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HASAN, CARAZA, MAHOMET, MUSTAPHA,
MAHOMET. Where's this fair traitress? Where's this smiling mischief, Whom neither vows could fix, nor favours bind ?
Thine orders, mighty sultan, are perform’d,
And all Irene now is breathless clay.
Your hasty zeal defrauds the claim of justice,
And disappointed vengeance burns in vain.
I came to heighten tortures by reproach,
And add new terrours to the face of death.
Was this the maid, whose love I bought with empire ?
True, she was fair; the smile of innocence
Play'd on her cheek-So shone the first apostate-
Irene's chamber! Did not roaring Cali,
Just as the rack forc'd out his struggling soul,
Name for the scene of death, Irene's chamber?
His breath prolong’d, but to detect her treason,
Then, in short sighs, forsook his broken frame.
Decreed to perish in Irene's chamber!
There had she lulld me with endearing falsehoods,
Clasp'd in her arms, or slumb'ring on her breast,
And bar'd my bosom to the ruffian's dagger.
HASAN, CARAZA, MAHOMET, MUSTAPHA,
Forgive, great sultan, that, by fate prevented,
I bring a tardy message from Irene.
Some artful wile of counterfeited love!
Some soft decoy to lure me to destruction !
And thou, the curs'd accomplice of her treason,
Declare thy message, and expect thy doom.
The queen requested, that a chosen troop
Might intercept the traitor Greek, Demetrius,
Then ling’ring with his captive mistress here.
The Greek, Demetrius! whom th' expiring bassa
Declar'd the chief associate of his guilt!
A chosen troop—to intercept-Demetrius-
The queen requested—Wretch, repeat the message ;
And, if one varied accent prove thy falsehood,
Or but one moment's pause betray confusion,
Those trembling limbs-Speak out, thou shiv'ring traitor.
Who? the dead Irene?
Was she then guiltless! Has my thoughtless rage
Destroy'd the fairest workmanship of heav'n!
Doom'd her to death, unpity'd and unheard,
Amidst her kind solicitudes for me!
Ye slaves of cruelty, ye tools of rage,
[To Hasan and Caraza.
Ye blind, officious ministers of folly,
Could not her charms repress your zeal for murder?
Could not her pray’rs, her innocence, her tears,
Suspend the dreadful sentence for an hour?
One hour had freed me from the fatal errour!
One hour had sav'd me from despair and madness.
Your fierce impatience forc'd us from your presence,
Urg'd us to speed, and bade us banish pity,
Nor trust our passions with her fatal charms.
What hadst thou lost, by slighting those commands?
Thy life, perhaps—Were but Irene spar'd,
Well, if a thousand lives like thine had perish'd ;
Such beauty, sweetness, love, were cheaply bought
With half the grov'ling slaves that load the globe.
Great is thy woe! But think, illustrious sultan,
Such ills are sent for souls, like thine, to conquer.
Shake off this weight of unavailing grief,
Rush to the war, display thy dreadful banners,
And lead thy troops, victorious, round the world.
Robb’d of the maid, with whom I wish'd to triumph,
No more I burn for fame, or for dominion;
Success and conquest now are empty sounds,
Remorse and anguish seize on all my breast;
Those groves, whose shades embower'd the dear Irene,
Heard her last cries, and fann'd her dying beauties,
Shall hide me from the tasteless world for ever:
[Mahomet goes back, and returns. Yet, ere I quit the sceptre of dominion, Let one justact conclude the hateful day-Hew down, ye guards, those vassals of destruction,
[Pointing to Hasan and Caraza. Those hounds of blood, that catch the hint to kill, Bear off, with eager haste, th' unfinished sentence, And speed the stroke, lest mercy should o'ertake them.
Then hear, great Mahomet, the voice of truth.
Hear! shall I hear thee! didst thou hear Irene?
Hadst thou heard a moment, Thou might'st have liv’d, for thou hadst spar'd Irene.
I heard her, pitied her, and wish'd to save her.
And wish'd—be still thy fate to wish in vain.
I heard, and soften’d, till Abdalla brought
Her final doom, and hurried her destruction.
Abdalla brought her doom! Abdalla brought it!
The wretch, whose guilt, declar'd by tortur'd Cali,
My rage and grief had hid from my remembrance :
Abdalla brought her doom !
Abdalla brought it, While yet she begg’d to plead her cause before thee.
0, seize me, madness—Did she call on me!
I feel, I see the ruffian's barb'rous rage.
He seiz'd her melting in the fond appeal,
And stopp'd the heav'nly voice that callid on me.
My spirits fail ; awhile support me, vengeance-
Be just, ye slaves; and, to be just, be cruel;
Contrive new racks, imbitter ev'ry pang,
Inflict whatever treason can deserve,
Which murder'd innocence that call’d on me.
[Exit Mahomet; Abdalla is dragged off
HASAN, CARAZA, MUSTAPHA, MURZA.
MUSTAPHA to MURZA.
What plagues, what tortures, are in store for thee,
Thou sluggish idler, dilatory slave!
Behold the model of consummate beauty,
Torn from the mourning earth by thy neglect.
Such was the will of heav'n—A band of Greeks,
That mark'd my course, suspicious of my purpose,
Rush'd out and seiz'd me, thoughtless and unarm’d,
Breathless, amaz'd, and on the guarded beach
Detain'd me, till Demetrius set me free.
So sure the fall of greatness, rais’d on crimes !
So fix'd the justice of all conscious heav'n!
When haughty guilt exults with impious joy,
Mistake shall blast, or accident destroy;
Weak man, with erring rage, may throw the dart,
But heav'n shall guide it to the guilty heart.