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Her cradle's dust reposed-I cannot live
Whose balmy pinions fann'd my youthful bliss. She throws herself on the compassion of the Count, whom she intreats to accompany her to Italy, as the guardian angel he had ever proved himself, and confides to him that, previous to her acquaintance with his brother, (to whom, however, she had been during their brief union a faithful and duteous wife,) she had loved, and that the tears which quenched her vision had failed to extinguish the memory of that pure first flame.
The painter, of whose presence and occupation at her picture she is perfectly unconscious, starts up and endeavours to leave the room. The Count makes him a signal to remain. Camilla exclaims
Cam. Hark! I hear steps—A sudden shudder runs
'Tis nothing. Proverbs say,
Cam. Nay, nay, the footsteps were not those of death.
I must speak with th' Italian messenger. The painter is left in all the ecstasies of reviving, and, at length not altogether hopeless love. He kneels before the picture with outspread arms, and the curtain falls.
The third aćt opens in the Baronial hall, decorated with armour and other trophies, and hung round with family pictures, one of which is covered with a curtain, while next to it a blank space yet remains. The Count has here a private interview with the messenger from Italy, who, alas ! unconscious how much too late for happiness is its arrival, gives the noble knight, with cruel felicitations, the letter he concludes to contain the once precious dispensation —when he innocently remarks,
Mess. Is not the certainty of long-sought bliss
Of all I bring, thine is the costliest gift!
Count. Dost think so? Who can tell ?
The old seneschal enters, and having been at length made aware of the rank and name of the strangers, pours out a flood of rude but hearty congratulations to his young lord, the son of his beloved Count Conrad, whom he had often carried in his arms, and from devotion to whose memory this attached though vindictive and ferocious retainer had stolen, at the risk of his life, from the gallows of Naples, the picture he now unfolds to view-though not, alas ! till it had performed its fatal office, by betraying by its likeness its original to death. The Marquis exclaims
Marq. Heavens ! 'tis himself! I shudder to behold it!
Dear noble features !
VOL. XXVI. NO. CLIV.
the inexorable seneschal, vow vengeance on the venal artist who could thus prostitute his skill for purposes of cruelty. The Count, with his usual mildness, would temper the blind impetuosity of revenge ; but the old servant and the Marquis breathe a fiercer spirit; and the latter, investing his grandson with a sword from the nearest pile, makes him swear that he will devote his youth to seeking and punishing the murderer. The Count beautifully concludes:
Count. Try ere thou strike! From innocent blood preserve
And let him have fair judgment ! When the others have departed to dispatch the Neapolitan envoy, the sea neschal privately imparts to the Count a clew which he possesses to discover the object of his deadly malice, in a peculiar sign or cipher usually affixed by artists as a distinctive mark of their respective works. The Count, to whom such vindictive triumph is repugnant, thus moralizes :
Count. Alas! blind vengeance is a bloody wolf,
Her own fell womb is teeming with remorse. When left alone, more bitter musings still possess him. He takes from his bosom the yet unopened letter from Rome.
Count. What dost thou bring me, silent secret herald ?
(Tears the dispensation, and exit slowly.
The scene changes to a gallery, open on one side to the Alps; the picture of Camilla is 'on the easel, and her faithful attendant seeks an interview with 1 he painter, when inutual explanations take place, which we must merely hint at. Suffice it, that the slumbering affections of Anton Leny (as he now avows himself ) derive fresh and imperishable energy from the communications of the attached confidante of his beloved ; and he even resolves, in the laudable pride of genius and worth, to demand her of her ambitious parent. The only part of this scene, which must be particularized as bearing on the poetical justice of the drama, is, that Julia discovers from the painter's narrative that the picture so fatal to the late Count, and through him to the ambitious views of his haughty father-in-law, was really painted by poor Leny-not, as supposed, for the
Neapolitan government, but at the suggestion of the Marquis, who, as a means of eradicating his daughter's youthful predilection, had imagined the poor de vice of first employing and then insulting the young artist in the presence of the weeping Camilla. For her sake the outraged lover had bridled his resentment, and left Naples; but the picture (though he even yet continues ignorant of it) remained to be the unconscious instrument of retributive justice. Leonhard now enters with his sword by his side. He asks,
Leon. Dear master, know'st thou all ?
Aye, every thing
Call me son,
Thou'rt my son,
Come to my heart, bright image of thy mother! The youth, cleaving with long-tried confidence to his instructor, intreats him to advise him whether to follow the counsels of those who would stimu. late him to deeds of harshness and revenge. The painter mildly disclaims such general principles, but desires to hear the occasion of the enquiry. The youth then recalls to him a former admired work of his own, representing Orestes revenging his father's murder on Clytemnestra and Egisthus, and asks whether, as his art conceived, his judgment sanctions the deed.
Paint. I ne'er imagined it. Alas! 'twas wrought
Leon. Thou didst not then a son's harsh act condemn?
Paint. Condemn it? nay! I shrink from thoughts of blood,
Let's leave yon picture ;
The Count now enters, bidding Leonhard prepare for an excursion on horseback, in which, at the request of the Marquis, they are about to engage; and when alone with the artist, after apostrophizing, in mournful accents, the beautiful picture which he fears will soon remain bis only consolation, (as he con cludes his new friend will, out of affection for his pupil, accompany him and mother in her altered purpose of returning to Italy,) bids Spinarosa be to their mutual happiness, the guardian genius he had once thought to prove himself. On being asked why he should seek to delegate the pious office, he professes himself about-in furtherance of a solemn vow—undertaking a distant journey in quest of Camilla's lost happiness. Without in the least betraying his own love, or the extent of the sacrifice, he draws from the painter a confession that he was the early friend of Anton Leny, and the confident of his youthful passion ; and makes him promise to guide him as the unexpected harbinger of unexpected felicity, to his supposed dwelling in Germany. The painter's gratitude is even now on the point of betraying him, though he as yet dreams not that he has a rival in the dedicated Knight before him.
The Marquis enters, eager to exhibit himself in new splendour to his host's vassals, and summons the painter to attend him as one of his suite ; while the good Count more courteously invites him to survey the future heritage of his dear pupil. The painter declines both, on the plea of availing himself of the Countess's wonted evening visit to this gallery, for the purpose of finislıing her picture. The father expresses his delight and surprise at its exquis site expression, and promises to grant any recompense the artist may demand. He coldly answers,
Paint. Say'st thou? I may ask much ! The riders depart, and the fair subject of the painter's labours shortly are rives. She thus pathetically laments her blindness to her attendant, whom alone she imagines present:
Cam. O happy who can mount a flying steed,
Julia. Ev’n now they gallop swiftly through the vale.
Cam. Dost see the painter? Does he boast the skill
Julia. The rocky screen now hides them from my view.
Julia. Thy mind returns the office of mine eyes.
Julia. Ay, thin and tall.
His eyes are surely blue.
Grief, perhaps !
Indeed! And did his cheek not glow
Julia. I cannot tell.
Ah, then it is not he! These reminiscences become too painful, and Julia, to soothe her mistress's agitation, goes to fetch her harp. In the meantime, the sunset call of the Alpine horn is heard, summoning the flocks and herds to rest. Camilla then gives vent to her feelings in a little mournful rhyme effusion.
I've seen thy charms in happier days, fair scene!
As near his lowly cot his footsteps drew-
And oft my heart bath join'd the peaceful pair,
O my Antonio ! by what paths unknown
wings could fly!
(Here the Painter kneels with outstretched arm But, Father, I commend his lot to Thee, Ob, grant him all and more thou didst design for me! We must hasten towards a conclusion, omitting reluctantly many scenes of great power. One in which Camilla pleads in vain to be permitted to accumpany her father to Italy, though the plea is thus affectingly urged :
Cam. And I, that have drain'd misery's cup with thee,
The privilege to bask in it with thee? When answered with hints of the Count's attachment, she indignantly repels them, as unworthy of his dedicated character, which had hitherto shed its pure charm over their intercourse—and, as a last resource, implores her father to listen to a secret, which he, already anticipating its tenor, refuses to do. We can only glance at the next scene, in which the Count unfolds to the Marquis his firm resolution to resign his own happiness for that of his daughter, and seek, under the guidance of Spinarosa, his friend the painter Leny. To the cold suggestions of pride and ambition he thus replies :
Count. See how between two blooming neighbour lands
My curse upon such love!
With a child's tears to thaw thy frozen heart. They are interrupted by the painter, who, announcing the conclusion of his work, bespeaks its place in the gallery. This the Count promises, while the Marquis detains Spinarosa in earnest conference.
Marg. Not with an artist, of a picture's price,