Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

Tu love ; but-no-no-no-it must have been Even if she be so, cannot save her husband.
A fearful pang, which wrung a groan from him. But see, the officer returns.
Sen. And, feeling for thy husband's wrongs, [The Officer passes over the stage with another
wouldst thou

person. Have him bear more than mortal pain in silence ? Mem.

I hardly Mar. We all must bear our tortures. I have not Thought that “the Ten" had even this touch of Left barren the great house of Foscari,

Or would permit assistance to this sufferer. (pity, Though they sweep both the Doge and son from Sen. Pity! Is 't pity to recall to feeling I have endured as much in giving life [life; The wretch too happy to escape to death To those who will succeed them, as they can By the compassionate trance, poor nature's last In leaving it : but mine were joyful pangs : Resource against the tyranny of pain ? And yet they wrung me till I could have shriek'd, Mem. I marvel they condemn him not at once. But did not; for my hope was to bring forth

Sen. That's not their policy: they'd have him Heroes, and would not welcome them with tears. Because he fears not death ; and banish him, (live, Mem. All 's silent now.

Because all earth, except his native land,
Mar.
Perhaps all's over; but

To him is one wide prison, and each breath
I will not deem it: he hath nerved himself,

of foreign air he draws seems a slow poison, And now defies them.

Consuming but not killing.
Mem.

Circumstance
Enter an Officer hastily.

Confirms his crimes, but he a vows them not.
Mem.

How now, friend, what seek you? Sen. None, save the Letter, which he says was Offi. A leech. The prisoner has fainted.

written,

(Exit Officer. Address'd to Milan's duke, in the full knowledge Mem.

Lady, That it would fall into the senate's hands, T were better to retire.

And thus he should be re-convey'd to Venice. Sen. (offering to assist her). I pray thce do so. Mem. But as a culprit. Mar. Uff! I will tend him.

Sen.

Yes, but to his country; Mem.

You! Remember, lady! And that was all he sought,-40 he avouches. Ingress is given to none within those chambers, Mem. The accusation of the bribes was proved. Except “the Ten," and their familiars.

Sen. Not clearly, and the charge of homiciue L'ar.

Well, Has been annull'd by the death-bed confession I know that none who enter there return

of Nicolas Erizzo, who slew the late As they have enter'd-many never ; but

Chief of “the Ten." They shall not balk my entrance.

Mon.

Then why not clear him? Mem.

Alas! this
Sen.

That Is but to expose yourself to harsh repulse,

They ought to answer; for it is well known And worse suspense.

That Almoro Donato, as I said, Mar.

Who shall oppose me ? Was slain by Erizzo for private vengeance. Xem.

They Mem. There must be more in this strange proWhose duty 't is to do so.

cess than "T is their duty

The apparent crimes of the accused discloseTo trample on all human feelings, all

But here come two of “the Ten;" let us retire. Ties which bind man to man, to emulate

(Exeunt MEMMO and Senator. The fiends who will one day requite them in

Enter LOREDANO and BARBARIGO.
Variety of torturing ! Yet I'll pass.
Men. It is impossible.

Bar. (addressing Lor.). That were too much: be-
Mar.
That shall be tried.

lieve me, 't was not meet Despair defies even despotism : there is (hosts

The trial should go further at this moment. That in my heart would make its way through

Lor. And so the Council must break up, and JusWith levell'd spears; and think you a few jailors

Pause in her full career, because a woman

(tice

Breaks in on our deliberations ?
Shall put me from my path? Give me, then, way;

Bar.
This is the Doge's palace; I am wife
Of the Duke's son, the innocent Duke's son,

That's not the cause ; you saw the prisoner's state. And they shall hear this !

Lor. And had he not recover'd ?
Mem.
It will only serve
Bar.

To relapse More to exasperate his judges.

Upon the least renewal.
What
Lor,

"T was not tried. Are judges who give way to anger? they

Bar. 'Tis vain to murmur; the majority Who do so are assassins. Give me way.

In council were against you. (Exit MARINA. Lor,

Thanks to you, sir, Sen. Poor lady!

And the old ducal dotard, who combined Niem.

'Tis mere desperation : she The worthy voices which o'er-ruled my own. Will not be admitted o'er the threshold.

Bar. I am a judge ; but must confess that part Bers

And of our stern duty, which prescribes the Question,

Mar.

No,

Mar.

Stole down the hurrying stream beneath the star

ACT V. But she said nothing.

(light; Sar. Would I felt no more

SCENE I.-The same Hall in the Palace. Than she has said !

MYRRVA and BALEA. Sal.

'Tis now too late to feel. Your feelings cannot cancel a sole rang:

Myr. (at a window). The day at last has broken. To change them, my advices bring sure tidings

What a night
That the rebellious Medes and Chaldees, marshallid Hath usher'd it! how beautiful in heaven!
By their two leaders, are already up

Though varied with a transitory storm,
In arms again ; and, serrying their ranks,

More beautiful in that variety! Prepare to attack : they have apparently

How hideous upon earth! where peace and hope, Been join'd by other satraps.

And love and revel, in an hour were trampled Sar.

What! more rebels? By human passions to a human chaos,
Let us be first, then.

Not yet resolved to separate elements-
Val.
That were hardly prudent

'Tis warring still! And can the sun so rise, Now, though it was our first intention. If

So bright, so rolling back the clouds into By noon to-morrow we are join'd by those

Vapours more lovely than the unclouded sky, I've sent for by sure messengers, we shall be With golden pinnacles, and snowy mountains, In strength enough to venture an attack,

And billows purpler than the ocean's, making Ay, and pursuit too; but, till then, my voice ;

In heaven a glorious mockery of the earth, Is to a wait the onset.

So like we almost deem it permanent;
Sar.
I detest

So fleeting, we can scarcely call it aught
That waiting; though it seems so safe to fight Beyond a vision, 't is so transiently
Behind high walls, and hurl down foes into Scatter'd along the eternal vault: and yet
Deep fosses, or behold them sprawl on spikes It dwells upon the soul, and soothes the soul,
Strew'd to receive them, still I like it not-

And blends itself into the soul, until My soul seems lukewarm ; but when I set on them, Sunrise and sunset form the haunted epoch Though they were piled on mountains, I would have Of sorrow and of love, which they who mark not, A pluck at them, or perish in hot blood :

Know not the realms where those twin genii Let me then charge.

(Who chasten and who purify our hearts, Sal.

You talk like a young soldier. So that we would not change their sweet rebukes, Sar. I am no soldier, but a man: speak not For all the boisterous joys that ever shook Of soldiership, I loathe the word, and those

The air with clamour) build the palaces Who pride themselves upon it; but direct me Where their fond votaries repose and breathe Where I may pour upon them.

Briefly ;-but in that brief cool calm inhale Sal.

You must spare

Enough of heaven to enable them to bear To expose your life too hastily : 't is not

The rest of common, heavy, human hours, Like mine or any other subject's breath;

And dream them through in placid sufferance, The whole war turns upon it-with it; this Though scemingly employ'd like all the rest Alone creates it, kindles, and may quench it- of toiling breathers in allotted tasks Prolong it-end it.

of pain or pleasure, two names for one feeling, Sar. Then let us end both !

Which our internal, restless agony "T were better thus, perhaps, than prolong either; Would vary in the sound, although the sense I'm sick of one, perchance of both.

Escapes our highest efforts to be happy. (A trumpet sounds without.

Bal. You muse right calmly: and can you $0 Eal.

Hark!
The sunrise which may be our last ?

(watch Sar.

Let us
Myr.

It is
Reply, not listen.

Therefore that I so watch it, and reproach
Sal.
And your wound !

Those eyes, which never may behold it more, Sar.

"T is bound

For having look'd upon it oft, too oft, "T is heal'd-I had forgotten it. Away!

Without the reverence and the rapture due A leech's lancet would have scratch'd me deeper; To that which keeps all earth from being as fragile The slave that gave it might be well ashamed As I am in this form. Come, look upon it, To have struck so weakly.

The Chaldee's god, which when I gaze upon Sal.

Now, may none this hour I grow almost a convert to your Baal. Strike with a better aim!

Bal. As now he reigns in heaven, so once on earth Sar.

Ay, if we conquer ; He sway'd. But if not, they will only leave to me

Myr.

He sways it now far more, then ; never A task they might have spared their king. Upon Had earthly monarch half the power and glory them!

[Trumpet sounds again. Which centres in a single ray of his. Sal. I am with you.

Bal. Surely he is a god!
Sar.
Ho, my arms! again, my arms ! Myr.

So we Greeks deem t00; (Exeunt. And yet I sometimes think that gorgeous orb

Must rather be the abode of gods than one

or the immortal sovereigns. Now he breaks I am not quite skilless : in my native land
Through all the clouds, and fills my eyes with light 'T is part of our instruction. War being constant,
That shuts the world out. I can look no more. We are nerved to look on such things.
Bal. Hark! heard you not a sound?

Sol.

Best extract Jyr.

No, 't was mere fancy; 'The javelin. They battle it beyond the wall, and not

Myr. Ilold ! no, no, it cannot be. As in late midnight conflict in the very

Sal. I am sped, then ! Chambers: the palace has become a fortress

Myr. With the blood that fast must follow Since that insidious hour; and here, within The extracted weapon, I do fear thy life. (you The very centre, girded by vast courts

Sal. And I not death. Where was the king when And regal halls of pyramid proportions,

Convey'd me from the spot where I was stricken? Which must be carried one by one before

Sol. Upon the same ground, and encouraging They penetrate to where they then arrived, With voice and gesture the dispirited troops We are as much shut in even from the sound Who had seen you fall, and falter'd back. of peril as from glory.

Sal.

Whom heard ye Bal. But they reach'd

Named next to the command ? Thus far before.

Sol.

I did not hear. Myr.

Yes, by surprise, and were Sal. Fly then, and tell him, 't was my last request Beat back by valour: now at once we have

That Zames take my post until the junction, Courage and vigilance to guard us.

So hoped for, yet delay'd, of Ofratanes, Bal.

May they Satrap of Susa. Leave me here: our troops Prosper!

Are not so numerous as to spare your absence. Myr. That is the prayer of many, and

Sol. But, prince The dread of more: it is an anxious hour;

Sal. Hence, I say! Here's a courtier and
I strive to keep it from my thoughts. Alas ! A woman, the best chamber company.
How vainly!

As you would not permit me to expire
Bal.
It is said the king's demeanour

Upon the field, I'll have no idle soldiers
In the late action scarcely more appalli

About my sick couch. Hence! and do my bidding! The rebels than astonish'd his true subjects.

[Ercunt the Soldiers. Myr. "T is easy to astonish or appal

Myr. Gallant and glorious spirit! must the earth The vulgar mass which moulds a horde of slaves; So soon resign thee? But he did bra vely.

Sal.

Gentle Myrrha, 't is
Bal.
Slew he not Beleses?

The end I would have chosen, had I saved
I heard the soldiers say he struck him down.

The monarch or the monarchy by this;
Myr. The wretch was overthrown, but rescued to

As 't is, I have not outlived them.
Myr.

You wax paler.
Triumph, perhaps, o'er one who vanquish'd him
In fight, as he had spared him in his peril;

Sal. Your hand; this broken weapon but prolongs And by that heedless pity risk'd a crown.

My pangs, without sustaining life enough Bal.

Hark!

To make me useful : I would draw it forth Myr. You are right; some steps approach, but

And my life with it, could I but hear how slowly.

The fight goes. Enter Soldiers, bearing in SALEMENES wounded,

Enter SARDANAPALUS and Soldiers. with a broken jarelin in his side : they scat him

Sar. upon one of the couches which furnish the Apart

My best brother!

Sal. ment.

And the battle Myr. Oh, Jove!

Is lost?
Bal.
Then all is over.

Sar. (despondingly). You see me here.
Sal.

That is false.
Sal.

I'd rather see you thus! Kew down the slave who says so, if a soldier.

[He draws out the weapon from the wound, and Myr. Spare him--he's none: a mere court but.

dies. That flutters in the pageant of a monarch. (tertly,

Sar. And thus I will be seen ; unless the succour, Sal. Let him live on, then.

The last frail reed of our beleaguer'd hopes, Myr.

So wilt thou, I trust. Arrive with Ofratanes.
Sal. I fain would live this hour out, and the event, Myr.

Did you not
But doubt it. Wherefore did ye bear me here? Receive a token from your dying brother,
Sol. By the king's order. When the javelin struck Appointing Zames chief?
you,

Sar.

I did. You fell and fainted : 't was his strict command Myr.

Where's Zames? To bear you to this ball.

Sar. Dead. "T was not ill done :

Myr. And Altada? For secming slain in that cold dizzy trance,

Sar.

Dying. The sight might shake our soldiers--but-t is vain, Myr.

Pania? Sfero? I feel it ebbing !

Sar. Pania yet lives: but Sfero 's fled or captive. Myr. Let me see the wound;

I am alone.

Sal.

Myr. And is all lost?

Sar.

Dare not? Sar.

Our walls,

While millions dare revolt with sword in hand! Though thinly mann'd, may still hold out against That's strange. I pray thee break that loyal silence Their present force, or aught save treachery: Which loathes to shock its sovereign ; we can hear But i' the field

Worse than thou hast to tell.
Myr.
I thought 't was the intent Pan.

Proceed, thou hearest. of Salemenes not to risk a sally

Offi. The wall which skirted near the river's brink Till ye were strengthen'd by the expected succours. Is thrown down by the sudden inundation Sar. I overruled him.

of the Euphrates, which now rolling, swoln Myr.

Well, the fault's a brave one. From the enormous mountains where it rises, Sar. But fatal. Oh, my brother! I would give By the late rains of that tempestuous region, These realms, of which thou wert the ornament, O'ertivods its banks, and hath destroy'd the bul. The sword and shield, the sole-redeeming honour,

wark. To call back-- But I will not weep for thee; Pan. That's a black augury! it has been said Thou shalt be mourn'd for as thou wouldst be For ages, “That the city ne'er should yield mourn'd.

To mian, until the river grew its foe." It grieves me most that thou couldst quit this life Sar. I can forgive the omen, not the ravage. Believing that I could survive what thou

How much is swept down of the wall ? Hast died for-our long royalty of race.

05.

About If I redeem it, I will give thee blood

Some twenty stadia. of thousands, tears of millions, for atonement Sar.

And all this is left (The tears of all the good are thine already). Pervious to the assailants ? If not, we meet again soon,-if the spirit

Offi.

For the present Within us lives beyond ;-thou readest mine, The river's fury must impede the assault; And dost me justice now. Let me once clasp But when he shrinks into his wonted channel, That yet warm hand, and fold that throbless heart And may be cross'd by the accustom'd barks,

[Embraces the body. The palace is their own. To this which beats so bitterly. Now, bear

Sar.

That shall be nerer. The body hence.

Though men, and gods, and elements, and omens, Soldier. Where?

Have risen up'gainstone who ne'er provoked them, Sar.

To my proper chamber. My fathers' house shall never be a cave Place it beneath my canopy, as though

For wolves to horde and howl in. The king lay there : when this is done, we will

Pan.

With your sanction, Speak further of the rites due to such ashes. I will proceed to the spot, and take such measures (Exeunt Soldiers with the body of SALEMENES. For the assurance of the vacant space

As time and means permit.
Enter PANIA.

Sar.

About it straight, Sar. Well, Pania! have you placed the guards, And bring me back, as speedily as full The orders fix'd on?

(and issued And fair investigation may permit, Pan. Sire, I have obey'd.

Report of the true state of this irruption Sar. And do the soldiers keep their hearts up? Of waters.

[Exeunt PANIA and the Oficer. Pan.

Sire? Myr. Thus the very waves rise up Sar. I'm answer'd! When a king asks twice, | Against you. and has

Sar.

They are not my subjects, girl, A question as an answer to his question,

And may be pardon’d, since they can't be punish d. It is a portent. What ! they are dishearten'd? Myr. I joy to see this portent shakes you not.

Pan. The death of Salemenes, and the shouts Sar. I am past the fear of portents: they can Of the exulting rebels on his fall,

tell me Have made them

Nothing I have not told myself since midnight: Sar. Rage-not droop-it should have been. | Despair anticipates such things. We'll find the means to rouse them.

Myr.

Despair! Pan.

Such a loss Sar. No; not despair precisely. When we know Might sadden even a victory.

All that can come, and how to meet it, our Sar.

Alas!

Resolves, if firm, may merit a more noble Who can so feel it as I feel? but yet, (and we Word than this is to give it utterance. Though coop'd within these walls, they are strong, But what are words to us? we have well nigh done Have those without will break their way through with them and all things. hosts,

Myr.

Save one deed - the last To make their sovereign's dwelling what it was And greatest to all mortals; crowning act A palace; not a prison, nor a fortress.

Of all that was, or is, or is to be

The only thing common to all mankind,
Enter an Officer, hastily.

So different in their births, tongues, sexes, natures, Sar. Thy face seems ominous. Speak !

Hues, features, clin.es, times, feelings, intellects, Ofi.

I dare not. Without one point of unicn save in this,

To which we tend, for which we 're born, and thread Myr.

What mean you? The labyrinth of mystery, call'd life. (checrful. Sar.

You shall know Sar. Our clew being well nigh wound out, let's be Anon-what the whole earth shall ne'er forget. They who have nothing more to fear may well Indulge a smile at that which once appallid;

PANIA, returning with a Herald. As children at discover'd bugbears.

Pan. My king, in going forth upon my duty,

This herald has been brought before me, craving Re-enter PAXIA.

An audience. Pan.

'Tis

Sar.

Let him speak. As was reported: I have order'd there

Her.

The King ArbacesA double guard, withdrawing from the wall

Sar. What, crown'd already ?-But, proceed. Where it was strongest the required addition

Her.

Beleses, To watch the breach occasion'd by the waters.

The anointed high-priestSar. You have done your duty faithfully, and as

Sar.

of what god or demon? My worthy Pania ! further ties between us With new kings rise new altars. But, proceed; Draw near a close-I pray you take this key: You are sent to prate your master's will, and not

[Gives a key. Reply to mine. It opens to a secret chamber, placed

Her.

And Satrap OfratanesBehind the couch in my own chamber. (Now Sar. Why, he is ours. Press'd by a nobler weight than e'er it bore- Her. (showing a ring). Be sure that he is now Though a long line of sovereigns have lain down In the camp of the conquerors ; behold Along its golden frame as bearing for

His signet ring. A time what late was Salemenes). Search

Sar.

'T is his. A worthy triad ! The secret covert to which this will lead you; Poor Salemenes ! thou hast died in time "T is full of treasure ; take it for yourself

To see one treachery the less: this man And your companions: there 's enough to load ye, Was thy true friend and my most trusted subject. Though ye be many. Let the slaves be freed, too; Proceed. And all the inmates of the palace, of

Her. They offer thee thy life, and freedom Whatever sex, now quit it in an hour. (pleasure, of choice to single out a residence Thence launch the regal barks, once form'd for In any of the further provinces, And now to serve for safety, and embark.

Guarded and watch'd, but not confined in person, The river's broad and swoln, and uncommanded Where thou shalt pass thy days in peace; but on (More potent than a king) by these besiegers. Condition that the three young princes are Fly! and be happy!

Given up as hostages. Pan.

Under your protection ! Sar. (ironically). The generous victors ! So you accompany your faithful guard.

Her. I wait the answer. Sar. No, Pania! that must not be ; get thee hence, Sar.

Answer, slave! How long And leave me to my fate.

Have slaves decided on the doom of kings? Pan. "T is the first time

Her. Since they were free. I ever disobey'd: but now

Sar.

Mouthpiece of mutiny! Sar.

So all men

Thou at the least shalt learn the penalty Dare beard me now, and Insolence within

of treason, though its proxy only. Pania! Apes Tre from without. Question no further; Let his head be thrown from our walls within 'Tis my command, my last command. Wilt thout The rebels' lincs, his carcass down the river. Oppose it ? thou !

Away with him!
Pan.
But yet-not yet.

(PANIA and the Guards seizing him. Sar.

Well, then,
Pan.

I never yet obey'd
Swear that you will obey when I shall give

Your orders with more pleasure than the present. The signal.

Hence with him, soldiers ! do not soil this hall Pan. With a heavy but true heart,

Of royalty with treasonable gore; I promise.

Put him to rest without. Sar. "T is enough. Now order here

Her.

A single word :
Faggots, pine-nuts, and wither'd leaves, and such My office, king, is sacred.
Things as catch fire and blaze with one sole spark;

Sar.

And what's mine! Bring cedar, too, and precious drugs, and spices, That thou shouldst come and dare to ask of me And mighty planks, to nourish a tall pile;

To lay it down? Bring frankincense and myrrh, too, for it is

Her.

I but obey'd my orders, For a great sacrifice I build the pyre!

At the same peril if refused, as now And heap them round yon throne.

Incurr'd by my obedience.
Pan.

My lord !
Sar,

So there are
Sar.

I have said it, New monarchs of an hour's growth as despotic And you have stoorn.

As sovereigns swathed in purple, and enthroned Pan.

And could keep my faith From birth to manhood ! Without a row. (Exit PANIA. Her.

My life waits your breath.

« AnteriorContinuar »