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ACT III.

The SCENE continues. *

Enter dana.
Anna. Thy vassals, Grief! great nature's order break,
And change the noontide to the midnight hour.
Whilst Lady Randolph sleeps I will walk forth,
And taste the air that breathes on yonder bank.
Sweet may her slumbers be! Restore her, Heav'n!
Send gracious ministers, who love our race,
And who delight in goodness. Send them down
That round her couch they may diffuse soft airs;
And from her fancy chase those dismal forms
That haunt her waking; her sad spirit charın
With images celestial.+

Enter a SERVANT.
Sero. One of the vile assassins is secur'd.
We found the villain lurking in the wood:
With dreadful imprecations he denies
All knowledge of the crime. But this is not
His first essay: these jewels were conceald
In the most secret places of his garment ;
Belike the spoils of some that he has murder'd.

Anna. Let me look on them. Ha! here is a heart,
The chosen crest of Douglas' valiant name!
These are no vulgar jewels. Guard the wretch.

[Exit Anna.
Enter Servants with a Prisoner.
Pris. I know no more than does the child unborn
Of what you charge me with.

First Serv. You say so, Sir!
But torture soon shall make you speak the truth.
Behold the Lady of Lord Randolph comes:
Prepare yourself to meet her just revenge.

Enter LADY RANDOLPH and ANNA. Anna. Summon your utmost fortitude, before * I have seen this play performed when the Scene in this Act was 3 HALL within the Castle.' It gave a variety, and had, I thought, a pleasing effect.

+ See Jane Sbore, the beginning of Act II. p. 119.

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You speak with him. Your dignity, your fame,
Are now at stake.

Think of the fatal secret,
Which in a moment from your lips may fly.

Lady Rand. Thou shalt behold me with a desperate Hear how my infant perish'd. See he kneels. [heart,

[The Prisoner kneels. Pris. Heav'n bless that countenance, so sweet and A judge like thee makes innocence more bold. (mild! O save me, lady! from these cruel men, Who have attack'd and seiz'd me; who accuse Me of intended murder. As I hope For mercy at the judgment seat of God,* "The tender lamb, that never nipt the grass, Is not more innocent than I of murder. Lady Rand. Of this man's guilt what proof can ye

produce? First Sero. We found him lurking in the hollow glynn. When view'd and call’d upon, amaz’d, he fled. We overtook him, and enquir'd from whence And what he was: he said he came from far, And was upon his journey to the camp. Not satisfied with this, we search'd his cloathes, And found these jewels; whose rich value plead Most powerfully against him. Hard he seems And old in villany. Permit us try His stubbornness against the torture's force.

Pris. O gentle lady! 'gainst your lord's dear life These feeble hands no foul attempt have made. As you do wish

your

children's welfare, spare My age! tear not with iron my ancient joints, Nor my grey hairs bring to the grave with pain.+

Lady Rand. Account for these: thine own they cannot For these, I say: be stedfast to the truth; [be. Detected falsehood is most certain death.

[Anna removes the Seroants and returns.

* The 12mo. reads Heav'n. * “ Then shall ye bring down my grey bairs with sorrow to the grave.”

Genesis XLII. 38. This scene bears a very strong resemblance to that between Edipus and the Old Shepherd, in the @dipus Tyrannus of Sophocles, A. IV.

Pris., Alas! I'm sore beset! let never man,
For sake of lucre, sin against his soul!
Eternal justice is in this most just!
I, guiltless now, must former guilt reveal.
Lady Rand. O! Anna, hear!-once more, I charge

thee, speak
The truth direct: for these to me foretell
And certify a part of thy narration;
With which if the remainder tallies not,
An instant and a dreadful death abides thee.

Pris. Then, thus adjurd, I'll speak to you as just
As if you were the minister of Heaven,
Sent down to search the secret sins of men.

Some eighteen years ayo, I rented land
Of brave Sir Malcolm, then Balarmo's lord;
But falling to decay, his servants seiz'd
All that I had, and then turn'd me and mine,
(Four helpless infants and their weeping mother)
Out to the mercy of the winter winds.
A little hovel by the river's side
Receiv'd us: there hard labour, and the skill
In fishing, which was formerly my sport,
Supported life. Whilst thus we poorly liv'de
One stormy night, as I remember well,
The wind and rain beat hard upon our roof;
Red came the river down, and loud and oft
By sounds terrific were my ears assail'd.
At the dead hour of night was heard the cry
Of one in jeopardy. I rose, and ran
To where the circling eddy of a pool
Beneath the ford, us'd oft to bring within
My reach whatever floating thing the stream
Had caught. The voice was ceas'd; the person lost:
But looking sad and earnest on the waters,
By the moon's light I saw, whirl'd round and round,
A basket: soon I drew it to the bank,
And nestled curious there an infant lay.

Lady Rand. Was he alive?
Pris. He was.

Lady Rand. Inhuman that thou art?
How could'st thou kill what waves and tempests spar'd?

Lift up

Pris. I am not so inhuman. Lady Rand. Didst thou not? Anna. My noble mistress, you are mov'd too much: This man has not the aspect of stern murder; Let him go on, and you, I hope, will hear Good tidings of your kinsman's long lost child.

Pris. The needy man, who has known better days,
One whom distress has spited at the world,
Is he whom tempting fiends would pitch upon
To do such deeds, as makes the prosperous men

their hands and wonder who could do them.
And such a man was I; a man declin'd,
Who saw no end of black adversity:
Yet, for the wealth of kingdoms, I would not
Have touch'd that infant, with a hand of harm.

Lady Rand. Ha! dost thou say so? Then, perhaps,
Pris. Not many days ago he was alive. [he lives!
Lady Rand. 0! God of heav'n !* did he then die so

Pris. I did not say he died; I hope he lives. [lately? Not many days ago

these
eyes

beheld
Him, flourishing in youth, and health, and beauty.

Lady Rand. Where is he now?
Pris. Alas! I know not where.

Lady Rand. Fearful perplexity! Thou riddler, speak Direct and clear; else I will search thy soul.

Anna. Permit me, ever honour'd! Keen impatience, ( Tho' hard to be restrain’d, defeats itself.'

Lady Rand. Pursue thy story, with a faithful tongue, To the last hour that thou didst keep the child.+

Pris. Fear not my faith, tho' I must speak my shame. Within the cradle, where the infant lay, Was stow'd a mighty store of gold and jewels; Tempted by which we did resolve to hide, From all the world, this wonderful event, And like a peasant breed the noble child. That none might mark the change of our estate, We left the country, travellid to the north,

* The 12mo, reads-01 heavenly Pow'r ! + Tbe 8vo, edit, gives these two lines to Anna.

Bought flocks and herds, and gradually brought forth
Our secret wealth. But God's all-seeing eye
Beheid our avarice, and smote us sore.
For, one by one, all our own children died.

Ánna. Alas! But human ignorance should speak
With pious doubt on punishment from Heav'n.

Pris. Most true.
Lady Rand. Proceed.

Pris. The stranger sole remain'd
The heir of what indeed was his. Fain then
Would I, loring the boy with father's fondness,
Have trusted him, now in the dawn of youth,
With his own secret: but my anxious wife,
Foreboding evil, never would consent.
Mean while the stripling* grew in years and beauty;
And, as we oft observ'd, he bore himself
In most engaging sort: mild with the mild,
But with the froward he was fierce as fire,+
And night and day he talk'd of war and arms.
I set myself against his warlike bent;
But all in vain: for, when a desperate band
Of robbers from the savage mountains came

Lady Rand. Eternal Providence! What is thy name?
Pris. My name is Norval: and my name he bears.

Lady Rand. 'Tis he: 'tis he himself! It is my son! O sovereign mercy! 'Twas my child I saw! No wonder, Anna, that my bosom burn'd.. Anna. Just are your transports: 'ne'er was woman's

heart Prov'd with such high events, such fierce extremes.' But yet remember that you are beheld By servile eyes; your gestures may be seen Impassion'd, strange; perhaps your words o'erheard.

Lady Rand. Well dost thou counsel, Anna: Heaven On me that wisdom which my state requires ! (bestow

* See before, p. 279. Note * + " With the holy thou shalt be holy: and with a perfect man “ thou shalt be perfect. With the clean thou shalt be clean : and “ with the froward thou shalt learn frowardness." Psalm xxv. 25, 26.

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