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Gessler. When all's ready.

Tell. Well! lead on!

SHERIDAN KNOWLES: William Tell.

in stinct'ive ly, without stopping to think, by instinct; fe ro'cious, fierce; gust, an old word for "liking"; man'gle, tear; cleave, split; bolt, thunderbolt, — a bolt was originally an arrow.

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1. Read in dialogue form, one pupil taking Tell's part; one, Albert's; another, Gessler's. Study your parts so that you can. read with expression, and make your classmates feel as if they were really watching the scene. 2. Who was Tell? Gessler? 3. Why does Tell at first repeat Gessler's words, sentence by sentence? 4. Why does he allow his chains to be taken off, and then order them put on again? 5. Why is Albert so much more confident of the result than his father? 6. Why does. Tell say to his boy, "Speak not to me"? 7. Explain "Earth should be dumb and Heaven."

69

WILLIAM TELL (Concluded)

SCENE II

Enter, slowly, Citizens and Women, GESSLER, TELL, ALBERT, and Soldiers one bearing TELL's bow and quiver, another with a basket of apples.

Gessler. That is your ground. Now shall they meas ure thence

A hundred paces. Take the distance.

Tell. Is the line a true one?

Gessler. True or not, what is't to thee?
Tell. What is't to me? A little thing,

A very little thing
Is nothing here or there
I shot at! Never mind.

-a yard or two

were it a wolf

Gessler. Be thankful, slave,

Our grace accords thee life on any terms.

Tell. I will be thankful, Gessler! — Villain, stop!

You measure to the sun!

Gessler. And what of that?

What matter whether to or from the sun?

Tell. I'd have it at my back. The sun should shine 10 Upon the mark, and not on him that shoots.

I cannot see to shoot against the sun

I will not shoot against the sun!

Gessler. Give him his way! Thou hast cause to bless

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my mercy.

Tell. I shall remember it. I'd like to see

The apple I'm to shoot at.

Gessler. Stay! show me the basket! — There—
Tell. You've picked the smallest one.
Gessler. I know I have.

Tell. O! do you?-But you see

The color on't is dark- I'd have it light,
To see it better.

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20

Gessler. Take it as it is:

Thy skill will be the greater if thou hit'st it.

Tell. True true! I did not think of that — I

wonder

25

10

20

I did think not of that. Give me some chance

To save my boy!

I will not murder him,

5 If I can help it for the honor of

The form thou wearest, if all the heart is gone.

Gessler. Well, choose thyself.

Tell. Have I a friend among the lookers on?
Verner (rushing forward). Here, Tell!
Tell. I thank thee, Verner!

[Throws away the apple with all his force

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He is a friend runs out into a storm
To shake a hand with us. I must be brief,
When once the bow is bent, we cannot take
The shot too soon. Verner, whatever be
15 The issue of this hour, the common cause

Must not stand still. Let not to-morrow's sun

Set on the tyrant's banner! Verner! Verner!
The boy!-the boy! Think'st thou he hath the courage
To stand it?

Verner. Yes.

Tell. How looks he?

Verner. Clear and smilingly.

If

you doubt it look yourself.

Tell. No-no-my friend.

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25 To hear it is enough.

Verner. He bears himself so much above his years-
Tell. I know!-1 know.

Verner. With constancy so modest!

Tell. I was sure he would

Verner. And looks with such relying love

And reverence upon you—

Tell. Man! Man! Man!

No more! Already I'm too much the father
To act the man!- Verner, no more, my friend!

I would be flint - flint-flint. Don't make me feel

I'm not you do not mind me! - Take the boy
And set him, Verner, with his back to me.
Set him upon his knees. and place this apple
Upon his head, so that the stem may front me,—
Thus, Verner; charge him to keep steady — tell him
I'll hit the apple! Verner, do all this

More briefly than I tell it thee.

Verner. Come, Albert!

[Leading him out. Albert. May I not speak with him before I go? Verner. No.

Albert. I would only kiss his hand.

Verner. You must not.

My son
Go, boy

Albert. I must! I cannot go from him without.

Verner. It is his will you should.

Albert. His will, is it?

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I am content, then

come.

Tell. If thou canst bear it, should not I?-Go, now, 25

and keep in mind that I can shoot

be thou steady, I will hit

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15

20

go.

My bow!

The apple-Go! - God bless thee
The bow is handed to him.
Thou wilt not fail thy master, wilt thou?—Thou
Hast never failed him yet, old servant — No,
5 I'm sure of thee-I know thy honesty.

Thou art stanch - stanch. - Let me see my quiver.
Gessler. Give him a single arrow.

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15

25

Tell. Do you shoot?

Soldier. I do.

That's all the use 'tis fit for.

Tell. Is it so you pick an arrow, friend? The point, you see, is bent; the feather jagged;

my quiver.

20 Bring it!

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Gessler. Let him have another.

Tell. Why, 'tis better than the first, But yet not good enough for such an aim

As I'm to take — 'tis heavy in the shaft:

I'll not shoot with it! [Throws it away.] Let me see

'Tis not one arrow in a dozen

I'd take to shoot with at a dove, much less

A dove like that.

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Gessler. It matters not.

Show him the quiver.

Tell. See if the boy is ready.
Verner. He is.

Tell. I'm ready, too! Keep silence for

[Breaks it.

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