Page images


To me,

Jos. Ah,

lenheim) added by myself: but in the rest the ori

WERNER. ginal is chiefly followed. When I was young (about fourteen, I think), I first read this tale, which made a deep impression upon me; and may, indeed, be said to contain the germ of much that I have since

ACT I written. I am not sure that it ever was very popular; or, at any rate, its popularity has since been eclipsed by that ofother great writers in the same department. The Hall of a decayed Palace near a small Town But I have generally found that those who had read on the Northern Frontier of Silesiathe Night it agreed with me in their estimate of the singular tempestuous. power of mind and conception which it developes. I should also add conception, rather than execu

WERNER(1) and JOSEPHINE his wife. lion; for the story might, perhaps, have been deve- Jos. My love, be calmer! loped with greater advantage. Amongst those whose Wer.

I am calm. opinions agreed with mine upon this story, I could Jos. mention some very high names: but it is not neces- Yes, but not to thyself: thy pace is hurried, sary, nor indeed of any use; for every one must And no one walks a chamber like to ours judge according to his own feelings. I merely With steps like thine when his heart is at rest. refer the reader to the original story, that he may Were il a garden, I should deem thee happy, see to what extent I have borrowed from it; and And stepping with the bee from flower to flower ; am not unwilling that he should find much greater But here! pleasure in perusing it than the drama which is

Wer. 'Tis chill; the tapestry lets through founded upon its contents.

The wind to which it waves : my blood is frozen. I had begun a drama upon this tale so far back as

no! 1815 (the first I ever attempted, except one at thir- Wer. (smiling.) Why! wouldst thou have it so? leen years old, called Ulric and Ilvina, which ) Jos.

I would had sense enough to burn), and nearly completed Have it a healthful current. an act, when I was interrupted by circumstances. Wer.

Let it flow This is somewhere amongst my papers in England; Until 't is spilt or check’d-how soon, I care not. but as it has not been found, I have re-written the Jos. And am I nothing in thy heart? first, and added the subsequent acts:


All-all. The whole is neither intended, nor in any shape Jos. Then canst thou wish for that which must adapted, for the stage. (1)

break mine? PISA, February, 1899.

Wer. (approaching her slowly.) But for theel

had been-no matter what,

But much of good and evil; what I am,

Thou knowest; what I might or should have been,

Thou knowest not: but still I love thee, nor

Shall aught divide us.

(WERNER walks on abruptly, and then ap-

proaches JOSEPHINE.

The storm of the night,


Perhaps, affects me; I'm a thing of feelings,


And have of late been sickly, as, alas!


Thou know'st by sufferings more than mine, my
In watching me.



To see thee well is muchScene-Partly on the Frontier of Silesia, and To see thee happypartly in Siegendorf Castle, near Prague. Wer.

Where hast thou seen such ? Timethe Close of the Thirty Years' War. Let me be wretched with the rest!

Emily's and the Clergyman's Talo, or Pembroke, were con- (2) “Werner-we mean Kruitzner-is admirably drawn. tributed by Sophia Lee, the author of The Recess, the comedy of Who does not recognise in him the portrait of loo common a The Chapter of Accidents, and Ameyda, a tragedy, who died character? The man of shining talent, ardent mind, powerful in 1824. The German's Tale, and all the others in the Canter-connexions, brilliant prospects, who, after squandering away all bury Collection, were written by Harriet, the younger of tbe in wanlon sell-indulgence, having lived only for himself, finds him sisters.-E.

self bankrupt in fortune and character, the prey of bitter regret, (1) Werner is, however, one of Lord Byron's dramas that has yet, unrepentant, as selfish in remorse as in his gaiely All proved successful in representalion. It is still (1834) in possession that is inconsistent in the character of Kruitzner is rendered of the stage.-E.

still more so in the Werner of the drama. If he is made some


But think

Jos. (abruptly.) My son-our son-our Ulric, How many in this hour of tempest shiver

Bcen clasp'd again in these long-emply arms, Beneath the biting wind and heavy rain,

And all a mother's hunger satisfied. Whose every drop bows them down nearer earth, I'welve years! he was but eight then :-beautiful Which hath no chamber for them save beneath He was, and beautiful he must be now, Her surface.

My Ulric! my adored ! Wer. And that's not the worst: who cares


I have been full oft For chambers ? rest is all. The wretches whom

l'he chase of forlune; now she hath o'ertaken Thou namest-ay, the wind howls round them, and My spirit where it cannot turn at bay,The dull and dropping rain saps in their bones

Sick, poor, and lonely. The creeping marrow. I have been a soldier,


Lonely! my dear husbanıl?) A hunter, and a traveller, and am A beggar, and should know the thing thou talk'st of: Far worse than solitude. Alone, I had died,

Wer. Or worse-involving all I love, in this Jos. And art thou not now shelter'd from them all?

And all been over in a nameless grave.
Wer. Yes. And from these alone.

Jos. And I had not outlived thee; but pray take
And that is something.

Comfort! We have struggled long; and they who Wer. True-to a peasant.

strive Jos. Should the nobly-born

With Fortune win or weary her at last, Be thankless for that refuge which their habits

So that they find the goal or cease to feel Of early delicacy render more

Further. Take comfort,-we shall find our boy. Needful than to the peasant, when the ebb Of fortune leaves them on the shoals of life?

Wer. We were in sight of him, of every thing Wer. It is not that, thou know'st it is not; we

Which could bring compensation for past sorrowHave borne all this, I'll not say patiently,

And to be baffled thus !

Jos. Except in thee-but we have borne it.

We are not baffled. Jos.


Wer. Are we not pennyless ? Wer. Something beyond our outward sufferings


We ne'er were wealthy. (though

Wer. But I was born to wealth, and rank, and These were enough to gnaw into our souls)

power; Hath stung me oft, and, more than ever, now. Enjoy'd them, loved them, and, alas! abused them, When, but for this untoward sickness, which And forfeited them, by my father's wrath, Seized me upon this desolate frontier, and (1) In my o'cr fervent youth; but for the abuse Hath wasted, not alone my strength, but means, Long sufferings have atoned. My father's death And leaves us—no! this is beyond me!-but Left the path open, yet not without snares.

for this I had been happy (2)—thou been happy-- This cold and creeping kinsman, who so long The splendour of my rank sustain’d-my name— Kept his eye on me, as the snake upon

My father's name been still upheld; and, more The fluttering bird, hath ere this time outstept me, Than those

Become the master of my rights and lord

times less criminal, he appears only the more weak, and his con. of what we are to expect for the future, we have only lo entreal duct is as wayward as his fate. His remorse af taking the rou that Lord Byron will drop the ceremony of cutting up his prose leau from the man who was about to usurp his domains and throw into lines of ten, eleven, or twelve syllables (for he is not very him into prison is somewhat overcharged; and though his horror punctilious on this head), and savour us with it in ils natural at bearing of Stralenheim's death is natural, it scems unaccouni stale. It requires no very cunning alchemy lo transmule his ably to absorb his joy at finding himself delivered from his enemy, verse iplo prose, nor, reversing the experiment, 19 convert his and restored to affluence. 'If his misfortune should appear to plain sentences into verses like his own.—'When,' says Werner, exceed his errors, let il be remembered, says his biographer, but for this uploward sickness, which seized me upon this deso'bow easily both might have been avoided, since an adherence late frontier, and hath wasted, not alone my strength, but means, to his duties at almost any period of his life would have spared and leaves us-no! this is beyond mel but for this I had been him more than half bis sufferings.' This is the moral of the tale; , happy.'-This is, indeed, beyond us. If this be poetry, then we but it is but saintly illustrated in the drama. Werner is more the were wrong in taking his Lordship's preface for prose. It will victim of what would be called sale. Lord Byron has not sell the run on ten feet as well as the rest-(See antė, p. 599) :real force of the character."-Ecl. Review.

• Some of the characters are modified (1) “In this play, Lord Byron adopts the same nerveless and pointless kind of blank verse, which was a sorrow to every body

Or allered, a few of the names changed, and

One character (Ida of Stralenheim) in bis former dramatic essays. Il is, indeed, 'most unmusical, Added by myself ; but in the rest thie most melancholy.'-- Ofs,'·los,'"ands,'. fors,'«bys,''buls,' and Original'is chiefly followed. When the like, are the most common conclusions of a line; there is no

I was young (about fourteen, I think) I

First read ihis tale, which made a deep impression ease, no flow, no barmony, in linked sweetness long drawn

Upon me'out: neither is there any thing of abrupt fiery vigour lo compensate for these defects."— Blackwood.

Nor is there a line in these so lame and halting, but we could (2) "In this drama there is absolutely no poetry 10 be found; point out many in the drama as bad." --Campbell. and if the measure of verse which is here deall to us be a sample


Of that which lifts him up to princes in

With thee, I should bave deem'd it what it is. Dominion and domain.

Wer. And what is that in thine eyes ?
Who knows? our son

All which it
May have return'd back to his grandsire, and Has done in our behalf,-nothing.
Even now uphold thy rights for thee!


How, nothing? Wer.

'T is hopeless. Jos. Or worse ; for it has been a canker in Since his strange disappearance from my father's, Thy heart from the beginning: but for this, Entailing, as it were, my sins upon

We had not felt our poverty but as Himself, no tidings have reveald his course. Millions of myriads feel it, cheerfully; I parted with him to his grandsire, on

But for these phantoms of thy feudal fathers, The promise that his anger would stop short Thou mightst have earn'd thy bread, as thousands Of the third generation; bul heaven seems

earn it; To claim her stern prerogative, and visit

Or, if that seem too humble, tried by commerce, Upon my boy his father's faults and follies. Or other civic means, to amend thy fortunes.

Jos. I must hope better still,—at least we have yet Wer. (ironically.) And been an Hanseatic burBaffled the long pursuit of Stralenheim.

gher ? Excellent! Wer. We should have done, but for this fatal sick Jos. Whate'er thou mightst have been, to me thou ness;

What no state high or low can ever change, (art More fatal than a mortal malady,

My heart's first choice;—which chose thee, knowing Because it takes not life, but life's sole solace:

neither Even now I feel my spirit girt about

Thy birth, thy hopes, thy pride; Dought, save thy By the snares of this avaricious fiend;How do I know he hath not track'd us here? While they last, let me comfort or divide them;

Jos. He does not know thy person; and his spies, When they end, let mine end with them, or thee!(1) Who so long watch'd thee, have been left at Ham Wer. My better angel! such I have ever found thee; burgh.

This rashness, or this weakness of my temper, Our unexpected journey, and this change

Ne'er raised a thought to injure thee or thine. Of name, leaves all discovery far behind:

Thou didst not mar my fortunes; my own nature None hold us here for aught save what we seem. In youth was such as to unmake an empire, Wer. Save what we seem! save what we are-sick Had such been my inheritance; beggars,

Chasten’d, subdued, out-worn, and taught to know Even to our very hopes.-Ha! ha!

Myself,—to lose this for our son and thee! Jos.


Trust me, when, in my two-and-twentieth spring, That bitter laugh!

My father barr'd me froin my fathers' house, Wer.

Who would read in this form The last sole scion of a thousand sires The high soul of the son of a long line ?

(For I was then the last), it hurt me less who, in this garb, the heir of princely lands? Than to behold my boy and my boy's mother Who, in this sunken sickly eye, the pride

Excluded in their innocence from what
Of rank and ancestry? In this worn cheek My faults deserved-exclusion ; although then
And famine-hollow'd brow, the lord of halls My passions were all living serpents, and
Which daily feast a thousand vassals ?

Twined like the gorgon's round me.

[A loud knocking is heard. Ponder'd not thus upon these worldly things, Jos,

Hark! My Werner! when you deign'd to choose for bride Wer.

A knocking! The foreign daughter of a wandering exile.

Jos. Who can it be at this lone hour? We have
Wer. An exile's daughter with an outcast's son Few visiters.
Were a fit marriage; but I still had hopes

Wer. And poverty hath none,
To lift thee to the state we both were born for. Save those who come to make it poorer still.
Your father's house was noble, though decay’d; Well, I am prepared.
And worthy by its birth to match with ours.

(WERNER puls his hand into his bosom, as ifto Jos. Your father did not think so, though 'l was search for some weapon. noble;


Oh! do not look so. I But had my birth been all my claim to match Will to the door. It cannot be of import

but now,

(1) “Werner's wise, Josephine, not only well maintains the cha of Ilaly, and thus contrasts the beauties and circumstances of racter of her sex by general integrity, but equally displays the her own country with those of the frontiers of Silesia, where an endearing, soft, and unsbaken affection of a wise; cherishing and instance of pelly feudal lyranny has just excited her feelings comforting a suffering husband throughout all the adversities of M. Rev. his fale, and all the errors of his own conduct. She is a native

In this lone spot of wintry desolation :


How should we? The very desert saves man from mankind.

Iden. The river has o'erflow'd. [She goes to the door. Jos.

Alas! we have known

That to our sorrow, for these five days; since

It keeps us here.

But what you don't know is, Iden. A fair good evening to my fairer hostess

That a great personage, who fain would cross, And worthy-What's your name, my friend?

Against the stream and three postilions' wishes, Wer.

Are you is drown'd below the ford, with five post-horses, Not afraid to demand it?

A monkey, and a mastiff, and a valet.
Not afraid!

Jos. Poor creatures! are you sure?
Egad! I am afraid. You look as if


Yes, of the monkey, I ask'd for something better than your name,

And the valet, and the cattle; but as yet
By the face you put on it.

We know not if his excellency's dead
Better, sir!

Or no; your noblemen are hard to drown,
Iden. Better or worse, like matrimony: what

As it is fit that men in office should be;
Shall I say more ? You have been a guest this month But what is certain is, that he has swallow'd
Here in the prince's palace-(to be sure,

Enough of the Oder to have burst two peasants ; His highness had resign'd it to the ghosts

And now a Saxon and Hungarian traveller, And rats these twelve years—but’t is still a palace)— Who, at their proper peril, snatch'd him from I say you have been our lodger, and as yet

The whirling river, have sent on to crave We do not know your name.

A lodging, or a grave, according as Wer.

My name is Werner.

It may turn out with the live or dead body. Iden. A goodly name, a very worthy name

Jos. And where will you receive him? here, I hope, As e'er was gilt upon a trader's board ::

If we can be of service--say the word. I have a cousin in the lazarelto

Iden. Here! no; but in the prince's own apartment, Of Hamburgh, who has got a wife who bore

As fits a noble guest:-'tis damp, no doubt, The same. He is an officer of trust,

Not having been inhabited these twelve years; Surgeon's assistant (hoping to be surgeon),

But then he comes from a much damper place, And has done miracles i'the way of business,

So scarcely will catch cold in 't, if he be Perhaps you are related to my relative ?

Still liable to cold-and if not, why Wer. To yours?

He'll be worse lodged to-morrow; ne'ertheless, Jos.

Oh, yes; we are, but distantly. I have order'd fire and all appliances
Cannot you humour the dull gossip till

To be got ready for the worst—that is,
We learn his purpose ? (Aside to WERNER. In case he should survive.
Well, I'm glad of that:


Poor gentleman! I thought so all along, such natural yearnings

I hope he will, with all my heart. Play'd round my heart!-blood is not water, cousin;


Intendant, And so let's have some wine, and drink unto

Have you not learn'd his name? My Josephine, Our better acquaintance : relatives should be

[Aside to his wife. Friends.

Retire: I'll sift this fool. [Brit JOSEPHINE. Wer. You appear to have drunk enough already;


His name? oh Lord! And, if you had not, I've no wine to offer,

Who knows if he hath now a name or no? Else it were yours: but this you know, or should 't is time enough 10 ask it when he's able know:

To give an answer; or if not, to put
You see I am poor, and sick, and will not see

His heir's upon his epitaph. Methought
That I would be alone; but to your business!
What brings you

Just now you chid me for demanding names ?

Wer. True, true, I did so; you say well and wisely: Iden. Why, what should bring me here? Wer. I know not, though I think that I could guess

Rnter GABOR. (1)
That which will send you hence.

Gab. If I intrude, I crave-
Jos. (aside.)
Patience, dear Werner! Iden.

Oh, no intrusion ! Iden. You don't know what has happen'd, then? This is the palace; this a stranger like

(1) "Some faulls the poem bas only in common with the ori- high-meltled soldier of forlune, whose appearances and disapginal. Gabor is a most inexplicable personage: he is always on

pearances are alike singularly inopportune, and who ends in a the point of curning out something more than he proves to be. marc mercenary. His character is, we think, decidedly a faiA sort of mysterious borror is thrown around his impalpability, lure.”- Ecl. Reo. in the tale ; but in the drama, he is only a sentimental, moody,

[ocr errors]

Yourself; 1 pray you make yourself at home : A glass of your Hockeimar-a green glass,
But where 's his excellency ? and how fares he ? Wreath'd with rich grapes and Bacchanal devices,

Gab. Wetly and wearily, but out of peril: O'erflowing with the oldest of your vintage;
He paused to change his garments in a cottage For which I promise you, in case you e'er
(Where I doffd mine for these, and came on hither). Run hazard of being drown'd (although I own
And has almost recover'd from his drenching. It seems, of all deaths, the least likely for you),
He will be here anon.

I'll pull you out for nothing. Quick! my friend,

What ho, there! bustle! And think, for every bumper I shall quaff, Without there, Herman, Weilburg, Peter, Conrad! A wave the less may roll above your head. [Gives directions to different servants who Iden. (aside.) I don't much like this fellow-close enler.

and dry
A nobleman sleeps here to-night-see that He seems, two things which suit me not; however,
All is in order in the damask chamber-

Wine he shall hare; if that unlocks him not,
Keep up the stove-I will myself to the cellar I shall not sleep lo-night for curiosity.
And Madame llenstein (my consort, stranger,)

(Exit IDENSTEIN. Shall furnish forth the bed-apparel; for,

Gab.(to WERNER.) This master of the ceremonies
To say the truth, they are marvellous scant of this The intendant of the palace, I presume: [is
Within the palace precincts, since his highness 'T is a fine building, but decay'd.
Left it some dozen years ago. And then


The apartment
His excellency will sup, doubtless.

Design'd for him you rescued will be found


In fitter order for a sickly guest.
I cannot tell; but I should think the pillow

Gab. I wonder then you occupied it not,
Would please him better than the table after For you seem delicate in health.
llis soaking in your river: but for fear

Wer. (quickly.)

Your viands should be thrown away, I mean


To sup myself, and have a friend without

Excuse me: have I said aught to offend you?
Who will do honour to your good cheer with Wer. Nothing: but we are strangers to each other.
A traveller's appetite.

Gab. And that's the reason I would have us less so:
But are you sure

I thought our bustling guest without had said
His excellency--But his name: what is it? You were a chance and passing guest, the counter-
Gab. I do not know.

Of me and my companions.

(part Iden. And yet you saved his life.


Very true.
Gab. I help'd my friend to do so.

Gab. Then, as we never met before, and never,

Well, that's strange, It may be, may again encounter, why,
To save a man's life whom you do not know. I thought to cheer up this old dungeon here

Gab. Not so; for there are some I know so well, (At least to me) by asking you to share
I scarce should give myself the trouble.

The fare of my companions and myself.

Pray, Wer. Pray, pardon me; my health-
Good friend, and who may you be ?


Even as you please

By my family, I have been a soldier, and perhaps am blunt

In bearing.
Iden. Which is callid ?

Wer. I have also served, and can

It matters little. Requite a soldier's greeting.
Iden. (aside.) I think that all the world are grown Gab.

In what service ? anonymous,

The Imperial ?
Since no one cares to tell me what he's call’d! Wer. (quickly, and then interrupting himself.
Pray, has his excellency a large suite ?

I commanded-00-I mean

Sufficient. I served; but it is many years ago,
Iden. How many ?

When first Bohemia raised her banner 'gainst
I did not count them.

The Austrian.
We came up by mere accident, and just

Gab. Well, that's over now, and peace in time to drag him through his carriage-window. Has turn’d some thousand gallant hearts adrift,

Iden. Well, what would I give to save a great man! To live as they best may; and, to say truth,
No doubt you'll have a swinging sum as recompense. Some take the shortest.
Gab. Perhaps.


What is that?
Iden. Now, how much do you reckon on? Gab.

Gab. I have not yet put up myself to sale: They lay their hands on. All Silesia and
In the mean time, my best reward would be Lusatia's woods are tenanted by bands

« PreviousContinue »