Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

BUTLER.

COUNTESS.
What is it, Seni?

Your hand is pure. You have
PAGE (from the Gallery).

Avail'd yourself of mine. O piteous sight!

OCTAVIO.
(Other Servants hasten in with torches.

Merciless man!
COUNTESS.

Thus to abuse the orders of thy Lord-
What is it? For God's sake!

And stain thy Emperor's holy name with murder, SENI

With bloody, most accursed assassination?
and do

you
ask ?

BUTLER (calmly).
Within the Duke lies murder'd-and your

husband I've but fulfilled the Emperor's own sentence. Assassinated at the Castle.

OCTAVIO,
[The Countess stands motionless. O curse of Kings,
FEMALE SERVANT (rushing across the stage). Infusing a dread life into their words,
Help! help! the Duchess!

And linking to the sudden transient thought
BURGOMASTER (enters).

The unchangeable irrevocable deed.
What mean these confused Was there necessity for such an eager
Loud cries, that wake the sleepers of this house? Despatch ? Couldst thou not grant the merciful
GORDON.

A time for mercy? Time is man's good Angel.
Your house is cursed to all eternity.

To leave no interval between the sentence,
In your house doth the Duke lie murder'd!

And the fulfilment of it, doth besecm
BURGOMASTER (rushing out).

God only, the immutable!
Heaven forbid !

BUTLER
FIRST SERVANT.

For what
Fly! fly! they murder us all!

Rail you against me? What is

my

offence? SECOND SERVANT (carrying silver plate). The Empire from a fearful enemy

That way! The lower Have I deliver'd, and expect reward. Passages are block'd up.

The single difference betwixt you

and me VOICE (from behind the Scene).

Is this : you placed the arrow in the bow; Make room for the Licutenant-General !

I pull'd the string. You sow'd blood, and yet stand [At these words the Countess starts from her stupor, Astonishi’d that blood is come up. I always collects herself, and retires suddenly.

knew what I did, and therefore no result Voice (from behind the Scene).

Hath power to frighten or surprise my spirit. Keep back the people! Guard the door!

Have you aught else to order; for this instant

I make my best speed to Vienna; place
SCENE IX.

My bleeding sword before my Emperor's Throne,

And hope to gain the applause which undelaying To these enters Octavio PiccoLOMINI with all his Train. And punctual obedience may

demand At the same time Devereux and MacDonald enter From a just judge.

(Exit Butler. from out the Corridor with the Halberdiers.-WALLENSTEIN's dead body is carried over the back part of

SCENE X. the Stage, wrapped in a piece of crimson tapestry. octavio (entering abruptly).

To these enter the Countess Tentsky, pale and disorIt must not be! It is not possible!

dered. Her utterance is slow and feeble, and unimButler! Gordon !

passioned. I'll not believe it. Say no!

OCTAVIO (meeting her). [GORDON, without answering, points with his hand to O Countess Tertsky! These are the results

the Body of WALLENSTEIN as it is carried over the Of luckless unblest deeds. back of the Stage. Octavio looks that way, and

COUNTESS. stands overpowered with horror.

They are the fruits
DEVEREUX (to BUTLER).

Of
your

contrivances. The Duke is dead, Here is the golden fleece-the Duke's sword

My husband too is dead, the Duchess struggles
MACDONALD.

In the pangs of death, my niece has disappeard.
Is it your order-

This house of splendour, and of princely glory,
BUTLER (pointing to Octavio).

Doth now stand desolated : the affrighted servants
Here stands he who now

Rush forth through all its doors. I am the last Hath the sole power to issue orders.

Therein; I shut it up, and here deliver (Devereux and Macdonald retire with marks of The keys. obeisance. One drops away after the other,

OCTAVIO (with a deep anguish). till only BUTLER, OCTAVIo, and Gordon remain

O Countess ! my house too is desolate.
on the stage.

COUNTESS.
OCTAVIO (turning to Butler).

Who next is to be murder'd? Who is next
Was that my purpose, Butler, when we parted ?

To be maltreated ? Lo! the Duke is dead. O God of Justice!

The Emperor's vengeance may be pacified ! To thee Uift my hand! I am not guilty

Spare the old servants ; let not their fidelity Of this foul deed.

Be imputed to the faithful as a crime

:

[blocks in formation]

The evil destiny surprised my brother
Too suddenly : he could not think on them.

OCTAVIO.
Speak not of vengeance! Speak not of maltreatment !
The Emperor is appeased ; the heavy fault
Hath heavily been expiated-nothing
Descended from the father to the daughter,
Except his glory and his services.
The Empress honours your adversity,
Takes part in your aftlictions, opens to you
Her motherly arms! Therefore no farther fears;
Yield yourself up in hope and confidence
To the Imperial Grace!

Countess (with her eye raised to heaven).
To the grace and mercy of a greater Master
Do 1 yield up myself. Where shall the body
Of the Duke have its place of final rest?
In the Chartreuse, which he himself did found
At Gitschin, rest the Countess Wallenstein;
And by her side, to whom he was indebted
For his first fortunes, gratefully lie wish'd
He might sometime repose in death! O let him
Be buried there. And likewise, for my

husband's
Remains, I ask the like grace. The Emperor
Is now proprietor of all our Castles.
This sure may well be granted us--one sepulchre
Beside the sepulchres of our forefathers !

OCTAVIO.
Countess, you tremble, you turn pale!
COUNTESS ( reassembles all her

powers, and speaks with energy and dignity).

You think

[blocks in formation]

The Fall of Robespierre ;

AN HISTORIC DRAMA.

DEDICATION.

THE FALL OF ROBESPIERRE.

BARRERE

TO Y. MARTIN, ESQ.
OF JESUS COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE.

ACT I.
DEAR SIR,

SCENE, The Tuilleries. Accept, as a small testimony of my grateful attachment, the following Dramatic Poem, in which I have endeavoured to detail, in an interesting form, the fall of a

The tempest gathers--be it mine to seek man, whose great bad actions have cast a disastrous lustre on his name. In the execution of the work, as

A friendly shelter, ere it bursts upon him.

But where? and how? I fear the Tyrant's sou! intricacy of plot could not have been attempted with

Sudden in action, fertile in resource, out a gross violation of recent facts, it has been my

sole aim to imitate the impassioned and highly figurative

And rising awful 'mid impending ruids; language of the French Orators, and to develop the

In splendour gloomy, as the midnight meteor, characters of the chief actors on a vast stage of hor- That fearless thwarts the elemental war.

When last in secret conference we met,

He scowld upon me with suspicious rage,
Yours fraternally,

Making luis eye the inmate of my bosom,

I know he scorns me--and I feel, I hate him--
S. T. COLERIDGE.

Yet there is in him that which makes me tremble! Jesus College, September 22, 1794

(Exit.

rors,

TALLIEN

LEGENDRE.

not

LEGENDRE,

TALLIEN

ROBESPIERRE,

And shall I dread the soft luxurious Tallien ?
Enter Tallies and LEGENDRE.

Th' Adonis Tallien? banquet-hunting Tallien ?

Him, whose heart flutters at the dice-box? Him, It was Barrere, Legendre! didst thou mark him? Who ever on the harlots' downy pillow Abrupt he turn'd, yet linger'd as he went,

Resigns his head impure to feverish slumbers! And towards us cast a look of doubtful meaning.

ST-JUST.

I cannot fear him-yet we must not scorn him. I mark'd him well. I met his eye's last glance; Was it not Antony that conquer'd Brutus, It menaced not so proudly as of yore.

Th' Adonis, banquet-hunting Antony? Methought he would have spoke-but that he dared The state is not yet purified : and though

The stream runs clear, yet at the bottom lies Such agitation darken'd on his brow.

The thick black sediment of all the factionsTALLIEN.

It needs no magic hand to stir it up! 'T was all distrusting guilt that kept from bursting

COUTHON. Th' imprison'd secret struggling in the face :

O we did wrong to spare them-fatal error! E'en as the sudden breeze upstarting onwards

Why lived Legendre, when that Danton died? Hurries the thunder-cloud, that poised awhile

And Collot d'Herbois dangerous in crimes ? Hung in mid air, red with its mutinous burthen. I've fear'a him, since his iron heart endured

To make of Lyons one vast human shambles, Perfidious Traitor!-still afraid to bask

Compared with which the sun-scorch'd wilderness In the full blaze of power, the rustling serpent

Of Zara were a smiling paradise. Lurks in the thicket of the Tyrant's greatness,

ST-JUST
Ever prepared to sting who shelters him.

Rightly thou judgest, Couthon! He is one,
Each thought, each action in himself converges; Who tlies from silent solitary anguish,
And love and friendship on his coward heart

Seeking forgetful peace amid the jar
Shine like the powerless sun on polar ice:

Of elements. The howl of maniac uproar To all attach'd, by turns deserting all,

Lulls to sad sleep the memory of himself. Cunning and dark-a necessary villain !

A calm is fatal to him—then he feels

The dire upboilings of the storm within him. Yet much depends upon

him-well you
know

A tiger mad with inward wounds !--I dread With plausible liarangue 't is bis to paint

The fierce and restless turbulence of guilt. Defeat like victory-and blind the mob With truth-mix'd falsehood. They, led on by him, Is not the commune ours? The stern tribunal? And wild of head to work their own destruction,

Dumas? and Vivier? Fleuriot? and Louvet? Support with uproar what he plans in darkness. And Henriot? We 'll denounce a hundred, nor LEGENDRE.

Shall they behold to-morrow's sun roll westward. O what a precious name is Liberty

ROBESPIERRE JUNIOR. To scare or cheat the simple into slaves!

Nay-I am sick of blood; my aching heart Yes—we must gain him over: by dark hints

Reviews the long, long train of hideous horrors We'll show enough to rouse his watchful fears, That still have gloom'd the rise of the republic. Till the cold coward blaze a patriot.

I should have died before Toulon, when war O Danton! murder'd friend! assist my counsels- Became the patriot! Hover around me on sad memory's wings, And pour thy daring vengeance in my heart.

Most unworthy wish! Tallien! if but lo-morrow's fateful sun

He, whose heart sickens at the blood of traitors, Beholds the Tyrant living-we are dead!

Would be himself a traitor, were he not

A coward! 'T is congenial souls alone Yet his keen eye that flashies mighty meanings

Shed tears of sorrow for each other's fate.

O thou art brave, my brother! and thine eye Fear not-or rather fear th' alternative,

Full firmly shines amid the groaning battleAnd seek for courage e'en in cowardice.

Yet in thine heart the woman-form of pity But see-bither he comes- let us away!

Asserts too large a share, an ill-timed guest! His brother with him, and the bloody Couthon, There is unsoundness in the state-To-morrow And high of haughty spirit, young St-Just.

Shall see it cleansed by wholesome massacre ! (Exeunt.

Beware! already do the sections murmurEnter ROBESPIERRE, COUTAON, ST-Just, and ROBES

• () the great glorious patriot, RobespierrePIERRE JUNIOR.

The tyrant guardian of the country's freedom!, (ROBESPIERRE. What! did La Fayette fall before my power ?

'T were folly sure to work great deeds by halves ! And did I conquer Roland's spotless virtues ?

Much I suspect the darksome fickle heart The fervent eloquence of Vergniaud's tongue?

Of cold Barrere! And Brissol's thoughtful soul unbribed and bold ?

ROBESPIERRE.
Did zealot armies haste in vain to save them?

I see the villain in him!
What! did thi' assassin's dagger aim its point
Vain, as a dream of murder, at my bosom?

If he-if all forsake thee-what remains ?

ROBESPIERRE.

TALLIEN.

LEGENDRE,

ROBESPIERRE JUNIOR.

COUT HON.

ROBESPIERRE JUNIOR.

ROBESPIERRE.

BARRERE.

ROBESPIERRE,

ROBES PIERRE.

BARRERE.

BARRERE.

ROBES PIERRE.
Myself! the steel-strong Rectilude of soul

There are who wish my ruin-but I'll make them And Poverty sublime 'mid circling virtues !

Blush for the crime in blood!
The giant Victories, my counsels forma,
Shall stalk around me with sun-glittering plumes,

Nay--but I tell thee, Bidding the darts of calumny fall pointless.

Thou art too fond of slaughter-and the right
(Exeunt cæteri. Manet Couthon. (If right it be) workest by most foul means!

COUTION (solus).
So we deceive ourselves! What goodly virtues

Self-centering Fear! how well thou canst ape Mercy!
Bloom on the poisonous branches of ambition ! Too fond of slaughter!-matchless hypocrite!
Still, Robespierre! thou 'lt guard thy country's freedom Thought Barrere so, when Brissot, Danton died?
To despotize in all the patriot's pomp.

Thoright Barrere so, when through the streaming streets While Conscience, 'mid the mob's applauding clamours, of Paris red-eyed Massacre o'er-wearied Slceps in thine ear, nor whispers-blood-stain'd tyrant! Reel'd heavily, intoxicate with blood ? Yet what is Conscience? Superstition's dream,

And when (O heavens!) in Lyons' death-red square Making such deep impression on our sleep

Sick fancy groan'd o'er putrid bills of slain, That long th' awakeu'd breast retains its horrors!

Didst thou not fiercely laugh, and bless the day? But he returns—and with him comes Barrere.

Why, thou hast been the mouth-piece of all horrors,
[Exit Coution. And, like a blood-hound, crouch'd for murder! Now

Aloof thou slandest from the tottering pillar,
Enter ROBESPIERRE and BARRERE.

Or, like a frighted child behind its mother,

Hidest thy pale face in the skirts of— Mercy!
There is no danger but in cowardice.-
Barrere! we make the danger, when we fear it.

O prodigality of eloquent anger!
We have such force without, as will suspend

Why now I see thou 'rt weak-thy case is desperate ! The cold and trembling treachery of these members.

The cool ferocious Robespierre turn'd scolder!

ROBESPIERRE. 'T will be a pause of terror.

Who from a bad man's bosom wards the blow
ROBESPIERRE.

Reserves the whelted dagger for his own.
But to whom?

Denounced twice--and twice I saved his life!
Rather the short-lived slumber of the tempest,

[Exit. Gathering its strength anew. The dastard traitors!

BARRERE. Moles, that would undermine the rooted oak!

The sections will support then, there's the point? A pause!--a moment's pause! —'T is all their life.

No! he can never weather out the storm-
BARRERE.

Yet he is sudden in revenge-No more!
Yet much they talk-and plausible their speech. I must away to Tallien.

(Exit. Couthon's decree has given such powers, thatROBESPIERRE.

That what? SCENE changes to the house of AdelaiDE. BARRERE.

ADELAJDE enters, speaking to a SERVANT.
The freedom of debate

ROBESPIERRE.
Transparent mask!

Didst thou present the letter that I
They wish to clog the wheels of government,

Did Tallien answer, he would soon return?
Forcing the hand that guides the vast machine
To bribe them to their duty-English patriots ! He is in the Tuilleries-with him Legendre-
Are not the congregated clouds of war

In deep discourse they seem’d: as I approach'd
Black all around us? In our very

vitals

He waved his hand as bidding me retire: Works not the king-bred poison of rebellion ?

I did not interrupt him.

[Returns the letter. Say, what shall counteract the selfish plottings Of wretches, cold of heari, nor awed by fears

Thou didst rightly. Of him, whose power directs th' eternal justice ?

(Exit SERVANT. Terror? or secret-sapping gold? The first

O this new freedom! at how dear a price Heavy, but transient as the ills that cause it;

We've bought the seeming good! The peaceful virtues, And to the virtuous patriot rendered light

And every blandishment of private life, By the necessities that gave it birth:

The father's cares, the mother's fond endearment, The other fouls the fount of the republic,

All sacrificed 10 liberty's wild riot. Making it flow polluted to all ages :

The winged hours, that scatter'd roses round me, Inoculates the state with a slow venom,

Languid and sad drag their slow course along, That, once imbibed, must be continued ever.

And shake big gall-drops from their heavy wings. Myself incorruptible, I ne'er could bribe them

But I will steal away these anxious thoughts Therefore they hate me.

By the soft languishment of warbled airs,

If haply melodies may lull :he sense
Are the sections friendly? Of sorrow for a while.

ADELAIDE.

gave thee!

SERVANT

ADELAIDE.

BARRERE.

[blocks in formation]

Tell me, on what holy ground May domestic peace be found? Halcyon daughter of the skies, Far on fearful wing she flies, From the pomp of sceptred state, From the rebel's noisy hate.

In a cottaged vale she dwells,
List'ning to the Sabbath bells!
Still around her steps are seen
Spotless honour's meeker mien,
Love, the fire of pleasing fears,
Sorrow smiling through her tears;
And, conscious of the past employ,
Memory, bosom-spring of joy.

Say, are ye friends to freedom ? I am her's!
Let us, forgetful of all common feuds,
Rally around her shrine! Een now the tyrant
Concerts a plan of instant massacre!

BILLAUD VARENNES.
Away to the Convention ! with that voice
So oft the herald of glad victory,
Rouse their fallen spirits, thunder in their ears
The names of tyrant, plunderer, assassin!
The violent workings of my soul within
Anticipate the monster's blood !
[Cry from the street of «No Tyrant! Down with

the Tyrant

[blocks in formation]

Ah! rather let me ask what mystery lowers
On Tallien's darken'd brow.

Thou dost me wrongThy soul distemper’d, can my heart be tranquil ?

TALLIEN. Tell me, by whom thy brother's blood was spilt? Asks he not vengeance on these patriot murderers ? It has been borne too tamely. Fears and curses Groan on our midnight beds, and e'en our dreams Threaten the assassin hand of Robespierre. He dies!—nor has the plot escaped his fears.

ADELAIDE.

Yet-yet-be cautious! much I fear the Commune-
The tyrant's creatures, and their fate with his
Fast link'd in close indissoluble union.
The Pale Convention-

TALLIEN

Hate him as they fear him, Impatient of the chain, resolved and ready.

ADELAIDE.
Th' enthusiast mob, confusion's lawless sons-

TALLIEN.
They are aweary of his stern morality,
The fair-mask'd offspring of ferocious pride.
The sections too support the delegates :
All-all is ours! c'en now the vital air
Of Liberty, condensed awhile, is bursting
(Force irresistible!) from its compressure-
To shatter the arch-chemist in the explosion !

ROBESPIERRE (mounts the Tribune). Once more befits it that the voice of truth, Fearless in innocence, though leaguer'd round By envy and her hateful brood of hell, Be heard amid this hall, once more befits The patriol, whose prophetic eye so oft Has pierced through faction's veil, to flash on crimes Of deadliest import. Mouldering in the grave Sleeps Capet's caitiff corse; my daring hand Levell’d to earth his blood-cemented throne, My voice declared his guilt, and stirrd up France To call for vengeance.

I too dug the grave Where sleep the Girondists, detested band ! Long with the show of freedom they abused Her ardent sons. Long time the well-turn'd phrase, The high fraught sentence, and the lofty tone Of declamation, thunder'd in this hall, Till reason 'midst a labyrinth of words Perplex'd, in silence seem'd to yield assent. I durst oppose. Soul of my honoured friend! Spirit of Marat, upon thee I callThou know'st me faithful, know'st with what warm zeal I urged the cause of justice, stripp'd the mask From faction’s deadly visage, and destroy'd Her traitor brood. Whose patriot urm hurl'd down Hebert and Rousin, and the villain friends Of Danlon, foul apostate! those, who long Mask'd treason's form in liberty's fair garb,

« AnteriorContinuar »