Enter Priuli, solus.
Priu.Why, cruel Heaven, have my unhappy days
Been lengthend to this sad one? Oh, dishonour
deathless infamy is falln upon me!
Was it my fault? Am I a traitor? No.
But then, my only child, my daughter,
There my best blood runs foul, and a disease
Incurable has seized upon my memory,
To make it
rot and stink to after ages.
Cursed be the fatal minute when I got her;
Or would that Id been anything but
And raised an issue which would neer have wrongd me.
The miserablest creatures, man excepted,
not the less esteemed, though their posterity
Degenerate from the virtues of their father;
The vilest beasts
are happy in their offsprings,
While only man gets traitors, whores and villains.
Cursed be the names, and
some swift blow from Fate
Lay his head deep, where mine may be forgotten.
EnterBelvidera in a long mourning veil.
Belv.Hes there, my father, my inhuman father,
That, for three years, has left an only child
Exposed to all
the outrages of Fate,
And cruel ruinoh!
Priu.What child of sorrow
Art thou that comst thus wrapt in weeds of sadness,
And movst as if thy steps
were towards a grave?
Belv.A wretch, who from the very top of happiness
Am fallen into the lowest depths of misery,
your pitying hand to raise me up again.
Priu.Indeed thou talkst as thou hadst tasted sorrows;
Would I could help thee!
Belv.Tis greatly in your power.
The world, too, speaks you charitable, and I,
Who neer asked alms before,
in that dear hope
Am come a-begging to you, sir.
Belv.O well regard me, is this voice a strange one?
Consider, too, when beggars once pretend
A case like
mine, no little will content em.
Priu. What wouldst thou beg for?
Belv. Pity and forgiveness;
[Throws up her veil.
By the kind tender names of child and father,
Hear my complaints and take me to your love.
Priu. My daughter?
Belv. Yes, your daughter, by a mother
Virtuous and noble, faithful to your honour,
Obedient to your will,
kind to your wishes.
Dear to your arms: by all the joys she gave you,
When in her blooming years she was
Look kindly on me; in my face behold
The lineaments of hers youve kissd so often,
the cause of your poor cast-off child.
Priu. Thou art my daughter?
Belv. Yesand youve oft told me,
With smiles of love and chaste paternal kisses,
Id much resemblance
of my mother.
Hadst thou inherited her matchless virtues
Id been too blessd.