cannot understand thee.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »