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PERCY:

A TRAGEDY, IN FIVE ACTS.

ΤΟ

EARL PERCY,

This TRAGEDY, as a small tribute to his illustrious character, is very respectfully inscribed, by his lordship’s most obedient and most humble servant,

THE AUTHOR.

VOL. V.

A D VERTISEMENT.

The French drama, founded on the famous old story of Raoul de Coucy, suggested to the author many circumstances in this Tragedy.

[Though this story is pretty generally known, being found in many writers, English and French, it may be proper to give it briefly in this place. Eudes de Faiel, lord of Vermandois, in the twelfth century, espoused Gabrielle de Vergy, whose affections were previously engaged to Raoul de Coucy, one of the young crusaders. Coucy, being mortally wounded in a battle with the Saracens, called his faithful esquire, and charged him, on his return to France, to deliver to Madame Faiel a letter, and a silver casket containing the heart of her lover. The messenger, in visiting the castle of Faiel, met the lord of the mansion, who, having obtained the fatal deposit, caused it to be hashed, and served up to his lady as a delicious treat. When she had finished eating, the malignant demon told her what it was; and, at the same time, placed before her the casket and the letter. Madame Faiel received both with joy, applied her lips to the dish, and having cleared every particle that remained, refused all further sustenance, and died soon after. Belloy, author of the tragedy of the “Siege of Calais," dramatized the story of " Gabrielle de Vergy,” also; but it was too horrible a subject for the French, or, indeed, any other stage. In • Percy," there is only a slight resemblance to the tale of the crusade; and with respect to the French poet, Hannah More, in one of her letters to Garrick, says, “I have endeavored to differ from Belloy as much as possible, particularly by introducing the father of Sir Hubert. I have followed him, where it was necessary, in his plan: as to the rest, I do not believe I have, in the whole, ten lines from him."--Ed.]

DRAMATIS PERSONÆ.

Percy, Earl of Northumberland.
Earl Douglas.
Earl Raby, Elwina's father.
EDRIC, friend to Douglas.
Harcourt, friend to PERCY.
Sir HUBERT, a knight.

Elwina. BIRTHA.

Knights, Guards, Attendants, &c.

SCENE–Raby Castle, in Durham.

PROLOGUE.

WRITTEN BY MR. GARRICK.

SPOKEN BY MRS. BULKELY.

Though I'm a female, and the rule is ever, For us, in epilogue, to beg your favor, Yet now I take the lead-and, leaving art And envy to the men—with a warm heart, A woman here I come-to take a woman's part. No little jealousies my mind perplex; I come the friend and champion of my sex: I'll prove, ye fair, that, let us have our swing, We can, as well as men, do any thing; Nay, better too, perhaps—for now and then, These times produce some bungling among men. In spite of lordly wits-with force and ease, Can't we write plays, or crush 'em, if we please ? The men, who grant not much, allow us charms :Are eyes, shapes, dimples, then, our only arms ? To rule this man our sex Dame Nature teaches; Mount the high horse we can, and make long speeches. Did not a lady knight, late chevalier, * A brave, smart soldier to your eyes appear? Hey! presto! pass! his sword becomes a fan, A comely woman rising from the man. The French their Amazonian maid invite She goes—alike well skilled to talk or write, Dance, ride, negotiate, scold, coquet, or fight. If she should set her heart upon a rover, And he prove false, she'd kick her faithless lover. The Greeks and Romans own our boundless claimThe Muses, Graces, Virtues, Fortune, Fame, Wisdom and Nature too, they women call; With this sweet flattery yet they mix some gall'Twill out-the Furies too are females all. The powers of Riches, Physic, War, and Wine, Sleep, Death, and Devils too-are masculine. Are we unfit to rule?-a poor suggestion ! Austria and Russia answer well that question. If joy from sense and matchless grace arise, With your own treasure, Britons, bless your eyes. If such there are-sure, in an humbler way, The sex, without much guilt, may write a play: That they've done nobler things, there's no denial ; With all your judgment, then, prepare for trialSummon your critic powers, your manhood summon; A brave man will protect, not hurt a woman; Let us wish modestly to share with men, If not the force, the feather of the pen.

* Chevalier D'Eon.

PERCY.

ACT I.

SCENE-A Gothic Hall.

Enter Edric and Birtha.
Bir. What may this mean? Earl Douglas has enjoined

thee
To meet him here in private ?
Ed.

Yes, my sister,
And this injunction have I oft received;
But when he comes, true to th' appointed hour,
He starts, looks wild, then drops ambiguous hints,
Frowns, hesitates, turns pale, and says 'twas nothing;
Then feigns to smile, and by his anxious care
To prove himself at ease, betrays his pain.

Bir. Since my short sojourn here, I've marked this earl,
And though the ties of blood unite us closely,
I shudder at his haughtiness of temper,
Which not his gentle wife, the bright Elwina,
Can charm to rest. Ill are their spirits paired;
His heart's the seat of frenzy, hers of softness;

His love is transport, hers is trembling duty;
( Rage in his soul is as the whirlwind fierce,
While hers ne'er felt the power of that rude passion.

Ed. Perhaps the mighty soul of Douglas mourns,
Because inglorious love detains him here,
While our bold knights, beneath the Christian standard,
Press to the bulwarks of Jerusalem.

Bir. Though every various charm adorns Elwina,
And though the noble Douglas dotes to madness,
Yet some dark mystery involves their fate ;
The canker grief devours Elwina's bloom,
And on her brow meek resignation sits,
Hopeless, yet uncomplaining.
Ed.

'Tis most strange. Bir. Once, not long since, she thought herself alone; 'Twas then the pent-up anguish burst its bounds;

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