« ZurückWeiter »
THE DELIVERER OF HIS COUNTRY.
AN HISTORICAL TRAGEDY,
IN FIVE ACTS.
BY HENRY BROOKE, Esq.
REMARKS TAIN tragedy was accepted at Drury-Lane theatre in 1739, and, during the rehearsals, excited great expecta trons of success ; a prohibitory order from the lord chamberlain, however, deprived the author of his expected iaurels on the stage, but rendered his production so popular, that, on its publication the same year, not less than a thousand pounds are said to have been the clear produce. The present ministry allowed its representation in 1805, when Master Betty attempted the character of Gustavus.
The genuine lover of liberty will here meet with those noble principles of action which elevate humanity and have expanded the energies of free minds in free countries; but it cannot be concealed, that the play is deficient in interest, bustle, and incidents for the prevailing dramatic taste. The following extract will furnish the plot :“Gustavus I. king of Sweden, known by the name of Gustavus Vasa, was born in 1490. He was the son of Exie Vasa, Duke of Gripsholm, and descended from the ancient kings of Sweden. Christiern II. king of Denmark, having got Gustavus into his hands, in the war in which be reduced Sweden, kept him several years prisoner at Copen. hagen. He, at length, made his escape, and having prevailed on the Dalecarlians to throw off the Danish yoke, he put himself at their head." - Modern Universal History.
GUSTAVUS,.... CHRISTIERN, ARVIDA,.... PETERSON, LAERTES, ANDERSON,.. SIVARD,.. ARNOLDUS,
COVENT GARDEN, 1805.
COVENT GARDEN, 1805. ..Master Betty. MESSENGER,..
. Mr. Jefferies.
Mrs. H. Johnson
Mrs. Si. Ledger. Mr. Bennett. GUSTAVA,....
Behold him stretch'd, where reigns eternal night, SCENE I.— The inside of the Copper Mines in Yet, bold of spirit, and robust of limb,
The flint his pillow, and cold damps his cor'ring Dalecarlia.
He throws inclemency aside, nor feels Enter ANDERSON and ARNOLDUS.—GustaVUS The lot of human frailty. lying down in the distance.
And. What horrors hang around! the savage And. You tell me wonders. Arn. Soft, behold, my lord
Ne'er hold their den but where some glimmering [Points to GustavUS.
May bring the cheer of morn-What then is he ? | The truest, worthiest, noblest, cause of friendship
And. Sayurfold. Arn. Draw but the veil of his apparent wretch- Gust. Art thou a soldier, a chief lord in Sweden, edness,
And yet a stranger to thy country's voice, And you shall find, his form is but assum'd, That loudly calls the hidden patriot forth! To hoard some wondrous treasure, lodg'd within. But what's a soldier ? What's a lord in Sweden ? And. Let him bear up to what thy praises speak All worth is fled, or fallen-nor has a life him,
Been spar'd, but for dishonour; spar'd to breed And I will win him, spite of his reserve, More slaves for Denmark, to beget a race Bind him with sacred friendship to my soul,
Of new-born virgins for th’ unsated lust And make him half myself.
Of our new masters.-Sweden! thou'rt no more! Arn. 'Tis nobly promised;
Queen of the North ! thy land of liberty, For worth is rare, and wants a friend in Sweden; Thy house of heroes, and thy seat of virtues, And yet I tell thee, in her age of heroes, Is now the tomb where thy brave sons lie speechWhen, nursed by freedom, all her sons grew great,
less. And every peasant was a prince in virtue,
And. O 'tis true. I greatly err; or this abandon'd stranger
But wherefore? To what purpose ? Had stepp'd the first for fame—though now he Guest. Think of Stockholm! seeks
When Christiern seiz'd upon the hour of peace, To veil his name, and cloud his shine of virtues; And drench'd the hospitable floor with blood; For there is danger in them.
Then fell the flower of Sweden, mighty names ! And. True, Arnoldus.
Her hoary senators, and gasping patriots! Were there a prince throughout the sceptred globe, The tyrant spoke, and his licentious band Who search d out merit for its due preferment, Of blood-train d ministry were loos’d to ruin. With half that care our tyrant seeks it out Husbands, sons, and sires, For ruin, --- happy, happy were that state, With dying ears drank in the loud despair Beyond the golden fable of those pure
Of shrieking chastity. Is there a cause for this ? And earliest ages
For sin without temptation, calm, cool villany, When came this stranger hither?
Deliberate mischief, unimpassion'd lust, Arn. Six moons have chang'd upon the face of And smiling murder? Lie thou there, my soul, night,
Sleep, sleep upon it, image not the form Since here he first arriv d, in servile weeds, Of any dream but this, 'till time grows pregnant, But yet of mien majestic.' I observ'd him,
And thou canst wake to vengeance. And, ever as I gazd, some nameless charm, And. Thou'st greatly mov'd me.
Ha! thy A wondrous greatness, not to be conceald,
tears start forth. Broke through his form, and aw'd my soul before Yes, let them flow, our country's fate demands him.
them; Amid these mines he earns the hireling's portion; But wherefore talk of vengeance ? 'Tis a word His hands out-toil the hind, while on his brow Should be engraven on the new-fallen snow, Sits patience, bath'd in the laborious drop Where the first beam may melt it from observance. Of painful industry-I oft have sought, Vengeance on Christiern? Norway and the Dane, With friendly tender of some worthier service, The sons of Sweden, all the peopled North, To win him from his temper; but he shuns
Bend at his nod! my humbler boast of power All offers, yet declin'd with graceful act,
Meant not to cope with crowns, Engaging beyond utt'rance; and at eve,
Gust. Then what remains When all retire to some domestic solace, Is briefly this: your friendship has my thanks, He only stays, and, as you see, the earth But must not my acceptance :-no Receives him to her dark and cheerless bosom. First sink, thou baleful mansion, to the centre !
And. Has no unwary moment e'er betray'd And be thy darkness doubled round my head; The labours of his soul, some fav'rite grief,
Ere I forsake thee for the bliss of paradise, Whereon to raise conjecture?
To be enjoy'd beneath a tyrant's sceptre. Arn. I saw, as some hold peasants late deplor'd And. Nor I, while I can hold it; but, alas! Their country's bondage, sudden passion seizd, That is not in our choice. And bore him from his seeming ease; strait his Gust. Why? where's that power, whose enWas turn'd to terror, ruin filld his eye,
gines are of force And his proud step appear'd to awe the world:
To bend the brave and virtuous man to slavery ? But sadness soon usurp'd upon his brow,
He has debauch'd the genius of our country, And the big tear roll'd graceful down his visage. And rides triumphant, while her captive sons And. Forbear-he rises--Heavens, what ma- Await his nod! the silken slaves of pleasure, jesty!
Or fetter'd in their fears.
And. No doubt, a base submission to our wrongs Gustavus comes forward.
May well be term'd a voluntary bondage; Your pardon, stranger, if the voice of virtue, But, think, the heavy hand of power is on us;. Ifcordial amity from man to man,
Of power, from whose imprisonment and chains
Which he propos'd—I were a slave indeed.
No-in the deep and poisonous damp of dungeons, Gust. I know they're brave.
Faithful and firm, of hands inur'd and strong,
Gust. No, hold, --if we want oaths to join us, Great are the odds, and who shall dare the trial ? Swift let ys part, from pole to pole asunder. Gust. I dare.
A cause like ours is its own sacrament; O wert thou still that gallant chief,
Truth, justice, reason, love, and liberty, Whom once I knew! I could unfold a purpose, Th'eternal links that clasp the world, are in it; Would make the greatness of thy heart to swell, And he, who breaks their sanction, breaks all And burst in the conception.
law, And. Give it utterance.—You say you know me; And infinite connection. But give a tongue to such a cause as this,
Arn. True, my lord. And, if you hold me tardy in the call,
And. And such the force I feel. You know me not. But thee, I've surely known; Art. And I. For there is somewhat in that voice and form, Arn. And all. Which has alarm'd my soul to recollection; Gust. Know, then, that ere our royal Stenon fell, But, 'tis as in a dream, and mocks my reach. While this my valiant cousin and myself Gíust. Then name the man, whom it is death By chains and treachery lay detained in Denmark, to know,
Upon a dark and unsuspected hour Or, knowing, to conceal—and I am he. The bloody Christiern sought to take my head. And. Gustavus! Heavens ! 'T'is he, 'tis he I escap'd, himself!
Led by a generous arm, and some time lay
Conceal'd in Denmark; for my forfeit head Enter ARVIDA, speaking to a SERVANT.
Became the price of crowns, each port and path
Was shut against my passage, 'till I heard Art. I thank you, friend, he's here, you may That Stenon, valiant Stenon, fell in battle, retire.
(Exit SERVANT. | And freedom was no more. Othen what bounds And. Good morning to my noble guest, you're Had power to hem the desp'rate? Io'erpass d them,
early ! [Gustavus walks apart. Travers'd all Sweden, thro' ten thousand foes, Art. I come to take a short and hasty leave: Impending perils, and surrounding tongues, 'Tis said, that from the mountain's neighb’ring That from himself inquired Gustavus out. brow
Witness, my country, how I toild to wake The canvass of a thousand tents appears, Thy sons to liberty! in vain for fear, Whitening the vale—Suppose the tyrant there; Cold fear, had seiżd on all.-Here last I came You know my safety lies not in the interview- And shut me from the sun, whose hateful beans Ha! What is he, who, in the shreds of slavery, Serv'd but to show the ruins of my country. Supports a step, superior to the state
When here, my friends, 'twas here at length 1 And insolence of ermine?
found, Gust. Sure that voice
What I had left to look for, gallant spirits, Was once the voice of friendship and Arvida! In the rough form of untaught peasantry. Aro. Ha! Yes—’tis he !
-ye powers! it is And. Indeed they once were brave; our DaleGustavus !
carlians Gust. Thou brother of adoption ! In the bond Have oft been known to curb despotic sway: Of every virtue wedded to my soul,
And, as their only wealth has been their liberty, Enter my heart: it is thy property.
From all th' unmeasur'd graspings of ambition Aro. I'm lost in joy and wondrous circumstance. They've held that gem untouchd-though now Gust. Yet, wherefore, my Arvida, wherefore
'tis fear'd is it,
Gust. It is not fear'd--I say, they still shall Chat, in a place and at a time like this,
hold it. We should thus meet? Can Christiern cease I've search'd these men, and find them like the soil, from cruelty ?
Barren without, and to the eye unlovely, say,whence is this, my brother? How escap'd you? But they've their minds within ; and this the day, Did I not leave thee in the Danish dungeon ? In which I mean to prove them.
Art. Of that hereafter. Let me view thee first. Arn, O Gustavus ! How graceful is the garb of wretchedness, Most aptly hast thou caught the passing hour, When worn by virtue! Fashions turn to folly; Upon whose critical and fated hinge Their colours tarnish, and their pomps grow poor The state of Sweden turns. To her magnificence.
Gust. And to this hour Gust. Yes, my Arvida,
I've therefore held me in this darksome womb, Beyond the sweeping of the proudest train That sends me forth as to a second birth That shades a monarch's heel, I prize this humble Of freedom, or through death to reach eternity. dress,
This day, return'd with every circling year,
Ard. Point but thy purpose-let it be to bleed- Already have I stirr'd their latent sparks
Of slumb'ring virtue, apt as I could wish
To warm before the lightest breath of liberty
Arn. How will they kindle, when, confess'd to Gust. No, on my word. view,
Ard. You too had your deliverer. [friends, Once more their lov'd Gustavus stands before Gust. A kind, but not a fair, one-Well
, my them!
Our cause is ripe, and calls us forth to action. Art. It cannot fail.
Tread ye not lighter ? Swells not every breast And. It has a glorious aspect.
With ampler scope to take your country in, Aro. Now, Sweden! rise and re-assert thy rights, And breathe the cause of virtue ? "Rise, yo Or be for ever fallen.
Swedes! And. Then be it so.
Rise greatly equal to this hour's importance. Arn. Lead on, thou arm of war,
On us the eyes of future ages wait, To death or victory.
And this day's close decides our country's fate. Gust. Why thus, my friends, thus join'd in
(Exeunt. such a cause,
АСТ II. Are we not equal to a host of slaves ?
SCENE I.— The Camp. You say, the foe's at hand—Why, let them come; Enter CHRISTIERN, Attendants, f-c. PETERSON Steep are our hills, not easy of access,
meets him. And few the hours we ask for their reception.
Christ. What from Dalecarlia ?
Peter. Late last night,
The wretches will not dare such quick perdition And hail thee to thy setting.
I cannot think it. Arr. Were it not worth a hazard of a life, Peter. I think they will not.— Though of old To know if Christiern leads his powers in
I know them,
person, And what his scope intends ? Be mine that task. All born to broils, the very sons of tumult ; Even to the tyrant's tent I'll win my way,
Waste is their wealth, and mutiny their birthright, And mingle with his councils.
And this the yearly fever of their blood, Gust. Go, my friend.
Their holiday of war; a day apart, Dear as thou art, whene'er our country calls,
Torn out from peace, and sacred to rebellion. Friends, sons, and sires, should yield their trea-oft
has their battle hung upon the brow
Of yon wild steep, a living cloud of mischiefs, Nor own a sense beyond the public safety.
Pregnant with plagues, and empty'd on the heade But, tell me, my Arvida, ere thou goest,
Of many a monarch. Tell me what hand has made thy friend its debtor, Enter Arvida, guarded, and a GENTLEMAN. And given thee up to freedom and Gustavus ? Aro. Now, fate I'm caught, and what remains Aro. Ha! let me think of that, 'tis sure she
(Aside. Gent. A prisoner, good my lord.
I mark'd his careless action, but his eye
Of studied observation—then his port Gust. How, my friend?
And base attire ill-suiting—I inquir’d, Arr. Some months are pass'd, since, in the Da- But found he was a stranger. nish dungeon,
Christ. A sullen scorn With care emaciate, and unwholesome damps, Knits up his brow, and frowns upon our presence. Sick’ning I lay, chain'd to my flinty bed, What-ay-thou wouldst be thought a mystery, And call'd on death to ease me-straight a light Some greatness in eclipse-whence art thou, slave? Shone round, as when the ministry of Heaven Silent! nay, then-bring forth the torture! Descends to kneeling saints. But, oh! the form A smile! damnation !-How the wretch assumes That pour'd upon my sight.—Ye angels, speak! The wreck of state, the suffering soul of majesty! For ye alone are like her; or present
What, have we no pre-eminence, no claim? Such visions pictured to the nightly eye Dost thou not know thy life is in our power ? Of fancy tranc'd in bliss. She then approach'd, Arv. 'Tis therefore I despise it. The softest pattern of embodied meekness, Christ. Matchless insolence! For pity had divinely touch'd her eye,
What art thou ? speak! And harmoniz'd her motions.—Ah, she cried, Aro. Be sure, no friend to thee; for I'm a fras Unhappy stranger, art not thou the man,
to tyrants. Whose virtues have endear'd thee to Gustavus ? Christ. Fiends and fire! Gust. Gustavus, did she say?
A whirlwind tear thee, most audacious traitor. Aro. Yes.
Aro. Do rage and chase, thy wrath's beneath Loos'd from my bonds, I rose at her command;
me, Christiern. When, scarce recovering speech, I would have How poor thy power, how empty is thy happiness, kneella,
When such a wretch, as I appear to be, But, haste thee, haste thee for thy life, she cried, Can ride thy temper, harrow up thy form, And oh, if e'er thy envied eyes behold
And stretch thy soul upon the rack of passion! Thy lov'd Gustavus; say, a gentle foe
Christ. I will know thee!-Bear him hence! Has given thee to his friendship.
Why, what are kings, if slaves can brave us thus ? Gust. You've much amaz’d me! is her name a Go, Peterson, hold him to the rack— Tear, search secret? Sting him deep.
[him, Arr. To me it is—but you, perhaps, may guess. (Exit Peterson with Arvida gʻarded.
Enter a MESSENGER.
Arvida at the sight; his steps took root, What wouldst thou, fellow ?
A tremor shook him; and his alter'd cheek Mess. O, my sovereign lord,
Now sudden flush'd, then fled its wonted culour, I am come fast and far, from even till morn,
While with an eager and intemperate look, Five times I've cross'd the shade of sleepless night, He bent his form, and hung upon her beauties. Impatient of thy presence.
Christ. Ha! did our daughter note him? Christ. Whence ?
Peter. No, my lord : Mess. From Denmark.
She pass'd regardless. Straight his pride fell from Commended from the consort of thy throne
And at her name he started;
(him To speed and privacy.
Then heavd a sigh, and cast a look to heaver, Christ. Your words would taste of terror- Of such a mute, yet eloquent, emotion, Mess. A secret malady, my gracious liege,
As seem'd to say-Now, Fate, thou hast prevail'd Some factious vapour, rising from off the skirts
And found one way to triumph o'er Arvida! Of southmost Norway, has diffus'd its bane,
Christ. But whither would this lead ?
While thus his soul's unseated, shook by passion, What, my own Danes !
Could we engage him to betray Gustavus
Christ. O empty hope ! impossible ! Enter PETERSON, who kneels and gires a letter. Do I not know him, and the curs d Gustavus ? CHRISTIERN reads it.
Both fix'd in resolution deep as hell. Christ. Gustavus !
Peter. Ah, my liege, So near us, and in arms!
(time; No mortal footing treads so firm in virtue, What is to be done ? Now, Peterson, now's the As always to abide the slippery path, Waken all the wondrous statesman in thee. Nor deviate with the bias. Some have few, This curs d Gustavus
But each man has his failing, some defect, Invades my shrinking spirits, awes my heart, Wherein to slide temptation.-Leave him to me. And sits upon my'slumbers-All in vain
Christ. If thou canst bend this proud one to our Has he been daring, and have I been vigilant;
purpose, He still evades the hunter,
And make the lion crouch, 'tis well-if not, And, if there's power in heaven or hell, it guards Away at once, and sweep him from remembrance.
Peter. Then I must promise deep. His name 's a host, a terror to my legions. Christ. Ay, any thing; outbid ambition. And by my triple crown, I swear, Gustavus, Peter. Love?I'd rather meet all Europe for my foe,
Christ. Ha! yes-our daughter too—if she can Than see thy face in arms!
bribe him: Peter. Be calm, my liege,
But then to win him to betray his friend! And listen to a secret big with consequence, Peter. Oh, doubt it not, my lord: for if he loves, That gives thee back the second man on earth As sure he greatly does, I have a stratagem Whose valour could plant fears around thy throne: That holds the certainty of fate within it. Thy prisoner
Love is a passion whose effects are various. Christ. What of him ?
It ever brings some change upon the soul, Peter. The Prince Arvida
Some virtue, or some vice, till then unknown, Christ. How!
Degrades the hero, and makes cowards valiant. Peter. The same.
Christ. True; when it pours upon a youthful Christ. My royal fugitive !
temper, Peter. Most certain.
[hither. Open and apt to take the torrent in, Christ. Now, then, 'tis plain who sent him It owns no limits, no restraint it knows, Peter. Yes.
(cross me; But sweeps all down, though Heaven and Hell Pray give me leave, my lord-a thought comes
[Ereunt. If so, he must be ours
(Pauses. Your pardon for a question-Has Arvida
SCENE II.-A Prison. E'er seen your beauteous daughter, your Christina? Arvida discovered in chains ; Guards preparing Christ. Never-yes-possibly he might, that day
instruments of death and torture.-He advances When the proud pair, Gustavus and Arvida, in confusion. Through Copenhagen drew a length of chain,
Aro. Off, off, vain cumbrance, ye confiicting And graced my chariot wheels.—But why the
thoughts! question ? Peter. I'll tell you : while even now he stood Leave me to Heaven. -O peace !—It will not be
Just when I rose above mortality, before us, ( mark'd his high demeanour, and my eye
To pour her wondrous weight of charms upon me! Claim'd some remembrance of him, though in For every pang these tortur'd limbs shall feel,
At such a time, it was-it was too much clouds Doubtful and distant, but a nearer view
Descend'in tenfold blessings on Gustavus! (joy, Renew'd the characters effac'd by absence.
Yes, bless him, bless him! Crown his hours with
His head with glory, and his arms with conquest; Yet, lest he might presume upon a friendship Of ancient league between us, I dissembled,
Set his firm foot upon the neck of tyrants, Nor seem'd to know him. On he proudly strode, That breathes through Sweden! Worthiest to be
And be his name the balm of every lip As who should say,-back, fortune, know thy distance !
[king Thus steadily he pass'd, and mock'd his fate.
Their friend, their chief, their father, and thei When, lo! the princess to her morning walk
Enter PETERSON, Came forth attended. Quick amazement seiz'd Peter. Unbind your prisoner.