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That fires thy cheek, and elevates thy mien,
Whate'er thy accusation,
That hope is past;
Mus. 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? Irene. Bold slave, I know them both-I know them traitors.
Mus. Perfidious!-yes-too well thou know'st them
Irene. Their treason throws no stain upon Irene. This day has prov'd my fondness for the Sultan; He knew Irene's truth.
To blood too mean to stain a soldier's sabre.
IRENE, to her Attendants.
Go, blust'ring slave-He has not heard of Murza.
Enter HASAN, CARAZA, with Mutes, who throw the black robe upon IRENE, and sign to her Attendants to withdraw.
Has. Forgive, fair Excellence, th' unwilling tongue,
Irene. What wild mistake is this! Take hence with
Your robe of mourning, and your dogs of death.
Quick from my sight, you inauspicious monsters,
Has. Alas! they come commanded by the Sultan,
Irene. Are these the rapid thunderbolts of war,
Car. We come, bright Virgin, though relenting Nature Shrinks at the hated task, 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 inquir'd; Again this 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?
Irene. Irene's chamber! From my faithful bosom
Car. '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.
Irene. Some ill-designing stateman's base intrigue!
Then shall you feel what language cannot utter,
[Enter ABDALLA: he stops short and listens.
IRENE, HASAN, CARAZA, ABDALLA.
All is not lost, Abdalla; see the queen,
Car. Unhappy fair! compassion calls upon me
Abd. Is then your sovereign's life so cheaply rated,
Irene. O let me but be heard, nor fear from me
Abd. I mark'd her wily messenger afar,
Has. Then call it not our cruelty, nor crime;
Deem us not deaf to woe, nor blind to beauty,
[Beckons the Mutes.
Irene. 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 pathless shore, Let shame and hooting infamy pursue me, Let slav'ry harass, and let hunger gripe.
Car. Could we reverse the sentence of the Sultan,
[The Mutes at the sign lay hold of her.
Irene. Grant me one hour, O grant me but a moment, And bounteous Heav'n repay the mighty mercy With peaceful death, and happiness eternal.
Car. The prayer I cannot grant-I dare not hear. Short be thy pains. [Signs again to the Mutes. Unutterable anguish ! Guilt and Despair, pale spectres! grin around me, And stun 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.
ABDALLA, HASAN, CARAZA.
Safe in her death, and in Demetrius' flight,
Now shalt thou shine the darling of the Sultan,
HASAN to CARAZA.
Does not thy bosom (for I know thee tender,
Car. Her piercing cries yet fill the loaded air,
Abd. Frame your report with circumspective art:
Car. What need of caution to report the fate
Car. From his escape learn thou the pow'r of virtue; Nor hope his fortune, while thou want'st his worth. Has. The Sultan comes, still gloomy, still enraged.
HASAN, CARAZA, MAHOMET, MUSTAPHA,
Mah. Where's this fair trait'ress? Where's this smiling
Whom neither vows could fix, nor favours bind?
Has. Thine orders, mighty Sultan! are perform'd, And all Irene now is breathless clay.
Mah. Your hasty zeal defrauds the claim of justice,