Sidor som bilder

Osw. 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! Osw.

The crew
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 hopes-
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.
The proofs-you ought to have seen
The guilt-have touched it-felt it at your heart-
As I have done.


A fresh tide of crusaders Drove by the place of my retreat: three nights Did constant meditation dry my blood; 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 Thirsting for some of those exploits that fill 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

A salient spring of energy; I mounted
From action up to action with a mind
That never rested-without meat or drink
Have I lived many days - my sleep was bound
To purposes of reason—not a dream

But had a continuity and substance
That waking life had never power to give.

Mar. O wretched human-kind!—Until the mystery
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 sca:
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,
"T is that worst principle of ill which dooms
A thing so great to perish self-consumed.
So much for my remorse!

Unhappy man! Osw. When from these forms I turned to contem plate

The world's opinions and her usages,

I seemed a being who had passed alone
Into a region of futurity,
Whose natural element was freedom

I may not, cannot, follow thee. Osw.


You must.

I have been nourished by the sickly food
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 servo

The world in substance, not deceive by show,
We must become obnoxious to its hate,

Or fear disguised in simulated scorn.

Mar. I pity, can forgive, you; but those wretches→→ That monstrous perfidy!

Osw. 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't was 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.
The mask,


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.

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,
"T is his who will command it-Think of my story-
Herbert is innocent.

[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

SCENE, the inside of a poor Collage.

ELEANOR and IDONEA seated.

Idon. The storm beats hard-Mercy for poor or rich, Whose heads are shelterless in such a night!

A Voice without. Holla! to bed, good folks, within!
O save us!

Idon. What can this mean?
Alas, for my poor husband!-
We'll have a counting of our flocks to-morrow;
The wolf keeps festival these stormy nights:
Be calm, sweet lady, they are wassailers

[The voices die away in the distance. Returning from their feast-my heart beats soA noise at midnight does so frighten me. Idon. Hush! Elea.

[Listening. They are gone. On such a night, my

husband, 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 theirsNot even in theirs whose brutal violence So dealt with him.

Idon. I have a noble friend First among youths of knightly breeding, one Who lives but to protect the weak or injured. There again!

[blocks in formation]

[A short pause; she falls upon his neck. Eld. To-night I met with an old man lying stretched upon the ground-a sad spectacle: I raised him up with a hope that we might shelter and restore him.

Elea. (as if ready to run.) Where is he? You were not able to bring him all the way with you; let us return, I can help you. [ELDRED shakes his head.

Eld. He did not seem to wish for life: as I was struggling on, by the light of the moon I saw the stains of blood upon my clothes - he waved his hand as if it were all useless: and I let him sink again to the ground Elea. O, that I had been by your side!

Eld. I tell you his hands and his body were cold— how could I disturb his last moments? he strove to turn from me as if he wished to settle into sleep.

Elea. But, for the stains of blood

Eld. He must have fallen, I fancy, for his bead was cut; but I think his malady was cold and hunger. Elea. O, Eldred, I shall never be able to look up at this roof in storm or fair but I shall tremble.

Eld. Is it not enough that my ill stars have kept me abroad to-night till this hour? I come home, and this is my comfort!

Elea. But did he say nothing which might have set you at ease?

Eld. I thought he grasped my hand while he was muttering something about his child—his daughter(starting as if he heard a noise.) What is that?

Elea. Eldred, you are a father.

Eld. God knows what was in my heart, and will not curse my son for my sake.

Elea. But you prayed by him? you waited the hour of his release?

Eld. The night was wasting fast; I have no friend; [Listening. I am spited by the world-his wound terrified me—if !

MARMADUKE appearing.

had brought him along with me, and he had died in my arms! I am sure I heard something breathing – and this chair!


Mar. Buzz, buzz, ye black and winged freebooters: That is no substance which ye settle on!

Elea. O, Eldred, you will die alone. You will have nobody to close your eyes-no hand to grasp your dying

hand-I shall be in my grave. A curse will attend

us all.

For. His senses play him false; and see, his arms
Outspread, as if to save himself from falling!—
Some terrible phantom I believe is now
Passing before him, such as God will not
Permit to visit any but a man

Eld. Have you forgot your own troubles when I was in the dungeon?

Elea. And you left him alive?

Who has been guilty of some horrid crime.
[MARMADUKE disappears.

Eld. Alive!-the damps of death were upon him he could not have survived an hour.

[ocr errors]

Eld. Ay, and say at once that I murdered him? Elea. Eldred, I know that ours is the only house upon the waste; let us take heart; this man may be rich; and could he be saved by our means, his gratitude may

reward us.

Eld. "T is all in vain..

Elea. In the cold, cold night.

Eld. (in a savage tone.) Ay, and his head was bare;

I suppose you would have had me lend my bonnet to cover it. You will never rest till I am brought to a felon's end.


"Tis a poor wretch of an unsettled mind,

Elea. Is there nothing to be done? cannot we go to Who has a trick of straying from his keepers;
We must be gentle: leave him to my care.

the Convent?

[blocks in formation]

Osw. The game is up!


Osw. He listened too; did you not say he listened?
For. As if there came such moaning from the flood
As is heard often after stormy nights.

Osw. But did he utter nothing?

See him there!

If it be needful, Sir,


will assist you to lay hands upon him.
Osw. No, no, my friend, you may pursue your busi-

[Exit Forester.
If his own eyes play false with him, these freaks
Of fancy shall be quickly tamed by mine;
The goal is reached. My master shall become
A shadow of myself-made by myself.

Idon. (rushing out.) It is, it is my father-
Eld. We are betrayed. (looking at IDONEA.)

Elea. His daughter!-God have mercy! (turning to


As you know,

Idon. (sinking down.) Oh! lift me up and carry me The first hours of last night were rough with storm: to the place.

You are safe; the whole world shall not harm you.

Elea. This lady is his daughter.

Eld. (moved.) I'll lead you to the spot.
Idon. (springing up.) Alive!-you heard him
breathe quick, quick-

I had been out in search of a stray heifer;
Returning late, I heard a moaning sound;
Then, thinking that my fancy had deceived me,
I hurried on, when straight a second moan,
A human voice distinct, struck on my ear.
So guided, distant a few steps, I found
An aged man, and such as you describe.

Mar. You heard! - he called you to him? Of all

SCENE, the edge of the Moor. MARMADUKE and ELDRED enter from opposite sides. Mar. (raising his eyes and perceiving ELDRED.) In any corner of this savage waste,

Have you, good peasant, seen a blind old man?

Eld. I heard



· men


The best and kindest ! — but where is he? guide me,
That I may see him.

SCENE, A wood on the edge of the Waste.
Enter OSWALD and a Forester.

On a ridge of rocks
A lonesome chapel stands, deserted now:
The bell is left, which no one dares remove;

For. He leaned upon the bridge that spans the glen, And, when the stormy wind blows o'er the peak,

It rings, as if a human hand were there

And down into the bottom cast his eye,
That fastened there, as it would check the current.

You heard him, where? when heard

To pull the cord. I guess he must have heard it;
And it had led him towards the precipice,

To climb up to the spot whence the sound came;
But he had failed through weakness. From his hand
His staff had dropped, and close upon the brink
Of a small pool of water he was laid,

[ocr errors]

As if he had stooped to drink, and so remained

Without the strength to rise.


Well, well, he lives,

And all is safe: what said he?

But few words:
He only spake to me of a dear daughter,
Who, so he feared, would never see him more;
And of a stranger to him, one by whom
He had been sore misused; but he forgave
The wrong and the wrong-doer. You are troubled
Perhaps you are his son?

The All-seeing knows,
I did not think he had a living child.-
But whither did you carry him?


He was torn,

His head was bruised, and there was blood about him Mar. That was no work of mine.


Nor was it mine. Mar. But had he strength to walk? I could have

borne him

A thousand miles.


I am in poverty,

And know how busy are the tongues of men;
My heart was willing, Sir, but I am one
Whose good deeds will not stand by their own light;
And, though it smote me more than words can tell,
I left him.


I believe that there are phantoms,
That in the shape of man do cross our path
On evil instigation, to make sport

Of our distress and thou art one of them!
But things substantial have so pressed on me

Eld. My wife and children came into my mind. Mar. O, monster! monster! there are three of us, And we shall howl together.

[ocr errors]

[After a pause, and in a feeble voice. I am deserted At my worst need, my crimes have in a net (Pointing to ELDRED.) Entangled this poor man.— Where was it? where? [Dragging him along. Eld. 'Tis needless; spare your violence. His


Mar. Ay, in the word a thousand scorpions lodge: This old man had a daughter.


To the spot I hurried back with her. O save me, Sir, From such a journey!-there was a black tree, A single tree; she thought it was her father.O. Sir, I would not see that hour again For twenty lives. The daylight dawned, and nowNay; hear my tale, 't is fit that you should hear itAs we approached, a solitary crow Rose from the spot; - the daughter clapped her hands, And then I heard a shriek so terrible

[ocr errors]

Mar. Dead, dead!

Eld. (after a pause.) A dismal matter, Sir, for me,

[blocks in formation]

Eld. Your father, lady, from a wilful hand Has met unkindness; so indeed he told me, And you remember such was my report: From what has just befallen me I have cause To fear the very worst.

Idon. My father is dead; Why dost thou come to me with words like these? Eld. A wicked man should answer for his crimes. Idon. Thou seest me what I am. Eld.

It was most heinous,

And doth call out for vengeance.

Do not add,
I prithee, to the harm thou 'st done already.
Eld. Hereafter you will thank me for this service.
Hard by, a man I met, who, from plain proofs
Of interfering Heaven, I have no doubt,
Laid hands upon your father. Fit it were
You should prepare to meet him.


I have nothing To do with others; help me to my father

[She turns and sees Marmaduke leaning on ELEANOR-throws herself upon his neck, and after some time,

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

His body is at rest; there was a plot, [MARMADUKE shrinks back. A hideous plot, against the soul of man: The startled bird quivered upon the wing. It took effect--and yet I baffled it, In some degree. Idon.

Between us stood, I thought,

He is at peace;

A cup of consolation, filled from Heaven
For both our needs; must I, and in thy presence,
Alone partake of it? - Beloved Marmaduke!

Mar. Give me a reason why the wisest thing
That the earth owns shall never choose to die,
But some one must be near to count his groans.
The wounded deer retires to solitude,

And dies in solitude: all things but man,

All die in solitude. [Moving towards the cottage door. And, if thou hast forgiven me, let me hope,

Mysterious God,

In this deep sorrow, trust, that I am thine
For closer care;- here, is no malady.

If she had never lived I had not done it!
Idon. Alas, the thought of such a cruel death
Has overwhelmed him. I must follow.



You will do well; (she goes) unjust suspicion may
· Cleave to this stranger: if, upon his entering,
The dead man heave a groan, or from his side
Uplift his hand-that would be evidence.
Elea. Shame! Eldred, shame!
Mar. (both returning.)

one face. (to himself.)
And such a man-so meek and unoffending -
Helpless and harmless as a babe: a man,
By obvious signal to the world's protection,
Solemnly dedicated to decoy him!-
Idon. O, had you seen him living!·
I (so filled
With horror is this world) am unto thee
The thing most precious, that it now contains:
Therefore through me alone must be revealed
By whom thy parent was destroyed, Idonea!
I have the proofs ! -

O, miserable father!
Thou didst command me to bless all mankind;
Nor to this moment have I ever wished

[Taking his arm.

Mar. There, is a malady(Striking his heart and forehead.) And here, and here, A mortal malady.—I am accurst:

All nature curses me, and in my heart

Thy curse is fixed; the truth must be laid bare,
It must be told, and borne. I am the man,
(Abused, betrayed, but how it matters not)
The dead have but Presumptuous above all that ever breathed,
Who, casting as I thought a guilty person
Upon Heaven's righteous judgment, did become
An instrument of fiends. Through me, through me
Thy father perished.

[ocr errors]

1 have found him.-
Oh! would that thou hadst perished in the flames!
Idon. Here art thou, then can I be desolate? -
Mar. There was a time, when this protecting hand
Availed against the mighty; never more
Shall blessings wait upon a deed of mine.

Idon. Wild words for me to hear, for me, an orphan,
Committed to thy guardianship by Heaven;

Perished by what mischance? Mar. Beloved! — if I dared, so would I call thee Conflict must cease, and, in thy frozen heart, The extremes of suffering meet in absolute peace. [He gives her a leller. Idon. (reads.) Be not surprised if you hear that some signal judgment has befallen the man who calls himself your father; he is now with me, as his signature will show: abstain from conjecture till you see me. 'HERBERT. • MARMADUKE.' The writing Oswald's; the signature my father's: Hear me, ye Heavens!—(kneeling.)—may vengeance (Looks steadily at the paper.) And here is yours, haunt the fiend do my eyes deceive me? You have then seen my father? Mar. Upon this arm.

Evil to any living thing; but hear me,


For this most cruel murder: let him live

And move in terror of the elements;

The thunder send him on his knees to prayer
In the open streets, and let him think he sees,
If e'er he entereth the house of God,
The roof, self-moved, unsettling o'er his head;
And let him, when he would lie down at night,
Point to his wife the blood-drops on his pillow!

Mar. My voice was silent, but my heart hath joined


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

He has leaned

Miserable woman,
Too quickly moved, too easily giving way,
Idon. (leaning on MARMADUKE.) Left to the mercy I put denial on thy suit, and hence,
With the disastrous issue of last night,
Thy perturbation, and these frantic words.
Be calm, I pray thee!

of that savage man!

How could he call upon his child! - O friend!
[Turns to MARMADUKE.
My faithful, true, and only comforter.
Mar. Ay, come to me and weep.


(He kisses her.) Yes, varlet, look, The devils at such sights do clap their hands.


[ELDRED retires alarmed. Idon Thy vest is torn, thy cheek is deadly pale; Hast thou pursued the monster?

You led him towards the convent?
Mar. That convent was Stone-Arthur Castle. Thither
We were his guides. I on that night resolved
That he should wait thy coming till the day
Of resurrection.

Name him not.

Enter female Beggar.

Beg. And he is dead!—that moor
cross it?


By night, by day, never shall I be able

[ocr errors]

-how shall I

« FöregåendeFortsätt »