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With such a noble zeal their generous troops, Ros. It is a fair one, though you mark'd it not. That to their latest day of bearing arms,
Valt. I wish some painter's eye had view'd the Their gray-hair'd soldiers have all dangers braved
group, Of desperate service, claim'd with boastful pride, As she and all her lovely damsels pass'd ; As those who fought beneath them in their youth. He would have found wherewith t'enrich his art. Such men have been; of whom it may be said, Ros. I wish so too; for oft their fancied beauties Their spirits conquer'd when their clay was cold. Have so much cold perfection in their parts,
Palt. Yes, I have seen in the eventful field, 'Tis plain they ne'er belong'd to flesh and blood. When new occasion mock'd all rules of art,
This is not truth, and doth not please so well E'en old commanders hold experience cheap, As the varieties of liberal nature, And look to Basil ere his chin was dark.
Where every kind of beauty charms the eye ; Ros. One fault he has; I know but only one; Large and small featured, flat and prominent, His too great love of military fame
Ay, by the mass ! and snub-nosed beauties too. Absorbs his thoughts, and makes him oft appear 'Faith, every woman hath some witching charm, Unsocial and severe.
If that she be not proud, or captious. Fred. Well, feel I not undaunted in the field ? Valt, Demure, or over-wise, or given to freaks. As much enthusiastic love of glory?
Ros. Or given to freaks! hold, hold, good ValtoWhy am I not as good a man as he ?
mer! kos. He's form'd for great occasions, thou for Thou'lt leave no woman handsome under heaven. sm1!1.
Valt. But I must leave you for an hour or so; Valt, But small occasions in the path of life I mean to view the town. Lie thickly sown, while great are rarely scatter'd. Fred. I'll go with thee. Ros. By which you would infer that men like Ros.
And so will I. Frederick
(Exeunt Valt. Fred. and Ros. Should on the whole a better figure make,
Re-enter RosiNBERG. Than men of higher parts. It is not so ;
Ros. I have repented me, I will not go; For some show well, and fair applauses gain,
They will be too long absent.—(Pauses, and looks Where want of skill in other men is graceful.
at Basi), who remains still musing without Pray do not frown, good Frederick, no offence :
seeing hir.) Thou canst not make a great man of thyself;
What mighty thoughts engage iny pensive friend ? Yet wisely deign to use thy native powers,
Bus. () it is admirable ! And prove an honour'd courtly gentleman.
Ros. How runs thy fancy? what is admirable ? But hush! no more of this ; bere Basil comes.
Bus. Her form, her face, her motion, every thing! Enter Basil, who returns their salute without speaking.
Ros. The princess ? yes, have we not praised her
much? Ros. What think'st thou, Valtomer, of Mantua's Bas. I know you praised her, and her offerings princess ?
too! Val'. Fime praised her much, but hath not she might have given the treasures of the east, prised her more
Eie I had known it. Thin on a better proof the eye consents to. () ! didst thou mark her when she first appear'd ? With all that grace and nobleness of mien,
Still distant, slowly moving with her train ; She might do honour to an emperor's throne; Her robe and tresses noating on the wind, She is too noble Cor a petty court. fassent.) | Like some light figure in a morning cloud ? Is it not 52, my lord ? To Bisil, uho only boues Then, as she onward to the eye became Nay, she demeuns herself with si much grace, The more distinct, how lovelier still she grew! Such easy cute, such giy magnificence,
That graceful bearing of her slender form; She shui be queen of revelry and show.
Hier roundly spreading breist, her towering neck, Fred. She's charming as the gxdess of delight. Her [:ce tinged sweetly with the bloom of youth
Val'. But after her, she most attracted me | But when approaching near, she towards us turn'd,
And when to our salute she gently bow'd,
Ros. I would not rate them at a puce so mean; Like something waked from sleep.
Ros. The beams of heaven do many slumberers Would fetch a sum as great. That olive branch
wake The princess bore herself, of fretted gold,
To care and misery! Was exquisitely wrought. I mark'd it more, 1 Bas. There's something grave and solemn in Beciuse si e held it in so white a hand.
your voice Bas. (in a quick roice.) Mark'd you her hand ? As you pronounce these words. What dost thou I did not see her hand.
mean? And yet she waved it twice.
í Thou wouldst not sound my kpell?
Ros. No, not for all beneath the vaulted sky! For me there is but one of all the sex, But to be plain, thus warmly from your lips, Who still shall hold her station in my breast, Her praise displeases me. To men like you, Midst all the changes of inconstant fortune ; If love should come, he proves no easy guest. Because I'm passing sure she loves me well,
Bas. What, dost thou think I am beside myself, And for my sake a sleepless pillow finds And cannot view the fairness of perfection
When rumour tells bad tidings of the war; With that delight which lovely beauty gives, Because I know her love will never change, Without tormenting me with fruitless wishes, | Nor make me prove uneasy jealousy.
ike the poor child who sees its brighten'd face, I Bas. Happy art thou! who is this wondrous And whimpers for the moon? Thou art not serious.
woman? From early youth, war has my mistress been, Ros. It is mine own good mother, faith and And though a rugged one, I'll constant prove,
truth! And not forsake her now. There may be joys Bas. (smiling.) Give me thy hand; I love her Which, to the strange o’erwhelming of the soul,
dearly too. Visit the lover's breast beyond all others;
Rivals we are not, though our love is one. E'en now, how dearly do I feel there may !
Ros. And yet I might be jealous of her love, But what of them ? they are not made for me For she bestows too much of it on thee, The nasty flashes of contending steel
Who hast no claim but to a nephew's share. Must serve instead of glances from my love,
Bas. (going.) I'll meet thee some time hence. And for soft breathing sighs the cannon's roar.
I must to court. Ros. (taking his hand.) Now I am satisfied. Ros. A private conference will not stay thee long. Forgive me, Basil.
I'll wait thy coming near the palace gate. Bas. I'm glad thou art; we'll talk of her no Bas. 'Tis to the public court I mean to go. more ;
Ros. I thought you had determined otherwise. Why should I vex my friend?
Bas. Yes, but on farther thought it did appear Ros. Thou hast not issued orders for the march. | As though it would be failing in respect
Bus. I'll do it soon; thou need'st not be afraid, At such a time-That look doth wrong me, Rosin To morrow's sun shall bear us far from hence,
berg! Never perhaps to pass these gates again.
For on my life, I had determined thus, Ros. With last night's close, did you not curse Ere I bebeld-before we enter'd Mantua. this town
But wilt thou change that soldier's dusty garb, That would one single day your troops retard ? And go with me thyself? And now, methinks, you talk of leaving it,
Yes, I will go. As though it were the place that gave you birth; (As they are going Ros. stops, and looks at Basil.) As though you had around these strangers' walls Bas. Why dost thou stop ? Your infant gambols play'd.
'Tis for my wonted caution, Bas. The sight of what may be but little prized, which first thou gavest me I shall ne'er forget it! Doth cause a solemn sadness in the mind,
'Twas at Vienna, on a public day; When view'd as that we ne'er shall see again, Thou but a youth, I then a man full formd ;
Ros. No, not a whit to wandering men like us. Thy stripling's brow graced with its first cockade, No, not a whit! What custom hath endear'd Thy mighty bosom swell’d with mighty thoughts. We part with sadly, though we prize it not: “ Thou’rt for the court, dear Rosinberg," quoth But what is new some powerful charm must own,
thou ! Thus to affect the mind.
“ Now pray thec be not caught with some gay dame. Bas. (hastily.) We'll let it pass-It hath no To laugh and ogle, and befool thyself: consequence :
It is offensive in the public eye, Thou art impatient.
And suits not with a man of thy endowments.” Ros. I'm not impatient. 'Faith, I only wish So said your serious lordship to me then, Some other route our destined march had been, And have on like occasions, often since, That still thou mightst thy glorious course pursue In other terms repeated. With an untroubled mind.
But I must go to-day without my caution. Bas. O! wish it, wish it not! bless'd be that Bas. Nay, Rosinberg, I am impatient now: route !
Did I not say we'd talk of her no more? What we have seen to-day, I must remember Ros. Well, my good friend, God grant we keep I should be brutish if I could forget it.
our word! Oft in the watchful post, or weary march,
[EXEUNT. Oft ir the nightly silence of my tent,'
End of the First Act. My fixed mind shall gaze upon it still;
Note.-My first idea, when I wrote this play, was to But it will pass before my fancy's eye,
represent Basil as having seen Victoria for the first time Like some delightful vision of the soul,
in the procession, that I might show more perfectly the To soothe, not trouble it.
passion from its first beginning, and also its sudden power Ros. What! midst the dangers of eventful war, over the mind; but I was induced from the criticisin of Still let thy mind be haunted by a woman? one, whose judgment I very much respect, to alter it, and Who would, perhaps, hear of thy fall in battle,
represent him as having formerly seen and loved her. The
first review that took notice of this work objected to As Dutchmen read of earthquakes in Calabria,
Basil's having seen her before as a defect; and, as we are And never stop to cry Salack-a-day!'
| all easily determined to follow our own opinion, I have
upon after consideration, given the play in this edition, Your third day's march will to his presence bring (third,) as far as this is concerned, exactly in its original Your valiant troops: said you not so, my lord ? stale. Strong internal evidence of this will be discovered liy any one, who will take the trouble of reading atten. Enter VICTORIA, the COUNTESS of ALBINI, ISABELLA, and tively the second scenes of the first and second acts in the
Ladies. present and former editions of this book. Had Basil seen Bas. (who changes countenance upon seeing and loved Victoria before, his first speech, in which he
them.) describes her to Rosinberg as walking in the procession,
Yes, I believe-I think-I know not wellwould not be natural; and there are, I think, other little things besides, which will show that the circumstance of Yes, please your grace, we march by break of day. his former meeting with her is an interpolation.
Duke. Nay, that I know, I ask'd you, noble The blame of this, however, I take entirely upon myself:
count, the criticc, whose opinion I have mentioned, judged of the
the When you expect th' imperial force to join. piece entirely as an unconnected play, and knew nothing of the general plan of this work, which ought to have been
Bas. When it shall please your grace-I crave communicated to him. Had it been, indeed, an uncon.
your pardonnected play, and had I put this additional circumstance to I somewhat have mistaken of your words. it with proper judgment and skill, I am inclined to think | Duke. You are not well: your colour changes, it would have been an improvement.
What is the matter?
Bas. A dizzy mist that swims before my sight
A ringing in my ears—'tis strange enough-
'Tis slight-'tis nothing worth—'tis gone already. SCENE I.-A ROOM OF STATE.
Duke. I'm glad it is. Look to your friend, Count
Rosiuberg, The Duke of Mantua, Basil, RosiNBERG, and a number It may return again.-- To Rosinberg, who stands at of Courtiers, Attendants, &c. The Duke and BASIL appear talking together on the front of the stage.
a litile distance, looking earnestly at Basil.
Duke leaves them, and joins Victoria's Duke. But our opinions differ widely there ;
party.) From the position of the rival armies,
Ros. Good heavens, Basil, is it thus with thee ! I cannot think they'll join in battle soon.
Thy hand shakes too : (taking his hand.) Bas. I am indeed beholden to your highness,
Would we were far from hence! But though unwillingly, we must depart.
Bas. I'm well again, thou need'st not be afraid. The foes are near, the time is critical;
'Tis like enough my frame is indisposed A soldier's reputation is too fine
With some slight weakness from our weary march. To be exposed e'en to the smallest cloud.
Nay, look not on me thus, it is unkindlyDuke. An untried soldier's is; but yours, my I cannot bear thine eyes.
lord, Nursed with the bloody showers of many a field, | The Duke, with VICTORIA and her Ladies, advance 1o the And brightest sunshine of successful fortune,
front of the stage to Basil. plant of such a hardy stem hath grown,
Duke. Victoria, welcome here the brave Count E'en envy's sharpest blasts assail it not.
Basil. Yet after all, by the bless'd holy cross !
His kinsman too, the gallant Rosinberg. I feel too warm an interest in the cause
May you, and these fair ladies so prevail, To stay your progress here a single hour,
Such gentle suitors cannot plead in vain, Did I not know your soldiers are fatigued,
To make them grace my court another day. And two days' rest would much recruit their I shall not be offended when I see strength.
Your power surpasses mine. Bas. Your highness will be pleased to pardon me; Vict. Our feeble efforts will presumptuous seem My troops are not o'ermarch'd, and one day's rest Attempting that in which your highness fails. Is all our needs require.
Duke. There's honour in th' attempt; success Duke. Ah! hadst thou come
attend ye.-(Duke retires and mixes with Unfetter'd with the duties of command,
the Courtiers at the bottom of the stage.) I then had well retained thee for my guest,
Vict. I fear we incommoded you, my lord, With claims too strong, too sacred for denial, With the slow tedious length of our procession. Thy noble sire my fellow soldier was;
E'en as I passid, against my heart it went
Your tired troops.-
Ah! madam, all too short! Bas. Were I indeed free master of myself, Time never bears such moments on his wing, Strong inclination would detain me here;
But when he flies too swiftly to be mark'a. No other tie were wanting.
Vict. Ah ! surely then you make too good amends These gracious tokens of your princely favour By marking now his after-progress well. I'll treasure with my best remembrances;
To-day must seem a weary length to him For he who shows them for my father's sake, Who is so eager to be gone to-morrow. Does something sacred in his kindness bear,
Ros. They must not linger who would quit these As though he shed a blessing on my head.
walls; Duke. Well, bear my greetings to the brave Pis-For if they do, a thousand masked foes ; caro,
Some under show of rich luxurious feasts, And say how warmly I embrace the cause. | Gay, sprightly pastime, and high-zested game ;
Nay, some, my gentle ladies, true it is,
Bas. (aside, looking after their.) 0! what a The very worst and fellest of the crew,
fool am I! where fled my thoughts? In fair alluring shape of beauteous dames,
I might as well as he, now, by ber side, Do such a barrier form to oppose their way
Have held her precious hand enclosed in mine; As few men may o'ercome.
As well as he, who cares not for it neither. Isab. From this last wicked foe should we infer 10 but he does ! that were impossible! Yourself have suffer'd much ?
Albin. You stay behind, my lord. Albin. No, Isabella, these are common words, Bas. Your pardon, madam ; honour me so farTo please you with false notions of your power.
[EXEUNT, handing out Albini. So all men talk of ladies and of love. Vict. 'Tis even so. If love a tyrant be,
SCENE II.--A GALLERY HUNG WITH PICTURES. How dare his humble chained votaries
VICTORIA discovered in conversation with ROSINBERG, To tell such rude and wicked tales of him?
BASIL, ALBINI, and ISABELLA. Bas. Because they most of lover's ills complain
Vict. (to Ros.) It is indeed a work of wondrous Who but affect it as a courtly grace,
art. Whilst he who feels is silent. Ros. But there you wrong me: I have felt it oft. (To Isab.) You call'd Francisco here?
He comes even now. Oft has it made me sigh at ladies' fee Soft ditties sing, and dismal sonnets scrawl.
Enter ATTENDANT. Albin. In all its strange effects, most worthy Vict. (to Ros.) He will conduct you to the northRosinberg,
ern gallery ; Has it e'er made thee in a corner sit,
Its striking shades will call upon the eye, Sad, lonely, moping sit, and hold thy tongue ? To point its place there needs no other guide. Ros. No, 'faith, it never has.
[EXEUNT Ros. and Attendant. Albin. Ha, ha, ha, ha! then thou hast never (To Bas.) Loves not Count Basil too this charmloved.
ing art? Ros. Nay, but I have, and felt love's bondage too. It is in ancient painting much admired.
Vict. Fy! it is pedantry to call it bondage ! 1 Bas. Ah! do not banish me these few short moLove-marring wisdom, reason full of bars,
ments : Deserve, methinks, that appellation more.
Too soon they will be gone! for ever gone! Is it not so, my lord ?-(To Basil.)
Vict. If they are precious to you, say not so, Bas.
O surely, madam! But add to them another precious day. That is not bondage which the soul inthrall’d A lady asks it. So gladly bears, and quits not but with anguish. Bas. Ah, madam! ask the life-blood from my Stern honour's laws, the fair report of men,
heart! These are the fetters that enchain the mind, Ask all but what a soldier may not give. But such as must not, cannot be unloosed.
Vict. 'Tis ever thus when favours are denied ; Vict. No, not unloosed, but yet one day relax'd, All had been granted but the thing we beg; To grant a lady's suit, unused to sue.
And still some great unlikely substitute, Ros. Your highness deals severely with us now, Your life, your soul, your all of earthly good, And proves indeed our freedom is but small, Is proffer'd in the room of one small boon. Who are constrain'd when such a lady sues, So keep your life-blood, generous, valiant lord, To say, It cannot be.
And may it long your noble heart enrich, Vict. It cannot be ! Count Basil says not so. Until I wish it shed. (Bas. attempts to speak.) Ros. For that I am his friend, to save him pain
Nay frame no new excuse; I take th’ ungracious office on myself.
I will not hear it. Vict. How ill thy face is suited to thine office!
(She puts out her hand as if she would shut Ros. (smiling.) Would I could suit mine office
his mouth, but at a distance from it ; to my face,
Bas. runs eagerly up to her, and presses If that would please your highness.
it to his lips.) Vict. No, you are obstinate and perverse all, Bas. Let this sweet hand indeed its threat perAnd would not grant it if you had the power.
form, Albini, I'll retire; come, Isabella.
And make it heaven to be for ever dumb! Bas. (aside to Ros.) Ah, Rosinberg! thou hast (Vict. looks stately and offended.-Basil kneels.) too far presumed ;
O pardon me! I know not what I do.
Frown not, reduce me not to wretchedness;
But only grant-
What should I grant to him, Vict. (pointing to a door leading to other apart. Who has 80 oft my earnest suit denied
ments, by which she is ready to go out.) Bas. By heaven I'll grant it! I'll do any thing: These are apartments strangers love to see: Say but thou art no more offended with me. Some famous paintings do their walls adorn:
Vict. (raising him.) Well, Basil, this good proThey lead you also to the palace court
mise is thy pardon.
Exrt Vict. led out by Ros, and followed since we shall meet again.-
You will perform your word?
Bas. I will perform it.
Gaur. But does the princess know your secret Vict, Farewell, my lord.
aim? [Exit, with her ladies. Duke. No, that had marr’d the whole; she is a Bas. (alone.) “ Farewell, my lord.” O! what
woman; delightful sweetness !
Her mind, as suits the sex, too weak and narrow The music of that voice dwells on the ear! To relish deep-laid schemes of policy. “ Farewell, my lord !”—Ay, and then look'd she Besides, so far unlike a child of mine, SO
She holds its subtle arts in high derision, The slightest glance of her bewitching eye, And will not serve us but with bandaged eyes. Tnose dark blue eyes, commands the inmost soul. Gauriecio, could I trusty servants find, Well, there is yet one day of life before me, Experienced, crafty, close, and unrestrain'd And, whatsoe'er betide, I will enjoy it.
By silly, superstitious, child-learnt fears, Tbough but a partial sunshine in my lot,
What might I not effect? I will converse with her, gaze on her still,
O any thing! li all behind were pain and misery.
The deep and piercing genius of your highness, Pain! Were it not the easing of all pain,
So ably served, might e'en achieve the empire. E'en in the distal gloom of after-years,
Duke. No, no, my friend, thou dost o'erprize my Such dear remembrance on the mind to wear
parts; Like silvery moonbeams on the 'nighted deep, Yet mighty things might be deep subtle wits When heaven's blest sun is gone?
In truth, are master spirits in the world. Kind mercy! how my heart within me beat The brave man's courage, and the student's lore, When she so sweetly plead the cause of love! Are but as tools his secret ends to work, Can she have loved ? why shrink I at the thought ? | Who hath the skill to use them. Why should she not! no, no, it cannot be
This brave Count Basil, dost thou know him well? No man on earth is worthy of her love.
Much have we gain'd, but for a single day, Ah ! if she could, how blest a man were he! At such a time, to hold his troops detain'd; Where rove my giddy thoughts? it must not be. When, by that secret message of our spy, Yet might she well some gentle kindness bear; The rival powers are on the brink of action : Think of him oft, his absent fate inquire,
But might we more effect? Knowest thou this And, should he fall in battle, mourn his fall.
That were most dangerous.-
And all so hot and fiery is his nature,
The slightest hint, as though you did suppose
Baseness and treachery in him, so he'll deem it, I'm sorry I return'd not ere she went
Would be to rouse a flame that might destroy. Bus. You'll see her still.
Duke. But interest, interest ; man's all-ruling Ros. What, comes she forth again ? |
power, Bas. She does to-morrow.
Will tame the hottest spirit to your service,
And skilfully applied, mean service too ;
E'en as there is an element in nature It was impossible I should not yield.
Which, when subdued, will on your hearth fulfil Ros. O Basil ! thou art weaker than a child.
The lowest uses of domestic wants.
Gaur. Earth-kindled fire, which from a little Bas. Yes, yes, my friend, but 'tis a noble weak
spark, ness; A weakness which hath greater things achieved
On hidden fuel feeds his growing strength, Than all the firm determined strength of reason.
Till o'er the lofty fabric it inspires By heaven! I feel a new-born power within me,
And rages out its power, may be subdued, Shall make me twenty-fold the man I've been
And in your base domestic service bound;
But who would madly in its wild career
The fire of heaven arrest to boil his pot?
No, Basil will not serve your secret schemes,
Though you had all to give ambition strives for To aught I shall not love.
We must beware of him. Bas. Thanks, Rosinberg ! thou art a noble heart! |
Duke. His father was my friend, I wish'd to
gain him : I would not be the man thou couldst not love For an imperial crown.
But since fantastic fancies bind him thus,
The sin be on his head; I stand acquitted, SCENE III.-A SMALL APARTMENT IN THE PALACE.
And must receive him, even to his ruin.
Gaur. I have prepared Bernardo for your service ; Enter DUKE and GAURIECIO.
To-night he will depart for th’ Austrian camp, Duke. The point is gain'd; my daughter is And should he find them on the eve of battle, successful;
I've bid him wait the issue of the field. And Basil is detain'd another day.
| If that our secret friends victorious prove,