Page images
PDF
EPUB

led you

Worthy o bravo man's líking. Wero yc | No injury ! And now thou vouldst such,

preserve me, Ye would have honoured her. But got ye To be-but that shall never be! hence,

(She raises her eyes to Hearen, folds And thank your meanness, other God you

her robe round her, and prepares to have none,

dash herself down on the side of the For your existence. Had you touched a hair

Altar opposite to that where Arnold Of those dishevelled locks, I would have

stands. thinned

Arnold. Hold! hold! I swear Your ranks more than the enenıy. Away! Olimpia. Spare thine already forfeit soul Ye Jackalls! gnaw the bones the lion leaves, A perjury for which even Hell would loathe But not even these till he permits.

thee. A Soldier (murmuring). The Lion I know thee. Might conquer for himself then.

Arnold. No,thon know'st me not; I am not Arnold (cuts him down). Mutineer! Of these men, thoughRebel in Hell-you shall obey on earth! Olimpia. I judge thee by thy mates;

[The Soldiers assault Arnold. It is for God to judge thee as thou art. Come on! I'm glad on't! I will show you, I see thee purple with the blood of Rome; slaves,

Take mine, 'tis all thon e'er shalt have of me! How you should be commanded, and who And here, upon the marble of this temple,

Where the baptismal font baptised me God's, Fyrst o'er the wall you were as shy to scale, I offer him a blood less holy Until I waved my banners from its height, But not less pure (pure as it left me then, As you are bold within it.

A redeemed infant) than the holy water (Arnold mows down the foremost; the The Saints have sanctified ! rest throw down their arms.

(Olimpia waves her hand to Arnold with Soldiers. Mercy! mercy!

disdain, and dashes herself on the Arnold. Then learn to grant it. Have pavement from the Altar. I taught you who

Arnold. Eternal God! Led you o'er Rome's eternal battlements ? I feel thee now! Help! Help! She's gone. Soldiers. We saw it, and we know it; Cæsar (approaches). I am here. yet forgive

Arnold. Thou! but vh, save her! A moment's error in the heat of conquest Cæsar (assisting him to raise Olimpia). The conquest which you led to.

She hath done it well; Arnold. Get you hence !

The leap was serious. Hence to your quarters! you will find them Arnold. Oh! she is lifeless! fixed

Cæsar. If In the Colonna-palace.

She be so, I have nonght to do with that: Olimpia (aside). In my father's house! The resurrection is beyond me. Arnold (to the Soldiers).

Arnold, Slave! arms; ye have no further need Cæsar. Aye, slave or master, 'tis all Of such : the City's rendered. And mark well

one: methinks You keep your hands clean, or I'll find Good ds, however, are as well at times. ont a stream,

Arnold. Words! - Canst thou aid her ? As red as Tiber now runs, for your baptism. Casar. I will try. A sprinkling Soldiers (deposing their arms and de- of that same holy water may be usefal. parting). We obey!

[He brings some in his helmet from the font. Arnold (to Olimpia). Lady! you are safe. Arnold. Tis mixed with blood. Olimpia. I should be so,

Cæsar. There is no cleaner now in Rome. Had I a knife even; but it matters not Arnold. How palel how beautifull how Death hath a thousand gates; and on the

lifeless! marble,

Alive or dead, thou essence of all beauty, Even at the altar-foot, whence I look I love but thee! down

Casar. Even so Achilles loved Upon destruction, shall my head be dashd, Penthesilea; with his form it seems Ere thou ascend it. God forgive thee, man! You have his

heart, and yet it was no soft one. Arnold. I wish to merit his forgiveness, Arnold. She breathes! But no, 'twas and

nothing, or the last Thine own, although I have not injured Faint flutter life disputes with death. thee.

Casar. She breathes. Olimpia. No! Thou hast only sacked my Arnold. Thou sayst it? Then 'tis truth, native land,

Cæsar. You do me right No injury!-and made my father's house The Devil speaks truth much oftener than A den of ihieves-- No injury!-- this templom

he's deemed : Slippery with Roman and holy gore. He hath an ignorant audience.

Leave your

Arnold (without attending to him). Yes! Arnold. Now onward, onward! Gently! her heart beats.

(Ercunt, bearing Olimpia. - The Scene Alas! that the first beat of the only heart

closca. I ever wish'd to beat with mine, should

vibrate To an assassin's pulse.

ACT III. Cæsar. sage reflexion, But somewhat late i' the day. Where shall SCENE I.-A Castle in the Apennines, surwe bear her!

rounded by a wild but smiling country. I say she lives.

Chorus of Peasants singing before the Arnold. And will she live?

Gates.
Cæsar. As much

Chorus.
As dust can.
Arnold. Then she is dead!

The wars are over,
Caesar. Bah! bah! You are so,

The spring is comes And do not know it. She will come to life The bride and her lover Such as you think so, such as you now are; Have sought their home: But we must work by human means. They are happy, we rejoice; Arnold. We will

Let their hearts have an echo in every voice! Convey her unto the Colonna-palaco, Where I have pitched my banner.

The spring is come; the violet's gone, Cæsar. Come then! raise her up.

The first-born child of the early sun; Arnold. Softly!

With us she is but a winter's flower, Casar. As softly as they bear the dead, The snow on the hills cannot blast her Perhaps because they cannot feel the jolting. bower,

Arnold. But doth she live indeed ? And she lifts up her dewy eye of blue Casar. Nay, never fear!

To the youngest sky of the self-same hue. But if you rue it after, blame not me. Arnold. Let her but live!

And when the spring comes with her host (asar. The spirit of her life

Of flowers, that flower beloved the most Is yet within her breast, and may revive. Shrinks from the crowd that may confusc Count! Count! I am your servant in all Her heavenly odour and virgin hues.

things, And this is a new office:- 'tis not oft Pluck the others, but still remember I am employed in such ; but you perceive Their Herald out of dim DecemberHow stanch a friend is what you call a fiend. The morning-star of all the flowers, On earth you have often only fiends for The pledge of day-light's lengthen'd hours; friends;

Nor, 'midst the roses, e'er forget
Now I desert not mine. Soft! bear her hence, The virgin, virgin Violet.
The beantiful half-clay, and nearly spirit!
I am almost enamoured of her, as

Enter CÆSAR.
Of old the Angels of her earliest sex.

Cæsar (sin Arnold. Thou !

5). The wars are all over, Cæsar. I. But fear not. I'll not be

Our swords are all idle,

The steed bites the bridle, Arnold. Rival!

The casque's on the wall. Cæsar. I could be one right formidable; There's rest for the rover ; But since I slew the seven husbands of

But his armour is rusty, Tobia's future bride (and after all

And the veteran grows crusty, 'Twas sucked out by some incense) I have laid

As he yawns in the hall. Aside intrigue: 'tis rarely worth the trouble He drinks—but what's drinking? Of gaining, or—what is more difficult- A mere pause from thinking ! Getting rid of your prize again; for there's No bugle awakes him with life-and-death

call. The rub! at least to mortals. Arnold. Prithee, peace!

Chorus. Softly! methinks her lips move, her eyes open!

But the hound bayeth loudly, Casar.Like stars, no doubt; for that's The boar 's in the wood, a metaphor

And the falcon longs proudly For Lucifer and Venus.

To spring from her hood : Arnold. To the palace

On the wrist of the noble Colonna, as I told you !

She sits like a crest, Casar. Oh! I know

And the air is in trouble My way through Rome.

With birds from their nest.

your rival.

Cæsar. Oh! Shadow of glory!

Dim image of var!
But the chase hath no story,

Her hero no star,
Since Nimrod, the founder

Of empire and chase,
Who made the woods wonder,

And quake for their raco
When the Lion was young,

In the pride of his might, Then 'twas sport for the strong

To embrace him in fight; To go forth, with a pine

For a spear, 'gainst the Mammoth, Or strike through the ravine

At the foaming Behemoth,
While Man was in stature

As towers in our timo,
The first-born of Nature,
And, like her, sublime!

Chorus,
But the wars are over,

The spring is come ;
The bride and her lover

Have sought their home;
They are happy, and we rejoice,
Let their hearts have an echo from every

voice !

(Eseunt the Peasantry, singing.

THE LAMENT

LAMENT OF TASSO.

me none.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

Long years!—It tries the thrilling frame But this is o'er my pleas int task is done.

to bear

My long-sustaining friend of many years! And eagle-spirit of a Child of song If I do blot thy final page with tears, Long years of outrage, calumny and wrong; Know that my sorrows have wrung from Imputed madness, prison'd solitude, And the mind's canker in its savage mood, But thou,my young creation! my soul's child! When the impatient thirst of light and air Which ever playing round me came and Parches the heart, and the abhorred grate,

smiled, Marring the sunbeams with its hideous And woo'd me from myself with thy sweet shade,

sight, Works through the throbbing eyeball to Thou too art gone-and so is my delight:

the brain

And therefore do I weep and inly bleed With a hot sense of heaviness and pain, With this last bruise upon a broken reed. And bare, at once, Captivity display'd Thou too art ended-what is left me now? Stands scoffing through the never-opend For 1 have anguish yet to bear, and how?

gate,

I know not that, but in the innate force Which nothing through its bars admits, of my own spirit shall be found resource.

save day

I have not sunk, for I had no remorse, And tasteless food, which I have eat alone Nor cause for such: they call’d me mad Till its unsocial bitterness is gone,

and why? And I can banquet like a beast of prey, Oh Leonora! wilt not thou reply? Sullen and lonely, couching in the cave I was indeed delirious in my heart Which is my lair, and - it may be - my grave: To lift my love so lofty as thou art; All this hath somewhat worn me, and may Bat still my frenzy was not of the mind ;

wear,

I knew my fault, and feel my punishment But must be borne. I stoop not to despair; Not less because I suffer it unbent. For I have battled with mine agony, That thou wert beautiful, and I not blind, And made me wings wherewith to overfly Hath been the sin which shuts me from The narrow circus of my dungeon-wall,

mankind; And freed the Holy Sepulchre from thrall; But let them go, or torture as they will, And revell’d among men and things divine, My heart can multiply thine image still; And pour'd my spirit over Palestine, Successful love may sate itself away, In honour of the sacred war for him, The wretched are the faithful; 'tis their fate The God who was on earth and is in heaven, To have all feeling save the one decay, For he hath strengthend me in heart and And every passion into one dilate,

limb.

As rapid rivers into ocean pour; That through this sufferance I might be Bat ours is fathomless, and hath no shore.

forgiven, I have employ'd my penance to record How Salem's shrine was won, and how Above me, hark! the long and maniac ery

adored.

Of minds and bodies in captivity.

mind,

may close :

even men

And hark! the lash and the increasing howl, Dwelling deep in my shut and silent heart And the half-inarticulate blasphemy! As dwells the gather'd lightning in its cloud, There be some here with worse than frenzy Encompass’d with its dark and rolling foul,

shroud, Some who do still goad on the o'er-labour'd Till struck,-forth flies the all-etherial

dart! And dim the little light that's left behind And thus at the collision of thy name With needless torture, as their tyrant-will The vivid thought still flashes through my Is wound up to the lust of doing ill:

frame. With these and with their victims am I And for a moment all things as they were

class'd,

Flit by me;-they are gone- I am the samo. 'Mid sounds and sights like these long years And yet my love without ambition grew,

have pass'd; I knew thy state, my station, and I knew 'Mid sights and sounds like these my life A princess was no love-mate for a bard;

I told it not, I breathed it not, it was So let it be-for then I shall repose.

Sufficient to itself, its own reward;
And if my eyes reveald it, they, alas!

Were punish'd by the silentness of thine,
I have been patient, let me be so yet ; And yet I did not venture to repine.
I had forgotten half I would forget, Thou wert to me a crystal-girded shrine,
But it revives - oh! would it were my lot Worshipp'd at holy distance, and around
To be forgetful as I am forgot !-

Hallow'd and meekly kiss'd the saintly Feel I not wroth with those who bade me

ground; dwell

Not for thou wert a princess, but that Love In this vast lazar-house of many woes ? Had robed thee with a glory, and array'd Where laughter is not mirth, nor thought Thy lineaments in beauty that dismay'd

the mind, Oh! not dismay'd—but awed, like One Nor words a language, nor

above; mankind; And in that sweet severity there was Where cries reply to curses, shrieks to A something which all softness did surpass

blows,

I know not how-thy genius master'd mineAnd each is tortured in his separate hell - My star stood still before thee:-if it were For we are crowded in our solitudes Presumptuous thus to love without design, Many, but each divided by the wall, That sad fatality hath cost me dear; Which echoes Madness in her babbling But thou art dearest still, and I should be

moods;

Fit for this cell, which wrongs me, but While all can hear, none heeds his neigh

for thee. bour's call The

very love which lock'd me to my chain None! save that One, the veriest wretch of all, Hath lightend half its weight; and for Who was not made to be the mate of these,

the rest, Nor bound between Distraction and Disease. Though heavy, lent me vigour to sustain, Feel I not wroth with those who placed And look to thee with undivided breast,

me here?

And foil the ingenuity of Pain. Who have debased me in the minds of men, Debarring me the usage of my own, Blighting my life in best of its career, It is no marvel-from my very birth Branding my thoughts as things to shun My soul was drunk with love, which did and fear.

pervade Would I not pay them back these pangs And mingle with whate'er I saw on earth ;

again,

Of objects all inanimate I made And teach them inward sorrow's stifled Idols, and out of wild and lonely flowers,

groan?

And rocks, whereby they grew, a paradise, The struggle to be calm, and cold distress, Where I did lay me down within the shade Which undermines our Stoical success? Of waving trees, and dream'd uncounted No!-still too proud to be vindictive-I

hours, Have pardon'd princes'insults,and would die. Though I was chid for wandering; and Yes, Sister of my Sovereign! for thy sake

the wise I weed all bitterness from out my breast, Shook their white aged heads o'er me, and It hath no business where thou art a guest;

said Thy brother hates--but I can not detest, Of such materials wretched men were made, Thou pitiest not- but I can not forsake. And such a truant boy would end in woe,

And that the only lesson was a blow;

And then they smote me, and I did not weep, Look on a love which knows not to despair, But cursed them in my heart, and to my But all unquench'd is still my better part,

haunt

thee;

my bier.

Return'd and wept alone, and dream'd again I once was quick in feeling - that is o'er;The visions which arise without a sleep. My scars are callous, or I should have And with my years my soul began to pant

dash'd With feelings of strange tumult and soft My brain against these bars as the sun pain;

flash'd And the whole heart exhaled into One Want, In mockery through thenı ;-if I bear and But undefined and wandering, till the day

bore I found the thing I sought-and that was The much I have recounted, and the more

Which hath no words, 'tis that I would not die And then I lost my being all to be And sanction with self-slaughter the dull lie Absorb’d in thine-the world was past away- Which snared me here, and with the brand Thou didst annihilate the earth to me!

of shame Stamp madness deep into my memory,

And woo compassion to a blighted name, I loved all solitude-but little thought Sealing the sentence which my foes proclaim. To spend I know not what of life, remote No - it shall be immortal!-and I make From all communion with existence, save A future temple of my present cell, The maniac and his tyrant; bad I been Which nations yet shall visit for my sake. Their fellow, many years ere this had seen While thou, Ferrara! when no longer dwell My mind like theirs corrupted to its grave; The ducal chiefs within thee, shalt fall down, But who hath seen me writhe, or heard And crumbling piecemeal view thy hearthme rave?

less halls, Perchance in such a cell we suffer more A poet's wreath shall be thine ouly crown, Than the wreck'd sailor on his desert shore; A poet's dungeon thy most far renown, The world is all before him—mine is here, while strangers wonder o'er thy unpeopled Scarce twice the space they must accord

walls!

And thou, Leonora! thou – who wert What though he perish, he may lift his eye

ashamed And with a dying glance upbraid the sky- That such as I could love-who blush'd to I will not raise my own in such reproof,

hear Although 'tis clouded by my dungeon-roof. To less than monarchs that thou couldst

be dear,

Go! tell thy brother that my heart, untamed Yet do I feel at times my mind decline, By grief, years, weariness--and it may be But with a sense of its decay:-I see A taint of that he would impute to meUnwonted lights along my prison shine, From long infection of a den like this, And a strange demon, who is vexing me Where the mind rots congenial with the With pilfering pranks and petty pains,

abyss, below

Adores thee still;- and add-that when The feeling of the healthful and the frec;

the towers But much to One, who long hath suffer'd so And battlements which guard his joyous Sickness of heart, and narrowness of place,

hours And all that may be borne, or can debase. Of banquet, dance, and revel, are forgot, I thought mine enemies had been but men, Or left untended in a dull repose, But spirits may be leagued with them -all This—this shall be a consecrated spot!

Earth

But Thou-when all that Birth and Beauty Abandons - Heaven forgets me; - in the

throws dearth

Of magic round thee is extinct-shalt have Of such defence the Powers of Evil can, One half the laurel which o'ershades my It may be, tempt me further, and prevail

grave. Against the outworn creature they assail. No power in death can tear our names apart, Why in this furuace is my spirit proved As none in life could rend thee from my Like steel in tempering fire? because I loved?

heart. Because I loved what not to love, and see, Yes, Leonora! it shall be our fate Was more or less than mortal, and than me. To be entwined for ever-but too late!

« PreviousContinue »