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I hear him struggling in the gripe of death.
Enter MANUEL and JEROME. Opitecus heaven!
(Goes from the door.)
Man. (pointing.) Here, my good Jerome, here's Enter Brother Thomas from the chamber.
a piteous sight. How now, good brother?
Jer. A piteous sight! yet I will look upon him :
I'll see his face in death. Alas, alas! Thom. Retire, my friends. O many a bed of
I've seen him move a noble gentleman; death
And when with vexing passion undisturbid,
He look'd most graciously.
(Lifts up in mistake the cloth from the body of When he has breathed his last.
Rezenvelt, and starts back with horror.) I would move hence, but I am weak and faint:
Oh! this was the bloody work! Oh, oh! oh, oh!
That human hands could do it! Let me a moment on thy shoulder lean.
(Drops the cloth again.) 0, weak and inortal man !
Man. That is the murder'd corpse ; here lies De (Leans on second Monk: a pause.)
(Going to uncover the other body.) 2d Monk. (to Bern.) How is your penitent?
Jer. (turning away his head.) No, no ! I cannot Bern. H with Him who made him ; him, who
look upon him now.
Man. Didst thou not come to see him? knows The soul of man: before whose awful presence
Jer. Fy! cover him-inter him in the dark Th’unsceptred tyrant, simple, helpless, stands
Let no one look upon him. Like an unclothed babe.
Bern. (To Jer.) Well dost thou show the ab
horrence nature feels The dismal sound ! Retire and pray for the blood-stain'd soul:
For deeds of blood, and I commend thee well. May heaven have mercy on him! (Bell tolls again.) For one, who, from the hand of fellow man,
In the most ruthless heart compassion wakes [EXEUNT.
Hath felt such cruelty. SCENE VI.-A HALL OR LARGE ROOM IN THE CON
(Uncovering the body of Rezenvelt.) THE BODIES OF DE MONFORT AND REZEN- This is the murder'd corse : VELT ARE DISCOVERED LAID OUT UPON A LOW
(Uncovering the body of De Monfort) PLATFORM, COVERED WITH BLACK.
I pray! FREBERG, BERNARD, ABBESS, MONKS, AND NUNS
Here lies the murderer. What think'st thou here? ATTENDING.
Look on those features, thou hast seen them oft, Abb. (to Freb.) Here must they lie, my lord, With the last dreadful conflict of despair, until we know
So fix'd in horrid strength. Respecting this the order of the law.
See those knit brows; those hollow sunken eyes ; Fred. And you have wisely done, my reverend The sharpen’d nose, with nostrils all distent ; mother.
That writhed mouth, where yet the teeth appear, (Goes to the table, and looks at the bodies, but in agony, to gnash the nether lip. without uncovering them.)
Think'st thou, less painful than the murderer's Unhappy men ! ye, both in nature rich,
knife With talents and with virtues were endued.
Was such a death as this Ye should have loved, yet deadly rancour came,
Ay, and how changed too those matted locks ! And in the prime and manhood of your days
Jer. Merciful heaven! his hair is grisly grown, Ye sleep in horrid death. O direful hate!
Changed to white age, that was, but too days since, What shame and wretchedness his portion is,
Black as the raven's plume. How may this be ? Who, for a secret inmate, harbours thee!
Bern. Such change, from violent conflict of the And who shall call him blameless, who excites,
mind, Ungenerously excites, with careless scorn,
Will sometimes come. Such baleful passion in a brother's breast,
Alas, alas ! most wretched ! Whom heaven commands to love? Low are ye Thou wert too good to do a cruel deed, laid :
And so it kill'd thee. Thou hast suffer'd for it. Still all contention now.-Low are ye laid:
God rest thy soul! I needs must touch thy hand, I loved you both, and mourn your hapless fall.
And bid thee long farewell. Abb. They were your friends, my lord ?
(Laying his hand on De Monfort.) Freb. I loved them both. How does the Lady
Bern. Draw back, draw back ; see where the Jane?
Enter JANE DE MONFORT.
(Freberg, who has been for some time retired by
himself to the bottom of the stage, now steps I've known her long: of worth most excellent; forward to lead her in, but checks himself on But in the day of wo, she ever rose
seeing the fired sorrow of her countenance, Upon the mind with added majesty,
and draws back respectfully. Jane advances As the dark mountain more sublimely towers
to the table, and looks attentively at the covered Mantled in clouds and storm.
bodies. Manuel points out the body of De
Monfort, and she gives a gentle inclination of Man. (to Of.) Hold thy unrighteous tongue, or
hie thee hence,
Utter the slightest meaning of reproach. Man. (to Jane, as she raises her head.) 0, madam! 1st Off. I am an officer on duty callid, my good lord.
And have authority to say, “ How died he ?" Jane. Well says thy love, my good and faithful (Here Jane shakes off the weakness of grief, and Manuel;
repressing Manuel, who is about to reply to the But we must mourn in silence.
Officer, steps forward with dignity.) Man. Alas! the times that I have follow'd him! Jane. Tell them, by whose authority you come,
Jane. Forbear, my faithful Manuel. For this love He died that death which best becomes a man Thou hast my grateful thanks; and here's my Who is with keenest sense of conscious ill hand :
And deep remorse assail'd, a wounded spirit: Thou hast loved him, and I'll remember thee. A death that kills the noble and the brave, Where'er I am ; in whate'er spot of earth
And only them. He had no other wound. I linger out the remnant of my days,
1st Off. And shall I trust to this? I will remember thee.
Do as thou wilt: Man. Nay, by the living God! where'er you are, To one who can suspect my simple word There will I be. I'll prove a trusty servant: I have no more reply. Fulfil thine office. I'll follow you, even to the world's end,
1st Off. No, lady, I believe your honoured word, My master's gone ; and I indeed am mean,
And will no further search. Yet will I show the strength of nobler men,
Jane. I thank your courtesy : thanks, thanks to Should any dare upon your honour'd worth
all. To put the slightest wrong. Leave you, dear lady! My reverend mother, and ye honour'd maids ; Kill me, but say not this !
Ye holy men, and you, my faithful friends; (Throwing himself at her feet.) The blessing of the amicted rest with you ! Jane. (raising him.) Well, then! be thou my And He, who to the wretched is most piteous, servant, and my friend.
Will recompense you.-Freberg, thou art good ; Art thou, good Jerome, too, in kindness come? Remove the body of the friend you loved : I see thou art. How goes it with thine age ?
'Tis Rezenvelt I mean. Take thou this charge : Jer. Ah, madam! wo and weakness dwell with 'Tis meet, that with his noble ancestors age :
He lie entomb'd in honourable state. Would I could serve you with a young man's And now I have a sad request to make, strength!
Nor will these holy sisters scorn my boon : I'd spend my life for you.
That I, within these sacred cloister walls, Jane.
Thanks, worthy Jerome. May raise a humble, nameless tomb to him, 0! who hath said the wretched have no friends ? Who, but for one dark passion, one dire deed, Freb. In every sensible and generous breast
Had claim'd a record of as noble worth Affliction finds a friend ; but unto thee,
As e'er enrich'd the sculptured pedestal. [EXEUNT. Thou most exalted and most honourable, The heart in warmest adoration bows, And even a worship pays.
PERSONS OF THE DRAMA.
Nero, Emperor of Rome.
CORDENIUS MARO, Oficer of the Imperial Guard.
SULPICIUS, a Senator.
Sylvius, a brare Centurion.
Roman Pontiff. I had no greater pride.
Christian Father or Bishop, Christian Brother, &c. (Covers her face with her hands, and bursts into A Page, in the family of Sulpicius.
tears. Here they all hang about her : Freberg Senators, Christians, Soldiers, &c.
SCENE I.-A PRIVATE APARTMENT IN THE HOUSE Into our hands he straight must be consign'd.
OF SULPICIUS. Bern. He is not subject now to human laws;
Enter Sulpicius and ORCeres by opposite sides. The prison that awaits him is the grave.
Sul. So soon return'd !--I read not in thy face 1st Off. Ha! say'st thou so ? there is foul play in Aught to encourage or depress my wishes. this.
How is noble friend?
Orc. E'en as it was e'er I received my mission. Orc. Who brings she with her thus, as if comCordenius Maro is on public duty;
pellid I have not seen him. When he knows your offer By playful force? His heart will bound with joy, like eaglet plumed Sul. 'Tis her Numidian page; a cunning imp, Whose out-stretch'd pinions wheeling round and Who must be woo'd to do the thing he's proud of. round,
Enter Portia, dragging Syphax after her, speaking as Shape their first circles in the sunny air.
she enters. Sul. And with good cause. Orc. Methinks I see him now !
Por. Come in, deceitful thing!-I know thee A face with blushes mantling to the brow,
well; Eyes with bright tears surcharged, and parted lips Thou’rt hold enough to sing in Cesar's court,
With all thy sly affected bashfulness, Quivering to utter joy which hath no words.
With the whole senate present. Sul. His face, indeed, as I have heard thee say,
Prince of Parthia, Is like a wave which sun and shadow cross; Each thought makes there its momentary mark.
I knew not you were here; but yet I guess
The Orc. And then his towering form, and vaulting
which this sly creature sings so well,
Will please you also. step,
Orc. How can it fail, fair Portia, so commended ? As tenderness gives way to exultation ! O it had been a feast to look upon him ;
Sul. What is this boasted lay?
Por. That tune, my father,
Which you so oft have tried to recollect;
But link'd with other words, of new device,
That please my fancy well.—Come, sing it, boy! But seems to me too simple, gay, and thoughtless, For noble Maro. Heiress as she is
Sul. Nay, sing it, Syphax, be not so abash'd, To all my wealth, had I suspected sooner,
If thou art really so.--Begin, begin!
But speak thy words distinctly as thou sing'st, That he had smother'd wishes in his breast
That I may have their meaning perfectly.
The storm is gathering far and wide, Removed all hinderance to so fair a suit.
Yon mortal hero must abide. For, in these changeling and degenerate days,
Power on earth, and power in air,
Falchion's gleam and lightning's glare; I scarcely know a man of nobler worth.
Arrows hurtling through the blast; Orc. Thou scarcely know'st! Say certainly thou
Stenes from flaming meteor cast: dost not.
Floods from burden'd skies are pouring, He is, to honest right, as simply true
O'er mingled strife of battle roaring; As shepherd child on desert pasture bred,
Nature's rage and Demon's ire, Where falsehood and deceit have never been ;
Belt him round with turmoil dire:
Noble hero! earthly wight!
Brace thee bravely for the fight.
And so, indeed, thou takest thy stand,
Shield on arm and glaive in hand; Make such an union as in Nero's court
Breast encased in burnish'd steel, May pass for curious and unnatural.
Helm on head, and pike on heel ; Sul. But is the public duty very urgent,
And, more than meets the outward eye That so untowardly delays our happiness?
The soul's high-lemper'd panoply, Orc. The punishment of those poor Nazarenes,
Which every limb for action lightens,
The form dilates, the visage brightens : Who, in defiance of imperial power,
Thus art thou, lofty, mortal wight To their forbidden faith and rites adhere
Full nobly harness'd for the fight.
Sul. A stubborn contumacy unaccountable ! Orc. The picture of some very noble hero
Sul. So it should seem; one of the days of old. But be it what it may, or good or ill,
Por. And why of olden days? There liveth now They look on death in its most dreadful form, The very man-a man-I mean to say, As martial heroes on a wreath of triumph.
There may be found amongst our Roman youth, The fires are kindled in the place of death, One, who in form and feelings may compare And bells toll dismally. The life of Rome With him whose lofty virtues these few lines In one vast clustering mass hangs round the spot, So well describe. And no one to his neighbour utters word,
Orc. Thou mean'st the lofty Gorbus. But in an alter'd voice ; with breath restrain's, Por. Out on the noisy braggart! Arms without Like those who speak at midnight near the dead. He bath, indeed, well burnish'd and well plumed, Cordenius heads the band that guards the pile ; But the poor soul, within, is pluck'd and bare, So station'd, who could speak to him of pleasure ? Like any homely thing. For it would seem as an ill-omen'd thing.
Orc. Sertorius Galba then ? Sul. Cease; here comes Portia, with a careless Por. O, stranger still! face:
For if he hath no lack of courage, certes, She knows not yet the happiness that waits her. He hath much lack of grace. Sertorius Galba !
Orc. Perhaps thou mean’st Cordenius Maro, lady. Officers and Soldiers still remaining; the Thy cheeks grow scarlet at the very name,
Officers on the front, and Cordenius apart frea Indignant that I still should err so strangely.
them in a thoughtful posture.) Por. No, not indignant, for thou errest not; First Offi. Brave Varus marches boldly at the Nor do I blush, albeit thou think'st I do,
head To say, there is not of our Romans one,
Of that deluded band. Whose martial form a truer image gives
Second Offi. Are these the men, who hatefal Of firm, heroic courage.
orgies hold Sul.
Cease, sweet Portia ; In deps and deserts, courting, with enchantments, He only laughs at thy simplicity.
The intercourse of demons ? Orc. Simplicity seen through a harmless wile, Third Ofi.
Ay, with rites Like to the infant urchin, half conceal'd
Cruel and wild. To crucify a babe ; Behind his smiling dam's transparent veil. And while it yet hangs shrieking on the rood The song is not a stranger to mine ear,
Fall down and worship it! device abominable Methinks I've heard it, passing through those wilds, First Offi. Dost thou believe it? Whose groves and caves, if rumour speak the truth, Third Offi. I can believe all this or any thing Are by the Nazarenes or Christians haunted. Of the possess'd and mad.
Sul. Let it no more be sung within my walls: First Offi. What demonry, thinkest thou, pos A chant of theirs to bring on pestilence !
sesses Varus? Sing it no more. What sounds are those I hear? Second Offi. That is well urged. (To the other.) Orc. The dismal death-drum and the crowd
Is he a maniac? without.
Alas, that I should see so brave a soldier They are this instant leading past your door Thus, as a malefactor, led to death! Those wretched Christians to their dreadful doom. First Offi. Viewing his keen, enliven'd cousSul. We'll go and see them pass.
tenance [Exeunt hastily Sulpicius, Orceres. And stately step, one should have rather guess'd Por. (Stopping her ears.) I cannot look on them, He led victorious soldiers to the charge : nor hear the sound.
And they, indeed, appear to follow him
With noble confidence.
'Tis all vain seeming. Look on them as they pass ?
He is a man, who makes a show of valour Por.
No; go not, child : To which his deeds have borne slight testimony. "Twill frighten thee; it is a horrid sight.
Cor. (advancing indignantly.) Thou liest : s Page. Yet, and it please you, lady, let me go.
better and a braver soldier Por. I say it is a horrid, piteous sight,
Ne'er fronted foe, or closed in bloody strife. Thou wilt be frighten'd at it.
(Turning away angrily to the back ground.) Page. Nay, be it c'er so piteous or so horrid, First Offi. Our chief, methinks, is in a fretful I have a longing, strong desire to see it.
mood, Por. Go, then ; there is in this no affectation : Which is not usual with him. There's all the harden'd cruelty of man
Second Offi. He did not seem to listen to our Lodged in that tiny form, child as thou art.
words. [EXEUNT, severally. But see he gives the signal to proceed ; SCENE II.-AN OPEN SQUARE WITH BUILDINGS.
We must advance, and with our closing ranks
The fatal pile encircle. Enter CORDENIUS Maro, at the head of his SOLDIERS, who draw up on either side: then enters along proces.
(Exeunt in order, whilst a chorus of Martyrs is sion of public Functionaries, &c. conducting Martyrs
heard at a distance.) to the place of execution, who, as they pass on, sing together in unison: one more noble than the others, SCENE III.-AN APARTMENT IN A PRIVATE HOUSE walking first. SONG
Enter two CHRISTIAN Women, by opposite sides.
First Wom. Hast thou heard any thing?
Second Wom. Naught, save the murmur of the
Sinking at times to deep and awful silence,
From which again a sudden burst will rise
Like mingled exclamations, as of horror
Or admiration. In these neighbouring streets
I have not met a single citizen,
The town appearing uninhabited.
But wherefore art thou here? Thou should'st have
With the unhappy mother of poor Cælus.
First Wom. She sent me hither in her agony
Of fear and fearful hope.
Second Wom. Ha! does she hope deliverance (EXEUNT Martyrs, &c. &c. ordenius with his
What tidings dost thou bring ? are they in bliss ?(
First Wom. O no! thou wrong'st her, friend ; it disperse and leave him alone. He walks a few paces is not that:
slowly, then stops and continues for a short time in a Deliverance is her fear, and death her hope.
thoughtful posture. A second time she bears a mother's throes
Cor. There is some power in this, or good or ill,
To desperate sacrifice, 'tis ardent passion,
Can loathsome demonry in dauntless bearing,
Mocking all thought-incomprehensible.
(Remains for a moment silent and thoughtful, Fath. Yes, daughter, as I trust, they are ere this Delusion! ay, 'tis said the cheated sight
while Sylvius enters behind him unperceived. In high immortal bliss. Cælus alone First Wom. He hath apostatized ! O wo is me! List to sweet sounds that are not; even the reason
Will see unreal things; the cheated ear O wo is me for his most wretched mother!
Maintain conclusions wild and inconsistent. Fath. Apostatized ! No; stripling as he is,
We hear of this :—the weak may be deluded ; His fortitude, where all were braced and brave, Shone paramount.
But is the learn'd, th’enlighten’d, noble Varus
The victim of delusion ?-Can it be? For his soft downy cheek and slender form
I'll not believe it. Made them conceive they might subdue his firm
Syl. (advancing to him.) No, believe it not. ness,
Cor. (starting.) Ha! one so near me ! Therefore he was reserved till noble Varus
I have seen thy face before ; but where ?-who art And his compeers had in the flames expired.
thou? Then did they court and tempt him with fair pro
Syl. E'en that centurion of the seventh legion, mise
Who, with Cordenius Maro, at the siege Of all that earthly pleasure or ambition
Of Fort Volundum, mounted first the breach ; Can offer, to deny his holy faith,
And kept the clustering enemy in check, But he, who seem'd before so meek and timid,
Till our encouraged Romans follow'd us. Now suddenly imbued with holy grace,
Cor. My old companion then, the valiant SylLike the transition of some watery cloud
vius. In passing o’er the moon's refulgent disc,
Thou'st done hard service since I saw thee Jast : Glow'd with new life ; and from his fervid tongue Thy countenance is mark'd with graver lines Words of most firm, indignant constancy
Than in those greener days: I knew thee not. Pour'd eloquently forth; then to the pile
Where goest thou now? I'll bear thee company. Sprung lightly up, like an undaunted warrior
Syl. I thank thee: yet thou may'st not go with Scaling the breach of honour ; or, alas ! As I have seen him midst his boyish mates,
The way that I am wending suits not thee, Vaulting aloft for every love of motion.
Though suiting well the noble and the brave. First Wom. High heaven be praised for this — It were not well, in fiery times like these, Thine eyes beheld it?
To tempt thy generous mind. Fath. I saw it not: the friend who witness'd it,
Cor. What dost thou mean? Left him yet living midst devouring flame ;
Syl. (after looking cautiously round to see that Therefore I spoke of Cælus doubtfully,
nobody is near.) Did I not hear thee comIf he as yet belong'd to earth or heaven.
mune with thyself
Varus Dobella ?
Cor. How blessed ? My unsettled thoughts were voices
busy In grateful thanks be raised! Those ye lament, With things mysterious ; with those magic powers Have earthly pangs for heavenly joy exchanged.
That work the mind to darkness and destruction ; The manly Varus and the youthful Cælus,
With the sad end of the deluded Varus. The lion and the dove, yoke-fellows link'd,
Syl. Not so, not so ! The wisest prince on earth, Have equal bliss and equal honour gain'd.
With treasured wealth and armies at command, First Wom. And praised be God, who makes the Ne’er earn'd withal such lofty exaltation weakest strong!
As Varus now enjoys. I'll to his mother with the blessed tidings. [Exit. Cor. Thy words amaze me, friend ; what is their Fath. Let us retire and pray. How soon our
meaning ? lives
Syl. They cannot be explain'd with hasty speech May have like ending, God alone doth know ! In such a place. If thou would'st really know0! may like grace support us in our need! And may such light
[EXEUNT. Cor. Why dost thou check thy words, SCENE IV.-AN OPEN SPACE IN FRONT OF A TEMPLE. And look so much disturb’d, like one in doubt ?
Syl. What am I doing! Zeal, perhaps, betrays Enter CORDENIUS, as returning from the execution with his SOLDIERS, who, upon a signal from him,