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ACT V.

Scene I.-Enter Biron. Nurse following him.

Bir. I know enough: the important question Of life or death, fearful to be resolved, Is cleared to me: I see where it must end, And need inquire no more -Pray, let me have Pen, ink, and paper. I must write awhile, And then I'll try to rest- to rest for ever !

[Exit Nurse. Poor Isabella! now I know the cause, The cause of thy distress, and cannot wonder That it has turned thy brain. If I look back Upon thy loss, it will distract me too. Oh, any curse but this might be removed ! But 'twas the rancorous malignity Of all ill-stars combined, of heaven and fateHold, hold, my impious tongue-Alas! I rave: Why do I tax the stars, or heaven, or fate? They are all innocent of driving us Into despair ; they have not urged my doom; My father and my brother are my fates That drive me to my ruin. They knew well I was alive. Too well they knew how dear My Isabella-Oh, my wife no more ! How dear her love was to me- -Yet they stood, With a malicious silent joy, stood by, And saw her give up all my happiness, The treasure of her beauty, to another;

Stood by, and saw her married to another.
Oh, cruel father! and unnatural brother!
Shall I not tell you that you have undone me !
I have but to accuse you of my wrongs,
And then to fall forgotten-Sleep or death
Sits heavy on me, and benumbs my pains :
Either is welcome; but the hand of death
Works always sure, and best can close my eyes.

[Erit BIRON

Scene II.---Draws, shews Biron asleep on a couch.

Enter ISABELLA. Isa. Asleep so soon! Oh, happy, happy thou, Who thus can sleep! I never shall sleep moreIf then to sleep be to be happy, he, Who sleeps the longest, is the happiest : Death is the longest sleep-Oh, have a care! Mischief will thrive apace.—Never wake more.

[T. Biron. If thou didst ever love thy Isabella, To-morrow must be doomsday to thy peace. The sight of him disarms even death itself. The starting transport of new quickening life Gives just such hopes: and pleasure grows again With looking on him-Let me look my lastBut is a look enough for parting love! Sure I may take a kiss-Where am I going !

Help, help me, Villeroy! Mountains and seas
Divide your love, never to meet my

shame!
[Throws herself upon the floor; after a short

pause she raises herself upon her elbow.
What will this battle of the brain do with me!
This little ball, this ravaged province, long
Cannot maintain-The globe of earth wants room
And food for such a war-I find I am going
Famine, plagues, and flames,
Wide waste and desolation, do work
Upon the world, and then devour yourselves !
The scene shifts fast-[She rises]—and now 'tis better

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with me;

Conflicting passions have at last unhinged
The great machine ! the soul itself seems changed !
Oh, 'tis a happy revolution here!
The reasoning faculties are all deposed,
Judgment, and understanding, common-sense,
Driven out as traitors to the public peace.
Now I am revenged upon my memory!
Her seat dug up, where all the images
Of a long mis-spent life were rising still,
To glare a sad reflection of my crimes,
And stab a conscience through them! You are

safe,
You monitors of mischief! What a change !
Better and better still! This is the infant state
Of innocence, before the birth of care.
My thoughts are smooth as the Elysian plains,
Without a rub: the drowsy falling streams

Invite me to their slumbers.
Would I were landed there

[Sinks into a chair. What noise was that? A knocking at the gate! It may be Villeroy-No matter who.

Bir. Come, Isabella, come.
Isa. Hark! I am called !
Bir. You stay too long from me.
Isa. A man's voice! in my bed! How came he

there?
Nothing but villany in this bad world! [Rises.
Coveting neighbours' goods, or neighbours' wives :
Here's physic for your fever.

[Draws a dagger, and goes backward to the

couch.]
Breathing a vein is the old remedy.
If husbands go to heaven,
Where do they go that send them? - This to try-

[Just going to stab him, he rises ; she knows

him, and shrieks.] What do I see !

Bir. Isabella, armed !

Isa. Against my husband's life!
Who, but the wretch, most reprobate to grace,
Despair e'er harden'd for damnation,
Could think of such a deed-Murder

my

husband ! Bir. Thou didst not think it.

Isa. Madness has brought me to the gates of hell, And there has left me. Oh, the frightful change Of my distractions! Or is this interval Of reason but to aggravate my woes,

To drive the horror back with greater force
Upon my soul, and fix me mad for ever?

Bir. Why dost thou fly me so?

Isa. I cannot bear his sight; Distraction, come, Possess me all, and take me to thyself! Shake off thy chains, and hasten to my aid ; Thou art my only cure Like other friends, He will not come to my necessities; Then I must go to find the tyrant outWhich is the nearest way

?

[Running out. Bir. Poor Isabella ! she's not in a condition To give me any comfort, if she could: Lost to herself- -as quickly I shall be To all the world- Horrors come fast around me; My mind is overcast—the gathering clouds Darken the prospect-I approach the brink, And soon must leap the precipice ! Oh, heaven! While yet my senses are my own, thus kneeling, Let me implore thy mercies on my wife: Release her from her pangs; and if my reason, O'erwhelmed with miseries, sink before the tempest, Pardon those crimes despair may bring upon me!

(Rises. Enter Nurse. Nurse. Sir, there is somebody at the door must needs speak with you; he will not tell his name. Bir. I come to him.

[E.cit Nurse. 'Tis Belford, I suppose; he little knows Of what has happened here; I wanted him, Must employ his friendship, and then [Exit.

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