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Beneath their cloudless azure, weigh me down
With a dull sense of bondage, and I pine
For freedom's charter'd air. I would go forth
To seek my noble father: he hath been
Too long a lonely exile, and his name
Seems fading in the dim obscurity
Which gathers round my fortunes.

Con. Must we part?
And is it come to this? Oh! I have still
Deem'd it enough of joy with thee to share
E'en grief itself. And now! But this is vain.
Alas ! too deep, too fond, is woman's love:
Too full of hope, she casts on troubled waves
The treasures of her soul !

Raim. Oh, speak not thus !
Thy gentle and desponding tones fall cold
Upon my inmost heart. I leave thee but
To be more worthy of a love like thine;
For I have dreamt of fame! A few short years,
And we may yet be blest.

Con. A few short years ! Less time may well suffice for death and fate To work all change on earth; to break the ties Which early love had form'd; and to bow down Th'elastic spirit, and to blight each flower Strewn in life's crowded path! But be it so ! Be it enough to know that happiness Meets thee on other shores.

Raim. Where'er I roam, Thou shalt be with my soul! Thy soft low voice Shall rise upon remembrance, like a strain Of music heard in boyhood, bringing back Life's morning freshness. Oh ! that there should be Things which we love with such deep tenderness, But, through that love, to learn how much of woe Dwells in one hour like this ! Yet weep thou not! We shall meet soon; and many days, dear love! Ere I depart.

Con. Then there's a respite still. Days !-not a day but in its course may bring Some strange vicissitude to turn aside Th' impending blow we shrink from. Fare thee well.

(Returning.) -Oh, Raimond ! this is not our last farewell ! Thou wouldst not so deceive me?

Raim. Doubt me not,
Gentlest and best beloved ! we meet again.

[Exit CONSTANCE. Raim. (after a pause.) When shall I breathe in

freedom, and give scope To those untameable and burning thoughts, And restless aspirations, which consume My heart i' th' land of bondage? Oh! with you, Ye everlasting images of power

And of infinity! thou blue-roling deep,
And you, ye stars ! whose beams are characters
Wherewith the oracles of fate are traced
With you my soul finds room, and casts aside
The weight that doth oppress her. But my

thoughts
Are wandering far; there should be one to share
This awful and majestic solitude
Of sea and heaven with me.

(PROCIDA enters unobserved.

It is the hour
He named, and yet he comes not.

Pro. (coming forward.) He is here.
Raim. Now, thou mysterious stranger-thou,

whose glance
Doth fix itself on memory,

and pursue Thought like a spirit, haunting its lone hoursReveal thyself; what art thou?

Pro. One whose life
Hath been a troubled stream, and made its way
Through rocks and darkness, and a thousand

storms,
With still a mighty aim. But now the shades
Of eve are gathering round me, and I come
To this, my native land, that I may rest
Beneath its vines in peace.

Raim. Seek'st thou for peace ?
This is no land of peace : unless that deep
And voiceless terror, which doth freeze men's

thoughts Back to their source, and mantle its pale mien With a dull hollow semblance of repose, May so be call'd.

Pro. There are such calms full oft Preceding earthquakes. But I have not been So vainly school'd by fortune, and inured To shape my course on peril's dizzy brink, That it should irk my spirit to put on Such guise of hush'd submissiveness as best May suit the troubled aspect of the times. Raim. Why, then, thou 'rt welcome, stranger,

to the land Where most disguise is needful. He were bold Who now should wear his thoughts upon his brow Beneath Sicilian skies. The brother's eye Doth search distrustfully the brother's face; And friends, whose undivided lives have drawn From the same past their long remembrances, Now meet in terror, or no more; lest hearts Full to o'erflowing, in their social hour, (winds Should pour out some rash word, which roving Might whisper to our conquerers. This it is, To wear a foreign yoke.

Pro. It matters not

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To him who holds the mastery o'er his spirit,
And can suppress its workings, till endurance
Becomes as nature. We can tame ourselves
To all extremes, and there is that in life
To which we cling with most tenacious grasp,
Even when its lofty aims are all reduced
To the poor common privilege of breathing.
-Why dost thou turn away?

Raim. What wouldst thou with me?
I deem'd thee, by th' ascendant soul which lived
And made its throne on thy commanding brow,
One of a sovereign nature, which would scorn
So to abase its high capacities
For aught on earth. But thou art like the rest.
What wouldst thou with me?

Pro. I would counsel thee. Thou must do that which men-ay, valiant menHourly submit to do; in the proud court, And in the stately camp, and at the board Of midnight revellers, whose flush'd mirth is all A strife, won hardly. Where is he whose heart Lies bare, through all its foldings, to the gaze Of mortal eye? If vengeance wait the foe, Or fate th' oppressor, 'tis in depths conceal'd Beneath a smiling surface.—Youth, I say, Keep thy soul down! Put on a mask !— tis worn Alike by power and weakness, and the smooth And specious intercourse of life requires Its aid in every scene.

Raim. Away, dissembler ! Life hath its high and its ignoble tasks, Fitted to every nature. Will the free And royal eagle stoop to learn the arts By which the serpent wins his spell-bound prey ? It is because I will not clothe mys In a vile garb of coward semblances, That now, e'en now, I struggle with my heart, To bid what most I love a long farewell, And seek my country on some distant shore, Where such things are unknown!

Pro. (exultingly.) Why, this is joy: After a long conflict with the doubts and fears, And the poor subtleties, of meaner minds, To meet a spirit, whose bold elastic wing Oppression hath not crush'd. High-hearted youth, Thy father, should his footsteps e'er again Visit these shores

Raim. My father! what of him Speak! was he known to thee?

Pro. In distant lands With him I've traversed many a wild, and look'd On many a danger; and the thought that thou Wert smiling then in peace, a happy boy, Oft through the storm hath cheer'd him.

Raim. Dost thou deem
That still he lives? Oh! if it be in chains,
In woe, in poverty's obscurest cell,
Say but he lives—and I will track his steps
Een to earth's verge !

Pro. It may be that he lives,
Though long his name hath ceased to be a word
Familiar in man's dwellings. But its sound
May yet be heard ! Raimond di Procida,
Rememberest thou thy father?

Raim. From my mind His form hath faded long, for years have pass'd Since he went forth to exile : but a vague, Yet powerful image of deep majesty, Still dimly gathering round each thought of him, Doth claim instinctive reverence; and my love For his inspiring name hath long become Part of my being.

Pro. Raimond ! doth no voice
Speak to thy soul, and tell thee whose the arms
That would enfold thee now! My son! my son!
Raim. Father! Oh God !-my father! Now

I know
Why my heart woke before thee !

Pro. Oh! this hour
Makes hope reality; for thou art all
My dreams had pictured thee!

Raim. Yet why so long
E'en as a stranger hast thou cross'd my paths,
One nameless and unknown -and yet I felt
Each pulse within me thrilling to thy voice.
Pro. Because I would not link thy fate with

mine, Till I could hail the dayspring of that hope Which now is gathering round us. Listen, youth! Thou hast told me of a subdued and scorn'd And trampled land, whose very soul is bow'd And fashion'd to her chains :--but I tell thee Of a most generous and devoted land, A land of kindling energies; a land Of glorious recollections !- proudly true To the high memory of her ancient kings, And rising, in majestic scorn, to cast Her alien bondage off !

Raim. And where is this?

Pro. Here, in our isle, our own fair Sicily ! Her spirit is awake, and moving on, In its deep silence mightier, to regain Her place amongst the nations; and the hour Of that tremendous effort is at hand. [life

Raim. Can it be thus indeed? Thou pour'st new Through all my burning veins! I am as one Awakening from a chill and deathlike sleep To the full glorious day.

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Pro. Thou shalt hear more ! Thou shalt hear things which would—which will,

arouse

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The proud free spirits of our ancestors
E'en from their marble rest. Yet mark me well!
Be secret !—for along my destined path
I yet must darkly move. Now, follow me,
And join a band of men, in whose high hearts
There lies a nation's strength.

Raim. My noble father!
Thy words have given me all for which I pined-
An aim, a hope, a purpose ! And the blood
Doth rush in warmer currents through my veins,
As a bright fountain from its icy bonds

sun-stroke freed. Pro. Ay, this is well! Such natures burst men's chains !-Now follow me.

[Exeunt.

By the

ACT II.

SCENE I. -Apartment in a Palace.

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ERIBERT, CONSTANCE.

Strange, that your lips thus earnestly should plead
For these Sicilian rebels. O'er my being
Suspicion holds no power. And yet, take note-
I have said, and they must die.

Con. Have you no fear?
Eri. Of what ?-that heaven should fall?

Con. No !-But that earth
Should arm in madness. Brother! I have seen
Dark eyes bent on you, e'en midst festal throngs,
With such deep hatred settled in their glance,
My heart hath died within me.

Eri. Am I then To pause, and doubt, and shrink, because a girl, A dreaming girl, hath trembled at a look ?

Con. Oh ! looks are no illusions, when the soul, Which may not speak in words, can find no way But theirs to liberty! Have not these men Brave sons or noble brothers ?

Eri. Yes! whose name
It rests with me to make a word of fear-
A sound forbidden midst the haunts of men.

Con. But not forgotten! Ah! beware, beware!
- Nay, look not sternly on me. There is one
Of that devoted band, who yet will need
Years to be ripe for death. He is a youth,
A very boy, on whose unshaded cheek
The spring-time glow is lingering. 'Twas but now
His mother left me, with a timid hope
Just dawning in her breast : and I–I dared
To foster its faint spark. You smile !-Oh! then
He will be saved !

Eri. Nay, I but smiled to think What a fond fool is Hope! She may be taught To deem that the great sun will change his course To work her pleasure, or the tomb give back Its inmates to her arms. In sooth, 'tis strange! Yet, with your pitying heart, you should not thus Have mock'd the boy's sad mother: I have saidYou should not thus have mock'd her !-Now, farewell !

(Exit ERIBERT. Con. O brother ! hard of heart !—for deeds like

these There must be fearful chastening, if on high Justice doth hold her state. And I must tell Yon desolate mother that her fair young son Is thus to perish! Haply the dread tale May slay her too-for heaven is merciful. —'Twill be a bitter task! [Exit CONSTANCE.

Con. Will you not hear me? Oh ! that they

who need Hourly forgiveness—they who do but live While mercy's voice, beyond th' eternal stars, Wins the great Judge to listen, should be thus, In their vain exercise of pageant power, Hard and relentless! Gentle brother! yot 'Tis in your choice to imitate that heaven, Whose noblest joy is pardon.

Eri. 'Tis too late. You have a soft and moving voice, which pleads With eloquent melody—but they must die. Con. What !-die !-for words for breath

which leaves no trace To sully the pure air wherewith it blends, And is, being utter'd, gone? Why, 'twere enough For such a venial fault to be deprived One little day of man's free heritage, [doem Heaven's warm and sunny light! Oh! if you That evil harbours in their souls, at least Delay the stroke, till guilt, made manifest, Shall bid stern justice wake.

Eri. I am not one Of those weak spirits that timorously keep watch For fair occasions, thence to borrow hues Of virtue for their deeds. My school hath been Where power sits crown'd and arm'd. And, mark

SCENE II.-A ruined Tower surrounded by woods

PROCIDA, VITTORIA.

me, sister!

To a distrustful nature it might seem

Pro. Thy vassals are prepared, then ?

Fit. Yes; they wait

SCENE III.-A Chapel, with a monument on which Thy summons to their task.

is laid a sword.-- Moonlight. Pro. Keep the flame bright,

PROCIDA, RAIMOND, MONTALBA.
But hidden till this hour. Wouldst thou dare, lady,
To join our councils at the night's mid watch,

Mon. And know you not my story?
In the lone cavern by the rock-hewn cross ?

Pro. In the lands Vit. What should I shrink from?

Where I have been a wanderer, your deep wrongs Pro. Oh ! the forest-paths

Were number'd with our country's; but their tale Are dim and wild, e'en when the sunshine streams

Came only in faint echoes to mine ear. Through their high arches; but when powerful

I would fain hear it now. night

Mon. Hark! while you spoke, Comes, with her cloudy phantoms, and her pale

There was a voice-like murmur in the breeze, Uncertain moonbeams, and the hollow sounds Which even like death came o'er me. 'Twas a night Of her mysterious winds; their aspect then

Like this, of clouds contending with the moon, Is of another and more fearful world

A night of sweeping winds, of rustling leaves, A realm of indistinct and shadowy forms, [this—

And swift wild shadows floating o'er the earth, Waking strange thoughts almost too much for Clothed with a phantom life, when, after years Our frail terrestrial nature.

Of battle and captivity, I spurr'd (dreams Vit. Well I know

[abodes My good steed homewards. Oh! what lovely All this, and more. Such scenes have been th' Rose on my spirit! There were tears and smiles, Where through the silence of my soul have pass'd But all of joy! And there were bounding steps, Voices and visions from the sphere of those And clinging arms, whose passionate clasp of love That have to die no more! Nay, doubt it not ! Doth twine so fondly round the warrior's neck If such unearthly intercourse hath e'er

When his plumed helm is doff*d. Hence, feeble Been granted to our nature, 'tis to hearts

thoughts !

(mine! Whose love is with the dead. They, they alone, -I am sterner now, yet once such dreams were Unmadden'd could sustain the fearful joy

Raim. And were they realised ? And glory of its trances! At the hour

Mon. Youth ! ask me not, Which makes guilt tremulous, and peoples earth But listen ! I drew near my own fair homeAnd air with infinite viewless multitudes,

There was no light along its walls, no sound I will be with thee, Procida.

Of bugle pealing from the watch-tower's height Pro. Thy presence

At my approach, although my trampling steed Will kindle nobler thoughts, and, in the souls Made the earth ring, yet the wide gates were throwi Of suffering and indignant men, arouse

All open. Then my heart misgave me first, That which may strengthen our majestic cause And on the threshold of my silent hall With yet a deeper power. Know'st thou the spot? I paused a moment, and the wind swept by Vit. Full well. There is no scene so wild and With the same deep and dirge-like tone which lone,

pierced In these dim woods, but I have visited

My soul e'en now! I call’d-my struggling voice Its tangled shades.

Gave utterance to my wife's, my children's names. Pro. At midnight, then, we meet.

They answer'd not. I roused my failing strength,

[Exit PROCIDA. And wildly rush'd within.-And they were there. Vit. Why should I fear? Thou wilt be with Raim. And was all well ? me—thou,

Mon. Ay, well !—for death is well: Th' immortal dream and shadow of my soul, And they were all at rest! I see them yet, Spirit of him I love ! that meet'st me still

Pale in their innocent beauty, which had fail'd In loneliness and silence; in the noon

To stay the assassin's arm !
Of the wild night, and in the forest depths,

Raim. Oh, righteous Heaven!
Known but to me; for whom thou giv'st the winds Who had done this?
And sighing leaves a cadence of thy voice,

Mon. Who !
Till my heart faints with that o'erthrilling joy! Pro. Canst thou question, who?
- Thou wilt be with me there, and lend my lips Whom hath the earth to perpetrate such deeds,
Words, fiery words, to flush dark cheeks with shame In the cold-blooded revelry of crime,
That thou art unavenged ! [Exit VITTORIA. But those whose yoke is on us?

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Raim. Man of woe !
What words hath pity for despair like thine ?.
Mon. Pity !-fond youth !-My soul disdains

the grief
Which doth unbosom its deep secrecies
To ask a vain companionship of tears,
And so to be relieved !

Pro. For woes like these
There is no sympathy but vengeance.

Mon. None !
Therefore I brought you hither, that your hearts
Might catch the spirit of the scene! Look round !
We are in th' awful presence of the dead ;
Within yon tomb they sleep whose gentle blood
Weighs down the murderer's soul. They sleep!

but I Am wakeful o'er their dust ! I laid my sword, Without its sheath, on their sepulchral stone, As on an altar; and the eternal stars, And heaven, and night, bore witness to my vow, No more to wield it save in one great causeThe vengeance of the grave! And now the hour Of that atonement comes !

[He takes the sword from the tomb. Raim. My spirit burns ! And my full heart almost to bursting swells. --Oh, for the day of battle !

Pro. Raimond, they Whose souls are dark with guiltless blood must die, -But not in battle.

Raim. How, my father?

Pro. No!
Look on that sepulchre, and it will teach
Another lesson. But the appointed hour
Advances. Thou wilt join our chosen band,
Noble Montalba ?

Mon. Leave me for a time,
That I may calm my soul by intercourso
With the still dead, before I mix with men
And with their passions. I have nursed for years,
In silence and in solitude, the flame
Which doth consume me; and it is not used
Thus to be look'd or breathed on. Procida!
I would be tranquil-or appear somere
I join your brave confederates. Through my heart
There struck a pang-but it will soon have pass'd.

Pro. Remember !-in the cavern by the cross. Now follow me, my son.

[Exeunt Procida and RAIMOND. Mon. (after a pause, leaning on the tomb.) [life Said he,“ My son ?” Now, why should this man's Go down in hope, thus resting on a son, And I be desolate? How strange a sound Was that—"my son !” I had a boy, who might

PROCIDA, RAIMOND. Pro. And is it thus, beneath the solemn skies Of midnight, and in solitary caves, Where the wild forest creatures make their lairIs't thus the chiefs of Sicily must hold The councils of their country?

Raim. Why, such scenes In their primeval majesty, beheld Thus by faint starlight and the partial glare Of the red-streaming lava, will inspire Far deeper thoughts than pillar'd halls, wherein Statesmen hold weary vigils. Are we not O'ershadow'd by that Etna, which of old With its dread prophecies bath struck dismay Through tyrants' hearts, and bade them seek a home

(now, In other climes? Hark! from its depths, e'en What hollow moans are sent !

Enter MONTALBA, Gumo, and other Sicilians. Pro. Welcome, my brave associates ! We can share

[haunt The wolf's wild freedom here! Th' oppressor's Is not midst rocks and caves. Are we all met?

Sicilians. All, all !

Pro. The torchlight, sway'd by every gust, But dimly shows your features.—Where is he Who from his battles had return'd to breathe Once more without a corslet, and to meet The voices and the footsteps and the smiles Blent with his dreams of home? Of that dark tale The rest is known to vengeance ! Art thou here, With thy deep wrongs and resolute despair, Childless Montalba ?

Mon. (advancing.) He is at thy side. Call on that desolate father in the hour When his revenge is nigh.

Pro. Thou, too, come forth, From thine own halls an exile ! Dost thou make

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