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PAUL AND VIRGINIA.

Vir.

Paul.

ACT I.

SCENE I.—A Wood and Cottage.

Enter PAUL, L. U. E.

AIR.

See, from the ocean rising,

Bright flames the orb of day;
Yon grove's gay songs shall slumbers
From Virginia chase away.

VIRGINIA appears at the Cottage window, R.

DUET.

Though from the ocean rising,

Bright flames the orb of day

Alas! the hour of meeting

Awhile we must delay.

Yet awhile retiring-hence, away!

My absence if desiring, I obey.

[Virginia disappears.

Paul. When will the tedious hour arrive, destined to

explain my doom!

Enter JACINTHA from the Cottage, R. S. E.

Jac. Paul, Paul!

Paul. Well, Jacintha, what tidings?

Jac. Virginia requests you to depart for the present. Dominique will be punctual to the appointed hour; but it is not yet arrived. Pray, retire. See, the young women and the children of the island approach, to offer congratulations to Virginia on her birth-day.

[Exit Paul, L. U, E,

Enter MARY, L., and several young Women with garlands

of flowers.

CHORUS.

Haste, my companions, here to pay
Our debt of gratitude to worth;
With song and dance to hail the day,
That gave the fair Virginia birth.
Sweet flow'rets, while you shed perfume,
And while each wreath her goodness tells;
Here, like her cheeks, where roses bloom,
Shall beauty mark where virtue dwells.

Enter DIEGO, R.

Die. Heyday! what munming is here? What fool's holyday is this?

Mary. Fool's holyday, indeed! it ought to be a holyday throughout the island. It is the birth-day of Virginia-the amiable, the excellent Virginia! Every heart acknowledges her goodness, every tongue proclaims it.

Die. Ay, I have heard of her, though I have never seen her

Jac. (R.) Then you must have heard that deeds of charity are her delight.

Die. Charity, indeed! Ha, ha, ha! An orphan, poor and friendless, to boast of charity.

Jac. You may deem her poor, because she subsists on the gain of her modesty ; but friendless she can never be, while gratitude lives in the hearts of all around her.

Die. (c.) But if the girl have no money, whence comes her charity?

Mary. (L.) From a rich treasury-her own beneficent heart. Her kindness smooths the brow of age, and lightens the burdens of calamity; her example encourages every one to be content with their own lot.

Die. Well, I shall soon be better acquainted with her, for I must search her dwelling.

Mary. Search the cottage of Virginia?

Die. Yes; for a runaway slave, named Alambra; a young rogue who belonged to my master, the English planter, Captain Tropic

Mary. Oh! do not let a rude footstep intrude on the abode of innocence.

Die. And so, you repay your obligation with a few trumpery flowers: a cheap way of showing your gratitude. Ha, ha, ha! I will go in.

[Diego attempts to force his way into the Cottage. The male slaves stand before the door, and, with the women, prevent his entering.

Wom.

Die.

Wom

Die.

Wom.

Die.

TRIO AND CHORUS.-Women aud Diego.
Bold intruder, bence away,

Let no rude act profane this day:
'Tis Virginia's natal day.

Hence, ye idle pack, away!

Instead of hard and healthy labour,
Jigging to the pipe and tabor,
Serenading-masquerading—

Go home, go home, and work, I say.
Against decorum-'tis a sin-
Let me pass-I will go in.

With these flowery wreaths to-day
Our debts of gratitude we pay;

Your flinty heart can nothing feel-
You pay your debts with what you steal.

Enter DOMINIQUE from the house, R.

Dom. Ah! my pretty lasses, here ye are : come, according to annual custom, to congratulate my dear young mistress on her birth-day. You all look remarkably handsome this morning: but I don't wonder at it. Beauty shines with redoubled lustre when lighted up by a kind and benevolent heart. I must salute you all round: I promised to do so last year: it is our duty to perform a promise, and I always endeavour to do my duty. [Salutes the women.] And see, Virginia appears at the window to invite her kind visitors.

[Virginia opens a window, and makes signs to the Women to enter the Cottage; they go in, and Diego is following them, when Dominique stops them.

Whither are you going, friend?

Die. Into that house.

Dom. Upon whose invitation ?

Die. I am in search of a slave, who has run away from my master, and who may, perhaps, be concealed there.

B

Dom. (R.) That cottage belongs to Virginia; her character should silence your suspicions. Be assured the slave you seek is not there.

Die. Stand aside, and let me pass.

Dom. Look ye, friend,-I always do my duty; I am naturally a merry fellow, and tolerably good-natured, but if you persist, I must knock you down,—I must, indeed; I must do my duty.

Die. Your duty!

Dom. Yes; Virginia has no parents, no relations to protect her. I lived as a servant with Virginia's father when she was born. He died when she was an infant : her mother, when she was on her death-bed, bequeathed this her only daughter to my protection; and I will protect her while this arm can do its duty.

Die. Do you mean to strike me?

Dom. Not I, indeed, except you oblige me to do so. My hand, at any time, would rather greet a friend than conquer an enemy. As I told you before, I am naturally a merry fellow: a song or dance will make me skip as if my nerves were fiddle-strings. My heels are light, for my heart is light,-'tis not incumbered with a bad conscience; and when I lay my hand on it, and say I have always endoavoured to do my duty, it won't contradict me.

Die. Ha, ha, ha! Virginia is fortunate in having such a slave.

Dom. A slave! No, no; I am, indeed, her servant; nay, I will be bold enough to say, her friend; but I am no slave, for I have British blood in my veins.

Die. Indeed!

Dom. Yes; I am told my father was an English sailor, who, being above vulgar prejudices, admired a black beauty. I was born in this island, and the sun gave a gentle tinge to my complexion, to mark me as a favourite; so good morning to you. [Exit Diego, L.] The whole island, blacks and whites, will rejoice in the happiness of the lovers: every negro, as he passes them, will show his white teeth, and nod in salutation. Ackee ! Ackee O! ay, and the negroes will remember them in their songs when they dance by moonlight, like so many black fairies.

SONG.-DOMINIQUE.

When the moon shines o'er the deep,
Ackee ()! Ackee O!

And whisker'd dons are fast asleep,
Snoring, fast asleep,

From their huts the negroes run,
Ackee Q! Ackee 0 ;

Full of frolic, full of fun,
Holyday to keep.

Till morn they dance the merry round,
To the fife and cymbal.
See, so brisk,

How they frisk,

Airy, gay, and nimble !

With gestures antic,
Joyous, frantic,

They dance the merry round,
Ackee O! Ackee O!

To the cymbal's sound.

Black lad whispers to black lass,
Ackee O! Ackee O!
Glances sly between them pass,

Of beating hearts to tell.

Though no blush can paint her cheek,
Ackee O! Ackee O!

Still her eyes the language speak
Of passion quite as well.
Till morn, &c.

Enter PAUL, L. U. E.

Paul. Well, Dominique, here I am, all curiosity, all expectation. You know I am yet ignorant of Virginia's history and my own. You have promised to satisfy my curiosity.

Dom. Now it becomes my duty. Know, then, that Virginia's mother was of a noble family in Spain.

Enter MARY from the Cottage, R.

Mary. Dominique !

Dom. (R.) Unlucky! there is my wife; she knows the story by this time, and envies me the pleasure of telling it. [To Mary] Leave us to ourselves but one minute, I entreat you. [Mary retires a little up.

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