Aphra Behn.

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The old King of Spain, having conquered Fez and killed the Moorish
monarch, has taken the orphaned prince Abdelazer under his protection and
in time made him General. Abdelazer, though always courageous, has the
desire of revenge ever uppermost, and to gain influence, rather than from
any love, he becomes the Queen's paramour. She, being a lustful and
wicked woman, joins with the Moor in poisoning her husband, at whose
death Philip, her second son, newly returned victor from a martial
expedition, leaving his army at some distance, rushes in mad with rage
and publicly accuses his mother of adultery with Abdelazer. She is
greatly incensed, but Cardinal Mendozo, as Protector of the King,
promptly banishes her gallant. The young King Ferdinand, however, to
please Florella, the Moor's wife, whom he loves, revokes this decree.
Abdelazer, in revenge, next orders his native officer Osmin to kill
Philip and the Cardinal. They escape by night disguised as monks, whilst
Abdelazer alarms the castle with cries of treason and tells the King that
Philip and the Cardinal are plotting to murder him. Ferdinand orders
Abdelazer to follow them, intending to visit Florella during her
husband's absence. Abdelazer, fully aware of his plan, out of pride
and mischief furnishes Florella with a dagger, bidding her stab the
King if he persists in his suit. Elvira, the Queen Mother's confidante,
Watches the King enter Florella's apartment and conveys the news to her
Mistress who, with dissembled reluctance, informs Alonzo, the Moor's
brother-in-law. Florella resists the King's solicitations and produces
the dagger threatening to stab herself. At this juncture the Queen rushes
in and, feigning to think that Florella was about to attempt the King's
life, kills her. Her motive for this deed is, in reality, jealousy.
Whilst the King falls weeping at his dead mistress' feet Abdelazer enters,
and in the ensuing fight Ferdinand is slain. Philip is then proclaimed
King, but Abdelazer announcing he is a bastard, an avowal backed by the
Queen, declares himself Protector of Spain, Overpowered by his following,
The lords accept him. Alonzo, however, flies to Philip's camp with the
tidings. A battle between the two parties follows, but the Queen
treacherously detaches Mendozo, who loves her, from Philip, and although
the Moors are at first beaten back they now gain the advantage and Philip
is captured. At a general assembly of the nobles the Queen relates the
false tale of Philip's illegitimacy and asserts that the Cardinal is his
father. She privately bids Mendozo acknowledge this and so gain the
crown, but he refuses to support the lie and is promptly arrested as a
traitor. Abdelazer now brings forward the Infanta Leonora and proclaims
her Queen of Spain, He next disposes of the Queen Mother by bidding
Roderigo, a creature of his own, assassinate her forthwith. Roderigo
gains admittance disguised as a friar and stabs her, upon which
Abdelazer, to screen himself, rushes in and cuts him down. He next openly
declares his love for Leonora and is about to force her when Osmin, his
officer, enters to inform him that Alonzo, to whom Leonora is affianced,
has resisted arrest but is at last secured. Abdelazer, enraged at the
interruption, wounds Osmin in the arm. Leonora pities the blow; and the
Moorish soldier, deeply hurt at the insult, resolves to betray his
master. He accordingly goes to the prison where Philip, the Cardinal, and
Alonzo are confined, and killing his fellow Zarrack who was to have been
their executioner, sets them free. When Abdelazer enters he finds himself
entrapped. He glories, however, in his crimes, and as they set on him
kills Osmin, himself falling dead in the mêleé. The Cardinal is forgiven,
Leonora and Alonzo are united, whilst Philip ascends the throne.


_Abdelazer; or, the Moor's Revenge_ is an alteration of the robustious
_Lust's Dominion; or, the _Lascivious Queen_, printed 12mo, 1657, and then
attributed to Marlowe, who was certainly not the author. It is now
generally identified with _The Spanish Moor's Tragedy_ by Dekker
(Haughton and Day, 1600), although, as Fleay justly says, there is 'an
under-current of pre-Shakespearean work' unlike either Dekker or Day.
There are marked crudities of form and a rough conduct of plot which
stamp it as of very early origin. Probably it was emended and pruned by
the three collaborators.

Although often keeping close to her original, Mrs. Behn has dealt with
the somewhat rude material in a very apt and masterly way: she has, to
advantage, omitted the old King, Emanuel, King of Portugal, Alvero,
father to Maria (Florella), and the two farcical friars, Crab and Cole;
she adds Elvira, and whereas in _Lust's Dominion_ the Queen at the
conclusion is left alive, declaiming: -

'I'll fly unto some solitary residence
When I'll spin out the remnant of my life
In true contrition for my past offences.' -

Mrs. Behn far more dramatically kills her Isabella. Perhaps the famous
assassination of Henri III of France by the Dominican, Jacques Clement,
gave a hint for Roderigo masqued as a monk.

The sexual passion, the predominance of which in this tragedy a recent
critic has not a little carpingly condemned, is entirely natural in such
an untamed savage as Abdelazer, whilst history affords many a parallel to
the lascivious Queen.


_Abdelazer; or, The Moor's Revenge_ was first produced at the Duke's
Theatre in Dorset Garden during the late autumn of 1677. It was supported
by a strong cast, and Betterton, whose Othello, Steele - writing
exquisitely in the _Tatler_ - seems to have considered artistically quite
perfect, was no doubt n wonderful representative of the ferocious Afric.
The effective rôle of Queen Isabella fell to Mrs. Mary Lee, the first
tragedienne of the day, Mrs. Marshall, the leading lady of the King's
Company, having at this time just retired from the stage. [Footnote: Her
last rôle was Berenice in Crowne's heroic tragedy, _The Destruction of
Jerusalem_ (1677).] It is interesting to notice that Mrs. Barry on her
way to fame played the secondary part of Leonora.

_Abdelazer_ seems to have met with good success, and on Easter Monday,
April, 1695, the patentees, after the secession of Betterton, Mrs. Barry,
Mrs. Bracegirdle and their following to Lincoln's Inn Fields, chose the
tragedy to reopen Drury Lane. The Moor was played by George Powell, a
vigorous and passionate actor, who also spoke a new prologue written for
the nonce by Cibber, then a mere struggler in the ranks. Colley's verses
were accepted at the eleventh hour in default of better, and he tells us
how chagrined he was not to be allowed to deliver them in person. The
house was very full the first day, but on the morrow it was empty,
probably owing to the inexperience of many of the actors and a too hasty
rehearsing of the play.

On the stage _Abdelazer_ was superseded by Edward Young's _The Revenge_,
a tragedy largely borrowed in theme and design from Mrs. Behn, with
reminiscences of _Othello_. Produced at Drury Lane, 18 April, 1721, with
Mills, Booth, Wilks, Mrs. Porter and Mrs. Horton in the cast, it attained
considerable success, and Zanga, the Moor, was long a favourite part with
our greatest actors even down to the days of Kean, who excelled in it,
and Macready. _The Revenge_ is not without merit, and it stands out well
before the lean and arid tragedies of its time, but this, unfortunately,
is not much to say. It is not for a moment to be compared with the
magnificent tapestry of _Abdelazer_, woven though the latter may be in
colours strong and daring.

ABDELAZER; or, The Moor's Revenge.


_Gallants, you have so long been absent hence,
That you have almost cool'd your Diligence;
For while we study or revive a Play,
You, like good Husbands, in the Country stay,
There frugally wear out your Summer Suit,
And in Prize Jerkin after Beagles toot;
Or, in Montero-Caps, at Feldfares shoot.
Nay, some are so obdurate in their Sin,
That they swear never to come up again,
But all their Charge of Clothes and Treat retrench,
To Gloves and Stockings for some Country Wench:
Even they, who in the Summer had Mishaps,
Send up to Town for Physick for their Claps.
The Ladies too are as resolved as they,
And having Debts unknown to them, they stay,
And with the Gain of Cheese and Poultry pay.
Even in their Visits, they from Banquets fall,
To entertain with Nuts and Bottle-Ale;
And in Discourse with Secresy report
State-News, that past a Twelve-month since at Court.
Those of them who are most refind, and gay,
Now learn the Songs of the last Summer's Play:
While the young Daughter does in private mourn,
Her Lovers in Town, and hopes not to return.
These Country Grievances too great appear:
But cruel Ladies, we have greater here;
You come not sharp, as you are wont, to Plays;
But only on the first and second Days:
This made our Poet, in her Visits, look
What new strange Courses, for your time you took,
And to her great Regret she found too soon,
Damn'd Beasts and Ombre spent the Afternoon;
So that we cannot hope to see you here
Before the little Net-work Purse be clear.
Suppose you should have Luck -
Yet sitting up so late, as I am told,
You'll lose in Beauty what you win in Gold:
And what each Lady of another says,
Will make you new Lampoons, and us new Plays.



_Ferdinand_, a young King of Spain, in love with
_Florella_. Mr. _Harris_.
_Philip_, his Brother. Mr. _Smith_.
_Akdelazer_, the Moor. Mr. _Betterton_.
_Mendozo_, Prince Cardinal, in love with the Queen. Mr. _Medburn_.
_Alonzo_, a young Nobleman of _Spain_, contracted to
_Leonora_. Mr. _Crasbie_.
_Roderigo_, a Creature to the Moor, Mr. _Norris_.
_Antonio_, |
_Sebastian_, Two Officers of _Phillip's_. | Mr. _John Lee_.
_Osmin_, | Mr. _Percivall_.
_Zarrack_, Moors and Officers to _Abdelazer_. | Mr. _Richards_.
_Ordonio_, a Courtier.
A Swain, and Shepherds.
Courtiers, Officers, Guards, Soldiers, Moors, Pages, and Attendants.


_Isabella_, Queen of _Spain_, Mother to _Ferdinand_
and _Philip_, in love with _Abdelazer_. Mrs. _Lee_.
_Leonora_, her Daughter, Sister to _Ferdinand_
and _Philip_. Mrs. _Barrey_.
_Florella_, Wife to _Abdelazer_, and Sister to Mrs. _Betterton_.
_Elvira_, Woman to the Queen. Mrs. _Osborne_.
A Nymph, and Shepherdesses.
Other Women Attendants.

SCENE _Spain_, and in the Camp.


SCENE I. _A rich Chamber_.

_A Table with Lights_, Abdelazer _sullenly leaning his Head
on his Hands: after a little while, still Musick plays_.


_Love _in fantastick Triumph sat,
Whilst bleeding Hearts around him flow'd,
For whom fresh Pains he did create,
And strange Tyrannick Pow'r he shewed;
From thy bright Eyes he took his Fires,
Which round about in sport he hurl'd;
But 'twas from mine he took Desires,
Enough t'undo the amorous World.

From me he took his Sighs and Tears,
From thee his Pride and Cruelty;
From me his Languishments and Fears,
And ev'ry killing Dart from thee:
Thus thou, and I, the God have arrri'd,
And set him up a Deity;
But my poor Heart alone is harm'd,
Whilst thine the Victor is, and free_.

[_After which he rouzes, and gazes_.

_Abd_. On me this Musick lost? - this Sound on me
That hates all Softness? - What, ho, my Slaves!

_Enter_ Osmin, Zarrack.

_Osm_. My gracious Lord -

[_Enter_ Queen, Elvira.

_Qu_. My dearest _Abdelazer_ -

_Abd_. Oh, are you there? - Ye Dogs, how came she in?
Did I not charge you on your Lives to watch,
That none disturb my Privacy?

_Qu_. My gentle _Abdelazer_, 'tis thy Queen,
Who 'as laid aside the Business of her State,
To wanton in the kinder Joys of Love -
Play all your sweetest Notes, such as inspire
The active Soul with new and soft Desire,
[_To_ the Musick, they play softly.
Whilst we from Eyes - thus dying, fan the Fire.
[_She sits down by him_.

_Abd_. Cease that ungrateful Noise.
[_Musick_ ceases.

_Qu_. Can ought that I command displease my Moor?

_Abd_. Away, fond Woman.

_Qu_. Nay, prithee be more kind.

_Abd_. Nay, prithee, good Queen, leave me - I am dull,
Unfit for Dalliance now.

_Qu_. Why dost thou frown? - to whom was that Curse sent?

_Abd_. To thee -

_Qu_. To me? - it cannot be - to me, sweet Moor? -
No, no, it cannot - prithee smile upon me -
Smile, whilst a thousand Cupids shall descend
And call thee Jove, and wait upon thy Smiles,
Deck thy smooth Brow with Flowers;
Whilst in my Eyes, needing no other Glass,
Thou shalt behold and wonder at thy Beauty.

_Abd_. Away, away, be gone -

_Qu_. Where hast thou learnt this Language, that can say
But those rude Words - Away, away, be gone?
Am I grown ugly now?

_Abd_. Ugly as Hell -

_Qu_. Didst thou not love me once, and swore that Heav'n
Dwelt in my Face and Eyes?

_Abd_. Thy Face and Eyes! - Baud, fetch me here a Glass,
[_To_ Elvira.
And thou shalt see the Balls of both those Eyes
Burning with Fire of Lust:
That Blood that dances in thy Cheeks so hot,
That have not I to cool it
Made an Extraction even of my Soul,
Decay'd my Youth, only to feed thy Lust?
And wou'dst thou still pursue me to my Grave?

_Qu_. All this to me, my _Abdelazer_?

_Abd_. I cannot ride through the _Castilian_ Streets,
But thousand Eyes throw killing Looks at me,
And cry - That's he that does abuse our King -
There goes the Minion of the _Spanish_ Queen,
Who, on the lazy Pleasures of his Love,
Spends the Revenues of the King of _Spain_ -
This many-headed Beast your Lust has arm'd.

_Qu_. How dare you, Sir, upbraid me with my Love?

_Abd_. I will not answer thee, nor hear thee speak.

_Qu_. Not hear me speak! - Yes, and in Thunder too;
Since all my Passion, all my soft Intreaties
Can do no good upon thee,
I'll see (since thou hast banish'd all thy Love,
That Love, to which I've sacrific'd my Honour)
If thou hast any Sense of Gratitude,
For all the mighty Graces I have done thee.

_Abd_. Do; - and in thy Story too, do not leave out
How dear those mighty Graces I have purchas'd;
My blooming Youth, my healthful vigorous Youth,
Which Nature gave me for more noble Actions
Than to lie fawning at a Woman's Feet,
And pass my Hours in Idleness and Love -
If I cou'd blush, I shou'd thro all this Cloud
Send forth my Sense of Shame into my Cheeks.

_Qu_. Ingrate!
Have I for this abus'd the best of Men,
My noble Husband?
Depriving him of all the Joys of Love,
To bring them all intirely to thy Bed;
Neglected all my Vows, and sworn 'em here a-new,
Here, on thy Lips -
Exhausted Treasures that wou'd purchase Crowns,
To buy thy Smiles - to buy a gentle Look;
And when thou didst repay me - blest the Giver?
Oh, _Abdelazer_, more than this I've done -
This very Hour, the last the King can live,
Urg'd by thy Witch-craft, I his Life betray'd;
And is it thus my Bounties are repaid?
Whate'er a Crime so great deserves from Heav'n,
By _Abdelazer_ might have been forgiven: [_Weeps_.
But I will be reveng'd by penitence,
And e'er the King dies, own my black Offence -
And yet that's not enough - _Elvira_ - [_Pauses_.
Cry murder, murder, help, help.

[_She and her Women cry aloud, he is surpriz'd,
the_ Queen _falls_, _he draws a Dagger_ at Elvira.

_Elv_. Help, murder, murder! -

_Abd_. Hell, what's this? - peace, Baud - 'sdeath,
They'll raise the Court upon me, and then I'm lost -
My Queen - my Goddess - Oh raise your lovely Eyes,
I have dissembled Coldness all this while;
And that Deceit was but to try thy Faith.
[_Takes her up, sets her in a Chair, then kneels_.
Look up - by Heav'n,'twas Jealousy -
Pardon your Slave - pardon your poor Adorer.

_Qu_. Thou didst upbraid me with my shameful Passion.

_Abd_. I'll tear my Tongue out for its Profanation.

_Qu_. And when I woo'd thee but to smile upon me,
Thou cry'st - Away, I'm dull, unfit for Dalliance.

_Abd_. Call back the frighted Blood into thy Cheeks,
And I'll obey the Dictates of my Love,
And smile, and kiss, and dwell for ever here -
_Enter_ Osmin hastily.
How now - why star'st thou so?

_Osm_. My Lord - the King is dead.

_Abd_. The King dead! - 'Twas time then to dissemble. [_Aside_.
What means this Rudeness? -
[_One knocks_.

_Enter_ Zarrack.

_Zar_. My Lord - the Cardinal inquiring for the Queen,
The Court is in an uproar, none can find her.

_Abd_. Not find the Queen! and wou'd they search her here?

_Qu_. What shall I do? I must not here be found.

_Abd_. Oh, do not fear - no Cardinal enters here;
No King - no God, that means to be secure -
Slaves guard the Doors, and suffer none to enter,
Whilst I, my charming Queen, provide for your Security -
You know there is a Vault deep under Ground,
Into the which the busy Sun ne'er enter'd,
But all is dark, as are the Shades of Hell,
Thro which in dead of Night I oft have pass'd,
Guided by Love, to your Apartment, Madam -
They knock agen - thither, my lovely Mistress, [_Knock_.
Suffer your self to be conducted -

_Osmin_, attend the Queen - descend in haste,
[Queen, Osm. _and_ Elv. _descend the Vault_.
My Lodgings are beset.

_Zar_. I cannot guard the Lodgings longer -
Don _Ordonio_, Sir, to seek the Queen -

_Abd_. How dare they seek her here?

_Zar_. My Lord, the King has swounded twice,
And being recover'd, calls for her Majesty.

_Abd_. The King not dead! - go, _Zafrack_, and aloud
Tell Don _Ordonio_ and the Cardinal,
He that dares enter here to seek the Queen,
[_Puts his Hand to his Sword_.
Had better snatch the She from the fierce side
Of a young amorous Lion, and 'twere safer. -
Again, more knocking! -

_Zar_. My gracious Lord, it is your Brother, Don _Alonzo_.

_Abd_. I will not have him enter - I am disorder'd.

_Zar_. My Lord, 'tis now too late.
_Enter_ Alonzo.

_Alon_. Saw you not the Queen, my Lord?

_Abd_. My Lord!

_Alon_. Was not the Queen here with you?

_Abd_. The Queen with me!
Because, Sir, I am married to your Sister,
You, like your Sister, must be jealous too:
The Queen with me! with me! a Moor! a Devil!
A Slave of _Barbary_! for so
Your gay young Courtiers christen me - But, Don,
Altho my Skin be black, within my Veins
Runs Blood as red, and royal as the best. -
My Father, Great _Abdela_, with his Life
Lost too his Crown; both most unjustly ravish'd
By Tyrant _Philip_, your old King I mean.
How many Wounds his valiant Breast receiv'd
E'er he would yield to part with Life and Empire:
Methinks I see him cover'd o'er with Blood,
Fainting amidst those numbers he had conquer'd.
I was but young, yet old enough to grieve,
Tho not revenge, or to defy my Fetters:
For then began my Slavery; and e'er since
Have seen that Diadem by this Tyrant worn,
Which crown'd the sacred Temples of my Father,
And shou'd adorn mine now - shou'd! nay, and must -
Go tell him what I say - 'twill be but Death -
Go, Sir, - the Queen's not here.

_Alon_. Do not mistake me, Sir, - or if I wou'd,
I've no old King to tell - the King is dead -
And I am answer'd, Sir, to what I came for,
And so good night.

_Abd_. Now all that's brave and villain seize my Soul,
Reform each Faculty that is not ill,
And make it fit for Vengeance, noble Vengeance.
Oh glorious Word! fit only for the Gods,
For which they form'd their Thunder,
Till Man usurp'd their Power, and by Revenge
Sway'd Destiny as well as they, and took their trade of killing.
And thou, almighty Love,
Dance in a thousand forms about my Person,
That this same Queen, this easy Spanish Dame,
May be bewitch'd, and dote upon me still;
Whilst I make use of the insatiate Flame
To set all _Spain_ on fire. -
Mischief, erect thy Throne,
And sit on high; here, here upon my Head.
Let Fools fear Fate, thus I my Stars defy:
The influence of this - must raise my Glory high.
[_Pointing to his Sword.


SCENE II. _A Room in the Palace_.

_Enter_ Ferdinand _weeping_, Ordonio _bearing the Crown,
followed by_ Alonzo, _leading_ Leonora _weeping_; Florella,
Roderigo, Mendozo, _met by the_ Queen _weeping_;
Elvira _and Women_.

_Qu_. What doleful Cry was that, which like the Voice
Of angry Heav'n struck thro my trembling Soul?
Nothing but horrid Shrieks, nothing but Death;
Whilst I, bowing my Knees to the cold Earth,
Drowning my Cheeks in Rivulets of Tears,
Sending up Prayers in Sighs, t' implore from Heaven
Health for the Royal Majesty of _Spain_ -
All cry'd, the Majesty of _Spain_ is dead.
Whilst the sad Sound flew through the ecchoing Air,
And reach'd my frighted Soul - Inform my Fears,
Oh my _Fernando_, oh my gentle Son -

_King_. Madam, read here the truth, if looks can shew
That which I cannot speak, and you wou'd know:
The common Fare in ev'ry face appears;
A King's great loss the publick Grief declares,
But 'tis a Father's Death that claims my Tears.
[Card. _leads in the_ Queen _attended_.

_Leon_. Ah, Sir!
If you thus grieve, who ascend by what y'ave lost,
To all the Greatness that a King can boast;
What Tributes from my Eyes and Heart are due,
Who've lost at once a King and Father too?

_King_. My _Leonora_ cannot think my Grief
Can from those empty Glories find relief;
Nature within my Soul has equal share,
And that and Love surmount my Glory there.
Had Heav'n continu'd Royal _Philip's_ Life,
And giv'n me bright _Florella_ for a Wife,
[_Bows to_ Florella.
To Crown and Scepters I had made no claim,
But ow'd my Blessings only to my Flame.
But Heav'n well knew in giving thee away, [_To_ Flor.
I had no bus'ness for another Joy. [_Weeps_.
The King, _Alanzo_, with his dying Breath,
[_Turns to_ Alon. _and_ Leon.
To you my beauteous Sister did bequeath;
And I his Generosity approve,
And think you worthy _Leonora's_ Love.

_Enter_ Card. _and_ Queen _weeping_.

_Alon_. Too gloriously my Services are paid,
In the possession of this Royal Maid,
To whom my guilty Heart durst ne'er aspire,
But rather chose to languish in its Fire.

_Enter_ Philip _in a Rage_, Antonio _and_ Sebastian.

_Phil_. I know he is not dead; what envious Powers
Durst snatch him hence? he was all great and good,
As fit to be ador'd as they above.
Where is the Body of my Royal Father?
That Body which inspir'd by's sacred Soul,
Aw'd all the Universe with ev'ry Frown,
And taught 'em all Obedience with his Smiles.
Why stand you thus distracted - Mother - Brother -
My Lords - Prince Cardinal -
Has Sorrow struck you dumb?
Is this my Welcome from the Toils of War?
When in his Bosom I shou'd find repose,
To meet it cold and pale! - Oh, guide me to him,
And with my Sighs I'll breathe new Life into't.

_King_. There's all that's left of Royal _Philip_ now,
[Phil, _goes out_.
Pay all thy Sorrow there - whilst mine alone
Are swoln too high t' admit of Lookers on.
[_Ex_. King _weeping_.

Philip _returns weeping_.

_Phil_. His Soul is fled to all Eternity;
And yet methought it did inform his Body,
That I, his darling _Philip_, was arriv'd
With Conquest on my Sword; and even in Death
Sent me his Joy in Smiles.

_Qu_. If Souls can after Death have any Sense
Of human things, his will be proud to know
That _Philip_ is a Conqueror.
_Enter_ Abdelazer.
But do not drown thy Laurels thus in Tears,
Such Tributes leave to us, thou art a Soldier.

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