Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

This letter written by the trembling hand
Of royal Andreas calls me from the camp
To his immediate presence. It appoints me,
The Queen, and Emerick, guardians of the realm,
And of the royal infant. Day by day,
Robbed of Zapolya’s soothing cares, the king
Yearns only to behold one precious boon,
And with his life breathe forth a father's blessing.

C. Rag. Remember you, my lord ! that Hebrew Whose face so much distempered you?

[leech, R. Kiu.

Barzoni ? I held him for a spy; but the proof failing (More courteously, I own, than pleased myself) I sent him from the camp.

To him, in chief, Prince Emerick trusts his royal brother's health. R. Kiu. Hide nothing, I conjure you! What of him?

[cunning, C. Rag. With pomp of words beyond a soldier's And shrugs and wrinkled brow, he smiles and whis

C. Rag.

pers!

Talks in dark words of women's fancies ; hints
That 'twere a useless and a cruel zeal
To rob a dying man of any hope,
However vain, that soothes him: and, in fine,
Denies all chance of offspring from the Queen.

R. Kiu. The venomous snake! My heel was on And (fool !) I did not crush it! [its head,

Nay, he fears, Zapolya will not long survive her husband.

C. Rag.

R. Kiu. Manifest treason! Even this brief delay Half makes me an accomplice- -(If he live,)

[Is moving toward the palace. If he but live and know me, all

mayC. Rag.

Halt! [Stops him.
On pain of death, my Lord ! am I commanded
To stop all ingress to the palace.
R. Kiu.

Thou !
C. Rag. No place, no name, no rank excepted
R. Kiu.

Thou !
C. Rag. This life of mine, O take it, Lord Kiuprili!
I give it as a weapon to thy hands,
Mine own no longer. Guardian of Illyria,
Useless to thee, 'tis worthless to myself.
Thou art the framer of

my

nobler being ; Nor does there live one virtue in my soul, One honourable hope, but calls thee father. Yet ere thou dost resolve, know that yon palace Is guarded from within, that each access Is thronged by armed conspirators, watched by

ruffians Pampered with gifts, and hot upon the spoil Which that false promiser still trails before them. I ask but this one boon—reserve my life Till I can lose it for the realm and thee!

R. Kiu. My heart is rent asunder. O my country, O fallen Illyria, stand I here spell-bound? Did my King love me ? Did I earn his love ? Have we embraced as brothers would embrace ? Was I his arm, his thunder-bolt ? And now

my faith

Must I, hag-ridden, pant as in a dream?
Or, like an eagle, whose strong wings press up
Against a coiling serpent's folds, can I
Strike but for mockery, and with restless beak
Gore my own breast?---Ragozzi, thou art faithful?

C. Rag. Here before Heaven I dedicate
To the royal line of Andreas.
R. Kiu.

Hark, Ragozzi!
Guilt is a timorous thing ere perpetration :
Despair alone makes wicked men be bold.
Come thou with me! They have heard my voice
in fight,

[longer Have faced round, terror-struck, and feared no The whistling javelins of their fell pursuers. Ha! what is this?

[Black flag displayed from the tower of the

Palace : a death bell tolls, fc. Vengeance of heaven! He is dead. C. Rag. At length then 'tis announced. Alas! I fear,

[nals. That these black death flags are but treason's sigR. Kiu. A prophecy too soon fulfilled ! See

yonder ! O rank and ravenous wolves! the death bell echoes Still in the doleful air—and see! they come.

C. Rag. Precise and faithful in their villany Even to the moment, that the master traitor Had pre-ordained them. R. Kiu.

Was it over haste, Or is it scorn, that in this race of treason

Their guilt thus drops its mask, and blazons forth Their infamous plot even to an idiot's sense.

C. Rag. Doubtless they deem Heaven too usurp'd ! Bought like themselves! [Heaven's justice

Being equal all in crime, Do you press on, ye spotted parricides ! For the one sole pre-eminence yet doubtful, The prize of foremost impudence in guilt?

R. Kiu. The bad man's cunning still prepares

the way

For its own outwitting. I applaud, Ragozzi!

Ragozzi I applaud, In thee, the virtuous hope that dares look onward And keeps the life-spark warm of future action Beneath the cloak of patient sufferance. Act and appear, as time and prudence prompt thee: I shall not misconceive the part thou playest. Mine is an easier part---to brave the usurper.

[Enter a procession of Emerick's adherents,

nobles, chieftains, and soldiers, with music. They advance toward the front of the stage. Kiuprili makes the signal

for them to stop.---The music ceases. Leader of the Procession. The Lord Kiuprili!--Welcome from the camp.

[lyria, R. Kiu. Grave magistrates and chieftains of IlIn good time come ye hither, if ye come As loyal men with honourable purpose To mourn what can alone be mourned; but chiefly To enforce the last commands of royal Andreas

And shield the Queen, Zapolya : haply making The mother's joy light up the widow's tears. Leader. Our purpose demands speed. Grace

our procession; A warrior best will greet a warlike king.

R. Kiu. This patent written by your lawful king, (Lo! his own seal and signature attesting) Appoints as guardians of his realm and offspring, The Queen, and the Prince Emerick, and myself.

[Voices of Live King Emerick ! an Emerick ! an Emerick !

(voices? What means this clamour ? Are these madmen's Or is some knot of riotous slanderers leagued To infamize the name of the king's brother With a lie black as Hell? unmanly cruelty, Ingratitude, and most unnatural treason ?

(murmurs. What mean these murmurs ? Dare then any here Proclaim Prince Emerick a spotted traitor ? One that has taken from you your sworn faith, And given you in return a Judas' bribe, Infamy now, oppression in reversion, And Heaven's inevitable curse hereafter ?

[Loud murmurs, followed by cries---Eme

rick! No Baby Prince! No Changelings ! Yet bear with me awhile! Have I for this Bled for your safety, conquered for your honour! Was it for this, Illyrians ? that I forded Your thaw-swoln torrents, when the shouldering ice Fought with the foe, and stained its jagged points

« ForrigeFortsæt »