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With th' arrow's speed he will return again;
But should fair fortune crown Piscaro's arms,
Then shall your soothing message greet his ears;
For till our friends some sound advantage gain,
Our actions still must wear an Austrian face.
Duke. Well hast thou school'd him. Didst thou
That 'tis my will he garnish well his speech,
With honey'd words of the most dear regard,
And friendly love I bear him? This is needful;
And lest my slowness in the promised aid
Awake suspicion, bid him e'en rehearse
The many favours on my house bestow'd
By his imperial master as a theme
On which my gratitude delights to dwell.
Gaur. I have, an' please your highness.
Then 'tis well.
Gaur. But for the yielding up that little fort
There could be no suspicion.
Duke. My governor I have severely punish'd,
As a most daring traitor to my orders.
He cannot from his darksome dungeon tell;
Why then should they suspect?
Gaur. He must not live should Charles prove What may this mean, Gauriecio?
Duke. He's done me service: say not so, Gau
Duke. Well, if it must-we'll talk of this again. Gaur. But while with anxious care and crafty wiles,
You would enlarge the limits of your state,
Your highness must beware lest inward broils
Bring danger near at hand: your northern subjects
E'en now are discontented and unquiet.
And to encourage well their infant trade,
Quarter'd your troops upon them.--Please your
All this they do most readily allow.
Duke. They do allow it then, ungrateful varlets! What would they have? what would they have, Gauriecio!
And would have found some other advocate Gaur. A traitor's name he will not calmly bear; Less pleasing to your grace had I refused. He'll tell his tale aloud-he must not live.
The many favours of my princely grace?
"Tis ever thus indulgence spoils the base;
Raising up pride, and lawless turbulence,
Like noxious vapours from the fulsome marsh
When morning shines upon it.-
Did I not lately with parental care,
Gaur. Some mitigation of their grievous burdens,
Which, like an iron weight around their necks,
Do bend their care-worn faces to the earth,
Like creatures form'd upon its soil to creep,
Not stand erect, and view the sun of heaven.
Duke. But they beyond their proper sphere would
Let them their lot fulfil as we do ours.
Society of various parts is form'd ;
They are its grounds, its mud, its sediment,
And we the mantling top which crowns the whole.
Calm, steady labour is their greatest bliss ;
To aim at higher things beseems them not.
To let them work in peace my care shall be ;
To slacken labour is to nourish pride.
Methinks thou art a pleader for these fools:
That when your enemies in fell revenge
Your former inroads threaten'd to repay,
Their ancient arms you did to them restore,
With kind permission to defend themselves :
That so far have they felt your princely grace,
In drafting from their fields their goodliest youth
To be your servants: That you did vouchsafe,
On paying of a large and heavy fine,
Leave to apply the labour of their hands
As best might profit to the country's weal;
Gaur. They were resolved to lay their cause before you,
Duke. Well, let them know, some more convenient season
Duke. What, dare the ungrateful miscreants thus They will be violent still
I'll think of this, and do for them as much
As suits the honour of my princely state.
Their prince's honour should be ever dear
To worthy subjects as their precious lives.
Gaur. I fear, unless you give some special
Duke. Then do it, if the wretches are so bold:
We can retract it when the times allow ;
'Tis of small consequence. Go see Bernardo,
And come to me again.
[EXIT. Gaur. (solus) O happy people! whose indulgent lord
When dire invaders their destruction threaten'd,
Provide them all with means of their defence?
Did I not, as a mark of gracious trust,
A body of their vagrant youth select
To guard my sacred person? till that day
An honour never yet allowed their race.
Did I not suffer them, upon their suit,
T'establish manufactures in their towns?
And after all some chosen soldiers spare
To guard the blessings of interior peace ?
Gaur. Nay, please your highness, they do well And used the art with which he rules a state
From every care, with which increasing wealth,
With all its hopes and fears, doth ever move
The human breast, most graciously would free
And kindly leave you naught to do but toil!
This creature now, with all his reptile cunning,
Writhing and turning through a maze of wiles,
Believes his genius form'd to rule mankind;
And calls his sordid wish for territory
That noblest passion of the soul, ambition.
Born had he been to follow some low trade,
A petty tradesman still he had remain'd,
To circumvent his brothers of the craft,
Or cheat the buyers of his paltry ware.
And yet he thinks,--ha, ha, ha, ha!--he thinks
I am the tool and servant of his will.
Well, let it be; through all the maze of trouble
His plots and base oppression must create,
I'll shape myself a way to higher things:
And who will say 'tis wrong?
A sordid being, who expects no faith
But as self-interest binds; who would not trust
The strongest ties of nature on the soul,
In all the graceful eloquence address'd
Of most accomplish'd, noble, courtly youths,
Praised in the songs of heaven-inspired bards,
Those awkward proofs of admiration prize,
Which rustic swains their village fair ones pay!
Vict. O, love will master all the power of art!
Ay, all! and she who never has beheld
The polish'd courtier, or the tuneful sage,
Before the glances of her conquering eye
A very native simple swain become,
Has only vulgar charms.
To make the cunning artless, tame the rude,
Subdue the haughty, shake th' undaunted soul;
Yea, put a bridle in the lion's mouth,
And lead him forth as a domestic cur,
These are the triumphs of all-powerful beauty!
Did naught but flattering words and tuneful praise,
Sighs, tender glances, and obsequious service,
Attend her presence, it were nothing worth:
I'd put a white coif o'er my braided locks,
And be a plain, good, simple, fireside dame.
Alb. (raisig her head from her book.) And is, indeed, a plain domestic dame, Who fills the duties of a useful state,
Vict. Thou'rt wrong, my Isabella, simple maid; If foolish vanity e'er soil'd her thoughts,
For in the very forfeit of this oath,
There's death to all the dearest pride of women.
May man no more be foolish in my presence!
Isab. And does your grace, hail'd by applauding
She kept it low, withheld its aliment;
Not pamper'd it with every motley food,
From the fond tribute of a noble heart
A being of less dignity than she,
Who vainly on her transient beauty builds
A little poor ideal tyranny?
Isab. Ideal too!
Yes, most unreal power;
For she who only finds her self-esteem
In others' admiration, begs an alms;
Depends on others for her daily food,
And is the very servant of her slaves;
Though oftentimes, in a fantastic hour,
O'er men she may a childish power exert,
Which not ennobles, but degrades her state.
Vict. You are severe, Albini, most severe ! Were human passions placed within the breast But to be curb'd, subdued, pluck'd by the roots! All heaven's gifts to some good end were given. Alb. Yes, for a noble, for a generous end.
To the lisp'd flattery of a cunning child.
Vict. Nay, speak not thus,-Albini, speak not
Of little blue-eyed, sweet, fair-hair'd Mirando.
He is the orphan of a hapless pair ;
A loving, beautiful, but hapless pair,
Whose story is so pleasing, and so sad,
The swains have turn'd it to a plaintive lay,
And sing it as they tend their mountain sheep.
Besides, (to Isab.) I am the guardian of his choice.
When first I saw him-dost thou not remember?
Isab. "Twas in the public garden.
Vict. Even so; Perch'd in his nurse's arms, a roughsome quean, Ill suited to the lovely charge she bore. How steadfastly he fixed his looks upon me, His dark eyes shining through forgotten tears, Then stretch'd his little arms and call'd me mother! What could I do? I took the bantling homeI could not tell the imp he had no mother.
Alb. Ah! there, my child, thou hast indeed no blame.
Vict. Now this is kindly said: thanks, sweet Albini !
Still call me child, and chide me as thou wilt.
O! would that I were such as thou couldst love!
Couldst dearly love, as thou didst love my mother!
Alb. (pressing her to her breast.) And do I not?
all perfect as she was,
I know not that she went so near my heart
As thou with all thy faults.
Vict. And say'st thou so? would I had sooner known!
I had done any thing to give thee pleasure.
Alb. Then do so now, and put thy faults away. Vict. No, say not faults; the freaks of thoughtless youth.
Alb. Nay, very faults they must indeed be call'd. Vict. O! say but foibles! youthful foibles only! Alb. Faults, faults, real faults you must confess they are. Vict. In truth I cannot do your sense the wrong To think so poorly of the one you love.
Alb. I must be gone: thou hast o'ercome me now:
Another time I will not yield it so.
Isab. The countess is severe; she's too severe :
She once was young, though now advanced in years.
Vict. No, I deserve it all; she is most worthy.
Unlike those faded beauties of the court,
But now the wither'd stems of former flowers,
With all their blossoms shed, her nobler mind
Procures to her the privilege of man,
Ne'er to be old till nature's strength decays.
Some few years hence, if I should live so long,
I'd be Albini rather than myself.
Isab. Here comes your little favourite.
Vict. I am not in the humour for him now. Enter MIRANDO, running up to VICTORIA, and taking hold of her gown, while she takes no notice of him, as he holds up his mouth to be kissed.
Mir. O but she will! I'll scramble up her robe, As naughty boys do when they climb for apples. Isab. Come here, sweet child; I'll kiss thee in
Mir. Nay, but I will not have a kiss of thee. Would I were tall! O were I but so tall!
Then she look'd so, and smiled to him again.
(Throwing down his eyes affectedly.)
Isab. Thou art a little knave, and must be whipp'd.
[EXEUNT. Mirando leading out Victoria
Isab. (to Mir.) Thou seest the princess can't be The noble fire of individual courage,
troubled with thee.
And call calm prudence the superior virtue,
What say'st thou now, my candid Rosinberg,
When thy great captain, in a time like this,
Denies his weary troops one day of rest
Before th' exertions of approaching battle,
Yet grants it to a pretty lady's suit?
Ros. Who told thee this? it was no friendly tale;
Isab. And how tall wouldst thou be? And no one else, besides a trusty friend, Mir. Thou dost not know? Could know his motives. Then thou wrong'st me Just tall enough to reach Victoria's lips. Vict. (embracing him.) O! I must bend to this, For I admire, as much as thou dost, Frederick,
thou little urchin.
Who taught thee all this wit, this childish wit?
Whom does Mirando love? (embraces him again.)|
The fire of valour, e'en rash, heedless valour;
But not like thee do I depreciate
That far superior, yea, that godlike talent,
Which doth direct that fire, because indeed
It is a talent nature has denied me.
He loves Victoria.
Vict. And wherefore loves he her?
Because she's pretty.
Isab. Hast thou no little prate to-day, Mirando?
No tale to earn a sugar-plum withal?
Mir. Ay, that I have: I know who loves her To please a lady's freaks
Vict. Away, thou little chit! that tale is old,
And was not worth a sugar-plum when new.
Mir. Well then, I know who loves her highness
SCENE I. AN OPEN STREET, OR SQUARE. Enter ROSINBERG and FREDERICK, by opposite sides of the stage.
Vict. Who is it, then?
Who is it, naughty boy?
Mir. It is the handsome Marquis of Carlatzi.
Vict. No, no, Mirando, thou art naughty still:
Twice have I paid thee for that tale already.
Mir. Well then, indeed-I know who loves
Fred. So Basil, from the pressing calls of war,
Another day to rest and pastime gives.
How is it now? methinks thou art not pleased.
Ros. It matters little if I am or not.
Fred. Now pray thee do confess thou art ashamed: Thou, who art wisely wont to set at naught
Fred. Well, well, and greatly he may boast his virtue,
Ros. Go, go, thou'rt prejudiced: Vict. Who is it, pray? thou shalt have comfits A passion, which I do not choose to name, Has warp'd thy judgment.
Mir. (looking slyly at her.) It is—it is—it is
the Count of Maldo.
Fred. No, by heaven thou wrong'st me!
I do, with most enthusiastic warmth,
True valour love: wherever he is found,
I love the hero too; but hate to see
The praises due to him so cheaply earn'd.
Ros. Then mayst thou now these generous feel
Who risks perhaps th' imperial army's fate,
Behold that man, whose short and grizzly hair
In clustering locks his dark brown face o'ershades;
Where now the scars of former sabre wounds,
In honourable companionship are seen
With the deep lines of age; whose piercing eye
Beneath its shading eyebrow keenly darts
Its yet unquenched beams, as though in age
Its youthful fire had been again renew❜d,
To be the guardian of its darken'd mate:
See with what vigorous steps his upright form
He onward bears; nay, e'en that vacant sleeve
Which droops so sadly by his better side,
Suits not ungracefully the veteran's mien.
This is the man, whose glorious acts in battle
We heard to-day related o'er our wine.
I go to tell the general he is come:
Enjoy the generous feelings of thy breast,
Vict. And who is he? Mir. t is Mirando's self. Vict. Thou little imp! this story is not new, But thou shalt have thy hire. Come, let us go. Go, run before us, boy. [look'd,
Mir. Nay, but I'll show you how Count Wolvar When he conducted Isabel from court.
Vict. How did he look?
Mir. Give me your hand: he held his body thus; (putting himself in a ridiculous bowing posture.) And then he whisper'd softly; then look'd so; (ogling with his eyes affectedly.) | And make an old man happy.
Fred. Brave soldier, let me profit by the chance That led me here; I've heard of thy exploits.
Geof. Ah! then you have but heard an ancient tale, Which has been long forgotten.
Fred. But true it is, and should not be forgotten; Though generals jealous of their soldiers' fame, May dash it with neglect.
How art thou else rewarded with neglect,
Whilst many a paltry fellow in thy corps
Has been promoted? it is ever thus.
Served not Mardini in your company?
He was, though honour'd with a valiant name,
To those who knew him well, a paltry soldier.
Geof. Your pardon, sir: we did esteem him much,
Although inferior to his gallant friend,
The brave Sebastian.
The brave Sebastian!
He was, as I am told, a learned coxcomb,
And loved a goose-quill better than a sword.
What, dost thou call him brave?
Thou, who dost bear about that war-worn trunk,
Like an old target, hack'd and rough with wounds,
Whilst, after all his mighty battles, he
Was with a smooth skin in his coffin laid,
Unblemish'd with a scar?
Geof. His duty call'd not to such desperate service;
For I have sought where few alive remain'd,
And none unscath'd; where but a few remain'd,
Thus marr'd and mangled; (showing his wounds.)
as belike you've seen,
O' summer nights, around the evening lamp,
Some wretched moths, wingless, and half consumed,
Just feebly crawling o'er their heaps of dead.-
In Savoy, on a small, though desperate post,
Of full three hundred goodly chosen men,
But twelve were left, and right dear friends were we
For ever after. They are all dead now:
I'm old and lonely.-We were valiant hearts-
Frederick Dewalter would have stopp'd a breach
Against the devil himself. I'm lonely now!
Fred. I'm sorry for thee. Hang ungrateful chiefs! Why wert thou not promoted?
What is a good field-marshal but a man,
Geof. There are, perhaps, who may be so unge- Whose generous courage and undaunted mind Doth marshal others on in glory's way?
Fred. Perhaps, say'st thou? in very truth there Thou art not one by princely favour dubb'd,
But one of nature's making.
Geof. You show, my lord, such pleasant courtesy,
I know not how-
Fred. Fy, fy upon it! Here is a trifle for thee
Ros. (clapping Geof. on the shoulder.) How goes it with thee now, my good field-marshal? Geof. The better that I see your honour well, And in the humour to be merry with me.
Ros. 'Faith, by my sword, I've rightly named thee too;
But see, the general comes.
Ros. (pointing to Geof.) Behold the worthy
Geof. After that battle, where my happy fate
Had led me to fulfil a glorious part,
Chafed with the gibing insults of a slave,
The worthless favourite of a great man's favourite,
I rashly did affront; our cautious prince,
With narrow policy dependent made,
Dared not, as I am told, promote me then,
And now he is ashamed, or has forgot it.
let him be ashamed:
(offering him money.)
No, good sir;
I have enough to live as poor men do.
When I'm in want I'll thankfully receive,
Because I'm poor, but not because I'm brave.
Fred. You're proud, old soldier.
No, I am not proud; For one so wise.
For if I were, methinks I'd be morose,
And willing to depreciate other men.
Bas. (taking him by the hand.) Brave, honourable man, your worth I know,
And greet it with a brother soldier's love. Geof. (taking away his hand in confusion.) My general, this is too much, too much honour. Bas. (taking his hand again.) No, valiant soldier, I must have it so.
Geof. My humble state agrees not with such honour.
Bas. Think not of it, thy state is not thyself.
Let mean souls, highly rank'd, look down on thee,
As the poor dwarf, perch'd on a pedestal,
O'erlooks the giant: 'tis not worth a thought.
Art thou not Geoffry of the tenth brigade,
Whose warlike feats, child, maid, and matron know?
And oft, cross-elbow'd, o'er his nightly bowl,
The jolly toper to his comrade tells ?
Whose glorious feats of war, by cottage door,
The ancient soldier, tracing in the sand
The many movements of the varied field,
In warlike terms to listening swains relates;
Whose bosoms glowing at the wondrous tale
First learn to scorn the hind's inglorious life;
Shame seize me, if I would not rather be
The man thou art, than court-created chief,
Known only by the dates of his promotion !
Geof. Ah! would I were, would I were young
To fight beneath your standard, noble general;
Methinks what I have done were but a jest,
Ay, but a jest to what I now should do,
Were I again the man that I have been..
O! I could fight!
And would'st thou fight for me?
Geof. Ay, to the death!
Bas. Then come, brave man, and be my champion still:
The sight of thee will fire my soldiers' breasts;
Come, noble veteran, thou shalt fight for me.
[EXIT with Geoffry.
Fred. What does he mean to do?
We'll know ere long,
Fred. Our general bears it with a careless face,
A careless face? on what?
Fred. Now feign not ignorance, we know it all.
News which have spread in whispers from the Which to his eyes such flashing lustre gave,
As though his soul, like an unsheathed sword,
Had through them gleam'd, our noble general
Since last night's messenger arrived from Milan.
Ros. As I'm an honest man, I know it not!
Fred. "Tis said the rival armies are so near
A battle must immediately ensue.
Ros. It cannot be. Our general knows it not.
The Duke is of our side a sworn ally,
And had such messenger to Mantua come,
He would have been apprized upon the instant.
It cannot be, it is some idle tale.
Then Heaven grant they may be nearer still!
For O! my soul for war and danger pants,
As doth the noble lion for his prey.
My soul delights in battle.
Ros. Upon my simple word, I'd rather see
A score of friendly fellows shaking hands,
Than all the world in arms. Hast thou no fear?
Fred. What dost thou mean?
Hast thou no fear of death?
Fred. Fear is a name for something in the mind,
But what, from inward sense, I cannot tell.
I could as little anxious march to battle,
Fred. So may it prove till we have join'd them | At first he bore it up with cheerful looks,
As one who fain would wear his honours bravely
And greet the soldiers with a comrade's face:
But when Count Basil, in such moving speech,
Told o'er his actions past, and bade his troops
Great deeds to emulate, his countenance changed;
High heaved his manly breast, as it had been
By inward strong emotion half convulsed;
Trembled his nether lip; he shed some tears:
The general paused, the soldiers shouted loud;
Then hastily he brush'd the drops away,
And waved his hand, and clear'd his tear choked
me, Because I offer'd him a little sum.
Ros. What, money! O, most generous, noble
Noble rewarder of superior worth!
A halfpenny for Belisarius !
But hark! they shout again-here comes Valtomer.
(Shouting heard without.)
As when a boy to childish games I ran.
Ros. Then as much virtue hast thou in thy val- Of passion came; high o'er his hoary head
His arm he toss'd, and heedless of respect,
In Basil's bosom hid his aged face,
Sobbing aloud. From the admiring ranks
A cry arose; still louder shouts resound.
I felt a sudden tightness grasp my throat
As it would strangle me; such as I felt,
I knew it well, some twenty years ago,
When my good father shed his blessing on me :
I hate to weep, and so I came away.
What does this shouting mean?
Valt. O! I have seen a sight, a glorious sight! Thou wouldst have smiled to see it.
And to his soldiers, with heart-moving words
The veteran showing, his brave deeds rehearsed,
Who by his side stood like a storm-scath'd oak,
Beneath the shelter of some noble tree,
As when a child thou hadst in childish play.
The brave man is not he who feels no fear,
For that were stupid and irrational;
But he, whose noble soul its fear subdues,
And bravely dares the danger nature shrinks from.
As for your youth, whom blood and blows delight,
Away with them! there is not in the crew
One valiant spirit.-Ha! what sound is this?
(Shouting is heard without.)
Fred. The soldiers shout; I'll run and learn the
Ros. But tell me first, how didst thou like the This way they march.
Fred. He is too proud; he was displeased with
In the green honours of its youthful prime.
Ros. How look'd the veteran ?
I cannot tell thee!
Valt. (passing the back of his hands across his
'Faith, so they are; well, well, but I smiled too. You heard the shouting.
Ros. and Fred.
O had you seen it!
Drawn out in goodly ranks, there stood our troops;
Here, in the graceful state of manly youth,
His dark face brighten'd with a generous smile,
As though he would some grateful answer make;
When back with double force the whelming tide
Ros. (giving Valt. his hand.) And there, take thou my blessing for the tale. Hark, how they shout again! 'tis nearer now.
Martial music heard. Enter Soldiers marching in order, bearing GEOFFRY in triumph on their shoulders After them enter BASIL; the whole preceded by a band of music. They cross over the stage, are joined by Ros. &c. and EXEUNT.
Gent. And so you think this boyish odd conceit Of bearing home in triumph with his troops
Ros. How smile? methinks thine eyes are wet That aged soldier, will your purpose serve?
Gaur. Yes, I will make it serve; for though my prince
Is little scrupulous of right and wrong,
I have possess'd his mind, as though it were
A flagrant insult on his princely state,
To honour thus the man he has neglected,
Which makes him relish, with a keener taste,
My purposed scheme. Come, let us fall to work.
With all their warm heroic feelings roused,
We'll spirit up his troops to mutiny,
Enter GAURIECIO and a GENTLEMAN, talking as they
Gaur. So slight a tie as this we cannot trust:
One day her influence may detain him here,
But love a feeble agent may be found
With the ambitious.