Enter JAFFEIR and BELVIDERA.
Jaff. Where dost thou lead me? Every step I move,
Methinks I tread upon some mangled limb
Of a rackd
friend: O my dear charming ruin!
Where are we wandering?
Belv. To eternal honour;
To do a deed shall chronicle thy name,
Among the glorious legends of those
That have savd sinking nations: thy renown
Shall be the future song of all the virgins,
Who by thy piety
have been preserved
From horrid violation: every street
Shall be adornd with statues to thy honour,
thy feet this great inscription written,
Remember him that proppd the fall of Venice.
Jaff. Rather, remember him, who after all
The sacred bonds of oaths and holier friendship,
In fond compassion
to a womans tears
Forgot his manhood, virtue, truth and honour,
To sacrifice the bosom that relieved
Why wilt thou damn me?
Belv. O inconstant man!
How will you promise? how will you deceive?
Do return back, replace me in my
Tell all thy friends how dangerously thou lovst me,
And let thy dagger do its bloody office;
kind dagger, Jaffeir, how twill look
Stuck through my heart, drenchd in my blood to th hilts!
poor dying eyes shall with their tears
No more torment thee, then thou wilt be free:
Or if thou thinkst it
nobler, let me live
Till Im a victim to the hateful lust
Of that infernal devil, that old fiend
himself and would undo mankind:
Last night. my love
Jaff. Name, name it not again,
It shows a beastly image to my fancy,
Will wake me into madness. Oh,
That durst approach such purity as thine
On terms so vile: destruction, swift destruction
my coward-head, and make my name
The common scorn of fools if I forgive him;
If I forgive him, if I not
With utmost rage and most unstaying fury,
Thy suffering, thou dear darling of my life.
Belv. Delay no longer, then, but to the Senate;
And tell the dismalst story ever utterd,
Tell em what bloodshed,
Have been prepared, how nears the fatal hour!
Save thy poor country, save the
Of all its nobles, which to-morrows dawn
Must else see shed: save the poor tender lives
all those little infants which the swords
Of murtherers are whetting for this moment:
Think thou already
hearst their dying screams,
Think that thou seest sad distracted mothers
Kneeling before thy feet, and
With torn dishevelld hair and streaming eyes,
Their naked mangled breasts besmeard with
And even the milk with which their fondled babes.
Softly they hushd, dropping in anguish from
Think thou seest this, and then consult thy heart.
Belv. Think too, if [that] thou lose this present minute,
What miseries the next day bring upon thee.
all the horrors of that night,
Murder and rapine, waste and desolation,
Confusedly ranging. Think what
then may prove
My lot! the ravisher may then come safe,
And midst the terror of the public ruin
Do a damnd
deed; perhaps to lay a train
May catch thy life; then where will be revenge,
The dear revenge thats due to
such a wrong?
Jaff. By all Heavens powers, prophetic truth dwells in thee,
For every word thou speakst strikes through
Like a new light, and shows it howt has wandered;
Just what thoust made me, take me, Belvidera,
lead me to the place where Im to say
This bitter lesson, where I must betray
My truth, my virtue, constancy
Must I betray my friends! Ah, take me quickly,
Secure me well before that thoughts renewed;
I relapse once more, alls lost for ever.
Belv. Hast thou a friend more dear than Belvidera?