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Sel. Leave thee! my heart's best treasure!-- Neverwouldst thou not recal thy vow, appalled at truths like those I utter. But shouldst thou after all be the glad star to guide thy wanderer's course—thy voice the sound to charm away his care—then let fortune frown, or friends in fickle hour desert him
“ How dear the dream! in darkest hours of ill,
Should all be chang'd, to find thee faithful still.” But come, dearest love! the night wears fast, and the moment now before us is the last perhaps we e'er shall seize. To-morrow, Osman will claim thee for his bride, and bear thee from thy prison to a worsea tyrant's arms. Him wouldst thou avoid, my bark awaits us, and will bear us to a shore where peace and love alone shall give us welcome.
Zul. Thou wouldst not surely have me leave my
Sel. Thou dost mistake.—That home by an unfeeling father's mandate on the mory ceases to be longer thine then think, a few short moments and we must part for
Zul. Oh! no, no;—say not that I intreat-I implore
Sel. Then let us haste away.--(She puuses: by action he presses her to accompany him—at the moment lights are seen winding through the trees and rocks in the distance: confused sounds of voices are also heard. She clings to him greatly agitated.)
zul. Oh! Selim, what mean those torches—and hark ! these sounds. (looking fearfully round) Are not those who bear them armed? Yes, yes, I behold their brandished swords !
Sel. Fear not-'tis my band, impatient for my signal, bave missed their way, and seek me out.
[Enter HAROUN, hastily.] Har. Fly! fly! or ye are lost--for ever lost! Sel. Thy meaning
Har. The Serai's in arms:--The Pacha with his household-Osman, with his followers, seek thee cut. If thou hast love for life, fly!
Sel. Say, whence all this?
Zul. Oh! inquire no more.See they approach ! let us escape!
Har. I know but this—thy father, doubting I had not borne with all its strictness my order to his daughter for her marriage with the Bey, sought her out himself. Returning breathless from her vacant chamber, he encountered us.-I escaped his fury; but her woman, confounded by his rage and the threat of instant death, sunk to the ground and divulged thy flight. No more-now seek thy safety. (While this is passing the pursuers are seen to up-proach. In the groupe the Pacha and Osman are occasionally discovered with drawn subres.)
Sel. Well, well, if it must be thus, full to the front I'll meet them. But that I may not sink in an issue too unequal, this last appeal. (flies to the side and whistles shrilly) If that sound be caught we hold them at defiance. (Selim returns to Zuleika, who has leaned on Haroun, and conducts her towards the grotto.) Behold, love! our friends, faithful to my signal, approach. Now one embrace, and retire to this shelter, the sight of thee would but inflame thy father's rage. Good old Haroun will give thee his support. Come(embraces her convulsively. She enters the grotto: Haroun following.) Now come forth my father's sword—and may heaven and his wrongs give vigor to its edge! (He rushes towards the groupe and first encounters Osman.)
OSMAN. Say! at once, who art thou ? Sel. Then at once
—thy foe! Osman. Bold slave! dearly shalt thou repent thy rash
Disclose thyself-restore thy theft or take my vengeance.
Sel. Imperious, haughty Bey! I must feel the one ere thou shalt obtain the other.-Come on-I dare thee-(They fight, after a few desperate pushes, Selim wounds and disarms him. He falls on the arm of Azir and is borne off.) So much for thy idle threat, proud despot!
[The Pacha comes forward, Selim falls back.]
Pacha. Well may'st thou recede, perfidious infidel. 'Tis thus I find reward for all my care.— The meanly disguised plunderer of my peace! (with deep and heated scorn.) Where is my child; but, perhaps, thy answer, as before, is on thy sword--and if 'tism-in a threatening manner.)
Sel. (advancing) To every one but thee it should be thus; but vengeance belongs to heaven and not to man. Thou hadst a father's life, still thou need'st not fear his
Pacha. Weak boy! Fear didst thou say—the word I know not. Oppose me with all thy force, aye, and with all thou deem'st thy wrongs to aid thee, here will I make
Sel. At thy word I hold thee.-(Advances closely, then casts away his own and Osman's sword which he had borne in his left hand; he exposes his breast, the Pacha draws the dagger from his sige and stabs him; he falls hack a few paces, then calmly,) Thou man of blood! Thy well-aimed point hath drawn my heart's best drop.
Pacha. Then well hath it done its office I'm satisfied! (exultingly.)
Sel. I know thou art. Now if to curse were not unseemly to my quick-fleeting state, then should the heaviest I could utter fall on thee. I would bid thee live-live to protracted days, amid the never-dying recollection of thy deeds. And when at length thy remorseless care-worn soul should sink, to sink doubtful of meeting what it never felt-mercy !—Give me support. (He staggers toward the entrance of the grotto, Haroun comes out.) Old man! thou hast been almost my only friend! One office more-a last—thy arm.-- (seizes him convulsively.)
Har. Oh! Heaven! he bleeds.
Sel. To death.—Remove the water from my eyes that was kind.-Hold me fast-I fall-Zuleika -(Falls lifeless, Zuleika at the same instant comes forth.)
Zul. Where is he? (looking eagerly round.) I am called 'twas Selim-lead me to him-(she discovers him on the gr ground.) What do I behold !-Oh! no
-(Falls on her knee, places her lip close to his, then rising in strong and convulsive agony exclaims.) Dead !-Oh! no-not dead. He'll call me yet again! No, no, no; he is not dead! (falls close to him.)
Pacha. ( Attempts to raise her, but lets her fall.) My daughter breathless too! My Zuleika! My soul's best hope! Am I reserved for this? Why did not the miscreant strike? His wrath bath already reached me.-Already do I feel his bitter malediction. (Falls on the shoulder of an attendant. Curtain drops.)
Whoever has read the Bride of Abydos, by Lord Byron, will at once discover, how extensively beholden the author of the foregoing performance has been to that admired production. Some acquaintance, derived chiefly from books, with the manners and scenes which in that have been so admirably pourtrayed from personal, and consequently more accurate, observation, may have had a considerable share of influence in a design of the kind. But a very willing acknowledgment is now made, that it remained exclusively owing to the highly animated and tenderly impassioned descriptions, so abundantly produced in the poem alluded to, to awaken this to more perfect life. And while in some instances it will be observed, how closely also the author has followed the above, in others it may appear equally obvious, that a more bold and excursive flight has been attempted; but with what share of strength or success his pinions have been upborne, it is not left for him to determine.
When this Drama, if Drama it may be called, was nearly finished, some of the numbers of Periodical Criticism came under the view of the writer of it: in one of which particularly, the capability of the Poem of Lord Byron to supply scenic effect was strongly insisted on. To discover such a coincidence of opinion could not but be encouraging; and should it be found that the labor on the present occasion has not contradicted the suggestion, it must afford a very considerable share of pleasure.
It may yet be thought that the story of the Bride of Abydos, when taken in all its parts, and however beautiful,
NO. XIII, N. Br. Th. VOL. IV. C
will still be found deficient in what is essentially requisite to form a successful drama. And by a successful Drama, it will now be understood, that such a one is meant as shall be well received on a public representation. In other respects success might demand and imply something very opposite. The characters it comprehends, however strongly and finely delineated, may be deemed too few for such end; and what they have to do and to utter, would in all probability be found much too tedious for the endurance of a modern audience.
N. B. These observations of the author, it was but justice to communicate. In one respect, in the management of his story, it will perhaps be thought by some of our readers that he has improved on the original, in early explaining the mystery of Selim's birth; thus avoiding the apprehension which Lord Byron has inspired by representing the lovers as brother and sister. Others, however, will no doubt think that he has diminished the tragic interest. We regret that the piece has not been written is blank verse.