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I dream'd not of it.
Vict. (pretending not to see him.) That little
lane, with woodbine all o'ergrown,
He loved so well! it is a fragrant path,
Is it not, count?

Pas.

It is a gloomy one!
Vict. I have, my lord, been wont to think it

cheerful.

(Clasping his hands, and raising them to his Her lovely form, in every action lovely!
head.)
If but the wind her ruffled garment raise,
It twists it into some light pretty fold,

Then there is such a one!

spot?

Vict. I do, and by this lane we'll take our way; For here he often walk'd with sauntering pace, And listen'd to the woodlark's evening song.

Bas. What, must I on his very footsteps go: Accursed be the ground on which he trod!

Vict. And is Count Basil so uncourtly grown, That he would curse my brother to my face?

Bas. Your brother! gracious God, is it your
brother?

That dear, that loving friend of whom you spoke,
Is he indeed your brother?

(Drooping his head, and looking distractedly Which adds new grace. Or should some small upon the ground.)

mishap,

Vict.
He is indeed, my lord.
Bas. Then heaven bless him! all good angels
bless him!

Uncertain tales of dreadful slaughter bore, Thou'dst see the tear hang on her pale wan cheek,

I could weep o'er him now, shed blood for him!
I could-O what a foolish heart have I!

And kindly say, How does it fare with Basil?
Vict. No more of this-indeed there must no

more.

The distant landscape; now methinks she walks Bas. I thought your highness meant to leave this With doubtful lingering steps-will she look

back?

(Walks up and down with a hurried step, tossing about his arms in transport; then stops short and runs up to Victoria.)

A friend's remembrance I will ever bear thee.
But see where Isabella this way comes:
I had a wish to speak with her alone;
Attend us here, for soon will we return,
And then take horse again.

[EXIT.

Bas. (looking after her for some time.) See with what graceful steps she moves along,

Heaven bless your brother!
Vict.
Ay, heaven bless him too!
I have but him; would I had two brave brothers,
And thou wert one of them!

Bas. I would fly from thee to earth's utmost
bounds,
Were I thy brother-

And yet methinks, I would I had a sister.

Vict. And wherefore would ye so?
Bas.

Some tangled branch, her fair attire derange,
What would in others strange, or awkward seem,
But lends to her some wild bewitching charm.
See, yonder does she raise her lovely arm
To pluck the dangling hedge-flower as she goes;
And now she turns her head as though she
view'd

Yes, my lord.

From the army?
Mess.
Bas.
What tidings bring'st thou ?
Mess. Th' imperial army, under brave Piscaro,
Have beat the enemy near Pavia's walls.

Bas. Ha! have they fought? and is the battle
o'er ?

1

Mess. Yes, conquer'd; taken the French king prisoner,

Is it indeed your brother?

Vict. It is indeed: what thoughts disturb'd thee Who, like a noble, gallant gentleman,
Fought to the last, nor yielded up his sword

so?

Bas. I will not tell thee; foolish thoughts they Till, being one amidst surrounding foes,
were.
His arm could do no more.

Ah no! yon thicket hides her from my sight.
Bless'd are the eyes that may behold her still,
Nor dread that every look shall be the last!
And yet she said she would remember me.
I will believe it: Ah! I must believe it,
Or be the saddest soul that sees the light!
But lo, a messenger, and from the army!
He brings me tidings; grant they may be good!
Till now I never fear'd what man might utter;
I dread his tale, God grant it may be good!
Enter MESSENGER,

Bas. What dost thou say? who is made pri-
soner?

What king did fight so well?
Mess.
The King of France.
Bas. Thou saidst-thy words do ring so in mine

ears,

I cannot catch their sense-the battle's o'er?

Mess. It is, my lord. Piscaro stayed your coming, But could no longer stay. His troops were bold, To place her near thee, Occasion press'd him, and they bravely foughtThe soft companion of thy hours to prove, And, when far distant, sometimes talk of me. Thou couldst not chide a gentle sister's cares. Perhaps, when rumour from the distant war,

They bravely fought, my lord!

Bas.
I hear, I hear thee.
Accursed am I, that it should wring my heart
To hear they bravely fought !—

They bravely fought, whilst we lay lingering here.

O! what a fated blow to strike me thus !
Perdition! shame! disgrace! a damned blow!
Mess. Ten thousand of the enemy are slain;
We too have lost full many a gallant soul.
I view'd the closing armies from afar;
Their close-piked ranks in goodly order spread,
Which seem'd, alas! when that the fight was o'er,
Like the wild marshes' crop of stately reeds,
Laid with the passing storm. But wo is me!
When to the field I came, what dismal sights!
What waste of life! What heaps of bleeding

slain !

Bas. Would I were laid a red, disfigured corse, Amid those heaps! they fought, and we were absent !

No streaming light doth from her chamber beam,
That I once more may on her dwelling gaze,
(Walks about distractedly, then stops short.) | And bless her still. All now is dark for me!
Who sent thee here?

(Pauses for some time and looks upon the graves.)
How happy are the dead, who quietly rest
Beneath these stones! each by his kindred laid,
Still in a hallow'd neighbourship with those,
Who when alive his social converse shared :

Mess. Piscaro sent me to inform Count Basil, He needs not now his aid, and gives him leave To march his tardy troops to distant quarters.

Bas. He says so, does he? well, it shall be so. (Tossing his arms distractedly.) I will to quarters, narrow quarters go, Where voice of war shall rouse me forth no more. [EXIT.

Mess. I'll follow after him; he is distracted: And yet he looks so wild I dare not do it.

ACT V.

SCENE I.-A DARK NIGHT; NO MOON, BUT A FEW
STARS GLIMMERING; THE STAGE REPRESENTS (AS
MUCH AS CAN BE DISCOVERED FOR THE DARKNESS)
A CHURCHYARD WITH PART OF A CHAPEL, AND
A WING OF THE DUCAL PALACE ADJOINING TO IT.

I will conduct you hence, and then I'll go.

Vict. No, no, I'm well enough; I'm very well;
Go, hie thee hence, and do thine errand swiftly.
[EXIT Messenger.
O what a wretch am I? I am to blame !
I only am to blame !

Isab.
Nay, wherefore say so?
What have you done that others would not do?
Vict. What have I done? I've fool'd a noble
heart-

I've wreck'd a brave man's honour!

Enter BASIL with his hat off, his hair and his dress in disorder, stepping slowly, and stopping several times to listen, as if he was afraid of meeting any one.

Enter VICTORIA as if frightened, followed by ISABELLA. Vict. (to Isab.) Didst thou not mark him as he pass'd thee too?

Isab. I saw him pass, but with such hasty steps I The haunt of damned sprites. O cursed wretch! In the fair and honour'd field shouldst thou have

had no time.

EXIT, leaning upon Isabella.

Bas. No sound is here: man is at rest, and I
May near his habitations venture forth,
Like some unblessed creature of the night,
Who dares not meet his face.-Her window's
dark;

Vict. I met him with a wild disorder'd air, In furious haste; he stopp'd distractedly, And gazed upon me with a mournful look, But pass'd away, and spoke not. Who art thou? Had pointed out the spot where Basil lay! (To the Messenger.) (A light seen in Victoria's window.) I fear thou art a bearer of bad tidings. But ha! the wonted, welcome light appears. Mess. No, rather good as I should deem it, How bright within I see her chamber wall! Athwart it too, a darkening shadow moves, A slender woman's form: it is herself! Our army hath a glorious battle won; What means that motion of its clasped hands? Ten thousand French are slain, their monarch cap- That drooping head? alas! is she in sorrow? Alas! thou sweet enchantress of the mind, Vict. (to Mess.) Ah, there it is! he was not in Whose voice was gladness, and whose presence the fight. • bliss,

madam,

Although unwelcome tidings to Count Basil.

tive.

Run after him I pray-nay, do not so-
Run to his kinsman, good Count Rosinberg,
And bid him follow him-I pray thee run!
Mess. Nay, lady, by your leave, you seem not In some dark den from human sight conceal'd,

Art thou unhappy too? I've brought thee wo;
It is for me thou weepest. Ah! were it so,
Fall'n as I am, I yet could life endure,

well:

So, that I sometimes from my haunt might steal,
To see and love thee still. No, no, poor wretch!
She weeps thy shame, she weeps, and scorns thee

too.

And now perhaps some dear surviving friend
Doth here at times the grateful visit pay,
Read with sad eyes his short memorial o'er,
And bless his memory still!-

But I, like a vile outcast of my kind,

In some lone spot must lay my unburied corse,
To rot above the earth; where, if perchance
The steps of human wanderer e'er approach,
He'll stand aghast, and flee the horrid place,
With dark imaginations frightful made

died, Where brave friends, proudly smiling through their tears,

She moves again; e'en darkly imaged thus,
How lovely is that form!

(Pauses, still looking at the window.)
To be so near thee, and for ever parted!
For ever lost! what art thou now to me?
Shall the departed gaze on thee again?
Shall I glide past thee in the midnight hour,
Whilst thou perceivest it not, and think'st
perhaps

'Tis but the mournful breeze that passes by?

(Pauses again, and gazes at the window, till the SCENE II.-A WOOD, WILD AND SAVAGE; AN ENTRY light disappears.)

'Tis gone, 'tis gone! these eyes have seen their
last!

TO A CAVE, VERY MUCH TANGLED WITH BRUSH
WOOD, IS SEEN IN THE BACKGROUND. THE TIME
REPRESENTS THE DAWN OF MORNING. BASIL IS
DISCOVERED STANDING NEAR THE FRONT OF THE
STAGE, IN A THOUGHTFUL POSTURE, WITH A COU-
PLE OF PISTOLS LAID BY HIM ON A PIECE OF PRO-
JECTING ROCK; HE PAUSES FOR SOME TIME.

The last impression of her heavenly form:
The last sight of those walls wherein she lives :
The last blest ray of light from human dwelling.
I am no more a being of this world.

Farewell! farewell! all now is dark for me!
Come fated deed! come horror and despair!
Here lies my dreadful way.

Enter GEOFFRY from behind a tomb.
Geof. O! stay, my general!
Bas.

Art thou from the grave? Geof. O my brave general! do you know me not?

I am old Geoffry, the old maim'd soldier,
You did so nobly honour.

Bas. Then go thy way, for thou art honourable: Thou hast no shame, thou need'st not seek the dark

Like fall'n, fameless men. I pray thee go!

Geof. Nay, speak not thus, my noble general! Ah! speak not thus! thou'rt brave, thou'rt honour'd

still.

Thy soldier's fame is far too surely raised
To be o'erthrown with one unhappy chance.
I've heard of thy brave deeds with swelling heart,
And yet shall live to cast my cap in air
At glorious tales of thee.-

Bas. Forbear, forbear! thy words but wring my
soul.

Geof. O pardon me! I am old maim'd Geoffry. O! do not go! I've but one hand to hold thee.

(Laying hold of Basil as he attempts to go away. Basil stops, and looks around upon him with softness.)

Bas. Two would not hold so well, old honour'd

veteran !

What wouldst thou have me do?

Geof. Return, my lord; for love of blessed heaven,

Seek not such desperate ways! where would you go?

Bas. Does Geoffry ask where should a soldier go To hide disgrace? there is no place but one. (Struggling to get free.) Let go thy foolish hold, and force me not To do some violence to thy hoary headWhat, wilt thou not? nay, then it must be so. (Breaks violently from him, and EXIT.) Geof. Cursed feeble hand! he's gone to seek perdition! I cannot run.

Where is that stupid hind?
He should have met me here. Holla, Fernando !
Enter FERNANDO.
We've lost him, he is gone, he's broke from me!
Did I not bid thee meet me early here,
For that he has been known to haunt this place?
Fer. Which way has he gone?

Geof. Towards the forest, if I guess aright.
But do thou run with speed to Rosinberg,
And he will follow him; run swiftly, man!
[EXEUNT.

42

Bas. (alone.) What shall I be some few short
moments hence?

Why ask I now? who from the dead will rise
To tell me of that awful state unknown?
But be it what it may, or bliss, or torment,
Annihilation, dark and endless rest,

Or some dread thing, man's wildest range of thought
Hath never yet conceived, that change I'll dare
Which makes me any thing but what I am.
I can bear scorpions' stings, tread fields of fire,
In frozen gulfs of cold eternal lie,

Be toss'd aloft through tracks of endless void,
But cannot live in shame-(Pauses.) O impious
thought!

Will the great God of mercy, mercy have
On all but those who are most miserable?

Will he not punish with a pitying hand
The poor, fall'n, froward child?
And shall I then against his will offend,
Because he is most good and merciful?
O! horrid baseness! what, what shall I do?
I'll think no more-it turns my dizzy brain-
It is too late to think-what must be, must be-
I cannot live, therefore I needs must die.

(Takes up the pistols, and walks up and down,
looking wildly around him, then discovering
the cave's mouth,)

Here is an entry to some darksome cave,
Where an uncoffin'd corse may rest in peace,
And hide its foul corruption from the earth.
The threshold is unmark'd by mortal foot.

I'll do it here.

(Pauses.)

(Enters the cave and ExIT; a deep silence; then
the report of a pistol is heard from the cave,
and soon after, Enter Rosinberg, Valtomer,
two Officers and Soldiers, almost at the same
moment by different sides of the stage.)
Ros. This way the sound did come.

Valt. How came ye, soldiers? heard ye that
report ?

1st Sol. We heard it, and it seem'd to come from hence, Which made us this way hie.

Ros. A horrid fancy darts across my mind. (A groan heard from the cave.) (To Valt.) Ha! heard'st thou that? Valt. Methinks it is the groan of one in pain. (A second groan.)

Ros. Ha! there again!
Valt. From this cave's mouth, so dark and

choaked with weeds,

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SCENE III.-THE INSIDE OF THE CAVE. BASIL discovered lying on the ground, with his head raised a little upon a few stones and earth, the pistols lying beside him, and blood upon his breast. Enter ROSINBERG, VALTOMER, and OFFICERS. Rosinberg, upon seeing Basil, stops short with horror, and remains motionless for some time.

Hath shut me out: I am unbless'd of men,
And what I am in sight of th' awful God,
I dare not think; when I am gone, my friend,
O! let a good man's prayers to heaven ascend
For an offending spirit!-Pray for me.
What thinkest thou? although an outcast here,

Ros. O Basil! O my friend! what hast thou May not some heavenly mercy still be found?

done? "

Ros. Thou wilt find mercy-my beloved Basil-
It cannot be that thou shouldst be rejected.
I will with bended knee-I will implore-
It choaks mine utterance-I will pray for thee-
Bas. This comforts me-thou art a loving friend.
(A noise without.)
Ros. (to Off. without.) What noise is that?

Valt. Great God of heaven! what a sight is this! (Rosinberg runs to Basil, and stoops down by his side.)

Bas. (covering his face with his hand.) Why art thou come? I thought to die in peace. Ros. Thou know'st me not-I am thy Rosinberg, Thy dearest, truest friend, thy loving kinsman ! Thou dost not say to me, Why art thou come? Bas. Shame knows no kindred: I am fall'n, disgraced;

My fame is gone, I cannot look upon thee.

Ros. My Basil, noble spirit! talk not thus ! The greatest mind untoward fate may prove : Thou art our generous, valiant leader still, Fall'n as thou art-and yet thou art not fall'n; Who says thou art, must put his harness on, And prove his words in blood.

Bas. Ah Rosinberg! this is no time to boast!
I once had hopes a glorious name to gain;
Too proud of heart, I did too much aspire:
The hour of trial came, and found me wanting!
Talk not of me, but let me be forgotten.-
And O! my friend! something upbraids me here,
(laying his hand on his breast.)
For that I now remember how oft-times
I have ursurp'd it o'er thy better worth,
Most vainly teaching where I should have learnt ;
But thou wilt pardon me.-

Ros. (taking Basil's hand, and pressing it to his
breast.) Rend not my heart in twain! O talk
not thus !

I knew thou wert superior to myself,
And to all men beside: thou wert my pride;
I paid thee deference with a willing heart.

Bas. It was delusion, all delusion, Rosinberg'
I feel my weakness now, I own my pride.
Give me thy hand, my time is near the close:
Do this for me: thou know'st my love, Victoria-
Ros. O curse that woman! she it is alone-
She has undone us all!

Bas. It doubles unto me the stroke of death
To hear thee name her thus. O curse her not!
The fault is mine; she's gentle, good and blame-
less.-

Thou wilt not then my dying wish fulfil ?

Ros. I will! I will! what wouldst thou have me do?

Bas. See her when I am gone; be gentle with her;
And tell her that I bless'd her in my death;
E'en in my agonies I loved and bless'd her.
Wilt thou do this?

Ros. (making a sign for the Officers to retire.) "Tis but a sentry, to prevent intrusion.

Bas. Thou know'st this desperate deed from sacred rites

Ros.
I'll do what thou desirest.
Bas. I thank thee, Rosinberg; my time draws

near.

Enter VALTOMER.

Valt. (to Ros.) My lord, the soldiers all insist to

enter.

What shall I do? they will not be denied:
They say that they will see their noble general.
Bas. Ah, my brave fellows! do they call me so ?
Ros. Then let them come!

Enter SOLDIERS, who gather round BASIL, and look mournfully upon him; he holds out his hand to them with a faint smile.

Bas. My generous soldiers, this is kindly meant. I'm low in the dust; God bless you all, brave hearts!

1st Sol. And God bless you, my noble, noble general!

We'll never follow such a leader more.

2d Sol. Ah! had you stayed with us, my noble general,

We would have died for you.

(3d Soldier endeavours next to speak, but cannot; and kneeling down by Basil, covers his face with his cloak. Rosinberg turns his face to the wall and weeps.)

Bas. (in a very faint broken voice.) Where art
thou? do not leave me, Rosinberg-
Come near to me-these fellows make me weep:
I have no power to weep-give me thy hand-
I love to feel thy grasp-my heart beats strangely-
It beats as though its breathings would be few-
Remember-

Ros. Is there aught thou wouldst desire?

Bas. Naught but a little earth to cover me,
And lay the smooth sod even with the ground-
Let no stone mark the spot-give no offence.
I fain would say what can I say to thee?

(A deep pause; after a feeble struggle, Basil
expires.)

1st Sol. That motion was his last.

2d Sol.
His spirit's fled.
1st Sol. God grant it peace! it was a noble spirit!
4th Sol. The trumpet's sound did never rouse a
braver.

1st Sol. Alas! no trumpet e'er shall rouse him
more,

(Raising his head a little, and perceiving Of-Until the dreadful blast that wakes the dead. 2d Sol. And when that sounds it will not wake a braver.

ficers.)

Is there not some one here? are we alone?

3d Sol. How pleasantly he shared our hardest toil!

Our coarsest food the daintiest fare he made.
4th Sol. Ay, many a time, i' the cold damp plain
has he

With cheerful countenance cried, "Good rest, my
hearts!"

Then wrapp'd him in his cloak, and laid him down
E'en like the meanest soldier in the field.

Ah! what an end is this! thus lost! thus fall'n!
To be thus taken in his middle course,

Where he so nobly strove; till cursed passion
Came like a sun-stroke on his midday toil,
And cut the strong man down. O Basil! Basil!
Valt. Forbear, my friend, we must not sorrow
here.

|

(Rosinberg all this time continues hanging over
the body, and gazing upon it. Valtomer now
endeavours to draw him away.)
Valt. This is too sad, my lord.

Ros. There, seest thou how he lies? so fix'd, so | And dost not hear my call.-
pale ?

Ros. He was the younger brother of my soul. Valt. Indeed, my lord, it is too sad a sight, Time calls us, let the body be removed.

Ros. He was-O! he was like no other man! Valt. (still endeavouring to draw him away.) Nay now forbear.

Ros.
I loved him from his birth!
Valt. Time presses, let the body be removed.
Ros. What say'st thou ?
Valt.

Shall we not remove him hence?
Ros. He has forbid it, and has charged me well
To leave his grave unknown; for that the church
All sacred rites to the self-slain denies.
He would not give offence.

1st Sol. What shall our general, like a very
wretch,

Be laid unhonour'd in the common ground?
No last salute to bid his soul farewell?

Vict. (recovering.) Unloose thy hold, and let me
look upon him.

O! horrid, horrid sight! my ruin'd Basil!
Is this the sad reward of all thy love!
O! I have murder'd thee!

No warlike honours paid? it shall not be.

2d Sol. Laid thus? no, by the blessed light of heaven!

(Kneels down by the body and bends over it.)
These wasted streams of life! this bloody wound!
(Laying her hand upon his heart.)
Is there no breathing here? all still! all cold.
Open thine eyes, speak, be thyself again,
And I will love thee, serve thee, follow thee,
In spite of all reproach. Alas! alas!
A lifeless corse art thou for ever laid,

Ros. No, madam; now your pity comes too late. Vict. Dost thou upbraid me? O! I have deserved it!

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(Victoria goes to throw herself upon the body but
is prevented by Valtomer and Isabella, who
support her in their arms and endeavour to draw
her away from it.)

Vict. O force me not away! by his cold corse,
Let me lie down and weep. O! Basil, Basil!
The gallant and the brave! how hast thou loved
me!

In the most holy spot in Mantua's walls
He shall be laid: in face of day be laid;
And though black priests should curse us in the If there is any holy kindness in you,

teeth,

We will fire o'er him whilst our hands have power Tear me not hence.

To grasp a musket.

Several Soldiers. Let those who dare forbid it!
Ros. My brave companions, be it as you will.
(Spreading out his arms as if he would embrace the

Soldiers. They prepare to remove the body.)
Valt. Nay, stop a while, we will not move it

now, For see a mournful visiter appears, And must not be denied.

(to Isab. and Valt.)

For he loved me in thoughtless folly lost,
With all my faults, most worthless of his love;
And him I'll love in the low bed of death,
In horror and decay.-

Near his lone tomb I'll spend my wretched days
In humble prayer for his departed spirit:
Cold as his grave shall be my earthy bed,
As dark my cheerless cell. Force me not hence.
I will not go, for grief hath made me strong.
(Struggling to get loose.)
Ros. Do not withhold her, leave her sorrow free.
(They let her go, and she throws herself upon the
body in an agony of grief.)

Enter VICTORIA and ISABELLA,

Vict. I thought to find him here, where has he
fled?
(Rosinberg points to the body without speaking.
Victoria shrieks out and falls into the arms of
Isabella.)

It doth subdue the sternness of my grief

To see her mourn him thus.-Yet I must curse.-
Heaven's curses light upon her damned father,

Isab. Alas! my gentle mistress, this will kill Whose crooked policy has wrought this wreck!
Isab. If he has done it, you are well revenged,

thee.

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