Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

CONSTANCE.

At peace !-And thou hast thought Thus poorly of my love !—But woman's breast Hath strength to suffer too.-Thy father sits On this tribunal ; Raimond, which is he?

RAIMOND.

My father !-who hath lulld thy gentle heart
With that false hope ?-Beloved ! gaze

around-
See, if thine eye can trace a father's soul
In the dark looks bent on us.

(CONSTANCE, after earnestly examining the countenances

of the judges, falls at the feet of PROCIDA.)

CONSTANCE.

Thou art he!
Nay, turn thou not away !--for I beheld
Thy proud lip quiver, and a watery mist
Pass o'er thy troubled eye; and then I knew
Thou wert his father !-Spare him!-take my life,
In truth a worthless sacrifice for his,
But
yet

mine all.-Oh! he hath still to run A long bright race of glory.

RAIMOND.

Constance, peace!

I look upon thee, and my failing heart
Is as a broken reed.
CONSTANCE (still addressing PROCIDA).

Oh, yet relent!
If 'twas his crime to rescue me, behold
I come to be the atonement ! Let him live
To crown thine age with honour.-In thy heart
There's a deep conflict; but great nature pleads
With an o'ermastering voice, and thou wilt yield !
-Thou art his father!

PROCIDA (after a pause).

Maiden, thou 'rt deceived ! I am as calm as that dead

pause

of

nature Ere the full thunder bursts.-A judge is not Father or friend. Who calls this man my son ? -My son !—Aye! thus his mother proudly smiled But she was noble !—Traitors stand alone, Loosed from all ties.-Why should I trifle thus ? -Bear her away!

RAIMOND (starting forward).

And whither?

MONTALBA.

Unto death. Why should she live when all her race have perish'd ? CONSTANCE (sinking into the arms of RAIMOND.) Raimond, farewell !-Oh! when thy star hath risen To its bright noon, forget not, best beloved, I died for thee!

RAIMOND.

High heaven! thou seest these things ;
And yet endur'st them !-Shalt thou die for me,
Purest and loveliest being ?--but our fate
May not divide us long.--Her cheek is cold-
Her deep blue eyes are closed-Should this be death !

-If thus, there yet were mercy !-Father, father!
Is thy heart human ?

PROCIDA.

Bear her hence, I say ! Why must my soul be torn ?

(ANSELMO enters, holding a crucifix.)

ANSELMO.

Now, by this sigu
Of Heaven's prevailing love, ye shall not harm
One ringlet of her head. -How ! is there not
Enough of blood upon your burthen'd souls ?
Will not the visions of your midnight couch

Be wild and dark enough, but ye must heap
Crime upon crime?-Be ye content :your dreams,
Your councils, and your banquetings, will yet
Be haunted by the voice which doth not sleep,
E'en though this maid be spared !-Constance, look up!
Thou shalt not die.

RAIMOND.

Oh! death e'en now hath veil'd

The light of her soft beauty.-Wake, my love ;
Wake at my voice!

PROCIDA.

Anselmo, lead her hence, And let her live, but never meet my sight. -Begone!-My heart will burst.

RAIMOND.

One last embrace ! - Again life’s rose is opening on her cheek; Yet must we part.—So love is crush'd on earth! But there are brighter worlds !-Farewell, farewell !

(He gives her to the care of Anselmo.)

CONSTANCE (slowly recovering). There was a voice which call’d me.--Am I not A spirit freed from earth ?-Have I not pass'd The bitterness of death?

ANSELMO.

Oh, haste away

CONSTANCE.

Yes! Raimond calls me.- He too is released
From his cold bondage.-We are free at last,
And all is well—Away!

(She is led out by ANSELMO.)

RAIMOND.

The pang is o'er,

And I have but to die.

MONTALBA.

Now, Procida,
Comes thy great task. Wake! summon to thine aid
All thy deep soul's commanding energies;
For thou-a chief among us—must pronounce
The sentence of thy son. It rests with thee.

PROCIDA.

Ha! ha!Men's hearts should be of softer mould
Than in the elder time.-Fathers could doom
Their children then with an unfaltering voice,
And we must tremble thus !-Is it not said,
That nature grows degenerate, earth being now
So full of days?

« НазадПродовжити »