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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.


-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,
And restless aspirations, which consume

My heart i' th' land of bondage? Oh! with you,
Ye everlasting images of power

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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

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

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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 myself
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 E'en 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


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.


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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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.

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
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 said—
You should not thus have mock'd her!-Now,
Con. O brother! hard of heart!-for deeds like
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!


SCENE II-A ruined Tower surrounded by woods.


Pro. Thy vassals are prepared, then?

Vit. Yes; they wait
Thy summons to their task.

Pro. Keep the flame bright,

But hidden till this hour. Wouldst thou dare, lady,
To join our councils at the night's mid watch,
In the lone cavern by the rock-hewn cross?
Vit. What should I shrink from?

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
Uncertain moonbeams, and the hollow sounds
Of her mysterious winds; their aspect then
Is of another and more fearful world-

A realm of indistinct and shadowy forms, [this-
Waking strange thoughts almost too much for
Our frail terrestrial nature.

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All this, and more. Such scenes have been th'
Where through the silence of my soul have pass'd
Voices and visions from the sphere of those
That have to die no more! Nay, doubt it not !
If such unearthly intercourse hath e'er
Been granted to our nature, 'tis to hearts
Whose love is with the dead. They, they alone,
Unmadden'd could sustain the fearful joy
And glory of its trances! At the hour
Which makes guilt tremulous, and peoples earth
And air with infinite viewless multitudes,
I will be with thee, Procida.

Pro. Thy presence

Will kindle nobler thoughts, and, in the souls
Of suffering and indignant men, arouse
That which may strengthen our majestic cause
With yet a deeper power. Know'st thou the spot?
Vit. Full well. There is no scene so wild and

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,
Spirit of him I love! that meet'st me still
In loneliness and silence; in the noon
Of the wild night, and in the forest depths,
Known but to me; for whom thou giv'st the winds
And sighing leaves a cadence of thy voice,
Till my heart faints with that o'erthrilling joy!
-Thou wilt be with me there, and lend my lips
Words, fiery words, to flush dark cheeks with shame
That thou art unavenged!

SCENE III-A Chapel, with a monument on which is laid a sword.-Moonlight.


Mon. And know you not my story?
Pro. In the lands

Where I have been a wanderer, your deep wrongs
Were number'd with our country's; but their tale
Came only in faint echoes to mine ear.

I would fain hear it now.

Mon. Hark! while you spoke,

There was a voice-like murmur in the breeze,
Which even like death came o'er me. 'Twas a night
Like this, of clouds contending with the moon,
A night of sweeping winds, of rustling leaves,
And swift wild shadows floating o'er the earth,
Clothed with a phantom life, when, after years
Of battle and captivity, I spurr'd [dreams
My good steed homewards. Oh! what lovely
Rose on my spirit! There were tears and smiles,
But all of joy! And there were bounding steps,
And clinging arms, whose passionate clasp of love
Doth twine so fondly round the warrior's neck
When his plumed helm is doff"d.-Hence, feeble


-I am sterner now, yet once such dreams were
Raim. And were they realised?
Mon. Youth! ask me not,

But listen! I drew near my own fair home-
There was no light along its walls, no sound
Of bugle pealing from the watch-tower's height
At my approach, although my trampling steed
Made the earth ring, yet the wide gates were thrown
All open.
Then my heart misgave me first,

And on the threshold of my silent hall

I paused a moment, and the wind swept by
With the same deep and dirge-like tone which


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?

Mon. Who!

Pro. Canst thou question, who?

Whom hath the earth to perpetrate such deeds,
In the cold-blooded revelry of crime,
But those whose yoke is on us?


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 cause--
The 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 intercourse
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 so-ere
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.) 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

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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

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