صور الصفحة
PDF

GUSTAVUS VASA,

THE

DELIVERER OF HIS COUNTRY.

BY

BROOKE.

sold,

PROLOGUE. BRITONS, this night presents a state distrest, I Ask ye, what law their conquering cause conThough brave, yet vanquish’d, and, though great,

fest? opprest;

Great nature's law, the law within the breast; Vice, rav'ning vulture, on her vitals prey'd, Form’d by no art, and to no sect confin’d, Her peers, her prelates, fell corruption sway'd; But stamp'd by Heav'n upon th' unletter'd mind. Their rights, for power, th' ambitious weakly | Such, such of old the first-born natives were,

Who breath'd the virtues of Britannia's air; The wealthy, poorly, for superfluous gold. Their realm, when mighty Cæsar vainly sought, Hence wasting ills, hence severing factions rose, For mightier freedom against Cæsar fought, And gave large entrance to invading foes : And rudely drove the fam'd invader home, Truth, justice, honour, fled th' infected shore, To tyrannize o'er polish’d, venal Rome. For freedom, sacred freedom, was no more.

Our bard, exalted in a free-born flame, Then, greatly rising in his country's right, To every nation would transfer this claim: Her hero, her deliverer, sprung to light;

He to no state, no climate, bounds his page, A race of hardy, northern sons he led,

He bids the moral beam through every age ; Guiltless of courts, untainted, and unread, Then be your judgment generous as his plan! Whose inborn spirit spurn'd th' ignoble fee, Ye sons of freedom, save the friend of man! Whose hands scorn'bondage, for their hearts

were free.

DRAMATIS PERSONÆ.

MEN.

ANDERSON, chief lord of Dalecarlia. CRISTIERN, king of Denmark and Norway, and | ARNOLDUS, a Swedish priest, and chaplain in usurper of Sweden.

the copper-mines of Dalecarlia. TROLLIO, & Swede, archbishop of Upsal, and vice

SIVARD, captain of the Dalecarlians. gerent to Cristiern. PETERSON, a Swedish nobleman, secretly of the

WOMEN. Danish party, and friend to Trollio.

CRISTINA, daughter to Cristiern. LAERTES, a young Danish nobleman, attendant | AUGUSTA, mother to Gustavus, ) Prisoners in lo Cristina.

GUSTAVA, sister to Gustavus, a { Cristiern's GUSTAVUS, formerly general of the Swedes, and child,

camp. first cousin to the deceased king.

MARIANA, attendant and confidant to Cristina. ARVIDA, of the royal blood of Sweden, friend and cousin to Gustavus.

Soldiers, Peasants, Messengers, and Attendants, SCENE -- Dalecarlia, a northern province in Sweden. VOL. 11.

ACT I.

SCENE I.-The Inside of the Copper-mines of | Or turn upon our hunters.
Dalecarlia.

And. Now, Gustavus !

Thou prop and glory of inglorious Sweden, Enter ANDERSON, ARNOLDUS, and Servants,

Where art thou, mightiest man?-Were he but with torches.

here! And. You tell me wonders.

I'll tell thee, my Arnoldus, I beheld him, Arn. Soft, behold, my lord,

Then when he first drew sword, serene and (Points behind the scenes.

dreadful, Behold him stretch'd, where reigns eternal night, | As the browed evening ere the thunder break; The flint his pillow, and cold damps his covering! For soon he made it toilsome to our eyes Yet, bold of spirit, and robust of limb,

To mark his speed, and trace the paths of conHe throws inclemency aside, nor feels

quest. The lot of human frailty.

In vain we followed, where he swept the field; And. What horrors hang around! the savage 'Twas death alone could wait upon Gustavus. race

Arn. He was, indeed, whate'er our wish could Ne'er hold their den, but where some glimmer

form him. ing ray

And. Arrayed and beauteous in the blood of May bring the cheer of morn. What, then, is he?

Danes, His dwelling marks a secret in his soul,

The invaders of his country, thrice he chaced And whispers somewhat more than man about This Cristiern, this fell conqueror, this usurper, him.

With rout and foul dishonour at his heels, .' Arn. Draw but the veil of his apparent wretch To plunge his head in Denmark. edness,

Arn. Nor ever had the tyrant known return, And you shall find his form is but assumed, To tread our necks, and blend us with the dust, To hoard some wondrous treasure lodged within. Had he not dared to break through every law And. Let him bear up to what thy praises That sanctifies the nations, seized our hero, speak him,

The pledge of specious treaty, tore him from And I will win him, spite of his reserve,

us, Bind him, with sacred friendship, to my soul, | And led him, chained, to Denmark. . Ard make him half myself.

And. Then we fell. Arn. 'Tis nobly promised;

If still he lives, we yet may learn to rise ; For worth is rare, and wants a friend in Sweden; | But never can I dare to rest a hope And yet I tell thee, in her age of heroes, . On any arm but his. When, nursed by freedom, all her sons' grew great, Arn. And, yet, I trust, And every peasant was a prince in virtue, This stranger, that delights to dwell with darkI greatly err, or this abandoned stranger

ness, Had stepped the first for fame, though now he Unknown, unfriended, compassed round with seeks

wretchedness, To veil his name, and cloud his shine of virtues; Conceals some mighty purpose in his breast, For there is danger in them.

Now labouring into birth. And. True, Arnoldus;

And. When came he hither? Were there a prince, throughout the sceptered Arn. Six moons have changed upon the face globe,

of night,
Who searched out merit, for its due preferment, | Since here he first arrived, in servile weeds,
With half that care our tyrant seeks it out But yet of mien majestic. I observed him,
For ruin; happy, happy were that state,

And, ever as I gazed, some nameless charm, Beyond the golden fable of those pure

A wondrous greatness not to be concealed, And early ages. Wherefore this, good Heaven? Broke through his form, and awed my soul beIs it of fate, that, who'assumes a crown,

fore him, Throws off humanity?

Amid these mines, he earns the hireling's per• Arn. So Cristiern holds.

tion; He claims our country as by right of conquest, His hands out-toil the hind; while, on his brow, A right to every wrong. Even now, 'tis said, Sits patience, bathed in the laborious drops The tyrant envies what our mountains yield Of painful industry. I oft have sought, Q1 health, or aliment; he comes upon us, With friendly tender of some wortlper service, Attended by a numerous host, to seize

To win him from his tempor; but he shruns These last retreats of our expiring liberty. | All offers, yet declined with graceful act, And. Say'st thou?

| Engaging beyond utterance: and, at eve, Arn. This rising day, this instant hour, | When all retire to some domestic solace, Thus chaced, we stand upon the utmost brink He only stays, and, as you see, the earth Of steep perdition, and must leap the precipice, Reccives him to her dark and cheerless bojom.

And. Has no unwary moment e'er betrayed Of blood-trained ministry were loosed to ruin. The labours of his soul, some favourite grief, Invention wantoned in the toil of infants Whereon to raise conjecture?

Stabbed on the breast, or reeking on the points Arn. I saw, as some bold peasants late de- of sportive javelins. Husbands, sons, and sires, plored

With dying ears drank in the loud despair Their country's bondage, sudden passion seized Of shrieking chastity. The waste of war And bore him from his seeming; strait his form Was peace and friendship to this civil massacre. Was turned to terror, rain filled his eye,

O Heaven and earth! Is there a cause for this! And his proud step appeared to awe the world: For sin without temptation, calm, cool villainy, When checked, as though an impotence of Deliberate mischief, unimpassioned lust, rage,

And smiling murder? Lie thou there, my soul; Damp sadness soon usurped upon his brow, Sleep, sleep upon it! image not the form And the big tear rolled graceful down his vi- Of any dream but this, 'till time grows pregnant, sage.

And thou canst wake to vengeance. And. Your words imply a man of much im- And. Thou hast greatly moved me. Ha! thy portance.

tears start forth. Arn. So I suspected; and at dead of night Yes, let them flow, our country's fate demands Stole on his slumbers: his full heart was busy;

them; And oft his tongue pronounced the hated name I too will mingle mine, while yet 'tis left us Of-bloody Cristiern- there he seemed to To weep in secret, and to sigh with safety. pause;

But wherefore talk of vengeance? 'Tis a word And, recollected to one voice, he cried,

Should be engraven on the new-fallen snow, O Sweden! O my country! Yet I'll save thee.' Where the first beam may melt it from obser. And. Forbear-he rises-Heavens, what ma

vance. jesty!

Vengeance on Cristiern! Norway and the Dane,

The sons of Sweden, all the peopled North, Enter GUSTAVUS.

Bends at his nod: my humbler boast of power And. Your pardon, stranger, if the voice of Meant not to cope with crowns. virtue,

Gust. Then what remains If cordial amity from man to man,

Is briefly this; your friendship has my thanks, And somewhat that should whisper to the soul, But must not my acceptance: neverno To seek and cheer the sufferer, led me hither, First sink, thou baleful mansion, to the centre, Impatient to salute thee. Be it thine

And be thy darkness doubled round my head, Alone to point the path of friendship out; 'Ere I forsake thee for the bliss of paradise, And my best power shall wait upon thy fortunes. To be enjoyed beneath a' tyrant's sceptre ! Gast. Yes, generous man ! there is a wond-No, that were slavery-Freedom is rous test,

The brilliant gift of Heaven, 'tis reason's self, The truest, worthiest, noblest cause for friend- The kin of Deity-I will not part it. ship;

And. Nor I, while I can hold it; but alas ! Dearer than life, than interest, or alliance, That is not in our choice. And equal to your virtues.

Gust. Why? Where's that power whose engines And. Say- unfold.

are of force Gus!, Art thou a soldier, a chief lord in Swe- To bend the brave and virtuous man to slavery? den,

Base fear, the laziness of lust, gross appetites, And yet a stranger to thy country's voice, These are the ladders, and the grovelling footThat loudly calls the hidden patriot forth?

stool, But what's a soldier? What's a lord in Sweden? | From whence the tyrant rises on our wrongs, All worth is fled, or fallen nor has a life Secure and sceptered in the soul's servility. Been spared, but for dishonour; spared to breed He has debauched the genius of our country, More slaves for Denmark, to beget a race And rides triumphant, while her captive sons Of new-born virgins for the insatiate lust Await his nod, the silken slaves of pleasure, Of our new masters. Sweden ! thou’rt no more! Or fettered in their fears. Queen of the North! thy land of liberty,

And. I apprehend you. Thy house of heroes, and thy seat of virtues, No doubt, a base submission to our wrongs Is now the tomb, where thy brave sons lie speech | May well be termed a voluntary bondage; less,

But think the heavy hand of power is on us; And foreign snakes engender.

Of power, from whose imprisonment and chains And. O'tis true.

Not all our free-born virtue can protect us. But wherefore! To what purpose ?

Gust. 'Tis there you err, for I have felt their Gust. Think of Stockholm!

force; When Cristiern seized upon the hour of peace, And had I yielded to enlarge these limbs,

And drenched the hospitable floor with blood; | Or share the tyrant's empire, on the terms . Then fell the flower of Sweden, mighty names ! | Which he proposed I were a slave indeed. Her hoary senators, and gasping patriots.

Nomin the deep and deadly damp of dungeons, The tyrant spoke, and his licentious band | The soul can rear her sceptre, sunile in anguish, And triumph o'er oppression.

Gust. Yes, my Arvida.
And. O glorious spirit! think not I am slack Beyond the sweeping of the proudest train,
To relish what thy noble scope intends;

That shades a monarch's heel, I prize these But then the means the peril! and the conse

weeds, quence!

For they are sacred to my country's freedom. Great are the odds, and who shall dare the trial? | A mighty enterprise bas been conceived, Gust. I dare.

And thou art come, auspicious to the birth, O wert thou still that gallant chief,

As sent to fix the seal of Heaven upon it. Whom once I knew, I could unfold a purpose Arv. Point but thy purpose- let it be to Would make the greatness of thy heart to swell,

bleed And burst in the conception.

Gust. Your hands, my friends! And. Give it utterance.

All. Our hearts. Perhaps there lie some embers yet in Sweden, Gust. I know they're brave. Which, wakened by thy breath, might rise in Of such the time has need; of hearts like yours flames,

Faithful and tirm; of hands inured and strong; And spread vindictive round-You say you know For we must ride upon the neck of danger, me;

And plunge into a purpose big with death. But give a tongue to such a cause as this, | And. Here let us kneel, and bind us to thry And, if you hold me tardy in the call,

side. You know me not-But thee I've surely known; By allFor there is somewhat in that voice and form, "Gust. No, hold—if we want oaths to join us, Which has alarmed my soul to recollection; Swift let us part, from pole to pole asunder. But 'tis as in a dream, and mocks my reach. A cause like ours is its own sacrament; Gust. Then name the man whom it is death Truth, justice, reason, love, and liberty, to know,

The eternal links that clasp the world, are in it, Or knowing to conceal-and I am he.

And he, who breaks their sanction, breaks all And. Gustavus ?-Heavens! 'tis he! 'tis he

law, himself!

And infinite connection.

Arv. True, my lord. Enter Arvida, speaking to a Servant.

And. And such the force I feel. Arv. I thank you, friend, he's here, you may Aro. And I. retire.

All. And all. And. Good morning to my noble guest; you're Gust. Know, then, that ere our royal Stenon early. [GUSTAVUS walks apart.

fell, Arv. I come to take a short and hasty leave: While thus my valiant cousin and myself, 'Tis said, that from the mountain's neighbour | By chains and treachery, lay detained in Dening brow,

mark, The canvas of a thousand tents appears,

Upon a dark and unsuspected hour, Whitening the vale-Suppose the tyrant there; The bloody Cristiern sought to take my head. You know my safety lies not in the interview Thanks to the ruling power, within whose eye Ha! What is he, who in the shreds of slavery Imbosomed ills and mighty treasons roll, Supports a step, superior to the state

Prevented of their blackness, I escaped, And insolence of ermine?

Led by a generous arm, and some time lay Gust. Sure that voice,

Concealed in Denmark—for my forfeit head Was once the voice of friendship and Arvida! Became the price of crowns, each port and path Aro. Ha! Yes 'tis he !- ye powers! it is Was shut against my passage 'till I heard Gustavus !

That Stenon, valiant Stenon, fell in battle, Gust. Thou brother of adoption ! In the bond And freedom was no more. O then, what bounds Of every virtue wedded to my soul,

Had power to hem the desperate! I o'erpassed Enter my heart! it is thy property.

them, Arv. I'm lost in joy and wondrous circum- | Traversed all Sweden, through ten thousand foes, stance.

Impending perils, and surrounding tongues, Gust. Yet, wherefore, my Arvida, wherefore That from himself enquired Gustavus out. is it,

Witness, my country, how I toiled to wake That in a place, and at a time like this,

Thy sons to liberty! In vain--for fear, We should thus meet? Can Cristiern cease from Cold fear had seized on all-Here last I came, cruelty?

And shut me from the sun, whose hateful beams Say, whence is this, my brother? How escaped Served but to shew the ruins of my country.

When here, my friends, 'twas here at length Did I not leave thee in the Danish dungeon ?

I found, Arv. Of that hereafter. Let me view thee first. | What I had left to look for, gallant spirits, How graceful is the garb of wretchedness, In the rough form of untaught peasantry. When worn by virtue! Fashions turn to folly; And. Indeed they once were brave; our Dalo. Their colours tarnish, and their pomps grow poor, nd their pomps grow poor,

carlians To her magnificence.

Have oft been known to give a law to kings;

[ocr errors]

them,

And as their only wealth has been their liberty, 1 Gust. Go, my friend,
From all the unmeasured graspings of ambition | Dear as thou art, whene'er our country calls,
Have held that gem untouched-though now 'tis Friends, sons, and sires should yield their trea-
feared

sure up,
Gust. It is not feared—I say they yet shall Nor own a sense beyond the public safety.
hold it.

But tell me, my Arvida, ere thou goest, I've searched these men, and find them like the Tell me what hand has made thy friend its soil,

debtor, Barren without, and to the eye unlovely,

And given thee up to freedom and Gustavus ? But they've their mines within; and this the day Arr. Ha ! let me think of that ! 'tis sure she In which I mean to prove them.

loves him.

(Aside. Arn. O Gustavus !

Away, thou skance and jaundiced eye of jealousy, Most aptly hast thou caught the passing hour, That tempts my soul to sicken at perfection ! Upon whose critical and fated hinge

Away! I will unfold it-To thyself The state of Sweden turns.

Arvida owes his freedom. Gust. And to this hour

Gust. How, my friend? I've therefore held me in this darksome womb, Arv. Some months are passed since in the That sends me forth as to a second birth

Danish dungeon, Of freedom, or through death to reach eternity. | With care emaciate, and unwholsome damps, This day, returned with every circling year, Sickening, I lay, chained to my flinty bed, In thousands pours the mountain peasants forth, And called on death to ease mestrait a light Each with his battered arms and rusty helm, Shone round, as when the ministry of heaven In sportive discipline well trained, and prompt Descends to kneeling saints. But O! the form Against the day of peril- thus disguised, That poured upon my sight-Ye angels, speak ! Already have I stirred their latent sparks For ye alone are like her ; or present Of slumbering virtue, apt as I could wish, Such visions pictured to the nightly eye To warm before the lightest breath of liberty. Of fancy, tranced in bliss. She then approached, Arn. How will they kindle when, confessed to The softest pattern of embodied mecknessview,

For pity had divinely touched her eye, Once more their loved Gustavus stands before And harmonized her motions—' Ah,' she cried,

Unhappy stranger, art not thou the man, And pours his blaze of virtues on their souls ! Whose virtues have endeared thee to Gustavus?" Aro. It cannot fail.

Gust. Gustavus did she say? And. It has a glorious aspect.

Aro. Yes, yes, her lips Ary. Now Sweden ! rise and re-assert thy | Breathed forth that name with a peculiar sweetrights,

ness. Or be for ever fallen.

Loosed from my bonds, I rose, at her comAnd. Then be it so.

mand, Arn. Lead on, thou arm of war,

When, scarce recovering speech, I would have To death or victory!

kneeled ; Gust. Let us embrace.

But ‘Haste thee, haste thee for thy life,' she cried; Why thus, my friends, thus joined in such a cause, · And O, if e'er thy envied eyes behold Are we not equal to a host of slaves !

Thy loved Gustavus, say, a gentle foe You say the foe's at hand—Why let them come! * Has given thee to his friendship.' Steep are our hills, nor easy of access,

Gust. You've much amazed me! Is her name And few the hours we ask for their reception.

a secret? For I will take these rustic sons of liberty

Aro, To me it is— but you perhaps may In the first warmth and hurry of their souls;

guess. And should the tyrant then attempt our heights, Gust. No, on my word. He comes upon his fate-Arise, thou sun !

Aro. You too had your deliverer. Haste, haste to rouse thee to the call of liberty, Gust. A kind, but not a fair one-Well, my That shall once more salute thy morning beam,

friends! And hail thee to thy setting !

Our cause is ripe, and calls us forth to action. Arn. O blessed voice!

Tread ye not lighter? Swells not every breast Prolong that note but one short day through Swe. With ampler scope to take your country in,

And breathe the cause of virtue? Rise, ye Swedes ! And though the sun and life should set together, Rise, greatly equal to this hour's importance. It matters not-we shall have lived that day. On us the eyes of future ages wait,

Art. Were it not worth the hazard of a life And this day's arm strikes forth decisive fate; To know if Cristiern leads his powers in person, This day, that shall for ever sink-or save; And what his scope intends ? Be mine that task; And make each Swede a monarch-or a slave. Even to the tyrant's tent I'll win my way,

(Creunt, And mingle with his councils.

[ocr errors]
« السابقةمتابعة »