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WILLIAM TELL

[The legend runs that William Tell was a brave Swiss mountaineer who was banding together his comrades to free his native country from the cruel rule of Austria. Gessler, the Austrian governor, had captured Tell and his son.]

SCENE I

WILLIAM TELL, ALBERT, his Son, and GESSLER.

Gessler. Thy name?

Tell. My name?

It matters not to keep it from thee now:-
My name is Tell.

Gessler. Tell! - William Tell?

Tell. The same.

Gessler. What! he so famed 'bove all his countrymen For guiding o'er the stormy lake the boat? And such a master of his bow, 'tis said His arrows never miss! - Indeed - I'll take Exquisite vengeance! - Mark! I'll spare thy life Thy boy's too!— both of you are free Condition.

on one

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Tell. Name it.

Gessler. I would see you make

A trial of your skill with that same bow
You shoot so well with.

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Gessler. You look upon your boy

As though instinctively you guessed it.

5 Tell. Look upon my boy! What mean you? Look

25

Tell. Name the trial you

Would have me make.

Instinctively! You do not mean- no — no —
You would not have me make a trial of
10 My skill upon my child! - Impossible !
I do not guess your meaning.

Gessler. I would see

upon

My boy as though I guessed it! - Guessed the trial
You'd have me make! - Guessed it

Thee hit an apple at the distance of
A hundred paces.

Tell. Is my boy to hold it?

Gessler. No.

Tell. No! I'll send the arrow through the core!
Gessler. It is to rest upon his head.

Tell. Great Heaven, thou hearest him!

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Gessler. Thou dost hear the choice I give -
Such trial of the skill thou art master of,
Or death to both of you; not otherwise
To be escaped.

Tell. O monster!

Gessler. Wilt thou do it?
Albert. He will! he will!

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Tell. With his own hand!
Gessler. Does he consent?

Albert. He does.

[GESSLER signs to his officers, who proceed to take off TELL'S chains. TELL all the time unconscious of what they do.

Tell. With his own hand!

Murder his child with his own hand!

The hand I've led him, when an infant, by!

'Tis beyond horror- 'tis most horrible.

15 Amazement! [His chains fall off] What's that you've done to me.

20

Tell. Ferocious monster!- Make
A father murder his own child.
Gessler. Take off

His chains, if he consent.

Villains! put on my chains again. My hands

Are free from blood, and have no gust for it,

That they should drink my child's! Here! here! I'll

not

Murder my boy for Gessler.

Albert. Father-father!

You will not hit me, father! —

Tell. Hit thee! - Send

The arrow through thy brain-or, missing that,
Shoot out an eye- or, if thine eye escapes,

25 Mangle the cheek I've seen thy mother's lips

Cover with kisses!

Hit thee - hit a hair

Of thee, and cleave thy mother's heart—
Gessler. Dost thou consent?

Tell. Give me my bow and quiver.

Gessler. For what?

Tell. To shoot my boy!

Albert. No, father,

- no!

To save me! You'll be sure to hit the apple

Will you not save me, father?

Tell. Lead me forth,

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I'll make the trial.

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Albert. Thank you!

Tell. Thank me!

Do

You know for what?—I will not make the trial,
To take him to his mother in my arms,

And lay him down a corpse before her!

Gessler. Then he dies this moment- and you certainly
Do murder him whose life you have a chance
To save, and will not use it.

Tell. Well I'll do it: I'll make the trial.
Albert. Father-

Tell. Speak not to me:

Let me not hear thy voice-Thou must be dumb;
And so should all things be-Earth should be dumb
And Heaven-unless its thunders muttered at
The deed, and sent a bolt to stop it! Give me
My bow and quiver! —

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