Page images

You must have patience: and not enter, sir ;
Your father is a going, good old man,
And, having made him heir, he's loth your presence
Should interrupt his journey.

Fer. Francisco may be honest, yet methinks
It would become his love to interpose .
For my access, at such a needful hour,
And mediate for my blessing; not assist
Unkindly thus my banishment. I'll not
Be lost so tamely. Shall my father die,
And not Fernando take his leave ? I dare not.
“ If thou dost hope I should take off this curse,
Do not approach until I send:” 'twas so;
And 'tis a law that binds above


Enter confessor and servant.
Make haste, good father, and if heaven deny
Him life, let not his charity die too:
One curse may sink us both. Say how I kneel,
And beg he would bequeath me but his blessing.
Then, though Francisco be his heir, I shall
Live happy, and take comfort in my tears.
When I remember him so kind a father.
Conf. It is my duty.

Fer. Do your holy office.
Those fond philosophers that magnify
Our human nature, and did boast we had
Such a prerogative in our rational soul,
Convers'd but little with the world, confin'd
To cells, and unfrequented woods, they knew not
The fierce vexation of community;
Else they had taught, our reason is our loss,
And but a privilege that exceedeth sense
By nearer apprehension of what wounds,
To know ourselves most miserable. My heart)

Enter physician and Francisco.
Is teeming with new fears.—Ha! is he dead?

Phy. Not dead, but in a desperate condition;
And so that little breath remains we have


Remitted to this confessor, whose office
Is all that's left.

Fer. Is he not merciful to Fernando yet?
No talk of me?

Phy. I find he takes no pleasure
To hear you named: Francisco to us all
He did confirm his heir, with many blessings.

Fer. And not one left for ine? Oh take me in,
Thou gentle earth, and let me creep through all
Thy dark and hollow crannies, till I find
Another way to come into the world;
For all the air I breathe in here is poison’d.

Fran. We must have patience, brother, it was no
Ambitious thought of mine to supplant you;
He may live yet, and you be reconcil'd.

Fer. That was some kindness yet, Francisco: but
I charge thee by the nearness of our blood,
When I am made this mockery and wonder,
I know not where to find out charity,
If unawares a chance direct my weary
And wither'd feet to some fair house of thine,
Where plenty with full blessings crowns thy table,

my thin face betray my want of food,
Do not despise me, 'cause I was thy brother.

Enter confessor.
Fran. Leave these imagin'd horrors, I must not
Live when my brother is thus miserable.

Fer. There's something in that face looks comfortably.

Conf. Your father, sir, is dead. His will to make
Francisco the sole master of his fortunes
Is now irrevocable: a small pension
He hath given you for life, which, with his blessing,
Is all the benefit I bring.

Fer. Ha! blessing ! speak it again, good father.

Conf. I did apply some lenitives to soften
His anger, and prevail'd; your father hath
Reversed that heavy censure of his curse,
And in the place bequeath'd his prayer and blessing.


Fer. I am new created by his charity.

Conf. Some ceremonies are behind, he did
Desire to be interr'd within our convent,
And left bis sepulture to rne; I am confident,
Your pieties will give me leave

Fran. His will in all things I obey, and yours,
Most reverend father: order as you please
His body; we may after celebrate
With all due obsequies his funeral.

Fer. Why you alone obey? I am your brother :
My father's eldest son, though not his heir.

Fran. It pleas'd my father, sir, to think mé'worthy
Of such a title ; you shall find me kind,
If you can look on matters without envy.

Fer. If I can look on matters without envy!
Fran. You may live here still.
Fer. I may live here, Francisco !

Enter a gentleman with a letter.
Conditions! I would not understand
This dialect.
Fran. With me, from madam

? Gent. If you be signior Francisco.

Fer. Slighted! I find


father was not dead till now.
Croud not, you jealous thoughts, so thick into
My brain, lest you do tempt me to an act,
Will forfeit all again.

Fernando tells Felisarda that his father is dead.
Fer. I have a story to deliver ;
A tale, will make thee sad: but I must tell it,
There is one dead, that lov'd thee not.

Fel. One dead,
That lov'd not me? this carries, sir, in nature
No killing sound :115 I shall be sad to know

I did


115 Like the reply of Manoah in Samson Agonistes : but not saddest, the desolation of a hostile city.”


I did deserve an enemy, or he want
A charity at death.

Fer. Thy cruel enemy,
And my best friend, hath took eternal leave,
And 's gone, to heaven, I hope : excuse my tears;
It is a tribute I must pay his memory ;
For I did love


father. Fel. Ha! your father?

Fer. Yes, Felisarda, he is gone, that in The morning promis'd many years, but death Hath in few hours made him as stiff, as all The winds and winter had thrown cold upon him, And whisper'd him to marble. Francisco offers to restore Fernando his birth-right. Fer

nando dares not take it.



Fran. What demands

Fer. My inheritance, wrought from me
By thy sly creeping to supplant my birth,
And cheat our father's easy soul, unworthily
Betraying to his anger, for thy lust
Of wealth, the love and promise of two hearts.
Poor Felisarda and Fernando now
Wither at soul, and robb’d by thee of that
Should cherish virtue, like to rifled pilgrims


way, and having told their story, And dropt their even tears for both their loss, Wander from one another.

Fran. 'Tis not sure Fernando, but his passion (that obeys not The counsel of his reason) would accuse me : And if my father now, (since spirits lose not Intelligence, but more active when they have Shook off their chains of flesh,) would leave his dwelling, And visit this coarse116 orb again: my innocence

Met on


116 Dirty Plauet. Sterne.


[ocr errors]

Should dare the appeal, and make Fernando see
His empty accusations.

Fer. He that thrives
By wicked art, has confidence to dress
His action with simplicity and shapes,
To cheat our credulous natures: 'tis my wonder
Thou durst do so much injury, Francisco,
As must provoke my justice to revenge,
Yet wear no sword.

Frun. I need no guard, I know
Thou dar'st not kill me.

Fer. Dare I not?

Fran. And name
Thy cause: 'tis thy suspicion, not Francisco,
Hath wrought thee high and passionate. To assure it;
If you dare violate, I dare possess you
With all my title to your land.

Car. How is that?
Fran. Let him receive it at his peril.
Fer. Ha!

Fran. It was my father's act, not mine: he trembled
To hear his curse alive; what horror will
His conscience feel, when he shall spurn his dust,
And call the reverend shade from his blest seat
To this bad world again, to walk and fright him!

Fer. Can this be more than a dream?
Fran. (Gives him the will) Sir, you may cancel it. But

think withal,
How you can answer him that's dead, when he
Shall charge your timorous soul for this contempt
To nature and religion ; to break
His last bequest, and breath, that seal'd your blessings !

Car. These are fine fancies.
Fer. (Returns the will) Here; and may it prosper,

my good father meant it: I'm overcome. Forgive me, and enjoy it.

(Is going)

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »