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Who can arrest the current of a stream,
That fiercely hurries downwards to the sea ?
And who-however valiant-can sustain
The fragment that is starting from the rock?
It is far easier to restrain all these,
Than the proud fury of a reckless mob.
This may the noise of faction tell us now,
Amid the mountains we may hear the echo,
Now naming Astolf, and now Sigismund.
The throne, secured by oath, is now exposed,
To new designs, and new atrocities,
Being a gloomy theatre, where dark fate
Enacts strange tragedies.
My liege, the joy,
The honour, and the host of flatt'ring pleasures,
Which you have promised me, must cease to-day.
If Poland-over which I wish to reign-
Resists my rule, then I must earn obedience.
Give me a steed, a proud and lusty steed,
To dart like lightning and proclaim the thunder. (Exit. .
Vain is it to oppose resistless fate,
And foresight often is most perilous.
We cannot ward off that which is to be,
And oft the more we care, it strikes the surer.
'Tis a harsh law, a frightful destiny,
That he who thinks to fly his danger, meets it.
By that which I considered my sole guard,
I have destroyed my country and myself.
If, mighty king, thy presence cannot curb
This tumult which has spread from throng to throng,
Distributed among the streets and squares,
You soon will see your kingdom swim in waves
Of scarlet, dyed with its own purple blood.
Now all is horror, and deep tragedy.
So fearful is the ruin of thy kingdom,
So great the force of stern and cruel hate,
The sight strikes wonder, and the sound o'erpow'rs.
The sun grows pale, the wind sounds fearfully.
Now every stone raises a pyramid,
And every flower constructs a monument,
And every mansion is a sepulchre,
And every soldier is a living corpse.*
Thank heav'n, that I have reached thy feet alive.
* This is a nice bit of Spanish bombast ; very forced, but, nevertheless, effective.-J. O.
Clotaldo, how goes it with Sigismund ?
The mob, a monster ever blind and rash,
Entered the tow'r, and from its dungeon deep,
Rescued the Prince, who when he saw his honour
Once more restored, behaved most valiantly,
And proudly swore to show the truth of heav'n.
Give me a horse, that I may go in person,
And boldly conquer an ungrateful son.
Perchance for the protection of my crown,
Steel may avail, though science has but failed. (Erit.
And I will be Bellona, near the sun,
Hoping my name shall with his own endure.
Yes I will soar upon my outstretched wings,
And vie with mighty Pallas in the field.
[Exit, drums sounding.
ROSAURA enters, and detains CLOTALDO.
Although the valour dwelling in thy breast
Calls thee to battle, prithee list to me,
For well I know, that all is warfare here.
You are aware, unfortunate and poor
I came to Poland, when thou gavest me
Thy pity and protection ; warning me,-
Oh Heav'ns,—that I should keep myself disguised
While in the palace, and should ever seek,
Hiding my jealousy, to shun Astolfo.
At last he saw me, and so lightly treats
My honour, as to meet the fair Estrella
In yonder garden-mark me, though he saw me.
I have the key,—that garden may'st thou enter,
And terminate my anguish, showing there
Thy courage, and restoring my lost honour.
I tell thee this, knowing thou art resolved
To avenge my honour by Astolfo's death.
'Tis true, from the first moment that I saw thee,
That I resolved, Rosaura, to do all
For thee, that life allowed.--Thy tears were witness.
My first design was, that thou should'st remove
That strange attire, that if perchance Astolfo
Should see thee, thou wouldst wear thy proper dress,
And he would not mistake thy rash attempt
For levity, that tarnishes high honour.
During this time, I sought for some device
Thine honour to restore-and this so much
Weighed on my heart, that with Astolfo's death
I had restored it willingly. I said,
“ How vain this weakness--he is not my king,
And therefore have I nought to fear from him.'
I had resolved upon his death, when mark,
Prince Sigismund sought mine ; then he appeared,
And in contempt of danger, showed such signs
Of his good-will for me, as were pure rashness,
It would not be enough to call them valiant.
Now then am 1-having a grateful heart-
To inflict death on him that gave me life?
My truth and my affection so divide me,-
Seeing the gift* that I bestowed on thee
Is the same gift that I received from him,
That I cannot resolve which part to take.
For if by giving I am bound to thee,
Still by receiving I am bound to him.
Nought at this juncture satisfies my love,
Being both one that does, and one that suffers.t
I need not say, that to a gallant soul,
Giving is noble, and receiving base.
Granting this premise, thou need'st not be grateful
If he gave life to thee, and thou to me.
'Tis evident he forced thy noble nature
To do an act ignoble, while 'twas I
Who caused thee to perform a gen'rous deed :
Therefore thou art offended by the Duke,
And therefore also art thou bound to me,
Giving to me what thou receivest from him.
'Tis, then, thy duty to assist my honour,
Seeing my claim stands higher than Astolfo's,
As far as giving stands above receiving.
Although 'tis true, nobility belongs
To him that gives, yet gratitude is due
From him that has received. If I have gained
A name for generosity by giving,
Grant me besides a name for gratitude ;
For being liberal and grateful too,
I can attain it; giving and receiving
Are honourable both.
Thou gavedst me
My life; and when thou gavedst it, thou saidst
A life defiled by insult was no life:f
It follows thou hast given nought to me,
Seeing the life thou gavedst was no life.
Dost thou prefer, then, generosity
To gratitude, -as I have heard thee say-
* That is—life.-J. O.
+ This speech is in the very worst spirit of the Spanish drama; a piece of tedious, wire-drawn casuistry, unenlivened by a spark of poetry. It is, however, exceeded by the sad stuff which Rosaura answers, and which is against every moral principle. J. 0.
* Towards the end of Act I.-J.O. VOL, XCVI.
Clotaldo. Rosaura. Clotaldo.
I still may hope that thou wilt give me life,
Which yet thou hast not given. Since the act
Of giving most ennobles, first be gen'rous,
And afterwards be grateful.
Thou hast conquered
By argument, I will be gen'rous first,
For all my fortune will I give to thee :
But thou must in a convent live, Rosaura.
The path I offer thee, is well devised,
For thou wilt shun a crime, and find a refuge
Within a sanctuary. While this realm
Smarts with its woes, I, being nobly born,
Must not increase the great calamity;
But by the remedy which I propose,
I shall be loyal to the realm : to thee
I shall be gen'rous, to Astolfo grateful.
Take, then, the path which is so fit for thee,
Avoiding two extremes. Were I thy sire,
I could do nothing more.
Wert thou my sire,
I would endure this insult; as thou art not,
I will not bear it.
What, then, wilt thou do?
I'll kill the Duke, myself !
What, thou? A woman
Who has not known her father-and so valiant ?
Who incites thee?
None, but mine own honour.
But in Astolfo thou must see-
My honour sets at nought.
Thy lawful king,
That he ne'er shall be.
'Tis madness !
That I see.
Then conquer it.
Then thou wilt destroy-
I know it.
Honour and life.
I think so.
Rosaura. Clotaldo. Rosaura. Clotaldo. Rosaura.
Rosaura. Clotaldo. Rosaura. Clotaldo. Rosaura. Clotaldo. Rosaura. Clotaldo, Rosaura.
And thine aim — ?
Rosaura. Is mine own death.
Nay, this is but despair.
Rosaura. 'Tis honour.
It is folly.
It is valour.
Clotaldo. It is mere frenzy.
It is fury-rage !
Clotaldo. Are there no means for thy blind passion ?
Clotaldo. Who will assist thee?
I can aid myself.
Clotaldo. Is there no remedy?
There may be other means.
Then there would be Another way to seek mine own destruction. [Ecit. Clotaldo. If then, indeed, thou must destroy thyself,
Await me, -we will perish both, my child. [Exit.
Scene III.-Mountains and Wood. Drums sound. Enter CLARIN and Soldiers—then SIGISMUND dressed in skins. Sigismund. If in the triumphs of her early youth,
Rome had thus seen me—what had been her joy,
Finding so rare an opportunity
Of having a young savage to command
The mighty hosts ;-one to whose high intent
The firmament appears a trivial conquest.
But no-we must restrain our flight, my soul :
We will not strive for such uncertain fame;
If I am to be grieved when I awake,
To find that I have only gained to lose.
The less I gain, the lighter is the loss.
(A trumpet sounds.) Clarin.
On a swift horse-(pardon me, if I paint it)—
Which is in fact a map of the whole world.
The earth its body, and the fire, its soul,
Which in its heart it holds; the sea its foam,
The air its breath; it is a perfect chaos,
Being with body, soul, and form and health,
A monster of earth, ocean, fire and air.
Its colour varied, gray, and gaily spotted,