Изображения страниц

This sure may well be granted us-one sepulchre
Beside the sepulchres of our forefathers |

Oct. Countess, you tremble, you turn pale !
Coun. (reassembles all her powers, and speaks with
energy and dignity).

You think More worthily of me, than to believe I would survive the downfall of my house. We did not hold ourselves too mean, to grasp After a monarch's crown—the crown did Fate Deny, but not the feeling and the spirit That to the crown belong! We deem a Courageous

us death more worthy of our free station Than a dishonour'd life.--I have taken poison.

Oct. Help! Help! Support her!

Nay, it is too late,
In a few moments is my fate accomplislı’d.

[Exit Countess. Gor. O house of death and horrors !

[An officer enters, and brings a letter with the

great seal.

Gor. (steps forward and meets him). What is this? It is the Imperial seal.

[He reads the address and delivers the letter to

Octavio with a look of reproach, and with

an emphasis on the word. To the Prince Piccolomini. Oct, (with his whole

frame expressive of sudden anguish, raises his eyes to heaven.

The Curtain drops.


An Distortc Drama.




DEAR SIR, Accept, as a small testimony of my grateful attachment, the follow. ing 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 Justre 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 borrors.

Yours fraternally,

JESUB COLLEGE, September 22, 1794,



SCENE, The Tuilleries.

Barrere. The tempest gathers—be it mine to seek A friendly shelter, ere it bursts upon

But where ? and how? I fear the Tyrant's soul-
Sudden 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 he scorns me—and I feel, I hate him-
Yet there is in him that which makes me tremble !

[Exit. Enter TALLIEN and LEGENDRE. Tal. It was Barrere, Legendre ! didst thou mark

him? Abrupt he turn'd, yet linger'd as he went, And towards us cast a look of doubtful meaning.

Leg. 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

Th’imprison'd secret struggling in the face:
E'en as the sudden breeze upstarting onwards
Hurries the thunder-cloud, that poised awhile
Hung in mid air, red with its mutinous burthen.

Leg. Perfidious Traitor !-still afraid to bask
In the full blaze of power, the rustling serpent
Lurks in the thicket of the Tyrant's greatness,
Ever prepared to sting who shelters him.
Each thought, each action in himself converges ;
And love and friendship on his coward heart
· Shine like the powerless sun on polar ice :
To all attach’d, by turns deserting all,
Cunning and dark--a necessary villain !

Tal. Yet much depends upon him-well you know
With plausible harangue 't is his to paint
Defeat like victory—and blind the mob
With truth-mix'd falsehood. They, led on by him
And wild of head to work their own destruction,
Support with

uproar what he plans in darkness. Leg. O what a precious name is Liberty To scare or cheat the simple into slaves ! Yes--we must gain him over: by dark hints We'll show enough to rouse his watchful fears, Till the cold coward blaze a patriot. O Danton! murder'd friend ! assist my counsels – Hover around me on sad memory's wings, And pour thy daring vengeance in my heart. Tallien ! if but to-morrow's fateful sun Beholds the Tyrant living—we are dead ! Tal. Yet his keen eye that flashes mighty mean

ingsLeg. Fear not-or rather fear th' alternative, And seek for courage e'en in cowardice,

But seem

-hither he comes-- let us away! His brother with him, and the bloody Couthon, And high of haughty spirit, young St. Just.

Ereunt. Enter ROBESPIERRE, COUTHÓN, ST. Just, and

Rob. 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 poiut
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 harlot's downy pillow
Resigns his head impure to feverish slumbers !
St. Just. I cannot fear him-yet we must not scoru

Was it not Antony that conquer'd Brutus,
Th' Adonis, banquet-hunting Antony?
The state is not yet purified: and though
The stream runs clear, yet at the bottom lies
The thick black sediment of all the factions-
It needs no magic hand to stir it up!

Cou. O we did wrong to spare them-fatal error !
Why lived Legendre, when that Danton died ?
And Collot d’Herbois dangerous in crimes ?
I've fear'd him, since his iron heart endured
To make of Lyons one vast human shambles,
Compared with which the sun-scorch'd wilderness
Of Zara were a smiling paradise.

St. Just. Rightly thou judgest, Couthou ! He is one, Who flies from silent solitary anguish,

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »