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BEwAREl The Israelite of old, who tore
Upon the pillars of the temple laid . His desperate hands, and in its overthrow Destroyed himself, and with him those who made A cruel mockery of his sightless woe; The poor, blind Slave, the scoff and jest of all, Expired, and thousands perished in the fall !
There is a poor, blind Sampson in this land,
What's done we partly may compute,
[The subject of the following Play is taken in part from the beautiful tale of Cervantes, La Gitanilla. To this source, however, I am indebted for the main incident only, the love of a Spanish student for a Gipsy girl, and the name of the heroine, Preciosa. I have not followed the story in any of its details.
In Spain this subject has been twice handled dramatically; first by Juan Perez de Montalvan, in La Gitanilla, and afterwards by Antonio de Solis y Rivadeneira, in La Gitanilla de Madrid.
The same subject has also been made use of by Thomas Middleton, an English gentleman of the seventeenth century. His play is called The Spanish Gipsy. The main plot is the same as in the Spanish pieces; but there runs through it a tragic underplot of the loves of Rodrigo and Dona Clara, which is taken from another tale of Cervantes, La Fuerza de la Sangre.
The reader who is acquainted with La Gitanilla of Cerwantes, and the plays of Montalvan, Solis, and Middleton, will perceive that my treatment of the subject differs entirely from theirs.]
SCENE I.—The Count of LARA's chambers. Night. The Count in his dressing-gown, smoking, and conversing with DoN CARLos.
LARA.—You were not at the play to-night, Don Carlos;
How happened it?
DON CARLOs.- I had engagements elsewhere.
LARA.— Why, all the town and court.
DoN CARLOS.–What was the play?
LARA.— It was a dull affair;
There were three duels fought in the first act,
An old hidalgo, and a gay Don Juan, A Dona Inez with a black mantilla, Followed at twilight by an unknown lover, Who looks intently where he knows she is not! DON CARLOs.—Of course the Preciosa danced tonight? LARA.—And never better. Every footstep fell As lightly as a sunbeam on the water. I think the girl extremely beautiful. DoN CARLOS. — Almost beyond the privilege of woman! I saw her in the Prado yesterday. Her step was royal,—queen-like, and her faco As beauteous as a saint's in Paradise. LARA.—May not a saint fall from her Paradise, And be no more a saint? DoN CARLOS.– Why do you ask? LARA.—Because I have heard it said this angel fell, And, though she is a virgin outwardly, Within she is a sinner; like those panels Of doors and altar-pieces the old monks Painted in convents, with the Virgin Mary On the outside, and on the inside Venus ! DON CARLOS.—You do her wrong; indeed you do her wrong! She is as virtuous as she is fair. LARA.—How credulous you are! Why, look you, friend, There's not a virtuous woman in Madrid, In this whole city! And would you persuade me That a mere dancing-girl, who shows herself Nightly, half-naked, on the stage, for money, And with voluptuous motions fires the blood Of inconsiderate youth, is to be held A model for her virtue?
DON CARLOS.— You forget