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Henceforth thy pathway lies among the stars;
I must not hold thee back.
Thou little sceptic!
Dost thou still doubt? What I most prize in woman
Is her affections, not her intellect!
The intellect is finite; but the affections
Are infinite, and cannot be exhausted.
Compare me with the great men of the earth,
What am I? Why, a pigmy among giants!
But if thou lovest, -mark me! I say lovest,
The greatest of thy sex excels thee not!
The world of the affections is thy world,
Not that of man's ambition. In that stillness
Which most becomes a woman, calm and holy,
Thou sittest by the fireside of the heart,
Feeding its flame. The element of fire
Is pure. It cannot change nor hide its nature,
But burns as brightly in a Gipsy camp
As in a palace hall. Art thou convinced ?
Prec. Yes, that I love thee, as the good love heaven
But not that I am worthy of that heaven.
How shall I more deserve it?
Prec. I cannot love thee more; my heart is full.
Vict. Then let it overflow, and I will drink it
As in the summer-time the thirsty sands
Drink the swift waters of the Manzanares,
And still do thirst for more.
A Watchman (in the street). Ave Maria
Purissima! 'Tis midnight and serene !
Vict. Hear'st thou that cry?
It is a hateful sound,
To scare thee from me!
As the hunter's horn
Doth scare the timid stag, or bark of hounds
The moor-fowl from his mate.
Pray do not go !
Vict. I must away to Alcalá to-night.
Think of me when I am away.
I have no thoughts that do not think of thee.
Vict. (giving her a ring). And to remind thee of my love,
A serpent, emblem of Eternity;
A ruby, --say, a drop of my heart's blood.
Prec. It is an ancient saying, that the ruby
Brings gladness to the wearer, and preserves
The heart pure, and, if laid beneath the pillow,
Drives away evil dreams. But then, alas!
It was a serpent tempted Eve to sin.
Vict. What convent of barefooted Carmelites
Taught thee so much theology?
Prec. (laying her hand upon his mouth). Hush ! hush!
Good night! and may all holy angels guard thee!
Vict. Good night! good night! Thou art my guardian angel !
I have no other saint than thou to pray to!
(He descends by the balcony.)
Prec. Take care, and do not hurt thee! Art thou safe?
Vict. (from the garden). Safe as my love for thee! But art
Others can climb a balcony by moonlight
As well as I. Pray shut thy window close;
I am jealous of the perfumed air cf night
That from this garden climbs to kiss thy lips.
Prec. (throwing down her handkerchief). Thou silly child!
take this to blind thine eyes.
It is my benison !
And brings to me
Sweet fragrance from thy lips, as the soft wind
Wafts to the out-bound mariner the breath
Of the beloved land he leaves behind.
Prec. Make not thy voyage long.
Shall see me safe returned. Thou art the star
To guide me to an anchorage. Good night!
My beauteous star! My star of love, good night!
Prec. Good night!
Watchman (at a distance). Ave Maria Purissima!
SCENE IV.-An inn on the road to Alcalá. BALTASAR asleep on a
bench. Enter CHISPA. Chispa. And here we are, half-way to Alcalá, between cocks and midnight. Body o' me! what an inn this is ! The lights out, and the landlord asleep. Holá! ancient Baltasar!
Bal. (waking). Here am I. Chispa. Yes, there you are, like a one-eyed Alcalde in a town without inhabitants. Bring a light, and let me have supper.
Bal. Where is your master?
Chispa. Do not trouble yourself about him. We have stopped a moment to breathe our horses; and if he chooses to walk up and down in the open air, looking into the sky as one who hears it rain, that does not satisfy my hunger, you know. But be quick, for I am in a hurry, and every man stretches his legs according to the length of his coverlet. What have we here?
Bal. (setting a light on the table). Stewed rabbit.
Chispa (eating). Conscience of Portalegre! Stewed kitten, you mean!
Bal. And a pitcher of Pedro Ximenes, with a roasted pear in it, Chispa (drinking). Ancient Baltasar, amigo! You know how
to cry wine and sell vinegar. I tell you this is nothing but Vino Tinto of La Mancha, with a tang of the swine-skin.
Bal. I swear to you, by Saint Simon and Judas, it is all as
Chispa. And I swear to you by Saint Peter and Saint Paul, that it is no such thing. Moreover, your supper is like the hidalgo's dinner, very little meat, and a great deal of table-cloth.
Bal. Ha! ha! ha!
Chispa. And more noise than nuts.
Bal. Ha! ha! ha! You must have your joke, Master Chispa. But shall I not ask Don Victorian in, to take a draught of the Pedro Ximenes ?
Chispa. No; you might as well say, “Don't-you-want-some?"" to a dead man.
Bal. Why does he go so often to Madrid ?
Chispa. For the same reason that he eats no supper. He is in love. Were you ever in love, Baltasar?
Bal. I was never out of it, good Chispa. It has been the torment of my
life. Chispa. What! are you on fire, too, old haystack? Why, we shall never be able to put you out.
Vict. (without). Chispa !
Chispa. Go to bed, Pero Grullo, for the cocks are crowing.
Viet. Ea! Chispa! Chispa !
Chispa. Ea! Señor. Come with me, ancient Baltasar, and bring water for the horses. I will pay for the supper to-morrow.
SCENE V.- VICTORIAN'S chambers at Alcalá. HYPOLITO asleep in an arm-chair.
He awakes slowly.
Hyp. I must have been asleep! ay, sound asleep !
And it was all a dream. O sleep, sweet sleep!
Whatever form thou takest, thou art fair,
Holding unto our lips thy goblet filled
Out of Oblivion's well, a healing draught!
The candles have burned low; it must be late.
Where can Victorian be? Like Fray Carrillo, *
The only place in which one cannot find him
Is his own cell. Here's his guitar, that seldom
Feels the caresses of its master's hand.
Open thy silent lips, sweet instrument !
And make dull midnight merry with a song.
(He plays and sings.)
* The allusion here is to a Spanish epigram.
Siempre Fray Carrillo estás
cansándonos acá fuera;
quien en tu celda estuviera
para no verte jamas !"
Böhl de Faber. Floresta, No. 611.
Padre Francisco ! 3
Padre Francisco !
Vhat do you want of Padre Francisco ?
Here is a pretty young maiden
Who wants to confess her sins!
Open the door and let her come in,
I will shrive her from every sin.
Vict. Padre Hypolito! Padre Hypolito!
Ilyp. What do you want of Padre Hypolito?
Vict. Come, shrive me straight; for, if love be a sin,
I am the greatest sinner that doth live.
I will confess the sweetest of all crimes,
A maiden wooed and won.
The same old tale
Of the old woman in the chimney corner,
Who, while the pot boils, says, Come here, my child;
I'll tell thee a story of my wedding-day;
Vict. Nay, listen, for my heart is full; so full
That I must speak.
Alas! that heart of thine
Is like a scene in the old play; the curtain
Rises to solemn music, and lo! enter
The eleven thousand virgins of Cologne !
Vict. Nay, like the Sibyl's volumes, thou shouldst say;
Those that remained, after the six were burned,
Being held more precious than the nine together.
But listen to my tale. Dost thou remember
The Gipsy girl we saw at Córdova
Dance The Romalis in the market-place?
Hyp. Thou meanest Preciosa.
Ay, the same.
Thou knowest how her image haunted me
Long after we returned to Alcalá.
She's in Madrid.
I know it.
And I'm in love.
Hyp. And therefore in Madrid when thou shouldst be
Vict. O pardon me, iny friend,
If I so long have kept this secret from thee;
But silence is the charm that guards such treasures,
And, if a word be spoken ere the time,
They sink again, they were not meant for us.
Hyp. Alas, alas! I see thou art in love.
Love keeps the cold out better than a cloak.
It serves for food and raiment. Give a Spaniard
His mass, his olla, and his Doña Luisa,
Thou knowest the proverb. But pray tell me, lover,
How speeds thy wooing? Is the maiden coy?
Write her a song, beginning with an Ave;
Sing as the monk sang to the Virgin Mary,
Ave! cujus calcem clare
Nec centenni commendare
Sciret Seraph studio ! *
Vict. Pray do not jest! This is no time for it!
I am in earnest !
What, hc! The Primus of great Alcalá
Enamoured of a Gipsy? Tell me frankly,
How meanest thou?
I mean it honestly.
Hyp. Surely thou wilt not marry her!
Hyp. She was betrothed to one Bartolomé.
If I remember rightly, a young Gipsy,
Who danced with her at Córdova.
And so the matter ended.
But, in truth,
Thou wilt not marry her.
In truth I will.
The angels sang in heaven when she was born.
She is a precious jewel I have found
Among the filth and rubbish of the world.
I'll stoop for it; but when I wear it here,
Set on my forehead like the morning star,
The world may wonder, but it will not laugh.
Hyp. If thou wearest nothing else upon thy forehead,
'Twill be, indeed, a wonder.
Out upon thee,
With thy unseasonable jests! Pray tell me,
Is there no virtue in the world?
What, think'st thou, is she doing at this moment;
Now, while we speak of her?
She lies asleep,
And, from her parted lips, her gentle breath
Comes like the fragrance from the lips of flower.
Her tender limbs are still, and on her breast,
The cross she prayed to, ere she fell asleep,
Rises and falls with the soft tide of dreams,
Like a light barge safe moored.
Which means, in prose,
She's sleeping with her mouth a little open!
Vict. O would I had the old magician's glass
To see her as she lies in child-like sleep!
Ilyp. And wouldst thou venture? * From a monkish hymn of the twelfth century, in Sir Alexander Croke’s Essay on the Origin, Progress, and Decline of Rhyming Latin Verse, p. 109.