Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

not yet

No! no! I wrong thee, Damon, by that half thought-
Shame on the foul suspicion ! he hath a wife
And child, who cannot live on earth without him,
And Heaven has flung some obstacle in his way
To keep him back, and lets me die, who am
Less worthy, and the fitter.

Proc. Pythias, advance !

Cal. No, no! why should he yet? It By all the gods, there are two minutes only!

Proc. Take a last farewell of your mistress, Sir,
And look

your
last

upon the setting sunAnd do both quickly, for your

hour comes on ! Pyth. Come here, Calanthe ! closer to me yet! Ah! what a cold transition it will be [Embraces her. From this warm touch, all full of life and beauty, Unto the clammy mould of the deep grave! I pr’ythee, my Calanthe, when I am gone, If thou shouldst e'er behold my hapless friend, Do not upbraid him! This, my lovely one, Is my

last wish. --Remember it! Cal. [Who, during this speech, has been looking wildly

towards the side of the stage.] Hush ! hush! Stand back there!

. Pyth. Take her, you eternal gods,
Out of my arms into your own! Befriend her!
And let her life glide on in gentleness,
For she is gentle, and doth merit it.

Cal. I think I see it-
Proc. Lead her from the scaffold!

Pyth. Arria, receive her !-yet one kiss-farewell.
Thrice—thrice farewell !—I am ready, Sir.

Cal. Forbear!

There is a minute left : look there! look there!
But 'tis so far off, and the evening shades
Thicken so fast, there are no other eyes
But mine can catch it—Yet, 'tis there! I see it-
A shape as yet so vague and questionable,
'Tis nothing, just about to change and take
The faintest form of something !

Pyth. Sweetest love !
Dam. Your duty, officer. [Officer approaches her

Cal. I will not quit him
Until ye prove I see it not !-

-no force Till then shall separate us.

Dam. Tear them asunder!
Arria, conduct your daughter to her home.

Cal. Oh, send me not away! Pythias, thine arms—
Stretch out thine arms, and keep me !-See, it comes !
Barbarians, murderers ! oh, yet a moment-
Yet but one pulse

-one heave of breath! O Heavens ! [Swoons, and is carried away by Arria and Officers. Pyth. [To the Executioner.] There is no pang in thy

deep wedge of steel
After that parting. Nay, Sir, you may spare
Yourself the pains to fit me for the block.-
Damon, I do forgive thee !—I but ask
Some tears unto my ashes.

[the scaffold.
A distant shout is heard. Pythias leaps up on
By the gods,
A horse and horseman ! Far upon the hill
They wave their hats, and he returns it—yet
I know him not: his horse is at the stretch !

[A shout Why should they shout as he comes on? It is— No, that was too unlike-but there, now-there !

O life, I scarcely dare to wish for thee;
And yet—that jutting rock has hid him from me-
No, let it not be Damon! he has a wife
And child !—Gods, keep him back!

[Shouts.
Damon. [Without.] Where is he ?
Damon rushes in, and stands for a moment, looking round.
Ha!-
He is alive-untouched ! Ha! ha! ha!

[Falls, with an hysterical laugh, upon the stage.

Three loud shouts without. Pyth. The gods do know I could have died for him; And yet

I dared to doubt!—I dared to breathe The half-uttered blasphemy! [DAMON is raised up. He faints !-How thick This wreath of burning moisture on his brow ! His face is black with toil, his swelling bulk Heaves with swift pantings. Damon, my dear friend!

Dam. Where am I? Have I fallen from my horse, That I am stunned, and on my head I feel A weight of thickening blood! What has befallen me ? The horrible confusion of a dream Is

yet upon my sight.—For mercy's sake, Stay me not back! he is about to die ! Pythias, my friend !-Unloose me, villains, or You'll find the might of madness in mine arm ! [Sees Pythias.] Speak to me, let me hear thy voice !

Pyth. My friend!

Dam. It pierced my brain, and rushed into my heart ! There's lightning in it !—That's the scaffold—there The block—the axe—the executioner! And here he lives !—I have him in

my

soul! [Embraces Pythias.] Ha! ha! ha!

Pyth. Damon!

Dam. Ha! ha!
I can but laugh!—I cannot speak to thee !
I can but play the maniac, and laugh.
Thy hand !-oh, let me grasp thy manly hand !
It is an honest one, and so is mine!
They are fit to clasp each other. Ha! ha! ha!

Pyth. Would that my death could have preserved thee!

Dam. Pythias, Even in the very crisis to have come,To have hit the very forehead of old Time ! By Heavens ! had I arrived an hour before, I should not feel this agony of joyThis triumph over Dionysius ! Ha! ha!-But didst thou doubt me? Come, thou didstOwn it, and I'll forgive thee.

Pyth. For a moment.

Dam. O that false slave !–Pythias, he slew my horse, In the base thought to save me! I would have killed him, And to a precipice was dragging him, When, from the very brink of the abyss, I did behold a traveller afar, Bestriding a good steed. I rushed upon him, Choking with desperation, and yet loud In shrieking anguish, I commanded him Down from his saddle: he denied me—but Would I then be denied ? As hungry tigers Clutch their poor prey,

I

sprang upon his throat: Thus, thus I had him, Pythias. “Come, your horse, Your horse, your horse !” I cried. Ha! ha! ha!

Dion. [Advancing and speaking in a loud tone.] Damon!

Dam. [Jumping on the scaffold.] I am here upon the

scaffold! look at me : I am standing on my throne-as proud a one As yon illumined mountain, where the Sun Makes his last stand ; let him look on me too; He never did behold a spectacle More full of natural glory. Death is—[Shouts.] Ha! All Syracuse starts up upon her hills,

[Shouts. And lifts her hundred thousand hands. [Shouts.] She shoutsHark, how she shouts! [Shouts.] O Dionysius ! When wert thou in thy life hailed with a peal Of hearts and hands like that one? Shout again ! [Shouts. Again ! [Shouts.] until the mountains echo you, And the great sea joins in that mighty voice, And old Enceladus, the Son of Earth, Stirs in his mighty caverns. [Shouts.] Tell me, slaves, Where is your tyrant? Let me see him now; Why stands he hence aloof? Where is your niaster ? What is become of Dionysius ? I would behold, and laugh at him ! Dion. Behold me! [DIONYSIUS advances between DA

[mon and Pythias, and throws off his disguise. Dam. & Pyth. How?

Dion. Stay your admiration for a while,
Till I have spoken my commandment here.
Go, Damocles, and bid a herald cry
Wide through the city, from the eastern gate
Unto the most remote extremity,
That Dionysius, tyrant as he is,
Gives back his life to Damon.

[Exit Damocles. Pyth. How, Dionysius ? Speak that again!

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »