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Endless torments dwell about thee:
Yet who would live, and live without thee!
But oh the sight my soul alarms :
My lord appears, I'm all on fire!
Why am I banished from his arms?
My heart's too full, I must retire.
[Retires to the end of the stage.
KING and QUEEN.
KING. Some dreadful birth of fate is near:
Or why, my soul, unused to fear,
With secret horror dost thou shake?
Can dreams such dire impressions make!
What means this solemn, silent show?
This pomp of death, this scene of woe!
Support me, Heaven! what's this I read ?
Oh horror! Rosamond is dead.
What shall I say, or whither turn?
With grief, and rage, and love I burn:
From thought to thought my soul is tost,
And in the whirl of passion lost.
Why did I not in battle fall,
Crushed by the thunder of the Gaul?
Why did the spear my bosom miss?
powers, was I reserved for this?
Distracted with woe,
I'll rush on the foe
To seek my relief :
The sword or the dart
Shall pierce my sad heart,
And finish my grief!
QUEEN. Fain would my tongue his griefs appease,
And give his tortured bosom ease.
KING. But see! the cause of all my fears,
The source of all my grief appears!
No unexpected guest is here;
The fatal bowl
Informed my soul
Eleonora was too near.
QUEEN. Why do I here my lord receive?
KING. Is this the welcome that you give?
QUEEN. Thus should divided lovers meet?
ВоTH. And is it thus, ah! thus, we greet!
QUEEN. What, in these guilty shades, could you,
Inglorious conqueror, pursue?
KING. Cruel woman, what could you ?
QUEEN. Degenerate thoughts have fired your breast. KING. The thirst of blood has yours possessed. QUEEN. A heart so unrepenting,
A rage so unrelenting,
Will for ever
Will for ever break our rest.
KING. Floods of sorrow will I shed
To mourn the lovely shade!
My Rosamond, alas! is dead,
And where, oh where conveyed!
So bright a bloom, so soft an air,
Did ever nymph disclose!
The lily was not half so fair,
Nor half so sweet the rose.
QUEEN. How is his heart with anguish torn! [Aside.
My lord, I cannot see you mourn;
The living you lament; while I,
To be lamented so, could die.
KING. The living! speak, oh speak again
Why will you dally with my pain?
QUEEN. Were your loved Rosamond alive,
Would not my former wrongs revive?
KING. Oh no; by visions from above
Prepared for grief, and freed from love,
I came to take my last adieu-
QUEEN. How am I blest if this be true!—
KING. And leave the unhappy nymph for you. But oh!
Forbear, my lord, to grieve,
And know your Rosamond does live.
If 'tis joy to wound a lover,
How much more to give him ease!
When his passion we discover,
Oh how pleasing 'tis to please!
The bliss returns, and we receive
Transports greater than we give.
O quickly relate
This riddle of fate!
My impatience forgive,
Does Rosamond live ?
QUEEN. The bowl, with drowsy juices filled,
From cold Egyptian drugs distilled,
In borrowed death has closed her
But soon the waking nymph shall rise,
And, in a convent placed, admire
The cloistered walls and virgin choir:
With them in songs and hymns divine
The beauteous penitent shall join,
And bid the guilty world adieu-
KING. How am I blest if this be true! [Aside. QUEEN. Atoning for herself and you.
KING. I ask no more! secure the fair
In life and bliss: I ask not where:
For ever from my fancy fled,
May the whole world believe her dead,
That no foul minister of vice
Again my sinking soul entice
Its broken passion to renew,
But let me live and die with you.
QUEEN. How does my heart for such a prize
The vain, censorious world despise !
Though distant ages, yet unborn,
For Rosamond shall falsely mourn,
And with the present times agree
To brand my name with cruelty;
How does my heart for such a prize
The vain censorious world despise!
But see your slave, while yet I speak,
From his dull trance unfettered break!
As he the potion shall survive,
Believe your Rosamond alive.
KING. O happy day! O pleasing view.
My queen forgives
KING. No more I'll change,
No more I'll grieve;
But ever thus united live.
SIR TR., awaking. In which world am I! all I see,
Every thicket, bush, and tree,
So like the place from whence I came,
That one would swear it were the same.
My former legs too, by their pace!
And by the whiskers, 'tis my face!
The self-same habit, garb, and mien!
They ne'er would bury me in green.
GRIDELINE and SIR TRUSTY.
GRID. Have I then lived to see this hour,
And took thee in the very bower?
SIR TR. Widow Trusty, why so fine?
Why dost thou thus in colours shine?
Thou shouldst thy husband's death bewail
In sable vesture, peak, and veil.
GRID. Forbear these foolish freaks, and see
How our good king and queen agree.
Why should not we their steps pursue,
And do as our superiors do?
SIR TR. Am I bewitched, or do I dream ?
I know not who, or where I am,
Or what I hear, or what I see,
But this I'm sure, howe'er it be,
It suits a person in my station
T'observe the mode and be in fashion.
Then let not Grideline the chaste
Offended be for what is past,
And hence anew my vows I plight
To be a faithful, courteous knight.
GRID. I'll too my plighted vows renew,
Since 'tis so courtly to be true.
Since conjugal passion
Is come into fashion,
And marriage so blest on the throne is,
Like a Venus I'll shine,
Be fond and be fine,
And Sir Trusty shall be my Adonis. SIR TR. And Sir Trusty shall be thy Adonis.
The KING and QUEEN advancing.
KING. Who to forbidden joys would rove,1
That knows the sweets of virtuous love?
Hymen, thou source of chaste delights,
Cheerful days, and blissful nights,
Thou dost untainted joys dispense,
And pleasure join with innocence:
Thy raptures last, and are sincere
From future grief and present fear.
BOTH. Who to forbidden joys would rove,
That knows the sweets of virtuous love?
PROLOGUE TO THE TENDER HUSBAND.2
SPOKEN BY MR. WILKS.
In the first rise and infancy of Farce,
When fools were many, and when plays were scarce,
The raw, unpractised authors could, with ease,
A young and unexperienced audience please:
No single character had e'er been shown,
But the whole herd of fops was all their own;
Rich in originals, they set to view,
In every piece, a coxcomb that was new.
But now our British theatre can boast
Drolls of all kinds, a vast, unthinking host!
'Who to forbidden joys.] So careful was this excellent man our passions on the side of truth," even in his gayest and slightest compositions.
2 A comedy written by Sir Richard Steele.