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Of lust and violation- -O Swedes! Swedes !
Heavens! are ye men, and will ye suffer this ?
There was a time, my friends, a glorious time!
When, had a single man of your
Upon the frontier met a host in arms,
His courage scarce had turned; himself had stood,
Alone had stood, the bulwark of his country.
Come, come ye on, then. Here I take my stand !
Here on the brink, the very verge of liberty ;
Although contention rise upon the clouds,
Mix heaven with earth, and roll the ruin onward,
Here will I fix, and breast me to the shock,
Till I or Denmark fall.
Shall we not strike for't?
Siv. Death! Victory or death!
All. No bonds! no bonds !
Arn. Spoke like yourselves. Ye men of Dalecarlia,
Brave men and bold! whom
Shall mark for wondrous deeds, achievements won
From honour's dangerous summit, warriors all !
Say, might ye choose a chief-
Speak, name the man
Who then should meet your wish!
Siv. Forbear the theme.
Why wouldst thou seek to sink us with the weight
Of grievous recollection ? O Gustavus !
Could the dead wake, thou wert the man.
Gust. Didst thou know Gustavus?
Siv. Know him! O Heaven! what else, who else was worth The knowledge of a soldier? That great day, When Christiern, in his third attempt on Sweden, Had sunimed his powers, and weighed the scale of fight;
On the bold brink, the very push of conquest,
Gustavus rushed, and bore the battle down;
In his full sway of prowess, like Leviathan,
That scoops his foaming progress on the main,
And drives the shoals along—forward I sprung,
All emulous, and lab’ring to attend him ;
Fear fled before, behind him rout grew loud,
And distant wonder gazed. At length he turned,
And, having eyed me with a wondrous look
Of sweetness mixed with glory—grace inestimable !
He plucked this bracelet from his conquering arm,
And bound it here. My wrist seemed treble nerved:
My heart spoke to him, and I did such deeds
As best might thank him.—But from that blessed day
I never saw him more-
-yet still to this
I bow, as to the relics of my saint:
Each morn I drop a tear on every bead,
Count all the glories of Gustavus o'er,
And think I still behold him.
Gust. Rightly thought;
For so thou dost, my soldier.
Behold your general,
Gustavus! come once more to lead you on
To laurelled victory, to fame, to freedom !
Siv. Strike me, ye powers !—It is illusion all !
-It is, it is ! [Falls and embraces his knees. Gust. Oh, speechless eloquence ! Rise to my arms, my
friend. Siv. Friend! say you friend? O, my heart's lord ! my conqueror ! my
Gust. Approach, my fellow-soldiers, your Gustavus Claims no precedence here.
Haste, brave men !
your friends, to join us on the instant;
Summon our brethren to their share of conquest,
And let loud echo from her circling hills
Sound freedom, till the undulation shake
The bounds of utmost Sweden.
[Exeunt Dalecarlans, shouting.
LADY RANDOLPH, Widow of Earl Douglas, is married to LORD RAN
During an Incursion of the Danes, Norval, a supposed young Peasant, fired with youthful ardcur, seeks the Camp. On his way, he saves the Life of RANDOLPH, who is attacked by Robbers, and becomes his Favourite. LADY RANDOLPH mourns her lost Husband and her infant Child, the Son of Douglas. A Prisoner is taken on the outskirts of the Camp, supposed to be one of the Robbers who attacked LORD RANDOLPH. On the Prisoner's person are found Jewels, with the Crest of Douglas: these are conveyed to Lady RANDOLPH by Anna, her Confidante, and the following Scene takes place.
Enter Servants, with a Prisoner.
Pris. I know no more than does the child unborn
Of what you charge me with.
i Serv. You say so,
But torture soon shall make you speak the truth.
Behold, the lady of Lord Randolph comes :
Prepare yourself to meet her just revenge.
Enter LADY RANDOLPH and Anna.
Anna. Summon your utmost fortitude before
You speak with him. Your dignity, your fame,
Are now at stake. Think of the fatal secret,
Which in a moment from your lips may fly.
Lady R. Thou shalt behold me, with a desperate heart, Hear how my infant perished. See, he kneels.
Pris. Heaven bless that countenance, so sweet and mild !
A judge like thee makes innocence more bold.
Oh, save me, lady, from these cruel men,
Who have attacked and seized me; who accuse
Me of intended murder.
As I hope
For mercy at the judgment-seat of Heaven,
The tender lamb, that never nipped the grass,
Is not more innocent than I of murder.
Lady R. Of this man's guilt what proof can ye produce ?
i Serv. We found him lurking in the hollow glen.
When viewed and called upon, amazed he fled;
We overtook him, and inquired from whence
And what he was: he said he came from far,
And was upon his journey to the camp.
Not satisfied with this, we searched his clothes,
And found these jewels, whose rich value plead
Most powerfully against him. Hard he seems,
And old in villany.
Permit us try
His stubbornness against the torture's force.
Pris. Oh, gentle lady! by your lord's dear life,
Which these weak hands, I swear, did ne'er assail,
And by your children's welfare, spare my age !
Let not the iron tear my ancient joints,
And my gray hairs bring to the grave with pain.
Lady R. Account for these ; thine own they cannot be:
For these, I say: be steadfast to the truth;
Detected falsehood is most certain death.
[Anna removes the Servants, and returns.
Pris. Alas! I'm sore beset.
Let never man,
For sake of lucre, sin against his soul !
Eternal Justice is in this most just !
I, guiltless now, must former guilt reveal.
Lady R. O, Anna, hear! once more I charge thee, speak
The truth direct; for these to me foretell
And certify a part of thy narration,
With which, if the remainder tallies not,
An instant and a dreadful death abides thee.
Pris. Then, thus adjured, I'll speak to you as just
As if you were the minister of Heaven,
Sent down to search the secret sins of men.
Some eighteen years ago, I rented land
Of brave Sir Malcolm, then Balarmo's lord;
But, falling to decay, his servants seized
All that I had, and then turned me and mine
(Four helpless infants and their weeping mother)
Out to the mercy of the winter winds.
A little hovel by the river's side
Received us; there hard labour, and the skill
In fishing, which was formerly my sport,
Supported life. Whilst thus we poorly lived,
One stormy night, as I remember well,
The wind and rain beat hard upon our roof;
Red came the river down, and loud and oft
The angry spirit of the water shrieked.
At the dead hour of night was heard the cry
Of one in jeopardy. I
To where the circling eddy of a pool,
Beneath the ford, used oft to bring within
My reach whatever floating thing the stream
Had caught. The voice was ceased; the person lost;