1824- 1825

The Collected Letters, Volume 3


THE RIVAL BROTHERS: FRAGMENT OF A PLAY BY JANE BAILLIE WELSH; 1970; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18240720-JWC-RBR-01; CL 3: firstpage-03-e8-lastpage-03-e8


The Rival Brothers. MS: NLS, Acc. 4463. The present fragment, as its heading indicates, is a copy in Jane's hand, dated 1824, of a play which she had written in 1815. Both Carlyle, who read the play in early 1823 (see TC to JBW, 18 Feb. 1823,) and A. Carlyle (LL, I, 168 n.) speak of the play as if complete. The whereabouts of the original MS is unknown. Geraldine Jewsbury speaks of it in Reminiscences, I, 60. [This fragment, originally pbd. at CL 7:361–68, is now placed at its proper chronological location.]


Haddington, 20th July, 182[4]

The Rival Brothers

A Tragedy
In 5 acts by Jane Baillie Welsh
Aged 14

Dramatis Personae


Lord Clarence

De Courcy


Servants &c2

Act I. Scene I. An Inn

Enter Lord Clarence & D'Auville.


My Lord, indulge not unavailing grief;
All may be well; thy son may yet exist,
And years of happiness to come
Reward the[e] for thy many sorrows past—
L.C. Oh! Tell not me of happiness!
My ears are unaccustomed to the sound
I once indeed possessed the heavenly gift;
But Oh: twas but to feel its loss more great
Its very shadow has deserted me
D'Auville thou hast never yet fully learned
The fatal causes of thy friends distress;
And tho' the sad recital gives me pain,
'Twill ease my heart to share its griefs with thee
D.A Would you could give me all,
For you too long have borne the heavy load;
Despair, too long, has sat upon thy brow;
Too long has chid the least approach of hope—
L.C. When you have heard my wretched story
You will judge how much Ive cause to mourn—
The lovely Julia first enslaved my heart,
The Daughter of a nobleman of Lisbon.
Her noble race, and wealth, tho' powerful
Appeared to me, as far beneath herself
As tapers burning in the brilliant day.
I loved, And (Oh, transporting thought)
I was beloved—
Her father kindly gave her to my arms:
Oh! I shall ne'er forget the blissful hour
That joined our hands and made the Angel mine—
A rapid year passed on in perfect bliss;
Then heaven gave an Infant to my arms;
Each youthful grace adorned the lovely boy;
Forgive a father's fondness—
D.'A. Go on my Lord, I long to hear,
What unforseen event,
Could cause so great a change—
L.C. Another year rolled on
Blessed as the former,
And then, another son, his mother's image,
Clung to my happy heart—
I heard at length, the tidings of my fathers death;
I wished to visit once again my native realm—
Julia, and my Theodore embarked
In the first vessel, wh for England sailed—;
Oh. fatal rashness, why did we ever part?
For then at least we might have died together
Britain they neer were destined to behold
The ship was lost amidst the merciless waves
And in the Ocean all my hopes were sunk—
D'A Say not all my Lord,
You had yet one comfort left
L.C. My son, you mean?—
Oh! no.
My Frederick too was severed from my arms;
With him, I mournfully embarked;
Almost wishing that another storm
Would, Once again unite me to my Julia—
Another lot, fate had decreed for us;
Our ship became the Conquest of the Moors,
And we Ourselves their slaves:—
The monsters deaf to all a fathers prayers
Tore the helpless infant from my arms;
nor have I ever since beheld my Boy;
Ten dismal years of slavery rolled on—
At length a country man,
Enslaved as well as I, escaped,
And with a generosity scarce ever found
But in a Briton's soul,
Obtained my ransom—
For six years more I vainly sought my child
And now, heart-broken, childless, in despair,
I have returned to die among my friends—
D'A. Since you have dismissed all earthly hope,
Yet there is consolation;
No guilt of yours hath caused your sufferings,
And Heaven will in joy drown the despair,
which it has doomed to be on earth they share—


Scene II

An apartment in the Castle

Adelaide alone (weeping)
Oh! cruel, cruel fortune

enter Mortimer

Mort: My Life, My Adelaide, what mean these tears:
Oh! Tell me quickly nor refuse your Mortimer
The privelege [sic] of love—to share thy sorrows
Adel: Who wd not weep?
Oh! Mortimer the cloud wh long has hung
Suspended o'er our love
At length has burst
And the dark storm of woe
Falls thick on every side
Mort: Alas! what means my Love?
Adel: Fain wd my tongue deny its office,
And refuse to wound thy gentle breast;
But sorrow, bursting from my painful heart;
Compels my voice to give it utterance—
Yes Mortimer,
Stern duty bids us part,
And Adelaide must obey.
Mort—Just Heavens! my fears then were not groundless
I long have marked the partial eye
With wh yr father views yr youthful stranger,
And he has destined him (distraction's in the thought)
For adelaide's Husband;
Is it not so?
Adel: It is but too true—
Mort This is a blow indeed:
Support me Heaven or I sink beneath it—
Adel—Mortimer hear me—
Ever since my Sainted mother's death,
My fathers comfort has been placed in me,
And shall I now with disobedience,
Reward his tender care, his anxious love,
And blast at once his fondest hopes;
Oh! no! it must not be:
Yet if you look so very very wretched,
Affection, duty, every thing will yield
To love and Mortimer—
Mort. No Adelaide I shall try to hide my misery;
This sacrifice is due to gratitude;
De Courcy shall receive the life wh his humanity preserved.
For think not I can ever live, to see the[e] made another's,
At present virtue bids me fly—
My Adelaide farewell for ever—
Adel. Oh will you leave me when I most need a friend?
Mort. Does Adelaide bid me stay?
Adel: Indeed you must not go;
For my poor heart is almost burst already,
And that wd break it quite;
Duty doth but feebly resist
Such powerful love as mine—
Mort. Away then sorrow, and each gloomy care,
Since Adelaide loves me still, I've nought to fear
Adel—Duty calls me one way, love another,
Between the two my peace is lost for ever—
Away—My father comes;
He must not see you here
Mort My dearest love, my adelaide adieu;
But tho' I go my heart is still with you—Exit.
Adel: What shall I say! I cannot bear his anger—

Enter De Courcy

De C. Still, Still in tears, and why?.
Because I wish to make you happy—
Once adelaide I thought I had a child
who wd not thus have vexed her parents heart
But now I find how great was the mistake
Adel. Oh! my father, look not on me thus:
That frown will kill me—
De C. Adelaide, I beg, entreat you,
If you ever loved me,
If you regard your future happiness,
Now by your conduct show it;
But if you still refuse my only prayer
For once I must command;
If Adelaide forgets she is my child,
I shall forget it too—
And act a tyrants part—
Adel. Had you commanded me aught else on earth,
were it to die I'd willingly obey:
To this, and this alone, I never can consent;
Horatio's misfortunes, virtues & his youth
Have gained him my esteem;
But more I cannot give—
Then my loved father on my bended knees, (Kneeling[)]
Let me entreat you,
Not to make your child for ever wretched—
De C. Ill hear no more: your prayers all are in vain;
My word is past; nor shall a womans tears
Make me recall it—
Mark well my words,
Or you'll repent this obstinacy,
And violence shall obtain what duty ought to give


Adel. Open thou earth and hide me from his anger—
Oh! Mortimer when my poor father found thee
Deserted and forlorn upon the shore a helpless Babe,
He little thought that thou shouldst be the cause of so much misery to my poor heart—
I'll seek Horatio,
And throw myself upon his goodness,
(My last remaining hope) Exit—

Scene III An apartment in Horatio's House

Enter Horatio & Oreztan—

Oreztan I do fear me much,
Your health agrees not with the English clime
And now indeed I do repent me,
That I e'er yielded to your rash request,
To bring me with you from your native land—
Orez: The Sorrows of a Heart with woe oerpowered
And not the clime, affect my health Horatio
And Oh! where can I hope that they will cease?
If not in England—
Hor Your words are still mysterious,
Nor do I seek to know their meaning,
For oft with pain I have observed,
When I e'er touched upon your life o'erpast—
The very thought seemed to harrass your Soul;
But you have left your Country, all, for me;
Sure then each care that friendship can bestow,
Must needs be yours—
Orez: By Our Prophet I do know the[e] well,
And know the generous nature
Of the manly breast,
But my griefs are not like to those of other men
And therefore undisclosed they must remain,
Until the time that fate reveal them—
But let me beg
That thou wilt say no more upon this subject;
How stand your hopes with Adelaide?
Hor: Would I could say well!
But tho' her father doth assist my suit,
She herself is still, as ever, cold;
But yet I hope and trust she may relent—
Now to the Castle let us bend our way,
I fear to see her, yet I dare not stay


Scene 4—A garden near the Castle

Enter Mortimer—

Mort: All nature seems to mourn for Adelaides woes:
Why do I say for Adelaides?
Are not my own as great?
Oh! yes—and greater far;
But in her tears my sorrows are forgot.
The Birds have ceased to tune their joyous strain,
And plaintive notes express their sympathy;
The Sun has sunk beneath the lowering clouds,
Which sprinkle all around with pitying tears;
The roses droop & wither in their bloom—
A mournful emblem of my hapless love—

Enter Stanmore

Stan “Hapless love”—what means this said [sad] complaint?
Has the fair shrine wh humbly you adore
Refused to grant what vows & prayers seek?
Or has some young, some pretty sighing fool
Woo'd the inconstant fair one from your arms,
And triumphed in a heart not worth the having?
Mort Cease Stanmore to profane
With a blaspheming tongue,
The truest, loveliest, best of women—
Stan Lovely she is; but true she cannot be;
Or if she is indeed, why then, she is the first
That e'er beneath an Angel's form
Concealed an Angel's mind—
I have abjured them all;
For all are treacherous alike—
Mort. Oh no! My Adelaide is excellence itself—
Stan So I once thought Zalniora;
She too was lovely and I thought her true;
But oh! how fatally was I deceived—
when first my eyes beheld the beauteous slave
My heart confessed her charms more powerful far

[End of fragment]