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The mountain-fastnesses thy dwelling still,

When the stern moment of revenge is nigh. While hostile banners o'er thy rampart walls Pro. I call upon thee now! The land's higlı soul Wave their proud blazonry ?

Is roused, and moving onward, like a breeze 1st Sicilian. Even so. I stood

Or a swift sunbeam, kindling nature's hues Last night before my own ancestral towers To deeper life before it. In his chains, An unknown outcast, while the tempest beat The peasant dreams of freedom !-Ay, 'tis thus On my bare head. What reck'd it? There was joy | Oppression fans th' imperishable flame Within, and revelry; the festive lamps

With most unconscious hands. No praise be hers Were streaming from each turret, and gay songs

For what she blindly works! When slavery's cup I'th' stranger's tongue, made mirth. They little O'erflows its bounds, the creeping poison, meant deem'd

To dull our senses, through each burning vein Who heard their melodies! But there are thoughts Pours fever, lending a delirious strength Best nurtured in the wild ; there are dread vows To burst man's fetters. And they shall be burst ! Known to the mountain echoes. Procida ! I have hoped, when hope seem'd frenzy ; but a Call on the outcast, when revenge is nigh.

power Pro. I knew a young Sicilian-one whose heart Abides in human will, when bent with strong Should be all fire. On that most guilty day Unswerving energy on one great aim, When, with our martyr'd Conradin, the flower To make and rule its fortunes! I have been Of the land's knighthood perishd; he of whom

A wanderer in the fulness of my years, I speak, a weeping boy, whose innocent tears A restless pilgrim of the earth and seas, Melted a thousand hearts that dared not aid, Gathering the generous thoughts of other lands, Stood by the scaffold with extended arms, To aid our holy cause. And aid is near : Calling upon his father, whose last look

But we must give the signal. Now, before Turn'd full on him its parting agony.

The majesty of yon pure heaven, whose eye
The father's blood gush'd o'er him ! and the boy Is on our hearts—whose righteous arm befriends
Then dried his tears, and with a kindling eye, The arm that strikes for freedom-speak! decree
And a proud flush on his young cheek, look'd up

The fate of our oppressors.
To the bright heaven.-Doth he remember still Mon. Let them fall
That bitter hour ?

When dreaming least of peril !-when the heart, 2d Sicilian. He bears a sheathless sword ! Basking in sunny pleasure, doth forget (sword -Call on the orphan when revenge is nigh. [men That hate may smile, but sleeps not. Hide the

Pro. Our band shows gallantly—but there are With a thick veil of myrtle; and in halls Who should be with us now, had they not dared Of banqueting, where the full wine-cup shines In some wild moment of festivity

Red in the festal torchlight, meet we there, To give their full hearts way, and breathe a wish And bid them welcome to the feast of death. For freedom !-and some traitor-it might be Pro. Thy voice is low and broken,and thy words A breeze perchance-bore the forbidden sound Scarce meet our ears. To Eribert: so they must die-unless

Mon. Why, then, I must repeat Fate (who at times is wayward) should select Their import. Let th'avenging sword burst forth Some other victim first! But have they not In some free festal hour—and woe to him Brothers or sons among us?

Who first shall spare ! Gui. Look on me!

Raim. Must innocence and guilt I have a brother-a young high-soul'd boy, Perish alike? And beautiful as a sculptor's dream, with brow Mon. Who talks of innocence ? That wears amidst its dark rich curls, the stamp When hath their hand been stay'd for innocence ? Of inborn nobleness. In truth, he is

Let them all perish !-Heaven will choose its own. A glorious creature! But his doom is seal'd Why should their children live? The earthquake With theirs of whom ye spoke; and I have knelt

whelms Ay, scorn me not ! 'twas for his life-I knelt Its undistinguish'd thousands, making graves E'en at the viceroy's feet, and he put on

Of peopled cities in its path-and this That heartless laugh of cold malignity

Is heaven's dread justice-ay, and it is well ! We know so well, and spurn'd me. But the stain Why then should we be tender, when the skies Of shame like this takes blood to wash it off, Deal thus with man? What if the infant bleed ? And thus it shall be cancell'd! Call on me, Is there not power to hush the mother's pangs?


What if the youthful bride perchance should fall That in the chronicle of days to come,
In her triumphant beauty? Should we pause? We, through a bright "For Ever,” shall be call’d
As if death were not mercy to the pangs

The men who saved their country?
Which make our lives the records of our woos? Raim. Many a land
Let them all perish! And if one be found Hath bow'd beneath the yoke, and then arisen
Amidst our band to stay th' avenging steel As a strong lion rending silken bonds,
For pity, or remorse, or boyish love,

And on the open field, before high heaven, Then be his doom as theirs !

(A pause.

Won such majestic vengeance as hath made

Why gaze ye thus ? Its name a power on earth. Ay, nations own Brethren, what means your silence !

It is enough of glory to be call'd Sicilians. Be it so !

The children of the mighty, who redeem'd If one among us stay th’avenging steel

Their native soil—but not by means like these. For love or pity, be his doom as theirs !

Mon. I have no children. Of Montalba's blood Pledge we our faith to this !

to this!

Not one red drop doth circle through the veins Raim. (rushing forward indignantly.) Our faith Of aught that breathes? Why, what have I to do No! I but dreamt I heard it! Can it be?

With far futurity ? My spirit lives My countrymen, my father !-is it thus

But in the past. Away! when thou dost stand That freedom should be won? Awake !-awake On this fair earth as doth a blasted tree To loftier thoughts! Lift up exultingly,

Which the warm sun revives not, then return, On the crown'd heights and to the sweeping winds, Strong in thy desolation : but till then, Your glorious banner! Let your trumpet's blast Thou art not for our purpose; we have need Make the tombs thrill with echoes ! Call aloud, Of more unshrinking hearts. Proclaim from all your hills, the land shall bear Raim. Montalba! know The stranger's yoke no longer! What is he I shrink from crime alone. Oh! if my voice Who carries on his practised lip a smile,

Might yet have power among you, I would say, Beneath his vest a dagger, whi waits Associates, leaders, be avenged ! but yet Till the heart bounds with joy, to still its beatings? As knights, as warriors ! That which our nature's instinct doth recoil from, Mon. Peace ! have we not borne And our blood curdle at-ay, yours and mine- Th' indelible taint of contumely and chains ? A murderer! Heard ye? Shall that name with We are not knights and warriors. Our bright

crests Go down to after days? O friends ! a cause Have been defiled and trampled to the earth. Like that for which we rise, hath made bright Boy! we are slaves—and our revenge shall be

Deep as a slave's disgrace. Of th' elder time as rallying-words to men

Raim. Why, then, farewell : Sounds full of might and immortality !

I leave you to your counsels. He that still And shall not ours be such?

Would hold his lofty nature undebased, Mon. Fond dreamer, peace !

And his name pure, were but a loiterer here. Fame! What is fame? Will our unconscious dust Pro. And is it thus indeed dost thou forsako Start into thrilling rapture from the grave! Our cause, my son ! At the vain breath of praise? I tell thee, youth Raim. O father! what proud hopes Our souls are parch'd with agonising thirst, This hour hath blighted! Yet, whate'er betide, Which must be quench'd, though death were in It is a noble privilege to look up the draught:

Fearless in heaven's bright face--and this is mine, We must have vengeance, for our foes have left And shall be still.

[Excit Raimond. No other joy unblighted.

Pro. He's gone! Why, let it be ! Pro. O my son !

I trust our Sicily hath many a son The time is past for such high dreams as thine. Valiant as mine. Associates ! 'tis decreed Thou know'st not whom we deal with: knightly faith Our foes shall perish. We have but to name And chivalrous honour are but things whereon The hour, the scene, the signal. They cast disdainful pity. We must meet

Mon. It should be Falsehood with wiles, and insult with revenge. In the full city, when some festival And, for our names--whate'er the deeds by which Hath gather'd throngs, and lull'd infatuate hearts We burst our bondage-is it not enough

To brief security. Hark! is there not



A sound of hurrying footsteps on the breeze ? We are betray'd.—Who art thou?

VITTORIA entci's.

Pro. One alone
Should be thus daring. Lady, lift the veil
That shades thy noble brow.

(She raises her reilthe Sicilians draw back

with respect. Sicilians. Th' affianced bride Of our lost king !

Pro. And more, Montalba ; know
Within this form there dwells a soul as high
As warriors in their battles e'er have proved,
Or patriots on the scaffold.

Vit. Valiant men !
I come to ask your aid. You see me, one
Whose widow'd youtlı hath all been consecrate
To a proud sorrow, and whose life is held
In token and memorial of the dead.
Say, is it meet that lingering thus on carth,
But to behold one great atonement made,
And keep one name from fading in men's hearts,
A tyrant's will should force me to profane
Heaven's altar with unhallow'd vows—and live
Stung by the keen unutterable scorn
Of my own bosom, live-another's bride ? (lady!

Sicilians. Never! oh, never! Fear not, noble Worthy of Conradin !

Vit. Yet hear me still His bride, that Eribert's, who notes our tears With his insulting eye of cold derision, (works, And, could he pierce the depths where feeling Would number e'en our agonies as crimes. -Say, is this meet ?

Gui. We deem'd these nuptials, lady,
Thy willing choice; but 'tis a joy to find
Thou'rt noble still. Fear not; by all our wrongs,
This shall not be.

Pro. Vittoria, thou art coine
To ask our aid-but we have need of thine.
Know, the completion of our high designs
Requires—a festival; and it must be
Thy bridal !

Vit. Procida !

Pro. Nay, start not thus.
'Tis no hard task to bind your raven hair
With festal garlands, and to bid the song
Rise, and the wine-cup mantle. No-nor yet
To meet your suitor at the glittering shrine,
Where death, not love, awaits him !

Vit. Can my soul
Dissemble thus?

Pro. We have no other means

Of winning our great birthright back from those
Who have usurp'd it, than so lulling them
Into vain confidence, that they may deem
All wrongs forgot; and this may be best done
By what I ask of thee.

Mon. Then we will mix
With the flush'd revellers, making their gay feast
The harvest of the grave.

Vit. A bridal day! - Must it be so? Then, chiefs of Sicily, I bid you to my nuptials ! but be there salono With your bright swords unsheathed, for thus My guests should be adorn'd.

Pro. And let thy banquet Be soon announced; for there are noble men Sentenced to die, for whom we fain would pur

chase Reprieve with other blood.

Vit. Be it then the day Preceding that appointed for their doom. [boasts

Gui. My brother! thou shalt live! Oppression
No gift of prophecy !---It but remains
To name our signal, chiefs !

Mon. The Vesper-bell !
Pro. Even so—the Vesper-bell, whose deep-

toned peal
Is heard o'er land and wave. Part of our band,
Wearing the guise of antic revelry,
Shall enter, as in some fantastic pageant,
The halls of Eribert; and at the hour
Devoted to the sword's tremendous task,
I follow with the rest. The Vesper-bell !
That sound shall wake th' avenger; for 'tis come,
The time when power is in a voice, a breath,
To burst the spell which bound us. But the night
Is waning, with her stars, which one by one
Warn us to part. Friends to your homes !- your

That name is yet to win. Away! prepare
For our next meeting in Palermo's walls.
The Vesper-bell! Remember!

Sicilians. Fear us not.
The Vesper-bell!

[Exeunt omnes.


SCENE I.--Apartment in a Palace.


Vit. Speak not of love-it is a word with deep Strange magic in its melancholy sound, To summon up the dead ; and they should rest, At such an hour, forgotten. There are things

We must throw from us, when the heart would

Strength to fulfil its settled purposes ;
Therefore, no more of love! But if to robe
This form in bridal ornaments—to smile
(I can smile yet) at thy gay feast, and stand
At th' altar by thy side ;-if this be deem'd
Enough, it shall be done.
Eri. My fortune's star

Doth rule th' ascendant still! (A part.)—If not of
Then pardon, lady, that I speak of joy,
And with exulting heart-

Vit. There is no joy !
- Who shall look through the far futurity,
And, as the shadowy visions of events
Develop on his gaze, midst their dim throng,
Dare, with oracular mien, to point, and say,
“This will bring happiness?" Who shall do this?
Who, thou and I, and all! There's One, who sits
In His own bright tranquillity enthroned,
High o'er all storms, and looking far beyond
Their thickest clouds ! but we, from whose dull

A grain of dust hides the great sun-e'en we
Usurp his attributes, and talk, as seers,
Of future joy and grief !

Eri. Thy words are strange.
Yet will I hope that peace at length shall settle
Upon thy troubled heart, and add soft grace
To thy majestic beauty. Fair Vittoria !
Oh! if my cares

Vit. I know a day shall come
Of peace to all. Ev'n from my darken'd spirit
Soon shall each restless wish be exorcised,
Which haunts it now, and I shall then lie down
Serenely to repose. Of this no more.
I have a boon to ask.

Eri. Command my power,
And deem it thus most honour'd.

Vit. Have I then
Soar'd such an eagle pitch, as to command
The mighty Eribert ?-And yet 'tis meet;
For I bethink me now, I should have worn
A crown upon this forehead. Generous lord !
Since thus you give me freedom, know, there is
An hour I have loved from childhood, and a sound
Whose tones, o'er earth and ocean sweetly bearing
A sense of deep repose, have lull'd me oft
To peace-which is forgetfulness; I mean
The Vesper-bell. I pray you let it be
The summons to our bridal. Hear you not?
To our fair bridal !

Eri. Lady, let your will Appoint each circumstance. I am too bless'd,

Proving my homage thus.

Vit. Why, then, 'tis mine To rule the glorious fortunes of the day, And I may be content. Yet much remains For thought to brood on, and I would be left Alone with my resolves. Kind Eribert ! (Whom I command so absolutely,) now Part we a few brief hours; and doubt not, when I'm at thy side once more, but I shall stand There-to the last!

Eri. Your smiles are troubled, ladyMay they ere long be brighter! Time will seem Slow till the Vesper-bell.

Vit. 'Tis lovers' phrase
To say—Time lags; and therefore meet for you;
But with an equal pace the hours move on,
Whether they bear, on their swift silent wing,
Pleasure or -fate.

Eri. Be not so full of thought
On such a day. Behold, the skies themselves
Look on my joy with a triumphant smile
Unshadow'd by a cloud.

Vit. 'Tis very meet
That heaven (which loves the just) should wear

a smile
In honour of his fortunes. Now, my lord,
Forgive me if I say farewell until
Th' appointed hour.
Eri. Lady, a brief farewell.

[Escount separately.

SCENE II.-The Sea-shore.


Pro. And dost thou still refuse to share the

glory Of this, our daring enterprise ?

Raim. O father! I, too, have dreamt of glory, and the word Hath to my soul been as a trumpet's voice, Making my nature sleepless. But the deeds Whereby 'twas won--the high exploits, whose tale Bids the heart burn, were of another cast Than such as thou requirest.

Pro. Every deed Hath sanctity, if bearing for its aim The freedom of our country; and the sword Alike is honour'd in the patriot's hand, [gave Searching, midst warrior hosts, the heart which Oppression birth, or flashing through the gloom Of the still chamber, o'er its troubled couch, At dead of night.

Raim. (turning away.) There is no path but one For noble natures.

Pro. Wouldst thou ask the man

To claim a part of heaven's dread royalty, Who to the earth hath dash'd a nation's chains, - The power that searches thought. Rent as with heaven's own lightning, by what means Pro. (after a pause.) Thou hast a brow The glorious end was won ? Go, swell th' acclaim ! Clear as the day—and yet I doubt thee, Raimond ! Bid the deliverer, hail ! and if his path,

Whether it be that I have learn'd distrust To that most bright and sovereign destiny, From a long look through man's deep-folded heart; Hath led o'er trampled thousands, be it call'd Whether my paths have been so seldom cross'd A stern necessity, but not a crime!

By honour and fair mercy, that they seem Raim. Father! my soul yet kindles at the thought But beautiful deceptions, meeting thus Of nobler lessons, in my boyhood learn'd, My unaccustom'd gaze : howe'er it beEv'n from thy voice. The high remembrances I doubt thee! See thou waver not-take heed. Of other days are stirring in the heart [men Time lifts the veil from all things! [Exit PROCIDA. Where thou didst plant them; and they speak of Raim. And 'tis thus Who needed no vain sophistry to gild (mine! Youth fades from off our spirit ; and the robes Acts that would bear heaven's light-and such be Of beauty and of majesty, wherewith O father! is it yet too late to draw

We clothed our idols, drop ! Oh, bitter day ! The praise and blessing of all valiant hearts When, at the crushing of our glorious world, On our most righteous cause ?

We start, and find men thus! Yet be it so ! Pro. What wouldst thou do?

Is not my soul still powerful in itself Raim. I would go forth, and rouse th' indignant To realise its dreams? Ay, shrinking not land

From the pure eye of heaven, my brow may well To generous combat. Why should freedom strike Undaunted meet my father's. But, away! [yet Mantled with darkness? Is there not more strength Thou shalt be saved, sweet Constance !--Love is Ev'n in the waving of her single arm

Mightier than vengeance. [Exit RAIMOND. Than hosts can wield against her? I would rouse That spirit whose fire doth press resistless on To its proud sphere-the stormy field of fight !

SCENE III.--Gardens of a Palace.
Pro. Ay! and give time and warning to the foe

To gather all his might! It is too late.
There is a work to be this eve begun

Con. There was a time when my thoughts When rings the Vesper-bell; and, long before

wander'd not To-morrow'ssun hath reach'd i'th' noonday heaven Beyond these fairy scenes when but to catch His throne of burning glory, every sound

The languid fragrance of the southern breeze Of the Provençal tongue within our walls, From the rich flowering citrons, or to rest, As by one thunderstroke-(you are pale, myson)- Dreaming of some wild legend, in the shade Shall be for ever silenced !

Of the dark laurel foliage, was enough Raim. What ! such sounds

Of happiness. How have these calm delights As falter on the lip of infancy,

Fled from before one passion, as the dews, In its imperfect utterance ? or are breathed The delicate gems of morning, are exhaled By the fond mother as she lulls her babe ?

By the great sun !

(RAIMOND enter's. Or in sweet hymns, upon the twilight air

Raimond! oh! now thou'rt comePour'd by the timid maid ? Must all alike I read it in thy look-to say farewell Be still'd in death? and wouldst thou tell my heart For the last time—the last ! There is no crime in this ?

Raim. No, best beloved ! Pro. Since thou dost feel

I come to tell thee there is now no power Such horror of our purpose, in thy power

To part us but in death. Are means that might avert it.

Con. I have dreamt of joy, Raim. Speak ! oh speak !

But never aught like this. Speak yet again ! Pro. How would those rescued thousands bless Say we shall part no more ! thy name

Raim. No more-if love Shouldst thou betray us !

Can strive with darker spirits; and he is strong Raim. Father ! I can bear

In his immortal nature ! All is changed Ay, proudly woo—the keenest questioning Since last we met. My father-keep the tale Of thy soul-gifted eye, which almost seems Secret from all, and most of all, my Constance,


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