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Drop every star from his etherial height,
Lord Sal. Friends, I am much beholden to
And story of our future evening, oft
This virgin author's such a blushing rogue -Laugh’d, danc'd and sported it till spouse came What! no gay, lively, laughing epilogue ?
over, • Madam,' says he, and looked so wise ! in Then kissed my dear-while Betty hid the lover. Greece
But here again our poet checks my flight: (Greece, that's their cant) no jesting closed the Nay, madam, you mistake the matter quite. piece.
My heroine liv'd in ancient, honest times ; Play, epilogue, and all were grave and solemn'- Cards were unknown, and gallantries were Then, sir, the town were fools that did not maul
Psha! what if females then were seldom rovers? No let your heroine, in this laughing age, Husbands—aye, there's the cause) were warm as Come thus (as Bayes says) souse upon the stage;
lovers. Then with a jaunting air--half smile, half grin, Their warlike days indeed were spent in killing; Curtsey quite round the boxes, and begin. But then at night-no turtles were so billing.
A spark from court-no husband to detect him: Well—though he gives me no smart things to A pretty fellow too, and yet reject him !
say, Now, ladies, let me die but it was silly- I wish this begging face may save his play: You'll not approve such horrid prud'ry—will The thing may mend, and learn to please you bet
terI should have bless'd th’occasion, and receiv'd | Do then-nay, pray you shew him some good him:
nature, He should have kneel'd and vow'd, and I-be
SCENE — The Castle of Narbonne, partly on a Platform before the Gate, and partly in a Garden
within the Walls.
I met a peasant, and inquir'd my way: SCENE I.-The Platform before the Castle. The carle, not rude of speech, but like the tenant
Of some night-haunted ruin, bore an aspect Enter FLORIAN.
Of horror, worn to habitude. He bade Flor. What awful silence ! how these antique God bless me; and pass'd on.--I urg'd him far. towers
ther : And vacant courts dull the suspended soul, Good master, cried he, go not to the castle; Till expectation wears the cast of fear;
There sorrow ever dwells, and moping misery. And fear, half-ready to become devotion, I press’d him yet—None there, said he, are wel Mumbles a kind of mental orison,
come, It knows not wherefore :
But now and then a mass-priest, and the poor, What a kind of being is circumstance !
To whom the pious countess deals her alms, I am a soldier, and were yonder battlements On covenant, that each revolving night Garnish'd with combatants, and cannon-mounted, They beg of heaven the health of her son's soul, My daring breast would bound with exultation, And of her own : But often as returns And glorious hopes enliven this drear scene. The twentieth of September, they are bound Now dare not I scarce tread to my own hearing, Fast from the midnight watch to pray till morn. Lest Echo borrow Superstition's tongue,
More would he not disclose, or knew not more. And seem to answer me, like one departed. What precious mummery! Her son in exile,
She wastes on monks and beggars his inheri- | They say his son count Edmund's mainly like tance,
him. For his soul's health ! I never knew a woman 'Would these old arms, that serv'd his grandBut lov'd our bodies or our souls too well.
father, Each master-whim maintains its hour of empire, Could once enfold him! I should part in peace. And obstinately faithful to its dictates,
Flor. What if I bring tidings of count EdWith equal ardour, equal importunity,
mund? They teaze us to be dann'd, or to be sav'd. Por. Mercy befal me!-Now my dream is out. I hate to love or pray too long.
Last night the raven croak’d, and from the bars
Of our lodge-fire fitted a messenger-
I knew no good would follow-Bring you ill
tidings, Enter PETER, Porter of the Castle, and FLORIAN.
Sir gentleman ? Por. Methought
Flor. (This is a solemn fool, I heard a stranger's voice- What lack you, sir? Or solemn knave.) (Aside.] Shouldst thou inFlor. Good fellow, who inhabits here?
deed rejoice Por. I do.
To see count Edmund? Would thy noble misFlor. Belike this castle is not thine.
tress Por. Belike so:
Spring with a mother's joy to clasp her son? But be it whose it may, this is no haunt
Por. Oh! no, no, no.—He must not here For revellers and gallants-Pass your way.
alas! Flor. Thou churl! Is this your "Gallic hospi- He must not here set foot-But tell me, stranger, tality?
I prithee, say, does my old master's heir Thy lady, on my life, would not thus rudely Still breathe this vital air? Is he in France ? Chide from her presence a bewildered knight. Is he within some ten, or twenty leagues, Por. Thou know'st my lady then !—Thou Or fifty? I am hearty yet, have all my limbs, know'st her not.
And I would make a weary pilgrimage Canst thou in hair-cloths vex those dainty limbs? To kiss his gracious hand, and at his feet Canst thou on reeking pavements and cold mar- Lay my old bones-for here I ne'er must see ble,
[Weeps. In meditation pass the live-long night?
Flor. Thou good old man, forgive a soldier's Canst mortify that flesh, my rosy minion,
mirth. And bid thy rebel appetite refrain
But, say, why Narbonne's heir from Narbonne's From goblets foaming wine, and costly viands?
lands These are the deeds, my youngster, must draw | Is banishid, driven by a ruthless mother? down
Por. Ah! sir, 'tis hard indeed—but spare his My lady's ever heav'n-directed eye.
mother; Flor. In sooth, good friend, my knighthood is
Such virtue never dwelt in female form. not school'd
Count Edmund-but he was indeed a stripling, In voluntary rigours- -I can fast,
very lad—it was the trick of youth, March supperless, and make cold earth my pil. And we have all our sins, or we have had; low,
Yet still no pardon—Think'st thou not, my lords When my companions know no choicer fare. My late kind master, ere he knew my lady, But seldom roost in churches, or reject
Wist not what woman was ?-I warrant himThe ready banquet, or a willing fair-one.
But so- Count Edmund being not sixteen, Por. Angels defend us! What a reprobate ! A lusty youth, his father's very imageYon mould'ring porch, for sixteen years and Oh! how he has play'd me many a trick-good more,
sir, Has not been struck with such unhallowed sounds. Does my young master ever name old Peter? *Hence to thy lewd companions !
Well! but I prate-you must forgive my age; Flor. Father grey-beard,
I come to th' point-Her name was Beatrice; I cry you mercy ; nor was it my intention A roguish eye-she ne'er would look on me, To wound your reverence's saint-like organs. Or we had sav'd full many a woeful day, But come, thou hast known other days—canst Mark you me well ?' tell
Flor. I do. Of banquettings and dancings~'twas not always Por. This Beatricethus.
But hark! my lady comes-retire a while Por. No, no-time was--my lord, the count Beyond these yews—anon I'll tell you more. of Narbonne,
Flor. May I not greet her?
Por. For my office, no:
With one of near thy years.
(FLORIAN withdres. Comely to sight, and wondrous goodly built. [The Counless in Weeds, with a Crucifix in ko
hand, issues from the Castle, accompanied by Chaf’d by the hounds, with sudden onset slew two Maidens, and passes over the Stuge. Th’adventurous count. When she is gone, FLORIAN returns.
Ben. 'Twas so; and yet, my
brother, Por. (Continues] 'Tis ever thus.
My mind has more than once imputed blood At break of morn, she hies to yonder abbey, To this incessant mourner. Beatrice, And prostrate o'er some monumental stone, The damsel for whose sake she holds in exile Seems more to wait her doom, than ask to shunit. Her only son, has never, since the night The day is past in minist'ring to wants
Of his incontinence, been seen or heard of. Of health or means; the closing eve beholds Mart. 'Tis clear, 'tis clear; nor will her pruNew tears, new pray’rs, or haggard meditation. But if cold moonshine, deepening every frown Accuse its owner. Of these impending towers, invite her steps, Ben. Judge not rashly, brother. She issues forth.-Beshrew me, but I treinble, I oft have shifted my discourse to murder : When my own keys discharge the draw-bridge She notes it not. Her muscles hold their place chains,
Nor discomposed, nor firm’d to steadiness. And rattle through the castle's farmost vaults. No sudden Aushing, and no fault'ring lip: Then have I seen this sad, this sober mourner, Nor, though she pities, lifts she to her eyes With frantic gesture and disordered step- Her handkerchief, to palliate her disorder. But hush—Who moves up yonder avenue ? There the wound rankles not, I've fix'd on It is—no-stay-i'faith! but it is he,
love, My lady's confessor, with friar Martin.
The failure of the sex, and aptest cause Quick, hie thee hence-should that same med- of each attendant crime.dling monk
Mart. Aye, brother, there Observe our conf'rence, there were fine work We master all their craft. Touch but that stringtoward.
Ben. Still, brother, do you err.
She own'a Flor. You will not leave your tale unfinished ? Por. Mass! but I will—a tale will pay no sti- That, though of nature warm, the passion love pend.
Did ne'er anticipate her choice. The count, These fifty winters have I borne my staff, Her husband, so ador'd and so lamented, And will not lose my porridge for my prating. Won not her fancy, till the nuptial rites Flor. Well! but count Edmund-Wo't not Had with the sting of pleasure taught her pashear of him?
sion. Por. Aye, bless his name ! at any leisure hour. This, with such modest truth, and that truth This evening, ere the shutting of the gates,
heighten'd Loiter about yon grange; I'll come to thee. By conscious sense, that holds deceit a weakness, So now, begone-Away! [Exeunt severally. She utter'd, I would pawn my order's credit
On her veracity.
Mart. Then whither turn
To worm her secret out ?
Ben. I know not that.
She will be silent, but she scorns a falsehood, As if I had not probed her very soul,
And thus while frank on all things, but her secret, And wound me round her heart-I tell thee, I know, I know it not. brother,
Murt. Till she disclose it, This woman was not cast in human mould.
Deny her absolution. Ten such would foil a council, would unbuild
Ben. She will take none: Our Roman church-In her devotions real. Offer'd, she scoffs it; and withheld, demands Our beads, our hymns, our saints, amuse her not ; not:
Nay, vows she will not load her sinking soul Nay, not confession, not repeating o'er
With incantations. Her darling sins, has any charms for her.
Murt. This is heresy, I have mark'd her praying: not one wand'ring Rank heresy; and holy church should note it. thought
Ben. Be patient, brother-Though of adamant Seems to steal meaning from her words-She Her reason, charity dissolves that rock, prays,
-And surely we have tasted of the stream. Because she feels, and feels, because a sinner. Nay, one unguarded moment may disclose Mart. What is this secret sin, this untold This mystic tale-then, brother, what a harvest, tale,
When masters of her bosom-guilt !-Age too That art cannot extract, nor penance cleanse? May numb her faculties.—Or soon, or late, Loss of a husband, sixteen years enjoy'd, A praying woman must become our spoil, And dead as many, could not stamp such sorrow. lart. Her zeal may faulter. Nor could she be his death's artificer,
Ben. Not in solitude. And now affect to weep it-I have heard, I nurse her in new horrors; form her tenants That chasing, as he homeward rode, a stag, To fancy visions, phantoms; and report them.
Thou true son of the church !--and lo! where
She mocks their fond credulity--but, trust me,
Our patroness-leave me; I will not lose
(Exit MARTIN. BENEDICT raires within
At least an honest bigot; nor remember
Countess, two Maidens.
Coun, Haste thee, Maria, to the western tower, Ben. Poor mastery! when I am more in awe And learn if the aged pilgrim dozes yet. Of my own penitent than she of me.
You, Elinor, attend my little orphans, My genius is command; art, but a tool, And, when their task is done, prepare their My grovelling fortune forces me to use.
breakfast. Oh! were I seated high as my ambition, But scant the allowance of the red-hair'd urchin, I'd place this naked foot on necks of monarchs, That maim'd the poor man's cur.-Ah! happy And make them bow to creeds myself would
[The damsels go in. laugh at.
If sentiment, untutor'd by affliction, Mart. By humbler arts our mighty fabric rose. Had taught my temperate blood to feel for others, Win power by craft; wear it with ostentation; Ere pity, perching on my mangled bosom, For confidence is half security. I
Like flies on wounded flesh, had made me shrink, Deluded men think boldness conscious strength; More with compunction than with sympathy! And grow
the slaves of their own want of doubt. Alas! must guilt then ground our very virtues! Gain to the Holy See this fair domain ;
Grow they on sin alone, and not on grace? A crimson bonnet may reward your toils, While Narbonne liv'd, my fully-sated soul And the rich harvest prove at last your own. Thought none unhappy--for it did not think! Ben. Never, while Édınund lives. This steady In pleasures rolld whole summer-suns away;
And if a pensive visage cross'd my path, Can ne'er be pious with so many virtues. I deem'd the wearer envious or ill-natur'd Justice is interwoven in her frame;
What anguish had I blessedly redressed, Nor will she wrong the son she will not see. But that I was too bless'd!-Well! peace is filed, She loves him not; yet mistress of his fortunes, Ne'er to return ! nor dare I snap the thread His ample exhibition speaks her bounty.
Of life, while misery may want a friend.
A few short hours to sacrifice to charity.
Ben. I sought you, lady. She pleads the maiden's flushing cheek, and na- Coun. Happily I'm found. ture,
Who needs the widow's mite? That speaks in characters of glowing rose
Ben. None ask your aid. Its modest appetites and timid wishes.
Your gracious foresight still prevents occasion: Her sex, she says, when gratified, are frail ; And your poor beadsman joys to meet your preWhen check'd, a hurricane of boundless passions; sence, Then, with sweet irony and sad, she wills me Uncumber'd with a suit. It pains my soul, Ask my own breast, if cowls and scapularies Oft as I tax your bounty, lest I seem Are charms all powerful to subdue desire ? A craving or immodest almoner. Mart. 'Twere wiser school the maiden : lead Coun. No more of this, good father. I suspect
One of your holy order of dissembling :
Fill out these hollow jaws? Will't give me vá: Were hopes more solid
tues? Mart. First report bim dead;
Or at the solemn audit pass for truth, His letters intercepted
And varnish o'er my stains ? Ben. Greatly thought !
Ben. The church could seal