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Sieg. But she loves you. Though he died not by me or mine, as much
Ulr. And I love her, and therefore would think | As if he were my brother I have ta'en
twice. His orphan Ida—cherish'd her as one
Sieg. Alas! Love never did so. Who will be mine.
Ulr. Then 't is time He should begin, and take the bandage from His eyes, and look before he leaps: till now He hath ta'en a jump i' the dark.
Sieg. But you consent? Ulr. I did, and do.
Sieg. Then fix the day.
Ulr. 'T is usual,
And certes courteous, to leave that to the lady.
Sieg. I will engage for her.
Ulr. So will not I
For any woman; and as what I fix,
I fain would see unshaken, when she gives
Her answer, I'll give mine.
Sieg. But 'tis your office To woo. Ulr. Count, 'tis a marriage of your making
So be it of your wooing; but to please you
I will now pay my duty to my mother,
With whom, you know, the lady Ida is. –
What would you have 2 You have forbid my stirring
For manly sports beyond the castle walls,
And I obey; you bid me turn a chamberer,
To pick up gloves, and fans, and knitting needles,
And list to songs and tunes, and watch for smiles,
And smile at pretty prattle, and look into
The eyes of feminine, as though they were
The stars receding early to our wish
Upon the dawn of a world-winning battle—
What can a son or man do more ? [Erit ULR1c.
Sieg. (solus). Too much —
Too much of duty, and too little love :
He pays me in the coin he owes me not :
For such hath been my wayward fate, I could not
Fulfil a parent's duties by his side
Till now ; but love he owes me, for my thoughts
Ne'er left him, nor my eyes long'd without tears
To see my child again, and now I have found him
But how ! — obedient, but with coldness ; duteous
In my sight, but with carelessness; mysterious—
Abstracted — distant—much given to long absence,
And where—none know—in league with the most
Of our young nobles; though, to do him justice,
He never stoops down to their vulgar pleasures;
Yet there 's some tie between them which I cannot
Unravel. They look up to him — consult him—
Throng round him as a leader: but with me
He hath no confidence : Ah can I hope it
After—what doth my father's curse descend
Even to my child 2 Or is the Hungarian near
To shed more blood 7 or—Oh if it should be .
Spirit of Stralenheim, dost thou walk these walls
To wither him and his — who, though they slew not
Unlatch'd the door of death for thee ? 'T' was not
Our fault, nor is our sin : thou wert our foe,
And yet I spared thee when my own destruction
Slept with thee, to awake with thine awakening :
And only took—Accursed gold thou liest
Like poison in my hands; I dare not use thee,
Nor part from thee; thou cannest in such a guise,
Methinks thou wouldst contaminate all hands
Like mine. Yet I have done, to atone for thee,
Thou villainous gold ! and thy dead master's doom,
Enter an ATTENDANT. Atten. The abbot, if it please Your excellency, whom you sent for, waits Upon you. [Erit Arrend ANT.
Prior. Peace be with these walls, and all Within them : Sieg. Welcome, welcome, holy father
And may thy prayer be heard 1–all men have need
Of such, and I
Prior. Have the first claim to all
The prayers of our community. Our convent,
Erected by your ancestors, is still
Protected by their children.
Continue daily orisons for us
In these dim days of heresies and blood,
Though the schismatic Swede, Gustavus, is
Prior. To the endless home of unbelievers,
Where there is everlasting wail and woe,
Gnashing of teeth, and tears of blood, and fire
Eternal, and the worm which dieth not [one,
Sieg. True, father: and to avert those pangs from Who, though of our most faultless holy church, Yet died without its last and dearest offices, Which smooth the soul through purgatorial pains, I have to offer humbly this donation In masses for his spirit.
[SIEGENDoRF offers the gold which he had taken
from STRALEN HEIM.
Prior. Count, if I
Receive it, 'tis because I know too well
Refusal would offend you. Be assured
The largess shall be only dealt in alms,
And every mass no less sung for the dead.
Our house needs no donations, thanks to yours,
Which has of old endow’d it; but from you
And yours in all meet things 'tis fit we obey.
For whom shall mass be said 2
Prior. His name 2
Sieg. 'T is from a soul, and not a name, I would avert perdition.
Prior. I meant not
To pry into your secret. We will pray
For one unknown, the same as for the proudest.
Sieg. Secret ! I have none; but, father, he who's
As he did me. I do not love him now, A cloud upon your thoughts. This were to be
But Too sensitive. Take comfort, and forget
Prior. Best of all ! for this is pure religion : Such things, and leave remorse unto the guilty.
You fain would rescue him you hate from hell— [Ereunt.
An evangelical compassion—with
Your own gold too !
Sieg. Father, 'tis not my gold.
Prior. Whose then 2 You said it was no legacy.
Sieg. No matter whose—of this be sure, that he
Who own'd it never more will need it, save
In that which it may purchase from your altars:
'Tis yours, or theirs.
Prior. Is there no blood upon it 2
Sieg. No; but there's worse than blood–-etermal
Prior. Did he who own’d it die in his bed 2
Prior. Son | you relapse into revenge,
If you regret your enemy's bloodless death.
Sieg. His death was fathomlessly deep in blood.
Prior. You said he died in his bed, not battle.
Died, I scarce know—but—he was stabb'd i' the
And now you have it—perish'd on his pillow
By a cut-throat 1–Ay 1—you may look upon me !
I am not the man. I'll meet your eye on that point,
As I can one day God's.
Prior. Nor did he die
By means, or men, or instrument of yours ?
Sieg. No by the God who sees and strikes :
Prior. Nor know you Who slew him 7 Sieg. I could only guess at one,
And he to me a stranger, unconnected,
As unemploy'd. Except by one day's knowledge,
I never saw the man who was suspected.
Prior. Then you are free from guilt.
Sieg. (eagerly). Oh I am I?—say !
Prior. You have said so, and know best.
Sieg. Father I have spoken The truth, and nought but truth, if not the whole : Yet say I am not guilty! for the blood Of this man weighs on me, as if I shed it, Though, by the Power who abhorreth human blood, I did not : — nay, once spared it, when I might And could—ay, perhaps, should (if our self-safety Be e'er excusable in such defences Against the attacks of over-potent foes): But pray for him, for me, and all my house; For, as I said, though I be innocent, I know not why, a like remorse is on me, As-if he had fallen by me or mine. Pray for me, Father I have pray'd myself in vain.
Prior. I will.
Be comforted : You are innocent, and should
Be calm as innocence.
Sieg. But calmness is not
Always the attribute of innocence.
I feel it is not. -
Prior. But it will be so,
When the mind gathers up its truth within it.
R, one mber the great festival to-morrow,
In which you rank amidst our chiefest nobles,
As well as your brave son; and smooth your aspect;
Nor in the general orison of thanks
For bloodshed stopt, let blood you shed not rise
Enter Ansheixi and Meister, attendants of Count
Arn. Be quick the count will soon return : the
Already are at the portal. Have you sent [ladics
The messengers in search of him he seeks for
Meis. I have, in all directions, over Prague,
As far as the man's dress and figure could
By your description track him. The devil take
These revels and processions ! All the pleasure
(If such there be) must fall to the spectators.
I'm sure none doth to us who make the show.
Arn. Go to my lady countess comes.
Ride a day's hunting on an outworn jade,
Than follow in the train of a great man
In these dull pageantries.
Enter the Count Ess Joseph INE SIEG ENDoRF and IDA STRALEN HEIM.
Jos. Well, Heaven be praised, the show is over !
Ida. How can you say so never have I dreamt Of aught so beautiful. The flowers, the boughs, The banners, and the nobles, and the knights, The gems, the robes, the plumes, the happy faces, The coursers, and the incense, and the sun Streaming through the stain'd windows, even the tombs, Which look'd so calm, and the celestial hymns, Which seem'd as if they rather came from heaven Than mounted there. The bursting organ's peal Rolling on high like an harmonious thunder; The white robes and the lifted eyes; the world At peace and all at peace with one another Oh, my sweet mother [Embracing Josephine.
Jos. My beloved child : For such, I trust, thou shalt be shortly.
Ida. Oh 1 I am so already. Feel how my heart beats
Jos. It does, my love; and never may it throb With aught more bitter.
Ida. Never shall it do so : How should it 2 What should make us grieve 2 I hate To hear of sorrow ; how can we be sad, Who love each other so entirely 2 You, The count, and Ulric, and your daughter Ida.
Jos. Poor child !
Ida. Do you pity me 2
Jos. No ; I but envy, And that in sorrow, not in the world's sense Of the universal vice, if one vice be More general than another.
Ida. I'll not hear A word against a world which still contains You and my Ulric. Did you ever see
Aught like him 2 How he tower'd amongst them all !
How all eyes follow'd him : The flowers fell faster—
Itain'd from each lattice at his feet, methought,
Than before all the rest; and where he trod
I dare be sworn that they grow still, nor e'er
Jos. You will spoil him, little flatterer,
If he should hear you.
Ida. But he never will.
I dare not say so much to him — I fear him.
Jos. Why so? he loves you well.
Ida. But I can never Shape my thoughts of him into words to him. Besides, he sometimes frightens me.
Jos. How so?
Ida. A cloud comes o'er his blue eyes suddenly, Yet he says nothing.
Jos. It is nothing : all men,
Especially in these dark troublous times,
Have much to think of.
Sieg. I live 1 and as I live, I saw him – Heard him ; he dared to utter even my name. Ulr. What name 7
Sieg. Werner : "t was mine.
Ulr. It must be so No more: forget it.
Sieg. Never ! never ! all
My destinies were woven in that name:
It will be not engraved upon my tomb,
But it may lead me there.
Ulr. To the point—the Hungarian
Sieg. Listen – The church was throng'd; the
hymn was raised;
* Te Deum” peal’d from nations, rather than
From choirs, in one great cry of “God be praised"
For one day's peace, after thrice ten drend years,
Each bloodier than the former: I arose,
With all the nobles, and as I look'd down
Along the lines of lifted faces, – from
Our banner'd and escutcheon'd gallery, I |
Saw, like a flash of lightning (for I saw
A moment and no more), what struck me sightless
To all else—the Hungarian's face I grew
Sick; and when I recover'd from the mist
Which curl’d about my senses, and again
Look'd down, I saw him not. The thanksgiving
Was over, and we march'd back in procession.
Sieg. When we reach'd the Muldau's bridge, The joyous crowd above, the numberless Barks mann'd with revellers in their best garbs, Which shot along the glancing tide below, The decorated street, the long array, The clashing music, and the thundering Of far artillery, which seem'd to bid A long and loud farewell to its great doings, The standards o'er me, and the tramplings round, The roar of rushing thousands, – all—all could not Chase this man from my mind, although my senses No longer held him palpable.
Ulr. You saw him No more, then 7 Sieg. I look'd, as a dying soldier
Looks at a draught of water, for this man:
But still I saw him not ; but in his stead —
Ulr. What in his stead 2
Sieg. My eye for ever fell
Upon your dancing crest; the loftiest
As on the loftiest and the loveliest head
It rose the highest of the stream of plumes,
Which overflow'd the glittering streets of Prague.
Ulr. What's this to the Hungarian 2
Sieg. Much; for I
Had almost then forgot him in my son;
When just as the artillery ceased, and paused
The music, and the crowd embraced in lieu
Of shouting, I heard in a deep, low voice,
Distinct and keener far upon my ear
Than the late cannon's volume, this word—“JPerner "
Ulr. Uttered by
Sieg. HIM I turn'd—and saw—and fell.
Ulr. And wherefore ? Were you seen 2
Sieg. The officious carc
Of those around me dragg'd me from the spot,
Seeing my faintness, ignorant of the cause:
You, too, were too remote in the procession
(The old nobles being divided from their children)
To aid me.
Scexe I. WERNER. 371
Ulr. But I'll aid you now. Sieg. Where is he 7 -
Sieg. In what 2 Gab. (pointing to ULRic). Beside you !
Ulr. In searching for this man, or When he’s [ULRic rushes forward to attack Gabon ;
found SIEGENDoRF interposes.
What shall we do with him 7 Sieg. Liar and fiend but you shall not be slain;
Sieg. I know not that. These walls are mine, and you are safe within them.
Ulr. Then wherefore seek 7 [He turns to Ulaic.
Sieg. Because I cannot rest | Ulric, repel this calumny, as I
Till he is found. His fate, and Stralenheim's,
And ours, seem intertwisted nor can be
Atten. A stranger to wait on Your excellency.
Atten. He gave no name.
Sieg. Admit him, ne'ertheless.
[The ATTEN DANT introduces GAbort, and
Gah. "T is, then, Werner
Sieg. (haughtily). The same you knew, sir, by
that name ; and you /
Gab. (looking round). I recognise you both : father
It secms. Count, I have heard that you, or yours,
Have lately been in search of me: I am here.
Sieg. I have sought you, and have found you: you
(Your own heart may inform you why) with such
A crime as [He pauses.
Gab. Give it utterance, and then
I'll meet the consequences.
Sieg. You shall do so — Unless —
Gab. First, who accuses me 2
Sieg. All things.
If not all men : the universal rumour–
My own presence on the spot — the place — the
And every speck of circumstance unite
To fix the blot on you.
Gab. And on me only 7
Pause ere you answer: is no other name,
Save mine, stain’d in this business 2
Sieg. Trifling villain
Who play'st with thine own guilt Of all that breathe
Thou best dost know the innocence of him [der,
'Gainst whom thy breath would blow thy bloody slan-
But I will talk no further with a wretch,
Further than justice asks. Answer at once,
And without quibbling, to my charge.
Gab. 'T is false
-Sieg. Who says so
Sieg. And how disprove it 2
Gab. By The presence of the murderer.
Sieg. Name him :
Gab. He May have more names than one. Your lordship
Once on a time.
Sieg. If you mean me, I dare Your utmost.
Gull. You may do so, and in safety :
Will do. I avow it is a growth so monstrous,
I could not deem it earth-born: but be calin ;
It will refute itself. But touch him not.
[Ulric endeavours to compose himself.
Gab. Look at him, count, and then hear me.
Sieg. (first to GABok, and then looking at ULRic).
I hear thee.
My God you look
Ulr. How 7
Sieg. As on that dread night
When we met in the garden.
Ulr. (composes himself). It is nothing.
Gab. Count, you are bound to hear me.
Not seeking you, but sought. When I knelt down
Amidst the people in the church, I dream'd not
To find the beggar'd Werner in the seat
Of senators and princes; but you have call'd me,
And we have met.
Allow me to inquire who profited
By Stralenheim's death 7 Was 't I– as poor as ever;
And poorer by suspicion on my name !
The baron lost in that last outrage neither
Jewels nor gold; his life alone was sought, —
A life which stood between the claims of others
To honours and estates scarce less than princely.
Sieg. These hints, as vague as vain, attach no less
To me than to my son.
Gab. I can't help that.
But let the consequence alight on him
Who feels himself the guilty one among us.
I speak of you, Count Siegendorf, because
I know you innocent, and deem you just.
But ere I can proceed—dare you protect me 2
Dare you command me !
[Siege.Nboar first looks at the Hungarian, and
then at Ulric, who has unbuckled his sabre,
and is drawing lines with it on the floor—
still in its sheath.
Ulr. (looks at his father and says)
Let the man go on 1
Gab. I am unarm'd, count—bid your son lay down
His sabre. -
Ulr. (offers it to him contemptuously).
Gab. No, sir, 'tis enough
That we are both unarm'd — I would not choose
To wear a steel which may be stain'd with more
Blood than came there in battle.
Ulr. (casts the sabre from him in contempt).
It — or some
Such other weapon, in my hands—spared yours
Once when disarm'd and at my mercy.
Gab. True –
I have not forgotten it: you spared me for
Your own especial purpose—to sustain
An ignominy not my own.
The tale is doubtless worthy the relater.
But is it of my father to hear further 2
Sieg. (takes his son by the hand). My son I know
my own innocence, and doubt not
Of yours—but I have promised this man patience;
Let him continue.
Gab. I will not detain you
By speaking of myself much : I began
Life early—and am what the world has made me.
At Frankfort on the Oder, where I pass'd
A winter in obscurity, it was
My chance at several places of resort
(Which I frequented sometimes, but not often)
To hear related a strange circumstance
In February last. A martial force,
Sent by the state, had, after strong resistance,
Secured a band of desperate men, supposed
Marauders from the hostile camp. —They proved,
However, not to be so — but banditti,
Whom either accident or enterprise
Had carried from their usual haunt—the forcsts
Which skirt Bolnemia—even into Lusatia.
Many amongst them were reported of
High rank — and martial law slept for a time.
At last they were escorted o'er the frontiers,
And placed beneath the civil jurisdiction
Of the free town of Frankfort. Of their fate,
I know no more.
Sieg. And what is this to Ulric 2
Gab. Amongst them there was said to be one man
Of wonderful endowments : — birth and fortune,
Youth, strength, and beauty, almost superhuman,
And courage as unrivall'd, were proclaim'd
His by the public rumour; and his sway,
Not only over his associates, but
His judges, was attributed to witchcraft.
Such was his influence : — I have no great faith
In any magic save that of the mine—
I therefore deem'd him wealthy. —But my soul
Was roused with various feelings to seek out
This prodigy, if only to behold him.
Sieg. And did you so 2
Gab. You'll hear. Chance favour'd me:
A popular affray in the public square
Drew crowds together—it was one of those
Occasions where men's souls look out of them,
And show them as they are — even in their faces:
The moment my eye met his, I exclaim'd,
“This is the man 1" though he was then, as since,
With the nobles of the city. I felt sure
I had not err'd, and watch'd him long and nearly ;
I noted down his form—his gesture—features,
Stature, and bearing—and amidst them all,
Midst every natural and acquired distinction,
I could discern, methought, the assassin's eye
And gladiator's heart.
Ulr. (smiling). The tale sounds well.
Gab. And may sound better. — He appear'd to me
One of those beings to whom Fortune bends
As she doth to the daring—and on whom
The fates of others oft depend ; besides,
An indescribable sensation drew me
Near to this man, as if my point of fortune
Was to be fix'd by him. —There I was wrong.
Sieg. And may not be right now.
Gab. I follow'd him,
Solicited his notice—and obtain'd it—
A man above his station—and if not
So high, as now I find you, in my then
Conceptions, 't was that I had rarely seen
Men such as you appear'd in height of mind
In the most high of worldly rank; you were
Poor, even to all save rags: I would have shared
My purse, though slender, with you—you refused it.
Sieg. Doth my refusal make a debt to you,
That thus you urge it?
Gab. Still you owe me something, Though not for that; and I owed you my safety, At least my seeming safety, when the slaves Of Stralenheim pursued me on the grounds That I had robb'd him.
Sieg. I conceal’d you—I, Whom and whose house you arraign, reviving viper :
Gab. I accuse no man—save in my defence. You, count, have made yourself accuser—judge: Your hall's my court, your heart is my tribunal. Be just, and I'll be merciful :
Gab. No, He, whom you dare not name, nor even I Scarce dare to recollect, was not then in The chamber. [still—
Sieg. (to ULR1c). Then, my boy! thou art guiltless Thou bad'st me say I was so once – Oh now Do thou as much .
Gab. Be patient 1 I can not Recede now, though it shake the very walls Which frown above us. You remember, — or If not, your son does, – that the locks were changed Beneath his chief inspection on the morn Which led to this same night: how he had enter'd He best knows—but within an antechamber, The door of which was half ajar, I saw A man who wash'd his bloody hands, and ost