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Beneath their cloudless azure, weigh me down
Raim. Oh, speak not thus !
Thy gentle and desponding tones fall cold
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
Raim. Where'er I roam,
Thou shalt be with my soul! Thy soft low voice
Con. Then there's a respite still.
Days -not a day but in its course may bring
Th' impending blow we shrink from. Fare thee well.
-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.
Raim. (after a pause.) When shall I breathe in freedom, and give scope
To those untameable and burning thoughts,
My heart i' th' land of bondage? Oh! with you,
With still a mighty aim. But now the shades
Raim. Seek'st thou for peace?
Back to their source, and mantle its pale mien
Pro. There are such calms full oft
To him who holds the mastery o'er his spirit,
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,
Pro. (exultingly.) Why, this is joy:
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
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 E'en to earth's verge!
Pro. It may be that he lives,
Though long his name hath ceased to be a word
Raim. From my mind
His form hath faded long, for years have pass'd
Still dimly gathering round each thought of him,
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
Why my heart woke before thee!
Pro. Oh! this hour
Makes hope reality; for thou art all
Raim. Yet why so long
E'en as a stranger hast thou cross'd my paths,
Pro. Because I would not link thy fate with
Till I could hail the dayspring of that hope
Raim. And where is this?
Pro. Here, in our isle, our own fair Sicily!
In its deep silence mightier, to regain
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.
Strange, that your lips thus earnestly should plead
I have said, and they must die.
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-
The spring-time glow is lingering. 'Twas but now
Just dawning in her breast: and I—I dared
He will be saved!
You smile!-Oh! then
Eri. Nay, I but smiled to think
What a fond fool is Hope! She may be taught
SCENE II-A ruined Tower surrounded by woods.
Pro. Thy vassals are prepared, then?
Vit. Yes; they wait
Pro. Keep the flame bright,
But hidden till this hour. Wouldst thou dare, lady,
Pro. Oh the forest-paths
Are dim and wild, e'en when the sunshine streams Through their high arches; but when powerful night
Comes, with her cloudy phantoms, and her pale
A realm of indistinct and shadowy forms, [this-
All this, and more. Such scenes have been th'
Pro. Thy presence
Will kindle nobler thoughts, and, in the souls
In these dim woods, but I have visited
Its tangled shades.
Pro. At midnight, then, we meet.
Vit. Why should I fear? Thou wilt be with me-thou,
Th' immortal dream and shadow of my soul,
SCENE III-A Chapel, with a monument on which is laid a sword.-Moonlight.
PROCIDA, RAIMOND, MONTALBA.
Mon. And know you not my story?
Where I have been a wanderer, your deep wrongs
I would fain hear it now.
Mon. Hark! while you spoke,
There was a voice-like murmur in the breeze,
-I am sterner now, yet once such dreams were
But listen! I drew near my own fair home-
And on the threshold of my silent hall
I paused a moment, and the wind swept by
My soul e'en now! I call'd-my struggling voice Gave utterance to my wife's, my children's names. They answer'd not. I roused my failing strength, And wildly rush'd within.-And they were there. Raim. And was all well?
Mon. Ay, well !-for death is well: And they were all at rest! I see them yet, Pale in their innocent beauty, which had fail'd To stay the assassin's arm!
Raim. Oh, righteous Heaven! Who had done this?
Pro. Canst thou question, who?
Whom hath the earth to perpetrate such deeds,
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,
Pro. For woes like these
There is no sympathy but vengeance.
Mon. None !
Therefore I brought you hither, that your hearts
Am wakeful o'er their dust! I laid my sword,
[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?
Look on that sepulchre, and it will teach
Mon. Leave me for a time,
That I may calm my soul by intercourse
I would be tranquil-or appear so-ere
[Exeunt PROCIDA and RAIMOND. Mon. (after a pause, leaning on the tomb.) 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
Enter MONTALBA, GUIDO, 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