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See, at thy feet, Cleanthes bath'd in blood ! Call it not mercy to prolong my breath ;
heart? Thou still are curft with love. Bleed, virgin, bleed. Is that that thy friend that lies before thee slain? How shall a wretch from anxious life be freed! Is it his wound that reeks upon the plain? My troubled brain with sudden frenzy burns, Is't Lycidas ? And shatter'd thought now this, now that way
-No. I the stranger found, What do I see thus glittering on the plains ? Ere chilly death his frozen tongue had bound. Ha! the dread sword yet warm with crimson He said, “ As at the rofy dawn of day, ftains: [Takes up tbe dagger. He from the city took his vagrant way,
A murdering band pour'd on him from the wood, SCENE II.
First seiz'd bis gold, then bath'd their swords in
blood.” DIONE, PARTIENIA.
You, whose ambition labours to be great,
Think on the perils which on riches wait.
From danger free, through deserts wild he hies, Why is my soul with fuddeo fear dismay'd ?
The rising smoke far o'er the mountain fpies, Why drops my trembling hand the pointed blade? | Which marks his distant cottage; on he fares, O ftring my arm with force !
[<fode. For him no murderers lay their nightly snares; Parthenia.
They pass him by, they turn their steps away; -Methought a noise
Safe poverty was ne'er the villain's prey. Broke through the filent air, like human voice. At home he lies secure in easy sleep,
[ Afide. No bars his ivy-mantled cottage keep; Dione.
No thieves in dreams the fancy'd dagger hold, One well-aim'd blow shall all my pangs remove, And drag him to detect the buried gold; Grasp firm the fatal steel, and cease to love. [Afade. Nor starts he from his couch aghaft and pale, Partbenia.
When the door murmurs with the hollow gale. Sure 'twas Alexis. Ha! a sword difplay'd ! While he, whose iron coffers rust with wealth, The Areaming lustre darts across the shade. ( Afade. Harbours beneath his roof deceit and stealth ; Dione.
Treachery with lurking pace frequests his walks, May Heaven new vigour to my soul impart,
And close behind him horrid murder ftalks. And guide the desperate weapon to my heart ! 'Tis tempting lucre makes the villain bold :
(Afide. There lies a bleeding facrifice to gold. Partbenia.
Lione. May I the medicated death arrest!
To live, is bue to wake to daily cares, (Holds Dione's band.
And journey through a tedious vale of tears. Strike not, rash shepherd; fpare thy guiltless breaft. Had you not rush'd between, my life had flown ; O give me strength to say the threaten'd harm,
And I, like him, no more had sorrow knowo. And wrench the dagger from his lifted arm!
When anguish in the gloomy bofom dwells,
The counsel of a friend the cloud dispels. In giving life, you but prolong my wo.
Give thy breast vent, the secret grief impart, o may not thus th' expected stroke impend!
And say what wo lies heavy at thy heart. Unloose thy grasp, and let swift death descend.
To save thy life, kind Heaven has fuccour sent, But if yon murder thy red hands hath dy'd ; The gods by me thy threaten'd fate prevent. Here. Pierce me deep; let forth the vital tide.
Thou only canft defer the welcome hour.
Only one road to deach thy force deny'd; Tum then, Alexis; and Parthenia know,
Still fate is in my reach. From mountains high, 'Tis the protects thee from the fatal blow.
Deep in whose fhadow craggy ruins lie,
Can I not headlong fling this weight of wo,
No. Life Tall never flatter me again, The friendly stroke is by thy hand delay'd ; Nor Shall 10-morrow bring new lghs and pais.
Parthenia. Can I this burden of thy soul relieve,
Rather let vengeance, with her swiftcit speed, And calm thy grief?
O'ertake thy flight, and recompense the deed! Dione.
Why stays the thunder in the upper sky? If thou wilt comfort give, Gather, ye clouds; ye forky lightnings, fiy: Plight me thy word, and to that word be just; On thee may all the wrath of Heaven descend, When poor Alexis shall be laid in dust,
Whose barbarous hand hath dain a faichful friend. That pride no longer shall command thy mind, Behold Alexis ! Thae chou wilt spare the friend I leave behind.
Lycidas. I know his virtue worthy of thy breast.
Would that treacherous boy Long in thy love may Lycidas! be blett! Have forc'd thy vircue to his brutal joy? Parthenie.
What rous'd his pallion to this bold advance? That swain (who would my liberty controul, Did e'er thy eyes confess one willing glance ? To please some short-liv'd transport of his soul) I know, the faithless youth his trust betray'd; Shows, while his importuning flame he moves,
And well the dagger hath my wrongs repaid. That 'tis not me, himself alone he loves.
Dione (Raising herself on her arm, O live, nor leave him by misfortune prest : Breaks not Evander's voice along the glade ? 'Tis shameful to desert a friend distreft.
Ha! is it he who holds the reeking blade!
There needed not or poison, sword, or dart; Alas! a wretch like me no loss would prove, Thy faithless vows, alas ! had broke my heart. Would kind Parthenia listen to his love.
[ Afide, Parthenia.
Parthenia. Why hides thy bosom this mysterious grief? O tremble, shepherd, for thy rash offence, Ease thy o'erburden'd heart, and hope relief. The sword is dy'd with murder'd innocence! Dione.
His gentle soul no brutal paflion seiz'd, What profits it to touch thy tender breast, Nor at my bosom was the dagger rais'd; With wrongs, like mine, which ne'er can be re Self-murder was his aim; the youth I found dreft?
Whelm'd in despair, and ftay'd the falling wound. Let in my heart the fatal secret die,
Dione. Nor call up forrow in another's eye!
Into what mischiefs is the lover led,
Who calls down vengeance on his perjur'd head! SCENE JI.
O may he pe'er bewail this desperate deed,
And may, unknown, unwept, Dione bleed.
Lyidas. If Laura right dired the darksome ways,
What horrors on the guilty mind attend! Along these paths the penlive shepherd Arays.
His conscience had reveng'd an injur'd friend, [Afide.
Hadit thou not held the Itroke. In death he fought Dione.
To lose the heart-consuming pain of thought. Let not a tear for me roll down thy cheek,
Did not the smooth-tongu'd boy perfidious prove, O would my throbbing fighs my heart-strings Plead his own paflion, and betray my love?
Dione, Why was my breast the lifted stroke deny'd ?
O let him ne'er this bleeding vi&im know; Mut then again the deathful deed be try'd?
Left his raih transport, to revenge the blow, Yes. "Tis refolv'd.
Should in his dearer heart the dagger itain ! (Snatches the dagger from Parthenia.
That wound would pierce my soul with double Partbenia.
How did his faithful lips (now pale and cold)
With moving eloquence thy griefs unfold:
Was he thus faithful? thus, to friendship true ? Lycidas.
Then I'm a wretch. All peace of mind, adieu ! Yes. 'Tis Parthenia's voice, I know the found. If ebbing life yet beat within thy vein, Some fylvan ravilher would force the maid,
Alexis, speak ; unclose those lids again. And Laura sent me to her virtue's aid,
(Flings himself on the ground near Dione. Die, villain, die; and seek the shades below. See at thy feet the barbaroas villain kncel : (Lycidas snatches the dagger from Dione, and 'Tis Lycidas who grasps the bloody steel, fabs ber.
Thy once-lov'd friend. Yet, ere I cease to live, Dione.
Cantt thou a wretched penitent forgive ?
When low beneath the fable mould I rest, Since Heaven ordain'ó chis arm thy life should | May a fincerer friendship share thy breast! guard,
Why are those heaving groans? ah! cease to weep!) hear my vows! be love the just reward. May my loft name in dark oblivion dcep;
Let this fad tale no speaking stone declare,
Lycidas. From future eyes to draw a pitying tear. May Heaven shower vengeance on this perjur'd Let o'er my grave the levelling ploughshare pass,
head! Mark not the spot; forget that e'er I was. As the dry branch that withers on the ground, Then may'lt thou with Parthenia's love he blett,
So, blafted be the hand that gave the wound ! And not one thought on me thy joys molest!
Off; hold me not. This heart deserves the stroke; My swimming eyes are overpow'rd with light, 'Tis black with treachery. Yes: the vows are And darkening shadows fleet before my light:
(Stabs bimself. May't thou be happy! ah! my soul is free. (Dies. Which I fo often swore. Vain world, adicu! Lycidas.
Though I was false in life, in death I'm true. O cruel shepherdess, for love of thee [T. Parthenia.
(Dies. This fatal deed was done.
morrow shall the funeral rites be paid,
And these love-victims in one grave be laid.
There shall the yew her fable branches spread,
And mournful cypress rear her fringed head. Lycidas.
Laura Yes. 'Twas I did it. See this crimson stain ! From thence shall thyme and myrtle send perMy hands with blood of innocence are dy'd.
fume, O may the moon her filver beauty hide
And laurel ever-green o'ershade the tomb.
Where streams the purple grass with lovers blood; No rival shepherd is before thee laid;
Come to my bower. And, as we sorrowing go, There bled the chastest, the fincereft maid Let poor Dione's story feed ny woe That ever sigh'd for love. On her pale face, With heart-relieving tears.--, Cannot thy weeping eyes the feature trace
Laura. (Pointing to Dione. Of thy once dear Dione? With wan care
-['nhappy maid: Sunk are thofe eyes, and livid with despair! adst thou a parent's just command obey'd, Lycidas.
Thuu yet hadit liv'd - But who shall Love advise? Dione!
Love scorns command, and breaks all other ties. Laura.
Henceforth, ye fwains, be true to vows profeft; -There pure conftancy lies dead: For certain vengeance frikes the perjur'd breaft