Rosamond: An opera. Humbly inscrib'd to Her Grace the Dutchess of Marlborough.
Addison, Joseph, 1672-1719.
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ACT II. SCENE I.
A Pavilion in the Middle of the Bower.
King and Rosamond.
THus let my weary Soul forget
Restless Glory, Martial Strife,
Anxious Pleasures of the Great,
And gilded Cares of Life.
Thus let me lose, in rising Joys,
Fierce Impatience, fond Desires,
Painful Absence that destroys,
And Life-consuming Fires.
Not the loud British Shout that warms
The Warrior's Heart, nor clashing Arms,
Nor Fields with hostile Banners strow'd,
Nor Life on prostrate Gauls bestow'd,
Give half the Joys that fill my Breast,
While with my Rosamond I'm blest.
My Henry is my Soul's Delight,
My Wish by Day, my Dream by Night.
'Tis not in Language to impart
The secret Meltings of my Heart,
While I my Conqueror survey,
And look my very Soul away.
O may the present Bliss endure
From Fortune, Time, and Death secure!
O may the present Bliss endure!
My Eye cou'd ever gaze, my Ear
Those gentle Sounds cou'd ever hear.
But oh! with Noon-day Heats oppress'd,
My aking Temples call for Rest!
In yon cool Grotto's artful Night
Refreshing Slumbers I'll invite,
Then seek again my absent Fair,
With all the Love a Heart can bear.
From whence this sad presaging Fear,
This sudden Sigh, this falling Tear?
Page 16 Oft in my silent Dreams by Night
With such a Look I've seen him fly,
Wafted by Angels to the Sky,
And lost in endless Tracks of Light;
While I abandon'd and forlorn,
To dark and dismal Desarts born,
Through lonely Wilds have seem'd to stray,
A long, uncomfortable Way.
They're Fantoms all, I'll think no more;
My Life has endless Joys in store.
Farewel Sorrow, farewel Fear,
They're Fantoms all! my Henry's here.
SCENE A Postern Gate of the Bower.
Grideline and Page.
My Stomach swells with secret Spight,
To see my fickle, faithless Knight,
With upright Gesture, goodly Mein,
Face of Olive, Coat of Green,
That charm'd the Ladies long ago,
So little his own Worth to know,
On a meer Girl his Thoughts to place,
With dimpl'd Cheeks and baby Face,
A Child! a Chit! that was not born,
When I did Town and Court adorn.
Can any Man prefer Fifteen
To Venerable Grideline?
He does, my Child; or tell me why
With weeping Eyes so oft I spy
His Whiskers curl'd, and Shoo-strings ty'd,
A new Toledo by his Side,
In Shoulder-belt so trimly plac'd,
With Band so nicely smooth'd and lac'd.
If Rosamond his Garb has view'd
The Knight is false, the Nymph subdu'd.
My anxious boding Heart divines
His Falshood by a thousand Signs:
Oft o'er the lonely Rocks he walks,
And to the foolish Eccho talks;
Oft in the Glass he rolls his Eye,
But turns and frowns if I am by;
Then my fond easie Heart beguiles,
And thinks of Rosamond, and smiles.
Well may you feel these soft Alarms.
She has a Heart—
—And He has Charms.
Your fears are too just—
—Too plainly I've prov'd
He loves and is lov'd.
O Merciless Fate!
—To be slain
By a Barbarous Swain,
That Laughs at your Pain.
How shou'd I act? Can'st thou advise?
Open the Gate, if you are wise;
I, in an unsuspected Hour,
May catch 'em dallying in the Bow'r,
Perhaps their loose Amours prevent,
And keep Sir Trusty Innocent.
Thou art in Truth
A forward Youth,
Of Wit and Parts above thy Age;
Thou know'st our Sex. Thou art a Page.
I'll do what I can
To surprise the false Man.
An opening Scene discovers ano|ther View of the Bower.
Of such a faithful Spy I've need:
Go in, and if thy Plots succeed
Fair Youth thou may'st depend on this,
I'll pay thy Service with a Kiss.
Prithee Cupid no more
Hurl thy Darts at Threescore,
To thy Girls and thy Boys
Give thy Pains and thy Joys,
Let Sir Trusty and me
From thy Frolicks be free.
Page 19 Re-enter Page, solus.
O the soft delicious View,
Ever Charming, ever New!
Greens of various Shades arise,
Deck'd with Flow'rs of various Dies:
Paths by meeting Paths are crost,
Alleys in winding Alleys lost;
Fountains playing through the Trees,
Give Coolness to the passing Breeze.
A thousand fairy Scenes appear,
Here a Grove, a Grotto here,
Here a Rock, and here a Stream,
All a Vision, all a Dream!
At length the bow'ry Vaults appear!
My Bosom heaves, and pants with Fear:
A thousand Checks my Heart controul,
A thousand Terrors shake my Soul.
Behold the brazen Gate unbarr'd!
—She's fixt in Thought, I am not heard—
I see, I see my Hands embru'd
In purple Streams of reeking Blood:
Page 20 I see the Victim gasp for Breath,
And start in Agonies of Death:
I see my raging dying Lord,
And O, I see my self abhorr'd!
My Eyes o'erflow, my Heart is rent
To hear Britannia's Queen lament.
What shall my trembling Soul pursue?
Behold, Great Queen, the Place in View!
Ye Pow'rs instruct me what to do!
Page. That Bow'r will show
The guilty Foe.
—It is decreed—It shall be so;
[After a Pause.
I cannot see my Lord repine
(Oh that I cou'd call him mine!)
Why have not they most Charms to move,
Whose Bosoms burn with purest Love!
Her Heart with Rage and Fondness glows.
O Jealousie! thou Hell of Woes!
That conscious Scene of Love contains
The fatal Cause of all your Pains:
In yonder flow'ry Vale she lies,
Where those fair-blossom'd Arbours rise.
Let us haste to destroy
Her Guilt and her Joy.
Wild and frantick is my Grief!
Heav'n in pity send Relief?
Page 21The Pangs of Love
Ye Pow'rs remove,
Or dart your Thunder at my Head:
Love and Despair
What Heart can bear?
Ease my Soul, or strike me Dead!
SCENE changes to the Pavilion as before.
Transporting Pleasure! who can tell it!
When our longing Eyes discover
The kind, the dear approaching Lover,
Who can hide, or who reveal it!
A sudden Motion shakes the Grove:
I hear the Steps of him I Love;
Prepare, my Soul, to meet thy Bliss!
—Death to my Eyes! what Sight is this!
The Queen, th' offended Queen I see!
—Open, O Earth! and swallow me!
Enter the Queen with a Bowl in one Hand, and a Dag|ger in the other.
Thus arm'd with double Death I come:
Behold, vain Wretch, behold thy Doom!
Thy Crimes to their full Period tend,
And soon by This or This shall end.
What shall I say, or how reply
To Threats of injur'd Majesty?
'Tis Guilt that does thy Tongue controul.
Or quickly drain the fatal Bowl,
Or this right Hand performs its part,
And plants a Dagger in thy Heart.
Can Britain's Queen give such Commands,
Or dip in Blood those sacred Hands?
In Her shall such Revenge be seen?
Far be that from Britain's Queen!
How black does my Design appear?
Was ever Mercy so severe!
When Tides of youthful Blood run high,
And Scenes of promis'd Joys are nigh,
Oh how dreadful 'tis to die!
To those whom foul Dishonours stain,
Life it self should be a Pain.
Who could resist great Henry's Charms,
And drive the Heroe from her Arms?
Think on the soft, the tender Fires,
Melting Thoughts and gay Desires,
That in your own warm Bosom rise,
When languishing with Love-sick Eyes
That great, that charming Man you see:
Think on your self, and pity me!
And dost thou thus thy Guilt deplore!
[Offering the Dagger to her Breast.
Presumptuous Woman! plead no more!
O Queen your lifted Arm restrain!
Behold these Tears!—
—They flow in vain.
Look with Compassion on my Fate!
O hear my Sighs!—
—They rise too late:
Hope not a Day's, an Hour's Repreive.
Tho' I live wretched, let me live.
In some deep Dungeon let me lye,
Cover'd from ev'ry human Eye,
Banish'd the Day, debarr'd the Light;
Where Shades of everlasting Night
May this unhappy Face disarm,
And cast a Veil o'er ev'ry Charm:
Offended Heav'n I'll there adore,
Nor see the Sun, nor Henry more.
Moving Language, shining Tears,
Glowing Guilt, and graceful Fears,
Kindling Pity, kindling Rage,
At once provoke me, and asswage.
What shall I do to pacifie
Your kindled Vengeance?
—Thou shalt die.
[Offering the Dagger.
Give me but one short Moment's stay.
—O Henry why so far away?
Prepare to welter in a Flood
Of streaming Gore.
[Offering the Dagger.
—O spare my Blood,
And let me grasp the deadly Bowl.
[Takes the Bowl in her Hand.
Ye Pow'rs how Pity rends my Soul!
Thus prostrate at your Feet I fall.
O let me still for Mercy call.
[Falling on her Knees.
Accept, Great Queen, like injur'd Heav'n,
The Soul that Begs to be Forgiv'n:
If in the latest Gasp of Breath,
If in the dreadful Pains of Death,
When the cold Damp bedews your Brow,
You hope for Mercy, show it now.
Mercy to lighter Crimes is due,
Horrors and Death shall thine pursue.
[Offering the Dagger.
Thus I prevent the fatal Blow.
—Whither, ah! whither shall I go!
Where thy past Life thou shalt lament,
And wish thou had'st been Innocent.
Tyrant! to aggravate the Stroke,
And wound a Heart already broke.
My dying Soul with Fury burns,
And slighted Grief to Madness turns,
Think not, thou Author of my Woe,
That Rosamond will leave thee so:
At dead of Night
Page 25With hideous Screams
I'll haunt thy Dreams,
And when the painful Night withdraws,
My Henry shall Revenge my Cause.
O whither does my Frenzy drive!
Forgive my Rage, your Wrongs forgive.
My Veins are froze, my Blood grows chill,
The weary Springs of Life stand still,
The Sleep of Death benums all o'er
My fainting Limbs, and I'm no more.
[Falls on the Couch.
[To her At|tendants.
Hear, you who wait on my Commands!
Beneath those Hills a Convent stands,
Where the fam'd Streams of Isis stray;
Thither the breathless Coarse convey,
And bid the Cloister'd Maids with care
The due Solemnities prepare.
[Exeunt with the Body.
When vanquish'd Foes beneath us lye
How great it is to bid them die!
But how much greater to forgive,
And bid a vanquish'd Foe to love!
Enter Sir Trusty in a Fright.
A breathless Corps! what have I seen!
And follow'd by the Jealous Queen!
It must be she! my Fears are true:
The Bowl of pois'nous Juice I view.
How can the fam'd Sir Trusty live
To hear his Master chide and grieve?
Page 26 No! tho' I hate such bitter Beer,
Fair Rosamond I'll pledge thee here.
The King this doleful News shall read
In Lines of my Inditing:
Your Rosamond is dead
As I am at this present writing.
The Bow'r turns round, my Brain's abus'd,
The Labyrinth grows more confus'd,
The Thickets Dance—I stretch, I yawn,
Death has tripp'd up my Heels—I'm gone.
[Staggers and falls.
Re-enter Queen, sola.
The Conflict of my Mind is o'er,
And Rosamond shall Charm no more.
Hence ye secret Damps of Care,
Fierce Disdain, and cold Despair,
Hence ye Fears and Doubts remove;
Hence Grief and Hate!
Ye Pains that wait
On Jealousie, the Rage of Love.
My Henry shall be mine Alone,
The Heroe shall be All my own;
Nobler Joys possess my Heart
Than Crowns and Scepters can impart.