« VorigeDoorgaan »
All thought on her is madness ; Yet let me think--I see the helpless maid ; Behold the monsters gaze with savage rapture, Behold how lust and rapine struggle round her!
Awake, Demetrius, from this dismal dream;
Sink not beneath imaginary sorrows;
Call to your aid your courage
Think on the sudden change of human scenes;
Think on the various accidents of war;
Think on the mighty pow'r of awful virtue;
Think on that providence that guards the good.
O providence! extend thy care to me;
For courage droops, unequal to the combat;
And weak philosophy denies her succours.
Sure, some kind sabre in the heat of battle,
Ere yet the foe found leisure to be cruel,
Dismiss'd her to the sky.
Some virgin martyr,
Perhaps, enamour'd of resembling virtue,
With gentle hand, restrain’d the streams of life,
And snatch'd her timely from her country's fate.
From those bright regions of eternal day,
Where now thou shin'st among thy fellow-saints,
Array'd in purer light, look down on me:
In pleasing visions and assuasive dreams,
O! sooth my soul, and teach me how to lose thee.
LEONTIUS. Enough of unavailing tears, Demetrius :
I come obedient to thy friendly summons,
And hop'd to share thy counsels, not thy sorrows :
While thus we mourn the fortune of Aspasia,
To what are we resery'd ?
To what I know not:
But hope, yet hope, to happiness and honour;
If happiness can be, without Aspasia.
But whence this new-sprung hope?
From Cali bassa, The chief, whose wisdom guides the Turkish counsels. He, tir’d of slav'ry, though the highest slave, Projects, at once, our freedom and his own; And bids us, thus disguis'd, await him here.
Can he restore the state he could not save ?
In vain, when Turkey's troops assaild our walls,
His kind intelligence betray'd their measures ;
Their arms prevail'd, though Cali was our friend.
When the tenth sun had set upon our sorrows,
At midnight's private hour, a voice unknown
Sounds in my sleeping ear, 'Awake, Demetrius,
Awake, and follow me to better fortunes.'
Surpris'd I start, and bless the happy dream;
Then, rousing, know the fiery chief Abdalla,
Whose quick impatience seiz'd my doubtful hand,
And led me to the shore where Cali stood,
Pensive, and list’ning to the beating surge.
There, in soft hints, and in ambiguous phrase,
With all the diffidence of long experience,
That oft had practis'd fraud, and oft detected,
The vetran courtier half reveald his project.
By his command, equipp'd for speedy flight,
Deep in a winding creek a galley lies,
Mann'd with the bravest of our fellow-captives,
Selected by my care, a hardy band,
That long to hail thee chief.
But what avails
So small a force? or, why should Cali fly?
Or, how can Cali's flight restore our country?
DEMETRIUS. Reserve these questions for a safer hour; Or hear himself, for see the bassa comes.
DEMETRIUS, LEONTIUS, CALI.
Now summon all thy soul, illustrious christian !
Awake each faculty that sleeps within thee:
The courtier's policy, the sage's firmness,
The warriour's ardour, and the patriot's zeal.
If, chasing past events with vain pursuit,
Or wand'ring in the wilds of future being,
A single thought now rove, recall it home.--
But can thy friend sustain the glorious cause,
The cause of liberty, the cause of nations ?
Observe him closely, with a statesman's eye,
Thou, that hast long perus’d the draughts of nature,
And know'st the characters of vice and virtue,
Left by the hand of heav'n on human clay.
His mien is lofty, his demeanour great ;
Nor sprightly folly wantons in his air ;
Nor dull serenity becalms his eyes.
Such had I trusted once, as soon as seen,
But cautious age suspects the flatt'ring form,
And only credits what experience tells.
Has silence press'd her seal upon his lips?
Does adamantine faith invest his heart?
Will he not bend beneath a tyrant's frown?
Will he not melt before ambition's fire ?
Will he not soften in a friend's embrace?
Or flow dissolving in a woman's tears?
Sooner the trembling leaves shall find a voice,
And tell the secrets of their conscious walks ;
Sooner the breeze shall catch the flying sounds,
And shock the tyrant with a tale of treason.
Your slaughter'd multitudes, that swell the shore
With monuments of death, proclaim his courage;
Virtue and liberty engross his soul,
And leave no place for perfidy, or fear.
I scorn a trust unwillingly repos’d;
Demetrius will not lead me to dishonour;
Consult in private, call me, when your scheme
Is ripe for action, and demands the sword.
Forgive an old man's weakness,
And share the deepest secrets of my soul,
My wrongs, my fears, my motives, my designs.-
When unsuccessful wars, and civil factions
Embroild the Turkish state, our sultan's father,
Great Amurath, at my request, forsook
The cloister's ease, resum'd the tott'ring throne,
And snatch'd the reins of abdicated pow'r
From giddy Mahomet's unskilful hand.
This fir'd the youthful king's ambitious breast:
He murmurs vengeance, at the name of Cali,
And dooms my rash fidelity to ruin.
Unhappy lot of all that shine in courts,
For forc'd compliance, or for zealous virtue,
Still odious to the monarch, or the people.
CALI. Such are the woes, when arbitrary pow'r And lawless passion hold the sword of justice. If there be any land, as fame reports, Where common laws restrain the prince and subject, A happy land, where circulating pow'r Flows through each member of th' embodied state; Sure, not unconscious of the mighty blessing, Her grateful sons shine bright with every virtue; Untainted with the lust of innovation, Sure, all unite to hold her league of rule Unbroken, as the sacred chain of nature That links the jarring elements in peace.
But say, great bassa, why the sultan's anger,
Burning in vain, delays the stroke of death?
Young, and unsettled in his father's kingdoms,
Fierce as he was, he dreaded to destroy
The empire's darling, and the soldier's boast;