« AnteriorContinuar »
'Cause done for me, and with a good intent,
Deserves the name, I'll answer it myself.
If this succeeds, I purpose to defer
Discov’ring who I am till Charlotte comes,
And thou, and all who love me. Ev'ry friend
Who witnesses my happiness to night,
Will, by partaking, multiply iny joys.
Rand. You grow luxurious in imagination.
Could I deny you aught, I would not write
This letter. To say true, I ever thought
Your boundless curiosity a weakness.
Y, Wilm. What canst thou blame in this?
Rand. Your pardon, sir !
Perhaps I spoke too freely;
I'm ready t' obey your orders.
Y. Wilm. 'I am much thy debtor,
But I shall find a time to quit thy kindness.
0, Randal! but imagine to thyself
The floods of transport, the sincere delight,
That all my friends will feel, when I disclose
To my astonish'd parents my return,
And then confess, that I have well contriv'd,
By giving others joy t'exalt my own.
OLD WIlmor and AGNES discovered,
0. Wilm. Here, take this Seneca ; this haughty
pedant, Who, governing the master of mankind,
And awing power imperial, prates of patience;
And praises poverty--possess'd of millions ::
Sell him, and buy us bread. The scantiest meal
The vilest copy of his book e'er purchas'd,
Will give us more relief in this distress,
Than all his boasted precepts.—Nay, no tears ;
Keep them to move compassion when you beg.
Agnes. My heart may break, but never stoop to
that. 10. Wilm, Nor would I live to see it. But despatch.
[Exit AGNES. Where must I charge this length of misery, That gathers force each moment as it rolls, And must at last o'erwhelm me, but on hope : Vain, flattering, delusive, groundless hope, That has for years deceiv'd me?-Had I thought As I do now,-as wise men ever think, When first this hell of poverty o'ertook me, That power to die implies a right to do it, And should be us’d when life becomes a pain, What plagues had I prevented! True, my wife Is still a slave to prejudice and fearI would not leave my better part, the dear [Weeps. Faithful companion of my happier days, To bear the weight of age and want alone. I'll try once more.
Enter AGNES, and after her Young WILMOT. Return'd, my life, so soon
Agnes. The unexpected coming of this stranger, Prevents my going yet.
Y. Wilm. You're, I presume,
The gentleman to whom this is directed.
[Gives a Letter
What wild neglect, the token of despair,
What indigence, what misery appears
In this once happy house! What discontent,
What anguish and confusion, fill the faces
Of its dejected owners !
0. Wilmot. [Having read the Letter.] Sir, such
As this poor house affords, you may command.
Our ever friendly neighbour-once we hop'd
T' have call’d fair Charlotte by a dearer name
But we have done with hope I pray excuse
This incoherence.We had once a son. [Weeps.
Agnes. That you are come from that dear virtuous
Revives in us the mem'ry of a loss,
Which, though long since, we have not learn'd to
Y. Wilm. The joy to see them, and the bitter pain
It is to see them thus, touches my soul
With tenderness and grief, that will o'erflow.-
They know me not and yet I shall, I fear,
Defeat my purpose, and betray myself.
0. Wilm. The lady calls you, here, her valu'd
Enough, though nothing more should be imply'd,
To recommend you to our best esteem,
A worthless acquisition! May she find
Some means that better may express her kindness!
But she, perhaps, has purpos'd to enrich
You with herself, and end her fruitless sorrow
For one, whom death alone can justify
For leaving her so long. If it be so,
May you repair his loss, and be to Charlotte
A second, happier Wilmot ! Partial nature,
Who only favours youth; as feeble age
Were not her offspring, or below her care,
Has seald our doon : No second hope shall spring
To dry our tears, and dissipate despair.
Agnes. The last, and most abandon'd of kind!
By Heaven and earth neglected or despis'd!
The loathsome grave, that robb’d us of our son,
And all our joys in him must be our refuge.
Y.Wilm. Let ghosts unpardon'd, or devoted fiends,
Fear without hope, and wail in such sad strains ;
But grace defend the living from despair!
The darkest hours precede the rising sun,
mercy may appear when least expected. 0. Wilm. This I have heard a thousand times
repeated, And have, believing, been as oft deceiv'd.
Y. Wilm. Behold in me an instance of its truth. At sea twice shipwreck'd, and as oft the prey Of lawless pirates ; by the Arabs thrice Surpris'd, and robb’d on shore ; and once reduc'd To worse than these, the sum of all distress That the most wretched feel on this side hell; Even slavery itself : Yet here I stand, Except one trouble that will quickly end, The happiest of mankind,
0. Wilm. A rare exainple Of fortune's changes; apter to surprise Or entertain, than comfort or instruct. If you would reason from events, be just, And count, when you escap'd, how many perish'd ; And draw your inference thence.
Agnes. Alas! who knows, But we were render'd childless by some storm, In which you, though preserv'd, might bear a part?
Y, Wilm. How has my curiosity betray'd me Into superfluous pain! I faint with fondness; And shall, if I stay longer, rush upon them; Proclaim myself their son; kiss, and embrace them; Till, with the excess of pleasure and surprise, Their souls transported, their frail mansions quit, And leave them breathless in my longing arms. By circumstances then, and slow degrees, They must be let into a happiness
Too great for them to bear at once, and live:
That Charlotte will perform. I need not feign
To ask an hour for rest, [Aside.] Sir, I entreat
The favour to retire; where, for a while,
I may repose myself. You will excuse
This freedom, and the trouble that I give you :
'Tis long since I have slept, and nature calls.
0. Wilm. I pray, no more: Believe we're only
you should think any excuse were needful.
Y. Wilm. The weight of this, to me is some in-
[Takes a Casket out of his Bosom, and gives it
to his Mother.
And its contents of value : If you please
To take the charge of it till I awake,
I shall not rest the worse. If I should sleep
Till I am ask'd for, as perhaps I may,
I beg that you would wake me.
Agnes. Doubt it not!
Distracted as I am with various woes,
I shall remember that. [Erit, with OLD WILMOT.
Y. Wilm. Merciless grief!
What ravage has it made ! how has it chang'd
Her lovely form and mind! I feel her anguish,
And dread, I know not what, from her despair.
My father too-o, grant them patience, Heaven!
A little longer, a few short hours more,
And all their cures, and mine, shall end for ever.