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- Nathan the Wise - 40/43 -


SITTAH.

How discovered to thee?

RECHA.

Yes, just this instant. Coming hitherward We past a fallen temple of the Christians - She all at once stood still, seemed inly struggling, Turned her moist eyes to heaven, and then on me. Come, says she finally, let us to the right Thro' this old fane--she leads the way, I follow. My eyes with horror overran the dim And tottering ruin--all at once she stops By the sunk steps of a low Moorish altar. - O how I felt, when there, with streaming tears And wringing hands, prostrate before my feet She fell

SITTAH.

Good child -

RECHA.

And by the holy Virgin, Who there had hearkened many a prayer, and wrought Many a wonder, she conjured, intreated, With looks of heartfelt sympathy and love, I would at length take pity of myself - At least forgive, if she must now unfold What claims her church had on me.

SITTAH.

Ah! I guessed it.

RECHA.

That I am sprung of Christian blood--baptised - Not Nathan's daughter--and he not my father. God, God, he not my father! Sittah, Sittah, See me once more low at thy feet.

SITTAH.

O Recha, Not so; arise, my brother's coming, rise.

SALADIN, SITTAH, and RECHA.

SALADIN (entering).

What is the matter, Sittah?

SITTAH.

She is swooned-- God -

SALADIN.

Who?

SITTAH.

You know sure.

SALADIN.

What, our Nathan's daughter? What ails her?

SITTAH.

Child, come to thyself, the sultan.

RECHA.

No, I'll not rise, not rise, not look upon The Sultan's countenance--I'll not admire The bright reflection of eternal justice And mercy on his brow, and in his eye, Before -

SALADIN.

Rise, rise.

RECHA.

Before he shall have promised -

SALADIN.

Come, come, I promise whatsoe'er thy prayer.

RECHA.

Nor more nor less than leave my father to me, And me to him. As yet I cannot tell What other wants to be my father. Who Can want it, care I not to inquire. Does blood Alone then make the father? blood alone?

SALADIN (raising her).

Who was so cruel in thy breast to shed This wild suspicion? Is it proved, made clear?

RECHA.

It must, for Daya had it from my nurse, Whose dying lips intrusted it to her.

SALADIN.

Dying, perhaps delirious; if 'twere true, Blood only does not make by much the father, Scarcely the father of a brute, scarce gives The first right to endeavour at deserving The name of father. If there be two fathers At strife for thee, quit both, and take a third, And take me for thy father.

SITTAH.

Do it, do it.

SALADIN.

I will be a kind father--but methinks A better thought occurs, what hast thou need Of father upon father? They will die, So that 'tis better to look out by times For one that starts fair, and stakes life with life On equal terms. Knowst thou none such?

SITTAH.

My brother, Don't make her blush.

SALADIN.

Why that was half my project. Blushing so well becomes the ugly, that The fair it must make charming--I have ordered Thy father Nathan hither, and another, Dost guess who 'tis? one other.--Sittah, you Will not object?

SITTAH.

Brother -

SALADIN.

And when he comes, Sweet girl, then blush to crimson.

RECHA.

Before whom - Blush?

SALADIN.

Little hypocrite--or else grow pale, Just as thou willst and canst. Already there?

SITTAH (to a female slave who comes in).

Well, be they ushered in. Brother, 'tis they.

SALADIN, SITTAH, RECHA, NATHAN, and TEMPLAR.

SALADIN.

Welcome, my dear good friends. Nathan, to you I've first to mention, you may send and fetch Your monies when you will.

NATHAN.

Sultan -

SALADIN.

And now I'm at your service.

NATHAN.

Sultan -

SALADIN.

For my treasures


Nathan the Wise - 40/43

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