[Scene I]

Enter Priuli, solus.

Priu.Why, cruel Heaven, have my unhappy days
Been lengthen’d to this sad one? Oh, dishonour
And deathless infamy is fall’n upon me!
Was it my fault? Am I a traitor? No.
But then, my only child, my daughter, wedded;
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 I’d been anything but man,
And raised an issue which would ne’er have wrong’d me.
The miserablest creatures, man excepted,
Are 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.He’s there, my father, my inhuman father,
That, for three years, has left an only child
Exposed to all the outrages of Fate,
And cruel ruin—oh!—

Priu.What child of sorrow
Art thou that com’st thus wrapt in weeds of sadness,
And mov’st 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,
And want your pitying hand to raise me up again.

Priu.Indeed thou talk’st 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 ne’er asked alms before, in that dear hope
Am come a-begging to you, sir.

Priu.For what?

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 your treasure,
Look kindly on me; in my face behold
The lineaments of hers you’ve kiss’d so often,
Pleading the cause of your poor cast-off child.

Priu. Thou art my daughter?

Belv. Yes—and you’ve oft told me,
With smiles of love and chaste paternal kisses,
I’d much resemblance of my mother.

Priu. Oh!
Hadst thou inherited her matchless virtues
I’d been too bless’d.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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