The Mourning Bride (Act 3, Scene 2)

First presented in 1697, The Mourning Bride is William Congreve’s only tragic drama, which includes two of his most quoted phrases, “Musick has Charms to sooth a savage Breast,” (Act I, Scene 1), and “Heav’n has no Rage, like Love to Hatred turn’d, Nor Hell a Fury, like a Woman scorn’d.” (Act III, Scene 2). Same. –

Enter ZARA, PEREZ and SELIM. –

ZARA. Somewhat of weight to me, requires his Freedom.
Dare you dispute the King’s Command? Behold
The Royal Signet.

PEREZ. I obey; yet beg
Your Majesty one Moment to defer
Your entring ’till the Princess is return’d
From visiting the Noble Prisoner. [Exit PEREZ.]

What saist thou?

OSM. We are lost! undone! discover’d!
Retire, my Life, with speed- Alas, we’re seen!
Speak of Compassion, let her hear you speak
Of interceding for me to conceal our Loves,
If possible.-

ALM. -I cannot speak.

OSM. Let me
Conduct you forth, as not perceiving her,
But ’till she’s gone; then bless me thus again.

ZARA. Trembling and weeping as he leads her forth!
Confusion in his Face, and Grief in hers!
‘Tis plain, I’ve been abus’d- Death and Destruction!
How shall I search into this Mystery?
The bluest Blast of Pestilential Air
Strike, damp, deaden her Charms, and kill his Eyes;
Perdition catch ’em both, and Ruine part ’em.

OSM. This Charity to one unknown, and in
Distress, Heav’n will repay; all Thanks are poor. [Exit ALMERIA.]

ZARA. Damn’d, damn’d Dissembler! Yet I will be calm,
Choak in my Rage, and know the utmost depth
Of this Deceiver- You seem much surpriz’d.

OSM. At your return so soon and unexpected!

ZARA. And so unwish’d, unwanted too it seems.
Confusion! yet I will contain my self.
You’re grown a Favourite since last we parted;

OSM. -Madam!

ZARA. I did not know the Princess Favourite;
Your Pardon, Sir- mistake me not; you think
I’m angry; you’re deceiv’d. I came to set
You free: But shall return much better pleas’d,
To find you have an Interest superiour.

OSM. You do not come to mock my Miseries?

ZARA. I do.

OSM. I could at this time spare your Mirth.

ZARA. I know thou cou’dst, but I’m not often pleas’d,
And will indulge it now. What Miseries?
Who would not be thus happily confin’d,
To be the Care of weeping Majesty?
To have contending Queens, at dead of Night
Forsake their down, to wake with wat’ry Eyes,
And watch like Tapers o’er your Hours of Rest.
O Curse! I cannot hold.-

OSM. Come, ’tis much.

ZARA. Villian!

OSM. How, Madam!

ZARA. Thou shalt die.

OSM. I thank you.

ZARA. Thou ly’st; for now I know for whom thou’dst live.

OSM. Then you may know for whom I’d die.

ZARA. Hell! Hell!
Yet I’ll be calm- Dark and unknown Betrayer!
But now the Dawn begins, and the slow Hand
Of Fate is stretch’d to draw the Veil, and leave
Thee bare, the naked Mark of Publick View.

OSM. You may be still deceiv’d; ’tis in my Pow’r.

Who waits there? –

Enter PEREZ. –

As you’ll answer it, take heed
This Slave commit no Violence upon
Himself. I’ve been deceiv’d. The Publick Safety
Requires he should be more confin’d; and none,
No not the Princes self, permitted to
Confer with him. I’ll quit you to the King.
Vile and ingrate! too late thou shalt repent
The base Injustice thou hast done my Love:
Yes, thou shalt know, spite of thy past Distress,
And all those Ills which thou so long hast mourn’d;
Heav’n has no Rage, like Love to Hatred turn’d,
Nor Hell a Fury, like a Woman scorn’d.


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