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Eust. Believe me, Wilmot,
Your grave reflections were not what I smil'd at;
I own the truth. That we're return'd to England,
Affords me all the pleasure you can feel.
Yet I must think a warmer passion moves you;
Thinking of that, I smil'd.
Y. Wilm. O Eustace! Eustace !
'Thou know'st, for I've confess'd to thee, I love ;
But having never seen the charming maid,
Thou canst not know the fierceness of my flame.
My hopes and fears, like the tempestuous seas
That we have pass'd, now mount me to the skies,
Now hurl me down from that stupendous height.
And drive me to the centre. Did you know
How much depends on this important hour,
You would not be surpris’d to see me thus.
The sinking fortune of our ancient house,
Compelled me, young, to leave my native country,
My weeping parents, and my lovely Charlotte,
Who ruid, and must for ever rule, my fate.
O, should my Charlotte, doubtful of my truth,
Or in despair ever to see me more,
Have given herself to some more happy lover!
Distraction's in the thought !--Or, should my parents,
Griev'd for my absence, and oppress’d with want,
Have sunk beneath their burden and expir’d,
While I, too late, was flying to relieve them;
The end of all my long and weary travels,
The hope that made success itself a blessing,
Being defeated, and for ever lost;
What were the riches of the world to me?
Eust, The wretch who fears all that is possible,
Must suffer more than he, who feels the worst
A man can feel, yet lives exempt from fear.
A woman may be false, and friends are mortal;
And yet your aged parents may be living,
And your fair mistress constant.
Y. Wilm. True, they may; I doubt, but I despair not. No, my friend! My hopes are strong, and lively as my fears; They tell me, Charlotte is as true as fair; That we shall meet, never to part again ; That I shall see my parents, kiss the tears From their pale hollow cheeks, cheer their sad
And drive that gaping phantom, meagre want,
For ever from their board; their days to come
Crown all with peace, with pleasure, and abun-
Receive their fond embraces and their blessings,
And be a blessing to them.
Eust. 'Tis our weakness :
Blind to events, we reason in the dark,
And fondly apprehend, what none e'er found,
Or ever shall, pleasure and pain unmix'd ;
And flatter, and torment ourselves by turns,
With what shall never be.
Y. Wilm. I'll go this instant
To seek my Charlotte, and explore my fate.
Eust. What, in that foreign habit ?
Y. Wilm. That's a trifle,
Not worth my thoughts.
Eust. The hardships you've endur'd,
And your long stay beneath the burning zone,
Where one eternal sultry summer reigns,
Have marr'd the native hue of your complexion :
look more like a sun-burnt Indian, Than a Briton.
Y. Wilm. Well; 'tis no matter, Eustace ! I hope my mind's not alter'd for the worse, And for my outside—But inform me, friend, When I may hope to see you.
Eust. When you please: You'll find me at the inn.
Y, Wilm. When I have learn'd my doom, expect
Eust. Farewell! Success attend you !
Enter CHARLOTTE, thoughtful; and soon after, a
SERVANT, from the other Side.
Serv. Madam, a stranger, in a foreign habit, de-
sires to see you.
Char. In a foreign habit !
'Tis strange, and unexpected. But admit him.
[Exit SERVANT. Who can this stranger be? I know no foreigner.
Enter YOUNG WILMOT.
Nor any man like this.
Y. Wilm. Ten thousand joys !
[Going to embrace her. Char. Sir, you are too bold-Forbear, and let me
know What business brought you here, or leave the place.
Y. Wilm. Perfidious maid !-Am I forgot, or
scorn'd? Char. Can I forget a man I never knew? Y. Wilm. My fears are true; some other has her
heart: She's lost: My fatal absence has undone me? [Aside. 0! could thy Wilmot have forgot thee, Charlotte Char. Ha! Wilmot ! say, what do your words im
port? O, gentle stranger, ease my swelling heart ! What dost thou know of Wilmot?
Y. Wilm. This I know :When all the winds of Heaven seem'd to conspire Against the stormy main, and dreadful peals Of rattling thunder deafen'd ev'ry ear, And drown'd th' affrighten'd mariners' loud cries; When livid lightning spread its sulphurous flames Through all the dark horizon, and disclos'd The raging seas incens'd to his destruction; When the good ship, in which he was embark’d, Broke, and o'erwhelm'd by the impetuous surge, Sunk to the oozy bottom of the deep, And left him struggling with the warring waves : In that dread moment, in the jaws of death, When his strength fail'd, and ev'ry hope forsook him, And his last breath press'd towards his trembling lips, The neighbouring rocks, that echo'd to his moan, Return'd no sound articulate but-Charlotte.
Char. The fatal tempest, whose description strikes The hearer with astonishment, is ceas'd; And Wilmot is at rest. The fiercer storm Of swelling passions, that o'erwhelms the soul, And rages worse than the mad foaming seas In which he perish'd, ne'er shall vex him more. Y. Wilm. I'hou seem'st to think he's dead; enjoy
that thought; Persuade yourself, that what you wish is true, And triumph in your falsehood. Yes, he's dead,
You were his fate. The cruel winds and waves,
That cast him-pale and breathless on the shore,
Spar'd him for greater woes--to know his Charlotte,
Forgetting all her vows to him and Heaven,
Had cast him from her thoughts.-Then, then he
But never can have rest. Ev'n now wanders,
A sad, repining, discontented ghost-
The unsubstantial shadow of himself ;
And pours his plaintive groans in thy deaf ears,
And stalks, unseen, before thee.
Char. 'Tis enough:
Detested falsehood now has done its worst.
And art thou dead? And wou'dst thou die, my Wil-
For one thou thought’st unjust ? Thou soul of truth !
What must be done ? Which
shall I express
Unutterable woe? Or how convince
Thy dear departed spirit, of the love,
Th' eternal love, and never-
- failing faith
Of thy much-injur'd, lost, despairing Charlotte ?
Y, Wilm. Be still, my flutt'ring heart; hope not
Perhaps I dream, and this is all illusion. [Aside.
Char. If, as some teach, the spirit after death,
Free from the bounds and ties of sordid earth,
Can trace us to our most conceal'd retreat,
See all we act, and read our very thoughts;
To thee, Wilmot ! kneeling, I appeal.-
If e'er I swerv'd in action, word, or thought,
Or ever wish'd to taste a joy on earth
That center'd not in thee, since last we parted
May we ne'er meet again; but thy loud wrongs
So close the ear of mercy to my cries,
That I may never see those bright abodes
Where truth and virtue only have admission,
And thou inhabit'st now !
Y. Wilm. Assist me, Heaven !