Page images
[blocks in formation]

Who slays Cellini, will have work'd as hard As e'er thou didst upon Carrara's blocks. [Arnold disarms and wounds Cellini, but slightly; the latter draws a pistol and fires; then retires and disappears through the portico. Cæsar. How farest thou? Thou hast a taste, methinks, Of red Bellona's banquet.

Arnold (staggers). Tis a scratch. Lend me thy scarf. He shall not 'scape me thus.

Cæsar. Where is it?

Arnold. In the shoulder,not the sword-arm, And that's enough. I am thirsty: would I


A helm of water!

Casar. That's a liquid now In requisition, but by no means easiest To come at.

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

My feebleness of arm that reach'd him not,
And take thy servant to thy mercy. "Tis
A glorious triumph still; proud Babylon's
No more; the Harlot of the Seven Hills
Hath changed her scarlet raiment for sack-

And ashes!
[The Lutheran dies.
Cæsar. Yes, thine own amidst the rest.
Well done, old Babel!

[The Guards defend themselves desperately, while the Pontiff escapes, by a private passage, to the Vatican and the Castle of St. Angelo. Cæsar. Ha! right nobly battled! Now, Priest! now, Soldier! the two great professions,

Together by the ears and hearts! I have not Seen a more comic pantomime since Titus Took Jewry. But the Romans had the best then;

Now they must take their turn.

Soldiers. He hath escaped! Follow! Another Soldier. They have barred the narrow passage up,

And it is clogged with dead even to the door. Cæsar. I am glad he hath escaped: he may thank me for't

In part. I would not have his Bulls abolished

Twere worth one half our empire: his Indulgences

Demand some in return ;—no, no, he must not Fall;-and besides, his now escape may furnish

A future miracle, in future proof
Of his infallibility. [To the Spanish Soldiers.
Well, Cut-throats!

What do you pause for? If you make not


There will not be a link of pious gold left. And you too, Catholics! Would ye return From such a pilgrimage without a relic?


very Lutherans have more true devotion: See how they strip the shrines!

Soldiers. By holy Peter!

Cæsar. And that were shame! Go to! Assist in their conversion.

[The Soldiers disperse; many quit the Church, others enter. Cæsar. They are gone,

And others come: so flows the wave on wave Of what these creatures call eternity, Deeming themselves the breakers of the


While they are but its bubbles, ignorant That foam is their foundation. So, another! Enter Olimpia, flying from the pursuit-She springs upon the altar.

Soldier. She's mine.

Another Soldier (opposing the former).
You lie, I track'd her first; and, were she
The Pope's niece, I'll not yield her.
[They fight.
Third Soldier (advancing towardsOlimpia).
You may settle

Your claims; I'll make mine good.
Olimpia. Infernal slave!

You touch me not alive.

Third Soldier. Alive or dead!
Olimpia (embracing a massive crucifix).
Respect your God!

Third Soldier. Yes, when he shines in gold. Girl, you but grasp your dowry.

[As he advances, Olimpia, with a strong and sudden effort, casts down the crucifix; it strikes the Soldier, who falls.

Third Soldier. Oh, great God! Olimpia. Ah! now you recognize him. Third Soldier. My brain's crushed! Comrades, help ho! All's darkness!

[He dies. Other Soldiers (coming up). Slay her, although she had a thousand lives: She hath killed our comrade.

Olimpia. Welcome such a death! You have no life to give, which the worst


Would take. Great God! through thy redeeming Son,

And thy Son's Mother, now receive me as I would approach thee, worthy her, and him, and thee!


Arnold. What do I see? Accursed Jackalls! Forbear!

Cæsar (aside, and laughing). Ha! ha! here's equity! The dogs Have as much right as he. But to the issue! Soldiers. Count, she hath slain our comrade.

Arnold. With what weapon?

Soldier. The cross, beneath which he is crushed; behold him

Lie there, more like a worm than man; she cast it

He speaks the truth; the heretics will bear Upon his head. The best away.

Arnold. Even so; there is a woman

[blocks in formation]

Your ranks more than the enemy. Away! Ye Jackalls! gnaw the bones the lion leaves, But not even these till he permits.

A Soldier (murmuring). The Lion Might conquer for himself then.

Arnold (cuts him down). Mutineer! Rebel in Hell—you shall obey on earth! [The Soldiers assault Arnold. Come on! I'm glad on't! I will show you, slaves,

How you should be commanded, and who led you

First o'er the wall you were as shy to scale, Until I waved my banners from its height, As you are bold within it.

[Arnold mows down the foremost; the rest throw down their arms. Soldiers. Mercy! mercy! Arnold. Then learn to grant it. Have I taught you who

Led you o'er Rome's eternal battlements? Soldiers. We saw it, and we know it; yet forgive

A moment's error in the heat of conquest— The conquest which you led to.

Arnold. Get you hence!

Hence to your quarters! you will find them


In the Colonna-palace.

Olimpia (aside). In my father's house! Arnold (to the Soldiers). Leave your

arms; ye have no further need Of such the City's rendered. And mark well You keep your hands clean, or I'll find out a stream,

As red as Tiber now runs, for your baptism. Soldiers (deposing their arms and departing). We obey!

Arnold (to Olimpia). Lady! you are safe. Olimpia. I should be so,

Had I a knife even; but it matters not— Death hath a thousand gates; and on the marble,

Even at the altar-foot, whence I look down

Upon destruction, shall my head be dash'd, Ere thou ascend it. God forgive thee, man! Arnold. I wish to merit his forgiveness, and

Thine own, although I have not injured thee.

Olimpia. No! Thou hast only sacked my native land,

No injury and made my father's house A den of thieves-No injury!- this templeSlippery with Roman and holy gore.

preserve me,

but that shall never be! [She raises her eyes to Heaven, folds her robe round her, and prepares to dash herself down on the side of the Altar opposite to that where Arnold stands.

Arnold. Hold! hold! I swear.

Olimpia. Spare thine already forfeit soul A perjury for which even Hell would loathe


I know thee.

Arnold. No,thou know'st me not; I am not Of these men, though—

Olimpia. I judge thee by thy mates; It is for God to judge thee as thou art. I see thee purple with the blood of Rome; Take mine, 'tis all thou e'er shalt have of me! And here, upon the marble of this temple, Where the baptismal font baptised me God's, I offer him a blood less holy But not less pure (pure as it left me then, A redeemed infant) than the holy water The Saints have sanctified!

[Olimpia waves her hand to Arnold with disdain, and dashes herself on the pavement from the Altar.

Arnold. Eternal God!

I feel thee now! Help! Help! She's gone. Cæsar (approaches). I am here. Arnold. Thou! but oh, save her! Cæsar (assisting him to raise Olimpia). She hath done it well;

The leap was serious.

Arnold. Oh! she is lifeless!
Cæsar. If

She be so, I have nonght to do with that:
The resurrection is beyond me.
Arnold. Slave!

Cæsar. Aye, slave or master, 'tis all

one: methinks

Good words, however, are as well at times.
Arnold. Words!-Canst thou aid her?
Cæsar. I will try. A sprinkling
Of that same holy water may be useful.

[He brings some in his helmet from the font.
Arnold. 'Tis mixed with blood.
Cæsar. There is no cleaner now in Rome.
Arnold. How pale! how beautiful! how


Alive or dead, thou essence of all beauty,
I love but thee!

Cæsar. Even so Achilles loved
Penthesilea; with his form it seems
You have his heart, and yet it was no soft one.
Arnold. She breathes! But no, 'twas
nothing, or the last

Faint flutter life disputes with death.
Cæsar. She breathes.

Arnold. Thou sayst it? Then 'tis truth.
Cæsar. You do me right-

The Devil speaks truth much oftener than
he's deemed:

| He hath an ignorant audience.

Arnold (without attending to him). Yes! her heart beats.

Alas! that the first beat of the only heart
I ever wish'd to beat with mine, should


To an assassin's pulse.

Cæsar. A sage reflexion,

Arnold. Now onward, onward! Gently! [Exeunt, bearing Olimpia.-The Scene closes.


But somewhat late i' the day. Where shall SCENE 1.—A Castle in the Apennines, sur

we bear her!

[blocks in formation]

Caesar. Bah! bah! You are so,

And do not know it. She will come to life-
Such as you think so, such as you now are;
But we must work by human means.
Arnold. We will

Convey her unto the Colonna-palaco,
Where I have pitched my banner.

Cæsar. Come then! raise her up.
Arnold. Softly!

Casar. As softly as they bear the dead, Perhaps because they cannot feel the jolting. Arnold. But doth she live indeed? Casar. Nay, never fear!

But if you rue it after, blame not me.
Arnold. Let her but live!

Casar. The spirit of her life

Is yet within her breast, and may revive. Count! Count! I am your servant in all things,

And this is a new office:-'tis not oft
I am employed in such; but you perceive
How stanch a friend is what you call a fiend.
On earth you have often only fiends for

Now I desert not mine. Soft! bear her hence,
The beautiful half-clay, and nearly spirit!
I am almost enamoured of her, as
Of old the Angels of her earliest sex.



Cæsar. I. But fear not. I'll not be your rival.

Arnold. Rival!

Cæsar. I could be one right formidable; But since I slew the seven husbands of Tobia's future bride (and after all 'Twas sucked out by some incense) I have laid

rounded by a wild but smiling country. Chorus of Peasants singing before the Gates.


The wars are over,

The spring is come;
The bride and her lover

Have sought their home:

They are happy, we rejoice;

Let their hearts have an echo in every voice!

The spring is come; the violet's gone,
The first-born child of the early sun;
With us she is but a winter's flower,
The snow on the hills cannot blast her

And she lifts up her dewy eye of blue
To the youngest sky of the self-same huc.

And when the spring comes with her host
Of flowers, that flower beloved the most
Shrinks from the crowd that may confuse
Her heavenly odour and virgin hues.

Pluck the others, but still remember
Their Herald out of dim December—
The morning-star of all the flowers,
The pledge of day-light's lengthen'd hours;
Nor, 'midst the roses, e'er forget
The virgin, virgin Violet.

Enter CESAR.

Casar (singing). The wars are all over, Our swords are all idle,

The steed bites the bridle, The casque's on the wall.

There's rest for the rover;

But his armour is rusty, And the veteran grows crusty, As he yawns in the hall. Aside intrigue: 'tis rarely worth the trouble He drinks-but what's drinking? Of gaining, or—what is more difficult-A mere pause from thinking! Getting rid of your prize again; for there's No bugle awakes him with life-and-death

The rub! at least to mortals.
Arnold. Prithee, peace!
Softly! methinks her lips move, her eyes

Cæsar. Like stars, no doubt; for that's a metaphor

For Lucifer and Venus.
Arnold. To the palace
Colonna, as I told you!
Cæsar. Oh! I know
My way through Rome.



But the hound bayeth loudly,

The boar 's in the wood, And the falcon longs proudly To spring from her hood: On the wrist of the noble She sits like a crest,

And the air is in trouble

With birds from their nest.

Cæsar. Oh! Shadow of glory!
Dim image of war!
But the chase hath no story,
Her hero no star,
Since Nimrod, the founder
Of empire and chase,
Who made the woods wonder,
And quake for their race.
When the Lion was young,

In the pride of his might,
Then 'twas sport for the strong
To embrace him in fight;
To go forth, with a pine

For a spear, 'gainst the Mammoth,
Or strike through the ravine

LONG years! It tries the thrilling frame

to bear
And eagle-spirit of a Child of song-
Long years of outrage, calumny and wrong;
Imputed madness, prison'd solitude,
And the mind's canker in its savage mood,
When the impatient thirst of light and air
Parches the heart, and the abhorred grate,
Marring the sunbeams with its hideous
Works through the throbbing eyeball to
the brain
With a hot sense of heaviness and pain,
And bare, at once, Captivity display'd
Stands scoffing through the never-open'd
Which nothing through its bars admits,
save day
And tasteless food, which I have eat alone
Till its unsocial bitterness is gone,
And I can banquet like a beast of prey,
Sullen and lonely, couching in the cave
Which is my lair, and it may be my grave:
All this hath somewhat worn me, and may

At the foaming Behemoth,
While Man was in stature

As towers in our time,
The first-born of Nature,
And, like her, sublime!

But the wars are over,

The spring is come;
The bride and her lover


That through this sufferance I might be
I have employ'd my penance to record
How Salem's shrine was won, and how

Have sought their home;
They are happy, and we rejoice;

Let their hearts have an echo from every


[Exeunt the Peasantry, singing.

But this is o'er my pleasant task is done. My long-sustaining friend of many years! If I do blot thy final page with tears, Know that my sorrows have wrung from

me none.

But thou,my young creation! my soul's child! Which ever playing round me came and smiled,

And woo'd me from myself with thy sweet

Thou too art gone-and so is my delight:
And therefore do I weep and inly bleed
With this last bruise upon a broken reed.
Thou too art ended—what is left me now!
For I have anguish yet to bear-and how?
I know not that-but in the innate force
Of my own spirit shall be found resource.
I have not sunk, for I had no remorse,
Nor cause for such: they call'd me mad –
and why?
Oh Leonora! wilt not thou reply?
I was indeed delirious in my heart
To lift my love so lofty as thou art;
But still my frenzy was not of the mind;
I knew my fault, and feel my punishment
Not less because I suffer it unbent.
That thou wert beautiful, and I not blind,
Hath been the sin which shuts me from

But let them go, or torture as they will,

wear, But must be borne. I stoop not to despair; For I have battled with mine agony, And made me wings wherewith to overfly The narrow circus of my dungeon-wall, And freed the Holy Sepulchre from thrall; And revell'd among men and things divine, | My heart can multiply thine image still; And pour'd my spirit over Palestine, Successful love may sate itself away, In honour of the sacred war for him, The wretched are the faithful; 'tis their fate The God who was on earth and is in heaven, To have all feeling save the one decay, For he hath strengthen'd me in heart and And every passion into one dilate, limb. As rapid rivers into ocean pour; But ours is fathomless, and hath no shore.

Above me, hark! the long and maniac cry Of minds and bodies in captivity.

« PreviousContinue »