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O live, nor leave him by misfortune prest:
'Tis shameful to desert a friend distreit.
Alas! a wretch like me no loss would prove,
Would kind Parthenia listen to his love.
Why hides thy bosom this mysterious grief?
Ease thy o'erburthen'd heart, and hope relief.
What profits it to touch thy tender breaft,
wrongs, like mine, which ne'er can be redreit: Let in my heart the fatal secret die, Nor call up forrow in another's eye!
DIONE, PARTHENIA, LYCIDAS.
If Laura right direct the darksome ways,
Along these paths the pensive shepherd strays. [Afidé.
Let not a tear for me roll down thy cheek.
Owould my throbbing sighs my heart-Itrings break!
Why was my breast the lifted stroke denyid?
Muft then again the deathful deed be try'd?
Yes. 'Tis resolv'd.
(Snatches the dagger from Parthenia.
-Ah, hold; forbear, forbear!
Methought Distress with shrieks alarm’d my ear.
Strike not. Ye Gods, defend him from the wound!
Yes. Tis Parthenia's voice, I know the found,
Some fylvan ravisher would force the maid,
And Laura sent me to her virtue's aid.
Die, villain, die ; and seek the shades below.
[Lycidas snatches the dagger from Dione, and
Whoe'er thou art, I bless thee for the blow.
Since Heaven ordain'd this arm thy life should guard, O hear my vows! be love the just reward.
PARTHENIA. Rather let vengeance, with her swiftest speed, O’ertake thy flight, and recompence the deed! Why stays the thunder in the upper sky? Gather, ye clouds; ye forky lightnings, fly: On thee may all the wrath of Heaven descend, Whofe barbarous hand hath flain a faithful friend. Behold Alexis !
-Would that treacherous boy
Have forc'd thy virtue to his brutal joy?
What rouz’d his passion to this bold advance?
Did e'er thy eyes confefs one willing glance ?
I know, the faithless youth his trust betray'd;
And well the dagger hath my wrongs repaid.
Dione: (Raising herself on her arm.
Breaks not Evander's voice along the glade ?
Ha! is it he who holds the reeking blade!
There needed not or poison, sword, or dart;
Thy faithless vows, alas ! had broke my heart. [-Afide.
O tremble, shepherd, for thy rash offence,
The sword is dy'd with murder'd innocence !
His gentle foul no brutal passion feiz'd,
Nor at my bosom was the dagger rais'd;
Self-murder was his aim; the youth I found
Whelm'd in despair, and stay'd the falling wound.
Into what mischiefs is the lover led,
Who calls down vengeance on his perjur'd head!
O may he ne'er bewail this desperate deed,
And may, unknown, unwept, Dione bleed! [Afidas,
What horrors on the guilty mind attend !
His conscience had reveng'd an injur'd friend,
Hadft thou not held the stroke. In death he fought
To lose the heart-consuming pain of thought.
Did not the smooth-tongu'd boy perfidious prove,
Plead his own passion, and betray my love?
Olet him 'ne'er this bleeding victim know;
Left his rash transport, to revenge the blow,
Should in his dearer heart the dagger stain !
That wound would pierce my foul with double pain.
How did his faithful lips (now pale and cold)
With moving eloquence thy griefs unfold!
Was he thus faithful: thus, to friendship true?
Then I'm a wretch. All peace of mind, adieu !
If ebbing life yet beat within thy vein,
Alexis, speak; unclose those lids again.
[Flings himself on the ground near Dione.
See at thy feet the barbarous villain kneel !
'Tis Lycidas who grasps the bloody steel,
Thy once-lov'd friend.--Yet, ere I cease to live,
Canst thou a wretched penitent forgive?
When low beneath the fable mould I rest,
May a sincerer friendship share thy breast!
Why are those heaving groans ? (ah! cease to weep!)
May my lost name in dark oblivion sleep;
Let this sad tale no speaking stone declare,
From future eyes to draw a pitying tear.
Let o'er my grave the leveling plough-share pass,
Mark not the spot; forget that e'er I was.
Then may'st thou with Parthenia's love be bleft,
And not one thought on me thy joys moleft!
My swimming eyes are overpower'd with light,
And darkening shadows fleet before my fight:
May'st thou be happy! ah! my soul is free. [Dies.
O cruel shepherdefs, for love of thee [T. Parthenia.
This fatal deed was done.
LYCIDAS, PARTHENIA, LAURA.
Yes. 'Twas I did it. See this crimson ftain! My hands with blood of innocence are dy’d. 0
may the moon her filver beauty hide In rolling clouds! my foul abhors the light; Shade, fhade the murderer in eternal night!
No rival shepherd is before thee laid ;
There bled the chastest, the sincereft maid
That ever figh'd for love. On her pale face,
Cannot thy wecping eyes the feature trace