Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub

ye

<

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 thrilled 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

bear about you
That which repugnant earth doth sicken at,
More than the pestilence.—That I should live
To see my father shrink !

Proc. Montalba, speak!
There's something chokes my voice_but fear me not.

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

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 ny free spirit's whiteness : for even now
The embodied hideousness of crime doth seem
Before me glaring out.—Why, I saw thee,
Thy foot upon an aged warrior's breast,
Trampling out nature's last convulsive heavings.
And thou—thy sword-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 mien,
And waver.-Can it be ?-My boyish heart
Deemed him so noble once! Away, weak thoughts !
Why should I shrink, as if the guilt were mine,
From his proud glance ?

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

:

Whose was this treachery? (Shows him papers.)
Who hath done this,
But thou, a tyrant's friend ?

Rai. Who hath done this?
Father!-if I

may

call thee by that nameLook, with thy piercing eye, on those whose smiles Were masks that hid their daggers. There, perchance, May lurk what loves not light too strong. For me, I know but this—there needs no deep research To prove

the truth—that murderers may be traitors, Even to each other.

Proc. (To Montalba.) His unaltering cheek
Still vividly doth hold its natural hue,
And his eye quails not !- Is this innocence ?

Mont. No! 'tis the unshrinking hardihood of crime.
Thou bearest a gallant mien !But where is she
Whom thou hast bartered fame and life to save,
The fair provençal maid ?—What! knowest thou not
That this alone were guilt, to death allied ?
Was it not our law; that he who spared a foe,-
And is she not of that detested race ?-
Should henceforth be among us as a foe?
Where hast thou borne her?—Speak!

Rai. That heaven, whose eye
Burns up thy soul with its far-searching glance,
Is with her; she is safe.

Proc. And by that word
Thy doom is sealed.-Oh God! that I had died
Before this bitter hour, in the full strength
And glory of my heart !
Rai. The

pang

is

over, And I have but to die. Mont. Now, Procida,

,
Cornes 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 mold
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 ?
Mont. Rouse up thy mighty heart.

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

All. Thus we deem of him
With one accord.

Proc. And hath he nought to plead ?
Rai. Nought but a soul unstained.

Proc. Why, that is little.
Stains on the soul are but as conscience deems them,
And conscience may be seared.-But, for this sentence!
Was it not the penalty imposed on man,
Even from creation's dawn, that he must die ?
It was : thus making guilt a sacrifice
Unto eternal justice; and we but
Obey heaven's mandate when we cast dark souls
To the elements from 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.) Mont. Guards, bear the prisoner Back to his dungeon.

Rai. Father! oh, look up!
Thou art my father still!

Guido. Oh! Raimond, Raimond !
If it should be that I have wronged thee, say
Thou dost forgive me.

Rai. Friend of my young days,
So may all-pitying heaven!

(Raimond is led out. Proc. Whose voice was that? Where is he ?-gone ?-now I breathe once more.. In the free air of heaven. Let us away.

HUMOROUS AND DIVERTING.

SELECTION I.

HOT COCKLES.

HENRY-CHARLES.—Anonymous.

Charles. Brother, all our friends have left us, and yet I am still in a playing humor. What game shall we choose ?

Henry. There are only two of us, and I am afraid we should not be much diverted.

Char. Let us play at something, however.
Hen. But at what ?
Char. At blindman's-buff, for instance.

Hen. That is a game that would never end. It would not be as if there were a dozen, of which number some are generally off their guard ; but where there are only two, I should not find it difficult to shun you, or you me; and then when we had caught each other, we should know for certain who it was.

Char. That is true, indeed. Well, then, what think you of hot cockles ?

Hen. That would be the same, you know. We could not possibly guess wrong. Char. Perhaps we might. However, let us try.

. Hen. With all my heart

, if it please you. Look here, if you like it, I will be Hot Cockles first.

Char. Do, brother. Put your right hand on the bottom of this chair. Now stoop down and lay your face close upon it, that you may not see. (He does so.) That is well ;-and now your left hand on your back. Well master—but I hope your eyes are shut. (Carefully looking round to see.)

Hen. Yes yes; do not be afraid.
Char. Well, niaster, what have you to sell ?
Hen. Hot cockles! hot!
Char. (Slapping him with his left hand.) Who struck ?
Hen. (Getting up.) Why, you, you little goose!
Char. Yes, yes, but with which hand ?
Hen. The-the right.
Char. No, it was the left. Now you are the goose.

SELECTION II.

HOW TO TELL BAD NEWS.

MR. H.-STEWARD.-Anonymous.

[ocr errors]

Mr. H. Ha! Steward, how are you my old boy? How do things go on at home ?

Steward. Bad enough, your honor; the magpie's dead. Mr. H. Poor mag ! so he's gone. How came he to die? Stew. Over-ate himself, sir.

Mr. H. Did he, faith ? a greedy dog; why, what did he get he liked so well ?

Stew. Horse-flesh, sir; he died of eating horse-flesh.
Mr. H. How came he to get so much horse-flesh ?
Stew. All your father's horses, sir.
Mr. H. What! are they dead, too?
Stew. Ay, sir; they died of over-work.
Mr. H. And why were they over-worked, pray ?
Stew. To carry water, sir.

Mr. H. To carry water! and what were they carrying water for ?

Stew. Sure sir, to put out the fire.
Mr. H. Fire! what fire ?

Stew. Oh, sir, your father's house is burned down to the ground.

Mr. H. My father's house burned down! and how came it set on fire ?

Stew. I think, sir, it must have been the torches.
Mr. H. Torches! what torches?
Stew. At

your

mother's funeral. Mr. H. My mother dead! Stew. Ah, poor lady, she never looked

ар

after it. Mr. H. After what? Stew. The loss of

your

father. Mr. H. My father gone

too ? Stew. Yes, poor gentleman, he took to his bed as soon as he heard of it.

Mr. H. Heard of what?
Stew. The bad news, sir, and please your honor.
Mr. H. What! more miseries! more bad news?

Stew. Yes sir, your bank has failed, and your credit is lost, and you are not worth a shilling in the world. I made bold, sir, to come to wait on you about it, for I thought you would like to hear the news.

[ocr errors]
« PredošláPokračovať »