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Of our emasculated souls, the tyranny
Of the world's masters, with the musty rules
By which they uphold their craft from age to age:
You have obeyed the only law that sense
Submits to recognise; the immediate law,
From the clear light of circumstances, flashed
Upon an independent Intellect.
Henceforth new prospects open on your path;
Your faculties should grow with the demand;
I still will be your friend, will cleave to you
Through good and evil, obloquy and scorn,
Oft as they dare to follow on your steps.
Mar. I would be left alone.
I know your motives!
I am not of the world's presumptuous judges,
Who damn where they can neither see nor feel,
With a hard-hearted ignorance; your struggles
I witness'd, and now hail your victory.
Mar. Spare me awhile that greeting.
Are still forthcoming; some which, though they bear It is most strange.
Ill names, can render no ill services,
In recompense for what themselves required.
So meet extremes in this mysterious world,
And opposites thus melt into each other.
Murder!--what's in the word !—
I have no cases by me ready made
To fit all deeds. Carry him to the Camp !—
A shallow project ;—you of late have seen
Mar. Time, since Man first drew breath, has More deeply, taught us that the institutes
SCENE, A desolate prospect-a ridge of rocks-a
Chapel on the summit of one-Moon behind the
rocks-night stormy-irregular sound of a bell-
HERBERT enters exhausted.
Her. That Chapel-bell in mercy seemed to guide me,
But now it mocks my steps; its fitful stroke
Can scarcely be the work of human hands.
Hear me, ye Men, upon the cliffs, if such
There be who pray nightly before the Altar.
Oh that I had but strength to reach the place!
My Child-my child-dark-dark-I faint this
These stifling blasts-God help me!
Though it were tottering over a man's head,
Than a tight case of dungeon walls for shelter
From such rough dealing.
[A moaning voice is heard.
Ha! what sound is that?
Trees creaking in the wind (but none are here)
Send forth such noises-and that weary bell!
Surely some evil Spirit abroad to-night
Is ringing it 'twould stop a Saint in prayer,
And that what is it? never was sound so like
A human groan. Ha! what is here? Poor Man-
Murdered! alas! speak-speak, I am your friend:
No answer-hush-lost wretch, he lifts his hand
And lays it to his heart-(Kneels to him). I pray
This day's event has laid on me the duty
Of opening out my story; you must hear it,
And without further preface.—In my youth,
Except for that abatement which is paid
By envy as a tribute to desert,
I was the pleasure of all hearts, the darling
Of every tongue as you are now. You've heard
That I embarked for Syria. On our voyage
Was hatched among the crew a foul Conspiracy
Against my honour, in the which our Captain
Was, I believed, prime Agent. The wind fell;
We lay becalmed week after week, until
The water of the vessel was exhausted;
I felt a double fever in my veins,
Yet rage suppressed itself;-to a deep stillness
Did my pride tame my pride ;--for many days,
On a dead sea under a burning sky,
I brooded o'er my injuries, deserted
By man and nature ;—if a breeze had blown,
It might have found its way into my heart,
And I had been-no matter-do you mark me?
Mar. Quick-to the point-if any untold crime
Doth haunt your memory.
Patience, hear me further!-
One day in silence did we drift at noon
By a bare rock, narrow, and white, and bare;
No food was there, no drink, no grass, no shade,
No tree, nor jutting eminence, nor form
Inanimate large as the body of man,
Nor any living thing whose lot of life
Might stretch beyond the measure of one moon.
To dig for water on the spot, the Captain
Landed with a small troop, myself being one:
There I reproached him with his treachery.
Imperious at all times, his temper rose;
A stranger has done this, He struck me; and that instant had I killed him,
And put an end to his insolence, but my Comrades
Rushed in between us: then did I insist
And in the arms of a stranger I must die.
Eld. Nay, think not so: come, let me raise you up :
(All hated him, and I was stung to madness)
That we should leave him there, alive!—we did so.
Mar. And he was famished ?
Naked was the spot;
Methinks I see it now-how in the sun
Its stony surface glittered like a shield;
And in that miserable place we left him,
Alone but for a swarm of minute creatures
Not one of which could help him while alive,
Or mourn him dead.
A man by men cast off,
Left without burial! nay, not dead nor dying,
| But standing, walking, stretching forth his arms,
In all things like ourselves, but in the agony
With which he called for mercy; and-even so-
He was forsaken ?
There is a power in sounds:
The cries he uttered might have stopped the boat
That bore us through the water-
You returned Upon that dismal hearing-did you not?
Osw. Some scoffed at him with hellish mockery, And laughed so loud it seemed that the smooth sea Did from some distant region echo us.
Three sleepless nights I passed in sounding on,
Through words and things, a dim and perilous way;
And, wheresoe'er I turned me, I beheld
A slavery compared to which the dungeon
And clanking chains are perfect liberty.
You understand me--I was comforted;
I saw that every possible shape of action
Might lead to good-I saw it and burst forth
Mar. We all are of one blood, our veins are filled Thirsting for some of those exploits that fill
At the same poisonous fountain!
The earth for sure redemption of lost peace.
[Marking MARMADUKE's countenance.
Nay, you have had the worst. Ferocity
Subsided in a moment, like a wind
That drops down dead out of a sky it vexed.
And yet I had within me evermore
Mar. But his own crime had brought on him A salient spring of energy; I mounted
His wickedness prepared it; these expedients
Are terrible, yet ours is not the fault.
From action up to action with a mind
That never rested--without meat or drink
Have I lived many days-my sleep was bound
Osw. The man was famished, and was innocent! To purposes of reason-not a dream
Mar. Impossible !
The man had never wronged me.
Mar. Banish the thought, crush it, and be at
His guilt was marked-these things could never be
Were there not eyes that see, and for good ends,
Where ours are baffled.
I had been deceived.
Mar. And from that hour the miserable man
No more was heard of?
I had been betrayed.
Mar. And he found no deliverance !
Gave me a hearty welcome; they had laid
The plot to rid themselves, at any cost,
Of a tyrannic Master whom they loathed.
So we pursued our voyage: when we landed,
The tale was spread abroad; my power at once
Shrunk from me; plans and schemes, and lofty
All vanished. I gave way-do you attend?
Mar. The Crew deceived you?
Nay, command yourself.
Mar. It is a dismal night-how the wind howls!
Osw. I hid my head within a Convent, there
Lay passive as a dormouse in mid winter.
That was no life for me--I was o'erthrown,
But not destroyed.
But had a continuity and substance
That waking life had never power to give.
Mar. O wretched Human-kind! -- Until the
Of all this world is solved, well may we envy
The worm, that, underneath a stone whose weight
Would crush the lion's paw with mortal anguish,
Doth lodge, and feed, and coil, and sleep, in safety.
Fell not the wrath of Heaven upon those traitors!
Osw. Give not to them a thought. From Palestine
We marched to Syria: oft I left the Camp,
When all that multitude of hearts was still,
And followed on, through woods of gloomy cedar,
Into deep chasms troubled by roaring streams;
Or from the top of Lebanon surveyed
The moonlight desert, and the moonlight sea:
In these my lonely wanderings I perceived
What mighty objects do impress their forms
To elevate our intellectual being;
And felt, if aught on earth deserves a curse,
"Tis that worst principle of ill which dooms
A thing so great to perish self-consumed.
So much for my remorse!
Of popular applause. I now perceived That we are praised, only as men in us Do recognise some image of themselves, An abject counterpart of what they are,
Or the empty thing that they would wish to be. I felt that merit has no surer test
Than obloquy; that, if we wish to serve
The world in substance, not deceive by show,
We must become obnoxious to its hate,
Or fear disguised in simulated scorn.
But what is done will save you from the blank
Of living without knowledge that you live:
Now you are suffering-for the future day,
"Tis his who will command it.-Think of my story-
Herbert is innocent.
Mar. (in a faint voice, and doubtingly) You do
Young Man, the seed must lie Hid in the earth, or there can be no harvest ;
Mar. I pity, can forgive, you; but those 'Tis Nature's law. What I have done in darkness wretches
That monstrous perfidy!
Keep down your wrath.
False Shame discarded, spurious Fame despised,
Twin sisters both of Ignorance, I found
Life stretched before me smooth as some broad way
Cleared for a monarch's progress. Priests might spin
Their veil, but not for me-'twas in fit place
Among its kindred cobwebs. I had been,
And in that dream had left my native land,
One of Love's simple bondsmen-the soft chain
Was off for ever; and the men, from whom
This liberation came, you would destroy :
Join me in thanks for their blind services.
Mar. 'Tis a strange aching that, when we would
And cannot. You have betrayed me--I have done
I am content-I know that he is guiltless—
That both are guiltless, without spot or stain,
Mutually consecrated. Poor old Man !
And I had heart for this, because thou lovedst
Her who from very infancy had been
Light to thy path, warmth to thy blood!-Together
[Turning to Oswald,
We propped his steps, he leaned upon us both.
Osw. Ay, we are coupled by a chain of adamant;
Let us be fellow-labourers, then, to enlarge
Man's intellectual empire. We subsist
In slavery ; all is slavery; we receive
Laws, but we ask not whence those laws have come;
We need an inward sting to goad us on.
Mar. Have you betrayed me? Speak to that.
Which for a season I have stooped to wear,
Must be cast off.-Know then that I was urged,
(For other impulse let it pass) was driven,
To seek for sympathy, because I saw
In you a mirror of my youthful self;
I would have made us equal once again,
But that was a vain hope. You have struck home, With a few drops of blood cut short the business; Therein for ever you must yield to me.
I will avow before the face of day. Herbert is innocent.
Dragged from his bed, was cast into a dungeon,
Where, hid from me, he counted many years,
A criminal in no one's eyes but theirs—
Not even in theirs-whose brutal violence
So dealt with him.
I have a noble Friend
First among youths of knightly breeding, One
Who lives but to protect the weak or injured.
Elea. 'Tis my husband's foot. Good Eldred Has a kind heart; but his imprisonment
Has made him fearful, and he 'll never be