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Ros. Ah! have I then so long, so dearly loved Ros. (hanging over him with pity and affection.)
Alas! my friend! So often, with an elder brother's care,
Bas. In all her lovely grace she disappear'd, Thy childish rambles tended, shared thy sports ; Ah! little thought I never to return! Fill'd up by stealth thy weary school-boy's task; Ros. Why so desponding ? think of warlike glory. Taught thy young arms thine earliest feats of The fields of fair renown are still before thee; strength;
Who would not burn such noble fame to earn? With boastful pride thine early rise beheld
Bas. What now are arms, or fair renown to me? In glory's paths, contented then to fill
Strive for it those who will—and yet, a while, A second place, so I might serve with thee; Welcome rough war; with all thy scenes of blood ; And say'st thou now, I am no friend of thine ?
(starting from his seat.) Well, be it so; I am thy kinsman then,
Thy roaring thunders, and thy clashing steel! And by that title will I save thy name,
Welcome once more! what have I now to do From danger of disgrace. Indulge thy will. But play the brave man o'er again, and die ? I'll lay me down and feign that I am sick :
Enter ISABELLA. And yet I shall not feign-I shall not feign ;
Isab. (to Bas.) My princess bids me greet you: For thy unkindness makes me so indeed.
noble count: It will be said that Basil tarried here
Bas. (starting.) What dost thou say ? To save his friend, for so they'll call me still;
Damn this untimely message! Nor will dishonour fall upon thy name
Isab. The princess bids me greet you, noble For such a kindly deed.
count: (Basil walks up and down in great agitation, then In the cool grove, hard by the southern gate
stops, covers his face with his hands, and seems she with her trainto be overcome. Rosinberg looks at him ear
What, she indeed, herself? nestly.) O blessed heaven, he weeps !
Isab. Herself, my lord, and she requests to see
you. (Runs up to him, and catches him in his arms.)
Bas. Thank heaven for this! I will be there anon. O Basil! I have been too hard upon thee.
Ros. (taking hold of him.) Stay, stay, and do And is it possible I've moved thee thus ?
not be a madman still, Bas. (in a convulsed, broken voice.) I will re
Bas. Let go thy hold: what, must I be a brute, nounce-I'll leave
A very brute to please thee? no, by heaven! Ros. What says my Basil?
(Breaks from him, and Exit.) Bas. I'll Mantua leave-I'll leave this seat of
Ros. (striking his forehead.) All lost again ! ill bliss
fortune light upon her! This lovely woman-tear my heart in twain
(Turning eagerly to Isab.) Cast off at once my little span of joy
And so thy virtuous mistress sends thee here Be wretched-miserable-whate'er thou wilt
To make appointments, honourable dame? Dost thou forgive me?
Isab. Not so, my lord, you must not call it so: Ros. O my friend! my friend !
The court will hunt to-morrow, and Victoria I love thee now more than I ever loved thee.
Would have your noble general of her train. I must be cruel to thee to be kind :
Ros. Confound these women, and their artful Each pang I see thee feel strikes through my
Since men will be such fools! Then spare us both, call up thy noble spirit,
Isab. Yes, grumble at our empire as you will And meet the blow at once. Thy troops are
Ros. What, boast ye of it? empire do ye call it ? ready
It is your shame! a short-lived tyranny, Let us depart, nor lose another hour.
That ends at last in hatred and contempt. (Basil shrinks from his arms, and looks at him
Isab. Nay, but some women do so wisely rule, with somewhat of an upbraiding, at the same Their subjects never from the yoke escape. time a sorrowful look.)
Ros. Some women do, but they are rarely found. Bas. Nay, put me not to death upon the instant; There is not one in all your paltry court I'll see her once again, and then depart.
Hath wit enough for the ungenerous task. Ros. See her but once again, and thou art ruin’d ! 'Faith! of you all, not one, but brave Albini, It must not be-if thou regardest me
And she disdains it-Good be with you, lady! Bas. Well then, it shall not be. Thou hast no
Isab. O would I could but touch that stubborn Ros. Ah! thou wilt bless me all thine after-life
heart! For what now seems to thee so merciless.
How dearly should he pay for this hour's scorn! Bas. (sitting down very dejectedly.) Mine after
[Exeunt severally, life! what is mine after-life? My day is closed ! the gloom of night is come! SCENE IV.-A SUMMER APARTMENT IN THE COUNA hopeless darkness settles o'er my fate.
TRY, THE WINDOWS OF WHICH LOOK TO A FOREST. I've seen the last look of her heavenly eyes; Enter VICTORIA in a hunting dress, followed by ALBINI I've heard the last sounds of her blessed voice;
and ISABELLA, speaking as they enter. I've seen her fair form from my sight depart: Vict. (to Alb.) And so you will not share our My doom is closed !
Alb. My days of frolic should ere this be o'er, Vain, fanciful, and fond of worthless praise ; But thou, my charge, hast kept me youthful still. Courteous and gentle, proud and magnificent: I should most gladly go; but since the dawn, And yet these adverse qualities in thee, A heavy sickness hangs upon my heart;
No dissonance, nor striking contrast make ; I cannot hunt to-day.
For still thy good and amiable gifts Vict. I'll stay at home and nurse thee, dear Al. The sober dignity of virtue wear not, bini.
And such a 'witching mien thy follies show, Alb. No, no, thou shalt not stay.
They make a very idiot of reproof, Vict.
Nay, but I will. And smile it to disgrace.I cannot follow to the cheerful horn
What shall I do with thee?-It grieves me much, Whilst thou art sick at home.
To hear Count Basil is not yet departed. Alb.
Not very sick. When from the chase he comes, I'll watch his steps, Rather than thou shouldst stay, my gentle child, And speak to him myself.I'll mount my horse, and go e'en as I am. 0! I could hate her for that poor ambition
Vict. Nay, then I'll go, and soon return again. Which silly adoration only claims, Meanwhile, do thou be careful of thyself.
But that I well remember, in my youth Isab. Hark, hark! the shrill horns call us to the I felt the like-I did not feel it long: field :
I tore it soon, indignant from my breast, Your highness hears it? (Music without.) As that which did degrade a noble mind. (EXIT. Vict.
Yes, my Isabella ; I hear it, and methinks e’en at the sound
SCENE V.-A VERY BEAUTIFUL GROVE THE I vault already on my leathern seat, And feel the fiery steed beneath me shake
Music and horns heard afar off, whilst huntsmen and His mantled sides, and paw the fretted earth
dogs appear passing over the stage, at a great distanceWhilst I aloft, with gay equestrian grace,
Enter VICTORIA and Basil, as if just alighted from
their horses. The low salute of gallant lords return, Who waiting round with eager watchful eye, Vict. (speaking to attendants without.) Lead on And reined steeds, the happy moments seize.
our horses to the further grove, 0! didst thou never hear, my Isabel,
And wait us there. How nobly Basil in the field becomes
(To Bas.) This spot so pleasing, and so fragrant is, His fiery courser's back?
"Twere sacrilege with horses' hoofs to wear Isab.
They say most gracefully. Its velvet turf, where little elfins dance, Alb. What is the valiant count not yet departed? And fairies sport bencath the summer's moon;
Vict. You would not have our gallant Basil go I love to tread upon it. When I have bid him stay? not so, Albini.
Bas. O! I would quit the chariot of a god Alb. Fy! reigns that spirit still so strongly in For such delightful footing ! thee,
I love this spot. Which vainly covets all men's admiration,
Bas. It is a spot where one would live and die And is to others cause of cruel pain ?
Vict. See, through the twisted boughs of those 0! would thou couldst subdue it!
high elms, Vict. My gentle friend, thou shouldst not be the sunbeams on the brightning foliage play,
And tinge the scaled bark with ruddy brown. For now in truth I love not admiration
Is it not beautiful? As I was wont to do; in truth I do not.
Bas. As though an angel, in his upward flight, But yet, this once my woman's heart excuse, Had left his mantle floating in mid air. For there is something strange in this man's love, Vict. Still most unlike a garment; small and I never met before, and I must prove it.
sever'd : Alb. Well, prove it then, be stricken too thyself, (Turning round, and perceiving that he is And bid sweet peace of mind a sad farewell.
gazing at her.) Vict. O no! that will not be ! 'twill peace re- But thou regard'st them not. store :
Bas. Ah! what should I regard, where should I For after this, all folly of the kind
gaze? Will quite insipid and disgusting seem ;
For in that far shot glance, so keenly waked, And so I shall become a prudent maid,
That sweetly rising smile of admiration, And passing wise at last. (Music heard without.) Far better do I learn how fair heaven is,
Hark, hark ! again! Than if I gazed upon the blue serene. All good be with you! I'll return ere long.
Vict. Remember you have promised, gentle [EXEUNT Victoria and Isabella.
count, Alb. (sola.) Ay, go, and every blessing with thee No more to vex me with such foolish words. go,
Bas. Ah ! wherefore should my tongue alone be My most tormenting, and most pleasing charge !
So plainly tell, and will not be forbid,
(Victoria looks haughty and displeased) Endearing, generous, bountiful and kind;
Ah! pardon me, I know not what I say.
Ah! frown not thus ! I cannot see thee frown. Uncertain tales of dreadful slaughter bore,
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 : I 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; Bas. It is a gloomy one!
And now she turns her head as though she Vict. I have, my lord, been wont to think it
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 here 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. Accursed 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. Vict,
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- 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, conquerid ; 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. O! what a fated blow to strike me thus !
SCENE I.-A DARK NIGHT ; NO MOON, BUT A TEW Perdition! shame! disgrace! a damned blow! STARS GLIMMERING ; THE STAGE REPRESENTS (AS Mess. Ten thousand of the enemy are slain ; MUCH AS CAN BE DISCOVERED FOR THE DARKNESS)
A CHURCHYARD WITH PART OF A CHAPEL, AND 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 it 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 beam, sent !
That I once more may on her dwelling gaze, (Walks about distractedly, then stops short.) And bless her still. All now is dark for me! Who sent thee here?
(Pauses for some time and looks upon the grates.) 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 still ? 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 see 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,
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 som
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.
'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.)
TO A CAVE, VERY MUCH TANGLED WITH BRUSH 'Tis gone, 'tis gone! these eyes have seen their
WOOD, IS SEEN IN THE BACKGROUND.
REPRESENTS THE DAWN OF MORNING. last!
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?
But be it what it may, or bliss, or torment,
Annihilation, dark and endless rest, Geof. O! stay, my general ! Bas. Art thou from the grave ? Hath dever yet conceived, that change I'll dare
Or some dread thing, man's wildest range of thought Geof. O my brave general! do you know me
Which makes me any thing but what I am. not?
I can bear scorpions' stings, tread fields of fire, I am old Geoffry, the old maim'd soldier,
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, Thou hast no shame, thou need'st not seek the But cannot live in shame—Pauses.) O impious
thought! dark Like fall'n, fameless men. I pray thee go!
Will the great God of mercy, mercy have
On all but those who are most miserable ?
The poor, fall'n, froward child ? (Pauses.) Thy soldier's fame is far too surely raised
And shall I then against his will offend,
Because he is most good and merciful ?
I'll think no more-it turns my dizzy brain
It is too late to think-what must be, must be At glorious tales of thee.
I cannot live, therefore I needs must die. Bas. Forbear, forbear! thy words but wring my soul.
(Takes up the pistols, and walks up and down,
looking wildly around him, then discovering Geof. 0! pardon me! I am old maim'd Geoffry.
the cave's mouth,) 0! do not go ! I've but one hand to hold thee.
Here is an entry to some darksome cave, (Laying hold of Basil as he attempts to go away.
Basil stops, and looks around upon him with Where an uncoffin'd corse may rest in peace, softness.)
And hide its foul corruption from the earth. Bas. Two would not hold so well, old honourd 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, heaven,
and soon after, Enter Rosinberg, Valtomer, Seek not such desperate ways! where would you
two Officers and Soldiers, almost at the same
moment by different sides of the stage.)
Ros. This way the sound did come.
Valt. How came ye, soldiers ? heard ye that (Struggling to get free.)
report? Let go thy foolish hold, and force me not
1st Sol. We heard it, and it seem'd to come from
hence, To do some violence to thy hoary head
Which made us this way hie. What, wilt thou not ? nay, then it must be so. (Breaks violently from him, and Exrr.)
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.
[ (EXEUNT. Ros.
Then shew the way. (EXEUNT. 42
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