The Widow Ranter
A thick wood.
Enter Queen dress’d like an Indian Man, with a Bow in her Hand, and Quiver at her Back; Anaria her Confidant disguis’d so too; and about a dozen Indians led by Cavaro.
Queen. I tremble yet, dost think we’re safe, Cavaro?
Cav. Madam, these Woods are intricate and vast, and ’twill be difficult to find us out—or if they do, this Habit will secure you from the fear of being taken.
Queen. Dost think if Bacon find us, he will not know me? Alas, my Fears and Blushes will betray me.
Ana. ’Tis certain, Madam, if we stay we perish; for all the Wood’s surrounded by the Conqueror.
Queen. Alas, ’tis better we should perish here, than stay to expect the Violence of his Passion, to which my Heart’s too sensibly inclin’d.
Ana. Why do you not obey its Dictates then? why do you fly the Conqueror?
Queen. Not fly—not fly the Murderer of my Lord?
Ana. What World, what Resolution can preserve you? and what he cannot gain by soft submission, Force will at last o’ercome.
Queen. I wish there were in Nature one excuse, either by Force or Reason to compel me:—For Oh, Anaria—I adore this General;—take from my Soul a Truth—till now conceal’d—at twelve Years old—at the Pauwomungian Court, I saw this Conqueror. I saw him young and gay as new-born Spring, glorious and charming as the Mid-day’s Sun; I watch’d his Looks, and listned when he spoke, and thought him more than mortal.
Ana. He has a graceful Form.
Queen. At last a fatal Match concluded was between my Lord and me; I gave my Hand, but oh, how far my Heart was from consenting, the angry Gods are Witness.
Ana. ’Twas pity.
Queen. Twelve tedious Moons I pass’d in silent Languishment; Honour endeavouring to destroy my Love, but all in vain; for still my Pain return’d whenever I beheld my Conqueror; but now when I consider him as Murderer of my Lord— Fiercely. I sigh and wish—some other fatal Hand had given him his Death.—But now there’s a necessity, I must be brave and overcome my Heart; What if I do? ah, whither shall I fly? I have no Amazonian Fire about me, all my Artillery is Sighs and Tears, the Earth my Bed, and Heaven my Canopy.
Weeps. After, Noise of Fighting.
Hah, we are surpriz’d; Oh, whither shall I fly? And yet methinks a certain trembling Joy, spite of my Soul, spite of my boasted Honour, runs shivering round my Heart.
Enter an Indian.
Ind. Madam, your Out-guards are surpriz’d by Bacon, who hews down all before him, and demands the Queen with such a Voice, and Eyes so fierce and angry, he kills us with his Looks.
Cav. Draw up your poison’d Arrows to the head, and aim them at his Heart, sure some will hit.
Queen. Cruel Cavaro,—wou’d ’twere fit for me to contradict thy Justice. Aside.
Bac. Within. The Queen, ye Slaves, give me the Queen, and live!
He enters furiously, beating back some Indians; Cavaro’s Party going to shoot, the Queen runs in.
Queen. Hold, hold, I do command ye.
Bacon flies on ’em as they shoot and miss him, fights like a Fury, and wounds the Queen in the Disorder; beats them all out.
—hold thy commanding Hand, and do not kill me, who wou’d not hurt thee to regain my Kingdom—
He snatches her in his Arms, she reels.
Bac. Hah—a Woman’s Voice,—what art thou? Oh my Fears!
Queen. Thy Hand has been too cruel to a Heart—whose Crime was only tender Thoughts for thee.
Bac. The Queen! What is’t my sacrilegious Hand has done!
Queen. The noblest Office of a gallant Friend, thou’st sav’d my Honour, and hast given me Death.
Bac. Is’t possible! ye unregarding Gods, is’t possible?
Queen. Now I may love you without Infamy, and please my dying Heart by gazing on you.
Bac. Oh, I am lost—for ever lost—I find my Brain turn with the wild confusion.
Queen. I faint—oh, lay me gently on the Earth. Lays her down.
Bac. Who waits— Turns in Rage to his Men.
Make of the Trophies of the War a Pile, and set it all on fire, that I may leap into consuming Flames—while all my Tents are burning round about me. Wildly.
Oh thou dear Prize, for which alone I toil’d!
Weeps, and lies down by her.
Enter Fearless with his Sword drawn.
Fear. Hah, on the Earth—how do you, Sir?
Bac. What wou’dst thou?
Fear. Wellman with all the Forces he can gather, attacks us even in our very Camp; assist us, Sir, or all is lost.
Bac. Why, prithee let him make the World his Prize, I have no business with the Trifle now; it contains nothing that’s worth my care, since my fair Queen—is dead—and by my hand.
Queen. So charming and obliging is thy Moan, that I cou’d wish for Life to recompense it; but oh, Death falls—all cold upon my Heart, like Mildews on the Blossoms.
Fear. By Heaven, Sir, this Love will ruin all—rise, rise, and save us yet.
Bac. Leave me, what e’er becomes of me—lose not thy share of Glory—prithee leave me.
Queen. Alas, I fear thy Fate is drawing on, and I shall shortly meet thee in the Clouds; till then—farewel—even Death is pleasing to me, while thus—I find it in thy Arms— Dies.
Bac. There ends my Race of Glory and of Life.
An Alarm at distance—continues a while.
Hah—Why should I idly whine away my Life, since there are nobler ways to meet with Death? Up, up, and face him then—Hark—there’s the Soldier’s Knell—and all the Joys of Life—with thee I bid farewel— Goes out.
The Indians bear off the Body of the Queen