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(Ee-enter Erling.) Erl. Here am I, father, and here's the crown.
Hak. Yet Ere thou goest, my child, kneel down before Great Odin. Stretch thy hands both up to heaven, And say, “ Almighty father! hear little Erling—as thy child receive him to thy Paternal bosom.” (He kneels, stretching his arms out towards
the sun, and says with childish innocence and simplicity, Erl. Oh! Great Odin, hear Little Erling! as thy child receive him To thy paternal bosom. (Hakon, who stands behind, draws his
dagger, and intends to stab him, but it drops out of his hand; Erling turns round quietly, takes it
says as he rises,
Here it is
Your dagger, father: 'tis so bright and sharp!
When I grow taller I will have one too,
Thee to defend against thy enemies.
Hak. Ha! what enchanter with such words assists
To move thy father's heart ?
Erl. How's this, niy father?
You are not angry sure! What have I done ?
Hak. Come Erling! follow me behind that statue !
Erl. Behind that frightful man! Oh! no.
Hak. Yet listen!
There are red roses blooming there, not white-
But red and purple roses—’tis a pleasure
To see them shooting forth. Come then, my child !
Erl. Dear father, stay,—I am so much afraid
I do not love red roses.
Hak. Come, I say.
Hearest thou not Heimidal's cock! He crows and crows.
Now it is time.
ESSEX-SOUTHAMPTON-LIEUTENANT OF THE TOWER
Essex. Oh name it not! my friend shall live, he shall;
I know her royal mercy, and her goodness
Will give you back to life, to length of days,
And me to honor, loyalty, and truth.
Death is still distant far.
Southampton. In life's first spring
The genial summer swelled our joyful hearts,
To meet and mix each growing fruitful wish.
We're now embarked upon that
Where all the wise and brave are gone
Ever since the birth of time, to meet eternity.
And what is death did we consider right ?
Shall we astonished shrink, like frighted infants,
And start at scaffolds and their gloomy trappings?
Essex. Still I trust long years remain of friendship.
Let smiling hope drive doubt and fear away,
And death be banished far, where creeping age,
Disease and care, invite him to their dwelling.
I feel assurance rise within my breast,
That all will yet be well.
South. Count not on hope-
We never can take leave, my friend, of life,
On bler terms. Life! what Life ? shadow
Its date is but the immediate breath we draw;
Nor have we surety for a second gale;
Ten thousand accidents in ambush lie
For the embodied dream.
A frail and fickle tenement it is,
Which like the brittle glass that measures time,
Is often broke, ere half its sands are run.
Essex. Such cold philosophy the heart disdains,
And friendship shudders at the moral tale.
My friend, the fearful precipice is past,
And danger dare not meet us more. Fly swift
Ye better angels, waft the welcome tidings
Of pardon to my friend; of life and joy. (Enter Lieutenant.)
Lieutenant. Í grieve to be the messenger
But must, my lords, entreat you to prepare
For instant death. Here is the royal mandate
That orders your immediate execution.
Essex. Immediate execution !-what, so sudden!
message from the queen, or Nottingham ? Lieut. None, sir.
Essex. Deluded hopes! Oh, worse than death!
Perfidious queen, to make a mock of life!
My friend, my friend destroyed! Oh piercing thought!
Oh dismal chance--in my destruction ruined !
sad fall undone! Why could not mine,
My life atone for both, my blood appease?
Can you, my friend, forgive me?
South. Yes, Oh yes, My bosom's better half, I can. With thee I'll gladly seek the coast unknown, and leave The lessening mark of irksome life behind. With thee, my friend, 'tis joy to die ! 'tis glory; For who would wait the tardy stroke of time, Or cling, like reptiles, to the verge of being, When we can bravely leap from life at once, And spring triumphant in a friend's embrace! (Enter Raleigh.)
Raleigh. To you, my lord Southampton, from the queen A pardon comes : your life her mercy spares. (Exit.)
Essex. For ever blessed be that indulgent power
Which saves my friend. This weight taken off, my soul
Shall upward spring and mingle with the blessed.
South. All-ruling heavens, can this, can this be just ?
Support me; hold, ye straining heart-strings, hold,
And keep my sinking frame from dissolution.
Oh 'tis too much for mortal strength to bear,
Or thought to suffer! No, I'll die with thee.
They shall not part us, Essex.
Essex. Live, Oh live,
Thou noblest, bravest, best of men and friends,
Whilst life is worth thy wish, till time and thou
Agree to part, and nature send thee to me;
Thou generous soul, farewell ;-live and be happy;
And oh! may life make largely up to thee
Whatever blessings fate has thus cut off
From thy departing friend.
Lieut. My lord, my warrant
Strictly forbids to grant a moment's time.
South. Oh, must we part for ever ?-Cruel fortune!
Wilt thou then tear him hence ?-Severe divorce !
Let me cling round thy sacred person still,
Still clasp thee to my bosom close, and keep
Stern fate at distance.
Essex. Oh, my friend, we'll meet
Again where virtue finds a just reward,
Where factious malice never more can reach us.
Recall thy reason, be thyself once more.-
I fear it not :- This hideous monster, death,
When seen at distance, shocks sweet nature's eye;
But reason, as it draws more near, defies it-
I thank thy sorrows, but could spare
I need not bid thee guard my fame from wrongs;
Aąd oh! a dearer treasure to thy care
I trust, than either life or fame—my wife.
Her bitter sorrows pierce my soul; for her
My heart drops blood !-Oh, she will want a friend.
Then take her to thy care ; do thou pour balm
On her deep-wounded spirit, and let her find
My tender helps in thee.-I must be gone,
My ever faithful, and my gallant friend.-
I pray thee leave this woman's work-farewell
Take this last dear embrace.-Farewell for ever!
South. My bursting breast! I fain would speak, but words
Are poor-Farewell !
But we shall meet again, embrace in one
Eternal band which never shall be loosed.
Drusus. Your pleasure, Caius ?
C. Gracchus. Pleasure !-Livius Drusus,
Look not so sweet upon me!-I am no child
Not to know bitter, for that it is smeared
With honey! Let me rather see thee scowl
A little ; and when thou dost speak, remind me
Of the rough trumpet more than the soft lute.
By Jove, I can applaud the honest caitiff
Bespeaks his craft!
Drusus. The caitiff !
C. Gracc. Ah! ho! Now
You are Livius Drusus! You were only then
The man men took him for-the easy man,
That, so the world went right, cared not who got
The praise. Who ever thought, in such
A plain and homely piece of stuff, to see
The mighty senate's tool !
Drusus. The senate's tool!
C. Gracc. Now what a deal of pains for little profit !
If you could play the juggler with me, Livius-
To such perfection practice seeming, as
pass it on me for reality-
Make niy own senses witness against myself,
That things I know impossible to be,
I see as palpable as if they were
Twas worth the acting; but, when I am master
Of all your mystery, and know, as well
As you do, that the prodigy's a lie,
What wanton waste of labor !-Livius Drusus,
I know you are a tool !
Drusus. Well, let me be so!
I will not quarrel with you, worthy Caius!
Call me whate'er you please.
C. Gracc. What barefaced shifting !
What real fierceness could grow tame so soon!
You turn upon me like a tiger, and
When open-mouthed I brave you, straight you play
The crouching spaniel! You'll not quarrel with me!
I want you not to quarrel, Livius Drusus,
But only to be honest to the people.
C. Gracc. Ay, honest!
-Why do you repeat My words, as if you feared to trust your own! Do I play echo? Question me, and see If I so fear to be myself. I act The wall, which speaks not but with others' tongues. I say you are not honest to the people.I say you are the senate's tool—their baitTheir juggler—their trick-merchant.-If I wrong you, Burst out at once in full retort upon meTell me I lie, and smite me to the earth! I'll rise but to embrace you!
Drusus. My good Caius,
it doth hurry you Into madness.
C. Gracc. Give me but an answer, and
I'll be content. Are you not leagued with the senate ?
Drusus. Your senses leave you, Caius !
C. Gracc. Will you answer me?
Drusus. Throw off this humor!
C. Gracc. Give me an answer, Drusus !
C. Gracc. Are you the creature of the senate?
Drusus. Good Caius !
C. Gracc. Do you juggle with the people ? Let me but know you, man, from your own lips : 'Tis all I want to know you are a traitor.
Drusus. A traitor!
C. Gracc. Ay!
Drusus. To whom?