A Series of Plays in which it is attempted to delineate The Stronger Passions of the Mind, Volume One/Count Basil Act 3

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An Open Street, or Square.

Enter Rosinberg and Frederick, by opposite sides of the Stage.

Fred. So Basil, from the pressing calls of war,
Another day to rest and pastime gives.
How is it now? methinks thou art not pleas'd.

Ros. It matters little if I am or not.

Fred. Now pray thee do confess thou art asham'd.
Thou, who art wisely wont to set at nought
The noble fire of individual courage,
And call calm prudence the superiour virtue,
What sayst thou now, my candid Rosinberg?
When thy great captain, in a time like this,
Denies his weary troops one day of rest
Before the exertions of approaching battle,
Yet grants it to a pretty lady's suit?

Ros. Who told thee this? it was no friendly tale,

And no one else besides a trusty friend,
Could know his motives; Then thou wrongst me too,
For I admire, as much as thou dost Fred'rick,
The fire of valour, e'en rash heedless valour;
But not like thee do I depreciate
That far superiour; yea that god-like talent,
Which doth direct that fire, because indeed
It is a talent nature has denied me.

Fred. Well, well, and greatly he may boast his virtue,
Who risks perhaps th'Imperial army's fate,
To please a lady's freaks—

Ros.Go, go, thou'rt prejudic'd:
A passion, which I do not chuse to name,
Has warp'd thy judgement.

Fred.No, by heav'n thou wrongst me!
I do, with most enthusiastick warmth.
True valour love; wherever he is found,
I love the hero too; but hate to see
The praises due to him so cheaply earn'd.

Ros. Then mayst thou now these gen'rous feelings prove.
Behold the man whose short and grizzly hair
In clust'ring locks, his dark brown face o'ershades;
Where now the scars of former sabre wounds,
In hon'rable companionship are seen
With the deep lines of age; whose piercing eye,
Beneath its shading eye-brow keenly darts
Its yet unquenched beams, as tho' in age
Its youthful fire had been again renew'd,
To be the guardian of its darken'd mate.

See with what vig'rous steps his upright form
He onward bears; nay, e'en that vacant sleeve,
Which droops so sadly by his better side,
Suits not ungracefully the vet'ran's mien.
This is the man, whose glorious acts in battle
We heard to-day related o'er our wine.
I go to tell the Gen'ral he is come.
Enjoy the gen'rous feelings of thy breast,
And make an old man happy.[Exit.

Enter Geoffry.

Fred. Brave soldier, let me profit by the chance
That led me here; I've heard of thy exploits.

Geof. Ah! then you have but heard an ancient tale,
Which has been long forgotten.

Fred. But true it is, and should not be forgotten;
Tho' Gen'rals, jealous of their soldiers' fame,
May dash it with neglect.

Geof. There are, perhaps, who may be so ungen'rous.

Fred. Perhaps, sayst thou? in very truth there are;
How art thou else rewarded with neglect,
Whilst many a paltry fellow in thy corps
Has been promoted? it is ever thus.
Serv'd not Mardini in your company?
He was, tho' honour'd with a valiant name,
To those who knew him well, a paltry soldier.

Geof. Your pardon, Sir, we did esteem him much,
Although inferiour to his gallant friend,
The brave Sebastian.

Fred.The brave Sebastian!
He was, as I am told, a learned coxcomb,
And lov'd a goose-quill better than a sword.
What, dost thou call him brave?
Thou, who dost bear about that war-worn trunk,
Like an old target, hack'd and rough with wounds,
Whilst, after all his mighty battles, he
Was with a smooth skin in his coffin laid,
Unblemish'd with a scar.

Geof. His duty call'd not to such desp'rate service;
For I have fought where few alive remain'd,
And none unscath'd; where but a few remain'd.
Thus marr'd, and mangl'd. (Shewing his wounds.)
As belike you've seen,
O'summer nights, around th'evening lamp,
Some wretched moths, wingless, and half-consum'd,
Just feebly crawling o'er their heaps of dead—
In Savoy, on a small, tho' desp'rate post,
Of full three hundred goodly, chosen men,
But twelve were left, and right dear friends were we
Forever after. They are all dead now,
I'm old and lonely—we were valiant hearts—
Fred'rick Dewalter would have stopp'd a breach
Against the devil himself. I'm lonely now.

Fred. I'm sorry for thee. Hang ungrateful chiefs!
Why art thou not promoted?

Geof. After that battle, where my happy fate
Had led me to fulfil a glorious part,
Chaf'd with the gibing insults of a slave,

The worthless fav'rite of a great man's fav'rlte,
I rashly did affront; our cautious prince,
With narrow policy dependant made,
Dar'd not, as I am told, promote me then,
And now he is asham'd, or has forgot it.

Fred. Fye, fye upon it! let him be asham'd!
Here is a trifle for thee—(offering him money)

Geof.No, good sir,
I have enough to live as poor men do.
When I'm in want I'll thankfully receive
Because I'm poor, but not because I'm brave,

Fred. You're proud, old soldier—

Geof.No, I am not proud;
For if I were, methinks I'd be morose,
And willing to depreciate other men.

Enter Rosinberg.

Ros. (clapping Geof. on the shoulder.) How goes it with thee now, my good Field-marshal?

Geof. The better that I see your honour well,
And in the humour to be merry with me.

Ros. 'Faith, by my sword. I've rightly nam'd thee too;
What is a good Field-marshal, but a man
Whose gen'rous courage and undaunted mind,
Doth marshal others on in glory's way?
Thou art not one by princely favour dubb'd,
But one of nature's making.

Geof. You shew, my lord, such pleasant courtesy,
I know not how—

Ros.But see, the Gen'ral comes.

Enter Basil.

Ros. (pointing to Geof.) Behold the worthy vet'ran.

Bas. (taking him by the hand.) Brave, hon'rable man, your worth I know,

And greet it with a brother-soldier's love.

Geof. (taking away his hand in confusion.) My Gen'ral, this is too much, too much honour.

Bas. (taking his hand again.)
No valiant soldier, I must have it so.

Geof. My humble state agrees not with such honour.

Bas. Confound thy state! it is no part of thee:
Let mean souls, highly rank'd, look down on thee;
As the poor dwarf, perch'd on a pedestal,
O'erlooks the giant. 'Tis not worth a thought.
Art thou not Geoftry of the tenth brigade,
Whose warlike feats child, maid, and matron know?
And oft, cross-elbow'd, o'er his nightly bowl,
The jolly toper to his comrade tells.
Whose glorious feats of war, by cottage door,
The ancient soldier tracing in the sand
The many movements of the varied field,
In warlike terms to list'ning swains relate;
Whose bosoms glowing at the wond'rous tale,
First learn to scorn the hind's inglorious life.
Shame seize me if I would not rather be
The man thou art, than court-created chief,
Known only by the dates of his promotion.

Geof. Ah! would I were, would I were young again,
To fight beneath your standard, noble gen'ral!
Methinks what I have done were but a jest,
Ay, but a jest to what I now should do,
Were I again the man that I have been.
O! I could fight!

Bas.And wouldst thou fight for me?

Geof. Ay, to the death!

Bas. Then come brave man, and be my champion still;
The sight of thee will fire my soldiers' breasts.
Come, noble vet'ran, thou shalt fight for me.
[Exit with Geoffry.

Fred. What does be mean to do?

Ros.We'll know ere long.

Fred. Our gen'ral bears it with a careless face
For one so wise.

Ros.A careless face! on what?

Fred. Now feign not ignorance, we know it all.
News which have spread in whispers from the court,
Since last night's messenger arriv'd from Milan.

Ros. As I'm an honest man I know it not!

Fred. 'Tis said the rival armies are so near,
A battle must immediately ensue.

Ros. It cannot be. Our gen'ral knows it not.
The Duke is of our side, an ally sworn,
And had such messenger to Mantua come,
He would have been appriz'd upon the instant.
It cannot be, it is some idle tale.

Fred. So may it prove till we have join'd them too,

Then heaven grant they may be nearer still;
For O! my soul for war and danger pants,
As doth the noble lion for his prey.
My soul delights in battle.

Ros. Upon my simple word, I'd rather see
A score of friendly fellows shaking hands,
Than all the world in arms. Hast thou no fear?

Fred. What dost thou mean?

Ros.Hast thou no fear of death?

Fred. Fear is a name for something in the mind,
But what, from inward sense I cannot tell.
I could as little anxious march to battle,
As when a boy to childish games I ran.

Ros. Then as much virtue hast thou in thy valour,
As when a child thou hadst in childish play.
The brave man is not he who feels no fear,
For that were stupid and irrational,
But he, whose noble soul its fear subdues,
And bravely dares the danger nature shrinks from.
As for your youth, whom blood and blows delight,
Away with them! there is not in the crew
One valiant spirit.—Ha! what sound is this?
(shouting is heard without.)

Fred. The soldiers shout; I'll run and learn the cause.

Ros. But tell me first, how didst thou love the vet'ran?

Fred. He is too proud; he was displeas'd with me
Because! offer'd him a little sum.

Ros. What money! O! most gen'rous noble spirit!

Noble rewarder of superiour worth!
A halfpenny for Bellisarius!
But hark! they shout again—here comes Valtomer.
(Shouting heard without.)

Enter Valtomer.

What does this shouting mean?

Valt. O! I have seen a sight, a glorious sight!
Thou wouldst have smil'd to see it.

Ros. How smile? methinks thine eyes are wet with tears.

Valt. (passing the back of his hand across his eyes.)
'Faith so they are; well, well, but I smil'd too,
You heard the shouting,

Ros. and Fred.Yes.

Valt. O! had you seen it!
Drawn out in goodly ranks, there stood our troops;
Here, in the graceful state of manly youth,
His dark face brighten'd with a gen'rous smile,
Which to his eyes such flashing lustre gave,
As tho' his soul, like an unsheathed sword,
Had thro' them gleam'd,, our noble gen'ral stood;
And to his soldiers, with heart-moving words,
The vet'ran shewing, his brave deeds rehears'd;
Who by his side stood like a storm-scath'd oak,
Beneath the shelter of some noble tree,
In the green honours of its youthful prime.

Ros. How look'd the vet'ran?

Valt.O! I cannot tell thee!
At first he bore it up with chearful looks,
As one who fain would wear his honours bravely,

And greet the soldiers with a comrade's face;
But when Count Basil in such moving speech
Told o'er his actions past, and bad his troops
Great deeds to emulate, his count'nance chang'd:
High-heav'd his manly breast, as it had been
By inward strong emotion half convuls'd;
Trembled his neither lip; he shed some tears.
The gen'ral paus'd, the soldiers shouted loud;
Then hastily he brush'd the drops away,
And wav'd his hand, and clear'd his tear-chok'd voice,
As tho' he would some grateful answer make;
When back with double force the whelming tide
Of passion came; high o'er his hoary head
His arm he toss'd, and heedless of respect,
In Basil's bosom hid his aged face,
Sobbing aloud. From the admiring ranks
A cry arose; still louder shouts resound.
I felt a sudden tightness grasp my throat
As it would strangle me; such as I felt,
I knew it well, some twenty years ago,
When my good father shed his blessing on me.
I hate to weep, and so I came away.

Ros. (giving Volt. his hand.)
And there, take thou my blessing for the tale.
Hark! how they shout again! 'tis nearer now.
This way they march.

Martial Musick heard. Enter Soldiers marching in order, hearing Geoffry in triumph on their shoulders. After them enter Basil; the whole preceded by a band of musick. They cross over the Stage, are joined by Ros. &c. and Exeunt.


Enter Gauriecio and a Gentleman, talking as they enter.

Gaur. So slight a tie as this we cannot trust,
One day her influence may detain him here,
But love a feeble agent will be found
With the ambitious.

Gent. And so you think this boyish odd conceit
Of bearing home in triumph with his troops
That aged soldier, will your purpose serve?

Gaur. Yes, I will make it serve; for tho' my prince
Is little scrupulous of right and wrong,
I have possess'd his mind, as tho' it were
A flagrant insult on his princely state
To honour thus the man he has neglected;
Which makes him relish, with a keener taste,
My purpos'd scheme. Come let us fall to work,
With all their warm heroick feelings rous'd,
We'll spirit up his troops to mutiny,
Which must retard, perhaps undo him quite.
Thanks to his childish love, which has so well
Procur'd us time to tamper with the fools.

Gent. Ah! but those feelings he has wak'd within them,
Are gen'rous feelings, and endear himself.

Gaur. It matters not; tho' gen'rous in their nature,
They yet may serve a most ungen'rous end;

And he who teaches men to think, tho' nobly,
Doth raise within their minds a busy judge
To scan his actions. Send thine agents forth,
And sound it in their ears how much Count Basil
Affects all difficult and desp'rate service,
To raise his fortunes by some daring stroke;
And unto the Emperour pledg'd his word,
To make his troops all dreadful hazards brave:
For which intent he fills their simple minds
With idle tales of glory and renown;
Using their warm attachment to himself
For most unworthy ends.
This is the busy time, go forth my friend;
Mix with the soldiers, now in jolly groups
Around their ev'ning cups. There, spare no cost.
(gives him a purse.)
Observe their words, see how the poison takes,
And then return again.

Gent.I will, my lord.
[Exeunt severally.


A Suite of grand Apartments, with their wide doors thrown open, lighted up with lamps, and filed with company in masks. Enter several masks, and pass through the first apartment to the other rooms. Then enter Basil in the disguise of a wounded soldier.

Bas. (alone.) Now am I in the region of delight!
Within the blessed compass of these walls
She is; the gay light of those blazing lamps

Doth shine upon her, and this painted floor
Is with her footsteps press'd. E'en now perhaps
Amidst that motley rout she plays her part.
There will I go; she cannot be conceal'd,
For but the flowing of her graceful robe
Will soon betray the lovely form that wears it,
Tho' in a thousand masks. Ye homely weeds,—
(looking at his habit.)
Which half conceal, and half declare my state,
Beneath your kind disguise, O! let me prosper,
And boldly take the privilege ye give.
Follow her mazy steps, croud by her side;
Thus, near her face my list'ning ear incline,
And feel her soft breath fan my glowing cheek;
Her fair hand seize, yea press it closely too;
May it not be e'en so? by heav'n it shall!
This once, O! serve me well, and ever after
Ye shall be treasur'd like a monarch's robes;
Lodg'd in my chamber, near my pillow kept;
And oft with midnight lamp I'll visit ye,
And gazing wistfully, this night recall,
With all its past delights.—But yonder moves
A slender form, dress'd in an azure robe;
It moves not like the rest—it must be she.

(Goes hastily into another apartment, and mixes with the masks.)

Enter Rosinberg fantastically dressed, with a willow upon his head, and scraps of sonnets, and torn letters fluttering round his neck; pursued by a group of masks from one of the inner apartments, who hoot at him, and push him about as he enters.

1st Mask. Away, thou art a saucy jeering knave,
And fain wouldst make a jest of all true love.

Ros. Nay, gentle ladies, do not buffet me;
I am a right true servant of the fair;
And as this woeful chaplet on my brow,
And these tear-blotted sonnets would denote,
A poor abandon'd lover out of place;
With any mistress ready to engage,
Who will enlist me in her loving service.
Of a convenient kind my talents are,
And to all various humours may be shap'd.

2d Mask. What canst thou do?

3d Mask.Ay, what besides offending?

Ros. O! I can sigh so deeply, look so sad;
Pale out a piteous tale on bended knee;
Groan like a ghost, so very wretched be,
As would delight a tender lady's heart
But to behold.

1st Mask.Poo, poo, insipid fool!

Ros. But should my lady brisker mettle own,
And tire of all those gentle dear delights,
Such pretty little quarrels I'd invent—
As whether such a fair-one (some dear friend!)
Whose squirrel's tail was pinch'd, or the soft maid,
With fav'rite lap-dog of a surfeit sick,
Have greatest cause of delicate distress:
Or whether—

1st Mask.Go, thou art too bad indeed!
(aside.) How could he know I quarrell'd with the Count?

2d Mask. Wilt thou do nothing for thy lady's fame?

Ros. Yes, lovely shepherdess, on ev'ry tree,
I'll carve her name, with true-love garlands bound.
Write madrigals upon her roseate cheeks,
Odes to her eye, 'faith ev'ry wart and mole
That spots her snowy skin, shall have its sonnet!
I'll make love-posies for her thimble's edge,
Rather than please her not.

3d Mask. But for her sake what dangers wilt thou brave?

Ros. In truth, fair Nun, I stomach dangers less
Than other service, and were something loth
To storm a convent's walls for one dear glance;
But if she'll wisely manage this alone,
As maids have done, come o'er the wall herself,
And meet me fairly on the open plain,
I will engage her tender steps to aid
In all annoyance of rude briar or stone,
Or crossing rill, some half-foot wide, or so,
Which that fair lady should unaided pass,
Ye gracious powers forbid! I will defend
Against each hideous fly, whose dreadful buz—

4th Mask. Such paltry service suits thee best indeed.
What maid of spirit would not spurn thee from her?

Ros. Yes, to recall me soon, sublime Sultana!
For I can stand the burst of female passion,
Each change of humour and affected storm;
Be scolded, frown'd upon, to exile sent,

Recall'd, caress'd, chid and disgrac'd again;
And say what maid of spirit would forego
The bliss of one to exercise it thus?
O! I can bear ill treatment like a lamb!

4th Mask. (beating him.)
Well, bear it then, thou hast deserv'd it well.

Ros. 'Zounds, lady! do not give such heavy blows;
I'm not your husband, as belike you guess.

5th Mask. Come lover, I enlist thee for my swain;
Therefore good lady, do forbear your blows,
Nor thus assume my rights.

Ros. Agreed. Wilt thou a gracious mistress prove?

5th Mask. Such as thou wouldst, such as thy genius suits;
For since of universal scope it is,
All women's humour shalt thou find in me.
I'll gently soothe thee with such winning smiles—
To nothing sink thee with a scornful frown:
Teize thee with peevish and affected freaks;
Caress thee, love thee, hate thee, break thy pate:
But still between the whiles I'll careful be,
In feigned admiration of thy parts,
Thy shape, thy manners, or thy graceful mien,
To bind thy giddy soul with flatt'ry's charm;
For well thou knowst that flatt'ry ever is
The tickling spice, the pungent seasoning
Which makes this motley dish of monstrous scraps
So pleasing to the dainty lover's taste.

Thou canst not leave, tho' violent in extreme,
And most vexatious in her teazing moods,
Thou canst not leave the fond admiring soul
Who did declare, when calmer reason rul'd,
Thou hadst a pretty leg.

Ros. Marry, thou hast the better of me there.

5th Mask. And more, I'll pledge to thee my honest word,
That when your noble swainship shall bestow
More faithful homage on the simple maid,
Who loves you with sincerity and truth,
Than on the changeful and capricious tyrant
W,ho mocking leads you like a trammell'd ass,
My studied woman's wiles I'll lay aside,
And such a one become.

Ros. Well spoke, brave lady, I will follow thee.
(follows her to the corner of the stage.)
Now on my life, these ears of mine I'd give,
To have but one look of that little face,
Where such a biting tongue doth hold its court
To keep the fools in awe. Nay, nay, unmask;
I'm sure thou hast a pair of wicked eyes,
A short and saucy nose; now prithee do.

Alb. (unmasking) Well hast thou guess'd me right?

Ros. (bowing low.) Wild freedom chang'd to most profound respect
Doth make an aukward booby of me now.

Alb. I've join'd your frolick with a good intent,
For much I wish'd to gain your private ear.

The time is precious, and I must be short.

Ros. On me your slightest word more pow'r will have,
Most honour'd lady, than a conn'd oration.
Thou art the only one of all thy sex,
Who wearst thy years with such a winning grace,
Thou art the more admir'd the more thou fadst.

Alb. I thank your lordship for these courteous words,
But to my purpose. You are Basil's friend;
Be friendly to him then, and warn him well
This court to leave, nor be allur'd to stay,
For if he does, there's mischief waits him here
May prove the bane of all his future days.
Remember this, I must no longer stay.
God bless your friend and you; I love you both.

Ros, alone. What may this warning mean? I had my fears.
There's something hatching which I know not of.
I've lost all spirit for this masking now.
(throwing away his papers and his willow.)
Away ye scraps! I have no need of you.
I would I knew what garment Basil wears;
I watch'd him but he did escape my sight;
But I must search again and find him out.[Exit.

Enter Basil much agitated, with his mask in his hand.

Bas. In vain I've sought her, follow'd ev'ry form

Where aught appear'd of dignity or grace;
I've listen'd to the tone of ev'ry voice;
I've watch'd the entrance of each female mask;
My flutt'ring heart rous'd like a startled hare,
With the imagin'd rustling of her robes,
At ev'ry dame's approach. Deceitful night,
How art thou spent? where are thy promis'd joys?
How much of thee is spent! O! spiteful fate!
And yet within the compass of these walls
Somewhere she is, altho' to me she is not.
Some other eye doth gaze upon her form,
Some other ear doth listen to her voice;
Some happy fav'rite doth enjoy the bliss
My spiteful stars deny.
Disturber of my soul! what veil conceals thee?
W hat dev'lish spell is o'er this cursed hour?
O! heav'ns and earth, where art thou?

Enter Mask in the dress of female conjuror.

Mask. Methinks thou art impatient, valiant soldier,
Thy wound doth gall thee sorely; is it so?

Bas. Away, away, I cannot fool with thee.

Mask. I have some potent drugs may ease thy smart.
Where is thy wound? is't here?
(pointing to the bandage on his arm.)

Bas.Poo, poo, begone!
Thou canst do nought—'tis in my head, my heart—
'Tis ev'ry where, where med'cine cannot cure.

Mask. If wounded in the heart, it is a wound
Which some ungrateful fair-one hath inflicted,
And I may conjure something for thy good.

Bas. Ah! if thou couldst! what must I fool with thee?

Mask. Thou must awhile, and be examin'd too.
What kind of woman did the wicked deed?

Bas. I cannot tell thee. In her presence still
My mind in such a wild delight hath been,
I could not pause to picture out her beauty;
Yet nought of woman e'er was form'd so fair.

Mask. Art thou a soldier, and no weapon bear'st
To send her wound for wound?

Bas. Alas! she shoots from such a hopeless height,
No dart of mine hath plume to mount so far.
None but a prince may dare.

Mask. But if thou hast no hope, thou hast no love.

Bas. I love, and yet in truth I had no hope,
But that she might at least with some good will,
Some gentle pure regard, some secret kindness,
Within her dear remembrance give me place.
This was my all of hope, but it is flown,
For she regards me not; despises, scorns me;
Scorns, I must say it too, a noble heart,
That would have bled for her.

(Mask discovering herself to be Victoria, by speaking in her true voice.) O! no, she does not.

[Exit hastily in confusion. Bas. (stands for a moment rivetted to the spot, then holds up both his hands in an extacy.)

It is herself! it is her blessed self!
O! what a fool am I that had no power
To follow her, and urge th'advantage on.
Be gone unmanly fears! I must be bold.
[Exit after her.

A Dance of Masks.

Enter Duke and Gauriecio, unmasked.

Duke. This revelry, methinks, goes gaily on.
The hour is late, and yet your friend returns not.

Gaur. He will return ere long—nay, there he comes.

Enter Gentleman.

Duke. Does all go well? (going close up to him.)

Gent.All as your grace could wish.
For now the poison works, and the stung soldiers
Rage o'er their cups, and with fire-kindled eyes
Swear vengeance on the chief who would betray them.
That Frederick too, the discontented man
Of whom your highness was so lately told,
Swallows the bait, and does his part most bravely.
Gauriecio counsel'd well to keep him blind,
Nor with a bribe attempt him. On my soul!
He is so fiery he had spurn'd us else,
And ruin'd all the plot.

Duke. Speak softly, friend—I'll hear it all in private.
A gay and careless face we now assume.

Duke, Gaur. and Gent. retire into the inner apartment, appearing to laugh and talk gaily to the different masks as they pass them.

Re-enter Victoria followed by Basil.

Vict. Forbear, my lord, these words offend mine ear.

Bas. Yet let me but this once, this once offend,
Nor thus with thy displeasure punish me;
And if my words against all prudence sin,
O! hear them, as the good of heart do list
To the wild ravings of a soul distraught.

Vict. If I indeed should listen to thy words,
They must not talk of love.

Bas. To be with thee, to speak, to hear thee speak,
To claim the soft attention of thine eye,
I'd be content to talk of any thing,
If it were possible to be with thee,
And think of ought but love.

Vict. I fear, my lord, you have too much presum'd
On those unguarded words, which were in truth
Utter'd at unawares, with little heed,
And urge their meaning far beyond the right.

Bas. I thought, indeed, that they were kindly meant,
As tho' thy gentle breast did kindly feel
Some secret pity for my hopeless pain,
And would not pierce with scorn, ungen'rous scorn,
A heart so deeply stricken.

Vict. So far thou'st read it well.

Bas.Ha! have I well?
Thou dost not hate me then?

Vict.My father comes;
He were displeas'd if he should see thee thus.

Bas. Thou dost not hate me, then?

Vict. Away, he'll be displeas'd—I cannot say—

Bas. Well, let him come, it is thyself I fear;
For did destruction thunder o'er my head,
By the dread pow'r of heav'n I would not stir
Till thou hadst answer'd my impatient soul!
Thou dost not hate me?

Vict. Nay, nay, let go thy hold—I cannot hate thee.
(breaks from him and exit.)

Bas, alone. Thou canst not hate me! no, thou canst not hate me!
For I love thee so well, so passing well,
With such o'erflowing heart, so very dearly,
That it were sinful not to pay me back
Some small, some kind return.

Enter Mirando, dressed like Cupid.

Mir. Bless thee, brave soldier.

Bas. What sayst thou, pretty child? what playful fair
Has deck d thee out in this fantastick guise?

Mir. It was Victoria's self; it was the princess.

Bas. Thou art her fav'rite then?

Mir.They say I am;
And now, between ourselves, I'll tell thee, soldier,
I think in very truth she loves me well.

Such merry little songs she teaches me—
Sly riddles too, and when I'm laid to rest
Oft times on tip-toe near my couch she steals,
And lifts the cov'ring so, to look upon me.
And often times I feign as tho' I slept;
For then her warm lips to my cheek she lays,
And pats me softly with her fair white hands;
And then I laugh, and thro' mine eye-lids peep,
And then she tickles me, and calls me cheat;
And then we do so laugh, ha, ha, ha, ha!

Bas. What, does she even so, thou happiest child?
And have those rosy cheeks been press'd so dearly?
Delicious urchin! I will kiss thee too.

(Takes him eagerly up in his arms, and kisses him.)

Mir. No, let me down, thy kisses are so rough,
So furious rough—she doth not kiss me so.

Bas. Sweet boy, where is thy chamber? by Victoria's?

Mir. Hard by her own.

Bas. Then will I come beneath thy window soon,
And, if I could, some pretty song I'd sing
To lull thee to thy rest.

Mir. O! no, thou must not; 'tis a frightful place,
It is the church-yard of the neighb'ring dome.
The princess loves it for the lofty trees,

Whose spreading branches shade her chamber walls;
So do not I; for when 'tis dark o'nights
Goblins howl there, and ghosts rise thro' the ground.
I hear them many a time when I'm a bed,
And hide beneath the cloaths my cow'ring head,
O! is it not a frightful thing, my lord,
To sleep alone i' the dark?

Bas. Poor harmless child! thy prate is wondrous sweet.

Enter a group of Masks.

1st Mask. What dost thou here, thou little truant boy?
Come play thy part with us.

Masks place Mirando in the middle, and range themselves round him.


Child, with many a childish wile,
Timid look, and blushing smile,
Downy wings to steal thy way,
Gilded bow, and quiver gay,
Who in thy simple mien would trace
The tyrant of the human race?

Who is he whose flinty heart
Hath not felt thy flying dart?
Who is he that from the wound
Hath not pain and pleasure found?
Who is he that hath not shed
Curse and blessing on thy head?

Ah Love! our weal, our woe, our bliss, our bane,
A restless life have they who wear thy chain!
Ah Love! our weal, our woe, our bliss, our bane,
More hapless still are they who never felt thy pain.

All the masks dance round Cupid, Then enter a band of satyrs, who frighten away Love and his votaries, and conclude the scene, dancing in a grotesque manner.