Page images



Ah! frown not thus ! I cannot see thee frown. Uncertain tales of dreadful slaughter bore,
I'll do whate'er thou wilt, I will be silent : Thou’dst see the tear hang on her pale wan
But 0 ! a reined tongue, and bursting heart,

cheek, Are hard at once to bear.-Wilt thou forgive me? And kindly say, How does it fare with Basil ? Vict. We'll think no more of it; we'll quit this Vict. No more of this-indeed there must no

spot; I do repent me that I led thee here.

A friend's remembrance I will ever bear thee. But 'twas the favourite path of a dear friend : But see where Isabella this way comes : Here many a time we wander'd, arm in arm : had a wish to speak with her alone; We loved this grove, and now that he is absent, Attend us here, for soon will we return, I love to haunt it still. (Basil starts.) | And then take horse again.

[Exit. Bas. His favourite path a friend-here arm in Bas. (looking after her for some time.) See with

what graceful steps she moves along, (Clasping his hands, and raising them to his Her lovely form, in every action lovely! head.)

If but the wind her ruffled garment raise, Then there is such a one!

It twists it into some light pretty fold, (Drooping his head, and looking distractedly Which adds new grace. Or should some small upon the ground.)

mishap, I dream'd not of it.

Some tangled branch, her fair attire derange, Vict. (pretending not to see him.) That little What would in others strange, or awkward seem,

lane, with woodbine all o'ergrown, But lends to her some wild bewitching charm. He loved so well! it is a fragrant path,

See, yonder does she raise her lovely arm Is it not, count?

To pluck the dangling hedge-flower as she goes ; Pas. It is a gloomy one!

And now she turns her head as though she Vict. I have, my lord, been wont to think it

view'd cheerful.

The distant landscape ; now methinks she walks Bas. I thought your highness meant to leave this with doubtful lingering steps—will she look spot?

back? Vict. I do, and by this lane we'll take our way; Ah no! yon thicket hides her from my sight. For bere he often walk'd with sauntering pace, Bless'd are the eyes that may behold her still, And listen’d to the woodlark's evening song. Nor dread that every look shall be the last !

Bas. What, must I on his very footsteps go: And yet she said she would remember me. Aecursed be the ground on which he trod!

I will believe it: Ah! I must believe it, Vict. And is Count Basil so uncourtly grown,

Or be the saddest soul that sees the light! That he would curse my brother to my face? But lo, a messenger, and from the army ! Bas. Your brother! gracious God, is it your He brings me tidings ; grant they may be good! brother?

Till now I never fear'd what man might utter ; That dear, that loving friend of whom you spoke,

I dread his tale, God grant it may be good! Is he indeed your brother?

Enter MESSENGER. T'ict.

He is indeed, my lord. From the army? Bas. Then heaven bless him! all good angels Mess.

Yes, my lord. bless him!


What tidings bring'st thou ? I could weep o'er him now, shed blood for him! Mess. Th’imperial army, under brave Piscaro, I could–0 what a foolish heart have I!

Have beat the enemy near Pavia's walls. (Walks up and down with a hurried step, tossing Bas. Ha ! have they fought? and is the battle about his arms in transport; then stops short

o'er? and runs up to Victoria.)

Mess. Yes, conquer'd; taken the French king Is it indeed your brother?

prisoner, Vict. It is indeed : what thoughts disturb’d thee Who, like a noble, gallant gentleman,

Fought to the last, nor yielded up his sword Bas. I will not tell thee; foolish thoughts they Till, being one amidst surrounding foes,

His arm could do no more. Heaven bless your brother!

Bas. What dost thou say? who is made priVict. Ay, heaven bless him too!

soner? I have but him; would I had two brave brothers, What king did fight so well? And thou wert one of them!


The King of France. Bas. I would fly from thee to earth's utmost Bas. Thou saidst—thy words do ring so in mine bounds,

ears, Were I thy brother

I cannot catch their sense—the battle's o'er? And yet methinks, I would I had a sister.

Mess. It is, my lord. Piscaro stayed your coming, Vict. And wherefore would ye so?

But could no longer stay. His troops were bold, Bas.

To place her near thee, Occasion press'd him, and they bravely foughtThe soft companion of thy hours to prove, They bravely fought, my lord ! And, when far distant, sometimes talk of me.


I hear, I hear thee. Thou couldst not chide a gentle sister's cares. Accursed am I, that it should wring my heart Perhaps, when rumour from the distant war, To hear they bravely fought !




They bravely fought, whilst we lay lingering here.

ACT V. 0! what a fated blow to strike me thus !


Mess. Ten thousand of the enemy are slain; MUCH AS CAN BE DISCOVERED FOR THE DARKNESS) We too have lost full many a gallant soul.


A WING OF THE DUCAL PALACE ADJOINING TO IT. I view'd the closing armies from afar; Their close-piked ranks in goodly order spread, Enter Basil with his hat off, his hair and his dress in Which seem'd, alas! when that the fight was o'er, disorder, stepping slowly, and stopping several times to Like the wild marshes' crop of stately reeds,

listen, as is he was afraid of meeting any one. Laid with the passing storm. But wo is me!

Bas. No sound is here: man is at rest, and I When to the field I came, what dismal sights ! May near his habitations venture forth, What waste of life! What heaps of bleeding Like some unblessed creature of the night, slain !

Who dares not meet his face. Her window's Bas. Would I were laid a red, disfigured corse, Amid those heaps ! they fought, and we were ab- No streaming light doth from her chamber bearn, sent !

That I once more may on her dwelling gaze, (Walks about distractedly, then slops short.) And bless her still. All now is dark for me! Who sent thee here?

(Pauses for some time and looks upon the grares.) Mess. Piscaro sent me to inform Count Basil, How happy are the dead, who quietly rest He needs not now his aid, and gives him leave Beneath these stones ! each by his kindred laid, To march his tardy troops to distant quarters. Still in a hallow'd neighbourship with those, Bas. He says so, does he ? well, it shall be so. Who when alive his social converse shared :

(Tossing his arms distractedly.) And now perhaps some dear surviving friend I will to quarters, narrow quarters go,

Doth here at times the grateful visit pay, Where voice of war shall rouse me forth no more. Read with sad eyes his short memorial o'er,

[Exit. And bless his memory stills Mess. I'll follow after him; he is distracted: But I, like a vile outcast of my kind, And yet he looks so wild I dare not do it.

In some lone spot must lay my unburied corse,

To rot above the earth ; where, if perchance Enter Victoria as if frightened, followed by ISABELLA.

The steps of human wanderer e'er approach, Vict. (to Isab.) Didst thou not mark him as he He'll stand aghast, and Nee the horrid place, pass'd thee too?

With dark imaginations frightful made Isab. I saw him pass, but with such hasty steps I The haunt of damned sprites. O cursed wretch ! had no time.

In the fair and honour'd field shouldst thou have Vict. I met him with a wild disorder'd air,

died, In furious haste; he stopp'd distractedly,

Where brave friends, proudly smiling through their And gazed upon me with a mournful look,

tears, 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! madam,

Athwart it too, a darkening shadow moves, Although unwelcome tidings to Count Basil. 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? tive.

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, Run after him I pray-nay, do not so

Art thou unhappy too? I've brought thee wo; Run to his kinsman, good Count Rosinberg, It is for me thou weepest. Ah! were it so, And bid him follow him-I pray thee run ! Fall'n as I am, I yet could life endure, Mess. Nay, lady, by your leave, you seem not In some dark den from human sight conceal'd, well:

So, that I sometimes from my haunt might steal, I will conduct you hence, and then I'll go.

To see and love thee still. No, no, poor wretch! Vict. No, no, I'm well enough ; I'm very well; She weeps thy shame, she weeps, and scorns thee Go, hie thee hence, and do thine errand swiftly.


[Exit Messenger. She moves again; e'en darkly imaged thus, O what a wretch am I? I am to blame !

How lovely is that form! I only am to blame !

(Pauses, still looking at the window.) Isab.

Nay, wherefore say so ? To be so near thee, and for ever parted ! What have you done that others would not do ? For ever lost! what art thou now to me? Vict, What have I done? I've fool'd a noble Shall the departed gaze on thee again? heart

Shall I glide past thee in the midnight hour, I've wreck'd a brave man's honour !

Whilst thou perceivest it not, and think'st Exit, leaning upon Isabella.


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]



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.)


WOOD, IS SEEN IN THE BACKGROUND. Tis gone, 'tis gone! these eyes have seen their


DISCOVERED STANDING NEAR THE FRONT OF THE The last impression of her heavenly form:

STAGE, IN A THOUGHTFUL POSTURE, WITH A COUThe last sight of those walls wherein she lives : PLE OF PISTOLS LAID BY HIM ON A PIECE OF PROThe last blest ray of light from human dwelling.

JECTING ROCK; HE PAUSES FOR SOME TIME. I am no more a being of this world.

Bas. (alone.) What shall I be some few short Farewell ! farewell ! all now is dark for me!

moments hence ? Come fated deed! come horror and despair !

Why ask I now? who from the dead will rise Here lies my dreadful way.

To tell me of that awful state unknown ?
Enter GEOFFRY from behind a tomb.

But be it what it may, or bliss, or torment,

Annihilation, dark and endless rest, Geof. O! stay, my general !

Or some dread thing, man's wildest range of thought Bas. Art thou from the grave?

Hath never yet conceived, that change I'll dare Geof. O my brave gencral! do you know me

Which makes me any thing but what I am. not? I am old Geoffry, the old maim'd soldier,

I can bear scorpions' stings, tread fields of fire,

In frozen gulfs of cold eternal lie,
You did so nobly honour.
Bas. Then go thy way, for thou art honourable: Be toss'd aloft through tracks of endless void,

But cannot live in shame—(Pauses.) O impious Thou hast no shame, thou need'st not seek the

thought! dark

Will the great God of mercy, mercy have
Like fall’n, fameless men. I pray thee go!

On all but those who are most miserable ?
Geof. Nay, speak not thus, my noble general !
Ah! speak not thus ! thou’rt brave, thou’rt honour'a Will he not punish with a pitying hand

The poor, fall’n, froward child ? (Pauses.)

And shall I then against his will offend,
Thy soldier's fame is far too surely raised
To be o'erthrown with one unhappy chance.

Because he is most good and merciful ?
I've heard of thy brave deeds with swelling heart, 10! horrid baseness ! what, what shall I do ?
And yet shall live to cast my cap in air

I'll think no more—it turns my dizzy brain

It is too late to think-what must be, must beAt glorious tales of thee.Bas. Forbear, forbear! thy words but wring my

I cannot live, therefore I needs must die.

(Takes up the pistols, and walks up and down, soul. Geof. O! pardon me! I am old maim'd Geoffry.

looking wildly around him, then discovering

the cave's mouth,) O! do not go! I've but one hand to hold thee. (Laying hold of Basil as he attempts to go away.

Here is an entry to some darksome cave, Basil stops, and looks around upon him with Where an uncoffin'd corse may rest in peace,

And hide its foul corruption from the earth. softness.) Bas. Two would not hold so well, old honour'a The threshold is unmark'd by mortal foot.

I'll do it here. veteran ! What wouldst thou have me do?

(Enters the cave and Exit ; a deep silence ; then Geof. Return, my lord; for love of blessed

the report of a pistol is heard from the cave,

and soon after, Enter Rosinberg, Valtomer, heaven, Seek not such desperate ways! where would you

two Officers and Soldiers, almost at the same

moment by different sides of the stage.) Bas. Does Geoffry ask where should a soldier go

Ros. This way the sound did come. To hide disgrace ? there is no place but one.

Valt. How came ye, soldiers ? heard ye that (Struggling to get free.)


1st Sol. We heard it, and it seem'd to come from Let go thy foolish hold, and force me not

hence, To do some violence to thy hoary headWhat, wilt thou not ? nay, then it must be so.

Which made us this way hie. (Breaks violently from him, and Exit.)

Ros. A horrid fancy darts across my mind. Geof. Cursed feeble hand! he's gone to seek

(A groan heard from the cave.) perdition !

(To Valt.) Ha! heard'st thou that? I cannot run. Where is that stupid hind ?

Valt. Methinks it is the groan of one in pain. He should have met me here. Holla, Fernando !

(A second groan.)

Ros. Ha ! there again!

Valt. From this cave's mouth, so dark and We've lost him, he is gone, he's broke from me!

choaked with weeds, Did I not bid thee meet me early here,

It seems to come. For that he has been known to haunt this place? Ros.

I'll enter first. [briers : Fer. Which way has he gone?

1st Off. My lord, the way is tangled o'er with Geof. Towards the forest, if I guess aright. Hard by, a few short paces to the left, But do thou run with speed to Rosinberg,

There is another mouth of easier access; And he will follow him ; run swiftly, man! I pass'd it even now.


Then shew the way. [EXEUNT. 42

2 E 2



Ros. (making a sign for the Officers to retire.)

'Tis but a sentry, to prevent intrusion. Basil discovered lying on the ground, with his head raised a little upon a few stones and earth, the pistols

Bas. Thou know'st this desperate deed from lying beside him, and blood upon his breast. Enter

sacred rites ROSINBERG, VALTOMER, and Officers. Rosinberg, Hath shut me out: I am unbless'd of men, upon seeing Basil, stops short with horror, and remains And what I am in sight of th' awful God, motionless for some time.

I dare not think; when I am gone, my friend, Valt. Great God of heaven! what a sight is this ! | 0! let a good man's prayers to heaven ascend (Rosinberg runs to Basil, and stoops down by his For an offending spirit !-Pray for me. side.)

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"Bas. (covering his face with his hand.) Why It cannot be that thou shouldst be rejected.

art thou come? I thought to die in peace. I will with bended knee-I will implore Ros. Thou know'st me not-I am thy Rosinberg, It choaks mine utterance, I will pray for thee Thy dearest, truest friend, thy loving kinsman ! Bas. This comforts me—thou art a loving friend. Thou dost not say to me, Why art thou come ?

(A noise without.) Bas, Shame knows no kindred: I am fall’n, dis Ros. (to Off, without.) What noise is that? graced ;

Enter VALTOMER. My fame is gone, I cannot look upon thee.

Ros. My Basil, noble spirit ! talk not thus ! Valt. (to Ros.) My lord, the soldiers all insist to The greatest mind untoward fate may prove :

enter. Thou art our generous, valiant leader still,

What shall I do? they will not be denied: Fall'n as thou art—and yet thou art not fall'n ; They say that they will see their noble general. Who says thou art, must put his harness on,

Bas. Ah, my brave fellows ! do they call me so? And prove his words in blood.

Ros. Then let them come! Bas. Ah Rosinberg ! this is no time to boast !

Enter SOLDIERS, who gather round BASIL, and look I once had hopes a glorious name to gain ;

mournfully upon him; he holds out his hand to them Too proud of heart, I did too much aspire:

with a faint smile. The hour of trial came, and found me wanting! Bas. My generous soldiers, this is kindly meant. Talk not of me, but let me be forgotten.

I'm low in the dust; God bless you all, brave And O! my friend ! something upbraids me here,

hearts ! (laying his hand on his breast.) 1st Sol. And God bless you, my noble, noble For that I now remember how oft-times

general ! I have ursurp'd it o’er thy better worth,

We'll never follow such a leader more. Most vainly teaching where I should have learnt ; 20 Sol. Ah! had you stayed with us, my noble But thou wilt pardon me.

general, Ros. (taking Basil's hand, and pressing it to his We would have died for you.

breast.) Rend not my heart in twain ! O talk (3d Soldier endeavours next to speak, but cannot ; not thus !

and kneeling down by Basil, covers his face I knew thou wert superior to myself,

with his cloak. Rosinberg turns his face to the And to all men beside: thou wert my pride ;

wall and weeps.) I paid thee deference with a willing heart.

Bas. (in a very faint broken voice.) Where art Bas. It was delusion, all delusion, Rosinberg'

thou ? do not leave


RosinbergI feel my weakness now, I own my pride.

Come near to me—these fellows make me weep: Give me thy hand, my time is near the close: I have no power to weep-give me thy handDo this for me : thou know'st my love, Victoria I love to feel thy grasp-my heart beats strangely

Ros. O curse that woman ! she it is alone It beats as though its breathings would be fewShe has undone us all!

RememberBas. It doubles unto me the stroke of death Ros. Is there aught thou wouldst desire ? To hear thee name her thus. O curse her not! Bas. Naught but a little earth to cover me, The fault is mine ; she's gentle, good and blame- And lay the smooth sod even with the ground less.

Let no stone mark the spot-give no offence. Thou wilt not then my dying wish fulfil ? I fain would say-what can I say to thee? Ros. I will! I will! what wouldst thou have me (A deep pause ; after a feeble struggle, Basil do ?

erpires.) Bas. See her when I am gone; be gentle with her;

1st Sol. That motion was his last. And tell her that I bless'd her in my death ;

2d Sol.

His spirit's fled. E'en in my agonies I loved and bless'd her.

1st Sol. God grant it peace! it was a noble spirit! Wilt thou do this?

4th Sol. The trumpet's sound did never rouse a Ros. I'll do what thou desirest.

braver. Bas. I thank thee, Rosinberg; my time draws 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. ficers.)

2d Sol. And when that sounds it will not wake Is there not some one here? are we alone ?

a bra ver.


3d Sol. How pleasantlv he shared our hardest Vict. (recovering.) Unloose thy hold, and let me toil !

look upon him. Our coarsest food the daintiest fare he made. 0! horrid, horrid sight! my ruin's Basil! 4th Sol. Ay, many a time, i' the cold damp plain Is this the sad reward of all thy love! has he

0! I have murder'd thee! With cheerful countenance cried, " Good rest, my (Kneels down by the body and bends over it.) hearts !"

These wasted streams of life! this bloody wound ! Then wrapp'd him in his cloak, and laid him down

(Laying her hand upon his heart.) E'en like the meanest soldier in the field.

Is there no breathing here? all still ! all cold. (Rosinberg all this time continues hanging over Open thine eyes, speak, be thyself again,

the body, and gazing upon it. Valtomer now And I will love thee, serve thee, follow thee, endearours to draw him away.)

In spite of all reproach. Alas! alas ! Valt. This is too sad, my lord.

A lifeless corse art thou for ever laid, Ros. There, seest thou how he lies ? so fix'd, so And dost not hear my call. pale ?

Ros. No, madam ; now your pity comes too late. Ah! what an end is this! thus lost! thus fallin! Vict. Dost thou upbraid me? 0! I have deserved To be thus taken in his middle course,

it! Where he so nobly strove; till cursed passion Ros. No, madam, no, I will not now upbraid: Came like a sun-stroke on his midday toil,

But woman's grief is like a summer storm,
And cut the strong man down. O Basil! Basil ! Short as it violent is; in gayer scenes,
Valt. Forbear, my friend, we must not sorrow Where soon thou shalt in giddy circles blaze,

And play the airy goddess of the day,
Ros. He was the younger brother of my soul. Thine eye, perchance, amidst th' observing crowd,

Valt. Indeed, my lord, it is too sad a sight. Shall mark the indignant face of Basil's friend, Time calls us, let the body be removed.

And then it will upbraid. Ros. He was-0! he was like no other man! Vict. No, never, never! thus it shall not be.

Valt. (still endeavouring to draw him away.) To the dark, shaded cloister wilt thou go, Nay now forbear.

Where sad and lonely, through the dismal grate Ros.

I loved him from his birth! Thou’lt spy my wasted form, and then upbraid me. Valt. Time presses, let the body be removed. Ros. Forgive me, heed me not; I'm grieved at Ros. What say'st thou ?

heart; Valt.

Shall we not remove him hence? I'm fretted, gall’d, all things are hateful to me. Ros. He has forbid it, and has charged me well If thou didst love my friend, I will forgive thee; To leave his grave unknown; for that the church I must forgive thee: with his dying breath All sacred rites to the self-slain denies.

He bade me tell thee, that his latest thoughts He would not give offence.

Were love to thee; in death he loved and bless'd 1st Sol. What shall our general, like a very

thee. wretch,

(Victoria goes to throw herself upon the body but Be laid un honour'd in the common ground?

is prevented by Valtomer and Isabella, who No last salute to bid his soul farewell ?

support her in their arms and endeavour to draw No warlike honours paid ? it shall not be.

her away from it.) 20 Sol, Laid thus ? no, by the blessed light of Vict. 0! force me not away! by his cold corse, heaven!

Let me lie down and weep. 0! Basil, Basil! In the most holy spot in Mantua's walls

The gallant and the brave ! how hast thou loved 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,

(to Isab, and Valt.) We will fire o'er him whilst our hands have power Tear me not hence. To grasp a musket.

For he loved me in thoughtless folly lost, Sereral Soldiers. Let those who dare forbid it! With all my faults, most worthless of his love; Ros. My brave companions, be it as you will. And him I'll love in the low bed of death, (Spreading out his arms as if he would embrace the In horror and decay.

Soldiers.-They prepare to remove the body.) Near his lone tomb I'll spend my wretched days Valt. Nay, stop a while, we will not move it In humble prayer for his departed spirit: now,

Cold as his grave shall be my earthy bed, For see a mournful visiter appears,

As dark my cheerless cell. Force me not hence. And must not be denied.

I will not go, for grief hath made me strong.

(Struggling to get loose.) Enter VICTORIA and ISABELLA

Ros. Do not withhold her, leave her sorrow free. Vict. I thought to find him here, where has he (They let her go, and she throws herself upon the fled ?

body in an agony of grief.)
(Rosinberg points to the body without speaking. It doth subdue the sternness of my grief

Victoria shrieks out and falls into the arms of 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 ! thee.

Isab. If he has done it, you are well revenged,


« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »