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Mal. Ad. A brother's.
Saladin owns no kindred with a villain.
Mal. Ad. Oh, patience, heaven! Had any tongue but thine Uttered that word, it ne'er should speak another.
Sal. And why not now? Can this heart be more pierced
By Malek Adhel's sword than by his deeds?
Oh, thou hast made a desert of this bosom!
For open candor, planted sly disguise ;
For confidence, suspicion ; and the glow
Of generous friendship, tenderness, and love,
For ever banished. Whither can I turn,
When he by blood, by gratitude, by faith,
By every tie bound to support, forsakes me ?
Who, who can stand, when Malek Adhel falls ?
Henceforth I turn me from the sweets of love,
The smiles of friendship--and this glorious world,
In which all find some heart to rest upon,
Shall be to Saladin a cheerless void-
His brother has betrayed him!
Mal. Ad. Thou art softened ;
I am thy brother then; but late thou saidst
My tongue can never utter the base title.
Was it traitor ? True-
Thou hast betrayed me in my fondest hopes.
Villain ? 'Tis just; the title is appropriate.
Dissembler ? 'Tis not written in thy face;
No, nor imprinted on that specious brow,
But on this breaking heart the name is stamped,
For ever stamped, with that of Malek Adhel.
Thinkest thou I'm softened ? By Mohammed, these hands
Should crush these aching eyeballs, ere a tear
Fall from them at thy fate !Oh monster, monster!
The brute that tears the infant from its nurse
Is excellent to thee, for in his form
The impulse of his nature may be read,-
But thou, so beautiful, so proud, so noble,
Oh, what a wretch art thou ! Oh! cani a term
In all the various tongues of man be found
To match thy infamy?
Mal. Ad. Go on, go on;
'Tis but a little while to hear thee, Saladin,
And, bursting at thy feet, this heart will prove
Its penitence at least.
Sal. That were an end
Too noble for a traitor; the bowstring is
A more appropriate finish—thou shalt die!
Mal. Ad. And death were welcome at another's mandate!
What, what have I to live for? Be it so,
If that in all thy armies can be found
An executing hand.
Sal. Oh, doubt it not !
They're eager for the office. Perfidy,
So black as thine, effaces from their minds
All memory of thy former excellence.
Mal. Ad. Defer not then their wishes. Saladin,
If e'er this form was joyful to thy sight,
This voice seemed grateful to thine ear, accede
To my last prayer-Oh, lengthen not this scene,
To which the agonies of death were pleasing-
Let me die speedily.
hour ! (Aside.) For oh! the more I look upon that face, The more I hear the accents of that voice, The monarch softens, and the judge is lost In all the brother's weakness; yet such guilt, Such vile ingratitude, it calls for vengeance, And vengeance
it shall have! What ho! who waits there?
(Enter Attendant.) Atten. Did your highness call ?
Sal. Assemble quickly
My forces in the court !—tell them they come
To view the death of yonder bosom-traitor :
And bid them mark, that he who will not spare
His brother when he errs, expects obedience,
Silent obedience from his followers. (Exit Attendant.)
Mal. Ad. Now, Saladin,
The word is given-I have nothing more
To fear from thee, my brother-I am not
About to crave a miserable life-
Without thy love, thy honor, thy esteem,
Life were a burthen to me: think not, either,
The justice of thy sentence I would question:
But one request now trembles on my tongue,
One wish still clinging round the heart, which soon
Not even that shall torture—will it then,
Thinkest thou, thy slumbers render quieter,
Thy waking thoughts more pleasing, to reflect,
That when thy voice had doomed a brother's death,
The last request which e'er was his to utter,
Thy harshness made him carry to the grave ?
Sal. Speak then; but ask thyself if thou hast reason
To look for much indulgence here.
Mal. Ad. I have not ! Yet will I ask for it. We part for ever; This is our last farewell; the king is satisfied ; The judge has spoke the irrevocable sentence: None sees, none hears, save that omniscient power, Which, trust me, will not frown to look upon Two brothers part like such.-—When in the face Of forces once my own, I'm led to death, Then be thine eye unmoistened ; let thy voice Then speak my doom untrembling; then, Unmoved behold this stiff and blackened corse. But now I ask—nay, turn not, SaladinI ask one single pressure of thy hand, From that stern eye one solitary tearOh, torturing recollection! one kind word From the loved tongue which once breathed naught but kindness. Still silent? Brother!-friend-beloved companion Of all my youthful sports—are they forgotten? Strike me with deafness, make me blind, Oh heaven! Let me not see this unforgiving man Smile at my agonies—nor hear that voice Pronounce my doom, which would not say one word, One little word, whose cherished memory Would soothe the struggles of departing lifeYet, yet thou wilt-Oh, turn thee Saladin ! Look on my face, thou canst not spurn me then; Look on the once-loved face of Malek Adhel For the last time, and call him,
Sal. (Seizing his hand.) Brother! brother!
Mal. Ad. (Breaking away.) Now call thy followers.
Death has not now
A single pang in store. Proceed! I'm ready.
Sal. Oh, art thou ready to forgive, my brother,-
To pardon him who found one single error,
One little failing 'mid a splendid throng
Of glorious qualities-
Mal. Ad. Oh stay thee, Saladin !
I did not ask for life-I only wished
To carry thy forgiveness to the grave.
No, emperor, the loss of Cesarea
Cries loudly for the blood of Malek Adhel.
Thy soldiers too, demand that he who lost
What cost them many a weary hour to gain,
Should expiate his offenses with his life.
Lo, even now they crowd to view my death,
Thy just impartiality.—I go-
Pleased by my fate to add one other leaf
To thy proud wreath of glory. (Going.)
Sul. Thou shalt not. (Énter Attendant.)
Atten. My lord, the troops assembled by your order
Tumultuous throng the courts—the prince's death
Not one of them but vows he will not suffer-
The mutes have fled—the very guards rebel-
Nor think I in this city's spacious round,
Can e'er be found a hand to do the office.
Mal. Ad. Oh, faithful friends! (To Atten.) Thine shalt.
Atten. Mine ?-Never!
The other first shall lop it from the body.
Sal. They teach the emperor his duty well.
Tell them he thanks them for it-tell them, too,
That ere their opposition reached our ears,
Saladin had forgiven Malek Adhel.
Atten. Oh joyful news !
I haste to gladden many a gallant heart,
And dry the tear on many a hardy cheek
Unused to such a visitor. (Exit.)
Sal. These men, the meanest in society,
The outcasts of the earth,—by war, by nature
Hardened, and rendered callous—these, who claim
No kindred with thee-who have never heard
The accents of affection from thy lips-
can cast aside their vowed allegiance, Throw off their long obedience, risk their lives, To save thee from destruction.
I, who cannot in all my memory
Call back one danger which thou hast not shared,
One day of grief, one night of revelry,
Which thy resistless kindness hath not soothed,
Or thy gay smile and converse rendered sweeter;
1, who have thrice in the ensanguined field,
When death seemed certain, only uttered—“ Brother!"
And seen that form like lightning rush between
Saladin and his foes—and that brave breast
Dauntless exposed to many a furious blow
Intended for my own—I could forget
That 'twas to thee I owed the very
Which sentenced thee to perish. Oh, 'tis shameful!
Thou canst not pardon me.
Mal. Ad. By these tears I can-
Oh, brother! from this very hour, a new,
A glorious life commences-I am all thine.
Again the day of giadness or of anguish
Shall Malek Adhel share, and oft again
May this sword fence thee in the bloody field.
My heart, my soul, my sword, are thine for ever.
(A dark cavern. Isidore alone; an extinguished torch in his hand.)
Isidore. Faith, 'twas a moving message--very moving! “His life in danger,----no place safe but this. 'Twas now his turn to talk of gratitude." And yet—but no! there can't be such a villain. It cannot be ! Thanks to that little crevice, Which lets the moonlight in! I'll go and sit by it, To peep at a tree, or see a he-goat's beard, Or hear a cow or two breathe loud in their sleep; Any thing but this crash of water-drops ! These dull abortive sounds, that fret the silence With puny thwartings, and mock opposition ! So beats the deathwatch to the sick man's ear. (He goes out
of sight opposite to the moonlight, and returns in an ecstacy
of fear.) A hellish pit! the very same I dreamed of! I was just in—and those damned fingers of ice Which clutched my hair up Sha! what's that ? it moved. (Isidore stands staring at another recess in the cavern ; in the
meantime Ordonio enters with a torch and halloos to Isidore.)
Isid. I swear that I saw something moving there !
The moonshine came and went like a flash of lightning-
I swear I saw it move.
(Goes into the recess, then returns, and with great scorn.) A jutting clay-stone Drops on the long lank weed that grows beneath: And the weed nods and drips.