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Nay draw thy sword, and suddenly; I am
That monster, temple-robber, parricide,
Ingrateful wretch, friend-hater, or what else
Makes up the perfect figure of the devil,
Should he appear like man. Banish amazement,
And call thy ablest spirits up to guard thee
From him that's turn'd a fury. I am made
Her minister, whose cruelty but named
Would with more horror strike the pale-cheek'd stars,
Than all those dreadful words which conjurors use
To fright their damn'd familiars. Look not on me
As I am Cleremond; I have parted with
The essence that was his, and entertain'd
The soul of some fierce tigress, or a wolf's
New-hang'd for human slaughter, and 'tis fit:
I could not else be an apt instrument
To bloody Leonora.
Mont. To my knowledge
I never wrong'd her.
Cler. Yes in being a friend
To me, she hated my best friend, her malice
Would look no lower :-and for being such,
By her commands, Montrose, I am to kill thee.
Oh, that thou hadst, like others, been all words,
And no performance! or that thou hadst made
Some little stop in thy career of kindness!
Why wouldst thou, to confirm the name of friend,
Snatch at this fatal office of a second,
Which others fled from?'Tis in vain to mourn
When there's no help; and therefore, good Montrose, Rouse thy most manly parts, and think thou stand'st
A champion for more than king or country;
Since in thy fall, goodness itself must suffer.
Remember too, the baseness of the wrong
Offer'd to friendship; let it edge thy sword,
And kill compassion in thee: and forget not
I will take all advantages: and so,
Without reply, have at thee.
(They fight. Cleremond falls.)
An ill cause is! you are already fallen:
What can you look for now?
Cler. Fool, use thy fortune:
And so he counsels thee, that, if we had
Changed places, instantly would have cut thy throat, Or digg'd thy heart out.
Mont In requital of
That savage purpose, I must pity you;
Witness these tears, not tears of joy for conquest,
But of true sorrow for your misery.
Live, O live, Cleremond, and, like a man,
Make use of reason, as an exorcist
To cast this devil out, that does abuse you;
This fiend of false affection.
Malefort senior, Admiral of Marseilles, poisons his first wife to make way for a second. This coming to the knowledge of his son, Malefort junior; he challenges his father to fight him. This unnatural combat is performed before the Governor and Court of Marseilles. The spectators retiring to some distance, the father and son parley before the fight commences.
MALEFORT senior. MALEFORT junior.
Mal. sen. Now we are alone, sir;
And thou hast liberty to unload the burden
Which thou groan'st under. Speak thy griefs.
Mal. jun. I shall, sir;
But in a perplext form and method, which
You only can interpret: would you had not
A guilty knowledge in your bosom of
The language which you force me to deliver,
So I were nothing! As you are my father,
I bend my knee, and uncompell'd profess
My life and all that's mine to be your gift,
And that in a son's duty I stand bound
To lay this head beneath your feet, and run
All desperate hazards for your ease and safety.
But, this confess'd on my part, I rise up;
And not as with a father (all respect,
Love, fear, and reverence, cast off) but as
A wicked man, I thus expostulate with you.
Why have you done that which I dare not speak?
And in the action chang'd the humble shape
my obedience to rebellious rage
And insolent pride? and with shut eyes
To run my bark of honour on a shelf,
I must not see, nor, if I saw it, shun it?
In my wrongs nature suffers, and looks backward;
And mankind trembles to see me pursue
What beasts would fly from. For when I advance
This sword, as I must do, against your head,
Piety will weep, and filial duty mourn,
To see their altars, which you built up in me,
In a moment raz'd and ruin'd. That you could
(From my griev'd soul I wish it) but produce,
To qualify, not excuse, your deed of horror,
One seeming reason: that I might fix here,
And move no further!
Mal. sen. Have I so far lost
A father's power, that I must give account
Of my actions to my son? or must I plead
As a fearful prisoner at the bar, while he
That owes his being to me sits as judge
To censure that, which only by myself
Ought to be question'd? mountains sooner fall
Beneath their vallies, and the lofty pine
Pay homage to the bramble, or what else is
Preposterous in nature, ere my tongue
In one short syllable yields satisfaction
any doubt of thine; nay, though it were A certainty, disdaining argument:
Since, though my deeds wore hell's black livery,
To thee they should appear triumphant robes,
Set off with glorious honour: thou being bound
To see with my eyes, and to hold that reason
That takes or birth or fashion from my will.
Mal. jun. This sword divides that slavish knot.
Mal. sen. It cannot,
It cannot, wretch; and if thou but remember
From whom thou hadst this spirit, thou dar'st not hope
Who train'd thee up in arms, but I? who taught thee
Men were men only when they durst look down
With scorn on death and danger, and contemn'd
All opposition, till plum'd victory
Had made her constant stand upon their helmets ?
Under my shield thou hast fought as securely
As the young eaglet, cover'd with the wings
Of her fierce dam, learns how and where to prey.
All that is manly in thee, I call mine;
But what is weak and womanish, thine own.
And what I gave (since thou art proud, ungrateful,
Presuming to contend with him, to whom
Submission is due) I will take from thee.
Look therefore for extremities, and expect not
I will correct thee as a son, but kill thee
As a serpent swoln with poison; who surviving
A little longer, with infectious breath,
Would render all things near him, like itself,
Mal. jun. Thou incensed power,
Awhile forbear thy thunder: let me have
No aid in my revenge, if from the grave
Mal. sen. Thou shalt never name her more →→
(They fight, and the son is slain.)
Mal. sen. Die all my fears,
And waking jealousies, which have so long
Been my tormentors; there's now no suspicion :
A fact, which I alone am conscious of,
Can never be discover'd, or the cause
That call'd this duel on; I being above
All perturbations; nor is it in
The power of fate again to make me wretched.