The Mourning Bride/Act I

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Act I, Scene 1[edit]

A Room of State. -

The Curtain rising slowly to soft Musick, discovers ALMERIA in Mourning, LEONORA waiting in Mourning. -

After the Musick ALMERIA rises from her Chair, and comes forward. -

ALM. Musick 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 inform'd,
By Magick 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 am not I at Peace? [Weeps.]

LEO. For Heaven's sake, dear Madam, moderate
Your Griefs, there is no Cause-

ALM. Peace- No Cause! yes, there is Eternal Cause,
And Misery Eternal will succeed.
Thou canst not tell- thou hast indeed no Cause.

LEO. 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 stoln from Bed, and to his Prison crept;
Where, while his Goaler slept, I thro' the Grate
Have softly whisper'd, and enquir'd his Health;
Sent in my Sighs 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 couldst melt to see a Stranger's Wrongs.
O Leonora, hadst thou known Anselmo,
How would thy Heart have bled to see his Suff'rings.
Thou hadst no Cause, but general Compassion.

LEO. My Love of you, 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; that then, in spite of Hate,
Revenge, and that Hereditary Feud
Entail'd between Valentia's and Granada'a Kings,
He did endear himself to your Affection,
By all the worthy and indulgent Ways
His most industrious Goodness cou'd invent;
Proposing by a Match between Alphonso
His Son, the brave Valentia Prince, and you,
To end the long Dissention, and unite
The Jarring Crowns.

ALM. O Alphonso! Alphonso! thou art too
At Peace; Father and Son are now no more-
Then why am I? O when shall I have Rest?
Why do I live to say you are no more?
Why are all these things thus?-
Is there necessity I must be miserable?
Is it of moment to the Peace of Heav'n
That I should be afflicted thus?- If not,
Why is it thus contriv'd? Why are all things laid
By some unseen Hand, so, as of consequence
They must to me bring Curses, Grief of Heart,
The last Distress of Life, and sure Despair.

LEO. Alas, you search too far, and think too deeply.
ALM. Why was I carried to Anselmo's Court?
Or, when there, why was I us'd so tenderly?
Why did he not use me like an Enemy?
For so my Father would have us'd his Child.
O Alphonso, Alphonso!
Devouring Seas have wash'd thee from my sight,
But there's no time shall rase thee from my Memory.
No, I will live to be thy Monument;
The cruel Ocean would deprive thee of a Tomb,
But in my Heart thou art interr'd; there, there,
Thy dear Resemblance is for ever fix'd;
My Love, my Lord, my Husband still, though lost.

LEO. Husband! O Heav'ns!

ALM. What have I said?
My Grief has hurry'd me beyond all Thought.
I would have kept that secret; though I know
Thy Love and Faith to me deserve all Confidence.
But 'tis the Wretches Comfort still to have
Some small Reserve of near and inward Woe,
Some unsuspected Hoard of darling Grief,
Which they unseen my wail, and weep, and mourn,
And Glutton-like alone devour.

LEO. Indeed I knew not this.

ALM. O no, thou know'st not half- thou know'st nothing-
-If thou didst!-
If I should tell thee, wouldst thou pity me?
Tell me: I know thou wou'dst, thou art compassionate.

LEO. Witness these Tears.-

ALM. I thank thee- indeed I do-
I thank thee, that thou'lt pity thy sad Mistress;
For 'tis the poor Prerogative of Greatness,
To be wretched and unpitied-
But I did promise I would tell thee- What?
My Griefs? Thou do'st already know 'em:
And when I said thou didst know nothing,
It was because thou didst not know Alphonso:
For to have known my Loss, thou must have known
His Worth, his Truth, and Tenderness of Love.

LEO. The Memory of that brave Prince stands fair
In all Report-
And I have heard imperfectly his Loss;
But fearful to renew your Troubles past,
I never did presume to ask the Story.

ALM. If for my swelling Heart I can, I'll tell thee.
I was a welcome Captive in Valentia,
Ev'n on the Day when Manuel, my Father,
Led on his conqu'ring Troops, high as the Gates
Of King Anselmo's Pallace; which in Rage,
And Heat of War, and dire Revenge, he fir'd.
Whilst the good King, to shun approaching Flames,
Started amidst his Foes, and made Captivity his Refuge.
Would I had perish'd in those Flames-
But 'twas not so decreed.
Alphonso, who foresaw my Father's Cruelty,
Had born the Queen and me, on board a Ship
Ready to sail, and when this News was brought
We put to Sea; but being betray'd by some
Who knew our Flight, we closely were pursu'd,
And almost taken; when a sudden Storm
Drove us, and those that follow'd, on the Coast
of Africk: There our Vessel struck the Shore,
And bulging 'gainst a Rock was dash'd in pieces.
But Heaven spared me for yet more Affliction!
Conducting them who follow'd us, to shun
The Shoal, and save me floating on the Waves,
While the good Queen and my Alphonso perish'd.

LEO. Alas! were you then wedded to Alphonso?

ALM. That Day, that fatal Day, our Hands were join'd;
For when my Lord beheld the Ship pursuing,
And saw her Rate so far exceeding ours;
He came to me, and beg'd me by my Love,
I would consent the Priest might make us one;
That whether Death, or Victory ensu'd,
I might be his, beyond the Power of future Fate:
The Queen too did assist his Suit- I granted,
And in one Day, was wedded, and a Widow.

LEO. Indeed 'twas mournful-

ALM. 'Twas that,
For which, I mourn, and will for ever mourn;
Nor will I change these black and dismal Robes,
Or ever dry these swoll'n and watry Eyes;
Or ever taste Content, or peace of Heart,
While I have Life, or Memory of my Alphonso.

LEO. Look down, good Heav'n, with Pity on her Sorrows,
And grant, that Time my bring her some Relief.

ALM. O no! Time gives Encrease to my Afflictions.
The circling Hours, that father all the Woes,
Which are diffus'd thro' the revolving Year,
Come, heavy-laden with the oppressing Weight,
To me; with me, successively, they leave
The Sighs, the Tears, the Groans, the restless Cares,
And all the Damps of Grief, that did retard their Flight;
They shake their downy Wings, and scatter all
The dire collected Dews on my poor Head;
Then fly with Joy and Swiftness from me.

LEO. Hark!
The distant Shouts proclaim your Father's Triumph; -

[Shouts at a distance. -]

O cease, for Heaven's sake, asswage a little
This Torrent of your Grief; for, much I fear
It will incense him, thus to see you drown'd
In Tears, when Joy appears in every other Face.

ALM. And Joy he brings to every other Heart,
But double, double Weight of Woe to mine;
For with Him Garcia comes- Garcia, to whom
I must be sacrific'd, and all my Faith
And Vows I gave my Dear Alphonso, basely
No, it shall never be; for I will die first,
Die Ten thousand Deaths- Look down, look down, [Kneels.]
Alphonso, hear the Sacred Vow I make;
Leave for a Moment to behold Eternal Bliss,
And bend thy glorious Eyes to Earth and me;
And thou Anselmo, if yet thou art arriv'd
Thro' all Impediments of purging Fire,
To that bright Heav'n, where my Alphonso reigns,
Behold thou also, and attend my Vow.
If ever I do yield, or give consent,
By any Action, Word or Thought, to wed
Another Lord; may then just Heav'n show'r down
Unheard of Curses on me, greater far
(If such there be in angry Heav'n's Vengeance)
Than any I have yet endur'd.- and now [Rising.]
Methinks my Heart has some Relief: Having
Discharg'd this Debt, incumbent on my Love.
Yet, one thing more I would engage from thee.

LEO. My Heart, my Life and Will, are only yours.

ALM. I thank thee. 'Tis but this; anon, when all
Are busied in the General Joy, that thou
Wilt privately with me
Steal forth, and visit good Anselmo's Tomb.

LEO. Alas! I fear some fatal Resolution.

ALM. No, on my Life, my Faith, I mean no Violence.
I feel I'm more at large,
Since I have made this Vow:
Perhaps I would repeat it there more solemnly.
'Tis that, or some such melancholy Thought,
Upon my Word no more.

LEO. I will attend you. -

Enter ALONZO. -

ALON. The Lord Gonsalez comes to tell your Highness
Of the King's approach.

ALM. Conduct him in. [Exit ALON.]
That's his Pretence, I know his Errand is
To fill my Ears with Garcia's valiant Deeds;
And with his artful Tongue, to gild and magnifie
His Son's Exploits.
But I am arm'd with Ice around my Heart,
Not to be warm'd with Words, nor idle Eloquence. -

Enter GONSALEZ. [Bowing very humbly. -]

GONS. Be ev'ry Day of your long Life like this.
The Sun, bright Conquest, and your brighter Eyes,
Have all conspir'd to blaze promiscuous Light,
And bless this Day with most unequal Lustre.
Your Royal Father, my Victorious Lord,
Loaden with Spoils, and ever-living Lawrel,
Is entring now, in Martial Pomp the Pallace.
Five hundred Mules precede his solemn March,
Which groan beneath the Weight of Moorish Wealth.
Chariots of War, adorn'd with glittering Gems,
Succeed; and next, a Hundred neighing Steeds,
White as the fleecy Rain on Alpine Hills;
That bound, and foam, and champ the Golden Bit,
As they disdain'd the Victory they grace.
Prisoners of War in shining Fetters follow;
And Captains of the Noblest Blood of Africk
Sweat by his Chariot Wheel, and lick and grind,
With gnashing Teeth, the Dust his Triumphs raise.
The swarming Populace spread every Wall,
And cling, as if with Claws they did enforce
Their Hold, thro' clifted Stones, stretching and staring,
As if they were all of Eyes, and every Limb
Would feed his Faculty of Admiration.
While you alone retire, and shun this Sight;
This Sight, which is indeed not seen (tho' twice
The Multitude should gaze)
In Absence of your Eyes.

ALM. My Lord, my Eyes ungratefully behold
The gilded Trophies of exterior Honours.
Nor will my Ears be charm'd with sounding Words,
Or pompous Phrase; the Pageantry of Souls.
But that my Father is return'd in Safety,
I bend to Heav'n with Thanks and humble Praise.

GONS. Excellent Princess!
But 'tis a Task unfit for my weak Age,
With dying Words, to offer at your Praise.
Garcia, my Son, your Beauties lowest Slave,
Has better done;
In proving with his Sword, upon your Foes,
The Force and Influence of your matchless Charms.

ALM. I doubt not of the Worth of Garcia's Deeds,
Which had been brave, tho' I had ne'er been born.

LEO. Madam, the King. [Flourish.]

ALM. My Women. I wou'd meet him.

[Attendants to ALMERIA enter in Mourning.]

Act I, Scene 2[edit]

The Same. -

Symphony of Warlike Musick. Enter the KING, attended by GARCIA and several Officers. Files of Prisoners in Chains, and Guards, who are ranged in Order round the Stage. ALMERIA meets the KING, and kneels; afterwards GONSALEZ kneels and kisses the KING'S Hand, while GARCIA does the same to the Princess. -

KING. Almeria, rise- My best Gonsalez rise.
What, Tears! my good old Friend.-

GONS. But Tears of Joy. To see you thus, has fill'd
My Eyes with more Delight than they can hold.

KING. By Heav'n thou lov'st me, and I'm pleas'd thou dost:
Take it for Thanks, Old Man, that I rejoice
To see thee weep on this Occasion- But some
Here are who seem to mourn at our Success!
How is it, Almeria, that you meet our Eyes,
Upon this solemn Day, in these sad Weeds?
You and yours, are all, in opposition
To my Brightness, like Daughters of Affliction.

ALM. Forgive me, Sir, if I offend.
The Year, which I have vow'd to pay to Heav'n,
In Mourning and strict Life, for my Deliverance
From Death, and Wreck of the tempestuous Sea,
Wants yet to be expired.

KING. Your Zeal to Heav'n is great; so is your Debt:
Yet something too is due to me, who gave
That Life, which Heav'n preserv'd. A Day bestow'd
In Filial Duty, had atton'd and giv'n
A Dispensation to your Vow- No more.
'Twas weak and wilful- and a Woman's Errour.
Yet- upon thought, it doubly wounds my Sight,
To see that Sable worn upon the Day
Succeeding that, in which our deadliest Foe,
Hated Anselmo, was interr'd- By Heav'n,
It looks as thou didst mourn for him: Just as
Thy senseless Vow appear'd to bear its Date,
Not from that Hour wherein thou wert preserv'd,
But that wherein the curs'd Alphonso perish'd.
Ha! what? thou dost not weep to think of that?

GONS. Have Patience, Royal Sir, the Princess weeps
To have offended you. If Fate decreed,
One 'pointed Hour should be Alphonso's Loss,
And her Deliverance; Is she to blame?

KING. I tell thee she's to blame, not to have feasted
When my first Foe was laid in Earth, such Enmity,
Such Detestation, bears my Blood to his;
My Daughter should have revell'd at his Death.
She should have made these Pallace Walls to shake,
And all this high and ample Roof to ring
With her Rejoicings. What, to mourn, and weep;
Then, then, to weep, and pray, and grieve? By Heav'n,
There's not a Slave, a shackled Slave of mine,
But should have smil'd that Hour, through all his Care,
And shook his Chains in Transport and rude Harmony.

GONS. What she has done, was excess of Goodness;
Betray'd by too much Piety, to seem
As if she had offended.

KING. To seem is to commit, at this Conjuncture.
I wonnot have the seeming of a Sorrow seen
To Day- Retire, divest your self with speed
Of that offensive Black; on me be all
The Violation of your Vow.
You stand excused that I command it.

GAR. [Kneeling.] Your Pardon, Sir, if I presume so far,
As to remind you of your gracious Promise.

KING. Rise, Garcia- I forgot. Yet stay, Almeria.

ALM. O my boding Heart- What is you Pleasure, Sir?

KING. Draw near, and give your Hand; and, Garcia, yours:
Receive this Lord, as one whom I have found
Worthy to be your Husband, and my Son.

GAR. Thus let me kneel to take- O not to take,
But to devote, and yield my self for ever
The Slave and Creature of my Royal Mistress.

GONS. O let me prostrate, pay my worthless Thanks
For this high Honour.

KING. No more; my promise long since pass'd, thy Loyalty,
And Garcia's well-try'd Valour, all oblige me.
This Day we Triumph; but to morrow's Sun
Shall shine on Garcia's Nuptials.

ALM. Oh!- [Faints.]

GAR. Alas, she faints! help to support her.

GONS. She recovers.

KING. A Bridal Qualm; soon off. How is't, Almeria?

ALM. A sudden Chilness Seizes on my Spirits.
Your Leave, Sir, to retire.

KING. Garcia, Conduct her. -

[GARCIA leads ALMERIA to the Door, and returns. -]

This idle Vow hangs on her Woman's Fears.
I'll have a Priest shall preach her from her Faith,
And make it Sin, not to renounce that Vow
Which I'd have broken. [Trumpets. -]

Enter ALONZO. -

OFFIC. The beauteous Captive, Zara, is arriv'd,
And with a Train, as if she still were Wife
To Albucacim, and the Moor had conquer'd.

KING. It is our Will she should be so attended.
Bear hence these Prisoners. Garcia, which is he,
Of whose mute Valour you relate such Wonders?

[Prisoners led off.]

GAR. Osmyn, who led the Moorish Horse; he does,
Great Sir, at her Request, attend on Zara.

KING. He is your Prisoner, as you please dispose him.

GAR. I would oblige him, but he shuns my Kindness;
And with a haughty Mien, and stern Civility,
Dumbly declines all Offers: If he speak
'Tis scarce above a word; as he were born
Alone to do, and did disdain to talk;
At least, to talk where he must not command.

KING. Such sullenness, and in a Man so brave,
Must have some other Cause than his Captivity.
Did Zara, then, request he might attend her?

GAR. My Lord, she did.

KING. That, join'd with his Behaviour,
Begets a Doubt. I'd have 'em watch'd: perhaps
Her Chains hang heavier on him than his own. -

Flourish; and Enter ZARA and OSMYN bound; conducted by PEREZ and a Guard, and attended by SELIM and several Mutes and Eunuchs in a Train. -

KING. What Welcome, and what Honours, beauteous Zara,
A King and Conquerour can give, are yours.
A Conquerour indeed, where you are won;
Who with such Lustre strike admiring Eyes,
That had our Pomp been with your Presence grac'd,
Th' expecting Crowd had been deceiv'd; and seen
Their Monarch enter not Triumphant, but
In Triumph led; your Beauty's Slave.

ZARA. If I on any Terms could condescend
To like Captivity, or think those Honours,
Which Conquerors in Courtesie bestow,
Of equal Value, with unborrow'd Rule,
And Native Right to Arbitrary Sway;
I might be pleas'd, when I behold this Train
With usual Homage wait. But when I feel
These Bonds, I look with Loathing on my self;
And scorn vile Slavery, tho' doubly hid
Beneath Mock-Praises, and dissembled State.

KING. Those Bonds! 'Twas my Command you should be free.
How durst you, Perez, disobey me?

PEREZ. Great Sir,
Your Order was, she should not wait your Triumph;
But at some distance follow, thus attended.

KING. 'Tis false; 'twas more; I bad she should be free:
If not in Words, I bad it by my Eyes.
Her Eyes did more than bid- Free her and hers
With speed- yet stay- my Hands alone can make
Fit Restitution here- Thus I release you,
And by releasing you enslave my self.

ZARA. Favours conferr'd, tho' when unsought, deserve
Acknowledgement from Noble Minds. Such Thanks
As one hating to be oblig'd-
Yet hating more, Ingratitude, can pay,
I offer.

KING. Born to excel, and to command!
As by transcendent Beauty to attract
All Eyes, so by Preheminence of Soul
To rule all Hearts.
Garcia, what's he, who with contracted Brow,

[Beholding OSMYN, as they unbind him.]

And sullen Port, glooms downward with his Eyes;
At once regardless of his Chains, or Liberty?

GAR. That, Sir, is Osmyn.

KING. He answers well, the Character you gave him.
Whence comes it, Valiant Osmyn, that a Man
So great in Arms, as thou art said to be,
So ill can brook Captivity,
The common Chance of War?

OSM. Because Captivity has robb'd me of a just Revenge.

KING. I understand not that.

OSM. I would not have you.

ZARA. That Gallant Moor, in Battle lost a Friend,
Whom more than Life he lov'd; and the Regret,
Of not revenging on his Foes, that Loss,
Has caus'd this Melancholy and Despair.

KING. She does excuse him; 'tis as I suspected. [To GONS.]

GONS. That Friend may be her self; show no Resentment
Of his Arrogance yet; she looks concern'd.

KING. I'll have Enquiry made; his Friend may be
A Prisoner. His Name?

ZARA. Heli.

KING. Garcia, be it your Care to make that search.
It shall be mine to pay Devotion here;
At this Fair Shrine to lay my Laurels down,
And raise Love's Altar on the Spoils of War.
Conquest and Triumph, now, are mine no more;
Nor will I Victory in Camps adore:
For, ling'ring there, in long suspence she stands,
Shifting the Prize in unresolving Hands:
Unus'd to wait, I broke through her Delay,
Fix'd her by Force, and snatch'd the doubtful Day.
But late I find that War is but her Sport;
In Love the Goddess keeps her awful Court:
Fickle in Fields, unsteadily she flies,
But Rules with settled Sway in Zara's Eyes. [Ex. OMNES. -]