Слике страница
PDF
ePub

rise ;

With th' arrow's speed he will return again ; And to encourage well their infant trade,
But should fair fortune crown Piscaro's arms, Quarter'd your troops upon them.--Please your
Then shall your soothing message greet his ears ;

grace, For till our friends some sound advantage gain, All this they do most readily allow. Our actions still must wear an Austrian face. Duke. They do allow it then, ungrateful varlets ! Duke. Well hast thou school'd him. Didst thou What would they have? what would they have, add withal,

Gauriecio! That 'tis my will he garnish well his speech, Gaur. Some mitigation of their grievous burdens, With honey'd words of the most dear regard, Which, like an iron weight around their necks, And friendly love I bear him? This is needful ; Do bend their care-worn faces to the earth, And lest my slowness in the promised aid Like creatures form’d upon its soil to creep, Awake suspicion, bid him e'en rehearse

Not stand erect, and view the sun of heaven. The many favours on my house bestow'd

Duke. But they beyond their proper sphere would By his imperial master as a theme On which my gratitude delights to dwell.

Let them their lot fulfil as we do ours. Gaur. I have, an' please your highness. Society of various parts is form’d; Duke.

Then 'tis well. They are its grounds, its mud, its sediment, Gaur. But for the yielding up that little fort And we the mantling top which crowns the whole. There could be no suspicion.

Calm, steady labour is their greatest bliss ;
Duke. My governor I have severely punishd, To aim at higher things beseems them not.
As a most daring traitor to my orders.

To let them work in peace my care shall be ;
He cannot from his darksome dungeon tell ; To slacken labour is to nourish pride.
Why then should they suspect ?

Methinks thou art a pleader for these fools :
Gaur. He must not live should Charles prove What may this mean, Gauriecio?
victorious.

Gaur. They were resolved to lay their cause Duke. He's done me service : say not so, Gau

before you, riecio.

And would have found some other advocate Gaur. A traitor's name he will not calmly bear; Less pleasing to your grace had I refused. He'll tell his tale aloud-he must not live.

Duke. Well, let them know, some more conveDuke. Well, if it must-we'll talk of this again.

nient season Gaur. But while with anxious care and crafty I'll think of this, and do for them as much wiles,

As suits the honour of my princely state. You would enlarge the limits of your state, Their prince's honour should be ever dear Your' highness must beware lest inward broils To worthy subjects as their precious lives. Bring danger near at hand: your northern subjects Gaur. I fear, unless you give some special E'en now are discontented and unquiet.

promise, Duke. What, dare the ungrateful miscreants thus They will be violent stillreturn

Duke. Then do it, if the wretches are so bold : The many favours of my princely grace ?

We can retract it when the times allow; 'Tis ever thus indulgence spoils the base ;

'Tis of small consequence. Go see Bernardo, Raising up pride, and lawless turbulence,

And come to me again.

(Exit. Like noxious vapours from the fulsome marsh Gaur. (solus) O happy people ! whose indulgent When morning shines upon it.

lord Did I not lately with parental care,

From every care, with which increasing wealth, When dire invaders their destruction threaten'd, With all its hopes and fears, doth ever move Provide them all with means of their defence ? The human breast, most graciously would free Did I not, as a mark of gracious trust,

And kindly leave you naught to do but toil ! A body of their vagrant youth select

This creature now, with all his reptile cunning, To guard my sacred person ? till that day

Writhing and turning through a maze of wiles, An honour never yet allowed their race.

Believes his genius form’d to rule mankind; Did I not suffer them, upon their suit,

And calls his sordid wish for territory T'establish manufactures in their towns ?

That noblest passion of the soul, ambition. And after all some chosen soldiers spare

Born had he been to follow some low trade, To guard the blessings of interior peace ?

A petty tradesman still he had remain's, Gaur. Nay, please your highness, they do well | And used the art with which he rules a state allow,

To circumvent his brothers of the craft, That when your enemies in fell revenge

Or cheat the buyers of his paltry ware. Your former inroads threaten’d to repay,

And yet he thinks,-ha, ha, ha, ha he thinks Their ancient arms you did to them restore, I am the tool and servant of his will. With kind permission to defend themselves : Well, let it be ; through all the maze of trouble That so far have they felt your princely grace, His plots and base oppression must create, In drafting from their fields their goodliest youth I'll shape myself a way to higher things : To be your servants : That you did vouchsafe, And who will say 'tis wrong? On paying of a large and heavy fine,

A sordid being, who expects no faith Leave to apply the labour of their hands

But as self-interest binds ; who would not trust As best might profit to the country's weal: The strongest ties of nature on the soul,

Deserves no faithful service. Perverse fate !

Vict. Am I ungenerous then? Were I like him, I would despise this dealing;

Alb.

Yes, most ungenerous : But being as I am, born low in fortune,

Who, for the pleasure of a little power,
Yet with a mind aspiring to be great,

Would give most unavailing pain to those,
I must not scorn the steps which lead to it: Whose love you ne'er can recompense again.
And if they are not right, no saint am I;

E'en now, to-day, 0! was it not ungenerous
I follow nature's passion in my breast,

To fetter Basil with a foolish tie,
Which urges me to rise in spite of fortune. Against his will, perhaps against his duty ?

· [Exit. Vict. What, dost thou think against his will, my

friend? SCENE IV.-AN APARTMENT IN THE PALACE.

Alb. Full sure I am against his reason's will. VICTORIA and ISABELLA are discovered playing at chess; Vict. Ah! but indeed thou must excuse me here; the Countess ALBINI sitting by them reading to herself.

For duller than a shelled crab was she, Vict. Away with it, I will not play again.

Who could suspect her power in such a mind, May men no more be foolish in my presence

And calmly leave it doubtful and unproved. If thou art not a cheat, an arrant cheat !

But wherefore dost thou look so gravely on me? Isab. To swear that I am false by such an oath,

Ah! well I read those looks ! methinks they say, Should prove me honest, since its forfeiture “ Your mother did not so.” Would bring your highness gain.

Alb. Your highness reads them true, she did not so. Vict. Thou’rt wrong, my Isabella, simple maid ; If foolish vanity e'er soild her thoughts, For in the very forfeit of this oath,

She kept it low, withheld its aliment; There's death to all the dearest pride of women. Not pamper'd it with every motley food, May man no more be foolish in my presence ! From the fond tribute of a noble heart Isab. And does your grace, hail'd by applauding To the lisp'd fattery of a cunning child. crowds,

Vict. Nay, speak not thus,-Albini, speak not In all the graceful eloquence address'd

thus Of most accomplish'd, noble, courtly youths, Of little blue-eyed, sweet, fair-haird Mirando. Praised in the songs of heaven-inspired bards,

He is the orphan of a hapless pair ; Those awkward proofs of admiration prize, A loving, beautiful, but hapless pair, Which rustic swains their village fair ones pay! Whose story is so pleasing, and so sad, Vict. 0, love will master all the power of art!

The swains have turn'd it to a plaintive lay: Ay, all! and she who never has beheld

And sing it as they tend their mountain sheep. The polish'd courtier, or the tuneful sage,

Besides, (to Isab.) I am the guardian of his choice. Before the glances of her conquering eye

When first I saw him-dost thou not remember? A very native simple swain become,

Isab. 'Twas in the public garden. Has only vulgar charms.

Vict. To make the cunning artless, tame the rude,

Perch'd in his nurse's arms, a roughsome quean, Subdue the haughty, shake th’undaunted soul ; Ill suited to the lovely charge she bore. Yea, put a bridle in the lion's mouth,

How steadfastly he fixed his looks upon me, And lead him forth as a domestic cur,

His dark eyes shining through forgotten tears, These are the triumphs of all-powerful beauty!

Then stretch'd his little arms and call’d me mother ! Did naught but flattering words and tuneful praise, What could I do? I took the bantling home Sighs, tender glances, and obsequious service, I could not tell the imp he had no mother. Attend her presence, it were nothing worth :

Alb. Ah! there, my child, thou hast indeed no I'd put a white coif o'er my braided locks,

blame. And be a plain, good, simple, fireside dame.

Vict. Now this is kindly said : thanks, sweet Alb. (raisig her head from her book.) And is,

Albini ! indeed, a plain domestic dame,

Still call me child, and chide me as thou wilt. Who fills the duties of a useful state,

0! would that I were such as thou couldst love! A being of less dignity than she,

Couldst dearly love, as thou didst love my mother ! Who vainly on her transient beauty builds

Alb. (pressing her to her breast.) And do I not ? A little poor ideal tyranny ?

all perfect as she was, Isab. Ideal too!

I know not that she went so near my heart
Alb.
Yes, most unreal power ;

As thou with all thy faults.
For she wlio only finds her self-esteem

Vict. And say'st thou so? would I had sooner In others' admiration, begs an alms ;

known ! Depends on others for her daily food,

I had done any thing to give thee pleasure. And is the very servant of her slaves;

Alb. Then do so now, and put thy faults away. Though oftentimes, in a fantastic hour,

Vict. No, say not faults; the freaks of thoughtO'er men she may a childish power exert,

less youth. Which not ennobles, but degrades her state.

Alb. Nay, very faults they must indeed be call'a. Vict. You are severe, Albini, most severe ! Vict, O! say but foibles ! youthful foibles only! Were human passions placed within the breast Alb. Faults, faults, real faults you must confess But to be curb’d, subdued, pluck'd by the roots !

they are. All heaven's gifts to some good end were given.

Vict. In truth I cannot do your sense the wrong Alb. Yes, for a noble, for a generous end. To think so poorly of the one you love.

Even so ;

the stage.

too;

Alb. I must be gone: thou hast o'ercome me now: Then she look'd so, and smiled to him again. Another time I will not yield it so. [Exit.

(Throwing down his eyes affectedly.) Isab. The countess is severe; she's too severe: Isab. Thou art a little knave, and must be whipp'd. She once was young, though now advanced in years.

[Exeunt. Mirando leading out Victoria Vict. No, I deserve it all; she is most worthy.

affectedly.
Unlike those faded beauties of the court,
But now the wither'd stems of former flowers,

ACT III.
With all their blossoms shed, her nobler mind
Procures to her the privilege of man,

SCENE I.-AN OPEN STREET, OR SQUARE. Ne'er to be old till nature's strength decays.

Enter RoSINBERG and FREDERICK, by opposite sides of Some few years hence, if I should live so long, I'd be Albini rather than myself.

Fred. So Basil, from the pressing calls of war, Isab. Here comes your little favourite.

Another day to rest and pastime gives. Vict. I am not in the humour for him now. How is it now? methinks thou art not pleased. Enter MIRANDO, running up to VICTORIA, and taking

Ros. It matters little if I am or not. hold of her gown, while she takes no notice of him, as Fred. Now pray thee do confess thou art ashamed: he holds up his mouth to be kissed.

Thou, who art wisely wont to set at naught Isab. (to Mir.) Thou seest the princess can't be The noble fire of individual courage, troubled with thee.

And call calm prudence the superior virtue, Mir. O but she will! I'll scramble up her robe, What say'st thou now, my candid Rosinberg, As naughty boys do when they climb for apples. When thy great captain, in a time like this, Isab. Come here, sweet child; I'll kiss thee in Denies his weary troops one day of rest her stead.

Before th’exertions of approaching battle, Mir. Nay, but I will not have a kiss of thee. Yet grants it to a pretty lady's suit ? Would I were tall! O were I but so tall!

Ros. Who told thee this ? it was no friendly tale; Isab. And how tall wouldst thou be ?

And no one else, besides a trusty friend, Mir.

Thou dost not know ? Could know his motives. Then thou wrong'st me Just tall enough to reach Victoria's lips. Vict. (embracing him.) O! I must bend to this, For I admire, as much as thou dost, Frederick, thou little urchin.

The fire of valour, e'en rash, heedless valour; Who taught thee all this wit, this childish wit? But not like thee do I depreciate Whom does Mirando love? (embraces him again.) That far superior, yea, that godlike talent, Mir.

He loves Victoria. Which doth direct that fire, because indeed Vict. And wherefore loves he her?

It is a talent nature has denied me. Mir.

Because she's pretty. Fred. Well, well, and greatly he may boast his Isab. Hast thou no little prate to-day, Mirando?

virtue, No tale to earn a sugar-plum withal ?

Who risks perhaps th' imperial army's fate, Mir. Ay, that I have: I know who loves her to please a lady's freaks grace.

Ros.

Go, go, thou’rt prejudiced: Vict. Who is it, pray? thou shalt have comfits A passion, which I do not choose to name, for it.

Has warp'd thy judgment.
Mir. (looking slyly at her.) It is—it is—it is Fred. No, by heaven thou wrong'st me!
the Count of Maldo.

I do, with most enthusiastic warmth,
Vict, Away, thou little chit! that tale is old, True valour love: wherever he is found,
And was not worth a sugar-plum when new. I love the hero too; but hate to see
Mir. Well then, I know who loves her highness The praises due to him so cheaply earn d.
well.

Ros. Then mayst thou now these generous feelVict. Who is it, then?

ings prove. Isab.

Who is it, naughty boy? Behold that man, whose short and grizzly hair Mir. It is the handsome Marquis of Carlatzi. In clustering locks his dark brown face o'ershades;

Vict. No, no, Mirando, thou art naughty still: Where now the scars of former sabre wounds, Twice have I paid thee for that tale already. In honourable companionship are seen Mir. Well then, indeed—I know who loves With the deep lines of age; whose piercing eye Victoria.

Beneath its shading eyebrow keenly darts Vict. And who is he?

Its yet unquenched beams, as though in age Mir.

It is Mirando's self. Its youthful fire had been again renew'd, Vict. Thou little imp! this story is not new, To be the guardian of its darken'd mate: But thou shalt have thy hire. Come, let us go. See with what vigorous steps his upright form Go, run before us, boy.

[look’d, He onward bears; day, e'en that vacant sleeve Mir. Nay, but I'll show you how Count Wolvar Which droops so sadly by his better side, When he conducted Isabel from court.

Suits not ungracefully the veteran's mien. Vict. How did he look ?

This is the man, whose glorious acts in battle Mir. Give me your hand: he held his body thus ; We heard to-day related o'er our wine. (putting himself in a ridiculous bowing posture.) I go to tell the general he is come: And then he whisper'd softly; then look'd so; Enjoy the generous feelings of thy breast, (ogling with his eyes affectedly.) | And make an old man happy.

(Exit.

thee too ;

nerous.

are.

Enter GEOFFRY.

Enter ROSINBERG. Fred. Brave soldier, let me profit by the chance Ros. (clapping Geof. on the shoulder.) How goes That led me here; I've heard of thy exploits.

it with thee now, my good field-marshal? Geof. Ah! then you have but heard an ancient tale, Geof. The better that I see your honour well, Which has been long forgotten.

And in the humour to be merry with me. Fred. But true it is, and should not be forgotten; Ros. 'Faith, by my sword, I've rightly named Though generals jealous of their soldiers' fame, May dash it with neglect.

What is a good field-marshal but a man, Geof. There are, perhaps, who may be so unge- Whose generous courage and undaunted mind

Doth marshal others on in glory's way? Fred. Perhaps, say'st thou ? in very truth there Thou art not one by princely favour dubb'd,

But one of nature's making. How art thou else rewarded with neglect,

Geof. You show, my lord, such pleasant courtesy, Whilst many a paltry fellow in thy corps

I know not howHas been promoted ? it is ever thus.

Ros.

But see, the general comes. Served not Mardini in your company ?

Enter BASIL. He was, though honour'd with a valiant name, To those who knew him well, a paltry soldier. Ros. (pointing to Geof.) Behold the worthy Geof. Your pardon, sir: we did esteem him much,

veteran. Although inferior to his gallant friend,

Bas. (taking him by the hand.) Brave, honourable The brave Sebastian.

man, your worth I know, Fred.

The brave Sebastian! And greet it with a brother soldier's love. He was, as I am told, a learned coxcomb,

Geof. (taking away his hand in confusion.) My And loved a goose-quill better than a sword.

general, this is too much, too much honour. What, dost thou call him brave?

Bas. (taking his hand again.) No, valiant Thou, who dost bear about that war-worn trunk,

soldier, I must have it so. Like an old target, hack'd and rough with wounds, Geof. My humble state agrees not with such Whilst, after all his mighty battles, he

honour, Was with a smooth skin in his coffin laid,

Bas. Think not of it, thy state is not thyself. Unblemish'd with a scar ?

Let mean souls, highly rank'd, look down on thee, Geof. His duty call'd not to such desperate service; As the poor dwarf, perch'd on a pedestal, For I have sought where few alive remain’d, O’erlooks the giant: 'tis not worth a thought. And done unscath'd ; where but a few remain'd, Art thou not Geoffry of the tenth brigade, Thus marr'd and mangled ; (showing his wounds.) Whose warlike feats, child, maid, and matron know?

as belike you've seen,

And oft, cross-elbow'd, o'er his nightly bowl, O'summer nights, around the evening lamp, The jolly toper to his comrade tells ? Some wretched moths, wingless, and half consumed, Whose glorious feats of war, by cottage door, Just feebly crawling o'er their heaps of dead. - The ancient soldier, tracing in the sand In Savoy, on a small, though desperate post, The many movements of the varied field, Of full three hundred goodly chosen men,

In warlike terms to listening swains relates; But twelve were left, and right dear friends were we Whose bosoms glowing at the wondrous tale For ever after. They are all dead now:

First learn to scorn the hind's inglorious life; I'm old and lonely. We were valiant hearts Shame seize me, if I would not rather be Frederick Dewalter would have stopp'd a breach The man thou art, than court-created chief, Against the devil himself. I'm lonely now! Known only by the dates of his promotion !

Fred. I'm sorry for thee. Hang ungrateful chiefs ! Geof. Ah! would I were, would I were young Why wert thou not promoted ?

again, Geof. After that battle, where my happy fate To fight beneath your standard, noble general; Had led me to fulfil a glorious part,

Methinks what I have done were but a jest, Chafed with the gibing insults of a slave,

Ay, but a jest to what I now should do, The worthless favourite of a great man's favourite, Were I again the man that I have been.. I rashly did affront; our cautious prince,

0! I could fight! With narrow policy dependent made,

Bas,

And would'st thou fight for me? Dared not, as I am told, promote me then,

Geof. Ay, to the death ! And now he is ashamed, or has forgot it.

Bas. Then come, brave man, and be my chamFred. Fy, fy upon it! let him be ashamed:

pion still : Here is a trifle for the offering him money.) The sight of thee will fire my soldiers' breasts ; Geof. No, good sir;

Come, noble veteran, thou shalt fight for me. I have enough to live as poor men do.

[Exit with Geoffry. When I'm in want I'll thankfully receive,

Fred. What does he mean to do? Because I'm poor, but not because I'm brave. Ros.

We'll know ere long, Fred. You're proud, old soldier.

Fred. Our general bears it with a careless face, Geof.

No, I am not proud; For one so wise. For if I were, methinks I'd be morose,

Ros.

A careless face ? on what ? And willing to depreciate other men.

Fred. Now feign not ignorance, we know it all.

News which have spread in whispers from the Which to his eyes such flashing lustre gave, court,

As though his soul, like an unsheathed sword, Since last night's messenger arrived from Milan. Had through them gleam'd, our noble general Ros. As I'm an honest man, I know it not !

stood, Fred. 'Tis said the rival armies are so near And to his soldiers, with heart-moving words A battle must immediately ensue.

The veteran showing, his brave deeds rehearsed, Ros. It cannot be. Our general knows it not. Who by his side stood like a storm-scath'd oak, The Duke is of our side a sworn ally,

Beneath the shelter of some noble tree,
And had such messenger to Mantua come,

In the green honours of its youthful prime.
He would have been apprized upon the instant. Ros. How look'd the veteran ?
It cannot be, it is some idle tale.

Valt.

I cannot tell thee! Fred. So may it prove till we have join’d them At first he bore it up with cheerful looks, too

As one who fain would wear his honours bravely Then Heayen grant they may be nearer still ! And greet the soldiers with a comrade's face: For O! my soul for war and danger pants,

But when Count Basil, in such moving speech, As doth the noble lion for his prey.

Told o'er his actions past, and bade his troops My soul delights in battle.

Great deeds to emulate, his countenance changed ; Ros. Upon my simple word, I'd rather see High heaved his manly breast, as it had been A score of friendly fellows shaking hands, By inward strong emotion half convulsed; Than all the world in arms. Hast thou no fear? Trembled his nether lip; be shed some tears: Fred. What dost thou mean?

The general paused, the soldiers shouted loud; Ros.

Hast thou no fear of death? Then hastily he brush'd the drops away, Fred. Fear is a name for something in the mind, And waved his hand, and clear'd his tear choked But what, from inward sense, I cannot tell.

voice, I could as little anxious march to battle,

As though he would some grateful answer make ; As when a boy to childish games I ran.

When back with double force the whelming tide Ros. Then as much virtue hast thou in thy val- of passion came ; high o'er his hoary head our,

His arm he toss'd, and heedless of respect,
As when a child thou hadst in childish play. In Basil's bosom hid his aged face,
The brave man is not he who feels no fear, Sobbing aloud. From the admiring ranks
For that were stupid and irrational ;

A cry arose ; still louder shouts resound.
But he, whose noble soul its fear subdues,

I felt a sudden tightness grasp my throat And bravely dares the danger nature shrinks from. As it would strangle me; such as I felt, As for your youth, whom blood and blows delight, I knew it well, some twenty years ago, Away with them ! there is not in the crew When my good father shed his blessing on me : One valiant spirit.-Ha! what sound is this? I hate to weep, and so I came away.

(Shouting is heard without.) Ros. (giving Valt. his hand.) And there, take Fred. The soldiers shout ; I'll run and learn the

thou my blessing for the tale.

Hark, how they shout again ! 'tis nearer now. Ros. But tell me first, how didst thou like the This way they march. veteran ?

Martial music heard. Enter Soldiers marching in onder, Fred. He is too proud ; he was displeased with bearing GeoFFRY in triumph on their shoulders me,

After them enter Basil; the whole preceded by a band Because I offer'd him a little sum.

of music. They cross over the stage, are joined by

Ros. &c. and EXEUNT.
Ros. What, money! O, most generous, noble
spirit!

SCENE II.
Noble rewarder of superior worth !
A halfpenny for Belisarius !

Enter GAURIECIO and a GENTLEMAN, talking as they But hark! they shout again-here comes Valtomer. (Shouting heard without.) Gaur. So slight a tie as this we cannot trust:

One day her influence may detain him here,
Enter VALTOMER.

But love a fecble agent may be found
What does this shouting mean?

With the ambitious. Valt. O! I have seen a sight, a glorious sight! Gent. And so you think this boyish odd conceit Thou wouldst have smiled to see it.

Of bearing home in triumph with his troops Ros. How smile ? methinks thine eyes are wet That aged soldier, will your purpose serve? with tears.

Gaur. Yes, I will make it serve; for though my Valt. (passing the back of his hands across his

prince eyes.)

Is little scrupulous of right and wrong,
'Faith, so they are ; well, well, but I smiled too. I have possess'd his mind, as though it were
You heard the shouting.

A flagrant insult on his princely state,
Ros, and Fred.
Yes.

To honour thus the man he has neglected,
Valt.

O had you seen it! Which makes him relish, with a keener taste, Drawn out in goodly ranks, there stood our troops ; My purposed scheme. Come, let us fall to work. Here, in the graceful state of manly youth, With all their warm heroic feelings roused, His dark face brighten'd with a generous smile, We'll spirit up his troops to mutiny,

cause.

enter.

« ПретходнаНастави »