Слике страница
[ocr errors]

Recall thy lie—thou little know'st what hope
It poisons

Paint. Though I knew, yet could I not
Unsay it.

Count. Didst thou not thyself consent
To lead me to him?

Aye, I thought so once,
But now the tidings of his death have reach'd me.

Count. Heavens, is it possible! Is she thus free?

Paint. Take, then, the bliss thou didst design for him
Home to thine own pure breast.
Count. (Aside.)

What doth he mean?
Hath he discover'd ?-(Aloud) Ha! my mind misgives me,
As if thou wert a villain, making havoc
Of others' bliss to aid thíne own escape.
But hear me; I'll forgive thee-thou shalt go,
I'll never ask what crime thou didst commit,
If thou'lt but say—“I lied;"—say it—and live!

Paint. My noble friend, suspicion is to thee
As strange as guilt to me. I love, and honour,
And bow before thy silent generosity,
Yet did ye rank me not too far beneath yem
Believe me, Anton Leny is dead--and lay
Yon monumental cross upon


grave. Leonhard enters hastily, summoning the Count, at his grandfather's desire, to his inconsolable mother. The Painter betrays deep but suppressed emotion. The Count thus addresses him

Count. To a dread secret bar I summon thee;
I'll lay before ye blighted wreaths, and call
Pale, silent witnesses, whom, if ye face,
Then I'll believe.

(Erit. The Painter and Leonhard are now left in painful tête-à-tête. The latter stands, for the first time in his life, shyly apart.

Paint. My son, my Leonhard, we must part !

And wherefore?
Paint. Ask not-we must. Come, lay thyself once more
Upon my heart. Why stand'st thou shuddering there ?-
Am I grown strange to thee?

Strange! ah, how shall I
Wean myself thence ?

Bid farewell to the tree
Amid whose boughs thy nest hung, when, like those
Of the young nightingale, thine earliest notes
Were pour’d. Alas ! Fate's winter is approaching,
The tree must die-while thou, on jocund wing,
Spring'st into life!

And hast thou kept thy promise,
My master? Surely 'tis nought good that breaks
Our hallow'd bond, and sends thee from my side!

Paint. What! doth Suspicion's demon-form arise
Even in thy soul? Then is our heart's-bond broken
Indeed. If thou hast lost love's precious fruit,
Sweet confidence, the tottering plant is ripe
For parting.

Leon. Be not in a parting hour
Thus harsh.

Paint. Nor thou ! seem as thou lovedst me still.
I will not ask what thus estranges thee,
I will not know who mine accusers are,

If thou absolv’st me not-alas! I cannot !
But give me the sweet boon of childhood's love
To live on in my weary pilgrimage,
When life's a desert to my beggar'd heart!

Leon, 0, master! father!

Look me in the face ;
Dost thou mark stains of conscious guilt behind
Its tearful veil? Lay on my breast thine hand-
Higher my heart may swell than e'er thou know'st,
But 'tis with love, pure, inexpressible,
That bids me leave thee-and in silence !

Methinks, seeks not concealment.

Paint. (Lifting his hands to heaven.) Oh! to Thee
Dare child of dust compare himself! What eye
Fathoms the fount of that Eternal Love
Which leads the stars through ether, dips their wings
In light, and bids their radiant arms expand
In brotherly embrace across heaven's fields ;
Yet bids the rose-bud be with dews refresh'd,
And balmy breezes fann'd? Behind a veil,
Deep, dread, inscrutable, 'tis shrouded; yet
Thou dost believe it, for thou feel'st its power.
Oh! thus believe my love—thou'lt understand it
When I'm no more ; 'tis but a sever'd drop
From the bright fount above-and, like it, pure!

Leon. (Embracing him.) Yes, yes! I do believe! Forgive me, father! Unfortunately the youth's returning confidence forbids him to demand, or even listen, to the explanation the Painter could so easily give of the fatal picture affair—the enigmatical allusions to which, on his pupil's part, he is anxious to clear up; so they part, though in perfect amity, yet without a inue tual understanding on that important point.

Paint. So! thou art mine once more--before I go!
Leon. Why shouldst thou go? thou wilt return again?
Paint. 'Tis in the hand of God-] scarce believe it.
Leon. Not to return! and wilt thou, thus forsaken,
Thus unprotected, wander through the world?
Oh, take with thee a token of my love,
For retribution, like a shadowy ghost,
Oft dogs the pilgrim's footsteps; take this sword,
Giv'n thee by love to be thy bosom’s friend;
'Twas consecrated to a pious purpose :
Thy son fulfils it--in thus arming thee. (The curtain falls.

We must hasten to a conclusion, and compress into brief space the whole sad catastrophe of the fifth act, which opens with a soliloquy of the Painter's.

Paint. Lull'd is the day's loud tempest! and the depths
Of night heave only with the measured swell
Of deep-breathed slumber! Dreams the cradle rock
Of the vex'd mariner-the land smiles nigh,
And friendly beacons call the wand'rer home!
'Tis fix'd-I must depart. Night ! let thy peace
Rest on this house and light me on my path,
Ye stars! and when glad morning.chimes
Announce the dawn, when loving hearts enquire
Of me, I shall be far, Farewell, farewell!

He is joined by the Seneschal, in consequence of a private signal he had made him tn do so. The old man ironically remarks on the general dejece tion pervading the noble household, and the inability of all (save the ironsouled Marquis) to partake of the evening meal. The poor artist breaks out into passionate parting sorrow, which the Seneschal hears unmoved; but becomes animated by keen malice, when the Painter solicits his assistance to depart secretly under cloud of pight; a design which, of course, he ascribes to the consciousness of guilt.

Sen. Wilt thou go forth to-night?

Aye, this same night.
My silent farewell hath to all been said,
On all love's blessing shed ! Now am I ready;
Open the doors at midnight-'tis the hour
Bist fits my journey-

Trust me, I'll be there.
Paint. But one prayer more-Where doth the picture hang?
Sen. Which mean ye?

Which! the likeness of the Countess
I lately painted.


'Tis in the great hall.
Paint. I would take leave of it-Wilt let me see it
Before I part?

Ser. Thou'lt find more pictures there,
Perchance they may have farewell greetings for thee !

Paint. Then ye consent; but not a word of this.
Sen. I can be secret. Well I know your reasons !
Paint. 0, night, come quickly with thy pall of sleep;
When life's at rest, the dead should wander free!


The significant comments of the exertions till the Painter's moment of old servant, on the murderer's guilty departure next day, when the feelings fight, prepare the mind for some im- of Camilla may powerfully second the pending catastrophe.

voice of friendship. To LeonhardThe Count and Julia now enter in who has at length been made acquaintearnest conference, which the Senes- ed by his mother with her early history chal unfortunately attempts to intere -he holds out similar though general rupt in vain with his supposed un- promises of labouring for her happiness, important secret. Julia, now urged and permits Julia, in the meantime, to by vecessity, places unlimited confi- soothe her regrets by vague but pleadence in the Countmexculpates Leny sing anticipations-loomed, alas, by from all guilt, or even an involuntary this procrastination, never to be realiaccession to his brother's fate-and, zed. In the meantime, the vindictive after drawing from this magnanimous Seneschal, finding his warning slightlover his determination not even to ed by the engrossed Count, awakes attempt to rival the memory of the the more congenial Marquis from his deceased Leny, she informs him of first sleep, to take upon himself the his being not only alive, but actually office of avenger. They conceal theme on the spot, in the person of his pre- selves in Camilla's chamber, adjoining tended friend ; whose generous mo- the Baronial-hall, availing themselves tives for signing his own death-war- of her absence with her attendant in rant the Count now first comprehends. the castle gardens, unusual presentiand fully appreciates. He resolves on ments having deprived her of rest. devoting his whole powers of persua- As twelve strikes the Painter ension and claims on the Marquis to ters, and thus apostrophizes the Counthe cause of unfortunate love; but tess's picture also defers, not unnaturally, these final

Paint. Here may. I dare to breathe no mute farewell,
And stamp thine image on my widow'd heart.

In memory shalt thou live, as pictured here,
Still smiling-though I weep-I'll clothe thy future
In the bright halo art has round thee thrown.
Races unborn may pause, perchance, before thee,
Wondering to see the charms, that singly grace
Thy late posterity, in one rich crown
Twine round thy brow. The magic wand of art
Shall speak the master's power, when all unknown
Is its sad source—and his true love forgotten.

'Tis midnight! Spirits of yon silent heroes,
Wake ye not now? Do ye not hover nigh,
Ye ancient masters, o'er your darling works?
Oh! take me to ye ! let me join your band,
That nightly we may wander here together.
(To the covered picture) And thou—whoart thou? there, behind the veil,
Fear'st thou ber charms should dazzle thee? for shame,
Doff thy concealment, and salute yon angel !
What do I see? hath hell dispatch'd thee hither,
Detested image! love and art alike
Once more with fiendish mockery to profane,
And with thy faded, ghastly features, scare
My soul bewilder'd from yon holy shrine ?
Avaunt! Begone from her whose life 'twas thine
To poison ! Thou’rt my work, and I may

Annihilate thee! (He draws his sword to destroy the picture.

Enter MARQUIS and SeneSCHAL.

Hold ! detested traitor!
Sen. Stand, self-snared sinner!

Why? What have I done
That thus ye call me?

Dost thou ask so boldly?
If with drawn sword ye dare to coward combat
Yon senseless picture—which in Naples cost
My son, Count Norden's life-lo! in its room
Do I defy thee to the strife

And I!
Paint. Is't possible? Hung this upon the scaffold ?
Did this betray him? Heav'nly justice, hold !
Cease to be love's avenger! 'Tis enough!
Let deep oblivion bury all--and so
Farewell. I must be gone.

Stand, traitor, stand ! The Marquis then, referring to Julia's former communication to himself, puts it to Spinarosa, whether he or Leny painted the fatal picture-betraying his cruel wish to have the blame laid on the latter, that his very memory may be embittered to Camilla. The generous Painter, by a last effort of magnani. mity, refuses to give her this additional pang, and at the risk of his life anse


Paint. Not Leny-'twas I !

Ye hear him! he confesses! The Seneschal falls on him, accusing him of having purloined the sword designed for his own punishment. The Painter indignantly appeals to Heaven, and disarms the assailant in a moment.

Marq. Then, it remains for ine-Vengeance is mine.
Defend thyself! Blood calls aloud for blood !

Paint. No, no ! I dare not ! No! it is her father!

Marq. To hell, then! dastard villain !

(Stabs him. Paint.

Stay thine hand!
It has struck home-all's over!

"Tis enough. The Count must know.

(Goes out. Paint.

Short is the painful path. Farewell, Camilla !

(Camilla and her Attendant now burst in from the adjoining

chamber. Cam.

Ha! who calls? I hear
The clash of arms—The spirits are at strife!

Paint. Peace is at hand!

Merciful Heav'n, what's here?
Leny bathed in blood !

How? dost thou see his ghost
Bloody before thee?

Julia. (To Painter.) Man thyself, and say
What hath befall’n thee.

Paint. (Imploringly.) Ask not-and begone.
Julia. Revive! but for Camilla-
Paint. (In agony.)

Ah! Camilla !
Cam. Hark! 'twas his voice! he call'd me!
Marq. (To Julia.)

Hence, I say!
Julia. 'Tis he, Camilla ! and his outstretch'd arms
Are longing to enfold thee.

Where is he?
Horror and joy run mingling through my frame-
The thunder-clouds have met ; strange lightnings flash
Through the deep midnight! Who hath from mine eyes
Rent the dark veil, letting forgotten rays
Pierce through the gloom of years ? Where is he?

Hence, I command thee! 'Tis no place for women
Mid manhood's strife.

Cam. (Gazing bewildered on him.) What form is that I see
With bloody sword? Thou, like my old hard father,
Art come to stand between our new-freed souls-
No! on this side the grave thy might is ended !

Marq. Take hence yon lunatic-my shuddering soul
Shrinks from her ravings.

Why are ye so pale?
Is judgment nigh? I see its morn hath dawn’d,
The graves have open'd! Is thy word fulfill’d,
Dread recompenser? Is thy time arrived
For healing broken hearts? Dost give me him
Once more? Where is Antonio?

Julia. (To Painter.) Call her by her name
Once, ere her senses fail.

O my Camilla !
Cam. 'Tis love calls on me! Yes, I know thee now!
Oh, take me with thee!

(She sinks into his arms in a dying state. Paint.

Come, beloved one, come !
Julia. O God, she dies !

She's frantic-tear her from him !

Enter Count and SENESCHAL. Count. (To Painter.) What do I see? My friend, methinks thou’rt

wounded Paint. Ev'n unto death!

« ПретходнаНастави »