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With such a noble zeal their generous troops,
That to their latest day of bearing arms,
Their gray-hair'd soldiers have all dangers braved
Of desperate service, claim'd with boastful pride,
As those who fought beneath them in their youth.
Such men have been; of whom it may be said,
Their spirits conquer'd when their clay was cold.

Valt. Yes, I have seen in the eventful field,
When new occasion mock'd all rules of art,
E'en old commanders hold experience cheap,
And look to Basil ere his chin was dark.

Ros. It is a fair one, though you mark'd it not.
Valt. I wish some painter's eye had view'd the

As she and all her lovely damsels pass'd;
He would have found wherewith t' enrich his art.
Ros. I wish so too; for oft their fancied beauties
Have so much cold perfection in their parts,
'Tis plain they ne'er belong'd to flesh and blood.
This is not truth, and doth not please so well
As the varieties of liberal nature,
Where every kind of beauty charms the eye;
Large and small featured, flat and prominent,
Ay, by the mass! and snub-nosed beauties too.
'Faith, every woman hath some witching charm,
If that she be not proud, or captious.

Valt. Demure, or over-wise, or given to freaks.
Ros. Or given to freaks! hold, hold, good Valto-

Ros. One fault he has; I know but only one;
His too great love of military fame
Absorbs his thoughts, and makes him oft appear
Unsocial and severe.

Fred. Well, feel I not undaunted in the field?
As much enthusiastic love of glory?

Why am I not as good a man as he?


Ros. He's form'd for great occasions, thou for Thou'lt leave no woman handsome under heaven.
Valt. But I must leave you for an hour or so;
I mean to view the town.
Fred. I'll go with thee.

Valt. But small occasions in the path of life
Lie thickly sown, while great are rarely scatter'd.
Ros. By which you would infer that men like

Should on the whole a better figure make,
Than men of higher parts. It is not so;
For some show well, and fair applauses gain,
Where want of skill in other men is graceful.
Pray do not frown, good Frederick, no offence :
Thou canst not make a great man of thyself;
Yet wisely deign to use thy native powers,
And prove an honour'd courtly gentleman.
But hush! no more of this; here Basil comes.

And so will I. [EXEUNT Valt. Fred, and Ros.

Re-enter Rosinberg.

Ros. I have repented me, I will not go;
They will be too long absent.-(Pauses, and looks
at Basil, who remains still musing without
seeing him.)

What mighty thoughts engage my pensive friend?
Bas. O it is admirable!

Ros. How runs thy fancy? what is admirable?
Bas. Her form, her face, her motion, every thing!
Ros. The princess? yes, have we not praised her
Bas. I know you praised her, and her offerings

Enter BASIL, who returns their salute without speaking. Ros. What think'st thou, Valtomer, of Mantua's princess?

Valt. Fame praised her much, but hath not She might have given the treasures of the east,
praised her more
Ere had known it.

Than on a better proof the eye consents to.
With all that grace and nobleness of mien,
She might do honour to an emperor's throne;
She is too noble for a petty court.

Is it not so, my lord To Basil, who only bows
Nay, she demeans herself with so much grace,
Such easy state, such gay magnificence,
She should be queen of revelry and show.

Fred. She's charming as the goddess of delight.
Valt. But after her, she most attracted me
Who wore the yellow scarf and walk'd the last;
For though Victoria is a lovely woman-

too :

Fred. Nay, it is treason but to call her woman;
She's a divinity, and should be worshipp❜d.
But on my life, since now we talk of worship,
She worshipp'd Francis with right noble gifts!
They sparkled so with gold and precious gems-
Their value must be great; some thousand crowns.

O how they smiled! 'twas like the beams of

I felt my roused soul within me start,
Like something waked from sleep.

Ros. The beams of heaven do many slumberers

Ros. I would not rate them at a price so mean;
The cup alone, with precious stones beset,
Would fetch a sum as great. That olive branch
The princess bore herself, of fretted gold,
Was exquisitely wrought. I mark'd it more,
Because she held it in so white a hand.

To care and misery!

Bas. There's something grave and solemn in your voice

Bas. (in a quick voice.) Mark'd you her hand? As you pronounce these words. What dost thou I did not see her hand. mean? And yet she waved it twice.

Thou wouldst not sound my knell ?

O! didst thou mark her when she first appear'd?
Still distant, slowly moving with her train ;
Her robe and tresses floating on the wind,
Like some light figure in a morning cloud?
Then, as she onward to the eye became
The more distinct, how lovelier still she grew!
That graceful bearing of her slender form;
Her roundly spreading breast, her towering neck,
Her face tinged sweetly with the bloom of youth-
But when approaching near, she towards us turn'd,
Kind mercy! what a countenance was there!
And when to our salute she gently bow'd,
Didst mark that smile rise from her parting lips?
Soft swell'd her glowing cheek, her eyes smiled

Ros. No, not for all beneath the vaulted sky!
But to be plain, thus warmly from your lips,
Her praise displeases me. To men like you,
If love should come, he proves no easy guest.
Bas. What, dost thou think I am beside myself,
And cannot view the fairness of perfection
With that delight which lovely beauty gives,
Without tormenting me with fruitless wishes,
Like the poor child who sees its brighten'd face,
And whimpers for the moon? Thou art not serious.
From early youth, war has my mistress been,
And though a rugged one, I'll constant prove,
And not forsake her now. There may be joys
Which, to the strange o'erwhelming of the soul,
Visit the lover's breast beyond all others;
E'en now, how dearly do I feel there may !
But what of them? they are not made for me-
The hasty flashes of contending steel
Must serve instead of glances from my love,
And for soft breathing sighs the cannon's roar.
Ros. (taking his hand.) Now I am satisfied.
Forgive me, Basil.

Bas. I'm glad thou art; we'll talk of her no

That would one single day your troops retard?
And now, methinks, you talk of leaving it,
As though it were the place that gave you birth;
As though you had around these strangers' walls
Your infant gambols play'd.

For me there is but one of all the sex,
Who still shall hold her station in my breast,
Midst all the changes of inconstant fortune;
Because I'm passing sure she loves me well,
And for my sake a sleepless pillow finds
When rumour tells bad tidings of the war;
Because I know her love will never change,
Nor make me prove uneasy jealousy.

Bas. Happy art thou! who is this wondrous

Ros. It is mine own good mother, faith and truth!

Ros. And yet I might be jealous of her love,
For she bestows too much of it on thee,
Who hast no claim but to a nephew's share.
Bas. (going.) I'll meet thee some time hence.

I must to court.

Ros. A private conference will not stay thee long. I'll wait thy coming near the palace gate.


Bas. "Tis to the public court I mean to go. Ros. I thought you had determined otherwise. Bas. Yes, but on farther thought it did appear As though it would be failing in respect

Why should I vex my friend?

Ros. Thou hast not issued orders for the march. Bas. I'll do it soon; thou need'st not be afraid, To morrow's sun shall bear us far from hence, Never perhaps to pass these gates again.

At such a time-That look doth wrong me, Rosinberg!

For on my life, I had determined thus,

Ros. With last night's close, did you not curse Ere I beheld-before we enter'd Mantua.

this town

Bas. (smiling.) Give me thy hand; I love her dearly too.

Rivals we are not, though our love is one.

consequence : Thou art impatient.

Ros. I'm not impatient. "Faith, I only wish Some other route our destined march had been, That still thou mightst thy glorious course pursue With an untroubled mind.

Bas. O! wish it, wish it not! bless'd be that

What we have seen to-day, I must remember-
I should be brutish if I could forget it.
Oft in the watchful post, or weary march,
Oft in the nightly silence of my tent,
My fixed mind shall gaze upon it still;
But it will pass before my fancy's eye,
Like some delightful vision of the soul,
To soothe, not trouble it.

Ros. What! midst the dangers of eventful war,
Still let thy mind be haunted by a woman?
Who would, perhaps, hear of thy fall in battle,
As Dutchmen read of earthquakes in Calabria,
And never stop to cry alack-a-day!'

But wilt thou change that soldier's dusty garb,
And go with me thyself?


Yes, I will go. (As they are going Ros. stops, and looks at Basil.) Bas. Why dost thou stop?


'Tis for my wonted caution, Bas. The sight of what may be but little prized, Which first thou gavest me-I shall ne'er forget it! Doth cause a solemn sadness in the mind, When view'd as that we ne'er shall sec again.

"Twas at Vienna, on a public day;

Thou but a youth, I then a man full form'd;

Ros. No, not a whit to wandering men like us.
No, not a whit! What custom hath endear'd
We part with sadly, though we prize it not:
But what is new some powerful charm must own,
Thus to affect the mind.

Thy stripling's brow graced with its first cockade,
Thy mighty bosom swell'd with mighty thoughts.
"Thou'rt for the court, dear Rosinberg," quoth

"Now pray thee be not caught with some gay dame.

Bas. (hastily.) We'll let it pass-It hath no To laugh and ogle, and befool thyself:

It is offensive in the public eye,

And suits not with a man of thy endowments."
So said your serious lordship to me then,
And have on like occasions, often since,
In other terms repeated.-

But I must go to-day without my caution.

Bas. Nay, Rosinberg, I am impatient now:
Did I not say we'd talk of her no more?
Ros. Well, my good friend, God grant we keep
our word!


End of the First Act.

Note.-My first idea, when I wrote this play, was to represent Basil as having seen Victoria for the first time in the procession, that I might show more perfectly the passion from its first beginning, and also its sudden power over the mind; but I was induced from the criticism of one, whose judgment I very much respect, to alter it, and represent him as having formerly seen and loved her. The first review that took notice of this work objected to Basil's having seen her before as a defect; and, as we are all easily determined to follow our own opinion, I have,

upon after-consideration, given the play in this edition, [third,] as far as this is concerned, exactly in its original state. Strong internal evidence of this will be discovered by any one, who will take the trouble of reading attentively the second scenes of the first and second acts in the present and former editions of this book. Had Basil seen and loved Victoria before, his first speech, in which he describes her to Rosinberg as walking in the procession, would not be natural; and there are, I think, other little things besides, which will show that the circumstance of his former meeting with her is an interpolation.

The blame of this, however, I take entirely upon myself: the critice, whose opinion I have mentioned, judged of the piece entirely as an unconnected play, and knew nothing of the general plan of this work, which ought to have been communicated to him. Had it been, indeed, an unconnected play, and had I put this additional circumstance to it with proper judgment and skill, I am inclined to think it would have been an improvement.

Nursed with the bloody showers of many a field,
And brightest sunshine of successful fortune,
A plant of such a hardy stem hath grown,
E'en envy's sharpest blasts assail it not.
Yet after all, by the bless'd holy cross!
I feel too warm an interest in the cause

To stay your progress here a single hour,
Did I not know your soldiers are fatigued,

Your third day's march will to his presence bring
Your valiant troops: said you not so, my lord?


Bas. Your highness will be pleased to pardon me ; My troops are not o'ermarch'd, and one day's rest Is all our needs require.

Bas. (who changes countenance upon seeing

Yes, I believe-I think-I know not well—
Yes, please your grace, we march by break of day.
Duke. Nay, that I know. I ask'd you, noble



The DUKE of MANTUA, BASIL, ROSINBERG, and a number It may return again.-(To Rosinberg, who stands at of Courtiers, Attendants, &c. The DUKE and BASIL appear talking together on the front of the stage.

a little distance, looking earnestly at Basil. Duke leaves them, and joins Victoria's party.)


And say how warmly I embrace the cause.

When you expect th' imperial force to join.
Bas. When it shall please your grace-I crave
your pardon-

Duke. But our opinions differ widely there;
From the position of the rival armies,
I cannot think they'll join in battle soon.

Bas. I am indeed beholden to your highness,
But though unwillingly, we must depart.
The foes are near, the time is critical;

A soldier's reputation is too fine

To be exposed e'en to the smallest cloud.

Duke. An untried soldier's is; but yours, my I cannot bear thine eyes.

I somewhat have mistaken of your words.
Duke. You are not well: your colour changes,
What is the matter?

Bas. A dizzy mist that swims before my sight-
A ringing in my ears-'tis strange enough-
'Tis slight-'tis nothing worth-'tis gone already.
Duke. I'm glad it is. Look to your friend, Count

Ros. Good heavens, Basil, is it thus with thee!
Thy hand shakes too: (taking his hand.)
Would we were far from hence!
Bas. I'm well again, thou need'st not be afraid.
'Tis like enough my frame is indisposed
With some slight weakness from our weary march.
Nay, look not on me thus, it is unkindly-

The DUKE, with VICTORIA and her Ladies, advance to the
front of the stage to BASIL.

Duke. Victoria, welcome here the brave Count

And two days' rest would much recruit their I shall not be offended when I see


Your power surpasses mine.

Vict. Our feeble efforts will presumptuous seem Attempting that in which your highness fails. Duke. There's honour in th' attempt; success

His kinsman too, the gallant Rosinberg.
May you, and these fair ladies so prevail,
Such gentle suitors cannot plead in vain,
To make them grace my court another day.

Ah! hadst thou come
Unfetter'd with the duties of command,
I then had well retained thee for my guest,
With claims too strong, too sacred for denial.
Thy noble sire my fellow soldier was ;
Together many a rough campaign we served;
I loved him well, and much it pleases me
A son of his beneath my roof to see.

Bas. Were I indeed free master of myself,
Strong inclination would detain me here;
No other tie were wanting.
These gracious tokens of your princely favour
I'll treasure with my best remembrances;
For he who shows them for my father's sake,
Does something sacred in his kindness bear,
As though he shed a blessing on my head.
Duke. Well, bear my greetings to the brave Pis- For if they do, a thousand masked foes;

Some under show of rich luxurious feasts,

Gay, sprightly pastime, and high-zested game ;

attend ye. (Duke retires and mixes with the Courtiers at the bottom of the stage.) Vict. I fear we incommoded you, my lord, With the slow tedious length of our procession. E'en as I pass'd, against my heart it went To stop so long upon their weary way Your tired troops.

Ah! madam, all too short!
Time never bears such moments on his wing,
But when he flies too swiftly to be mark❜d.

Vict. Ah! surely then you make too good amends
By marking now his after-progress well.
To-day must seem a weary length to him
Who is so eager to be gone to-morrow.

Ros. They must not linger who would quit these

Nay, some, my gentle ladies, true it is,
The very worst and fellest of the crew,
In fair alluring shape of beauteous dames,
Do such a barrier form to oppose their way
As few men may o'ercome.

Isab. From this last wicked foe should we infer
Yourself have suffer'd much ?

Albin. No, Isabella, these are common words,
To please you with false notions of your power.
So all men talk of ladies and of love.

Vict. 'Tis even so. If love a tyrant be,
How dare his humble chained votaries
To tell such rude and wicked tales of him?

Bas. Because they most of lover's ills complain
Who but affect it as a courtly grace,

Whilst he who feels is silent.


Ros. But there you wrong me; I have felt it oft. (To Isab.) You call'd Francisco here?
Oft has it made me sigh at ladies' fee
Soft ditties sing, and dismal sonnets scrawl.

Albin. In all its strange effects, most worthy


Has it e'er made thee in a corner sit,

Sad, lonely, moping sit, and hold thy tongue?
Ros. No, 'faith, it never has.

Albin. Ha, ha, ha, ha! then thou hast never

Ros. Nay, but I have, and felt love's bondage too.
Vict. Fy! it is pedantry to call it bondage!
Love-marring wisdom, reason full of bars,
Deserve, methinks, that appellation more.
Is it not so, my lord?-(To Basil.)

O sur madam!
That is not bondage which the soul inthrall'd
So gladly bears, and quits not but with anguish.
Stern honour's laws, the fair report of men,
These are the fetters that enchain the mind,
But such as must not, cannot be unloosed.

Vict. No, not unloosed, but yet one day relax'd,
To grant a lady's suit, unused to sue.

Ros. Your highness deals severely with us now,
And proves indeed our freedom is but small,
Who are constrain'd when such a lady sues,
To say,
It cannot be.

Vict. It cannot be ! Count Basil says not so.
Ros. For that I am his friend, to save him pain
I take th' ungracious office on myself.

Vict. How ill thy face is suited to thine office! Ros. (smiling.) Would I could suit mine office to my face,

If that would please your highness.

Vict. No, you are obstinate and perverse all, And would not grant it if you had the power. Albini, I'll retire; come, Isabella.

Bas. (aside, looking after them.) O! what a
fool am I where fled my thoughts?
I might as well as he, now, by her side,
Have held her precious hand enclosed in mine;
As well as he, who cares not for it neither.
O but he does! that were impossible!
Albin. You stay behind, my lord.

Bas. Your pardon, madam; honour me so far-
[EXEUNT, handing out Albini.

Ros. No, she is notWhat dost thou fear? Be firm, and let us go. Vict. (pointing to a door leading to other apartments, by which she is ready to go out.) These are apartments strangers love to see: Some famous paintings do their walls adorn: They lead you also to the palace court As quickly as the way by which you came. [EXIT Vict. led out by Ros. and followed by Isab.


Vict. (to Ros.) It is indeed a work of wondrous


He comes even now.


Vict. (to Ros.) He will conduct you to the north-
ern gallery ;

Its striking shades will call upon the eye,
To point its place there needs no other guide.
[EXEUNT Ros. and Attendant.
(To Bas.) Loves not Count Basil too this charm-
ing art?

It is in ancient painting much admired.

Bas. Ah! do not banish me these few short moments:

Too soon they will be gone! for ever gone!

Vict. If they are precious to you, say not so, But add to them another precious day.

A lady asks it.

Bas. Ah, madam! ask the life-blood from my heart!

Ask all but what a soldier may not give.

Vict. "Tis ever thus when favours are denied ;
| All had been granted but the thing we beg;
And still some great unlikely substitute,
Your life, your soul, your all of earthly good,
Is proffer'd in the room of one small boon.
So keep your life-blood, generous, valiant lord,
And may
it long your noble heart enrich,
Until I wish it shed. (Bas. attempts to speak.)
Nay frame no new excuse;

I will not hear it.

(She puts out her hand as if she would shut his mouth, but at a distance from it; Bas. runs eagerly up to her, and presses it to his lips.)

Bas. Let this sweet hand indeed its threat per


And make it heaven to be for ever dumb!

Bas. (aside to Ros.) Ah, Rosinberg! thou hast (Vict. looks stately and offended.—Basil kneels.) too far presumed;

She is offended with us.

O pardon me! I know not what I do.
Frown not, reduce me not to wretchedness;
But only grant-
What should I grant to him,
Who has so oft my earnest suit denied
Bas. By heaven I'll grant it! I'll do any thing:
Say but thou art no more offended with me.
Vict. (raising him.) Well, Basii, this good pro-
mise is thy pardon.

I will not wait your noble friend's return,
Since we shall meet again.-
You will perform your word?

Bas. I will perform it. Vict. Farewell, my lord.

[EXIT, with her ladies. Bas. (alone.) "Farewell, my lord." O! what delightful sweetness!

The music of that voice dwells on the ear!
"Farewell, my lord!"-Ay, and then look'd she Besides, so far unlike a child of mine,

She holds its subtle arts in high derision,
And will not serve us but with bandaged eyes.
Gauriecio, could I trusty servants find,
Experienced, crafty, close, and unrestrain'd
By silly, superstitious, child-learnt fears,
What might I not effect?


The slightest glance of her bewitching eye,
Those dark blue eyes, commands the inmost soul.
Well, there is yet one day of life before me,
And, whatsoe'er betide, I will enjoy it.
Though but a partial sunshine in my lot,
I will converse with her, gaze on her still,
If all behind were pain and misery.
Pain! Were it not the easing of all pain,
E'en in the dismal gloom of after-years,
Such dear remembrance on the mind to wear
Like silvery moonbeams on the 'nighted deep,
When heaven's blest sun is gone?
Kind mercy! how my heart within me beat
When she so sweetly plead the cause of love!
Can she have loved? why shrink I at the thought?
Why should she not! no, no, it cannot be
No man on earth is worthy of her love.
Ah! if she could, how blest a man were he!
Where rove my giddy thoughts? it must not be.
Yet might she well some gentle kindness bear;
Think of him oft, his absent fate inquire,
And, should he fall in battle, mourn his fall.
Yes, she would mourn-such love might she bestow;
And poor of soul the man who would exchange it
For warmest love of the most loving dame!
But here comes Rosinberg-have I done well?
He will not say I have.

Enter ROSINBerg. Ros. Where is the princess?

I'm sorry I return'd not ere she went.

Bas. You'll see her still.

Ros. What, comes she forth again? Bas. She does to-morrow. Ros. Thou hast yielded then. Bas. Come, Rosinberg, I'll tell thee as we go; It was impossible I should not yield.

Ros. O Basil! thou art weaker than a child. Bas. Yes, yes, my friend, but 'tis a noble weakness;

A weakness which hath greater things achieved Than all the firm determined strength of reason. By heaven! I feel a new-born power within me, Shall make me twenty-fold the man I've been Before this fated day.

Ros. Fated, indeed! but an ill-fated day, That makes thee other than thy former self. Yet let it work its will; cannot change thee To aught I shall not love.

Bas. Thanks, Rosinberg! thou art a noble heart! I would not be the man thou couldst not love For an imperial crown.

Gaur. But does the princess know your secret aim?

Duke. No, that had marr'd the whole; she is a


successful; And Basil is detain'd another day.


Her mind, as suits the sex, too weak and narrow To relish deep-laid schemes of policy.

Gaur. O any thing! The deep and piercing genius of your highness, So ably served, might e'en achieve the empire. Duke. No, no, my friend, thou dost o'erprize my parts;

Yet mighty things might be-deep subtle wits
In truth, are master spirits in the world.
The brave man's courage, and the student's lore,
Are but as tools his secret ends to work,
Who hath the skill to use them.

This brave Count Basil, dost thou know him well?
Much have we gain'd, but for a single day,
At such a time, to hold his troops detain'd;
When, by that secret message of our spy,
The rival powers are on the brink of action:
But might we more effect? Knowest thou this

Might he be tamper'd with?

Gaur. That were most dangerous.He is a man, whose sense of right and wrong To such a high romantic pitch is wound, And all so hot and fiery is his nature,

The slightest hint, as though you did suppose
Baseness and treachery in him, so he'll deem it,
Would be to rouse a flame that might destroy.
Duke. But interest, interest; man's all-ruling

Will tame the hottest spirit to your service,
And skilfully applied, mean service too;
E'en as there is an element in nature
Which, when subdued, will on your hearth fulfil
The lowest uses of domestic wants.

Gaur. Earth-kindled fire, which from a little spark,

On hidden fuel feeds his growing strength,
Till o'er the lofty fabric it inspires
And rages out its power, may be subdued,
And in your base domestic service bound;
But who would madly in its wild career
The fire of heaven arrest to boil his pot?
No, Basil will not serve your secret schemes,
Though you had all to give ambition strives for
We must beware of him.

Duke. His father was my friend,-I wish'd to gain him:

But since fantastic fancies bind him thus, The sin be on his head; I stand acquitted, And must receive him, even to his ruin.


Gaur. I have prepared Bernardo for your service; To-night he will depart for th' Austrian camp,

Duke. The point is gain'd; my daughter is And should he find them on the eve of battle,

I've bid him wait the issue of the field.
If that our secret friends victorious prove,

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