Imágenes de páginas



"Tis thine to vindicate his way to man,

Zaph. Soft ! let me think-This duty wears 'Tis thine his injured worship to avenge.

the face Zaph. Thou lord of nations, delegate of Hea- of something more than monstrous-Par

don, Heaven! Sent to shed day o'er the benighted world, To sacrifice an innocent old man, [arm'd! Oh, say in wbat can Zaphna prove his duty ! Weigh'd down with age, unsuccour'd, and unlostruct me how a frail earth-prison'd mortal When I am hostage for his safety too!Can or avenge or vindicate a god.

No matter-Heaven bas chose me for the Mah. By thy weak arm he deigns to prove

duty ; his cause,

[rebels. My vow is past, and must be straight fulfill'd. And launch this vengeance on blaspheming Ye stern, relentless ministers of wrath, Zaph. What glorious action, what illustrious Spirits of vengeance! by whose ruthless danger

hands Does that supreme, whose image thou, demand? The haughty tyrants of the earth have bled, Place me, oh place me in the front of battle, Come to my saccour, to my flaming zeal 'Gainst odds innumerable ! try me there ; Join your determined courage ! Or, if a single combat claim my might,

And ihou, angel The stoutest Arab may step furth, and see Of Mahomet,

exterminating angel ! (sage, If Zaphna fail to greet him as he ought

That mow':t down nations to prepare his pas. Mah. Oh, greatly said, my son! 'tis in- Support my faltering will, harden my heart, spiration !

Lest nature pity, plead Alcanor's cause.
But heed me: 'tis not by a glaring act

And wrest the dagger from me.
Of human valour Heaven has will’d to prove Ha! who comes here?
This infidels themselves may boast, when led

By ostentation, rage, or brute-like rashness.
To do whate'er Heaven gives in sacred charge, Alc. Whence; Zaphna, that deep gloom,
Nor dare to sound its fathomless decrees, That, like a blasting mildew on the ear
This, and this only's meritorious zeal.

Of promised harvest, blackens o'er thy visage? Attend, adore, obey ; thou shalt be arm'd Grieve not that here, through form, thou art By death's remorseless angel, which awaits confined; me.

I hold thee not as hostage, but as friend, Zaph. Speak out, pronounce ! what victim And make thy safety partner with my own. must I offer?

Zaph. And make my safety partner with thy What tyrant sacrifice ? whose blood requir’st


(Aside. thou?

Alc. The bloody carnage, by this truce susMah. The blood of a detested infidel;

pended A murderer, a foe to Heaven and me;

For a few moments, like a torrent, check'd A wretch who slew my child, blasphemes my In its full flow, will with redoubled strength god,

Bear all before it-
And, like a huge Colossus, bears a world In this impending scene of public horror,
Of impious opposition to my faith :

Be then, dear youth, these mansions thy The blood of cursed Alcanor !

asylum ! Zaph. I! Alcanor !

I'll be thy hostage now, and, with my life, Mah. What! dost thou hesitate ? Rash Will answer that no mischief shall befall thee. youth, beware!

I know not why, but thou art precious to me. He, that deliberates, is sacrilegious.

Zaph. Heaven ! duty! gratitude ! humanity! Far, far from me, be those audacious mortals,

[Aside. Who for themselves would impiously judge, What dost thou say, Alcanor ? Did'st thou say Or see with their own eyes ; who dares to That thy own roof should shield me from the think,

tempest? Was never born a proselyte for me.

That thy own life stood hostage for my safety? Know who I am; know, on this very spot,

Alc. Why thus amazed at my compassion for I've charged thee with the just decree of

thee? Heaven.

[more I am a man myself, and that's enough And when that Heaven requires of thee no To make me feel the woes of other men, Than the bare offering of its deadliest foe, And labour to redress them Nay, thy foe too, and mine, why dost thou Zaph. What melody these accents make! balance

(Aside. As thy own father were the victim claim'd ? Can then a foe to Mahomet's sacred law Go, vile idolater! false Mussulman!

Be virtue's friend ? Go, seek another master, a new faith!

Alc. Thou know'st bot little, Zappa, Zaph. Oh, Mahomet!

If thou dost think true virtue is confined Mah. Just when the prize is ready,

To climes or systems; no, it flows sponWhen fair Palmira's destined to thy arms

taneous, But what's Palmira? or what's heaven to Like life's warm stream, throughout the thee,

whole creation, Thou poor weak rebel to thy faith and love ? And beats the pulse of every heaithfol heart. Go, serve and cringe to our detested foe! How can'st thou, Zaphna, worship for thy god Zaph. Oh pardon, Mahomet! methinks I A being claiming cruelty and murders hear

From his adorers ? Such is thy master's god. The oracle of Heaven-it shall be done!

Zaph. Ob, my relenting soul! thou’rt almost Muh. Obey then, strike! and, for bis in

thaw'd pious blood,

From thy resolve. (Aside.]-I pray you, Sir, Palmira's charms and Paradise be thine.

[Exit. Peace, reason, peace !

no more.


Alc. The more I view him, talk with him, Zaph. Where am I? Heavens ! how shall I observe

now resolve ? His understanding towering 'bove his age, How act? a precipice on every side The more my breast takes interest in his wel. Awaits me, and the first least step's perdition. fare. [Aside.

[Aside. Zaphoa, come near-I oft have thought to ask Mir. Young man, our prophet brooks not thee


such delay; To whom thou owest thy birth, whose generous Go, stop the bolt that's ready to be launch'd Swells thy young veins, and mantles at thy On thy rebellious head. heart?

Zaph. Yes, and renounce, Zaph. That dwells in darkness; no one This horrid vow that's poison to my soul. friendly beam [cended.

[Exeunt. E’er gave me glimpse from whom I am desThe camp of godlike Mahomet has been

My cradle and my country; whilst, of all
His captive infants, no one more bas shared
The sunshine of his clemency and care.

SCENE I.The Temple.
Alc. I do not blame thy gratitude, young

Enter ZAPANA, with a drawn sword in his But why was Mahomet thy benefactor?

hand. Why was not I ? I envy him that glory. Why tben this impious man has been a father Zaph. Well then it must be so; I must disAlike to thee and to the fair Palmira.

charge Zapk. Oh!

This cruel duty-Mahomet enjoins it, Alc. What's the cause, my Zapbna, of that And Heaven, through him, demands it of my sigh,


[back, And all the language of a smother'd anguish ? Horrid, though sacred act!-my soul shrinks Why didst thou snatch away thy cordial eye,

And wont admit conviction. That shone on me before ?

Oh, dire obedience! Zaph. Oh, my torn heart!

Why, duty, art thou thus at war with nature ? Palmira's name revives the racking thought Of my near-blunted purpose.


Enter PALMIRA. Alc. Come, my friend, The flood-gates of destruction soon thrown Thou here, Palmira? Ob, what fatal transport

ope, Will pour in ruin on that curse of nations.

Leads thee to this sad place, these dark If I can save but thee and fair Palmira,

abodes, From this o'erflowing tide, let all the rest

Sacred to death? Thou hast no business here. Of his abandon'd minions be the victims

Pal. Oh, Zaphna, fear and love bave been For your deliverance-I must save your blood.

my guides! Zaph. Just Heaven! and is't not I must shed What horrid sacrifice is this enjoin'd thee ? bis blood ?


What victim does the god of Mahomet
Alc. Nay, tremble if thou dar'st to hesitate. Claim from thy tender hand ?
Follow me straight.

Zaph. Oh, my guardian angel,

Speak, resolve me;

How can assassination be a virtue?
How can the gracious Parent of mankind

Delight in mankind's sufferings ? Mayn't this Pha. Alcanor, read that letter,

prophet, Put in my hands this moment by an Arab, This great announcer of his heavenly will, With utmost stealth, and air bespeaking some. Mistake it once ? what

Pal. Oh, tremble to examine. Of high importance.

He sees our hearts. To doubt is to blasAlc. [Reads.) Whence this ?-Hercides !

pheme. Cautious, my eyes! be sure you're not mis

Zaph. Be steady then, my soul, firm to thy taken

purpose. In what you here insinuate. Gracious Heaven! Come forth, ihou foe to Mahomet and Heaven, Will then thy providence at length o'errule And meet the doom thy rebel faith deserves : My wayward" fate, and, by one matchless Come forth, Alcanor. blessing,

Pal. Who? Alcanor ? Swerten the sufferings of a threescore years ? Zaph. Yes. [Looks for some time earnestly at ZAPANA.

Pal. The good Alcanor ? Follow me.

Zaph. Curse on his pagan virtues ! he must Zaph. Thee ! But MahometAlc. Thy life,

So Mahomet commands : and yet methinks And all its future bliss, dwells on this moment. Some other deity arrests my arm, Follow, I say.

And whispers to iny heart —“ Zaphpa, for[Exeunt ALCANOR and PHARON.


Pal. Distracting state ! Re-enter MIRVAN, with his Attendants, hastily, Zaph. Alas! my dear Palmira, on the other side of the Stage.

I'm weak, and shudder at this bloody busiMir. Traitor, turn back! what means Help me, oh help, Palmira ! I am torn, This conference with the foe? To Mahomet Distracted, with this conflict. Away this instant; he commands thy presence. Zeal, horror, love, and pity, seize my breast,

[To Zaphna. And'drag it different ways. Alas, Palmira,




You see me tossing on a sea of passions ; Oh! shield your injured votaries, and lay
'Tis thine, my angel, to appease this tempest, Oppression bleeding at your altar's foot.
Fix my distracted will, and teach me
Pal. What?

[sions ?

Enter ZAPHNA and PALMIRA. What can I teach thee in this strife of pas

Pal. Act not this bloody deed : oh, save O Zaphna! I revere our holy prophet, Think all his laws are register'd in Heaven,

him, save him ! [ Apart to ZAPANA. And every mandate minted in the skies.

Zuph. Save him, and lose both Paradise and thee !

(Åpart. Zaph. But then to break through hospitali.

Pal. Ha! yonder he stands-Ob! Zapbaa, ty, And murder him by whom we are protected !

all my blood

(Apart. Pal. Oh, poor Alcunor? generous, good Is frozen at the sight!

Alc. 'Tis in your own behalf that I implore Alcanor ! My heart bleeds for thee!

The terrors of your might; swift, swiftly Zaph. Know then, unless I act this horrid Pour yengeance on this vile apostate's head!

Zaph. Hear bow the wretch blasphemes ! So, scene,

(Apart. Unless I plunge this dagger in the breast

Pal. Hold, Zaphna!

[A part. Of that old man, I must-I must--

Zaph. Let me go.

(Apart. Pal. What?

Pal. I cannot-capnot.

[ Apart. Zaph. Must, Palmira

Alc. But if, for reasons which dim-sighted (0 agonizing thought !) lose thee for ever!

mortals Pal. Amoi the price of good Alcanor's Can't look into, you'll crown this daring rebel

blood ? Zaph. So Mahomet ordains.

With royalty and priesthood, take my life : Pal. Horrible dowery !

And if, ye gracious powers ! you've aught of Zaph. Thou know'st the curse our prophet In store for me, at my last hour permit me

bliss has denounced, Of endless tortures on the disobedient ;

To see iny children, pour my blessing on them, Thou know'st with what an oath I've bound Expire in their dear arms, and let them close myself

These eyes, which then would wish no after To vindicate his laws, extirpate all


Pul. His children, did he say? That dare oppose his progress. Say then, fair

A part. Zaph. I think he did.

(Apart. one,

Alc. For this I'll at your altar pay my vows, Thou tutoress divine, instruct me how,

And make it smoke with incense.
How to obey my chief, perform my oath,
Yet list to mercy's call.

[Retires behind the altar. Pal. This rends my heart,

Zaph. [Draws his sword.] Now let me

strike! Zaph. How to avoid being banish'd thee for

Pul. Stay but one moment, Zapbna. ever. Pal. Oh, save me from that thought! must

Zaph. It must not be-unband me. that e'er be ?

Pal. What to do? Zaph. It must not: thou hast now pro

Zaph. To serve my god and king, and merit

thee. nounced his doom. Pal. What doom -Have I ?

[Breaks from PALMIRA, and going towards

the Altar, he starts, and stops short, Zaph. Yes, thou hast seald bis death. Pal. I seal his death !-Did I ?

Ha! what are ye, ye terrifying shades? Zaph. 'Twas Heaven spoke by thee; thou’rt What means this lake of blood that lies before

me? its oracle ; And I'll fulfil its laws. This is the hour

Pal. Oh Zaphna! let us fly these horrid

roofs. In which he pays, at the adjoining altar, Black rites to his imaginary gods.

Zaph. No, no-Go on, ye ministers of death; Follow me not, Palmira.

Lead me the way ; I'll follow ye. Pal. I must follow ;

Pal. Stay, Zaphna; I will not, dare not, leave thee.

Heap no more horrors on me; I'm expiring Zaph. Gentle maid,

Beneath the load. 1 beg thee fly these walls; thou canst not bear what means that omen ? does it spur to mur

Zaph. Be hush'd—the altar trembles ! This borrid scene--Oh, these are dreadful moments !

der, Be gone-quick-this way~

Or would it rein me back? No, 'tis the voice Pal. No, I follow thee,

Of Heaven itself, that chides my lingering

hand. Retread thy every footstep, though they lead To the dark gulf of death.

Now send up thither all thy vows, Palmira, Zaph. Thou matchless maid :-to the dire Whilst I obey its will, and give the stroke. trial then.


[Goes behind the Altar, after ALCANOR. Pal. What vows? Will Heaven receive a murderer's vows ?

[der. SCENE II.The inner part of the Temple, with For sure I'm such, whilst I prevent not mur. a Pagan Altar and Images.

Why beats my heart thus ? what soft voice is this

[cy! ALCANOR discovered, addressing himself to the

That's waken'd in my soul, and preaches merIdols.

If Heaven demands his life, dare I oppose ?

Is it my place to judge -Ha! that dire groan Alc. Eternal powers ! that deign to bless Proclainis the bloody business is about. these mansions,

Zaphna ! oh, Zaphoa! Protectors of the sons of Ishmael, Crush, crush this blasphemous invader's force, Re-enter ZAPANA from behind the Altar. And turn him back with shame. If power be yours,

Zaph. Ha ! where am I?

Who calls me? Where's Palmira? She's | And feebly crawling towards us. Let me fly, not here.

And yield what belp I can! let ine support What fiend has snatch'd her from me ?

thee, Pal. Heavens! be raves !

[lives Thou much-lamented, injured, good old man ! Dost thou not know me, Zaphna ? her, wbo Zaph. Why don't I move? my feet are rootFor thee alone !Why dost thou gaze thus on ed here, me ?

And all my frame is struck and wither'd up Zaph. Where are we?

As with a lightning's blast! Pal. Hast thou then discharged

Alc. My gentle maid, The horrid duty ?

Wilt thou support me? Zaph. Wbat dost thou say?

Weep not, my Palmira. Pal. Alcanor

Pal. I could weep tears of blood, if that Zaph. Alcanor! what Alcanor ?

would serve thee. Paí. Gracious Heaven,

Alc. (Sitting down.] Zaphna, come bither; Look down upon him!

thou hast ta'en my life, (thee, Let's be gone, my Zaphna

For what offence, or what one thought towards Let's fy this place.

That anger or malevolence gave birth, (so. Zaph. Oh! wbither fly? to whom?

Heaven knows I am unconscious. Do not luok D'ye see these bands : who will receive these I see thou dost relent.

hands? Pal. Oh, come, and let me wash them with

Enter Pharon, hastily. my tears! Zaph. Who art thou? let me lean on thee- Pha. [Starting back.] Ha! 'tis too late I find

then! My powers returning. Is it thou, Palmira ? Al. Would I could see Hercides !--PhaWhere have I been ? what have I done?

ron, lo, Pal. I know not.

Thy martyr'd friend, by his distemper'd band, Think on't no more.

Is now expiring.
Zaph. But I must think, and talk on't too, Pha. Dire, unnatural crime !

Oh, wretched parricide !--Behold thy father! I seized the victim by his hoary locks

[Pointing to ALCANOR. (Thou, Heaven, didsi will it)

Zaph. My father!
Then, shuddering with horror, buried straight Pal. Father? ha!
The poinard in his breast. I had redoubled Alc. Mysterious Heaven!
The bloody plunge-

Pha. Hercides, dying by the hand of Mir. But that the venerable sire pour'd forth

van, So piteous a groan !-look'd so, Palmira Who slew him lest he should betray the secret, And with a feeble voice cried—“ Is it Zaph- Saw me approach, and in the pangs of death,

[love, Cried, fly, and save Alcanor ; wrest the sword I could no more. Oh ! hadst thou seen, my From Zaphna's hands, if 'tis not yet too late, The fell, fell dagger in his bosom—view'd That's destined for his death ; then let him His dying face, where sat such dignity,

know Clothed with compassion towards his base as- That Zaphna and Palmira are his children. sassio,

Pal. Dost hear that, Zaphna ?
[Throws himself on the ground. Zaph. 'Tis enough, my fate !
The dire remembrance weighs me to the earth - Canst thou aught more?
Here let me die!

Alc. Oh, nature ! oh, my children!
Pal. Rise, my loved Zaphna ! rise,

By what vile instigations wert thou driven, And let us fly to Mahomet for protection : Unhappy Zaphoa, to this bloody action? If we are found in these abodes of slaughter, Zaph. [Falling at his father's feet.) Oh, I Tortures and death attend us !-let us fly!

cannot speak ! Zaph. [Starting up.) I did fly at that blast- Restore me, Sir, restore thai damned weapon, ing sight, Palmira,

That 1, for once, may make it, as I ought, Wben, drawing out the fatal steel, he cast An instrument of justice. Such tender looks! I fled--the fatal steel, Pal. [Kneels.) Oh, my father! The voice, the tender looks, the bleeding vic-Strike here !-the crime was mine! 'twas 1, tim,

alone, Blessing his murderer-I could not fly: That work'd his will to this unnatural deed ! No, they clung to me, rived my throbbing Zaph. Strike your assassinsheart,

[done? Alc. I embrace my children, And set my brain on fire !-What have we And joy to see them, though my life's the forPal. Hark! what's that noise ? I tremble

feit. for thy life!

Rise, children, rise and live! live to revenge Oh! in the name of love, by all the ties, Your father's death!-But, in the name of naT bose sacred ties, that bind thee mine for ever,

ture, I do conjure thee, follow me!

By the remains of this paternal blood,

That's oozing from my wound, raise not your Re-enter ALCANOR from behind the Altar, lean

hands ing against it, with the bloody sword in his 'Gaivst your own being. Zapbna, wouldst thou hand.

do me

A second deadlier mischief ?
Zaph. Ha! look, Palmira ! see, what object's Self-slaughter can't atone for parricide.

Thy uodermined arm han't quite fulfill'd Wbich bears upon my tortured sight? Is't he, Its bigot purpose ;I hope to live, to animate Or is't his bloody manes come to haunt us? Our friends 'gainst this impostor; lead them, Pal. 'Tis he himself, poor wretch! strug

Zaphna, gling with death,

To root out a rapacious baneful crew,


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Whose zeal is frenzy, whose religion, mur- Can superstition make the reasoner, man ! der!

Alcanor lies there, on his bed of earth? Zaph. Swift, swift, ye hours, and light me Mir. This moment he expired; and Mecto revenge!

ca's youth Come, thou infernal weapon.

In vain lameät their chief, (Snatches the bloody Sword. The silent and desponding crowd, I'll wash off thy foul stain with the heart's Broke out in murinurs, plaints, and last, ia blood

sbouts ; or that malignant sanctified assassin! And each mechanic grew a Mussulman. (As Zapana is going off, enter Mirvan and Mah. But, say, is not our army at their gates ? his Followers, who stop him.

Mir. Omar commands Mir. Seize Zaphna !

Their nightly march, through unsuspected Help you the good Alcanor-Hapless man !

paths, Our prophet, in a vision, learn’d to-night, And with the inorn appears. The mournful tale of thy untimely end,

Mah. At sight of them, And sent me straight to seize the vile assassin, The weak remaining billows of this storm That he might wreak severest justice on him; Will lash themselves to peace--But where is Mahomet comes to vindicate the laws,

Zaphna ? Not suffer with impunity their breach.

Mir. Safe in a dungeon, where he dies apace, Alc. Heavens! what accumulated crimes Unconscious of his fate : for well thou know'st, are here!

Ere at the altar's foot he slew his sire, Zaph. Where is the monster? bear me in. In his own veins he bore his guilt's reward, stant to him,

A deadly draught of poison. That I may blast him with my eye!--may

Mah. I would be kind, and let him die curse him

deceived, With my last hesitating voice !

Nor know that parent blood defiles his soul. Pal. Thou traitor!

Mir. He cannot know it: if the grave be Did not thy own death-doing tongue enjoin

silent, This horrid deed ?

I'm sure Hercides is-
Mir. Off with him, [To the Soldiers. Mah. Unhappy Zaphna!
And see him well secured!

Something like pity checks me for thy death. Pal. Let me go with him; I will share thy My safety claim'd his life, fate,

And all the heaven of fair Palmira's charms Unhappy Zaphna, for I share thy guilt! Shall be my great reward.

Mir. No more-you must to Mahomet : Mir. My poble lord, Our great prophet

Palmira is at hand, and waits your pleasure. Will take you under his divine protection. Mah. At hand! how, Mirvan couldst thou Pal. Oh, death! deliver me from such pro

let me talk tection!

[Aside. On themes of guilt, when that pure angel's Mir. Away!

(To the Soldiers who hold ZAPHNA. Mir. The weeping fair, led on by flattering You, this way.

[To Palmira.

hopes Zuph. Pardon !

Of Zaphna's life, attends your sacred will: Pal. Oh, pardon !

A silent pale dejection shrouds her cheeks, (They are led off by degrees, looking alter- And, like the lily in a morning shower,

nately at their Father and each other. She 'droops her head, and locks up all her Alc. Oh, insupportable!

sweets. Both from me torn, then when I wanted most Mah. Say Mahomet awaits, and then Their consolation !

[A shoul. Assemble all our chiefs, and on this platform Pha. Hark!

Let them attend me straight. [Exit MIRVAN.
The citizens are roused, and all in arins
Rush on to your defence.

Enter Palmira.
Alc. Pharon, support me
Some moments longer-Help-conduct me

Pal. Where have they led me?
tow'rds them ;

Methinks, each'step I take the mangled corpse Bare this wound to them; let tbat speak the Of my dear father, by poor Zaphna mangled,

[me; Lies in my way, and all I see is blood. [Starts. The treacherous cause, for words begin to fail 'Tis the impostor's self !—Burst, heart, ia siThen, if in death I can' but serve my country,"


[Aside. Save my poor children from this tiger's gripe ! Mah. Maid, lay aside this dread. Palmira's , Wbat patriot, or parent, but would wish,

fate, In so divide a cause to fall a martyr! [ Exeunt. And that of Mecca, by my will is fix'd. [ror,

This great event, that fills thy soul with hor.
Is mystery to all, but Heaven and Mahomet.

Pal. Oh, ever righteous Heaven, canst

thou suffer
This sacrilegious hypocrite, this spoiler,

To steal thy terrors and blaspheme thy name,
ȘCENE 1.- A Room.'

Nor doom him instant dead?

Mah. Child of my care,

At length from galling chains I've set thee

free, Mah. Wrong will be ever nursed and fed And made thee triumph in a just revenge ? with blood

Think then thou’rt dear to me, and Mahomet So this boy bigot held his pious purpose ! Regards thee with a more than father's eye ; Mir. Devoutly.

Then know, if thou'lt deserve the mighty booa, Mah. What a reasonless machine

A higher name a nobler fate awaits thee.



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