Front Page Titles (by Subject) AMELIA - The Works of Voltaire, Vol. VIII The Dramatic Works Part 1 (Mérope, Olympia, The Orphan of China, Brutus) and Part II (Mahomet, Amelia, Oedipus, Mariamne, Socrates).
AMELIA - Voltaire, The Works of Voltaire, Vol. VIII The Dramatic Works Part 1 (Mérope, Olympia, The Orphan of China, Brutus) and Part II (Mahomet, Amelia, Oedipus, Mariamne, Socrates). 
The Works of Voltaire. A Contemporary Version. A Critique and Biography by John Morley, notes by Tobias Smollett, trans. William F. Fleming (New York: E.R. DuMont, 1901). In 21 vols. Vol. VIII The Dramatic Works Part 1 (Mérope, Olympia, The Orphan of China, Brutus) and Part II (Mahomet, Amelia, Oedipus, Mariamne, Socrates).
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The Duke of Foix.
Vamir, Brother to the Duke of Foix.
Thais, Confidante of Amelia.
Emar, Friend of Vamir.
SCENE, the Palace of the Duke of Foix.
This tragedy is founded on historical truth. A duke of Brittany, in the year 1387, commanded the lord of Bavalan to assassinate the constable of Clisson: Bavalan, the day after, told the duke it was done: the duke becoming sensible of the horror of his crime, and apprehensive of the fatal consequences of it, abandoned himself to the most violent despair: Bavalan, after giving him time to repent, at length told him that he had loved him well enough to disobey his orders, etc.
The action is transported to another age and country for particular reasons.
- Permit a soldier, in this seat of war,
- To steal a moment from the battle’s rage,
- And greet the fair Amelia; to the king
- Thy noble heart is bound, I know, by ties
- Of dearest friendship; long and faithfully
- Hath Lisois served the valiant duke of Foix
- Who holds thee here a prisoner: well I know
- The violence of his passion for Amelia,
- Foresee the dreadful consequence, and come,
- With all the warmth of friendship, to advise
- And to consult, to lay my heart before thee
- Perhaps ’tis not unworthy of thy notice.
- The seal of truth is ever on thy lips,
- I know thy firm integrity; whate’er
- Thou sayest, I shall believe.
- Know then, though long
- I’ve served the duke with most unwearied zeal,
- Through years of peril, and unnumbered toils,
- Yet could I ne’er approve the fatal league
- That bound him to the Moor, and took from France
- The noblest of her princes; in these days
- Of public discord, I have ranged myself
- Beneath no banners but what honor raised,
- And followed but the dictates of my heart:
- Not that, the slave of prejudice, my soul
- Is blind to all the errors of a friend;
- With grief I see the duke’s impatient warmth,
- The impetuous ardor of his boiling youth,
- I cannot shut my eyes against his follies:
- Ofttimes the torrent which I strive to stop
- Mocks my weak power, and throws down all before it;
- But he has virtues that will recompense
- His worst of faults: if we must follow none
- But perfect princes, whose unbiassed hearts
- Are free from every vice, and every weakness,
- Whom shall we serve? I love the duke; and yet
- ’Tis with regret I draw the hostile sword
- ’Gainst France: I wish he could be reconciled.
- If that could e’er be done, thy influence best
- Might reunite them: if he loves his glory,
- Sure this misguided prince will listen to thee.
- How fatal has his error been!
- In vain
- I’ve tried to bend his haughty spirit; oft
- Have I with harsh unwelcome truths attacked him,
- And sorely pierced his heart: but thou alone
- Canst bring him to his duty, and his king:
- That was my errand here: there was a time
- When on the fair Amelia I had placed
- My hopes of bliss; without abasement then
- I thought you might have listened to my vows;
- But heaven reserved thee for a nobler fate.
- Whilst I was absent, by the cruel Moors
- Thou wert enslaved; the happy conqueror came,
- The gallant Foix, and saved thee from their rage;
- His was the glory, his be the reward:
- His claims are strong, his youth, his rank, and power,
- His fame, and services, all plead for him;
- Amelia’s justice and her gratitude
- Must bind her to him: I have no pretence,
- And therefore I am silent; but if merit
- Could make thee mine, I would dispute the prize
- Even with the sons of kings, nor yield Amelia
- To any but to him: he is my master,
- My leader, and my friend; he loves me well:
- I am not a half proud, half virtuous lover,
- But what I still would litigate with power,
- I give to friendship; nay, I can do more,
- I can subdue the weakness of my heart,
- And plead a rival’s cause; point out the path
- Of glory to thee, show thee what is due
- To that illustrious hero who preserved thee,
- By whom thou livest: I can behold unmoved,
- And with unenvying eye, thy charms bestowed
- On him who best deserves them: take my heart
- Between you, and accept my honest service,
- This arm shall fight for both; I sacrifice
- My passions to your interest: friendship bids me,
- And I obey; my country too commands:
- Remember, if the prince is yours, he soon
- Will be the king’s.
- Thy virtues, noble youth,
- Astonish me; thou givest the admiring world
- A rare example; canst thou be sincere?
- And sure thou art so, thus to conquer love,
- And give up all to friendship! all who know
- Must wonder at thee: thou hast served thy master.
- And canst not be an enemy to mine:
- A heart so generous sure must think with me:
- ’Tis not in souls like thine to hate their king.
- Shall I then ask one favor at thy hands?
- Amelia’s orders shall be ever sacred:
- Command, and I obey.
- Thy generous counsel
- Hath urged me to accept a noble rank
- I looked not for, and offered by a prince:
- The choice, I own, does honor to Amelia,
- When I reflect, that, long before he told
- His love, he saved my liberty and life;
- Foe to his sovereign, though the rebel Moor
- Hath drawn him from his duty and allegiance,
- Yet he has poured so many favors on me,
- I cannot bear to hurt him, though, in spite
- Of all his goodness, and my gratitude,
- I must refuse him: his unhappy passion
- Afflicts me; ’tis distressful to my heart,
- For all his kindness thus to make him wretched.
- Fain would I spare myself the ungrateful task
- Of saying that I must not hear his vows:
- It is not for my feeble voice to tell
- A prince his duty; ’twere a dangerous power,
- And I am far from wishing to enjoy it;
- Who can direct him better than thyself?
- Alas! my lord, ’tis not a time for love;
- The royal army at our gates, and naught
- But war and slaughter all around us: blood
- On every side! himself against my master,
- Against his brother, now in arms; all these
- Are powerful reasons: O my lord, in you
- Is all my hope; forgive me; O complete
- The generous work, restore me to my king;
- Let him do that, ’tis all I ask; but add
- This effort more to what thou’st done already:
- Thou hast the strongest influence o’er his heart,
- A firm and manly soul, a friend like thee,
- Respected and beloved, will make the voice
- Of duty heard, his counsels will be laws.
- Alas! those counsels will have little weight
- Against the passions that possess his soul;
- His fiery temper gives me too much cause
- To fear him: he’s inclined to jealousy,
- And if he hears I had a thought of thee,
- ’Twill drive his soul to madness, and perhaps
- Undo us all: he must be soothed by art;
- Leave him to me, and try to reconcile
- Your jarring interests; weigh his offers well.
- Henceforth I’ll think no more of love and thee,
- But get me to the field, the soldier’s duty
- Shall there engross me: if thou lovest thy country,
- If France be dear to thee, restore her hero,
- And she will bless thee for the deed: farewell.
- Restore him, said he? what! at the dear price
- Of all my happiness! it cannot be;
- ’Twere infamous and base, the worst of crimes.
- But wherefore is the prince thus hateful to you?
- Why in these days of discord, war, and tumult,
- Whilst faction reigns, and of our royal race
- Brother ’gainst brother arms, and every hour
- Brings new afflictions, wherefore should Amelia,
- Whose gentler stars for other purposes
- Had formed her soul, to love and to be loved,
- Why should Amelia, with such sentiments
- Of scorn and hatred, meet a hero’s vows
- Who had avenged her cause? The prince, thou knowest,
- Amongst his ancestors can boast the blood
- Of our first kings, and is himself a lord
- Of rich domains, and wide-extended power.
- He loves you, offers you his hand: can rank
- And title, objects that are envied still
- By all mankind, pursued with eagerness,
- And gained with rapture, can these only fill
- Thy heart with sorrow, and thy eyes with tears?
- Because he saved me once, has he a right
- Now to oppress me? Must Amelia fall
- A victim to his fatal aid? I know
- I’m much indebted to him, would I were not!
- Thou shalt know my heart,
- My miseries, my duty, and my fate:
- I will no longer keep the secret from thee,
- ’Twere cruel to distrust thee; when thou knowest
- My story, thou mayst justify thy friend.
- I must not listen to the prince’s vows,
- For know, my heart is given to his brother.
- Yes, my friend:
- With mutual oaths we sealed our mutual faith,
- And at Leucate I expected him,
- There to confirm it at the holy altar,
- When by the cruel Moors that rushed upon us
- I was surprised, and made a captive; then
- The prince, to these unconquered savages
- In firm alliance bound, appeared, and saved me;
- There’s my distress: the life another saved
- Must be devoted to the faithful Vamir.
- But why then thus conceal thy passion? why
- Nourish a hopeless flame thou shouldst extinguish?
- He would respect this sacred tie, and check
- His fruitless passion.
- O I must not tell him:
- The brothers, to complete my sorrows, armed
- Against each other, have taken different parties
- In this destructive war; the faithful Vamir
- Fights for his king. Thou knowest the violence
- Of his proud rival: all I can oppose
- To his fierce rage is melancholy silence;
- Even yet he knows not that in happier times
- The gallant Vamir had engaged my heart:
- To tell it him would fire his jealous soul,
- And only make Amelia more unhappy.
- ’Tis time to quit this fatal place, the king
- With pleasure will receive me: let us hence.
- The prisoners, Thais, from these walls even now
- Are breaking forth, and meditate their flight:
- They will conduct us: I defy all danger,
- Will hazard all for freedom and repose.
- I cannot speak to him,
- The starting tear would soon betray me: what
- Would I not give forever to avoid him!
duke of foix, lisois, thais.
- [To Thais.
- Avoid me! fly me! Thais, stay: thou knowest
- My sorrows, knowest I love her to distraction;
- My life depends on her: but let her not
- Abuse her power, and drive me to despair:
- I hate her cold respect, her poor return
- Of gratitude to all my warmth of passion:
- Delay is cruel, ’tis the worst refusal;
- ’Tis an affront my heart will ne’er forgive:
- In vain she boasts to me her loyal zeal,
- Her fond attachment to her royal master,
- ’Tis time that all should yield to love and me:
- Here let her find her country and her king;
- To me she owes her honor, and her life;
- And I owe all to her, I owe my love:
- United as we are by every claim,
- We must not part, the altar is prepared,
- She shall be mine; go, tell her all is ready.
the duke, lisois.
- My lord, remember that our kingdom’s safety
- Depends on this decisive day.
- I know it
- And am resolved to conquer or to die
- Amelia’s husband.
- But the foe advances,
- And soon will be upon us.
- Let him come,
- I mean to fight him; thinkest thou I’m a coward?
- Thinkest thou the tyrant love shall e’er extinguish
- My noble thirst of glory? though she hates,
- She shall admire me still: she boasts indeed
- Her sovereign empire o’er my captive heart,
- But shall not blast my virtue and my fame.
- No: thy reproaches are unjust; my friend
- Was too severe; condemn me not unjustly,
- Love ne’er unnerves the gallant sons of France:
- Even from the bosom of success and joy,
- Fearless they fly to arms, and rush on death:
- And I too will die worthy of Amelia.
- Say rather, worthy of thyself: I think
- To-day of nothing but the public welfare;
- I talk of battles, and thou speakest of love.
- My lord, I’ve seen the army of the foe:
- Vamir, so fame reports, is armed against us:
- From us, I know, he hath long since withdrawn
- His valiant troops. I know him not, but hear
- He’s of a noble nature: if his soul,
- Inspired by duty, and by glory warmed,
- Still feels the tender tie that linked your hearts
- In earlier years, he may assist us now,
- And be the means of making wished-for peace.
- My cares—
- Away: I would not be obliged
- Thus to a brother: shall I sue for peace,
- And ask forgiveness? yet it hurts my soul
- To think that Vamir is my foe: I still
- Remember our past friendship, and the love
- I bore him once; but since he will oppose me,
- Since he’s no longer ours, why let him go,
- And serve his king.
- Thy fiery temper braves
- Too far the patience of an easy monarch.
- A monarch! the mere phantom of a king,
- Unworthy of his race, a royal slave,
- In golden chains, and seated on a throne
- Subjected to a petty officer:
- I’m not afraid of Pepin, their arch-tyrant;
- I hate a subject that would frighten me,
- And I despise a king who can’t command:
- If he permits a rebel to usurp
- The sovereign power, I’ll still support my own:
- This heart’s too proud to bend beneath the laws
- Of these new upstarts who oppress their king:
- Clovis, my royal ancestor, ne’er taught
- His sons to cringe beneath a haughty master.
- At least these faithful Arabs will avenge me;
- If I must feel a tyrant, let him be
- A stranger.
- You detest these governors,
- But they have saved our empire, which your friends,
- The Arabs, but for them had overthrown:
- I tremble at this new alliance: Spain
- Before you stands a terrible example:
- These savage plunderers, these new tyrants dig
- Our graves with our own hands. ’Twere better far
- To yield with prudence.
- What, fall down and sue
- For mercy!
- Your true interest long forgotten—
- Revenge is my first interest.
- Love and anger
- Too long have ruled the bosom of my friend.
- I know they have, but cannot conquer nature.
- You may, you ought; nay, I’ll not flatter you,
- But even though I condemn, I’ll follow thee;
- ’Tis a friend’s duty to point out the faults
- Of him he loves; to counsel, to exhort,
- To save him from the dangerous precipice:
- This I have done for thee, but thou wilt fall,
- And I must perish with thee.
- O my friend,
- What hast thou said?
- But what I ought to say:
- And would to heaven that thou hadst listened to me!
- What dost thou purpose?
- When my ardent hopes
- Shall be fulfilled, when the ungrateful maid
- Shall give sweet peace to my distracted mind,
- Then will I hear the counsels of my friend.
- What can I purpose now, or what design,
- Till I have seen the tyrant who must guide
- My future fate? let her determine for me,
- Let her save me, and I will save my country.
End of the First Act.
the duke of foix.
- She cannot sure again refuse to see me,
- And urge me to despair! she dare not do it:
- Fool that I am to give her thus the power;
- How weak is my proud heart to yield itself
- A voluntary slave! go, throw thyself,
- Mean as thou art, beneath the tyrant’s feet;
- Go, make thy life dependent on a word,
- A look, a smile, from proud Amelia; pass
- From love to fury, and from tears to rage;
- ’Tis the last time I e’er will speak to her.
- I go—
the duke, amelia and thaisadvancing from the upper end of the stage.
- There’s hope, my Thais; yet I tremble.
- Would Vamir hazard this bold enterprise?
- ’Tis full of danger; ha! what do I see?
- [Advancing towards the Duke.
- Amelia, what hath this way led thy steps
- I know not, but thy eyes too plainly tell me
- That I was not the object of their search:
- What! still turn from me, still insult the heart
- That dotes upon thee! cruel tyrant, thus
- To blast the laurels planted on my brow:
- O if Amelia’s hand had placed them there
- They might have flourished, but she has forgot
- Her plighted faith, and broke her flattering promise.
- Thou never hadst my faith, I never gave
- Thee promise, gratitude is all I owe thee.
- Did I not offer thee my hand?
- Thou didst:
- It was an honor which I could not merit,
- And which I never sought, but I received it
- With due respect; you thought, no doubt, a rank
- So glorious must have dazzled poor Amelia.
- At length, my lord, ’tis time to undeceive you;
- I do it with regret, because I know
- It will offend you, but I must be plain:
- In short, my lord, I love my king too well
- To think of wedding with his foe: thy blood,
- I know, is noble; mine is spotless yet,
- Nor will be stained with foul disloyalty,
- And I inherit from my ancestors
- The fixed abhorrence of my country’s foes:
- Nor will I e’er acknowledge for a master
- The friend of tyrants, be he e’er so great:
- Such is my firm resolve; perhaps, my lord,
- It may seem harsh, but you obliged me to it.
- This is a language, madam, which I own
- I looked not for; I never could have thought
- That angry heaven, to make me doubly wretched,
- Would choose Amelia for its instrument
- Of vengeance: you have studied long in secret
- The arts of black ingratitude, of scorn
- And insult, and now open all your heart.
- I was a stranger to this patriot zeal,
- This most heroic ardor for thy country,
- This fetch of policy; but tell me, madam,
- Whom have you here but this insulted lover,
- The injured Foix, to succor and support you?
- Thou hast reproached me with my new alliance,
- Those faithful friends on whom I here rely
- For all my safety, and for all my power:
- Without their aid thou hadst been still a captive;
- To them you owed your liberty and life,
- And am I thus rewarded?
- You prolonged
- My wretched days; but are they therefore yours,
- And may I not dispose them as I please?
- Did you preserve me but to make me wretched,
- To be a tyrant o’er the life you saved?
- Ungrateful woman, thou deservest the name
- Of tyrant most, for now I read thy soul,
- See through the thin disguise, behold too plainly
- My own dishonor, and thy treacherous falsehood:
- I know thou lovest another, but whoe’er
- He be that thus hath robbed me of thy heart,
- Fear thou my love, and tremble at my rage;
- For, if he be on earth, I’ll find the traitor,
- And tear him from thee: if amidst its horrors
- My soul could feel one momentary joy,
- ’Twould be to make thee wretched.
- No: my lord,
- Indeed it would not; reason will forbid it:
- Thy soul’s too noble to oppress with woe
- A life which thou hadst saved; but if thy heart
- Should ever stoop so low, thy virtues still,
- Thy goodness in my memory shall live,
- And only thy unkindness be forgotten.
- I pity, and forgive thee; thou wilt blush
- Hereafter at the thought of injuring me;
- Spite of thy threats, my soul is yet unmoved,
- Nor dreads thy anger, nor defies thy power.
- Forgive the transports of a mind disturbed,
- The rage of love embittered by despair;
- Lisois, I find, holds secret conference with you,
- Abets you falsehood, and defends your conduct;
- Leans to the royal party, and combines
- In vain with you to make a convert of me:
- It seems I’m to be governed by your will,
- And not my own: your converse is the same,
- The same your purpose; but why use these arms
- Against me? to persuade my easy heart,
- Why must Amelia seek a stranger’s aid?
- A word will win me, if ’tis spoke by love.
- My heart, I own, hath opened to thy friend
- Its hopes and fears, but he hath done much more
- Than he had promised: pity then my tears,
- Pity my sorrows, be thyself again;
- Subdue a passion which Amelia must not,
- Cannot return: accept my gratitude,
- ’Tis all I have to give thee.
- Lisois, then,
- And he alone, enjoys thy confidence,
- Thy friendship, more perhaps; I see it now.
- You may perhaps hereafter, but at present
- You have no right, sir, to control my thoughts,
- My actions, or my words; no right to blame me,
- Or to complain: I sought thy friend’s assistance,
- And he has given it me; I wish, my lord,
- That you would learn to act and think like him.
- ’Tis well: this base, ungrateful, perjured woman,
- Without a blush, confesses all her falsehood;
- The mystery is unfolded now: one friend,
- One only friend, I had, and he destroys me.
- Friendship! vain phantom, unsubstantial shade,
- So often sought for, and so seldom found,
- Thou ever hadst some wholesome draught to pour
- Into my cup of sorrow; but at last
- Thou, too, like love, hast cruelly deceived me!
- For the reward of all my errors past
- I have but this, that no allurements now,
- No flattering pleasures, henceforth shall betray me;
- For from this hour I will be fond—of nothing.
- But lo! the traitor comes with cruel hand
- To tear my wounds, and make them bleed afresh.
the duke, lisois.
- My lord, I come obedient to thy orders:
- But why that frown, those eyes of discontent
- That scowl upon me? has thy soul, long time
- The sport of passion, weighed in reason’s scale
- Thy interest, and thy happiness?
- My eyes are opened
- To falsehood and deceit; I’ve learned to find
- A rival and a traitor in my friend.
- Too much, my lord:
- Who is the traitor?
- Canst thou ask me who?
- Who but thyself was privy to the wrongs
- I have received, who else must answer for them?
- I know, Amelia hath conversed with thee
- Here, in the palace; when I mentioned thee
- She trembled: this affected silence speaks
- Your guilt more plainly, and I know not which
- Most to abhor, Amelia, or—my friend.
- Canst thou yet listen to that friend?
- Thinkest thou I still am anxious for my fame?
- Dost thou esteem, and canst thou yet believe me?
- I will: for till this hour I thought thee virtuous,
- And held thee for my friend.
- Those noble titles
- Have hitherto conducted me through life;
- But wherefore justify myself to thee?
- Thou’st not deserved it: know, Amelia’s charms
- Long since had touched my heart, before thy hand
- Had set her free, and saved her precious life,
- But by the ties of gratitude she’s thine;
- Thou hast deserved her by thy services:
- For me, I’m more the soldier than the soft
- And tender lover; I despise the art
- Of base seduction, fit for courts alone,
- And flattery’s smooth perfidiousness; my soul
- Is made of firmer stuff: I talked indeed
- Of marriage to her; and that sacred tie,
- Knit by esteem and fair equality
- Of fortune and condition, might have made her
- More happy far than rank and titles could,
- That stand upon a dangerous precipice:
- But yesternight, you know, I visited
- Your ramparts, when your jealous soul alarmed
- Discovered all its passion; I observed it:
- To-day I saw the object of your grief,
- Your loved Amelia, and beheld her charms
- With eyes of cold indifference: o’er myself
- I gained an easy conquest: I did more,
- Pleaded for thee, for an ungrateful friend,
- And urged a passion which I can’t approve;
- Recalled the memory of thy bounties past,
- Thy glory and thy rank, acknowledged faults
- I knew you had, and numbered all your virtues;
- All this against myself I did for thee;
- For my friend’s happiness gave up my own:
- And if the sacrifice is still imperfect,
- Show me the rival that still dares to oppose thee,
- And I will stake my life to do thee justice.
- My friend, thou soarest above me; I am fallen,
- Abashed, confounded: who could see Amelia
- And not adore her? but to conquer thus
- Thy passion! O thou never couldst have loved her.
- I did: but love, like other passions, acts
- With different force on different minds.
- I love
- Too well, my friend, and cannot imitate
- The virtue I admire: my foolish heart—
- I ask not for thy praises, but thy love;
- And if thou thinkest that I have merited
- Aught at thy hands, O do but serve thyself,
- Thy happiness is Lisois’ best reward.
- Thou seest with what determined hate thy brother
- Pursues the Moor, I dread the consequence:
- The people groan beneath this foreign yoke,
- Soon, I foresee, the empire will unite
- Their scattered powers, new enemies still rise
- Against us, the pure blood of Clovis still
- Is worshipped by the crowd, and soon or late
- The branches of this sacred tree, that long
- Have bent beneath the storm, again shall rise,
- Spring with fresh verdure, and overshade the land.
- Placed by thy rank and fortunes near the throne,
- Long time thou wert thy king and country’s friend;
- But in the days of public discord, fate
- Attached thee to another cause; perhaps
- New interests now may call for new connections,
- And what united may dissolve the tie;
- The power of these despotic governors
- May be restrained, and weakened by thy hand—
- I wish it were so; thinkest thou then Amelia
- Would listen to me? if I should embrace
- The royal party, might she still be mine?
- I am a stranger to Amelia’s heart;
- But what are her designs, her views to thee?
- Must love alone decide the nation’s fate?
- In Touraine’s field, when gallant Clovis fought,
- And, o’er the haughty conquerors of Rome
- Victorious, stopped the bloody Arian’s hand,
- That dealt destruction round us, did he save
- His country, thinkest thou, but to please a mistress?
- This arm against a rival is prepared
- To serve my friend, but I would serve him more,
- Would cure him of this fond, destructive passion;
- This love deceives us, we’re too fearful of him;
- We wound ourselves, and lay the blame on him;
- The coward’s tyrant, and the hero’s slave;
- He may be conquered; Lisois has subdued him,
- And shall he triumph o’er the blood of kings
- Who never yet submitted to a foe?
- Awake, my friend, and be our great example
- In every virtue.
- Yes, I will do all,
- All for Amelia; she must yield at last.
- Her laws, her king, her master, shall be mine:
- I have no will but her, and in her eyes
- Will read my duty, and my fate: possessed
- Of the dear treasure, will be reconciled
- To every foe. O how my heart enjoys
- The pleasing hope! I had no cause to fear,
- I have no rival; if thou art not loved,
- I can have none: who in this court would dare
- To cast one look towards Amelia? now
- Her vain pretexts are vanished; reason, glory,
- My interest, and my birth, the sacred right
- Of my great ancestors, all, all unite
- To bind the nuptial chain, and make me happy.
- Henceforth I am the king’s, and will support him
- So virtue bids, and beauty has commanded.
- On this blest day will I confirm the oaths
- I made to love: away, my friend, I leave
- My interest and my fortunes to thy care.
- Permit me, then, my lord, to seek the king:
- I could have wished that this important change
- Were to the hero, not the lover due;
- But be it as it may, the effect’s too glorious
- To blame the cause: I triumph in thy weakness,
- And bless for once the lucky power of love.
the duke, lisois, an officer.
- My lord, the foe advances; we expect
- A fierce assault, and wait your orders; time
- Is precious.
- Cruel fate! to counteract
- My noble purpose! then farewell to peace,
- And welcome, victory! I’ll deserve Amelia:
- I heed not these rash fools: of all the foes
- I have to conquer, there’s but one to fear,
- And that’s—Amelia.
End of the Second Act.
duke of foix, lisois.
- The day is ours; thanks to thy friendly hand
- That guided my rash youth; thy noble soul,
- In peace or war, is my best counsellor.
- The glorious fire that animates thy heart
- Must always conquer, when ’tis checked by prudence,
- As here it was: preserve this happy virtue,
- ’Twill make thee happy, and ’twill make thee great;
- The coward is restless, but the hero calm.
- How is the lover? can he ever taste
- Of sweet tranquillity? But say, my friend,
- This unknown chief, that mounted on our ramparts,
- And with his single arm so long suspended
- The doubtful victory: I grow jealous of him:
- Where is he? what became of him?
- By slaughtered friends, alone long time he stood,
- And braved opposing legions; but what most
- Surprised us, when at length he had escaped
- From every danger, wondrous to relate!
- He yielded up himself a prisoner to us;
- Conceals his rank and name, accuses heaven,
- And begs for instant death. One friend alone
- Attends him, and partakes his sorrows.
- Who can this bold, this fearless soldier be?
- He wore his beaver down: some secret charm
- O’erpowered my trembling soul when I opposed him.
- Whether this fatal passion that enslaves me
- Hath spread its weakness o’er each faculty,
- And left the soft impression on my soul,
- Or that my bleeding country’s voice alarmed
- This conscious heart, and silently reproached me.
- As for the weakness of thy soul, advice
- I know were vain, but sure thy country’s voice
- May still be heard; now is the time to show
- The greatness of thy soul, and give us peace.
- Fortune, that smiled on us to-day, perhaps
- May frown to-morrow, and thy pride be forced
- To sue for pardon to a haughty foe.
- Since thou art happy, and Amelia’s thine,
- Now rest thy glory on the common cause,
- This brave unknown may forward our designs;
- Let us improve the lucky moment.
- My friend, I will do all to serve Amelia,
- Her cause is mine: I must prepare the minds
- Of my brave followers for the change; to thee,
- And to thy happy counsels, every bliss,
- Glory and peace, and hymeneal joys,
- To thee I owe, to friendship and to love.
lisois, vamir and emarat the farther end of the stage.
- It is the noble prisoner, and his friend,
- If I mistake not: this way they advance;
- He seems o’erwhelmed with deep despair.
- O heaven!
- Where am I? whither dost thou lead me?
- Whoe’er thou art, be comforted; thy fate
- Hath thrown thee into noble hands: thou’lt find
- A generous master, who can see desert
- Even in a foe: may I not ask thy name?
- I am a poor abandoned wretch, the sport
- Of fortune, one whose least affliction is
- To be a captive, and from every eye
- Would wish to hide the story of my fate:
- It is enough to be supremely wretched,
- Without this cruel witness of my woe:
- Too soon my name and sorrows will be known.
- Respect is due to misery like thine;
- I will not urge thee further, but retire:
- Perhaps even here thy soul may find relief
- In generous treatment, and a milder fate.
- A milder fate! I must not hope for it:
- O I have lived too long.
- Thank heaven, my lord,
- That we are fallen amongst such noble foes,
- And shall not groan beneath a stranger’s power.
- No yoke sometimes so galling as a brother’s.
- But you were bred together, and the ties
- Of tenderest friendship linked your hearts.
- They did:
- But O the friendship of our early years
- Soon takes its flight: he loved me once, and still
- This heart retains a brother’s kindness for him:
- I cannot hate him, though he conquered me.
- He knows not yet how great a captive comes
- To grace his triumph; knows not that a brother
- Is in his power, whom vengeance had inspired.
- No: Emar, never did a thought of vengeance
- Enter my heart; a different passion swayed
- The soul of Vamir: can it be, just heaven!
- Or is it but the lying voice of fame,
- That my Amelia’s false, that she has broke
- Her solemn vows? for whom, too? added guilt
- To her, and double sorrow to thy friend!
- The sacred laws of nature, and the ties
- Of tender love, all broken, all betrayed!
- Unjust, inhuman brother!
- Knows he then
- How dear a treasure he hath robbed thee of
- In thy Amelia? did not Vamir say
- That he was still a stranger to thy love?
- But she is not: she knows what solemn ties,
- What strict engagements, bound us to each other:
- That at the altar, ere we had confirmed
- Our mutual vows, the barbarous Moor rushed in,
- And tore her from me; the base ravishers
- Escaped my vengeance, and my happier brother
- Enjoys the precious treasure Vamir lost
- Ungrateful woman! came I here, my friend,
- But to reproach her? what will it avail?
- She will not listen to my fond complaint:
- But to my royal master I have lived
- A faithful servant, and to false Amelia,
- And faithful will I die: when she shall know
- How well I loved her, she may shed a tear,
- And in a brother’s arms lament my fate.
- Repress thy sorrows; see, the duke approaches.
duke of foix, vamir, emar.
- This mystery alarms me:
- But I must see this noble captive: ha!
- He turns aside with horror.
- Hateful life!
- Must I support thee still? must I again
- Behold the faithless wretch?
- Alas! too sure I am that wretched brother,
- Thy vanquished foe, a poor abandoned captive.
- Thou art my brother still, and I forgive thee;
- But ’tis most strange, and most unnatural:
- Could the king find no instrument but thee
- To execute his vengeance on my head?
- What had I done to Vamir?
- Made his life
- Unhappy: would that thou hadst taken it from me!
- Dreadful effects of civil strife!
- More dreadful
- Are the deep wounds that pierce the heart of Vamir.
- Against another foe I might have shown
- A soldier’s courage, but I pity thee.
- Pity thyself, the wretch who has betrayed
- His country, and deceived the king that loved him;
- A traitor, and unworthy of thy race.
- Brand me not, Vamir, with opprobrious name
- Of traitor, lest I should forget myself,
- And spurn thee for the insult: no, my brother,
- I’m not that base, ungrateful wretch thou thinkest me;
- Thou seest me ready to restore fair peace,
- And heal the wounds of my divided country.
- Thou heal our wounds! thou—
- Yes: the day that seemed
- So fatal to thy peace shall quench the flames
- Of public discord, and unite us all.
- Of delight
- And joy, the day that crowns my wishes—
- Yes, Vamir, all is changed, and I am happy.
- It may be so: I heard indeed thy heart
- These three months past has been the slave of love;
- And if report say true, most violent
- And fierce thy passion.
- Thou hast heard aright;
- I love her even to madness: thou art come
- In happy hour to make our bliss complete.
- Yes: I will lay my friends, my foes, my every claim,
- Revenge and glory, all beneath her feet.
- Go, tell her two unhappy brothers, long
- [To his attendants.
- By adverse fate to different interests bound,
- Wait but a look from her to be united.
- [To Vamir.
- Blame not my passion, Vamir, when thou seest
- The lovely object, soon thou wilt approve it.
- And does she love thee? cruel thought!
- At least
- She ought: one obstacle alone remained,
- And that shall be removed.
- Inhuman brother!
- Knowest thou what led me to this fatal place,
- And meanest thou to insult me?
- Let us bury
- In deep oblivion every thought of discord;
- Behold, the fair Amelia comes.
duke of foix, vamir, amelia.
- O heaven!
- What do I see? I die.
- Amelia, listen,
- And mark how happiness ariseth oft
- From our misfortunes; this day I have conquered,
- And this day found a brother; thou, my Vamir,
- Shalt be a witness to the power of love.
- What nor Amelia’s prayers, nor her reproaches,
- My generous friend, my country, and my king,
- Long time in vain solicited, her charms
- At length have won: to them I yield submissive.
- Amelia, whilst I was thy sovereign’s foe,
- Thou wouldst not listen to my vows: henceforth
- I have no laws, no friends, no king, but thine:
- So love commands, and love shall be obeyed.
- Vamir, thou’rt free: be thou the messenger
- Of welcome tidings to the court: away,
- And tell the king I hasten to present
- His fair ally, the conqueror who subdued
- A rebel’s heart, and of a dangerous foe
- Hath made a faithful subject; changed by her,
- And her alone.
- ’Tis as I wished: my fate
- Will soon be known: speak, and pronounce our doom.
- Amelia, speak, art thou not satisfied
- With my submission? Is it not enough
- To see a conqueror thus humbly kneel
- Before thee? Can my life alone content
- Thy cruel heart? take it, ungrateful woman!
- I wished but to preserve it for thy sake;
- For thee alone I lived, for thee will die.
- I am astonished, and my faltering voice
- Will scarce give utterance to my words—my lord,
- If thy great soul laments thy country’s fate,
- And feels for her distress, thy generous care
- Must spring from nobler motives than the wish
- To serve Amelia; thou hast heard the voice
- Of powerful nature: what hath love to do
- Where only honor hath a right to dictate?
- ’Tis thy own work, Amelia, all thy own:
- O’er every interest, every passion, love
- Superior reigns; reproach me, cover me
- With shame, no matter: I must force thy heart;
- Come to the altar.
- No, my lord;
- I’d sooner die: my life’s at thy command,
- But not my heart: there is a fatal bar
- Between us, and I never can be thine.
- ’Tis well, ungrateful—dost thou hear her, Vamir?
- But I’ll be calm: I’ll not complain of thee,
- I see thee now: the soft persuasive arts
- That call our passions forth, the flattering hope
- That’s given but to betray, the subtle poison
- Spread o’er our hearts, deceitful all and vain,
- No longer shall seduce my easy faith,
- The eye of reason hath detected them,
- And the same art that bound hath set me free:
- I will not blush before thee, Vamir: no,
- I will not be despised: but let me see
- This hidden rival, bring him here before me,
- And I will yield him up the worthless prize;
- For know, I have contempt enough for both
- To wish you were united; that alone
- Should be your punishment.
- Perhaps, my lord,
- ’Twere fittest for Amelia to retire
- In silence, but I hold my honor dear,
- And must defend it: I have been accused
- Before thy brother, and must answer thee.
- Know, then, I’m destined to another’s arms;
- I own my love, my tender passion for him;
- Amelia were unworthy of his heart,
- Had she e’er given a distant hope to thee:
- But thou wouldst seize my faith and liberty,
- As if they were by right of conquest thine.
- I owed thee much, but injuries like these,
- My lord, discharge the debt of gratitude,
- And cancel all: I saw, and pitied long
- The violence of thy fruitless passion for me;
- Do not then make me hate thee: I rejected
- Thy proffered vows, but never scorned thy love:
- I wished for thy esteem, and gave thee mine.
- Perfidious woman! naught hast thou deserved
- But my resentment, which thou soon shalt know
- Is equal to my love: thou waitedst then
- For Vamir to be witness of my shame!
- I should have thought he was himself the traitor,
- If—but he ne’er beheld thy fatal charms,
- My happier brother never knew Amelia.
- Who is this rival? let me know his name,
- But think not I will tamely yield to him.
- No: I deceived thee there, but cannot long
- Dissemble; I will drag thee to the altar,
- There, as he dies in torment, shall he see
- Our hands united; I will dip in blood
- The torch of Hymen: well I know that princes
- Have been despised for mean and vulgar slaves,
- But I shall find him.
- Why shouldst thou suppose
- This rival so contemptible?
- And why
- Shouldst thou excuse him? Didst thou never know her?
- ’Tis dreadful to conceive it. If thou didst,
- Now, traitor, tremble.
- Vamir tremble? No:
- Too long already I have borne in silence
- Thy cruel insults; know me now, barbarian,
- Know a despair that’s equal to thy own:
- Strike here; behold thy brother, and thy rival.
- Yes: for these two years past
- We’ve been united in the strictest bonds
- Of tender love; the only good on earth
- I wished to keep, thy cruel hand hath strove
- To ravish from me, made my life unhappy:
- Judge of my miseries by thy own: we both
- Are jealous, both were born the slaves of passion:
- Hatred and love, resentment, and despair,
- Possess our souls, and all in the extreme:
- Thou wert my rival, therefore I opposed thee:
- Furious and blind, I ran, I flew to save
- The object of my love; not all thy power
- Restrained me, nor my weakness, time nor place,
- Not even thy noble courage; love prevailed
- O’er friendship, and the ties of blood: be thou
- Cruel like me, like me unnatural.
- Whilst I have life, thou never canst enjoy
- Thy conquest, never canst possess Amelia:
- Strike, then, and punish, shed thy brother’s blood;
- But when thou draggest her with thee to the altar,
- Remember, she’s thy sister, and my wife.
- Guards, seize the traitor, take him from my sight.
- Stay, cruel prince; art thou inflexible,
- Deaf to the voice of nature? O, my lord!
- Sue not for me, Amelia, Vamir’s fate
- Is to be envied: he most claims your pity
- Who hath betrayed his king, and injured thee:
- I am revenged, the victory is mine;
- For thou art hated here, and I’m beloved.
- [Kneeling to the Duke.
- O dearest prince, my lord, see at your feet—
- Away with him: rise, madam, for thy tears
- And fruitless prayers to save a traitor’s life
- But pour fresh poison o’er my wounded heart
- That bleeds for thee; but I will die, Amelia,
- Not unrevenged: when thou shalt feel my rage
- Accuse thyself; the work is all thy own.
- I cannot leave thee: O my lord, yet hear—
- If I must hear thee, speak, go on.
the duke, vamir, amelia, lisois.
- My lord,
- The people are in arms; at Vamir’s name
- They rose tumultuous, and on every side
- Disorder reigns; the affrighted soldiers leave
- Their colors, and in wild confusion fly:
- Meantime the foe unites his scattered powers,
- And rushes on us.
- Go, ungrateful woman!
- Thou hast not long to glory in thy crimes;
- Follow her—
- [To one of her attendants.
- I must to the factious crowd
- And show myself: thou, Lisois, guard this traitor.
- Art thou a traitor? couldst thou thus disgrace
- Thy noble blood, to violate the laws
- Of nature? could a prince so far forget
- His duty and himself?
- I never did:
- The people’s just: my brother is a rebel,
- And has betrayed his master.
- Hear me, Vamir;
- My soul desires no greater happiness
- Than to unite you: long have I beheld
- With deep regret my bleeding country’s woes,
- Our fields laid waste, and nature sacrificed
- To discord and revenge; the haughty Moor,
- Raised on our ruins, menacing the state,
- Which we have weakened by our own divisions.
- O if thou bearest a heart that’s truly noble,
- And worthy of thy race, now save thy country;
- Exert thy power to reconcile the king,
- Soften thy brother, and put out the flames
- Of civil war.
- Impossible! thy cares
- Are fruitless all and vain: if naught but discord,
- Revenge and hatred, led me to the field,
- Had glory and ambition fired my breast,
- Thou mightest have hoped indeed to reunite us;
- But there’s a bar more fatal still behind.
- What could it be! O tell me, Vamir.
- Love that has filled this breast with savage fury,
- And made my brother cruel and inhuman.
- Good heaven! that vain caprice should thus destroy
- The noblest purposes! Almighty love,
- Canst thou reverse the laws of nature, fill
- With unrelenting hate the jealous hearts
- Of fondest brothers, and in every clime
- By private passions work the public ruin?
- Vamir, I feel for both, but long have served
- Thy brother; I must hence, and second him
- Against thy factious friends: the strife is dreadful,
- And much I fear will have a bloody end;
- But I must fly to succor him: farewell;
- Thou art my prisoner, but I leave thee here;
- Give me thy word, that shall suffice.
- Would I could knit you in the bonds of peace!
- But much more to be feared than all thy foes
- And far more fatal, is the tyrant, love.
End of the Third Act.
vamir, amelia, emar.
- O Vamir, how the hand of heaven hath marked
- My life with sad variety of woe!
- The chance of war, that tore me from thy arms.
- Once more hath joined us; but, alas! we meet
- On mournful terms, meet but to part; my Vamir,
- Didst thou not say it must be so?
- It must:
- Thou seest me chained by honor’s laws beneath
- A rival’s power: my sacred word is given:
- Vamir may die, but must not follow thee.
- Thou who hast dared to fight, art thou afraid
- To flee from him?
- I am: my honor binds me:
- Take thou advantage of the general tumult,
- Which favors thy retreat: a guard attends
- To aid thy flight; heaven will protect thy virtues;
- Hope for the best.
- What can Amelia hope,
- When thou art from her?
- O but that day will be an age to me.
- Grant, heaven! my tears and terrors may be vain.
- The Moor, I know, thirsts for my Vamir’s blood;
- Thinkest thou thy brother will not give it him?
- He loves with fury, and he hates with rancor;
- His hatred, like his love, is in extreme:
- He is thy rival, and the Moor’s ally.
- I tremble for thee.
- O his impetuous passion knows no bounds!
- He must be taught to know them soon; the king
- Comes to avenge us; half his force already
- Throngs to the royal standard; if thou lovest me,
- Fly, my Amelia, from the impending storm,
- From dreadful slaughter, and the din of arms,
- And all the terrors of a bloody field;
- But, above all, avoid my furious rival,
- Whose jealous love despised, will turn to rage;
- Avoid an insult Vamir must avenge,
- Or perish in the attempt: my dear Amelia,
- Hope of my life, the only good on earth
- I have to boast, do not expose thyself
- To needless dangers, but retire in safety.
- Why wilt thou hazard then thy precious life,
- And stay without Amelia?
- When thou art safe,
- I shall not fear my brother; soon perhaps
- Vamir may prove his best support: to-day
- I am his prisoner, but perchance to-morrow
- May be his patron, and persuade the king
- To spare a rebel: to protect my rival
- Were noble triumph. Haste, Amelia, leave
- This seat of danger.
- Wheresoever fate
- Shall cast my hapless lot, I’ll carry with me
- My hatred and my love; ’midst every danger,
- In the wild desert, or the gloomy dungeon,
- In exile, or in chains, in death itself,
- Still shall I think of, still adore my Vamir:
- But O I cannot bear to live without thee!
- It is too much: thy griefs unman my soul.
- What noise was that? O thou hast staid too long!
amelia, vamir, duke of foix,Guards.
- I hear his voice; ’tis he: stay, villain, thou
- Who hast betrayed me.
- I betrayed thee not.
- Now satiate thy revenge, and take my life;
- Lose not a moment, for the hand of heaven
- Is raised against thee: tremble, slave, thy king
- Approaches: thou hast conquered none but Vamir:
- Thy master comes, take heed.
- He may avenge,
- But cannot save thee; for thy blood—
- O no,
- Amelia’s guilty: let Amelia die,
- And not my Vamir: I deceived thy guards,
- And bartered with them to assist my flight
- From hated slavery, and a tyrant’s power:
- Punish my crimes, but, O respect a brother,
- Respect thyself, thy own unblemished fame!
- He ne’er betrayed, but loves and would have served thee,
- Even when thy rage had doomed him to destruction.
- What crime has he committed? none, my lord,
- None but the crime of loving his Amelia.
- The more thou pleadest for him, the more his guilt:
- Thou art his murderer: thou, whose fatal charms
- Have poisoned all our happiness, and armed
- Our hands against each other, may the blood
- Of both fall on thee! now thou weepest; thy tears
- No longer shall deceive me: I must die,
- But Vamir first shall perish. Yet I love thee,
- Even yet thou mayest escape the fatal blow:
- Accept my hand, attend me to the altar,
- And seal his pardon there.
- Shall I be false to Vamir?
- Amelia, never let his threats o’ercome
- Thy noble faith, but love me well enough
- To see me perish: leave me to my fate;
- Now I shall fall triumphant: shouldst thou yield,
- Vamir must die by his Amelia’s hand.
- Guards, drag the traitor to the tower: away.
- And wilt thou make this horrid sacrifice?
- Pollute thee with the blood of innocence?
- Thou wilt not!
- Yes: to hate thee, and to die,
- Is all I wish; to see thee more unhappy,
- More wretched than myself, to shed the blood
- That’s dearest to thee, and to make thy days
- As full of woe as was that fatal hour
- Which hath destroyed us all. Away, and leave me;
- The sight of thee distracts me.
duke, amelia, lisois.
- From thy justice,
- And, that alone, I can expect relief.
- Help me to soften this obdurate heart:
- Assist me, Lisois.
- If thou listenest to her,
- Thou art not my friend.
- I call just heaven to witness.
- Hence from my sight: I loathe thee.
- Tyrant, go,
- For I abhor thee; spite of all thy rage,
- I thought a woman might at least command
- Some cold respect: but love, that softens all,
- Hath lost its tender influence o’er thy heart:
- I leave thee to thy rage; go, sacrifice
- Thy victims, amidst thy crimes be sure thou count
- Amelia’s death, and with it count thy own,
- For vengeance comes, and in thy punishment
- Unites us all; inglorious shalt thou perish,
- And unlamented. Die, inhuman savage;
- And may that hatred, that contempt of thee,
- Which now I feel, pursue thy memory,
- And after ages execrate thy name!
duke of foix, lisois.
- Yes, cruel prophet, I expect the doom
- Pronounced by thee, that discord’s fatal hand
- Shall seize on all, and join us in the tomb.
- Rage has o’erpowered him, and his senses fail.
- What says my friend? am I to suffer shame
- And insult thus; and shall my haughty rival
- Bear off the false, perfidious, dear Amelia?
- Wilt thou bear this, or waitest thou till the traitor
- Shall raise a powerful faction to enslave me?
- Too well I see, my lord, the royal party
- Hath spread sedition through the multitude,
- And shook their faith.
- Vamir lights up the flame:
- He has betrayed us all.
- I never meant
- To palliate Vamir’s crimes, for much I dread
- The fatal consequence; already France
- Is armed against us. If the people seek
- Their safety in rebellion, all is lost,
- Danger’s on every side.
- Prevent it; rage and love must be subdued;
- Then may we conquer all. We must be firm
- And resolute; avoid, or brave the storm,
- Do as thou wilt, my hand is ready still
- To aid my friend. This morning thou hadst thoughts
- Of treating with the king: if thou commandest,
- I’ll go, my lord, even now, and sue for peace;
- Or if we try the fortune of the day,
- The faithful Lisois shall attend thee still:
- There, if thou fallest, thy friend shall not survive thee.
- Alone I will descend into the grave:
- Live thou, to serve my cause, and to avenge me.
- My hour is come, I must fulfil my fate:
- Who wishes but for death, is sure to find it;
- But mine should come with all his terrors round him;
- I must have vengeance; and whene’er I fall,
- Will drag my rival with me to the tomb.
- What horrid thoughts are these!
- In yonder tower
- He is confined: ’tis under thy command,
- And thou didst promise, that whene’er—
- Of whom
- Speakest thou, my lord? a brother?
- No: a traitor,
- My worst of foes, a rival who abhors me;
- One who has robbed me of my dearest treasure:
- The Moor demands his head, and I have promised
- To give it him.
- Ha! promised to shake off
- The bonds of nature and humanity!
- Long since they had proscribed him.
- And to them,
- Thou yieldest his life?
- Not to their vengeance only,
- But to my own, which shall be satisfied.
- What is the Moor to me, or what my country?
- To love then you would make the sacrifice,
- And I must be the executioner.
- No: I expect not so much justice from thee;
- I am a wretch, abandoned and forlorn,
- Betrayed by love, deserted by my friend;
- But there are those who yet will keep their promise;
- Others, perhaps, may serve me, nor allege
- Such poor excuses for ingratitude.
- [After a long silence.
- I am resolved; and be it guilt or justice,
- Ne’er shalt thou say that Lisois hath betrayed thee:
- Thou art unhappy: Vamir is a traitor.
- It is enough; I love thee, and consent:
- There is a time for desperate extremes,
- When duties the most sacred must give way
- To hard necessity: at such an hour
- I cannot suffer thee to try the faith
- Of any heart but mine: success alone
- Must prove my friendship: soon shalt thou determine
- Whether thy Lisois loved thee, and was faithful.
- Once more in sorrow I behold a friend;
- Deserted by the world, in thee I find
- My only refuge: thou wilt not permit
- A haughty rival to insult my rage,
- To trample on my ashes, and enjoy
- My kingdom in the arms of my Amelia.
- I will not; but in recompense for this,
- I must demand another sacrifice.
- I cannot bear the Moor,
- Our insolent protector; cannot bear
- To see him lord it o’er thy noble subjects.
- I would not serve a tyrant, nor submit
- To shameful slavery for a poor support
- We do not want; ’tis in our power at least
- To die without him: leave to me, my lord,
- The conduct of this day, perhaps my service
- May claim it of thee: Lisois and the Moor
- Would ne’er agree: I must command alone,
- To the last hour.
- Thou shalt: I’ll give thee all
- Thou canst desire, let but Amelia feel
- Despair like mine, and weep in tears of blood
- Her treacherous lover: let me hear her groans
- In my last moments to delight my soul;
- And for the rest, ’tis equal all: to thee
- I trust my glory; go, dispose, command,
- Prepare thee for the field. I hope not now
- For victory, nor for honorable death;
- For what is honor to a heart like mine,
- Sunk in despair! O be the sad remembrance
- Of a false mistress, and a cruel rival,
- Buried with me in everlasting silence!
- Eternal night, if possible, should hide
- Such dreadful deeds: would death had closed our eyes
- Before this day of horrors; but I go
- To keep my word, and save my friend. Farewell.
End of the Fourth Act.
duke of foix, an officer.
- Perpetual misery! am I doomed to see
- Nothing but faction, treason, and revolt?
- Where are the rebels, do they mutiny?
- At sight of you, my lord, the crowd dispersed.
- On every side I am oppressed by Vamir;
- All hearts are his; my miseries are complete;
- But what hath Lisois done?
- His watchful courage
- Defends our ramparts ’gainst the foe.
- That soldier
- You brought to me in secret, has he done
- What I commanded?
- Yes, my lord: ere now
- He’s at the tower.
- ’Tis well: a common arm
- Will do it best, and execute my vengeance
- Without remorse: Lisois’ uncertain heart
- Was not to be depended on; methought
- He looked with too much coolness on my rage;
- We seldom try to mitigate a grief,
- Which we contemn: to other hands I’ll trust
- My great revenge.—Go thou, and fetch my standard,
- Let it be brought upon the ramparts to me:
- New dangers press, and for the field again
- We must prepare: let the same zeal inspire thee,
- And the same courage, imitate thy master,
- And learn of him—to die,
- [Exit Officer.
- Ere this ’tis done.
- A base, ungrateful woman dips my hands
- In brother’s blood, and leads me to the tomb:
- A guilty murderer, ha! what means my heart?
- I’ve nourished vengeance long; and shall I not
- Enjoy it now? I tremble: and a voice,
- Solemn and sad, cries from my inmost soul,
- Stop, Foix, he is thy brother, hapless prince,
- Call back the murderer: Vamir was thy friend.
- O sweet remembrance of our infant years,
- When in the days of innocence our hearts
- Spoke nature’s language, and imparted free
- Our mutual wishes! O how oft has Vamir
- Partook my griefs, and with a brother’s hand,
- Wiped off the falling tears! and shall I now
- Destroy him? O thou fatal passion, where,
- Where hast thou led me? sure I was not born
- This savage, this barbarian: Vamir yet
- Was guilty; Vamir robbed me of my life,
- In my Amelia: still I am unjust;
- He loved; was that a crime to merit death?
- Alas! nor time, nor war, nor absence, cooled
- Their faithful passion; still their guiltless flame
- In purest lustre shone, before my heart
- Was poisoned by the cruel draught of love:
- But Vamir braves my wrath, and is my foe;
- Deceives me, hates me; yet he is my brother.
- He should have lived, he was beloved, and happy,
- And only I should perish: I will die
- But as I lived, with honor. Pity melts me,
- Nature determines, and I will forgive him.
- ’Tis time—
duke of foix, an officer.
- Prevent a parricide: away,
- Haste to the tower, reverse my orders: go.
- And let my brother—
- What sayest thou!
- Run, fly, obey me.
- Near the gate this moment
- I saw a body covered o’er with blood,
- Carried in secret forth by Lisois’ orders,
- And much I fear—
- O heaven! my brother’s dead
- And I yet live: earth hath not swallowed me,
- Nor lightning blasted: a base murderer,
- Foe to his country, an unnatural brother,
- How love has changed me! what a load of guilt
- Have I to answer for! the veil’s removed;
- And now, alas! I know myself too well;
- I cannot be more guilty: O my brother!
- I feel I loved thee, yet I slew thee, Vamir.
- Amelia comes, my lord, and begs to speak
- In private with you.
- O I must not see her!
- Not for the world: I cannot bear it: no,
- She will avenge the murder in my blood:
- But let her come: I tremble to behold her.
duke of foix, amelia, thais.
- My lord, you have prevailed: and since that hatred
- (How can I call it by another name?)
- Which hath so long pursued me, now requires
- A brother’s blood, or his Amelia’s hand,
- Take it: the choice is made, and I am thine:
- Remember, I’m the purchase of thy guilt:
- Loosen his chains, and set my Vamir free,
- That I no more may tremble for his life,
- And I will give thee all, yield up my hopes
- Of happiness with him, and follow thee,
- Even to the altar; there the hand that gives
- My faith away shall punish all my weakness.
- Know, at the temple, where thy bridal vows—
- But thou desirest my hand, and that alone
- I have to give thee: ha! thou art silent: say,
- Is Vamir, is thy brother freed already?
- Gracious heaven!—remove my fears,
- Thy eyes are bathed in tears.
- What do I hear? didst thou not promise me—
- It is indeed; would it were not, Amelia;
- The cruel Lisois has obeyed my orders
- Too faithfully: O live, to punish me;
- Pierce this inhuman, this unnatural heart,
- That loved thee but too well: I killed my brother,
- But for thy sake: revenge on me the crimes
- Which but for thee I never had committed.
- [Falling into the arms of Thais.
- Vamir is dead, barbarian!
- And thy hand
- Shall shed the murderer’s blood.
- And is he gone?
- My Vamir—
- Spare me, spare me,
- I’ll not reproach thee; take thy sorrows hence,
- And thy repentance: let me but embrace him,
- And die.
- Amelia, thou hast too much cause
- To grieve, but O for pity take this life
- That’s hateful to me; but I’ve not deserved
- To perish by thy hand; but thou shalt guide—
duke, amelia, lisois.
- What would thy rashness do?
- [They disarm him.
- An act of justice:
- Punish myself.
- Wert thou his vile accomplice?
- Thou minister of guilt, thou hast obeyed me.
- I promised you, my lord, and I have done
- But what I ought.
- Thy stubborn virtue oft
- Hath checked my follies, and opposed my weakness;
- But when I bade thee be a murderer,
- And kill my brother, then thou wert obedient.
- When I refused but now to execute
- The bloody office, didst thou not employ
- Another hand?
- Love, powerful love, that chained
- My reason down, and swayed my foolish heart,
- Love pleads for me; but thou whose wisdom calms
- Each rising passion, whose unaltered soul,
- Firm and unshaken, I so oft have feared,
- So oft respected, that thou, thus unmoved,
- Shouldst suffer such a deed of horror; O
- ’Tis terrible!
- Since sorrow and repentance,
- Virtue’s best monitors, have pierced thy soul
- With just remorse: since, spite of all thy rashness,
- To save a brother’s blood thou gladly now
- Wouldst give thy own; ye both shall find a friend.
- Keep thou thy penitence.
- [To the Duke.
- Dry up thy tears.
- [To Amelia.
- This is a day of triumph. Prince, come forth:
- Embrace thy brother.
- [The Scene opens, and discovers Vamir.
- Can it be?
- vamir,advancing to the front.
- Again I see, again embrace my brother.
- O thy forgiveness makes my crime still greater.
- O noble Lisois, thou hast given me life.
- A base assassin raised
- His arm against Vamir, but I felled the traitor,
- And laid him breathless at my feet, then feigned
- That I had shed thy brother’s blood: I knew
- Thou wouldst repent, and wish the deed undone.
- This was a service I can ne’er reward
- But by endeavoring to be worthy of it:
- My crime sits heavy on me, and my eyes,
- Fixed on the earth, dare not look up to Vamir,
- And to the wronged Amelia.
- We would both
- Have served thee with our royal master; both
- Are still devoted to thee. What, my brother,
- Is thy design? O speak!
- To do you justice:
- To expiate, by the greatest punishment,
- The greatest crime that love and fierce resentment
- Could e’er commit: long I adored Amelia;
- Even when I gave her Vamir up to death,
- I loved Amelia: I adore her still,
- Nay, more than ever, yet I yield her to thee,
- And sacrifice my heart to make you blest.
- Take her, be happy, and forgive thy brother.
- Behold me at thy feet, with gratitude
- Warm as thy bounty, as thy love sincere.
- Permit me to embrace thy knees with Vamir,
- Accept our tenderest friendship, for thy goodness
- Has amply paid for all my sufferings past.
- No more of this, it doubles my misfortunes,
- And shows me but what happiness I’ve lost:
- But I will learn from you to follow virtue,
- My heart is yours: I’m now indeed thy brother,
- By thy example I will love my country.
- Let us away, and to the king relate
- My crimes, my sorrows, and thy happiness:
- Let Vamir’s zeal and Vamir’s truth be mine,
- Faithful to France, to friendship, and to thee;
- Foix shall deserve your pardon and your praise;
- Ye shall forget his follies and his crimes,
- And henceforth know him only by his virtues.
End of the Fifth and Last Act.