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Would, would it were to come!
And seest thou not that motion of his hands ? What fated end, what darkly gathering cloud He stands like one who hears a horrid tale. Will close on all this horror ?
Almighty God! (Manuel goes into the convent.) O that dire madness would unloose my thoughts,
He comes not back; he enters. And fill my mind with wildest fantasies,
Freb. Bear up, my noble friend. Dark, restless, terrible ! aught, aught but this! Jane. I will, I will! But this suspense is dread(Pauscs and shudders.) |
ful. How with convulsive life he heaved beneath me, I (A long pause. Manuel re-enters from the E’en with the death's wound gored! 0 horrid, convent, and comes forward slowly with a sad horrid !
countenance.) Methinks I feel him still.—What sound is that? Is this the face of one who bears good tidings! I heard a smother'd groan.—It is impossible ! O God! his face doth tell the horrid fact;
(Looking steadfastly at the body.) There is naught doubtful here. It moves ! it moves! the cloth doth heave and Freb.
How is it, Manuel ? swell.
Man. I've seen him through a crevice in his door: It moves again! I cannot suffer this
It is indeed my master. (Bursting into tears.) Whate'er it be, I will uncover it.
(Jane faints, and is supported by Freberg.) (Runs to the corpse, and tears of the cloth in Enter Abbess and several Nuns from the convent, who despair.)
gather about her, and apply remedies. She recovers. All still beneath.
1st Nun. The life returns again. Naught is there here but fix'd and grisly death. 2d Nun.
Yes, she revives. How sternly fix'd! O! those glazed eyes !
Abb. (to Freb.) Let me entreat this noble lady's They look upon me still.
leave (Shrinks back with horror.) | To lead her in. She seems in great distress. Come, madness! come unto me, senseless death! We would with holy kindness soothe her wo, I cannot suffer this ! Here, rocky wall,
And do by her the deeds of Christian love. Scatter these brains, or dull them!
Freb. Madam, your goodness has my grateful (Runs furiously, and, dashing his head against
thanks. the wall, falls upon the floor.)
EXEUNT, supporting Jane into the consent. Enter two Monks hastily.
SCENE IV.-DE MONFORT IS DISCOVERED SITTING IN 1st Monk. See ; wretched man, he hath destroy'a
A THOUGHTFUL POSTURE. HE REMAINS SO FOR himself.
SOME TIME. HIS FACE AFTERWARD BEGINS TO 2d Monk. He does but faint. Let us remove him APPEAR AGITATED, LIKE ONE WHOSE MIND IS hence.
HARROWED WITH THE SEVEREST THOUGHTS;
THEN, STARTING FROM HIS SEAT, HE CLASPS HIS 1st Monk. We did not well to leave him here
HANDS TOGETHER, AND HOLDS THEM UP TO alone.
HEAVEN. 2d Monk. Come, let us bear him to the open air.
De Mon. O that I ne'er had known the light of [EXEUNT, bearing out De Monfort.
day! SCENE III.-BEFORE THE GATES OF THE CONVENT. That filmy darkness on mine eyes had hung, Enter JANE DE MONFORT, FREBERG, and MANUEL. As
And closed me out from the fair face of nature! they are proceeding towards the gate, Jane stops short
O that my mind in mental darkness pent, and shrinks back.
Had no perception, no distinction known, Freb. Ha! wherefore? has a sudden illness
Of fair, or foul, perfection, or defect, seized thee?
Nor thought conceived of proud pre-eminence! Jane. No, no, my friend. And yet I'm very
O that it had ! O that I had been form'd faint
An idiot from the birth ! a senseless changeling, I dread to enter here.
Who eats his glutton's meal with greedy haste, Man. Ay, so I thought:
Nor knows the hand who feeds him.For, when between the trees, that abbey tower
(Pauses; then, in a calmer, sorrouful voice.) First show'd its top, I saw your countenance
What am I now how ends the day of life? change.
For end it must; and terrible this gloom, But breathe a little here; I'll go before,
This storm of horrors that surrounds its close. And make inquiry at the nearest gate.
This little term of nature's agony Freb. Do so, good Manuel.
Will soon be o'er, and what is past is past : (Manuel goes and knocks at the gate.)
But shall I then, on the dark lap of earth Courage, dear madam: all may yet be well.
Lay me to rest, in still unconsciousness, Rezenvelt's servant, frightend with the storm,
Like senseless clod that doth no pressure feel And seeing that his master join'd him not,
From wearing foot of daily passenger ; As by appointment, at the forest edge,
Like steeped rock o'er which the breaking waves Might be alarm’d, and give too ready ear
Bellow and foam unheard ? O would I could ! To an unfounded rumour.
Enter MANUEL, who springs forward to his master, but He saw it not; he came not here himself.
is checked upon perceiving De Monfort draw back Jane. (looking eagerly to the gate, where Manuell and look sternly at him.
talks with the Porter.) Ha! see, he talks Man. My lord, my master! O my dearest master! with some one earnestly.
(De Monfort still looks at him without speaking.)
Nay, do not thus regard me, good my lord ! And in the rougher path of ripen'd years
And terrible the storm that gathers o'er us;
Which severs thee from nature, shall unloose De Mon. (tossing his arm over his head in an This fix'd and sacred hold. In thy dark prisonagony.) This is too much! All I can bear
In the terriffic face of armed law;
I never will forsake thee.
Heaven bless thy generous soul, my noble Out of the pale of social kindred cast;
Jane ! Nameless and horrible.
| I thought to sink beneath this load of ill, Tell her De Monfort far from hence is gone Depress'd with infamy and open shame; Into a desolate and distant land,
I thought to sink in abject wretchedness : Ne'er to return again. Fly, tell her this;
But for thy sake I'll rouse my manhood up, For we must meet no more.
And meet it bravely ; no unseemly weakness,
I feel my rising strength, shall blot my end, Enter Jans DE MONFORT, bursting into the chamber, | To clothe thy cheek with shame. and followed by FREBERG, ABBESS, and several Nuns. Jane. Yes, thou art noble still. Jane. We must! we must! My brother, O my De Mon. With thee I am ; who were not so with brother!
thee? (De Monfort turns away his head and hides his But ah ! my sister, short will be the term.
face with his arm. Jane stops short, and, Death's stroke will come, and in that state beyond, making a great effort, turns to Freberg, and where things unutterable wait the soul, the others who followed her, and with an air of | New from its earthly tenement discharged, dignity stretches out her hand, beckoning them we shall be sever'd far. to retire. All retire but Freberg, who seems to Far as the spotless purity of virtue hesitate.)
Is from the murderer's guilt, far shall we be. And thou too, Freberg: call it not unkind.
This is the gulf of dead uncertainty [Exit Freberg, Jane and De Monfort only remain. From which the soul recoils. Jane. My hapless Monfort!
Jane. The God who made thee is a God of mercy; 'De Monfort turns round and looks sorrowfully Think upon this.
upon her ; she opens her arms to him, and he, De Mon. (shaking his head.) No, no ! this blood! rushing into them, hides his face upon her
this blood ! breast and weeps.)
Jane. Yes, e'en the sin of blood may be forgiven, Jane, Ay, give thy sorrow vent; here mayst When humble penitence hath once atoned. thou weep.
De Mon. (eagerly.) What, after terms of lengthDe Mon. (in broken accents.) 0! this, my sister,
en'd misery, makes me feel again
Imprison'd anguish of tormented spirits, The kindness of affection.
Shall I again, a renovated soul, My mind has in a dreadful storm been tost; Into the blessed family of the good Horrid and dark.-I thought to weep no more. Admittance have ? Think'st thou that this may be? I've done a deed-But I am human still.
Speak if thou canst: O speak me comfort here! Jane. I know thy sufferings : leave thy sorrow For dreadful fancies, like an armed host, free:
Have push'd me to despair. It is most horribleThou art with one who never did upbraid ;
O speak of hope ! If any hope there be. Who mourns, who loves thee still.
(Jane is silent, and looks sorroufully upon him ; De Mon. Ah! sayst thou so ? no, no; it should then clasping her hands, and turning her eyes not be.
to heaven, seems to mutter a prayer.) (Shrinking from her.) I am a foul and bloody mur-| De Mon. Ha ! dost thou pray for me? Heaven derer,
hear thy prayer! For such embrace unmeet: O leave me ! leave me! | I fain would kneel.Alas ! I dare not do it. Disgrace and public shame abide me now;
Jane. Not so ! all by th' Almighty Father forms, And all, alas ! who do my kindred own,
May in their deepest misery call on him. The direful portion share.-Away, away!
Come, kneel with me, my brother. Shall a disgraced and public criminal
(She kneels and prays to herself ; he kneels by Degrade thy name, and claim affinity
her, and clasps his hands fervently, but speaks To noble worth like thine ?-I have no name
not. A noise of chains clanking is heard I'm nothing now, not e’en to thee ; depart.
without, and they both rise.) (She takes his hand, and grasping it firmly, De Mon. Hear’st thou that noise? They come speaks with a determined voice.)
to interrupt us. Jane. De Monfort, hand in hand we have enjoy'd Jane. (moving towards a side door.) Then let us The playful term of infancy together ;
De Mon. (catching hold of her with a look of De Mon. Well, I am ready, sir.
horror.) Not there--not there—the corpse (Approaching Jane, whom the Abbess is endea-the bloody corpse !
vouring to comfort, but to no purpose.) Jane. What, lies he there ?-Unhappy Rezen- Ah! wherefore thus ! most honour'd and most dear? velt?
Sbrirk not at the accoutrements of ill, De Mon. A sudden thought has come across my Daring the thing itself. mind;
(Endeavouring to look cheerful.) How came it not before? Unhappy Rezenvelt! Wiit thou permit me with a gyved hand ? Sayst thou but this?
(She gives her hand, which he raises to his lips.) Jane. What should I say? he was an honest This was my proudest office. man;
[EXEUNT, De Monfort leading out Jane. I still have thought him such, as such lament him.
(De Monfort utters a deep groan.) SCENE V.-AN APARTMENT IN THE CONVENT, OPENWhat means this heavy groan?
ING INTO ANOTHER ROOM, WHOSE LOW, ARCHED De Mon.
DOOR IS SEEN IN THE BOTTOM OF THE STAGE. IN It hath a meaning.
ONE CORNER A MONK IS SEEN KNEELING. Enter ABBESS and MONKS, with two OFFICERS of justice Enter another Monk, who, on perceiving him, stops till carrying sellers in their hands to put upon DE MONFORT.
he rises from his knees, and then goes eagerly up to Jane. (starting.) What men are these?
him. 1st Off. Lady, we are the servants of the law,
Ist Monk. How is the prisoner ? And bear with us a power, which doth constrain
2d Monk. (pointing to the door.) He is within, To bind with fetters this our prisoner.
and the strong hand of death (Pointing to De Monfort.) | Is dealing with him. Jane. A stranger uncondemn'd? this cannot be. | 1st Monk.
How is this, good brother? 1st Off. As yet, indeed, he is by law unjudged, Methought he braved it with a manly spirit; But is so far condemn'd by circumstance,
And led, with shackled hands, his sister forth, That law, or custom sacred held as law,
Like one resolved to bear misfortune bravely. Doth fully warrant us, and it must be.
2d Monk. Yes, with heroic courage, for a while Jane. Nay, say not so; he has no power t’escape: He scem'd inspired; but, soon depress'd again, Distress hath bound him with a heavy chain;
Remorse and dark despair o'erwhelm'd his soul: There is no need of yours.
And, from the violent working of his mind, 1st Off. We must perform our office.
Some stream of life within his breast has burst; Jane. O! do not offer this indignity!
For many a time, within a little space, 1st Off. Is it indignity in sacred law
The ruddy tide has rush'd into his mouth. To bind a murderer? (To 2d Officer.) Come, do thy God grant his pains be short ! work.
How does the lady? Jane. Harsh are thy words, and stern thy har 2d Monk. She sits and bears his head upon her den'd brow;
lap, Dark is thine eye ; but all some pity have Wiring the cold drops from his ghastly face Unto the last extreme of misery.
With such a look of tender wretchedness, I do beseech thee! if thou art a man
It wrings the heart to see her.
(Kneeling to him.) | How goes the night? (De Monfort, roused at this, runs up to Jane, 1st Monk. It wears, methinks, upon the midnight and raises her hastily from the ground: then
hour. stretches himself up proudly.)
It is a dark and fearful night: the moon De Mon. (to Jane.) Stand thou erect in native Is wrapp'd in sable clouds ; the chill blast sounds dignity ;
Like dismal lamentations. Ay, who knows And bend to none on earth the suppliant knee, That voices mix with the dark midnight winds? Though clothed in power imperial. To my heart Nay, as I pass'd that yawning cavern's mouth, It gives a feller gripe than many irons.
A whispering sound, unearthly, reach'd my ear, (Holding out his hands.) Here, officers of law, bind And o'er my head a chilly coldness crept. on those shackles;
Are there not wicked fiends and damned sprites, And, if they are too light, bring heavier chairs. Whom yawning charnels, and th’unfathom'd depths Add iron to iron ; load, crush me to the ground: Of secret darkness, at this fearful hour, Nay, heap ten thousand weight upon my breast, Do upwards send, to watch, unseen, around For that were best of all.
The murderer's death-bed, at his fatal term, (A long pause, whilst they put irons upon him. Ready to hail with dire and horrid welcome,
After they are on, Jane looks at him sorrow. Their future mate ?-I do believe there are. fully, and lets her head sink on her breast. 2d Monk. Peace, peace ! a God of wisdom and of De Monfort stretches out his hand, looks at
mercy, them, and then at Jane; crosses them over his Veils from our sight-Ha! hear that heavy groan. breast, and endeavours to suppress his feel.
(A groan heard within.) ings.)
1st Monk. It is the dying man. 1st off. I have it, too, in charge to move you
(Another groan.) hence,
(To De Monfort.) 2d Monk. God grant him rest! Into another chamber more secure.
(Listening at the door.)
I hear him struggling in the gripe of death.
Enter MANUEL and JEROME. O pitecus heaven!
(Goes from the door.)
Man. (pointing.) Here, my good Jerome, here's Enter Brother Thomas from the chamber.
a piteous sight. How now, good brother ?
Jer. A piteous sight! yet I will look upon him :
I'll see his face in death. Alas, alas! Thom. Retire, my friends. O many a bed of
I've seen him move a noble gentleman;
And when with vexing passion undisturbid,
He look'd most graciously.
(Lifts up in mistake the cloth from the body of The death-bell will its awful signal give,
Rezenvelt, and starts back with horror.) When he has breathed his last.
Oh! this was the bloody work! Oh, oh! oh, oh! I would move hence, but I am weak and faint:
That human hands could do it! Let me a moment on thy shoulder lean.
(Drops the cloth again.) 0, weak and mortal man !
Man. That is the murder'd corpse ; here lies De (Leans on second Monk : a pause.)
(Going to uncover the other body.) 2d Monk. (to Bern.) How is your penitent?
Jer. (turning away his head.) No, no ! I cannot Bern. He is with Him who made him ; him, who
look upon him now.
Man. Didst thou not come to see him ? knows The soul of man: before whose awful presence
Jer. Fy! cover him-inter him in the darkTh’ unsceptred tyrant, simple, helpless, stands
Let no one look upon him. Like an unclothed babe.
Bern. (To Jer.) Well dost thou show the ab
horrence nature feels The dismal sound ! Retire and pray for the blood-staind soul :
For deeds of blood, and I commend thee well. May heaven have mercy on him! (Bell tolls again.)
| In the most ruthless heart compassion wakes
For one, who, from the hand of fellow man, [EXEUNT.
Hath felt such cruelty SCENE VI.-A HALL OR LARGE ROOM IN THE CON
(Uncovering the body of Rezenvelt.) VENT. THE BODIES OF DE MONFORT AND REZEN- | This is the murder'd corse : FELT ARE DISCOVERED LAID OUT UPON A LOW
(Uncovering the body of De Monfort) TABLE OR PLATFORM, COVERED WITH BLACK.
But see, I pray! FREBERG, BERNARD, ABBESS, MONKS, AND NUNS ATTENDING.
Here lies the murderer. What think'st thou here?
Look on those features, thou hast seen them oft, Abb. (to Freb.) Here must they lie, my lord,
With the last dreadful conflict of despair, until we know
So fix'd in horrid strength. Respecting this the order of the law.
See those knit brows; those hollow sunken eyes; Fred. And you have wisely done, my reverend
The sharpen'd nose, with nostrils all distent; mother.
That writhed mouth, where yet the teeth appear, (Goes to the table, and looks at the bodies, but
In agony, to gnash the nether lip. without uncovering them.)
Think'st thou, less painful than the murderer's Unhappy men ! ye, both in nature rich,
knife With talents and with virtues were endued.
Was such a death as this Ye should have loved, yet deadly rancour came,
| Ay, and how changed too those matted locks ! And in the prime and manhood of your days
Jer. Merciful heaven ! his hair is grisly grown, Ye sleep in horrid death. O direful hate ! | Changed to white age, that was, but too days since, What shame and wretchedness his portion is,
Black as the raven's plume. How may this be ? Who, for a secret inmate, harbours thee!
Bern. Such change, from violent conflict of the And who shall call him blameless, who excites,
mind, Ungenerously excites, with careless scorn,
Will sometimes come. Such baleful passion in a brother's breast,
Alas, alas ! most wretched ! Whom heaven commands to love? Low are yel Thou wert too good to do a cruel deed, laid:
And so it kill'd thee. Thou hast suffer'd for it. Still all contention now.-Low are ye laid :
God rest thy soul! I needs must touch thy hand, I loved you both, and mourn your hapless fall.
And bid thee long farewell. Abb. They were your friends, my lord ?
(Laying his hand on De Monfort.) Freb. I loved them both. How does the Lady Bern. Draw back, draw back ; see where the Jane?
lady comes. Abb. She bears misfortune with intrepid soul. I never saw in woman bow'd with grief,
Enter JANE DE MONFORT. Such moving dignity.
(Freberg, who has been for some time retired by Freb. Ay, still the same.
himself to the bottom of the stage, now steps I've known her long: of worth most excellent; forward to lead her in, but checks himself on But in the day of wo, she ever rose
seeing the fired sorrow of her countenance, Upon the mind with added majesty,
and draws back respectfully. Jane advances As the dark mountain more sublimely towers
to the table, and looks attentively at the covered Mantled in clouds and storm.
bodies. Manuel points out the body of De Monfort, and she gives a gentle inclination of Man. (to Off.) Hold thy unrighteous tongue, or the head, to signify that she understands him. hie thee hence, She then bends tenderly over it, without Nor, in the presence of this honour'd dame, speaking.
Utter the slightest meaning of reproach. Man. (to Jane, as she raises her head.) 0, madam! 1st Off. I am an officer on duty callid, my good lord.
And have authority to say, “ How died he ?” Jane. Well says thy love, my good and faithfull (Here Jane shakes off the weakness of grief, and Manuel;
repressing Manuel, who is about to reply to the But we must mourn in silence.
Officer, steps forward with dignity.) Man. Alas! the times that I have follow'd him !! Jane. Tell them, by whose authority you come,
Jane. Forbear, my faithful Manuel. For this love He died that death which best becomes a man Thou hast my grateful thanks; and here's my Who is with keenest sense of conscious ill hand:
And deep remorse assail'd, a wounded spirit: Thou hast loved him, and I'll remember thee. A death that kills the noble and the brave, Where'er I am ; in whate'er spot of earth
And only them. He had no other wound. I linger out the remnant of my days,
1st Off. And shall I trust to this? I will remember thee.
Do as thou wilt: Man. Nay, by the living God! where'er you are, To one who can suspect my simple word There will I be. I'll prove a trusty servant: | I have no more reply. Fulfil thine office. l'll follow you, even to the world's end.
1st Off. No, lady, I believe your honoured word, My master's gone ; and I indeed am mean, And will no further search. Yet will I show the strength of nobler men,
Jane. I thank your courtesy : thanks, thanks to Should any dare upon your honour'd worth
all. To put the slightest wrong. Leave you, dear lady! My reverend mother, and ye honour'd maids ; Kill me, but say not this!
Ye holy men, and you, my faithful friends; (Throwing himself at her feet.) The blessing of the afflicted rest with you! Jane. (raising him.) Well, then! be thou my And He, who to the wretched is most piteous, servant, and my friend.
Will recompense you.-Freberg, thou art good; Art thou, good Jerome, too, in kindness come? Remove the body of the friend you loved : I see thou art. How goes it with thine age ?
'Tis Rezenvelt I mean. Take thou this charge : Jer. Ah, madam! wo and weakness dwell with
'Tis meet, that with his noble ancestors age :
He lie entomb'd in honourable state. Would I could serve you with a young man's And now I have a sad request to make, strength!
Nor will these holy sisters scorn my boon : I'd spend my life for you.
That I, within these sacred cloister walls, Jane.
Thanks, worthy Jerome. May raise a humble, nameless tomb to him, O! who hath said the wretched have no friends ? | Who, but for one dark passion, one dire deed,
Freb. In every sensible and generous breast Had claim'd a record of as noble worth Amfiction finds a friend ; but unto thee,
| As e'er enrich'd the sculptured pedestal. (EXEUNT. Thou most exalted and most honourable, The heart in warmest adoration bows, And even a worship pays.
THE MARTYR. Jane. Nay, Freberg, Freberg! grieve me not, my friend.
PERSONS OF THE DRAMA. He to whose ear my praise most welcome was,
MEN. Hears it no more; and, o our piteous lot!
NERO, Emperor of Rome.
CORDENIUS MARO, Officer of the Imperial Guard.
SULPICIUS, a Senator.
SYLVIUS, a brare Centurion.
Roman Pontits. I had no greater pride.
Christian Father or Bishop, Christian Brother, &c. (Covers her face with her hands, and bursts into A Page, in the family of Sulpicius.
tears. Here they all hang about her: Freberg Senators, Christians, Soldiers, &c. supporting her tenderly. Manual embracing
WOMEN, her knees, and old Jerome catching hold of | PORTIA, Daughter of Sulpicius. her robe affectionately. Bernard, Abbess, Christian Women. Monks, and Nuns, likewise, gather round her, SCENE, Rome. with looks of sympathy.) Enter two OFFICERS of law.
ACT І. 1st Off.
Where is the prisoner ? SCENE I.-A PRIVATE APARTMENT IN THE HOUSE Into our hands he straight must be consign'd.
OF SULPICIUS. Bern. He is not subject now to human laws; I
Enter Sulpicius and Orceres by opposite sides. The prison that awaits him is the grave.
Sul. So soon return'd !--I read not in thy face Ist Off. Ha! say'st thou so ? there is foul play in Aught to encourage or depress my wishes. this.
| How is it, noble friend?