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ANSELMO.

What recent grief

Darkens thy spirit thus ?

VITTORIA.

I said not grief. We should rejoice to-day, but joy is not That which it hath been. In the flowers which wreathe Its mantling cup there is a scent unknown, Fraught with some strange delirium. All things now Have changed their nature ; still, I say, rejoice! There is a cause, Anselmo !-We are free, Free and avenged S-Yet on my soul there hangs A darkness, heavy as th’ oppressive gloom Of midnight phantasies.—Aye, for this, too, There is a cause.

ANSELMO.

How say'st thou, we are free?
There may have raged, within Palermo's walls,
Some brief wild tumult, but too well I know
They call the stranger, lord.

VITTORIA.

Who calls the dead Conqueror or lord ?-Hush ! breathe it not aloud,

The wild winds must not hear it !-Yet, again,
I tell thee, we are free!

ANSELMO.

Thine eye hath look'd On fearful deeds, for still their shadows hang O’er its dark orb.-Speak! I adjure thee, say, How hath this work been wrought?

VITTORIA.

Peace! ask me not! Why shouldst thou hear a tale to send thy blood Back on its fount ?-We cannot wake them now ! The storm is in my soul, but they are all At rest !-Aye, sweetly may the slaughter'd babe By its dead mother sleep; and warlike men Who 'midst the slain have slumber'd oft before, Making the shield their pillow, may repose Well, now their toils are done.—Is 't not enough?

CONSTANCE.

Merciful Heaven! have such things been ? And yet
There is no shade come o'er the laughing sky !
-I am an outcast now.

ANSELMO.

O Thou, whose ways
Clouds mantle fearfully ; of all the blind,
But terrible, ministers that work thy wrath,

How much is man the fiercest !-Others know
Their limits-Yes! the earthquakes, and the storms,
And the volcanoes !—He alone o’erleaps
The bounds of retribution !-Couldst thou gaze,
Vittoria ! with thy woman's heart and eye,
On such dread scenes unmoved?

VITTORIA.

Was it for me To stay th’avenging sword ?-No, though it pierced My very soul !—“Hark, hark, what thrilling shrieks Ring through the air around me!-Can'st thou not Bid them be hush'd ?-Oh! look not on me thus ! ”

ANSELMO.

“Lady! thy thoughts lend sternness to the looks Which are but sad !”—Have all then perishd? all ? Was there no mercy

?

VITTORIA.

Mercy! it hath been
A word forbidden as th' unhallowed names
Of evil powers.—Yet one there was who dared
To own the guilt of pity, and to aid
The victims; but in vain.—Of hin no more !
He is a traitor, and a traitor's death
Will be his meed.

CONSTANCE (coming forward).

Oh Heaven -his name, his name? Is it-it cannot be !

VITTTORIA (starting).

Thou here, pale girl! I deem'd thee with the dead !-How hast thou 'scaped The snare?-Who saved thee, last of all thy race? Was it not be of whom I spake e'en now, Raimond di Procida ?

CONSTANCE.

It is enough. Now the storm breaks upon me,

and I sink! Must he too die?

VITTORIA.

Is it ev'n so ?-Why then,
Live on—thou hast the arrow at thy heart!
“Fix not on me thy sad reproachful eyes,"
I mean not to betray thee. Thou may'st live !
Why should death bring thee his oblivious balms ?
He visits but the happy.–Didst thou ask
If Raimond too must die ?-It is as sure
As that his blood is on thy head, for thou
Didst win him to this treason.

CONSTANCE,

6 When did man Call

mercy, treason ?- Take my life, but save My noble Raimond !”

VITTORIA.

6 Maiden!” he must die.

E'en now the youth before his judges stands,
And they are men who, to the voice of prayer,
Are as the rock is to the murmur'd sigh
Of summer-waves; aye, though a father sit
On their tribunal. Bend thou not to me.
What wouldst thou?

CONSTANCE.

Mercy !-Oh! wert thou to plead But with a look, e'en yet he might be saved! If thou hast ever loved

VITTORIA.

If I have loved ?
It is that love forbids me to relent;
I am what it hath made me.--0'er my soul
Lightning hath pass'd, and sear’d it. Could I weep,
I then might pity—but it will not be.

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