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me.

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up my honour. Every moment till I sec you To claim the mighty misery myself, stabs me with severer pangs than real guilt itself Engross it all, and spare a hapless father. can feel. Let me then conjure you to meet me Hence let me fly!--The hour approaches in the garden, towards the close of the day, when Laura. Madam, I will explain this mystery. We have been most Behold ine comes-the kinginhumanly abused; and that by means of the Sig. Heavens! how escape ? very paper which I gave you, from the warmest No I will stay—This one last meeting-Leave sincerity of love, to assure to you the heart and

[Exit LAURA. band of

TANCRED.' Sig. There, Laura, there, the dreadful secret

Enter TANCRED.

Tan. And are these long, long hours of torture That paper ! ah, that paper ! it suggests A thousand horrid thoughts-- I to my father My life! my Sigismunda ! Gave it ! and he perhaps I dare not cast

[Throwing himself at her feet. A look that way– If yet indeed you love me, Sig. Rise, my lord. Oh, blast me not, kind Tancred, with the truth! To see my sovereign thus no more becomes me. Oh, pitying, keep me ignorant for ever!

Tan. Oh, let me kiss the ground on which you What strange peculiar misery is mine?

tread! Reduced to wish the man I love were false ! Let me exhale my soul in softest transport, Why was I hurried to a step so rash?

Since I again behold my Sigismunda! (Rising: Repairless woe -I might have waited, sure, Unkind! how couldst thou ever deem me false? A few short hours-No duty that forbade- How thus dishonour love?-Oh, I could much I owed thy love that justice; till this day, Embitter my complaint !-how low were then Thy love an image of all perfect goodness! Thy thoughts of me! How didst thou then afA beam from heaven that glowed with every vir- front tue !

The human heart itself? After the vows, And have I thrown this prize of life away? The fervent truth, the tender protestations, The piteous wreck of one distracted moment? Which mine has often poured, to let thy breast, Ah, the cold prudence of remorseless age! Whate'er the appearance was, admit suspicion? Ah, parents, traitors to your children's bliss ! Sig. How! when I heard myself your full conAh, cursed ! ah, blind revenge !-On every hand

sent I was betrayed You, Laura, too, betrayed me! To the late king's so just and prudent will ? Laura. Who, who but he, whate'er he writes, Heard it before you read in solemn senate? betrayed you?

When I beheld you give your royal hand Or false or pusillanimous. For once,

To her, whose birth and dignity of right I will with you suppose, that his agreement Demand that high alliance? Yes, my lord, To the king's will was forged— Though forged by You have done well. The man, whom Heaven whom?

appoints Your father scorns the crime-Yet what avails it? | To govern others, should himself first learn This, if it clears his truth, condemns his spirit. To bend his passions to the sway of reason. A youthful king, by love and honour fired, In all, you have done well; but when you bid Patient to sit on his insulted throne,

My humbled hopes look up to you again, And let an outrage, of so high a nature,

And soothed with wanton cruelty my weakness-
Unpunished pass, unchecked, uncontradicted- That too was well--My vanity deserved
Oh, 'tis a meanness equal even to falsehood. The sharp rebuke, whose fond extravagance

Sig. Laura, no more-We have already judged Could ever dream to balance your repose,
Too largely without knowledge. Oft, what seems Your glory, and the welfare of a people.
A trifle, a mere nothing, by itself,

Tan. Chide on, chide on. Thy soft reproaches, In some nice situation turns the scale

now, Of fate, and rules the most important actions. Instead of wounding, only soothe my fondness. Yes, I begin to feel a sad présage!

No, no, thou charming consort of my soul ! I am undone, from that eternal source

I never loved thee with such faithful ardour, Of human woes--the judgment of the passions. As in that cruel, miserable moment But what have I to do with these excuses ? You thought me false; when even my honour Oh, cease, my treacherous heart, to give them

stooped room!

To wear for thee a baffled face of baseness. It suits not thee to plead a lover's cause : It was thy barbarous father, Sigismunda, Even to lament my fate is now dishonour. Who caught me in the toil. He turned that Nought now remains, but with relentless purpose,

paper, To shun all interviews, all clearing up

Meant for the assuring bond of nuptial love, Of this dark scene ; to wrap myself in gloom, To ruin it for ever; he, he wrote In solitude and shades; there to devour That forged consent, you heard, beneath my The silent sorrows ever swelling here;

name, And since I must be wretched for I must- Nay, dared, before my outraged throne, to read it!

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vens !

Had he not been thy father-Ha! my love ! Against a faithless prince, an upstart king, You tremble, you grow pale!

Whose first base deed is what a hardened tyrant Sig. Oh, leave me, Tancred !

Would blush to act.
Tan. No!-leave thee !- Never! never till Tan. Insolent Osmond ! know,

This upstart king will hurl confusion on thee,
My heart at peace! till these dear lips again And all who shall invade his sacred rights,
Pronounce thee mine! Without thee, I renounce Prior to thine-thine, founded on compulsion,
Myself, my friends, the world-Here on this On infamous deceit, while his proceed
hand-

From mutual love, and free long plighted faith. Sig. My lord, forget that hand, which never She is, and shall be mine!-I will annul,

By the high power with which the laws invest Can be to thine united

me, Tan. Sigismunda!

Those guilty forms in which you have entrapped, What dost thou mean ?-Thy words, thy look, Basely entrapped, to thy detested nuptials, thy manner,

My queen betrothed, who has my heart, my hand, Seem to conceal some horrid secret-Hea- And shall partake my throne—if, haughty lord,

If this thou didst not know, then know it now; No that were wild- -Distraction fires the And know, besides, as I have told thee this, thought !

Shouldst thou but think to urge thy treason furSig. Inquire no more- -I never can be thine.

ther Tan. What, who shall interpose? Who dares Than treason more! treason against my love ! attempt

Thy life shall answer for it. To brave the fury of an injured king,

Osm. Ha! my life! Who, ere he sees thee ravished from his hopes, It moves my scorn to hear thy empty threats. Will wrap all blazing Sicily in flames !

When was it that a Norman baron's life Sig. In vain your power, my lord—'Tis fatal Became so vile, as on the frown of kings error,

To hang?-Of that, my lord, the law must judge: Joined to my father's unrelenting will,

Or, if the law be weak, my guardian sword Has placed an everlasting bar betwixt us

Tan. Dare not to touch it, traitor, lest my rage I am Earl Osmond's-wife.

Break loose, and do a deed that misbecomes me. Tan. Earl Osmond's wife! (After a long pause, during which they

Enter SIFFREDI. look at one another with the highest Sif. My gracious lord, what is it I behold!

agitation, and most tender distress.] My sovereign in contention with his subjects ? Heavens ! did I hear thee right? What ! mar- Surely this house deserves from royal Tancred ried ! married !

A little more regard, than to be made Lost to thy faithful Tancred! lost for ever! A scene of trouble, and unseemly jars. Couldst thou then doom me to such matchless It grieves my soul, it baffles every hope, woe,

It makes me sick of life, to see thy glory Without so much as hearing me ?-Distrac- Thus blasted in the bud.—Heavens ! can your tion !

highness Alas! what bast thou done? Ah, Sigismunda ! From your exalted character descend, Thy rash credulity has done a deed,

The dignity of virtue ; and, instead Which, of two happiest lovers that e'er felt Of being the protector of our rights, The blissful power, has made two finished The holy guardian of domestic bliss, wretches !

Unkindly thus disturb the sweet repose, But-madness!-Sure, thou know’st it cannot be! The secret peace of families, for which This hand is mine! a thousand thousand vows- Alone the free-born race of man to laws Enter OSMOND.

And government submitted ?

Tan. My lord Siffredi, Osm. [Snatching her hand from the king.) Spare thy rebuke. The duties of my station

Madam, this hand, by the most solemn rites, Are not to me unknown. But thou, old man, A little hour ago, was given to me;

Dost thou not blush to talk of rights invaded, And did not sovereign honour now command And of our best, our dearest bliss disturbed ; me,

Thou, who, with more than barbarous perfidy, Never but with my life to quit my claim, Hast trampled all allegiance, justice, truth, I would renounce it-thus !

Humanity itself, beneath thy feet? Tan. Ha! who art thou,

Thou know'st thou hast I could, to thy confuPresumptuous man !

sion, Sig. (Aside.) Where is my father ? Heavens ! Return thy hard reproaches; but I spare

thee [Goes out. Before this lord, for whose ill-sorted friendship Osm. One thou shouldst better know-Yes- Thou hast most basely sacrificed thy daughter! view me, one

Farewell, my lord. For thee, lord constable, Who can and will maintain his rights and ho- Who dost presume to lift thy surly eye nour,

To my soft love, my gentle Sigismunda,

you

I once again command thee, on thy life- Fear not; be temperate; all will yet be well. Yes-chew thy rage—but mark me on thy life, I know the king. At first his passions burst, No further urge thy arrogant pretensions ! Quick as the lightning's flash; but in his breast

[Exit Tan. Honour and justice dwell—Trust me, to reason Osm. Ha! arrogant pretensions ! Heaven and He will return. earth!

Osm. He will !-By Heavens, he shall !What! arrogant pretensions to my wife? You know the king ?-I wish, my lord Siffredi, My wedded wife! Where are we? in a land That had deigned to tell me all you knew.Of civil rale, of liberty, and laws ?

And would you have me wait, with duteous paNot, on my life, pursue them ?-Giddy prince!

tience, My life disdains thy nod. It is the gift

Till he return to reason? Ye just powers ! Of parent Heaven, who gave me, too, an arm, When he has planted on our necks his foot, A spirit to defend it against tyrants.

And trod us into slaves; when his vain pride The Norman race, the sons of mighty Rollo, Is cloyed with our submission; if, at last, Who, rushing in a tempest from the north, He finds his arm too weak to shake the frame Great nurse of generous freemen! bravely won, Of wide-established order out of joint, With their own swords, their seats, and still pos- And overturn all justice ; then, perchance, sess them

He, in a fit of sickly kind repentance, By the same noble tenure, are not used

May make a merit to return to reason. To hear such language.

-If I now desist, No, no, my lord! there is a nobler way, Then brand me for a coward! deem me villain ! To teach the blind oppressive fury reason : A traitor to the public! By this conduct

Oft has the lustre of avenging steel Deceived, betrayed, insulted, tyrannized! Unsealed her stupid eyes—The sword is reason! Mine is a common cause. My arm shall guard, Mixed with my own, the rights of each Sicilian,

Enter RODOLPHO with Guards. Of social life, and of mankind in general.

Rod. My lord high constable of Sicily, Ere to thy tyrant rage they fall a prey,

In the king's name, and by his special order, I shall find means to shake thy tottering throne, I here arrest you prisoner of state. Which this illegal, this perfidious usage

Osm. What king? I know no king of Sicily, Forfeits at once, and crush thee in the ruins ! Unless he be the husband of Constantia. Constantia is my queen!

Rod. Then know him now-behold his royal Sif. Lord constable,

orders, Let us be stedfast in the right; but let us To bear you to the castle of Palermo. Act with cool prudence, and with manly temper, Sif. Let the big torrent foam its madness off! As well as manly firmness. True, I own, Submit, my lord.—No castle long can hold The indignities you suffer are so high,

Our wrongs—This, more than friendship or alAs might even justify what now you threaten.

liance, But if, my lord, we can prevent the woes, Confirms me thine; this binds me to thy fortunes The cruel horrors of intestine war,

By the strong tie of common injury,
Yet hold, untouched, our liberties and laws; Which nothing can dissolve.- I grieve, Rodolpho,
Oh, let us, raised above the turbid sphere To see the reign in such unhappy sort
Of little selfish passions, nobly do it!

Begin.
Nor to our hot, intemperate pride, pour out Osm. The reign! the usurpation call it !
A dire libation of Sicilian blood,

This meteor king may blaze awhile, but soon 'Tis godlike magnanimity to keep,

Must spend his idle terrors—Sir, lead onWhen most provoked, our reason calm and clear, Farewell, my lord—more than my life and forAnd execute her will, from a strong sense

tune, Of what is right, without the vulgar aid Remember well, is in your hands--my honour ! Of heat and passion, which, though honest, bears Sif. Our honour is the same. My son, fare

wellOften too far. Remember that my house We shall not long be parted. On these eyes Protects my daughter still; and ere I saw her Sleep shall not shed his balm, till I behold thee Thus ravished from us, by the arm of power,

Restored to freedom, or partake thy bonds ! This arm should act the Roman father's part.

(Ereunt,

us

VOL. II.

P

ACT V.

My person, has permitted me this freedom. SCENE I.--A Chamber.

Know then, the faithless outrage of to-day,

By him committed whom you call the king, Enter SIFFREDI.

Has roused Constantia's court. Our friends, the Sif. The prospect lowers around. I found the

friends king,

Of virtue, justice, and of public faith, Though calmed a little, with subsiding tempest, Ripe for revolt

, are in high ferment all

. As suits bis generous nature, yet in love This, this, they say, exceeds whate'er deformed Abated nought, most ardent in his purpose; The miserable days we saw beneath Inexorably fixed, whate'er the risk,

William the Bad. This saps the solid base, To claim my daughter, and dissolve this mar- At once, of government and private life: riage

This shameless imposition on the faith, I have embarked, upon a perilous sea,

The majesty of senates, this lewd insult, A mighty treasure. Here the rapid youth, This violation of the rights of men; The impetuous passions of a lover king, Added to these, his ignominious treatment Check my bold purpose; and there, the jealous of her, the illustrious offspring of our kings, pride,

Sicilia's hope, and now our royal mistress. The impatient honour, of a haughty lord, You know, my lord, how grossly these infringe Of the first rank, in interest and dependence The late king's will; which orders, if count TanNear equal to the king, forbid retreat.

cred My honour, too, the same unchanged conviction, Make not Constantia partner of his throne, That these my measures were, and still remain, That he be quite excluded the succession, Of absolute necessity, to save

And she to Henry given, king of the Romans, The land from civil fury, urge me on.

The potent emperor Barbarossa's son, But how proceed ?-I only faster rush Who seeks, with earnest instance, her alliance. Upon the desperate evils I would shun.

I thence of you, as guardian of the laws, Whate'er the motive be, deceit, I fear,

As guardian of this will, to you intrusted, And harsh unnatural force, are not the means Desire, nay, more, demand your instant aid, Of public welfare, or of private bliss.

To see it put in vigorous execution. Bear witness, Heaven! thou mind inspecting eye! Sif. You cannot doubt, my lord, of my con My breast is pure. I have preferred my duty, The good and safety of my fellow-subjects, Who, more than I, have laboured this great To all those views that fire the selfish race

point? Of mortal men, and mix them in eternal broils. 'Tis my own plan; and if I drop it now,

I should be justly branded with the shame Enter an Officer belonging to SIFFREDI.

Of rash advice, or despicable weakness. Offi. My lord, a man of noble port, his face But let us not precipitate the matter. Wrapped in disguise, is earnest for admission. Constantia's friends are numerous and strong;

Sif. Go, bid him enter- [Officer goes out. Yet Tancred's, trust me, are of equal force : Ha! wrapped in disguise !

E'er since the secret of his birth was known, And at this late unseasonable hour,

The people all are in a tumult hurled, When o'er the world tremendous midnight reigns, of boundless joy, to hear there lives a prince By the dire gloom of raging tempest doubled! Of mighty Guiscard's line. Numbers, besides, Enter OSMOND, discovering himself.

Of powerful barons, who at heart had pined,

To see the reign of their renowned forefathers, Sif. What! ha! earl Osmond, you ?--Wel Won by immortal deeds of matchless valour, come, once more,

Pass from the gallant Normans to the Suevi, To this glad roof! -But why in this disguise? Will, with a kind of rage, espouse his cause. Would i could hope the king exceeds his pro- 'Tis so, my lord—be not by passion blindedmise!

'Tis surely so.—Oh, if our prating virtue I have his faith, soon as to-morrow's sun Dwells not in words alone-Oh, let us join, Shall gild Sicilia's cliffs, you shall be free. My generous Osmond, to avert these woes, Has some good angel turned his heart to justiceAnd yet sustain our tottering Norman kingdom!

Osm. It is not by the favour of count Tancred Osm. But how, Siffredi, how?--If, by soft That I am here. As much I scorn his favour,

means, As I defy his tyranny and threats.

We can maintain our rights, and save our counOur friend Goffredo, who commands the castle,

try, On my parole, ere dawn to render back

May his unnatural blood first stain the sword

currence,

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Who, with unpitying fury, first shall draw it! And the next sun we see shall prove it further. Sif. I have a thought—The glorious work be Return, my son, and from your friend Goffredo thine !

Release your word. There try, by soft repose, But it requires an awful flight of virtue,

To calm your breast.
Above the passions of the vulgar breast,

Osm. Bid the vext ocean sleep,
And thence from thee I hope it, noble Osmond. Swept by 'the pinions of the raging north-
-Suppose my daughter, to her God devoted, But your frail age, by care and

toil exhausted,
Were placed within some convent's sacred verge, Demands the balm of all-repairing rest.
Beneath the dread protection of the altar. Sif. Soon as to-morrow's dawn shall streak the
Osm. Ere then, by Heavens! I would devout-

skies, ly shave

I, with my friends, in solemn state assembled, My holy scalp, turn whiņing monk myself

, Will to the palace, and demand your freedom; And pray incessant for the tyrant's safety. Then by calm reason, or by higher means, What! how! because an insolent invader, The king shall quit his claim, and in the face A sacrilegious tyrant, in contempt

Of Sicily, my daughter shall be yours. Of all those noblest rights, which to maintain Farewell. Is man's peculiar pride, demands my wife; Osm. My lord, good night. (Erit SIFFREDI. That I shall thus betray the common cause (After a long pause.] I like him notOf human kind!

Yes, I have mighty matter of suspicion. Tamely yield her up,

'Tis plain. I see it lurking in his breast; Even in the manner you propose !--Oh, then He has a foolish fondness for this kingI were supremely vile ! degraded ! shamed ! My honour is not safe, while here my wife The scorn of manhood, and abhorred of honour ! Remains-Who knows but he this very night Sif. There is, my lord, an honour, the calm May bear her to some convent, as he mentionchild

'edOf reason, of humanity, and mercy,

The king too-though I smothered up my rage, Superior far to this punctilious dæmon,

I marked it well—will set me free to-morrow. That singly minds itself, and oft embroils, Why not to-night? He has some dark-designWith proud barbarian niceties, the world. By Heavens, he has!—I am abused most grossly; Oam. My lord, my lord, I cannot brook your Made the vile tool of this old statesman's schemes; prudence;

Married to one-ay, and he knew it--one It holds a pulse unequal to my blood

Who loves young Tancred! Hence her swooning, Unblemished honour is the flower of virtue !

tears, The vivifying soul ! and he, who slights it, And all her soft distress, when she disgraced me, Will leave the other dull and lifeless dross. By basely giving her perfidious hand Sif. No more you are too warm.

Without her heart-Hell and perdition ! this, Osm. You are too cool.

This is the perfidy! this is the fell,
Sif. Too cool, my lord? I were indeed too cool, The keen, envenomed, exquisite disgrace,
Not to resent this language, and to tell thee- Which, to a man of honour, even exceeds
I wish earl Osmond were as cool as I

The falsehood of the person—But I now
To his own selfish bliss_ay, and as warm Will rouse me from the poor tame lethargy,
To that of others-But of this no more.

By my believing fondness cast upon me.
My daughter is thy wifem gave her to thee, I will not wait his crawling timid motions,
And will, against all force, maintain her thine. Perhaps to blind me meant, which he to-morrow
But think not I will catch thy headlong passions, Has promised to pursue. No! ere his eyes
Whirled in a blaze of madness o'er the land; Shall open on to-morrow's orient beam,
Or, till the last extremity compel me,

I will convince him that earl Osmond never Risk the dire means of war. The king, to-mor- Was formed to be his dupe-I know full well row,

The important weight and danger of the deed : Will set you free; and if, by gentle means, But to a man, whom greater dangers press, He does not yield my daughter to your arms, Driven to the brink of infamy and horror, And wed Constantia, as the will requires, Rashness itself, and utter desperation, Why then expect me on the side of justice- Are the best prudence.- I will bear her off Let that suffice.

This night, and lodge her in a place of safety: Osm. It does-Forgive my heat.

I have a trusty hand that waits not far. My rankled mind, by injuries inflamed,

Hence! let me lose no time-One rapid moment May be too prompt to take, and give offence. Should ardent form, at once, and execute' Sif. 'Tis past-Your wrongs, I own, may well A bold design— 'Tis fixed—'Tis done!-yes, then, transport

When I have seized the prize of love and honour, The wisest mind-But henceforth, noble Osmond, And with a friend secured her ; 'to the castle Do me more justice, honour more my truth, I will repair, and claim Goffredo's promise Vor mark me with an eye of squint suspicion. To rise with all his garrison-My friends These jars apart, you may repose your soul With brave impatience wait. The mine is laid, On my firm faith, and unremitting friendship. And only wants my kindling touch to spring. Of that I sure have given exalted proof,

[Erit Osm.

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