Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

seen him?

If thou beliest not heav'n-quick, do thy work! Coun. Is death then past! my brain
If there is pow'r in pray’r, teach me some sounds Beats not its wonted tempest-in the grave
To charm my senses, lest my coward flesh There is

peace

then! Recoil, and win the mastery o'er my will.

Flor. Her agony abates.
-'Tis not the wound; it is the consequence ! Look up, and view your friends.
See! see! my Narbonne stands upon the brink, Coun. Alas! I fear me,
And snatches from the readiest fury there This is life still!-am I not in my castle?
A blazing torch! he whirls it round

my head, Sure I should know this garden-good old Peter! And asks where are my children!

My honest servant, thou I see wilt never Por. Split, my heart,

Quit thy poor mistress -kindold man, he weeps! At this sad sight!

Por. Indeed it is for joy-how fares my lady? Flor. Stand off! thou'rt an accomplice Coun. Exhausted, Peter, that I have not strength Madam, it was your morning's gracious pleasure To be distracted-ha! your looks betray I should attend you. May I hope your pardon, Tremendous inuendoes gracious heaven ! If I anticipate

Have I said aught---has wildness-trust me, sirs, Coun. Ha! Who art thou ?

In these sad fits my unhing'd fancy wanders Flor. Have you forgot me, lady?

Beyond the compass of things possible.
Coun. Memory

Sonetimes, an angel of excelling brightness,
Is full. A head, distract as mine, can hold I seem to whirl the orbs and launch the comet;
Two only objects, guilt and eternity !

Then hideous wings with forked points array me, Flor. No more of this. Time has abundant And I suggest strange crimes to shuddering mahours

trons.Por holy meditation. Nor have

years

Sick fancy must be pardon'd. Traç'd such deep admonition on your cheek, Ben. (Artful woman!

(Aside. As call for sudden preparation

Thou subtle emblem of thy sex, compas'd Coun. Prayer

[Wildly. Of madness and deceit---but since thy brain Can do no more: its efficacy lost

Has lost its poize, I will send those shall shake it What must be, must be soon-He will return. Beyond recovery of its reeling bias.) (Exit.

Flor. He is return’d, your son-have you not [Countess makes a sign to PETER to retire.
Coun. Would I had never !

SCENE V.
Flor. Come, this is too much.
This villainous monk has stepp'd 'twixt you

and

Countess, FLORIAN. nature;

Coun. This interval is well 'tis thy last boon, And misreported of the noblest gentleman Tremendous Providence! and I will use it That treads on Christian ground-Are you a As 'twere th' elixir of descending mercy. mother?

No, not a drop shall waste-accept my thanks! Are legends dearer to you than your son ? Preserve my reason ! and preserve my child! Think you 'tis piety to gorge these miscreants, -Stranger, thy years are green; perhaps may And drive your child from your embrace

mock Coun. Ye saints !

A woman's words, a mother's woe !--but honour, This was the dæmon prompted it--avaụnt ! If I believe this garb, is thy profession, He beckons me—I will not--lies my lord Hast thou not dealt in blood l-athen thou hast Not bleeding in the porch? /'ll tear my hair

heard And bathe his wounds-Where's Beatrice !- The dying groan, and sin's despairing accent. monster! monster!

Struck it not on thy soul? Recall it, sir! She leads the dæmon—see! they spread the What then was thy sensation, feel for me! couch!

Flor, I shudder, listen, pity, and respect thee ! No, I will perish with my Narbonne-Oh!

Coun. Resolve my anxious heart. Thouge My strength, my reason fail—darkness surrounds

vagrant pleasure,

Th' ebriety of youth, and, worse than passion,
To-morrow! never will to-morrow canie! Example, lead thee to the strumpet vice;
Let me die here!

(Sinks on a bench. Say, if beneath the waves of dissipation, Flor. This is too much for art,

The germ of virtue blossoms in thy soul?
Chill damps sit on her brow: her pulse replies Flor. A soldier's honour is his virtue. Gown-

not.
Ben. No; 'tis fictitious all—'twas I inspir'd Wear it for show, and barter it for gold,
The horrors she has been so kind to utter And have it still. A soldier and his honour
At my suggestion.

Exist together, and together perish.
Flór. That insulting sneer

Coun. I do believe thee. Thus my Narbonne Speaks more the devil than if thy words were thought. serious.

Then hear me, child of honour ! Canst thou Be her distraction counterfeit or real,

cherish Her sex demands compassion or assistance. Unblemish'd innocence? wilt thow protect it? But she revives !

Wilt thou observe its wand'rings ? call it back,

me !

men

Confine it to the path that leads to happiness? If thy frame split not with such crimes as these,
Hast thou that genuine heroism of soul It iş immortal!
To hug the little fondling sufferer,
When nestling in thy bosom, drown'd in blushes,

SCENE VI.
Nor cast her from thee, while a grinning world
Reviles her with a mother's foul misdeeds?

Countess, EDMUND, ADELIZA.
Flor. My arm is sworn to innocence distrest; EDMUND and Adeliza enter at the opposite
Point out the lovely mourner.
Coun. 'Tis enough,

door from which FLORIAN went out." They

kneel to the Countess. Nor suffer th' ebbing moments more inquiry, My orphan shall be thine-nay, start not, sir, Edm. Dear parent, look on us, and bless your Your loves are known to me. Wealth past th' children! ambition

Coun. My children ! horror! horror ! yes, Of Gallia's proudest baron shall endow her.

too sure Within this casket is a monarch's ransom; Ye are my children !--Edmund, loose that hand; Ten thousand ducats more are lodg'd within ; 'Tis poison to thy soul!-hell has no venom All this is thine with Adeliza's hand.

Like a child's touch!---oh! agonizing thought ! Flor. With Adeliza!

-Who made this marriage ? whose unhallow'd Coun. Ha! dost thou recoil ?

breath Dost thou not love her?

Pronounc'd th' incestuous sounds ! Flor. I love Adeliza!

Edm. Incest! good heavens! Lady, recal thy wand'ring memory,

Coun. Yes, thou devoted victim ! let thy blood Coun. Dost thou reject her? and has hope be- Curdle to stone! perdition circumvents thee! guil'd me

Lo! where this monster stands ! thy mother ! In this sad only moment ? Hast thou dar'd

mistress! With ruffian insolence gaze on her sweetness, The mother of thy daughter, sister, wife! And mark it for an hour of wanton dalliance ? The pillar of accumulated horrors ! Oh! I will guard my child, though gaping dæmons Hear! tremble !--and then marry, if thou dar'st! Howl with impatience !

Edm. Yes, I do tremble, though thy words are Plor. Most rever'd of matrons !

phrenzy Though youth and rosy joy flush on my cheek, So black must be the passions that inspir’d it, Though the licentious camp and rapine's holiday I shudder for thee! pitying duty shudders ! Have been my school; deem not so reprobate Coun. For me!-- Edmund, I have burst the My morals, that my eye would note no distance bond Between the harlot's glance and my friend's bride. Of every tiem when thou shalt know the crimes, Coun. Thy friend! what friend?

In which this fury did involve thy youth, Fior. Lord Edmund...

It will seem piety to curse me, Edmund ! Carin. What o him?

Oh! impious night !-ha! is not that my lord! Flor. Is Adeliza's lord; her wedded bride He shakes the curtains of the nuptial couch, groom.

And starts to find a son there! [Wildly Coun. Confusion ! phrenzy! blast me, all ye Edm. Gracious heaven! furies!

Grant that these shocking images be raving ! Edmund and Adeliza! when! where ! how ! Ade. Sweet lady, be compos’d----indeed I Edmund wed Adeliza ! quiçk, unsay

thought The monstrous talem-oh! prodigy of ruin ! This marriage was thy will--but we will breakit--Does my own son then boil with fiercer fires Benedict shall discharge us from our vows. Than scorch'd his impious mother's madding Coun. Thou gentle lamb, from a fell tyger veins?

sprung, Did reason reassume its shatter'd throne, Unknowing half the miseries that await thec! But as spectatress of this last of horrors? -Oh! they are innocent--Aluighty pow'r! Oh! let my dagger drink my heart's black blood,

[Kneels, but rises again hustily. And then present my hell-born progeny Ha! dare I pray! for others intercede ! With drops of kindred sin ! ---that were a torch I pray for them, the cause of all their woe! Fit to light up such loves! and fit to quench them! -But for a moment give me leave, despair ! Flor. What means this agony ? didst thou not for a short interval lend me that reason grant

Thou gavest, heav'n, in vain !--it must be known The maiden to his wishes ?

The fulness of my crime; or, innocent, these Coun. Did I not couple

May plunge them in new horrors. Not a word Distinctions horrible! plan unnatural rites Can 'scape me, but will do the work of thunder, To grace my funeral pile, and meet the furies And blast these moments I regain from madness. More innocent than those I leave behind me! Ye know how fondly my luxurious fancy Flor. Amazement !-I will lasten--grant, ye Doated upon my lord. For eighteen months pow'rs !

An embassy detain’d him froin my bed. My speed be not too late !

(Erit. A harbinger announced his near return. Coun. Globe of the world,

Love dress’d his image to my longing thoughts,

In all its warmest colours—but the morn, I must not turn accuser.
In which impatience grew almost to sickness, Ben. Mercy! heaven!
Presented him a bloody corse before me.

Who did this deed ?
I rav'd—the storm of disappointed passions Coun. Myself.
Ascail'd my reason, fever'd all my blood-

Ben. What was the cause ? Whether too warmly press'd, or too officious Coun. Follow me to yon gulph, and thou wilt To turn the torrent of my grief aside,

know. A damsel, that attended me, disclos’d

I answer not to man. Thy suit, unhappy boy!

Ben. Bethink thee, ladyEdm. What is to come!

Coun. Thought ebbs apace- Edmund, could Shield me, ye gracious pow'rs, from my own a blessing thoughts?

Part from my lips, and not become a curse, My dreadful apprehensions !

I would-poor Adeliza—'tis accomplish'd ! Coun. Give it scope !

(Diese Thou canst not harbour a foreboding thought Ben. My lord, explain these hordors. WhereMore dire, than I conceiv'd, I executed.

fore fell Guilt rush'd into my soul--my fancy saw thee Your mother and why faints your

wife? Thy father's image

Edm. My wife? Edm. Swallow th' accursed sound!

Thou damning priest ! I have no wife-thon Nor dare to say-

know'st itCoun. Yes, thou polluted son!

Thou gavest me indeed-no-rot my tongue
Grief, disappointment, opportunity,

Ere the dread sound escape it !-bear away
Rais'd such a tumult in my madding blood, That hateful monk-
I took the damsel's place; and while thy arms Ben. Who was the prophet now?
Twined, to thy thinking, round another's waist,

[As he goes out, to FLORIAN. Hear, hell, and tremble !---thou didst clasp thy Remember me! mother!

Edm. O Florian, we must haste
Edm. Oh! execrable! [ADELIZA faints. To where fell war assumes its ugliest form:
Coun. Be that swoon eternal !

I burn to rush on death!
Nor let her know the rest--she is thy daughter, Flor. I dare not ask;
Fruit of that monstrous night!

But stiffen’d with amazement I deplore-
Edm. Infernal woman ! [Draws his dagger. Edm. O tender friend! I must not violate
My dagger must repay a tale like this.

Thy guiltless ear !-ha! 'tis my father calls !
Blood so distemper'd-no-I must not strike-- I dare not see him !

[Wildly. I dare not punish what you dar'd commit. Flor. Be compos'd, my lord, Coun. (Seeing the dagger.] Give me the steel We are all your friends-my arm will not recoil.

Edm. Have I no kindred here?
Thus, Edmund, I revenge thee! (Stabs herself. They will confound all friendship! interweave
Edm. Help! hoa ! help!

Such monstrous union-
For both I tremble, dare not succour either! Flor. Good my lord, resume
Coun. Peace ! and conceal our shame-quick, Your wonted reason. Let us in and comfort
frame some legend-

Your gentle bride-
They come!

Edm. Forbid it, all ye pow'rs!
SCENE VII.

O Florian, bear her to the holy sisters.

Say 'twas my mother's will she take the veil,
Countess, EDMUND, ADELIZA, FLORIAN, BE-

I never must behold her never more
NEDICT, Attendants.

Review this theatre of monstrous guilt.
Coun. Assist the maid-an accident-

No; to th' embattled foe I will present (They bear off ADELIZA. This hated form and welcome be the sabre By my own hand-ha! Benedict !-but no! That leaves no atom of it undefaced. (Exeunt.

[ocr errors]

COMUS.

A MASK, BY MILTON.

PROLOGUE,

AT A REVIVAL.

OUR stedfast Bard, to his own genius true, Mankind he visits, and their steps befriends ; Still bade his Muse *“ fit audience find though Through mazy error's dark perplexing wood few;”

Points out the path of true and real good, Scorning the judgment of a trifling age,

Warns erring youth, and guards the spotless To choicer spirits he bequeath'd his page.

maid He too was scorn'd, and, to Britannia's shame, From spell of magic vice, by reason's aid. She scarce for half an age knew Milton's name: Attend the strains; and should some meaner But now, his fame by ev'ry trumpet blown,

phrase We on his deathless trophies raise our own. Hang on the style and clog the nobler lays, Nor art nor nature did his genius bound; Excuse what we with trembling hand supply, Heav'n, hell, earth, chaos, he survey'd around: To give his beauties to the public eye: All things his eye, through wit's bright empire His the pure essence, ours the grosser mean thrown,

Through which his spirit is in action seen. Beheld, and made what it beheld his own. Observe the force, observe the flame divine

Such Milton was : 'tis ours to bring him forth, That glows, breathes, acts, in each harmonious And yours to vindicate neglected worth.

line. Such heav'n-taught numbers should be more than Great objects only strike the gen'rous heart; read,

Praise the sublime, o’erlook the mortal part : More wide the manna through the nation spread. Bethere your judgment, here your candour shewn; Like some bless'd spirit he to-night descends, Small is our portion--and we wish 'twere none.

[blocks in formation]

ACT I.

care

And gives them leave to wear their sapphire SCENE I-Dicovers a wild Wood,

crowns,

And wield their little tridents; but this isle, The first Attendant Spirit enters.

The greatest and the best of all the main, BEFORE the starry threshold of Jove's court He quarters to his blue hair’d deities; My mansion is, where those immortal shapes And all this track that fronts the falling sun of bright aerial spirits live inspher'd

A noble peer of mickle trust and pow's In regions mild of calm and serene air,

Has in his charge, with temper'd awe to guide Above the smoke and stir of this dim spot An old and haughty nation proud in arms. Which men call earth, and with low-thoughted 2 Spi. Does any danger threat his legal sway

From bold sedition or close-ambush'd treason? Confin'd and pester'd this pinfold here

1 Spi. No danger thence; but to his lofty Strive to keep up a frail and fev'rish being,

seat, Unmindful of the crown that virtue gives, Which borders on the verge of this wild vale, After this mortal change, to her true servants His blooming offspring, nurs'd in princely lore, Amongst the enthroned gods on sainted seats. Are coming to attend their father's state Yet some there are that by due steps aspire And new-entrusted sceptre, and their way To lay their just hands on that golden key Lies through the perplex'd path of this drear That opes the palace of Eternity;

wood, To such my errand is ; and but for such The nodding

horror of whose shady brows I would not soil these pure ambrosial weeds Threats the forlorn and wand'ring passenger; With the rank vapours of this sin-worn mould. And here their tender age might suffer peril, But whence yon slanting stream of purer light But that by quick command from sov’reign Jove Which streaks the midnight gloom, and hither I was dispatch'd for their defence and guard. darts

2 Spi. What peril can their innocence assail Its beamy point? Some messenger from Jove Within these lonely and unpeopled shades? Commission's to direct or share my charge, 1 Spi. Attend my words. No place but barAnd, if I ken him right, a spirit pure

bours danger; As treads the spangled pavement of the sky, In ev'ry region virtue finds a foe. The gentle Philadel: but swift as thought Bacchus, that first from out the purple grape He comes

Crushed the sweet poison of misused wine,

After the Tuscan mariners transform’d, The second Attendant Spirit descends.

Coasting the Tyrrhene shore as the winds listed Declare on what strange errand bent

On Circe's island fell : (who knows not Circe, Thou visitest this clime to me assign'd, The daughter of the Sun, whose charmed cup So far remote from thy appointed sphere. Whoever tasted lost his upright shape, 2 Spi. On no appointed task thou seest me And downward fell into a grov'ling swine :) now;

This nymph, that gaz'd upon his clust'ring locks But, as returning from Elysian bow'rs

With ivy berries wreath'd, and his blithe youth, Whither from mortal coil a soul I wafted, Had by him, ere he parted thence, a son Along this boundless sea of waving air

Much like his father, but his mother inore, I steerd my flight, betwixt the gloomy shade Whom therefore she brought up, and Comus Of these thick boughs thy radiant form I spy'd,

nam'd. Gliding as streams the moon through dusky 2 Spi. Ill-omen’d birth to Virtue and her sons ! clouds;

1 Spi. He, ripe and frolic of his full-grown age, Instant I stoop'd my wing, and downward sped Roving the Celtic and Iberian fields, To learn thy errand, and with thine to join At last betakes him to this ominous wood, My kindred aid, from mortals ne'er withheld And in thick shelter of black shades imbower'a When virtue on the brink of peril stands. Excels his mother at her mighty art, 1 Spi. Then mark th' occasion that demands Offøring to every weary traveller it here.

His orient liquor in a crystal glass Neptune, I need not tell, besides the sway To quench the drought of Phoebus; which as they Of ev'ry salt flood and each ebbing stream,

taste, Took in by lot, 'twixt high and nether Jove, (For most do taste through fond intemp’rate thirst; Imperial rule of all the sea-girt isles

Soon as thepotion works, their human count'nance That, like to rich and various gems, inlay Th' express resemblance of the gods, is chang'd The unadorned bosom of the deep;

Into some brutish form of wolf or bear, Which he, to grace his tributary gods,

Or ounce or tiger, hog or bearded goat, By course commits to sev'ral government, All other parts remaining as they were:

« ZurückWeiter »