Imagens das páginas

To such a wretch as I am, yet in justice

To those whom I have injur'd; Noble Duke—

Alas, he's gone! living, I own, his hate

[the Duke goes out.

I richly have deserv'd, but now, in death,
I hop'd his pardon. Theodora, thou

Hast been more injur'd, canst thou pardon me ?
Theo. O be thou sure of my forgiveness, Doricourt,
Nay more, of pity and returning love,

So thou repent thy injuries. Great Heaven
Propitious hear my prayer! O shorten not
His moments of repentance, let him live ;
Or, if offended Justice claim a victim,
My life I offer in exchange for his.

Dor. Kind, generous Theodora! 'tis too late
I am become a convert to thy virtues;
To my astonish'd ears, the wretch Lavinia
Confess'd thy wondrous goodness, own'd 'twas hate
Of merit so transcendant, that had prompted
The tales she forg'd to blast thy spotless fame;
Then pour'd out curses on me for believing,
With mean credulity, her slanderous falsehoods;
And bade me cleanse my murderous hands from blood,
From a friend's blood, an unoffending friend.

O heavens! methinks I hear her curses still.

Theo. Ah, Doricourt, forget the dreadful past.
Dor. Impossible, while memory holds her seat!

And after this frail being is shook off,

What horrors worse than death I may encounter
Excite the wish I still could linger here;

But O! I feel 'tis vain, the blow is struck,

Eternal justice must be satisfied.

[appears to faint.

Theo. Help, Clara, help, is there no hope to save him!

Dor. [recovering.] All help is useless, and all hope is


Death's harbinger, a momentary calm,

[ocr errors]

Heaven grants in mercy: be ye witness all :I solemnly declare my wife is innocent. O he I rashly slew deserv'd not death: "Tis I alone am guilty; pardon, pardon, All ye whom I have wrong'd-but chiefly thou To whom atonement cannot now be made,Blest spirit of the murder'd noble Beaufort! When we shall meet before the throne of heaven, O witness not against the soul of Doricourt! My Theodora! injur'd saint, farewell! My child too! but 'tis past, I can no more— Theo. Alas! he's gone! [She hides her face on his shoulder; the door his shoulder; the door opens, and the Duke enters leaving Beaufort, who with a pale countenance and slow pace advances towards Theodora. All start-Clara screams, which rouses her mistress, who lifting up her head sees Beaufort leaning on her father, she clasps her hands in an agony of surprise, on which Doricourt, who had only fainted, opens his eyes and sees Beaufort and the Duke.]


Dor. Image of horror! wherefore art thou come?

Ah! shield me, save me from him!

Theo. Sure 'tis some vision of my sickly brain,

No real form


Thy husband's sword fail'd to perform the deed

Yes, Theodora, 'tis the living Beaufort.

That perfidy had plann'd.


Now heaven be prais'd!

O cheer thee, Doricourt,-look up my husband,

Behold he lives, and thou art not a murderer.

Dor. Let him not approach, he comes for vengeance: His face is ghastly, and his eyeballs glare :

Too sure I murder'd him! O mercy, mercy!

Theo. Canst thou not speak, or art thou but a phantom? O answer me!

Beau. I am no phantom, but thy living friend,
Snatch'd from the jaws of death: I came to learn
Thy fate, thou matchless excellence, and save
From farther evils thy unhappy husband,

Deceiv'd, he sought my life, but truth has reach'd him.
Dor. He speaks! it is his voice! it is himself!
How wert thou rescued from my slaughtering sword?
Beau. "Twas loss of blood that caus'd my seeming

And the mock funeral was contriv'd by Carlos,

Who fear'd some new attempt against his master.

I heard not of the trial till 'twas past.

Dor. The trial, aye!—that brings to my remembrance A doubt I would remove; yet 'tis a small one,

Unworthy me to speak or her to answer.

Beau. O I conjure thee speak it.

Dor. [to his wife.]

On the trial,

How to asperse thy fame couldst thou be tempted?
Theo. O save me from the horrid retrospection!
Yet to remove your doubt, I will confess
My evidence was all a studied falsehood;
By sacred pity urg'd to save the life

Of Doricourt, so ill prepar'd to die,

[ocr errors]

Could I, who thought his oul was sunk in vice,
Loaded with black and unrepented sins,
Unpitying send him to that dread tribunal
From whence lies no appeal, and have the power
But not the will to save him from perdition?
Light seem'd the earthly ruin I preferr❜d

To the dire fall of an immortal soul!

Beau. O most heroic woman!


Noble daughter!

How few thy faults, how numerous thy virtues,
Let all thy sex with boastful pride confess :
I glory in thee now: what, though the storm
Has bent thee low to earth, it is o'erpast:
The sun of truth dispels the clouds of error,
And thy fair fame uplifts thee to the skies.

Dor. It is enough, and now I yield to fate.
My wife is justified,--my friend yet lives.
Duke Longueville, thou wilt not now refuse
To shelter suffering virtue: O forget
Wrongs that so heavily have been reveng'd:
Beaufort may yet be all you once design'd him,—
Your daughter's husband, and her child's protector.
Wilt thou not, Beaufort, be the orphan's friend?
Theo. Alas! alas!

Beau. O Doricourt, 'tis not thy death I wish.

Dor. Cheer then my parting moments with the promise That thou wilt take my child to thy protection.

Beau. Behold to heaven thus solemnly I swear!— Dor. Thou shalt not swear-I know thy noble heart: Thine too, my Theodora :-now 'tis past-

The bitterness of death! the earth recedes!

May heaven accept my late though true repentance!




As our publication becomes known, the stock of our materials is augmented, and the probability is enlarged that every new number shall be better than the preceding. In the present we are enabled to introduce to the public a female writer of no ordinary genius. Less philosophical than Miss Baillie, and perhaps less endowed with imagination, she has evinced, in the tragedy of THEO DORA, the possession of, at least, equal elegance of feeling, and of the power of exciting pathetic commiseration. We do not assert that she is a woman of equal talents, because we have not yet the means of instituting any comparison between them. Miss Baillie has published volumes, and this tragedy is, we understand, the first which this lady has presented to the public. But we do not hesitate to say that no single piece, either in "The Series of Plays on the Passions," or in the "Miscellaneous Dramas," of Miss Baillie, however much they may excel THEODORA in flights of fancy, is superior to it in interest. If we could bring forward no other play than this pathetic tragedy, we would consider the object of our publication attained, and assert that we had demonstrated, beyond contradiction, that it is not the dramatic genius of the nation which is to blame, for the inferiority of the new exhibitions on the stage, but something in the system of management at the theatres. This piece has been fifteen years in the hands of the players!

« AnteriorContinuar »