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Enter AGNES. Char. This visit's kind.
Agnes. Few else would think it so :
Char. By scorning, we provoke them to contempt, And thus offend, and suffer in our turns : - We must have patience.
Agnes. No, I scorn them yet;
Char. Gracious Heaven support him !
Char. And may it ever!
As exquisite a sense of pain, as he, And would do any thing, but die, to end it; But there my courage fails. Death is the worst That fate can bring, and cuts off ev'ry hope.* Char. We must not chuse, but strive to bear our lot Without reproach or guilt. By one rash act Of desperation, we may overthrow The merit we've been raising all our days, And lose our whole reward. And now, methinks, Now, more than ever, we have cause to fear, And be upon our guard. The hand of Heaven Spreads clouds on clouds o'er our benighted heads, And wrapp'd in darkness, doubles our distress. I had, the night last past, repeated twice, A strange and awful dream: I would not yield To fearful superstition, nor despise The admonition of a friendly power, That wish'd my good. Agnes. I have certain plagues enough, Without the help of dreams, to make me wretched. Char. I would not stake my happiness or duty, On their uncertain credit, nor on aught But reason, and the known decrees of Heaven. Yet dreams have sometimes shown events to come, And may excite to vigilance and care. My vision may be such, and sent to warn us, (Now we are tried by multiply'd afflictions) To mark each motion of our swelling hearts, Lest we attempt to extricate ourselves, And seek deliv'rance by forbidden ways— To keep our hopes and innocence entire, Till we're dismiss'd to join the happy dead, Or Heaven relieves us here. Agnes. Well, to your dream. Char. Methought, I sat, in a dark winter's night, On the wide summit of a barren mountain;
The sharp, bleak winds, pierc'd through my shiv'ring
frame, And storms of hail, and sleet, and driving rains, Beat with impetuous fury on my head, Drench’d my chill'd limbs, and pour'd' a deluge
round me. On one hand, ever-gentle Patience sat, On whose calm bosom I reclin'd my head; And on the other, silent Contemplation. At length, to my unclos'd, and watchful eyes, That long had roll'd in darkness, dawn appear'd; And I beheld a man, an utter stranger, But of graceful and exalted mien, Who press'd with eager transport to embrace me. I shunn'd his arms : But at some words he spoke, Which I have now forgot, I turn'd again ; But he was gone—And oh, transporting sight! Your son, my dearest Wilmot, fill’d his place!
Agnes. If I regarded dreams, I should expect Some fair event from yours.
Char. But what's to come, Though more obscure, is terrible indeed. Methought we'parted soon, and when I sought him You and his father-(Yes, you both were there,) Strove to conceal him from me. I pursu'd you Both with my cries, and call’d on Heaven and earth To judge my wrongs, and force you to reveal Where you had hid my love, my life, my Wilmot! Agnes. Unless you mean t'offend me, spare the
rest. 'Tis just as likely Wilmot should return As we become
foes. Char. Far be such thought From Charlotte's breast: But when I heard
you name Self murder, it reviv'd the frightful image Of such a dreadful scene !
Agnes. You will persist !
Char. Excuse me: I have done. Being a dream,
The Town and Port of Penryn.
Enter Young Wilmot and EUSTACE, in Indian
sea, And then from men, who, more remorseless, prey, On shipwreck'd wretches, and who spoil and murder Those, whom fell tempests, and devouring waves, In all their fury, spar'd.
Y. Wilm. It is a scandal,
Eust. Your treasure's safe, I hope ?
Y. Wilm. 'Tis here, thank Heaven ! Being in jewels, when I saw our danger, I hid it in my bosom.
Eust. I observed you, And wonder how you could command your thoughts In such a time of terror and confusion. Y. Wilm. My thoughts were then at home. O
England ! England ! Thou seat of plenty, liberty, and health, With transport I behold thy verdant fields, Thy lofty mountains rich with useful ore, Thy num'rous herds, thy flocks, and winding streams. After a long and tedious absence, Eustace, With what delight we breathe our native air, And tread the genial soil that bore us first ! 'Tis said, the world is ev'ry wise man's country; Yet, after having view'd its various nations, I'm weak enough still to prefer my own To all I've seen beside-You smile, my friend! And think, perhaps, 'tis instinct more than reason. Why, be it so: Instinct preceded reason Ev'n in the wisest men, and may sometimes Be much the better guide. But, be it either, I must confess, that even death itself Appear'd to me with twice its native horrors, When apprehended in a foreign land. Death is, no doubt, in ev'ry place the same; Yet nature casts a look towards home, and most Who have it in their power, choose to expire Where they first drew their breath.