Слике страница

group of Indians is gathered—they flit to and fro, with something like sorrow on their dark brows. In their midst lies a manly form ; but his cheek, how deathly! his eyes wild with the fire of fever! One friend stands beside him, nay, I should say, kneels, for see, he is pillowing that poor head upon his bosom. Genius in ruin! Oh, the high, holylooking brow! Why should death mark it, and he so young? Look, how he throws back the damp curls! See him clasp his hands! hear his thrilling shriek for life! mark how he clutches at the form of his companion, imploring to be saved! Oh, hear him call piteously his father's name! See him twine his fingers together as he calls for his sister, the twin of his soul, weeping for him in his distant land ! (The bridal party shrink back, and the Judge sinks, overpowered, to his scat at her side, bouing his head.) See, his arms are lifted to heaven; he prays, how wildly, for mercy.. Hot fever throbs in his veins. The friend beside him is weeping, awe-stricken, the dark men move silently away, and leave the living and dying together. (Smothered sob from some one. The bride stands upright, with quivering lip and tearful eyes. She draws the glass toward her, and, in a low but aufuliy distinct voice, goes on.) It is evening now; the great white moon is coming up, and its beams lie gently on his forehead. He moves not-his eyes are set in their sockets, dim are their piercing glances; in vain his friends whisper the name of father and sister. Death is here!Death! and no soft hand, no gentle voice, to bless and soothe him. His head sinks back-one convulsive shudder-he is dead! (.1 groan runs through the assembly. The bridegroom covers his face and werps.) Dead (in a more broken voice)! Dead! And there they scoop him a grave, and there, without a shroud, they lay bim down on that damp, reeking earth. The only son of a proud father; the only idolized brother of a fond sister (the Judge groans bilterly), and he sleeps in that distant country, with no stone to mark the spot. There he lies, my father's son, my own twin-brother, a victim to this deadly poison. Father (turning suddenly to Judge II.), father, shall I drink it now?

JUDGE H. (in a smothered voice.) No, no, my child! in God's name, no!

The bride lifts the goblet and drops it to the floor. The guests

transfer silently their glasses to the table, without tasting the wine. Looking at the fragments, she turns to the company, saying:

Bride. Let no friend, hereafter, who loves me, tempt me to peril my soul for wine. Not firmer are the everlasting hills than my resolve, God helping me, never to touch or taste that terrible poison. And he (turning to the bridegroom) to whom I have given my hand, who watched over my brother's dying form in the last solemn hour, and buried the dear wanderer there by the river in that land of gold, will, I trust, sustain me in that resolve. Will you not, my husband? BRIDEGROOM. Yes, Marion, God helping me, I will !

[ Tableau as curtain falls. Note.-The above is dramatized from a reading in "One Hundred Choice Selections No. 2," entitled “ PLEDGE WITH WINE."


[blocks in formation]

MAY QUEEN – White dress ; crown, scepter and garland of flowers SYLVA — White dress, with overdress of green tarldan, looped with

light vines; wreath, and bouquets of green leaves. LYRA — White dress; a silver bugle hangs at her side; she wears

a silver coronet. FLORA — White dress, trimmed with flowers; a wreath of flowers

upon her head. UNDINE — White dress, with a long veil of sea-green tissue, like a

bridal-veil, do'ted with white glass beads, like dew-drops. She

wears a coronet of sea-shells. SCENE.- A forest; a rustic bouer, or arbor, at the end of the stage; in the centre a moss-covered throne, in front of which stands

Sylva and Lyra.
Silva. Go, Lyra, and from out thy bugle's throat

Send forth a call whose silvery tones shall float
Adown each leafy corridor, and tell
Thy sister nymphs, in grotto, cave and dell,

To haste to Greenwood bower.

When morning flung her roseate portals wide,
From 'neath the glittering arch was seen to ride
A courier, fleet, who to my wardens told,
The May Queen comes this day, in state, to hold

Her court in Greenwood bower. Lyra goes out; a bugle blast is heard, first clear, then softly, as though dying in the distance. Sylva passes to the bower, arranging festoons and trailing vines from its arches.

While overhead, through lattice-work of green,
Through tasseled larch, and aspen’s silvery sheen,
At hide-and-seek the merry sunbeams play,
With feathery ferns, green moss, and lichens gray,

I'll deck my Greenwood bower.

Enter Lyra, Undine, and Flora.
UNDINE. And has the May-day come?

I only know
That where the sweetest buds and blossoms grow

The Mayers came for flowers.

The Queen was seen
This very morn, upon the village green,
To lead the dance. The magpie, chattering dame,
Had brought the joyous news, and when I came
I heard the rarest strains of melody;
Each bird was warbling forth, from bush and tree,

The May Queen's praise.

Adown the glen, last night,
I saw a nymph-like seraph take her flight;
The moonbeams lit her face, where roses red
Seemed washed, by tears, to lily's snow, instead;
And yet there hovered, still, the tender trace
Of smiles, about the youthful, artless face.
She ever backward looked, and wept anew,

And fast, and faster, down the woodland flew.
Flora. 'Twas April, sure!

Ah, yes, like petted child,
She ever laughed to cry, and, sobbing, smiled.
You pitied grief, her laughter rang instead;

You sued for smiles, she, weeping, hung her head.
FLORA. The fickle-hearted thing! and yet how sweet

Her coming seemed !

Ha! ha! the gay retreat
The old March made! He never turred, not he,
To see who his successor fair might be,

But fumed and stormed, FLORA.

And 'neath his angry tread, My brave-heart crocuses lay crushed and dead! Lyra. He chilled my songsters till their trilling notes

Were well-nigh frozen music in their throats. Flora. He very lamb-like came a month before,

But lion-like he went, with blustering roar. UNDINE. We all will hail with happy hearts the day

That brings us once again the merry May.
All. The merry, merry month of May!
Sylva (coming forward).

I ween,
If truth ye speak, no fitter sight was seen
Than that each woodland nymph should haste to bring,
To grace the May Queen's court, an offering.
Go forth, and seek the choice, the rare, the sweet,

And lay your treasures at the May Queen's feet.
Lyra, Undine, and Flora go out. Singing is heard vithout
Enter Queen and the Mayers. Two little girls walk before the
Queen, scattering flowers in her path. The Mayers follow,
singing :

Tune, Fair as the Morning."
Come to the woodland, Queen of the May,
Realm of the Twilight, sister of Day,
Haunt of the dryad, home of the fay,

Beautiful Greenwood bower!
Chorus. Sweet and clear as chime of fairy bells,

Song and laughter floating through the dells
Rouses the cavern, where Echo dwells,

Echo, the eltin-king!
Sylva (to Queen).

To Greenwood bower, on this thy festive day,

I bid thee welcome. Welcome, Queen of May! QUEEN. Thanks, goddess, for thy courtesy. I ween

No loyal subject e'er saluted queen

In kindlier phrase.
Sylva (leading Queen to throne).

And wilt thou seated be,
Upon the mossy throne I've reared for thee?

Enter Flora, with basket of flowers.
FLORA. While from the glad earth the flowers are springing,

Greeting with fragrance this beautiful day,

I, Flora, their goddess, am come to thee bringing

This tribute of love to the Queen of the May.
Over the mountains, and where, through the valleys

Streamlets on silver feet run to the sea,
Where on the lakelet's breast float the pond-lilies,

I've wandered and gathered my treasures for thee. Queen. Thanks, Flora, for the precious gift of flowers,

Bright emblems of a fairer world than ours.

Enter Lyra, with harp made of white flowers.
LYRA. The minstrel harp that through all time

In tones of rich, enchanted measure,
Has breathed its symphonies sublime,

I bring, as Lyra's choicest treasure.
In beauty's praise its notes would swell,

As softly sweet as zephyr's sighing;
Or, like a rolling anthem, tell

The fame of warrior, bravely dying.
And when with trembling touch, the strings

Were swept, as dark death dimmed the vision,
Its sweetest strains, like angels' wings,

Would waft the soul to fields Elysian.
QUEEN. I take thy gift, I deem it true,

The brightest links of life might sever,
And pain us less, than if we knew

The voice of song were hushed forever.
Enter Undine, with casket of gems in one hand, and a branch of

purple fan-coral in the other. UNDINE. Rare is the gift that I bring to thee,

Gems from a mermaid, under the sea.
In a coral-grove, where jewels bright
Glitter and gleam like the stars at night,
Veiled like a nun by her shining hair,
She has dwelt for ages in beauty there;
Over her neck, when the world was young,
A rosary rare, old

me flung, -
A necklace of gems, so rich and clear,
To symbol the months of the shining year;
Next to the emerald, April, lay
A diamond, christened beautiful May;
Brighter than ruby, the June-gem, shone
The beautiful May, the peerless stone.

« ПретходнаНастави »