PROLOGUE. The time has been when plays were not so plenty, And a less number now would well content ye; New plays did then like almanacs appear, And one was thought sufficient for a year: Though they are more like almanacs of late; For in one year, I think, they're out of date. Nor were they without reason join'd together; For, just as one prognosticates the weather, How plentiful the crops, or scarce the grain, What peals of thunder, and what show'rs of rain; So t'other can foretel, by certain rules, What crowds of coxcombs, or what floods of fools. In such like prophecies were poets skilld, Which now ihey find in their own tribe fulfill'd: The dearth of wit they did so long presage, Is fall’n on us, and almost starves the stage. Were you not griev'd as often as you saw Poor actors thrash such empty sheaves of straw? Toiling and lab'ring, at their lungs' expense, To start a jest, or force a little sense. Hard fate for us! still harder in th' event; Our authors sin, but we alone repent. Still they proceed, and, at our charge, write worse, "Twere some amends if they could reimburse : Bat there's the devil, though their canse is lost, There's no recov'ring damages or cost.

Good wits, forgive this liberty we take, Since custom gives the losers leave to speak. But if, provok'd, your dreadful wrath remains, Take your revenge upon the coming scenes : For that damo'd poet's spar'd who damos a brother, As one thief 'scapes that executes another. Thus far alone does to the wits relate; But from the rest we hope a better fate. To please and move has been our poet's theme, Art may direct, but nature is his ainn; And nature miss’d, in vain he boasts his art, For only nature can affect the heart.

Then freely judge the scenes that shall ensue,
But as with freedom, judge with candour too.
He would not lose through prejudice his cause,
Nor would obtain precariously applause.
Impartial censure he requests from all,
Prepar'd by just decrees to stand or fall.

DRAMATIS PERSONÆ. As originally acted at Lincoln's-inn Fields, 1697. Manuel

Mr. Verbruggen. Gonsalem.

Mr. Sanford. Garcia .

Mr. Scudamour. Perez

Mr. Freeman. Alonzo

Mr. Arnold. Osmyn

Mr. Betterton. Heli

Mr. Bowman. Selim

Mr. Baily. Almeria

Mrs. Bracegirdle. Zara .

Mrs. Barry Leonora

Mrs. Bowman.


Drury Lane.

Covent Garden.
Mr. Aickin. Mr. Holl.
Mr. Packer. Mr. Gardner.
Mr. Barrymore. Mr. Davies.
Mr. Wilson. Mr. Thompson,
Mr. Phillimore. Mr. Fearon.
Mr. Smith, Mr. Holman.
Mr. R. Palmer. Mr. Cubitt.
Mr. Fawcett. Mr. Macready.
Mrs. Ward. Mrs. Pope.
Mrs. Siddons. Miss Brunton.

Miss Tidswell. Miss Platt.
Attendants, Guards, &c.

[ocr errors]
[merged small][graphic]

SCENE I. A Room of State. The Curtain rising slowly to soft Music, discovers Al

MERIA in Mourning, Leonora waiting. ALMERIA rises and comes forward.

Alm. Music has charms to sooth a savage breast,
To soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak.
I've read that things inanimate have mov'd,
And, as with living souls, have been informd,
By inagic numbers and persuasive sound.
What then am I? Am I'more senseless grown
Than trees or flint? O, force of constant woe!
'Tis not in harmony to calm my griefs.
Anselmo sleeps, and is at peace; last night
The silent tomb receiv'd the good old king;
He and his sorrows now are safely lodg'd
Within its cold, but hospitable bosom.
Why ain not I at peace?

Leon. Dear madam, cease,
Or moderate your grief; there is no cause

Alm. No cause! Peace, peace! there is eternal cause

And misery eterual will succeed.
Thou canst not tell—thou hast indeed no cause.

Leon. Believe me, madam, I lament Anselmo,
And always did compassionate his fortune :
Have often wept, to see how cruelly
Your father kept in chains his fellow king :
And oft at night, when all have been retir'd,
Have stol'n trom bed, and to his prison crept,
Where, while his gaoler slept, I through the grate
Have softly whisper'd, and inquir'd bis bealth,
Sent in my siglis and pray’rs for his deliv'rance;
For sighs and pray’rs were all that I could offer.

Alm. Indeed thou hast a soft and gentle nature,
That thus could melt to see a stranger's wrongs.
O, Leonora, badst thou known Anselmo,
How would thy heart have bled to see his suff'rings!
Thou hadst no cause but general compassion.

Leon. Love of my royal mistress gave me cause,
My love of you begot my grief for him;
For I had heard that when the chance of war
Had bless'd Anselmo's arms with victory,
And the rich spoil of all the field, and you,
The glory of the whole, were made the prey
Of his success,
He did endear himself to your affection,
By all the worthy and indulgent ways
His most industrious goodness could invent;
Proposing, by a match between Alphonso
His son, the brave Valencian prince, and you,
To end the long dissension, and unite
The jarring crowns.

Alm. Why was I carried to Anselmo's court?
Or there, why was I us'd so tenderly?
Why not ill treated, like an enemy?
For so my father would have us'd his child.
O, Alphonso, Alphonso!
Devouring seas have wash'd thee from my siglats
No time shall rase thee from my memory;
No, I will live to be thy monument:
The cruel ocean is no more thy tomb;

[ocr errors]
« ElőzőTovább »