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[Ezeunt catteri. Manet Couthon.
courhon (solus). So we deceive ourselves! What goodly virtues Bloom on the poisonous branches of ambition! Sull, Robespierre! thou'lt guard thy country's freedom To despotize in all the patriot's pomp. While Conscience, 'mid the mob's applauding clamors, Sleeps in thine car, nor whispers—blood-stain'd tyrant! Yet what is Conscience? Superstition's dream, Making such deep impression on our sleep— That long th' awaken'd breast retains its horrors! But he returns—and with him comes Barrere. [Erit Courhon. Enter RobespierRE and BARRERE. Rob Espierre. There is no danger but in cowardice.— Barrere! we make the danger, when we fear it. We have such force without, as will suspend The cold and trembling treachery of these members.
barrer E. Twill be a pause of terror—
But to whom 7 Rather the short-lived slumber of the tempest, Gathering its strength anew. The dastard traitors! Moles, that would undermine the rooted oak.' A pause!—a moment's pause !—T is all their life.
Yet much they talk—and plausible their speech. Couthon's decree has given such powers, that—
ROBESPIERRE. That what ? partnere. The freedom of debate—
They wish to clog the wheels of government,
eARRERE. Are the sections friendly?
There are who wish my ruin—but I'll make them Blush for the crime in blood!
Thou art too sond of slaughter—and the right
(If right it be) workest by most foul means!
Self-centering Fear ! how well thou canstape Mercy! Too fond of slaughter!—matchless hypocrite! Thought Barrere so, when Brissot, Danton died ? Thought Barrere so, when through the streaming
streets Of Paris red-eyed Massacre o'er-wearied Reel'd heavily, intoxicate with blood? And when (O heavens') in Lyons' death-red square Sick Fancy groan'd o'er putrid hills of slain, Didst thou not fiercely laugh, and bless the day ? Why, thou hast been the mouth-piece of all horrors, And, like a blood-hound, crouch'd for murder! Now Aloof thou standest from the tottering pillar, Or, like a frighted child behind its mother, Hidest thy pale face in the skirts of Mercy!
Enter BiLLAUD WARENNEs and BourDoN L'Oise.
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.
BARRE RE. 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 WARENNEs. Away to the Convention' with that voice So ost 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!”
TALLIEN. Hear ye that outcry 1–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 wann
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,
Couth on. 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. BARREre. Oh, wondrous wise, and most convenient too! I have long mark'd thee, Robespierre—and now Proclaim thee traitor—tyrant! [Loud applauses. Rob EspierRE. 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 fiction's noisy pack; beset and bay'd By the foul hell-hounds who know no escape Iron Justice outstretch'd arm, but by the force That pierces through her breast. (Murmurs, and shouts of Down with the tyrant!
Robespirit Rp. 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.
coillot d'itenbois. No-villany shall fall. France could not brook A monarch's sway—sounds the dictator's name More soothing to her eart
BoukDoN L'oise. - Rattle her chains More musically now than when the hand 9. Boot forged her setters, or the crew 0. Herbert thundered out their blasphemies, And Danton talk'd of virtue?
Robespier R.E. - Oh, that Brissot *** here again to thunder in this hall, ** Herbert lived, and Danton's giant form
Scowl'd once again defiance! so my soul
People of France,
I did—for I thought them honest.
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
Fear'd for yourself and left them to their fate.
RobespierRE JUNior. Barrere—attempt not meanly to divide Me from my brother. I partake his guilt, For I partake his virtue. Robespi ERR.E. 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. BARRERE. 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?
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?
ROBEspirer R.E Junior. 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 2 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 2 when appall'd,
The hireling sons of England spread the sail
Of safety, fought I like a merchant then? Oh, patience patience!
BourDoN L'oise. How this younger tyrant Mouths out defiance to us! even so He had led on the armies of the south, Till once again the plains of France were drench'd With her best blood.
collot D'HER bois. Till, once again display'd, Lyons' sad tragedy had call'd me forth The minister of wrath, whilst slaughter by Had bathed in human blood.
That we are traitors—that our heads must fall
What—not one blush of conscience on thy cheek—
coLLot D'HER Bois. Ask you proofs 7 Robespierre, what proofs were ask'd when Brissot died?
LEGEN dre. What proofs adduced you when the Danton died? When at the imminent peril of my life I rose, and fearless of thy frowning brow, Proclaim'd him guiltless
The fatal day. I do repent me much
- [Loud applauses. Triumph not too soon, Justice may yet be victor.
Enter St-Just, and mounts the Tribune.
st-Just. I come from the committee—charged to speak Of matters of high import. I omit Their orders. Representatives of France, Boldly in his own person speaks St-Just What his own heart shall dictate.
Insulted delegates of France? St-Just
Hear me! [Violent murmurs. RobespierRE.
He shall be heard'
BourdoN L'oise. Must we contaminate this sacred hall With the foul breath of treason 1
Robespierre prevented liberty of speech—
LEGENIDR.E. Heed we well That justice guide our actions. No light import Attends this day. I move St-Just be heard.
FRERON. Inviolate be the sacred right of man, The freedom of debate.
I may be heard, then much the times are changed,
bill, Aud WARENNES. Shudder, ye representatives of France, Shudder with horror. Henriot commands The marshall'd force of Paris—Henriot, Foul particide—the sworn ally of Hebert, Denounced by all—upheld by Robespierre. Who spared La Vallette who promoted him, Stain'd with the deep dye of nobility Who to an ex-peer gave the high command 7 Who screen'd from justice the rapacious thief? Who cast in chains the friends of Liberty? Robespierre, the self-styled patriot Robespierre— Robespierre, allied with villain Daubigné— Robespierre, the foul arch-tyrant Robespierre.
Robespier Re. Take back the name, ye citizens of France— [Violent clamor. Cries of Down with the Tyrant!
Oppression falls. The traitor stands appall’d—
The arrest of the traitors. Memorable Will be this day for France.
Yes! memorable This day will be for France—for villains triumph. Lepas. I will not share in this day's damning guilt. Condemn me too. [Great cry–Down with the Tyrants! (The two RobespierREs, Couthon, St-Just and LEBAs are led off).
ACT III. SCENE continues.
collot D'HERBois. Caesar is fallen! The baneful tree of Java, Whose death-distilling boughs dropt poisonous dew, Isrooted 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.
Bill AUD 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.
FRERON. I denounce Fleuriot too, the mayor of Paris.
Enter Dubois CRANc6.
Robespierre is rescued. Henriot at the head
collot D'HER Bois.
t.A.L. Li EN.
collot D'HER bois. The National Convention shall remain Firm at its post.
Enter a MESSENGER.
Messr. No er. Robespierre has reach'd the Commune. They espouse The tyrant's cause. St-Just is up in arms! St-Just—the young ambitious bold St-Just Harangues the mob. The sanguinary Couthon Thirsts for your blood.
TAI. Lie N.
These tyrants are in arms against the law:
Enter MERLIN of Dou AY.
MER Lin. Health to the representatives of France! I past this moment through the armed force— They ask'd my name—and when they heard a delegate,