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We coine, bright Virgin, though relenting Nature
Shrinks at the hated talk, for thy destruction ;
When summon'd 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 enquir’d;
Again his thund’ring voice return'd, 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 hafte 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 accufer ;
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: be stops Short, and listens.
IRENE, HASAN, CARAZA, ABDALLA.
All is not loft, Abdalla ; see the queen,
See the last witness of thy guilt and fear
Enrob'd in death-Dispatch 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 filent wings,
And steal thy life away. Death's horrid angel
Already shakes his bloody sabre o'er thee.
The raging Sultan burns till our return,
Curses the dull delays of ling‘ring mercy,
And thinks his fatal mandates ill obey'd.
Is then your sov’reign's life fo cheaply rated,
That thus you parly with detected treason?
Should the prevail to gain the Sultan's presence,
Soon might her tears engage a lover's credit;
Perhaps her malice might transfer the charge ;
Perhaps her pois'nous tongue might blast Abdalla,
O let me but be heard, nor fear from me
Or flights of pow'r, or projects of ambition.
My hopes, my wishes, terminate in life,
A little life, for grief, and for repentance.
I mark'd her wily meffenger afar,
And saw him skulking in the closest walks :
I guess'd her dark designs, and warn’d the Sultan,
And bring her former sentence new confirm'd.
Then call it not our cruelty, nor crime;
Deém us not deaf to woe, nor blind to beauty,
That thus constrain'd we speed the stroke of death.
[Beckons the Mutes.
o, name not death! Distraction and amazement,
Horror and agony, are in that sound !
Let me but live, heap woes on woes upon me,
Hide me with murd'rers in the dungeon's gloom,
Send me to wander on some pathlefs shore,
Let shame and hooting infamy pursue me,
Let sav'ry harass, and let hunger gripe.
Could we reverse the sentence of the Sultan,
Our bleeding bofoms plead Irene's cause.
But cries and tears are vain; prepare with patience To meet that fąte we can delay no longer.
(The Mutes at the sign lay bold of ber.
Dispatch, ye ling'ring Naves; or nimbler hands,
Quick at my call, shall execute your charge;
Dispatch, and learn a fittes time for pity.
Grant me one hour, O grant me but a moment
And bounteous Heav'n repay the mighty mercy
With peaceful death, and happiness eternal.
prayer I cannot grant- I dare not hear. Short be thy pains. [Signs again to the Mutes.
Unutterable anguish ! Guilt and Despair, pale fpectres ! grin around me, And ftun me with the yellings of damnation ! O, hear my pray’rs ! accept, all pitying Heav'n, These tears, these pangs, these last remains of life ; Nor let the crimes of this detested day Be charg’d upon my soul. O, mercy! mercy !
[Mutes force her out.
Safe in her death, and in Demetrius' flight,
Abdalla, bid thy troubled breast be calm.
Now shalt thou shine the darling of the Sultan,
The plot all Cali's, the detection thine.
Does not thy bosom (for I know thee tender,
A stranger to th' oppreffor's savage joy,)
Melt at Irene's fate, and share her woes?
Her piercing cries yet fill the loaded air,
Dwell on my ear, and sadden all my soul.
But let us try to clear our clouded brows,
And tell the horrid tale with chearful face ;
The stormy Sultan rages at our stay.
Frame your report
your report with circumspective art; Inflame her crimes, exalt your own obedience ; But let no thoughtless hint involve Abdalla,
What need of caution to report the fate
Of her the Sultan's voice condemn'd to die?
Or why should he, whose violence of duty
Has serv'd his prince so well, demand our filence ?
Perhaps my zeal too fierce betray'd my prudence;
Perhaps my warmth exceeded my commission;
Perhaps I will not stoop to plead my cause,
Or argue with the flave that sav'd Demetrius.
From his escape learn thou the pow'r of virtue ; Nor hope his fortune, while thou want'st his worth.