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I dream'd not of it.
It is a gloomy one!
(Clasping his hands, and raising them to his Her lovely form, in every action lovely!
Then there is such a one!
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
That dear, that loving friend of whom you spoke,
(Drooping his head, and looking distractedly Which adds new grace. Or should some small upon the ground.)
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!
And kindly say, How does it fare with Basil?
The distant landscape; now methinks she walks Bas. I thought your highness meant to leave this With doubtful lingering steps-will she look
(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.
Bas. (looking after her for some time.) See with what graceful steps she moves along,
Heaven bless your brother!
Bas. I would fly from thee to earth's utmost
And yet methinks, I would I had a sister.
Vict. And wherefore would ye so?
Some tangled branch, her fair attire derange,
Yes, my lord.
From the army?
Bas. Ha! have they fought? and is the battle
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,
Bas. I will not tell thee; foolish thoughts they Till, being one amidst surrounding foes,
Ah no! yon thicket hides her from my sight.
Bas. What dost thou say? who is made pri-
What king did fight so well?
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!
They bravely fought, whilst we lay lingering here.
O! what a fated blow to strike me thus !
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,
(Pauses for some time and looks upon the graves.)
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.
SCENE I.-A DARK NIGHT; NO MOON, BUT A FEW
I will conduct you hence, and then I'll go.
Vict. No, no, I'm well enough; I'm very well;
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
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,
Although unwelcome tidings to Count Basil.
Run after him I pray-nay, do not so-
Art thou unhappy too? I've brought thee wo;
So, that I sometimes from my haunt might steal,
And now perhaps some dear surviving friend
But I, like a vile outcast of my kind,
In some lone spot must lay my unburied corse,
died, Where brave friends, proudly smiling through their tears,
She moves again; e'en darkly imaged thus,
(Pauses, still looking at the window.)
'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
TO A CAVE, VERY MUCH TANGLED WITH BRUSH
The last impression of her heavenly form:
Farewell! farewell! all now is dark for me!
Enter GEOFFRY from behind a tomb.
Art thou from the grave? Geof. O my brave general! do you know me not?
I am old Geoffry, the old maim'd soldier,
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
Thy soldier's fame is far too surely raised
Bas. Forbear, forbear! thy words but wring my
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
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?
Geof. Towards the forest, if I guess aright.
Bas. (alone.) What shall I be some few short
Why ask I now? who from the dead will rise
Or some dread thing, man's wildest range of thought
Be toss'd aloft through tracks of endless void,
Will the great God of mercy, mercy have
Will he not punish with a pitying hand
(Takes up the pistols, and walks up and down,
Here is an entry to some darksome cave,
I'll do it here.
(Enters the cave and ExIT; a deep silence; then
Valt. How came ye, soldiers? heard ye that
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!
choaked with weeds,
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,
Ros. O Basil! O my friend! what hast thou May not some heavenly mercy still be found?
Ros. Thou wilt find mercy-my beloved Basil-
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!
Ros. (taking Basil's hand, and pressing it to his
I knew thou wert superior to myself,
Bas. It was delusion, all delusion, Rosinberg'
Bas. It doubles unto me the stroke of death
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;
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
Valt. (to Ros.) My lord, the soldiers all insist to
What shall I do? they will not be denied:
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
Ros. Is there aught thou wouldst desire?
Bas. Naught but a little earth to cover me,
(A deep pause; after a feeble struggle, Basil
1st Sol. That motion was his last.
1st Sol. Alas! no trumpet e'er shall rouse him
(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.
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.
With cheerful countenance cried, "Good rest, my
Then wrapp'd him in his cloak, and laid him down
Ah! what an end is this! thus lost! thus fall'n!
Where he so nobly strove; till cursed passion
(Rosinberg all this time continues hanging over
Ros. There, seest thou how he lies? so fix'd, so | And dost not hear my call.-
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.
Shall we not remove him hence?
1st Sol. What shall our general, like a very
Be laid unhonour'd in the common ground?
Vict. (recovering.) Unloose thy hold, and let me
O! horrid, horrid sight! my ruin'd Basil!
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.)
Ros. No, madam; now your pity comes too late. Vict. Dost thou upbraid me? O! I have deserved it!
(Victoria goes to throw herself upon the body but
Vict. O force me not away! by his cold corse,
In the most holy spot in Mantua's walls
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!
Soldiers. They prepare to remove the body.)
now, For see a mournful visiter appears, And must not be denied.
(to Isab. and Valt.)
For he loved me in thoughtless folly lost,
Near his lone tomb I'll spend my wretched days
Enter VICTORIA and ISABELLA,
Vict. I thought to find him here, where has he
It doth subdue the sternness of my grief
To see her mourn him thus.-Yet I must curse.-
Isab. Alas! my gentle mistress, this will kill Whose crooked policy has wrought this wreck!