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You are a distant kinsman of the house
Of which I once was head. Did I not feel
The opposite of what you seem to think,
And know that vengeance is the only thing
Can make me what I was, I should rebuke
You for not rousing up your distant blood
To sweep away the blot but yes-I know
You feel that I am right, and justly leave me
To vindicate myself. Do leave me so.
Arias. I'll hurt you, Sir, no longer. I obeyed
The king, I now obey a kinglier spirit.
Dieg. There was a bastard of Lain Calvo's house, Mudarra, a half Moor, who when he heard
His father was ill-used among the Spaniards,
Left his own country, mother, friends and all,
To come and fight for him; and turning Christian,
He did such work, and dealt such gashy deaths
Upon the heads of his blest father's enemies,
That ever since his great old sword has been
Among us like a relic; and no eye
Turns to that closet where it lies alone,
Stretched in its giant sheath, but thinks it sees
Almost the sepulchre of a living thing.
It shall come forth.
[He goes to the Closet, and takes out a gigantic Sword. Alas! alas! I try
In vain to wield it; even despair will tighten not
This wrist hinge-broken, and this hand, which shakes
Like to a guilty one that is enforced
To hold some awful image. O age, age,
Remembering all good things, yet having none,
Fondest of lasting things when at thy last,
With not even strength enough to dig the grave
Where thou art forced to hide thee; thy poor eyes
Forsaken even of tears; thy wandering hands
Turned to habitual tremblers; thy grey locks
Tost in thy teeth with contumelious winds;
And all thy crazy being ready to fall
To shatters with a blow-O too, too well
Is the imaginary charm of reverence
Hung round about thee, since the first vile hand
That dares to break it, does; and there thou art,
The ruin of a man, with piping scorn
Through both thine echoing ears aching the brain.
I do forget-no, not myself-but those
Who may demand a better right to draw
Upon their future strength. Rodrigo,-not first-
And yet but stay, old man. (He calls out.) Bermudo Lain!
[He sits down. Enter BERMUDO.
Come here, Bermudo. Are your brothers waiting,
As I desired them?
Yes, Sir, and most anxious
Dieg. Attend to me. What should be done,
Think you, were any one to insult your father?
Ber. You, Sir?
Ay, me, Sir; I am but a man,
And an old man; or do you fancy, that
Your father cannot be so treated, boy?
Ber. I should think any man so old and reverend
Would be held sacred: but were he to be
Really insulted, being unable too
To reckon with the coward, he should ask
Right of the king.
What! And be coward too?
Avoid me:-not a word: I shall not strike thee.
Thou strik'st thyself, and dost not feel the blow.
Every way are we struck. Avoid me, boy;
Hunt butterflies again: go, strike a top,
That sleeps on a sound beating. Begone, Sir.
I must not sit and think. Now (He calls again), Hernan Diaz!
This is my youngest. He is like his mother,
More than even Rodrigo; and she,blest saint,
Would have blushed through and through her gentleness
To see me make this doubting muster. Hernan !
Hernan, no words. I am not sick, nor dying,
Nor even in gentle mood. Yet hither: let me
Look in thy face. Thou art thy mother, Hernan,
Turned into man, I hope. What shouldst thou do,
Thy father having been insulted, man?
Her. Insulted, dearest father?
What! are my children turned to hollow things
That thus they echo my mere words?
I would have flown to comfort you at first
Had you but let me, and I'll stay with you
Now, if you please, and ever.
Her. Ay, but not coloured
Dieg. Name you not her.
I wished her spirit might not be looking at me;
Now I must wish she cannot see her children,
Her. O, Sir! What words are these?
What is there else in old Diego's house?
Go, get thee gone, child; for thou art a child.
The mention of thy mother lets me call thee
That, and no more. Send Rodrigo in,—I say,
Send Rodrigo. He at least can play the man.
Rod. (Entering). Pardon this haste, Sir, but I thought you called.
Dieg. I like the haste, Sir, and the voice. How now?
What is this girlish loitering? (Exit Hernan.) Now the last,
Like a shadow.
so. Not even my mother-
This day, for the first time,
Most hoped, and yet most feared, yet still most hoped. [Aside. Rod. O my dear father, what's this mystery,
That must be shewn thus nicely to your sons,
you the sufferer?
"Tis a familiarity, of which
Both parties should be sure that each is worthy.
Rod. Father! Good God! And how am I unworthy? How long-nay, tell me, Sir, and I will end
This hideous dream at once.
That would not end it.
Rod. What, Sir? I never spoke you false, and would you Be wilfully unjust? You cannot, Sir.
Nor ought not;-no-even a father ought not;
And most a father ought not.
Oh that this.... Yet, boy, see, see the while; you dare to rail Against your father by anticipation.
Rod. No, Sir, I dare do nothing that's unjust : Nor dare to think you could.
Dare not even think?
Rod. No, Sir. How dare I think of anything,
That would, one instant, make me hesitate
To vindicate your name?
Rodrigo, I have heard you dare to speak
Against a noble vengeance.
Against the common fury, which starts up
From weak impatience and self-love, to shew
How great a thing has fretted it, and scourge
Into bad blood those who most likely want
Mere teaching, like itself.
Over-proud boy; for now I see 'tis so.
Is there no difference of injuries?
None punishable for good? No noble vengeance?
Rod. What could make vengeance noble, would convert it
To something not itself, there is
Dieg. (hastily interrupting him.) Suppose me,
Here as I stand, an insolent traducer, Worldly and envious, wreaking the uneasiness (If you will have it so) of my own vile
Inferior nature on each thing about me,
Short of such worldly power as I could love;
Love! no not love, but worship as myself,
Because it raised me, met my understanding,
And did not of itself imply desert.
Rod. I should despise, and pity you.
A woman or a boy came in my way,
Or, say, a man that had survived his strength,
An aged man, and that I raised my arm ....
Rod. (Hastily) You'd be struck first.
Dieg. (With the same quickness.)
To punish him?
Dieg. Eldest born, I tell thee, this old body,
Whose armour used to laugh in rattling peals
Against a hundred scymitars, has been
Bowed with a blow! Ay, blow!
O ancient honour!
O father! O most reverend old man,
Whose vigour passed thee into these young bones,
Who was the monster?
Will it be revenge
O let me have thee.
"Twould not be the first time.
Oh no; most glorious justice, Most right, most noble, he shall bow his head
To thee or to this arm.
My son! my son!
'Twas a thirsty grasp,
And quenched my heart. O, my dear glorious boy,
Eldest and best, true fire of my fresh love,
Triumphant promiser, in whom the spirit
Of our great house goes forth with young magnificence,
Clear as he came to me, and as he went;
Thy brothers, boy, reflect thy gentler beams,
But not thy grand ones, that shall smite the wicked
Like the noon-arrow.
Yet-thou art but young.