Philander. A dramatic pastoral: By the author of the Female quixote.

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PHILANDER.

A DRAMATIC PASTORAL.

By the AUTHOR of the FEMALE QUIXOTE.

LONDON: Printed for A. MILLAR, in the Strand. MDCCLVIII.

[Price ONE SHILLING.]

TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE LORD VISCOUNT CHARLEMONT.

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MY LORD,

IT is generally expected that there ſhould be ſome relation between the character of the patron and the nature of the work, for which protection is ſolicited.

[Page iv] BUT this law, like many others, is broken when it oppoſes the gratification of paſſions too ſtrong for the reſtraints of regularity. Ambition, which often overpowers the judgment in queſtions of more importance, has made me forget the diſproportion between Your Lordſhip's name, and a Dramatic Paſtoral; and I have ventured to lay before You a compoſition of little dignity in the deſign, and perhaps of little elegance in the execution.

YET for whatever we reſolve, we labour to find reaſons, [Page v] till in time we forget its impropriety; I begin to hope, that by offering to Your Lordſhip a performance of an airy and luxuriant kind, which can at beſt hope only for excuſe, I expoſe myſelf leſs to the imputation of arrogance, than if I had prefixed Your name to a piece more grave and oftentatious, which might have been ſuſpected of pretending to approbation.

I am, my Lord, far from imagining that any of my ideas can be new to Your extenſive knowledge, or that I have attained any beauties of ſtyle or [Page vi] ſentiment adequate to Your delicacy of taſte. The merit of this Poem is but ſmall in my own opinion, and yet, of the little praiſe which it may receive, I muſt reſign a part, by confeſſing that the firſt hint was taken from the PASTOR FIDO, and that the two ſongs marked with aſteriſks , were written by another hand.

WHATEVER praiſe this confeſſion may detract from my abilities, it will add to my ſincerity; and I ſhould diſcover little knowledge of Your Lordſhip, if I ſhould endeavour to [Page vii] recommend myſelf, rather by elevation of genius than by purity of manners.

I am, with great reſpect, MY LORD, Your Lordſhip's Moſt obliged Humble ſervant, CHARLOTTE LENNOX.

PERSONS of the DRAMA.

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  • MONTANO, Prieſt of Apollo.
  • PHILANDER, his ſon, in love with Sylvia.
  • THIRSIS, his friend.
  • SATYR.
  • SYLVIA, a huntreſs, betrothed to Philander.
  • NERINA, her friend.
  • NYMPHS and SATYRS.

SCENE, ARCADIA.

1. PHILANDER.

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1.1. ACT I.

SCENE, An open plain, with the proſpect of a wood at a diſtance.
Enter SYLVIA. NERINA following.
NERINA. YOU ſhun me then, my Sylvia?
SYLVIA.
No, my friend,
Not you, 'tis the fond voice of love, I ſhun;
Chuſe any other theme, and I will liſten
Still as the night, when not a zephyr ſtirs
The trembling leaves.
[Page 10] NERINA.
And why not talk of love?
While that ſoft bloom glows on thy beauteous cheek,
While thy eyes dart their undiminiſh'd rays,
And every feature ſmiles with roſy youth.
Youth, the fit ſeaſon for delight and joy.
Ah! trifler, waſte not thus the fleeting hours,
The ſpring of life knows no return; and age,
The ceaſeleſs winter of the human frame,
Steals ſilent on, to blaſt thy flow'ry prime.

1.1.1. SONG.

Ah! waſte not thus thy flow'ry prime,
The vernal ſeaſon of delight;
Youth flies upon the wings of time,
And age and winter are in ſight.
SYLVIA.
Then let me ſeize each minute as it flies,
Conſume in varied ſports the bliſsful day,
Riſe with the dawn, and join the virgin train,
Bound o'er the dewy vale, diſlodge the deer,
Purſue with flying pace the nimble doe,
And with the ſavage wage a diſtant war.
[Page 11] NERINA.
Ah! fooliſh nymph, begin the war at home:
Within thy charming breaſt the ſavage lies,
Covert too ſweet for ſuch a dang'rous foe.

1.1.1. SONG.

Would'ſt thou a greater monſter quell,
Than all our teeming woods e'er bore:
Subdue thy pride, that foe repel,
And yield to love's perſuaſive lore.
SYLVIA.
Thee, chaſte Diana, all my wiſhes claim;
By choice thy vot'ry, my whole life is thine.

1.1.1. SONG.

Oh! goddeſs of the Sylvan reign
Where peace, where innocence abide;
My freedom is to wear thy chain,
In ſerving thee my nobleſt pride.
NERINA.
Thy infant-vows, to young Philander given,
Thou ſtand'ſt excluded from the virgin choir.
[Page 12] SYLVIA.
Philander was my parent's choice, not mine.
My heart ſubſcrib'd not to th' unhallow'd vow
That paſs'd my infant lips; urge it no more.
NERINA.
Montano's heir, Montano Phoebus' prieſt,
Dear to his patron-god, and bleſt with wealth:
Where could your choice have fix'd, had it been free
But on your deſtin'd ſpouſe? Arcadia's boaſt,
The ſecret wiſh of every blooming maid.
SYLVIA.
Take him who will, this all-accompliſh'd youth:
My part in him I quit, and, ſweet exchange!
Be freedom mine; mine the enchanting joys
Theſe woods and foreſts yield, this well-ſtrung bow,
This ſounding quiver, pure delights ſupply.
Be but my arrows fleet, and juſt their aim,
And I have all my wiſh.
[Page 13] NERINA.
Take heed, fond maid!
For love has arrows fleeter far; and oh!
More deadly too, if pointed with deſpair.

1.1.1. SONG.

Think what the hapleſs virgin proves,
Who loves in vain, yet fondly loves;
While modeſty and female pride,
The ſlighted paſſion ſeek to hide.
For oh! in vain the ſigh's repreſt
That ſtruggling heaves her anxious breaſt.
In vain the falling tear's with-held,
The conſcious wiſh in vain repell'd.
Her faded cheek, and air forlorn,
Coarſe jeſts invite, and cruel ſcorn.
To hopeleſs love ſhe falls a prey,
And waſtes in ſilent grief away.
SYLVIA.
With her own coldneſs Cynthia guards my breaſt;
And the ſoft god can find no entrance there.

1.1.1. SONG.

[Page 14]
Ye gently-breathing zephyrs ſay,
If as your airy courſe yon fly,
Did you e'er meet with one ſo gay,
So happy, or ſo free, as I.
Ye ſoftly-murm'ring ſtreams declare,
If on your banks you ever knew
A maid who own'd ſo little care,
A heart to liberty ſo true.
NERINA.
Yet dread the anger of avenging gods,
For broken vows and violated faith.
SYLVIA.
The gods are juſt: they form'd me what I am,
Cold and diſdainful of the nuptial tye;
They will not puniſh faults themſelves have caus'd.
But while forgetful of the promis'd chace,
With thee the moments idly thus I waſte,
A bevy of bright nymphs, already met
In yonder grove of oaks, expect my coming.
This day we hunt the ſtag.

1.1.1. SONG.

[Page 15]
Celeſtial huntreſs, deign to grace
Our ſports, and bleſs the morning chace.
The goddeſs comes, ſhe comes, and lo!
I ſee her ſilver-beaming bow.
I hear her rattling quiver ſound,
Her nymphs with chearful ſhoutings fill the place,
And the glad echos from the hills rebound.
[Going.]
PHILANDER meets her.
PHILANDER.
One moment ſtay.
SYLVIA.
Detain me not, the morning wears apace.
The nymphs expect me to the promis'd chace.
PHILANDER.
Ah! quit the Sylvan war, the hunter's toils,
Love, nobler trophies yields, and ſweeter ſpoils.
Beauty like your's ſhould theſe rough ſports deſpiſe,
Nor with your arrows conquer, but your eyes.
[Page 16] SYLVIA.
Beauty's ſhort conqueſts ſoon to bondage turn,
The vanquiſh'd triumph, and the victors mourn.
With haughty ſway his empire Love maintains,
And all are vaſſals, where a tyrant reigns.
PHILANDER.
Yet his ſoft power, even gods themſelves confeſs,
'Tis his to conquer, but 'tis his to bleſs.
Then yield thee, beauteous nymph, and thou ſhalt prove
How faint all joys compar'd to mutual love.
SYLVIA.
Away, preſumptuous! taint not my chaſte car
With ſounds Diana's handmaid muſt not hear.
Hate ever be my part, be thine deſpair,
Away, preſumptuous! and thy ſuit forbear.
PHILANDER.

1.1.1. SONG.

Yes, cruel maid, I go to prove
The laſt ſad effort of deſpair:
One death ſhall this loſt wretch remove,
And thouſands from thy ſcorn ſhall ſpare.
[Page 17] Yet ſhall thy image bleſs my cloſing eye,
And my laſt breath thy ſtill lov'd name ſhall ſigh.
Exeunt.
NERINA.
Oh! cruelty extreme! ungrateful maid,
Thus, is it thus, that faithful love is paid?
SYLVIA.
Ceaſe chiding now, my ſavage lover comes,
The rude, rough Satyr—ah! he's here already.
Enter the SATYR.
Ah! Sylvia, whither, whither, doſt thou fly?
Turn, cruel maid, too lovely Sylvia turn.
Oh! fairer than the faireſt lillies thou,
Erect and tall as alders; thy ſoft ſkin
More ſleek than orient ſhells; and whiter far
Than falling ſnows; turn, turn thy ſtarry eyes,
And bleſs thy lover with their beauteous rays.
SYLVIA.
Great terror of theſe woods; ah! why on me,
This laviſh praiſe? know thy own worth, and woo
[Page 18] Some nymph, if ſuch there be, whoſe wondrous form
Is lovely as thy own.—
SATYR.
Inſulting maid!
This form deſpis'd by thee wants not its charms,
If in the liquid mirror of the ſea
I view myſelf aright, this face of mine
A ſanguine colour boaſts; theſe ſhaggy limbs
For ſtrength and ſwiftneſs form'd, and manly grace.
SYLVIA.
If charms like theſe want pow'r to gain my love,
Blame my dull eyes, and my ſtill duller mind.
SATYR.
To charm thoſe eyes the aid of art I'll try,
To move that mind the force of gifts I'll prove,
A pair of turtles callow from the neſt,
Court the ſoft ſoothings of thy lilly-hand;
Oh! learn of them to love, and pay my pains.
[Page 19]

1.1.1. SONG.

Doves are Venus' birds, and bear
Her chariot through the yielding air;
Cupid, with their feathers, wings
Thoſe darts th' unerring archer flings.
Yet his ſoft rage the wantons prove,
And all their little life, is love.
SYLVIA.
Melodious ſtrains, indeed! your muſic, Satyr,
Nought equals, but your verſe.
SATYR.
Do my ſongs pleaſe thee? ſtay then and behold
A vintage meaſure, and my ſkill applaud
As in the harmonious maze I lightly move.
Here on the verdant turf recline, while I
Summon my fellows to the antic round.
Enter SATYRS.
Ye dear companions of my rural joys,
This paragon of nymphs, this conquering fair
Deigns to behold our ſports; begin and ſhew
[Page 20] That Satyrs have their graces, and can tread
With Bacchanalian ſkill the ſprightly dance.
Begin, I ſay.
SYLVIA.
This lawleſs rout with terror chills my heart:
Seize the firſt happy moment, to retire.
[To NERINA.]
DANCE of the SATYRS.
Sylvia and Nerina ſteal off when it is almoſt ended.
SATYR.
Ha, gone! break off the dance:
She is not here whoſe eyes I ſought to charm.
Ah! cruel nymph, inexorable fair,
Harder than tygers to be broke; than rocks
More fix'd in thy diſdain; more haughty far
Than the vain peacock in its plumy pride.
Why ſeek I thee with ſong and dance to move?
Colder than fountains; like the ſliding ſtreams
Impoſſible to hold: but here I ſwear
By Pan, great author of our race, I ſwear,
[Page 21] Since ſong, nor dance, nor gifts, nor pray'rs can move
Thy ſtubborn ſoul, by force I'll crown my love.
END of the FIRST ACT.

1.2. ACT the SECOND.

[Page 22]
SCENE continues.
Enter SYLVIA and NYMPHS, as from hunting, with bows and arrows.
Firſt NYMPH.
GRace of our woods! ſure Dian's ſelf directs
Thy ſtill unerring dart.
SYLVIA.
Be her's the praiſe.
Oh! virgin huntreſs, to thy fav'ring ſmile
Alone I owe, that foremoſt in the chace
My ſhaft transfixes firſt the trembling prey.
Thou ſpeed'ſt the whiſtling arrow to its mark:
Wing'd with thy ſwiftneſs o'er the plain I fly,
And all my honours are deriv'd from thee.

1.2.1. SONG.

[Page 23]
Cynthia, queen of rural pleaſures,
Pleaſures which no guilt deſtroys,
Thine are all health's choiceſt treaſures,
Thine are virtue's ſolid joys.
[Here the Satyr appears liſtening.]
SYLVIA.
Now while the ſun darts fierce the noon-tide blaze,
Haſte to the neighb'ring grove, fair nymphs, and ſhun
His fervid ray; mean time, in yonder vale
Where pines and cedars mingling grateful ſhade,
And from the ſtream which ſlowly glides beneath
Excludes the light; there will I bathe, then taſte
A ſhort repoſe upon its flow'ry border.
Firſt NYMPH.
Soft be thy ſlumbers, gentle maid, farewel!
Exeunt.
The SATYR comes forward.
[Page 24] SATYR.
So my coy Nymph! I think I hold thee now
Safe in my toils; go on, ſecurely go
To thy well-choſen privacy; by Pan,
It fits my purpoſe well: yes, ſtubborn maid!
There ſhalt thou find an unexpected gueſt,
An injur'd lover bent on great revenge.

1.2.1. SONG.

I hate your ſighing, fawning, lying,
To cry each moment one is dying,
In ſome ſick puppy's tone.
No: while her pride looks moſt demurely,
Let me, invading, claſp ſecurely
What force has made my own.
Exeunt Satyr.
Enter PHILANDER in a melancholy poſture.
PHILANDER.

1.2.1. SONG.

In vain I ſtrive to fly
This ſoul-conſuming care;
My ſorrow's always nigh,
And preſent every where.
[Page 25]
In vain I ſeek the grove,
There no repoſe I find,
What ſhades can ſhut out love?
Or cool the fever'd mind?
That ſweetly-daſhing ſtream,
Thoſe gales that whiſper round,
Increaſe the fatal flame,
Enlarge the bleeding wound.
The ſilent gloom of night
Adds horror to my grief;
The gay return of light
To me brings no relief.
Why do I wander thus in woods alone?
Why vent to ſenſeleſs trees my mournful plaints;
Sigh to the fleeting wind; with tears deface
The dimpled ſtream? Oh! Sylvia, cruel maid!
Thy pride a ſavage ſacrifice demands,
Nor will be ſatisfied with leſs than life.
Enter THIRSIS.
THIRSIS.
I ſought thee, dear Philander!
[Page 26] PHILANDER.
Oh! my Thirſis!
Why ſeek a wretch who cannot find himſelf?
Loſt to each joy, to fierce deſpair a prey?
Fain would I ſhun all commerce with mankind:
In theſe dark ſhades wear out the ſad remains
Of hated life.
THIRSIS.
Oh love! thou tyrant of the human breaſt,
Fierce and remorſeleſs as the prowling wolf
That nightly makes the helpleſs flock his prey:
Falſly they call thee god of pleaſing pains,
Of gentle wiſhes and refin'd delights:
Doubts, fears, and jealouſies, ſurround thy throne;
Eternal ſighs fan thy deſtructive fires,
And broken hearts are thy ſad ſacrifice.
PHILANDER.
Such is, indeed, the fate of hopeleſs love;
And ſuch is mine.
[Page 27] THIRSIS.
You make yourſelf your fate;
Love ſhould be paid with love, and hate with hate.
PHILANDER.

1.2.1. SONG.

In vain my paſſion you reprove,
This heart, alas! was form'd for love,
His pains, if not his joys, to feel:
Here the ſoft god has fix'd his throne,
But oh! 'midſt ſighs, and tears alone,
Nor deigns the wounds he makes to heal.
THIRSIS.
Oh! bend not thus thy drooping head to earth,
Like tender plants beneath the beating ſtorm;
This day thy father, by thy griefs impell'd,
With grateful off'rings ſeeks his patron god;
Proſtrate before his altar now he lies,
And all his pious prayers aſcend for thee.
PHILANDER.
To mine, alas! no pitying pow'rs enclin'd,
Unheard, and mingled with the vagrant wind.
[Page 28] THIRSIS.
Hope better now, for ſee thy fire appears,
A ſolemn joy upon his brow he wears:
Some pleaſing news he brings.
PHILANDER.
Be ſtill, my heart!—
Oh! throb not thus, can hope be painful too?
Enter MONTANO.
MONTANO.
Oh! thou to fierce deſpair a wretched prey,
Much-lov'd, lamented youth.
PHILANDER.
Ill-omen'd pity!
Alas! my father mourns my fate; 'tis paſt,
Hope is no more.
MONTANO.
I bring thee more than hope,
My vows are heard, thy wiſhes all are crown'd,
No more the haughty maid ſhall fly thy love.
PHILANDER.
Oh! ſounds which might arreſt the ſtroke of death,
[Page 29] Call back the ſoul to her abandon'd ſeat,
And give it more than life, give immortality.
MONTANO.
With awful rev'rence hear the god's decree,
At whoſe dread altars I ſo long have ſerv'd;
Sylvia, by plighted vows, thy lawful claim
Muſt either yield this day to be thy bride,
Or by her death—
PHILANDER.
Oh! love! almighty love!
What do I hear?
MONTANO.
Or, by her death atone
For violated faith. Thus dooms Apollo.
PHILANDER.
Is this to crown my wiſhes? oh! my father▪
MONTANO.
Raſh youth, repine not at the god's decree,
But to the haughty fair reveal her ſentence,
This day to be a victim, or a bride,
Is all her fate allows.
[Page 30] PHILANDER.

1.2.1. SONG.

Oh! ſtop that death-denouncing ſound,
Nor mix it with the paſſing air,
Leſt by ſome ruder zephyr found,
'Tis waſted to the trembling fair.
His own ſoft cauſe love beſt can plead,
Or let me die, or let me thus ſucceed.
[Exit.]
THIRSIS.
Deſpair is in his eyes, oh! ſage Montano!
Should the proud nymph perſiſt in her denial,
Her ſentence urg'd would aggravate his woe;
And, but forgive my ſad foreboding fears,
Perhaps involve him in her wretched fate.
MONTANO.
Diſmiſs thy fears, thy unexperienc'd youth
Reads not the ſecret heart of varying woman;
Form'd to enſnare, and practis'd to delude,
She flies, but flying, hopes to be purſu'd,
With doubling arts long keeps the doubtful field,
And yields, or ſeems to force alone to yield.
END of the SECOND ACT.

1.3. ACT the THIRD.

[Page 31]
SCENE, A Grove.
SYLVIA diſcovered ſleeping at a diſtance; PHILANDER enters and gazes on her.
PHILANDER.
SHE ſleeps, and I may gaze ſecurely now,
Nor fear the lightning of her angry eyes;
So looks the goddeſs of the ſilver bow!
When by Eurota's lucid wave ſhe lies.

1.3.1. SONG.

On thoſe fair eye-lids, gentle ſleep,
Thy ſofteſt influence ſhed,
Still in thy downy fetters keep
The lovely, cruel maid.
Ye ſighing gales, ye murm'ring ſtreams,
Ye tenants of the grove,
Oh! lengthen out her pleaſing dreams,
And tune her ſoul to love.
[Page 32] Conceal'd I'll guard thy ſlumbers, lovely maid,
Leſt ſome rude ſwain the ſweet receſs invade,
Thoſe charms a lover views with chaſten'd fires,
In vulgar breaſts may kindle looſe deſires.
Enter the SATYR looking about him.
SATYR.
Low murm'ring ſounds I heard, yet none are here;
'Twas but the whiſpers of the am'rous breeze
That plays among the boughs.
SYLVIA
awaking.
What do I ſee?
The brutal Satyr! guard me, chaſte Diana.
SATYR.
Aye, you may call your goddeſs to your aid,
She hears you not; the muſic of her hounds
And beagle-horn will drown your feeble cries.
SYLVIA.
Ah! whither would'ſt thou drag me, cruel Sylvan?
Help, help, ſome pitying power!
[Page 33] Enter PHILANDER.
PHILANDER.
Vile monſter! hence.
The SATYR runs off.
PHILANDER approaches SYLVIA, who turns from him.
PHILANDER.
Oh! ſtedfaſt hate, yet hear me, cruel maid,
If to have ſav'd thee from the brutal rage
Of that fierce Sylvan, claims one kind regard,
Turn, turn, and liſten to my ardent vows.
SYLVIA.
Why will you ſtill this hated theme purſue?
Muſt I another Satyr find in you?
Both perſecutors in a different way,
My honour he, you would my heart betray.

1.3.1. SONG.

Love, o'er the abject breaſt may reign,
With all his light fantaſtic train
[Page 34] Of wiſhes, cares, and fond deſires,
Fears and hopes, and jealous fires,
Be mine from the ſoft folly free;
Love has no charms like liberty.
PHILANDER.
Yet, yet, relent! yield to a lover's prayer.
SYLVIA.
Away, or this deteſted theme forbear.
PHILANDER.
What ſhall I ſay, her ſtubborn mind to move?
Declare her ſentence: no, forbid it love!
[To her]
Yet hear me, Sylvia, e'er it be too late,
Speak one kind word, for oh! thy breath is fate.
SYLVIA.
Mark then my firm reſolves, and oh! be thou,
Celeſtial maid, propitious to my vow;
With thee an humble vot'ry to remain,
Tho' laſt and meaneſt of thy virgin train.
If cold and temp'rate as thy own mild ray,
Thy ſhades I haunt, and thy commands obey,
[Page 35] Still, goddeſs, thy protection let me prove,
And guard me from the ſly ſeducer, love.
[Exit.]
PHILANDER.
Stay, Sylvia, ſtay, and from theſe trembling lips
Hear the ſtern god's decree—Alas! ſhe flies
Swift as the trackleſs winds, to death ſhe flies,
Death leſs abhorr'd than me.
Enter NERINA.
NERINA.
Here Sylvia ſhould be found; but ſure I heard
The plaintive voice of ſorrow—'tis Philander,
Alas! poor youth, he weeps, I will obſerve him.
PHILANDER.
Why wears
The face of nature ſuch a chearful ſmile?
Why this ſoft verdure? why this gaudy bloom?
Fall horrors, fall, and make this beauteous ſcene
Dark as my gloomy ſoul—oh Sylvia! Sylvia!
NERINA.
Would ſhe were here, and heard thee.
[Page 36] PHILANDER.
Cold ſhadowy queen, who laugh'ſt at lover's woes,
Thy ſelf unloving, unbelov'd, now ſave
From the ſad doom incurr'd, thy beauteous vot'ry.
NERINA
(approaching him)
Alas! what doom? ſpeak'ſt thou of Sylvia, ſhepherd?
PHILANDER.
Ha! ſure the goddeſs' ſelf inſpires the thought.
Haſte, haſte Nerina, ſeek thy cruel friend,
Tell her—oh heaven! tell her that Phoebus claims
Her forfeit life for violated faith:
Fly, bid her ſeek Diana's ſacred fane,
And claim protection there.
NERINA.
Oh gen'rous youth! oh my unhappy friend!
[Exit running.]
Enter THIRSIS.
THIRSIS.
He's here: how ſhall I ſpeak the dreadful news?
[Page 37] PHILANDER.
Why art thou thus alarm'd? ſay, deareſt Thirſis.
Alas! 'tis the ſad privilege of deſpair
To fear no worſe.
THIRSIS.
She has refus'd you then.—
PHILANDER.
She has, and oh! with ſuch a fix'd diſdain!
Ungrateful maid, then when my timely aid
Had ſav'd her from a brutal Satyr's luſt,
Then to reject my humble ſuff'ring love,
And, in deſpite of former ties, renew
Her vows to the rough goddeſs of the woods.
THIRSIS.
Horrid ingratitude! would thou could'ſt hate her.
PHILANDER.
Hate her! yes, friend, I'll tear her from my breaſt.
Oh! may ſhe feel, like me, the pangs of love,
Like me unpity'd mourn, and ſigh in vain.
THIRSIS.
The righteous gods, to noblervengeance doom
The perjur'd maid.
[Page 38] PHILANDER.
Oh! Thirſis, there I'm loſt.
THIRSIS.
Arcadia groans beneath Apollo's frown,
In thee his prieſt is ſcorn'd; the wrathful god
Bends his dread bow o'er our devoted plains,
And claims his victim.
PHILANDER.
Sylvia then muſt die!
THIRSIS.
She muſt, my friend, e'en now with mild entreaty
Thy father urg'd her to perform her vow,
Scornful ſhe heard, nor ſhook at the ſad ſentence
Which he with tears pronounc'd.
PHILANDER.
Yet hold my heart,—
Where is ſhe now?
THRISIS.
I ſaw her, guarded by the attending prieſts
In ſad proceſſion, led tow'rds the temple:
[Page 39] Her griev'd companions rend the air with cries,
And beat their ſnowy breaſts in wild deſpair.
But ſhe with haughty mien, erect and firm
As the ſtern deity by her obey'd,
Welcomes her fate; nor can th'approach of death
Baniſh the colour from her cheeks; or rage
And fierce diſdain plant freſher roſes there.
PHILANDER.
Oh! Sylvia, muſt thou die?
THIRSIS.
Alas! my friend,
You tremble, you look pale; think on your wrongs,
Think on her ſcorn, and th'impending curſe
That threats Arcadia, till the god's appeas'd.
SOLEMN MUSIC at a diſtance.
PHILANDER.
By all the pangs that rend this tortur'd breaſt,
The ſad ſolemnity is now begun:
Ah! friend, farewel! farewel my deareſt Thirſis.
[Embracing him.]
[Page 40] THIRSIS.
Ha! whither now? what mean'ſt thou, dear Philander?
PHILANDER.
Oh Thirſis! I muſt ſee her once again.
THIRSIS.
You muſt not go, forgive my friendly zeal.
[Holding him.]
PHILANDER.
Off! or by heaven this moment is my laſt.
See, fate is in my power.
[Shewing a poniard.]
THIRSIS.
Deſp'rate youth!
[Exit PHILANDER. THIRSIS following.]
[Page 41] SCENE changes to the temple of Apollo, an altar, prieſts attending: ſolemn muſic plays; then the proceſſion appears; four prieſts walk two and two, Montano next with the ſacred knife in his hand; after him Sylvia in white, led by two prieſts, her head bound with the ſacred fillets; a train of virgins following weeping: they advance to the altar: the HYMN to Apollo is ſung.

1.3.1. HYMN to APOLLO.

HAIL Phoebus, ſon of Jove,
Great patron of the moving lyre,
Whoſe ſounds, ſoft peace and ſmiling joy inſpire,
And give new pleaſures to the bleſt above.
To thee our nobleſt lays belong,
Thine is the poet, thine the ſong,
Eternal ſource of light, of muſic, and of love.
Hail! mighty Paean, hail!
Aſſerter of thy father's throne,
Thy force the rebel giants own,
Who vainly hop'd againſt him to prevail:
Thy name redeem'd Theſſalia ſings,
And all her nobleſt off'rings brings
To thee, by whoſe dread arm the monſter Python fell.
[Page 42] Who can thy frown ſuſtain?
Or bear impure, thy piercing ray?
Thou, on the guilty boſom pour'ſt the day,
And all the wretch's crimes are ſeen:
Lo! perjur'd beauty juſtly dies,
Accept this awful ſacrifice,
And bleſs, oh! bleſs Arcadia with thy ſmiles again.
MONTANO.
Ill-fated maid! whoſe ſoul no pray'rs could move,
No ſorrows ſoften, and no vows could bind;
Tho' by thy fierce diſdain, my hapleſs ſon
In anguiſh waſtes his days: tho' o'er Arcadia
Apollo bends his fatal bow, and claims
Thy forfeit life, yet ſtill this aged hand
Shrinks to perform its office.
SYLVIA.
You may ſpare
Your ill-tim'd pity, prieſt, I need it not.
O Cynthia! guardian-goddeſs of my youth,
To whom my virgin vows have ſtill been paid;
I die thy votary, and this pure blood
Shed in thy cauſe, ſeals me for ever thine.
MONTANO to the PRIESTS.
Lead her to the altar.
[Page 43] Enter PHILANDER.
PHILANDER.
I charge you hold.
MONTANO.
Raſh youth retire, nor with your uſeleſs grief
Profane the ſolemn rites.
PHILANDER.
Oh! give me way.—
I ſwear the awful pow'r ſhall be appeas'd,
He ſhall, my father; only ſuffer me
To kneel before that dear devoted maid,
And groan for pardon, ſince ſhe dies my victim.
SYLVIA to PHILANDER,
who kneels.
Hence, from my ſight, and let me die in peace.
PHILANDER
riſing.
Oh, cruel even in death! yet hold, my heart,
Break not, e'er thy ſad purpoſe is compleated,
Leſt heaven reject th'imperfect ſacrifice.
SYLVIA.
What mean'ſt thou?
PHILANDER.
Mighty love!
This is thy triumph, Sylvia thou art free,
[Page 44] Oh! hate not life, becauſe it is my gift;
Thus I appeaſe the god, and die to ſave thee.
Kneels before the altar, and as he raiſes his arm to ſtab himſelf, Thirſis enters and holds him.
THIRSIS.
Help! ſave him, help!
MONTANO.
My ſon! my dear Philander!
SYLVIA.
Oh! wond'rous proof of unexampled love!
MONTANO.
Eternal night ſhroud my unhappy eyes.
THIRSIS.
Why this exceſs of grief? your ſon is ſafe.
MONTANO.
No pow'r on earth
Can ſave him now, our ſacred law forbids
A ſecond victim; well he knew it's force,
And hence this dire reſolve.
SYLVIA.
Ah me! unhappy —
MONTANO.
Doſt thou weep, proud maid?
Inhuman tears! ſuch the hyena ſheds
Over her helpleſs prey.
[Page 45] PHILANDER.
Oh! ſacred drops,
To me more grateful than the morning dew
On dying plants; then doſt thou pity me?
SYLVIA.
Pity! yet ſure there is a ſofter name
For what I feel this moment—oh Philander!
PHILANDER.
Why doſt thou pauſe? why doſt thou turn away?
Speak, ſpeak again, and bleſs my raviſh'd eyes
With one look more, then let them cloſe for ever.
SYLVIA.
For me thou ſhalt not die.
PHILANDER.
For thee I will,
And oh! be witneſs, love!
With what extatic joy I meet my fate.
MONTANO.
Ungrateful to a father's tender cares,
A faithful lover, but a ſon unkind!
Yet let me fold thee to my aking breaſt
Before we part for ever,—now farewel!
Receive your victim, prieſts, but ſpare my eyes
The dreadful ſight!—I go to weep and die.
[Page 46] SYLVIA.
Stay, holy ſire.
MONTANO.
What would'ſt thou?
SYLVIA.
O! behold
The only lawful victim, ſave your ſon,
And ſtrike this harden'd breaſt.
MONTANO.
Away, fond maid!
Your pity comes too late — oh, my Philander!
[Going.]
SYLVIA.
Oh! youth, too little known, belov'd too late,
Thou ſhalt not conquer in this noble ſtrife:
I cannot change, but I will ſhare thy fate,
And death ſhall give what I deny'd in life.
[Snatches a dart from one of the nymphs.]
PHILANDER
(catching hold of her.)
Oh! hold thy hand, or hate me once again:
Live, beauteous maid, nor let me die in vain.
Thunder; a bright cloud appears; Apollo is diſcovered ſeated in his chariot; ſoft muſic as he deſcends.
MONTANO.
He comes, the awful god himſelf appears!
Kneel, and confeſs the preſent deity. [All kneel.]
[Page 47] APOLLO.
Returning virtue's contrite ſighs,
Are heaven's moſt pleaſing ſacrifice;
Through the wide ſpace of yielding air,
The winds the grateful incenſe bear,
And waft it to the ſkies.
Bleſt ſhepherd! who ſuch truth could prove,
Bleſt maid! whom truth at laſt could move;
On you th'immortal pow'rs beſtow
Their beſt, their faireſt gifts below,
Peace, innocence, and love.
MONTANO.
Oh! pow'r by me ador'd, with awful love,
With duteous rev'rence ſerv'd, gracious, accept
A happy father's thanks.
PHILANDER.
Oh! ſon of Jove,
Immortal Phoebus, light-diſpenſing god,
And theme of verſe perpetual, be thy praiſe
For ever ſung by me.
SYLVIA.
Oh! pow'r benign!
Fav'rite of gods and men, my grateful heart
To thee its pureſt vows ſhall ever pay.
[Page 48] PHILANDER to SYLVIA.
Reſtor'd to life, to hope, to love, and thee,
Now let me gaze upon thy beauteous eyes,
And read my bliſs confirm'd, or elſe in vain
A god pronounc'd me happy.
SYLVIA.
Deareſt and beſt
Of all thy ſex; oh! if thou read'ſt not there
The ſofteſt, trueſt paſſion, that e'er warm'd
A virgin-breaſt, they injure what I feel.
PHILANDER
(taking her hand)
Oh! ſweet reward of ſuff'ring love; oh! bliſs
Unutterable.
MONTANO.
Still may your joys increaſe, a virtuous flame
Knows no decay, and burns through life the ſame;
Like noon-tide ſun it glows in youth's ſhort day,
And milder friendſhip is its ſetting ray.
FINIS.
Notes
†.
See page 11, and 24.