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With such a noble zeal their generous troops,
Valt. Yes, I have seen in the eventful field,
Ros. It is a fair one, though you mark'd it not.
As she and all her lovely damsels pass'd;
Valt. Demure, or over-wise, or given to freaks.
Ros. One fault he has; I know but only one;
Fred. Well, feel I not undaunted in the field?
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 small occasions in the path of life
Should on the whole a better figure make,
And so will I. [EXEUNT Valt. Fred, and Ros.
Ros. I have repented me, I will not go;
What mighty thoughts engage my pensive friend?
Ros. How runs thy fancy? what is admirable?
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,
Than on a better proof the eye consents to.
Is it not so, my lord To Basil, who only bows
Fred. She's charming as the goddess of delight.
Fred. Nay, it is treason but to call her woman;
O how they smiled! 'twas like the beams of
I felt my roused soul within me start,
Ros. The beams of heaven do many slumberers
Ros. I would not rate them at a price so mean;
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?
Ros. No, not for all beneath the vaulted sky!
Bas. I'm glad thou art; we'll talk of her no
That would one single day your troops retard?
For me there is but one of all the sex,
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,
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.
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-
Ros. What! midst the dangers of eventful war,
But wilt thou change that soldier's dusty garb,
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.
Thy stripling's brow graced with its first cockade,
"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."
But I must go to-day without my caution.
Bas. Nay, Rosinberg, I am impatient now:
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.
To stay your progress here a single hour,
Your third day's march will to his presence bring
Enter VICTORIA, the COUNTESS of ALBINI, ISABELLA, and
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—
SCENE I.-A ROOM OF STATE.
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.
Duke. But our opinions differ widely there;
Bas. I am indeed beholden to your highness,
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.
Bas. A dizzy mist that swims before my sight-
Ros. Good heavens, Basil, is it thus with thee!
The DUKE, with VICTORIA and her Ladies, advance to the
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.
Bas. Were I indeed free master of myself,
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.
Vict. Ah! surely then you make too good amends
Ros. They must not linger who would quit these
Nay, some, my gentle ladies, true it is,
Isab. From this last wicked foe should we infer
Albin. No, Isabella, these are common words,
Vict. 'Tis even so. If love a tyrant be,
Bas. Because they most of lover's ills complain
Whilst he who feels is silent.
Ros. But there you wrong me; I have felt it oft. (To Isab.) You call'd Francisco here?
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?
Albin. Ha, ha, ha, ha! then thou hast never
Ros. Nay, but I have, and felt love's bondage too.
Vict. No, not unloosed, but yet one day relax'd,
Ros. Your highness deals severely with us now,
Vict. It cannot be ! Count Basil says not so.
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
Bas. Your pardon, madam; honour me so far-
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.
SCENE II.-A GALLERY HUNG WITH PICTURES. VICTORIA discovered in conversation with RoSINBERG, BASIL, ALBINI, and ISABELLA.
Vict. (to Ros.) It is indeed a work of wondrous
He comes even now.
Vict. (to Ros.) He will conduct you to the north-
Its striking shades will call upon the eye,
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 ;
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.
I will not wait your noble friend's return,
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!
She holds its subtle arts in high derision,
The slightest glance of her bewitching eye,
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
[EXEUNT. SCENE III.—A SMALL APARTMENT IN THE PALACE.
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
This brave Count Basil, dost thou know him well?
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
Will tame the hottest spirit to your service,
Gaur. Earth-kindled fire, which from a little spark,
On hidden fuel feeds his growing strength,
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.
Enter DUKE and GAURIECIO.
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.