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DIALOGUE AND DRAMATIC PIECES.
Wiz.—Lochiel, Lochiel! beware of the day
When the lowlands shall meet thee in battle array!
For a field of the dead rushes red on my sight,
And the clans of Culloden are scatter'd in fight.
They rally, they bleed for their kingdom and crown;
Woe, woe to the riders that trample them down!
Proud Cumberland prances, insulting the slain,
And their hoof-beaten bosoms are trod to the plain!
But hark! through the fast flashing lightning of war,
What steed to the desert flies frantic and far?
'Tis thine, oh Glenullin! whose bride shall await,
Like a love-lighted watch-fire, all night at the gate.
A steed comes at morning; no rider is there;
But its bridle is red with the sign of despair.
Weep, Albin! to death and captivity led!
Oh weep! but thy tears cannot number the dead.
* In this dialogue, the tone of the Wizard, or Seer-who is supposed to be gifted with second-sight-must be deep, and solemn; increasing in pitch and force as the images of horror crowd upon his vision, and varied occasionally by the soft tones of grief. The expression of the chieftain Lochiel must be that of bold confidence, daring, and contempt of the Wizard's prediction. His pitch will therefore be higher, and his tone louder.
For a merciless sword on Culloden shall wave,
Culloden! that reeks with the blood of the brave.
Loc.-Go preach to the coward, thou death-telling seer! Or, if gory Culloden so dreadful appear, Draw, dotard, around thy old wavering sight This mantle-to cover the phantoms of flight.
Wiz.-Ha! laugh'st thou, Lochiel, my vision to scorn?
Proud bird of the mountain, thy plume shall be torn !—
Say, rush'd the bold eagle exultingly forth
From his home, in the dark-rolling clouds of the north?
Lo! the death-shot of foemen outspeeding, he rode,
Companionless, bearing destruction abroad:
But down let him stoop from his havoc on high!
Ah! home let him speed, for the spoiler is nigh.
Why flames the far summit? Why shoot to the blast
Those embers, like stars from the firmament cast?
'Tis the fire-shower of ruin, all dreadfully driven
From his eyrie, that beacons the darkness of heaven.
Oh! crested Lochiel! the peerless in might,
Whose banners arise on the battlements' height,
Heaven's fire is around thee, to blast and to burn;
Return to thy dwelling; all lonely return!
For the blackness of ashes shall mark where it stood,
And a wild mother scream o'er her famishing brood!
Loc.-False Wizard, avaunt! I have marshall'd my clan, Their swords are a thousand, their hearts are but one! They are true to the last of their blood and their breath, And like reapers descend to the harvest of death. Then welcome be Cumberland's steed to the shock! Let him dash his proud foam like a wave on the rock! But woe to his kindred, and woe to his cause, When Albin her claymore indignantly draws; When her bonneted chieftains to victory crowd, Clanronald the dauntless, and Moray the proud, All plaided and plumed in their tartan array— Wiz.-Lochiel, Lochiel! beware of the day!
For, dark and despairing my sight I may seal,
But man cannot cover what God would reveal;
'Tis the sunset of life gives me mystical lore,
And coming events cast their shadows before.-
I tell thee, Culloden's dread echoes shall ring
With the blood-hounds that bark for thy fugitive king.
Lo! anointed by Heaven with the vials of wrath,
Behold where he flies on his desolate path!
Now in darkness and billows, he sweeps from my sight;
Rise, rise! ye wild tempests, and cover his flight!—
'Tis finish'd! Their thunders are hush'd on the moors;
Culloden is lost, and my country deplores!
But where is the iron-bound prisoner? Where?—
For the red eye of battle is shut in despair.
Say, mounts he the ocean-wave, banish'd, forlorn,
Like a limb from his country cast bleeding and torn?
Ah no! for a darker departure is near;
The war-drum is muffled, and black is the bier;
His death-bell is tolling! Oh! Mercy, dispel
Yon sight, that it freezes my bosom to tell!
Life flutters convulsed in his quivering limbs,
And his blood-streaming nostril in agony swims.
Accurs'd be the faggots that blaze at his feet,
Where his heart shall be thrown ere it ceases to beat,
With the smoke of its ashes to poison the gale—
Loc.-Down, soothless insulter! I trust not the tale: For never shall Albin a destiny meet,
So black with dishonor, so foul with retreat.
Though my perishing ranks should be strew'd in their gore,
Like ocean-weeds heap'd on the surf-beaten shore,
Lochiel, untainted by flight or by chains,
While the kindling of life in his bosom remains,
Shall victor exult or in death be laid low-
With his back to the field, and his feet to the foe!
And, leaving in battle no blot on his name,
Look proudly to heaven from the death-bed of fame!
CATO ON THE SOUL'S IMMORTALITY.—Addison.
[CATO is seated with Plato's treatise in his hand, and beside him his sword.-The expression should be solemn, and the declamation of a lofty and dignified character.]
It must be so! Plato, thou reasonest well:
Else whence this fond desire, this pleasing hope,
This longing after immortality?
Or whence this secret dread, and inward horror
Of falling into nought? Why shrinks the soul
Back on herself, and shudders at destruction?
'Tis the divinity that stirs within us;
'Tis heaven itself that points out a hereafter,
And intimates eternity to man!—
Eternity! thou pleasing, dreadful thought!—
Through what variety of untried being,
Through what new forms and changes must we pass?
The wide, the unbounded prospect lies before
But shadows, clouds, and darkness rest upon it.
Here will I hold- -If there's a power above,—
And that there is all Nature cries aloud
Through all her works,―he must delight in virtue;
And that which he delights in must be happy:
But when? or how ?-This world was made for Cæsar.
I'm weary of conjectures; this must end 'em!
(taking up the sword.)
Thus am I doubly arm'd: my life and death,
My bane and antidote, are both before me.
This, in a moment, brings me to an end;
But this assures me I shall never die!
The soul, secure in her existence, smiles
At the drawn dagger, and defies its point.
The stars shall fade away, the Sun himself
Grow dim with age, and Nature sink in years,—
Thou still shalt flourish in eternal youth,
Unhurt amidst the war of elements,
The wreck of matter, and the crush of worlds!
MARC ANTONY'S APOSTROPHE* TO CÆSAR'S
O PARDON me, thou bleeding piece of earth,
That I am meek and gentle with these butchers!
Thou art the ruins of the noblest man
That ever lived in the tide of times!
Woe to the hand that shed this costly blood,
Over thy wounds now do I prophesy,-
Which, like dumb mouths, do ope their ruby lips,
To beg the voice and utterance of my tongue,
A curse shall light upon the line of men;
Domestic fury, and fierce civil strife
Shall cumber all the parts of Italy;
Blood and destruction shall be so in use,
And dreadful objects so familiar,
That mothers shall but smile, when they behold
Their infants quarter'd with the hands of war ;-
All pity chok'd with custom of fell deeds ;—
And Cæsar's spirit, ranging for revenge,
With Até by his side, come hot from hell,
Shall in these confines, with a monarch's voice,
Cry Havoc, and let slip the dogs of war ;—
That this foul deed shall smell above the earth
With carrion men groaning for burial!
* This apostrophe is a fine practice in intonation and powerful and impassioned declamation. The speaker should commence in the deep, solemn tone of grief; making a burst of passion as he prophesies the curse that is to follow; and increase in energy till he reach the climax at the close.
† Pronounced Åte-the goddess of discord.