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[Price Three Shillings.] 




Jtfa tt 

Count di Procida. 

Raimond di Procida, his Son. 

Eribert, Viceroy. 

De Couci. 




Anselmo, a Monk. 


Constance, Sister to Eribert. JfUf^ /', % 


Nobles, Soldiers, Messengers, Vassals, Peasants, &c. &c. 
Scene Palermo. 







SCENE I. A Valley, ivith Vineyards and Cottages. 

Groups of Peasants Procida, disguised as a Pilgrim, 
amongst them 

1 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 morn, from all our purple hills, 

To welcome in the vintage. Never since 

Hath music seem'd so sweet ! But the light hearts 

Which to those measures beat so joyously 

Are tamed to stillness now. There is no voice 

Of joy thro' all the land. 

2 PEA. 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. 



3 PEA. Alas ! we sat 

In happier days, so peacefully beneath 
The olives and the vines our fathers rear'd, 
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 1 . We are bow'd 
E'en to the earth. 

PEA. CHILD. My father, tell me when 

Shall the gay dance and song again resound 
Amidst our chesnut-woods, as in those days 1 
Of which thou 'it wont to tell the joyous tale ? 

1 PEA. 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 


Of wrongs and sorrows, and to whisper thoughts 
They dare not breathe aloud. 

PROCIDA. (from the back-ground.} Ay, it is well 
So to relieve th' o'erburdcn'd heart, which pants 
Beneath its weight of wrongs ; but better far 
In silence to avenge them. 

AN OLD PEA. What deep voice 

Came with that startling tone ? 

1 PEA. It was our guest's, 

c. 1.] OP PALERMO. 3 

The stranger pilgrim, who hath sojourn'd here 

Since y ester-morn. Good neighbours, mark him well: 

He hath a stately bearing, and an eye 

Whose glance looks thro' the heart. His mien accords 

111 with such vestments. How he folds round him 

His pilgrim-cloak, e'en as it were a robe 

Of knightly ermine ! That commanding step 

Should have been used in courts and camps to move. 

Mark him ! 

OLD PEA. Nay, rather, mark him not : the times 
Are fearful, and they teach the boldest hearts 
A cautious lesson. What should bring him here ? 

A YOUTH. He spoke of vengeance ! 

OLD PEA. 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. 

PRO. (coming forward indignantly .J 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 stamp'd 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, e'en then. 
Strangers should catch its echo ? Is there aught 
In this so precious, that thy furrow'd cheek 
Is blanch'd with terror at the passing thought 
Of hazarding some few and evil days, 
Which drag thus poorly on ? 

B 2 



Leave us, for there is danger in thy presence. 

PRO. Why, what is danger ? Are there deeper ills 
Than those ye bear thus calmly? Ye have drain'd 
The cup of bitterness, till nought remains 
To fear or shrink from therefore, be ye strong ! 
Power dwelleth with despair. Why start ye thus 
At words which are but echoes of the thoughts 
Lock'd in your secret souls ? Full well I know, 
There is not one amongst you, but hath nursed 
Some proud indignant feeling, which doth make 
One conflict of his life. I know tliy wrongs, 
And thine and thine, but if within your breasts, 
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 e'en here, 
That kindle at $y words. 

PEAS. If that indeed 

Thou hast a hope to give us. 

PRO. There is hope 

For all who suffer with indignant thoughts 
Which work in silent strength. What! think ye 


Overlooks th' oppressor, if he bear awhile 
His crested head on high ? I tell you, no ! 
Th' 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 

Sc. 1.] OF PALERMO. 5 

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 

A !.-p 

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

PEAS. Had we but arms and leaders, we are men 
Who might earn vengeance yet ; but wanting these, 
What woulds't thou have us do? 

PRO. Be vigilant; 

And when the signal wakes the land, arise ! 
The peasant's arm is strong, and there shall be 
A rich and noble harvest. Fare ye well. [Exit Procida. 

1 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. 

2 PEAS. Speak low; I know him well. 
At first his voice disturb'd 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. 

PEAS. And is this he? 

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

1 PEAS. He comes not thus 

But with some mighty purpose ; doubt it not : 
Perchance to bring us freedom. He is one, 
Whose faith, thro' many a trial, hath been proved 


True to our native princes. But away ! 
The noon-tide heat is past, and from the seas 
Light gales are wandering thro' the vineyards ; now 
We may resume our toil. 

[Exeunt Peasants. 

SCENE II. The Terrace of a Castle. 
Eribert. Vittoria. 

VITTORIA. Have I not told thee, that I bear a heart 
Blighted and cold ? Th' affections of my youth 
Lie slumbering in the grave ; their fount is closed, 
And all the soft and playful tenderness 
Which hath its home in woman's breast, ere yet 
Deep wrongs have sear'd it ; all is fled from mine. 
Urge me no more. 

ERIBERT. O lady! doth the flower 

That sleeps entomb'd thro' 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 ? 

VIT. Love ! make love's name thy spell, 
And I am strong ! the very word calls up 
From the dark past, thoughts, feelings, powers, array 'd 
In arms against thee ! Know'st thou whom I lov'd, 
While my soul's dwelling place was still on earth ? 
One who was born for empire, and endow'd 
With such high gifts of princely majesty, 
As bow'd all hearts before him ! Was he not 
Brave, royal, beautiful ? And such he died ; 

Sc. 2.] OF PALERMO. 7 

He died ! hast thou forgotten ? And thou'rt here, 
Thou meet'st my glance with eyes which coldly look'd, 
Coldly ! nay, rather with triumphant gaze, 
Upon his murder ! Desolate as I am, 
Yet in the mien of thine affianced bride, 
Oh, my lost Conradin ! there should be still 
Somewhat of loftiness, which might o'erawe 
The hearts of thine assassins. 

ERI. 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. 

VIT. Provencal, tell . 

Thy tale of danger to some happy heart, 
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. 

ERI. 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 bow'd 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 ? 

VIT. Viceroy, tell thy lord, 

That e'en where chains lie heaviest on the land, 


Souls may not all be fetter'd. Oft, ere now, 
Conquerors have rock'd the earth, yet faiPd 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. 

ERI. 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 Eribert. 

VIT. To-morrow ! Some ere now have slept, and 


Of morrows which ne'er dawn'd or ne'er for them ; 
So silently their deep and still repose 
Hath melted into death ! Are there not balms 
In nature's boundless realm, to pour out sleep 
Like this, on me ? 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 should'st be now at 


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 founts of fire, while spoilers tread 
The glowing vales beneath.' 

Sc. 2.] OF PALERMO, 9 

(Procida enters disguised.) 

Ha! whoartthou, 

Unbidden guest, that with so mute a step 
Dost steal upon me ? 

PRO. One, o'er whom hath pass'd 

All that can change man's aspect ! Yet not long 
Shalt thou find safety in forgetfulness. 
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. 

VIT. Righteous Heaven ! the pledge 

Amidst his people from the scaffold thrown 
By him who perish'd, and whose kingly blood 
E'en yet is unatoned. My heart beats high 
Oh, welcome, welcome ! thou art Procida, 
Th' Avenger, the Deliverer ! 

PRO. Call me so 

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

VIT. Why dost thou gaze, 

With such a still and solemn earnestness, 
Upon my alter'd mien? 

PRO. That I may read 

If to the widow'd love of Conrad in, 
Or the proud Eribert's triumphant bride, 
I now entrust my fate. 

VIT. Thou, Procida! 

That thou shouldst wrong me thus ! Prolong thy gaze 
Till it hath found an answer. 


PRO. 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 


Of Fame hath told afar that thou shouldst wed 
This tyrant, Eribert. 

VIT. And told it not 

A tale of insolent love repelTd with scorn, 
Of stern commands and fearful menaces 
Met with indignant courage ? 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 heart 
Have still a pathway to escape disgrace, 
Tho' it be dark and lone. 

PRO. Thou shalt not need 

To tread its shadowy mazes. Trust my words : 
I tell thce, that a spirit is abroad, 
Which will not slumber till its path be traced 
By deeds of fearful fame. Vittoria, live ! 

Sc.2.] OF PALERMO. 11 

It is most meet that thou shouldst live, to see 
The mighty expiation ; for thy heart 
(Forgive me that I wrong'd its faith) hath nursed 
A high, majestic grief, whose seal is set 
Deep on thy marble brow. 

VIT. Then thou canst tell, 

By gazing on the withered rose, that there 
Time, or the blight, hath Work'd ! 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 ! 

PRO. Hear'st thou not 

With what a deep and ominous 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 It find already kindled. I move on 
In shadow, yet awakening in my path 
That which shall startle nations. Fare thee well. 

VIT. When shall we meet again? Are we not 


.3mjsi liJhs& lo aboeb Q. 


t e)ri3tfQifr faupic ,, , Xl _. , , , o 
Whom most he loved on earth, and think'st thou not 

That love e'en yet shall bring his spirit near 
,__. ... , , , 

While thus we hold communion ? 

PRO. Yes, I feel 

Its breathing influence whilst I look on thee, 
Who wert its light in life. Yet will we not 
Make womanish tears our offering on his tomb ; 
He shall have nobler tribute 1 I must hence, 
But thou shalt soon hear more. Await the time. 

[Exeunt separately.' 

SCENE 111. The Sea Shore. 
Raimond di Procida. Constance. 
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 sun. 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, unveil'd 
Lies pale around ; and life's realities 
Press on the soul, from its unfathom'd depth 

Sc,3,] OF PALERMO ; 13 


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 curse 

To breathe where noble minds are bow'd, as here. 

To breathe! it is not breath ! 
_. _ 

CON. 1 know thy grief, 

And is't not mine ? for those devoted men 
Doom'd with their life to expiate some wild word, 
Born of the social hour. Oh ! I have knelt, 
E'en at my 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. 

RAI, Waste not thou thy prayers, 

Oh, gentle love, for them. There's little need 
For Pity, tho' the galling chain be worn 
By some few slaves the less. Let them depart ! , m ( 
There is a world beyond th' oppressor's reach^jj 
AM thither lies their way. 

CON. Alas ! I see 

That some new wrong hath pierced you to the SQIJ$. 

RAI. Pardon, beloved Constance, if my word$, 
From feelings hourly stung, have caught, perchance, -JQ 
A tone of bitterness. Oh ! when thine eyes j)njs b[[ w & 
With their sweet eloquent thoughtfulness, are. fix'd 
Thus tenderly on mine, I should forget ;C ( 
All else in their soft beams ; and yet 
To tell thee y. mo rftelflJJ ari rnoit Juos artt no 


CON. What? What wouldst thou say ? O 

speak ! 

Thou wouldst not leave me ! 

RAI. I have cast a cloud, 

The shadow of dark thoughts and ruin'd 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, 
E'en as before we met before we loved ! 

CON. 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 
Th' exalted life I draw from that pure source, 
With all its checquer'd hues of hope and fear, 
Ev'n for the brightest calm. Thou most unkind ! 
Have I deserved this ? 

RAI. Oh ! thou hast deserved 

A love less fatal to thy peace than mine. 
Think not 'tis mockery! -But I cannot rest 
To be the scorn'd 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 mo down 
With a dull sense of bondage, and I pine 
For freedom's chaito'd air. I would go forth 
To seek my noble father ; he hath been 
Too long a lonely exile, and his name 

Sb. 3.] OF PALERMO. 15 

Seems fading in the dim obscurity 
Which gathers round my fortunes. 

CON. Must we part ? 

And is it come to this ? Oh ! I have still 
Deem'd it enough of joy with theeio share 
E'en 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 ! 

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

CON. 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 form'd ; and to bow down 
Th' 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. 

RAI. Where'er I roam 

Thou shall 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 tend^rness,^^ 
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. 

CON. Then there's a respite still. 

Days ! not a day but in its course may bring 
Some strange vicissitude to turn aside 
Th' impending blow we shrink from. Fare thee well. 


Oh, Raimond ! this is not our last farewell ? 
Thou wouldst not so deceive me ? 

RAI. Doubt me not, 

Gentlest and best beloved ! we meet again. 

[Exit Constance. 

RAI. (After a pause.) When shall I breathe in 

freedom, and give scope 
To those untameable and burning thoughts, 
And restless aspirations, which consume 
My heart i' th' land of bondage ? 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. 


Sc. 3.] OP PALERMO. 17 

qsew j ?ljaw(l 

PROCIDA. (Coming forward) He is here. 

RAI. Now, thou mysterious stranger, thou, whose 


Doth fix itself on memory, and pursue 
Thought, like a spirit, haunting its lone hours ; 
Reveal thyself ; what art thou ? 

PRO. 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. 

RAI. 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 
With a dull hollow semblance of repose, 
May so be call'd. 

PRO. There are such calms full oft 

Preceding earthquakes. But I have not been 
So vainly school'd 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 hush'd submissiveness as best 
May suit the troubled aspect of the times. 

RAI. Why, then, thou art 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 brother'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 conquerors. This it is, 

To wear a foreign yoke. 

PRO. 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, 
Ev'n when its lofty claims are all reduced 
To the poor common privilege of breathing. 
Why dost thou turn away ? 

RAL What would'st thou with me ? 

I deem'd thee, by th' ascendant soul which liv'-d, 
And made its throne on thy commanding brow, 
One of a sovereign nature, which would scorn 
So to abase its high capacities 
For aught on earth. But thou art like the rest. 
What would'st thou with me ? 

PRO. I would counsel thee. 

Thou must 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 flush'd mirth is all 

Sc. 3.] OP PALERMO. 19 

A strife, won hardly. Where is he, whose heart 
Lies bare, thro' all its foldings, to the gaze 
Of mortal eye ? If vengeance wait the foe, 
Or fate th' oppressor, 'tis in depths conceal'd 
Beneath a smiling surface. Youth ! I say 
Keep thy soul down ! Put on a mask ! 'tis worn 
Alike by power and weakness, and the smooth 
And specious intercourse of life requires 
Its aid in every scene. 

RAI. 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 r 
By which the serpent wins his spell-bound prey ? 
It is because I will not clothe myself 
In a vile garb of coward semblances, 
That now, e'en now, I struggle with my heart, 
To bid what most I love a long farewell, 
And seek my country on some distant shore, 
Where such things are unknown ! 

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

RAI. My father ! what of him? 

Speak ! was he known to thee ? 

PRO. In distant lands 

C 2 


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

RAI. Dost thou deem 

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

PRO. It may be that he lives : 

Tho' 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? 

RAI. From my mind 

His form hath faded long, for years have pass'd 
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 of my being. 

> W. n Raimond ! doth no voice 

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

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

PRO. Oh ! this hour 

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

Sc. 3.] OP PALERMO.; 21 

RAI. Yet why so long, 

Ev'n as a stranger, hast thou cross'd my partisan (iO 
One nameless and unknown ? and yet I felt 
Each pulse within me thrilling to thy voicexit "oTill JftQ 

PRO. Because I would not link thy fate with mine, 
Till I could hail the day-spring of that hope 
Which now is gathering round us. Listen, youth ! 
Thou hast told me of a subdued, and scorn'd, ^g 
And trampled land, whose very soul is bow'd 
And fashion'd to her chains : but I tell thee 
Of a most generous and devoted land, 
A land of kindling energies ; a knd 
Of glorious recollections ! proudly true 
To the high memory of her ancient kings, 9ni 9Jl~ 
And rising, in majestic scorn, to cast 
Her alien bondage off! 

RAI. And this I j?{ 8Dfli g 

PRO. Here, in our isle, our own fair Sicily ! //oq ^y 
Her spirit is awake, and moving on, )rftj . 
In its deep silence mightier, to regain 
Her place amongst the nations ; and the hour, 3 j rf7o ^ 
Of that tremendous effort is at hand. j y fn ^ o j^tj 

RAI. Can it be thus indeed? Thou pour'st new life 
Thro' all my burning veins !- 1 am as one. dj Ol 
Awakening from a chill and death-like sleep 
To the full glorious day. 

p R0 . Thou shalt hear more 1 

Thou shalt hear things which would, which will arouse 
The proud, free spirits of our ancestors , orf 
E'en from their marble rest. Yet mark me 

2'2 THE VESPERS [Act I. Sc. 3. 

Be secret ! for along my destin'd 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. 

RAI. 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 thro' my veins, 
As a bright fountain from its icy bonds 
By the quick sun-stroke freed. 

PRO. Ay, this is well ! 

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






ir/j JscfT 

Act II.] OF PALERMO. 23 


SCENE I. Apartment in a Palace. 

Eribert. Constance. 

CONSTANCE. Will you not hear me ? Oh! that they 

who need 

Hourly forgiveness, they who do but live, 
While Mercy's voice, beyond th' eternal stars, 
Wins the great Judge to listen, should be thus, 
In their vain exercise of pageant power, 
Hard and relentless ! Gentle brother, yet, 
'T is in your choice to imitate that heaven 
Whose noblest joy is pardon. 

ERIBERT. 'T is too late. 

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

CON. What, die ! for words ? for breath, which 

leaves no trace 

To sully the pure air, wherewith it blends, 
And is, being utter'd, gone ? Why, 't were 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 stern Justice wake. 

ERI. 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 crown'd and arm'd. And, mark 

me, sister ! 

To a distrustful nature it might seem 
Strange, that your lips 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. 

CON. Have you no fear ? 

ERI. Of what ? that heaven should fall ? 

CON. No ! but that earth 

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

ERI. Am I then 

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

CON. 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 ? 

Etf/. 2n Yes ! whose name 

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

Sc. 1.] OP PALERMO. 25 

CON. 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. T was 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 ! 

ERI. Nay, 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 mock'd the boy's sad mother I have said, 
You should not thus have mock'd her! Now, farewell. 

[Exit Eribert. 

CON. Oh, brother ! hard of heart ! for deeds like 


There must be fearful chastening, if on high | oT 
Justice doth hold her state. And I must tell jfa A 
Yon desolate mother that her fair young son 
Is thus to perish ! Haply the dread tale 
May slay her too ; for heaven is merciful^gniariJ tuff, 

'Twill be a bitter task ! Jon i 

[Exit Constance. 

ow js. si/sot ol om iftiw e&st Jl 
in io Blnufiii orfltebini nabbidiol braros & 


SCENE II. A mined Tower, surrounded by Woods. 
Procida. Vittoria. 

PROCIDA. Thy vassals are prepared then ? 

VITTORIA. Yes, they wait 

Thy summons to their task. 

PRO. Keep the flame bright, 

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

VIT. What should I shrink from ? 

PRO. Oh! the forest-paths 

Are dim and wild, e'en when the sunshine streams 
Thro' 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, 
Wakening strange thoughts, almost too much for this, 
Our frail terrestrial nature. 

VIT. Well I know 

All this, and more. Such scenes have been th' 


Where thro' the silence of my soul have pass'd 
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 nature, 'tis to hearts 

Sc. 2.] OP PALERMO. 2? 

Whose love is with the dead. They, they alone, 
Unmadden'd could sustain the fearful joy 
And glory of its trances ! at the hour 
Which makes guilt tremulous, and peoples earth 
And air with infinite, viewless multitudes, 

r \J 

I will be with thee, Procida. 

PRO. 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 ? 

VIT. Full well. There is no scene so wild and 


In these dim woods, but I have visited 
Its tangled shades. 

PRO. At midnight then we meet. 

[Exit Procida. 

VIT. Why should I fear? Thou wilt be with me, 

. J 

Th' 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 in the forest-depths, 
Known but to me ; for whom thou giv'st 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! 

[Exit Vittoria. 


; araori usl nv/o ^m issn wsib I* I neJail luS 
bnuoB on .ails:// eli gaols Iri^il on SBW emifF 
SCENE III. A Chapel, with a Monument, on which is 
laid a Sword. Moonlight. 

flwoiffo si&>. . , TV srft te TV, ,, 

Procida. Pvaimond. Montalba. 
>fni ta^ 

MONTALBA. And know you not my story ? d 

PROciDA.yrf i $ifj j In the lands 

Where I have been a wanderer, your deep wrongs 
Were number'd with our country's ; but their tale 
Came only in faint echoes to mine ear. 
I would fain hear it now. 

MON. Hark ! while you spoke, bnA 

There was a voice-like murmur in the breeze, 
Which ev'n like death came o'er me : 'twas a night 
Like this, of clouds contending with the moon, j'.>nA 
A night of sweeping winds, of rustling leaves, 
And swift wild shadows floating o'er the earth, 
Clothed with a phantom-life ; when, after years A $ 
Of battle and captivity, I spurr'd 
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 lovelj ui 
Doth twine so fondly round the warrior's neck, 
When his plumed helm is dofF'd. Hence, feeble 

thoughts ! 
I am sterner now, yet once such dreams were mine ! 

RAIMOND. And were they realiz'd ? 

MON. Youth ! Ask me not, 

Sc. 3.] OF PALERMO. 29 

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 e'en now. I calPd my struggling voice 

Gave utterance to my wife's, my children's, names ; 

They answer'd not I roused my failing strength, 

And wildly rush'd within and they were there. 

RAI. And was all well .' 

Mox. Ay, well ! for death is well, 

And they were all at rest ! I see them yet, #& 
Pale in their innocent beauty, which had fail'd 
To stay th' assassin's arm ! 

RAI. Oh, righteous heaven ! 

Who had done this ? 

MON. Who ! 

PRO. Can'st thou question, who ? 

Whom hath the earth to perpetrate such deecte,^ J 
In the cold-blooded revelry of crime, <n * ^ignib bnA 
But those whose yoke is on H8T 1 \&>n& c 

RAI. fflfoftAPfcb#irf nsdW 

What words hath pity for despair like thine ? 

MON. Pity! fond youth! My soul disdains the 

grief b'siLsai \$A$ eiaw bnA .(I>IOMIA$ 
Which doth unbosom its deep secrecies, 


To ask a vain companionship of tears, 
And so to be relieved ! 

PRO. For woes like these, 

There is no sympathy but vengeance. 

MON. None ! 

Therefore I brought you hither, that your hearts 
Might catch the spirit of the scene ! Look round 1 
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 th' 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. 

RAI. My spirit burns ! 

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

PRO. Raimond ! they 

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

RAI. How, my father ! 

PRO. No ! 

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

So. 3.] OF PALERMO. 3i 

MON. 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 look'd or breath'd on. Procida ! 
I would be tranquil or appear so ere 
I join your brave confederates. Thro' my heart 
There struck a pang but it will soon have pass'd. 

PRO. Remember ! in the cavern by the cross. 
Now, follow me, my son. 

[Exeunt Procida and Raimond. 

MON. (after a pause, leaning on the tomb.) 
Said he, " my son?" Now, why should this man's 


Go down in hope, thus resting on a son, 
And I be desolate ? How strange a sound 
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 Mm 
Thus haunt me ? when I tread the peopled ways 
Of life again, I shall be pass'd each hour 
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 fulfill'd. 

{Exit Montalba. 


. :.. : ' . . -:::.,.,. 

SCENE IV. Entrance of a Cave, surrounded by Rocks 
and Forests. A rude Cross seen amongst the Rocks. 

.ted ^ ' . 

Procida. Raimond 


PROCIDA. And it is 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 ! 

RAIMOND. 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 pillar'd halls, wherein 
Statesmen hold weary vigils. Are we not 
O'ershadow'd by that Etna, which of old d id JS 
With its dread prophecies, hath struck dismay 
Thro' tyrants' hearts, and bade them seek a home 
In other climes ? Hark ! from its depths e'en now 
What hollow moans are sent ! 


Enter Montalba, Guido, and other Sicilians. 

PRO. Welcome,my brave associates ! We can share 
The wolf's wild freedom here! Th' oppressor's 

Is not midst rocks and caves. Are we all met? 

SICILIANS. All, all ! 

PRO. The torchlight, sway'd by every gust, 
But dimly shows your features. Where is he 

Se. 4.] OF PALERMO. 33 

Who from his battles had return 'd to breathe 
Once more, without a corslet, and to meet 
The voices, and the footsteps, and the smiles, 
Blent with his dreams of home ? Of that dark tale 
The rest is known to vengeance ! Art thou here, 
With thy deep wrongs and resolute despair, 
Childless Montalba ? 

MON. ( advancing.} He is at thy side. nW 

Call on that desolate father, in the hour 
When his revenge is nigh. 

PRO. Thou, too, come forth, 

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

1 Sici. Even so. I stood 

Last night before my own ancestral towers mtfeit3*C 
An unknown outcast, while the tempest beat 
On my bare head what reck'd it ? There was joy 
Within, and revelry ; the festive lamps gnorib tadk> fH 
Were streaming from each turret, and gay songs, 
I 'th' stranger's tongue, made mirth. They little 


Who heard their melodies ! but there are thoughts 
Best nurtured in the wild ; there are dread vows 
Known to the mountain- echoes. Procida ! 
Call on the outcast when revenge is nigh. 

PRO. I knew a young Sicilian, one whose heart 
Should be all fire. On that most guilty day, 
When, with our martyr'd Conradin, the flower 



Of the land's knighthood perish'd ; he, of whom 
I speak, a weeping boy, whose innocent tears 
Melted a thousand hearts that dared not aid, 
Stood by the scaffold, with extended arms, 
Calling upon his father, whose last look 
Turn'd full on him its parting agony. 
That father's blood gush'd o'er him ! and the boy 
Then dried his tears, and, with a kindling eye, 
And a proud flush on his young cheek, look'd up 
To the bright heaven. Doth he remember still 
That bitter hour ? 

2 Sici. He bears a sheathless sword ! 

Call on the orphan when revenge is nigh. 

PRO. 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 amongst us ? 

GUI DO. Look on me ! 

I have a brother, a young high-soul'd 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 seal'd 
With thcir's of whom you spoke ; and I have knelt 

Sc. 3.] OF PALERMO. 35 

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

E'en at the viceroy's feet, and he put on 

That heartless laugh of cold malignity 

We know so well, and spurn'd me. But the stain 

Of shame like this, takes blood to wash it off, 

And thus it shall be cancelPd ! Call on me, 

When the stern moment of revenge is nigh. 

PRO. I call upon thee now ! The land's high soul 
Is roused, and moving onward, like a breeze 
Or a swift sunbeam, kindling nature's hues 
To deeper life before it. In his chains, 
The peasant dreams of freedom ! ay, 'tis thus 
Oppression fans th' imperishable flame 
With most unconscious hands. No praise be her's 
For what she blindly works ! When slavery's cup 
O'erflows its bounds, the creeping poison, meant 
To dull our senses, thro* each burning 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 human will, when bent with strong 
Unswerving energy on one great aim, 
To make and rule its fortunes ! 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 

D 2 


The arm that strikes for freedom ; speak ! decree 
The fate of our oppressors. 

MON. ggoi UP Let them fall 

When dreaming least of peril ! When the heart, 
Basking in sunny pleasure, doth forget 
That hate may smile, but sleeps not. Hide the sword 
With a thick veil of myrtle, and in halls 
Of banquetting, where the full wine-cup shines 
Red in the festal torch-light ; meet we there, . 
And bid them welcome to the feast of death. 

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

MON. Why, then, I thus repeat 

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

RAI. Must innocence and guilt 

Perish alike ? 

MON. Who talks of innocence ? 
When hath their hand been stay'd for innocence ? n Q 
Let them all perish ! Heaven will chuse its own. 
Why should their children live? The earthquake 


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 should we, be tender, when the skies 
Deal thus with man ? What, if the infant bleed ? 
Is there not power to bush the mother's pangs ? 
What, if the youthful bride perchance should fall r 

Sc. 3.] OP PALERMO. 37 

In her triumphant beauty ? Should we pause ?* 

As if death were not mercy to the pangs 

Which make our lives the records of our foes ? 

Let them all perish ! And if one be found > nsdW 

Amidst our band, to stay th' avenging* steel 

For pity, or remorse, or boyish love, 

Then be his doom as theirs ! [A pause. 

Why gaze ye thus ? 
Brethren, what means your silence ? 

Sici. Be it so ! 

If one amongst us stay th 5 avenging steel 
For love or pity, be his doom as theirs ! 
Pledge we our faith to this ! 

RAI. (RuMng forward indignantly.) 

Our faith to this ! 

No ! I but dreamt I heard it ! Can it be ? 
My countrymen, my father ! Is it thus 
That freedom should be won ? Awake ! Awake 
To loftier thoughts ! Lift up, exultingly, 
On the crown'd 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 ^niJ 
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, 

F Y 

And our blood curdle at Ay, yours and mine 

A murderer ! Heard ye ? Shall that name with ours 


Go down to after days ? Oh, 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 ? 

MON. Fond dreamer, peace ! 

Fame ! What is fame ? Will our unconscious dust 
Start into thriDing rapture from the grave, 
At the vain breath of praise ? I tell thee, youth, 
Our souls are parch'd with agonizing thirst, "" 
Which must be quench'd tho' death were in the draught : 
We must have vengeance, for our foes have left 
No other joy unblighted. 

PRO. Oh ! my son, 

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 whatever the deeds, bv which 


We burst our bondage is it not enough 
That in the chronicle of days to come, 
We, thro' a bright * For Ever,' shall be call'd 
The men who saved their country ? 

RAI. Many a land 

Hath bow'd 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 

Sc. 3.] OF PALERMO. 39 

It is enough of glory to be calFd 

The children of the mighty, who redeem'd 

Their native soil but not by means like these. 

MON. I have no children. Of Montalba's blood 
Not one red drop doth circle thro' the veins 
Of aught that breathes ! Why, what have I 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 sun revives not, then return, 
Strong in thy desolation: but, till then, 
Thou art not for our purpose ; we have need 
Of more unshrinking hearts. 

RAI. Montalba, know, 

I shrink from crime alone. Oh ! if m$ voice 
Might yet have power amongst you, I would say, 
Associates, leaders, be avenged ! but yet 
As knights, as warriors ! 

MON. Peace ! have we not borne 

Th' 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. 

RAI. Why, then, farewell : 

I leave you to your councils. He that still 
Would hold his lofty nature undebased, 
And his name pure, were but a loiterer here. 

PRO. And is it thus indeed? dost thou forsake 
Our cause, my son? 


no Ohj father ! what proud hopes 
This hour hath blighted ! yet, whate'er betide 
It is a noble privilege to look up ;ijj noio. 

Fearless in heaven's bright face and this is mine, 
And shall be still. [Exit Raimond. 

PRO. 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. 

MON. It should be 

In the full city, when some festival 
Hath gathered throngs, and lull'd infatuate hearts 
To brief security. Hark ! is there not 
A sound of hurrying footsteps on the breeze ? 
We are betray 'd. Who art thou? 

Vittoria enters. 

.1 ami e; 

PRO. One aloneocuuO 

Should be thus daring. Lady, lift the veil 
That shades thy noble brow. 
(She raises her veil, the Sicilians draw back with respect.) 

Sici. Th' affianced bride 

Of our lost King! 

PRO. 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. Ye see me, one 

Sc.3.] OF PALERMO. 41 

Whose widow'd 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 unhallow'd vows and live 

Stung by the keen, unutterable scorn 

Of my own bosom, live another's bride ? 

Sici. Never, oh never ! fear not, noble lady ! 
Worthy of Conradin ! 

VIT. Yet hear me still. 

His 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 e'en our agonies as crimes. 
Say, is this meet? 

GUIDO. We deem'd these nuptials, lady, " 

Thy willing choice ; but 'tis a joy to find 
Thou art noble still. Fear not ; by all our wrongs 
This shall not be. 

PRO. 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 ! 

VIT. Procida ! 

PRO. " 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 ! 

VIT. Can my soul 

Dissemble thus ? 

PRO. We have no other means 

Of winning our great birthright back from those 
Who have usurp'd 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. 

MON. Then will we mix 

With the flush'd revellers, making their gay feast 
The harvest of the grave. 

VIT. A bridal day ! 

Must it be so ? Then, chiefs of Sicily, 
I bid you to my nuptials ! but be there 
With your bright swords unsheath'd, for thus alone 
My guests should be adorn'd. 

PRO. 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. 

VIT. Be it then the day 

Preceding that appointed for their doom. 

GUIDO. My brother, thou shalt live ! Oppression 


No gift of prophecy ! It but remains 
To name our signal, chiefs ! 

Sc.3.] OF PALERMO. 43 

MON. The Vesper-bell. 

PRO. Even so, the vesper-bell, whose deep-toned 


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 th' 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 t Remember ! 

Sici. Fear us not. 

The Vesper-bell ! [Exeunt 

0003 aS 

; ovoriq^fl 






etia orfw <$flQ 8'6-la'rfTr^! Ik bns ,1 fans <uoift < 


bnovaef isi gnijfool bus f ennote lie isfo iigiH 

SCENE I. Apartment in a Palace. 

.9806* - Eribert - Vitt0ria ' 

VITTORIA. Speak not of love it is a word with 


Strange magic in its melancholy sound, 
To summon up the dead ; and they should rest, 
At such an hour, forgotten. There are things 
We must throw from us, when the heart would gather 
Strength to fulfil its settled purposes.: >s. ff 
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 th' altar by thy side ; if this be deem'd 
Enough, it shall be done. >m swft li mosb 

ERIBERT. My fortune's star 

Doth rule th' ascendant still ; (Apart.) If not of love, 
Then pardon, lady, that I speak of joy, 
And with exulting heart - 

VIT. There w no joy 1 

Who shall look thro' the far futurity, 
And, as the shadowy visions of events 
Develope on his gaze, midst their dim throng, 
Dare, with oracular mien, to point, and say, 
" This will bring happiness?" Who shall do this ? 

Sc. 1.] OF PALERMO. 45 

Why, 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, e'en we, 

Usurp his attributes, and talk, as seers, 

Of future joy and grief! 

ERI. 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 

VIT. I know a day shall come 

Of peace to all. Ev'n from my darken'd spirit 
Soon shall each restless wish be exorcised, 
Which haunts it now, and I shall then lie down uiT 
Serenely to repose. Of this no more. MT 

I have a boon to ask. 

ERI. Command my power, 

And deem it thus most honoured. 

VIT. Have I then 

Soar'd such an eagle-pitch, as to command 
The mighty Eribert? And yet 'tis meet ; sq norfX 
For I bethink me now, I should have worn bnA. 

A crown upon this forehead. Generous lord ! 
Since thus you give me freedom, know, there is iWV 
An hour I have loved from childhood, and a sound, 
Whose tones, o'er earth and ocean sweetly bearing 
A sense of deep repose, have lull'd me oft >r/KI 

airffofa Ilisfia orlW- rqqfid grind Iliw airfT * 


To peace which is forgetfulness : I mean 
The Vesper-bell. I pray you, lei it be 
The summons to our bridal Hear you not ? 
To our fair bridal ! 

ERI. Lady, let your will 

Appoint each circumstance. I am but too bless'd 
Proving my homage thus. 

VIT. Why, then, 't is 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 am at thy side once more, but I shall stand 
There to the last. 

ERI. Your smiles are troubled, lady ; 

May they ere long be brighter ! Time will seemLteH 
Slow till the vesper-bell. 

VIT. 'T is lovers' phrase IsTeriW 

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. 

ERI. Be not so full of thought ' ; 

On such a day. Behold, the skies themselves 
Look on my joy with a triumphant smile, 
Unshadow'd by a cloud. 

VIT. >Tis very meet 


S6.2.] OF PALERMO. 47 

That heaven (which loves the just) should wear a 


In honour of his fortunes. Now, my lord, 
Forgive me if I say, farewell, until 
Th' appointed hour. 

ERI. Lady, a brief farewell. 

[Exeunt separately. 

SCENE II.- The Sea-shore. 

Procida. Raimond. 

PROCIDA. And dost thou still refuse to share the 

Of this, our daring enterprize ? 

RAIMOND. Oh, 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 burn, were of another cast 
Than such as thou requirest. 

PRO. Every deed 

Hath sanctity, if bearing for its aim 
The freedom of our country ; and the sword 
Alike is honour'd in the patriot's hand, 
Searching, midst warrior-hosts, the heart which gave 
Oppression birth ; or flashing thro' the gloom 
Of the still chamber, o'er its troubled couch, 
At dead of night. 


RAI. (turning away.) There is no path but one 
For noble natures. 

PRO. Wouldst thou ask the man 

Who to the earth hath dash'd a nation's chains, 
Rent as with heaven's own lightning, by what means 
The glorious end was won /Go, swell th' acclaim ! 
Bid the deliverer, hail ! and if his path 
To that most bright and sovereign destiny 
Hath led o'er trampled thousands, be it call'd 
A stern necessity, and not a crime ! 

RAI. Father ! my soul yet kindles at the thought 
Of nobler lessons, in my boyhood learn'd 
Ev'n 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 


Oh, father ! is it yet too late to draw 
The praise and blessing of all valiant hearts 
On our most righteous cause ? 

PRO. What wouldst thou do ? 

RAI. I would go forth, and rouse th' indignant 


To generous combat. Why should freedom strike 
Mantled with darkness ? Is there not more strength 
E'en in the waving of her single arm 
Than hosts can wield against her ? I would rouse 
That spirit, whose fire doth press resistless on 
To its proud sphere, the stormy field of fight ! 

Sc.2,] OP PALERMO. 49 

PRO. Ay ! and give time and warning to the foe 
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 reach'd i* th* noonday heaven 
His throne of burning glory /every sound 
Of the Provencal tongue within our walls, 
As by one thunderstroke (you rfre pale, my son) 
Shall be for ever silenced. 

RAI. What! such sounds 

As falter on the lip of infancy 
In its imperfect utterance ? or are breathed 
By the fond mother, as she lulls her babe? 
Or in sweet hymns, upon the twilight air 
Pour'd by the timid maid ? Must all alike 
Be still'd in death ; and wouldst thou tell my heart 
There is no crime in this ? 

PRO. Since thou dost feel 

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

RAI. Speak! Oh speak! 

PRO. How would those rescued thousands ble 

thy name 
Shouldst thou betray us ! 

RAI. Father! Icanbea^ 

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 ! 

PRO, (after a pause, ) Thou hast a brow 


Clear as the day and yet I doubt thee, Raimond ! 

Whether it be that I have learn'd distrust 

From a long look thro' man's deep-folded heart ; 

Whether my paths have been so seldom cross'd 

By honour and fair mercy, that they seem 

But beautiful deceptioas, meeting thus 

My unaccustom'd gaze ; howe'er it be 

I doubt thee ! See thou waver not take heed ! 

Time lifts the veil from all things ! [Exit Procida. 

RAI. And 'tis thus 

Youth fades from off our spirit ; and the robes 
Of beauty and of majesty, wherewith 
We .clothed our idols, drop ! O ! 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 realize its dreams ? 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. [Exit Raimond. 

SCENE III. Gardens of a Palace. ^\\ 
Constance, alone. 

CONSTANCE. There was im when my thoughts 

wander' d not 

Beyond these fairy scenes ; when, but to catch 
The languid fragrance of the southern breeze 
From the ncli-Howering citrons, or to rest, 

Sc. 3.] OP PALERMO. 51 

Dreaming of some wild legend, in the shade 
Of the dark laurel-foliage, was enough 
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.) 

Raimond I oh! now thou'rt come 
I read it in thy look, to say farewell 
For the last time the last I 

RAI. No, best beloved ! 

I come to tell thee there is now no power 
To part us but in death. 

CON. I have dreamt of joy, 

But never aught like this. Speak yet again ! 
Say, we shall part no more ! 

RAI. No more, if love 

Can strive with darker spirits, and he is strong 
Jn his immortal 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. 

CON. Thy father ! blessed sound ! 
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 sunny happiness of earlier days 


Look from thy brow once more ! But how is this ? 
Thine eye reflects not the glad soul of mine ; 
And in thy look is that which ill befits 
A tale of joy. 

RAI. A dream is on my soul. 

I see aslumberer, crown'd with flowers, and smiling 
As in delighted visions, on the brink 
Of a dread chasm ; and this strange phantasy 
Hath cast so deep a shadow o'er my thoughts, f 
I cannot but be sad. 

CON. Why, let me sing 

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

RAI. It may not be. 

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

CON. Have you then forgot 

My brother's nuptial feast? I must be onfevlteoH 
Of the gay train attending to the shrine iorl 
His stately bride. In sooth, my step of joy 
Will print earth lightly now What fear'st thou, love ? 
Look all around ! those blue transparent skies, 
And sun-beams pouring a more buoyant life 
Thro* each glad thrilling- vein, will brightly chaseflrT 
All thought of evil. Why, the very air 
Breathes of delight-! Thro* all its glowing realnte 
Doth music blend with fragance, and e'en here 
The city's voice of jubilee is heard 
Till each light leaf seems trembling unto sounds 
Of bum^n j<^ P 3 * d^tf* tsbosai/oiit 

f ol eoyil orivf ods ! apwsteaoD gnilcfmail ^T 

Sc. 3.] OF PALERMO. 53 

RAI. * There lie far deeper things#iml iooJ 
Things, that may darken thought for life, beneath , 
That city's festive semblance. I have pass'd ,- 
Thro' the glad multitudes, and I have mark'do elsJ A 
A stern intelligence in meeting eyes, 
Which deem'd their flash unnoticed, and a quick, ; 
Suspicious vigilance, too intent to cloth&Jrigifafa ni aA 
Its mien with carelessness ; and, now and thenb JslO-" 
A hurrying start, a 'whisper, or a hand 
Pointing by stealth to some one, singled out ...OHKBD I 
Amidst the reckless throng. O'er all is spread 
A mantling flush of revelry, which may hide 1 16'onO 
Much from unpractised eyes ; but lighter sigftfe 
Have been prophetic oft. 

CON. I tremble ! Raimond| t 

What may these things portend ? 

RAI. It was aday 3 

Of festival, like this ; the city sent srftard 

Up thro' her sunny firmament a voice .r 
Joyous as now ; when, scarcely her aided ' 
By one deep moan, forth from his cavernous depths 
The earthquake burst ; and the wide splendid scene 
Became one chaos of all fearful things mac f. n0a 
Till the brain whirl'd, partaking ^ 
Of rocking palaces^y ^rfj t -.Jr/o 'io 

CON. And then didst thou, : 

My noble Raimond ! thro' the dreadful paths ra 
Laid open by destruction, past the chasms^ . \ 
Whose fathomless cleftsraTmoment's work, had given 
One burial unto thousands, rush to save , asmi/ri^O 
Thy trembling Constance ! she who Jiyes to bless 


mi i * (Jfi^ <- J- 

Thy generous love, that still the breath of heaven 
Wafts gladness to her soul ! 

RAI. 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, 
Mask'd as a reveller. Constance ! oh ! by all 
Our tried affection ; all the vows which bind 
Our hearts together, meet me in these bowers, 
Here, I adjure thee, meet me, when the bell 
Doth sound for vesper-prayer ! 

CON. And know'st thou not 

Twill be the bridal hour? 

RAI. It will not, love ! 

That hour will bring no bridal ! Nought of this 
To human ear ; but speed thou hither, fly, 
When evening brings that signal. Dost thou heed ? 
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 woulds't 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 'It meet me then ? 
Look on me, love ! I am not oft so moved 
Thou 'It meet me? 

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

Sc. 4.] OF PALERMO. 55 

RAI. 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 phantasies, 
There is no- calm. Yet fear thou not, dear love ! 
I will watch o'er thee still. And now, farewell 
Until that hour ! 

CON. My Raimond, fare thee well. [Exeunt. 

SCENE IV. Room in the Citadel of Palermo. 
Alberti. De Couci. 

DE Couci. Said'st thou this night? 
ALBERTI. This very night and lo ! 

E'en now the sun declines. 

DE Cou. What ! are they arm'd? 

ALB. All arm'd, and strong in vengeance and despair. 
DE Cou. Doubtful and strange the tale ! Why was 

not this 

D i^ u f i 
Reveal'd before ? 

ALB. Mistrust me not, my lord ! 

That stern and jealous Procida hath kept 

^, 1, / 1 1 1 TJ ^ftA 

er all my steps, (as though he did suspect 

rpu I.- U A U' I, ^ 1* 

The purposes, which oft his eye hath sought 

m i \ x T_ -i 

To read in mine,) a watch so vigilant, 

1 knew not how to warn thee, tho' for this 
Alone I mingled with his bands, to learn 

Their projects and their strength. Thou know'st my 

To Anjou's house full well. 

J ^SDIOW ^dl.Ajsam tolw !iip 

HOI!) ott Jliw I ,ooil aus a<pla 


DE Cou. How may we now 

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

ALB. Thou thyself 

Mayst yet escape, and, haply of thy bands 
Rescue a part, ere long to wreak full vengeance 
Upon these rebels. 'Tis too late to dream 
Of saving Eribert. - E'en shouldst thou rush 
Before him with the tidings, in his pride 
And confidence of soul, he would but laugh 
Thy tale to scorn. 

DE Cou. He must not die unwarn'd, 

Tho ? it be all in vain. But thou, Alberti, 
Rejoin thy comrades, lest thine absence wake 
Suspicion in their hearts. Thou hast done well,** 001 
And shalt not pass unguerdon'd, should I live ta0 ^ 
Thro' the deep horrors of th' approaching MijfcfiS n ^ a & 

ALB. Noble De Couci, trust me still. AnjotfK \?*fE 
Commands no heart more faithful than Alberti's. iU ' 

[Exit Alberti. 

DE Cou. The grovelling slave! And yet he 

spoke too true ! 

For Eribert, in blind elated joy, 
Will ^corn the warning voice. The day wanes fast, 
And thro' the city, recklessly dispersed, 
Unarm 'd and unprepared, my soldiers revel, 
E'en on the brink of fate. I must away. doirfw inoi^I 

Era De Couci, 

Sc. 5.] OF PALERMO. 57 


.tToO aCT 

SCENE V. A Banquctting Hall. 

T> 1 XT Ul 77 J 

Provencal Nobles assembled. 

K 8J3W I 

1 NOBLE. Joy be to this fair meeting ! Who hath 

The viceroy's bride ? 1 ,bn.6 j 

2 NOBLE. I saw her, as she passed 
The gazing throngs assembled in the city. 

Tis said she hath not left for years, till now, *1Q 
Her castle's wood- girt solitude. 'Twill gall 
These proud Sicilians, that her wide domains 
Should be the conqueror's guerdon. 

3 NOBLE. 'Twas their boast 
With what fond faith she worshipp'd still the name 
Of the boy, Conradin. How will the slaves 

Brook this new triumph of their lords ? m noioiqau8 
2 NoBLj^i I bluoriri In soolbla hnJ 

It stings them to the quick. In the full streetadt 'olrf 
They mix with our Provencals, and assume 
A guise of mirth, but it sits hardly on them. aBiarnov 
'Twere worth a thousand festivals, to see 
With what a bitter and unnatural effort 
They strive to smile ! 

1 NOBLE. Is this Vittoria fair ? TOdh3 10^' 

2 NOBLE. Of a most noble mien ; but yet her beauty 
Is wild and awful, and her large dark eye,>rtf 'oirfJ fan A 
In its unsettled glances, hath strange power, 

From which thou 'It shrink, as I did. .nhcf aiij no 
I NOBLE. Hush ! they come. 


* Enter Eribert, Vittoria, Constance, and others. 

ERIBERT. Welcome, my noble friends ! there must 
not lower 

One clouded brow to-day in Sicily ! 

J . Ty 11350(5 Jfi'Qi/.GJ ocf Vi r 
Behold my bride ! 

NOBLES. Receive .our homage, lady ! 

VITTORIA. I bid all welcome. May the feast we 

Prove worthy of such guests ! 

ERI. Look on her, friends ! 

And say, if that majestic brow is not 
Meet for a diadem ? 

'D1OW 3 iXWt* T'tfn Y 

VIT. 'Tis well, my lord ! 

When memory's pictures fade, 'tis kindly done 
To brighten their dimm'd hues ! 

1 NOBLE (apart.) Mark'd you her glance ? 

2 NOBLE, (apart.) What eloquent scorn was there ! 

yet he, th* elate 
Of heart, perceives it not. 

ERI. Now to the feast ! 

Constance, you look not joyous, I have said 
That all should smile to-day. 

CON. Forgive me, brother ! 

The heart is wayward, and its garb of pomp 
At times oppresses it. 

ERI - Why, how is this ? 

, CON. 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, 

Sc. 5.] OP PALERMO. 59 

Since 'tis your wish, In truth, I should have been 
A village-maid ! 

ERI. But, being as you are, 

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

VIT. And know, fair maid! 

That if in this unskill'd, you stand alone 
Amidst our court of pleasure. 

ERI. To the feast ! 

Now let the red wine foam ! There should be mirth 
When conquerors revel ! Lords of this fair isle ! 
Your good sword's heritage, crown each bowl, and 


The present and the future ! for they both 
Look brightly on us. Dost thou smile, my bride? 

VIT. Yes, Eribert! thy prophecies of joy 
Have taught e'en me to smile. 

ERI. '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 fold, to mar 
The luxury of its visions ! Fair Vittoria, 
Your looks are troubled ! 

VIT. It is strange, but oft, 

Midst festal songs and garlands, o'er my soul 

Death comes, with some dull inlage ! as you spo 
^3 SM n ^& I fallow J.3 1 .llite gnionbo 


Of those whose blood is claim'd, 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 
Y dJgj- ,1 'Jficflcf ^fu &fl3in J/>jij 

f i "SwA-trIJ*iitfj^Ux>drIii tob bnA 
Of that invisible world, wherein, we trust, 

There is, at least, no bondage! But should we 

From such a scene as this, where all earth's joys 

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--? 7 

Were it not dreadful? 

ERI. Banish such dark thoughts ! 

They ill beseem the hour. 

VIT. There is no hour 

Of this mysterious world, in joy or woe, 


But they beseem it-well! Whv, what a slight, 

T i UT u 1-, , , i -tfte'tfa fanA 

impalpable bound is that, th unseen, which severs 

Being from death ! And who can tell how near 
Its misty brink he stands ? 

1 NOBLE, (a.ridc.) What mean her words ? 
Ui NOBLE. There's some dark mystery here. 

ERI. No more of this ! 

n ai^aEtfJLffi-za c^^RSQ t^P^T 1 B 1 lJJd'"2. . iV 
rour the bright juice which Etna s glowing vines 

Yield to the conquerors ! And let music's voice 

Dispel these ominous dreams ! Wake, harp and 
' r : luin)' 



rii idl laaM 

Sc. 5.] OF PALERMO. 6i 

(.4 Messenger enter*, bearing a letter.) 

oo 33omi. 
MESS. Pardon, my good lord ! ,y g 

But this demands ^ ^ , H woH 

ERI. What means thy breathless haste ? ' 

And that ill-boding mien ?-Away ! 

Befit not hours like these. ^1 i^ai eieriT 

MES. The Lord De Couci^ ^ ^ ^j 

Bade me bear this, and say, 'tis fraught with tidings 
Of life and death. ; g,^' 

-ViT. (hurriedly.) Is this a time for ought 
But revelry? My lord, these dull intrusions jj g j 
Mar the bright spirit of the festal scene ! 

ERI. (to the Messenger) Hence! tell the Lord De 

V O / 

Couci we will talk od Hi Y 9dT 

Of life and death to-morrow. [Exit Messenger. 

OW 10 YO ^ 10 

Around me none but joyous looks to-day, .^ ^ ^g- 

And strains whose very echoes wake to mirth ! 

ftofuVT' ,nf)9Sfiu rtJ . ; jnucJQ 9Ki.BUJL6crfni 

(A band of the conspirators enter) to the sound 
^ ' 7 . , uJfi&D rao 

o/ mwszc, disguised as shepherds* ba^ 

ehanals, &c. ^ ' - ^ ^ jaoK j 
ERI. What forms are these? \Vhat means this 

antic triumph? ^ 

VIT. 'Tis but a rustic pageant, by my vassals ,. 
Prepared to grace our bridal. Will you not 
Hear their wild music ? Our Sicilian va^^ laqgid 
Have many a sweet and mirthful melody, 
To which the glad heart bounds. Breathe ye some 

Meet for the time, ye sons of Sicily ! 


><^ (One of the Masquers sings.) 


THE festal eve, o'er earth and sky, 

* f , , , , . . .7 ml) 

In her sunset robe, looks bright, 

And the purple hills of Sicily, 

With their vineyards, laugh in light ; 

From the marble cities of her plainsfd 
Glad voices mingling swell ; 

But with yet more loud and lofty strains, 

They shall hail the Vesper-bell I 
iH.t yd f^A T tern 

Oh ! sweet its tones, when the summer breez 

Their cadence wafts afar, 8 9J jjj 

To float o'er the blue Sicilian seas, 

As they gleam to the first Restart 
The shepherd greets them on his height, 

The hermit in his cell ; 
But a deeper power shall breathe, to-night, 

In the sound of the Vesper-bell ! 

! mobasi Th 6 Bell rings. 
ERI. It is the hour! Hark, hark ! my bride, 

our summons ! 

The altar is prepared and crown'd with flowers 
That wait 

VIT. The victim ! (A tumult heard without.) 

ijjod orfT rilvtvrr/- lp] 
(Procida and Montalba enter, with others, armed.) 

PnnnrV C^ri Baite'\ fc^r i .t , 

fRociDA. btnke ! the hour is come ! { 

VIT. Welcome, avengers, welcome! Now, be 
strong ! 

(The Collators throw off their disguise, and 
rush, with their swords drawn, upon the 
Provencals. Eribert 'is icounded, and falls. 

.Sc. 5.] OF PALERMO. 3 

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

(The Provencals are driven off, and pursued by 
the Sicilians. 

CON. (supporting Eribert.) My brother ! oh ! my 
brother ! 

ERI. 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, thro' my curdling veins, 
This should be death ! In sooth a dull exchange 
For the gay bridal feast ! 

VOICES, (without,) Remember Conradin! spare 
none, spare none ! 

VIT. (throwing off her bridal wreath and ornaments.) 
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, j icJl 
Might soar at once on charter'd wing to ranger 
The realms of starr'd infinity ! Away ! 
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 hearjt^QjjCj 
Full and indignant scope. Now, Eribert ! T1 y 
Believe in retribution ! What, proud man ! 

Prince, ruler, conqueror ! didst thou deem heaven 
i , ^ 

i , ^ 

" Or that the unseen, immortal ministers, 

64 THE VESPERS [Adt lit 

" Ranging the world, to note e'en purposed crime 

" In burning characters, had laid aside 

" Their everlasting attributes for thee?" 

Oh ! blind security ! He, in whose dread hand 

The lightnings vibrate, holds them back, until 

Thetrampler.of this goodly earth hath reach'd 

His pyramid-height of power ; that so his fall 

May, with more fearful, oracles, make pale 

Man's crown'd oppressors ! *;W 

CON. Oh! reproach him not I 

His soul is trembling on the dizzy brink i oiH 

Of that dim world where passion may not enter. >W 
Leave him in peace ! 

VOICES (without.) Anjou, Anjou ! De Couci to 
the rescue ! 

ERI. (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 ! 

VIT. Fare thee well ! 

Thine eyes so oft, with their insulting smile, 
Have looked on man's last pangs, thou shouldst, by 

Be perfect how to die ! [Exit Vittoria. 

Raimond enters. 

RAIMOND. Away, my Constance ! 

Now is the time for flight. Our slaughtering bands 
Are scattered far and wide. A little while 
And thou shalt be in safety. Know'st thou not 

s*.'5.]. f PALERMO: M 

That low sweet vale, where dwells the holy man, 
Anselmo ? He whose hermitage is rear'd 
'Mid some old temple *s ruins ? Round the spot 
His name hath spread so pure and deep a charm, 
'Tis hallow 'd as a sanctuary, wherein 
Thou shalt securely bide, till this wild storm 
Have spent its fury. Haste ! 

CON. 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 thus, 
Without one kindly bosom to sustain 
His dying head. 

ERI. 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 <//>,?. 

CON. (kneeling by Mm.) Oh heaven ! be merciful, 
As thou art just ! for he is now where nought 
But mercy can a.vail him f It is past ! 

Guide titter*, with. AM* xword drawn. 

Gr,rn>(/0 Raimond.) I've sou 
art thou lingering her* .' 

Haste, follow me ! Suspicion with thy name 

Joins that word Traitor ! 

RAI, Traitor! -Guide.' 

GUIDO. Jfes! 

Hast thou not beard that, with his raeu-at-an 


After vain conflict with a people's wrath, 

De Couci hath escaped ? And there are those 

Who murmur that from thee the warning came 

Which saved him from our vengeance. But e'en yet 

In the red current of Provencal blood 

That doubt may be effaced. Draw thy good sword, 

And follow me ! 

RAI. And thou couldst doubt me, Guido ! 
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 ! [JEn/ Guido. 

RAI. (after a pause.) Rise, dearest, rise ! 
Thy duty's task hath nobly been fulfilFd, 
E'en 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 ! 



Act IV* ill JoA] . OF PALEMO 

s'alqooq s riJiw Joiiinoo flifiY 

tsrfi luimuox oiT/T 

te^ ffoirfW 

aril nl 


v/olb't j>flA 

>nA. JA$[ 
SCENE I.-4 S/ree/ in Palermo. ^ g?r 


Procida enters. 

PROCIDA. How strange and deep a stillness loads 
ob the air, 

As with the power of midnight ! Ay, where death 
Hath pass'd, there should be silence. But this hush 
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 should this be ? . 
Is not our task achieved, the mighty work 
Of our deliverance ? Yes ; I should be J }' 01 ^^^^ T 
But this our feeble nature, with its quick 
Instinctive superstitions, will drag down 
Th' ascending soul. And I have fearful bodings 
That treachery lurks amongst us. Raimond ! Rai- 

mond ! 

Oh ! Guilt ne'er made a mien Jike his its garb ! 
It cannot be ! 


oJ ggrmij legaeb avsrf oW Jon j^Mmi )1 ,<oM 
Montalba, Guide, and other Sicilians, enter. 

PRO* Welcome ; we meet in joy ! 

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

MONTALBA. We have done well. There need no 

choral song, 

No shouting multitudes to blazon forth rf.t /tatev, 
Our stern exploits. The silence of our foes 
Doth vouch enough, and they are laid to rest 
Deep as the sword could make il. Yet our task rriA) 
Is still but half achieved, since, with his bands, l^iM 
.De Couci hath escaped, and, doubtless, leads 
Their footsteps to Messina, where our foes.dW 
Will gather all their strength. Determined heart- . 
And deeds to startle earth, are yet required, .Y 

To make the mighty sacrifice complete. 
Where is- thy son? 

PRO. rrfj rh.u I know not. Once last night 
He cross'd mv path, and with one stroke beat down 
A sword just raised to smite me, and restored 
My own, which in that deadly strife had been 
Wrench'd from my grasp: but \\ln-n 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 
1 have not seen him. Wherefore didst thou ask ? 

s,vi.j- ra PALEBMtt- -69 

MON. It matters not. We have deeper things to 

, ,. ^Mo bi^ .oiHfjO ,OU;}noM 
speak of. 

Know'st thou that we have traitors in our councils > 

PRO. I know some voice in secret must have warn 'd 
De Couci ; or his scattered bands had ne'er .aid sriT 
So soon been marshalled, and in close array 
Led hetiee as from the field. . Hast thou heard aught 
That may dcvelope this ? 

MON. The guards we set 

To watch the city-gates have seized, this morn, '3 
One whose quick fearful glance, and hurried step 
Betray'd his guilty purpose. Mark ! he borouv ifaoCL 
(Amidst the tumult deeming that his flight 
Might all unnoticed pass) these scrolls to him, 
The fugitive Provencal. Read and judge ! 

PRO. Where is this messenger ? 

MON. Where should he be ? 

They slew him in their wrath. 

PRO . Unwisely don&Mflfli c 

Give me the scrolls. [ He reads/ 

Now, if there be such things ' 
As may to drn.ih add sharpness, yet delay* t 
The pangivhich gives release; if there be po\^v/8 A 
In execration, to call do\vn the fires 
Of yon avenging heaven, whose rapid shafts 
But for such guilt were aimless ; be they heap'd 
Upon the traitor's head ! Scorn make his name ^n o 
Her mark for ever ! 

MON 'srfJrj In our passionate blindness, 
jjoitr jsbifa aiotelorfW jtiiA msz lofl 


We send forth curses, whose deep stings recoil : 
Oil on ourselves. 

PRO. Whatever fate hath of ruin 

Fall on his house ! What ! to resign again 
That freedom for whose sake our souls have now 
Engrain'd themselves in blood ! Why, who is he 
That hath devised this treachery ? To the scroll 
Why fix'd he not his name, so stamping it 
With an immortal infamy, whose brand 
Might warn men from him ? Who should be so vile ? 
Alberti ? In his eye is that which ever 
Shrinks from encountering mine ! But no ! his race 
Is of our noblest Oh ! he could not shame 
That high descent ! Urbino ? 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, -ni mrf 
And seal his noble forehead with the impress sii I 
Of its o^n vile imaginings ! Speak your thoughts, 
Montalba ! Guido ! Who should this man be? 

MON. Why what Sicilian youth unsheath'd, last night 
His sword to aid our foes, and turn'd it's edge 
Against his country's chiefs ? He that did t./iiv, <T nl 
May weM'bc deem'd for guiltier treason ri[u\ 

PRO. And who is he'.' 

MON. Nay, ask thy son. 

FRO. fo bioo ^uj1w n My son ! 

btffri o* 

Sc. 1.] OP PALERMO. 71 

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

GUI DO. I would not wear 

The brand of such a name ! 

PRO. How ! what means this ? 

A flash of light breaks in upon my soul ! 
Is it to blast me ? Yet the fearful doubt 
Hath crept in darkness through my thoughts before, 
And been flung from them. Silence! Speak not 

'O! 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. 

PRO. My son did thus ! 

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

GUIDO. 'Twill burst upon thee all too soon. While 


Were busy at the dark and solemn ritejrdW 
Of retribution ; while we bathed the earth 
In red libations, which will consecrate 
The soil they mingled with to freedom's step 
Thro' the long march of ages; 'twas 1m task 
To shield from danger a Provencal maid, 
Sister of him whose cold oppression stung 
Our hearts to madness. 


MOK. What ! should she be spared 

To keep that name from perishing on earth ? rlW; 
I cross'd them in their path, and raised my sword 
To smite her in her champion's arms. We fought 
The boy disarm'cl me ! And I live to tell 
My shame, and wreak my vengeance ! 

GUIDO. Who but he 

Could warn De Couci, or devise the guilt m 1 

These scrolls reveal ? Hath not the traitor still 
Sought, with his fair and specious eloquence, o 
To win us from our purpose ? All things seen* 
Leagued to unmask him. 

Mox. /Know you not there came," 

E'en in the banquet's hour, from this De Couci, 
One, bearing unto Eribert the tidings 
Of all our purposed deeds .' And have we. not 
Proof, as the noon-day clear, that Raimond loves 
The sister of that tyrant ? 1 g bi/oiq Ji lisi 

PRO. There was one 

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

MON. (apart.) You shall be childlessloo ! 

PRO. Was "t you, Montalba ? Now rejoice ! I 
say. fi.A-. 

There is no name so near you that its stains uiT 
Should call the fever'd and indignant blood 
To your dark cheek ! But I will dash to earth 
The weight that presses <>ji my heart, ind tbcstti eifi 
< thou an *j $M 

Sc. 1.] OF PALERMO, 73 

MON . What means this, my lord .' 

Who hath seen gladness on Montalba's mieaS^MoT 

PRO. Why, should not all be glad who have no 'sons 
To tarnish their bright name :i , j n r rail oJirns oT 

MON. - 9vil i v I am not used r d orfT 

To bear with mockery. .'uraife '^M" 

PRO. a W- Friend! By yon high heaven, 

I mock thee not ! 't is a proud fate, to live bfuoO 
Alone and unallied. Why, what '$ alone .' 
A word whose sense is free ! Ay, free from all 
The yenom'd stings implanted in the heart 61* 

By those it loves. Oh ! I could laugh to think -c^J 
Oth' 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 oiT 
" Quail its proud glance ; to tell the earth its shame,- 
" Is born, and so, rejoice ["-Then might we feast, 
And know the cause : not excellent It 6rlV< 

MON. This is all idle. There are deods-to Ao.^ 
Arouse thee, Proeida ! )fiT 

PRO. Why, am I not 

Calm as immortal justice .? She can strike, 
And yet be passionless and thus will I. 
I know thy meaning.- Deeds to do! 'tis well. 
They shall be done ere thought on. Go:y-E=lbrthfJ8 
There is a youth who calls himself my sod^ TJJOV oT 
His name is~Raimoud in in light // &d1 

That shows like truth but be not yc cloceivd*!?'^ 


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. 

[Exeunt Guido and others. 
Is not this well? 

MON. 'T is noble. Keep thy spirit to this proud 


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

PRO. What now remains 

To be prepared ? There should be solemn pomp 
To grace a day like 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. [Exit Procida. 

MON. Now this is well ! 

I hate this Procida ; for he hath won 
In all our councils that ascendancy 
And mastery o'er bold hearts, which should have been 
Mine by a thousand claims. Had he the strength 
Of wrongs like mine ? No ! for that name his 


He strikes my vengeance hath a deeper fount : 
But there 's dark joy in this ! And fate hath barrU 
My soul from every other. [Exit Montalba. 

Sc. 2.] OF PALERMO. 75 

SCENE II. A Hernutffgc, xurroinidtd by the Rums of 
an ancient. Teniph. 

Constance. Anscliuo. 

CONSTANCE. 'Tis strange he comes not! Is n6t 

this the still 

And sultry hour of noon ? He should have been 
Here by the day -break. 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!' 1 
No ! no ! Forgive me, father ! that I bring 
Earth's restless griefs and passions to disturb 
The stillness of thy holy solitude ; 
My heart is full of care. 

ANSELMO. There is no place 

So hallow'd, 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. 

CON. Hark ! his step ! 

I know it well he comesmy Raimond, welcome! 

I o >' ' 
Vittoria enters, Constance shrinks Lack on per- 

eel ring her. 

Oh heaven ! that aspect tells a fearful tale. 

(not observing her.) There is a cloud of 
horror on my soul ; 


And on thy words, Anselmo, peace doth 
Even as an echo, following the sweet close 
Of some divine and solemn harmony : 
Therefore I sought thee now. Oh ! spe ak to me 
Of holy things, and names, in whose deep sound 
Is power to bid the tempests of the heart 
Sink, like a storm rebuked. 

Axs. srli What recent grief 

Darkens thy spirit thus ? 

VIT. I said not grief. 

We should rejoice to-day, but joy is not 
That which it hath been. In the flowers which 


Its mantling cup there is a scent unknown, 
Fraught with some strange delirium. All things > 
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 th' oppressive gloomed rraJ )u8 
Of midnight phantasies. Ay, for this, toQ,&:nim woH 
Tfrefe is a cause. 

ANS. ^q^ifaflv sa\ . we are free ? 

There may&an^ft^ed, within Palermo's walls, : 

Some brief wild tumult, but too well I know 
They call the stranger, l<>rd;anw 8e< bu2 nb 

VIT. Who calls the dead . ; nV 

Conqueror or l< rd ? Hush ! breathe it not aloud,' > 

I tell thee, we ai&fifeH ^m bouoii: liuTMfo 'o-rrfj 

9m no ion rfo^hi^e^^^lb^^rf* biff 

Sc. 2.] OF PALERMi > 77 

On fearful deeds, for still their shadows hang ^ k flj ^ 
O'er its dark orb. Speak ! I adjure tliee, say, 
How hath this work been wrought? onivib 

VIT.. Peace 1 ask me not ! 

Why shouldst thou hear a tale to send thy blood ,(^o 
Back on its fount? We cannot wake them now ,g gj 
The storm is in my soul, but they are all 
At rest! Ay, sweetly may the slaughter'd babe : >/^ 
By its dead mother sleep ; and warlike men 
Who, midst the slain have slumber' doft before, 
Making the shield their pillow, may repose JiUrod 
Well, now their toils ai'e done. Is't not enough ? -$fff 

CON, Merciful heaven! have such things been? 

And yet 

There is no shade come o'er the laughing sky Irfgarf? 
I am an outcast now. 

ANS. ,gferii.9iD a\'O Thou, whose ways 
Cloucfe mantle fearfully; of all the blindly yjs brus eai'? 
But terrible, ministers that work thy wrath^aamhjsb A 
How much is man --'the fiercest! Others know ibim 10 
Their limits Yes ! the earthquakes, and the stormg} : 
And the volcanoes I He alone o'erleaps 
The bounds of retribution ! Couldst thou gaz rrarfT 
Vittoria ! with thy woman's heart and eye, id omo8 
On such dread scenes unmoved r meita orfi JIuo \sAT 

VIT. 3II&3 orfW W T as it for me .TiV 

To stay th' avenging sword ? No, tho' it pierced 
My very soul? " Hark, hark, what thrilling shrieks 
" Ring thro' the air around me ! Can'st thou not hot I 
" Bid them be hush'd?-^0h ! look not on me 


ANS. " Lady ! thy thoughts lend sternness to the looks 
66 Which are but sad!" Have all then perish'd? all? 
Was there no mercy ? 

VIT. Mercy ! it hath been 

A word forbidden as th' 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 ! 

VIT. (starting.) Thou here, pale girl ! 
I deem'd 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 e'en now, 
Raimond di Procida ? 

CON. It is enough. 

Now the storm breaks upon me, and I sinfcdrmol asW 
Must he too die ? 

VIT. Is it ev*n so ? W T hy then, 

Live on thou hast the arrow 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 M[ 
He visits but the happy. Didst thou ask 
If Raimond too must die ? It is as sure 
As that his blood is on thy head, fur tliou <if A 

Didst win him to this treason. ;b terfj yM 

Sc. 2.] OF PALERMO. 79 

CON. " When did mm* , 

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

VIT. Maiden !" he must die. 

E'en now the youth before his judges stands, fapw A 
And they are men who, to the voice of prayer, 
Are as the rock is to the murmur'd sigh 
Of summer-waves ; ay, tip' a father sit 
On their tribunal. Bend thou not to me. 
What would'st thou ? 

CON. Mercy ! Oh ! wert thou to plead 

But with a look, e'en yet he might be saved ! 
If thou hast ever loved 

VIT. - 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 pass'd, and sear'd it. Could I weep* 
I then might pity but it will not be. 

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

VIT. Away fc cot ori 

Why should I pity thee I Thou wilt but prove. 
What I have known before and yet I liveft no 
Nature is strong, and it may all be borne '.on 
The sick impatient yearning of the heart >t Ion 
For that which is not ; and the weary sens&orfs 
Of the dull void, wherewith our homes have been v ^H 
Circled by death ; yes, all tilings may be borne ! 
All, save remorse. But I will not bow dowitf S&ti aA 
My spirit to that dark power : there was no guilt ! 
Anselmo ! wherefore didst thou talk of guilt ? 


ANS. Ay, thus doth sensitive conscience quicken 


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

VIT. Leave me in 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? Oh ! thou beautiful spirit ! wont 
To shine upon my dreams with looks of love, 
Where art thou vanish'd ? 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 ! [Exit Vittoria. 

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

CON. (tntieacwring to rouse herself.) Did she 

not say 
That some one was to clif ".' 

ANS. 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. 

CON. H?ive I not heard 

Some fearful tale? Who said, that there should re-t 
Blood on my spul ? What blood? I nevtf 

Sc. 2,] OP PALERMO. 81 

Hatred, kind father, unto aught that breathes ; 
Raimond doth know it well. Raimond ! High 

It bursts upon me now ! and he must die ! 

For my sake e'en for mine ! 


ANS. Her words were strange, 

And her proud mind seem'd half to frenzy wrought 

Perchance this may not be. 

CON. It must not be. 

Why do I linger here .? (She rises to depart. 

ANS. y^t v Where wouldst thou go ? 

CON. To give their stern and unrelenting hearts 
A victim in his stead. 

ANS. Stay ! wouldst thou rush | xr A 

On certain death ? 

CON. I may not falter now. 

Is not the life of woman all bound up 
In her affections ? What hath she to do 

In this bleak world alone ? It may be well iffeuab ?1J 
For man on his triumphal course to move, ^ rffiW 

Uncumber'd by soft bonds ; but we were born 
For love and grief. 

ANS. 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 unpity ing men, 
Or face the king of terrors ? 

CON. There is strength 

Deep bedded in our hearts, of which we reck 


But little, till the shafts of heaven have pierced 

* -~- ; - - ; ;-..- v . _ _ ' 


Its fragile dwelling. Must not earth be rent 
Before her gems are found ? Oh ! now I feel 
Worthy the generous love which hath not shunri'd 
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 Constance. 

ANS. She is gone ! 

Is it to perish ? 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 ANSELMO. 

SCENE III. Hall of a Public Building. 

Procida, Montalba, Guido, and others, seated as on a 

PROCIDA. The morn lowered darkly, but the sun hath 


With fierce and angry splendour, thro' 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 mart guilty ? Look on him, Montalba ! 

MONTANA. Be firm. Should justice falter at a look ? 

PRO. No, thou say'st well. Her eyes are filletted, 

Sc. 3.] OP PALERMO. 83 

Or should be so. Thou, that dost call thyself 
But no ! I will not breathe a traitor's name 
Speak! thou art arraign'd of treason. 

RAIMOND. 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 perturb'd and haggard wildness, back 
From the too-searching light. Why, what hath 


This change on noble brows ? There is a voice, 
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 thrilFd by life's abhorrent consciousness, 
And sensitive feeling of a murderer's presence. 
Away ! come down from your tribunal-seat, 
Put off 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 ! 

PRO. Montalba, speak ! 

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

MON. If we must plead to vindicate our acts, 
Be it when thou hast made thine own Ipok clear ; 
Most eloquent youth ! What answer canst thgu 

To this our charge of treason? 


RAI. 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 e'en now 
Th' embodied hideousness of crime doth seem 
Before me glaring out. Why, I saw thee, 
Thy foot upon an aged warrior's breast, 
Trampling our nature's last convulsive heavings. 
And thou thy sword Oh, 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 ! 

GUIDO. (aside.) I look upon his mieib 

And waver. Can it be ? My boyish heart 
Deem'd him so noble once ! Away, weak thoughts ! 
Why should I shrink, as if the guilt were mint, 
From his proud glance ? 

PRO. Oh, thou dissembler ! thou, 

So skill'd 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,'* qu 
And forge new fetters for th' indignant land? - fWv 
Whose was this treachery ? (Shows him papers. 

Who hath promised here, 
(Belike to appease the manes of the dead,) 

Sc. 3.1 OP PALERMO. 


At midnight to unfold Palermo's gates, 

And welcome in the foe ? Who hath done this, 

But thou, a tyrant's friend ? 

RAI. Who hath done this ? 

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, per- 

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 
Ev'n to each other. 

PRO. (to Montalba.) His unaltering cheek 
Still vividly doth hold its natural hue, 
And his eye quails not ; Is this innocence? 

MON. No! 'tis th' unshrinking hardihood of crime. 
Thou bear'st a gallant mien ! But where is she 
Whom thou hast barter'd fame and life to save, 
The fair Provencal maid ? What ! know'st thou not 
That this alone were guilt, to death allied ? 
Was't not our law that he who spared a foe, 
(And is she not of that detested race ?) 
Should thenceforth be amongst us as a foe ? 7/ ^T 
Where hast thou borne her ? speak ! 

R AI . That heaven, whose eye 

Burns up thy soul with its far-searching glance, 
Is with her ; she is safe. 

PRO And by that word 

Thy doom is seal'd, Oh God ! that I had died t $fj 
sab ddtlo aaosra 9ffo aaj3Dqq.s oi 


Before this bitter hour, 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 the& ! 
My brave, my noble love ! Off with these bonds ; 
Let him be free as air : for I am come 
To be your victim now. 

RAI. Death has no pang 

More keen than this. Oh ! wherefore art thou here? 
I could have died o calmly, deeming thee 
Saved, and at peace. 

CON. 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 ? 

RAI. My father ! who hath lull'd thy gentle heart 
With that false hope? Beloved ! gaze around 
See, if thine eye can trace a father's soul 
In the dark looks bent on us. 

CON. (After earnestly examining the countenances of 
the judges, falls at the feet of Procidz.) 

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 truth a worthless sacrifice for his, 

r */I 

Sc. 3.] OF PALERMO. 87 

But yet mine all. Oh ! he hath still to run 
A long bright race of glory. 

RAI. Constance, peace ! 

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

CON. (still addressing Procida.) 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 ! 

PRO. (after a pause.) Maiden, thou *rt deceived ! 
I am as calm as that dead pause of nature 
Ere the full thunder bursts. A judge is not 
Father or friend. Who caUs this man my son ? 
My son ! Ay ! thus his mother proudly smiled- 
But she was noble ! Traitors stand alone, 
Loosed from all ties. Why should I trifle thus ? 
Bear her away ! 

RAI. (starting forward.) And whither? 

MON. Unto death. 

Why should she live when all her race have perish'd ] 

CON. (sin/cing 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 ! 

RAI. High heaven ! thou seest these things ; 

And yet endur'st them ! Shalt thou die for me, 
Purest and loveliest being ? 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 heart human ? 

PRO. Bear her hence, I say ! 

Why must my soul be torn ? 

(Anselmo enters, 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 burthen'd 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 councils, and your banquettings, will yet 
Be haunted by the voice which doth not sleep, 
E'en tho' this maid be spared ! Constance, look up ! 
Thou shalt not die. 

RAI. Oh ! death e'en now hath veil'd 

The light of her soft beauty. Wake, my love ; 
Wake at my voice ! 

PRO. Anselmo, lead her hence, 


And let her live, but never meet my sight. 


Begone ! My heart will burst. 

RAI. One last embrace ! 

Again life's rose is opening on her cheek ; 
Yet must we part. So love is crush'd on earth ! 
But there are brighter worlds ! Farewell, farewell ! 

(He gives her to the care of Anselrao. 

oJ Jriguon ad rfterl bnA 

Sc, 3.] OF PALERMO. 89 

CON. (slowly recovering.) There was a voice which 

call'd me. Am I not 

A spirit freed from earth ? Have I not pass'd 
The bitterness of death ? 

ANS. Oh, haste away! 

CON. 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. 

RAT. The pang is o'er, 

And I have but to die. 

MON. 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. 

PRO. Ha ! ha ! Men's hearts should be of softer 


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? 

MON. Rouse 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 condemn'd, you say ? 
Is he then guilty ? 

A rpi j (. , . 

ALL. Thus we deem of him 

With one accord. 
PRO. And hath he nought to plead ? 

90 THE VESPERS [Act IV. So. 3. 

RAI. Nought but a soul unstain'd. 

PRO. Why, that is little. 

Stains on the soul are but as conscience deems them, 
And conscience may be sear'd. But, for this sen- 
tence ! 

Was 't not the penalty imposed on man, 
E'en 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 th' elements from amongst 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. 

MON. Guards, bear the prisoner 

Back to his dungeon. 

RAI. Father! oh, look up; 

Thou art my father still ! 

GUIDO (leaving the Tribunal, throw skims elf on the neck 

of Raimond.) Oh ! Raimond, Raimond ! 
If it should be that I have wrong'd thee, say 
Thou dost forgive me. 

RAI. Friend of my young days. 
So may all-pitying heaven ! (Raimond is kd out. 

PRO. Whose voice was that ? 

Where is he ? gone ? now I may breathe once more 
In the free air of heaven. Let us away. 

[Exeunt omnes. 


Act V.] OF PALERMO. 91 



SCENE I. A Prison, dimly lighted. 
Raimond sleeping. Procida enters. 

PROCIDA. (gazing upon him earnestly.) Can he then 
sleep ? Th' 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 


" 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, Raimond, wake ! 
Thy rest is deep. 

RAIMOND. (startingup.) My father ! Wherefore here? 
I am prepared to die, yet would I not 
Fall by thy hand. 

PRO. ' Twas not for this I came. 

RAI. Then wherefore ? and upon thy lofty brow 
Why burns the troubled flush ? 

PRO. Perchance 'tis shame. 


Yes ! it may well be shame ! for I have striven 
With nature's feebleness, and been o'erpower'd. 
Howe'er it be, 'tis not for thee to gaze, 
Noting it thus. Rise, 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. 

RAI. What ! thou f the austere, 

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

PRO. 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. 

RA femii v Let him % /m rfitv. 

Who holds no deep asylum in his breast, . n j. 

Wherein to shelter from the scoffs of men ! 
I can sleep calmly here. 

PRO. Art thou in love 

With death and infamy, that so thy choice 
Is made, lost boy ! when freedom courts thy grasp ? 

RAI. Father! to set th' irrevocable seal 
Upon that shame wherewith ye have branded me, 
There needs but flight. What should I bear from 

My native land? A blighted name, to rise 

\ai aisW IJteujftoi sd ej/ifo Ion Iliw I. 

Sc. I.] OP PALERMO 93 

And part me, with its dark remembrances, 
For ever from the surishine ! O'er my soul 
Bright shadowings of a nobler destiny 
Float in dim beauty through the gloorn ; but here, 
On earth, my hopes are closed. 

PRO. Tliy 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 so with us ? 

RAI. Oh, Father ! Now I feel 

What high prerogatives belong to death. 
He hath a deep, tho' 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 dimm'd my 


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, unstain'd 
As a clear morning dew-drop. Oh! the gravW* 
Hath rights inviolate as a sanctuary's, 
And they should be my own ! 

PRO. Now, by just heaven, 

I 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 ; have I raised 

" With a severe and passionless energy, 

tc From the dread mingling of their elements, 

(C Storms which have rock'd the earth ? And shall I 


" Thus fluctuate, as a feeble reed, the scorn 
" And plaything of the winds?" Look on me, boy ! 
Guilt never dared to meet these eyes, and keep 
Its heart's dark secret close. Oh, pitying heaven ! 
Speak to my soul with some dread oracle, 
And tell me which is truth. 

RAI. I will not plead. 

I will not call th' Omnipotent to attest 
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. 

PRO, Oh ! 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, unknown 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 

Se. L] OF PALERMO. 95 

My desolate course alone ! Why, be it thus ! 
He that doth guide a nation's star, should dwell 
High o'er the clouds in rqgal solitude, 
Sufficient to himself. 

RAI. Yet, on that summit, 

When with her bright wings glory shadows thee, 
Forget not him who coldly sleeps beneath, 
Yet might have soar'd as high ! 

PRO. No, fear thou not ! 

Thoult be remember'd long. The canker-worm 
O'th' heart is ne'er forgotten. 

RAI. " Oh ! not thus 

I would not thus be thought of." 

PRO. 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 th' avenging powers 
Follow'd the parricide. Farewell, farewell ! 
I have no tears. Oh ! thus thy mother look'd, /M 
When, with a sad, yet half-triumphant smile, 
All radiant with deep meaning, from her death-bed 
She gave thee to my arms. 

RAI. Now death has lost 

His sting, since thou believ'st me innocent. 

PRO. (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 ! 

RAI. Father ! yet hear me ! . \ 

PRO. No ! thou'rt skill'd to make 

E'en shame look fair. Why should 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 veil'd -delay thou not 
Thy prayer : Time hurries on. 

RAI. ' I am prepared. 

PRO. 'Tis well. [Exit Procida. 

RAI. Men talk of torture ! Can they wreak . 

Upon the sensitive and shrinking frame, 
Half the mind bears, and lives ? My spirit feels 
Bewilder'd ; 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^ j 
Telling of hope and mercy ! [Exit into an inner cell. 

SCENE II. A Street of Palermo. 

Many Citizens assembled. 

1 CITIZEN. The morning breaks; his time is al- 
most come : 
Will he be led this way ? 

Sc. 2.] OF PALERMO. 97 

2 CIT. Ay, so 'tis said, 

To die before that gate thro' which he purposed 
The foe should enter in. 

3 CIT. 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'th' air last night? 

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

3 CIT. Oh ! the fearful mingling, 
The terrible mimicry of human voices, 

In every sound which to the heart doth speak 
Of woe and death. 

2 CIT. Ay, there was woman's shrill 

And piercing cry ; and the low feeble wail 
Of dying infants ; and the half-suppress'd 
Deep groan of man in his last agonies ! 
And now and then there swelPd upon the breeze 
Strange, savage bursts of laughter, wilder far 
Than all the rest. 

1 CIT. Of our own fate, perchance 


These awful midnight wailings may be deem'd 
An ominous prophecy. Should France regain 
Her power amongst us, doubt not, we shall have 
Stern reckoners to account with. Hark ! 

(The sound of trumpets is heard at distance. 

2 CIT. Twas but 
A rushing of the breeze, 



3 CIT. E'en now, 'tis said, 

The hostile bands approach. 

( The sound is heard gradually drawing nearer. 


2 CIT. Again ! that sound 

Was no illusion. Nearer yet it swells uvo IIA!! 
They come, they come ! p v 

;o don? fsefd efegos booO 
Procida enter.. .wjxwA 

PROCIDA. The foe is at your gates^lsa A 

But hearts and hands prepared shall meet his onset : 
Why are ye loitering here ? 

CITS. My lord, we came **8orfW 

PRO. 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 
Recoil, and yet withdraw not, from the scene. 
For this ye came What ! is our nature fierce, 
Or is there that in mortal agony, GW 

From which the soul, exulting in its strength, U 
Doth learn immortal lessons ? Hence, and armrfrtf K> 
Ere the night dews descend, ye will have seen 'A 
Enough of death ; for this must be a day 
Of battle ! 'Tis the hour which troubled souls ;3 
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 ! 


t/:rft ' 

Sc. 3.] OF PALERMO. <.>9 

SCENE III. Prison of Raimond. 

Raimond. Anselmo. 


RAIMOND. And Constance then is safe ! Heaven 

bless thee, father; 
Good angels bear such comfort. 

ANSELMO. I have found 

A safe asylum for thine honour'd love, 
Where she may dwell until serener days, 
With Saint Rosolia's gentlest daughters.; those /jJW 
Whose hallow'd office is to tend the bed 
Of pain and death, and soothe the parting soul 
With their soft hymns : and therefore are they call'd 
" Sisters of Mercy." 

RAI. Oh ! that name, my Constance, 

Befits thee well ! E'en in our happiest days, 
There was a depth of tender pensivehess, 
Far in thine eyes' dark azure, speaking ever 
Of pity and mild grief. Is she at peace ? 

ANS. Alas ! what should I say, 

RAI. 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 unto death will sicken. 

ANS. All that faith 

Can yield of comfort, shall assuage her woes ; 

H 2 


And still, whate'er betide, the light of heaven 
Rests on her gentle heart. But thou, my son ! 
Is thy young spirit master 'd, and prepared 
For nature's fearful and mysterious change? 

RAI. 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, 
Crown'd with that sparkling bubble, whose proud 


Is glory ! Oh ! my soul, from boyhood's morn, 
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 seem'd enough of sham% o 
To sleep forgotten in the dust but noyft won r 
Oh God ! the undying record of my grave rnu( j 
Will be, Here sleeps a traitor ! One, whose crime 
Was to deem brave men might find nobler weapons 
Than the cold murderer's dagger !~gjaijjd 

ANS. buobo Oh, my son, 

Subdue these troubled thoughts ! Thou wouldst not 


Thy lot for theirs, o'er whose dark dreams will hang 
The avenging shadows, which the blood-stain'd soul 
Doth conjure from the death ! 

RAI. Thou 'rt right. I would not. 

Yet 'tis a weary task to school the heart, 

Sc. 3.] OF PALERMO. 101 

Ere years or griefs have tamed its fiery spirit 
Into that still and passive fortitude, 
Which is but learn'd from suffering. Would the hour 
To hush these passionate throbbings were at hand ! 

ANS. 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 


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

RAI. (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 burns upon the air ! The joyous winds 
Are tossing warrior-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 stern joy, and waves his floating mane 
As a triumphant banner ! Such things are 
Even now and I am here ! 

ANS. Alas, be calm^aw js air teY 


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

RAI. Ay! Thou canst feel 

The calm thou wouldst impart, for unto 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 chaunting hymns in honour of the dead : 

Will mine be such ? 

Vittoria rushes in wildly, 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, ^ lij 
Or shame them back to die. 

ANS. The fugitives ! 

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

Vit? ni * That I should sa/'n to ' d 

It is too true ! jj 

ANS. And thou thou bleedest, lady ! 

VIT. Peace ! heed not me, when Sicily is lost ! 
I stood upon the walls, and watched our bands, 
As, with their ancient, royal banner spread, 
Onward they marchVl. The combat was begun, 

Sc. 3.] OF PALERMO. lo:$ 

The fiery impulse given, and valiant men 

Had seal'd their freedom with their blood when lo ! 

That false Alberti led his recreant vassals 

To join th' invader's host. 

RAI. His country's c^rse 

Rest on the slave for ever ! 

VIT. Then distrust 

E'en of their nobler leaders, and dismay, 
That swift contagion, on Palermo's bands 
Came, like a deadly blight. They fled ! Oil shame ! 
E'en now they fly ! Ay, thro' the city gates 
They rush, as if all Etna's burning streams 
Pursued their winged steps! 

RAI. Thou hast not named 

Their chief Di Procida He doth not tiy 

VIT. No ! like a kingly lion in the toils, 
Daring the hunters yet, he proudly strives 
But all in vain ! The few that breast the stojrm, 
With Guido and Montalba, by his side, , 8rf ' ^ 
Fight but for graves upon the battle-field. 

RAI. And Lam here ! Shall there be pow^ O 

God ! 
In the roused energies of fierce despair, 

To burst my heart and not to rend my chains? y 
Oh, for one moment of the thunderbolt |n j OQ j g 
To set the strong man free ! 

VIT. (after gazing upon him earnestly .) Why, 'twere 

a deed ^ Tl ^ o , , 

Worthy the fame and blessing of all time, . 
To loose thy bonds, ihou son of Procida ! 

104 THE VESPERS [Act V. 

Thou art no traitor : from thy kindled brow 

Looks out thy lofty soul ! Arise ! go forth ! 

And rouse the noble heart of Sicilj^>ora QiitJsbrjtn toM 

Unto high deeds again. Anselmo, haste ; 

Unbind him ! Let my spirit still prevail, 

Ere I depart for the strong hand of death : 

Is on me now, (She sinks back against a pillar. 

ANS. Oh heaven ! the life-blood streams 

Fast from thy heart thy troubled eyes grow dim. 
Who hath done this ? >!m o* <biovt<)bted yd* M bHA 

VIT. & aH) Before the gates I stood,,;) s8 

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. .awA 

ANS. sqorf fii atrfgi/orl/Yet, oh 

It may not be too late. Help, help ! 

VIT. ytoGQid Away lisohol-g IIA 

Bright is the hour which brings me liberty ! 

3H IfiwoH 

Attendants enter. 

TTrnqa \m 19 o 

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

(The Attendants seem to hesitate. 
JnovBod ^oism oKnow ye not Aworq oa Ifisd teriT 
Who should have worn your country's diadem ? 
ATT. Oh, lady, we obey* >& afl 1 ^ 

(They take off Raimond's chains. He springs 
up exultingly. 

Sc. 3.] OF PALERMO. 105 

RAI. md bslbnbl -^ill Is this no dream ? as uoji1 
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 ? , > . 
It is e'en so ! Now for bright arms of proof, 
A helm, a keen-edged falchion, and e'en yet 
My father may be saved ! 

Vnib WOT 89 T {9 fosfdu< Away, be strong ! toil las 1 *! 
And let thy battle- word, to rule the stormy rLted odW 
Be Conradin ! (He rushes out. 

Oh! for one hour of life 

To hear that name blent with th' exulting shout 
Of victory ! 'twill not be ! A mightier power 
Doth summon me away. 

ANS. To purer worldft Qjfj erasD 

Raise thy last thoughts in hope. 

VIT. Yes! he is there, 

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

ndvh-'STd&dl aaoift d$he dies. 

ANS. She is gone witqjso eriltes bftA 

It is an awful hour which stills the heart 
That beat so proudly once. Have mercy, heaven! 

(He kneels beside her. 
(The scene do8c*.Jvb&l t rfO ,TxA 
^ -aft .ttuofo g*bflomN3H\o a&ti 

106 THE VESPERS [Act V- 

SCENE IV. Before the Gates of Palermo, 
Sicilians flying tumultuomly towards the Gates. 
VOICES, (without.) Montjoy ! Montjoy ! St. Denis 

fit A * I 

r ^PSliBwsesjrll jasTsi^!^ 
rrovencals, on ! 

Sic. Fly, fly, or all is lost ! 

(Raimond appears in the gateway, 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 sustain'd, 
And made the shock recoil. Ay, man, free man, 
Still to be called so, hath achieved such deeds 
As heaven and earth have marvelTd at ; and souls, 
Whose spark yet slumbers with the days to come, 
Shall burn to hear : transmitting brightly thus 
Freedom from race to race ! Back ! or prepare^ 
Amidst your hearths, your bowers, your very shrines, 
To bleed and die in vain ! Turn, follow me ! 
Conradin, Conradin !-for Sicily . ^ 
His spirit fights ! Remember Conradin ! 

(They begin to rally around him. 
Ay, this is well ! -Now follow me, and charge ! 

( The Provencals rush in, but are repulsed by the 

! id ! iia- .inooa assl 
;iaiiU5fflov/ oJni 001 

Sc. 5.] OF PALERMO. 107 

SCENE V. Part of the Field of Battle. 

Mont alba enters wounded, and supported 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 are all unused to soothing words, 
Or I should bless the valour which hath won 

f f A ' 

For my last hour, the proud free solitude 
Wherewith my soul would gird itself. Thy name ? 

RAI. 'Twill be no music to thine ear, Montalba. 
Gaze read it thus ! fHe lifts the visor of his helmet. 

MON. Raimond diProcida! 

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

[JErit Raimond. 

MON. 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 ! 
That youth 'twas in 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. 

108 THE VESPERS [Act V. 

There I still baffle him the grave shall seal 

My lips for ever mortal shall not hear 

Montalba say "forgive !" (He dies. 

(The Scene closes.) 

fl'tig Tittpw Birmsd Tm "Jo^eiiro-xd 

SCENE VI. Another part of the Field. 
Procida. Guido. And other Sicilians. 

PROCIDA. The day is ours ; but he, the brave un- 

Who turn'd the tide of battle ; he whose path 

Was victory who hath seen him ? 

i nood 

Alberti is brought in wounded, and fettered. 


PRO. Be silent, traitor ! Bear him from my sight 

Unto your deepest dungeons. 

T "frfeft 835W U* nf > r;i ; 
ALB. In the grave 

A nearer home awaits me. Yet one word 

n . r ., A , 

Ere my voice fail thy son 

J bflr^-rh/jQn araiitet .B.oJ loinr/ 

PRO. Speak, speak ! 

^oioDVflW ffenmr? r ar 

ALB Thv son 

voa lrLKHB.7 Vfruti 9 

. . 

Knows not a thought of guilt. That traitorous plot 
^Tn*Q rp5 PT dJOTcr PriiT iscffn^-i r ^vr 7K 

Was mine alone. . , w (He is led away ; 


PRO. Attest it, earth and heaven 1 

__ . .. , . ^.TjaollJGl JOfT 

My son is guiltless ! Hear it, oicily ! 
The blood of Procida is noble still ! 

Sc. 6.] OF PALERMO. 109 

My son ! He lives, he lives ! His voice shall 


Forgiveness to his sire ! His name shall castfLunoiA 
Its brightness o'er my soul ! ^vy) 

GUIDO. Oh, day of joy ! 

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

Anselmo enters. 

o&IIftlliOlQ fsMUO.T$ttF^ oJaOIOOii 

PRO. Anselmo, welcome ! 

In a glad hour we meet, for know, my son 
Is guiltless^ 980{fwm[ . 

ANS. And victorious ! by his arm 

All hath been rescued. 

PRO. How! th' unknown 

ANS. Was he ! 

Thy noble Raimond ! By Vittoria's hand 
Freed from his bondage in that awful hour 
When all was flight and terror. 

PRO. Now my cup 

Of joy too brightly mantles !-Let me press 
My warrior to a father's heart and die ; 

For life hath nought beyond ! Why comes he hot? 
OO& vXi JL/ ' ft t A 

Anselmo, lead me to my valiant boy ! 

ANS. Temper this proud delight. 

PRO. What means that look 

TT t A r 11 

He hath not fallen ? 

ANS. He lives. 

f TiiiB aidooai JtbiopiSl V 

PRO. A way, away! 

110 THE VESPERS [Act V. 


Bid the wide city with triumphal pomp 

Prepare to greet her victor. Let this hour 

Atone for all his wrongs!- [Exeunt. 


'-! e^SOfTTsfofl^ 

SCENE VII. Garden of a Convent. 

Raimond is led in wounded, leaning on Attendants. 

RAIMOND. Bear me to no dull couch, but let me 

In the bright face of nature ! Lift my helm, 
That I may look on heaven. 

1 A /, O A N T ^ * 

1 ATT. (to 2 ATT.) Lay him to rest 
On this green sunny bank, and I will call 

o u i ' * i,- -j i, AA u 

Some holy sister to his aid ; but thou 

Return unto the field, for high-born men 

There need the peasant's aid. [Exit 2 Att. 

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

[Exit 1 Att. 
RAI. Thus have I wish'd to die ! 'Twas a proud 

strife ! 

My father bless'd th' unknown who rescued him, 
(Bless d him, alas ! because unknown !) and Guido, 
Beside me bravely struggling, call'd aloud, 
" Noble Sicilian, on i" Oh ! had they deem'd 

Sc. 7.] OF PALERMO. Ill 

'Twas I who led that rescue, they had spurn'd 
Mine aid, tho' 'twas deliverance ; and their looks 
Had fallen, like blights, upon me. There is one, 
Whose eye ne'er turn'd on mine, but its blue light 
Grew softer, trembling thro' the dewy mist 
Raised by deep tenderness ! Oh might the soul 
Set in that eye, shine on me ere I perish ! 
Is 't not her voice ? 

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 ! 
(She approaches Raimond.) Young warrior, is there 

aught thou here, my Raimond ! 
Thou here and thus ! Oh ! is this joy or woe ? 

RAI. Joy, be it joy, my own, my blessed love, 
E'en on the grave's dim verge ! yes ! it is joy ! 
My Constance ! victors have been crown'd, ere now, 
With the green shining laurel, when their brows 
Wore death's own impress and it may be thus 
E'en yet, with me ! They freed me, when the foe 
Had half prevail'd, and I have proudly earn'd, 
With my heart's dearest blood, the meed to die 
Within thine arms. 

CON. Oh ! speak not thus to die ! 
r m\' 

112 THE VESPERS [Act V. 

These wounds may yet be closed. 

(She attempts to bind his wounds.} 

Look on me, love ! 

Why, there is more than life in thy glad mien, 
'T is full of hope ! and from thy kindled eye 
Breaks e'en unwonted light, whose ardent ray 
Seems born to be immortal ! 

RAI. 'T is e'en so ! 

The parting soul doth gather all her fires 
Around her ; all her glorious hopes, and dreams, 
And burning aspirations, to illume 
The shadowy dimness of th' 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. 

CON. Say, not vain ; 

The dying look not thus. We shall not part ! 

RAI. I have seen death ere now, and known him 

Full many a changeful aspect. 

CON. Oh ! but none 

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

RAI. Ay, gentlest love, a world 

Of joyous beauty and magnificence, 
Almost too fair to leave ! Yet must we tame 
Our ardent hearts to this ! Oh, weep thou not ! 

Sc. 7.] OF PALERMO. 113 

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 ! 

CON. And must this be ? 

Heaven, thou art merciful ! Oh ! bid our souls 
Depart together ! 

RAI. 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 
With proud submission to a mightier foe. 
It is upon me now ! 

CON. I will be calm. 

Let thy head rest upon my bosom, Raimond, 
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 Anselmo enter. Procida 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 ? 
E'en now the false Alberti hath confess'd 


114 THE VESPERS [Act V. 

That guilty plot, for which thy life was doom'd 
To be th' atonement. 

RAI. 'T is enough ! Rejoice, 

Rejoice, my Constance ! for I leave a name hitiz 
O'er which thou may'st weep proudly ! (He sinks back. 

To thy breast -/CEKK 
Fold me yet closer, for an icy dart 
Hath touch'd my veins. 

CON. And must thou leave me, Raimond ? 

Alas ! thine eye grows dim its wandering glance 
Is full of dreams. 

RAI. Haste, haste, and tell my father 
I was no traitor ! 

PROCIDA. (rushing forward.) To that father's heart 
Return, forgiving all thy wrongs, return ! 
Speak to me, Raimond ! Thou wert ever kind, 
And brave, and gentle ! Say that all the past ^A 
Shall be forgiven ! That word froni none but thee 
My lips e'er ask'd. Speak to me once, my boy, 
My pride, my hope ! And is it with thee thus ? 
Look on me yet ! Oh ! must this woe be borne ? 

RAI. Off with this weight of chains ! it is not meet 

For a crown'd conqueror ! Hark, the trumpet's voice ! 

(A sound of triumphant music is heard, gradually 


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. 

Sc. 7.] OF PALERMO. 115 

ANS. The strife is past. 

There fled a noble spirit ! 

CON. Hush ! he sleeps 

Disturb him not ! 

ANS. 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 en- 
ters, with Citizens and Soldiers. 

GUIDO. The shrines are deck'd, the festive torches 

Where is our brave deliverer ? We are come 
To crown Palermo's victor ! 

ANS. Ye come late. 

The voice of human praise doth send no echo 
Into the world of spirits. (The music ceases. 

PRO. (after a pause.) Is this dust 
I look on Raimond ! 'tis but sleep a smile 
On his pale cheek sits proudly. Raimond, wake ! 
Oh, God ! and this was his triumphant day ! 
My son, my injured son ! 

CON. (starting.) Art thou his father ? 
I know thee now. Hence ! with thy dark stern 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. 

PRO. Oh ! he knew 

Thy love, poor maid ! Shrink from me now no more! 
He knew thy heart but who shall tell him now 

I 2 


The depth, th' intenseness, and the agony, 
Of my suppress^ affection? I have learn'd 
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 
Th' unconscious dead ! And an hour comes 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 of Raimond. 

[Cur tain falls. 





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