« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
TO H. MARTIN, ESQ.
OF JESUS COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE. Dear Sir, Accept, as a small testimony of my grateful attachment, the following Dramatic Poem, in which I have endeavoured to detail, in an interesting form, the fall of a man, whose great bad actions have cast a disastrous lustre on his name. In the execution of the work, as intricacy of plot could not have been attempted without a gross violation of recent facts, it has been my sole aim to imitate the impassioned and highly figurative language of the French Orators, and to develop the characters of the chief actors on a vast stage of horrors. Yours fraternally,
S. T. COLERIDGE. Jesus COLLEGE, September 22, 1794.
THE FALL OF ROBESPIERRE.
Bar. The tempest gathers—be it mine to seek A friendly shelter, ere it bursts upon him. But where? and how? I fear the tyrant's soulSudden in action, fertile in resource, And rising awful ʼmid impending ruins; In splendour gloomy, as the midnight meteor, That fearless thwarts the elemental war. When last in secret conference we met, He scowld upon me with suspicious rage, Making his eye the inmate of my bosom. I know be scorns me—and I feel, I hate himYet there is in him that which makes me tremble!
[Erit. Enter Tallien and Legendre. Tal. It was Barrere, Legendre! didst thou mark
him? Abrupt he turned, yet linger'd as he went, And towards us cast a look of doubtful meaning. Legen. I mark'd him well. I met his eye's last
glance; It menaced not so proudly as of yore.
Methought he would have spoke—but that he dared
notSuch agitation darken'd on his brow. Tal. 'Twas all-distrusting guilt that kept from
Legen. Perfidious traitor!-still afraid to bask
Legen. O what a precious name is Liberty
O Danton! murdered friend! assist my counsels
ingsLegen. Fear not-or rather fear th' alternative, And seek for courage e'en in cowardice
-hither he comes—let us away! His brother with him, and the bloody Couthon, And high of haughty spirit, young St-Just.
[Exeunt. Enter Robespierre, Couthon, St-Just, and
Robespierre Junior. Robesp. What! did La Fayette fall before my
power? And did I conquer Roland's spotless virtues ? The fervent eloquence of Vergniaud's tongue ? And Brissot's thoughtful soul unbribed and bold ? Did zealot armies haste in vain to save them? What! did th' assassin's dagger aim its point Vain, as a dream of murder, at my bosom ? And shall I dread the soft luxurious Tallien ? Th’ Adonis Tallien ? banquet-hunting Tallien ? Him, whose heart flutters at the dice-box? him, Who ever on the harlots' downy pillow Resigns his head impure to feverish slumbers ! St-Just. I cannot fear him—yet we must not scorn