« PreviousContinue »
Worthy a brave man's liking. Were ye No such,
Ye would have honoured her. But get ye To hence,
And thank your meanness, other God you
For your existence. Had you touched a hair Of those dishevelled locks, I would have thinned
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
Soldiers. Mercy! mercy!
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 conquestThe conquest which you led to.
Arnold. Get you hence!
Hence to your quarters! you will find their fixed
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.
Had I a knife even; but it matters notDeath 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.
injury! And now thou wouldst preserve me,
be--but that shall never bel
[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 thee.
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!
feel thee now! Help! Help! She's gone. Cæsar (approaches). I am here.
Arnold. Thou! but oh, save her!
The leap was serious.
Arnold. Oh! she is lifeless!
She be so, I have nonght to do with that:
Cæsar. Aye, slave or master, 'tis all
Alive or dead, thou essence of all beauty, I love but thee!
Cæsar. Even so Achilles loved
Faint flutter life disputes with death.
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!
Caesar. Bah! bah! You are so,
And do not know it. She will come to life-
Convey her unto the Colonna-palaco,
Cæsar. Come then! raise her up.
Casar. As softly as they bear the dead, Perhaps because they cannot feel the jolting. Arnold. But doth she live indeed? Cæsar. Nay, never fear!
But if you rue it after, blame not me.
Cæsar. 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
Now I desert not mine. Soft! bear her hence,
Of old the Angels of her earliest sex.
Cæsar. I. But fear not. I'll not be your 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 spring is come; the violet's gone,
And she lifts up her dewy eye of blue
And when the spring comes with her host
Pluck the others, but still remember
Cæsar (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,
As he yawns in the hall.
Aside intrigue: 'tis rarely worth the trouble
The rub! at least to mortals.
Softly! methinks her lips move, her eyes open!
Casar. 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,
To go forth, with a pine
For a spear, 'gainst the Mammoth,
Or strike through the ravine
At the foaming Behemoth,
But the wars are over,
Have sought their home;
They are happy, and we rejoice;
Let their hearts have an echo from every voice!
[Exeunt the Peasantry, singing.
THE LAMENT OF TASSO.
LONG years! It tries the thrilling frame
But must be borne. I stoop not to despair;
That through this sufferance I might be forgiven,
I have employ'd my penance to record How Salem's shrine was won, and how adored.
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
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
Oh Leonora! wilt not thou reply?
But let them go, or torture as they will,
Above me, hark! the long and maniac cry Of minds and bodies in captivity.
And hark! the lash and the increasing howl, | Dwelling deep in my shut and silent heart And the half-inarticulate blasphemy! As dwells the gather'd lightning in its cloud, There be some here with worse than frenzy Encompass'd with its dark and rolling shroud,
Some who do still goad on the o'er-labour'd mind,
And dim the little light that's left behind
'Mid sounds and sights like these long years have pass'd;
'Mid sights and sounds like these my life may close: I shall repose.
So let it be for then
I have been patient, let me be so yet; I had forgotten half I would forget, But it revives-oh! would it were my lot To be forgetful as I am forgot!— Feel I not wroth with those who bade me dwell
In this vast lazar-house of many woes? Where laughter is not mirth, nor thought the mind,
Nor words a language, nor even men mankind;
Where cries reply to curses, shrieks blows, And each is tortured in his separate hell For we are crowded in our solitudesMany, but each divided by the wall, Which echoes Madness in her babbling moods;
While all can hear, none heeds his neighbour's callNone! save that One, the veriest wretch of all, Who was not made to be the mate of these, Nor bound between Distraction and Disease. Feel I not wroth with those who placed me here?
Who have debased me in the minds of men, Debarring me the usage of my own, Blighting my life in best of its career, Branding my thoughts as things to shun
Would I not pay them back these pangs again,
And teach them inward sorrow's stifled groan?
The struggle to be calm, and cold distress, Which undermines our Stoical success? No!-still too proud to be vindictive-I Have pardon'd princes' insults,and would die. Yes, Sister of my Sovereign! for thy sake I weed all bitterness from out my breast, It hath no business where thou art a guest; Thy brother hates-but I can not detest, Thou pitiest not-but I can not forsake.
Look on a love which knows not to despair, But all unquench'd is still my better part,
Till struck,-forth flies the all-etherial dart!
And thus at the collision of thy name
And for a moment all things as they were
Not for thou wert a princess, but that Love
And in that sweet severity there was
The very love which lock'd me to my chain Hath lighten'd half its weight; and for the rest,
Though heavy, lent me vigour to sustain, And look to thee with undivided breast, And foil the ingenuity of Pain.
It is no marvel-from my very birth My soul was drunk with love, which did pervade
And mingle with whate'er I saw on earth ;'
Though I was chid for wandering; and the wise
Shook their white aged heads o'er me, and said
Of such materials wretched men were nuade,
Return'd and wept alone, and dream'd again The visions which arise without a sleep. And with my years my soul began to pant With feelings of strange tumult and soft pain;
And the whole heart exhaled into One Want, But undefined and wandering, till the day I found the thing I sought-and that was thee;
And then I lost my being all to be Absorb'd in thine the world was past awayThou didst annihilate the earth to me!
I loved all solitude-but little thought To spend I know not what of life, remote From all communion with existence, save The maniac and his tyrant; had I been Their fellow, many years ere this had seen My mind like theirs corrupted to its grave; But who hath seen me writhe, or heard me rave?
Perchance in such a cell we suffer more Than the wreck'd sailor on his desert shore; The world is all before him—mine is here, Scarce twice the space they must accord my bier.
I once was quick in feeling – that is o'er;— My scars are callous, or I should have dash'd
My brain against these bars as the sun flash'd
In mockery through them;-if I bear and bore
The much I have recounted, and the more
A poet's wreath shall be thine only crown,
And thou, Leonora! thou who wert ashamed
What though he perish, he may lift his eye
Yet do I feel at times my mind decline, But with a sense of its decay:-I see Unwonted lights along my prison shine, And a strange demon, who is vexing me With pilfering pranks and petty pains, below
The feeling of the healthful and the free; But much to One, who long hath suffer'd so Sickness of heart, and narrowness of place, And all that may be borne, or can debase. I thought mine enemies had been but men, But spirits may be leagued with them-all Earth
Abandons - Heaven forgets me;
dearth Of such defence the Powers of Evil can, It may be, tempt me further, and prevail Against the outworn creature they assail. Why in this furnace is my spirit proved Like steel in tempering fire? because I loved? Because I loved what not to love, and see, Was more or less than mortal, and than me.
To less than monarchs that thou couldst be dear,
Go! tell thy brother that my heart, untamed By grief, years, weariness-and it may be A taint of that he would impute to meFrom long infection of a den like this, Where the mind rots congenial with the abyss,
Adores thee still;-and add-that when
Of banquet, dance, and revel, are forgot,
No power in death can tear our names apart, As none in life could rend thee from my heart.
Yes, Leonora! it shall be our fate