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Isa. My Lord ?
I understand thee.
.. as a step dame.
Is dear to thee.
Thou lov'st with .... love maternal. Carlos is then introduced, and the same artful form of speech is continued, whilst thus confronted, their mutual glances are watched, and the countenance of each is searched for evidence of the guilt of the other. When they are both dismissed, Philip thus impressively, but with the same cautious spirit of reserve, seeks from the minister a confirmation of his own suspicions.
Philip. Heard'st thou ?
Gom. Now is certainty.
Phi. I have reflected. Follow then my footsteps. We feel convinced that if this were sustained by excellent acting, no dramatic representation could possibly be more effective on the stage.
Alfieri sustains an undivided and almost breathless interest for the fate of his lovers to the final scene. The monkish dress and disguise as the apparition of Charles the Fifth is an expedient to force a denouement which is unworthy of the genius of Schiller, and more suitable to the catastrophe of a melo-drama than of a tragedy. “Il Filippo" is a web of calamity which is wound up by regular approaches. It is natural that Isabella should be thrown off her guard by Carlos's arrest: it is natural that she should believe the specious tale of the means provided for his escape, and eagerly accept the proferred aid to procure her last and secret interview with him in the prison :- it is natural that Carlos, whose feelings are then more calm, should perceive, on the instant, that that aid is the successful accomplishment of long-attempted treachery. He sees that she has been betrayed into a step which admits of no explanation. He asks but the name of the agent. She answers
-Gomez. It is sufficient. Philip, the dagger, and the cup, are anticipated before they appear.
In the opening of his plot, Schiller displays very considerable skill. Carlos, like Hamlet, is accosted by a spy, sent by the king to entrap his secret. He perceives the treachery, and evades the inquiries. But he shrinks from the impression that all around are bis foes. He has none to listen to his grief, and to solve his doubts. He is in despair, when, at this critical juncture, the companion of his boyhood, the sworn friend of his youth, returns after a long absence. Carlos falls on his neck in a transport of gratitude and friendship. He confesses his own desolate condition—he implores De Posa not to desert him.
I have no friend-no friend,
Chase me not, Roderick, from this resting-place. Even after this solemn appeal, Carlos hesitates at imparting his dangerous confidence. He makes a second appeal to the feelings of his friend. He reminds him of their youthful days; he calls to his recollection how long his tardy affection was withheld, until Carlos purchased it by a generous act of self-devotion. He repeats the vow then made to discharge the debt of friendship; he claims the fulfilment of that vow, and unburthens his whole soul.
Marquis. (holding forth his hand)
Carlos. Now, now;--Oh linger not! It has arrived.
Carlos. Nay, I will not be spared. Speak freely out,
ordinance, and the church's precepts,
. I tread a path
All this I know, yet still persist to love. Shocked at such an avowal, and after fruitless endeavours to avert the woe which he sees impending, De Posa consents, under the Prince's solemn promise to undertake nothing without his concurrence, to endeavour to obtain an interview for him with the Queen. Throughout this scene, and the two following, Schiller seems to feel the delicate ground he is treading on, and nothing is communicated without due preparation. The Marquis, admitted to an audience with the Queen to deliver letters, speaks only in parables. The tale which he asserts to have learnt on his return from Naples, affects all his auditors; but to one ear it conveys the full impression of its meaning. As we are probably indebted to that tale for the hint of a very beautiful production in our own language, it is here translated.
Marquis. Two noble houses in Mirandola,
(The Queen listens with increased attention. The Marquis,
after a short pause, continues the story, addressing his dis-
Queen. How did Fernando act?
On wings of love
Princess Eboli. Unfortunate Fernando !
Said you not
Marquis. I have none dearer.
Marquis. 'Tis very sad, and the remembrance of it
To stop. (A general silence.) Of the scene between the Queen and Don Carlos, it is impossible in these limits to give a translation. But the few extracts which follow display, in some measure, the wild, impetuous passion of Carlos, and the dignified, virtuous, yet tender affection of Elizabeth. Her calm self-possession, her patient attempts to turn the frenzied mind of the ill-fated youth to objects of nobler emulation, and her whole admirable demeanour in this and every other situation in which she is placed, may be considered as the triumph of Schiller in the delineation of female excellence, in which he far surpasses the great poet whose name is associated with his in these pages. Carlos.
O Heaven ! O Heaven! I go.
Queen. Depart !
Queen. The sole request which I with tears pronounce,
Queen. Never again such moments shall she grant.
Carlos. O Queen, that I have striven with my passion,
Queen. No more of this--for my peace' sake—no more.
Carlos. You were my own—in sight of all the world;
Queen. He is your father.-
To you for an inheritance.
Gracious Heaven !
Carlos. Knows he indeed how rich he is ?
Queen. Horrible thought !
Oh, I am well aware
Queen. Do I then comprehend you?
Carlos. I know of nothing lost but to the dead.
(She gazes on him for some moments with a look of earnest con
templation, then proceeds in a dignified and serious tone.) Why should you not? The new-created King May do still more :-may cast into the flames His predecessor's acts ;-may tear his statues down ;Nay—even more—for what is to prevent him? He may lay bare the ashes of the dead, From the Escurial's dark and peaceful vaults Snatch and
expose them to the light of Heaven,
Carlos. Stop, stop, for Heaven's sake, say no more.