« AnteriorContinuar »
Rai. But he-but he !-Aymer de Chatillon.
The fiery knight-the very soul o' the field-
Rushing on danger with the joyous step
Of a hunter o'er the hills !-is that a tone
Wherewith to speak of him!-I heard a tale-
If it be true-nay, tell me !
He is here;
Ask him to tell thee-
If that tale be true
(he turns suddenly to his companions.) Follow me!-give the noble dead his rites, And we will have our day of vengeance yet, Soldiers and friends!
[Exeunt omnes. SCENE II.-A Hall of Oriental architecture, opening upon gardens. A fountain in the centre.
AYMER DE CHATILLON-MORAIMA.
Mor. (bending over a couch on which her brother is sleep
ing.) He sleeps so calınly now; the soft wind here
Brings in such lulling sounds!-Nay, think you not
This slumber will restore him ? See you not
His cheek's faint glow?
Aym. (turning away.) It was my sword which gave
The wound he dies from !
Dies from! say not so!
The brother of my childhood and my youth,
My heart's first friend !-Oh! I have been too weak,
I have delay'd too long !-He could not sue,
He bade me urge the prayer he would not speak,
And I withheld it !-Christian, set us free!
You have been gentle with us! 'tis the weight,
The bitter feeling, of captivity
Which preys upon his life !
You would go hence ?
Mor. For his sake!
You would leave me! 'tis too late.
You see it not-you know not, that your voice
in its low mournfulness to shake
Mine inmost soul ?—That you but look on me,
With the soft darkness of your earnest eyes,
And bid the world fade from me, and call up
A thousand passionate dreams, which wrap my life
As with a troubled cloud ?- The very sound
Of your light step hath made my heart o’erflow
Even unto aching with the sudden gush
Of its deep tenderness !-You know it not?
-- Moraima !-speak to me!
Mor. (covering herself with a veil.) I can but weep!
Is it even so ?-this love was born for tears!
Aymer! I can but weep! (going to leave him, he detains her.)
Aym. Hear me, yet hear me!-I was rear'd in arms
And the proud blast of trumpets, and the shouts
Of banner'd armies, these were joy to me,
Enough of joy! Till you—I look'd on you-
We met where swords were flashing, and the light
Of burning towers glared wildly on the slain-
Mor. (hurriedly.) Yes! then you saved me!
Then I knew
At once, what springs of deeper happiness
Lay far within my soul-and they burst forth
Troubled and dash'd with fear-yet sweet !- I loved !
Moraima! leave me not!
For us to love!
Oh! is't not taking sorrow to our hearts,
Binding her there.
I know not what I say !
How shall I look upon my brother? Hark!
Did he not call? (she goes up to the couch.)
Am I beloved ? She wept
With a full heart !I am! and such deep joy
Is found on earth! If I should lose her now!
If aught -(an attendant enters.)
(To attendant.) You seek me! why is this?
Your brother and his knights.
Here! are they here?
The knights my brother-said'st thou
Yes, my Lord,
And he would speak with you.
I seem I know
(To attendant.) Leave me! I know why he is come—'tis vain,
They shall not part us! (looking back on Moraima as he goes
What a silent grace
Floats mund her form!—They shall not part us! no!
[Exit-Scene closes. SCENE III.-A square of the city—a church in the back ground.
RAIMER DE CHATILLON.
Raimer (walking to and fro impatiently.)
And now, too, now! My father unavenged,
Our holy places threaten'd, every heart
Task'd to its strength? A knight of Palestine
Now to turn dreamer, to melt down his soul
In love-lorn sighs; and for an infidel!
-Will he lift up his eyes to look on mine?
Will he not-hush!
(AYMER enters. They look on each other for a moment
Rai. (suppressing his emotion.) So brothers meet! you
know Wherefore I come?
It cannot be, 'tis vain.
Tell me not of it!
How! you have not heard ?
(turning from him.)
He hath so shut the world out with his dreams,
The tidings have not reach'd him! or perchance
Have been forgotten! You have captives here?
Aym. (hurriedly.) Yes, mine! my own-won by the right of
arms ! You dare not question it. Rai.
A prince, they say, And his fair sister-is the maid so fair ? Aym. (turning suddenly upon him.) What, you would see
Rai. (scornfully.) I!-Oh, yes! to quell
My soul's deep yearnings !- Let me look on swords.
---Boy, boy! recall yourself!—I come to you
With the last blessing of our father!
His last!-how mean you ?-Is he-
Dead ?-yes! dead.
He died upon my breast.
Aym. (with the deepest emotion.) And I was here!
Dead and upon your breast!-- You closed his eyes--
While I-he spoke of me?
With such deep love!
He ever loved you most!-his spirit seem'd
To linger for your coming.
What! he thought
That I was on my way!-He look' for me?
Rai. You came not !- I had sent to you,
And told you he was wounded.
Rai. 'Twas not that outward wound-
That might have closed ; and yet he surely thought
That you would come to him! He callid on you
When his thoughts wander'd !-Ay, the very night,
The very hour he died-some hasty step
Enter'd his chamber-and he raised his head,
With a faint lightning in his eyes, and ask'd
If it were yours!—That hope's brief moment pass'.
He sank then.
Aym. (throwing himself upon his brother's neck.)
Brother! take me to his grave,
That I may kneel there, till my burning tears,
With the strong passion of repentant love,
Wring forth a voice to pardon me!
-Tears for the garlands on a maiden's grave!
You know not how he died !
Not of his wound ?
Rai. His wound !-it is the silent spirit's wound,
We cannot reach to heal !-One burning thought
Prey'd on his heart.
Not-not-he had not heard-
He bless'd me, Raimer?
Have you flung away
Your birthright ?-Yes! he bless'd you but he died
-He whose name stood for Victory's—he believed
The ancient honor from his grey head fallin,
And died-he died of shame!
What feverish dream-
Rai. (vehemently.) Was it not lost, the warrior's latest field,
The noble city held for Palestine
Taken—the Cross laid low ?-I came too late
To turn the tide of that disastrous fight,
But not to rescue him. We bore him thence
Wounded, upon his shield-
And I was here!
Rai. He cast one look back on his burning towers,
Then threw the red sword of a hundred fields
To the earth-and hid his face !-I knew, I knew
His heart was broken !-Such a death for him!
-The wasting-the sick loathing of the sun-
Let the foe's charger trample out my life,
Let me not die of shame -But we will have-
Aym. (grasping his hand eagerly.) Yes! vengeance !
Rai. Vengeance !-By the dying once,
And once before the dead, and yet once more
Alone with Heaven's bright'stars, I took that vow
For both his sons !—Think of it, when the night
Is dark around you, and in festive halls
Keep your soul hush'd, and think of it!
(À low chant of female voices, heard from behind the
Fall’n is the flower of Islam's race,
Break ye the lance he bore,
And loose his war-steed from its place,
He is no more (Single voice.)
Weep for him mother, sister, bride!
He died, with all his fame(Single voice.)
He died ! Aym. (Pointing to a palace, and eagerly speaking to his
attendant, who enters.).
Came it not thence ?—Rudolf, what sounds are these?
Att. The Moslem Prince-your captive-he is dead,
It is the mourner's wail for him.
His sister-heard you-did they say she wept!
Rai. (indignantly.) All the deep-stirring tones of Honor's
voice In a moment silenced!
[Solemn military music. (A funeral procession, with priests, $c., crosses the back
ground to enter the church.)
Rai. (following Aymer and grasping his arm.)
Aymer ! there, look there!
It is your father's bier!
Arm. returning,) He bless'd
You heard him bless ine?-Yes ! you closed his eyes,
He look'd for me in vain !
[He goes to the bier, and bends over it, covering his face.
SCENE I.--A room in the citadel.
RAIMER, AYMER, Knights, assembled in Council.
A Knight. What! with our weary and distracted bands
To dare another field :-Nay, give them rest.
Rai. (impatiently.) Rest? and that sleepless thought
Knight. These walls have strength
To baffle siege. Let the foe gird us in-
We must wait aid ; our soldiers must forget
That last disastrous day.
[press Rai. (coming forward.) If they forget it, in the combat's May their spears fail them ! Knight.
Yet, think thee, chief. Rai. When I forget it-how ! you see not, knights! Whence we must now draw strength. Send down your
Into the very depths of grief and shame,
And bring back courage thence! To talk of rest!
How do they rest, unburied on their field,
Our brethren slain by Gaza ? Had we time
To give them funeral rites ? and ask we now
Time to forget their fall! My father died
I cannot speak of him! What! and forget
The infidel's fierce trampling o'er our dead?
Forget his scornful shout ? Give battle now,
While the thought lives as fire lives !there lies strength!
Hold the dark memory fast! Now, now—this hour!
Aymer, you do not speak.
Aym. (starting.) Have I not said ?
Battle! yes, give us batile !-room to pour
The troubled spirit forth upon the winds,
With the trumpet's ringing blast! Way for remorse!
Free way for vengeance !
All the Knights. Arm! Heaven wills it so:
Rai. Gather your forces to the western gate! Let none forget that day! Our field was lost, Our city's strength laid low-one mighty heart Broken! Let none forget it!