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Your calmer thought Will teach a gentler term.
Forbear this rudeness, And learn the rev'rence due to Turkey's queen: Fly, slaves, and call the sultan to my rescue.
Farewell, unhappy maid; may every joy
Be thine, that wealth can give, or guilt receive!
And when, contemptuous of imperial pow'r,
Disease shall chase the phantoms of ambition,
May penitence attend thy mournful bed,
And wing thy latest pray'r to pitying heav'n!
[Exeunt Dem. Asp. with part of the attendants.
(IRENE walks at a distance from her attendants.]
After a pause.
Against the head, which innocence secures,
Insidious malice aims her darts in vain,
Turnd backwards by the pow'rful breath of heav'n.
Perhaps, e'en now the lovers, unpursu’d,
Bound o’er the sparkling waves. Go, happy bark,
Thy sacred freight shall still the raging main.
To guide thy passage shall th' aërial spirits
Fill all the starry lamps with double blaze;
Th’applauding sky shall pour forth all its beams,
To grace the triumph of victorious virtue ;
While I, not yet familiar to my crimes,
Recoil from thought, and shudder at myself.
How am I chang’d! How lately did Irene
Fly from the busy pleasures of her sex,
Well pleas'd to search the treasures of remembrance,
And live her guiltless moments o'er anew!
Come, let us seek new pleasures in the palace,
[To her attendants, going off Till soft fatigue invite us to repose.
[Enter MUSTAPHA, meeting and stopping her.]
MUSTAPHA. Fair falsehood, stay.
What dream of sudden power Has taught my slave the language of command ? Henceforth, be wise, nor hope a second pardon.
Who calls for pardon from a wretch condemn'd?
Thy look, thy speech, thy action, all is wildness-
Who charges guilt on me?
Who charges guilt!
Ask of thy heart; attend the voice of conscience-
Who charges guilt! lay by this proud resentment
That fires thy cheek, and elevates thy mien,
Nor thus usurp the dignity of virtue.
Review this day.
Whate'er thy accusation, The sultan is my judge.
That hope is past;
Hard was the strife of justice and of love;
But now 'tis o'er, and justice has prevail'd.
Know'st thou not Cali? know'st thou not Demetrius?
Bold slave, I know them both—I know them traitors.
Perfidious !-yes—too well thou know'st them traitors.
IRENE. Their treason throws no stain
This day has prov'd my fondness for the sultan;
He knew Irene's truth.
The sultan knows it ;
He knows, how near apostasy to treason-
But 'tis not mine to judge—I scorn and leave thee.
I go, lest vengeance urge my hand to blood,
To blood too mean to stain a soldier's sabre.
IRENE, to her attendants.
Go, blust'ring slave-He has not heard of Murza.
That dextrous message frees me from suspicion.
Enter HASAN, CARAZA, with mutes, who throw the black
robe upon Irene, and sign to her attendants to withdraw.
Forgive, fair excellence, th' unwilling tongue,
The tongue, that, forc'd by strong necessity,
Bids beauty, such as thine, prepare to die.
What wild mistake is this! Take hence, with speed,
Your robe of mourning, and your dogs of death.
Quick from my sight, you inauspicious monsters;
Nor dare, henceforth, to shock Irene's walks.
Alas! they come commanded by the sultan,
Th’unpitying ministers of Turkish justice,
Nor dare to spare the life his frown condemns.
Are these the rapid thunderbolts of war,
That pour with sudden violence on kingdoms,
And spread their flames, resistless, o'er the world?
What sleepy charms benumb these active heroes,
Depress their spirits, and retard their speed ?
Beyond the fear of ling’ring punishment,
Aspasia now, within her lover's arms,
Securely sleeps, and, in delightful dreams,
Smiles at the threat'nings of defeated rage.
We come, bright virgin, though relenting nature
Shrinks at the hated task, for thy destruction.
When summond by the sultan's clam'rous fury,
We ask'd, with tim'rous tongue, th' offender's name,
He struck his tortur'd breast, and roar'd, Irene!
We started at the sound, again inquir'd;
Again his thund'ring voice return’d, Irene !
IRENE. Whence is this rage; what barb'rous tongue has wrong'd me! What fraud misleads him? or what crimes incense?
Expiring Cali nam'd Irene's chamber,
The place appointed for his master's death.
Irene's chamber! From my faithful bosom
Far be the thought-But hear my protestation.
'Tis ours, alas ! to punish, not to judge,
Not call'd to try the cause, we heard the sentence,
Ordain'd the mournful messengers of death.
Some ill designing statesman's base intrigue!
Some cruel stratagem of jealous beauty !
Perhaps, yourselves the villains that defame me :-
Now haste to murder, ere returning thought
Recall th' extorted doom.- -It must be so:
Confess your crime, or lead me to the sultan ;
There dauntless truth shall blast the vile accuser;
Then shall you feel, what language cannot utter,
Each piercing torture, ev'ry change of pain,
That vengeance can invent, or pow'r inflict.
[Enter Abdalla: he stops short and listens.
IRENE, HASAN, CARAZA, ABDALLA.
All is not lost, Abdalla ; see the queen,
See the last witness of thy guilt and fear,
Enrob’d in death-Despatch her, and be great.
Unhappy fair! compassion calls upon me
To check this torrent of imperious rage:
While unavailing anger crowds thy tongue
With idle threats and fruitless exclamation,
The fraudful moments ply their silent wings,
And steal thy life away. Death's horrid angel