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Palmira's saved for something worse than death; | Oh! snatch me from that sight ; quick, quick This to prevent Zaphna, I follow thee.

transport me (Stabs herself with ZAPHNA's sword. To nature's loneliest mansion, where the sun Mah. What hast thou done!

Ne'er entered, where the sound of human tread Pal. A deed of glory, tyrant !

Was never heard—But wherefore? still I there, Thou hast left no object worth Palmira's eyes, There still, shall find myself—Ay, that's the hell! And, when I shut out light, I shut out thee I'll none on't.

(Drawing his sword.

(Dies. | Ali. Heavens! help, hold him! Mah. Farewell, dear victim of my boundless

(ALI, &c. disarm him.

Mah. Paltry dastards ! The price of treachery, the reward of murder, You fled the foe, but can disarm your master! Sink with thee to the earth- Oh, justice, jus- | Angel of death, whose power I've long proclaim

ed, In vain are glory, worship, and dominion ! Now aid me, if thou canst ; now, if thou canst, All conqueror as I am, I am a slave,

Draw the kind curtain of eternal night, And, by the world adored, dwell with the damn- And shroud me from the horrors that beset me! ed!

[Ereunt MAHOMET, &c. My crimes have planted scorpions in my breast; Pha. Oh! what a curse is life, when self-conHere, here, I feel them. 'Tis in vain to brave

viction The host of terrors, that invade my soul : Flings our offences hourly in our face, I might deceive the world, myself I cannot. And turns existence torturer to itself! Ali. Be calm a while, my lord think what Here let the mad enthusiast turn his eyes, you are.

And see from bigotry what horrors rise; Mah. Ha ! what am I?

Here in the blackest colours let him read, [Turning to the bodies. That zeal, by craft misled, may act a deed, Ye breathless family,

By which both innocence and virtue bleed. ) Let your loud crying wounds say what I am.

(Ereunt omnes.

EPILOGUE.

LONG has the shameful licence of the age Coquette the fan, and leer a double meaning! With senseless ribaldry disgrac'd the stage; Shame on those arts that prostitute the bays! So much indecencies have been in vogue,

Shame on the bard who this way hopes for They pleaded custom in the epilogue,

praise ! As if the force of reason was a yoke

The bold but honest author of to-night So heavy--they must ease it with a joke; Disdains to please you, if he please not right; Disarm the moral of its virtuous sway,

If, in his well-meant scene, you chance to find Or else the audience go displeas'd away.

Aught to ennoble or enlarge the mind; How have I blush'd to see a tragic queen

If he has found the means, with honest art, With ill-timed mirth disgrace the well-wrote To fix the noblest wishes in the heart, scene;

In softer accents to inform the fair, From all the sad solemnity of woe

How bright they look when virtue drops the tear, Trip nimbly forth-to ridicule a beau:

Enjoy with friendly welcome the repast, Then, as the loosest airs she had been gleaning, | And keep the heart-felt relish to the last.

TANCRED AND SIGISMUNDA.

BY

THOMSON,

PROLOGUE.

art,

Bold is the man, who, in this nicer age,
Presumes to tread the chaste corrected stage.
Now, with gay tinsel arts, we can no more
Conceal the want of nature's sterling ore;
Our spells are vanish'd, broke our magic wand,
That us'd to waft you over sea and land;
Before your light the fairy people fade,
The demons fly,—the ghost itself is laid.
In vain of martial scenes the loud alarms,
The mighty prompter thund'ring out to arms,
The play-house posse clattering from afar,
The close-wedged battle and the din of war.
Now, even the senate seldom we convene;
The yawning fathers nod behind the scene.
Your taste rejects the glittering false sublime,
To sigh in metaphor, and die in rhyme.

| High rant is tumbled from his gallery throne: .
Description, dreams-nay similies are gone.

What shall we then ? to please you how devise,
Whose judgment sits not in your ears nor eyes?
Thrice happy ! could we catch great Shakspeare's
To trace the deep recesses of the heart;
His simple, plain sublime, to which is given
To strike the soul with darted fame from heas

ven;
Could we awake soft Otway's tender woe,
The pomp of verse and golden lines of Rowe!

We to your hearts apply: let them attend; Before their silent, candid bar we bend.

If warm'd they listen, 'tis our noblest praise : | If cold, they wither all the muse's bays.

DRAMATIS PERSONÆ.

MEN.

WOMEN. TANCRED, Count of Leece.

SIGISMUNDA, daughter of Siffredi. MATTEO SIFFREDI, Lord High Chancellor of | LAURA, sister of Rodolpho, and friend to SigisSicily.

munda. Farl OSMOND, Lord High Constable of Sicily. RODOLPHO, friend to Tancred, and captain of | Barons, Officers, Guards, &c. the guards.

SCENE,— The city of Palermo, in Sicily.

ACT I.

Who charms too much the heart of Sigismunda! SCENE I.-The Palacc.

Laura, perhaps your brother knows him better,

| The friend and partner of his freest hours. Enter SIGISMUNDA and LAURA.

What says Rodolpho? Does he truly credit Sig. Ah, fatal day to Sicily! the king

This story of his birth? Touches his last moments !

Laura. He has sometimes, Laura. So 'tis feared.

Like you, his doubts; yet, when maturely Sig. The death of those distinguished by their weighed, station,

Believes it true. As for lord Tancred's self, But by their virtue more, awakes the mind He never entertained the slightest thought To solemn dread, and strikes a saddening awe; That verged to doubt; but oft laments his state, Not that we grieve for them, but for ourselves, By cruel fortune so ill paired to yours. Left to the toil of life-And yet the best

Sig. Merit like his, the fortune of the mind, Are, by the playful children of this world, Beggars all wealth-Then, to your brother, Laura, At once forgot, as they had never been.

He talks of me? Laura, 'tis said, the heart is sometimes charged Lauru. Of nothing else. Howe'er With a prophetic sadness : such, methinks, The talk begin, it ends with Sigismunda. Now hangs on mine. The king's approaching Their morning, noontide, and their evening walks, death

Are full of you, and all the woods of Belmont Suggests a thousand fears. What troubles thence Enamoured with your name. May throw the state once more into confusion, Sig. Away, my friend; ' What sudden changes in my father's house You flatter yet the dear delusion charms. May rise, and part me from my dearest Tancred, Laura. No, Sigismunda, 'tis the strictest truth, Alarms my thoughts.

Nor lialf the truth, I tell you. Even with fondLaura. The fears of love-sick fancy,

ness Perversely busy to torment itself.

My brother talks for ever of the passion But be assured, your father's steady friendship, That fires young Tancred's breast. So much it Joined to a certain genius, that commands,

strikes him, Not kneels to fortune, will support and cherish, He praises love as if he were a lover. Here, in the public eye of Sicily,

He blames the false pursuits of vagrant youth, This, I may call him, his adopted son,

Calls them gay folly, a mistaken struggle
The noble Tancred, formed to all his virtues. Against best judging nature. Heaven, he says,
Sig. Ah, formed to charm his daughter ! In lavish bounty formed the heart for love;
This fair morn

In love included all the tiner seeds
Has tempted far the chase. Is he not yet Of honour, virtue, friendship, purest bliss
Returned ?

Sig. Virtuous Rodolpho !
Laura. No. When your father to the king, Laura. Then his pleasing theme
Who now expiring lies, was called in haste, He varies to the praises of your lover-
He sent each way his messengers to find him ; Sig. And, what, my Laura, says he on the sub-
With such a look of ardour and impatience,

ject? As if this near event was to count Tancred

Laura. He says, that, though he was not nobly Of more importance than I comprehend.

born, Sig. There lies, my Laura, o'er my Tancred's Nature has formed him noble, generous, brave, birth

Truly magnanimous, and warmly scorning A cloud I cannot pierce. With princely accost, Whatever bears the smallest taint of baseness; Nay, with respect, which oft I have observed, That every easy virtue is his own; Stealing, at times, submissive o'er his features, Not learned by painful labour, but inspired, In Belmont's woods my father reared this youth- Implanted in his soul, Chiefly one charın Ah, woods! where first my artless bosom learned He in his graceful character observes ; The sighs of love.--He gives him out the son That though his passions burn with high impaOf an old friend, a baron of Apulia,

tience, Who, in the late crusado, bravely fell.

And sometimes, from a noble heat of nature, But then 'tis strange; is all his family

Are ready to fly off'; yet the least check As well as father dead? and all their friends, Of ruling reason brings them back to temper, Except my sire, the generous good Siffredi ? And gentle softness. Had he a mother, sister, brother, left,

Sig. True! Oh, true, Rodolpho ! The last remain of kindred, with what pride, Blest be thy kindred worth for loving his ! With rapture, might they fly o'er earth and sea, He is all warmth, all amiable fire, To claim this rising honour of their blood, All quick heroic ardour ! tempered soft This bright unknown, this all-accomplished youth, I With gentleness of heart, and manly reason!

If virtue were to wear a human form,

| Has made the prudent basis of his will To light it with her dignity and fame,

Away, unworthy views ! you shall not tempt me! Then softening, mix her smiles and tender Nor interest, nor ambition shall seduce graces

My fixed resolve-Perish the selfish thought, Oh, she would chuse the person of my Tancred ! | Which our own good prefers to that of millions ! Go on, my friend, go on, and ever praise him; He comes, my king, unconscious of his fortune. The subject knows no bounds, nor can I tire, While my breast trembles to that sweetest mu

Enter TANCRED. sic!

Tan. My lord Siffredi, in your looks I read, The heart of woman tastes no truer joy,

Confirmed, the mournful news that fly abroad Is never flattered with such dear enchantment Fron tongue to tongue-We then, at last, have 'Tis more than selfish vanity--as when

lost She hears the praises of the man she loves ! The good old king? Laura. Madam, your father comes.

Sif. Yes, we have lost a father;

The greatest blessing heaven bestows on mortals, Enter SIFFREDI.

And seldom found amidst these wilds of time, Sif. (To an attendant as he enters.] Lord Tan A good, a worthy king !-Hear me, my Tancred, cred

And I will tell thee, in a few plain words, Is found?

How he deserved that best, that glorious title ; Atten. My lord, he quickly will be here. 'Tis nought complex, 'tis clear as truth and virtue. I scarce could keep before him, though he bid me He loved his people, deemed them all his chilSpeed on, to say he would attend your orders.

dren; Sif. 'Tis well-retire You too, my daughter, | The good exalted, and depressed the bad. leave me.

He spurned the flattering crew, with scorn reSig. I go, my father-But how fares the king ? jected

Sif. He is no more. Gone to that awful state, Their smooth advice that only means themselves, Where kings the crown wear only of their vir Their schemes to aggrandize him into baseness : tues.

Nor did he less disdain the secret breath, Sig. How bright must then be his !—This The whispered tale, that blights a virtuous name. stroke is sudden;

He soughi alone the good of those for whom He was this morning well, when to the chase He was entrusted with the sovereign power: Lord Tancred went.

Well knowing, that a people, in their rights Sif. 'Tis true. But at his years

And industry protected ; living safe Death gives short notice-Drooping nature then, Beneath the sacred shelter of the laws; Without a gust of pain to shake it, falls.

Encouraged in their genius, arts, and labours, His death, my daughter, was that happy period And happy each, as he himself deserves, Which few attain. The duties of his day Are ne'er ungrateful. With unsparing hand, Were all discharged, and gratefully enjoyed They will for him provide: their filial love Its noblest blessings; calm as evening skies And confidence are his unfailing treasure, Was his pure mind, and lighted up with hopes And every honest man his faithful guard. That open Heaven; when, for his last long sleep Tan. A general face of grief o'erspreads the Timely prepared, a lassitude of life,

city. A pleasing weariness of mortal joy,

I marked the people, as I hither came, Fell on his soul, and down he sunk to rest. In crowds assembled, struck with silent sorrow, Oh, may my death be such !-He but one wish And pouring forth the noblest praise-of tears. Left unfulfilled, which was to see count Tancred. Those, whom remembrance of their former woes, Sıg. To see count Tancred!--Pardon me, my And long experience of the vain illusions lord

Of youthful hope, had into wise consent Sif. For what, my daughter ?-But, with such And fear of change corrected, wrung their hands, emotion,

And, often casting up their eyes to heaven, Why did you start at mention of count Tancred? | Gave sign of sad conjecture. Others shewed,

Sig. Nothing--I only hoped the dying king Athwart their grief, or real, or affected, Might mean to make some generous just provision A gleam of expectation, from what chance For this your worthy charge, this noble orphan. And change might bring. A mingled murmur ran Sif. And he has done it largely-Leave me | Along the streets; and from the lonely court now

Of him, who can no more assist their fortunes, I want some private conference with lord Tan- | I saw the courtier-fry, with eager haste, cred.

(Exeunt SIG. and LAURA. I All hurrying to Constantia. My doubts are but too true-If these old eyes ! Sif. Noble youth! Can trace the marks of love, a mutual passion I joy to hear from thee these just reflections, Has seized, I fear, my daughter and this prince, Worthy of riper years—But if they seek My sovereign now-Should it be so ? Ah, there, | Constantia, trust me, they mistake their course There lurks a brooding tempest, that may shake Tan. How ! Is she not, my lord, the late king's My long-concerted scheme, to settle firm

sister, The public peace and welfare, which the king 1 Heir to the crown of Sicily? the last

VOL. II.

Of our famed Norman line, and now our queen ? | I dread the horrors of rekindled war: Sif. Tancred, 'tis true; she is the late king's Though dead, the tyrant still is to be feared; sister,

His daughter's party still is strong and numerous : The sole surviving offspring of that tyrant, Her friend, eari Osmond, constable of Sicily, William the Bad-so for his vices styled; Experienced, brave, high-born, of mighty interest. Who spilt much noble blood, and sore oppressed Better the prince and princess should by marriage The exhausted land: whence grievous wars arose, Unite their friends, their interest, and their And many a dire convulsion shook the state:

claims; When he, whose death Sicilia mourns to-day, Then will the peace and welfare of the land William, who has, and well deserved the name On a firm basis rise. Of Good, succeeding to his father's throne, | Tan. My lord Siffredi, Relieved his country's woes-But to return; If by myself I of this prince may judge, She is the late king's sister, born some months That scheme will scarce succeed Your prudent After the tyrant's death, but not next heir.

age Tan. You much surprise me May I then pre In vain will counsel, if the heart forbid itsume

But wherefore fear? The right is clearly his; To ask who is?

And, under your direction, with each man Sif. Come nearer, noble Tancred,

Of worth, and stedfast loyalty, to back Son of my care. I must, on this occasion, At once the king's appointment and his birthConsult thy generous heart; which, when con

right, • ducted

There is no ground for fear. They have great By rectitude of mind and honest virtues,

odds,
Gives better counsel than the hoary head Against the astonished sons of violence,
Then know, there lives a prince, here in Palermo, Who fight with awful justice on their side.
The lineal offspring of our famous hero,

All Sicily will rouse, all faithful hearts
Roger the First.

Will range themselves around prince Manfred's · Tan. Great Heaven! How far removed

son. From that our mighty founder?

For me, I here devote me to the service · Sif. His great grandson:

Of this young prince; I every drop of blood Sprung from his eldest son, who died untimely, Will lose with joy, with transport, in his causeBefore his father.

Pardon my warmth-but that, my lord, will Tan. Ha! the prince you mean,

never Is he not Manfred's son? The generous, brave, To this decision come-Then find the prince; Unhappy Manfred ? whom the tyrant William, Lose not a moment to awaken in him You just now mentioned, not content to spoil The royal soul. Perhaps he now, desponding, Of his paternal crown, threw into fetters, Pines in a corner, and laments his fortune, And infamously murdered?

That in the narrower bounds of private life Sif. Yes, the same.

He must confine his aims, those swelling virtues Tan. By Heavens, I joy to find our Norman Which from his noble father he inherits. reign,

Sif. Perhaps, regardless, in the common bane The world's sole light amidst these barbarous Of youth he melts, in vanity and love. ages,

But if the seeds of virtue glow within him, Yet rears its head; and shall not, from the lance, I will awake a higher sense, a love, Pass to the feeble distaff.—But this prince, That grasps the loves and happiness of millions. Where has he lain concealed ?

Tan, Why that surmise? Or should he love, Sif. The late good king,

Siffredi,
By noble pity moved, contrived to save him I doubt not, it is nobly, which will raise
From his dire father's unrelenting rage,

And animate his virtues-Oh, permit me
And had him reared in private, as became

To plead the cause of youth-Their virtue oft, His birth and hopes, with high and princely nur- | In pleasure's soft enchantment lulled awhile, ture.

Forgets itself; it sleeps and gayly dreams, Till now, too young to rule a troubled state, Till great occasion rouse it; then, all flame, By civil broils most miserably torn,

It walks abroad, with heightened soul and vigour, He, in his safe retreat, bas lain concealed, And, by the change, astonishes the world! His birth and fortune to himself unknown; Even with a kind of sympathy, I feel But when the dying king to me intrusted, The joy that waits this prince; when all the As to the chancellor of the realm, his will,

powers, His successor he named him.

The expanding heart can wish, of doing good; Tan. Happy youth!

Whatever swells ambition, or exalts
He then will triumph o'er his father's foes, The human soul into divine emotions,
O'er haughty Osmond, and the tyrant's daughter. | All crowd at once upon him.
Sif. Ay, that is what I dread—the heat of Sif. Ah, my Tancred,
youth;

Nothing so easy as in speculation,
There lurks, I fear, perdition to the state; And at a distance seen, the course of honour;

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