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Hic furor, hic rabies, hic sunt tua criinina, Caesar, —  cladis tamen hujus habemus Vindictam.

Lucan: Lib: vii.




King Edward the First.

Clyfford, Nephew to the King.


Llandorvin, the Bard.

Queen Eleanor.                  

Gwendylen, the Daughter of Llandorvin.



A Castle at the foot of Snowdon, and different spots on the Mountain.






Tell me no more our conquest is complete!

All we have gained is but a trembling trophy,

Which oft as Snowdon, from its secret caves,

Pours forth these vagrants of rebellious song,

Shakes at the echo of a minstrel's voice.

Our victories yet want the bloody seal,

That gives stability to power. I wait

In anxious indignation, till I hear,

That these prime sources of seditious fury,

These scoffers at our sway,—the captive bards,

Are silenced all by death.






Well! my young soldier,

Hast thou, as I enjoined thee, seen these miscreants,

Who to their harps breathed anarchy and carnage,

Resign their forfeit lives?



Yes! my dread liege,

I have indeed beheld ----shield, shield me, Heaven,

From such another spectacle!



Weak boy!

What, choaked with tears! art thou the martial youth,

Whom, for thy father’s sake, tho’ marriage failed

To give the stamp of honor to thy birth,

I fondly fostered as a future hero?



If I offend, whom I would die to serve,

Pray you, my liege, assign me any torture.

Rather than your reproach!



Then be corrected!

Thy too indulgent sire, the gentle Edmund

Would lead thee, by his homilies on peace,

To be an anchorite:—thy king, my Clyfford,

Must steel thy sinews to the sterner duties

Of discord-quelling power.— But to thy story

What! did these fierce offenders die so bravely,

Thou couldst have wished their pardon?



From my soul—

O royal Edward! think me not ungrateful

For all thy lavish bounty to my youth,

If when I saw these victims of thy wrath

Perish, amid the groans of suffering thousands,

I wished thy mercy -----



Poor, deluded stripling!

These wild enthusiasts have ensnared thy fancy;

And foolish pity for the expiring traitors has made thee half a rebel.



No, I my liege, I pitied not the dying: their demeanour

Might waken envy, but not weak compassion:

They died as freedom’s martyrs—and they said

The benedictions of their bleeding country

Would waft to Heaven their unrepining spirits.

It was the anguish of their mourning kindred

That pierced my soul  it seemed, that in their death

The vital spirit of their nation perished.



There, Clyfford, thy unconscious lips applaud

The wisdom of severity. The arm,

That strikes against us in the field of war,

Is not so much an object of our fear,

As that more potent voice, which, in the scene

Of festive tumult, arrogantly spreads

Contagious enmity against our rule,

And mutinous defiance. These wild tribes

Of hardy mountaineers will soon become

The docile vassals of our sovereign pleasure,

When their presumptuous rhapsodists no more

Exist, to fire the fascinated people

To frantic insurrection. Quiet now

May guard and fertilize our new domain,

Since these rebellious, these strife-kindling bards

Are all extirpated.



Not all my liege.



What! are we disobeyed? is not our sentence

Justly fulfilled on all the trait’rous tribe?



Of the devoted band, one hoary chief,

Pre-eminent in genius and renown,

The famed Llandorvin, by a pious fraud,

That nature framed to save him, has eluded

His watchful guard, and "scaped the general doom,

Which sunk to day in everlasting silence

All the lost brothers of his art.




He shall not foil my power -- by Salem’s cross

Not all the deep recesses of their mountains

Shall screen this fugitive, and whosoe’er

Has stolen the victim from insulted justice,

Shall in atonement share his future death.



Recall that oath —O noble minded

Edward For it involves a cruelty, thy nature

Could never execute. Our glorious sovereign,

The pride of Christendom! bears not a sword

To strike at female youth, and filial duty.



What canst thou mean?



The culprit is a daughter

Of radiant beauty; and, as fame reports,

Endowed with all the mental energy,

That made her sire the darling of his nation.



Bribed she our guard?—Perdition on the traitors!



No! on my life my liege the men are faithful.

This damsel with prevailing supplication

 (A savage must have granted her request)

Begged but to pass within her father’s prison

The night preceding his appointed death.

How she effected his escape, we know not;

But when the morning came, and all the victims

Were summoned to their fate, the fearless maiden

Boasted, her sire was free; and nobly added

To seal his freedom, if her blood might seal it,

She would exult to meet th’ impending doom,

From which she had redeemed him.


KING EDWARD.                                             .

Mark! thou novice

In the high task to govern wayward rebels,

Mark! how these fierce enthusiasts of the harp

Subvert all power! How with outrageous fury

They spurn authority, and smile at death.

This artful traitress may have severed from us

The hearts of half our soldiery. Inform me

How they received this daring subterfuge!



As men, my liege, who tho’ inured to scenes,

Where lawless war oft leads to wildest outrage,

Yet feel the force of beauty, and of nature.

They praised the noble girl, exclaimed “ God bless her,”

And would have sent her crowned with garlands home,

But that stern Mortimer, whose rigid spirit

Can ne’er forgive her countrymen the havoc,

They spread so frequent o’er his neighbouring lands,

Seized on the maid, and resolutely vowed

He would conduct her to your royal presence,

As hostage for her father’s peaceful conduct.



He judges better than thy simple youth;

And knows the caution, that our state requires.






Behold, my liege—but from your gallant kinsman

You are apprized of all I would relate,

Touching this fair delinquent, whom my duty

Brings to attend the order of your highness.



My faithful Mortimer I we ever find thee

Intelligent and active in our service.

Fair stranger! thy offence has nature’s plea:

We shall not therefore, as our state might warrant,

Weigh it, as treason to our sovereignty.

Think us thy friend! and know we mean to place thee

In the protection of our gentle queen,

Whose fair retinue, and well ordered court,

Form an asylum for thy youth and beauty.

There wilt thou learn, what thy distracted country

Ought to have learnt, a grateful just obedience ,

Nor rashly mingling in rebellious broils

Partake thy father’s crimes.



My father’s crimes!

O royal Edward, do not let the pride

Of recent conquest make thee arrogate

What God denies himself; the power to alter

Th’ eternal sacred bounds of good and evil.

My father’s life may be, as once it seemed,

Thy victim: but his virtue, and his fame

Are far beyond the reach of thy attaint;

And, like his firm unspotted soul, immortal.



So young and so presumptuous! thy apt childhood

Has caught the ravings of licentious freedom:

But softer studies, and submissive manners

More suit thy sex and age.



Your pardon, sir!

My brief, and artless life has only been

One plain continued lesson in the school,

The heart-improving school of true submission,

Where quick obedience is the happy offspring

Of love, and veneration.



Has thy father,

Plunged in the storm of dark hostility,

That drowns domestic joy, has he found leisure

To tutor thy fond infancy; and grow

By the alluring powers of mild instruction

The idol of his child?



If I, my lord,

As partial friends have said, if I appear

Of spirit riper, than my youth might promise,

I owe it to his rare paternal bounty;

Who from my cradle, with incessant fondness

Watched o’er the dawn of reason in my soul,

And to my young enchanted mind displayed

The lustre of his own.—O mighty Edward!

Couldst thou but feel a moment, what my heart

Has felt for years------ the pure benignant splendor

Of that rich mind, where fancy’s fervid powers

Blaze, but as solar fire, to guide the world,

Thou wouldst not wonder, that I thus exult

To draw my being from so bright a source,

And vindicate the glory of my father.



My young, and fair enthusiast, 1 esteem

Thy filial pride, good children make good subjects.

Thy spirit pleases, and perchance may lead me

To be thy father’s friend: but we must teach him

To court our mercy, not insult our power.

Wait till the queen, youth’s patroness! appears

To take thee to her charge. Come, Mortimer,

 Receive our private orders!

[Exit with Mortimer.]






Lovely, sequestered fair! whose native graces

Surpass, what I have seen, of finished beauty!

I gaze upon thee with delight, and anguish:

The admiration, that thy charms inspire,

Is turned to torture by the fears I feel

Of ills, that threaten thee, which yet thou know’st not



Have they surprised my father? Noble youth!

If thou indeed hast pity for our wrongs,

Rack not my soul with ignorance and terror!



No lovely Gwendylen! thy father yet

Retains the liberty thy virtue gave him.



Blest be the voice, which gives me that assurance.

It has disolved the icy bonds, that seemed

To rob my heart of motion. In his safety

I live again; and feeling but for him,

Smile at adversity, whose baffled force

Falls on myself alone.



Thou sweet perfection!

That Heaven should form thee for a fate so cruel!

E’en now thou seem’st to my afflicted sense

Like a lost infant, seeing not its peril,

Wandering with sightless eyes in active slumber

Upon a turret’s roof:—another step

Is sure destruction. How! how shall I save thee?



What means thy kind inquietude? Is Edward

So ruthless, as to thirst for blood like mine?

Nay, if he is, lament not, generous Clyfford!

I have not passed my days with such a father.

Untaught in life’s great lesson, how to die!



No! not thy blood! O thou enchanting fair one!

Thy beauty, and thy perils will distract

My troubled brain, and turn me to a traitor

Against th’ imperial patron of my youth.

My heart recoils, when I attempt to speak

Against the bounteous Edward, but his rage

To crush all opposition to his sway

In this devoted country, may induce him—

No! no! I am to blame—his noble nature—-

I will not shew thee that detested image,

Which my o’er-anxious fancy had created,



My young ingenuous friend! I see, and honor

The struggle in thy soul between just pity

To the sunk victims of abhorred oppression,

And fond attachment to an artful tyrant,

Allied to thee in blood, but not in virtue.



If thus thou think’st of Edward, I may banish

My groundless dread, lest his imperial offers

Of splendid favour might induce thy candor

To call thy wand’ring father to our court;

And then behold him in some fatal season,

When stern necessity of state might prompt

To faithless rigor ----but the King returns:

Treasure my caution in thy tender bosom!

And know me for thy friend in fate’s worst hour.






Come, my fair ward; to shew you, that we honor

A daughter’s courage, we return in person

To lead you to our Queen. To all your race

Our purposes are kind: we freely grant

Your father’s forfeit life. Make him our friend.

We mean to place you in our realm of England,

Where both shall flourish in our royal favor.



My lord, in childhood, I was taught a fable,

Touching the lion’s court.



Now, on my soul,

This girl is passing shrewd; but hear me, damsel!

Wake not the lion’s wrath! yon know my power

Can sweep this hoary fugitive from earth:

Would you provoke my rigor? be advised!

Embrace my proffered bounty, and confide

His safety to your King!



I will confide it

But to the King, whose word was never broken

The King of Kings! If it is Heaven’s decree,

That he must perish, never shall his daughter

Be lured by false ambition to betray him.



Betray him! say’st thou? is it to betray

An outcast, lurking in wild woods and caverns,

To call him from despair? perhaps from death,

To the bright refuge of a monarch’s favor?



Insidious tyrant! talk not of thy favor!

’Twas this ensnared the princes of our land,

And made the fair face of our bleeding country

A scene of ruin, horrible to think of,

And to behold, distracting. While my thoughts

Exulted in the rescue of my father,

My nation’s woes seemed banished from my mind:

But now, that I survey thy angry visage,

My country’s evil genius glares upon me:

Thy cruelty, thy crimes, in all their horror,

Remorseless Edward I rush upon my brain,

And all my father’s virtues fire my soul

With just and brave contempt of barb’rous power.



Art thou so frantic in thy enmity,

That grace and clemency are lost upon thee? .

Thou female abstract of thy nation’s fury!

Then salutary rigor must instruct thee

Not to insult our bounty. Mortimer!

Take thou the charge of this intractable!

Tame the young zealot with the due correction

Of strict imprisonment, and solitude,

To teach her better thoughts; while we, my Clyfford,

Inform the Queen, that her intended charge

Is found unworthy of her kind acceptance.

[Exit with Clyflord.]






Come 1 my fair captive, tho’ you were to blame

To irritate the King, who meant you kindness,

While I confine, I yet must pity you.



J'f thou, our most inveterate foe! hast pity, Bestow it on th’ oppressor I not th’ opprest 1 The one, has men, and demons for his vassals; The other, angels for her friends. Just Heaven! If, as 1 now most fondly would surmise, By noble sufferance I may avert

Evil impending o’er my father’s head,

I will not shrink, howe’er stern fate may try me: But with that filial love, which still has been The ruling passion of my ardent soul, Exult to suffer for so dear a purpose.





A ruined Abbey by Moonlight with a subterraneous Passage to a sepulchral vault.


LLANDORVIN, [rising from the sepulchre.]

The bloodhounds, that have tracked me to this ruin,

Are foiled, and have rushed forward: Blest be you,

Ye sainted tenants of these sepulchres!

Who grant my injured age that kind protection,

The living dare not give; since mv oppressors

Proclaim it death to screen their flying victim.

O my lost friends I dear brothers of my art!

You dying have ennobled basest death:

Arm me with courage for my harder task,

To bear the wretchedness of outcast life

In scenes, that wake regret at every step!

O Gwendylen ’ my clear angelic daughter!

Low painful is the proof of love I give thee

To live at thy entreaty! yet sweet angel

Thy dictates are divine. I feel, as thou dost.

It is Llandorvin’s duty still to cherish

Existence, tho’ debased, while he can hope

His lips may breathe into the fainting frame

Of our racked country, that suspended spirit

Of manly freedom, which the ruthless Edward

Dreams, in his pride, to have suppressed forever.

But hark! the friendly stillness of the night,

Enabling me to hear a foot approaching,

Bids me again within my sacred covert

Elude my keen pursuers.

[He descends into the sepulchre.]





I have misled the saguinary troop,

That with a sportive rancour, hunt as prey

An injured, brave old man; and if this ruin,

As I surmise, conceals him-—Ha! what form

Glides, like a shadowy phantom of the night

Beneath yon open grove, seeming, with steps

Quick and irregular to fear, and shun me?

But that I know her obstinately held

In such severe captivity, that love

And pity could not force her prison door,

I should believe, sweet Gwendylen herself

Had braved the perils of the night, to aid

Her wand’ring sire. Perhaps some kindred fair one

Assumes that angel’s office. Hallowed shades!

Make me invisible! and let me learn

Why, at a time to freeze the female heart,

A woman wanders round these mould’ring tombs

[Clyfford conceals himself.]



After a short pause, GWENDYLEN enters with circumspection.


’Twas but the dark illusion of my fears:

O guilt! what terror and dismay must haunt

Each step of thine, if I, sustained and guided

By filial piety, yet start at shadows,

And halt in my good purpose! but at last

I’ve reached the sacred sepulchre, that if

My bold and kind informer may be trusted,

Shall at my voice unfold its doors of darkness,

And give my living father to my arms.

Here is the subterraneous pass, by which

I am directed to descend: its gloom,

And icy dampness chill my trembling bosom:

Base terrors hence! I will descend! not all

The powers of darkness should by terror tempt me

To leave a father, so revered and loved,

To die unsuccoured in these dreary charnels.

Dear duty, be my guide!






Stay ’ Gwendylen,

A moment stay thou noblest, loveliest being,

That Heaven e’er formed, in the benignant purpose

To shew how pow’rful are the blended charms

Of peerless beauty, and consummate virtue.



Courage my soul! that surely is the voice

Of gentle Clyfford. He will not betray

The wretched, whom his virtue wished to save.



Betray thee! rather to a thousand perils

Would I expose my baser life, than bring

The least increase of danger upon thee,

Or the dear object of thy duteous care;

Whom at this secret hour, as I believed thee

Kept from him by vile bonds, I sought to comfort

With aid unlooked for from an English hand.



My heart would say, how much it is thy debtor,

But feels its obligations far outweigh

My little store of words. Let me then lead thee.

To where with nobler voice, just gratitude

May duly thank thee in my father’s form.



Yet stay, dear Gwendylen! O pray thee tell me

What power celestial burst thy prison doors,

Where I in vain have sued to gain admittance,

Enabling thee in this heart-trying service

To prove thy matchless fortitude and love.



I will not shun thy converse, when I know

My father is secure. But till I gain

Assurance of his safety, every pause

That keeps me from him, puts my soul to torture.

If he yet lives, this passage will conduct us

Within his earthy refuge. Follow me!



Dear heroine of tenderness! ’tis mine

To be thy leader here. In these damp caverns,

These mould’ring passes to forgotten dust;

Some ravenous beast, that preys upon the dead,

Or poisonous reptile in its dark recess,

May lurk to wound thy foot; by whose pure touch

The consecrated earth would feel more hallowed,

Had it my awful sense of thy perfections.

I’ll first explore the darkness, and return

To be thy guide.



No! I have no such fears,

Thy King’s barbarity has made us suffer

To such excess, that to a Cambrian mind

All other pests of earth have lost their terror,

Forgive me generous Clyfford! that I cannot

Forget the cruel spirit of thy sovereign!

Come, English as thou art! my father’s soul

Has oft exulted with magnanimous praise

To celebrate the virtues of a foe,

And turn base enmity to noble friendship.



I am no son of England, if to be so

Must make me hateful in his sight, or yours:

But leading such a daughter to his bosom

My proud heart tells me, I may share his blessing.

The vault is utter darkness: I conjure you

Lean on my arm.



'O! if this hallowed shelter

Gives my safe father to my longing arms;

This will indeed be passing thro’ the grave,

To reach the blessed light of heavenly joy.

[They descend.]






[reclining against a broken Monument with a lamp.]

When the soul sickens at the bloody scenes

Of barbarous outrage, that deform the world,

How sweetly peaceful is the silent tomb ’

Yet such is the base fury of our foes,

That senseless havoc even here has raged

Against the honoured dead. Ye shattered forms

Of warriors, who of old for freedom fought,

How gladly would my injured age become

Insensible as you to savage wrongs,

But that my darling child—again my fancy

Would mock me with the sound of her approach.

It is the hour! but she perchance -- Again

The crumbling earth tells me some foot is near.

How fondly eager are my lips to hail

The expected daughter; and yet dare not call her

Till I can catch her voice. O righteous Heaven!

Delude not my fond senses, that persuade me

I may distinguish in some distant sounds

The utterance of my child.


GWENDYLEN, [behind the scene/]

Have I a father?

'Tis Gwendylen who calls



My child! my child!






He lives! he lives to bless me for his life!



The exulting angel, who shall call to glory

The spirits of the just, can never prove

A visitant more clear to raptured saints,

Awakened from the slumber of the grave,

Than thou art to thy father.



Thou blest sire,

Allow a stranger, whose unhardened heart

Bled for thy wrongs, to share at this dear moment

Thy tears of hallowed extacy!



Thy accent,

Ingenuous youth, informs me thou art English:

A name to wake hostility, and hate

In every Cambrian heart! but gracious nature

On thy fair brow has written characters,

That lead to confidence, if not to friendship.

If, as my mind conjectures, generous pity

Has prompted thee to guard this damsel, passing

Thro’ nightly perils to relieve her father,

Thou wilt not deem that father’s benediction,

(All his base foes have left him to bestow)

A worthless recompense of care so noble.



My heart will prize it as a richer treasure,

Than royalty can give. But, my kind father,

O let me ever hail by that dear name,

The man I venerate with filial ardour!

Tho’ I confess I covet thy esteem

Beyond the praise of princes, let me not

Meanly attempt to win it by a semblance

Of merit, not my own! I came not hither

Guarding your lovely daughter: to herself,

To the firm virtues of her tender heart

Solely you owe this interview of transport.



Tell me, my child! --



O graceful modesty!

How sweet thou shewest in a princely patron,

Who, giving all, believes he nothing gives!

But for the caution of this noble youth,

Thy Gwendylen, my father, might again

Have put thy rescued life within the power

Of the remorseless Edward.



Hate me not,

Thou injured veteran of purest glory!

In hearing, I am bound by strongest ties

To thy detested foe, the mighty Edward!

Trained by his bounty, partial to his virtues,

Yet by the radiance of his power unblinded,

I wish that high imperial spirit tempered

With all the mildness of my gentle sire,

His more pacific brother.



Gracious Heaven!

Art thou, engaging youth, art thou the son

Of that loved prince, that real king uncrowned,

Who, scorning the vile vassalage of fear,

Reigns by beneficence o’er grateful hearts.



Had not the proffer of Sicilia’s sceptre

Detained him far from this devoted land,

In his humanity we should have found

The strongest earthly advocate against

The hasty rigor of th’ offended King.

But the invisible angelic host

Are surely your protectors; could I else

Behold this fair one, whom I left a captive

In hopeless bondage, freely here fulfilling

This arduous duty of undaunted love?



A simple incident I have to tell

Will clear that mystery: it was my chance,

(So Heaven ordained to bless an anxious daughter)

To see the humble guard, who watched my prison,

Nursing his sickly infant: by the pity

I shewed his child, I led the honest soldier

To sympathize in all my filial sufferings,

Till, at the peril of his life, he gave me

The power to pay my nightly visit here:

But on my plighted word, that by the dawn

I will return his voluntary prisoner.



Blest be his generous pity! if I live,

Such brave compassion shall be well rewarded,



Excellent youth! thou almost mak’st my heart

Enamoured of adversity: for that,

That only gives, what I this moment feel,

Exquisite joy in such consummate friendship,

As wanting not progressive aid from time,

Springs, like creation, perfect from the breath

Of pure beneficence.



To prove thy friend,

And change the colour of thy destiny,

Shall be the darling study of my soul.



I know it will: but O beware, dear youth,

Lest on thyself thou draw the perilous wrath

Of thy inexorable sovereign! fate

Could curse me with no misery more bitter,

Than to behold thy blooming life become

The victim of thy zeal to snatch from death

An old man weary of embittered age.



My honored father! Nature has exempted

Thy generous bosom from all selfish terror;

But thy kind heart is quick, as woman’s fancy,

To catch an anxious fond inquietude

For every object of thy just affection.

Be not alarmed for this our noble friend!

Should he incense the King, by now promoting

Thy absolute escape, he will not suffer:

A lovely pow’rful angel of protection,

The gentle Eleanor! will be his guard, ,

And save the princely youth, whom she has fostered.

From her offended lord.



O! she has virtues,

More than the warm impassioned eloquence

Of gratitude could speak: and she, I doubt not,

She will, in time, win, from the softened Edward,

All the atonement to your injured age,

That power can make for past indignities:

But, in this season of his recent anger,

You must not trust his mercy.



Haste, my father!

O haste to profit of the friendly night!

And speed in darkness to some distant refuge,

Less desolate than this!



Dear Gwendylen!

Forgive me, that I thwart your eager prayer!

But at this time of peril, when our soldiers,

Lured by that watchful demon, avarice,

Are prowling for their prey, I wish your father

To rest, some days, in this dark sanctuary,

That death appears to consecrate, forbidding

The superstitious vulgar to approach.

Myself, as constant as the night returns,

Will visit him with sustenance and comfort.



Brave youth! I like thy counsel: this calm mansion

Tempers my troubled spirit: here my mind

Catches an hallowed energy, superior

To what the glittering scenes of life can give

To proud prosperity. Friend of distress!

My confidence in thee is my support;

For I confide to thee a charge, dear Clyfford!

More precious to my heart, than life or freedom,

The honor of my child! whate’er my fate,

Be thou her guardian! yes! 1 know thou wilt;

For in thy features I distinctly read

Truth incorruptible, and virtuous friendship.

But come, my children, honor bids us part:

The night’s half wasted: come! I'll lead you forth

By paths more intricate: I have discovered

A winding cavity, that leads to light:

Take each of you my arm! — This way affords

A better chance of passing unobserved.



Dear father, ever vigilant for others!

Be careful of thy safety ’ and remember,

The life of Gwendylen depends on thine!




A ruined Abbey with the front of the sepulchral vault.





Would we could light upon this lurking rebel!

Courage, my friends! he’ll prove a golden prize,

And pay the toil of our pursuit. You, Neville,

You, and your comrade pass yon mould’ring wall,

Search thro’ each ruined cell of this old abbey,

While we remain in front, prepared to seize

The traitor, started from his secret haunt.

[Exeunt two Soldiers.]



Heard you no noise?



No, nothing but their steps.



Hark! they have just descried some nightly rover.


SOLDIER, [behind the scene.]

Come forth! base runnagate! nay, if thou dost not,

We shall pursue, and drag thee from thy den.


FIRST SOLDIER.                                                 ,

My life on’t he is found: stand firm, brave comrades

If he is armed, fear not to strike him down!

Dead, or alive, our prize will be the same.

[The door of the Sepulchre opens, and Llandorvin rushes forth with a Sword.]



Yield, rebel, or thou diest.



No! ye poor slaves!

Enfeebled as I am, with age and wo,

Yet my good sword can make for me a passage

Thro' twice your opposition; I have seen

Your tyrant, in my day, glad to retreat

From the keen lightning of this radiant blade.

I pray ye, force me not to stain its lustre

With your ignoble blood!



Proud Cambrian, die!



Nay! then thou draw’st perdition on thyself:

[Llandorvin strikes, but after his first blow, the two Soldiers who pursued him, issue from the Sepulchre and seize him.]

Fate is against me! but exult in silence,

Ye prosperous servants of oppressive power!

And, while ye haste to claim the gold, ye covet,

Still reverence your captive! still my soul

Gives me to exercise the nobler courage,

To triumph over wrongs by brave endurance.








Fair prisoner, thou art free.



Transporting sounds!

Our princely advocate has then prevailed;

And Gwendylen, restored to all the sweets

Of dear domestic duty, shall in peace

Cherish the parent, whom her love preserved.

My honest friend, for these thy blissful tidings

And all thy pity past, may every saint,

Who smiles upon the merciful, protect

Thee, and thy children! Why dost thou receive

My benediction with an air of sadness?



To think thy virtuous joy must turn to anguish,

When thou art told, as soon, alas! thou must be,

Thou only art released, because thy father

Is fallen again into captivity.



O! do not say so I rather let me hear

Eternal bondage is ordained my portion,

So he may ’scape with freedom! art thou sure?

My foolish heart, that vainly would attempt

To disbelieve thy tidings, now receives

The fatal full conviction.






My dear father!

To meet thee, never was a grief till now:

What cruel chance, or what base treachery -----



’Tis rigid destiny, my child, that thwarts

Thy pious aim. Thus far 1 have indulged

Thy fond entreaty, by an abject care

To lengthen worthless life: now, since the Heavens

Frown on thy filial wish, I charge thee try

To reconcile thy mind to my dark fate!

It must be now my only thought to die,

As the dear brothers of my art have died,

Smiling contempt on proud iniquity.



We are not yet so lost, nor shall thy daughter

E’er quit a virtuous purpose of her heart,

For that the sudden bolt of accident

Shakes her imperfect work. No! to the last

My soul shall labour with increasing ardour,

To prove its fondness, and preserve my father.



Dear child! no more delude thyself with hopes,

That are but raised to fall; and in their ruin

O’erwhelm thy tender heart with tenfold anguish.



Heaven yet inspires, and gives me blest occasion

To act in thy dear service: our oppressor,

Mixing some mildness with barbarity,

 Now terminates my bondage: and my freedom,

That I should hate, if not employed for thee,

May work thy preservation, I will now

With Clyfford supplicate the Queen to make

Thy life, once rescued by thy daughter’s love,

Th’ immediate care of her angelic mind.



'T were better my sweet child, renouncing hope,

To strengthen thy fond spirit, by embracing

The tranquil resolution of despair.



No, best of fathers.! our disastrous lot

Has changed the cast, and colour of our duties.

Mild sufF rance now, that woman’s part is thine,

And to thy daughter, Heaven itself enjoins

Every exertion anxious love can prompt.

Should I still fail, thou yet shalt see, my father,

Thy undegenerate child possesses courage

To suffer, and to share thy darkest fate.







Great giver, and supporter of our being!

Howe’er thy deep, inscrutable decree

Dispose of my poor residue of life,

Be bounteous to my child! when she has lost me,

As soon she must, by violence, or nature,

Let not her youth in desolation want

Objects of care, that may endear existence!

Still may she.find in life friendship and love,

Sweet as her charms, and perfect as her virtue.



Forgive me, brave old man! but ’tis my order

To bear thee hence to more secure confinement,

Within the castle, where the King resides.



Good friend! 'tis I should pardon ask of thee,

That I am slow to thank thee, as I ought,

For a most signal act of generous pity

And kindness to my child: Give up thy hand!

Humanity, that shines in rigor’s office,

Has double grace, and wins redoubled love.

Come! teach me how to shew thee I am grateful

If fate allows me nothing more to give,

My dying benediction rest upon thee!







My royal patroness, in whose indulgence

My youth has found, what destiny denied me,

A mother, and a sister’s soothing kindness I

By all the purer glory thou hast won

In deeds of love, and mercy to thy people,

Who bless thy gentle sway, and worship thee

As sent to them by Heaven; ordained to temper

Thy lord’s austerity! assist a daughter,

Who merits not to lose the bliss of saving

An honored sire from ignominious death.



Clyfford! thou knowst, how gladly I would soften

The anger of the King: but here I doubt

My influence can profit thee but little;

For never have I seen his indignation

So vehement against this land! I pray thee,

Be cautious not to wake his dread displeasure,

By seeming partial to his enemies!

Perhaps thy young, and artless mind is blinded

By perilous passion, to thyself unknown;

A daughter’s charms may varnish to thy sight

Th’ offences of her sire, do not mistake

 Ill-omened love for honorable pity.



Kindest of beings my ingenuous spirit

Has not a trouble, it would hide from thee.

The charms of Gwendylen, I own, have sunk

So deeply in my bosom, death alone,

Or frenzy could efface them from my heart.

But shame on him, who could allow his mind

To rove at love’s suggestion, while the cries

Of suffering humanity demand

His better thoughts! altho’ the damsel’s beauty

Enchants me, and is dearer to my sight

Than wealth to avarice, or fame to valor,

I would pass life in exile from her charms,

If that alone could end her filial fears,

And ratify the safety of her father.



Fond youth! I know, and love the generous ardor

Of all thy strong attachments: yet I tremble

Sometimes in thinking to what keen excess

Thy sensibility is apt to feel.

Thy nature, Clyfford! has in it the seeds

Of loftiest virtue, or most daring guilt.

Heaven keep thy spirit in blest ignorance

Of warring passions, and discordant duties!

If I can serve the object of thy pity,

By intercession with the King, I will:

And if, from dire necessities of state,

This death-devoted sire must die, I yet

Will take this hapless orphan to my care.



Blest be the voice, that to my lightened heart

Utters so dear a promise! but conducted

By innocence and gratitude, she comes

To pay her instant homage to your goodness.






Rejoice, sweet paragon of anxious duty!

That Heaven has raised thee an angelic friend,

Worthy to be its delegate, in shielding

Virtue like thine from undeserved distress!

Our bounteous Queen anticipates thy prayer,

And with the fond alacrity of pity,

Alarmed for innocence, will lend her aid

To save thy honored father.



My full heart

"Would thank thee, gracious lady! as it ought;

But finds that gratitude, in souls made tender

By wrongs, is far more powerful than fear,

And drowns that voice, which terror could not stifle.



Fair stranger! there’s attraction in thy youth,

Thy artless charms, and filial piety,

That binds thee to my bosom: and I feel

An anxious impulse, with maternal care,

To guard thy opening life from all that’s evil.

Allow me then a parent’s privilege

To be thy monitor!



Thou gentle sovereign!

Our foes, no doubt, who long have injured us

Beyond endurance, tell thee we are savage;

It is not so: the children of wild nature

Have hearts like a rich soil, where kind affections

Rise to the noblest height, and lavishly

Reward the liberal care, that bids them flourish.



Unguarded warmth, pure virtue’s quick companion,

Is oft her secret foe: I would inform you

How you incensed, and how you best may soften

The offended King. But he approaches: go!

Leave me my friends, that I without restraint

May plead your cause, and win him to forgiveness!

[Exeunt Clyfford and Gwendylen.]





KING EDWARD, [speaking to an Officer as he enters.]

Tell our unwary guards, that if their prisoner

Now ordered to this castle’s safer keep,

Escape a second time, ’twill be their doom

To perish in his place.

[Exit Officer.]

O Eleanor!

My weary soul, sick of its fruitless toil,

To tranquillise this stubborn, stormy nation,

Turns with delight to thee, in whom well pleased

I ever find the tenderness of duty,

And ready, sweet, intelligent obedience.



Reflect, my generous lord, in praising me,

To whom thy praise is transport; O! reflect,

Why I possess the qualities, that please thee!

'Tis thy kind favor makes me, what I am:

Submissive gratitude’s the smiling child

Of bountiful protection. Gracious Edward!

Be but as mild a guardian to this land,

As thou hast been to me, and its glad people

Will bless, as I do, thy indulgent sway.



No! my good Eleanor, thou little knowst

What iron rule this savage realm requires.



Your pardon! I have recently been speaking

To a young Cambrian. Dear, considerate Edward!

So kindly sensible of weakest merit

In thy obedient wife! wilt thou not feel

The higher claims of an heroic daughter!

And grant to Gwendylen her father’s life?

I know thou wilt: I ask it on my knees.



Arise, thou dearest of petitioners!

I mean to have a speedy conference

With this retaken fugitive, and if

His conduct merits mercy, he shall find it --

[To one of the Guard.]

Haste to the captive minstrel, and conduct him

Strait to our presence!—Haste!

[Exit one of the Guard.]



Believe me, Edward!

I have a woman’s heart, fondly ambitious,

And proud to triumph in a husband’s glory
But sated with thy military fame,

I long to see the enterprising warrior

Nobly eclipsed by the pacific king.

Effulgent valour well becomes thy crown;

But gems of milder radiance, peace and mercy,

Will give thy diadem its dearest charm.



Pure minds, untutored by calamity,

Can rightly judge of peace; not so the savage:

They with harsh lessons from instructive rigor

Must toil, thro’ pain and blood, to know her value.

There is a hot intemperance of spirit

In these wild mountaineers, that almost foils

The soundest discipline. -- Authority,

And benefits, alike have failed to bend

The stubbornness of these tumultuous tribes,

 Rude as their mountains, where rebellion sits,

Like a maimed vulture, waiting only time

To heal her wings, that ache with eagerness

To spurn confinement, and renew her ravage.



No! happy Victor, thy resistless arms

Have made this country thine: and soon, I hope

To hear thee in the best of triumphs own,

The bliss to humanise, surpasses far

The joy of conquering: but thy captive comes.;

I will not with solicitude too curious

Intrude upon your converse: yet remember,

Thy Eleanor commends him to thy mercy!







Stranger! the fondness of thy daughter saved

Thy forfeit life; and still inspires our Queen,

Whose mildness is affliction's sanctuary,

With wishes for thy freedom: this we grant thee,

If thy discretion merits her regard.



That the rare virtues of my child endear her

To minds so qualified to judge of virtue

As far-famed Eleanor, still to my heart,

Chilled as it is with age, and patriot anguish,

Gives the quick ardour of parental pride:

For had I not, in all their fond excess,

The feelings of a father, trust me, Edward!

I could not now endure the life, thou offer’st:

To languish, as I must, in dark existence:

My spirit troubled with distressful visions

Of noblest friends, calamitously lost!

Or worse, the slavery of my native land!



Thou shalt forget this land, in wisely passing

To happier scenes, my bounty shall provide thee

An English settlement.



I know thou’rt mighty:

The fav’rite of prosperity, and power!

But trust me, Edward! ’tis beyond thy empire

To mould anew the habits of the heart;

And thro’ the breast of injured age diffuse

The native energy of young attachment.

If ’tis thy purpose to befriend two beings,

Who in domestic tenderness alone

May find a balm, to soothe their public sorrow,

Leave us in peace upon the rocks, that reared us!



But wilt thou rest in peace? should I assign thee

A portion of this land, thy darling seat!

Wouldst thou engage, never to sound again

Notes of sedition, on thy daring harp?

But in a wiser strain, instruct the people

To look up to our salutary sway

With tranquil reverence?



No! not for half

Thy richer kingdom, added to this realm,

Would I debase a voice, that long has uttered

The purest dictates of impassioned freedom.

Imagination, under virtue’s guidance,

I deem the rarest, richest gift of heaven,

And shall I stain the little I possess

By teaching injured slaves to bless their bondage,

And worship their oppressor?



Dost thou brave me,.

Audacious Rhapsodist?—now, in beholding

Rebellious fire illuminate thy visage,

My memory claims acquaintance with thy features.

Where have I seen thee?



Spare, insulting tyrant!

Spare to thyself a bitter recollection!

Yes! thou hast seen me, in my happier life,

Ere age and sorrow made it weak, and worthless;

When by Llewellyn’s side, our patriot prince!

I fought for liberty: when thou, then young,

And tho’ thy father’s delegate, a novice

In the curst art to weaken and oppress,

Wert glad to make percipitate retreat

Before us, and the lightning of our swords

Flashed on the flying 



Insolent enthusiast!



I knew the scene, thou bad’st me recollect,

Would gall thee, Edward! ’twas the early source

Of all thy ruthless rancor to my country.

Thou never couldst forgive the brave Llewellyn

For that bright triumph: hence thy enmity,

Disgracing manhood, kept his lovely bride

For years thy captive; lured by abject arts

A brother to desert him; and at last,

By the mean vantage of unequal power,

Spoiled him of life.



He was a faithless vassal;

And justly suffered for repeated failures

Of his allegiance.



O belie him not!

Tho’ thou hast stript him of his crown and life!

Fate cannot blast his fame: he was a prince

Munificent as nature, just as Heaven!

Fall’n as he is, his unsuspected praise

Shall live for ever in our grateful songs.



It shall not live in thine, presumptuous minstrel!

Away with him to death!



Thou fierce destroyer!

Death is the only gift from thee, that I

Would willingly embrace; and for that gift,

Take thou this lesson from my parting spirit!

Thou saw’st, in Palestine, a curious Arab

Imprison water, in an orb of gold,

Till, by compression urged, the forceful fluid

Amazed thine eye in starting thro’ the metal.

So genius, prest by tyranny, exerts

An energy, beyond the common laws

Of quiet nature. Here thou wouldst extinguish

Freedom and poetry: they mock thy wishes;

For they are woven in our frame of being;

And cannot perish but with human life.

My frail existence is thy easy victim;

But dying I shall triumph—e’en in thy kingdom,

Where thou art worshipped now by fear and int’rest,

A day shall rise, when the enlightened people

Shall hail the art, which thou wouldst crush for ever,

As the bright guardian of immortal virtue:

When kindred genius, in a lyric strain

Of rapturous excellence, shall teach the world

To mourn my fall, and execrate thy crimes.



Away! vain prophet, to thy speedy death!

No! it shall be suspended: but till time

Allows us to bestow on thy presumption

Pre-eminence of punishment. Thy fate

Shall be no common spectacle; but, high

On Snowdon's rocks, in death thou shalt exhibit

An awful lesson to rebellious pride.



I am prepared to die  —o'er ruling Heaven

Is righteous still; since it assigns us now

The different lot, our different souls deserve;

For know, proud monarch! by your own award

You haste to infamy, and I to glory.









Remorseless homicide! is this his mercy?

Insulting whom he murders! strike him, Heaven!

Strike and remove from earth this curse of nature,

This base deformer of her dearest scenes,

Who calls his outrage justice!




Hear me, dear Gwendylen!



I had a brother!

That he were living now! or that I could

Unsex me, and become the man he was.



Thou hast a brother still! O thou hast more,

Dear Gwendylen in me; for all my soul,

lts hopes, its fears, its faculties are thine.



No! no! thy arm is fettered by thy station:

Else, generous youth! I could indeed believe

That thou hast pity to feel all our wrongs,

And courage to avenge them.



Lovely victim!

My sense of what thou sufferest is so keen,

Thy honored father seems to me my own.

Inflamed by Edward's cruelty towards him,

My alienated heart at times forgets

The love and duty, that 1 owe my king.



Thou matchless friend of misery! how my heart

Reveres thee for thy sympathy!



Believe me,

Never did man more feel another’s wrongs,

(To noble minds more piercing than their own)

Than my indignant spirit feels thy father’s.

If nought remained to save his injured virtue,

Perchance my hand—but hence! detested image!

Still, lovely Gwendylen, with better thoughts

I can revive thy hope.



Kind comforter!

Inform me, now the charm of thy compassion

Has given my troubled soul a transient calm,

To hear thee as I ought.



The sudden order,

To fix conspicuous on the mountain’s brow

Thy father’s barbarous doom, is known abroad;

And as blind cruelty exasperates

Those, it intends to awe, a gallant band

Of new insurgents, at this very moment,

Form a brave ambuscade, in hopes to rescue

The victim, idolised by dauntless friendship.



Our Cambrian valour is not yet extinguished:

Ye powers of liberty, and justice prosper

These generous men! O spirit of my brother,

Thou wilt forsake thy Heaven for this dear purpose,

And hover with a shield angelical

O’er the heroic band, who aim to rescue

Our virtuous parent from imperial murder.

These are blest tidings: yet I wish to learn,

My kind consoler, how they flew to thee.



A countryman of thine, to whom my power

Had rendered service, and who knows how keenly

My soul is anxious for thy father’s safety,

Gave me quick notice, with an added prayer

That I—but see, the Queen!—-Thou best of daughters

Console thy father in his gloomy prison,

While I, with ceaseless importunity,

Solicit her pure mind again to aid me.






What loitering here! O shame to soldiership!

Never till now was ardent Clyfford seen

Reckless of arms, when his heroic king

Had issued for the field.



Can it be so?

Has new commotion called his vigilant spirit

Forth on the sudden?



Yes! with eyes that flashed

Indignant fire, prepared for fierce assault,

With that dread weapon, which his powerful arm

Alone can wield, he sallied to chastise

Such opposition, as I trust will fly,

E’en at the distant gleam of his high crest.

His anger kindled at the fresh report,

That a wild troop is lurking in the mountain

To intercept Llandorvin.



Hapless father!

Then Heaven forsakes thee.



What! is thy young heart.

Once the warm seat of gratitude and duty,

Now touched with pity only for the foes

Of thy kind sovereign? at the very time,

When he, who fondly trained thy youth to arms,

Ought to behold thee anxious at his side,

To ward off peril from his sacred person?



Noblest, and justly most adored of women!

Adored by me in every character,

That can excite the fondest veneration!

A charge of base ingratitude from thee

Strikes me, as would a seraph’s keen rebuke.

Freely to thee, as to the power who made it,

I shew my tortured heart, and all its feelings.

That I have loved the king, as much as child

E’er loved a parent, my past life has proved;

But while he thus oppresses virtuous age.

With unrelenting, useless --                                  .



Clyfford! Clyfford!

Beware of this blind passion, which deludes thee!

It is not ours to judge the king’s decree.



Fair excellence forgive me, if I say

The blindness is your own: but it becomes you.

In your soft sex ’tis virtue, ’tis perfection

Not to behold the failings of a lord,

In wedded love so peerless as your Edward.

I am of rougher mold: unyielding man:

Man, the proud owner of imperial reason!

Were I the king’s true son, as I have been

The child of his protection; I should then,

Feel that his cruelty, on my just heart

Implanted hate, eradicating nature.

Yet hating his barbarity,—believe inc,

I love his virtues with such gratitude,

Nothing in life could so delight my soul

As to die nobly on some bright occasion,

Where my brave service might promote his glory,

And to each royal heart endear my name.



Clyfford, thou feelst too keenly; but thy truth,

And thy frank nature have endeared thee to us;

Haste, I entreat thee, with unclouded duty

Arm, and attend thy sovereign!

As I trust He will return triumphant without conflict;

In that best season for my mild entreaties,

I yet may gently lead his generous nature

Freely to grant, what force could not extort.

Yet may I save our venerable prisoner,

Whom in thy absence I will kindly visit.



Angel of life! thou giv’st me new existence

In that blest promise. Monarchs of the world!

Learn from this model of imperial goodness,

That pure beneficence alone possesses

Perfect dominion! Learn of Eleanor

To rule enlightened minds, nor fear to lose

An empire founded upon fond esteem.




The sound of a Harp is heard from a concealed recess in the prison.


GWENDYLEN, [entering.]

What sounds of melancholy charm arrest me?

It is my father: let me not intrude

On this most hallowed harmony! for thus

Enraptured he prepares his soul for Heaven,

By this most solemn spirit-soothing air,

Which, in his dying hour, an ancient bard

Gave to his wondering audience, death-inspired!

Again it sounds.—Here let me fondly pause

In reverential silence, till his hand

Relinquish the loved harp, that may so soon

Lose, and confirm his loss in mute dejection!

[Here a celebrated Air is played on the Harp behind the Scenes, from Jones’s relicks of the Welsh Bards]






What! my sweet child! art thou within my prison.

And couldst thou suffer me to rest unconscious

Of thy dear presence?



Pardon me! I felt

My step suspended, and my soul absorbed

In those pathetic tones, that spoke of death.

Yet, mv dear father, I am now elated

With the blest hope of your approaching freedom:

Freedom, not clouded with a base alloy,

As the precarious gift of lawless power,

But the bright present of endearing courage,

To fate superior in the cause of friendship!



What visionary hope has fond affection

Raised in thy sanguine fancy?



'Tis no vision:

But a momentous mystery; and now

Just whispered to me; yet by such a voice,

As gives a sanction to credulity.

O justly honored by thy grateful country!

There are brave Cambrians busy now, my father,

In nobly planning for that signal spot,

Which cruelty has fixt to close thy life,

A glorious scene of rescue, and of triumph.



Generous, but fruitless, and intemperate valour!

Haste! I conjure thee, my dear child, prevent

Their fatal purpose! fatal it must be,

If but suspected: haste! give them to know

It is my fervent wish, they would preserve

Their valued lives for hours of happier prospect;

And not embitter death to me, by making

My settled fate a prelude to their own.



Yes! I will haste, where haply I may learn

Yet more of this bold project: not prevent it;

Then only be thou disobeyed, my father,

When thou enjoinest, what our hearts abjure,

A fearful shrinking from thy dearest service!

Know, should our firm compatriots fail, thy wrongs

Would yet inspire a generous English hand

To pierce the tyrant’s heart, ere his false breath

Could terminate thy being! O I pray thee,

Banish thy cruel thoughts of calm despair,

And in the friendship of the brave confide.





LLANDORVIN, (alone.)

This sudden spring-tide of returning hope

Amazes me: and more her dark suggestion:

A generous English hand,” she points to Clyfford:

The horrible surmise, with dread conviction,

Wakes my worst fears: such horrors must not be.

But how may I, in bondage, yet restrain

The fervent spirit of precipitate youth,

Hurried to guilt by virtuous indignation?

Could 1 converse a moment with the Queen?

She is intelligent, and has-a soul

That may be trusted for so pure a purpose

With dire imaginings.—What ho! attend me

Kind guardian of my prison!






Canst thou, friend,

Convey a prayer to thy angelic Queen?

Haste and inform her, that an aged captive,

Not basely anxious for his worthless life,

But wishing to impart to her alone

Things of high moment to her heart, implores

A minute’s audience.



Her attentive goodness

Anticipates your wish—behold the Queen!






Brave, aged stranger, thy engaging daughter

Has taught my heart to take deep interest

In what concerns thee; and I come, with hopes

To lead thy manly mind to such mild conduct,

As may appease the king.



O sovereign lady!

To whose acknowledged virtue my proud spirit

Pays willing homage, 'twas my ardent wish

To hold with thee important conference;

Not from a mean solicitude to save

The slighted remnant of my days; a care

Of keener influence absorbs my thoughts,

And tortures me with unexampled terror,

That I could utter to no ear but thine.



Speak all thy fears, for I am much thy friend!



Did I not think thee, gracious Queen, endowed

With all the rarest qualities, that render

Friendship of high, and sacred estimation,

I could not to thy gentle bosom trust

What I would say: it will require from thee

Steady exertion of what purest friendship

Inspires, indulgence, courage, secrecy.



Thy words amaze me, and this preparation

Fills me with all the dread of blind conjecture/



I trespass on thy gentleness; perchance

My apprehension is a vague surmise:

A gloomy vision of distempered age!

Should it have more foundation, still thou mayst

By the mild influence of guardian virtue

Annihilate the apprehended evil.



Trust me, thy daughter-------



No! my present fear

Points to an object that demands from thee

Much higher care.



O Heaven! thou art apprised

Of some dark peril menacing the King;

Yet if—I am bewildered; for alas!

His life endangered might to thee suggest

Matter of hope, and joy, but not of terror.



I scorn hypocrisy; and thou fair Queen,

Thou knowst, I must deem the death of Edward

A blessing to my country, yet believe me

I from his cruelty would undergo

An age of torture, rather than permit

A virtuous youth, long fostered by his bounty,

In a dark moment of distracted love,

With murderous frenzy-------



Ah! my boding heart!

Thou speak’st of Clyfford: tell me, I conjure thee,

How far the passions of this fiery youth.

Have lead him to forget------



Be comforted!

His quick, and ardent mind, though strongly troubled

Is not as yet estranged from filial duty,

That binds him to you both: thou gentle sovereign,

Watch I conjure thee all his starts of passion!

And with thy speedy salutary counsel,

With the fond privacy, which mothers use,

To screen the errors of a darling son,

Fix his bright soul within the sphere of truth,

Lest wand’ring now, like an eccentric star,

Its bursting fury scatter hideous death!



Noblest of foes! I read thy heart aright;

And gratefully revere thee for thy caution:

This generous effort --



O! it merits not

Your heart-affecting praise: I but obey

The native impulse of humanity.

When genuine nature guides the feeling soul,

’Tis the prime pleasure of experienced age

To watch o’er ardent youth, and fondly snatch it

From those attractive gulfs of splendid guilt,

Where a bright syren, under virtue’s mask,

Lures the brave mind to unperceived dishonor.



Farewell! kind stranger! thy exalted conduct

Endears thee to my soul: Heaven grant me powers,

Soon with glad steps revisiting thy dungeon,

To bring thee life, and liberty, and honor!





A view of Snowdon with tents at a distance.

QUEEN, and MORTIMER, meeting.



I joy to meet thee, Mortimer! Thy spirit

Will not, in weak compassion to a woman,

Lull me with false reports: Say! I conjure thee,

Is the King wounded?



No! on my life, not wounded!



Why then, forgetting his accustomed care

To quiet my quick fears, why came he not

Back to my anxious arms, when victory

Restored him from this hot tumultuous conflict?

Where, as his hasty messenger avowed,

Danger, in many a new and hideous shape,

Made e’en the sternest soldiers stand aghast,

And deem their sovereign lost.



My royal mistress!

Who reignest o’er the hearts of youth and age,

Trust a rough veteran’s word! my voice, unpractised

In uttering falsehood, should I wish to speak it,

Still to thy piercing spirit must betray

The evil it would hide.



Dost thou assure me

Not one of all those vengeful mountaineers,

Whose rage was pointed at my Edward’s life,

Had power to wound the too impetuous hero?



No! for he bears an amulet, whose power

Turns peril to security: that courage,

Which on the pressure of occasion, springs

To such exertion, as to common souls

Appeared impossible. Excess of toil

Has tempted him to rest on Snowdon’s brow:

As he retired, exhausted to his tent,

He issued orders, that the captive bard

Should to the mountain’s open front be led,

And by our archers suffer speedy death.



Good Heaven! the mandate is not yet fulfilled?



Not yet! but guards are passing, to conduct

The hoary traitor to the lofty spot,

Chosen to give his doom conspicuous terror.



O Mortimer! this order was the dictate

Of an o'er-heated mind: When cooled by slumber,

The generous temper of the King will surely

Incline to pardon; canst thou not suspend——



Forgive me, gentle sovereign, if I own

 I have no power, nor will, I must avow,

To stop the rebel’s death: and I must haste,

According to the King’s most anxious bidding,

To watch impassioned Clyfford, lest that youth,

Entangled in the snares of Cambrian beauty,

Should madden at the sufferings of the fair one,

And in his frenzy strive to snatch once more,

Her guilty father, from the stroke of justice.



I, on my knees, will creep to Edward’s couch,

And in the name of that protecting Heaven,

Who has delivered him from signal hazard,

Wake, and inspire his spirit to exert

Its best prerogative, the power to save!




KING EDWARD, [Sleeping on a Couch with his armour by the side of it.]


CLYFFORD, [entering.]

Why shakes my frame, in this tempestuous conflict

Of warring thoughts? The minute past I seemed

Led hither by an angel’s hand, to rescue

Virtue from wrongs, and nature from oppression.

Now, clouds of horror blot my heavenly vision ,

And I feel dragged by demons to this spot,

To execute the task of hell.— Avaunt!

Ye tempters of my soul! ye shall not force me

To stab the royal patron of my youth:

No! I will kneel, beside his quiet pillow,

Invoking Heaven to quicken, in his mind,

The only virtue, his high spirit wants,

Heart-winning clemency! sleep on, secure!

Majestic, glorious Edward I only wake

To mercy, and munificence!


KING EDWARD, (in troubled sleep starting.)


And lead him to his death!



Inhuman sounds!

Implacable oppressor! Cruelty

Infects thy dreams: thy sanguinary soul

Glares thro’ the trembling veil of milled sleep,

Betraying thy resolves!—Barbarity

So absolute must cancel every bond:

Humanity inspires me: injured nature

Bids me destroy the merciless destroyer.




[While Clyfford raises his dagger, the Queen enters and seizes his arm.]



Hold! frantic Clyfford! hold! can mad affection

Urge thy young heart to worse than parricide?

Has not the bounteous King cherished thy youth,

With care surpassing e’en a father’s fondness?



He has, angelic Eleanor! and I

Prepared to stab him sleeping: but these tears,

That burst perforce from my o’er-burthened heart,

Tell thee, I feel how curst a wretch I am.



Be comforted! for timely penitence

Makes solid virtue of ideal guilt.



Guide of my life! and guardian of my soul!

Thou art too good: I have not merited,

Thus on thy pure and heavenly form to rest

A brain, that burns with complicated anguish.


KING EDWARD, (starting up.)

Give me my battle-axe! I will pursue

Those trait’rous fugitives: ’twas but a dream.

Ha! my sweet love! art thou within my tent?

Say! what mischance has given our youthful Clyfford

That pallid air of anguish, and dismay?



O my too fearless Edward! who that live,

As we do in thy life, could be informed

Of thy undaunted eagerness to court

Extremes of danger, with thy dread escape

From toils so full of terror, and retain

The native quiet of untroubled features?



No! thou benignant angel, think not thus

With tenderness unmerited, to hide

The wild atrocity of one, whose heart

Was never formed for guilt, or for disguise.

Ingratitude, hypocrisy are fiends,

That, frantic as I am, I still abjure.



Thy looks, and language equally exceed

The reach of my conjecture.



Royal Edward!

Relentless as thou art, thy soul is noble;

Thou never wilt surmise, thy fostered Clyfford

Could lift against thee an assassin’s dagger;

But to a heart like mine the worst of tortures

Would be concealment of intended crimes.

Had not this lovely seraph been thy guard,

I had destroyed my King, my friend, my father!

My guilt is manifest: my misery

Beyond endurance: I conjure thee, now

Let both thy justice, and thy pity grant me

The death I have deserved!



Unhappy youth!

Thy hasty passion for the Cambrian fair,

Whose stubborn father scorned our terms of pardon,

Has harrassed thee to madness.



Let his sufferings.

His duty, his remorse, and my fond prayers

Now plead for each offender!

[A Dead March is heard.]

Gracious Heaven!

What mean these notes of death?



Those sounds announce,

What even thy entreaty, best beloved!

Must not avert; the bard’s approaching fate!

See! the guards lead him from the vale below.



Inhuman ministers of death I suspend

Your fatal march, for ye mistake your victim.

Glory and life should be Llandorvin’s portion;

Disgrace and death belong to me alone;

I fly to save him by the just exchange.

[Rushes madly out.]



Stay! thou rash youth!—His madness will not hear me.



Lord of my heart!—If, by a life of duty,

I yet may plead against thy settled purpose—



No! Eleanor, ’tis fixt: I must not cancel

The firm decree of policy and justice,

To soothe the amorous frenzy of a boy,

Tho’ dear to me, as if he were my child.

But let me lead thee to yon neighbouring tent,

To save thee better from this mournful scene,

And seek an active guardian, who may watch

O’er the wild steps of this distracted stripling!




[Snother part of the Mountain with a distant prospect of a more elevated spot, on which may be discovered an at­tendant crowd, and preparations for execution:]




Unhappy agents of injurious power!

I pardon your base taunts: alas! ye know not

To what depravity you sink your nature,

When you insult a guiltless, wronged old man,

Who unreluctant hastes to join the spirits

Of dear companions lost, bards! warriors! princes!

Whose fortitude and genius could not save

This dear devoted land from desolation,

Or shield their bright existence from the stroke

Of tyrannous extinction.



You forget,

Loquacious traitor! we have yet to mount

The steepest of these craggs.



Rude monitor?

I am not now to learn, that your stern King,

I thank his unmeant kindness, has appointed

My death on yonder heights: I could not wish

A nobler scene, to shew how willingly

I seal, with blood, the bond of my attachment

To wounded freedom, and my ruined country.

Martyrs of liberty, like those of faith,

By public sufferings, with a soul unshaken,

Become the source of blessings infinite

To unborn ages, and my soaring spirit

Pierces thro’ distant time to hail those blessings.

A father’s feelings still, to this dread instant,

Recall my heart, and on this spot I pause,—

But to bestow, what tyranny itself

Must grant a parent, leave to give his child,

A dying benediction



Then in vain

You halt; for see! where wiser friends are busy

To draw the damsel hence.



Tormenting slaves!

Wound me not there! O glorious Gwendylen!

Lo’ her indignant spirit has eluded

Their vile constraint: like an impassive seraph,

That mortal limitation cannot stop,

She flies, I leaven-warranted! to give her father

All he demands on earth.



GWENDYLEN, [rushes Into the arms of her Father.]



Child of my heart!

One only wish disturbed my parting soul;

And thou, most perfect in all filial virtues!

The loveliest daughter, that e’er blest a parent!

With tenderness unwearied, thou art come

To hear my latest counsel: thou wilt make it

The treasure of thy fond, thy faithful bosom,

And I shall die, exulting to have saved thee

From perils, worse than ignominous death.



Here, thou dear source and glory of my life!

Here would I grow: and be but as a leaf

Upon its parent tree, that severed thence,

Must quickly perish: for since Heaven denies me

The bliss I hoped, to have preserved thy being,

My sole ambition is to share thy doom.



No! my brave child! I have a task to give thee

Much harder than to die.



O haste to name it!

And be the task more arduous, than ever

Mortal received, that I may shew the world

With what impassioned truth I love my father.



Exquisite girl! see! our good angels send

The only friend now left me upon earth,

To whom, as to thyself, my dying counsel

Deeply imports.





CLYFFORD, [entering wildly.]

Thou honoured sire! whom genius, virtue, age

Have sanctified: I come, a guilty youth,

To die, as I have merited, for thee.



What means my generous friend?



Full of thy wrongs,

And madd’ning at thy lovely daughter’s anguish,

My soul forgot how much I owed my King;

And as a murderer --



Ah! my prophetic fears!

Thou hast not killed the patron of thy youth?



No! his angelic Eleanor defeated

My frantic aim.



Then hear me, noble Clyfford,

And since her beauties, and my injured age

Inflame thy heart to such a fond excess,

Hear and obey a dying friend’s injunction!

Dear youth! to thy most perilous age, and temper

Crimes, and enormities of deepest die,

From the false light of passion, catch the semblance

Of splendid enterprise. Thou lov’st my daughter,

And she is worthy of a prince’s heart:

But never shall the wrongs, I suffer, tempt me

To make the illusive ardor of thy love

My instrument of vengeance, as I might,

Against my deadliest foe.



Thou godlike sufferer!

Canst thou, thus dying by a stern oppressor,

Spare, and forgive the tyrant, who destroys thee?



There was a time, brave Clyfford when my blood

Grew hot like thine, at thoughts of tyranny;
When my impassioned harp was ever ready

To vibrate, at the sound of Edward’s name,

With notes of execration, and defiance:

The hallowed quiet of approaching death

Gives me serener force, and purer courage;

The oppressor I abhorred I now can pity;

And with a mind unheated own the good,

Mixed with his dire defects: from this wronged country

He merits detestation; but from thee,

Trained as thou art by his domestic kindness,

He justly claims the obedience of a child:

Atone then for one start of guilty passion

By future duty! and, I charge thee, never

Wake his paternal wrath by a rash union

With this poor orphan, lovely as she is!



I am a wretch not meriting such bliss:

And only would redeem my darkened spirit

From self-abhorrence by most freely giving

My life for yours.



No! dear ingenuous youth,

Live! and protect, I charge thee, from all outrage

This dear, and friendless darling of my heart!

I have but thee, to whom I can bequeath her,

But that your pure attachment may be free

From guilt and misery ('tis my dying counsel:)

Unless my death should soften your stern king,

Protect her only with fraternal love!

I pause too long: my children! one embrace!

And we must part: may all the wrongs, I suffer,

Be recompensed in blessings upon you!

That fond idea gilds the gloom of death,

Endearing all its pangs! farewell for ever!

[Exit with Guards.]






I lose him, and the world’s a stony desert,

That seems to petrify my heart within me.

O that kind Heaven would, in the very moment,

When his freed spirit flies from this base earth,

Release me from a life, that now affords me

No hope to form, no duty to fulfill.



Dear victim of barbarity, my soul

Still in fond unison with thine, partakes

Thy filial wish, regarding life with scorn.



O generous Clyfford, grant me one request;

While yet my father breathes, O grant me still

To gaze upon him; and forbid, I pray thee,

Forbid officious care to force my weakness

From the attractive scene of death! I hear,

Surely I hear a pitying angel’s voice,

That kindly tells my sympathetic heart

That, in beholding, I may share his fate.



An heavenly impulse seems against my reason

To force me to obey thee.



Haste, my friend!



I will conceal me in a peasant’s garb;

And thou shalt choose the spot, where we will stand

In mutual awe and agony to catch

The latest accents of thy sacred sire!







Yet, my dear lord, by all your perils past,

By all your ardent hopes of future honor,

Yet, while the pressing minutes urge my voice

To most important prayer, while time allows

My fearless conqueror to make sweet mercy

The blest confirmer of his perfect glory,

Yet, yet recall from death this brave old man!

O save like Heaven, in the distressful moment,

When safety’s vanished from the eyes of hope.



Dearest of supplicants it pains me ever

To thwart the wishes of thy gentle spirit;

But it is royalty’s severest duty,

To keep the sword of punishment unbiassed

By the quick outcries of too tender pity.



No! my mistaken lord! it is not pity

For those, who suffer by thy fatal wrath,

Tho’ I acknowledge my heart bleeds for them;

'Tis love for thee: ’tis passion for thy glory,

That gives thy Eleanor the strength to plead

Against this stern decree: O gracious Edward!

I wish thy noble nature prized and loved

By every subject, as it is by me:

I know, in seeming cruel to this land,

It is thy aim, by sage austerity,

To fill the savage mind with useful terror:

But has not gentleness the blessed power

To rule the willing heart, while overstrained rigor

Gains but the fearful semblance of dominion

O’er the forced acts of alienated souls?



Sweet advocate of mercy! were all hearts

Pure as thy own, thy pleading should prevail,

But for the government of baser beings,

Obedience must be founded upon fear.



Fear leads to hate: and hate to strife, and frenzy:

Think of young Clyfford! O! if he, who felt

Thy fostering care, and idolized thy virtues,

If he was driven to momentary madness

By one harsh mandate of the King he loved,

What may thy people, who ne’er view like him,

Thy private scene, that blissful sanctuary

Of true domestic tenderness! O Edward!

Pride of my soul! I plead for thy renown:

Dearer to me than empire! while thou canst,

Save I conjure thee, save this aged bard!

To let him perish would obscure thy glory

With the base sin of black ingratitude;

For he with pure disinterested spirit,

Professing enmity to thy dominion,

Yet wished to shield thy life from hideous peril.

He with a father’s gentleness to me

Spoke all his just surmises, and suggested

Means to restore to reason and to duty

The fascinated mind of frantic Clyfford.



I can no more withstand, dear Eleanor,

Thy tender eloquence: thy prayer is granted:

One of the guard shall bring the rescued victim

To bless thee for that life, for which thy sweetness

Pleads irresistibly.



Let me, let me,

My gracious lord, the happiest of thy servants!

O let me fly the herald of thy grace!

Mercy will lend me her auspicious wings;

And joy inspire me with his piercing voice,

To spread from rock to rock my welcome tidings






GWENDYLEN. [entering, and almost expiring.[

His in vain,

Too lovely consort of a crowned assassin!

In vain thy active tenderness attempts

To cancel his barbarity: My father,

With firm triumphant fortitude, has past

To those blest realms, whence not the voice of Kings,

Nor the more sacred breath of spotless virtue,

Can now recal his earth-contemning spirit.



Unhappy daughter! hast thou seen him perish!

Where then was Clyfford, whose impetuous pity

Flew hence unwarranted to save thy sire.



Relentless Edward! hear his fate, and feel

How cruelty, in its blind rage, recoils,

And like a madd’ning serpent, stings itself!

That generous youth, whom I shall soon rejoin,

Suffers no longer in a world, which thou,

Inhuman monster! by thy savage sway,

Hast made a residence, unfit for beings,

Who with a heart like his embrace the injured.

Hark! I am called: their free, ascending spirits

Wait yet for me: I come: The generous Clyfford

At my request conducted me to view

The horrid scene, that my prophetic soul

Felt by anticipation a release

From all thy tyranny------ yes, I beheld

Thy murderous archers pierce my father’s breast—

That shaft to me was like the friendly lightning,

That makes convulsive anguish sink to peace.

Lifeless I fell, and, as I since have learnt,

Kind Clyfford deemed me dead, and nobly flew

To bless my dying father, and to tell him

That death’s kind angel had conveyed his daughter

To wait for him in Heaven!



What fatal chance

Destroyed my Clyfford?



[In a peasant’s garb]

He rushed upon the weapons of the soldiers

That sought to bar him from my sire’s embrace--------

They did not know their prince, till his life-blood

Stained their accursed steel ----He spurned their aid

Embraced my sire then dying, and retired

To die near her, whom he had left as dead.

His honored voice recalled my parting soul

Only to bless him in his death, and bring

His benediction to his heart’s pure queen

His guardian Eleanor -- this duty done

To my loved Clyfford, to that glorious youth,

Who gave me proof how pleasing 'tis to die,

Kind nature now is rapidly dissolving

The mortal ties, that yet withhold my spirit

From him, and from my sire: now earth receive

This poor incumbrance, that my willing soul

Exults to quit --

[She falls.]



O yet abjure not life,

Dear Gwendylen! thou shalt be as my child,

And join with me to grace thy Clyfford’s grave.



No! thou mild angel, wedded to a fiend!

Rather would I, to recompense thy goodness,

Share with thee a blest death, that terminates

Unmerited affliction: but thy doom

Is to live long, and live a wounded witness

Of mad ambition, which thou canst not temper.

My parting soul, rapt in prophetic vision,

Sees all the future reign of thy fierce Edward;

Another realm, like injured Cambria, waits

To crouch beneath his desolating sway,

And curse the proud invader: His stern soul,

Unsoftened by thy tenderness, shall lose thee;

But thou, sweet Eleanor! Thou shalt be mourned.

With honors, such as never Queen before thee

Won from imperial sorrow.



Pray! be silent,

Thou poor distracted girl, and let us try

If salutary care may still!



Stand off, rash tyrant! yet respect the dying!

And hear thy destiny. Thy joy is conquest,

And conquest shall be thine: iniquity

Draws, as its curse from fortune, all it wishes.

Power shall not sate thee, nor affliction soften:

E’en death itself, whose visible approach

Can bend ambition to new thoughts of peace,

Shall fail from thy infuriate soul to banish

Thy savage thirst of empire and of carnage.

Thy dying voice shall bid thy very bones

Be borne to battle in thy army’s front,

Tho’ dead still proving the accurst oppressor!

But mark the fruit of all thy victories!

Thy child, so basely made the lord of Cambria,

Shall die the vilest death: hurled from a throne

Stained by thy guilt, and his ignobler vices!

Ages shall rise, when thy enlightened country,

No longer dazzled by thy martial triumph,

Shall see thy crimes, as my just father saw them,

And English bards shall execrate thy name.

I faint: ye friendly spirits hovering round me,

Receive me to your fellowship!—My father!




O Eleanor! the ravings of this damsel

Have struck an icy tremor thro’ my breast,

Ne’er felt before! See thou her corse be honored,

And laid with our lost Clyfford as his bride!

Had I, thou mild remebrancer of mercy!

Had I but listened to the first entreaty,

Of thy benignant heart, we had escaped

This hour of vain regret, and deep remorse.


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