Imágenes de páginas

(Soft Music). Enter TALLIEN.

TALLIEN. Music, my love? O breathe again that air! Soft nurse of pain, it soothes the weary soul Of care, sweet as the whisper'd breeze of evening That plays around the sick man's throbbing temples.


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 Honor'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.

TALLIEN. I thank thee, Adelaide!'t was sweet, though mournful. But why thy brow o'ercast, thy cheek so wan! Thou look'st as a lorn maid beside some stream That sighs away the soul in fond despairing, While Sorrow sad, like the dank willow near her, Hangs o'er the troubled fountain of her eye.

ADELAIDE. Ah! rather let me ask what mystery lowers On Tallien's darken'd brow. Thou dost me wrong— Thy soul distemper'd, can my heart be tranquil?


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! e'en now the vital air Of Liberty, condensed awhile, is bursting (Force irresistible!) from its compressure— To shatter the arch-chemist in the explosion!

Enter BILLAUD WARENNEs and BourDoN L'Oise.

[ABELAIDE retires

BourdoN L'oise. Tallien! was this a time for amorous conference? Henriot, the tyrant's most devoted creature, Marshals the force of Paris: the fierce club, With Vivier at their head, in loud acclaim Have sworn to make the guillotine in blood Float on the scaffold.—But who comes here?

Enter BARRERE abruptly.

BARRERE. Say, are ye friends to Freedom? I am her's? Let us, forgetful of all common feuds, Rally around her shrine! E'en now the tyrant Concerts a plan of instant massacre :

BiLLAUD variennes.

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 Tyranto Down with

the Tyrant?”

TALLIEN. Hear ye that outcry?—If the trembling members Even for a moment hold his fate suspended, I swear, by the holy poniard that stabb’d Caesar, This dagger probes his heart! [Ereunt omnes.

ACT II. SCENE-The Convention.

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 patriot, 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 stirr'd 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 honor'd friend! Spirit of Marat, upon thee I call— Thou know'st me faithful, know'st with what wa

zeal I urged the cause of justice, stripp'd the mask From Faction's deadly visage, and destroy'd Her traitor brood. Whose patriot arm hurl’d down Hebert and Rousin, and the villain friends Of Danton, foul apostate' those, who long Mask'd Treason's form in Liberty's fair garb,

Long deluged France with blood, and durst defy
Omnipotence! but I, it seems, am false!
I am a traitor too ! I–Robespierre!
s—at whose name the dastard despot brood
Look pale with fear, and call on saints to help them!
Who dares accuse me? who shall dare belie
My spotless name? Speak, ye accomplice band, *
Of what am I accused of what strange crime
Is Maximilian Robespierre accused,
That through this hall the buzz of discontent
Should murmur ! who shall speak?

O patriot tongue,

Belying the soul heart! Who was it urged,
Friendly to tyrants, that accurst decree
Whose influence, brooding o'er this hallow'd hall,
Has chill'd each tongue to silence. Who destroy'd
The freedom of debate, and carried through
The fatal law, that doom'd the delegates,
Unheard before their equals, to the bar
Where cruelty sat throned, and murder reign'd
With her Dumas coequal Say—thou man
Of mighty eloquence, whose law was that

COUthon. That law was mine. I urged it—I proposed— The voice of France assembled in her sons Assented, though the tame and timid voice Of traitors murmur'd. I advised that law— I justify it. It was wise and good.

Barriere. Oh, wondrous wise, and most convenient too! I have long mark'd thee, Robespierre—and now Proclaim thee traitor—tyrant! [Loud applauses. Robespirit RE. It is well. I am a traitor! oh, that I had fallen When Regnault lifted high the murderous knife; Regnault, the instrument belike of those Who now themselves would sain assassinate, And legalize their murders. I stand here An isolated patriot—hemm'd around By faction's noisy pack; beset and bay'd By the soul hell-hounds who know no escape From Justice' outstretch'd arm, but by the force That pierces through her breast. (Murmurs, and shouts of Down with the tyrant /

- Roerspirr R.E.
Nay, but I will be heard. There was a time,
When Robespierre began, the loud applauses
Of honest patriots drown'd the honest sound.
But times are changed, and villany prevails.

collot d'her bois. \o-villany shall fall. France could not brook A monarch's sway—sounds the dictator's name More soothing to her ear?

Both DoN L'oise. Rattle her chains More musically now than when the hand Brissot forged her setters, or the crew of Herbert thundered out their blasphemies, And Danton talk'd of virtue?

Robespier R.E. Oh, that Brissot Were here again to thunder in this hall, That Herbert lived, and Danton's giant form

Scowl'd once again defiance! so my soul
Might cope with worthy foes.

People of France,
Hear me! Beneath the vengeance of the law,
Traitors have perish'd countless; more survive:
The hydra-headed faction lifts anew
Her daring front, and fruitful from her wounds,
Cautious from past defeats, contrives new wiles
Against the sons of Freedom.

- Freedom lives!
Oppression falls—for France has felt her chains,
Has burst them too. Who traitor-like stept forth
Amid the hall of Jacobins to save
Camille Desmoulins, and the venal wretch
D'Eglantine !

I did—for I thought them honest.
And Heaven forefend that vengeance ere should strike
Ere justice doom'd the blow.

Traitor, thou didst.

Yes, the accomplice of their dark designs,
Awhile didst thou defend them, when the storm
Lower'd at safe distance. When the clouds frown'd

darker, -
Fear'd for yourself and left them to their fate.
Oh, I have mark'd thee long, and through the veil
Seen thy foul projects. Yes, ambitious man,
Self-will'd dictator o'er the realm of France,
The vengeance thou hast plann'd for patriots
Falls on thy head. Look how thy brother's deeds
Dishonor thine ! He the firm patriot,
Thou the soul parricide of Liberty!

Robespierre JUNIOR. Barrere—attempt not meanly to divide Me from my brother. I partake his guilt, For I partake his virtue.


Brother, by my soul
More dear I hold thee to my heart, that thus
With me thou darest to tread the dangerous path
Of virtue, than that Nature twined her cords
Of kindred round us.

Yes, allied in guilt,

Even as in blood ye are. Oh, thou worst wretch,
Thou worse than Sylla! hast thou not proscribed,
Yea, in most foul anticipation slaughter'd, -
Each patriot representative of France 1

Bourdon L'oise. Was not the younger Caesar too to reign O'er all our valiant armies in the south, And still continue there his merchant wiles?

Robespierre JUNiort. His merchant wiles! Oh, grant me patience, Heaven" Was it by merchant wiles I gain'd you back Toulon, when proudly on her captive towers Waved high the English flag or fought I then With merchant wiles, when sword in hand I led Your troops to conquest ? Fought I merchant-like, Or barter'd I for victory, when death Strode o'er the reeking streets with giant stride, And shook his ebon plumes, and sternly smiled Amid the bloody banquet! when appall'd, The hireling sons of England spread the sail

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]
[blocks in formation]

tallien. Oppression falls. The traitor stands appall’d— Guilt's iron fangs engrasp his shrinking soul— He hears assembled France denounce his crimes' He sees the mask torn from his secret sins— He trembles on the precipice of sate. Fall'n guilty tyrant' murder'd by thy rage, How many an innocent victim's blood has stain'd Fair Freedom's altar! Sylla-like, thy hand Mark'd down the virtues, that, thy foes removed, Perpetual Dictator thou mightst reign, And tyrannize o'er France, and call it freedom! Long time in timid guilt the traitor plann'd His fearful wiles—success embolden'd sin– And his stretch'd arm had grasp'd the diadem Ere now, but that the coward's heart recoil'd, Lest France awaked, should rouse her from her dream, And call aloud for vengeance. He, like Caesar, With rapid step urged on his bold career, Even to the summit of ambitious power, And deem'd the name of King alone was wanting. Was it for this we hurl’d proud Capet down? ls it for this we wage eternal war Against the tyrant horde of murderers, The crown'd cockatrices whose soul venom Insects all Europe was it then for this We swore to guard our liberty with life, That Robespierre should reign the spirit of freedom Is not yet sunk so low. The glowing flame That animates each honest Frenchman's heart Not yet extinguish'd. I invoke thy shade, Immortal Brutus! I too wear a dagger; And if the representatives of France, Through fear or favor, should delay the sword Of justice, Tallien emulates thy virtues; Tallien, like Brutus, lifts the avenging arm; Talien shall save his country.

[Violent applauses.

sillaum warenNEs. I demand

The arrest of the traitors. Memorable
Will be this day for France.
Robespier R.E.
Yes! memorable
This day will be for France—for villains triumph.

I will not share in this day's damning guilt.
Condemn me too.

[Great cry—Down with the Tyrants! (The two RobespierREs, Courthon, St-Just and LEBAs

are led off).


Scene continues.

collot D'HERbois. Caesar is fallen! The baneful tree of Java, Whose death-distilling boughs dropt poisonous dew, Is rooted from its base. This worse than Cromwell, The austere, the self-denying Robespierre, Even in this hall, where once with terror mute We listen'd to the hypocrite's harangues, Has heard his doom.

BiLLAUD WARENNES. Yet must we not suppose The tyrant will fall tamely. His sworn hireling Henriot, the daring desperate Henriot Commands the force of Paris. I denounce him.

Frt Erton. I denounce Fleuriot too, the mayor of Paris.

Enter Dubois CRANc6.

[blocks in formation]

collot D'HER bois. The tyrants threaten us, as when they turn'd The cannon's mouth on Brissot.

Enter another MEssenger.

SECOND MESSENGER. Vivier harangues the Jacobins—the club Espouse the cause of Robespierre.

Enter another MEssenger.

Third MESSENGER. All's lost—the tyrant triumphs. Henriot leads The soldiers to his aid. Already I hear The rattling cannon destined to surround This sacred hall.

"tallien. Why, we will die like men then; The representatives of France dare death, When duty steels their bosoms. [Loud applauses.

TALLIEN (addressing the galleries). • Citizens ! France is insulted in her delegates— The majesty of the republic is insulted— Tyrants are up in arms. An armed force Threats the Convention. The Convention swears To die, or save the country! [Violent applauses from the galleries.

citizen (from above). We too swear To die, or save the country. Follow me. [All the men quit the galleries.

Enter another MEssenger. Fourth MESSENGER

Henriot is taken!—
... [Loud applauses.
Henriot is taken. Three of your brave soldiers
Swore they would seize the rebel slave of tyrants,
Or perish in the attempt. As he patroll'd
The streets of Paris, stirring.up the mob,
They seized him.
Let the names of these brave men
Live to the future day.

Enter BourdoN L'Oise, sword in hand.

pour DoN L'oise.

I have clear'd the Commune.


Through the throng I rush'd,

Brandishing my good sword to drench its blade
Deep in the tyrant's heart. The timid rebels
Gave way. I met the soldiery—I spake
Of the dictator's crimes—of patriots chain'd
In dark deep dungeons by his lawless rage—
Of knaves secure beneath his fostering power.
I spake of Liberty. Their honest hearts
Caught the warm flame. The general shoutburst forth,
“Live the Convention—Down with Robespierre"


[Shouts from without—Down with the Tyrant! TALLIEN.

I hear, I hear the soul-inspiring sounds,
France shall be saved' her generous sons, attached

To principles, not persons, spurn the idol
They worshipp'd once. Yes, Robespierre shall fall
As Capet fell ! Oh! never let us deem
That France shall crouch beneath a tyrant's throne.
That the almighty people who have broke
On their oppressors' heads the oppressive chain.
Will court again their fetters! easier were it
To hurl the cloud-capt mountain from its base,
Than force the bonds of slavery upon men
Determined to be free


Enter LEGENDRE, a pistol in one hand, keys in the other.

LEGENDRE (flinging down the keys). So—let the mutinous Jacobins meet now In the open air. [Loud applauses A factious turbulent party Lording it o'er the state since Danton died, And with him the Cordeliers—A hireling band Of loud-tongued orators controll'd the club, And bade them bow the knee to Robespierre. Vivier has 'scaped me. Curse his coward heart— This fate-fraught tube of Justice in my hand, I rush'd into the hall. He mark'd mine eye That beam'd its patriot anger, and flash'd full With death-denouncing meaning. "Mid the throng He mingled. I pursued—but slaid my hand, Lest haply I might shed the innocent blood. [Applauses - FRf. RoN. They took from me my ticket of admission— Expell'd me from their sittings.-Now, forsooth, Humbled and trembling re-insert my name; But Freron enters not the club again Till it be purged of guilt—till, purified Of tyrants and of traitors, honest men o May breathe the air in safety. [Shouts from without

What means this uproar! if the tyrant band
Should gain the people once again to rise—
We are as dead


And wherefore fear we death? Did Brutus fear it 2 or the Grecian friends Who buried in Hipparchus' breast the sword, And died triumphanto Caesar should fear death Brutus must scorn the bugbear. Shouts from without. Live the Convention—Dora with the Tyrants!

TALLIEN. Hark! again The sounds of honest Freedom'

Enter DEPUTEs from the SECTIONs.

Citizen. Citizens' representatives of France' Hold on your steady course. The men of Paris Espouse your cause. The men of Paris swear They will defend the delegates of Freedom

tAllie N. Hear ye this, Colleagues? hear ye this, my brethren And does no thrill of joy pervade your breasts My bosom bounds to rapture. I have seen

« AnteriorContinuar »