(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "Dramatic works"

DEAMATIC WORKS 



PRtVTKD BY WILLIAM BLACKWOOD AND RONS, KDINBirRGH 



D^^ 



DKAMATIC WOBKS 



FELICIA HEMANS 



^l 



<\ i 

WILLIAM BLACKWOOD AND SONS 
EDINBURGH AND LONDON 

1850 



CONTENTS 



PAOE 

THE VESPERS OF PALERMO, 1 

THE SIEGE OP VALENCIA, 103 

SEBASTIAN OP PORTUGAL, 199 

DB CHATILLON, 221 



Digitized by tine Internet Arciiive 

in 2007 witii funding from 

IVIicrosoft Corporation 



littp://www.arcliive.org/details/dramaticworksOOIiemauoft 



THE VESPEES OF PALEEMO 



A DRAMATIC TRAGEDY 



DRAMATIS PERSONS 



CouxVT m Procida, . . . A Noble of Conradin's party. 

Raimond di Procida, . . His Son. 

Eribert, Viceroy of Sicily. 

De Couci, . . . . a French Noble. 

Montalba, > 

GuiDO, S ... Sicilian Nobles. 

Alberti, 

Antselmo, A Monk. , 

ViTTORiAy The betrothed of Conradin. 

Constance Sister to Eribert. 

Nobles, Soldiers, Messengers, Vassals, Peasants, ^c. 
Scene — Palermo. 



THE VESPEBS OF PALEBMO 



r 



ACT I. 

SCENE I. — ^ Valley, with vineyards and cottages. Groups qf 
peasants. Pbocida, disguised as a pilgrim, among them. 

1st Peasant. — Ay, this was wont to be a festal time 
In days gone by ! I can remember well 
The old familiar melodies that rose 
At break of mom from all oixr purple hills. 
To welcome in the vintage. Never since 
Hath music seemed so sweet. But the light hearts 
Which to those measures beat so joyously, 
Are tamed to stillness now. There is no voice 
Of joy through all the land. 

2d Peasant. — Yes ! there are sounds 
Of revelry within the palaces, 
And the fair castles of our ancient lords, 
Where now the stranger banquets. Ye may hear 
From thence the peals of song and laughter rise 
At midnight's deepest hour. 

n A 



2 DRAMATIC WORKS 

3d Peasant. — Alas ! we sat, 

In happier days, so peacefully beneath 

The olives and the vines our fathers reared, 

Encircled by our children, whose quick steps 

Flew by us in the dance ! The time hath been 

When peace was in the hamlet, wheresoe'er 

The storm might gather. But this yoke of France 

Falls on the peasant's neck as heavily 

As on the crested chieftain's. We are bowed 

Even to the earth. 

Peasant's Child. — My father, tell me when 
Shall the gay dance and song again resound 
Amidst our chestnut-woods, as in those days 
Of which thou'rt wont to tell the joyous tale? 

1st Peasant. — When there are light and reckless hearts 
once more 
In Sicily's green vales. Alas, my boy ! 
Men meet not now to quaff the flowing bowl. 
To hear the mirthful song, and cast aside 
The weight of work-day care : they meet to speak 
Of wrongs and sorrows, and to whisper thoughts 
They dare not breathe aloud. 

Procida {from the lackground.) — Ay, it is well 

So to relieve the o'erburthened heart, which pants 
Beneath its weight of wrongs ; but better far 
In silence to avenge them. 

An Old Peasant. — What deep voice 
Came with that startling tone ] 

1st Peasant. — It was our guest's. 

The stranger pilgrim who hath sojourned here 

Since yester-morn. Good neighbours, mark him well : 

He hath a stately bearing, and an eye 

Whose glance looks thro' the heart. His mien accords 



THE VESPERS OP PALERMO 3 

111 with such vestments. How he folds around him 
His pilgrim cloak, even as it were a robe 
Of knightly ermine ! That commanding step 
Should have been used in courts and camps to move. 
Mark him ! 

Old Peasant. — Nay, rather mark him not ; the times 
Are fearful, and they teach the boldest hearts 
A cautious lesson. What shovdd bring him here 1 

A Youth. — He spoke of vengeance ! 

Old Peasant. — Peace ! we are beset 

By snares on every side, and we must learn 

In silence and in patience to endure. 

Talk not of vengeance, for the word is death. 

Procida {coming forward indignantly.) 

The word is death ! And what hath life for thee, 

That thou shouldst cling to it thus ? thou abject thing ! 

Whose very soul is moulded to the yoke. 

And stamped with servitude. What ! is it life 

Thus at a breeze to start, to school thy voice 

Into low fearful whispers, and to cast 

Pale jealous looks around thee, lest even then 

Strangers should catch its echo ? Is there aught 

In this so precious, that thy furrowed cheek 

Is blanched with terror at the passing thought 

Of hazarding some few and evil days, 

Which drag thus poorly on? 

Some of the Peasants. — Away, away ! 

Leave us, for there is danger in thy presence. 

Procida. — Why, what is danger ? Are there deeper ills 
Than those ye bear thus calmly ] Ye have drained 
The cup of bitterness till naught remains 
To fear or shrink from : therefore, be ye strong ! 
Power dwelleth with despair. Why start ye thus 



4 DRAMATIC WORKS 

At words which are but echoes of the thoughts 
Locked in your secret souls 1 Full well I know 
There is not one among you but hath nursed 
Some proud indignant feeling, which doth make 
One conflict of his life. I know thy wrongs — 
And thine — and thine ; but if within your breast 
There is no chord that vibrates to my voice, 
Then fare ye well. 

A Youth {coming forward.) — No, no ! say on, say on ! 
There are still free and fiery hearts even here, 
That kindle at thy words. 

Peasant. — If that indeed 

Thou hast a hope to give us — 

Procida. — There is hope 

For all who suffer with indignant thoughts 

Which work in silent strength. What ! think ye heaven 

O'erlooks the oppressor, if he bear awhile 

His crested head on high ? I tell you, no ! 

The avenger will not sleep. It was an hour 

Of triumph to the conqueror, when our king, 

Our young brave Conradin, in life's fair morn 

On the red scaffold died. Yet not the less 

Is Justice throned above ; and her good time 

Comes rushing on in storms : that royal blood 

Hath lifted an accusing voice from earth, 

And hath been heard. The traces of the past 

Fade in man's heart, but ne'er doth heaven forget. 

Peasant. — Had we but arms and leaders, we are men 
Who might earn vengeance yet ; but, wanting these. 
What wouldst thou have us do ? 

Procida. — Be vigilant ; 

And when the signal wakes the laud, arise ! 
The peasant's arm is strong, and there shall be 



THE VESPERS OF PALERMO 5 

A rich and noble harvest Fare ye well. 

lExit Procida. 

IST Peas. — This man should be a prophet. How he seem'd 
To read our hearts with his dark searching glance 
And aspect of command ! And yet his garb 
Is mean as ours. 

2d Peasant. — Speak low ; I know him well. 
At first his voice disturbed me, like a dream 
Of other days ; but I remember now 
His form, seen oft when in my youth I served 
Beneath the banners of our kings. 'Tis he 
Who hath been exiled and proscribed so long, 
The Count di Procida. 

Peasant. —And is this he ? 

Then heaven protect him ! for around his steps 
Will many snares be set. 

1st Peasant. — He comes not thus 

But with some mighty purpose — doubt it not ; 

Perchance to bring us freedom. He is one 

Whose faith, through many a trial, hath been proved 

True to oiu- native princes. But away ! 

The noontide heat is past, and from the seas 

Light gales are wandering thro' the vineyards. Now 

We may resume our toiL lExeunL 



SCENE II. 
The Terrace of a Castle. Eribbrt and Vittoria. 

Vittoria. — Have I not told thee, that I bear a heart 
Blighted and cold 1 The afifections of my youth 
Lie slumbering in the gi-ave ; their fount is closed, 



6 DRAMATIC WORKS 

And all the soft and playful tenderness 
Which hath its home in woman's breast, ere yet 
Deep wrongs have seared it — all is fled from mine. 
Urge me no more. 

Eribert. — lady ! doth the flower 

That sleeps entombed through the long wintry storms, 
Unfold its beauty to the breath of spring ; 
And shall not woman's heart, from chill despair, 
Wake at love's voice ? 

ViTTORiA. — Love ! — make love's name thy spell. 
And I am strong ! The very word calls up 
From the dark past, thoughts, feelings, powers, arrayed 
In arms against thee. Know'st thou whom I loved. 
While my soul's dwelling-place was still on earth 1 
One who was born for empire, and endowed 
With such high gifts of princely majesty. 
As bowed all hearts before him ! Was he not 
Brave, royal, beautiful ] And such he died ; 
He died ! — hast thou forgotten ?- And thou'rt here. 
Thou meet'st my glance with eyes which coldly looked, 
Coldly ! — nay, rather with triumphant gaze, 
Upon his murder ! Desolate as I am. 
Yet in the mien of thine afl&anced bride, 
my lost Conradin ! there should be still 
Somewhat of loftiness, which might o'erawe 
The hearts of thine assassins. 

Eribert. — Haughty dame ! 

If thy proud heart to tenderness be closed. 
Know danger is around thee : thou hast foes 
That seek thy ruin, and my power alone 
Can shield thee from their arts. 

ViTTORiA. — Proven9al, tell 

Thy tale of danger to some happy heart 



r 



THE VESPERS OF PALERMO 7 

Which hath its little world of loved ones round, 
For whom to tremble, and its tranquil joys 
That make earth Paradise. I stand alone. 
They that are blest may fear. 

Eribebt. — Is there not one 

Who ne'er commands in vain ? Proud lady, bend 
Thy spirit to thy fate ; for know that he, 
Whose car of triumph in its earthquake path, 
O'er the bowed neck of prostrate Sicily, 
Hath borne him to dominion ; he, my king, 
Charles of Anjou, decrees thy hand the boon 
My deeds have well deserved ; and who hath power 
Against his mandates 1 

VmoRiA. — Viceroy, tell thy lord 

That, even where chains lie heaviest on the land, 
Souls may not all be fettered. Oft, ere now. 
Conquerors have rocked the earth, yet failed to tame 
Unto their purposes that restless fire 
Inhabiting man's breast. A spark bursts forth. 
And so they perish ! 'Tis the fate of those 
Who sport with lightning — and it may be his. 
Tell him I fear him not, and thus am free. 

Ebibebt. — 'Tis well. Then nerve that lofty heart to bear 
The wrath which is not powerless. Yet again 
Bethink thee, lady ! Love may change — hath changed 
To vigilant hatred oft, whose sleepless eye 
Still finds what most it seeks for. Fare thee well. 
Look to it yet ! — To-morrow I return. 

[_Exit Eribkrt. 

ViTT. — To-morrow ! — Some ere now have slept and dreamt 
Of morrows which ne'er dawned — or ne'er for them ; 
So silently their deep and still repose 
Hath melted into death ! Are there not balms 



8 DRAMATIC WORKS 

In nature's boundless realm, to pour out sleep 

Like this on me 1 Yet should my spirit still 

Endure its earthly bonds, till it could bear 

To his a glorious tale of his own isle. 

Free and avenged. — Thou shouldst be now at work, 

In wrath, my native Etna ! who dost lift 

Thy spiry pillar of dark smoke so high. 

Thro' the red heaven of sunset ! Sleep'st thou still, 

With all thy foimts of fire, while spoilers tread 

The glowing vales beneath ] 

( Procida enters, disguised. ) 

Ha ! who art thou 
Unbidden guest, that with so mute a step 
Dost steal upon me ] 

Procida. — One o'er whom hath passed 

All that can change man's aspect. Yet not long 
Shalt thou find safety in forgetfiilness. 
I am he, to breathe whose name is perilous, 
Unless thy wealth could bribe the winds to silence. 
— Know'st thou this, lady ? 

( He shows a ring. ) 

ViTTORiA, — Eighteous heaven ! the pledge 
Amidst his people from the scaffold thrown 
By him who perished, and whose kingly blood 
Even yet is unatoned. My heart beats high — 
— Oh, welcome, welcome ! thou art Procida, 
The Avenger, the Deliverer ! 

Procida. — Call me so, 

When my great task is done. Yet who can tell 
If the returned be welcome ? Many a heart 
Is changed since last we met. 

ViTTORiA. — Why dost thou gaze, 



THE VESPERS OF PALERMO 

With such a still and solemn earnestness, 
Upon my altered mien ? 

Procita.— That I may read 

If to the widowed love of Conradin, 

Or the proud Eribert's triximphant bride, 

I now intrust my fate. 

ViTTOBiA.— Thou, Procida ! 

That thou shouldst wrong me thus ! Prolong thy g{ 
Till it hath foxmd an answer. 

Procida. — 'Tis enough. 

I find it in thy cheek, whose rapid change 
Is from death's hue to fever's ; in the wild 
Unsettled brightness of thy proud dark eye. 
And in thy wasted form. Ay, 'tis a deep 
And solemn joy, thus in thy looks to trace. 
Instead of youth's gay bloom, the characters 
Of noble suffering : on thy brow the same 
Commanding spirit holds its native state, 
Which could not stoop to vileness. Yet the voice 
Of Fame hath told afar, that thou shoiddst wed 
This tyrant Eribert. 

ViTTORiA. — And told it not 

A tale of insolent love repelled with scorn — 

Of stem commands and fearful menaces 

Met with indignant courage 1 Procida ! 

It was but now that haughtily I braved 

His sovereign's mandate, which decrees my hand. 

With its fair appanage of wide domains 

And wealthy vassals, a most fitting boon. 

To recompense his crimes. I smiled — ay, smiled — 

In proud security ; for the high of heaii; 

Have still a pathway to escape disgrace. 

Though it be dark and lone. 



10 DRAMATIC WORKS 

Procida. — Thou shalt not need 

To tread its shadowy mazes. Trust my words : 

I tell thee that a spirit is abroad 

Which will not slumber, till its path be traced 

By deeds of fearful fame. Vittoria, live ! 

It is most meet that thou shouldst live, to see 

The mighty expiation ; for thy heart 

(Forgive me that I wronged its faith !) hath nursed 

A high majestic grief, whose seal is set 

Deep on thy marble brow. 

Vittoria. — Then thou canst tell 

By gazing on the withered rose, that there 
Time, or the blight, hath worked ! Ay, this is in 
Thy vision's scope : but oh ! the things unseen. 
Untold, undreamt of, which like shadows pass 
Hourly o'er that mysterious world, a mind 
To ruin struck by grief ! Yet doth my soul, 
Far midst its darkness, nurse one soaring hope. 
Wherein is bright vitality. 'Tis to see 
His blood avenged, and his fair heritage, 
My beautiful native land, in glory risen 
Like a warrior from his slumbers ! 

Procida. — Hear'st thou not 

With what a deep and ominoiis moan the voice 

Of our great mountain swells? There will be soon 

A fearful burst. Vittoria ! brood no more 

In silence o'er thy sorrows, but go forth 

Amidst thy vassals, (yet be secret still,) 

And let thy breath give nurture to the spark 

Thou'lt find already kindled. I move on 

In shadow, yet awakening in my path 

That which shall startle nations. Fare thee well. 

Vittoria. — When shall we meet again ? ^re we not those 



THE VESPERS OF PALERMO li 

Whom most he loved on earth ! and think'st thou not 
That love even yet shall bring his spirit near, 
While thus we hold communion ] 
Peocida. — Yes, I feel 

Its breathing influence whilst I look on thee. 
Who wert its light in Hfe. Yet will we not 
Make womanish tears our offering on his tomb ; 
He shall have nobler tribute. I must hence, 
But thou shalt soon hear more. Await the time. 

lExeunt separately. 

SCENE III. 
TJte Sea-shore. Raimond di Procida and Constanck. 

Constance. — There is a shadow far within your eye. 
Which hath of late been deepening. You were wont, 
Upon the clearness of your open brow. 
To wear a brighter spirit, shedding round 
Joy like our southern sxm. It is not well. 
If some dark thought be gathering o'er your soul. 
To hide it from affection. Why is this? 
My Raimond, why is this ] 

Raimond. — Oh ! from the dreams 

Of youth, sweet Constance ! hath not manhood still 
A wild and stormy wakening] They depart — 
Light after light, our glorious visions fade, 
The vaguely beautiful ! till earth, im veiled, 
Lies pale around ; and life's realities 
Press on the soul, from its imfathomed depth 
Rousing the fiery feelings and proud thoughts. 
In all their fearful strength. 'Tis ever thus, 
And doubly so with me ; for I awoke 
With high aspirings, making it a curso 



12 DRAMATIC WORKS 

To breathe where noble minds are bowed, as here. 
To breathe ! — It is not breath ! 

Constance. — I know thy grief — 

And is't not mine ? — for those devoted men 
Doomed with their life to expiate some wild word, 
Bom of the social hour. Oh ! I have knelt, 
Even at mj brother's feet, with fruitless tears. 
Imploring him to spare. His heart is shut 
Against my voice ; yet will I not forsake 
The cause of mercy. 

Raimond. — Waste not thou thy prayers, 

gentle love ! for them. There's little need 
For pity, though the galling chain be worn 
By some few slaves the less. Let them depart ! 
There is a world beyond the oppressor's reach, 
And thither lies their way. 

Constance. — Alas ! I see 

That some new wrong hath pierced you to the soul. 

Raimond. — Pardon, beloved Constance ! if my words. 
From feelings hourly stung, have caught perchance 
A tone of bitterness. Oh ! when thine eyes. 
With their sweet eloquent thoughtfulness, are fixed 
Thus tenderly on mine, I should forget 
All else in their soft beams. And yet I came 
To tell thee 

Constance. — What? What wouldst thou say? Oh speak! 
Thou wouldst not leave me ] 

Raimond. — I have cast a cloud, 

The shadow of dark thoughts and ruined fortunes. 
O'er thy bright spirit. Haply, were I gone. 
Thou wouldst resume thyself, and dwell once more 
In the clear sunny light of youth and joy, 
Even as before we met — before we loved ! 



THE VESPERS OF PALEBMO 13 

Constance. — This is but mockery. Well thou know'st thy 
love 
Hath given me nobler being ; made my heart 
A home for all the deep sublimities 
Of strong affection ; and I would not change 
The exalted life I draw from that pure source, 
With all its checkered hues of hope and fear. 
Even for the brightest calm. Thou most imkind ! 
Have I deserved this ] 

Raimond. — Oh ! thou hast deserved 

A love less fatal to thy peace than mine. 
Think not 'tis mockery ! But I cannot rest 
To be the scorned and trampled thing I am 
In this degraded land. Its very skies, 
That smile as if but festivals were held 
Beneath their cloudless azure, weigh me down 
With a dull sense of bondage, and I pine 
For freedom's chartered air. I would go forth 
To seek my noble father : he hath been 
Too long a lonely exile, and his name 
Seems fading in the dim obscurity 
Which gathers roimd my fortunes. 

Constance. — Must we part ? 

And is it come to this ] Oh ! I have still 
Deemed it enough of joy with thee to share 
Even grief itself. And now ! But this is vain. 
Alas ! too deep, too fond, is woman's love : 
Too full of hope, she casts on troubled waves 
The treasures of her soul. 

Raimond. — Oh, speak not thus ! 

Thy gentle and desponding tones fall cold 
Upon my inmost heart. I leave thee but 
To be more worthy of a love like thine ; 



14 DRAMATIC WORKS 

For I have dreamt of fame ! A few short years, 
And we may yet be blest. 

Constance. — A few short years ! 

Less time may well suffice for death and fate 
To work all change on earth ; to break the ties 
Which early love had formed ; and to bow down 
The elastic spirit, and to blight each flower 
Strewn in life's crowded path. But be it so ! 
Be it enough to know that happiness 
Meets thee on other shores. 

Raimond. — Where'er I roam, 

Thou shalt be with my soul. Thy soft low voice 
Shall rise upon remembrance, like a strain 
Of music heard in boyhood, bringing back 
Life's morning freshness. Oh ! that there should be 
Things which we love with such deep tenderness, 
But, through that love, to learn how much of woe 
Dwells in one hour like this ! Yet weep thou not ! 
We shall meet soon ; and many days, dear love ! 
Ere I depart. 

Constance. — Then there's a respite still. 

Days ! — not a day but in its course may bring 

Some strange vicissitude to turn aside 

The impending blow we shrink from. Fare thee well. 

{ Returning. ) 

Oh, Raimond ! this is not our last farewell 1 
Thou wouldst not so deceive me ! 
Raimond. — Doubt me not, 

Gentlest and best beloved ! we meet again. 

\_Exit Constance. 
Raimond {after a 'pause.) — When shall I breathe in free- 
dom, and give scope 



THE VESPERS OF PALERMO 15 

To tliose untameable and burning thoughts. 

And restless aspirations, which consume 

My heart i' the land of bondage 1 Oh ! with you. 

Ye everlasting images of power 

And of infinity ! thou blue-rolling deep. 

And you, ye stars ! whose beams are characters 

Wherewith the oracles of fate are traced — 

With you my soul finds room, and casts aside 

The weight that doth oppress her. But my thoughts 

Are wandering far ; there should be one to share 

This awful and majestic solitude 

Of sea and heaven with me. 

( Procida enters unobserved. ) 

It is the hour 
He named, and yet he comes not. 

Procida {coming forward.) — He is here. 

Eaimond. — Now, thou mysterious stranger ! thou, whose 
glance 
Doth fix itself on memory, and pursue 
Thought like a spirit, haiinting its lone hours — 
Reveal thyself; what art thou ] 

Procida. — One whose life 

Hath been a troubled stream, and made its way 
Through rocks and darkness, and a thousand storms. 
With still a mighty aim. But now the shades 
Of eve are gathering round me, and I come 
To this, my native land, that I may rest 
Beneath its vines in peace. 

Raimond. — Seek'st thou for peace ? 

This is no land of peace : unless that deep 

And voiceless terror, which doth freeze men's thoughts 

Back to their source, and mantle its pale mien 



16 DBAMATIC WORKS 

"With a dull hollow semblance of repose. 
May so be called. 

Procida. — There are such calms full oft 

Preceding earthquakes. But I have not been 
So vainly schooled by fortune, and inured 
To shape my course on peril's dizzy brink, 
That it should irk my spirit to put on 
Such guise of hushed submissiveness as best 
May suit the troubled aspect of the times. 

Kaimond. — Why then thou'rt welcome, stranger, to the land 
Where most disguise is needful. He were bold 
Who now should wear his thoughts upon his brow 
Beneath Sicilian skies. The brother's eye 
Doth search distrustfully the brothei''s face ; 
And friends, whose undivided lives have drawn 
From the same past their long remembrances, 
Now meet in terror, or no more ; lest hearts, 
Full to o'erflowing, in their social hour 
Should pour out some rash word, which roving winds 
Might whisper to our conquerers. This it is, 
To wear a foreign yoke. 

Procida. — It matters not 

To him who holds the mastery o'er his spirit, 
And can suppress its workings, till endurance 
Becomes as nature. We can tame ourselves 
To all extremes ; and there is that in life 
To which we cling with most tenacious grasp. 
Even when its lofty aims are all reduced 
To the poor common privilege of breathing. 
— Why dost thou turn away? 

Raimond. — What wouldst thou with me 1 

I deemed thee, by the ascendant soul which lived 
And made its throne on thy commanding brow, 



THE VESPERS OF PALERMO 17 

One of a sovereign natvire, which would scorn 
So to abase its high capacities 
For aught on earth. But thou art like the rest. ' 
What wouldst thou with me 1 

Pbocida. — I would counsel thee. 

Thou mvist do that which men — ay, valiant men — 

Hourly submit to do ; in the proud court. 

And in the stately camp, and at the board 

Of midnight revellers, whose flushed mirth is all 

A strife, won hardly. Where is he whose heart 

Lies bare, through all its foldings, to the gaze 

Of mortal eye 1 If vengeance wait the foe, 

Or fate the oppressor, 'tis in depths concealed 

Beneath a smiling sm-face. — Youth, I say. 

Keep thy soid down ! Put on a mask ! — 'tis worn 

Alike by power and weakness ; and the smooth 

And specious intercoui-se of life requires 

Its aid in every scene. 

R&iMOND. — Away, dissembler ! 

Life hath its high and its ignoble tasks, 

Fitted to every nature. Will the free 

And royal eagle stoop to learn the arts 

By which the serpent wdns his spell-bound prey ? 

It is because I will not clothe myself 

In a vile garb of coward semblances. 

That now, even now, I struggle with my heart. 

To bid what most I love a long farewell. 

And seek my coimtry on some distant shore, 

Where such things are tmknown ! 

Pbocida, (exultingly.) — Why, this is joy : 

After long conflict with the doubts and fears. 
And the poor subtleties of meaner minds. 
To meet a spirit whose bold elastic wing 

S B 



18 DRAMATIC WORKS 

Oppression hath not crushed. High-hearted youth ! 
Thy father, should his footsteps e'er again 
Visit these shores 

Raimond. — My father ! what of him 1 
Speak ! was he known to thee ] 

Procida. — In distant lands 

With him I've traversed many a wild, and looked 
On many a danger ; and the thought that thou 
Wert smiling then in peace, a happy boy. 
Oft through the storm hath cheered him. 

Raimond. — Dost thou deem 

That still he lives 1 Oh ! if it be in chains. 
In woe, in poverty's obscurest cell. 
Say but he lives — and I will track his steps 
Even to earth's verge. 

Procida. — It may be that he lives. 

Though long his name hath ceased to be a word 
Familiar in man's dwellings. But its sound 
May yet be heard ! Raimond di Procida, 
Rememberest thou thy father ! 

Raimond. — From my mind 

His form hath faded long, for years have passed 
Since he went forth to exile : but a vague 
Yet powerful image of deep majesty. 
Still dimly gathering round each thought of him, 
Doth claim instinctive reverence ; and my love 
For his inspiring name hath long become 
Part 6f my being. 

Procida. — Raimond ! doth no voice 

Speak to thy soul, and tell thee whose the arms 
That would enfold thee now 1 My son ! my son ! 

Raimond. — Father ! Oh God ! — my father ! Now I know 
Why my heart woke before thee ! 



THE VESPERS OF PALERMO 19 

Procida. — Oh ! this hour 

Makes hope reality ; for thou art all 
My dreams had pictured thee ! 

Raimond. — Yet why so long 

Even as a stranger hast thou crossed my paths, 
One nameless and unknown ? And yet I felt 
Each pulse within me thrilling to thy voice. 

Procida. — Because I would not link thy fate with mine. 
Till I could hail the day -spring of that hope 
Which now is gathering roimd us. Listen, youth ! 
Thou hast told me oio, subdued and scorned 
And trampled land, whose very sovd is bowed 
And fashioned to her chains : — but /tell thee 
Of a most generous and devoted land, 
A land of kindling energies ; a land 
Of glorious recollections ! — proudly true 
To the high memory of her ancient kings. 
And rising in majestic scorn to cast 
Her alien bondage off ! 

Raimond. — And where is this ] 

Procida. — Here, in our isle, our own fair Sicily ! 
Her spirit is awake, and moving on. 
In its deep silence mightier, to regain 
Her place amongst the nations ; and the hour 
Of that tremendous eflfort is at hand. 

Raimgnd. — Can it be thus indeed ? Thou pour'st new life 
Through all my burning veins ! I am as one 
Awakening from a chill and deathlike sleep 
To the full glorious day. 

Procida. — Thou shalt hear more ! 

Thou shalt hear things which would, which will, arouse 

The proud free spirits of our ancestors 

Even from their marble rest Yet mark me well ! 



20 DRAMATIC WORKS 

Be secret ! — for along my destined path 
I yet must darkly move. Now, follow me, 
And join a band of men, in whose high hearts 
There lies a nation's strength. 

Raimond. — My noble father ! 

Thy words have given me all for which I pined — 
An aim, a hope, a purpose ! And the blood 
Doth rush in warmer currents through my veins, 
As a bright fountain from its icy bonds 
By the quick sun-stroke freed. 

Procida. — Ay, this is well! 

Such natures burst men's chains ! Now follow me. 

lExeunt. 



ACT 11. 
SCENE I. — Apartment in a Palace. Eribert and Constance 

Constance. — Will younot hearme? Oh ! that they who need 
Hourly forgiveness — they who do but live 
While Mercy's voice, beyond the eternal stars. 
Wins the great Judge to listen, should be thus, 
In their vain exercise of pageant power, 
Hard and relentless ! Gentle brother ! yet 
'Tis in your choice to imitate that heaven. 
Whose noblest joy is pardon. 

Eribert. — 'Tis too late. 

You have a soft and moving voice, which pleads 
With eloquent melody — but they must die. 

Constance. — What ! — die ! — for words ?— for breath which 
leaves no trace 



THE VESPERS OF PALERMO 21 

To sully the pure air wherewith it blends. 

And is, being uttered, gone 1 Why, 'twere enough 

For such a venial fault, to be deprived 

One little day of man's free heritage, 

Heaven's warm and sunny light. Oh ! if you deem 

That evil harbours in their souls, at least 

Delay the stroke, till guilt, made manifest. 

Shall bid stem justice wake. 

Eribert. — I am not one 

Of those weak spirits that timorously keep watch 
For fair occasions, thence to borrow hues 
Of virtue for their deeds. My school hath been 
Where power sits crowned and armed. And, mark me, 

sister ! 
To a distrustful nature it might seem 
Strange, that your hps thus earnestly should plead 
For these Sicilian rebels. O'er my being 
Suspicion holds no power. And yet, take note — 
I have said, and they must die. 

CoNtTANCE. — Have you no fear ] 

Eribert. — Of what 1 — that heaven should fell? 

Constance. — No ! but that earth 

Should arm in madness. Brother ! I have seen 
Dark eyes bent on you, even midst festal throngs. 
With such deep hatred settled in their glance, 
My heart hath died within me. 

Eribert. — Am I then 

To pause and doubt and shrink, because a girl, 
A dreaming girl, hath trembled at a look ] 

Constance. — Oh ! looks are no illusions, when the soul 
Which may not speak in words, can find no way 
But theirs to liberty ! Have not these men 
Brave sons or noble brothers ? 



22 DRAMATIC WORKS 

Eribert. — Yes ! whose name 

It rests with me to make a word of fear — 
A sound forbidden midst the haimts of men. 

Constance. — But not forgotten ! Ah ! beware, beware ! 
— Nay, look not sternly on me. There is one 
Of that devoted band, who yet will need 
Years to be ripe for death. He is a youth, 
A very boy, on whose unshaded cheek 
The spring-time glow is lingering. 'Twas but now 
His mother left me, with a timid hope 
Just dawning in her breast : and I — I dared 
To foster its faint spark. You smile ! — Oh ! then 
He will be saved ! 

Eribert. — ISTay, I but smiled to think 

What a fond fool is Hope ! She may be taught 
To deem that the great sun will change his course 
To work her pleasure, or the tomb give back 
Its inmates to her arms. In sooth 'tis strange ! 
Yet, with your pitying heart, you should not thus 
Have mocked the boy's sad mother : I have said — * 
You should not thus have mock'cl her ! — Now, farewell! 

iExit. 

Constance. — brother, hard of heart! — for deeds like these 
There must be fearful chastening, if on high 
Justice doth hold her state. And I must tell 
Yon desolate mother that her fair young son 
Is thus to perish ! Haply the dread tale 
May slay her too — for heaven is merciftil. 
— 'Twill be a bitter task I lExit. 



THE VESPERS OF PALERMO 



SCENE II. 

A ruined Tower rurrounded by woods. Procida and Vittorfa. 

Procida. — Thy vassals are prepared, then ? 

ViTTORiA. — Yes ; they wait 
Thy summons to their task. 

Procida. — Keep the flame bright. 

But hidden till the hour. Wouldst thou dare, lady, 
To join our coiincils at the night's mid watch, 
In the lone cavern by the rock-hewn cross] 

ViTTORiA. — What should I shrink from ? 

Procida. — Oh ! the forest-paths 

Are dim and wild, even when the sunshine streams 
Through their high arches ; but when powerful night 
Comes, with her cloudy phantoms, and her pale 
Uncertain moonbeams, and the hollow sounds 
Of her mysterious winds ; their aspect then 
Is of another and more fearful world — 
A realm of indistinct and shadowy forms. 
Waking strange thoughts almost too much for this — 
Our frail terrestrial nature. 

ViTTORiA. — Well I know 

All this and more. Such scenes have been the abodes 

Where through the silence of my sovd have passed 

Voices and visions from the sphere of those 

That have to die no more. Nay, doubt it not ! 

If such unearthly intercourse hath e'er 

Been granted to our natiu*e, 'tis to hearts 

Whose love is with the dead. They, they alone, 

Unmaddened could sustain the fearful joy 

And glory of its trances. At the hour 

Which makes guilt tremulous, and peoples earth 



24 DRAMATIC WORKS 

And air with infinite viewless multitudes, 
I will be with thee, Proeida. 

Pkocida. — Thy presence 

Will kindle nobler thoughts, and, in the souls 
Of suffering and indignant men, arouse 
That which may strengthen our majestic cause 
With yet a deeper power. Know'st thou the spot ? 

ViTTORiA. — Full well. There is no scene so wild and lone, 
In these dim woods, but I have visited 
Its tangled shades. 

Procida. — At midnight, then, we meet. lExit. 

ViTT. — Why should I fear? Thou wilt be with me — thou. 
The immortal dream and shadow of my soul, 
Spirit of him I love ! that meet'st me still 
In loneliness and silence ; in the noon 
Of the wild night, and ia the forest depths. 
Known but to me, for whom thou givest the winds 
And sighing leaves a cadence of thy voice, 
Till my heart faints with that o'erthrilling joy ! 
— Thou wilt be with me there, and lend my lips 
Words, fiery words, to flush dark cheeks with shame 
That thou art unavenged ! lExit. 



SCENE III. 

A Chapel, with a monument on which is laid a sword. Moonlight. 
Procida, Raimond, and Montalba. 

MONTALBA. — And know you not my story] 

Pbocida. — In the lands 

Where I have been a wanderer, your deep wrongs 
Were numbered with our country's ; but their tale 



THE VESPERS OP PALERMO 25 

Came only in faint echoes to mine ear. 
I would fain hear it now. 

Mont ALBA. — Hark ! while you spoke, 

There was a voice-like murmur in the breeze, 

Which even like death came o'er me. 'Twas a night 

Like this, of clouds contending with the moon, 

A night of sweeping winds, of rusthng leaves, 

And swift wild shadows floating o'er the earth, 

Clothed with a phantom life, when, after years 

Of battle and captivity, I spurred 

My good steed homewards. Oh, what lovely dreams 

Rose on my spirit ! There were tears and smiles. 

But all of joy ! And there were bounding steps, 

And clinging arms, whose passionate clasp of love 

Doth twine so fondly roxmd the warrior's neck 

When his plumed helm is dofied. Hence, feeble thoughts ! 

I am sterner now — yet once such dreams were mine. 

Raimond. — And were they realised 1 

MoNTALBA. — Youth ! ask me not. 

But listen ! I drew near my own fair home. 
There was no light along its walls, no sound 
Of bugle pealing from the watch-tower's height 
At my approach, although my trampling steed 
Made the earth ring ; yet the wide gates were thrown 
All open. Then my heart misgave me first. 
And on the threshold of my silent hall 
I paused a moment, and the wind swept by 
With the same deep and dirge-like tone which pierced 
My soul even now ! I called — my struggling voice 
Gave utterance to my wife's, my children's names. 
They answered not. I roused my faiHng strength, 
And wildly rushed within. And they were there. 

Raimond. — ^And was all well ? 



26 DRAMATIC WORKS 

MoNTALBA. — Ay, well!— for death is well: 
And they were all at rest ! I see them yet, 
Pale in their innocent beauty, which had failed 
To stay the assassin's arm ! 

Raimond. — Oh, righteous Heaven ! 
Who had done this ] 

MONTALBA. — Who ] 

Peocida. — Canst thou question, who ] 

Whom hath the earth to perpetrate such deeds, 
In the cold-blooded revelry of crime. 
But those whose yoke is on us ] 

Raimond. — Man of woe ! 

What words hath pity for despair like thine 1 

MONTALBA. — Pity ! fond youth ! My soul disdains the grief 
Which doth unbosom its deep secrecies 
To ask a vain companionship of tears. 
And so to be relieved. 

Procida. — For woes like these 

There is no sympathy but vengeance. 

MoNTALBA. — None ! 

Therefore I brought you hither, that your hearts 
Might catch the spirit of the scene ! Look round. 
We are in the awful presence of the dead ; 
Within yon tomb they sleep whose gentle blood 
Weighs down the murderer s soul. They sleep ! — but I 
Am wakeful o'er their dust. I laid my sword. 
Without its sheath, on their sepulchral stone. 
As on an altar ; and the eternal stars. 
And heaven, and night, bore witness to my vow, 
No more to wield it save in one great cause — 
The vengeance of the grave. And now the hour 
Of that atonement comes ! 

{He takes the sword from the tomb.) 



THE VESPERS OF PALERMO 27 

Raimond. — My spirit bums ! 

And my full heart almost to bursting swells. 
Oh, for the day of battle ! 

Procida.— Raimond, they 

Whose souls are dark with guiltless blood must die — 
But not in battle. 

Raimond. — How, my father? 

Procida. — No ! 

Look on that sepulchre, and it will teach 
Another lesson. But the appointed hour 
Advances. Thou wilt join our chosen band. 
Noble Montalba 1 

MoNTALBA. — Leave me for a time, 

That I may calm my soul by intercourse 

With the still dead, before I mix with men 

And with their passions. I have nursed for years. 

In silence and in solitude, the flame 

Which doth consume me ; and it is not used 

Thus to be looked or breathed on. Procida ! 

I would be tranquil — or appear so— ere 

I join your brave confederates. Through my heart 

There struck a pang — but it will soon have passed. 

Procida. — Remember ! — in the cavern by the cross. 

Now, follow me, my son. iExeunt Procida and Raimond 

Montalba {after a pauscj leaning on the tomb.) — 

Said he, " My son?" Now, why should this man's life 
Go down in hope, thus resting on a son, 
And I be desolate 1 How strange a so\md 
Was that — " my son/" I had a boy, who might 
Have worn as free a soul upon his brow 
As doth this youth. Why should the thought of him 
Thus hatmt me ] When I tread the peopled ways 
Of life again, I shall be passed each hour 



28 DRA.MATIC WORKS 

By fathers with their children, and I must 

Learn calmly to look on. Methinks 'twere now 

A gloomy consolation to behold 

All men bereft as I am ! But away. 

Vain thoughts ! One task is left for blighted hearts, 

And it shall be fulfilled. lExit. 



SCENE IV. 

Entrance of a Cave, surrounded by rocks and forests. A rude, Cross 
seen among the rods. Procida and Raimond. 

Procida. — And is it thus, beneath the solemn skies 
Of midnight, and in solitary caves, 
Where the wild forest-creatures make their lair — 
Is 't thus the chiefs of Sicily must hold 
The councils of their country % 

Eaimond. — Why, such scenes 

In their primeval majesty, beheld 

Thus by faint starlight and the partial glare 

Of the red streaming lava, will inspire 

Far deeper thoughts than pillared halls, wherein 

Statesmen hold weary vigils. Are we not 

O'ershadowed by that Etna, which of old 

With its dread prophecies hath struck dismay 

Through tyrant's hearts, and bade them seek a home 

In other climes 1 Hark ! from its depths, even now. 

What hollow moans are sent ! 

(Enter Montalba, Guido, and other Sicilians.) 

Procida. — Welcome, my brave associates ! We can share 
The wolf's wild freedom here. The oppressor's haunt 
Is not midst rocks and caves. Are we all met 1 



THE VESPERS OF PALERMO 29 

Sicilians. — All, all ! 

Procida. — The torchlight, swayed by every gust, 
But dimly shows your features. Where is he 
Who from his battles had returned to breathe 
Once more without a corslet, and to meet 
The voices and the footsteps and the smiles 
Blent with his dreams of home 1 Of that dark tale 
The rest is known to vengeance. Art thou here. 
With thy deep wrongs and resolute despair, 
Childless Montalba] 

Mont ALB A {advaticing) — He is at thy side. 
Call on that desolate father in the hour 
When his revenge is nigh. 

Procida. — Thou, too, come forth. 

From thine own halls an exile ! Dost thou make 
The movmtain-fastnesses thy dwelling still, 
While hostile banners o'er thy rampart-walls 
Wave their proud blazonry ] 

1st Sicilian.— Even so. I stood 

Last night before my own ancestral towers 

An unknown outcast, while the tempest beat 

On my bare head. What recked it 1 There was joy 

Within, and revelry ; the festive lamps 

Were streaming from each turret, and gay songs 

r the stranger's tongue, made mirth. They little deemed 

Who heard their melodies. But there are thoughts 

Best nurtured in the wild ; there are dread vows 

Known to the moxmtain-echoes. Procida ! 

Call on the outcast, when revenge is nigh. 

Pbocida. — I knew a yoimg Sicilian — one whose heai*t 
Should be all fire. On that most guilty day 
When, with our martyred Conradin, the flower 
Of the land's knighthood perished ; he of whom 



30 DRAMATIC WORKS 

I speak, a weeping boy, whose innocent tears 
Melted a thousand hearts that dared not aid. 
Stood by the scaflfold with extended arms, 
Calling upon his father, whose last look 
Turned full on him its parting agony. 
The father's blood gushed o'er him ; and the boy 
Then dried his tears, and with a kindling eye, 
And a proud flush on his young cheek, looked up 
To the bright heaven. — Doth he remember still 
That bitter hour ? 

2d Sicilian. — He bears a sheathless sword ! 
— Call on the orphan when revenge is nigh. 

Procida. — Our band shows gallantly — but there are men 
Who should be with us now, had they not dared 
In some wild moment of festivity 
To give their full hearts way, and breathe a wish 
For freedom : and some traitor — it might be 
A breeze, perchance — bore the forbidden sound 
To Eribert : so they must die — unless 
Fate (who at times is wayward) should select 
Some other victim first. But have they not 
Brothers or sons among us 1 

GuiDO. — Look on me ! 

I have a brother — a young high-souled boy, 

And beautiful as a sculptor's dream, with brow 

That wears, amidst its dark rich curls, the stamp 

Of inborn nobleness. In truth, he is 

A glorious creature. But his doom is sealed 

With theirs of whom ye spoke ; and I have knelt — 

Ay, scorn me not ! 'twas for his life — I knelt 

Even at the viceroy's feet, and he put on 

That heartless laugh of cold mahgnity 

We know so well, and spurned me. But the stain 



THE VESPERS OF PALERMO 31 

Of shame like this takes blood to wash it off, 
And thus it shall be cancelled ! Call on me, 
When the stem moment of revenge is nigh. 

Procida.— I call upon thee now ! The land's high soul 
Is roused, and moving onward, like a breeze 
Or a swift sxmbeam, kindling nature's hues 
To deeper life before it. In his chains. 
The peasant dreams of freedom. — Ay, 'tis thus 
Oppression fans the imperishable flame 
With most unconscious hands. No praise be hers 
For what she blindly works ! When slavery's cup 
O'erflows its bounds, the creeping poison, meant 
To dull our senses, through each bxxming vein 
Pours fever, lending a delirious strength 
To burst man's fetters. And they shall be burst ! 
I have hoped, when hope seemed frenzy ; but a power 
Abides in hxunan will, when bent with strong 
Unswerving energy on one great aim. 
To make and rule its fortvmes ! I have been 
A wanderer in the fulness of my years, 
A restless pilgrim of the earth and seas. 
Gathering the generous thoughts of other lands. 
To aid our holy cause. And aid is near : 
But we must give the signal. Now, before 
The majesty of yon pure heaven, whose eye 
Is on our hearts — whose righteous arm befriends 
The arm that strikes for freedom — speak ! decree 
The fate of our oppressors. 

MoNTALBA. — Let them fall 

When dreaming least of peril : — when the heart, 
Basking in s\mny pleasure, doth forget 
That hate may smile, but sleeps not. Hide the sword 
With a thick veil of myrtle ; and in halls 



32 DRAMATIC WORKS 

Of banqueting, where the full wine-cup shines 
Red in the festal torchlight, meet we there, 
And bid them welcome to the feast of death. 

Procida. — Thy voice is low and broken, and thy words 
Scarce meet our ears. 

MoNTALBA. — Why, then, I must repeat 

Their import. Let the avenging sword burst forth 
In some free festal hour — and woe to him 
Who first shall spare ! 

Raimond. — Must innocence and guilt 
Perish alike 1- 

MoNTALBA. — Who talks of innocence ? 

When hath their hand been stayed for innocence ? 

Let them all perish ! — Heaven will choose its own. 

Why should thm' children live 1 The earthquake whelms 

Its undistinguished thousands, making graves 

Of peopled cities in its path — and this 

Is heaven's dread justice — ay, and it is well ! 

Why then shovdd we be tender, when the skies 

Deal thus with man ] What if the infant bleed 1 

Is there not power to hush the mother's pangs ] 

What if the youthful bride perchance shovdd fall 

In her triumphant beauty ? Should we pause, 

As if death were not mercy to the pangs 

Which make our lives the records of our woes 1 

Let them all perish ! And if one be found 

Amidst our band to stay the avenging steel 

For pity, or remorse, or boyish love, 

Then be his doom as theirs ! 

( A pause. ) 

Why gaze ye thus 1 

Brethren, what means your silence ] 

Sicilians. — Be it so ! 



THE VESPERS OF PALERMO 33 

If one among us stay the avenging steel 
For love or pity, be his doom as theirs ! 
Pledge we our faith to this. 
Kaimond {rmhing forward indignantly) — Our faith to this ! 
No ! I but dreamt I heard it ! Can it be 1 
My countrymen, my father ! — is it thus 
That freedom should be won ] Awake ! — awake 
To loftier thoughts ! Lift up exultingly, 
On the crowned heights and to the sweeping winds, 
Your glorious banner. Let your trumpet's blast 
Make the tombs thrill with echoes. Call aloud. 
Proclaim from all your hills, the land shall bear 
The stranger's yoke no longer. What is he 
Who carries on his practised lip a smile. 
Beneath his vest a dagger, which but waits 
Till the heart bounds with joy, to still its beatings ? 
That which our nature's instinct doth recoil from. 
And our blood curdle at — ay, yours and mine — 
A murderer ! Heard ye '{ Shall that name with ours 
Go down to after days ? friends ! a cause 
Like that for which we rise, hath made bright names 
Of the elder time as rallying- words to men — 
Sounds full of might and immortality. 
And shall not ours be such ] 

MoNTALBA. — Fond dreamer, peace ! 

Fame ! What is Fame ] Will our unconscious dust 

Start into thrilling rapture from the grave, 

At the vain breath of praise ] I tell thee, youth ! 

Our souls are parched with agonising thiret. 

Which must be quench'd, tho' death were in the draught : 

We must have vengeance, for our foes have left 

No other joy unblighted. 

Procida. — my son ! 

B 



34 DRAMATIC WORKS 

The time is past for such high dreams as thine. 
Thou know'st not whom we deal with : knightly faith 
And chivalrous honour are but things whereon 
They cast disdainful pity. We must meet 
Falsehood with wiles, and insult with revenge. 
And, for our names — whate'er the deeds by which 
We burst our bondage — is it not enough 
That in the chronicle of days to come, 
We, through a bright For Ever, shall be called 
The men who saved their country ? 
Kaimond. — Many a land 

Hath bowed beneath the yoke, and then arisen 
As a strong lion rending silken bonds, 
And on the open field, before high heaven. 
Won such majestic vengeance as hath made 
Its name a power on earth. Ay, nations own 
It is enough of glory to be called 
The children of the mighty, who redeemed 
Their native soil — but not by means like these. 
MoNTALBA. — I have no children. Of Montalba's blood 
Not one red drop doth circle through the veins 
Of aught that breathes. Why, what have 1 to do 
With far futurity % My spirit lives 
But in the past. Away ! when thou dost stand 
On this fair earth as doth a blasted tree 
Which the warm svm revives not, then return. 
Strong in thy desolation : but till then. 
Thou art not for our purpose ; we have need 
Of more unshrinking hearts. 
Eaimond. — Montalba ! know 

I shrink from crime alone. Oh ! if my voice 
Might yet have power among you, I would say, 
Associates, leaders, be avenged ! but yet 



THE VESPERS OF PALERMO 35 

As knights, as warriors ! 
MoNTALBA. — Peace ! have we not borne 

The indelible taint of contumely and chains ? 

We are not knights and warriors. Our bright crests 

Have been defiled and trampled to the earth. 

Boy ! we are slaves : and our revenge shall be 

Deep as a slave's disgrace. 
Kaimond. — Why, then, farewell : 

I leave you to your counsels. He that still 

Would hold his lofty nature undebased. 

And his name pure, were but a loiterer here. 
Pbocida. — And is it thus indeed ] Dost thou forsake 

Our cause, my son ! 
Raimond. — father ! what proud hopes 

This hour hath blighted ! Yet, whate'er betide. 

It is a noble privilege to look up 

Fearless in heaven's bright face — and this is mine. 

And shall be still. lExlt. 

Procida. — He's gone ! Why, let it be ! 

I trust our Sicily hath many a son 

Valiant as mine. Associates ! 'tis decreed 

Our foes shall perish. We have but to name 

The hour, the scene, the signal. 
Mont ALB A. — It should be 

In the full city, when some festival 

Hath gathered throngs, and lulled infatuate hearts 

To brief security. Hark ! is there not 

A sound of hurrying footsteps on the breeze ? 

We are betrayed. — Who art thou ] 

( ViTTORiA enters. ) 

Procida. — One alone 

Should be thus daring. Lady, lift the veil 



36 DRAMATIC WORKS 

That shades thy noble brow. 

( She raises her veil— the Sicilians draw hack toith respect. ) 

Sicilians. — The affianced bride 
Of our lost king ! 

Procida. — And more, Montalba ; know. 

Within this form there dwells a soul as high 
As warriors in their battles e'er have proved, 
Or patriots on the scaffold. 

ViTTORiA. — Valiant men ! 

I come to ask your aid. You see me, one 

"Whose widowed youth hath all been consecrate 

To a proud sorrow, and whose life is held 

In token and memorial of the dead. 

Say, is it meet that lingering thus on earth, 

But to behold one great atonement made, 

And keep one name from fading in men's hearts, 

A tyrant's will should force me to profane 

Heaven's altar with unhallowed vows — and live 

Stung by the keen unutterable scorn 

Of my own bosom, live — another's bride ] 

Sicilians. — Never ; oh, never ! Fear not, noble lady ! 
Worthy of Conradin ! 

ViTTORiA. — Yet hear me still — 

Mis bride, that Eribert's, who notes our tears 

With his insulting eye of cold derision. 

And, could he pierce the depths where feeling works, 

Would number even our agonies as crimes. 

Say, is this meet? 

GuiDO. — We deemed these nuptials, lady, 
Thy willing choice ; but 'tis a joy to find 
Thou'rt noble still. Fear not : by all our wi'ongs. 
This shall not be. 



THE VESPERS OF PALERMO 

PnociDA.. — Vittoria, thou art come 

To ask our aid — but we have need of thine. 
Know, the completion of our high designs 
Requires — a festival ; and it must be 
Thy bridal ! 

Vittoria. — Procida ! 

Procida. — Nay, start not thus. 

'Tis no hard task to bind your raven hair 
With festal garlands, and to bid the song 
Rise, and the wine-cup mantle. No — nor yet 
To meet your suitor at the glittering shrine, 
Where death, not love, awaits him ! 

Vittoria. — Can my soul 
Dissemble thus 1 

Procida. — We have no other means 

Of winning our great birthright back from those 
Who have usvu^ed it, than so lulling them 
Into vain confidence, that they may deem 
All wrongs forgot ; and this may best be done 
By what I ask of thee. 

Mont ALBA. — Then we will mix 

With the flushed revellers, making their gay feast 
The harvest of the grave. 

Vittoria. — A bridal-day ! 

Must it be so ? Then, chiefs of Sicily ! 

I bid you to my nuptials. But be there 

With your bright swords unsheathed, for thus alone 

My guests should be adorned. 

Procida. — And let thy banquet 

Be soon announced ; for there are noble men 
Sentenced to die, for whom we fain would purchase 
Reprieve with other blood. 

Vittoria. — Be it then the day 



38 DRAMATIC WORKS 

Preceding that appointed for their doom. 

GuiDO. — My brother, thou shalt live ! Oppression boasts 
No gift of prophecy. It but remains 
To name our signal, chiefs ! 

Mont ALBA. — The Vesper-bell! 

Procida. — Even so — the Vesper-bell, whose deep-toned peal 
Is heard o'er land and wave. Part of our band, 
Wearing the guise of antic revelry, 
Shall enter, as in some fantastic pageant. 
The halls of Eribert ; and at the hour 
Devoted to the sword's tremendous task, 
I follow with the rest. The Vesper-bell ! 
That sound shall wake the avenger; for 'tis come. 
The time when power is in a voice, a breath, 
To burst the spell which bound us. But the night 
Is waning with her stars, which one by one 
Warn us to part. Friends, to your homes. Your homes! 
That name is yet to win. Away ! prepare 
For our next meeting in Palermo's walls. 
The Vesper-bell ! Eemember ! 

Sicilians. — Fear us not. 

The Vesper-bell ! iExeunt omnes. 



ACT III. 
SCENE I. — Apartment in a Palace. Eribert and Vittoria. 

ViTTORiA. — Speak not of love. It is a word with deep 
Strange magic in its melancholy sound. 
To summon up the dead ; and they should rest, 
At such an hour, forgotten. There are things 



THE VESPERS OF PALERMO 39 

We must throw from us, when the heart would gather 

Strength to fulfil its settled purposes ; 

Therefore, no more of love ! But if to robe 

This form in bridal ornaments — to smile 

(I can smile yet) at thy gay feast, and stand 

At the altar by thy side ; — if this be deemed 

Enough, it shall be done. 

Eribert. — My fortune's star 

Doth rule the ascendant still ! (Apart.) — If not of love, 
Then, pardon, lady, that I speak of joy. 
And with exulting heart 

ViTTORiA. — There is no joy ! 

Who shall look through the far futurity, 

And, as the shadowy visions of events 

Develop on his gaze, midst their dim throng. 

Dare, with oracular mien, to point, and say, 

" This will bring happiness?" Who shall do this? 

Who, thou and I, and all ! There's One, who sits 

In His own bright tranquillity enthroned. 

High o'er all storms, and looking far beyond 

Their thickest clouds ; but we, from whose dull eyes 

A grain of dust hides the great sun — even we 

Usurp his attributes, and talk, as seers. 

Of future joy and grief ! 

Eribert. — Thy words are strange. 

Yet will I hope that peace at length shall settle 
Upon thy troubled heart, and add soft grace 
To thy majestic beauty. Fair Vittoria ! 
Oh ! if my cares 

Vittoria. — I know a day shall come 

Of peace to all. Even from my darkened spirit 
Soon shall each restless wish be exorcised. 
Which haunts it now, and I shall then lie down 



40 DRAMATIC WORKS 

Serenely to repose. Of this no more. 
I have a boon to ask. 

Eribert. — Command my power, 
And deem it thus most honoured. 

ViTTORiA. — Have I then 

Soared such an eagle pitch, as to command 

The mighty Eribert 1 — And yet 'tis meet ; 

For I bethink me now, I should have worn 

A crown upon this forehead. Generous lord ! 

Since thus you give me freedom, know, there is 

An hour I have loved fi'om childhood, and a sound 

Whose tones, o'er earth and ocean sweetly bearing 

A sense of deep repose, have lulled me oft 

To peace — which is forgetfulness ; I mean 

The Vesper-bell. I pray you let it be 

The summons to our bridal. Hear you not ? 

To our fair bridal ! 

Eribert. — Lady, let your will 

Appoint each circumstance. I am too blessed, 
Proving my homage thus. 

ViTTORiA. — Why, then, 'tis mine 

To rule the glorious fortunes of the day. 
And I may be content. Yet much remains 
For thought to brood on, and I would be left 
Alone with my resolves. Kind Eribert ! 
(Whom I command so absolutely,) now 
Part we a few brief hours ; and doubt not, when 
I'm at thy side once more, but I shall stand 
There— to the last ! 

Eribert. — Your smiles are troubled, lady — 

May they ere long be brighter ! Time will seem 
Slow till the Vesper-bell. 

ViTTORiA. — 'Tis lovers' phrase 



THE VESPERS OF PALERMO 41 

To say — Time lags ; and therefore meet for you ; 

But with an equal pace the hours move on, 

Whether they bear, on their swift silent wing, 

Pleasure or — fate. 
Ebibebt. — Be not so full of thought 

On such a day. Behold, the skies themselves 

Look on my joy with a triiimphant smile 

Unshadowed by a cloud. 
ViTTGRiA. — 'Tis very meet 

That heaven (which loves the just) should wear a smile 

In honour of his fortunes. Now, my lord. 

Forgive me if I say farewell until 

The appointed hour. 
Eribert. — Lady, a brief farewell. ^Exeunt teparatdy. 



SCENE II. 
The Sea-9hore.—VKociT)A and Raimond. 

Procida. — And dost thou still refuse to share the glory 
Of this our daring enterprise? 

Eaimond. — O father ! 

I, too, have dreamt of glory ; and the word 
Hath to my soul been as a trumpet's voice, 
Making my nature sleepless. But the deeds 
Whereby 'twas won — the high exploits, whose tale 
Bids the heart bum, were of another cast 
Than such as thou requirest. 

Procida. — Every deed 

Hath sanctity, if bearing for its aim 

The freedom of our country ; and the sword 

Alike is honoiired in the patriot's hand, 



42 DRAMATIC WORKS 

Searching, midst warrior hosts, the heart which gave 
Oppression birth, or flashing through the gloom 
Of the still chamber, o'er its troubled couch, 
At dead of night. 

Eaimond {turning atvay.) — There is no path but one 
For noble natures. 

Procida. — Wouldst thou ask the man 

Who to the earth hath dashed a nation's chains, 
Kent as with heaven's own lightning, by what means 
The glorious end was won 1 Go, swell the acclaim ! 
Bid the deliverer hail ! and if his path. 
To that most bright and sovereign destiny, 
Had led o'er trampled thousands, be it called 
A stern necessity, but not a crime ! 

Raimond. — Father ! my soul yet kindles at the thought 
Of nobler lessons in my boyhood learned. 
Even from thy voice. The high remembrances 
Of other days are stirring in the heart 
Where thou didst plant them ; and they speak of men 
Who needed no vain sophistry to gild 
Acts that would bear heaven's light — and such be mine ! 
father ! is it yet too late to draw 
The praise and blessing of all vahant hearts 
On our most righteous cause 1 

Procida. — What wouldst thou do ? 

Raimond. — I would go forth, and rouse the indignant land 
To generous combat. Why should freedom strike 
Mantled with darkness 1 Is there not more strength 
Even in the waving of her single arm 
Than hosts can wield against her 1 I would rouse 
That spirit whose fire doth press resistless on 
To its proud sphere — the stormy field of fight. 

Procida. — ^Ay ! and give time and warning to the foe 



THE VESPERS OP PALERMO 43 

To gather all his might ! It is too late. 

There is a work to be this eve begun 

When rings the Vesper-bell ; and, long before 

To-morrow's sun hath reached i' the noonday heaven 

His throne of burning glory, every sound 

Of the Proven9al tongue within our walls, 

As by one thunderstroke — (you are pale, my son) — 

Shall be for ever silenced ! 

Kaimond. — What ! such sounds 
As falter on the lip of infancy, 
In its imperfect utterance 1 or are breathed 
By the fond mother as she Ivdls her babe ? 
Or in sweet hymns, upon the twilight air 
Poured by the timid maid 1 Must all alike 
Be stilled in death ? And wouldst thou tell my heart 
There is no crime in this 1 

Procida. — Since thou dost feel 

Such horror of our purpose, in thy power 
Are means that might avert it. 

Ratmond. — Speak ! oh, speak ! 

Pro. — How would those rescued thousands bless thy name, 
Shouldst thou betray us ! 

Raimond. — Father ! I can bear — 

Ay, proudly woo — the keenest questioning 
Of thy soul-gifted eye, which almost seems 
To claim a part of heaven's dread royalty, — 
The power that searches thought. 

Procida {after a pause.) — Thou hast a brow 

Clear as the day ; and yet I doubt thee, Raimond ! 
Whether it be that I have learned distrust 
From a long look through man's deep-folded heart ; 
Whether my paths have been so seldom crossed 
By honour and fair mercy, that they seem 



44 DRAMATIC WORKS 

But beautiful deceptions, meeting thus 
My unaccustomed gaze : howe'er it be, 
I doubt thee ! See thou waver not — take heed. 
Time lifts the veil from all things ! [_Exit. 

Eaimond. — And 'tis thus 

Youth fades from off our spirit ; and the robes 

Of beauty and of majesty, wherewith 

We clothed our idols, drop ! Oh, bitter day ! 

When, at the crushing of our glorious world. 

We start, and find men thus ! Yet, be it so ! 

Is not my soul still powerful in itself 

To realise its dreams 1 Ay, shrinking not 

From the pure eye of heaven, my brow may well 

Undaunted meet my father's. But, away ! 

Thou shalt be saved, sweet Constance ! Love is yet 

Mightier than vengeance. lExit. 



SCENE III. 
Gardens of a Palace. Constance alone. 

Const.— There was a time when my thoughts wander'd not 
Beyond these fairy scenes : — ^when but to catch 
The languid fragrance of the southern breeze 
From the rich flowering citrons, or to rest, 
Dreaming of some Avild legend, in the shade 
Of the dark laurel foliage, was enougb 
Of happiness. How have these calm delights 
Fled from before one passion, as the dews, 
The delicate gems of morning, are exhaled 
By the great sun ! 

( Raimond enters. ) 



THE VESPERS OF PALERMO 45 

Raimond ! oh ! now thou'rt come — 

I read it in thy look — to say farewell 

For the last time — the last ! 
Raimond.— No, best beloved ! 

I come to tell thee there is now no power 

To part us but in death. 
Constance. — I have dreamt of joy, 

But never aught like this. Speak yet again ! 

Say we shall part no more ! 
Raimond. — No more — if love 

Can strive with darker spirits ; and he is strong 

In his immoi-tal nature ! All is changed 

Since last we met. My father — keep the tale 

Secret from all, and most of all, my Constance, 

From Eribert — my father is returned : 

I leave thee not. 
Constance. Thy father ! blessed soimd ! 

Good angels be his guard ! Oh ! if he knew 

How my soul clings to thine, he could not hate 

Even a Provencal maid ! Thy father ! — now 

Thy soul will be at peace, and I shall see 

The simny happiness of earlier days 

Look from thy brow once more. But how is this 1 

Thine eye reflects not the glad soul of mine ; 

And in thy look is that which ill befits 

A tale of joy. 
Raimond. — A dream is on my soul. 

I see a slumberer, crowned with flowers, and smiling 

As in delighted visions, on the brink 

Of a dread chasm ; and this strange fantasy 

Hath cast so deep a shadow o'er my thoughts, 

I cannot but be sad. 
Constance. — Why, let me sing 



46 DRAMATIC WORKS 

One of the sweet wild strains you love so well, 
And this will banish it. 

Eaimond.— It may not be. 

gentle Constance ! go not forth to-day : 
Such dreams are ominous. 

Constance. — Have you, then, forgot 

My brother's nuptial feast ? I must be one 

Of the gay train attending to the shrine 

His stately bride. In sooth, my step of joy 

Will print earth lightly now. "What fear'st thou, lovel 

Look all around ! the blue transparent skies, 

And sunbeams pouring a more buoyant life 

Through each glad thrilling vein, will brightly chase 

All thought of evil. Why, the very air 

Breathes of delight. Through all its glowing realms 

Doth music blend with fragrance ; and even here 

The city's voice of jubilee is heard. 

Till each light leaf seems trembling unto sounds 

Of human joy. 

Raimond. — Their lie far deeper things — 

Things that may darken thought for life, beneath 
That city's festive semblance. I have passed 
Through the glad multitudes, and I have marked 
A stem intelhgence in meeting eyes. 
Which deemed their flash unnoticed, and a quick 
Suspicious vigilance, too intent to clothe 
Its mien with carelessness ; and now and then, 
A hurrying start, a whisper, or a hand 
Pointing by stealth to some one, singled out 
Amidst the reckless throng. O'er all is spread 
A mantling flush of revelry, which may hide 
Much from unpractised eyes ; but lighter signs 
Have been prophetic oft. 



THE VESPERS OF PALERMO 47 

Constance. — I tremble, Raimond ! 
What may these things portend ? 

Raimond. — It was a day 

Of festival like this ; the city sent 

Up through her sunny firmament a voice 

Joyous as now ; when, scarcely heralded 

By one deep moan, from his cavernous depths 

The earthquake burst ; and the wide splendid scene 

Became one chaos of all fearful things, 

Till the brain whirled, partaking the sick motion 

Of rocking palaces. 

Constance. — And then didst thou. 

My noble Raimond ! through the dreadftd paths 

Laid open by destruction, past the chasms, 

Whose fathomless clefts a moment's work had given 

One burial unto thousands, rush to save 

Thy trembling Constance — she who lives to bless 

Thy generous love, that stiU the breath of heaven 

Wafts gladness to her soul ! 

Raimond. — Heaven ! — heaven is just ! 

And being so, must guard thee, sweet one ! still. 
Trust none beside. Oh ! the omnipotent skies 
Make their wrath manifest, but insidious man 
Doth compass those he hates with secret snares, 
Wherein lies fate. Know, danger walks abroad. 
Masked as a reveller. Constance ! oh, by all 
Our tried aflfection, all the vows which bind 
Our hearts together, meet me in these bowers — 
Here, I adjure you, meet me, when the bell 
Doth sound for vesper prayer ! 

Constance. — And know'st thou not 

'Twill be the bridal hour 1 
Raimond. — It will not, love ! 



48 DRAMATIC WORKS 

That hour will bring no bridal ! Naught of this 
To human ear ; but speed thou hither — fly, 
When evening brings that signal. Dost thou heed 1 
This is no meeting by a lover sought 
To breathe fond tales, and make the twilight groves 
And stars attest his vows ; deem thou not so, 
Therefore denying it ! I tell thee, Constance ! 
If thou wouldst save me from such fierce despair 
As falls on man, beholding all he loves 
Perish before him, while his strength can but 
Strive with his agony — thou'lt meet me then. 
Look on me, love ! — I am not oft so moved — 
Thou'lt meet me 1 

Constance. — Oh ! what mean thy words 1 If then 
My steps are free, — I will. Be thou but calm, 

Eaimond.— Be calm ! There is a cold and sullen calm, 
And, were my wild fears made realities. 
It might be mine ; but in this dread suspense — 
This conflict of all terrible fantasies, 
There is no calm. Yet fear thou not, dear love ! 
I will watch o'er thee still. And now, farewell 
Until that hour ! 

Constance. — My Eaimond, fare thee well. \Exeunt. 

SCENE IV. 
Romn in the Citadel of Palermo. Albkrti and Be Corcr. 

De Couci.— Saidst thou this night ? 
Alberti. — This very night. And lo ! 

Even now the sun declines. 
De Couci. — What ! are they armed ? 
Alberti. — All armed, and strong in vengeance and despair. 



THE VESPERS OF PALERMO 49 

De Couci. — Doubtful and strange the tale ! Why was not this 
Revealed before ] 

Alberti. — Mistrust me not, my lord ! 

That stem and jealous Procida hath kept 

O'er all my steps (as though he did suspect 

The purposes, which oft his eye hath sought 

To read in mine) a watch so vigilant 

I knew not how to warn thee, though for this 

Alone I mingled with his bands — to learn 

Their projects and their strength. Thou kno w'st my faith 

To Anjou's house full well. 

De Couci. — How may we now 

Avert the gathering storm 1 The Viceroy holds 
His bridal feast, and all is revelry. 
'Twas a true-boding heaviness of heart 
Which kept me from these nuptials. 

Alberti. — Thou thyself 

May'st yet escape, and haply of thy bands 
Rescue a pai-t, ere long to wreak full vengeance 
Upon these rebels. 'Tis too late to dream 
Of saving Eribert. Even shouldst thou rush 
Before him with the tidings, in his pride 
And confidence of soul, he would but laugh 
Thy tale to scorn. 

De Couci. — He must not die imwamed, 

Though it be all in vain. But thou, Albei-ti, 
Rejoin thy comrades, lest thine absence wake 
Suspicion in their hearts. Thou hast done well. 
And shalt not pass unguerdoned, should I live 
Through the deep horrors of the approaching night. 

Albertl — Noble De Couci, trust me still. Anjou 

Commands no heart more faithful than Alberti's. lExiL 

De Couci. — The grovelling slave! And yet he spoke too true. 
H D 



50 DRAMATIC WORKS 

For Eribert, in blind elated joy, 

Will scorn the warning voice. The day wanes fast, 

And through the city, recklessly dispersed, 

Unarmed and unprepared, my soldiers revel 

Even on the brink of fate. I must away. [_ExiL 



SCENE V. 

A Banqueting Hall. PaovENfAL Nobles assembled. 

1st Noble. — Joy be to this fair meeting ! Who hath seen 

The Viceroy's bride 1 
2d Noble. — I saw her as she passed 

The gazing throngs assembled in the city. 

'Tis said she hath not left for years, till now. 

Her castle's wood-girt solitude. 'Twill gall 

These proud Sicilians that her wide domains 

Should be the conqueror's guerdon. 
3d Noble. — 'Twas their boast 

With what fond faith she worshipped still the name 

Of the boy Conradin. How will the slaves 

Brook this new trivmaph of their lords ] 
2d Noble.— In sooth. 

It stings them to the quick. In the full streets 

They mix with our Proven9als, and assume 

A guise of mirth, but it sits hardly on them. 

'Twere worth a thousand festivals to see 

With what a bitter and unnatural effort 

They strive to smile ! 
1st Noble. — Is this Vittoria fair 1 
2d Noble. — Of a most noble mien ; but yet her beauty 

Is wild and awful, and her large dark eye 



THE VESPERS OF PALERMO 51 

In its iinsettled glances hath strange power, 
From which thou'lt shrink as I did. 
1st Noble. — Hvish ! they come. 

{Enter Eribkrt, Vittoria, Constanck, and others.) 

Eribert. — Welcome, my noble friends ! — there must not 
lour 

One clouded brow to-day in Sicily. 

Behold my bride ! 
Nobles. — Keceive our homage, lady ! 
ViTTORLA.. — I bid all welcome. May the feast we oflfer 

Prove worthy of such guests. 
Eribert. — Look on her, friends ! 

And say if that majestic brow is not 

Meet for a diadem 1 
Vittoria. — 'Tis well, my lord ! 

When memory's pictures fade — 'tis kindly done 

To brighten their dim hues ! 
1st Noble (apart.) — Marked you her glance? 
2d Nob. — What eloquent scorn was there? Yet he, the elate 

Of heart, perceives it not. 
Eribert. — Now to the feast ! 

Constance, you look not joyous. I have said 

That all should smile to-day. 
Constance. — Forgive me, brother ! 

The heart is wayward, and its garb of pomp 

At times oppresses it. 
Eribert. — Why, how is this? 
Constance. — Voices of woe, and prayers of agony. 

Unto my soul have risen, and left sad sounds 

There echoing still. Yet would I fain be gay. 

Since 'tis your wish. In truth I should have been 

A village maid. 



52 DRAMATIC WORKS 

Eribert. — But being as you are, 

Not thus ignobly free, conamand your looks 
(They may be taught obedience) to reflect 
The aspect of the time. 

ViTTORiA. — And know, fair maid ! 

That, if in this unskilled, you stand alone 
Amidst our court of pleasure. 

Eribert. — To the feast ! 

Now let the red wine foam ! There should be mirth 
When conquerors revel ! Lords of this fair isle ! 
Your good swords' heritage, crown each bowl, and pledge 
The present and the future ; for they both 
Look brightly on us. Dost thou smile, my bride 1 

ViTTORiA. — Yes, Eribert! Thy prophecies of joy 
Have taught even me to smile. 

Eribert. — 'Tis well. To-day 

I have won a fair and almost royal bride ; 
To-morrow let the bright sun speed his course. 
To waft me happiness ! — my proudest foes 
Must die ; and then my slumber shall be laid 
On rose-leaves, with no envious folds to mar' 
The luxury of its visions ! — Fair Vittoria, 
Yoiir looks are troubled. 

Vittoria. — It is strange — but oft, 

Midst festal songs and garlands, o'er my soul 
Death comes, with some dull image ! As you spoke 
Of those whose blood is claimed, I thought for them 
Who, in a darkness thicker than the night 
E'er wove with all her clouds, have pined so long. 
How blessed were the stroke which makes them things 
Of that invisible world, wherein, we tnist, 
There is at least no bondage. But should we, 
From such a scene as this, where all earth's joys 



THE VESPERS OF PALERMO 53 

Contend for mastery, and the very sense 
Of life is rapture — should we pass, I say. 
At once from such excitements to the void 
And silent gloom of that which doth await us — 
Were it not dreadful ] 

Eribert. — Banish such dark thoughts: 
They ill beseem the hour. 

VrrroRiA. — There is no hour 

Of this mysterious world, in joy or woe. 
But they beseem it well. Why, what a slight 
Impalpable bound is that, the unseen, which severs 
Being from death ! And who can tell how near 
Its misty brink he stands ? 

1st Noble (aside.) — What mean her words? 

2d Noble. — There's some dark mystery here. 

Eribert. — No more of this ! 

Pour the bright juice, which Etna's glowing vines 
Yield to the conquerors ; and let music's voice 
Dispel these ominous dreams. Wake, harp and song ! 
Swell out your triumph ! 

(A metsenger enters, hearing a letter.) 

Messenger. — Pardon, my good lord ! 

But this demands 

Eribert. — What means thy breathless haste. 

And that ill-boding mien ] Away ! such looks 

Befit not hours like these. 
Messenger.— The Lord De Couci 

Bade me bear this, and say, 'tis fraught with tidings 

Of life and death. 
Vittobia (Jiiirriedly.) — Is this a time for aught 

But revelry ] My lord these dull intrusions 

Jklar the bright spirit of the festal scene. 



54 DRAMATIC WORKS 

Eribert.— Hence ! Tell the Lord De Couci, we will talk 
Of life and death to-morrow. l^xit Messenger. 

Let there be 
Around me none but joyous looks to-day, 
And strains whose very echoes wake to mirth ! 

{A band of the conspirators enter, to the sound of music, disguised 
as shepherds, bacchanals, SfC.) 

What forms are these? What means this antic triumph] 
ViTTORiA, — 'Tis but a rustic pageant, by my vassals 
Prepared to grace our bridal. Will you not 
Hear their wild music? Our Sicilian vales 
Have many a sweet and mirthful melody, 
To which the glad heart botmds. Breathe ye some strain 
Meet for the time, ye sons of Sicily ! 

(On€ 0/ the Masquers sings.) 

The festal eve, o'er earth and sky, 

In her sunset robe looks bright, 
And the purple hills of Sicily 

With their vineyards laugh in light: 
From the marble cities of her plains 

Glad voices mingling swell ; 
But with yet more loud and lofty strains 

They shall hail the Vesper-bell. 

Oh ! sweet its tones, when the summer breeze 

Their cadence wafts afar, 
To float o'er the blue Sicilian seas, 

As they gleam to the first pale star. 
The shepherd greets them on his height. 

The hermit in his cell ; 
But a deeper voice shall breathe to-night. 

In the sound of the Vesper-bell ! 

(Tfie bell riixgs.) 



THE VESPERS OF PALERMO 55 

Erib. — It is the hour. Hark, hark, my bride ! oiir summons I 
The altar is prepared and crowned with flowers, 
That wait 

ViTTORiA. — The victim ! 

lA tumult heard without. Procida' and Montalba enter, with 
others, armed.) 

PROcroA. — Strike ! The hour is come ! 

ViTTORiA. — Welcome, avengers ! welcome. Now, be strong. 

{The conspirators throw off their disguise, and rush with their sicords 
drawn upon the Provenpals. Eribbrt is wounded, and falls.) 

Procida. — Now hath fate reached thee, in thy mid career, 
Thou reveller in a nation's agonies ! 

( The Provenpals are driven off, pursued by the Sicilians. ) 

Const, {supporting Eribert.) — My brother ! oh, my brother ! 

Ebibert.— Have I stood 

A leader in the battle-fields of kings, 
To perish thus at last ? Ay, by these pangs, 
And this strange chill, that heavily doth creep 
Like a slow poison through my ciu-dling veins, 
This should be— death ! In sooth, a dull exchange 
For the gay bridal feast ! 

Voices without.— Remember Conradin! Spare none! — 
spare none ! 

ViTTORiA {throwing off her bridal wreath and oi'naments.) — 
This is proud freedom ! Now my soul may cast, 
In generous scorn, her mantle of dissembling 
To earth for ever ! And it is such joy. 
As if a captive from his dull cold cell 
Might soar at once, on chartered wing, to range 
The realms of starred infinity. Away, 



56 DRAMATIC WORKS 

Vain mockery of a bridal wreath ! The hour 

For which stern patience ne'er kept watch in vain 

Is come ; and I may give my bursting heart 

Full and indignant scope. Now, Eribert ! 

Believe in retribution. What ! proud man ! 

Prince, ruler, conqueror ! didst thou deem heaven slept? 

" Or that the unseen immortal ministers, 

Ranging the world to note even purposed crime 

In burning characters, had laid aside 

Their everlasting attributes for thee?'' 

blind security ! He in whose dread hand 

The lightnings vibrate, holds them back until 

The trampler of this goodly earth hath reached 

His pyramid height of power ; that so his fall 

May with more fearful oracles make pale 

Man's crowned oppressors. 

Constance. — Oh, reproach him not ! 

His soul is trembling on the dizzy brink 

Of that dim world where passion may not enter. 

Leave him in peace. 

Voices without. — Anjou ! Anjou ! — De Coucitothe rescue ! 

Eribert {half raising himself) — 

My brave Provencals ! do ye combat still ? 
And I your chief am here ! Now, now I feel 
That death indeed is bitter. 

ViTTORiA. — Fare thee well ! 

Thine eyes so oft with their insulting smile 

Have looked on man's last pangs, thou shouldst by this 

Be perfect how to die. iExit. 

(Raimond enters,) 

Raimond. — Away, my Constance! 

Now is the time for flight. Our slaughtering bands 



THE VESPERS OF PALERMO 57 

Are scattered far and wide. A little while 

And thou shalt be in safety. Know'st thou not 

That slow sweet vale, where dwells the holy man 

Anselmo — he whose hermitage is reared 

Mid some old temple's ruins ] Roimd the spot 

His name hath spread so pure and deep a charm, 

'Tis hallowed as a sanctuary wherein 

Thou fhalt securely bide, till this wild storm 

Have spent its fury. Haste ! 

Constance. — I will not fly ! 

While in his heart there is one throb of life, 
One spark in his dim eyes, I will not leave 
The brother of my youth to perish thiis. 
Without one kindly bosom to sustain 
His dying head. 

Ebibert. — The clouds are darkening round. 
There are strange voices ringing in mine ear 
That summon me — to what ? But I have been 
Used to command ! Away ! I will not die, 

But on the field 

(He dies.) 

Constance {kneeling by him.) — Heaven ! be merciful 
As thou art just ! — for he is now where naught 
But mercy can avail him. It is past ! 

(GuiDO enters with his sword drawn.) 

GuiDO {to Raimond.) — 

I've sought thee long. Why art thou lingering here ? 

Haste, follow me ! Suspicion with thy name 

Joins the word — Traitor! 
Raimond. — Traitor ! Guido ? 
GuiDO. — Yes ! 

Hast thou not heard that, with his men-at-arms, 



58 DRAMATIC WORKS 

After vain conflict with a people's wrath, 

De Couci hath escaped 1 And there are those 

Who murmur that from thee the warning came 

Which saved him from our vengeance. But even yet, 

In the red current of Provengal blood. 

That doubt may be effaced. Draw thy good sword, 

And follow me ! 

Raimond. — And thou couldst doubt me, Guidol 
'Tis come to this ! Away ! mistrust me still. 
I will not stain my sword with deeds like thine. 
Thou know'st me not ! 

GuiDo. — Raimond di Procida ! — 

If thou art he whom once I deemed so noble — 
Call me thy friend no more ! lExit. 

Raimond {after a pause). — Rise, dearest, rise! 
Thy duty's task hath nobly been fulfilled, 
Even in the face of death ; but all is o'er, 
And this is now no place where nature's tears 
In quiet sanctity may freely flow. 
Hark ! the wild sounds that wait on fearful deeds 
Are swelling on the winds, as the deep roar 
Of fast-advancing billows ; and for thee 
I shame not thus to tremble! Speed ! oh, speed ! [Exeunt 



ACT IV. 
SCENE l.—A Street in Palermo. Procida enters. 

Pkocida. — How strange and deep a stillness loads the air, 
As with the power of midnight ! Ay, where death 
Hath passed, there should be silence. But this hush 



THE VESPERS OP PALERMO 69 

Of nature's heart, this breathlessness of all things, 

Doth press on thought too heavily, and the sky, 

With its dark robe of purple thunder-clouds, 

Brooding in sullen masses o'er my spirit. 

Weighs like an omen. Wherefore shoidd this be ? 

Is not our task achieved — the mighty work 

Of our deliverance? Yes ; I should be joyous : 

But this our feeble nature, with its quick 

Instinctive superstitions, will drag down 

The ascending soul. And I have fearful bodings 

That treachery lurks amongst us. Raimond ! Raimond ! 

Oh, guilt ne'er made a mien like his its garb ! 

It cannot be ! 

(MoNTALBA, Guioo, otid othcT SicWumt enter.) 

Procida. — Welcome ! we meet in joy ! 

Now may we bear ourselves erect, resuming 
The kingly port of freemen. Who shall dai*e, 
After this proof of slavery's dread recoil. 
To weave us chains again ? Ye have done well. 

Mont. — We have done well. There needs no choi-al song, 
No shouting multitudes, to blazon forth 
Our stem exploits. The silence of our foes 
Doth vouch enough ; and they are laid to rest, 
Deep as the sword could make it. Yet our task 
Is still but half achieved, since with his bands 
De Couci hath escaped, and doubtless leads 
Their footsteps to Messina, where our foes 
Will gather all their strength. Determined hearts, * 
And deeds to startle earth, are yet required 
To make the mighty sacrifice complete. 
Where is thy son ] 

Peocida. — I know not. Once last night 



60 DRAMATIC WORKS 

He crossed my path, and with one stroke beat down 
A sword just i-aised to smite me, and restored 
My own, which in that deadly strife had been 
Wrenched from my grasp; but when I would have 

pressed him 
To my exulting bosom, he drew back, 
And with a sad and yet a scornful smile, 
Full of strange meaning, left me. Since that hour 
I have not seen him. "Wherefore didst thou ask ] 

Mont. — It mattere not. We have deep things to speak of. 
Know'st thou that we have traitors in our councils? 

Procida. — I know some voice in secret must have warned 
De Couci, or his scattered bands had ne'er 
So soon been marshalled, and in close aiTay 
Led hence as from the field. Hast thou heard aught 
That may develop this 1 

MoNTALBA. — The guards we set 

To watch the city gates, have seized, this mom. 
One whose quick fearful glance and hurried step 
Betrayed his guilty purpose. Mark ! he bore 
(Amidst the tumult, deeming that his flight 
Might all unnoticed pass) these scrolls to him, 
The fugitive Provencal. Read and judge. 

Procida. — Where is this messenger ] 

MoNTALBA. — Where should he be ] 
They slew him in their wrath. 

Procida. — Unwisely done ! 
Give me the scrolls. 

{He reads.) 

XoAV, if there be such things 
As may to death add sharpness, yet delay 
The pang which gives release ; if there be power 



THE VESPERS OF PALERMO 61 

In execration, to call down the fires 
Of yon avenging heaven, whose rapid shafts 
But for such guilt were aimless ; be they heaped 
Upon the traitor's head ! Scorn make his name 
Her mark for ever ! 

MoNTALBA. — In our passionate blindness, 

We send forth curees, whose deep stings recoil 
Oft on ourselves. 

Procida.— Whate'er fate hath of ruin 

Fall on his house ! What ! to resign again 

That freedom for whose sake our souls have now 

Engrained themselves in blood ! Why, who is he 

That hath devised this treachery ? To the scroll 

Why fixed he not his name, so stamping it 

With an immoxiial infamy, whose brand 

Might warn men from him ? Who should be so vile ? 

Albert! ? — In his eye is that which ever 

Shrinks from encountering mine. But no ! his i*ace 

Is of our noblest : oh, he could not shame 

That high descent. Urbino 1 — Conti ] No : 

They are too deeply pledged. There's one name more : 

I cannot utter it ! Now shall I read 

Each face with cold suspicion, which doth blot 

From man's high mien its native royalty. 

And seal his noble forehead with the impress 

Of its own vile imaginings. Speak your thoughts, 

Montalba ! Guide ! Who should this man be ] 

jjoNT. — Why, what Sicilian youth xmsheathed last night 
His sword to aid our foes, and turned its edge 
Against his coimtry's chiefs ] He that did this. 
May well be deemed for guiltier treason ripe. 

Procida. — And who is he i 

Montalba. — Nay, ask thy son. 



62 DRAMATIC WORKS 

Pkocida. — My son ! 

What should he know of such a recreant heart ] 
Speak, Guido ! thou'rt his friend. 

GuiDO. — I would not wear 
The brand of such a name ! 

Procida. — How ? what means this 1 

A flash of light breaks in upon my soul — 

Is it to blast me 1 Yet the fearful doubt 

Hath crept in darkness through my thoughts before, 

And been flung from them. Silence ! — Speak not yet ! 

I would be calm and meet the thunder-burst 

With a strong heart. 

{A pause.) 

Now, what have I to hear? 
Your tidings ? 

Guido. — Briefly, 'twas your son did thus : 
He hath disgraced your name. 

Procida. — My son did thus ! 

Are thy words oracles, that I should search 
Their hidden meaning out 1 What did my son 1 
I have forgot the tale. Repeat it, quick ! 

Guido. — 'Twill burst upon thee all too soon. While we 
Were busy at the dark and solemn rites 
Of retribution ; while we bathed the earth 
In red libations, which will consecrate 
The soil they mingled with to freedom's step 
Through the long march of ages : 'twas his task 
To shield from danger a Proven9al maid, 
Sister of him whose cold oppression stung 
Our hearts to madness. 

MoNTALBA. — What ! should she be spared 

To keep that name from perishing on earth ] 



I 



THE VESPERS OF PALERMO 63 



I crossed them in their path, and raised my sword 
To smite her in her champion's arms. We fought. 
The boy disarmed me ! And I live to tell 
My shame, and wreak my vengeance ! 

Gumo. — Who but he 

Could warn De Couci, or devise the guilt 
These scrolls reveal 1 Hath not the traitor still 
Sought, with his fair and specious eloquence. 
To win us from our purpose ? All things seem 
Leagued to immask him. 

MoNTALBA. — Know you not there came, 

Even in the banquet's hour, from this De Couci, 
One, bearing unto Eribert the tidings 
Of all our purposed deeds 1 And have we not 
Proof, as the noon-day clear, that Raimond loves 
The sister of that tyrant 1 

Pbocida. — There was one 

Who mourned for being childless. Let him now 
Feast o'er his children's graves, and I will join 
The revelry ! 

MoNTALBA { apart. ) — Thou shalt be childless too ! 

Procida. — Was't you, Montalba ] Now rejoice, I say ! 
There is no name so near you that its stains 
Should call the fevered and indignant blood 
To your dark cheek. But I will dash to earth 
The weight that presses on my heart, and then 
Be glad as thou art. 

Montalba. — What means this, my lord ] 

Who hath seen gladness on Montalba's mien ? 

Procida. — Why, should not all be glad who have no sons 
To tarnish their bright name ? 

Montalba. — I am not used 
To bear with mockery. 



64 DRAMATIC WORKS 

Procida. — Friend ! by yon high heaven, 

I mock thee not ! 'Tis a proud fate to live 

Alone and unallied. Why, what's alone ? 

A word whose sense is — free ! Ay, free from all 

The venomed stings implanted in the heart 

By those it loves. Oh ! I could laugh to think 

0' the joy that riots in baronial halls 

When the word comes, " A son is born ! " A son ! 

They should say thus — " He that shall knit your brow 

To furrows, not of years — and bid your eye 

Quail its proud glance to tell the earth its shame, 

Is bom, and so rejoice ! " Then might we feast. 

And know the cause ! Were it not excellent ] 

Mont ALBA. — This is all idle. There are deeds to do : 
Arouse thee, Procida ! 

Procida. — Why, am I not 

Calm as immortal justice % She can strike, 

And yet be passionless — and thus "v\dll I. 

I know thy meaning. Deeds to do ! — 'tis well. 

They shall be done ere thought on. Go ye forth : 

There is a youth who calls himself my son. 

His name is Raimond — in his eye is light 

That shows like truth — but be not ye deceived ! 

Bear him in chains before us. We will sit 

To-day in judgment, and the skies shall see 

The strength which girds our nature. Will not this 

Be glorious, brave Montalba % Linger not, 

Ye tardy messengers ! for there are things 

Which ask the speed of storms. 

( GuiDO and others go out. ) 

Is not this well ] 
Mont. — 'Tis noble. Keep thy spirit to this proud height— 



THE VESPERS OF PALERMO 65 

(Aside.) And then be desolate like me ! My woes 
Will at the thought grow light. 

Procida. — What now remains 

To be prepared 1 There should be solemn pomp 
To grace a day hke this. Ay, breaking hearts 
Require a drapery to conceal their throbs 
From cold inquiring eyes ; and it must be 
Ample and rich, that so their gaze may not 
Explore what lies beneath. [£rtt 

MoNTALBA.— Now this is well ! 

I hate this Procida ; for he hath won 

In all our councils that ascendency 

And mastery o'er bold hearts, which should have been 

Mine by a thousand claims. Had he the strength 

Of wrongs Uke mine? No ! for that name, his country. 

He strikes ; my vengeance hath a deeper foimt. 

But there's dai'k joy in this. And fate hath barred 

My soul from every other. [ExiL 

SCENE TI. 

A Hermitage surrounded by the Ruins of an Ancient Temple. 
Constance, Ansklmo. 

COHSTANCE. — 'Tis Strange he comes not ! Is not this the still 
And sultry hour of noon ? He should have been 
Here by the daybreak. Was there not a voice ] 
No ! 'tis the shrill cicada, with glad life 
Peopling these marble ruins, as it sports 
Amidst them in the sun. Hark ! yet again ! 
No ! no ! Forgive me, father ! that I bring 
Earth's restless griefs and passions, to disturb 
The stillness of thy holy sohtude : 
My heart is fvdl of care. 



66 DRxiMATIC WORKS 

Anselmo . — There is no place 
So hallowed as to be unvisited 
By mortal cares. Nay, whither should we go 
With our deep griefs and passions, but to scenes 
Lonely and still, where He that made our hearts 
Will speak to them in whispers ] I have known 
Affliction too, my daughter. 

Constance. — Hark ! his step ! 

I know it well — he comes — my Raimond, welcome ! 

ViTTORiA enters. Constance shrinks back on perceiving her. 

Oh, heaven ! that aspect tells a fearful tale. 

ViT. {not observing her.) — There is a cloud of horror on my soul ; 
And on thy words, Anselmo, peace doth wait. 
Even as an echo, following the sweet close 
Of some divine and solemn harmony : 
Therefore I sought thee now. Oh ! speak to me 
Of holy things and names, in whose deep sotmd 
Is power to bid the tempests of the heart 
Sink, like a storm rebuked. 

Anselmo. — What recent grief 
Darkens thy spirit thus 1 

ViTTOEiA. — I said not grief. 

We should rejoice to-day, but joy is not 

That which it hath been. In the flowers which wreathe 

Its mantling cup, there is a scent unknown, 

Fraught with a strange delirium. All things now 

Have changed their nature : still, I say, rejoice ! 

There is a cause, Anselmo ! We are free — 

Free and avenged ! Yet on my soul there hangs 

A darkness, heavy as the oppressive gloom 

Of midnight fantasies. Ay, for this, too. 

There is a cause. 



THE VESPERS OF PALERMO 67 

Anselmo. — How say'st thou, we are free ] 

There may have raged within Palermo's walls 
Some brief wild timiult ; but too well I know 
They call the stranger lord. 

ViTTORiA. — Who calls the dead 

Conqueror or lord ] Hush ! breathe it not aloud ; 
The wild winds must not hear it. Yet again 
I tell thee we are free ! 

Anselmo. — Thine eye hath looked 

On fearful deeds, for still their shadows hang 
O'er its dark orb. Speak ! I adjure thee ; say, 
How hath this work been wrought 1 

ViTTORiA. — Peace ! ask me not ! 

Why shouldst thou hear a tale to send thy blood 
Back on its fount 1 We cannot wake them now ! 
The storm is in my soul, but they are all 
At rest ! — Ay, sweetly may the slaughtered babe 
By its dead mother sleep ; and warlike men, 
Who midst the slain have slumbered oft before. 
Making their shield their pillow, may repose 
Well, now their toils are done. Is't not enough ? 

Const. — Merciful heaven ! have such things been ? And yet 
There is no shade come o'er the laughing sky ! 
— I am an outcast now. 

Anselmo.— Thoii whose ways y 

Clouds mantle fearfully ! of all the blind 
But terrible ministers that work thy wrath, 
How much is man the fiercest ! Others know 
Their limits — yes ! the earthquakes, and the storms, 
And the volcanoes ! — he alone o'erleaps 
The bounds of retribution. Couldst thou gaze, 
Vittoria ! with thy woman's heart and eye, 
On such dread scenes unmoved ? 



68 DRAMATIC WORKS 

ViTTOEiA. — Wast it for me 

To stay the avenging sword ] No, though it pierced 
My very soul ! Hark ! hark ! what thrilling shrieks 
Ring through the air around me ! Canst thou not 
Bid them be hushed ? Oh ! — look not on me thus ! 

Anselmo. — Lady, thy thoughts lend sternness to the looks 
Which are but sad ! Have all then perished ?— all ? 
Was there no mercy ? 

ViTTORiA. — Mercy ! it hath been 

A word forbidden as the unhallowed names 

Of evil powers. Yet one there was who dared 

To own the guilt of pity, and to aid 

The victims ; — but in vain. Of him no more ! 

He is a traitor, and a traitor's death 

Will be his meed. 

Con. {coming forward.) — Oh, heaven ! — his name, his name ! 
Is it — it cannot be ! 

ViTTORiA {starting) — Thou here, pale girl ! 

I deemed thee with the dead ! How hast thou 'scaped 
The snare? Who saved thee, last of all thy race? 
Was it not he of whom I spake even now, 
Eaimond di Procida 1 

Constance. — It is enough : 

Now the storm breaks upon me, and I sink. 
Must he too die 1 

ViTTORTA. — Is it even so 1 Why then. 

Live on — thou hast the an'ow at thy heart ! 

Fix not on me thy sad reproachful eyes — 

I mean not to betray thee. Thou may'st live : 

Why should Death bring thee his oblivious balms ? 

He visits but the happy. Didst thou ask 

If Raimond too must die 1 It is as sure 

As that his blood is on thy head, for thou 



THE VESPERS OF PALERMO 69 

Didst win him to this treason. 

Constance. — When did men 

Call mercy treason ] Take my life, but save 
My noble Raimond ! 

ViTTOBiA. — ^Maiden ! he must die. 

Even now the youth before his judges stands ; 
And they are men who, to the voice of prayer, 
Are as the rock is to the murmured sigh 
Of summer-waves : — ay, though a father sit 
On their tribunal. Bend thou not to me. 
What wouldst thou 1 

Constance. — Mercy ! Oh ! wert thou to plead 
But with a look, even yet he might be saved ! 
If thou hast ever loved 

ViTTORiA. — If I have loved ? 

It is that love forbids me to relent : 
I am what it hath made me. O'er my soul 
Lightning hath passed and seared it. Could I weep 
I then might pity — but it vnll not be. 

Constance. — Oh, thou wilt yet relent ! for woman's heart 
Was formed to suffer and to melt. 

Vittoria. — Away ! 

Why should I pity thee 1 Thou wilt but prove 

What I have known before — and yet I live ! 

Nature is strong, and it may all be borne. 

The sick impatient yearning of the heart 

For that which is not ; and the weary sense 

Of the dull void, wherewith our homes have been 

Circled by death ; yes, all things may be borne ! 

All, save remorse. But I will not bow down 

My spirit to that dark power ; there was no guilt ! 

Anselmo ! wherefore didst thou talk of guilt 1 

An8. — Ay, thus doth sensitive conscience quicken thought, 



70 DRAMATIC WORKS 

Lending reproacliful voices to a breeze, 
Keen lightning to a look. 

ViTTORiA. — Leave me to peace ! 

Is't not enough that I should have a sense 

Of things thou canst not see, all wild and dark, 

And of unearthly whispers, haunting me 

With dread suggestions, but that thy cold words, 

Old man, should gall me, too ? Must all conspire 

Against me 1 thou beautiful spirit ! wont 

To shine upon my dreams with looks of love. 

Where art thou vanished ] Was it not the thought 

Of thee which urged me to the fearful task, 

And wilt thou now forsake me ] I must seek 

The shadowy woods again, for there, perchance. 

Still may thy voice be in my twilight paths ; 

Here I but meet despair ! lExit. 

Anselmo (to Constance.) — Despair not thou, 
My daughter ! He that purifies the heart 
With grief will lend it strength. 

Constance {endeavouring to rouse herself.)— Did she not say 
That some one was to die 1 

Anselmo. — I tell thee not 

Thy pangs are vain — for nature will have way, 
Earth must have tears ; yet in a heart like thine, 
Faith may not yield its place. 

Constance. — Have I not heard 

Some fearful tale 1 — Who said that there should rest 
Blood on my soul ] What blood ] I never bore 
Hatred, kind father ! unto aught that breathes : 
Raimond doth know it well. Raimond ! High heaven ! 
It bursts upon me now ! And he must die ! 
For my sake — even for mine ! 

Anselmo. — Her words were strange, 



THE VESPERS OF PALERMO 71 

And her proud mind seemed half to frenzy wrought ; 
Perchance this may not be. 
Constance. — It must not be. 
\^Tiy do I linger here I 

{She ruet to depart.) 

Anselmo. — Where wouldst thou go 1 

Constance. — To give their stem and imrelenting hearts 
A victim in his stead. 

Anselmo. — Stay ! wouldst thou rush 
On certain death? 

Constance. — I may not falter now. 

— Is not the life of woman all bound up 
In her aflFections ] What hath she to do 
In this bleak world alone ? It may be well 
For man on his triumphal course to move 
Unciunbered by soft bonds ; but we were bom 
For love and grief. 

Anselmo. — Thou fair and gentle thing, 

Unused to meet a glance which doth not speak 
Of tenderness or homage ! how shouldst thou 
Bear the hard aspect of impitying men. 
Or face the King of Terrors ] 

Constance. — There is strength 

Deep-bedded in our hearts, of which we reck 
But little, till the shafts of heaven have pierced 
Its fragile dwelling. Must not earth be rent 
Before her gems are foimd ? Oh ! now I feel 
Worthy the generous love which hath not shimned 
To look on death for me ! My heart hath given 
Birth to as deep a courage, and a faith 
As high in its devotion. [_Exit. 

Anselmo.— She is gone ! 



72 DRAMATIC WORKS 

Is it to perish 1 God of mercy ! lend 

Power to my voice, that so its prayer may save 

This pure and lofty creature ! I will follow — 

But her young footstep and heroic heart 

Will bear her to destruction, faster far 

Than I can track her path. \_Exit. 



SCENE III. 

Hall of a Public Building. Procida, Montalba, Guido, and 
others, seated on a Tribunal. 

Procida, — The mom loured darkly; but the sun hath now 
With fierce and angiy splendour through the clouds 
Burst forth, as if impatient to behold 
This our high triumph. — Lead the prisoner in. 

(Raimond is brought in, fettered and guarded.) 

Why, what a bright and fearless brow is here ! 
Is this man guilty 1 — Look on him, Montalba ! 

Montalba. — Be firm. Should justice falter at a look? 

Procida. — No, thou say'st well. Her eyes are filleted, 
Or should be so. Thou, that dost call thyself — 
But no ! I will not breathe a traitor's name — 
Speak ! thou art arraigned of treason. 

Eaimond. — I arraign 

You, before whom I stand, of darker guilt. 

In the bright face of heaven ; and your own hearts 

Give echo to the charge. Your very looks 

Have ta'en the stamp of crime, and seem to shrink. 

With a perturbed and haggard wildness, back 

From the too-searching light. Why, what hath wrought 

This change on noble brows ] There is a voice 



t 



THE VESPERS OP PALERMO 73 

With a deep answer, rising from the blood 
Your hands have coldly shed. Ye are of those 
From whom just men recoil with curdling veins, 
All thrilled by life's abhorrent consciousness, 
And sensitive feeling of a murderer's presence. 
Away ! come down from your tribunal seat, 
Put oflF your robes of state, and let your mien 
Be pale and humbled ; for ye bear about you 
That which repugnant earth doth sicken at, 
More than the pestilence. That I should live 
To see my father shrink ! 

Procida. — Montalba, speak ! 

There's something chokes my voice ; but fear me not. 

Montalba. — If we must plead to vindicate our acts. 
Be it when thou hast made thine own look clear. 
Most eloquent youth ! What answer canst thou make 
To this our charge of treason! 

Raimond. — I will plead 

That cause before a mightier judgment-throne, 
Where mercy is not guilt. But here I feel 
Too buoyantly the glory and the joy 
Of my free spirit's whiteness ; for even now 
The embodied hideousness of crime doth seem 
Before me glaring out. Why, I saw thee, 
Thy foot upon an aged warrior's breast. 
Trampling out nature's last convulsive heavings. 
And thou, thy sword — valiant chief ! — is yet 
Red from the noble stroke which pierced at once 
A mother and the babe, whose little life 
Was from her bosom drawn ! Immortal deeds 
For bards to hymn ! 

Guroo (aside.) — I look upon his mien, 

And waver. Can it be ? My boyish heart 



74 DRAMATIC WORKS 

Deemed him so noble once ! Away, weak thoughts ! 
"Why should I shrink, as if the guilt were mine, 
From his proud glance 1 
Procida. — thou dissembler ! thou, 

So skilled to clothe with virtue's generous flush 
The hollow cheek of cold hypocrisy. 
That, with thy guilt made manifest, I can scarce 
Believe thee guilty ! — look on me, and say 
Whose was the secret warning voice that saved 
De Couci with his bands, to join our foes. 
And forge new fetters for the indignant land 1 
Whose was this treachery? 

{Shows him papers.) 

Who hath promised here 
(Belike to appease the manes of the dead) 
At midnight to unfold Palermo's gates, 
And welcome in the foe ] Who hath done this, 
But thou — a tyrant's friend 1 

Raimond. — Who hath done this 1 

Father ! — if I may call thee by that name — 
Look with thy piercing eye on those whose smiles 
Were masks that hid their daggers. There, perchance. 
May lurk what loves not light too strong. For me, 
I know but this — there needs no deep research 
To prove the truth that murderers may be traitors, 
Even to each other. 

Procida {to Montalba.) — His unaltered cheek 
Still vividly doth hold its natural hue. 
And his eye quails not ! Is this innocence 1 

Montalba. — No ! 'tis the unshrinking hardihood of crime. 
— Thou bearest a gallant mien. But where is she 
Whom thou hast bartered fame and life to save. 



k 



k 



THE VESPERS OF PALERMO 

The fair Provencal maid? What ! know'st thou not 

That this alone were gviilt, to death allied 1 

Was't not our law that he who spared a foe 

(And is she not of that detested mce ]) 

Should thenceforth be amongst us as a foe 1 

— Where hast thou borne her ? speak ! 
Raimond. — That Heaven, whose eye 

Bums up thy soul with its far-searching glance. 

Is with her : she is safe. 
Procida. — And by that word 

Thy doom is sealed. Oh God ! that I had died 

Before this bitter horn*, in the full strength 

And glory of my heart ! 

(Constance enters, and rushes to Raimond.) 
Constance.— Oh ! art thou found ] 

But yet, to find thee thus ! Chains, chains for thee ! 

My brave, my noble love ! Ofi" with these bonds; 

Let him be free as air : for I am come 

To be your victim now. 
Raimond.— Death has no pang 

More keen than this. Oh, wherefore art thou here ? 

I could have died so calmly, deeming thee 

Saved, and at peace. 
Constance. — At peace ! — And thou hast thought 

Thus poorly of my love ! But woman's breast 

Hath strength to suffer too. Thy father sits 

On this tribunal ; Raimond, which is he ] 
Raimond.— My father? who hath lulled thy gentle heart 

With that ^se hope ] Beloved ! gaze aroxmd — 

See if thine eye can trace a fathei*'s soul 

In the dark looks bent on us. 
(Constance, after earnestly examining the countenances of 
the Judges, falls at the feet qf Procida.) 



76 DRAMATIC WORKS 

Constance. — Thou art he ! 

Nay, turn thou not away ! for I beheld 

Thy proud lip quiver, and a watery mist 

Pass o'er thy troubled eye ; and then I knew 

Thou wert his father ! Spare him ! take my life ! 

In tinith, a worthless sacrifice for his, 

But yet mine all. Oh ! he hath still to run 

A long bright race of glory. 

Raimond. — Constance, peace ! 

I look upon thee, and my failing heart 
Is as a broken reed. 

Constance {still addressing Pbocida.) — Oh, yet relent ! 
If 'twas his crime to rescue me— behold 
I come to be the atonement ! Let him live 
To crown thine age with honour. In thy heart 
There's a deep conflict ; but great Nature pleads 
With an o'ermastering voice, and thou wilt yield ! 
— Thou art his father ! 

Procida {after a pause.) — Maiden, thou art deceived: 
I am as calm as that dread pause of nature 
Ere the full thunder bursts. A judge is not 
Father or friend. Who calls this man my son 1 
My son ! Ay ! thus his mother proudly smiled — 
But she was noble ! Traitors stand alone, 
Loosed from all ties. Why should I trifle thus 1 
Bear her away ! 

Raimond {starting forward.) — And whither] 

MoNTALBA. — Unto death. 

Why should she live, when all her race have perished ? 

Constance {sinking into the arms o/ Raimond.) — 

Raimond, farewell ! Oh ! when thy star hath risen 
To its bright noon, forget not, best beloved ! 
I died for thee. 



1 



THE VESPERS OF PALERMO 77 

Raimond.— High Heaven ! thou see'st these things, 
And yet endur'st them ! Shalt thou die for me, 
Purest and loveliest being 1 — but our fate 
May not divide us long. Her cheek is cold — 
Her deep blue eyes are closed : should this be death 
—If thus, there yet were mercy ! Father, father ! 
Is thy heai't human 1 

Procida. — Bear her hence, I say ! 
Why must my soul be torn ] 

(Ansblmo entiTs, holding a Crucifix.) 

Anselmo. — Now, by this sign 

Of Heaven's prevailing love ! ye shall not harm 

One ringlet of her head. How ! is there not 

Enough of blood upon your burdened souls ? 

"Will not the visions of your midnight couch 

Be wild and dark enough, but ye must heap 

Crime upon crime ? Be ye content ; your dreams, 

Your coimcils, and your banquetings, will yet 

Be haunted by the voice which doth not sleep, 

Even though this maid be spared ! Constance, look up ! 

Thou shalt not die. 

Raimond. — Oh ! death even now hath veiled 
The light of her soft beauty. Wake, my love ! 
Wake at my voice ! 

Procida. — Anselmo, lead her hence. 

And let her Hve, but never meet my sight. 
Begone ! my heart will burst. 

Haimond. — One last embrace ! 

Again life's rose is opening on her cheek ; 

Yet must we part. So love is crushed on earth : 

But there are brighter worlds ! Farewell, farewell ! 

{He gives lur to the care of Ansblmo. ) 



78 DRAMATIC WORKS 

Constance (slowly recovering) — There was a voice which 
called me. Am I not 

A spirit freed from earth ^ Have I not passed 

The bitterness of death 1 
Anselmo. — Oh, haste away ! 
Constance. — Yes ! Raimond calls me. He too is released 

From his cold bondage. We are free at last, 

And all is well. Away ! 

[She is led out by Anselmo.) 

Eaimond. — The pang is o'er, 
And I have but to die. 

MoNTALBA. — Now, Procida, 

Comes thy great task. Wake ! summon to thine aid 
All thy deep soul's commanding energies ; 
For thou — a chief among us — must pronounce 
The sentence of thy son. It rests with thee. 

Procida. — Ha ! ha ! Men's hearts must be of softer mould 
Than in the elder time. Fathers could doom 
Their children then with an unfaltering voice. 
And we must tremble thus ! Is it not said 
That nature grows degenerate, earth being now 
So full of days ? 

MoNTALBA. — Eouse up thy mighty heart. 

Pro. — Ay, thou say'st right. There yet are souls which tower 
As landmarks to mankind. Well, what's the task ? 
There is a man to be condemned, you say ? 
Is he then guilty ? 

All. — Thus we deem of him, 
With one accord. 

Procida. — And hath he naught to plead 1 

Raimond. — Naught but a soul unstained. 

Procida. — Why, that is little. 



THE VESPERS OF PALERMO 79 

Stains on the soul are but as conscience deems them, 

And conscience may be seared. But for this sentence : 

Was not the penalty imposed on man, 

Even from creation's dawn, that he must die? 

It was : thus making guilt a sacrifice 

Unto eternal justice ; and we but 

Obey Heaven's mandate when we cast dark souls 

To the elements from among us. Be it so ! 

Such be his doom ! I have said. Ay, now my heart 

Is girt with adamant, whose cold weight doth press 

Its gaspings down. Off! let me breathe in freedom ! 

Mountains are on my breast ! 

(He sinks back.) 

MoNTALBA. — Guards, bear the prisoner 

Back to his dimgeon. 
Raimond. — Father ! oh, look up ; 

Thou art my father still ! 

(GtiDO leaves the tribunal, and throws himself on the neck of 
Raimond.) 

Gumo. — Oh ! Raimond, Raimond ! 

If it should be that I have wronged thee, say 

Thou dost forgive me. 
Raimond. — Friend of my young days, 

So may all-pitying Heaven I 

(Raimoxd is led out.) 

Procida. — ^Whose voice was that ] 

Where is he ? — gone ] Now I may breathe once more 
In the free ah' of heaven. Let us away. lExewiL 



80 DRAMATIC WORKS 



ACT Y. 

SCENE l.—A Prison dimly lighted. Raimond sleeping. 
Procida enters. 

Pbocida {gazing upon him earnestly.) — 

Can lie, then, sleep? The o'ershadowing night hath wrapt 

Earth at her stated hours ; the stars have set 

Their burning watch ; and all things hold their course 

Of wakefulness and rest ; yet hath not sleep 

Sat on mine eyelids since — but this avails not ! 

And thus he slumbers ! Why, this mien doth seem 

As if its soul were but one lofty thought 

Of an immortal destiny ! — his brow 

Is calm as waves whereon the midnight heavens 

Are imaged silently. Wake, Kaimond ! wake ! 

Thy rest is deep. 

Eaimond {starting up.) — My father ! Wherefore here 1 
I am prepared to die, yet would I not 
Fall by thy hand. 

Procida. — 'Twas not for this I came. 

Eaimond. — Then wherefore ] and upon thy lofty brow 
Why burns the troubled flush ^ 

Procida. — Perchance 'tis shame. 

Yes, it may well be shame ! — for I have striven 
With nature's feebleness, and been o'erpowered. 
Howe'er it be, 'tis not for thee to gaze, 
Noting it thus. Else, let me loose thy chains. 
Arise, and follow me ; but let thy step 
Fall without sound on earth : I have prepared 
The means for thy escape. 

Eaimond. — What ! thou ! the austere, 



THE VESPERS OF PALERMO 81 

The inflexible Procida ! hast thou done this, 
Deeming me guilty still 1 

Procida. — Upbraid me not ! 

It is even so. There have been nobler deeds 

By Roman fathers done, — but I am weak. 

Therefore, again I say, arise, and haste, 

For the night wanes. Thy fugitive course must be 

To realms beyond the deep ; so let us part 

In silence, and for ever. 

Raimond. — Let him fly 

Who holds no deep asylum in his breast 
Wherein to shelter from the scoffs of men ; 
— I can sleep calmly here. 

Procida. — Ai-t thou in love 

With death and infamy, that so thy choice 

Is made, lost boy ! when freedom courts thy grasp 1 

Raimond. — Father ! to set the irrevocable seal 

Upon that shame wherewith ye have branded me. 

There needs but flight. What should I bear from this, 

My native land ? — A blighted name, to rise 

And part me, with its dark remembrances, 

For ever from the sunshine. O'er my soul 

Bright shadowings of a nobler destiny 

Float in dim beauty through the gloom ; but here 

On earth, my hopes are closed. 

Procida.— Thy hopes are closed ! 

And what were they to mine ? — Thou wilt not fly ! 
Why, let all traitors flock to thee, and learn 
How proudly guilt can talk ! Let fathers rear 
Their offspring henceforth, as the free wild birds 
Foster their young : when these can mount alone, 
Dissolving nature's bonds, why should it not 
Be 8(J with us ] 



82 DRAMATIC WORKS 

Eaimond. — father ! now I feel 

What high prerogatives belong to Death. 
He hath a deep though voiceless eloquence, 
To which I leave my cause. His solemn veil 
Doth with mysterious beauty clothe our virtues, 
And in its vast oblivious folds, for ever 
Give shelter to our faults. When I am gone. 
The mists of passion which have dimmed my name 
Will melt like day-dreams ; and my memory then 
Will be — not what it should have been, for I 
Must pass without my fame — but yet unstained 
As a clear morning dewdrop. Oh ! the grave 
Hath rights inviolate as a sanctuary's, 
And they should be my own ! 

Procida. — Now, by just Heaven, 

1 will not thus be tortured ! Were my heart 
But of thy guilt or innocence assured, 
I could be calm again. But in this wild 
Suspense — this conflict and vicissitude 

Of opposite feelings and convictions What ! 

Hath it been mine to temper and to bend 

All spirits to my purpose 1 have I raised 

With a severe and passionless energy, 

From the dread mingling of their elements. 

Storms which have rocked the earth ? — and shall I now 

Thus fluctuate as a feeble reed, the scorn 

And plaything of the winds 1 Look on me, boy ! 

Guilt never dared to meet these eyes, and keep 

Its heart's dark secret close. — pitying Heaven ! 

Speak to my soul with some dread oracle. 

And tell me which is truth. 

Eaimond. — I will not plead. 

I will not call the Omnipotent to attest 



THE VESPERS OP PALERMO 83 

My innocence. No, father ! in thy heart 
I know my birthright shall be soon restored ; 
Therefore I look to death, and bid thee speed 
The great absolver. 

Procida. — my son ! my son ! 

We will not part in wrath ! The sternest hearts, 

Within their proud and guarded fastnesses. 

Hide something still, round which their tendrils cling 

With a close grasp, tmknown to those who dress 

Their love in smiles. And such wert thou to me ! 

The all which taught me that my soul was cast 

In nature's mould. And I must now hold on 

My desolate course alone ! Why, be it thus ! 

He that doth guide a nation's star, should dwell 

High o'er the clouds, in regal solitude. 

Sufficient to himself. 

Raimond. — Yet, on the summit, 

When with her bright wings glory shadows thee. 
Forget not him who coldly sleeps beneath. 
Yet might have soared as high. 

Procida. — No, fear thou not ! 

Thou'lt be remembered long. The canker-worm 
0' the heart is ne'er forgotten. 

Raimond. — Oh! not thus— 

I would not thus be thought of. 

Procida. — Let me deem 

Again that thou art base ! — for thy bright looks. 

Thy glorious mien of fearlessness and truth, 

Then would not haunt me as the avenging powers 

Follow the parricide. Farewell, farewell ! 

I have no tears. Oh ! thus thy mother looked. 

When, with a sad yet half-triumphant smile, 

All radiant with deep meaning, from her deathbed 



84 DRAMATIC WORKS 

She gave thee to my arms. 

Kaimond. — Now death has lost 

His sting, since thou believ'st me innocent ! 

Proc. {wildly) — Thou innocent ! Am I thy murderer, then? 
Away ! I tell thee thou hast made my name 
A scorn to men ! No ! I will not forgive thee ; 
A traitor ! What ! the blood of Procida 
Filling a traitor's veins ? Let the earth drink it. 
Thou wouldst receive our foes ! — but they shall meet 
From thy perfidious lips a welcome, cold 
As death can make it. Go, prepare thy soul ! 

Kaimond.— Father ! yet hear me ! 

Procida. — No ! thou'rt skilled to make 

Even shame look fair. Why shoidd I linger thus? 

{Going to leave the prison, he turns back for a moment.) 

If there be aught — if aught — for which thou need'st 
Forgiveness — not of me, but that dread Power 
From whom no heart is veiled — delay thou not 
Thy prayer, — time hurries on. 

Raimond. — I am prepared. 

Procida. — 'Tis well. \_Exit. 

Raimond. — Men talk of torture : can they wreak 
Upon the sensitive and shrinking frame. 
Half the mind bears — and lives ? My spirit feels 
Bewildered ; on its powers this twilight gloom 
Hangs like a weight of earth. — It should be morn ; 
Why, then, perchance, a beam of heaven's bright sun 
Hath pierced, ere now, the grating of my dungeon, 
TeUing of hope and mercy ! 

[Retires into an inner cell.) 



THE VESPERS OF PALERMO 85 

SCENE II. 

A Street of Palermo. Many Citizens atsembled. 

1st Citizen. — The morning breaks ; his time is almost come : 
Will he be led this way ? 

2d Citizen. — Ay, so 'tis said, 

To die before that gate through which he purposed 
The foe shovild enter in. 

3d Citizen. — 'Twas a vile plot ! 

And yet I would my hands were pure as his 

From the deep stain of blood. Didst hear the sounds 

I' the air last night 1 

2d Citizen. — Since the great work of slaughter. 
Who hath not heard them duly at those hours 
Which should be silent ? 

3d Citizen. — Oh ! the fearful mingling, 
The terrible mimicry of human voices, 
In every sound, which to the heart doth speak 
Of woe and death. 

2d Citizen. — Ay, there was woman's shrill 
And piercing cry ; and the low feeble wail 
Of dying infants ; and the half-suppressed 
Deep groan of man in his last agonies. 
And, now and then, there swelled upon the breeze 
Strange savage bursts of laughter, wilder far 
Than all the rest. 

1st Citizen. — Of our own fate, perchance, 

These awful midnight wailings may be deemed 
An ominous prophecy. Should France regain 
Her power among us, doubt not, we shall have 
Stem reckoners to accoimt with. — Hark ! 

{The sound 0/ trumpets heard at a distance.) 



86 DRAMATIC WORKS 

2d Citizen. — 'Twas but 

A rushing of the breeze. 
3d Citizen, — Even now, 'tis said, 

The hostile bands approach. 

{The sound is heard gradually drawing nearer.) 

2d Citizen. — Again ! that sound 

Was no illusion. Nearer yet it swells — 
They come, they come ! 

(Procida enters.) 

Procida. — The foe is at your gates ; 

But hearts and hands prepared shall meet his onset. 
Why are ye loitering here ] 

Citizen. — My lord, we came — 

Procida. — Think ye I know not wherefore ] — 'twas to see 
A fellow-being die ! Ay, 'tis a sight 
Man loves to look on ; and the tenderest hearts 
Eecoil, and yet withdraw not from the scene. 
For this ye came. What ! is our nature fierce, 
Or is there that in mortal agony 
From which the soul, exulting in its strength. 
Doth learn immortal lessons 1 Hence, and arm ! 
Ere the night-dews descend, ye will have seen 
Enough of death — for this must be a day 
Of battle ! 'Tis the hour which troubled souls 
Delight in, for its rushing storms are wings 
Which bear them up ! Arm ! arm ! 'tis for your homes. 
And all that lends them loveliness. Away ! Exeunt. 



THE VESPERS OF PALERMO 87 

SCENE III. 

A Prison. Rafmond, Ansblmo. 

Raimond. — And Constance then is safe ! Heaven bless thee, 
father ! 
Good angels bear such comfort. 

Anselmo. — I have fo\md 

A safe asylum for thine honoured love. 

Where she may dwell vrntU serener days. 

With Saint Rosalia's gentlest daughters — those 

Whose hallowed office is to tend the bed 

Of pain and death, and soothe the parting soul 

With their soft hymns : and therefore are they called 

Sisters of Mercy. 

Raimond. — Oh ! that name, my Constance ! 
Befits thee well. Even in our happiest days. 
There was a depth of tender pensiveness 
Far in thine eyes' dark azure, speaking ever 
Of pity and mild grief. Is she at peace ? 

Anselmo. — Alas ! what should I say % 

Raimond. — Why did I ask. 

Knowing the deep and full devotedness 

Of her young heart's affections % Oh ! the thought 

Of my untimely fate will haunt her dreams, 

Which should have been so tranquil ! — and her soul, 

Whose strength was but the lofty gift of love. 

Even imto death will sicken. 

Anselmo. — All that faith 

Can peld of comfort, shall assuage her woes : 
And still, whate'er betide, the light of heaven 
Rests on her gentle heart. But thou, my son ! 
Is thy young spirit mastered, and prepared 



88 DRAMATIC WORKS 

For nature's fearful and mysterious change ? 

Raimond. — Ay, father ! of my brief remaining task 
The least part is to die. And yet the cup 
Of life still mantled brightly to my lips, 
Crowned with that sparkling bubble, whose proud name 
Is — glory ! Oh ! my soul, from boyhood's mom, 
Hath nursed such mighty dreams ! It was my hope 
To leave a name, whose echo from the abyss 
Of time should rise, and float upon the winds 
Into the far hereafter ; there to be 
A trumpet-sound, a voice from the deep tomb, 
Murmuring — Awake ! arise ! But this is past. 
Erewhile, and it had seemed enough of shame 
To sleep forgotten in the dust ; but now — 
Oh God ! — the undying record of my grave 
"Will be— Here sleeps a traitor !— One, whose crime. 
Was — to deem brave men might find nobler weapons 
Than the cold murderer's dagger ! 

Anselmo. — Oh ! my son, 

Subdue these troubled thoughts. Thou wouldst not change 
Thy lot for theirs, o'er whose dark dreams will hang 
The avenging shadows, which the blood-stained soul 
Doth conjure from the dead. 

Raimond. — Thou'rt right. I would not. 
Yet 'tis a weary task to school the heart, 
Ere years or griefs have tamed its fiery spirit, 
Into that still and passive fortitude 
Which is but learned from suffering. Would the hour 
To hush these passionate thi-obbings were at hand ! 

Anselmo. — It will not be to-day. Hast thou not heard ? 
But no— the rush, the trampling, and the stir 
Of this great city, arming in her haste. 
Pierce not these dungeon-depths. The foe hath reached 



r 



THE VESPERS OP PALERMO 89 

Our gates, and all Palermo's youth, and all 
Her warrior men, are marshalled, and gone forth, 
In that high hope which makes reaUties, 
To the red field. Thy father leads them on. 

Raimond (starting up.) — They are gone forth ! my father 
leads them on ! 
All — all Palermo's youth ! No ! one is left, 
Shut out from glory's race ! They are gone forth ! 
Ay, now the soul of battle is abroad ; 
It bums upon the air. The joyous winds 
Are tossing wai'rior-plumes, the proud white foam 
Of battle's roaring billows. On my sight 
The vision bursts— it maddens ! 'tis the flash. 
The lightning-shock of lances, and the cloud 
Of rushing arrows, and the broad full blaze 
Of helmets in the sun. The very steed 
With his majestic rider glorying shares 
The hour's stem joy, and waves his floating mane 
As a triumphant banner. Such things are 
Even now — and I am here ! 

Anselmo. — Alas, be calm ! 

To the same grave ye press, — thou that dost pine 
Beneath a weight of chains, and they that rule 
The fortunes of the fight. 

Raimond. — Ay ! Thou canst feel 

The calm thou wouldst impart ; for imto thee 
All men alike, the warrior and the slave, 
Seem, as thou say'st, but pilgrims, pressing on 
To the same bourne. Yet call it not the same : 
Their graves who fall in this day's fight will be 
As altars to their country, visited 
By fathers with their children, bearing wreaths. 
And chanting hymns in honour of the dead : 



90 DRAMATIC WORKS 

Will mine be such? 

(ViTTORiA rushes in vnldly, as if pursued.) 

ViTTORiA. — Anselmo ! art thou found ! 

Haste, haste, or all is lost ! Perchance thy voice, 
Whereby they deem heaven speaks, thy lifted cross. 
And prophet mien, may stay the fugitives. 
Or shame them back to die. 

Anselmo. — The fugitives ! 

What words are these ? The sons of Sicily 
Fly not before the foe ? 

ViTTOEiA. — That I should say 
It is too true ! 

Anselmo. — And thou — thou bleedest, lady ! 

ViTTOETA. — Peace ! heed not me when Sicily is lost ! 
I stood upon the walls, and watched our bauds. 
As, with their ancient royal banner spread. 
Onward they marched. The combat was begun, 
The fiery impulse given, and valiant men 
Had sealed their freedom with their blood — when, lo 
That false Alberti led his recreant vassals 
To join the invader's host. 

Eaimond. — His country's curse 
Eest on the slave for ever ! 

ViTTORiA. — Then distrust, 

Even of their noble leaders, and dismay, 

That swift contagion, on Palermo's bands 

Came like a deadly blight. They fled ! — Oh shame ! 

Even now they fly ! Ay, through the city gates 

They rush, as if all Etna's burning streams 

Pursued their winged steps. 

Raimond. — Thou hast not named 

Their chief— Di Procida — ^he doth not fly? 



r 



THE VESPERS OP PALERMO 91 

VrrroRiA. — No ! like a kingly lion in the toils. 
Daring the hunters yet, he proudly strives : 
But all in vain ! The few that breast the storm, 
With Guido and Montalba, by his side, 
Fight but for graves upon the battle-field. 

Raimond. — And I am here ! Shall thei*e be power, God ! 
In the roused energies of fierce despair. 
To burst my heart — and not to rend my chains ? 
Oh, for one moment of the thimderbolt 
To set the strong man free ! 

ViTTORiA {after gazing upon him earnestly.) — 
Why, 'twere a deed 

Worthy the fame and blessing of all time. 
To loose thy bonds, thou son of Procida ! 
Thou art no traitor ! — from thy kindled brow 
Looks out thy lofty soul. Arise ! go forth ! 
And rouse the noble heart of Sicily 
Unto high deeds again. Anselmo, haste ; 
Unbind him ! Let my spu'it still prevail. 
Ere I depart — for the strong hand of death 
Is on me now. 

(She sinks hack against a pillar.) 

Anselmo. — Oh heaven ! the life-blood streams 

Fast from thy heart — thy troubled eyes grow dim. 
Who hath done this % 

ViTTORiA. — Before the gates I stood, 

And in the name of him, the loved and lost. 
With whom I soon shall be, all vainly strove 
To stay the shameful flight. Then from the foe. 
Fraught with my summons to his viewless home. 
Came the fleet shaft which pierced me. 

Anselmo. — Yet, oh yet. 



92 DRAMATIC WORKS 

It may not be too late. Help, help ! 
ViTTORiA, (to Raimond) — Away ! 

Bright is the hour which brings thee liberty ! 

{Attendants enter.) 

Haste, be those fetters riven ! Unbar the gates, 
And set the captive free ! 

{The attendants seem to hesitate.) 

Know ye not her 

Who should have worn your country's diadem ] 
Attendant. — O lady ! we obey. 

( T?iey take off Raimond's chains. He springs up exvltingly. ) 

Raimond. — Is this no dream ? 

Mount, eagle ! thou art free ! Shall I then die 
Not midst the mockery of insulting crowds, 
But on the field of banners, where the brave 
Are striving for an immortality 1 
It is even so ! Now for bright arms of proof, 
A helm, a keen-edged falchion, and even yet 
My father may be saved ! 

ViTTORiA. — Away, be strong ! 

And let thy battle-word, to rule the storm, 
Be — Conradin. 

(Raimond rmhes out.) 

Oh ! for one hour of life, 
To hear that name blent with the exulting shout 
Of victory ! It will not be. A mightier power 
Doth summon me away. 
Anselmo. — To purer worlds 

Raise thy last thoughts in hope. 



THE VESPERS OF PALERMO 

ViTTOBiA- — Yes ! he is there. 

All glorious in his beauty — Conradin ! 
Death parted us, and death shall reunite ! 
He will not stay — it is all darkness now ! 
Night gathers o'er my spirit. 

(She diu.) 

Anselmo. — She is gone ! 

It is an awful hour which stills the heart 

That beat so proudly once. Have mercy. Heaven ! 

(He kneels betide her.) 



SCENE IV. 

B(/ore the gates qf Palermo. Sicilians flying tumvltucmsly towards 
the gates. 

Voices WITHOUT. — Montjoy ! Montjoyi St Denis for Anjou ! 

Provencals, on ! • 

Sicilians. — Fly, fly, or all is lost ! 

(Raimond appears in the gatexcay armed, and carrying a banner. ) 

Raimond. — Back, back, I say ! ye men of Sicily ! 
All is not lost ! Oh shame ! A few brave hearts 
In such a cause, ere now, have set their breasts 
Against the rush of thousands, and sustained. 
And made the shock recoil. Ay, man, free man, 
Still to be called so, hath achieved such deeds 
As heaven and earth have marvelled at ; and souls. 
Whose spark yet slumbers with the days to come. 
Shall bum to hear, transmitting brightly thus 
Freedom from race to race ! Back ! or prepare 
Amidst your hearths, your bowers, your veiy shrines. 



94 DRAMATIC WORKS 

To bleed and die in vain ! Turn ! — follow me ! 

Conradin, Conradin ! — for Sicily 

His spirit fights ! Remember Conradin ! 

{They begin to rally round him.) 

Ay, this is well ! Now, follow me, and charge ! 

(The Provencals rush in, hut are repulsed by the Sicilians.) 

SCENE V. 

Part of the field of battle. Montalba enters wounded, and sup- 
ported by Raimond, whose face is concealed by his helmet. 

Raimond. — Here rest thee, warrior. 

Montalba. — Rest ! ay, death is rest. 

And such will soon be mine. But thanks to thee, 
I shall not die a captive. Brave Sicilian ! 
These lips ai'e all unused to soothing words. 
Or I should bless the valour which hath won, 
For rSy last hour, the proud free solitude 
Wherewith my soul would gird itself. Thy name 1 

Raimond. — 'Twill be no music to thine ear, Montalba. 
Gaze — read it thus ! 

{He lifts the visor of his helmet.) 

Montalba. — Raimond di Procida ! 

Raimond. — Thou hast pursued me with a bitter hate : 
But fare thee well ! Heaven's peace be with thy soul ! 
I must away. One glorious efibrt more, 
And this proud field is won. [Exit. 

Montalba. — Am I thus humbled ? 

How my heart sinks within me ! But 'tis Death 
(And he can tame the mightiest) hath subdued 
My towering nature thus. Yet is he welcome ! 



THE VESPERS OF PALERMO 95 

That youth — ^'twas m his pride he rescued me ! 
I was his deadliest foe, and thus he proved 
His fearless scorn. Ha ! ha ! but he shall fail 
To melt me into womanish feebleness. 
There I still baffle him — the grave shall seal 
My lips for ever — mortal shall not hear 
Montalba say — " forgive ! " 

{He diss.) 



SCENE VI. 

Another part 0/ the field. Procida, Guido, and other Sicilians. 

Pboclda. — The day is ours ; but he, the brave imknown. 
Who turned the tide of battle — he whose path 
Was victory — who hath seen him 1 

(AxBBRTi is brought in, wounded and filtered.) 

Alberti. — Procida ! 

Proceda. — Be silent, traitor ! Bear him from my sight, 

Unto your deepest dungeons. 
Alberti. — In the grave 

A nearer home awaits me. Yet one word 

Ere my voice fail — thy son 

Procida.— Speak, speak ! 
Alberti. — Thy son 

Knows not a thought of guilt. That trait'rous plot 

Was mine alone. 

(He is led away.) 

Proceda. — Attest it, earth and heaven ! 
My son is guiltless ! Hear it, Sicily ! 
The blood of Procida is noble still ! 



96 DRAMATIC WORKS 

My son ! He lives, he lives ! His voice shall speak 
Forgiveness to his sire ! His name shall cast 
Its brightness o'er my soul ! 
GuiDo. — day of joy ! 

The brother of my heart is worthy still 
The lofty name he bears ! 

(Anselmo enters.) 

Procida. — Anselmo, welcome ! 

In a glad hour we meet ; for know, my son 

Is guiltless. 
Anselmo. — And victorious ! By his arm 

All hath been rescued. 

Procida. — How ! — the unknown 

Anselmo. — Was he. 

Thy noble Eaimond ! — by Vittoria's hand 

Freed from his bondage, in that awful hour 

When all was flight and terror. 
Procida. — Now my cup 

Of joy too brightly mantles ! Let me press 

My warrior to a father's heart — and die ; 

For life hath naught beyond. Why comes he not ? 

Anselmo, lead me to my vahant boy ! 
Anselmo. — Temper this proud delight. 
Procida.— What means that look 1 

HehathnotfaUen] 
Anselmo. — He lives. 
Procida. — Away, away ! 

Bid the wide city with triumphal pomp 

Prepare to greet her victor. Let this hour 

Atone for all his wrongs ! lExeunt 



THE VESPERS OF PALERMO 97 



SCENE VII. 

(Garden of a Convent. Raimond is led in wounded, leaning on 
attendants.) 

Raimond. — Bear me to no dull couch, but let ine die 
In the bright face of nature ! Lift my helm, 
That I may look on heaven. 

IST Attendant. — Lay him to rest 

On this gi-een simny bank, and I will call 
Some holy sister to his aid ; but thou 
Return unto the field, for high-bom men 
There need the peasant's aid. 

(To Raimond.) 

Here gentle hands 
Shall tend thee, warrior ; for, in these retreats. 
They dwell whose vows devote them to the care 
Of all that sufier. May'st thou live to bless them ! 

{The attendants leave him.) 

Raim. — Thus have I wished to die ! 'Twas a proud strife ! 
My father blessed the unknown who rescued him, 
(Blessed him, alas, because unknown !) and Guido, 
Beside him bravely struggling, called aloud, 
" Noble Sicilian, on ! " Oh ! had they deemed 
'Twas I who led that rescue, they had spumed 
Mine aid, though 'twas deliverance ; and their looks 
Had fallen like blights upon me. There is one, 
Whose eye ne'er turned on mine but its blue light 
Grew softer, trembling through the dewy mist 
Raised by deep tenderness ! Oh, might the soul, 



98 DRAMATIC WORKS 

Set in that eye, shine on me ere I perish ! 
— Is't not her voice 1 

(Constance enters speaking to a Nun, who turns into another path.) 

Constance. — Oh, happy they, kind sister ! 
Whom thus ye tend ; for it is theirs to fall 
With brave men side by side, when the roused heart 
Beats proudly to the last ! There are high souls 
Whose hope was such a death, and 'tis denied ! 

iShe approaches Raimond) 

Young warrior, is there aught — Thou here, my Raimond ! 
Thou here — and thus ! Oh ! is this joy or woe ? 

Raimond. — Joy, be it joy ! my own, my blessed love ! 
Even on the grave's dim verge. Yes ! it is joy. 
My Constance ! Victors have been crowned ere now 
With the green shining laurel, when their brows 
Wore death's own impress — and it may be thus 
Even yet with me ! They freed me when the foe 
Had half prevailed, and I have proudly earned, 
With my heart's dearest blood, the meed to die 
Within thine arms. 

Constance. — Oh ! speak not thus — to die ! 
These woimds may yet be closed. 

(She attempts to bind his wounds.) 

Look on me, love ! 
Why, there is more than life in thy glad mien — 
'Tis full of hope; and from thy kindled eye 
Breaks even unwonted light, whose ardent ray 
Seems bom to be immortal. 
Raimond. — 'Tis even so ! 

The parting soul doth gather all her fires 



THE VESPERS OF PALERMO 99 

Around her — all her glorious hopes, and dreams, 

And burning aspirations, to iUume 

The shadowy dimness of the untrodden path 

Which lies before her ; and encircled thus, 

Awhile she sits in dying eyes, and thence 

Sends forth her bright farewell. Thy gentle cares 

Are vain, and yet I bless them. 

Constance. — Say not vain ; 

The dying look not thus. We shall not part. 

Raimond. — I have seen death ere now, and known him wear 
Full many a changeful aspect. 

Constance. — Oh ! but none 

Radiant as thine, my warrior ! Thou wilt live. 
Look round thee : all is sunshine. Is not this 
A smiling world ? 

Raimond. — Ay, gentlest love ! a world 
Of joyous beauty and magnificence, 
Almost too fair to leave. Yet must we tame 
Otu- ardent hearts to this. Oh, weep thou not ! 
There is no home for liberty or love. 
Beneath these festal skies. Be not deceived ; 
My way lies far beyond ! I shall be soon 
That viewless thing, which, with its mortal weeds 
Casting off meaner passions, yet, we trust. 
Forgets not how to love. 

Constance. — And must this be? 

Heaven, thou art merciftd ! — oh, bid our souls 
Depart together ! 

Raimond. — Constance ! there is strength 

Within thy gentle heart, which hath been proved 
Nobly, for me : arouse it once again ! 
Thy grief unmans me— and I fain would meet 
That which approaches, as a brave man yields 



100 DRAMATIC WORKS 

With proud submission to a mightier foe. 
— It is upon me now ! 
Constance. — I will be calm. 

Let thy head rest upon my bosom, Kaimond. 
And I will so suppress its quick deep sobs, 
They shall but rock thee to thy rest. There is 
A world (ay, let us seek it !) where no blight 
Falls on the beautiful rose of youth, and there 
I shall be with thee soon ! 

(Procida and Ansklmo enter. The former, on seeing Raimond, 
starts back.) 

Anselmo. — Lift up thy head. 

Brave youth, exultingly; for lo ! thine hour 

Of glory comes ! Oh ! doth it come too late ? 

Even now the false Alberti hath confessed 

That guilty plot, for which thy life was doomed 

To be the atonement. 
Eaimond. — 'Tis enough. Eejoice, 

Kejoice, my Constance ! for I leave a name 

O'er which thou mayst weep proudly. 

{He sinks back.) 

To thy breast 

Fold me yet closer, for an icy dart 

Hath touched my veins. 
Constance. — And must thou leave me, Raimond ? 

Alas ! thine eye grows dim — its wandering glance 

Is full of dreams. 
Raimomd. — Haste, haste, and tell my father 

I was no traitor ! 
Procida {rushing fwward.) — To thy father's heart 

Return, forgiving all thy wrongs — retiim ! 



THE VESPERS OP PALERMO 101 

Speak to me, Raimond ! — thou wert ever kind. 
And brave, and gentle ! Say that all the past 
Shall be forgiven ! That word from none but thee 
My lips e'er asked. — Speak to me once, my boy. 
My pride, my hope ! And it is with thee thus] 
Look on me yet ! — Oh ! must this woe be borne ] 
Raimond.— Ofif with this weight of chains ! it is not meet 
For a crown'd conqueror ! — Hark ! the trumpet's voice ! 

{A sound qf triumphant music is heard gradually approaching.) 

Is't not a thrilling call ? What drowsy spell 
Benumbs me thus? Hence ! I am free again ! 
Now swell your festal strains — the field is won ! 
Sing me to glorious dreams. 

{He dies.) 

Anselmg. — The strife is past ; 
There fled a noble spirit ! 

Constance. — Hush ! he sleeps- 
Disturb him not ! 

Anselmg. — Alas ! this is no sleep 

From which the eye doth radiantly unclose. 
Bow down thy soul, for earthly hope is o'er ! 

{The music continues approaching. Guido enters with citizens 

and soldiers.) 

Gui. — The shrines are decked, the festive torches blaze — 

Where is our brave deliverer ? We are come 

To crown Palermo's victor ! 
Anselmg. — Ye come too late. 

The voice of human praise doth send no echo 

Into the world of spirits. 

{The music ceases.) 



i 



102 DRAMATIC WORKS 

Pkocida {after a pause.) — Is this dust 

I look on — Eaimond ? 'Tis but a sleep ! A smile 
On his pale cheek sits proudly. Raimond, wake ! 
Oh God ! and this was his triumphant day ! 
My son, my injured son ! 

Constance, {starting) — Art thou his father ! 

I know thee now. Hence ! with thy dark stem eye. 
And thy cold heart ! Thou canst not wake him now ! 
Away ! he will not answer but to me — 
For none like me hath loved him. He is mine ! 
Ye shall not rend him from me. 

Pbocida. — Oh ! he knew 

Thy love, poor maid ! Shrink from me now no more ! 

He knew thy heart — but who shall tell him now 

The depth, the intenseness, and the agony 

Of my suppressed affection ] I have learned 

All his high worth in time to deck his grave. 

Is there not power in the strong spirit's woe 

To force an answer from the viewless world 

Of the departed ? Raimond ! — speak ! — forgive ! 

Raimond ! my victor, my deliverer ! hear ! 

— Why, what a world is this ! Truth ever bursts 

On the dark soul too late ; and glory crowns 

The unconscious dead. There comes an hour to break 

The mightiest hearts ! My son ! my son ! is this 

A day of triumph ? Ay ! for thee alone ! 

(He throws himself upon the body q/' Raimond. 
Cu7-tain falls.) 



THE SIEGE OF VALENCIA 



A DRAMATIC POEM 



JUDICIO HA DADO KSTA NO VISTA HAZAKNA 
Dm, VALOR QUK KN IX)8 8IGLOS VEN1DKR08 
TkNDRAN LOS HiJOS DB LA FUBRTB EsPANNA, 
Hues DB TAL PADRBS HBRB0BR03. 

Haixo aoxJL Kir Ncm ancia todo quamto 

Dbbb con JDSTO TITL'LO cantarsb 

Y LO QUK PUKDB BAR MATERIA AL CANTO." 

Cervante*' A'untancU*. 



DEAMATIS PERSONiE 



Alvar Gonzalez, 


Governor of Valencia 


Alphoneo, Carlos, 


His Sons. 


Hernandez, 


A Priest. 


Abdullah, 


Prince of the Moors. 


Garcias, 


A Spanish Knight. 


Elmina, 


Wife to Gonzalez. 


XlMENA, 


Her Daughter. 


Theresa, 


An Attendant 



CitlzenSy Soldiers, Attendants, ^c. 



THE SIEGE OF VALENCIA 



ACT I. 



SCENE J.— Room in a Palace of Valencia. Ximena singing 
to a lute. 

BALLAD 

" Thou hast not been -with a festal throng 

At the pouring of the -wine ; 
Men bear not from the hall of song 

A mien so dark as thine ! 
There's blood upon thy shield, 

There's dust upon thy plume. 
Thou hast brought from some disastrous field 

That brow of wrath and gloom ! " 

"And is there blood upon my shield? 

Maiden, it well may be! 
We have sent the streams from our battle-field 

All darkened to the sea: 
We have given the founts a stain, 

Midst their woods of ancient pine ; 
And the ground is wet — but not with rain, 

Deed-dyed — but not with wine ! 



106 DRAMATIC WORKS 

" The ground is wet — but not with rain— 

We have been in war-array, 
And the noblest blood of Christian Spain 

Hath bathed her soil to-day. 
I have seen the strong man die, 

And the stripling naeet his fate, 
Where the mountain-winds go sounding by 

In the Roncesvalles' Strait. 

" In the gloomy Roncesvalles' Strflt 

There are helms and lances cleft ; 
And they that moved at morn elate 

On a bed of heath are left ! 
There's many a fair young face 

Which the war-steed hath gone o'er ; 
At many a board there is kept a place 

For those that come no more! " 

" Alas for love, for woman's breast, 

If woe like this must be ! 
Hast thou seen a youth with an eagle-crest, 

And a white plume waving free? 
With his proud quick-flashing eye, 

And his mien of mighty state ? 
Doth he come from where the swords flashed high 

In the Roncesvalles' Strait ? " 

•' In the gloomy Roncesvalles' Strait 

I saw, and marked him well : 
For nobly on his steed he sate, 

When the pride of manhood fell. 
But it is not youth which turns 

From the field of spears again; 
For the boy's high heart too wildly burns, 

Till it rests amidst the slain ! " 



r 



THE SIEGE OP VALENCIA 107 

"Thou canst not say that he lies low, 

The lovely and the brave : 
Oh, none could look on his joyous brow, 

And think upon the grave ! 
Dark, dark perchance the day 

Hath been with valour's fate; 
But he is on his homeward way 

From the Roncesvalles' Strait ! " 

*' There is dust upon his joyous brow. 

And o'er his graceful head; 
And the war-horse will not wake him now, 

Though it browse his greensward bed. 
I have seen the stripling die, 

And the strong man meet his fate. 
Where the mountain-winds go sounding by 

In the Roncesvalles' Strait ! " 

{ Elmijta enters. ) 

Elmina. — Your songs are not as those of other days. 
Mine own Ximena ! Where is now the young 
And buoyant spirit of the mom, which once 
Breathed in your spring-like melodies, and woke 
Joy's echo from all hearts ? 

Ximena. — My mother, this 

Is not the free air of our mountain-wilds ; 
And these are not the halls wherein my voice 
First poured those gladdening strains. 

Elmina. — Alas ! thy heart 

(I see it well) doth sicken for the pure 
Free- wandering breezes of the joyous hills, 
Where thy young brothers o'er the rock and heath 
Bound in glad boyhood, even as torrent-streams 
Leap brightly from the heights. Had we not been 



108 DRAMATIC WORKS 

■Within these walls thus suddenly begirt, 

Thou shouldst have tracked ere now, with step as light, 

Their wild-wood paths. 

XiMENA. — I would not but have shared 

These hours of woe and peril, though the deep 

And solemn feelings wakening at their voice 

Claim all the wrought-up spirit to themselves, 

And will not blend with mirth. The storm doth hush 

All floating whispery sounds, all bird-notes wild 

O' the summer-forest, filling earth and heaven 

With its own awful music. And 'tis well ! 

Should not a hero's child be trained to hear 

The trumpet's blast unstartled, and to look 

In the fixed face of death without dismay 1 

Elmina, — "Woe ! woe ! that aught so gentle and so young 
Should thus be called to stand i' the tempest's path, 
And bear the token and the hue of death 
On a bright soul so soon ! I had not shrunk 
From mine own lot ; but thou, my child, shouldst move 
As a light breeze of heaven, through summer-bowers 
And not o'er foaming billows. We are fallen 
On dark and evil days. 

XiMENA. — Ay, days that wake 

All to their tasks ! Youth may not loiter now 
In the green walks of spring ; and womanhood 
Is summoned into conflicts, heretofore 
The lot of warrior-spirits. Strength is bom 
In the deep silence of long-sufiering hearts. 
Not amidst joy. 

Elmina. — Hast thou some secret woe 
That thus thou speakest ? 

XiMENA. — What sorrow should be mine, 
Unknown to thee ] 



\ 



THE SIEGE OF VALENCIA. 109 



Elmina. — Alas ! the baleful air 

Wherewith the pestOence in darkness walks 

Through the devoted city, like a blight 

Amidst the rose-tints of thy cheek hath fallen, 

And wrought an early witheiing. Thou hast crossed 

The paths of death, and ministered to those 

O'er whom his shadow rested, till thine eye 

Hath changed its glancing sunbeam for a still. 

Deep, solemn radiance ; and thy brow hath caught 

A wild and high expression, which at times 

Fades into desolate calmness, most unlike 

What youth's bright mien should wear. My gentle child ! 

I look on thee in fear. 

XiMENA. — Thou hast no cause 

To fear for me. When the wild clash of steel, 
And the deep tambour, and the heavy step 
Of armed men, break on our morning dreams — 
When, hour by hour, the noble and the brave 
Are falling round us, and we deem it much 
To give them funeral-i-ites, and call them blest 
If the good sword in its own stormy hour 
Hath done its work upon them, ere disease . 
Had chilled their fiery blood ; — it is no time 
For the light mien wherewith, in happier hours, 
We trode the woodland mazes, when young leaves 
Were whispering in the gale. — My father comes — 
Oh ! speak of me no more. I would not shade 
His princely aspect with a thought less high 
Than his proud duties claim. 

(Gonzalez enUrs.) 

Elmina. — My noble lord ! 

Welcome from this day's toil ! It is the hour 



110 DRAMATIC WORKS 

Whose shadows, as they deepen, bring repose 
Unto all weary men ; and wilt not thou 
Free thy mailed bosom from the corslet's weight, 
To rest at fall of eve ? 

Gonzalez. — There may be rest 

For the tired peasant, when the vesper-bell 

Doth send him to his cabin, and beneath 

His vine and olive he may sit at eve, 

Watching his children's sport : but unto him 

Who keeps the watch-place on the mountain-height. 

When heaven lets loose the storms that chasten realms, 

Who speaks of rest 1 

XiMENA. — My father, shall I fill 

The wine-cup for thy lips, or bring the lute 
Whose sounds thou lov'st 1 

Gonzalez. — If there be strains of power 

To rouse a spirit, which in triumphant scorn 

May cast off nature's feebleness, and hold 

Its proud career unshackled, dashing down 

Tears and fond thoughts to earth ; give voice to those : 

I have need of such, Ximena ! — we must hear 

No melting music now. 

Ximena. — I know all high 

Heroic ditties of the elder-time, 
Simg by the mountain Christains,* in the holds 
Of the everlasting hills, whose snows yet bear 
The print of Freedom's step; and all wild strains 
Wherein the dark Serranosf teach the rocks 

* Mountain Christians, those natives of Spain who, under their 
prince Pelayo, took refuge amongst the mountains of the northern 
provinces, where they maintained theu- religion and liberty, whilst the 
rest of their country was overrun by the Moors. 

t Mountaineers. 



THE SIEGE OP VALENCIA 111 

And the pine-forests deeply to resotind 

The praise of later champions. Wonldst thou hear 

The war-song of thine ancestor, the Cid 1 

Gonzalez. — Ay, speak of him ; for in that name is power 
Such as might rescue kingdoms. Speak of him ! 
We are his children. They that can look back 
I' the annals of their house on such a name, 
How should they take Dishonour by the hand, 
And o'er the threshold of their fathers' halls 
First lead her as a guest] 

Elmina. — Oh, why is this 1 

How my heart sinks ! 
, Gonzalez. — It must not fail thee yet. 

Daughter of heroes ! — thine inheritance 

Is strength to meet all conflicts. Thou canst number 

In thy long line of glorious ancestry 

Men, the bright offering of whose blood hath made 

The ground it bathed even as an altar, whence 

High thoughts shall rise for ever. Bore they not, 

Midst flame and sword, their witness of the Cross, 

With its victorious inspiration girt 

As with a conqueror's robe, till the Infidel, 

O'erawed, shrank back before them ? Ay, the earth 

Doth call them martyrs ; but their agonies 

Were of a moment, tortures whose brief aim 

Was to destroy, within whose powers and scope 

Lay naught but dust. And earth doth call them martyrs ! 

Why, heaven but claimed their blood, their lives, and not 

The things which grew as tendrils round their heai-ts ; 

No, not their children ! 

Elmina. — Mean'st thou ? know'st thou aught 1 — 
I cannot utter it — my sons ! my sons ! 
Is it of them 1 Oh ! wouldst thou speak of them ? 



112 DRAMATIC WORKS 

Gonzalez. — A mother's heart divineth but too well. 

Elmina. — Speak, I adjure thee ! I can bear it all. 
Whex'e are my children 'i 

Gonzalez. — In the Moorish camp 
Whose lines have girt the city. 

XiMENA. — But they live ? 

All is not lost, my mother ! 

Elmina. — Say, they live. 

Gonzalez. — Elmina, stQl they live. 

Elmina. — But captives ! They 

Whom my fond heart had imaged to itself 
Bounding from cliff to cliff, amidst the wilds 
Where the rock-eagle seemed not more secure 
In its rejoicing freedom ! And my boys 
Are captives with the Moor ! — oh ! how was this 1 

Gonzalez. — Alas ! our brave Alphonso, in the pride 
Of boyish daring, left our mountain-halls, 
With his young brother, eager to behold 
The face of noble war. Thence on their way 
Were the rash wanderers captured. 

Elmina. — 'Tis enough. 

And when shall they be ransomed 1 

Gonzalez. — There is asked 
A ransom far too high. 

Elmina. — What ! have we wealth 

Which might redeem a monarch, and our sons 
The while wear fetters 1 Take thou all for them, 
And we will cast our worthless grandeur from us 
As 'twere a cumbrous robe ! Why, thou art one, 
To whose high nature pomp hath ever been 
But as the plumage to a warrior's helm. 
Worn or thrown off as lightly. And for me, 
Thou know'st not how serenely I could take 



I 



THE SIEGE OF VALENCIA 113 

The peasant's lot upon me, so my heart, 

Amidst its deep affections undisturbed, 

May dwell in silence. 
XiMENA. — Father ! doubt thou not 

But we will bind ourselves to poverty, 

"With glad devotedness, if this, but this, 

May win them back. Distrust vis not, my father ! 

We can bear all things. 
Gonzalez. — Can ye bear disgrace 1 
XiMENA. — We were not bom for this. 
Gonzalez. — No, thou say'st well ! 

Hold to that lofty faith. My wife, my child ! 

Hath eai-th no treasures richer than the gems 

Tom from her secret caverns ? If by them 

Chains may be riven, then let the captive spring 

Rejoicing to the light. But he for whom 

Freedom and life may but be won with shame. 

Hath naught to do, save fearlessly to fix 

His steadfast look on the majestic heavens. 

And proudly die ! 
Elmina. — Gonzalez, who must die 1 
GoN. {hurriedly.) — They on whose lives a fearful price is set. 

But to be paid by treason. Is't enough? 

Or must I yet seek words ? 
Elmina. — That look saith more ! 

Thou canst not mean 

Gonzalez. — I do ! Why dwells there not 

Power in a glance to speak it 1 They must die ! 

They — must their names be told 1 — our sons must die, 

Unless I yield the city. 
XiMENA. — Oh, look up, 

My mother ! sink not thus ! Until the grave 

Shut from our sight its victims, there is hope. 



114 DRAMATIC WORKS 

Elmina (in a low voice.) — 

Whose knell was in the breeze 1 No, no, not theirs ! 
Whose was the blessed voice that spoke of hope ] 
— And there is hope ! I will not be subdued — 
I will not hear a whisper of despair ! 
For nature is all-powerful, and her breath 
Moves like a quickening spirit o'er the depths 
Within a father's heart. Thou, too, Gonzalez, 
Wilt tell me there is hope ! 

Gonzalez {solemnly.) — Hope but in Him 

Who bade the patriarch lay his fair young son 
Bound on the shrine of sacrifice, and when 
The bright steel quivered in the father's hand 
Just raised to strike, sent forth his awful voice 
Through the still clouds and on the breathless air, 
Commanding to withhold. Earth has no hope : 
It rests with Him. 

Elmina. — Thou canst not tell me this ! 

Thou, father of my sons, within whose hands 
Doth lie thy children's fate. 

Gonzalez. — If there have been 

Men in whose bosoms nature's voice hath made 

Its accents as the solitary sound 

Of an o'erpowering torrent, silencing 

The austere and yet divine remonstrances 

Whispered by faith and honour, lift thy hands ; 

And, to that Heaven which arms the brave with strength. 

Pray that the father of thy sons may ne'er 

Be thus found wanting. 

Elmina. — Then their doom is sealed ! 
Thou wilt not save thy children ? 

Gonzalez. — Hast thou cause. 

Wife of my youth ! to deem it lies within 



THE SIEGE OF VALENCIA 116 

The bounds of possible things, that I should link 
My name to that word — traitor ? They that sleep 
On their proud battle-fields, thy sires and mine, 
Died not for this. 

Elmina.— Oh, cold and hard of heart I 

Thou shouldst be bom for empire, since thy soid 

Thus lightly from all human bonds can free 

Its haughty flight. Men, men ! too much is yours 

Of vantage ; ye that with a 8o\ind, a breath, 

A shadow, thus can fill the desolate space 

Of rooted-up affections, o'er whose void 

Our yearning hearts must wither ! So it is 

Dominion must be won ! Nay, leave me not — 

My heart is b\irsting, and I must be heard. 

Heaven hath given power to mortal agony, 

As to the elements in their hour of might 

And mastery o'er creation. Who shall dare 

To mock that fearful strength ? I must be heard ! 

Give me my sons. 

Gonzalez. — That they may live to hide 

With covering hands the indignant flush of shame 
On their young brows, when men shall speak of him 
They called their father ! Was the oath whereby, 
On the altar of my faith, I bound myself 
With an unswerving spirit to maintain 
This free and Christian city for my God 

1^ And for my king, a writing traced on sand, 

w That passionate tears should wash it from the earth, 

Or even the life-drops of a bleeding heart 
Efface it, as a billow sweeps away 

I The last light vessel's wake 1 Then never more 
Let man's deep vows be trusted ! — though enforced 
By all the appeals of high remembrances, 



116 DRAMATIC WORKS 

And silent claims o' the sepulchres wherein 
His fathers with their stainless glory sleep, 
On their good swords ! Think'st thou / feel no pangs] 
He that hath given me sons doth know the heai*t 
Whose treasure lie recalls. Of this no more : 
'Tis vain. I tell thee that the inviolate Cross 
Still from our ancient temples must look up 
Through the blue heavens of Spain, though at its foot 
I perish, with my race. Thou dar'st not ask 
. That I, the son of warriors — men who died 
To fix it on that proud supremacy — 
Should tear the sign of our victorious faith 
From its high place of sunbeams, for the Moor 
In impious joy to trample ! 
Elmina. — Scorn me not 

In mine extreme of misery ! Thou art strong — 

Thy heart is not as mine. My brain grows wild ; 

I know not what I ask. And yet 'twere but 

Anticipating fate — since it must fall, 

That Cross must fall at last ! There is no power, 

No hope within this city of the grave, 

To keep its place on high. Her sultiy air 

Breathes heavily of death, her warrioi's sink 

Beneath their ancient banners, ere the Moor 

Hath bent his bow against them ; for the shaft 

Of pestilence flies more swiftly to its mark 

Than the arrow of the desert. Even the skies 

O'erhang the desolate splendour of her domes 

With an ill omen's aspect, shaping forth, 

From the dull clouds, wild menacing forms and signs 

Foreboding ruin. Man might be withstood, 

But who shall cope with famine and disease 

When leagued with armed foes ? Where now the aid. 



h 



THE SIEGE OF VALENCIA 117 

Where the long-promised lances of Castile ? 
We are forsaken in our utmost need — 
By heaven and earth forsaken ! 

Gonzalez. — If this be, 

(And yet I will not deem it,) we must fell 

As men that in severe devotedness 

Have chosen their part, and bound themselves to death. 

Through high conviction that their suflfering land 

By the free blood of martyrdom alone 

Shall call deliverance down. 

Elmina. — Oh ! I have stood 

Beside thee through the beating storms of life 
With the true heart of unrepining love — 
As the poor peasant's mate doth cheerily. 
In the parched vineyard, or the harvest field. 
Bearing her part, sustain with him the heat 
And burden of the day. But now the hour. 
The heavy hour is come, when human strength 
Sinks down, a toil-worn pilgrim, in the dust. 
Owning that woe is mightier ! Spare me yet 
This bitter cup, my husband ! Let not her, 
The mother of the lovely, sit and mourn 
In her unpeopled home — a broken stem. 
O'er its fallen roses dying ! 

Gonzalez.— Urge me not, 

Thou that through all sharp conflicts hast been found 
Worthy a brave man's love ! — oh, urge me not 
To guilt, which, through the midst of blinding tears. 
In its own hues thou seest not ! Death may scarce 
Bring aught like this ! 

Elmina.— All, all thy gentle race. 

The beautiful beings that around thee grew. 
Creatures of sunshine ! Wilt thou doom them all I 



118 



DRAMATIC WORKS 



She, too, thy daughter — doth her smile unmarked 
Pass from thee, with its radiance, day by day? 
Shadows are gathering round her: seest thou not 
The misty dimness of the spoiler's breath 
Hangs o'er her beauty ; and the face which made 
The summer of our hearts, now doth but send, 
With every glance, deep bodings through the soul, 
Telling of early fate ? 

Gonzalez. — I see a change 

Far nobler on her brow. She is as one 

Who, at the trumpet's sudden call, hath risen 

From the gay banquet, and in scorn cast down 

The wine-cup and the garland and the lute 

Of festal hours, for the good spear and helm, 

Beseeming sterner tasks. Her eye hath lost 

The beam which laughed upon the awakening heart. 

Even as morn breaks o'er earth. But far within 

Its full dark orb, a light hath sprung, whose source 

Lies deeper in the soul. And let the torch. 

Which but illumed the glittering pageant, fade ! 

The altar-flame, in the sanctuary's recess. 

Burns quenchless, being of heaven ! She hath put on 

Courage and faith and generous constancy, 

Even as a breastplate. Ay ! men look on her, 

As she goes forth serenely to her tasks, 

Binding the warriors' wounds, and bearing fresh 

Cool draughts to fevered lips — they look on her. 

Thus moving in her beautifid array 

Of gentle fortitude, and bless the fair 

Majestic vision, and unmurmuring turn 

Unto their heavy toils. 

Elmina. — And seest thou not 

In that high faith and strong collectedness, 



THE SIEGE OF VALENCIA 119 

A fearful inspiration ! They have cause 
To tremble, who behold the unearthly light 
Of high and, it may be, prophetic thought 
Investing youth with grandeur ! From the grave 
It rises, on whose shadowy brink thy child 
Waits but a father's hand to snatch her back 
Into the laughing sunshine. Kneel with me ; 
Ximena ! kneel beside me, and implore 
That which a deeper, more prevailing voice 
Than ours doth ask, and will not be denied. 
His children's lives ! 
■ XniENA. — Alas ! this may not be : 

Mother ! — I cannot. lExiL 

Gk)NZALEZ. — My heroic child ! 

— A terrible sacrifice thou claim'st, God ! 
From creatures in whose agonising hearts 
Nature is strong as death ! 

Elmina. — Is't thus in thine ] 

Away ! What time is given thee to resolve 

On — what I cannot utter ? Speak ! thou know'st 

Too well what I would say. 

Gk)NZALEZ. — Until— ask not ! 
The time is brief. 

Elmina. — Thou said'st — I heard not right 

Gonzalez. — The time is brief. 

Elmina. — What ! must we burst all ties 

Wherewith the thrilling chords of life are twined ; 

And, for this task's fulfilment, can it be 

That man, in his cold heartlessness, hath dared 

To number and to mete us forth the sands 

Of hovirs, nay, moments ] Why, the sentenced wretch. 

He on whose soul there rests a brother s blood 

Poured forth in slumber, is allowed more time 



120 



DRAMATIC WORKS 



To wean his turbulent passions from the world 
His presence doth pollute ! It is not thus 1 
We must have time to school us. 

Gonzalez. — "We have but 

To bow the head in silence, when heaven's voice 
Calls back the things we love. 

Elm. — Love ! love ! — there are soft smiles and gentle words, 
And there are faces, skilful to put on 
The look we trust in — and 'tis mockery all ! 
A faithless mist, a desert-vapour, wearing 
The brightness of clear waters, thus to cheat 
The thirst that semblance kindled ! There is none, 
In all this cold and hollow world — no fount 
Of deep strong deathless love, save that within 
A mother's heart. It is but pride, wherewith 
To his fair son the father's eye doth turn, 
Watching his growth. Ay, on the boy he looks. 
The bright glad creature springing in his path, 
But as the heir of his great name — the young 
And stately tree, whose rising strength ere long 
Shall bear his trophies well. And this is love ! 
This is man's love ! What marvel ? — you ne'er made 
Your breast the pillow of his infancy. 
While to the fulness of your heart's glad heavings 
His fair cheek rose and fell, and his bright hair 
Waved softly to your breath ! You ne'er kept watch 
Beside him, till the last pale star had set. 
And morn, all dazzling, as in triumph, broke 
On your dim weary eye ; not yours the face 
Which, early faded through fond care for him. 
Hung o'er his sleep, and, duly as heaven's light, 
tVas there to greet his wakening ! You ne'er smoothed 
His couch, ne'er sang him to his rosy rest ; 



THE SIEGE OF VALENCIA. 121 

Caught his least whisper, when his voice from yours 
Had learned soft utterance ; pressed your lip to his, 
When fever parched it ; hushed his wayward cries. 
With patient vigilant never-wearied love ! 
No ! these are woman's tasks ! — in these her youth, 
And bloom of cheek, and buoyancy of heart. 
Steal from her all unmarked. My boys ! my boys ! 
Hath vain affection borne with all for this ? 
Why were ye given me ] 

Gonzalez. — Is there strength in man 

Thus to endure ] That thou couldst read, through all 
Its depths of silent agony, the heart 
Thy voice of woe doth rend ! 

Elmina. — Thy heart — thy heart ! Away ! it feels not now ! 
But an hour comes to tame the mighty man 
Unto the infant's weakness ; nor shall heaven 
Spare you that bitter chastening. May you live 
To be alone, when loneliness doth seem 
Most heavy to sustain ! For me, my voice 
Of prayer and fruitless weeping shall be soon 
With all forgotten sounds — my quiet place 
Low with my lovely ones ; and we shall sleep, 
Though kings lead armies o'er us — we shall sleep, 
Wrapt in earth's covering mantle ! You the while 
Shall sit within your vast forsaken halls. 
And hear the wild and melancholy winds 
Moan through their drooping banners, never more 
To wave above your race. Ay, then call up 
Shadows — dim phantoms from ancestral tombs. 
But all, all— gloinovs, — conquerors, chieftains, kings. 
To people that cold void ! And when the strength 
From your right arm hath melted, when the blast 
Of the shrill clarion gives your heart no more 



122 DRAMATIC WORKS 

A fiery wakening, — if at last you pine 
For the glad voices and the bounding steps 
Once through your home re-echoing, and the clasp 
Of twining arms, and all the joyous light 
Of eyes that laughed with youth, and made your board 
A place of sunshine, — when those days are come, 
Then, in your utter desolation, turn 
To the cold world — the smiling, faithless world. 
Which hath swept past you long — and bid it quench 
Your soul's deep thirst with fa'nie I immortal fame 1 
Fame to the sick of heart ! — a gorgeous robe, 
A crown of victory, unto him that dies 
In the burning waste, for water ! 
Gonzalez. — This from thee ! 

Now the last drop of bitterness is poured. 
Elmina — I forgive thee ! 

(Elmina goes out.) 

Aid me. Heaven ! 
From whom alone is power ! Oh ! thou hast set 
Duties so stem of aspect in my path. 
They almost to my startled gaze assume 
The hue of things less hallowed ! Men have sunk 
Unblamed beneath such trials ! Doth not He 
Who made us know the limits of our strength ] 
My wife ! my sons ! Away ! I must not pause 
To give my heart one moment's mastery thus ! lExit. 

SCENE II. 

The aisle of a Gothic church. Hernandez, Garcias, and others. 

Her. — The rites are closed. Now, valiant men ! depart, 
Each to his place — I may not say, of rest — 
Your faithful vigils for your sons may win 



THE SIEGE OF VALENCIA 123 

What must not be your own. Ye are as those 

Who sow, in peril and in care, the seed 

Of the fair tree, beneath whose stately shade 

They may not sit. But bless'd be those who toil 

For after-days ! All high and holy thoughts 

Be with you, warriors ! through the lingering hours 

Of the night-watch. 

Gabcias. — Ay, father ! we have need 

Of high and holy thoughts, wherewith to fence 

Our hearts against despair. Yet have I been 

From youth a son of war. The stars have looked 

A thousand times upon my couch of heath. 

Spread midst the wild sierras, by some stream 

Whose dark-red waves looked e'en as tho' their source 

Lay not in rocky caverns, but the veins 

Of noble hearts ; while many a knightly crest 

Rolled with them to the deep. And, in the years 

Of my long exile and captivity, 

With the fierce Arab I have watched beneath 

The still, pale shadow of some lonely palm, 

At midnight in the desert ; while the wind 

Swelled with the lion's roar, and heavily 

The fearfulness and might of solitude 

Pressed on my weary heart. 

Hernandez {thoughtfully.) — Thou little know'st 
Of what is solitude. I tell thee, those 
For whom — in earth's remotest nook, howe'er 
Divided from their path by chain on chain 
Of mighty mountains, and the amplitude 
Of rolling seas— there beats one human heart. 
There breathes one being, imto whom their name 
Comes with a thrilling and a gladdening sound 
Heard o'er the din of life, are not alone ! 



124 DRAMATIC WORKS 

Not on the deep, nor in the wild, alone ; 

For there is that on earth with which they hold 

A brotherhood of soul ! Call him alone, 

Who stands shut out from this ! — and let not those 

Whose homes are bright with sunshine and with love, 

Put on the insolence of happiness, 

Glorying in that proud lot ! A lonely hour 

Is on its way to each, to all ; for Death 

Knows no companionship. 

Garcias. — I have looked on Death 

In field, and storm, and flood. But never yet 
Hath aught weighed down my spirit to a mood 
Of sadness, dreaming o'er dark auguries, 
Like this, our watch by midnight. Fearful things 
Are gathering round us. Death upon the earth. 
Omens in heaven ! The summer skies put forth 
No clear bright stars above us, but at times. 
Catching some comet's fiery hue of wrath. 
Marshal their clouds to armies, traversing 
Heaven with the rush of meteor-steeds — the array 
Of spears and banners tossing like the pines 
Of Pyrenean forests, when the storm 
Doth sweep the mountains. 

Hernandez. — Ay, last night I too 

Kept vigil, gazing on the angry heavens ; 

And I beheld the meeting and the shock 

Of those wild hosts i' the air, when, as they closed, 

A red and sultry mist, like that which mantles 

The thunder's path, fell o'er them. Then were flung 

Through the dull glare, broad cloudy banners forth ; 

And chariots seemed to whirl, and steeds to sink, 

Bearing down crested warriors. But all this 

Was dim and shadowy ; then swift darkness rushed 



THE SIEGE OF VALENCIA 125 

Down on the unearthly battle, as the deep 
Swept o'er the Egyptian's armament. I looked, 
And all that fiery field of plumes and spears 
Was blotted from heaven's face. I looked again, 
And from the brooding mass of cloud leaped forth 
One meteor-sword, which o'er the reddening sea 
Shook with strange motion, such as earthquakes give 
Unto a rocking citadel. I beheld. 
And yet my spirit sank not 

Garcias. — Neither deem 

That mine hath blenched. But these are sights and sounds 

To awe the firmest. Know'st thou what we hear 

At midnight from the walls ] Wer't but the deep 

Barbaric horn, or Moorish tambour's peal, 

Thence might the warrior's heart catch impulses 

Quickening its fiery ciurents. But our ears 

Are pierced by other tones. We hear the knell 

For brave men in their noon of strength cut down. 

And the shrill wail of woman, and the dirge 

Faint swelling through the streets. Then e'en the air 

Hath strange and fitful murmurs of lament, 

As if the viewless watchers of the land 

Sighed on its hollow breezes. To my soul 

The torrent-rush of battle, with its din 

Of trampling steeds and ringing panoply. 

Were, after these faint sounds of drooping woe, 

As the free sky's glad music unto him 

Who leaves a couch of sickness. 

Hernandez {with solemnity.) — If to plunge 
In the mid waves of combat, as they bear 
Chargers and spearmen onwards, and to make 
A reckless bosom's front the buoyant mark, 
On that wild current, for ten thousand arrows — 



126 DRAMATIC WORKS 

If thus to dare were valour's noblest aim, 

Lightly might fame be won. But there are things 

Which ask a spirit of more exalted pitch, 

And courage tempered with a holier fire. 

Well may'st thou say that these are fearful times ; 

Therefore, be firm, be patient ! There is strength, 

And a fierce instinct, even in common souls, 

To bear up manhood with a stormy joy, 

When red swords meet in lightning. But our task 

Is more and nobler. We have to endure, 

And to keep watch, and to arouse a land, 

And to defend an altar. If we fall, 

So that our blood make but the millionth part 

Of Spain's great ransom, we may count it joy 

To die upon her bosom, and beneath 

The banner of her faith. Think but on this, 

And gird your hearts with silent fortitude. 

Suffering, yet hoping all things. Fare ye well. 

Garcias. — Father, farewell. 

{Exit with his followers.) 

Hernandez. — These men have earthly ties 

And bondage on their natures. To the cause 
Of God, and Spain's revenge, they bring but half 
Their energies and hopes. But he whom heaven 
Hath called to be the awakener of a land. 
Should have his soul's affections all absorbed 
In that majestic purpose, and press on 
To its fulfilment — as a mountain-bom 
And mighty stream, with all its vassal rills, 
Sweeps proudly to the ocean, pausing not 
To dally with the flowers. Hark ! what quick step 
Comes hurrying through the gloom, at this dead hour ] 
(Elmina enters.) 



1 



THE SIEGE OF VALENCIA 127 

Elmina. — Are not all hours as one to misery 1 Why 
Should she take note of time, for whom the day 
And night have lost their blessed attributes 
Of simshine and repose 1 

Hernandez. — I know thy griefs ; 

But there are trials for the noble heart, 
Wherein its own deep fountains must supply 
All it can hope of comfort. Pity's voice 
Comes with vain sweetness to the unheeding ear 
Of anguish, even as music heard afar 
On the green shore, by him who perishes 
Midst rocks and eddying waters. 

Elmina. — Think thou not 

I sought thee but for pity. I am come 
For that which grief is privileged to demand 
With an imperious claim, from all whose form — 
Whose human form, doth seal them unto suflFering ! 
Father ! I ask thine aid. 

Hernandez. — There is no aid 

For thee or for thy children, but with Him 
Whose presence is arotmd us in tlie cloud. 
As in the shining and the glorious light. 

Elmina. — There is no aid ! Ai-t thou a man of God 1 
Art thou a man of sorrow 1 — for the world 
Doth call thee such; — and hast thou not been taught 
By God and sorrow, mighty as they are, 
To own the claims of misery ] 

Hernandez. — Is there power 

With me to save thy sons 1 Implore of heaven ! 

Elmina. — Doth not heaven work its purposes by man ] 
I tell thee thou canst save them ! Art thou not 
Gonzalez' coimsellor ] Unto him thy words 
Are even as oracles 



128 DRAMATIC WORKS 

Hernandez.— And therefore 1 Speak ! — 
The noble daughter of Pelayo's line 
Hath naught to ask unworthy of the name 
Which is a nation's heritage. Dost thou shrink 1 

Elmina. — Have pity on me, father ! I must speak 
That, from the thought of which but yesterday 
I had recoiled in scorn. But this is past. 
Oh ! we grow humble in our agonies. 
And to the dust, their birthplace, bow the heads 
That wore the crown of glory ! I am weak — 
My chastening is far more than I can bear. 

Hernandez.— These are no timesfor weakness. On our hills 
The ancient cedars in their gathered might 
Are battling with the tempest, and the flower 
Which cannot meet its driving blast must die. 
But thou hast drawn thy nurture from a stem 
Unwont to bend or break. Lift thy proud head. 
Daughter of Spain!— what wouldst thou with thy lord? 

Elmina. — Look not upon me thus ! I have no power 
To tell thee. Take thy keen disdainful eye 
Off from my soul ! What ! am I sunk to this 1 
I, whose blood sprung from heroes ! How my sons 
Will scorn the mother that would bi^ng disgrace 
On their majestic line ! My sons ! my sons ! 
Now is all else forgotten. I had once 
A babe that in the early spring-time lay 
Sickening upon my bosom, till at last. 
When earth's young flowers were opening to the sun, 
Death sank on his meek eyelid, and I deemed 
All sorrow light to mine. But now the fate 
Of all my children seems to brood above me 
In the dark thunder-clouds. Oh ! I have power 
And voice unfaltering now to speak my prayer 



I 



THE SIEGE OF VALENCIA 129 

And my last lingering hope, that thou shouldst win 
The father to relent, to save his sons ! 

Hernandez. — By yielding up the city 1 

Elmina. — Rather say 

By meeting that which gathers close upon us, 
Perchance one day the sooner ! Is't not so ] 
Must we not yield at last 1 How long shall man 
Array his single breast against disease 
And famine and the sword ^ 

Hernandez, — How long] While He 

Who shadows forth His power more gloriously 

In the high deeds and svifferings of the soul, 

Than in the circHng heavens with all their stars, 

Or the far-sounding deep, doth send abroad 

A spirit, which takes aflftiction for its mate, 

In the good cause, with solemn joy ! How long ? 

And who art thou that, in the littleness 

Of thine own selfish purpose, woiddst set boimds 

To the free current of all noble thought 

And generous action, bidding its bright waves 

Be stayed, and flow no farther ] But the Power 

Whose interdict is laid on seas and orbs. 

To chain them in from wandering, hath assigned 

No limits vmto that which man's high strength 

Shall, through its aid, achieve. 

Elmina. — Oh ! there are times. 

When all that hopeless courage can achieve 
But sheds a mournful beauty o'er the fate 
Of those who die in vain. 

Hernandez. — Who dies in vain 

Upon his coimtry's war-fields, and within 
The shadow of her altars ? Feeble heart ! 
I tell thee that the voice of noble blood. 



130 DRAMATIC WORKS 

Thus poured for faith and freedom, hath a tone 
Which from the night of ages, from the gulf 
Of death, shall burst, and make its high appeal 
Sound unto earth and heaven. Ay, let the land, 
"Whose sons through centuries of woe have striven 
And perished by her temples, sink awhile, 
Borne down in conflict ! But immortal seed 
Deep, by heroic sufiering, hath been sown 
On all her ancient hills ; and generous hope 
Knows that the soil, in its good time, shall yet 
Bring forth a glorious harvest. Earth receives 
Not one red drop from faithful hearts in vain. 

Elmina. — -Then it must be ! And ye will make those lives. 
Those young bright lives, an ofiering— to retard 
Our doom one day] 

Hernandez. — The mantle of that day 
May wrap the fate of Spain. 

Elmina. — What led me here 1 

Why did I turn to thee in my despair ? 

Love hath no ties upon thee. What had I 

To hope from thee, thou lone and childless man ] 

Go to thy silent home ! — there no young voice 

Shall bid thee welcome, no light footstep spring 

Forth at the sound of thine. What knows thy heart ? 

Her. — Woman ! how darest thou taunt me with my woes 1 
Thy children, too, shall perish, and I say 
It shall be well ! Why tak'st thou thought for them. 
Wearing thy heart, and wasting down thy life 
Unto its dregs, and making night thy time 
Of care yet more intense, and casting health 
Unprized to melt away in the bitter cup 
Thou minglest for thyself] Why, what hath earth 
To pay thee back for this 1 Shall they not live 



I 



THE SIEGE OF VALENCIA 131 

(If the sword spare them now) to prove how soon 

All love may be forgotten 1 Years of thought, 

Long faithful watchings, looks of tenderness, 

That changed not, though to change be this world's law — 

Shall they not flush thy cheek with shame, whose blood 

Marks even like branding iron ? to thy sick heart 

Make death a want, as sleep to weariness ] 

Doth not all hope end thus 1 or even at best, 

WUl they not leave thee — far from thee seek room 

For the o'erflowings of their fiery souls 

On life's wide ocean ? Give the bounding steed 

Or the winged bark to youth, that his free coiirse 

May be o'er hills and seas ; and weep thou not 

In thy forsaken home, for the bright world 

Lies aU before him, and be sure he wastes 

No thought on thee. 

Elmina. — Not so — it is not so ! 

Thou dost but torture me. My sons are kind 
And brave and gentle. 

Hernandez. — Others, too, have worn 

The semblance of all good. Nay, stay thee yet ; 
I will be calm, and thou shalt learn how earth, 
The fruitfiil in all agonies, hath woes 
WTiich far outweigh thine own. 

Elmina. — It may not be ! 

Whose grief is like a mother's for her sons? 

Hernandez. — My son lay stretched upon his battle-bier. 
And there were hands wrung o'er him which had caught 
Their hue from his young blood ! 

Elmina. — ^What tale is this ? 

Hernandez. — Read you no records in this mien, of things 
Whose traces on man's aspect are not such 
As the breeze leaves on water] Lofty birth. 



132 DRAMATIC WORKS 

War, peril, power ! — affliction's hand is strong, 

If it erase the haughty characters 

They grave so deep. I have not always been 

That which I am. The name I bore is not 

Of those which perish. I was once a chief— 

A warrior — nor, as now, a lonely man. • 

I was a father ! 

Elmina. — Then thy heart can feel ! 
Thou wilt have pity. 

Hernandez, — Should I pity thee ? 

Thy sons will perish gloriously : their blood — 

El. — Their blood, my children's blood ! Thou speak'st as 'twere 
Of casting down a wine-cup, in the mirth 
And wantonness of feasting. My fair boys ! 
Man ! hast thou been a father ? 

Hernandez. — Let them die ! 

Let them die now, thy children ! so thy heart 

Shall wear their beautiful image all undimmed 

Within it, to the last. Nor shalt thou learn 

The bitter lesson, of what worthless dust 

Are framed the idols whose false glory binds 

Earth's fetter on our souls. Thou think'st it much 

To mourn the early dead ; but there are tears 

Heavy with deeper anguish. We endow 

Those whom we love, in our fond passionate blindness, 

With power upon our souls, too absolute 

To be a mortal's trust. Within their hands 

We lay the flaming sword, whose stroke alone 

Can reach our hearts ; and they are merciful, 

As they are strong, that wield it not to pierce us. 

Ay, fear them — fear the loved ! Had I but wept 

O'er my son's grave as o'er a babe's, where tears 

Are as spring dew-drops, glittering in the sun, 



THE SIEGE OF VALENCIA 133 

And brightening the young verdure, I might still 
Have loved and trusted. 

Elmina (disdainfully.) — But he fell in war ! 
And hath not glory medicine in her cup 
For the brief pangs of nature ? 

Hernandez. — Glory !— Peace, 

And listen ! By my side the stripling grew, 

Last of my line. I reared him to take joy 

In the blaze of arms, as eagles train their yovmg 

To look upon the day-king. His quick blood 

Even to his boyish cheek would mantle up 

When the heavens rang with trumpets, and his eye 

Flash with the spirit of a race whose deeds — 

— But this availeth not ! Yet he was brave. 

I've seen him clear himself a path in fight 

As lightning through a forest ; and his plume 

Waved like a torch above the battle-storm. 

The soldier's guide, when princely crests had sunk. 

And banners were struck down. Around my steps 

Floated his fame like music, and I lived 

But in the lofty soimd. But when my heart 

In one frail ark had ventured all, when most 

He seemed to stand between my soul and heaven, 

Then came the thxmder-stroke. 

Elmina. — 'Tis ever thus ! 

And the unqviiet and foreboding sense 
That thus 'twill ever be, doth link itself 
Darkly with all deep love. He died 1 

Hernandez. — Not so ! 

— Death ! Death ! Why, earth should be a paradise, 
To make that name so fearful ! Had he died, 
With his yoimg fame about him for a shroud 
I had not learned the might of agony 



134 DRAMATIC WORKS 

To bring proud natures low ! No ! he fell off — 
Why do I tell tliee this 1 what right hast thou 
To learn how passed the glory from my house ] 
Yet listen ! He forsook me. He, that was 
As mine own soul, forsook me ! trampled o'er 
The ashes of his su-es ! ay, leagued himself 
Even with the Infidel, the curse of Spain ; 
And, for the dark eye of a Moorish maid. 
Abjured his faith, his God ! Now, talk of death ! 

Elmina.— Oh ! I can pity thee 

Hernandez. — There's more to hear. 

I braced the corslet o'er my heart's deep wound, 
And cast my troubled spirit on the tide 
Of war and high events, whose stormy waves 
Might bear it up from sinking; 

Elmina. — And ye met 
No more] 

Hernandez. — Be still ! we did ! we met once more. 
God had his own high purpose to fulfil, 
Or think'st thou that the sun in his bright heaven 
Had looked upon such things 1 We met once more. 
That was an hour to leave its lightning-mark 
Seared upon brain and bosom. There had been 
Combat on Ebro's banks, and when the day 
Sank in red clouds, it faded from a field 
Still held by Moorish lances. Night closed roimd — 
A night of sultry darkness, in the shadow 
Of whose broad wing, even unto death, I strove 
Long with a turbaned champion ; but my sword 
Was heavy with God's vengeance — and prevailed. 
He fell — my heart exulted — and I stood 
In gloomy triumph o'er him. Nature gave 
No sign of horror, for 'twas Heaven's decree ! 



THE BIEGE OP VALENCIA 135 

He strove to speak — but I had done the work 

Of wrath too well ; yet in his last deep moan 

A dreadful something of familiar soimd 

Came o'er my shuddering sense. The moon look'd forth, 

And I beheld — speak not ! — twas he — my son ! 

My boy lay dying there. He raised one glance 

And knew me — for he sought with feeble hand 

To cover his glazed eyes. A darker veil 

Sank o'er them soon. I will not have thy look 

Fixed on me thus ! Away ! 

Elmina. — Thou hast seen this, 

Thou hast done this — and yet thou liv'st 1 

Hernandez. — I live ! 

And know'st thou wherefore 1 On my soul there fell 
A horror of great darkness, which shut out 
All earth, and heaven, and hope. I cast away 
The spear and helm, and made the cloister's shade 
The home of my despair. But a deep voice 
Came to me through the gloom, and sent its tones 
Far through my bosom's depths. And I awoke ; 
Ay, as the mountain-cedar doth shake off 
Its weight of wintry snow, even so I shook 
Despondence from my sovil, and knew myself 
Sealed by that blood wherewith my hands were dyed. 
And set apart, and fearfully marked out 
Unto a mighty task : — to rouse the soul 
Of Spain as from the dead ; and to hft up 
The Cross, her sign of victory, on the hills. 
Gathering her sons to battle. And my voice 
Must be as freedom's trumpet on the winds, 
From Koncesvalles to the blue sea-waves 
Where Calpe looks on Afric ; till the land 
Have filled her cup of vengeance. Ask me now 



136 DRAMATIC WORKS 

To yield the Christian city, that its fanes 
May rear the minaret in the face of heaven ! — 
But death shall have a bloodier vintage-feast 
Ere that day come. 

Elmina. — I ask thee this no more, 

For I am hopeless now. But yet one boon — 
Hear me, by all thy woes ! Thy voice hath power 
Through the wide city : here I cannot rest — 
Aid me to pass the gates ! 

Hernandez. — And wherefore ] 

Elmina.— Thou, 

That wert a father, and art now — alone ! 

Canst thou ask wherefore 1 Ask the wretch whose sands 

Have not an hour to run, whose failing limbs 

Have but one earthly journey to perform, 

Why, on his pathway to the place of death, 

Ay, when the very axe is glistening cold 

Upon his dizzy sight, his pale parched lip 

Implores a cup of water ! Why, the stroke 

Which trembles o'er him in itself shall bring 

Oblivion of all wants, yet who denies 

Nature's last prayer 1 I tell thee that the thirst 

Which burns my spirit up is agony 

To be endured no more. And I must look 

Upon my children's faces, I must hear 

Their voices, ere they perish. But hath heaven 

Decreed that they must perish 1 Who shall say 

If in yon Moslem camp there beats no heart 

Which prayers and tears may melt ? 

Hernandez. — There ! — with the Moor ! 
Let him fill up the measure of his guilt. 
'Tis madness all ! How wouldst thou pass the array 
Of armed foes ? 



THE SIEGE OF VALENCIA 137 

Elmina. — Oh ! free doth sorrow pass, 

Free and unquestioned, through a suffering world. 

Hernandez. — This must not be. Enough of woe is laid 
Even now upon thy lord's heroic soul, 
For man to bear imsinking. Press thou not 
Too heavily the o'erburthened heart. Away ! 
Bow down the knee, and send thy prayers for strength 
Up to heaven's gate. Farewell ! lExit. 

Elmina. — Are all men thus] 

Why, wer't not better they should fall even now 
Than live to shut their hearts, in haughty scorn. 
Against the sufferer's pleadings 1 But no, no ! 
Who can be like this man, that slew his son. 
Yet wears his life still proudly, and a soul 
Untamed upon his brow ] 

(After a pame.) 

There's one, whose arms 
Have borne my children in their infancy, 
And on whose knees they sported, and whose hand 
Hath led them oft — a vassal of their sire's ; 
And I will seek him : he may lend me aid. 
When all beside pass on. 

(Dirge heard without.) 

Thou to thy rest art gone, 

High heart ! and what are we. 
While o'er our heads the storm sweeps on, 

That we should mourn for thee ? 

Free grave and peaceful bier 

To the buried son of Spain ! 
To those that live, the lance and spear. 

And well if not the chain ! 



188 DRAMATIC WORKS 

Be theirs to weep the dead, 

As they sit beneath their vines. 
Whose flowery land hath borne no tread 

Of spoilers o'er its shrines ! 

Thou hast thrown off the load 

Which we must yet sustain, 
And pour our blood where thine hath flowed. 

Too blest if not in vain. 

We give thee holy rite, 

Slow knell, and chanted strain : 
For those that fall to-morrow night, 

May be left no funeral train. 

Again, when trumpets wake. 

We must brace our armour on ; 
But a deeper note thy sleep must break — 

Thou to thy rest art gone ! 

Happier in this than all. 

That, now thy race is run. 
Upon thy name no stain may fall, 

Thy work hath well been done ! 

Elm. — " Thy work hath well been done : " so thou may 'st rest. 
There is a solemn lesson in those words — 
But now I may not pause. lExit. 

SCENE III. 
A street in the dtp. Hernandez, Gonzalez. 

Hernandez. — Would they not hear ] 

Gonzalez. — They heard, as one that stands 

By the cold grave, which hath but newly closed 
O'er his last friend, doth hear some passer-by 



THE SIEGE OF VALENCIA 189 

Bid him be comforted ! Their hearts have died 
Within them. We must perish, not as those 
That fall when battle's voice doth shake the hills, 
And peal through heaven's great arch, but silently, 
And with a wasting of the spu'it down, 
A quenching day by day of some bright spark 
Which lit us on our toils. Keproach me not ; 
My soul is darkened with a heavy cloud — 
Yet fear not I shall yield. 

Hernandez. — Breathe not the word. 

Save in proud scorn. Each bitter day o'erpassed 

By slow endurance, is a triumph won 

For Spain's red Cross. And be of trusting heart ! 

A few brief houre, and those that turned away 

In cold despondence, shrinking from your voice. 

May crowd around their leader, and demand 

To be arrayed for battle. We must watch 

For the swift impulse, and await its time, 

As the bark waits the ocean's. You have chosen 

To kindle up their souls, an hour, perchance, 

Wlien they were weary ; they had cast aside 

Their arms to slumber ; or a knell, just then. 

With its deep hollow tone, had made the blood 

Creep shuddering thro' their veins; or they had caught 

A glimpse of some new meteor, and shaped forth 

Strange omens from its blaze. 

Gonzalez. — Alas ! the cavise 

Lies deeper — in their misery. I have seen. 
In my night's course through this beleaguered city, 
Things whose remembrance doth not pass away 
As vapours from the mountains. There were some 
That sat beside their dead, with eyes wherein 
Grief had ta'en place of sight, and shut out all 



140 DRAMATIC WORKS 

But its own ghastly object. To my voice 
Some answered with a fierce and bitter laugh, 
As men whose agonies were made to pass 
The bounds of sufferance, by some reckless word 
Dropt from the light of spirit. Others lay — 
— Why should I tell thee, father ! how despair 
Can bring the lofty brow of manhood down 
Unto the very dust ? And yet for this, 
Fear not that I embrace my doom— God ! 
That 'twere my doom alone ! — with less of fixed 
And solemn fortitude. Lead on, prepare 
The holiest rites of faith, that I by them 
Once more may consecrate my sword, my life ; 
— But what are these 1 Who hath not dearer lives 
Twined with his own ! I shall be lonely soon — 
Childless ! Heaven wills it so. Let us be gone. 
Perchance before the shrine my heart may beat 
With a less troubled motion. lExeunt. 



SCENE IV. 

A tent in the Moorish camp. Abdullah, Alphonso, Carlos. 

Abd. — These are bold words: but hast thou looked on death. 
Fair stripling ] On thy cheek and sunny brow 
Scarce fifteen summers of their laughing course 
Have left light traces. If thy shaft hath pierced 
The ibex of the mountains, if thy step 
Hath climbed some eagle's nest, and thou hast made 
His nest thy spoil, 'tis much ! And fear'st thou not 
The leader of the mighty 1 

Alphonso. — I have been 

Beared amongst fearless men, and midst the rocks 



THE SIEGE OP VALENCIA 141 

And the wild hills whereon my fathers fought 
And won their battles. There are glorious tales 
Told of their deeds, and I have learned them alL 
How should I fear thee, Moor 1 

Abdullah. — So, thou hast seen 

Fields, where the combat's roar hath died away 
Into the whispering breeze, and where wild flowers 
Bloom o'er forgotten graves ! But know'st thou aught 
Of those, where sword from crossing sword strikes fire. 
And leaders are borne down, and rushing steeds 
Trample the life from out the mighty heai-ts 
That ruled the storm so late ? Speak not of death 
Till thou hast looked on such. 

Alphonso. — I was not bom 

A shepherd's son, to dwell with pipe and crook 
And peasant-men amidst the lowly vales. 
Instead of ringing clarions and bright spears 
And crested knights. I am of princely race ; 
And, if my father would have heard my suit, 
I tell thee, infidel, that long ere now 
I should have seen how lances meet, and swords 
Do the field's work. 

Abdullah. — Boy ! — know'st thou there are sights 
A thousand times more fearful ? Men may die 
Full proudly, when the skies and moxmtains ring 
To battle-horn and tecbir. But not all 
So pass away in glory. There are those. 
Midst the dead silence of pale multitudes, 
Led forth in fetters — dost thou mark me, boy? — 
To take their last look of the all-gladdening sun. 
And bow, perchance, the stately head of youth 
Unto the death of shame ! Hadst thou seen this 

Alphonso. — Sweet brother, God is with us — fear thou not ! 



142 DRAMATIC WORKS 

"We have had heroes for our sires : — this man 
Should not behold us tremble. 

Abdullah. — There are means 

To tame the loftiest natures. Yet again 
I ask thee, wilt thou, from beneath the walls, 
Sue to thy sire for life ? — or wouldst thou die 
With this thy brother ? 

Alphonso. — Moslem ! on the hills, 

Around my father's castle, I have heard 
The mountain-peasants, as they dressed the vines, 
Or drove the goats by rock and torrent home, 
Singing their ancient songs ; and these were all 
Of the Cid Campeador ; and how his sword 
Tizona * cleared its way through turbaned hosts, 
And captm-ed Afric's kings, and how he won 
Valencia from the Moor.f I will not shame 
The blood we draw from him ! 

{A Moorish soldier enters.) 

Soldier. — Valencia's lord 

Sends messengers, my chief. 
Abdullah. — Conduct them hither. 

(The soldier goes out and re-enters with Elmina, disguised, and an 
attendant.) 

Carlos {springing forward to the attendant) — 

* Tizona, the fire-brand. The name of the Cid's favourite sword, 
taken in battle from the Moorish king Bucar. 

f Valencia, which has been repeatedly besieged and taken by the 
armies of different nations, remained in possession of the Moors for 
a hundred and seventy years after the Cid's death. It was regained 
from them by King Don Jayme of Aragon, surnamed the Conqueror ; 
after whose success I have ventured to suppose it governed by a 
descendant of the Campeador. 



4 



J 



THE SIEGE OP VALENCIA 148 

Oh ! take me hence, Diego ! take me hence 
With thee, that I may see my mother's face 
At morning when I wake. Here dark-browed men 
Frown strangely, with their cruel eyes, upon us. 
Take me with thee, for thou art good and kind, 
And well I know thou lov'st me, my Diego ! 

Abd. — Peace, boy ! What tidings, Christian, from thy lord 1 
Is he grown humbler 1 — doth he set the lives 
Of these fair nurslings at a city's worth ] 

Alphonso {rushing forward impatiently.) — 

Say not he doth ! — Yet wherefore art thou here? 
If it be so, I could weep burning tears 
For very shame. If this can be, return ! 
Tell him, of all his wealth, his battle-spoils, 
I will but ask a war-horse and a sword. 
And that beside him in the mountain-chase. 
And in his halls, and at his stately feasts, 
My place shall be no more. But no ! — I wrong, 
I wrong my father ! Moor, believe it not : 
He is a champion of the Cross and Spain, 
Sprung from the Cid : — and I, too, I can die 
As a warrior's high-born child ! 

Elmina. — Alas, alas ! 

And wouldst thou die, thus early die, fair boy 1 
What hath life done to thee, that thou shouldst cast 
Its flower away, in very scorn of heart, 
Ere yet the blight be come 1 

Alphonso. — That voice doth sound 

Abd.— Stranger, who art thou ? — this is mockery ! speak ! 

(Elmina throws off a mantle and helmet, and embraces her sons.) 

Elm. — My boys ! whom I have reared through many hoiu^ 
Of silent joys and sorrows, and deep thoughts 



144 DRAMATIC WORKS 

Untold and imimagined ; let me die 
With you, now I have held you to my heart, 
And seen once more the faces, in whose light 
My soul hath lived for years ! 

Carlos. — Sweet mother ! now 
Thou shalt not leave us more. 

Abdullah. — Enough of this ! 

Woman ! what seek'st thou here ] How hast thou dared 
To front the mighty thus amidst his hosts 1 

Elm. — Think'st thou there dwells no courage but in breasts 
That set their mail against the ringing spears, 
When helmets are struck down ] Thou little knoVst 
Of nature's marvels. Chief ! my heart is nerved 
To make its way through things which warrior men. 
Ay, they that master death by field or flood, 
Would look on ere they braved ! I have no thought. 
No sense of fear. Thou'rt mighty ; but a sovd 
Wound up like mine is mightier, in the power 
Of that one feeling poured through all its deaths. 
Than monarchs with their hosts. Am I not come 
To die with these my children? 

Abdullah. — Doth thy faith 

Bid thee do this, fond Christian ] Hast thou not 
The means to save them ? 

Elmina. — I have prayers and tears 

And agonies ! — and he, my God — the God 
Whose hand, or soon or late, doth find its hour 
To bow the crested head — hath made these things 
Most powerful in a world where all must learn 
That one deep language, by the storm called forth 
From the bruised reeds of earth. For thee, perchance, 
Affliction's chastening lesson hath not yet 
Been laid upon thy heart ; and thou may'st love 



THE SIEGE OF VALENCIA 145 

To see the creatures, by its might brought low. 
Humbled before thee. 

( She throws fierse^ at his feet.) 

Conqueror, I can kneel ! 
I, that drew birth from princes, bow myself 
Even to thy feet ! Call in thy chiefs, thy slaves, 
If this will swell thy triumph, to behold 
The blood of kings, of heroes, thus abased. 
Do this, but spare my sons ! 

Alph. {attempting to raise Tier.) — Thou shouldst not kneel 
Unto this infidel. Rise, rise, my mother ! 
This sight doth shame our house. 

Abdullah, — Thou daring boy ! 

They that in arms have taught thy father's land 
How chains are worn, shall school that haughty mien 
Unto another language. 

Elmina. — Peace, my son ! 

Have pity on my heart. Oh, pardon, chief ! 

He is of noble blood. Hear, hear me yet. 

Are there no lives through which the shafts of heaven 

May reach yoiir soul ] He that loves aught on earth, 

Dares far too much if he be merciless. 

Is it for those whose frail mortality 

Must one day strive alone with God and death, 

To shut their souls against the appealing voice 

Of nature in her anguish 1 Warrior, man, 

To you too, ay, and haply with your hosts. 

By thousands and ten thousands marshalled round. 

And your strong armom' on, shall come that stroke 

Which the lance wards not. Where shall your high heart 

Find refuge then, if in the day of might 

Woe hath lahi prostrate, bleeding at your feet, 

S K 



146 DRAMATIC WORKS 

And you have pitied not 1 

Abdullah. — These are vain words. 

Elmina. — Have you no children ? — fear ye not to bring 
The lightning on their heads ? In your own land 
Doth no fond mother, from the tents beneath 
Your native palms, look o'er the deserts out, 
To greet your homeward step 1 You have not yet 
Forgot so utterly her patient love — 
For is not woman's in all climes the same 1 — 
That you should scorn my prayer. Oh heaven ! his eye 
Doth wear no mercy ! 

Abdullah. — Then it mocks you not. 

I have swept o'er the mountains of your land. 

Leaving my traces as the visitings 

Of storms upon them. Shall I now be stayed ] 

Know, unto me it were as light a thing, 

In this my course, to quench your children's lives, 

As, journeying through a forest, to break off 

The young wild branches that obstruct the way 

With their green sprays and leaves. 

Elmina. — Are there such hearts 
Amongst thy works, God ? 

Abdullah. — Kneel not to me — 

Kneel to your lord ! On his resolves doth hang 
His children's doom. He may be lightly won 
By a few bursts of passionate tears and words. 

Elmina {'rising indignantly.) — 

Speak not of noble men ! He bears a soul 
Stronger than love or death. 

Alphonso (with exultation.) — I knew 'twas thus ! 
He could not fail ! 

Elmina. — There is no mercy, none, 

On this cold earth ! To strive with such a world. 



THE SIEGE OF VALENCIA 147 

Hearts should be void of love. We will go hence, 
My children ! we are summoned. Lay your heads, 
In their young radiant beauty, once again 
To rest upon this bosom. He that dwells 
Beyond the clouds which press us darkly round, 
Will yet have pity, and before His face 
We three will stand together. Moslem ! now 
Let the stroke fall at once ! 

Abdullah.— 'Tis thine own will. 
These might even yet be spared. 

Elmina. — Thou wilt not spare ! 

And he beneath whose eye their childhood grew, 
And in whose paths they sported, and whose ear 
From their first lisping accents caught the soxmd 
Of that word, Father — once a name of love — 
Is Men shall call him steadfast. 

Abdullah. — Hath the blast 

Of sudden trumpets ne'er at dead of night. 
When the land's watchers feared no hostile step, 
Startled the slumberers from their dreamy world. 
In cities, whose heroic lords have been 
Steadfast as thine 1 

Elmina. — There's meaning in thine eye, 
More than thy words. 

Abd. {pointing to the city.) — Look to yon tower and walls. 
Think you no hearts within their limits pine, 
Weary of hopeless warfare, and prepared 
To burst the feeble links which bind them still 
Unto endurance? 

Elmina.— Thou hast said too well. 
But what of this ] 

Abdullah. — Then there are those, to whom 
The Prophet's armies not as foes would pass 



k 



148 DEAMATIC WORKS 

Yon gates, but as deliverers. Might they not 
In some still hour, when weariness takes rest, 
Be won to welcome us 1 Your children's steps 
May yet bound lightly through their father's halls. 

Alphonso {indignantly.) — Thou treacherous Moor ! 

Elmina. — Let me not thus be tried 
Beyond all strength, Heaven ! 

Abdullah. — Now, 'tis for thee, 

Thou Christian mother, on thy sons to pass 
The sentence — life or death ! The price is set 
On their young blood, and rests within thy hands. 

Alphonso. — Mother ! thou tremblest. 

Abdullah. — Hath thy heart resolved 1 

Elmina {covering her face with her hands.) — 
My boy's proud eye is on me, and the things 
Which rush in stormy darkness through my soul 
Shrink from his glance. I cannot answer here. 

Abdullah, — Come forth. We'll commune elsewhere. 

Caelos {to his mother.) — Wilt thou go? 
Oh ! let me follow thee ! 

Elmina. — Mine own fair child ! 

Now that thine eyes have poured once more on mine 
The light of their young smile, and thy sweet voice 
Hath sent its gentle music through my soul. 
And I have felt the twining of thine arms — 
How shall I leave thee ? 

Abdullah. — Leave him, as 'twere but 
For a brief slumber, to behold his face 
At morning, with the sun's. 

Alphonso. — Thou hast no look 
For me, my mother ! 

Elmina. — Oh ! that I should live 

To say, I dare not look on thee ! Farewell, 



n 



THE SIEGE OP VALENCIA 149 

My firairbom, fare thee well ! 

Alphonso. — Yet, yet beware ! 

It were a grief more heavy on thy soul 

That I should blush for thee, than o'er my grave 

That thou shouldst proudly weep. 
Abdullah. — Away ! we trifle here. The night wanes fast. 

Come forth ! 
Elmina. — One more embrace ! My sons, farewell ! 

{Exeunt Abdullah with Elmina and her attendant.) 

Alph.— Hear me yet once, my mother ! Art thou gone ? 
But one word more ! 

(He nuhes out,/ollouxd by Carlos.) 

SCENE V. 
The garden of a palace in Valencia. Ximbna and Theresa. 

Theresa. — Stay yet awhile. A purer air doth rove 
Here through the myrtles whispering, and the limes, 
And shaking sweetness from the orange boughs. 
Than waits you in the city. 

XniENA. — There are those 

In their last need, and on their bed of death, — 
At which no hand doth minister but mine, — 
That wait me in the city. Let us hence. 

Theresa. — You have been wont to love the music made 
By foimts and rustling foliage, and soft winds 
Breathing of citron-groves. And will you turn 
From these to scenes of death ] 

Ximena. — To me the voice 

Of summer, whispering thro* young flowers and leaves. 
Now speaks too deep a language ; and of all 
Its dreamy and mysterious melodies, 



150 DRAMATIC WORKS 

The breathing soul is sadness. I have felt 
That summons through my spirit, after which 
The hues of earth are changed, and all her sounds 
Seem fraught with secret warnings. There is cause 
That I should bend my footsteps to the scenes 
Where Death is busy taming warrior-hearts. 
And pouring winter through the fiery blood, 
And fettering the strong arm ; for now no sigh 
In the dull air, nor floating cloud in heaven. 
No, not the lightest murmur of a leaf. 
But of his angel's silent coming bears 
Some token to my soul. But naught of this 
Unto my mother. These are awful hours ; 
And on their heavy steps afi&ictions crowd 
With such dark pressure, there is left no room 
For one grief more. 
Theresa. — Sweet lady, talk not thus ! 

Your eye this morn doth wear a calmer light, 
There's more of life in its clear tremulous ray 
Than I have marked of late. Nay, go not yet ; 
Rest by this fountain, where the laurels dip 
Their glossy leaves. A fresher gale doth spring 
From the transparent waters, dashing round 
Their silvery spray, with a sweet voice of coolness, 
O'er the pale glistening marble. 'Twill call up 
Faint bloom, if but a moment's, to your cheek. 
Rest here, ere you go forth, and I will sing 
The melody you love. 

(She sings.) 
Why is the Spanish maiden's grave 

So far from her own bright land? 
The sunny flowers that o'er it wave 

Were sown by no kindred hand. 



THE SIEGE OF VALENCIA 161 

'Tis not the orange-bough that sends 

Its breath on the sultry air, 
'Tis not the myrtle-stem that bends 

To the breeze of evening there ; 

But the rose of Sharon's eastern bloom 

By the silent dwelling fades, 
And none but strangers pass the tomb 

Which the palm of Judah shades. 

The lowly Cross, with flowers o'ergrown, 

Marks well that place of rest; 
But who hath graved, on its mossy stone, 

A sword, a helm, a crest ? 

These are the trophies of a chief, 

A lord of the axe and spear : 
Some blossom plucked, some faded leaf, 

Should grace a maiden's bier ! 

Scorn not her tomb — deny not her 

The honours of the brave ! 
O'er that forsaken sepulchre 

Banner and plume might wave. 

She bound the steel, in battle tried, 

Her fearless heart above, 
And stood with brave men side by side, 

In the strength and faith of love. 

That strength prevailed — that faith was blest. 

True was the javelin thrown. 
Yet pierced it not her warrior's breast — 

She met it with her own ! 

And nobly won, where heroes fell 

In arms for the holy shrine, 
A death which saved what she loved so well, 

And a grave in Palestine. 



152 DRAMATIC WORKS 

Then let the rose of Sharon spread 

Its breast to the glowing air. 
And the palm of Judah lift its head, 

Green and immortal there ! 

And let yon gray stone, undefaced. 

With its trophy mark the scene, 
Telling the pilgrim of the waste 

Where Love and Death have been. 

XlM. — Those notes were wont to make my heart beat quick, 
As at a voice of victory ; but to-day 
The spirit of the song is changed, and seems 
All mournful. Oh ! that, ere my early grave 
Shuts out the sunbeam, I might hear one peal 
Of the Castilian trumpet ringing forth 
Beneath my father's banner ! In that sound 

Were life to you, sweet brothers ! But for me 

Come on ; our tasks await us. They who know 
Their hours are numbered out, have little time 
To give the vague and slumb'rous languor way, 
Which doth steal o'er them in the breath of flowers. 
And whisper of soft winds. 

(Elmina enters hurriedly.) 

Elmina. — The air will calm my spirit, ere yet I meet 
His eye, which must be met. — Thou here, Ximena ! 

(She starts back on seeing her dauighter.) 

Ximena. — Alas ! my mother ! in that hurrying step 
And troubled glance I read 

Elmina {wildly.) — Thou read'st it not ! 

Why, who would live, if unto mortal eye 

The things lay glaring, which within our hearts 



THE SIEGE OP VALENCIA 153 

We treasure up for God's 1 Thou read'st it not ! 
I say, thou canst not ! There's not one on eai-th 
Shall know the thoughts which for themselves have made 
And kept dark places in the very breast 
Whereon he hath laid his slumber, till the hour 
When the graves open ! 

XiMENA. — Mother, what is this ] 

Alas ! yoxu* eye is wandering, and your cheek 
Flushed as with fever. To your woes the night 
Hath brought no rest. 

Elmina. — Rest ! — who should rest ] Not he 
That holds one earthly blessing to his heart 
Nearer than life. No ! if this world have aught 
Of bright or precious, let not him who calls 
Such things his own, take rest. Dark spirits keep watch ; 
And they to whom fair honour, chivalrous fame, 
Were as Heaven's air, the vital element 
Wherein they breathed, may wake, and find their souls 
Made marks for human scorn. Will they bear on 
With life struck down, and thus disrobed of all 
Its glorious drapery ] Who shall tell us this ? 
Will ?ie so bear it 1 

XiMENA. — Mother, let us kneel 

And blend our hearts in prayer. What else is left 
To mortals when the dark hour's might is on them ? 
— Leave us, Theresa. Grief like this doth find 
Its balm in solitude. \_Ejeit Theresa. 

My mother ! peace 
Is Heaven's benignant answer to the cry 
Of woimded spirits. Wilt thou kneel with me ] 

Elmina. — Away ! 'tis but for souls imstained to wear 
Heaven's tranquil image on their d^ths. The stream 
Of my dark thoughts, all broken by the storm. 



154 DRAMATIC WORKS 

Reflects but clouds and lightnings. Didst thou speak 

Of peace ?— 'tis fled from earth. But there is joy — 

Wild troubled joy ! And who shall know, my child, 

It is not happiness ? Why, our own hearts 

Will keep the secret close. Joy, joy ! if but 

To leave this desolate city, with its dull 

Slow knells and dirges, and to breathe again 

The untainted mountain-air : But hush ! the trees, 

The flowers, the waters, must hear naught of this. 

They are full of voices, and will whisper things 

We'll speak of it no more. 

XiMENA. — pitying Heaven ! 

This grief doth shake her reason. 

Elmina {starting.) — Hark ! a step ! 

'Tis — 'tis thy father's. Come away — not now — 
He must not see us now. 

XiMENA. — Why should this be 1 

(Gonzalez enters and detains Elmina.) 

Gonzalez. — Elmina, dost thou shun me? Have we not 
Even from the hopeful and the sunny time 
When youth was as a glory round our brows. 
Held on through life together? And is this, 
When eve is gathering round us, with the gloom 
Of stormy clouds, a time to part our steps 
Upon the darkening wild ? 

Eliuna (coldly.) — There needs not this. 

Why shouldst thou think I shvmned thee ? 

Gonzalez. — Should the love 

That shone o'er many years, the unfading love 
Whose only change hath been from gladdening smiles 
To mingling sorrows and sustaining strength, 
Thus lightly be forgotten 1 



THE SIEGE OF VALENCIA 156 

Elmina. — Speak'st thou thus? 

I've knelt before thee with that very plea. 
When it availed me not. But there are things 
Whose very breathings from the soul erase 
All record of past love, save the chill sense. 
The imquiet memory of its wasted faith. 
And vain devotedness. Ay ! they that fix 
Affection's perfect trust on aught of earth, 
Have many a dream to start from. 

Gonzalez.— This is but 

The wildness and the bitterness of grief. 

Ere yet the unsettled heart hath closed its long 

Impatient conflicts with a mightier power. 

Which makes all conflict vain. — Hark ! was there not 

A sound of distant trumpets, far beyond 

The Moorish tents, and of another tone 

Than the Afric horn, Ximena] 

XiMENA. — my father I 

I know that horn too well. — Tis but the wind. 
Which, with a sudden rising, bears its deep 
And savage war-note from us, wafting it 
O'er the far hills. 

Gonzalez. — Alas ! this woe must be. 

I do but shake my spirit from its height, 

So startling it with hope. But the dread hour 

Shall be met bravely still. I can keep down 

Yet for a little while — and heaven will ask 

No more — the passionate workings of my heart : 

— And thine, Elminal 

Et.mtna. — 'Tis — I am prepared. 
I have prepared for all. 

Gonzalez. — Oh, well I knew 

Thou wouldst not fail me ! Not in vain my soul 



156 DRAMATIC WORKS 

Upon thy faith and courage hath built up 

Unshaken trust. 
Elmina {wildly) — Away ! thou know'st me not ! 

Man dares too far — his rashness would invest 

This our mortality with an attribute 

Too high and awful, boasting that he knows 

One human heart. 
Gonzalez. — These are wild words, but yet 

I will not doubt thee. Hast thou not been found 

Noble in all things, pouring thy soul's light 

Undimmed o'er every trial ] And as our fates. 

So must our names be, undivided ! — Thine, 

r the record of a warrior's life, shall find 

Its place of stainless honour. By his side 

Elmina. — May this be borne 1 How much of agony 

Hath the heart room for ] Speak to me in wrath — 

I can endure it. But no gentle words ! 

No words of love ! no praise ! Thy sword might slay, 

And be more merciful. 
Gonzalez. — Wherefore art thou thus, 

Elmina, my beloved ? 
Elmina. — No more of love ! 

Have I not said there's that within my heart. 

Whereon it falls as living fire would fall 

Upon an unclosed wound ? 
Gonzalez. — Nay, lift thine eyes. 

That I may read their meaning. 
Elmina. — Never more 

With a free soul. What have I said] — 'twas naught ! 

Take thou no heed. The words of wretchedness 

Admit not scrutiny. Wouldst thou mai'k the speech 

Of troubled dreams ] 
Gonzalez. — I have seen thee in the hour 



THE SIEGE OF VALENCIA 157 

Of thy deep spirit's joy, and when the breath 

Of grief hung chilling round thee ; in all change — 

Bright health and drooping sickness, hope and fear, 

Youth and dechne ; but never yet, Elmina, 

Ne'er hath thine eye till now shrunk back, perturbed 

With shame or dread, from mine. 

Elmina. — Thy glance doth search 
A wounded heart too deeply. 

Gonzalez. — Hast thou there 
Aught to conceal ] 

Elmina. — Who hath not? 

Gonzalez. — Till this hour 

Thou never hadst. Yet hear me ! — by the free 
And unattainted fame which wraps the dust 
Of thine heroic fathers 

Elmina. — This to me ! 

Bring your inspiring war-notes, and your sounds 
Of festal music roimd a dying man — 
Will his heart echo them ] But if thy words 
Were spells to call up, with each lofty tone. 
The grave's most awftd spirits, they would stand 
Powerless before my anguish. 

Gonzalez. — Then, by her 

Who there looks on thee in the purity 

Of her devoted youth, and o'er whose name 

No blight must fall, and whose pale cheek must ne'er 

Bum with that deeper tinge, caught painfully 

From the quick feeling of dishonour — Speak ! 

Unfold this mystery ! By thy sons 

Elmina. — My sons ! 

And canst thou name them 1 

Gonzalez.— Proudly ! Better far 

They died with all the promise of their youth. 



158 DRAMATIC WORKS 

And the fair honour of their house upon them, 
Than that, with manhood's high and passionate soul 
To fearful strength unfolded, they should live, 
Barred from the lists of crested chivalry, 
And pining, in the silence of a woe 
Which from the heart shuts daylight, o'er the shame 
Of those who gave them birth ! But thou couldst ne'er 
Forget their lofty claims. 

Elmina {wildly.) — 'Twas but for them ! 

'Twas for them only ! Who shall dare arraign 
Madness as crime 1 And He who made us, knows 
There are dark moments of all hearts and lives, 
Which bear down reason. 

Gonzalez. — Thou, whom I have loved 

With such high trust as o'er our nature threw 
A glory scarce allowed — what hast thou done 1 
— Ximena, go thou hence. 

Elmina. — No, no, my child ! 

There's pity in thy look. All other eyes 

Are full of wrath and scorn. Oh, leave me not ! 

Gonzalez. — That I should live to see thee thus abased ! 
Yet speak. What hast thou done 1 

Elmina. — Look to the gate ! 

Thou'rt worn with toil — but take no rest to-night : — 
The western gate ! Its watchers have been won — 
The Christian city hath been bought and sold: — 
They will admit the Moor ! 

Gonzalez. — They have been won ! 

Brave men and tried so long ! Whose work was this ? 

El. — Think'stthou all hearts like thine? Can mothers stand 
To see their children perish ] 

Gonzalez. — Then the guilt 
Was thine] 



THE SIEGE OF VALENCIA 159 

Elmtna.— Shall mortal dare to call it guilt] 

I tell thee Heaven, which made all holy things. 
Made naught more holy than the boundless love 
Which fills a mother's heart. I say, 'tis woe 
Enough, with such an aching tenderness, 
To love aught earthly — and in vain, in vain ! 
"We are pressed down too sorely. 

Gonzalez {in a low desponding voice.) — Now my life 
Is struck to worthless ashes ! In my soul 
Suspicion hath ta'en root. The nobleness 
Henceforth is blotted from all human brows ; 
And fearful power, a dark and troublous gift. 
Almost like prophecy, is poured upon me. 
To read the guilty secrets in each eye 
That once looked bright with truth. 

Why, then, I've gained 
What men call wisdom ! — a new sense, to which 
All tales that speak of high fidelity 
And holy courage and proud honour, tried, 
Searched, and found steadfast even to martyrdom, 
Are food for mockery. Why should I not cast 
From my thinned locks the wearing helm at once, 
And in the heavy sickness of my sovd 
Throw the sword down for ever ? Is there aught 
In all this world of gilded hollowness. 
Now the bright hues drop off its loveliest things. 
Worth striving for again 1 

XiMENA. — Father, look up ! 
Tiim unto me, thy child. 

Gonzalez. — Thy face is fair. 

And hath been unto me, in other days. 
As morning to the joumeyer on the deep. 
But now — 'tis too like hers ! 



160 DRA.MAT1C WORKS 

Elmina {falling at Ms feet) — Woe, shame and woe 
Are on me in their might. Forgive ! forgive ! 

Gonzalez {starting up) — Doth the Moor deem that I have 
part or share 
Or coimsel in this vileness ] Stay me not ! 
Let go thy hold — 'tis pow^erless on me now. 
I linger here while treason is at work. lExit. 

Elmina. — Ximena, dost thou scorn me ? 

XiMENA. — I have found 

In mine own heart too much of feebleness, 
Hid, beneath many foldings, from all eyes 
But His whom naught can blind, to dare do aught 
But pity thee, dear mother ! 

Elmina. — Blessings light 

On thy fair head, my gentle child, for this, 
Thou kind and merciful ! My soul is faint — 
Worn with long strife. Is there aught else to do, 
Or suffer, ere we die 1— Oh God ! my sons ! 
I have betrayed them. All their innocent blood 
Is on my soul. 

Ximena. — How shall I comfort thee 1 

Oh, hark ! what sounds come deepening on the wind. 
So full of solemn hope? 

{A procession of Nuns passes across the seem, bearing relics, 
and chanting.) 

CHANT 

A SWORD is on the land ! 
He that bears down young tree and glorious flower. 
Death, is gone forth, he walks the wind in power. 

Where is the warrior's hand.^ 
Our steps are in the shadows of the grave : 
Hear us, we perish ! — Father, hear and save ! 



THE SIEGE OF VALENCIA 161 

If, in the days of song, 
, The days of gladness, we have called on thee, 

When mirthful voices rang from sea to sea, 

And joyous hearts were strong ; 
Now that alike the feeble and the brave 
Must cry, *' We perish ! " — Father, hear and save ! 

The days of song are Hed ! 
The winds come loaded, wafting dirge-notes by ; 
But they that linger soon unmourned must die — 

The dead weep not the dead. 
Wilt tliou forsake us midst the stormy wave ? 
We sink, we perish! — Father, hear and save! 

Helmet and lance are dust ! 
Is not the strong man withered from our eye ? 
The arm struck down that held our banners high? 

Thine is our spirits' trust : 
Look through the gathering shadows of the grave. 
Do we not perish ? — Father, hear and save ! 

(Hbrnandkz enters.) 

Elm. — Why com'st thou, man of vengeance ? What have I 
To do with thee ] Am I not bowed enough ] 
Thou art no mourner's comforter. 

Hernandez. — Thy lord 

Hath sent me unto thee. Till this day's task 
Be closed, thou daughter of the feeble heart ! 
He bids thee seek him not, but lay thy ways 
Before heaven's altar, and in penitence 
Make thy soul's peace with God. 

Elmina.— Till this day's task 

Be closed ! There is strange triumph in thine eyes : 
Is it that I have fallen from that high place 
Whereon I stood in fame ? But I can feel 

S L 



162 DRAMATIC WORKS 

A wild and bitter pride in thus being past 

The power of thy dark glance. My spirit now 

Is wound about by one sole mighty grief ; 

Thy scorn hath lost its sting. Thou may'st reproach 

Her. — I come not to reproach thee. Heaven doth work 
By many agencies ; and in its hour 
There is no insect which the summer breeze 
From the green leaf shakes trembling, but may serve 
Its deep unsearchable purposes, as well 
As the great ocean, or the eternal fires 
Pent in earth's caves. Thou hast but speeded that 
Which, in the infatuate blindness of thy heart, 
Thou wouldst have trampled o'er all holy ties 
But to avert one day. 

Elmina. — My senses fail. 

Thou said'st — speak yet again — I could not catch 
The meaning of thy words. 

Hernandez. — Even now thy lord 

Hath sent our foes defiance. On the walls 

He stands in conference with the boastful Moor, 

And awftd strength is with him. Through the blood 

Which this day must be poured in sacrifice 

Shall Spain be free. On all her olive-hills 

Shall men set up the battle-sign of fire. 

And round its blaze, at midnight, keep the sense 

Of vengeance wakeful in each other's hearts 

Even with thy children's tale. 

XiMENA. — Peace, father ! peace ! 

Behold, she sinks ! — the storm hath done its work 
Upon the broken reed. Oh ! lend thine aid 
To bear her hence. 

(They lead her away.) 



THE SIEGE OP VALENCIA 163 



SCENE VI. 



A street in Valencia. Several groups of Citizens and Soldiers, 
many of them lying on the steps of a church. Arms scattered on 
the ground around them. 

An old Citizen. — The air is sultry, as with thunder-clouds. 
I left my desolate home that I might breathe 
More freely in heaven's face, but my heart feels 
With this hot gloom o'erburdened. I have now 
No sons to tend me. Which of you, kind friends, 
Will bring the old man water from the fount, 
To moisten his parched lip 1 

(A citizen goes out. ) 

2d Citizen. — This wasting siege, 

Good Father Lopez, hath gone hard with you. 
'Tis sad to hear no voices through the house 
Once peopled with fair sons. 

3d Citizen.— Why, better thus 

Than to be haunted with their famished cries, 
Even in your very dreams ! 

Old Citizen. — Heaven's will be done ! 

These are dark times. I have not been alone 
In my affliction. 

3d Citizen {with bitterness.) — Why, we have but this thought 
Left for our gloomy comfort ! — And 'tis well ! 
Ay, let the balance be awhile struck even 
Between the noble's palace and the hut 
Where the worn peasant sickens. They that bear 
The humble dead unhonoured to their homes. 
Pass now in the streets no lordly bridal train 
With its exulting music ; and the wretch 
Who on the marble steps of some proud hall 



164 DRAMATIC WORKS 

Flings himself down to die, in his last need 
And agony of famine, doth behold 
No scornful guests, with their long purple robes, 
To the banquet sweeping by. Why, this is just ! 
These are the days when pomp is made to feel 
Its human mould. 

4th Citizen. — Heard you last night the sound 
Of Saint lago's bell 1 How sullenly 
From the great tower it pealed ! 

6th Citizen. — Ay, and 'tis said 

No mortal hand was near when so it seemed 
To shake the midnight streets. 

Old Citizen. — Too well I know 

The sound of coming fate ! 'Tis ever thus 

When Death is on his way to make it night 

In the Cid's ancient house.* Oh ! there are things 

In this strange world of which we've all to leam 

When its dark bounds are passed. Yon bell, untouched, 

(Save by the hands we see not,) still doth speak — 

When of that line some stately head is marked — 

With a wild hollow peal, at dead of night. 

Rocking Valencia's towers. I've heard it oft. 

Nor known its warning false. 

4th Citizen. — And will our chief 

Buy with the price of his fair children's blood 
A few more days of pining wretchedness 
For this forsaken city] 

Old Citizen.— Doubt it not ! 

But with that ransom he may purchase still 
Deliverance for the land. And yet 'tis sad 
To think that such a race, with all its fame, 

* It was a Spanish tradition that the great bell of the cathedral 
of Saragossa always tolled spontaneously before a king of Spain died. 



THE SIEGE OF VALENCIA 165 

Should pass away ! For she, his daughter too. 
Moves upon earth as some bright thing whose time 
To sojourn there is short. 

5th Citizen.— Then woe for us 

When she is gone ! Her voice, the very sound 
Of her soft step, was comfort, as she moved 
Through the still house of mourning. "Who like her 
Shall give us hope again 1 

Old Citizen. — Be still !— she comes, 

And with a mien how changed ! A hurrying step. 
And a flushed cheek ! What may this bode ] Be still ! 

(XiMfiNA enters, with attendants carrying a banner.) 

XiMENA. — Men of Valencia ! in an hour like this. 
What do ye here 1 

A Citizen. — We die ! 

XiMENA. — Brave men die now 

Girt for the toil, as travellers suddenly 

By the dark night o'ertaken on their way. 

These days require such death. It is too much 

Of luxury for our wild and angry times, 

To fold the mantle roimd us, and to sink 

From life as flowers that shut up silently 

When the sun's heat doth scorch them. Hear ye not 1 

A Citizen.— Lady ! what wouldst thou with us ] 

XiMENA.— Rise and arm ! 

Even now the children of your chief are led 
Forth by the Moor to perish. Shall this be — 
Shall the high sound of such a name be hushed, 
I' the land to which for ages it hath been 
A battle-word, as 'twere some passing note 
Of shepherd-music 1 Must this work be done. 
And ye lie pining here, as men in whom 



166 DRAMATIC WORKS 

The pulse which God hath made for noble thought 
Can so be thrilled no longer 1 

A Citizen. — 'Tis even so ! 

Sickness and toil and grief have breathed upon us : 
Our hearts beat faint and low. 

XiMENA. — Are ye so poor 

Of soul, my countrymen ! that ye can draw 

Strength from no deeper source than that which sends 

The red blood mantling through the joyous veins, 

And gives the fleet step wings 1 Why, hoAv have age 

And sensitive womanhood ere now endured 

Through pangs of searching fire, in some proud cause, 

Blessing that agony ! Thmk ye the Power 

Which bore them nobly up, as if to teach 

The torturer where eternal heaven had set 

Bounds to his sway, was earthy, of this earth — 

This dull mortality? Nay, then look on me ! 

Death's touch hath marked me, and I stand amongst you 

As one whose place i' the sunshine of your world 

Shall soon be left to fill !— I say, the breath 

Of the incense, floating through yon fane, shall scarce 

Pass from your path before me ! But even now 

I've that within me, kindhng through the dust. 

Which from all time hath made high deeds its voice 

And token to the nations. Look on me ! 

Why hath heaven poured forth courage as a flame. 

Wasting the womanish heart, which must be stilled 

Yet sooner for its swift consuming brightness, 

If not to shame your doubt and your despair 

And your soul's torpor ? Yet, arise and arm 1 

It may not be too late. 

A Citizen. — Why, what are we, 

To cope with hosts ? Thus faint and worn and few, 



1 



THE SIEGE OF VALEXCIA 167 

O'emumbered and forsaken, is't for us 
• To stand against the mighty] 

XiMENA. — And for whom 

Hath He, who shakes the mighty with a breath 

From then- high places, made the fearfulness 

And ever-wakeful presence of his power 

To the pale startled earth most manifest, 

But for the weak ] Was't for the helmed and crowned 

That suns were stayed at noonday] — stormy seas 

As a rill parted 1 — mailed archangels sent 

To wither up the strength of kings with death ] 

I tell you, if these marvels have been done, 

'Twas for the wearied and the oppi-essed of men. 

They needed such. And generous faith hath power. 

By her prevailing spirit, even yet to work 

Dehverances, whose tale shall live with those 

Of the great elder-time. Be of good heart. 

Who is forsaken ] He that gives the thought 

A place within his breast. 'Tis not for you. 

— Know ye this banner ] 

Cits, {murmuring to each other.) — Is she not inspired ] 
Doth not heaven call us by her fervent voice ] 

XiMENA. — Know ye this banner ] 

Citizens. — 'Tis the Cid's. 

XiMENA. — The Cid's ! 

Who breathes that name but in the exulting tone 
Which the heart rings to ] Why, the very wind. 
As it swells out the noble standai'd's fold. 
Hath a triumphant sound. The Cid's ! it moved 
Even as a sign of victory through the land, 
From the free skies ne'er stooping to a foe. 

Old Cit. — Can ye still pause, my brethren ! Oh, that youth 
Through this worn frame were kindling once again ! 



168 DRAMATIC WORKS 

XiMENA. — Ye linger still ? Upon this very air, 
He that was born in happy hour for Spain* 
Poured forth his conquering spirit. 'Twas the breeze 
From your own mountains which came down to wave 
This banner of his battles, as it drooped 
Above the champion's deathbed. Nor even then 
Its tale of glory closed. They made no moan 
O'er the dead hero, and no dirge was sung,t 
But the deep tambour and shrill horn of war 
Told when the mighty passed. They wrapt him not 
With the pale shroud, but braced the warrior's form 
In war-array, and on his bardedj steed, 
As for a triumph, reared him ; marching forth 
In the hushed midnight from Valencia's walls. 
Beleaguered then, as now. All silently 
The stately funeral moved. But who was he 
That followed, charging on the tall white horse, 
And with the solemn standard, broad and pale, 
Waving in sheets of snowlight ] And the cross, 
The bloody cross, far-blazing from his shield, 
And the fierce meteor-sword 1 They fled, they fled ! 
The kings of Afric, with their countless hosts. 
Were dust in his red path. The scimitar 
Was shivered as a reed ; — for in that hour 
The warrior-saint that keeps the watch for Spain, 
Was armed betimes. And o'er that fiery field 
The Cid's high banner streamed all joyously. 
For still its lord was there. 

* "El que en buen hora nasco ;" he that was born in happy 
hour. An appellation given to the Cid in the ancient chronicles- 

t For this, and the subsequent allusions to Spanish legends, see 
The RomaJices, and Chronicle of the Cid. 

% Barded, caparisoned for battle. 



THE SIEGE OP VALENCIA 169 

Citizens (rising tumuUtuyusly.) — Even unto death 
Again it shall be followed ! 

XiMENA. — Will he see 

The noble stem hewn down, the beacon-light 

Which from his house for ages o'er the land 

Hath shone thro' cloud and storm, thus quenchedat oncel 

Will he not aid his children in the hour 

Of this their utmost peril ] Awful power 

Is with the holy dead, and there ai-e times 

When the tomb hath no chain they cannot burst ! 

Is it a thing forgotten how he woke 

From its deep rest of old, remembering Spain 

In her great danger 1 — at the night's mid- watch 

How Leon started, when the soimd was heard 

That shook her dark and hollow-echoing streets 

As with the heavy tramp of steel-clad men. 

By thousands marching through 1 For he had men ! 

The Campeador was on his march again, 

And in his arms, and followed by his hosts 

Of shadowy spearmen. He had left the world 

From which we are dimly parted, and gone forth. 

And called his buried warriors from their sleep. 

Gathering them round him to deUver Spain ; 

For Afric was upon her. Morning broke, 

Day rushed through clouds of battle ; but at eve 

Our God had triiunphed, and the rescued land 

Sent up a shout of victory from the field, 

That rocked her ancient moimtains. 

Citizens. — Arm ! to arms ! 

On to our chief ! We have strength within us yet 
To die with our blood roused. Now, be the word 
For the Cid's house ! 

(TJuy begin to arm themselves.) 



170 DRAMATIC WORKS 

XniENA. — Ye know his battle-song — 

The old rude strain wherewith his bands went forth 
To strike down Paynim swords ? 

(She situ/s.) 

The Moor is on his way ! 
With the tambour-peal and the tecbir-shout. 
And the horn o'er the blue seas ringing out, 

He hath marshalled his dark array. 

Shout through the vine-clad land ! 
That her sons on all their hills may hear ; 
And sharpen the point of the red wolf-spear, 

And the sword for the brave man's hand. 

( The citizens join in the song, while they continue arming 
themselves.) 

Banners are in the field ! 
The chief must rise from his joyous board, 
And turn from the feast ere the wine be poured. 

And take up his father's shield. 

The Moor is on his way ! 
Let the peasant leave his olive-ground, 
And the goats roam wild thro' the piue-Avoods round : 

There is nobler work to-day. 

Send forth the trumpet's call ! 
Till the bridegroom cast the goblet down. 
And the marriage-robe, and the flowery crown ; 

And arm in the banquet hall. 

And stay the funeral-train : 
Bid the chanted mass be hushed awhile. 
And the bier laid down in the holy aisle, 

And the mourners gird for Spain. 



THE 8IEGE OF VALENCIA 171 

{They take up the banner and follow Ximena outi their voices are 
heard gradually dying away in the distance.) 

Ere night must swords be red ! 
It is not an hour for knells and tears, 
But for helmets braced and serried spears. 

To-morrow for the dead ! 

The Cid is in array ! 
His steed is barded, his plume waves high, 
His banner is up in the sunny sky — 

Now, joy for the Cross to-day ! 



SCENE VII. 

The walls of the city. The plains beneath; with the Moorish camp 
and army. Gonzalez, Garcias, Hernandez. A wild sound 
of Moorish music heard from below. 

Her. — What notes are these in their deep moumfulness 
So strangely wild ? 

Garcias. — 'Tis the shrill melody 

Of the Moor's ancient death-song. Well I know 
The rude barbaric sound ; but^ till this hour. 
It seemed not fearful. Now, a shuddering chill 
Comes o'er me with its tones. — Lo ! from yon tent 
They lead the noble boys. 

Hernandez. — The young and pure 

And beautiful victims ! — 'Tis on things like these 

We cast our hearts in wild idolatry, 

Sowing the winds with hope ! Yet this is well : 

Thus brightly crowned with life's most gorgeous flowers, 

And all unblemished, earth should offer up 

Her treasures unto heaven. 



172 DRAMATIC WORKS 

Garcias {to Gonzalez.) — My chief, the Moof 
Hath led your children forth. 

Gonzalez {starting.) — Are my sons there ? 

I knew they could not perish ; for yon heaven 
Would ne'er behold it ! Where is he that said 
I was no more a father ? They look changed — 
Pallid and worn, as from a prison-house : 
Or is't mine eyes see dimly? But their steps 
Seem heavy, as with pain. I hear the clank — 
Oh God ! their limbs are fettered. 

Abd. {coming forward beneath the walls.) — Christian ! look 
Once more upon thy children. There is yet 
One moment for the trembling of the sword ; 
Their doom is still with thee. 

Gonzalez. — Why should this man 

So mock us with the semblance of our kind ? 
Moor ! Moor ! thou dost too daringly provoke. 
In thy bold cruelty, the all-judging One, 
Who visits for such things. Hast thou no sense 
Of thy frail nature 1 'Twill be taught thee yet ; 
And darkly shall the anguish of my soul, 
Darkly and heavily, pour itself on thine. 
When thou shalt cry for mercy from the dust, 
And be denied. 

Abdullah. — Nay, is it not thyself 

That hast no mercy and no love within thee 1 
These are thy sons, the nurshngs of thy house ; 
Speak ! must they live or die ] 

Gonzalez {in violent emotion.) — Is it heaven's will 
To try the dust it kindles for a day. 
With infinite agony ] How have I drawn 
This chastening on my head] They bloomed around me, 
And my heart grew too fearless in its joy. 



THE SIEGE OF VALENCIA. 17 

Glorying in their bright promise ! — If we fall. 
Is there no pardon for our feebleness ] 

(Ubrnandrz, without speaking, holds up the Cross hefifre him.) 

Abdullah. — Speak ! 

Gonzalez (snatching the Cross, and lifting it up,) — 

Let the earth be shaken through its depths, 

But this must triumph ! 
Abdullah. — Be it as thou wilt. 

{To his ^rward*.)— Unsheath the scimitar ! 
Garcias {to Gonzalez.) — Away, my chief ! 

This is your place no longer. There are things 

No human heart, though battle-proof as yours, 

Unmaddened may sustain. 
Gonzalez. — Be stUl ! I have now 

No place on earth but this. 
Alphonso (from beneath.) — Men ! give me way. 

That I may speak forth once before I die ! 
Garcias. — The princely boy ! — how gallantly his brow 

Wears its high nature in the face of death ! 
Alphonso. — Father ! 

Gonzalez. — My son ! my son ! — Mine eldest-bom ! 
Alphonso.— Stay but upon the ramparts ! Fear thou not — 

There is good courage in me. my father ! 

I will not shame thee ! — only let me fall 

Knowing thine eye looks proudly on thy child. 

So shall my heart have strength. 
Gonzalez. — "Would, would to God 

That I might die for thee, my noble boy ! 

Alphonso, my fair son ! 
Alphonso. — Could I have lived, 

I might have been a warrior. Now, farewell ! 

But look upon me still ! I will not blench 



174 DRAMATIC WORKS 

When the keen sabre flashes. Mark me well ! 

Mine eyelids shall not quiver as it falls, 

So thou wilt look upon me. 
Garcias {to Gonzalez.) — Nay, my lord ! 

We must be gone ! Thou canst not bear it. 
Gonzalez. — Peace ! 

Who hath told thee how much man's heart can bear? 

Lend me thine arm — my brain whirls fearfully — 

How thick the shades close roimd ! My boy ! my boy ! 

Where art thou in this gloom ] 
Garcias. — Let us go hence : 

This is a dreadful moment. 
Gonzalez. — Hush! — what saidst thou? 

Now let me look on him ! Dost thou see aught 

Through the dull mist which wraps us ? 
Garcias. — I behold — 

Oh, for a thousand Spaniards ! to rush down 

GoN. — Thou seest — My heart stands still to hear thee speak ! 

There seems a fearful hush upon the air, 

As 'twere the dead of night. 
Garcias. — The hosts have closed 

Around the spot in stillness. Through the spears. 

Ranged thick and motionless, I see him not ! 

— But now 

Gonzalez. — He bade me keep mine eye upon him. 

And all is darkness round me ! — Now ? 
Garcias. — A sword, 

A sword springs upward like a lightning-burst 

Through the dark serried mass. Its cold blue glare 

Is wavering to and fro — 'tis vanished — hark ! 
Gonzalez. — I heard it, yes ! — I heard the dull dead sound 

That heavily broke the silence. Didst thou speak ? 

— I lost thy words — come nearer ! 



THE SIEGE OP VALENCIA 175 

Garcias. — 'Twas — 'tis past ! 
The sword fell then ! 

Hernan. {with exultation.) — Flow forth, thou noble blood ! 
Fount of Spain's ransom and deliverance, flow 
Unchecked and brightly forth ! Thou kingly stream ! 
Blood of our heroes ! blood of martyrdom ! 
Which through so many warrior-hearts hast poured 
Thy fiery currents, and hast made our hills 
Free, by thine own free offering ! Bathe the land, — 
But there thou shalt not sink. Our very air 
Shall take thy colouring, and our loaded skies 
O'er the Infidel hang dark and ominous, 
With battle-hues of thee. And thy deep voice, 
Eising above them to the judgment-seat. 
Shall call a burst of gathered vengeance down. 
To sweep the oppressor from us ; for thy wave 
Hath made his guilt run o'er. 

Gonzalez (endeavouring to ro^ise himself.) — 'Tis all a dream. 
There is not one — no hand on earth could harm 
That fair boy's graceful head I Why look you thus ? 

Abdullah. — Christian ! even yet thou hast a son. 

Gonzalez. — Even yet ! 

Carlos. — My father ! take me from these fearful men ! 
WUt thou not save me, father] 

GoNZ. (attempting to unsheath his su-ord.) — Is the strength 
From mine arm shivered 1 Garcias, follow me ! 

Garcias.— Whither, my chief? 

Gonzalez, — Why, we can die as well 

On yonder plain — ay, a spear's thrust will do 
The little that our misery doth require. 
Sooner than even this anguish ! Life is best 
Thrown from us in such moments. 

( Voices tuard at a distance.) 



176 DRAMATIC WORKS 

Hernandez. — Hush ! what strain 

Floats on the wind 1 
Gaecias.— 'Tis the Cid's battle-song! 

What marvel hath been wrought ] 

{Voices approaching heard in chorus.) 

The Moor is on his way ! 
With the tambour-peal aud the tecbir-shout, 
And the horn o'er the blue seas ringing out, 

He hath marshalled his dark array. 

, (XiMBNA enters, followed by the citizens, with the banner.) 

XiMENA. — Is it too late ? — My father, these are men, 

Through life and death prepared to follow thee 

Beneath this banner. Is their zeal too late ? 

Oh ! there's a fearful history on thy brow ! 

What hast thou seen ] 
Garoias. — It is not all too late. 
XiMENA. — My brothers ! 
Her. — All is well. ( To Garcpas.) Hush ! wouldst thou chill 

That which hath sprung within them, as a flame 

From the altar-embers mounts in sudden brightness 1 

I say, 'tis not too late, ye men of Spain ! 

On to the rescue ! 
XiMENA. — Bless me, my father ! 

And I will hence, to aid thee with my prayers, 

Sending my spirit with thee through the storm 

Lit up by flashing swords ! 
GoN. {falling upon her neck) — Hath aught been spared? 

Am I not all bereft ? Thou'rt left me still ! 

Mine own, my loveliest one, thou'rt left me still ! 

Farewell ! — thy father's blessing, and thy God's, 

Be with thee, my Ximena. 



THE SIEGE OF VALENCIA 177 

XiMENA.— Fare thee well ! 

If, ere thy steps tmii homeward from the field. 
The voice is hushed that still hath welcomed thee, 
Think of me in thy victory ! 

Hernandez. — Peace ! no more ! 

This is no time to melt our nature down 

To a soft stream of tears. Be of strong heart. 

Give me the banner. Swell the song again ! 

(Citizens in chonu.) 

Ere night must swords be red ! 
It is not au hour for knells and tears. 
But for helmets braced and serried spears. 

To-morrow for the dead! [_Exeunt. 



SCENE VIII. 
BefoTt the altar qf a church. Elmina rises from tlie steps of the altar. 

Elmina. — The clouds are fearful that o'erhang thy ways, 
thou mysterious Heaven ! It cannot be 
That I have drawn the vials of thy wrath 
To burst upon me, through the lifting up 
Of a proud heart elate in happiness ! 
No ! in my day's full noon, for me life's flowers 
But wreathed a cup of trembling ; and the love, 
The boundless love, my spirit was formed to bear. 
Hath ever, in its place of silence, been 
A trouble and a shadow, tinging thought 
With hues too deep for joy. I never looked 
On my fair children, in their buoyant mirth 
Or sunny sleep, when all the gentle air 
Seemed glowing with their quiet blessedness, 

S M 



178 DRAMATIC WORKS 

But o'er my soul there came a shuddering sense 

Of earth, and its pale changes ; even like that 

Which vaguely mingles with our glorious dreams — 

A restless and disturbing consciousness 

That the bright things must fade ! How have I shrunk 

From the dull murmur of the unquiet voice. 

With its low tokens of mortality, 

Till my heart fainted midst their smiles ! Their smiles ! 

Where are those glad looks now? Could they go down 

With all their joyous light, that seemed not earth's. 

To the cold grave 1 My children ! — righteous heaven ! 

There floats a dark remembrance o'er my brain 

Of one who told me, with relentless eye, 

That this should be the hour ! 

(XiMENA enters.) 

XiMENA. — They are gone forth 

Unto the rescue — strong in heart and hope. 
Faithful, though few ! My mother, let thy prayers 
Call on the land's good saints to lift once more 
The sword and Cross that sweep the field for Spain, 
As in old battle ; so thine arms even yet 
May clasp thy sons. For me, my part is done ! 
The flame which dimly might have lingered yet 
A little while, hath gathered all its rays 
Brightly to sink at once. And it is well ! 
The shadows are around me : to thy heart 
Fold me, that I may die. 

Elmina. — My child ! what dream 

Is on thy soul 1 Even now thine aspect wears 
Life's brightest inspiration ! 

XiMENA. — Death's ! 

Elmina. — Away ! 



I 



THE SIEGE OP VALENCIA 179 

Thine eye hath starry clearness ; and thy cheek 
Doth glow beneath it with a richer hue 
Than tinged its earliest flower ! 

XiMENA. — It may well be ! 

There are far deeper and far warmer hues 

Than those which draw their colouring from the founts 

Of youth, or health, or hope. 

Elmina. — Nay, speak not thus ! 

There's that about thee shining which would send 

Even through my heart a sunny glow of joy, 

"NVere't not for these sad words. The dim cold air 

And solemn light, which wrap these tombs and shrines 

As a pale gleaming shroud, seem kindled up 

With a young spirit of ethereal hope 

Caught from thy mien. Oh no ! this is not death ! 

XiM. — Why should not he, whose touch dissolves our chain. 
Put on his robes of beauty when he comes 
As a dehvererl He hath many forms — 
They should not all be fearful. If his call 
Be but our gathei-ing to that distant land. 
For whose sweet waters we have pined with thirst, 
Why shoidd not its prophetic sense be borne 
Into the heart's deep stillness, with a breath 
Of summer-winds, a voice of melody. 
Solemn yet lovely? Mother, I depart ! — 
Be it thy comfort, in the after-days, 
That thou hast seen me thus ! 

Elmina. — Distract me not 

With such wild fears ! Can I bear on with life 
When thou art gone ]— thy voice, thy step, thy smile. 
Passed from my path 1 Alas ! even now thine eye 
Is changed — thy cheek is fading ! 

XiMENA. — Ay, the clouds 



180 DRAMATIC WORKS 

Of the dim hour are gathering o'er my sight ; 
And yet I fear not, for the God of Help 
Comes in that quiet darkness. It may soothe 
Thy woes, my mother ! if I tell thee now 
With what glad calmness I behold the veil 
Falling between me and the world, wherein 
My heart so ill hath rested. 

Elmina. — Thine ! 

XiMENA. — Rejoice 

For her that, when the garland of her life 
Was blighted, and the springs of hope were dried, 
Received her summons hence ; and had no time. 
Bearing the canker at the impatient heart. 
To wither ; sorrowing for that gift of Heaven, 
Which lent one moment of existence light 
That dimmed the rest for ever ! 

Elmina. — How is this ? 

My child, what mean'st thou 1 

XiMENA. — Mother, I have loved. 

And been beloved ! The sunbeam of an hour, 
Which gave life's hidden treasures to mine eye, 
As they lay shining in their secret founts, 
Went out and left them colourless. 'Tis past — 
And what remains on earth ? The rainbow mist 
Through which I gazed hath melted, and my sight 
Is cleared to look on all things as they are. 
But this is far too mournful. Life's dark gift 
Hath fallen too early and too cold upon me : 
Therefore I would go hence ! 

Elmina. — And thou hast loved 
Unknown 

XiMENA.— Oh ! pardon, pardon that I veiled 

My thoughts from thee ! But thou hadst woes enough. 



THE SIEGE OF VALENCIA 181 

And mine came o'er me when thy soul had need 
Of more than mortal strength. For I had scarce 
Given the deep consciousness that I was loved 
A treasure's place within my secret heart. 
When earth's brief joy went from me ! 

'Twas at mom 
I saw the wai-riors to their field go forth, 
And he — my chosen — was there amongst the rest, 
With his young glorious brow. I looked again : 
The strife grew dark beneath me — but his plume 
Waved free above the lances. Yet again — 
It had gone down ; and steeds were trampling o'er 
The spot to which mine eyes were riveted, 
Till blinded by the intenseness of their gaze ! 
And then— at last— I hurried to the gate, 
And met him there ! — I met him — on his shield. 
And with his cloven helm, and shivered sword, 
And dark hair steeped in blood ! They bore him past : 
Mother, I saw his face ! Oh ! such a death 
Works fearful changes on the fair of earth. 
The pride of woman's eye ! 

Elmina. — Sweet daughter, peace ! 

Wake not the dark remembrance ; for thy frame 

XiMENA. — There will be peace ere long. I shut my heart, 
Even as a tomb, o'er that lone silent grief. 
That I might spare it thee. — But now the hour 
Is come, when that which would have pierced thy soul 
Shall be its healing balm. Oh ! weep thou not. 
Save with a gentle sorrow. 

Elmina. — Must it be 1 

Art thou indeed to leave me 1 

XiMENA (exidtingly.) — Be thou glad ! 

I say, rejoice above thy favoured child ! 



182 DRAMATIC WORKS 

Joy for the soldier, when his field is fought ; 

Joy for the peasant when his vintage task 

Is closed at eve. — But most of all for her, 

Who, when her life had changed its glittering robes 

For the dull garb of sorrow, which doth cling 

So heavily around the journeyers on, 

Cast down its weight— and slept ! 

Elmina. — Alas ! thine eye 

Is wandering — yet how brightly ! Is this death. 
Or some high wondrous vision ?- Speak, my child ! 
How is it with thee now 1 

XiMENA {wildly.) — I see it still ! 

'Tis floating, like a glorious cloud on high. 
My father's banner ! Hear'st thou not a sound ] 
The trumpet of Castile ! Praise, praise to Heaven ! 
Now may the weary rest ! Be still ! Who calls 
The night so fearful ? 

(She dies.) 

Elmina. — No ! she is not dead ! 

Ximena ! — speak to me ! Oh yet a tone 

From that sweet voice, that I may gather in 

One more remembrance of its lovely sound. 

Ere the deep silence fall ! What, is all hushed ] — 

No, no ! — it cannot be ! How should we bear 

The dark misgivings of our souls, if Heaven 

Left not such beings with us ] But is this 

Her wonted look ]— too sad a quiet lies 

On its dim fearful beauty ! Speak, Ximena ! 

Speak ! My heai-t dies within me ! She is gone, 

With all her blessed smiles ! My child ! my child ! 

Where art thou ] — Where is that which answered me. 

From thy soft-shining eyes ? — Hush ! doth she move 1 



THE SIEGE OF VALENCIA 183 

One light lock seemed to tremble on her brow, 
As a pulse throbbed beneath ; — 'twas but the voice 
Of my despair that stirred it ! She is gone ! 

{Stu throws herself on the body. Gonzalez enters wounded.) 

Elmina {rising as he approaches.) — 

I must not now be scorned ! — No, not a look, 
A whisper of reproach ! Behold my woe ! — 
Thou canst not scorn me now ! 

Gonzalez. — Hast thou heard all ] 

Elmina. — Thy daughter on my bosom laid her head. 
And passed away to rest. Behold her there, 
Even such as death hath made her. 

Gonzalez {bending over Ximena's body.) — Thou art gone 
A little while before me, my child ! 
Why should the traveller weep to part with those 
That scarce an hour will reach their promised land, 
Ere he too cast his pilgrim staff away, 
And spread his couch beside them ] 

Elmina. — Must it be 

Henceforth enough that once a thing so fair 
Had its bright place amongst us 1 Is this all 
Left for the years to come I "We will not stay ! 
Earth's chain each hour grows weaker. 

Gonzalez {still gazing upon Ximena. — And thou art laid 
To slumber in the shadow, blessed child ! 
Of a yet stainless altar, and beside 
A sainted warrior's tomb ! Oh, fitting place 
For thee to yield thy pure heroic soul 
Back imto Him that gave it ! And thy cheek 
Yet smiles in its bright paleness ! 

Elmina. — Hadst thou seen 

The look with which she passed ! 



184 DRAMATIC WORKS 

Gonzalez {still bending over her.) — Why, 'tis almost 
Like joy to view thy beautiful repose ! 
The faded image of that perfect calm 
Floats, even as long forgotten music, back 
Into my weary heart. No wild dark spot 
On thy clear brow doth tell of bloody hands 
That quenched young life by violence ! We've seen 
Too much of horror, in one crowded hour. 
To weep for aught so gently gathered hence. 
— Oh ! man leaves other traces ! 

Elmina {suddenly starting.) — It returns 

On my bewildered soul ! Went ye not forth 
Unto the rescue ? And thou art here alone ! 
— Where are my sons ] 

Gonzalez {solemnly ) — We were too late ! 

Elmina. — Too late ! 

Hast thou naught else to tell me 1 

Gonzalez.— I brought back 

From that last field the banner of my sires, 
And my own death-wound. 

Elmina. — Thine ! 

Gonzalez. — Another hour 

Shall hush its throbs for ever. I go hence. 
And with me 

Elmina.— No ! Man could not lift his hands— 
Where hast thou left thy sons 1 

Gonzalez. — I have no sons. 

Elmina. — What hast thou said ? 

Gonzalez. — That now there lives not one 
To wear the glory of mine ancient house, 
When I am gone to rest. 

(Elmina throws herself on the ground, and speaks in a low hurried 
voice.) 



THE SIEGE OF VALENCIA 185 

Elmina. — In one brief hour all gone ! — and such a death ! 
I see their blood gush forth ! — their graceful heads ! 
— Take the dark vision from me, my God ! 
And such a death for them ! I was not there ! 
They were but mine in beauty and in joy, 
Not in that mortal anguish ! All, all gone ! — 
Why should I struggle more 1 What is this Power, 
Against whose might, on all sides pressing us, 
We strive with fierce impatience, which but lays 
Our own frail spirits prostrate ? 

(After a long pause.) 

Now I know 
Thy hand, my God ! — and they are soonest crushed 
That most withstand it ! I resist no more. 

{She rises.) 
A light, a light springs up from grief and death. 
Which with its solemn radiance doth reveal 
Why we have thus been tried. 

Gonzalez. — Then I may still 

Fix my last look on thee in holy love, 
Parting, but yet with hope ! 

Elmina {falling at his feet.) — Canst thou forgive 1 
Oh, I have driven the arrow to thy heart, 
That should have buried it within mine own. 
And borne the pang in silence ! I have cast 
Thy life's fair honour, in my wild despair. 
As an imvalued gem upon the waves. 
Whence thou hast snatched it back, to bear from earth, 
All stainless, on thy breast. Well hast thou done — 
But I — canst thou forgive ? 

Gonzalez. — Within this hour 

Tve stood upon that verge whence mortals fall. 



186 DRASIATIC WORKS 

And learned how 'tis with one whose sight grows dim, 
And whose foot trembles on the gulf's dark side. 
Death purifies all feeling : we will part 
In pity and in love. 

Elmina. — Death ! And thou too 

Art on thy way ! Oh, joy for thee, high heart ! 

Glory and joy for thee ! The day is closed, 

And well and nobly hast thou borne thyself 

Through its long battle-toils, though many swords 

Have entered thine own soul ! But on my head 

Recoil the fierce invokings of despair. 

And I am left far distanced in the race, 

The lonely one of earth ! Ay, this is just. 

I am not worthy that upon my breast 

In this, thine hour of victory, thou shouldst yield 

Thy spirit imto God. 

Gonzalez.— Thou art ! thou art ! 

Oh! a life's love, a heart's long faithfulness, 
Even in the presence of eternal things, 
Wearing their chastened beauty all undimmed, 
Assert their lofty claims ; and these are not 
For one dark hour to cancel ! We are here, 
Before that altar which received the vows 
Of our unbroken youth ; and meet it is 
For such a witness, in the sight of heaven, 
And in the face of death, whose shadowy arm 
Comes dim between us, to record the exchange 
Of our tried hearts' forgiveness. Who are they, 
That in one path have journeyed, needing not 
Forgiveness at its close 1 

( A citizen enters hastily.) 

Citizen. — The Moors ! the Moors ! 



THE SIEGE OF VALENCIA 187 

Gonzalez. — How ! is the city stormed ] 

righteous heaven ! for this I looked not yet. 
Hath all been done in vain 1 Why, then, 'tis time 
For prayer, and then to rest ! 

Citizen.— The sun shall set, 

And not a Christian voice be left for prayer, 
To-night, within Valencia. Koimd our walls 
The Payuim host is gathering for the assault. 
And we have none to guard them. 

Gonzalez. — Then my place 

Is here no longer. I had hoped to die 
Even by the altar and the sepulchre 
Of my brave sires ; but this was not to be. 
Give me my sword again, and lead me hence 
Back to the ramparts. I have yet an hour, 
And it hath still high duties. Now, my wife ! 
Thou mother of my children — of the dead — 
Whom I name unto thee in steadfast hope — 
Farewell ! 

Elmina. — No, not farewell ! My soul hath risen 
To mate itself with thine ; and by thy side. 
Amidst the hurling lances, I will stand, 
As one on whom a brave man's love hath been 
Wasted not utterly. 

Gonzalez. — I thank thee. Heaven ! 
That I have tasted of the awful joy 
Which thou hast given, to temper hours like this 
With a deep sense of Thee, and of thine ends 
In these dread visitings ! 

(To Elmina.) We will not part. 
But with the spirit's parting. 

Elmina. — One farewell 

To her, that, mantled with sad loveliness, 



188 DRAMATIC WORKS 

Doth slumber at our feet ! My blessed child ! 
Oh, in thy heart's affliction thou wert strong, 
And holy courage did pervade thy woe, 
As light the troubled waters ! Be at peace, 
Thou whose bright spirit made itself the soul 
Of all that were around thee ! And thy life 
Even then was struck and withering at the core ! 
Farewell ! thy parting look hath on me fallen, 
Even as a gleam of heaven, and I am now 
More like what thou hast been. My soul is hushed ; 
For a still sense of purer worlds hath sunk 
And settled on its depths with that last smile 
Which from thine eye shone forth. Thou hast not lived 
In vain ! My child, farewell ! 
Gonzalez. — Surely for thee 

Death had no sting, Ximena ! We are blest 

To learn one secret of the shadowy pass, 

From such an aspect's calmness. Yet once more 

I kiss thy pale young cheek, my broken flower ! 

In token of the undying love and hope 

Whose land is far away. [Exeunt. 



SCENE IX. 

The walls of the city. Hernandez : a few citizens gathered 
round him. 

Her. — Why, men have cast the treasures which their lives 
Had been worn down in gathering, on the pyre ; 
Ay, at their household hearths have lit the brand, 
Even from that shrine of quiet love to bear 
The flame which gave their temples and their homes 
In ashes to the winds ! They have done this. 



THE &1EGE OF VALENCIA 189 

Making a blasted void where once the sun 
Looked upon lovely dwellings ; and from earth 
Razing all record that on such a spot 
Childhood hath sprung, age faded, misery wept, 
And frail humanity knelt before her God : 
They have done this, in their free nobleness. 
Rather than see the spoiler's tread pollute 
Their holy places. Praise, high praise be theirs. 
Who have left man such lessons ! And these things, 
Made your own hills their witnesses ! The sky. 
Whose arch bends o'er you, and the seas wherein 
Your rivers pour their gold, rejoicing saw 
The altar and the birthplace and the tomb, 
And all memorials of man's heart and faith. 
Thus proudly honoured. Be ye not outdone 
By the departed ! Though the godless foe 
Be close upon us, we have power to snatch 
The spoils of victory from him. Be but strong ! 
A few bright torches and brief moments yet 
Shall baffle his flushed hope ; and we may die, 
Laughing him unto scorn. Rise, follow me ! 
And thou Valencia ! triimiph in thy fate — 
The ruin, not the yoke ; and make thy towere 
A beacon unto Spain ! 

Citizens. — We'll follow thee ! 

Alas ! for our fair city, and the homes 
Wherein we reared our children ! But away ! 
The Moor shall plant no Crescent o'er our fanes ! 

Voice {from a tower on the walls.) — 
Succours ! — Castile ! Castile ! 

Citizens {rushing to the spot.) — It is even so ! 
Now blessing be to heaven, for we ai'e saved ! 
Castile! Castile! 



190 DEAMATIC WORKS 

Voice from the tower. — Line after line of spears. 
Lance after lance, upon the horizon's verge, 
Like festal lights from cities bursting up. 
Doth skirt the plain. In faith, a noble host ! 

Another Voice. — The Moor hath turned him from our 
walls, to front 
The advancing might of Spain ! 

Citizens (shouting.)— Custile ! Castile ! 

(Gonzalez enters, supported by Elmina and a citizen.) 

Gonzalez. — What shouts of joy are these? 

Hernandez. — Hail, chieftain ! hail ! 

Thus, even in death, 'tis given thee to receive 
The conqueror's crown ! Behold, our God hath heard, 
And armed himself with vengeance. Lo ! they come — 
The lances of Castile ! 

Gonzalez. — I knew, I knew 

Thou wouldst not utterly, my God ! forsake 
Thy servant in his need ! My blood and tears 
Have not sunk vainly to the attesting earth. 
Praise to Thee, thanks and praise, that I have lived 
To see this hour ! 

Elmina. — And I, too, bless thy name. 

Though thou hast proved me unto agony ! 

God ! — thou God of chastening ! 
Voice from the tower. — They move on ! 

1 see the royal banner in the air. 
With its emblazoned towers ! 

Gonzalez. — Go, bring ye forth 

The banner of the Cid, and plant it here. 
To stream above me, for an answering sign 
That the good Cross doth hold its lofty place 
Within Valencia still. What see you now ] 



THE SIEGE OF VALENCIA 191 

Hernandez. — I see a kingdom's might upon its path, 
Moving in terrible magnificence 
Unto revenge and victory. With the flash 
Of knightly swords, up-springing from the ranks 
As meteors from a still and gloomy deep, 
And with a waving of ten thousand plumes, 
Like a land's hai'vest in the autumn wind. 
And Avith fierce light, which is not of the sun, 
But flung from sheets of steel — it comes, it comes, 
The vengeance of our God ! 

Gonzalez. — I hear it now. 

The heavy tread of mail-clad multitudes. 
Like thunder-showers upon the forest paths. 

Her. — Ay, earth knows well the omen of that sound ; 
And she hath echoes, like a sepulchre's, 
Pent in her secret hollows, to respond 
Unto the step of death ! 

Gonzalez.— Hark ! how the wind 

Swells proudly with the battle-march of Spain ? 
Now the heart feels its power ! A little while 
Grant me to live, my God ! What pause is this ? 

Hernandez. — A deep and dreadful one. The serried files 
Level their spears for combat ; now the hosts 
Look on each other in their brooding wrath. 
Silent, and face to face. 

( Voices heard without, chanting. ) 
DIRGE 

Calm on the bosom of thy God, 

Fair spirit ! rest thee now ! 
Even while with ours thy footsteps trode 

His seal was on thy brow. 



192 DRAMATIC WORKS 

Dust, to its narrow house beneath ! 

Soul, to its place on high ! 
They that have seen thy look in death 

No more may fear to die. 

Elmina {to Gonzalez) — 

It is the death-hymn o'er thy daughter's bier ! 

But I am calm ; and even like gentle winds. 

That music, through the stillness of my heart, 

Sends mournful peace. 
Gonzalez. — Oh ! well those solemn tones 

Accord with such an hour, for all her life 

Breathed of a hero's soul ! 

( A sound of trumpets and shouting from the plain. ) 

Heb.— Now, now they close ! Hark ! what a dull dead sound 
Is in the Moorish war-shout ! I have known 
Such tones prophetic oft. The shock is given — 
Lo ! they have placed their shields before their hearts, 
And lowered their lances with the streamers on. 
And on their steeds bent forward. God for Spain ! 
The first bright sparks of battle have been struck 
From spear to spear, across the gleaming field. 
There is no sight on which the blue sky looks 
To match with this ! 'Tis not the gallant crests, 
Nor banners with their glorious blazonry ; 
The very nature and high soul of man 
Doth now reveal itself ! 

Gonzalez. — Oh, raise me up, 

That I may look upon the noble scene ! — 

It will not be ! — That this dull mist would pass 

A moment from my sight ! Whence rose that shout, 

As in fierce triumph 1 



THE SIEGE OF VALENCIA 198 

Hernandez (clasping his hands.) — Must I look on this ] 
The banner sinks — 'tis taken ! 

Gonzalez. — Whose ? 

Hernandez. — Castile's ! 

Gonzalez. — God of Battles ! 

Elmina.— Calm thy noble heart ; 

Thou wilt not pass away without thy meed. 
Nay, rest thee on my bosom. 

Hernandez. — Cheer thee yet ! 

Our knights have spurred to rescue. There is now 
A whirl, a mingling of all terrible things, 
Yet more appalling than the fierce distinctness 
Wherewith they moved before. I see tall plumes 
All wildly tossing o'er the battle's tide, 
Swayed by the wrathful motion, and the press 
Of desperate men, as cedar boughs by storms. 
Many a white streamer there is dyed with blood, 
Many a false corslet broken, many a shield 
Pierced through. Now, shout for Santiago, shout ! 
Lo ! javelins with a moment's brightness cleave 
The thickening dust, and barded steeds go down 
With their helmed riders ! Who, but One, can tell 
How spirits part amidst that fearful rush 
And trampling-on of furious multitudes ] 

GoN. — Thou'rt silent ! See'st thou more ] My soul grows dark. 

Hernandez. — And dark and troubled, as an angry sea. 
Dashing some gallant armament in scorn 
Against its rocks, is all on which I gaze. 
I can but tell thee how tall spears are crossed, 
And lances seem to shiver, and proud helms 
To lighten with the stroke. But round the spot 
Where, like a storm-felled mast, our standard sank. 
The heart of battle burns. 

B N 



194 DRAMATIC WORKS 

Gonzalez. — Where is that spot ] 

Hernandez. — It is beneath the lonely tuft of palms, 

That lift their green heads o'er the tumult still, 

In calm and stately grace. 
Gonzalez.— ^ere, didst thou say ] 

Then God is with us, and we must prevail ! 

For on that spot they died : my children's blood 

Calls on the avenger thence ! 
Elmina. — They perished there ! 

And the bright locks that waved so joyously 

To the free winds, lay trampled and defiled 

Even on that place of death ! Merciful ! 

Hush the dark thought within me ! 
Hernandez {with sudden exultation.) — Who is he. 

On the white steed, and with the castled helm, 

And the gold-broidered mantle, which doth float 

Even like a sunny cloud above the fight ; 

And the pale cross, which from his breast-plate gleams 

With star-like radiance ? 
Gonzalez {eagerly.) — Didst thou say the cross ? 
Her. — On his mailed bosom shines a broad white cross. 

And his long plumage through the darkening air 

Streams like a snow-wreath. 
Gonzalez. — That should be — 
Hernandez.— The king ! 

Was it not told to us how he sent, of late, 

To the Cid's tomb, even for the silver cross. 

Which he who slumbers there was wont to bind 

O'er his brave heart in fight 1* 
Gonzalez {springing up joyfully.) — My king ! my king ! 

* This circumstance is recorded of King Don Alfonso, the last of 
that name, " because of the faith which he had, that through it he 
should obtain the victory."— Southby's Chronicle of the Cid. 



THE SIEGE OF VALENCIA 195 

Now all good saints for Spain ! My noble king ! 
And thou art there ! That I might look once more 
Upon thy face ! But yet I thank thee, Heaven ! 
That thou hast sent him, from my dying hands 
Thus to receive his city ! 

(He sinks bach into Elmina's arms.) 

Hernandez. — He hath cleared 

A pathway midst the combat, and the light 
Follows his charge through yon close living mass, 
Even as a gleam on some proud vessel's wake 
Along the stormy waters ! 'Tis redeemed — 
The castled banner ; it is flimg once more 
In joy and glory to the sweeping winds ! 
There seems a wavering through the Paynim hosts — 
Castile doth press them sore — now, now rejoice ! 

Gonzalez. — What hast thou seen ] 

Hernandez. — Abdullah falls ! He falls ! 

The man of blood ! — the spoiler !— he hath sunk 
In our king's path ! Well hath that royal sword 
Avenged thy cause, Gonzalez ! 

They give way. 
The Crescent's van is broken ! On the hills, 
And the dark pine-woods, may the Infidel 
Call vainly, in his agony of fear. 
To cover him from vengeance ! Lo ! they fly : 
They of the forest and the wilderness 
Are scattered, even as leaves upon the wind. 
Woe to the sons of Afric ! Let the plains, 
And the vine moimtains, and Hesperian seas, 
Take their dead imto them ! — that blood shall wash 
Our soil from stains of bondage. 

Gonzalez {attempting to raise himself.) — Set me free ! 



196 DRAMATIC WORKS 

Come with me forth, for I must greet my king 

After his battle-field. 
Hernandez.— Oh, blest in death ! 

Chosen of heaven, farewell ! Look on the Cross, 

And part from earth in peace. 
Gonzalez. — Now, charge once more ! 

God is with Spain, and Santiago's sword 

Is reddening all the air ! Shout forth " Castile !" 

The day is ours ! I go ; but fear ye not ! 

For Afric's lance is broken, and my sons 

Have won their first good field ! 
{He dies.) 
Elmina. — Look on me yet ! 

Speak one farewell, my husband ! — must thy voice 

Enter my soul no more 1 Thine eye is fixed. 

Now is my life uprooted — and 'tis well. 

(A sound of triumphant music is heard, and many Castilian 
knights and soldiers enter.) 

A CiT. — Hush your triumphal sounds, although ye come 
Even as deliverers ! But the noble dead, 
And those that mourn them, claim from human hearts 
Deep sUent reverence. 

Elmina {rising proudly.) — No, swell forth, Castile ! 
Thy trumpet-music, till the seas and heavens 
And the deep hills give every stormy note 
Echoes to ring through Spain. How, know ye not 
That all arrayed for triumph, crowned and robed 
With the strong spirit which hath saved the land, 
Even now a conqueror to his rest is gone ? 
Fear not to break that sleep, but let the wind 
Swell on with victory's shout ! — He will not hear — 
Hath earth a sound more sad ] 



THE SIEGE OP VALENCIA 197 

Hernandez. — Lift ye the dead. 

And bear him with the banner of his race 
Waving above him proudly, as it waved 
O'er the Cid's battles, to the tomb wherein 
His warrior sires are gathered. 

{TTuy raise the hodif.) 

Elmina. — Ay, 'tis thus 

Thou shouldst be honoured ! And I follow thee 

With an unfaltering and a lofty step, 

To that last home of glory. She that wears 

In her deep heart the memory of thy love, 

Shall thence draw strength for all things ; till the God 

Whose hand arotmd her hath unpeopled earth. 

Looking upon her still and chastened soid. 

Call it once more to thine ! 

(To the Castiliatu.) Awake, I say ! 

Tambour and trumpet, wake ! And let the land 
Through all her mountains hear your funeral peal. 
So should a hero pass to his repose. 

(Curtain folk.) 



\ 



SEBASTIAN OF POETUGAL 

A DRAMATIC FRAGMENT 



DKAMATIS PEKSON^ 

Sebastian, King of Portugal. 

Gonzalez His friend. 

Zamor A young Arab. 

SviiVBiRA, A courtier. 



SEBASTIAN OF POETUGAL 



SCENE I. 

The sea-shore near Lisbon. Sebastian, Gonzalez, Zamor. 

Seb. — With what young life and fragrance in its breath 
My native air salutes me ! From the groves 
Of citron, and the moimtains of the vine. 
And thy majestic tide thus foaming on 
In power and freedom o'er its golden sands, 
Fair stream, my Tajo ! youth, with all its glow 
And pride of feeling, through my soul and frame 
Again seems rushing, as these noble waves 
Past their bright shores flow joyously. Sweet land, 
My own, my fathers' land, of simny skies 
And orange bowers ! — Oh ! is it not a dream 
That thus I tread thy soil 1 Or do I wake 
From a dark dream but now ? Gonzalez, say. 
Doth it not bring the flush of early life 
Back on the awakening spirit, thus to gaze 
On the far-sweeping river, and the shades 
Which, in their undulating motion, speak 
Of gentle winds amidst bright waters bom. 



202 DRAMATIC WORKS 

After the fiery skies and dark-red sands 
Of the lone desert 1 Time and toil must needs 
Have changed our mien ; but this, our blessed land, 
Hath gained but richer beauty since we bade 
Her glowing shores farewell. Seems it not thus ? 
Thy brow is clouded. 

Gonzalez. — To mine eye the scene 

Wears, amidst all its quiet loveliness, 

A hue of desolation ; and the calm, 

The solitude and silence which pervade 

Earth, air, and ocean, seem belonging less 

To peace than sadness. We have proudly stood 

Even on this shore, beside the Atlantic wave, 

When it hath looked not thus. 

Sebastian. — Ay, now thy soul 

Is in the past ! Oh no ! it looked not thus 

When the morn smiled upon owe thousand sails, 

And the winds blew for Afric. How that hour. 

With all its hues of glory, seems to burst 

Again upon my vision ! I behold 

The stately barks, the arming, the array, 

The crests, the banners of my chivalry. 

Swayed by the sea-breeze till their motion showed 

Like joyous hfe ! How the proud billows foamed, 

And the oars flashed like lightnings of the deep. 

And the tall spears went glancing to the sun. 

And scattering round qmck rays, as if to guide 

The valiant unto fame ! Ay, the blue heaven 

Seemed for that noble scene a canopy 

Scarce too majestic, while it rang afar 

To peals of warlike sound. My gallant bands ! 

Where are you now ] 

Gonzalez. — Bid the wide desert tell 



SEBASTIAN OF PORTUGAL 203 

Where sleep its dead ! To mightier hosts than them 
Hath it lent graves ere now ; and on its breast 
Is room for nations yet. 

Sebastian. — It cannot be 

That all have perished ! Many a noble man, 
Made captive on that war-field, may have burst 
His bonds like ours. Cloud not this fleeting hour, 
Which to my soul is as the fotmtain's draught 
To the parched lip of fever, with a thought 
So darkly sad ! 

GrONZALEZ. — Oh never, never cast 

That deep remembrance from you ! When once more 

Your place is midst earth's rulers, let it dwell 

Around you, as the shadow of your throne, 

Wherein the land may rest. My king ! this hour 

(Solemn as that which to the voyager's eye, 

In far and dim perspective, doth imfold 

A new and boiindless world) may haply be 

The last in which the courage and the power 

Of truth's high voice may reach you. Who may stand 

As man to man, as friend to friend, before 

The ancesti-al throne of monarchs ? Or perchance 

Toils, such as tame the loftiest to endurance. 

Henceforth may wait us here. But howsoe'er 

This be, the lessons now from suflFerings past 

Befit all time, all change. Oh ! by the blood. 

The free, the generous blood of Portugal, 

Shed on the sands of Afric — by the names 

Which, with their centuries of high renown. 

There died, extinct for ever — let not those 

Who stood in hope and glory at our side 

Here, on this very sea-beach, whence they passed 

To fall, and leave no trophy — let them not 



204 DRAMATIC WORKS 

Be soon, be e'er forgotten ! for their fate 
Bears a deep warning in its awfulness, 
Whence power might well leam wisdom. 
Sebastian. — Thinkst thou, then. 

That years of suff'rance and captivity, 
Such as have bowed down eagle hearts ere now. 
And made high energies their spoil, have passed 
So Hghtly o'er my spirit 1 It is not thus ! 
The things thou wouldst recall are not of those 
To be forgotten. But my heart hath still 
A sense, a bounding pulse for hope and joy ; 
And it is joy which whispers in the breeze 
Sent from my own free mountains. Brave Gonzalez ! 
Thou'rt one to make thy fearless heart a shield 
Unto thy friend, in the dark stormy hour 
When knightly crests are trampled, and proud helms 
Cleft, and strong breastplates shivered. Thou art one 
To infuse the soul of gallant fortitude 
Into the captive's bosom, and beguile 
The long slow march beneath the burning noon 
With lofty patience ; but for those quick bursts, 
Those buoyant eflforts of the soul to cast 
Her weight of care to earth, those brief delights 
Whose source is in a sunbeam, or a sound 
Which stirs the blood, or a young breeze, whose wing 
Wanders in chainless joy; for things like these 
Thou hast no sympathies. And thou, my Zamor, 
Art wrapt in thought. I welcome thee to this, 
The kingdom of my fathers. Is it not 
A goodly heritage ? 
Zamob. — The land is fair ; 

But he, the archer of the wilderness, 
Beholdeth not the palms beneath whose shade 



SEBASTIAN OF PORTUGAL 205 

His tents are scattered, and his camels rest ; 
And therefore is he sad ! 

Sebastian. — Thou must not pine 

With that sick yearning of the impatient heart, 

Which makes the exile's life one fevered dream 

Of skies and hills and voices far away, 

And faces wearing the familiar hues 

Lent by his native sunbeams. I have known 

Too much of this, and would not see another 

Thus daily die. If it be so with thee, 

My gentle Zamor, speak. Behold, our bark 

Yet, with her white sails catching sxmset's glow. 

Lies within signal-reach. If it be thus, 

Then fare thee well — farewell, thou brave and true 

And generous friend ! How often is our path 

Crossed by some being whose bright spirit sheds 

A passing gladness o'er it, but whose course 

Leads down another current, never more 

To blend with ours ! Yet far within our souls, 

Amidst the invshing of the busy world, 

Dwells many a secret thought, which lingers yet 

Arovmd that image. And even so, kind Zamor ! 

Shalt thou be long remembered. 

Zamor. — By the fame 

Of my brave sire, whose deeds the warrior tribes 

TeU round the desert's watchfire, at the hour 

Of silence and of coolness and of stars, 

I will not leave thee ! 'Twas in such an hour 

The dreams of rest were on me, and I lay 

Shrouded in slumber's mantle, as within 

The chambers of the dead. Who saved me then. 

When the pard, soimdless as the midnight, stole 

Soft on the sleeper ] Whose keen dart transfixed 



206 DRAMATIC WORKS 

The monarch of the solitudes 1 I woke, 
And saw thy javelin crimsoned with his blood. 
Thou, my deliverer ! and my heart even then 
Called thee its brother. 

Sebastian. — For that gift of life 

With one of tenfold price, even freedom's self. 
Thou hast repaid me well. 

Zamob. — Then bid me not 

Forsake thee ! Though my fathers' tents may rise 

At times upon my spirit, yet my home 

Shall be amidst thy moimtains, prince ! and thou 

Shalt be my chief, until I see thee robed 

With all thy power. When thou canst need no more 

Thine Arab's faithful heart and vigorous arm, 

From the green regions of the setting sun 

Then shall the wanderer turn his steps, and seek 

His Orient wilds again. 

Sebastian. — Be near me still, 

And ever, my warrior ! I shall stand 
Again amidst my hosts a mail-clad king, 
Begirt with spears and banners, and the pomp 
And the proud sounds of battle. Be thy place 
Then at my side. When doth a monarch cease 
To need true hearts, bold hands ? Not in the field 
Of arms, nor on the throne of power, nor yet 
The couch of sleep. Be our friend, we will not part. 

Gonzalez. — Be all thy friends thus faithful, for even yet 
They may be fiercely tried. 

Sebastian. — I doubt them not. 

Even now my heart beats high to meet their welcome. 
Let us away ! 

Gonzalez. — Yet hear once more, my liege. 

The humblest pilgrim, from his distant shrine 



SEBASTIAN OF PORTUGAL 207 

RetTiming, finds not even his peasant home 
Unchanged amidst its vineyards. Some loved face, 
Which made the sunlight of his lowly board, 
Is touched by sickness ; some familiar voice 
Greets him no more ; and shall not fate and time 
Have done their work, since last we parted hence. 
Upon an empire ] Ay, within those years. 
Hearts from their ancient worship have fallen off". 
And bowed before new stars ; high names have sunk 
From their supremacy of place, and others 
Gone forth, and made themselves the mighty sounds 
At which thrones tremble. Oh ! be slow to trust 
Even those to whom your smiles were wont to seem 
As light is unto flowers. Search well the depths 
Of bosoms in whose keeping you would shrine 
The secret of your state. Storms pass not by 
Leaving earth's face vmchanged. 

Sebastian. — Whence didst thou learn 

The cold distrust which casts so deep a shadow 
O'er a most noble nature ? 

Gonzalez. — Life hath been 

My stem and only teacher. I have known 

Vicissitudes in all things, but the most 

In himian hearts. Oh, yet awhile tame down 

That royal spirit, till the hour be come 

When it may burst its bondage ! On thy brow 

The suns of burning climes have set their seal, 

And toil and years and perils have not passed 

O'er the bright aspect and the ardent eye 

As doth a breeze of summer. Be that change 

The mask beneath whose shelter thou may'st read 

Men's thoughts, and veil thine own. 

Sebastian.— Am I thus changed 



208 DRAMATIC WORKS 

From all I was 1 And yet it needs must be, 

Since even my soid hath caught another hue 

From its long sufferings. Did I not array 

The gallant flower of Lusian chivalry, 

And lead the mighty of the land to pour 

Destruction on the Moslem ] I return, 

And as a fearless and a trusted friend, 

Bring, from the realms of my captivity, 

An Arab of the desert ! — But the sun 

Hath sunk below the Atlantic. Let us hence. 

Gonzalez, fear me not. ^Exeunt. 



SCENE XL 
A street in Lisbon illuminated. Many citizens. 

1st Citizen. — In sooth, our city wears a goodly mien, 
With her far-blazing fanes, and festive lamps 
Shining from aU her marble palaces, 
Countless as heaven's fair stars. The humblest lattice 
Sends forth its radiance. How the sparkling waves 
Fling back the light ! 

2d Citizen. — Ay, tis a gallant show ; 

And one which serves, like others, to conceal 
Things which must not be told. 

3d Citizen. — What wouldst thou say? 

2d Cit. — That which may scarce, in perilous times like these, 
Be said with safety. Hast thou looked within 
Those stately palaces 1 Were they but peopled 
With the high race of warlike nobles, once 
Their princely lords, think'st thou, good friend, that now 



SEBASTIAN OP PORTUGAL 209 

They would be glittering with this hollow pomp 

To greet a conqueror's entrance ? 
3d Citizen. — Thou say'st well. 

None but a land forsaken of its chiefs 

Had been so lost and won. 
4th Citizen. — The lot is cast ; 

We have but to yield. Hush ! for some strangers come ! 

Now, friends, beware. 
1st Citizen. — Did the king pass this way 

At morning, with his train ? 
2d Citizen. — Ay : saw you not 

The long and rich procession 1 

(Sebastian enters, with Gonzalez and Zamor.) 

Sebastian {to Gonzalez.) — This should be 

The night of some high festival. Even thus 
My royal city to the skies sent up. 
From her illumined fanes and towers, a voice 
Of gladness, welcoming our first return 
From Afric's coast. Speak thou, Gonzalez ! ask 
The cause of this rejoicing. To my heart 
Deep feelings rush, so mingling and so fast. 
My voice perchance might tremble. 

GON ZA LEZ. — Citizen, 

What festal night is this, that all your streets 
Are thronged and glittering thus 1 

IsT Citizen, — Hast thou not heard 

Of the king's entry, in triumphal pomp. 
This very morn 1 

Gonzalez. — The king ! triumphal pomp ! — 
Thy words are daik. 

Sebastian. — Speak yet again : mine ears 
Ring with strange soxmds. Again ! 

a 



210 DRAMATIC WORKS 

1st Citizen. — I said, the king, 

Philip of Spain, and now of Portugal, 

This morning entered with a conqueror's train 

Our city's royal palace : and for this 

We hold our festival. 

SEBASTIA.N {in a low voice.) — Thou saidst — the king ! 
His name ? — I heard it not. 

1st Citizen. — Philip of Spain. 

Sebastian. — Philip of Spain ! We slumber, till aroused 
By th' earthquake's bursting shock. Has there not fallen 
A sudden darkness? All things seem to float 
Obscurely round me. Now 'tis past. The streets 
Are blazing with strange fire. Go, quench those lamps ; 
They glare upon me till my very brain 
Grows dizzy, and doth whirl. How dare ye thus 
Light up your shrines for him 1 

Gonzalez. — Away, away ! 

This is no time, no scene 

Sebastian. — Philip of Spain ! 

How name ye this fair land 1 Why, is it not 
The free, the chivalrous Portugal 1 — the land 
By the proud ransom of heroic blood 
Won from the Moor of old 1 Did that red stream 
Sink to the earth, and leave no fiery current 
In the veins of noble men, that so its tide, 
Full swelling at the sound of hostile steps. 
Might be a kingdom's barrier 1 

2d Citizen. — That high blood 

Which should have been our strength, profusely shed 
By the rash King Sebastian, bathed the plains 
Of fatal Alcazar, Our monarch's guilt 
Hath brought this ruin down. 

Sebastian. — Must this be heard 



SEBASTIAN OF PORTUGAL 211 

And borne, and unchastised 1 Man, darest thou stand 

Before me face to face, and thus arraign 

Thy sovereign 1 
Zamor (aside to Sebattian.) — Shall I lift the Bword, my prince, 

Against thy foes 1 
Gonzalez.— Be still, or all is lost. 
2d Cit. — I dare speak that which all men think and know. 

'Tis to Sebastian, and his waste of life 

And power and treasure, that we owe these bonds. 
3d Cit. — Talk not of bonds. May our new monarch rule 

The weary land in peace ! But who art thou ? 

Whence com'stthou, haughty stranger, that these things, 

Known to all nations, should be new to thee 1 
Seb. (wildly.) — I come from regions where the cities lie 

In ruins, not in chains ! 

(Exit, with Gonzalez and Zamor.) 

2d Citizen. — He wears the mien 

Of one that hath commanded ; yet his looks 
And words were strangely wild. 

1st Citizen. — Marked you his fierce 

And haughty gesture, and the flash that broke 
From his dark eye, when King Sebastian's name 
Became our theme 1 

2d Citizen. — Trust me, there's more in this 

Than may be lightly said. These are no times 
To breathe men's thoughts in the open face of heaven 
And ear of multitudes. They that would speak 
Of monarchs and their deeds, should keep within 
Their quiet homes. Come, let us hence ; and then 
We'll commime of this stranger. 



212 DRAMATIC WORKS 

SCENE III. 

The portico of a palace. Sebastian, Gonzalez, Zamor. 

Seb. — Withstand me not ! I tell thee that my soul, 
With all its passionate energies, is roused 
Unto that fearful strength which must have way, 
Even like the elements in their hour of might 
And mastery o'er creation. 

Gonzalez. — But they wait 

That hour in silence. Oh ! be calm awhile — 
Thine is not come. My king 

Sebastian. — I am no king, 

WhUe in the very palace of my sires, 
Ay, where mine eyes first drank the glorious light, 
Where my soul's thrilHng echoes first awoke 
To the high sound of earth's immortal names, 
The usurper lives and reigns. I am no king 
Until I cast him thence. 

Zamor. — Shall not thy voice 

Be as a trumpet to the awakening land ? 

Will not the bright swords flash like sunbursts forth 

When the brave hear their chief] 

Gonzalez. — Peace, Zamor ! peace ! 

Child of the desert, what hast thou to do 
With the calm hour of counsel 1 

Monarch, pause : 
A kingdom's destiny should not be the sport 
Of passion's reckless winds. There is a time 
When men, in very weariness of heart 
And careless desolation, tamed to yield 



SEBASTIAN OF PORTUGAL 213 

By misery strong as death, will lay their souls 

Even at the conqueror's feet — as nature sinks, 

After long torture, into cold and dull 

And heavy sleep. But comes there not an hour 

Of fierce atonement ] Ay ! the slumberer wakes 

With gathered strength and vengeance ; and the sense 

And the remembrance of his agonies 

Are in themselves a power, whose fearful path 

Is like the path of ocean, when the heavens 

Take off its interdict. Wait, then, the hour 

Of that high impvdse. 

Sebastian. — Is it not the sun 

Whose radiant bursting through the embattled clouds 
Doth make it mom ? The hour of which thou speak'st. 
Itself, with all its glory, is the work 
Of some commanding nature, which doth bid 
The sullen shades disperse. Away !— even now 
The land's high hearts, the fearless and the true. 
Shall know they have a leader. Is not this 
The mansion of mine own, mine earliest friend 
Sylveira 1 

Gonzalez. — Ay, its glittering lamps too weU 
Illume the stately vestibule to leave 
Our sight a moment's doubt. He ever loved 
Such pageantries. 

Sebastian. — His dwelling thus adorned 

On such a night ! Yet will I seek him here. 
He must be faithful, and to him the first 
My tale shall be revealed. A sudden chUl 
Falls on my heart ; and yet I will not wrong 
My friend with d\ill suspicion. He hath been 
Linked all too closely with mine inmost sovd. 
' And what have I to lose 1 



214 DRAMATIC WORKS 

Gonzalez. — Is their blood naught 

Who without hope will follow where thou leadest, 

Even unto death 1 
Sebastian. — Was that a brave man's voice ? 

Warrior and friend ! how long, then, hast thou learned 

To hold thy blood thiis dear 1 
Gonzalez. — Of mine, mine own 

Think'st thou I spoke ? When all is shed for thee 

Thou'lt know me better. 
Sebas. {entering the palace.) — For a while farewell. lExit. 
GoN. — Thus princes lead men's hearts. Come, follow me ; 

And if a home is left me still, brave Zamor ! 

There will I bid thee welcome. lExeunL 



SCENE lY. 
A hall teithin the palace. Sebastian and Sylveira. 

Sylveira. — Whence art thou, stranger] what wouldst thou 
with me 1 
There is a fiery wildness in thy mien 
Startling and almost fearful. 

Sebastian. — From the stem 

And vast and desolate wilderness, whose lord 

Is the fierce lion, and whose gentlest tVind 

Breathes of the tomb, and whose dark children make 

The bow and spear their law, men bear not back 

That smilingness of aspect, wont to mask 

The secrets of their spirits midst the stir • 



SEBASTIAN OF PORTUGAL 216 

Of courts and cities. I have looked on scenes 

Boundless and strange and terrible ; I have known 

Sufferings which are not in the shadowy scope 

Of wild imagination ; and these things 

Have stamped me with their impress. Man of peace. 

Thou look'st on one familiar with the extremes 

Of grandeur and of misery. 
Sylveira. — Stranger, speak 

Thy name and pui-pose briefly, for the time 

111 suits these mysteries. I must hence ; to-night 

I feast the lords of Spain. 
Sebastian. — Is that a task 

For King Sebastian's friend 1 ' 

Sylveira. — Sebastian's friend ! 

That name hath lost its meaning. WiU the dead 

Rise from their silent dwellings to upbraid 

The hving for their mirth 1 The grave sets boimds 

Unto all human friendship. 
Sebastian. — On the plain 

Of Alcazar full many a stately flower, 

The pride and crown of some high house, was laid 

Low in the dust of Afric ; but of these 

Sebastian was not one. 
Sylveira. — I am not skilled 

To deal with men of mystery. Take, then, off 

The strange dark scrutiny of thine eye from mine. 

What mean'st thou 1 Speak ! 
Sebastian.— Sebastian died not there. 

I read no joy in that cold doubting mien. 

Is not thy name Sylveira ? 
Sylveira. — Ay. 
Sebastian. — Why, then, 

Be glad ! I tell thee that Sebastian lives ! 



216 DRAMATIC WORKS 

Think thou on this — he lives ! Should he return — 

For he may yet return— and find the friend 

In whom he trusted with such perfect trust 

As should be Heaven's alone — mark'st thou my words ?- 

Should he then find this man, not girt and armed. 

And watching o'er the heritage of his lord, 

But, reckless of high fame and loyal faith. 

Holding luxurious revels with his foes. 

How would thou meet his glance 1 

Sylveira. — As I do thine, 

Keen though it be, and proud. 

Sebastian. — Why, thou dost quail 

Before it ! even as if the burning eye 

Of the broad sun pursued thy shrinking soul 

Through all its depths. 

Sylveira. — Away ! He died not there 1 

He should have died there, with the chivalry 
And strength and honour of his kingdom, lost 
By his impetuous rashness. 

Sebastian. — This from thee ? 

Who hath given power to falsehood, that one gaze 
At its unmasked and withering mien, should blight 
High souls at once 'i I wake. And this from thee] 
There are whose eyes discern the secret springs 
Which lie beneath the desert, and the gold 
And gems within earth's caverns, far below 
The everlasting hills : but who hath dared 
To dream that heaven's most awful attribute 
Invested his mortality, and to boast 
That through its inmost folds his glance could read 
One heart, one human heart ? Why, then, to love 
And trust is but to lend a traitor arms 
Of keenest temper and unerring aim. 



SEBASTIAN OP PORTUGAL 217 

Wherewith to pierce our souls. But thou, beware ! 
Sebastian lives ! 

Sylveira. — If it be so, and thou 

Art of his followers still, then bid him seek 
Far in the wilds, which gave one sepulchre 
To his proud hosts, a kingdom and a home ; 
For none is left him here. 

Sebastian. — This is to live 

An age of wisdom in an hour ! The man 
Whose empire, as in scorn, o'erpassed the bounds 
Even of the infinite deep ; whose Orient realms 
Lay bright beneath the morning, while the clouds 
Were brooding in their sxmset mantle still 
O'er his majestic regions of the West; 
This heir of far dominion shall return, 
And in the very city of his birth 
Shall find no home ! Ay, I will tell him this. 
And he will answer that the tale is false, 
False as a traitor's hollow words of love ; 
And that the stately dwelling, in whose halls 
We commune now — a friend's, a monarch's gift. 
Unto the chosen of his heart, Sylveira, 
Shovdd yield him still a welcome. 

Sylveira. — Fare thee well ! 

I may not pause to hear thee, for thy words 
Are full of danger, and of snares, perchance 
Laid by some treacherous foe. But all in vain. 
I mock thy wiles to scorn. 

Sebastian.— Ha ! ha ! The snake 

Doth pride himself in his distorted cunning, 
Deeming it wisdom. Nay, thou go'st not thus. 
My heart is bursting, and I will be heard. 
What ! know'st thou not my spirit was bom to hold 



218 DRAMATIC WORKS 

Dominion over thine 1 Thou shalt not cast 

Those bonds thus lightly from thee. Stand thou there, 

And tremble in the presence of thy lord ! 

Sylveira. — This is all madness. 

Sebastian. — Madness ! no — I say 

'Tis reason starting from her sleep, to feel 
And see and know, in all their cold distinctness, 
Things which come o'er her as a sense of pain 
0' the sudden wakes the dreamer. Stay thee yet ; 
K Be still. Thou'rt used to smile and to obey ; 

Ay, and to weep. I have seen thy tears flow fast. 

As from the fulness of a heart o'ercharged 

With loyal love. Oh ! never, never more 

Let tears or smiles be trusted ! When thy king 

Went forth on his disastrous enterprise, 

Upon thy bed of sickness thou wast laid, 

And he stood o'er thee with the look of one 

Who leaves a dying brother, and his eyes 

Were filled with tears like thine. No ! not like thine : 

His bosom knew no falsehood, and he deemed 

Thine clear and stainless as a warrior's shield, 

Wherein high deeds and noble forms alone 

Are brightly imaged forth. 

Sylveira. — What now avail 
These recollections? 

Sebastiak. — What ! I have seen thee shrink, 

As a murderer from the eye of light, before me : 

I have earned (how dearly and how bitterly 

It matters not, but I have earned at last) 

Deep knowledge, fearful wisdom. Now, begone ! 

Hence to thy guests, and fear not, though arraigned 

Even of Sebastian's friendship. Make his scorn 

(For he will scorn thee as a crouching slave 



SEBASTIAN OP PORTUGAL 219 

By all high hearts is scorned) thy right, thy charter 

Unto vile safety. Let the secret voice. 

Whose low upbraidings will not sleep within thee, 

Be as a sign, a token of thy claim 

To all such guerdons as are showered on traitors. 

When noble men are crushed. And fear thou not : 

'Tis but the kingly cedar which the storm 

Hurls from his mountain throne — the ignoble shrub, 

Grovelling beneath, may live. 

Stlveira. — It is thy part 
To tremble for thy life. 

Sebastian. — They that have looked 

Upon a heart like thine, should know too well 
The worth of life to tremble. Such things make 
Brave men, and reckless. Ay, and they whom fate 
Would trample should be thus. It is enough — 
Thou may'st depart. 

Stlveira. — And thou, if thou dost prize 

Thy safety, speed thee hence. lExiL 

Sebastian (alone.) — And this is he 

Who was as mine own soul : whose image rose. 
Shadowing my dreams of glory with the thought 
That on the sick man's weary couch he lay, 
Pining to share my battles ! 

CHORUS 

Yk winds that sweep 
The conquered billows of the western deep. 

Or wander where the mom 
Midst the resplendent Indian heavens is bom. 
Waft o'er bright isles and glorious worlds the fame 
Of the crowned Spaniard's name : 



220 DRAMATIC WORKS 

Till in each glowing zone 
Its might the nations own, 
And bow to him the vassal knee 
Whose sceptre shadows realms from sea to sea. 

Sebastian. — Away, away ! This is no place for him 
Whose name hath thus resotmded, but is now 
A word of desolation. lExit. 



DE CHATILLON 



OR THE CRUSADERS 



[ In this tragedy Mrs Hemans made it her purpose to attempt a 
more compressed style of writing, avoiding that redundancy of 
poetic diction which had been censured as the prevailing fault of 
" The Vespers." It may possibly be thought that in the composition 
in question she has fallen into the opposite extreme of want of 
elaboration ; yet, in its present state, it is, perhaps, scarcely amen- 
able to criticism — for, by come strange accident, the fair copy 
transcribed by herself was either destroyed or mislaid in some of 
her subsequent removals, and the piece was long considered as 
utterly lost. Nearly two years after her death, the original rough 
MS., with all its hieroglyphical blots and erasures, was discovered 
amongst a mass of forgotten papers ; and it has been a task of no 
small difficulty to decipher it, and complete the copy now first 
given to the world.— 1840.] 



DRAMATIS PERSONiE 

Rainier de Chatili-ov, . . A French Baron. 

Aymkr, His Brother. 

Melbch, A Saracen Emir. 

Herman, -v 

>•.... Knights. 
Du Mornay. 

Gaston, A Vassal of Rainier' s. 

Urban, A Priest. 

Sadi, . .' . . . . A Saracen soldier. 

MoRAiMA, Daughter of Melech. 

Knights, Arabs, Citizens, ^c. 



DE CHATILLON 



ACT I. 



SCENE l.—B^ore the gates of a city in Palestine. Urban, prietts, 
citizent, at the gate*. Others looking from the toalls above. 

Urban {to a citizen on the walls above.) — 

You see their lances glistening ? You can tell 

The way they take 1 
Citizen. — Not yet. Their march is slow ; 

They have not reached the jutting cliff, where first 

The moimtain path divides. 
Urban. — And now 1 
Citizen, — The wood 

Shuts o'er their track. Now spears are flashing out — 

It is the banner of De ChatUlon. 

( Very slow and mournful military music without.) 

This way ! they come this way ! 
Urban. — All holy saints 

Grant that they pass us not ! Those martial sounds 
Have a strange tone of sadness. Hark ! they swell 
Proudly, yet full of sorrow. 

(Raimikr dk Chatillon enters with knights, soldiers, ^c.) 



224 DRAMATIC WORKS 

Welcome, knights ! 

Ye bring us timely aid : men's hearts were full 

Of doubt and terror. Brave De Chatillon ! 

True soldier of the Cross ! I welcome thee ; 

I gi-eet thee with all blessing. Where thou art 

There is deliverance. 
Rainier {bending to receive tJie priest's blessing.) — 

Holy man, I come 

From a lost battle. 
Urban. — And thou bring'st the heart 

Whose spirit yields not to defeat. 
Rainier. — I bring 

My father's bier. 
Urban. — His bier ! I marvel not 

To see your brow thus darkened ! And he died, 

As he had lived, in arms 1 
Rainier (gloomily.) — Not, not in arms — 

His war-cry had been silenced. Have ye place 

Amidst your ancient knightly sepulchres 

For a warrior with his sword 1 He bade me bear 

His dust to slumber here. 
Urban. — And it shall sleep 

Beside our noblest, while we yet can call 

One holy place our own. Heard you, my lord. 

That the fierce Kaled's host is on its march 

Against our city 1 
Rainier {with sudden exultation) — That were joy to know ! 

That were proud joy ! Who told it 1 There's a weight 

That must be heaved from off my troubled heart 

By the strong tide of battle. Kaled — ay, 

A gallant name. How heard you 1 
Urban. — Nay, it seemed 

As if a breeze first bore the rumour in. 



DE CHATILLON 225 

I know not how it rose ; but now it comes 
Like feaxful truth, and we were sad, thus left 
Hopeless of aid or counsel — till we saw 

Rainier {hastily) — You have my brother here? 

Urban {with embarrassment.) — We have; but he 

Rainier. — But he— but he ! — Aymer de Chatillon ! 
The fiery knight — the very soul o' the field — 
Rushing on danger with the joyous step 
Of a hvmter o'er the hills ! — is that a tone 
Wherewith to speak of him ] I heard a tale — 
If it be true — nay, tell me ! 

Urban. — He is here : 
Ask him to tell thee. 

Rainier.— If that tale be true 

(He turns ttiddenly to his companions.) 

Follow me, give the noble dead his rites. 
And we will have our day of vengeance yet, 
Soldiers and friends ! lExeunt. 

SCENE IL 

A hall of Oriental architecture, opening upon gardens. A fountain in 
the centre. A\mkr de Chatillon ; Moraima bending over a 
couch on tchich her brother is sleeping. 

Moraima. — He sleeps so calmly now ; the soft wind here 
Brings in such lulling sovmds ! Nay, think you not 
This slumber will restore him 1 See you not 
His cheek's faint glow ] 

Aymer {turning away.) — It was my sword which gave 
The wound he dies from. 

Moraima. — Dies from] say not so ! 

The brother of my childhood and my youth, 
S P 



226 DRAMATIC WORKS 

My heart's first friend ! Oh, I have been too weak, 
I have delayed too long ! He could not sue. 
He bade me urge the prayer he would not speak. 
And I withheld it ! Christian, set us free ! 
You have been gentle with us : 'tis the weight, 
The bitter feeling, of captivity 
Which preys upon his life. 

Atmer. — You would go hence ?- 

MoRAiMA. — For his sake. 

Aymer. — You would leave me ! 'Tis too late ! 
You see it not — you know not that your voice 
Hath power in its low mournfulness to shake 
Mine inmost soul ? — that you but look on me, 
With the soft darkness of your earnest eyes, 
And bid the world fade from me, and call up 
A thousand passionate dreams, which wrap my life 
As with a troubled cloud 1 The very sound 
Of your light step hath made my heart o'erflow, 
Even unto aching, with the sudden gush 
Of its deep tenderness. You know it not ? 
Moraima ! — speak to me ! 

Mo RAIMA {covering herself with her veil.) — I can but weep ! 
Is it even so ? — this love was bom for tears ! 
Aymer, I can but weep ! 

{Going to leave him, he detains her.) 

Aymer. — Hear me, yet hear me ! I was reared in arms ; 
And the proud blast of trumpets, and the shouts 
Of bannered armies — these were joy to me. 
Enough of joy ! Till you ! — I looked on you — 
We met where swords were flashing, and the light 
Of burning towers glared wildly on the slain — 
And then 



DE CHATILLON 227 

MoBAiMA {hurriedly) — Yes ! then you saved me ! 

Aymer. — Then I knew 

At once what springs of deeper happiness 
Lay far wnithin my soul ; and they burst forth 
Troubled and dashed with fear — yet sweet. I loved. 
Moraima, leave me not ! 

MoRAiMA. — For us to love ! 

Oh ! is't not taking sorrow to our hearts, 
Binding her there ? I know not what I say ! 
How shall I look upon my brother] Hark! 
Did he not call? 

(iS^ goe$ up to the couch.) 

Aymer. — Am I beloved? She wept 

With a full heart ! I am ! and such deep joy 
Is found on earth ! If I should lose her now ! 

If aught 

{An attendant enters.) 

You seek me ! — why is this ] 
Attendant. — My lord, 

Your brother and his knights 

Aymer. — Here ! are they here ] 

The knights — my brother, saidst thou 1 
Attendant. — Yes, my lord, 

And he would speak with you. 
Aymer. — I see — I know. 

Leave me ! lExit attendant 

I know why he is come : 'tis vain. 

They shall not part us !_ 

(Looking back on Moraima at Tie goes out.) 

What a silent grace 
Floats round her form ! They shall not part us ! no ! 

lExit. 



228 DRAMATIC WORKS 



SCENE III. 

A square of the city — a church in the background. Rainier dk 
Chatillon. 

Kainier (ivalHng to and fro impatiently.) — 

And now, too ! now ! My father unavenged, 
Our holy places threatened, every heart 
Tasked to its strength ! A knight of Palestine 
Now to turn dreamer, to melt down his soul 
In love-lorn sighs ; and for an infidel ! 
Will he lift up his eyes to look on mine? 
Will he not hush ! 

( Aymer enters. They look on each other for a moment without speaking.) 

Rainier {suppressing his emotion.) — 

So brothers meet ! You know 

Wherefore I come 1 
Aymer. — It cannot be ; 'tis vain. 

Tell me not of it ! 
Rainier. — How ! You have not heard ? 

(Turning from him.) 

He hath so shut the world out with his dreams, 

The tidings have not reached him, or perchance 

Have been forgotten. You have captives here 1 
Aymer. — Yes, mine ! my own — won by the right of arms ! 

You dare not question it. 
Rainier. — A prince, they say. 

And his fair sister : — is the iliaid so fair ] 
Aymer {turning suddenly upon him) — 

What ! you would see her ] 
Rainier {scornfully)— 1 ! Oh yes ! to quell 

My soul's deep yearnings ! Let me look on swords. 



DE CHATILLON 229 

Boy, boy ! recall yourself! — I come to you 

With the last blessing of our father. 
Aymeb. — Last ! 

His last ! — how mean you 1 Is he 

Kainier, — Dead? Yes! dead. 

He died upon my breast. 
Aymer (with the deepest emotion.) — And I was here ! 

Dead ! — and upon your breast ! You closed his eyes — 

While I — he spoke of me ] 
Eainieb. — With such deep love ! 

He ever loved you most. His spirit seemed 

To linger for your coming. 
Aymer. — What ! he thought 

That I was on my way ? He looked for me ] 

And I 

Kainier. — You came not. I had sent to you, 

And told you he was wounded. 
Aymer. — Yes. But not— 

Not mortally. 
Kainier. — 'Twas not that outward woimd — 

That might have closed. And yet he surely thought 

That you would come to him ! He called on you 

When his thoughts wandered. Ay, the very night, 

The very hour he died, some hasty step 

Entered his chamber — and he raised his head. 

With a faint lightning in his eyes, and asked 

K it was yoiu^. That hope's brief moment passed — 

He sank then. 
Aymer (throwing himself upon his brother's neck.) — 

Brother ! take me to his grave. 

That I may kneel there till my burning tears. 

With the strong passion of repentant love, 

Wring forth a voice to pardon me ! 



230 DRAMATIC WORKS 

Rainieb. — You weep ! 

Tears for the garlands on a maiden's grave ! 
You know not how he died. 

Aymer. — Not of his wound 1 

Rainier. — His wound ! — it is the silent spirit's wound, 
We cannot reach to heal. One burning thought 
Preyed on his heart. 

Aymer. — Not — not — he had not heard — 
He blessed me, Rainier ] 

Rainier. — Have you flung away 

Your birthright 1 Yes, he blessed you ! But he died — 
He whose name stood for Victory's — he believed 
The ancient honour from his gray head fallen, 
And died— he died of shame ! 

Aymer. — What feverish dream — 

Rai. {vehemently.) — Was it not lost, the warrior's latest field. 
The noble city held for Palestine 
Taken — the Cross laid low ] I came too late 
To turn the tide of that disastrous fight, 
But not to rescue him. We bore him thence 
Wounded, upon his shield 

Aymer. — And I was here ! 

Rainier. — He cast one look back on his burning towers, 
Then threw the red sword of a hundred fields 
To the earth — and hid his face ! I knew, I knew 
His heart was broken. Such a death for him ! 
The wasting — the sick loathing of the svm. 
Let the foe's charger trample out my life. 
Let me not die of shame ! But we will have — 

Aymer {grasping his hand eagerly.) — Yes ! vengeance ! 

Rainier. — Vengeance ! By the dying once. 

And once before the dead, and yet once more 
Alone with heaven's bright stars, I took that vow 



DE CHATILLON 231 

For both his sons ! Think of it, when the night 
Is dark around you, and in festive halls 
Keep your soul hushed, and think of it ! 

(A low chant qf female voices, heard from behind the scenes.} 

Fallen is the flower of Islam's race! 

Break ye the lance he bore. 
And loose his Avar-steed from its place : 

He is no more — 

Single voice.— No more ! 

Weep for him mother, sister, bride ! 
He died, with all his fame — 

Single voice. — He died ! 

(Aymkr points to a palace, and eagerly speaks to his attendant, 
who enters.) 

Aym. — Came it not thence ] Rudolf, what sounds are these 1 
Attendant. — The Moslem prince, your captive — he is dead : 

It is the moumei's' wail for him. 
Aymer, — And she — 

His sister — heard you — did they say she wept 1 

(Hurrying away.) 

Rainier (indignantly.) — 

All the deep stirring tones of honour's voice 
In a moment silenced ! 

{Solemn military music. A funeral procession, with priests, ^c. 
crosses the background to enter the church.) 

Rainier {following Aymer and grasping his ajnn.) — 
Aymer ! there — look there ! 
It is your father's bier ! 



232 DRAMATIC WORKS 

Aymer {retv/rning.) — He blessed me, Eainier ? 

You heard him bless me ?- Yes ! you closed his eyes : 
He looked for me in vain ! 

{He goes to the bier, and bends over it, covering his /ace.) 



ACT XL 

SCENE I. — A room in the citadel. Rainier, Aymer, ktiights, 
assembled in council. 

A Knight. — What ! with our weary and distracted bands 
To dare another field ! Nay, give them rest. 

Rai, {impatiently.) — Rest ! and that sleepless thought 

Knight. — These walls have strength 

To baffle siege. Let the foe gird us in — 
We must wait aid ; our soldiers must forget 
That last disastrous day. 

Rai. {coming forward.) — If they forget it, in the combat's press 
May their spears fail them ! 

Knight. — Yet, bethink thee, chief. 

Rainier. — When 1 forget it — how ! you see not, knights ! 
Whence we must now draw strength. Send down your 

thoughts 
Into the very depths of grief and shame. 
And bring back courage thence. To talk of rest ! 
How do they rest, unburied on their field. 
Our brethren slain by Gaza ? Had we time 
To give them funeral rites ? and ask we now 
Time to forget their fall ] My father died — 
I cannot speak of him ! What ! and forget 
The Infidel's fierce trampling o'er our dead 1 



DE CHATILLON 23 

Forget his scornful shout 1 Give battle now, 
While the thought lives as fire lives— there lies strength 
Hold the dark memory fast ! Now, now — this hour ! 
Aymer, you do not speak ! 

Atmeb {starting) — Have I not said 1 

Battle ! — yes, give us battle ! — room to pour 

The troubled spirit forth upon the winds, 

With the trumpet's ringing blast ! Way for remorse ! 

Free way for vengeance ! 

All the Knights. — Arm ! Heaven wills it so ! 

Rainier. — Gather your forces to the western gate. 
Let none forget that day ! Our field was lost. 
Our city's strength laid low — one mighty heart 
Broken ! Let none foi^et it ! ^Exeunt. 



SCENE II. 

Garden of a palace. Moraima. 

MoRAiMA. — Yes ! his last look — my brother's dying look 
Reproached me as it faded from his face. 
And I deserved it ! Had I not given way 
To the wild guilty pleadings of my heart, 
I might have won his freedom. Now, 'tis past. 
He is free now. 

(AvMER enters, armed as for battle.) 

Aymer ! you look so changed ! 
Aymer. — Changed ! — it may be. A storm o' the soul goes by 
Not like a breeze. There's such a fearful gi-asp 
Fixed on my heart ! Speak to me — lull remorse ! 
Bid me farewell ! 



234 DRAMATIC WORKS 

MoRAiMA. — Yes, it must be farewell ! 
No other word but that. 

Aymer. — No other word ! 

The passionate burning words that I could pour 

From my heart's depths ! 'Tis madness ! What have I 

To do with love ? I see it all — the mist 

Is gone — the bright mist gone ! I see the woe, 

The ruin, the despair ! And yet I love, 

Love wildly, fatally ! But speak to me : 

Fill all my soul once more with reckless joy ! 

That blessed voice again ! 

MORAIMA. — Why, why is this ] 

Oh ! send me to my father ! We must part. 

Aymer. — Part ! Yes, I know it all ! I could not go 
Till I had seen you. Give me one farewell. 
The last — perchance the last ! — but one farewell. 
Whose mournful music I may take with me 
Through tumult, horror, death ! 

(A distant sound of trumpets.) 

MORAIMA {starting.) — You go to battle ! 
Aymer. — Hear you not that sound 1 

Yes ! I go there, where dark and stormy thoughts 

Find their free path. 
MoRAiMA. — Aymer, who leads the foe 1 

(Con/used.) 

I meant — I mean — my people ! Who is he. 

My people's leader 1 
Aym. — Kaled. {Looking at her suspiciously.) How] you seem — 

The name disturbs you. 
MoRAiMA. — My last brother's name ! 
Aymer. — Fear not my sword for him. 



DE CHATILLON 235 

MoRAiMA {turning away) — If they should meet ! 

I know the vow he made. 

( To A YAiBR.) If thou — if thou 

Shouldst faU ! 
Aymer. — Moraima ! then your blessed tears 

Would flow for me ] then you would weep for me 1 
Moraima. — I must weep tears of very shame ; and yet 

If— if your words have been love's own true words. 

Grant me one boon ! 

(Trumpet sounds again.) 

Aymer. — Hark ! I must hence. A boon ! 

Ask it, and hold its memory to your heart, 

As the last token, it may be, of love 

So deep and sad. 
Moraima.— Pledge me your knightly faith ! 
Aymer. — My knightly faith, my life, my honour — all, 

I pledge thee all to grant it ! 
Moraima. — Then, to-day. 

Go not this day to battle ! He is there, 

My brother Kaled ! 
Aymer (wildly.) — Have I flung my sword 

Down to dishonour ? 

{Going to leave her — she detains him.) 

Moraima. — Oh ! your name hath stirred 

His soul amidst his tents, and he had vowed. 
Long ere we met, to cross his sword with yours. 
Till one or both should fall. There hath been death 
Since then amongst us ; he will seek revenge. 
And his revenge — forgive me ! — oh, forgive ! 
I could not bear that thought. 

Aymer. — Now must the glance 



236 DRAMATIC WORKS 

Of a brave man strike me to the very dust ! 
Ay, this is shame. 

(Covering his face. Turning wildly to Moraima.) 

You scorn me too ? Away ! — She does not know 
What she hath done ! IRushes out. 



SCENE III. 

Be/oi'e a gateway within the city. Rainier, Herman, knights, 
men-at-arms, SjC. 

Herman. — 'Tis past the hour. 

Kainier (looking out anxiously.) — Away ! 'tis not the hour- 
Not yet ! When was the battle's hour delayed 
For a Chatillon ? We must have come too soon. 
All are not here. 

Herman.— Yes, all. 

Kainier. — They came too soon ! 

{Going up to the knights.) 

Couci, De Foix, Du Momay — here, all here ! 
And he the last ! — my brother ! 

[To a soldier.) Where's your lord ? 

{Turning away.) 

Why should I ask, when that fair Infidel 

(Aymer enters.) 

The Saracen at our gates— and you the last ! 
Come on, remember all your fame. 
Aymer {coming forward in great agitation) — My fame ! 
Why did you save me from the Paynim's sword 
In my first battle ? 



DE CHATILLON 237 

Rainier. — What wild words are these 1 

Aymer.— You should have let me perish then — yes, then! 

Go to your field and leave me. 
Knights {thronging round him.) — Leave you ! 
Rainier. — Aymer ! 

Was it your voice? 
Aymer. —Now talk to me of fame ! 

Tell me of all my warlike ancestors, 

And of my father's death— that bitter death ! 

Never did pilgi-im for the fountains thirst 

As I for this day's vengeance ! To yoiu- field ! 

I may not go ! 
Rain, {turning from him.)— The name his race hath borne 

Through a thousand battles— lost ! 

{Returning to Aymer.) A Chatillon, 

Will you live and wed dishonour ] 
Aymer {covering his face.) — Let the grave 

Take me and cover me ! I must go down 

To its rest without my sword ! 
Rai. — There's some dark spell upon him. Aymer, brother ! 

Let me not die of shame ! He that died so 

Turned sickening from the sim. 
Aymer. — Where should I turn ] 

(Going up abnipUp to the knights.) 

Herman — Du Momay ! ye have stood with me 
In the battle's front — ye know me ! ye have seen 
The fiery joy of danger bear me on 
As a wind the arrow ! Leave me now — ^'tis past ! 

Rainier {with bitterness.) — 

He comes from her ! — the Infidel hath smiled, 
Doubtless, for this. 

Aymer. — I should have been to-day 



238 DRAMATIC WORKS 

Where shafts fly thickest, and the crossing swords 
Cannot flash out for blood ! — Hark ! you are called ! 

(Wild Turkish music heard without. The background of the scene 
becomes more and more crowded with armed m^n.) 

Lay lance in rest ! — wave, noble banners ! wave ! 

{Throwing down his sword.) 

Go from me ! — leave the fallen ! 
Herman. — Nay, but the cause ] 

Tell us the cause. 
Rainier {approaching him indignantly.) — 

Your sword, your crested helm, 

And your knight's mantle — cast them down ! your name 

Is in the dust ! — our father's name ! The cause 1 

Tell it not, tell it not ! 

{Timing to the soldiers and waving his h^nd.) 

Sound trumpets ! sound ! 
On, lances ! for the Cross ! 

(Military music. As the knights march out, he looks back at Avmbr.) 

I would not now 
Call back my noble father from the dead, 
If I could with but a breath ! — Sovmd, trumpets, sound ! 
\_Exeunt knights and soldiers. 
Atmer. — Why should I bear this shame ? 'tis not too late ! 

{Rushing after them, he suddenly checks himself.) 

My faith ! my knightly faith pledged to my fall ! 



DE CHATILLON 239 



SCENE IV. 



(Before a church. Groups of citizens passing to and fro. Aymer 
standing against one of the pillars of the church in the back- 
ground, and leaning on his sword.) 

1st Cit. {to 2d.) — From the walls, how goes the battle ? 
2d Citizen. — Well, all well. 

Praise to the Saints ! I saw De Chatillon 

Fighting, as if upon his single arm 

The fate o' the day were set. 
3d Citizen. — Shame light on those 

That strike not with him in their place ! 
1st Citizen. — You mean 

His brother ? Ay, is't not a fearful thing 

That one of such a race — a brave one too — 

Should have thus fallen 1 
2d Citizen. — They say the captive girl 

Whom he so loved, hath won him from his faith 

To the vile Paynim creed. 
Aymer {suddenly coming forward.) — Who dares say that? 

Show me who dares say that ! 

(They shrink back— he laughs scornfully.) 

Ha ! ha ! ye thought 
To play with a sleeper's name ! — to make your mirth 
As low-bom men sit by a tomb, and jest 
O'er a dead warrior ! Where's the slanderer ? Speak ! 

(A citizen enters hastily.) 

Citizen. — Haste to the walls ! De ChatUlon hath slain 
The Pa^Tiim chief ! iExeunt. 



240 DRAMATIC WORKS 

Aym, — Why should they shrink? I, I should ask the night 
To cover me — I that have flung my name 
Away to scorn ! Hush ! am I not alone 1 

{Listening eagerly.) 

There's a voice calling me — a voice i' the air — 

My father's ! — 'twas my father's ! Are the dead, 
•Unseen, yet with us 1 Fearful ! 

{Loud shouts without, he rushes forward exultingly.) 

'Tis the shout 
Of victory] We have triumphed ! We ! my place 
Is midst the fallen ! 

Music heard, which approaches, swelling into a triumphant march. 
Knights enter in procession, with banners, torch hearers, Sjc. 
The gates of tlie church are thrown open, and the altar, tombs, ^c. 
within, are seen illuminated. Knights pass over, and enter the 
church. One of them takes a torch, and lifts it to Aymer's 
face in passing. He strikes it down with his sword ; then, seeing 
Rainier approach, drops the sword, and covers his face.) 

At. {gi'osping B,xinier ly the mantle, as he is about to "pa^.^ — 

Brother, forsake me not ! 
Eai. {suddenly drawing his sword, and showing it him) — 

My sword is red 

With victory and revenge ! Look — dyed to the hilt ! 

We fought — and where were you 1 
Atmer. — Forsake me not ! 
Eai. {pointing with his sword to the tombs within the chwixh.) — 

Those are proud tombs ! The dead, the glorious dead — 

Think you they sleep, and know not of their sons 

In the mysterious grave 1 We laid him there ! 

Before the ashes of your father, speak ! 

Have you abjured your faith ? 



DE CHATILLON 241 

Atmer (indignantly.) — 

Your name is mine, your blood — and you ask this ! 

Wake him to hear me answer ! Have you ] No ! 

You have not dared to think it. lEx-iL 

Rai. (entering the church, and bending over one of the tombs.) — 

Not yet lost ! 

Not yet all lost ! He shall be thine again ! 

So shalt thou sleep in peace ! 

(Music and chorus of voices from the church.) 

Praise, praise to heaven ! 
Sing of the conquered field, the Paynim flying ; 

Light up the shrines, and bid the banners wave ; 
Sing of the warrior for the red-cross dying — 
Chant a proud requiem o'er his holy grave. 
Praise, praise to heaven ! 
Praise ! — lift the song through night's resounding sky ! 
Peace to the valiant for the Cross that die ! 
Sleep soft, ye brave ! 



ACT III. 

SCENE I. — A platform before the citadel. Knights entering. 

Herman (to one of the knights.) — You would plead for him 
Knight. — Nay, remember all 

His past renown ! 
Herman. — I had a friend in youth : 

This Aymer's father had him shamed for less 

Than his son's fault — far less. 

We must accuse him ; — he must have his shield 

Reversed — his name degraded. 

S Q 



242 DRAMATIC WORKS 

Knight. — He might yet 

All the Knights. — 

Must his shame cleave to us 1 We cast him forth- 

We will not bear it. 

(Rainier enters.) 

Kainier. — Knights ! ye speak of him — 

My brother : was't not so ] All silent ! Nay, 
Give your thoughts breath. What said ye ? 

Herman. — That his name 
Must be degraded. 

Rainier. — Silence ! ye disturb 

The dead. Thou hear'st, my father ! 

(Going up indignantly to the knights.) 

Which of ye 
Shall first accuse him 1 He, whose bold step won 
The breach at Ascalon ere Aymer's step, 
Let him speak first ! 

He that plunged deeper through the stormy fight. 
Thence to redeem the banner of the Cross, 
On Cairo's plain, let him speak first ! Or he 
Whose sword burst swifter o'er the Saracen, 
I' the rescue of our king, by Jordan's waves — 
I say, let him speak first ! 

Herman. — Is he not an apostate ] 

Rainier. — No, no, no ! 

If he were that, had my life's blood that taint. 
This hand should pour it out. He is not that. 

Herman. — Not yet. 

Rainier. — Not yet, nor ever ! Let me die 
In a lost battle first ! 

Herman. — Hath he let go 



DE CHATILLON 248 

Name, kindred, honour, for an infidel. 
And will he grasp hia faith ] 
Rainier {after a gloomy paiise.) — 

That which bears poison — should it not be crushed? 
What though the weed look lovely] 

(Suddenly addressing Du Mornay.) 

You have seen 

My native halls, Du Moraay, far away 

In Languedoc 1 
Du Mornay. — I was your father's friend — 

I knew them well. 
Rainier {thov^hffuUy.) — The weight of gloom that hangs— 

The very banners seem to droop with it — 

O'er some of those old rooms ! Were we there now, 

With a dull wind heaving the pale tapestries, 

Why, I could tell you 

(Coming closer to Du Mornay.) 

There's a dark-red spot 

Grained in the floor of one — you know the tale ? 
Du Mornay. — I may have heard it by the winter fires, — 

Now 'tis of things gone by. 
Rai. {turning from 7iim displeased.) — Such legends give 

Some minds a deeper tone. 

(To Herman.) If you had heard 

That tale i' the shadowy tower 

Herman. — Nay, tell it now. 

Rainier. — They say the place is haunted — moaning sounds 

Come thence at midnight— sounds of woman's voice. 

Herman. — And you beUeve 

Rainier. — I but believe the deed 

Done there of old. I had an ancestor — 



244 DRAMATIC WORKS 

Bertrand, the Lion-chief — whose son went forth 

(A younger son — I am not of his line) 

To the wars of Palestine. He fought there well — 

Ay, all his race were brave ; but he returned, 

And ^vith a Paynim bride. 
Herman. — The recreant ! — say, 

How bore your ancestor 1 
Eainier. — Well may you think 

It chafed him ; but he bore it — for the love 

Of that fair son, the child of his old age. 

He pined in heart, yet gave the Infidel 

A place in his own halls. 
Herman. — But did this last 1 
Rainier. — How should it last 1 Again the trumpet blew. 

And men were summoned from their homes to guard 

The city of the Cross. But he seemed cold — 

That youth ! He shunned his father's eye, and took 

No armour from the Avails. 
Herman. — Had he then fallen ] 

Was his faith wavering 1 
Rainier. — So the father feared. 

Herman. — If I had been that father 

Rainier. — Ay, you come 

Of an honoured lineage. What would you have done ] 
Herman. — Nay, what did he 1 
Rainier. — What did the lion-chief] 

( Turnvig to Du Mornay. ) 
Why, thou hast seen the very spot of blood 
On the dark floor ! He slew the Paynim bride. 
Was it not well ? 

(He looks at them attentively, and as he goes out exclaims)— 
My brother must not fall ! 



DE CHATILLON 245 



SCENE II. 



A deserted Turkish burying -ground in the city— tombs and stones 
overthrown— the whole shaded by dark cypress-trees. Moraima 
leaning over a monumental pillar, which has been lately raised. 

Moraima. — He is at rest ; — and I ! Is there no power 
In grief to win forgiveness from the dead ? 
When shall I rest 1 Hark ! a step — Aymer's step ! 
The thiilling sound ! 

( She shrinks back as reproaching herself. ) 

To feel that joy even here ! 
Brother ! oh, pardon me ! 
Rainier {entemrif/, and slowly looking round.) — 
A gloomy scene ! 

A place for Is she not an mfidel ! 

Who shall dare call it murder ] 

(^He advances to her slowly, and looks at her.) 

She is fair — 

The deeper cause ! Maid, have you thought of death 

Midst these old tombs ? 
Moraima (shrinking from, him fearfully.) — 

This is my brother's grave. 
Rainier. — Thy brother's ! That a warrior's grave had closed 

O'er mine — the free and noble knight he was ! 

Ay, that the desert sands had shrouded him 

Before he looked on thee ! 
Moraima. — If you are his — 

If Aymer's brother — though your brow be dark, 

I may not fear you ! 



246 DRAMATIC WORKS 

Rainier. — No 1 wliy, thou shouldst fear 

The very dust o' the mouldering sepulchre, 
If it had lived, and borne his name on earth ! 
Hear'st thou — that dust hath stirred, and found a voice, 
And said that thou must die ! 

MoRAiMA {clinging to the pillar as he app'oaches.) — 
Be with me, heaven ! 
You will not murder me ] 

Eainier (turning away.) — A goodly word 

To join with a warrior's name ! — a sound to make 
Men's flesh creep. What ! — for Paynim blood 
Did he stand faltering thus — my ancestor — 
In that old tower ] 

(He again appi-oaches tier— she falls on her knees.) 

MoRAiMA. — So young, and thus to die ! 

Mercy — have mercy ! In your own far land 
If there be love that weeps and watches for you, 
And follows you with prayer — even by that love. 
Spare me — for it is woman's ! If light steps 
Have bounded there to meet you, clinging arms 
Hung on your neck, fond tears o'erflowed your cheek, 
Think upon those that loved you thus, for thus 
Doth woman love ! and spare me ! — think on them ; 
They, too, may yet need mercy ! Aymer, Aymer ! 
Wilt thou not hear and aid me 1 

Rainier (starting.) — There's a name 

To bring back strength ! Shall I not strike to save 
His honour and his life 1 Were his life all 

MoR. — To save his life and honour]— will my death 

(She rises and stands be/ore him, covering her face hurriedly.) 
Do it with one stroke ! I may not live for him ! 



DE CHATILLON 247 

Rainier (with surprise.) — A woman meet death thus ! 
MoRAiMA {uncovering her eyes) — Yet one thing more — 

I have sisters and a father. Christian knight ! 

Oh ! by your mother's memory, let them know 

I died with a name unstained. 
Rainier (softened and surprised.) — 

And such high thoughts from her ! — an infidel ! 

And she named my motlier ! Once in early youth 

From the wild waves I snatched a woman's life ; 

My mother blessed me for it — 

{Shwlp dropping hit dagger.) 

even vrith tears 
She blessed me. Stay, are there no other means 1 

(Suddenly recollecting himself.) 

Follow me, maiden ! Fear not now. 

MoRAiMA. — But he — 
But Aymer — 

Rainier {sternly.) — Wouldst thou perish ? Name him not ! — 
Look not as if thou wouldst! Think'st thou dark thoughts 
Are blown away like dew-drops 1 or I, like him, 
A leaf to shake and turn i' the changing wind? 
Follow me, and beware ! 

{She bends over the tomb for a moment, and follows him. Aymer 
enters, and slowly comes forward from the background.) 

Aymer. — For the last time — yes ! it must be the last ! 
Earth and heaven say — the last ! The very dead 
Rise up to pai't us. But one look — and then 
She must go hence for ever ! Will she weep ] 
It had been little to have died for her — 
I have borne shame. 



248 DRAMATIC WORKS 

She shall know all ! Moraima ! Said they not 
She would be found here at her brother's grave ? 
Where should she go 1 Moraima ! There's the print 
Of her step — 'what gleams beside it 1 

{Seeing the dagger, he takes it up.) 

Ha ! men work 
Dark deeds with things like this ! 

(Looking tvildly and anxiously round.) 

I see no blood. 

[Looking at the dagger.) 
Stained ! — it may be from battle : 'tis not — wet. 
(Looks round, intently listening .• then again examines the spot.) 

Ha ! — what is this? Another step in the grass ! 
Hers and another's step ! 

(He rushes into the cypress-grove.) 

SCENE III. 

A hall in tJie citadel, hung with arms and banners. Rainier, 
Herman. Knights in the background, laying aside their armour. 

Herman {coming forward and spealcing humedly.) 

Is it done ? Have you done it 1 
Eainier {with disgust.) — What ! you thirst 

For blood so deeply 1 
Herman {indignantly.) — Have you struck, and saved 

The honour of your house ] 
Rainier {thoughtfully to himself.) — The light i' the soul 

Is such a wavering thing ! Have I done well ? 
(To Herman.) 



DE CHATILLON 249 

Ask me not ! Never shall they meet again. 
Is 't not enough 1 

(Aymer enters hurriedly unth the da/fger, and goes up with it to 
several of the knights, who i>egin to gatJier round the front.) 

Aymer. — Whose is this dagger? 
Eainier {coming foinoard and taJcing it.) — Mine. 
Aymer. — Yours ! yours ! — and know you where — 
Kainier {about to sheath it, but stopping.) — Oh, you do well 

So to remind me ! Yes, it must have lain 

In the Moslem burial-ground — and that vile dust — 

Hence with it ! 'tis defiled. 

{Throws it from him.) 
Aymer. — If such a deed 

Brother ! where is she 1 
Kainier.— Who ? \STiat knight hath lost 

A lady-love ? 
Aymer. — Could he speak thus and wear 

That scornful calm, if No ! he is not calm. 

WTiat have you done ? 
Eainier {aside.) — Yes ! she shall die to him. 
Aymer {grasping his arm.) — What have you done? — speak ! 
Kainier. — You should know the tale 

Of our dark ancestor, the Lion-chief, 

And his son's biide. 
Aymer. — Man ! man ! you murdered her ! 
, (Sinking back.) 

It grows so dark around me ! She is dead ! 
(Wildly.) 

I'll not believe it ! No ! she never looked 

Like what could die ! 

(Goes up to his brother.) 

If you have done that deed 



250 DRAMATIC WORKS 

Rainier {sternly.) — If I have done it, I have flung off shame 

From my brave father's house. 
Atmer (m a low voice to himself.) — 

So young, and dead ! — because I loved her — dead ! 

(To Rainier.) 

Where is she, murderer? Let me see her face. 

You think to hide it with the dust ! — ha ! ha ! 

The dust to cover her ! AVe'U mock you still : 

If I call her back, she'll come ! Where is she? — speak ! 

Now, by my father's tomb ! but I am calm. 
Rainier. — Never more hope to see her. 
Aymer. — Never more ! 

{Sitting down on the ground.) 

I loved her, so she perished ! All the earth 
Hath not another voice to reach my soul, 
Now hers is silent ! Never, never more ! 
If she had but said farewell ! — 

(Beuoildered.) 

It grows so dark ! 
This is some fearful dream. When morn comes I shall 

wake. 
My life's bright hours are done ! 
Rainier. — I must be firm. 

(Takes a banner from the wall, and brings it to Avmkr.) 

Have you forgotten this ? We thought it lost. 
But it rose proudly waving o'er the fight 
In a warrior's hand again ! Yours, Aymer ! yours ! 
Brother, redeem your fame ! 
Atmee (jputting it from him.) — The worthless thing ! 



DE CHATILLON 261 

Fame ! She is dead ! Give a king's robe to one 
Stretched on the rack ! Hence with your pageantiies 
Down to the dust ! 

Herman. — The banner of the Cross ! 

Shame on the recreant ! Cast him from us ! 

Rainier. — Boy ! 

Degenerate boy ! Here, with the trophies won 
By the sainted chiefs of old in Paynim war 
Above you and aroimd ; the very air, 
"When it but shakes their armoxir on the walls. 
Murmuring of glorious deeds ; to sit and weep 
Here for an infidel ! My father's son. 
Shame ! shame ! deep shame ! 

Knights. — Aymer de Chatillon ! 
Go from us, leave us ! 

Aymer {starting up.) — Leave you ! what ! ye thought 
That I would stay to breathe the air you breathe ! — 
And fight by you ! Murderers ! I burst all ties. 

{Throws his sicord on the ground before them.) 

There's not a thing of the desert half so free. 

{To Rainier.) 

You have no brother ! Live to need the love 
Of a human heart, and steep your soul in fame 
To still its restless yearnings ! Die alone ! 
Midst all yoxir pomps and trophies — die alone ! 

{Going out, he suddenly returns.) 

Did she not call on me to succour her ] 
Kneel to you— plead for life 1 The voice of blood 
FoUow you to your grave ! lExit. 

Rainier i^h emotion) — ^Alas, my brother ! 



252 DRAMATIC WORKS 

The time hath been when in the face of death 
I have bid him leave me, and he wotdd not ! 

{Turning to the Knights.) Knights ! 
The Soldan marches for Jerusalem — 
We'll meet him on the way. 



ACT I Y. 
SCENE I.— Camp of the Saracens. Mklech, Sadi, and soldiers. 

Melech. — Yes ! he I mean — Rainier de Chatillon. 

Go, send swift riders o'er the mountains forth, 

And through the deserts, to proclaim the price 

I set upon his life. 
SADi.^Thou gavest the word 

Before. It hath been done — they are gone forth. 
Mel, — Would that my soul could wing them ! Didst thou heed 

To say his life ? I'll have my own revenge. 

Yes ! I would save him from another's hand. 

Thou saidst he must be brought alive] 
Sadi. — I heard 

Thy will, and I obeyed. 
Melech. — He slew my son — 

That was in battle — but to shed her blood ! 

My child Moraima's ! Could he see and strike her 1 

A Christian see her face, too ! From my house 

The crown is gone. Who brought the tale 1 
Sadi. — A slave 

Of your late son's, escaped. 
Melech. — Have I a son 



r 



DE CHATILLON 253 



r 



Leftl Speak— the slave of which 1 Kaled is gone — 
And Octar gone — both, both ai'e fallen — 
Both my young stately trees, and she, my flower. 
No hand but mine shall be upon him, none ! 

(A sound of festive music without. An attendant enters.) 

What mean they there 1 
Attendant. — Tidings of joy, my chief! 
Melech.— Joy !— is the Christian taken ? 

(MoRAiMA enters, and throws herself into his arms.) 

MoRAiMA. — Father ! father ! 

I did not think this world had yet so much 

Of aught like happiness ! 
Melech. — My own fair child ! 

Is it on thee I look indeed, my child ? 

(Timing to attendants.) 

Away, there ! — gaze not on us ! Do I hold 

Thee in my arms ! They told me thou wert slain. 

Eainier de Chatillon, they said 

MoRADiA {hurriedly.) — Oh, no ! 

'Twas he that sent thee back thy chUd, my father. 
Melech. — He ! why, his brother Aymer still refused 

A monarch's ransom for thee ! 
MoRALMA {with a momentary delight.) — Did he thus 1 

(Suddenly checking herself.) 

Yes, I knew well. Oh, do not speak of him ! 
Mel. — What ! hath he wrong'd thee ] Thou hast suffer'd much 
Amongst these Christians. Thou art changed, my child. 

There's a dim shadow in thine eye, where once 

But they shall pay me back for all thy tears 
With their best blood. 



254 DRAMATIC WORKS 

MORAIMA {alarmed.) — Father ! not so, not so ! 

They still were gentle with me. But I sat 

And watched beside my dying brother's couch 

Through many days : and I have wept since then — 

Wept much. 
Melech, — Thy dying brother's couch ! — yes, thou 

Wert ever true and kind. 
MoRAiMA {covering her face) — Oh, praise me not! 

Look gently on me, or I sink to earth ; 

Not thus ! 
Melech. — No praise ? Thou'rt faint, my child, and worn : 

The length of way hath 

MoRAiMA {eagerly) — Yes ! the way was long. 

The desert's wind breathed o'er me. Could I rest ? 
Melech. — Yes, thou shalt rest wuthin thy father's tent. 

Follow me, gentle child ! Thou look'st so changed. 
MoRAiMA {hurriedly) — 

The weary way, — the desert's burning wind 

{Laying her hand on him as she goes out) 

Think thou no evil of those Christians, father ! 
They were still kind. 

SCENE II. 

Be/ore a fortress amo7igst rocks, mth a desert beyond. Military music. 
Rainier de Chatillon, knights and soldiers. 

Eainier. — They speak of truce ? 

The Knights. — Even so. Of truce between 

The Soldan and our King. 
Eainier. — Let him who fears 

Lest the close helm should wear his locks away, 



DE CHATILLON 255 

Cry truce, and cast it off. I have no will 

To change mine armour for a masquer's robe, 

And sit at festivals. Halt, lances, there ! 

Warriors and brethren ! hear. I own no truce — 

I hold my life but as a weapon now 

Against the Infidel ! He shall not reap 

His field, nor gather of his vine, nor pray 

To his false gods — no ! save by trembling stealth. 

Whilst I can grasp a sword. Wherefore, noble friends. 

Think not of truce with me ! — but think to quaff 

Your wine to the sound of trumpets, and to rest 

In your girt hauberks, and to hold your steeds 

Barded in the hall beside you. Now turn back, 

(He throws a spear on the ground before them.) 

Ye that are weaiy of your armour's load : 

Pass o'er the spear, away ! 
They all shout. — A Chatillon ! 

We'll follow thee— all ! all ! 
Rainier. — A soldier's thanks ! 

( Turns away from them agitated. ) 

There's one face gone, and that a brother's ! 

(Aloud.) War ! — 

War to the Paynim — war ! March, and set up 
On our stronghold the banner of the Cross, 
Never to sink ! 

(Trumpets sound. They march on, winding through the rocks with 
military music. Enter Gaston, an aged vassal of Rainikr's, 
as an armed follower. Rainier addresses him.) 

You come at last ! And she— where left you her 1 
The Paynim maid? 



256 DRAMATIC WORKS 

Gaston. — I found her guides, my lord, 

Of her own race, and left her on the way 

To reach her father's tents. 
Rainier. — Speak low ! — the tale 

Must rest with us. It must be thought she died. 

I can trust you. 
Gaston. — Your father trusted me. 
Rainier. — He did, he did ! — my father ! You have been 

Long absent, and you bring a troubled eye 

Back with you. Gaston, heard you aught of him ?- 
Gaston. — Whom means my lord ] 
Rainier {impatiently.) — Old man, you know too well — 

Aymer, my brother. 
Gaston. — I have seen him. 
Rainier.— How ! 

Seen him ! Speak on. 
Gaston. — Another than my chief 

Should have my life before the shameful tale. 
Rainier. — Speak quickly. 
Gaston. — In the desert, as I journeyed back, 

A band of Arabs met me on the way, 

And I became their captive. Till last night — 
Rainier. — Go on ! Last night 1 
Gaston. — They slumbered by their fires — 

I could not sleep ; when one — I thought him one 

0' the tribe at first — came up and loosed my bonds, 

And led me from the shadow of the tents, 

Pointing my way in silence. 
Rainier. — Well, and he — 

You thought him one o' the tribe. 
Gaston. — Ay, till we stood 

In the clear moonlight forth ! — and then, my lord 

Rainier. — You dare not say 'twas Aymer ] 



DE CHATILLON 267 

Gaston. — Woe and shame ! 
It was, it was ! 

Rainier. — In their vile garb, too ? 

Gaston. — Yes, 

Turbaned and robed like them. 

Rainier.— What ! Did he speak 1 

Gaston. — No word, but waved his hand, 
Forbidding speech to me. 

Rainier. — Tell me no more. 

Lost, lost — for ever lost ! He that was reared 
Under my father's roof with me, and grew 
Up by my side to glory !— lost ! Is this 
My work ? — who dares to call it mine ? And yet. 
Had I not dealt so sternly with his soul 

In its deep anguish What ! he wears their garb 

In the face of heaven ? You saw the turban on him 1 
You should have struck him to the earth, and so 
Put out our shame for ever. 

Gaston. — Lift my sword 
Against your father's son ] 

Rainier.— My father's son ! 

Ay, and so loved ! — that yearning love for him 

Was the last thing death conquered. See'st thou there? 

{The banner of the Cross is raised on the fortress.) 

The very banner he redeemed for us 
In the fight at Cairo. No ! by yon bright sign, 
He shall not perish. This way — follow me — 
I'U tell thee of a thought. 

{Suddenly stopping him.) 

Take heed, old man ! 
Thou hast a fearful secret in thy grasp : 

S B 



258 DRAMATIC WORKS 

Let me not see thee wear mysterious looks. 
But no ! thou lovest our name !— I'll trust thee, Gaston ! 

lExeunt. 



SCENE III, 

An Arab encampment round a few palm-trees in the Desert. 
Watch-fires in the background. Night. Several Arabs enter loith 
Aymer. 

Arab. — Thou hast fought bravely, stranger. Now, come on 

To share the spoil. 
Atmer. — I reck not of it. Go, 

Leave me to rest. 
Arab, — Well, thou hast earned thy rest 

With a red sabre. Be it as thou w^ilt. 

{Thep go out. Aymer throws himself under a palm-tree.) 

Atmer, — This were an hour, if they would answer us — 
They from whose viewless world no answer comes — 
To hear their whispering voices. Would they but 
Speak once, and say they loved ! 
If I could hear thy thrilling voice once more, 
It would be well with me. Moraima ! speak ! 

(Rainier enters disguised as a dervise.) 

Moraima, speak ! No ! the dead cannot love. 
Rai. — What doth the stranger here 1 Is there not mirth 

Around the watch-fires yonder 1 
Aymer. — Mirth 1 Away ! — 

I've naught to do with mirth. Begone. 
Rainier. — They tell 



DE CHATILLON 259 

Wild tales by that red light ; wouldst thou not hear 

Of Eastern marvels 1 
Aymer. — Hence ! I heed them not. 
Rainier. — Nay, then, hear me. 
Aymeb. — Thee 1 
Rainier. — Yes, I know a tale 

Wilder than theirs. 

Atmer {raising himself in surprise.) — Thou know'st 1 

Rainier {without minding, continues.) — A tale of one 

Who flung in madness to the reckless deep 

A gem beyond all price. 
Atmer. — My day is closed. 

What is aught human unto me ? 
Rainier. — Yet mark ! 

His name was of the noblest — dost thou heed? — 

Even in a land of princely chivalry ; 

Brightness was on it — but he cast it down. 
Aymer. — I will not hear. Speak'st thou of chivalry? 
Rainier. — Yes ! I have been upon thy native hills. 

There's a gray cliff juts proudly from their woods. 

Crowned with baronial towers — remember'st thou 1 

And there's a chapel by the moaning sea — 

Thou know'st it well — tall pines wave over it. 

Darkening the heavy banners and the tombs. 

Is not the Cross upon thy fathers' tombs ? 

Christian ! what dost thou here ? 
Aymer {starting up indignantly.) — Man ! who art thou? 

Thy voice disturbs my soul. Speak ! I will know 

Thy right to question me. 

I Rainier, throtcing off hit disguise, stands before him in the full 
dress of a Crusader. ) 

Rainier. — My birthright ! Look ! 



260 DRAMATIC WORKS 

AymeR. — ^Brother ! (Retreating Jrom him with horror.) 

Her blood is on your hands ! — keep back ! 

Rainier (scornfully.) — 

Nay, keep the Paynim's garb from touching mine. 
Answer me thence ! — what dost thou here ] 

Aymer. — You shrink 

From your own work ! You, that have made me thus, 
Wherefore are you here] Are you not afraid 
To stand beneath the awful midnight sky, 
And you a murderer ] Leave me. 

Rainier. — I lift up 

No murderer's brow to heaven. 

Aymer. — You dare speak thus 1 

Do not the bright stars, with their searching rays, 
Strike through your guilty soul ] Oh, no ! — tis well, 
Passing well ! Murder ! Make the earth's harvests grow 
With Paynim blood ! — Heaven wills it ! The free air, 
The sunshine — I forgot — they were not made 
For infidels. Blot out the race from day ! 
Who talks of murder ? Murder ! when you die 
Claim your soul's place of happiness in the name 
Of that good deed ! 

(In a tone of deep fiieling.) 

If yoii had loved a flower, 

I would not have destroyed it ! 
Rainier {with emotion.) — Brother ! 
Aymer {impetuously.) — No ! — 

No brother now. She knelt to you in vain ; 

And that hath set a gulf, a boundless gulf. 

Between our souls. Your very face is changed. 

There's a red cloud shadowing it : your forehead wears 

The marks of blood — her blood ! 



DE CHATILLON 261 

(/n a triumphant tone.) 

But you prevail not ! You have made the dead 
The mighty — the victorious ! Yes ! you thought 
To dash her image into fragments down. 
And you have given it power — such deep sad power 
I see naught else on earth. 
Rainier {aside.) — I dare not say she lives. 

(To Aymkr, holding up the croi* qfhis sword.) 

You see not this ? 
Once by our father's grave I asked, and here, 
I' the silence of the waste, I ask once more — 
Have you abjured your faith ] 

Aymeb. — Why are you come 

To torture me ? No, no ! I have not. No ! 
But you have sent the torrent through my soul. 
And by their deep strong roots torn fiercely up 
Things that were part of it — inborn feelings, thoughts. 
I know not what I cling to ! 

Rainier. — Aymer, yet 

Heaven hath not closed its gates ! Return, return 

Before the shadow of the palm-tree fades 

I' the waning moonlight. Heaven gives time. Return, 

My brother ! By our early days — the love 

That nurtured us ! — the holy dust of those 

That sleep i' the tomb ! — sleep ! no, they cannot sleep ! 

Doth the night bring no voices from the dead 

Back on your soul ] 

Aymer {turning from him.) — Yes — hers ! 

Rainier {indignantly turning off.) — Why should I strive 1 
"VNTiy doth it cost me these deep throes to fling 
A weed off ] 

{Checking himtel/-) Brother, hath the stranger come 



262 DEAMATIC WORKS 

Between our hearts for ever ? Yet return- 
Win back your fame, my brother ! 
Atmer. — Fame again ! 

Leave me the desert ! — leave it me ! I hate 

Your false world's glittering draperies, that press down 

The o'erlaboured heart ! They have cnished mine. 

Your vain 
And hollow-sounding words are wasted now : 
You should adjure me by the name of him 
That slew his son's young bride ! — our ancestor — 
That were a spell ! Fame, fame ! — your hand hath rent 
The veil from off your world. To speak of fame. 
When the soul is parched .like mine ! Away ! 
I've joined these men because they war with man 
And all his hollow pomp. Will you go hence 1 

(Fiercely.) Why do I talk thus with a murderer? Ay, 
This is the desert, where true words may rise 
Up unto heaven i' the stillness. Leave it me — 
The free wild desert ! 

(Arab chief enters.) 

Arab. — Stranger, we have shared 

The spoil, forgetting not A Christian here ! 

Ho ! sons of Kedar ! — 'tis De Chatillon ! 

This way ! — surround him. There's an Emir's wealth 

Set on his life. Come on ! 

(Several Arabs rush in and surround Rainier, who, after vainly 
endeavouring to force his way through them, is made prisoner.) 

Kainier. — And he stands there 

To see me bought and sold ! Death, death ! — not chains ! 

(AvMER, icho has stood for a moment as if bewildered, rushes 
forward, and strikes down one of the Arabs.) 



DE CHATILLON 263 

Aymeb. — Oflf from my brother, infidel ! 

(27^ others hurry Rainlkr auxip.) 

(Recottecting himtelf.) Why, then, heaven 
Is just ! So ! now I see it ! Blood for blood ! 

(Again rtuhing forward.) 

No ! he shall feel remorse. I'll rescue him, 

And make him weep for her. lExit. 



ACT V. 



SCENE I.— A Hall in the fortress occupied bp De Chatillox's 
followers. Knights listening to a troubadour. 

Herman. — No more soft strains of love. Good Vidal, sing 
The imprisoned warrior's lay. There's a proud tone 
Of lofty sadness in it. 

(Troubadour sings.) 

TvvAS a trumpet's pealing sound ! 
And the knight looked down from the Paynim's tower, 
And a Christian host in its pride and power 

Through the pass beneath him wound. 
"Cease awhile, clarion! clarion, wild and shrill. 
Cease ! let them hear the captive's voice — be still ! 

** I knew 'twas a trumpet's note ! 
And I see my brethren's lances gleam, 
And their pennons wave by the mountain-stream, 

And their plumes to the glad wind float. 
Cease awhile, clarion! &c. 



264 DRAMATIC WORKS 

" I am here with my heavy chain ! 
And I look on a torrent sweeping by, 
And an eagle rushing to the sky, 

And a host to its battle-plain. 
Cease awhile, clarion ! &c. 

" Must I pine in my fetters here ? 
With the wild wave's foam, and the free bird's flight, 
And the tall spears glancing on my sight, 

And the trumpet in mine ear? 
Cease awhile, clarion," &c. 

(AvMER enters hurriedly, in his Arab dress.) 

Aymer. — Silence, thou minstrel ! silence ! 
Herman. — Aymer, here ! 

And in that garb ! Seize on the regicide. 

Knights, he must die. 
Aymer {scornfully) — Die ! die !— the fearful threat! 

To be thrust out of this same blessed world, 

Your world — all yours ! (Fiercely.) But I will not be made 

A thing to circle with your pomps of death, 

Your chains, and guards, and scaffolds ! Back ! I'll die 

As the free Hon dies ! (Draidng his sabre.) 
Herman. — What seek'st thou here? 
Aymer. — Naught but to give your Christian swords a deed 

Worthier than Where's your chief] in the Paynim's 

bonds ! 

Made the wild Arab's prize ! Ay, heaven is just ! 

If ye will rescue him, then follow me : 

I know the way they bore him. 
Herman. — Follow thee ! 

Recreant ! deserter of thy house and faith ! 

To think true knights would follow thee again ! 

'Tis all some snare — away ! 



DE CHATILLON 265 

Aymer. — Some snare ! Heaven, heaven ! 

Is my name sunk to this 1 Must men first crush 
My soul, then spurn the ruin they have made ] 
Why, let him perish ! — blood for blood ! — must earth 
Cry out in vain ? Wine, wine ! we'll revel here ! 
On, minstrel, with thy song ! 

(Troubadour continues the song.) 

" They are gone — they have all passed by ! 
They in whose wars I had borne my part, 
They that I loved with a brother's heart, 

They have left me here to die ! 
Sound again, clarion ! clarion, pour thy blast ! 
Sound, for the captive's dream of hope is past ! " 

Aymer {starting up.) — 

That was the lay he loved in our boyish days — 
And he must die forsaken ! No, by heaven ! 
He shall not. Follow me ! I say your chief 
Is bought and sold. Is there no generous trust 
Left in your souls? De Foix, I saved your life 
At Ascalon. Du Momay, you and I 
On Jaffa's wall together set our breasts 
Against a thousand spears. What ! have I fought 
Beside you, shared your cup, slept in your tents. 
And ye can think 

(Dashing off his turban.) 

Look on my burning brow ! 
Eead if there's falsehood branded on it — read 
The marks of treachery there ! 
Knights {gathering round him.) — No, no ! come on ! 
To the rescue ! lead us on ! we'll trust thee still ! 



266 DRAMATIC WORKS 

A YMER.— Follow, then !— this way. If I die for him. 
There will be vengeance ! He shall think of me 
To his last hour. lExeunU 



SCENE II. 
A pavilion in the camp of Melech. Mblech and Sadi. 

Melech. — It must be that these sounds and sights of woe 
Shake her too gentle nature. Yes, her cheek 
Fades hourly in my sight. What other cause — 
None, none. She must go hence. Choose from thy band 
The bravest, Sadi ! and the longest tried. 
And I will send my child 

Voice without. — Where is your chief? 

(De Chatii>lon enters, guarded by Arab and Turkish soldiers.) 

Arab. — The sons of Kedar's tribe have brought to the son 

Of the Prophet's house a prisoner ! 
Melech {half drawing his sword.) — Chatillon ! 

That slew my boy ! Thanks for the avenger's hour 

Sadi, their guerdon — give it them — the gold ! 

And me the vengeance ! 

{Looking at Rainier, tcho holds the upper fragment cf his sword, 
and seems lost in thought.) 

This is he 

That slew my first-bom ! 
Kainier {to himself.) — Surely there leaped up 

A brother's heart within him ! Yes, he struck 

To the earth a Paynim 

Melech {raising his voice) — Christian ! thou hast been 

Our nation's deadliest foe. 



D£ CHATILLON 267 

Rainier {looJcing up and smiling proudly.) — 'Tis joj- to hear 

I have not lived in vain. 
Melech. — Thou bear'st thyself 

With a conqueror's mien. What is thy hope &om me] 
Rainier. — A soldier's death. 

Melech {hastily.) — Then thou wouldst fear a slave's? 
Rainier. — Fear ! As if man's own spirit had not power 

To make his death a triumph ! Waste not words; 

Let my blood bathe thine own sword. Infidel ! 

I slew thy son ! 

(Looking at his broken sword.) 

Ay, there's the red mark here ! 
Melech {approaching him.) — Thou darest to tell me this ? 

(A tumult heard without.) 

Voices without. — A Chatillon ! 

Rainier. — My brother's voice ! He is saved ! 

Melech {calling.) — What, ho ! my guards ! 

(Aymer enters teith the knights, fighting their way through 
Melech's soldiers, who are driven before them.) 

Aymer. — On with the war-cry of our ancient house : 

For the Ci'oss — De Chatillon ! 
Knights. — For the Cross — De Chatillon ! 

(Rainier attempts to break from his guards. Sadi enters tcith 
more soldiers to the assistance of Melech. Ayaibr and the 
knights are overpowered. Aymer is wounded and falls.) 

Melech. — Bring fetters — bind the captives ! 
Rainier. — Lost — all lost ! 
No ! he is saved ! 

(Breaking jrom his guards, he goes up to Aymer.) 



268 DRAMATIC WORKS 

Brother, my brother ! hast thou pardoned me 

That which I did to save thee ] Speak ! forgive ! 
Aymer {turning from him.) — 

Thou see'st I die for thee. She is avenged. 
Rainier. — I am no murderer ! Hear me ! turn to me! 

We are parting by the grave. 

(MoRAiMA enters veiled, and goes up to Mklech.) 
MORAIMA. — Father ! Oh, look not sternly on thy child. 

I came to plead. They said thou hast condemned 

A Christian knight to die 

Melech. — Hence to thy tent ! 

Away — begone ! 
Aymer {attempting to rise.) — Moraima ! hath her spirit come 

To make death beautiful 1 Moraima ! speak. 
Moraima. — It was his voice ! Aymer ! 

{She rushes to him, throwing aside her veil.) 

Aymer. — Thou liv'st — thou liv'st ! 

I knew thou couldst not die. Look on me still. 

Thou liv'st ! and makest this world so full of joy — 

But I depart ! 
Melech {approaching her.) — Moraima ! hence ! Is this 

A place for thee ] 
Moraima. — Away! away! 

There is no place but this for me on earth I 

Where should I go 1 There is no place but this ! 

My soul is bound to it ! 
Melech {to the guards.) — Back, slaves ! and look not on her] 

(They retreat to the background.) 

'Twas for this 
She drooped to the earth ! 
Aymer. — Moraima, fare thee well ! 



DB CHATILLON 261 

Think on me ! I have loved thee. I take hence 

That deep love with my soul ; for well I know 

It must be deathless. 
MoRAiMA. — Oh, thou hast not known 

What woman's love is ! Aymer, Aymer, stay ! 

If I could die for thee ! My heart is grown 

So strong in its despair ! 
Kaimer {tui'ning from them.) — And all the past 

Forgotten ! — our young days ! His last thoughts hers, 

The infidel's ! 
Aymer (vnth a violent effort turning his head round) — 

Thou art no murderer ! Peace 

Between us — peace, my brother ! In our deaths 

We shall be joined once more. 
Eainier {holding the cross of the sword before him.) — 

Look yet on this ! 
Aymer. — If thou hadst only told me that she lived ! 

But our hearts meet at last ! 

(Presses the cross to his lips.) 
Moraima, save my brother ! Look on me ! 
Joy — there is joy in death ! 

{He dies on Rainibr's arm.) 

Moraima. — Speak — speak once more ! 
Aymer ! how is it that I call on thee. 
And that thou answer'st nof? Have we not loved ] 
Death ! death ! — and this is — death ! 

Rainier. — So thou art gone, 

Aymer ! I never thought to weep again — 

But now — farewell ! Thou wert the bravest knight 

That e'er laid lance in rest — and thou didst wear 

The noblest form that ever woman's eye 

Dwelt on with love : and till that fatal dream 



270 DRAMATIC WORKS 

Came o'er thee, Aymer ! Aymer ! thou wert still 

The most true-hearted brother ! There thou art 

^^^lOse breast was once my shield ! I never thought 

That foes should see me weep ! but there thou art, 

Aymer, my brother ! 

MoRAiMA {suddenly Hsinrj.) — With his last, last breath 

He bade me save his brother ! 

{Falling at Melech's feet.) Father, spare 

The Christian — spare him ! 
Melech. — For thy sake spare him 

That slew thy father's son ! Shame to thy race ! 

Soldiers ! come nearer with your levelled spears ! 

Yet nearer ! — gird him in ! My boy's young blood 

Is on his sword. Christian, abjure thy faith, 

Or die : thine hour is come ! 
(Rainier turn^ and throws himself on the weapons of the soldiers.) 
Eainier. — Thou hast mine answer, infidel ! (Falls back.) 

Knights of France ! 

Herman ! De Foix ! Du Momay ! be ye strong ! 

Your hour will come. Must the old war-cry cease ? 

(Half raising himself, and waving the Cross triumphantly.) 
For the Cross — De Chatillon ! \_Dies. 



EDINBURGH 
PRINTED ET WILLIAM BLACKWOOD AND SONS 



POEMS 



FELICIA HEMANS 



[N SIX VOLUMES 

VOL. III. 



WILLIAM BLACKWOOD AND SONS 

EDINBURGH AND LONDON 

1851 






O 












jaS 



University of Toronto 
Library 



DO NOT 

REMOVE 

THE 

CARD 

FROM 

THIS 

POCKET 




BOUND B< 



ONOOW ^ 



—t^