« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
Glitters with horrid meaning—“like the glass,
Within whose orb the voice of magic calls
The fiends from hell, within its fiery globe
The demon passions rise !"
My lord, forgive me
That I have dared to ask: I take my leave.
Pes. [Stopping her.] Nay, do not go ; although I am
To tell the secrets of the Inquisition,
Yet something can I tell you.
Flor. Well, my lord !
Pes. 'Tis but a drearn.
Flor. You mock me.
Pes. Do not think it;
You are a pious and believing maid,
And long within a convent's holy cells
Communed with Heaven's
votaries. I remember When
did marvel what young virgins meant, When all their talk was love ;
It fell like moonlight on a frozen fountain.
That heart has melted since ;—but you, perchance,
Have still retained enough of true belief
Not to despise a vision ! On my couch,
Last night, I long lay sleepless; I revolved
The scorns, the contumelies I have suffered,
But will not brook; at last, sleep closed my eyelids,
And then methought I saw the am'rous Moor
In all the transports of exulting passion,
And I stood by, chained to a fiery pillar,
Condemned to gaze forever ; while two fiends
Did grin and mow upon me.
Senseless I fell with rage. As thus I lay,
Forth from the yawning earth a figure rose,
Whose stature reached to Heaven; his robes appeared
Woven out of solid fire! around his head
A serpent twined his huge gigantic folds;
And on his front, in burning characters,
Was written, “Vengeance !”
Flor. Vengeance ! oh, my lord,
You fright me! but I ne'er offended you ;
What crime have I committed ?
Pes. Listen to me :
“Do not despair !” and bade me follow.
Flor. Let me depart-
Pes. I followed
He led me to a bower of Paradise,
And held a cup of joy, which, he exclaimed,
Was mingled by himself;—I quaffed : 'twas nectar,
And thrilled within my heart—then, then, Florinda !
Flor. Let me implore you-
[Struggling Pes. Then, within my arms methonght I pressed thee. Flor. Hold! this violence
Pes. Nay, do not talk of violence :
You seemed a willing and a tender bride,
And rushed into my bosom!
Flor. Count Pescara,
I must not hear this mockery! do not speak
should not think! this very day
Shall bind me, with an everlasting vow,
To him !-ay, him! I do not fear to tell it,
To him my heart adores.
'Tis not to me You should unfold
Pes. Mark me! there's oft a prophecy in dreams.
Flor. [Alone.] Ha! this means something. Well I
know Pescara :
His voice doth sound like Fate within my soul,
That answers back in faint and trembling echoes.
This horrid band of death, his fell commands,
The terrors of his eye, his looks of destiny,
All, all affright me! If I must be wretched,
O Heaven, don't let me know it; leave me still
The bliss of ignorance! What if Pescara,
Before Hemeya has adjured his creed,
Should treacherously seize him?
Would that the rite were done!
[A distant symphony is heard.
What seraph music foats upon my soul?
Methinks it is the organ's solemn swell,
That from the church's aisles ascends to heaven.
The holy rite proceeds! sweet sounds, awake!
Awake again upon my raptured soul !
[A distant Chorus sings.
The mystic light
Has dawned upon his sight: He sees, and he believes. Rejoice, rejoice, With one acclaiming voice ! Strike, seraphs! strike your harps, and through the sky Swell the full tide of rapturous melody!
[The curtain falls while Florinda kneels.
EVADNE, OR THE STATUE. EVADNE, a Noble Lady, Sister to COLONNA, is unlawfully sought by the King of Naples; he surrounds her with artifices, which appear to
attaint her honour. Her Brother is also drawn into the King's toils, and is condemned to death. The King agrees to save Colonna’s life, if EVADNE accedes to his proposals. She appears to consent, and appoints to meet the King in “the Hall of Statues," in her late Father's Castle.
The Hall of Statues.
The King, COLONNA, EVADNE. King. Colonna, my best friend, how shall I thank thee But where is
Col. There, my
King. Colonna, I not only give thee life,
But place thee near myself; henceforth thou wilt wear
A nobler title in thy family, -
And to thy great posterity we'll send
My granted dukedom.
Col. Sir, you honour me.
My presence is no longer needed here.
(Aside.) A word's consent dispatches them!
[Conceals himself behind the pillars. King. My fair Evadne ! lay aside thy sad And drooping aspect, in this hour of joy ! Stoop not thy head, that like a pale rose bends Upon its yielding stalk—thou hast no cause For such a soft abashment, for be sure I'll place thee high in honour.
Eva. Honour, sir !
King. Yes; I'll exalt thee into dignity, Adorn thy name with titles-All my court Shall watch the movement of thy countenance, Riches and
shall wait upon thy smile, And in the lightest bending of thy brow, Death and disgrace inhabit.
Eva. And, my liege,
That will inhabit my own heart?
King. My love!
Come, my Evadne—what a form is here !
The imaginers of beauty did of old
O’er three rich forms of sculptured excellence
Scatter the naked graces; but the hand
Of mightier nature hath in thee combined
All varied charms together.
Eva. You were speaking
Of sculpture, Sir-I do remember me,
You are deemed a worshipper of that high art.
Here, my lord,
[Pointing to the Statues. Is matter for your transports !
King. Fair Evadne !
Do you not mean to mock me ? Not to gaze
On yonder lifeless marbles, did I come
To visit you to-night, but in the pure
And blue-veined alabaster of a breast,
Richer than heaves the Parian that has wed
The Florentine to immortality.
Eva. You deem me of a light, capricious mood,
But it were hard if (woman as I am)
I could not use my sex's privilege-
Though I should ask you for yon orb of light,
That shines so brightly and so sadly there,
And fills the ambient air with purity-
Should you not fain, as 'tis the wont of those
Who cheat a wayward child, to draw it down,
And in the sheeted splendour of a stream
To catch its shivering brightness !—It is my pleasure
That you should look upon these reverend forms