Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

TAMERLANE:

A TRAGEDY,

IN FIVE ACTS.

BY NICHOLAS ROWE, Esq.

DRAMATIS PERSONÆ.
TAMERLANE

MIRVAN
BAJAZET.

ZAMA.
AXALLA.

HALY.
MONESES.

DERVIS.
STRATOCLES.
PRINCE OF TANAIS.

ARPASIA
OMAR.

SELIMA.
Pasthian and Tartarian Soldiers.—Mutes belonging to Bajazet.—Other Attendants.

SCENE.—Tamerlane's Camp, near Angoria in Galatia.

won.

PROLOGUE.

The peaceful fathers, who in senates meet,

Approve an enterprise so just, and great; Of all the muse's various labours, none

While with their prince's arms their voice them Have lasted longer or have higher flown,

join'd, Than those that tell the frame by ancient heroes Gains half the praise of having sav'd mankind.

Even in a circle, where, like this, the fair With pleasure, Rome and great Augustus heard Were met, the bright assembly did declare, Arms and the man sung by the Mantuan bard. Their house, with one consent, were for the In spite of time the sacred story lives,

war; And Cæsar and his empire still survives.

Each urg'd her lover to unsheath the sword, Like him (though much unequal to his flame) And never spare a man who broke his word. Our author makes a pious prince his theme. Thus fir'd, the brave on to the danger press; High with the foremost names, in arms he stood, Their arms were crown'd abroad with just suo Had fought, and suffer'd for his country's good,

cess, Yet sought not fame, but peace, in fields of And bless'd at home with beauty and with peace

blood.
Safe under him his happy people sat,
And griev'd, at distance, for their neighbours'
fate;

ACT 1.
Whilst with success a Turkish monarch crown'd,
Like spreading flame, deform'd the nations round;
With sword and fire he forc'd his impious way

SCENE I.-Before TAMERLANE's Tent. To lawless power and universal sway.

Enter the PRINCE of Tanats, ZAMA, and Some abject states, for fear, the tyrant join,

MIRVAN.
Others for gold their liberties resign,
And venal princes sold their right divine:

Pr. Hail to the sun' from whose returning Till Heaven, the growing evil to redress,

light Sent Tamerlane to give the world a peace.

The cheerful soldier's arms new lustre take The hero rous'd, asserts the glorious cause, To deck the pomp of battle. Oh, my friends! And to the field the cheerful soldier draws. Was ever such a glorious face of war? Around, in crowds, his valiant leaders wait, See, from this height, how all Galatia's plains Anxious for glory and secure of fate;

With nations numberless are cover'd o'er ;
Well pleas'd, once more, to venture on his side, Who, like a deluge, hide the face of earth,
And prove that faith again, which had so oft And leave no object in the vast horizon,
been tried.
But glittering arms, and skies.

Zam. Our Asian worki,

That ought to hold the jarring world at peace srom this important day expects a lord ; Were held the tricks of state, snares of wise This day they hope an end of all their woes,

princes, Of tyranny, of bondage and oppression, To draw their easy neighbours to desci uction. From our victorious emp’ror, Tamerlane. Mir. Thrice, by our law and prophet, has be Mir. Well has our holy Alha mark'd him out,

sworn, The scourge of lawless pride and dire ambition, By the world's Lord and Maker, lasting peace, The great avenger of the groaning world. With our great master, and his royal friend Well has he worn the sacred cause of justice The Grecian emperor; as oft, regardless Opon his prosperous sword. Approving Heaven Of plighted faith, with most unkingly baseness, Still crown'd the righteous warrior with success; Has ta'en the advantage of their absent arms, As if it said, Go forth, and be my champion, Without a war proclaim'd, or cause pretended, Thou most like me of all my works below. To waste with sword and fire their fruitful fields; Pr. No lust of rule, the common vice of Like some accursed fiend, who, 'scap'd from hell, kings,

Poisons the balmy air through which he flies, No furious zeal, inspir'd by hot-brain'd priests, He blasts the bearded corn, and loaded branches, III hid beneath religion's specious name, The lab'ring hind's best hopes, and marks his E'er drew his temperate courage to the field:

way with ruin. But to redress an injur'd people's wrongs, Pr. But see his fate! The mighty Tamerlane To save the weak one from the strong oppressor, Comes, like the proxy of inquiring Heaven, Is all his end of war. And when he draws To judge and to redress. (Flourish of trumpets. The sword to punish, like relenting Heaven, He seems unwilling to deface his kind.

Enter TAMERLANE, Guards, and other Mir. So rich his soul in every virtuous grace,

Attendants. That, had not nature made him great by birth, Yet all the brave had sought him for their Tam. Yet, yet a little, and destructive slaughter friend.

Shall range around, and mar this beauteous The Christian prince, Axalla, nicely bred

prospect; In polish'd arts of European courts,

Pass but an hour, which stands betwixt the lives For him forsakes his native Italy,

Of thousands and eternity, what change And lives a happy exile in his service.

Shall hasty death make in yon glittering plain, Pr. Pleas'd with the gentle manners of that Oh, thou fell monster, war! that in a moment prince,

Lay'st waste the noblest part of the creation, Ou mighty lord is lavish to his friendship; The boast and master-piece of the great Maker Though Omar and the Tartar lords repine, That wears in vain th' impression of his image, And loudly tax their monarch as too partial. Unprivileg'd from thee. Zam. Ére the mid-hour of night, from tent Health to our friends, and to our arms success, to tent,

[ To the PRINCE, ZAMA, and Mirvan. Unwearied, through the numerous host he past, Such as the cause for which we fight deserves ! Viewing with careful eyes each several quarter; Pr. Nor can we ask beyond what Heaven be Whilst from his looks, as from divinity,

stows, The soldiers took presage, and cried, Lead on, Preventing still our wishes. See, great Sir, Great Alla, and our emperor, lead on,

The universal joy your soldiers wear, To victory, and everlasting fame.

Omen of prosperous battle. Mir. Hear you of Bajazet ?

Impatient of the tedious night, in arms Pr. Late in the evening,

Watchful they stood, expecting opening day; A slave of near attendance on his person And now are hardly by their leaders held 'Scap'd to our camp. From him we learn'd, the From darting on the fóe. Like a hot courser, tyrant,

That bounding paws the mouldering soil, disWith rage redoubled, for the fight prepares;

daining Some accidential passion fires his breast, The rein that checks him, eager for the race. (Love, as 'tis thought, for a fair Grecian cap- Tam. Yes, prince, I mean to give a loose to war. tive,)

This morn Axalla, with my Parthian horse, And adds new horror to his native fury.

Arrives to join me. He, who, like a storm,. For five returning suns, scarce was he seen Swept, with his flying squadrons, all the plain By any, the most favour'd of his court,

Between Angoria's walls and yon tall mountains, But in lascivious ease, among his women, That seem to reach the clouds; and now he comes, Liva from the war retir'd; or else alone, Loaden with spoils and conquest, to my aid. In sullen mood, sat meditating plagues

(Flourish of trumpets. And rain to the world; 'till yester morn,

Zam. These trumpets speak his presenceLike fire that lab'ring upwards rends the earth, He burst with fury from his tent, commanding Enter Axalla, who kneels to TAMERLANE. All

should be ready for the fight this day. Zam. I know his temper well

, since in his court, Tam. Welcome! thou worthy partner of my Companion of the brave Axalla's embassy,

laurels, I oft observ'd him proud, impatient

Thou brother of my choice, a band more sacred Of aaght superior, even of Heaven that made Than nature's brittle tie. By holy friendship!

Glory and Fame stood still for thy arrival; Fond of false glory of the savage power My soul seem'd wanting in its better half, Of ruling without reasor., of confounding And languish'd for thy absence; like a prophet, Just and anjust, by an unbounded will;

That waits the inspiration of his god. By whom religion, honour, all the bands

Ax. My emperor! My ever royal master!

him;

To whom my secret soul more lowly bends, Tam. Thou speak’st him as a soldier should Than forms of outward worship can express;

a soldier, How poorly does your soldier pay this goodness, Just to the worth he finds. I would not war Who wears his every hour of life out for you!

(To Mon. Yet, 'tis his all, and what he has be offers; With aught that wears thy virtuous stamp of Nor now disdain t'accept the gift he brings,

greatness.

Thy habit speaks thee Christian-Nay, yet more, Enter Selima, Moneses, STRATOCLES, Pri- My soul seems pleas'd to take acquaintance soners ; Guards, Mules, foc. foc.

with thee,

As if allied to thine: perhaps 'tis sympathy This earnest of your fortune. See, my lord, Of honest minds; like strings wound up in music

, The noblest prize that ever grac'd my arms ! Where, by one touch, both utter the same bar. Approach, my fair

mony. Tam. This is indeed to conquer,

Why art thou then a friend to Bajazet ?
And well to be rewarded for thy conquest;

And why my enemy?
The bloom of opening flowers, unsullied beauty, Mon. If human wisdom
Softness, and sweetest innocence she wears, Could point out every action of our lives,
And looks like Nature in the world's first spring, And say, Let it be thus, in spite of fate
But say, Axalla-

Or partial fortune, then I had not been
Sel. Most renown'd in war,

The wretch I am.

(Kneeling to Tam Tam. The brave meet every accident Look with compassion on a captive maid, With equal minds. Think nobler of thy foes, Though born of hostile blood ; nor let my birth, Than to account thy chance in war an evil. Deriv'd from Bajazet, prevent that mercy,

Mon. Far, far from that: I rather hold it Which every subject of your fortune finds.

grievous War is the province of ambitious man,

That I was forc'd even but to seem your enemy; Who tears the miserable world for empire; Nor think the baseness of a vanquish'd slave Whilst our weak sex, incapable of wrong, Moves me to flatter for precarious life, On either side claims privilege of safety.

Or ill-bought freedom, when I swear by Heaven! Tam. (Raising her.) Rise, royal maid! the Were I to choose from all mankind a master, pride of haughty power

It should be Tamerlane. Pays homage, not receives it from the fair.

Tam. A noble freedom Thy angry father fiercely calls me forth, Dwells with the brave, unknown to fawning And urges me unwillingly to arms.

sycophants, Yet, though our frowning battles menace death And claims a privilege of being behev'd. And mortal conflict, think not that we hold I take thy praise as earnest of thy friendship. Thy innocence and virtue as our foe.

Mon. Still you prevent the homage I should Here, till the fate of Asia is decided,

offer, In safety stay. To-morrow is your own. O, royal Sir ! 'let my misfortunes plead Nor grieve for who may conquer, or who lose; And wipe away the hostile mark I wore. Fortune on either side shall wait thy wishes. I was, when not long since my fortune hail'd me, Sel. Where shall my wonder and my praise Bless'd to my wish, I was the prince Moneses; begin ?

Born, and bred up to greatness : witness the From the successful labours of thy arms;

blood, Or from a theme more soft, and full of peace, Which through successive heroes' veins, allied Thy mercy and thy gentleness? Oh, Tamer- To our Greek emperors, rolld down to me, lane!

Feeds the bright flame of glory in my heart. What can I pay thee for this noble usage,

Tam. Even that, that princely tie should bind But grateful praise ? So Heaven itself is paid !

thee to me, Give peace, ye powers above, peace to mankind; If virtue were not more than all alliance. Nor let my father wage unequal war

Mon. I have a sister, oh, severe remembrance ! Against the force of such united virtues. Our noble house's, nay, her sex's pride, Tam. Heaven hear thy pious wish !—But Nor think my tongue too lavish, if I speak her since our prospect

Fair as the fame of virtue, and yet chaste Looks darkly on futurity, till fate

As its cold precepts; wise beyond her sex Determine for us, let thy beauty's safety

And blooming youth; soft as forgiving mercy, Be my Axaila's care; in whose glad eyes, Yet greatly brave, and jealous for her honour: I read what joy the pleasing service gives him. Such as she was, to say I barely lov'd her, Is there amongst thy other pris'ners aught Is poor to my soul's meaning. From our in

(To Ax.

fancy Worthy our knowledge ?

There grew a mutual tenderness between us, Ar. This brave man, my lord,

Till not long since her vows were kindly [Pointing to Mon.

plighted With long resistance held the combat doubtful. To a young lord, the equal of her birth His party, press'd with numbers, soon grew faint, The happy day was fix'd, and now approaching, And would have left their charge an easy prey ; When faithless Bajazet (upon whose honour, Whilst he alone, undaunted at the odds, In solemn treaty given, the Greeks depended) Though hopeless to escape, fought well and With sudden war broke in upon the country, firmly;

Secure of peace, and for defence unready. Nur yielded till o'ermatch'd by many hands, Tain. Let majesty no more be held divine, He seein'd to shame our conquest whilst he Since kings, who are call'd gods, profane them own'd it.

selves

more.

Yon. Among the wretches, whom that deluge The revolution of a day may bring, swept

Such turns, as Heaven itself could scarce have Away to slavery, myself and sister,

promis'd, l'hen passing near the frontiers to the court, Far, far beyond thy wish: let that hope cheer thee. Which waited for her nuptials) were surpris'd, Haste, my A xalla, to dispose with safety And made the captives of the tyrant's power. Thy beauteous charge, and on the foe revenge Soon as we reach'd his court, we found our usage The pain which absence gives; thy other care, Beyond what we expected, fair and noble; Honour and arms, now summon thy attendance. 'Twas then the storm of your victorious arms Now do thy office well, my soul! Remember Look'd black, and seem'd to threaten, when he Thy cause, the cause of Heaven and injur'd press'd me

earth. (By oft repeated instances) to draw

O thou supreme ! if thy great spirit warms My sword for him: but when he found my soul My glowing breast, and tires my soul to arms, Disdain'd his purpose, he more fiercely told me, Grant that my sword, assisted by thy power, That my Arpasia, my lov'd sister's fate

This day may peace and happiness restore, Depended on my courage shown for him. That war and lawless rage may ver the world no I had long learn'd to hold myself at nothing; But for her sake, to ward the blow from her, (Eseunt TAMERLANE, MONELES, STRATOI bound my service to the man I hated.

CLES, PRINCE of Tanais, Zama, MIRVAN, Six days are past, since by the sultan's order,

and Attendants. I left the pledge of my return behind,

Ax. The battle calls, and bids me haste to And went to guard this princess to his camp:

leave thee; The rest the brave Axalla's fortune tells you. Oh, Selima ! But let destruction wait, Tam. Wisely the tyrant strove to prop his Are there not hours enough for blood and cause,

slaughter ? By leaguing with thy virtue; but just Heaven This moment shall be love's, and I will waste it Has torn thee from his side, and left him naked In soft complainings, for thy sighs and coldness, To the avenging bolt that drives upon him. For thy forgetful coldness; even at Birza, Forget the name of captive, and I wish

When in thy father's court my eyes first own'd I could as well restore that fair one's freedom,

thee, Whose loss hangs heavy on thee; yet ere night, Fairer than light, the joy of their beholding, Perhaps, we may deserve thy friendship nobler; Even then thou wert not thus. Th' approaching storm may cast thy shipwreck'd Sel. Art thou not chang'd, wealth

Christian Axalla ? Art thou still the same . Back to thy arms: till that be past, since war Those were the gentle hours of peace, and thou (Though in the justest cause) is ever doubtful, The world's good angel, that didst kindly join I will not ask thy sword to aid my victory, Its mighty masters in harmonious friendship: Lest it should hurt that hostage of thy valour But since those joys that once were ours are lost, Our common foe detains.

Forbear to mention 'em, and talk of war; Mon. Let Bajazet

Talk of thy conquests and my chains, Axalla. Bend to his yoke repining slaves by force ; Ax. Yet I will listen, fair, unkind upbraider ! You, Sir, have found a nobler way to empire, Yet I will listen to thy charming accents, Lord of the willing world.

Although they make me curse my fame and Tam. Oh, my Axalla!

fortune, Thou hast a tender soul, apt for compassion, My laurel wreaths, and all the glorious trophies, And art thyself a lover and a friend.

For which the valiant bleed—Oh, thou unjust one! Does not this prince's fortune move thy temper? | Dost thou then envy me this small return

Ar. Yes, Sir, I mourn the brave Moneses' fate, My niggard fate has made for all the mournings, The merit of his virtue hardly match'd

For all the pains, for all the sleepless nights With disadventurous chance: yet, prince, al. That cruel absence brings ?

Sel. Away, deceiver ! Allow me, from th' experience of a lover, I will not hear thy soothing. Is it thus To say, one person, whom your story mention'd That Christian lovers prove the faith they (If he survive) is far beyond you wretched :

swear? You nam'd the bridegroom of your beauteous Are war and slavery the soft endearments sister.

With which they court the beauties they admire ? Mon. I did. Oh, most accurs'd!

'Twas well my heart was cautious of believing Ar. Think what he feels,

Thy vows, and thy protesting. Know, my conDash'd in the fierceness of his expectation :

queror, Then, when th’approaching minute of possession Thy sword has vanquish'd but the half of Se Had wound imagination to the height,

Her soul disdains thy victory. Tbiuk if he lives!

Ax. Hear, sweet Heaven! Mon. He lives, he does : 'tis true

Hear the fair tyrant, how she wrests love's laws, He lives! But how? To be a dog, and dead, As she had vow'd my ruin! What is con Were Paradise to such a state as his: He holds down life, as children do a potion, What joy have I from that, but to behold thee, With strong reluctance and convulsive strug- To kneel before thee, and with lifted eyes glings,

To view thee, as devotion does a saint, Whilst his misfortunes press him to disgorge it. With awful, trembling pleasure; then to swear Tam. Spare the remembrance, 'tis à useless Thou art the queen and mistress of my soul ? grief,

Has not even Tamerlane (whose word, next Apl adds to the misfortune by repeating;

Heaven's,

low me,

[lima,

quest?

ness

Makes fate at second-hand) bid thee disclaim Disdain to give, where freedom of the choice
Thy fears? And dost thou call thyself a slave; Does but seem wanting:
Only to try how far the sad impression

Ar. What! not one kind look?
Can sink into Axalla ?

Then thou art chang'd indeed. [Trumpets.) Sel. Oh, Axalla!

Hark! I am summon'd, Ought I to hear you ?

And thou wilt send me forth like one unbless'd; Är. Come back, ye hours,

Whom fortune has forsaken, and ill fate And tell my Selima what she has done ! Mark'd for destruction. Thy surprising cold Bring back the time, when to her father's court

(down; I came ambassador of peace from Tamerlane; Hangs on my soul, and weighs my courage When, hid by conscious darkness and disguise, And the first feeble blow I meet shall rase me I past the dangers of the watchful guards, From all remembrance: nor is life or fame Bold as the youth who nightly swam the Hel- Worthy my care, since I am lost to thee. lespont:

(Going Then, then she was not sworn the foe of love; Sel. Ha! goest thou to the fight ?When, as my soul confess'd its flame, and sued Ar. I do- -Farewell! In moving sounds for pity, she frown'd rarely, Sel. What! and no more! A sigh heaves in But, blushing, heard me tell the gentle tale ;

my breast, Nay, even confess'd, and told me softly, sighing, And stops the struggling accents on my tongue, She thought there was no guilt in love like mine. Else, sure

, I should have added something more, Sel. Young and unskilful in the world's And made our parting softer. false arts,

Ar. Give it way. I suffer'd love to steal upon my softness, The niggard honour that affords not love, And warm me with a lambent guiltless flame: Forbids not pityYes, I have heard thee swear a thousand times, Sel. Fate, perhaps, has set And call the conscious power of Heaven to This day, the period of thy life and conquests; witness

And I shall see thee borne at evening back The tenderest, truest, everlasting passion. A breathless corse. -Oh! can I think on that, But oh, 'tis past; and I will charge remem- And hide my sorrows;-No-they will have way, brance

And all the vital air that life draws in To banish the fond image from my soul. Is render'd back in sighs. Since thou art sworn the foe of royal Bajazet, Ar. The murmuring gale revives the drooping I have resolv'd to hate thee.

flame, Ar. Is it possible !

That at thy coldness languish'd in my breast: Hate is not in thy nature: thy whole frame So breathe the gentle zephyrs on the spring, is harmony, without one jarring atom.

And waken every plant and odorous flower, Why dost thou force thy eyes to wear this cold. Which winter frost had blasted, to new life. ness?

Sel. To see thee for this moment, and no It damps the springs of life. Oh! bid me die, Much rather bid me die, if it be true

Oh! help me to resolve against this tenderness, That thou hast sworn to hate me.

That charms my fierce resentment, and presente Sel. Let life and death

thee Wait the decision of the bloody field;

Not as thou art, mine and my father's foe, Nor can thy fate, my conqueror, depend

But as thou wert, when first thy moving accents Upon a woman's hate. Yet, since you urge Won me to hear; when, as I listend to thee, A power, which once, perhaps, I had, there is The happy hours pass'd by us unperceivid, But one request that I can make with honour. So was my soul fix'd to the soft enchantment. Ar. Oh, name it! say !

Ax. Let me be still the same; I am, I must be; Sel. Forego your right of war,

If it were possible my heart could stray,
And render me this instant to my father. One look from thee would call it back again,

Az. Impossible !- the tumult of the battle, And fix the wanderer for ever thine.
That hastes to join, cuts off all means of com- Sel. Where is my boasted resolution now ?

[Sinking into his arms. Betwixt the armies.

Oh, yes! thou art the same; my heart joins Sel. Swear then to perform it,

with thee, Which way soe'er the chance of war determines, And to betray me will believe thee still : On my first instance.

It dances to the sounds that mov'd it first, Ar. By the sacred majesty

And owns at once the weakness of my soul. Of Heaven, to whom we kneel, I will obey thee; So, when some skilful artist strikes the strings, Yes, I will give thee this severest proof

The magic numbers rouse our sleeping pas Of my soul's vow'd devotion; I will part with

sions, thee,

(thee, And force us to confess our grief and pleasure. (Thou cruel, to command it!) I will part with Alas! Axalla, say-dost thou not pity A: wretches that are doubtful of hereafter My artless innocence, and easy fondness? Part with their lives, unwilling, loath and fear-Oh! turn thee from me, or I die with blushing. ful,

[thing, A.r. No, let me rather gaze, for ever gaze, And trembling at futurity. But is there no And bless the new-born glories that adorn thee; No small return that honour can afford

From every blush that kindles in thy cheeks, For all this waste of love?

Ten thousand little loves and graces spring Nei. The gifts of captives

To revel in the roses—'t will not be, Wo:ar somewhat of constraint; and generous This envious trumpet calls and tears me from minds

thee

more.

merce

« AnteriorContinuar »