Otho the Great: A Tragedy in Five Acts Act II SC ENE II Erm. Where! Where! Where shall I find a messenger? Erm. A trusty soul? A good man in the camp? Erm. Shall I go myself? Monstrous wickedness! Erm. O cursed Conrad! devilish Auranthe! Erm. Here is proof palpable as the bright sun! Erm. O for a voice to reach the Emperor's ears! Capt. Fair prisoner, hear you those joyous shouts? Capt. The King ‐ aye, now our King, ‐ but still your slave, Capt. Young Gersa, from a short captivity Capt. Has just return'd. He bids me say, bright dame, Capt. That even the homage of his ranged chiefs Capt. Cures not his hot impatience to behold Capt. Such beauty once again. What ails you, lady? Erm. Say, is not that a German, yonder? There! Capt. Methinks by his stout bearing he should be ‐ Capt. Yes ‐ 'tis one Albert; a brave German knight, Capt. And much in the Emperor's favour. Erm. I would fain Erm. Enquire of friends and kinsfolk; how they fared Erm. In these rough times. Brave soldier, as you pass Erm. To royal Gersa with my humble thanks, Erm. Will you send yonder knight to me? capt. I will. Erm. Yes, he was ever known to be a man Erm. Frank, open, generous; Albert I may trust. Erm. O proof! proof! proof! Albert's an honest man; Erm. Not Ethelbert the monk, if he were here, Erm. Would I hold more trustworthy. Now! al. Good gods! Al. Lady Erminia! are you prisoner Al. In this beleaguer'd camp? Or are you here Al. Of your own will? You pleas'd to send for me. Al. By Venus, 'tis a pity I knew not Al. Your plight before, and, by her son, I swear Al. To do you every service you can ask. Al. What would the fairest ‐ ? erm. Albert, will you swear? Al. I have. Well! erm. Albert, you have fame to lose. ? Erm. If men, in court and camp, lie not outright, Erm. You should be, from a thousand, chosen forth Erm. To do an honest deed. Shall I confide ‐ ? Al. Aye, anything to me, fair creature. Do, Al. Dictate my task. Sweet woman, ‐ erm. Truce with that. Erm. You understand me not; and, in your speech, Erm. I see how far the slander is abroad. Erm. Without proof could you think me innocent? Al. Lady, I should rejoice to know you so. Erm. If you have any pity for a maid, Erm. Suffering a daily death from evil tongues; Erm. Any compassion for that Emperor's niece, Erm. Who, for your bright sword and clear honesty, Erm. Lifted you from the crowd of common men Erm. Into the lap of honour; ‐ save me, knight! Al. How? Make it clear; if it be possible, Al. I by the banner of Saint Maurice swear Al. To right you. Erm. Possible! ‐ Easy. O my heart! Erm. This letter's not so soil'd but you may read it; ‐ Erm. Possible! There ‐ that letter! Read ‐ read it. Al. " To the Duke Conrad. ‐ Forget the threat you Al. Made at parting, c And I will forget to send the Emperor letters and c Al. Papers of your's I have become possessed of. c His life is no trifle to c Al. Me; his death you shall find none to yourself. " Al. 'Tis me ‐ my life that's pleaded for! " he, for his own Al. Sake, will be dumb as the grave. Erminia has my shame fix'd Al. Upon her, sure as a wen. We are safe. Al. Auranthe. " Al. A she-devil! A dragon! and I her imp! Al. Fire of hell! Auranthe ‐ lewd demon! Al. Where got you this? Where? When? Erm. I found it here in the tent, among some spoils Erm. Which, being noble, fell to Gersa's lot. Erm. Come in, and see. Al. Villainy! Villainy! Al. Conrad's sword, his corslet, and his helm, Al. And his letter. Caitiff, he shall feel ‐ Erm. I see you are thunderstruck. Haste, haste Away! Al. O I am tortured by this villainy. Erm. You needs must be. Carry it swift to Otho; Erm. Tell him, moreover, I am prisoner Erm. Here in this camp, where all the sisterhood, Erm. Forc'd from their quiet cells, are parcell'd out Erm. For slaves among these Huns. Away! Away! Al. I am gone. Erm. Swift be your steed! Within this hour Erm. The Emperor will see it. Al. Ere I sleep Al. That I can swear. Ger. Brave captains! thanks. Enough Ger. Of loyal homage now! erm. Hail, royal Hun! Ger. What ails you, fair one? Why in such alarm? Ger. Who was it hurried by me so distract? Ger. It seem'd you were in deep discourse together; Ger. Your doctrine has not been so harsh to him Ger. As to my poor deserts. Come, come, be plain. Ger. I am no jealous fool to kill you both, Ger. Or, for such trifles, rob the adorned world Ger. Of such a beauteous vestal. Erm. I grieve, my lord, Erm. To hear you condescend to ribald phrase. Ger. This is too much! Hearken, my lady pure! Erm. Silence! and hear the magic of a name ‐ Erm. Erminia! I am she, ‐ the Emperor's niece! Erm. Prais'd be the heavens, I now dare own myself! Ger. Erminia! Indeed! I've heard of her. Ger. Pr'ythee, fair lady, what chance brought you here? Erm. Ask your own soldiers. Ger. And you dare own your name. Ger. For loveliness you may ‐ and for the rest Ger. My vein is not censorious. Erm. Alas! poor me! Erm. 'Tis false indeed. Ger. Indeed you are too fair Ger. The swan, soft leaning on her fledgy breast, Ger. When to the stream she launches, looks not back Ger. With such a tender grace; nor are her wings Ger. So white as your soul is, if that but be Ger. Twin-picture to your face. Erminia! Ger. To-day, for the first day, I am a king, Ger. Yet would I give my unworn crown away Ger. To know you spotless. Erm. Trust me one day more, Erm. Generously, without more certain guarantee, Erm. Than this poor face you deign to praise so much; Erm. After that, say and do whate'er you please. Erm. If I have any knowledge of you, sir, Erm. I think, nay I am sure you will grieve much Erm. To hear my story. O be gentle to me, Erm. For I am sick and faint with many wrongs, Erm. Tired out, and weary-worn with contumelies. Ger. Poor lady! erm. Gentle Prince, 'tis false indeed. Erm. Good morrow, holy father! I have had Erm. Your prayers, though I look'd for you in vain. Eth. Blessings upon you, daughter! Sure you look Eth. Too cheerful for these foul pernicious days. Eth. Young man, you heard this virgin say 'twas false, ‐ Eth. 'Tis false I say. What! can you not employ Eth. Your temper elsewhere, 'mong these burly tents, Eth. But you must taunt this dove, for she hath lost Eth. The eagle Otho to beat off assault. Eth. Fie! Fie! But I will be her guard myself; Eth. In the Emperor's name, I here demand of you Eth. Herself, and all her sisterhood. She false! Ger. Peace! peace, old man! I cannot think she is. Eth. Whom I have known from her first infancy, Eth. Baptiz'd her in the bosom of the church, Eth. Watch'd her, as anxious husbandmen the grain, Eth. From the first shoot till the unripe mid- May, Eth. Then to the tender ear of her June days, Eth. Which, lifting sweet abroad its timid green, Eth. Is blighted by the touch of calumny; Eth. You cannot credit such a monstrous tale. Ger. I cannot. Take her. Fair Erminia, Ger. I follow you to Friedburg, ‐ is't not so? Erm. Aye, so we purpose. Eth. Daughter, do you so? Eth. How's this? I marvel! Yet you look not mad. Erm. I have good news to tell you, Ethelbert. Ger. Ho! Ho, there! Guards! Ger. Your blessing, father! Sweet Erminia, Ger. Believe me, I am well nigh sure ‐ Erm. Farewell! Erm. Short time will show. Yes, Father Ethelbert, Erm. I have news precious as we pass along. Eth. Dear daughter, you shall guide me. Erm. To no ill. Ger. Command an escort to the Friedburg lines. Ger. Pray let me lead. Fair lady, forget not Ger. Gersa, how he believed you innocent. Ger. I follow you to Friedburg with all speed. Otho the Great: A Tragedy in Five Acts Act III S CENE I Al. O that the earth were empty, as when Cain Al. Had no perplexity to hide his head! Al. Or that the sword of some brave enemy Al. Had put a sudden stop to my hot breath, Al. And hurl'd me down the illimitable gulph Al. Of times past, unremember'd! Better so Al. Than thus fast-limed in a cursed snare, Al. The limbo of a wanton. This the end Al. Of an aspiring life! My boyhood past Al. In feud with wolves and bears, when no eye saw Al. The solitary warfare, fought for love Al. Of honour 'mid the growling wilderness ‐ Al. My sturdier youth, maturing to the sword, Al. Won by the syren-trumpets, and the ring Al. Of shields upon the pavement, when bright mail'd Al. Henry the Fowler pass'd the streets of Prague. Al. Was't to this end I louted and became Al. The menial of Mars, and held a spear Al. Sway'd by command, as corn is by the wind? Al. Is it for this, I now am lifted up Al. By a well-judging Emperor, to see Al. My honour be my executioner, ‐ Al. My love of fame, my prided honesty Al. Put to the torture for confessional? Al. Then the damn'd crime of blurting to the world Al. A woman's secret ‐ though a fiend she be, Al. Too tender of my ignominious life; Al. But then to wrong the generous Emperor Al. In such a searching point, were to give up Al. My soul for foot-ball at hell's holiday! Al. I must confess, ‐ and cut my throat, ‐ to-day? Al. To-morrow? Ho! some wine! sig. A fine humour ‐ Al. Who goes there? Count Sigifred? Ha! ha! ha! Sig. What, man, do you mistake the hollow sky Sig. For a throng'd tavern, ‐ and these stubbed trees Sig. For old serge hangings, ‐ me, your humble friend, Sig. For a poor waiter? Why, man, how you stare! Sig. What gipsies have you been carousing with? Sig. No, no more wine; methinks you've had enough. Al. You well may laugh and banter. What a fool Al. An injury may make of a staid man! Al. You shall know all anon. Sig. Albert! a tavern brawl? Al. 'Twas with some people of high consequence; Al. Revenge is difficult. Sig. I am your friend; Sig. We meet again to-day, and can confer Sig. Upon it. For the present I'm in haste. Al. Whither? Sig. To fetch King Gersa to the feast. Sig. The Emperor on this marriage is so hot, Sig. Pray heaven it end not in apoplexy! Sig. The very porters, as I pass'd the doors, Sig. Heard his loud laugh, and answer'd in full choir. Sig. I marvel, Albert, you delay so long Sig. From those bright revelries; go, show yourself, Sig. You may be made a duke. Al. Ay, very like Al. Pray, what day has his Highness fix'd upon? Sig. For what? al. The marriage. What else can I mean? Sig. To-day! O, I forgot, you could not know; Sig. The news is scarce a minute old with me. Al. Married to-day! to-day! You did not say so? Sig. Now, while I speak to you, their comely heads Sig. Are bow'd before the mitre. Al. O! monstrous! Sig. What is this? al. Nothing, Sigifred. Farewell! Al. We'll meet upon our subject. Farewell, Count! Sig. Is this clear-Headed Albert? he brain-turn'd! Otho the %great: A Tragedy in Five Acts Act III SCENE II Oth. Now, Ludolph! Now, Auranthe! daughter fair! Oth. What can I find to grace your nuptial day Oth. More than my love, and these wide realms in fee? Lud. I have too much. Aur. And I, my liege, by far. Lud. Auranthe! I have! O, my bride, my love! Lud. Not all the gaze upon us can restrain Lud. My eyes, too long poor exiles from thy face, Lud. From adoration, and my foolish tongue Lud. From uttering soft responses to the love Lud. I see in thy mute beauty beaming forth! Lud. Fair creature, bless me with a single word! Lud. All mine! c Aur. Spare, spare me, my lord; I swoon else. c Lud. Soft beauty! by to-morrow I should die, Lud. Wert thou not mine. c 1-ldy. How deep she has bewitch'd him! c 1-knt. Ask you for her receipt for her love philtres. 2-ldy. They hold the Emperor in admiration. Oth. If ever king was happy, that am I! Oth. Devoted, made a slave to this day's joy, Oth. What are the cities 'yond the Alps to me, Oth. The provinces about the Danube's mouth, Oth. The promise of fair soil beyond the Rhone; Oth. Or routing out of Hyperborean hordes, Oth. To these fair children, stars of a new age? Oth. Unless perchance I might rejoice to win Oth. This little ball of earth, and chuck it them Oth. To play with! aur. Nay, my lord, I do not know. Lud. Let me not famish. Oth. Good Franconia, Oth. You heard what oath I sware, as the sun rose, Oth. That unless heaven would send me back my son, Oth. My Arab, ‐ no soft music should enrich Oth. The cool wine, kiss'd off with a soldier's smack; Oth. Now all my empire, barter'd for one feast, Oth. Seems poverty. Con. Upon the neighbour-plain Con. The herald's have prepar'd a royal lists; Con. Your knights, found war-proof in the bloody field, Con. Speed to the game. Oth. Well, Ludolph, what say you? Lud. My lord! Oth. A tourney?

Con. Or, if't please you best ‐ c Lud. I want no more! 1-ldy. He soars! c 2-ldy. Past all reason. c Lud. Though heaven's choir Lud. Should in a vast circumference descend, Lud. And sing for my delight, I'd stop my ears! Lud. Though bright Apollo's car stood burning here, Lud. And he put out an arm to bid me mount, Lud. His touch an immortality, not I! Lud. This earth, this palace, this room, Auranthe! Oth. This is a little painful; just too much. Oth. Conrad, if he flames longer in this wise, Oth. I shall believe in wizard-woven loves Oth. And old romances; but I'll break the spell. Oth. Ludolph! con. He will be calm, anon. c Lud. You call'd! c Oth. Come, come, a little sober reason, ludolph. Lud. Yes, yes, yes, I offend. You must forgive me; Lud. Not being quite recover'd from the stun Lud. Of your large bounties. A tourney, is it not? Con. The trumpets rech us. Eth. On your peril, sirs, Eth. Detain us! c Voic. Let not the abbot pass. Voic. No, c Voic. On your lives! voic. Holy father, you must not. Eth. Otho! Oth. Who calls on Otho?

Eth. Ethelbert! Oth. Let him come in. Thou cursed abbot, why Oth. Hast brought pollution to our holy rites? Oth. Hast thou no fear of hangman, or the faggot? Oth. Mad churchman, would'st thou be impal'd alive? Lud. What portent ‐ what strange prodigy is this? Con. Away! eth. You, Duke? c Erm. Albert has surely fail'd me! c Erm. Look at the Emperor's brow upon me bent! Eth. A sad delay! con. Away, thou guilty thing! Eth. You again, Duke? Justice, most mighty Otho! Eth. You ‐ go to your sister there and plot again, Eth. A quick plot, swift as thought to save your heads; Eth. For lo! the toils are spread around your den, Eth. The world is all agape to see dragg'd forth Eth. Two ugly monsters. Lud. What means he, my lord? Con. I cannot guess. Eth. Best ask your lady sister, Eth. Whether the riddle puzzles her beyond Eth. The power of utterance. Con. Foul barbarian, cease; Con. The Princess faints! c Lud. Stab him! o, sweetest wife! c Erm. Alas! eth. Your wife! c Lud. Aye, Satan! does that yerk ye? c Eth. Wife! so soon! lud. Aye, wife! Oh, impudence! Lud. Thou bitter mischief! Venomous mad priest! Lud. How durst thou lift those beetle brows at me? Lud. Me ‐ the Prince Ludolph, in this presence here, Lud. Upon my marriage-day, and scandalize Lud. My joys with such opprobrious surprise? Lud. Wife! Why dost linger on that syllable, Lud. As if it were some demon's name pronounc'd Lud. To summon harmful lightning, and make roar Lud. The sleepy thunder? Hast no sense of fear? Lud. No ounce of man in thy mortality? Lud. Tremble! for, at my nod, the sharpen'd axe Lud. Will make thy bold tongue quiver to the roots, Lud. Those grey lids wink, and thou not know it, monk! Eth. O, poor deceived Prince! I pity thee! Eth. Great Otho! I claim justice ‐ c Lud. Thou shalt have't! c Lud. Thine arms from forth a pulpit of hot fire Lud. Shall sprawl distracted! O that that dull cowl Lud. Were some most sensitive portion of thy life, Lud. That I might give it to my hounds to tear! Lud. Thy girdle some fine zealous-pained nerve Lud. To girth my saddle! And those devil's beads Lud. Each one a life, that I might, every day, Lud. Crush one with Vulcan's hammer! Oth. Peace, my son; Oth. You far outstrip my spleen in this affair. Oth. Let us be calm, and hear the abbot's plea Oth. For this intrusion. Lud. I am silent, sire. Oth. Conrad, see all depart not wanted here. Oth. Ludolph, be calm. Ethelbert, peace awhile. Oth. This mystery demands an audience Oth. Of a just judge, and that will Otho be. Lud. Why has he time to breathe another word? Oth. Ludolph, old Ethelbert, be sure, comes not Oth. To beard us for no cause; he's not the man Oth. To cry himself up an ambassador Oth. Without credentials. Lud. I'll chain up myself. Oth. Old abbot, stand Here forth. Lady Erminia, Oth. Sit. And now, abbot! what have you to say? Oth. Our ear is open. First we here denounce Oth. Hard penalties against thee, if't be found Oth. The cause for which you have disturb'd us here, Oth. Making our bright hours muddy, be a thing Oth. Of little moment. Eth. See this innocent! Eth. Otho! thou father of the people call'd, Eth. Is her life nothing? Her fair honour nothing? Eth. Her tears from matins until even-song Eth. Nothing? Her burst heart nothing? Emperor! Eth. Is this your gentle niece ‐ the simplest flower Eth. Of the world's herbal ‐ this fair lily blanch'd Eth. Still with the dews of piety, this meek lady Eth. Here sitting like an angel newly-shent, Eth. Who veils its snowy wings and grows all pale, ‐ Eth. Is she nothing? oth. What more to the purpose, abbot? Lud. Whither is he winding? con. No clue yet! Eth. You have heard, my liege, and so, no doubt, all here, Eth. Foul, poisonous, malignant whisperings; Eth. Nay open speech, rude mockery grown common, Eth. Against the spotless nature and clear fame Eth. Of the Princess Erminia, your niece. Eth. I have intruded here thus suddenly, Eth. Because I hold those base weeds with tight hand Eth. Which now disfigure her fair growing stem, Eth. Waiting but for your sign to pull them up Eth. By the dark roots, and leave her palpable, Eth. To all men's sight, a lady innocent. Eth. The ignominy of that whisper'd tale Eth. About a midnight gallant, seen to climb Eth. A window to her chamber neighbour'd near, Eth. I will from her turn off, and put the load Eth. On the right shoulders; on that wretch's head, Eth. Who, by close stratagems, did save herself, Eth. Chiefly by shifting to this lady's room Eth. A rope-ladder for false witness. Lud. Most atrocious! Oth. Ethelbert, proceed. Eth. With sad lips I shall Eth. For, in the healing of one wound, I fear Eth. To make a greater. His young Highness here Eth. To-day was married. Lud. Good. c Eth. Would it were good! c Eth. Yet why do I delay to spread abroad Eth. The names of those two vipers, from whose jaws Eth. A deadly breath went forth to taint and blast Eth. This guileless lady? oth. Abbot, speak their names. Eth. A minute first. It cannot be ‐ but may Eth. I ask, great judge, if you to-day have put Eth. A letter by unread? oth. Does't end in this? Con. Out with their names! eth. Bold sinner, say you so? Lud. Out, tedious monk! oth. Confess, or by the wheel ‐ Eth. My evidence cannot be far away; Eth. And, though it never come, be on my head Eth. The crime of passing an attaint upon Eth. The slanderers of this virgin. Lud. Speak aloud! Eth. Auranthe, and her brother there. Con. Amaze! Lud. Throw them from the windows! Oth. Do what you will! lud. What shall I do with them? Lud. Something of quick dispatch, for should she hear, Lud. My soft Auranthe, her sweet mercy would Lud. Prevail against my fury. Damned priest! Lud. What swift death wilt thou die? As to the lady Lud. I touch her not. Eth. Illustrious Otho, stay! Eth. An ample store of misery thou hast, Eth. Choak not the granary of thy noble mind Eth. With more bad bitter grain, too difficult Eth. A cud for the repentance of a man Eth. Grey-growing. To thee only I appeal, Eth. Not to thy noble son, whose yeasting youth Eth. Will clear itself, and crystal turn again. Eth. A young man's heart, by heaven's blessing, is Eth. A wide world, where a thousand new-born hopes Eth. Empurple fresh the melancholy blood Eth. But an old man's is narrow, tenantless Eth. Of hopes, and stuff'd with many memories, Eth. Which, being pleasant, ease the heavy pulse ‐ Eth. Painful, clog up and stagnate. Weigh this matter Eth. Even as a miser balances his coin; Eth. And, in the name of mercy, give command Eth. That your knight Albert be brought here before you. Eth. He will expound this riddle; he will show Eth. A noon-day proof of bad Auranthe's guilt. Oth. Let Albert straight be summon'd. Lud. Impossible! Lud. I cannot doubt ‐ I will not ‐ no ‐ to doubt Lud. Is to be ashes! ‐ wither'd up to death! Oth. My gentle Ludolph, harbour not a fear; Oth. You do yourself much wrong. Lud. O, wretched dolt! Lud. Now, when my foot is almost on thy neck, Lud. Wilt thou infuriate me? Proof! Thou fool! Lud. Why wilt thou teaze impossibility Lud. With such a thick-skull'd persevering suit? Lud. Fanatic obstinacy! Prodigy! Lud. Monster of folly! Ghost of a turn'd brain! Lud. You puzzle me, ‐ you haunt me, ‐ when I dream Lud. Of you my brain will split! Bald sorcerer! Lud. Juggler! May I come near you? On my soul Lud. I know not whether to pity, curse, or laugh. Lud. Here, Albert, this old phantom wants a proof! Lud. Give him his proof! A camel's load of proofs! Oth. Albert, I speak to you as to a man Oth. Whose words once utter'd pass like current gold; Oth. And therefore fit to calmly put a close Oth. To this brief tempest. Do you stand possess'd Oth. Of any proof against the honourableness Oth. Of Lady Auranthe, our new-spoused daughter? Al. You chill me with astonishment. How's this? Al. My liege, what proof should I have 'gainst a fame Al. Impossible of slur? erm. O wickedness! Eth. Deluded monarch, 'tis a cruel lie. Oth. Peace, rebel-priest! con. Insult beyond credence! Erm. Almost a dream! lud. We have awaken'd from! Lud. A foolish dream that from my brow has wrung Lud. A wrathful dew. O folly! why did I Lud. So act the lion with this silly gnat? Lud. Let them depart. Lady Erminia! Lud. I ever griev'd for you, as who did not? Lud. But now you have, with such a brazen front, Lud. So most maliciously, most madly striven Lud. To dazzle the soft moon, when tenderest clouds Lud. Should be unloop'd around to curtain her; Lud. I leave you to the desert of the world Lud. Almost with pleasure. Let them be set free Lud. For me! I take no personal revenge Lud. More than against a nightmare, which a man Lud. Forgets in the new dawn. Oth. Still in extremes! No, they must not be loose. Eth. Albert, I must suspect thee of a crime Eth. So fiendish ‐ oth. Fear'st thou not my fury, monk? Oth. Conrad, be they in your sure custody Oth. Till we determine some fit punishment. Oth. It is so mad a deed, I must reflect Oth. And question them in private; for perhaps, Oth. By patient scrutiny, we may discover Oth. Whether they merit death, or should be placed Oth. In care of the physicians. Con. My guards, ho! erm. Albert, will you follow there? Erm. Will you creep dastardly behind his back, Erm. And slink away from a weak woman's eye? Erm. Turn, thou court-Janus)! thou forget'st thyself; Erm. Here is the Duke, waiting with open arms, Erm. To thank thee; here congratulate each other; Erm. Wring hands; embrace; and swear how lucky 'twas Erm. That I, by happy chance, hit the right man Erm. Of All the world to trust in. Al. Trust! to me! Con. He is the sole one in this mystery. Erm. Well, I give up, and save my prayers for heaven! Erm. You, who could do this deed, would ne'er relent, Erm. Though, at my words, the hollow prison-vaults Erm. Would groan for pity. Con. Manacle them both! Eth. I know it ‐ it must be ‐ I see it all! Eth. Albert, thou art the minion! erm. Ah! too plain ‐ Con. Silence! Gag up their mouths! I cannot bear Con. More of this brawling. That the Emperor Con. Had plac'd you in some other custody! Con. Bring them away. Al. Though my name perish from the book of honour, Al. Almost before the recent ink is dry, Al. And be no more remember'd after death, Al. Than any drummer's in the muster-roll; Al. Yet shall I season high my sudden fall Al. With triumph o'er that evil-witted Duke! Al. He shall feel what it is to have the hand Al. Of a man drowning, on his hateful throat. Al. Erminia! dream to night of better days Al. Tomorrow makes them real ‐ once more good morrow. Sig. What discord is at ferment in this house? Ger. We are without conjecture; not a soul Ger. We met could answer any certainty. Sig. Young Ludolph, like a fiery arrow, shot Sig. By us. c Ger. The Emperor, with cross'd arms, in thought. c Sig. In one room music, in another sadness, Sig. Perplexity every where! al. A trifle mere! Al. Follow; your presences will much avail Al. To tune our jarred spirits. I'll explain. Otho the Great: A Tragedy in Five Acts Act IV SC ENE I Con. Well, well, I know what ugly jeopardy Con. We are caged in; you need not pester that Con. Into my ears. Prythee, let me be spared Con. A foolish tongue, that I may bethink me Con. Of remedies with some deliberation. Con. You cannot doubt but 'tis in Albert's power Con. To crush or save us? aur. No, I cannot doubt. Aur. He has, assure yourself, by some strange means, Aur. My secret; which I ever hid from him, Aur. Knowing his mawkish honesty. Con. Cursed slave! Aur. Ay, I could almost curse him now myself. Aur. Wretched impediment! evil genius! Aur. A glue upon my wings, that cannot spread, Aur. When they should span the provinces! A snake, Aur. A scorpion, sprawling on the first gold step, Aur. Conducting to the throne high canopied. Con. You would not hear my counsel, when his life Con. Might have been trodden out, all sure and hush'd; Con. Now the dull animal forsooth must be Con. Intreated, managed! When can you contrive Con. The interview he demands? aur. As speedily Aur. It must be done as my bribed woman can Aur. Unseen conduct him to me; but I fear Aur. 'Twill be impossible, while the broad day Aur. Comes through the panes with persecuting glare. Aur. Methinks, if 't now were night I could intrigue Aur. With darkness, bring the stars to second me, Aur. And settle all this trouble. Con. Nonsense! Child! Con. See him immediately; why not now? Aur. Do you forget that even the senseless door-posts Aur. Are on the watch and gape through all the house; Aur. How many whisperers there are about, Aur. Hungry for evidence to ruin me Aur. Men I have spurn'd, and women I have taunted? Aur. Besides, the foolish Prince sends, minute whiles, Aur. His pages ‐ so they tell me ‐ to inquire Aur. After my health, entreating, if I please, Aur. To see me. Con. Well, suppose this Albert here; Con. What is your power with him?

Aur. He should be Aur. My echo, my taught parrot! but I fear Aur. He will be cur enough to bark at me; Aur. Have his own say; read me some silly creed Aur. 'Bout shame and pity. Con. What will you do then? Aur. What I shall do, I know not; what I would Aur. Cannot be done; for see, this chamber-floor Aur. Will not yield to the pick-axe and the spade, ‐ Aur. Here is no quiet depth of hollow ground. Con. Sister, you have grown sensible and wise, Con. Seconding, ere I speak it, what is now, Con. I hope, resolv'd between us. Aur. Say, what is 't? Con. You need not be his sexton too a man Con. May carry that with him shall make him die Con. Elsewhere, ‐ give that to him; pretend the while Con. You will to-morrow succumb to his wishes, Con. Be what they may, and send him from the castle Con. On some fool's errand; let his latest groan Con. Frighten the wolves! aur. Alas! he must not die! Con. Would you were both hearsed up in stifling lead! Con. Detested ‐ aur. Conrad, hold! I would not bear Aur. The little thunder of your fretful tongue, Aur. Tho' I alone were taken in these toils, Aur. And you could free me; but remember, sir, Aur. You live alone in my security Aur. So keep your wits at work, for your own sake, Aur. Not mine, and be more mannerly. Con. Thou wasp! Con. If my domains were emptied of these folk, Con. And I had thee to starve ‐ aur. O, marvellous! Aur. But Conrad, now be gone; the host is look'd for; Aur. Cringe to the Emperor, entertain the nobles, Aur. And, do ye mind, above all things, proclaim Aur. My sickness, with a brother's sadden'd eye, Aur. Condoling with Prince Ludolph. In fit time Aur. Return to me. Con. I leave you to your thoughts. Aur. Down, down, proud temper! down, Auranthe's pride! Aur. Why do I anger him when I should kneel? Aur. Conrad! Albert! help! help! What can I do? Aur. O wretched woman! lost, wreck'd, swallow'd up, Aur. Accursed, blasted! O, thou golden crown, Aur. Orbing along the serene firmament Aur. Of a wide empire, like a glowing moon; Aur. And thou, bright sceptre! lustrous in my eyes, ‐ Aur. There ‐ as the fabled fair Hesperian tree, Aur. Bearing a fruit more precious! graceful thing, Aur. Delicate, godlike, magic! must I leave Aur. Thee to melt in the visionary air, Aur. Ere, by one grasp, this common hand is made Aur. Imperial? I do not know the time Aur. When I have wept for sorrow; but methinks Aur. I could now sit upon the ground, and shed Aur. Tears, tears of misery. O, the heavy day! Aur. How shall I bear my life till Albert comes? Aur. Ludolph! Erminia! Proofs! O heavy day! Aur. Bring me some mourning weeds, that I may 'tire Aur. Myself, as fits one wailing her own death Aur. Cut off these curls, and brand this lily hand, Aur. And throw these jewels from my loathing sight, ‐ Aur. Fetch me a missal, and a string of beads, ‐ Aur. A cup of bitter'd water, and a crust, ‐ Aur. I will confess, O holy father! ‐ How! Aur. What is this? Auranthe! thou fool, dolt, Aur. Whimpering idiot! up! up! act and quell! Aur. I'm safe! Coward! why am I in fear? Aur. Albert! he cannot stickle, chew the cud Aur. In such a fine extreme, ‐ impossible! Aur. Who knocks? Aur. Albert, I have been waiting for you here Aur. With such an aching heart, such swooning throbs Aur. On my poor brain, such cruel ‐ cruel sorrow, Aur. That I should claim your pity! Art not well? Al. Yes, lady, well. Aur. You look not so, alas! Aur. But pale, as if you brought some heavy news. Al. You know full well what makes me look so pale. Aur. No! Do I? Surely I am still to learn Aur. Some horror; all I know, this present, is Aur. I am near hustled to a dangerous gulph, Aur. Which you can save me from, ‐ and therefore safe, Aur. So trusting in thy love; that should not make Aur. Thee pale, my Albert. Al. It does make me freeze. Aur. Why should it, love? al. You should not ask me that, Al. But make your own heart monitor, and save Al. Me the great pain of telling. You must know. Aur. Something has vext you, Albert. There are times Aur. When simplest things put on a sombre cast; Aur. A melancholy mood will haunt a man, Aur. Until most easy matters take the shape Aur. Of unachievable tasks; small rivulets Aur. Then seem impassable. Al. Do not cheat yourself Al. With hope that gloss of words, or suppliant action, Al. Or tears, or ravings, or self-threaten'd death, Al. Can alter my resolve. Aur. You make me tremble; Aur. Not so much at your threats, as at your voice, Aur. Untun'd, and harsh, and barren of all love. Al. You suffocate me! Stop this devil's parley, Al. And listen to me; know me once for all. Aur. I thought I did. Alas! I am deceived. Al. No, you are not deceived. You took me for Al. A man detesting all inhuman crime; Al. And therefore kept from me your demon's plot Al. Against Erminia. Silent? Be so still; Al. For ever! Speak no more; but hear my words, Al. Thy fate. To-day you are safe Al. I have told a lie for you which in the dawn Al. I'll expiate with truth. Aur. O cruel traitor! Al. For I would not set eyes upon thy shame; Al. I would not see thee dragg'd to death by the hair, Al. Penanced, and taunted on a scaffolding! Al. To-night, upon the skirts of the blind wood Al. That blackens northward of these horrid towers, Al. I wait for you with horses. Choose your fate. Al. Farewell! aur. Albert, you jest; I'm sure you must. Aur. You, an ambitious soldier! I, a queen, Aur. One who could say, ‐ here, rule these provinces! Aur. Take tribute from those cities for thyself! Aur. Empty these armouries, these treasuries, Aur. Muster thy warlike thousands at a nod! Aur. Go! conquer Italy! al. Auranthe, you have made Al. The whole world chaff to me. Your doom is fix'd. Aur. Out, villain! dastard! al. Look there to the door! Al. Who is it? aur. Conrad, traitor! al. Let him in. Al. Do not affect amazement, hypocrite, Al. At seeing me in this chamber. Con. Auranthe? Al. Talk not with eyes, but speak your curses out Al. Against me, who would sooner crush and grind Al. A brace of toads, than league with them to oppress Al. An innocent lady, gull an emperor, Al. More generous to me than autumn's sun Al. To ripening harvests. Aur. No more insult, sir! Al. Ay, clutch your scabbard; but, for prudence' sake, Al. Draw not the sword; 'twould make an uproar, Duke, Al. You would not hear the end of. At nightfall Al. Your lady sister, if I guess aright, Al. Will leave this busy castle. You had best Al. Take farewell too of worldly vanities. Con. Vassal! al. To-morrow, when the Emperor sends Al. For loving Conrad, see you fawn on him. Al. Good even! aur. You'll be seen! c Al. See the coast clear then. c Aur. Remorseless Albert! cruel, cruel wretch! Con. So, we must lick the dust?

Aur. I follow him. Con. How? Where? The plan of your escape? aur. He waits Aur. For me with horses by the forest-side, Aur. Northward. Con. Good, good; he dies. You go, say you? Aur. Perforce. Con. Be speedy darkness! Till that comes, Con. Fiends keep you company! aur. And you! And you! Aur. And all men! Vanish! Oh! Oh! Oh! Otho the Great: A Tragedy in Five Acts Act IV SC ENE II Pag. Still very sick, my lord; but now I went, Pag. Knowing my duty to so good a prince; Pag. And there her women, in a mournful throng, Pag. Stood in the passage whispering; if any Pag. Moved, 'twas with careful steps, and hush'd as death Pag. They bade me stop. Lud. Good fellow, once again Lud. Make soft inquiry; prythee, be not stay'd Lud. By any hindrance, but with gentlest force Lud. Break through her weeping servants, till thou com'st Lud. E'en to her chamber door, and there, fair boy, ‐ Lud. If with thy mother's milk thou hast suck'd in Lud. Any diviner eloquence, ‐ woo her ears Lud. With plaints for me, more tender than the voice Lud. Of dying Echo, echoed. Pag. Kindest master! Pag. To know thee sad thus, will unloose my tongue Pag. In mournful syllables. Let but my words reach Pag. Her ears, and she shall take them coupled with Pag. Moans from my heart, and sighs not counterfeit. Pag. May I speed better! lud. Auranthe! My life! Lud. Long have I lov'd thee, yet till now not lov'd Lud. Remembering, as I do, hard-hearted times Lud. When I had heard e'en of thy death perhaps, Lud. And thoughtless! ‐ suffered thee to pass alone Lud. Into Elysium! ‐ now I follow thee, Lud. A substance or a shadow, wheresoe'er Lud. Thou leadest me, ‐ whether thy white feet press, Lud. With pleasant weight, the amorous-aching earth, Lud. Or thro' the air thou pioneerest me, Lud. A shade! Yet sadly I predestinate! Lud. O, unbenignest Love, why wilt thou let Lud. Darkness steal out upon the sleepy world Lud. So wearily, as if night's chariot-wheels Lud. Were clog'd in some thick cloud? O, changeful Love, Lud. Let not her steeds with drowsy-footed pace Lud. Pass the high stars, before sweet embassage Lud. Comes from the pillow'd beauty of that fair Lud. Completion of all delicate nature's wit! Lud. Pout her faint lips anew with rubious health; Lud. And, with thine infant fingers, lift the fringe Lud. Of her sick eye-lids; that those eyes may glow Lud. With wooing light upon me, ere the morn Lud. Peers with disrelish, grey, barren, and cold! Lud. Otho calls me his lion, ‐ should I blush Lud. To be so tam'd? so ‐ ger. Do me the courtesy, Ger. Gentlemen, to pass on. Courtr. We are your servants. Lud. It seems then, sir, you have found out the man Lud. You would confer with; ‐ me? ger. If I break not Ger. Too much upon your thoughtful mood, I will Ger. Claim a brief while your patience. Lud. For what cause Lud. Soe'er, I shall be honour'd. Ger. I not less. Lud. What may it be? No trifle can take place Lud. Of such deliberate prologue, serious 'haviour. Lud. But, be it what it may, I cannot fail Lud. To listen with no common interest; Lud. For though so new your presence is to me, Lud. I have a soldier's friendship for your fame. Lud. Please you explain. Ger. As thus ‐ for, pardon me, Ger. I cannot, in plain terms, grossly assault Ger. A noble nature; and would faintly sketch Ger. What your quick apprehension will fill up; Ger. So finely I esteem you. Lud. I attend. Ger. Your generous father, most illustrious Otho, Ger. Sits in the banquet-room among his chiefs; Ger. His wine is bitter, for you are not there; Ger. His eyes are fix'd still on the open doors, Ger. And every passer in he frowns upon, Ger. Seeing no Ludolph comes. Lud. I do neglect. Ger. And for your absence, may I guess the cause? Lud. Stay there! No ‐ guess? More princely you must be Lud. Than to make guesses at me. 'Tis enough. Lud. I'm sorry I can hear no more. Ger. And I Ger. As griev'd to force it on you so abrupt; Ger. Yet, one day, you must know a grief, whose sting Ger. Will sharpen more the longer 'tis conceal'd. Lud. Say it at once, sir! dead ‐ dead ‐ is she dead? Ger. Mine is a cruel task she is not dead, Ger. And would, for your sake, she were innocent. Lud. Hungarian! Thou amazest me beyond Lud. All scope of thought, convulsest my heart's blood Lud. To deadly churning! Gersa, you are young, Lud. As I am; let me observe you, face to face Lud. Not grey-brow'd like the poisonous Ethelbert, Lud. No rheumed eyes, no furrowing of age, Lud. No wrinkles, where all vices nestle in Lud. Like crannied vermin, ‐ no! but fresh, and young, Lud. And hopeful featur'd. Ha! by heaven you weep! Lud. Tears, human tears! Do you repent you then Lud. Of a curs'd torturer's office? Why shouldst join, ‐ Lud. Tell me, ‐ the league of devils? Confess ‐ confess ‐ Lud. The lie! c Ger. Lie! ‐ but begone all ceremonious points c Ger. Of honour battailous! I could not turn Ger. My wrath against thee for the orbed world. Lud. Your wrath, weak boy? Tremble at mine, unless Lud. Retraction follow close upon the heels Lud. Of that late 'stounding insult! Why has my sword Lud. Not done already a sheer judgment on thee? Lud. Despair, or eat thy words! Why, thou wast nigh Lud. Whimpering away my reason! Hark ye, sir, Lud. It is no secret, that Erminia, Lud. Erminia, sir, was hidden in your tent, ‐ Lud. O blessed asylum! Comfortable home! Lud. Begone! I pity thee; thou art a gull, Lud. Erminia's fresh puppet! ger. Furious fire! Ger. Thou mak'st me boil as hot as thou canst flame! Ger. And in thy teeth I give thee back the lie! Ger. Thou liest! Thou, Auranthe's fool! A wittol! Lud. Look! look at this bright sword; Lud. There is no part of it, to the very hilt, Lud. But shall indulge itself about thine heart! Lud. Draw! but remember thou must cower thy plumes, Lud. As yesterday the Arab made thee stoop. Ger. Patience! Not here; I would not spill thy blood Ger. Here, underneath this roof where Otho breathes, ‐ Ger. Thy father, ‐ almost mine. Lud. O faltering coward! Lud. Stay, stay; here is one I have half a word with. Lud. Well? What ails thee, child? pag. My lord! c Lud. What wouldst say? c Pag. They are fled! lud. They! Who? c Pag. When anxiously c Pag. I hasten'd back, your grieving messenger, Pag. I found the stairs all dark, the lamps extinct, Pag. And not a foot or whisper to be heard. Pag. I thought her dead, and on the lowest step Pag. Sat listening; when presently came by Pag. Two muffled up, ‐ one sighing heavily, Pag. The other cursing low, whose voice I knew Pag. For the Duke Conrad's. Close I follow'd them Pag. Thro' the dark ways they chose to the open air; Pag. And, as I follow'd, heard my lady speak. Lud. Thy life answer the truth! pag. The chamber's empty! Lud. As I will be of mercy! So, at last, Lud. This nail is in my temples! ger. Be calm in this. Lud. I am. Ger. And Albert too has disappear'd; Ger. Ere I met you, I sought him everywhere; Ger. You would not hearken. Lud. Which way went they, boy? Ger. I'll hunt with you. Lud. No, no, no. My senses are Lud. Still whole. I have surviv'd. My arm is strong, Lud. My appetite sharp ‐ for revenge! I'll no sharer Lud. In my feast; my injury is all my own, Lud. And so is my revenge, my lawful chattels! Lud. Jackall, lead on the lion preys to-night. Lud. Terrier, ferret them out! Burn ‐ burn the witch! Lud. Trace me their footsteps! Away! Otho the Great: A Tragedy in Five Acts Act V SCE NE I Aur. Go no further; not a step more. Thou art Aur. A master-plague in the midst of miseries. Aur. Go, ‐ I fear thee! I tremble every limb, Aur. Who never shook before. There's moody death Aur. In thy resolved looks! Yes, I could kneel Aur. To pray thee far away! Conrad, go! go! ‐ Aur. There! yonder underneath the boughs I see Aur. Our horses! con. Ay, and a man. c Aur. Yes, he is there! c Aur. Go, go, ‐ no blood! no blood! ‐ go, gentle Conrad! Con. Farewell! aur. Farewell! For this heaven pardon you! Con. If he escape me, may I die a death Con. Of unimagined tortures, or breathe through Con. A long life in the foulest sink of the world! Con. He dies! 'Tis well she do not advertise Con. The caitiff of the cold steel at his back. Lud. Miss'd the way, boy? Say not that on your peril! Pag. Indeed, indeed I cannot trace them further. Lud. Must I stop here? Here solitary die? Lud. Stifled beneath the thick oppressive shade Lud. Of these dull boughs, ‐ this oven of dark thickets, ‐ Lud. Silent, ‐ without revenge? ‐ pshaw! ‐ bitter end, &dash ; Lud. A bitter death, ‐ a suffocating death, ‐ Lud. A gnawing ‐ silent ‐ deadly-quiet death! Lud. Escap'd ‐ fled ‐ vanish'd ‐ melted into air ‐ Lud. She's gone ‐ I cannot catch her! no revenge! Lud. A muffled death, ensnared in horrid silence! Lud. Suck'd to my grave amid a dreary calm! Lud. O, where is that illustrious noise of war, Lud. To smother up this sound of labouring breath, Lud. This rustle of the trees! pag. My lord, a noise! Pag. This way ‐ hark! lud. Yes, yes! A hope! A music! Lud. A glorious clamour! now I live again! Otho the Great: A Tragedy in Five Acts Act V SCEN E II Al. O! for enough life to support me on Al. To Otho's feet! lud. Thrice villainous, stay there! Lud. Tell me where that detested woman is, Lud. Or this is through you! Al. My good Prince, with me Al. The sword has done its worst; not without worst Al. Done to another, ‐ Conrad has it home! Al. I see you know it All! lud. Where is his sister? Aur. Albert! c Lud. Ha! There! there! ‐ He is the paramour! ‐ c Lud. There ‐ hug him ‐ dying! O, thou innocence, Lud. Shrive him and comfort him at his last gasp, Lud. Kiss down his eyelids! Was he not thy love? Lud. Wilt thou forsake him at his latest hour? Lud. Keep fearful and aloof from his last gaze, Lud. His most uneasy moments, when cold death Lud. Stands with the door ajar to let him in? Al. O that that door with hollow slam would close Al. Upon me sudden! for I cannot meet, Al. In all the unknown chambers of the dead, Al. Such horrors! lud. Auranthe! what can he mean? Lud. What horrors? Is it not a joyous time? Lud. Am I not married to a paragon Lud. " Of personal beauty and untainted soul " ? Lud. A blushing fair-eyed purity! A sylph, Lud. Whose snowy timid hand has never sin'd Lud. Beyond a flower pluck'd, mild as itself? Lud. Albert, you do insult my bride ‐ your mistress ‐ Lud. To talk of horrors on our wedding-night! Al. Alas! poor Prince, I would you knew my heart! Al. 'Tis not so guilty ‐ c Lud. Hear you, he pleads not guilty! c Lud. You are not? or, if so, what matters it? Lud. You have escap'd me, free as the dusk air, Lud. Hid in the forest, safe from my revenge; Lud. I cannot catch you! You should laugh at me, Lud. Poor cheated Ludolph! Make the forest hiss Lud. With jeers at me! You tremble ‐ faint at once, Lud. You will come to again. O cockatrice, Lud. I have you! Whither wander those fair eyes Lud. To entice the devil to your help, that he Lud. May change you to a spider, so to crawl Lud. Into some cranny to escape my wrath? Al. Sometimes the counsel of a dying man Al. Doth operate quietly when his breath is gone Al. Disjoin those hands ‐ part ‐ part ‐ do not destroy Al. Each other ‐ forget her! ‐ our miseries Al. Are ! almost 5 equal shar'd, and mercy is ‐ lud. A boon Lud. When one can compass it. Auranthe, try Lud. Your oratory; your breath is not so hitch'd. Lud. Aye, stare for help! there goes a spotted soul Lud. Howling in vain along the hollow night! Lud. Hear him! he calls you ‐ sweet Auranthe, come! Aur. Kill me! lud. No! What? Upon our marriage-night? Lud. The earth would shudder at so foul a deed! Lud. A fair bride! A sweet bride! An innocent bride! Lud. No! we must revel it, as 'tis in use Lud. In times of delicate brilliant ceremony Lud. Come, let me lead you to our halls again! Lud. Nay, linger not; make no resistance, sweet ‐ Lud. Will you? Ah, wretch, thou canst not, for I have Lud. The strength of twenty lions 'gainst a lamb! Lud. Now ‐ one adieu for Albert! ‐ come away! Otho the Great: A Tragedy in Five Acts Act V SCE NE III Theo. Was ever such a night? sig. What horrors more? Sig. Things unbelieved one hour, so strange they are, Sig. The next hour stamps with credit. Theo. Your last news? Gon. After the page's story of the death Gon. Of Albert and Duke Conrad? Sig. And the return Sig. Of Ludolph with the Princess. Gon. No more, save Gon. Prince Gersa's freeing Abbot Ethelbert, Gon. And the sweet lady, fair Erminia, Gon. From prison. c Theo. Where are they now? Hast yet heard? c Gon. With the sad Emperor they are closeted; Gon. I saw the three pass slowly up the stairs, Gon. The lady weeping, the old abbot cowl'd. Sig. What next? theo. I ache to think on 't. c Gon. 'Tis with fate. c Theo. One while these proud towers are hush'd as death. Gon. The next our poor prince fills the arched rooms Gon. With ghastly ravings. Sig. I do fear his brain. Gon. I will see more. Bear you so stout a heart? Otho the Great: A Tragedy in Five Acts Act V SCEN E IV Oth. O, my poor boy! My son! My son! My ludolph! Oth. Have ye no comfort for me, ye physicians Oth. Of the weak body and soul? eth. 'Tis not the medicine, Eth. Either of heaven or earth, can cure, unless Eth. Fit time be chosen to administer. Oth. A kind forbearance, holy abbot. Come, Oth. Erminia; here, sit by me, gentle girl; Oth. Give me thy hand; hast thou forgiven me? Erm. Would I were with the saints to pray for you! Oth. Why will ye keep me from my darling child? Phys. Forgive me, but he must not see thy face. Oth. Is then a father's countenance a Gorgon? Oth. Hath it not comfort in it? Would it not Oth. Console my poor boy, cheer him, heal his spirits? Oth. Let me embrace him; let me speak to him; Oth. I will! Who hinders me? Who's Emperor? Phys. You may not, sire; 'twould overwhelm him quite, Phys. He is so full of grief and passionate wrath; Phys. Too heavy a sigh would kill him, or do worse. Phys. He must be sav'd by fine contrivances; Phys. And, most especially, we must keep clear Phys. Out of his sight a father whom he loves; Phys. His heart is full, it can contain no more, Phys. And do its ruddy office. Eth. Sage advice; Eth. We must endeavour how to ease and slacken Eth. The tight-wound energies of his despair, Eth. Not make them tenser. Oth. Enough! I hear, I hear. Oth. Yet you were about to advise more, ‐ I listen. Eth. This learned doctor will agree with me, Eth. That not in the smallest point should he be thwarted, Eth. Or gainsaid by one word; his very motions, Eth. Nods, becks, and hints, should be obey'd with care, Eth. Even on the moment; so his troubled mind Eth. May cure itself. Phys. There is no other means. Oth. Open the door; let's hear if all is quiet. Phys. Beseech you, sire, forbear. Erm. Do, do. c Oth. I command! c Oth. Open it straight; ‐ sh! ‐ quiet! ‐ my lost boy! Oth. My miserable child! lud. Fill full Lud. My goblet ‐ here, a health! erm. O, close the door! Oth. Let, let me hear his voice; this cannot last; Oth. And fain would I catch up his dying words, Oth. Though my own knell they be! This cannot last! Oth. O let me catch his voice ‐ for lo! I hear Oth. This silence whisper me that he is dead! Oth. It is so! Gersa? Phys. Say, how fares the Prince? Ger. More calm; his features are less wild and flush'd; Ger. Once he complain'd of weariness. Phys. Indeed! Phys. 'Tis good, ‐ 'tis good; let him but fall asleep, Phys. That saves him. Oth. Gersa, watch him like a child; Oth. Ward him from harm, ‐ and bring me better news! Phys. Humour him to the height. I fear to go; Phys. For should he catch a glimpse of my dull garb, Phys. It might affright him, fill him with suspicion Phys. That we believe him sick, which must not be. Ger. I will invent what soothing means I can. Phys. This should cheer up your Highness; weariness Phys. Is a good symptom, and most favourable; Phys. It gives me pleasant hopes. Please you, walk forth Phys. Onto the terrace; the refreshing air Phys. Will blow one half of your sad doubts away. Otho the Great: A Tragedy in Five Acts Act V SCE NE V 1-knt. Grievously are we tantaliz'd, one and all; 1-knt. Sway'd here and there, commanded to and fro, 1-knt. As though we were the shadows of a dream, 1-knt. And link'd to a sleeping fancy. What do we here? Gon. I am no seer; you know we must obey Gon. The Prince from A to Z, though it should be Gon. To set the place in flames. I pray, hast heard Gon. Where the most wicked princess is? 1-knt. There, sir, 1-knt. In the next room; have you remark'd those two 1-knt. Stout soldiers posted at the door? gon. For what? 1-ldy. How ghast a train! 2-ldy. Sure this should be some splendid burial. 1-ldy. What fearful whispering! See, see, ‐ Gersa there! Ger. Put on your brightest looks; smile if you can; Ger. Behave as all were happy; keep your eyes Ger. From the least watch upon him; if he speaks Ger. To any one, answer, collectedly, Ger. Without surprise, his questions, howe'er strange. Ger. Do this to the utmost, ‐ though, alas! with me Ger. The remedy grows Hopeless! Here he comes, ‐ Ger. Observe what I have said, ‐ show no surprise. Lud. A splendid company! rare beauties here! Lud. I should have Orphean lips, and Plato's fancy, Lud. Amphion's utterance, toned with his lyre, Lud. Or the deep key of Jove's sonorous mouth, Lud. To give fit salutation. Methought I heard, Lud. As I came in, some whispers, ‐ what of that? Lud. 'Tis natural men should whisper; at the kiss Lud. Of Psyche given by Love, there was a buzz Lud. Among the gods! ‐ and silence is as natural. Lud. These draperies are fine, and, being a mortal, Lud. I should desire no better; yet, in truth, Lud. There must be some superior costliness, Lud. Some wider-domed high magnificence! Lud. I would have, as a mortal I may not, Lud. Hanging of heaven's clouds, purple and gold, Lud. Slung from the spheres; gauzes of silver mist, Lud. Loop'd up with cords of twisted wreathed light, Lud. And tassell'd round with weeping meteors! Lud. These pendent lamps and chandeliers are bright Lud. As earthly fires from dull dross can be cleansed; Lud. Yet could my eyes drink up intenser beams Lud. Undazzled, ‐ this is darkness, ‐ when I close Lud. These lids, I see far fiercer brilliances, ‐ Lud. Skies full of splendid moons, and shooting stars, Lud. And spouting exhalations, diamond fires, Lud. And panting fountains quivering with deep glows! Lud. Yes ‐ this is dark ‐ is it not dark? sig. My lord, Sig. 'Tis late; the lights of festival are ever Sig. Quench'd in the morn. Lud. 'Tis not to-morrow then? Sig. 'Tis early dawn. Ger. Indeed full time we slept; Ger. Say you so, Prince? lud. I say I quarrell'd with you; Lud. We did not tilt each other, ‐ that's a blessing, ‐ Lud. Good gods! no innocent blood upon my head! Sig. Retire, Gersa! lud. There should be three more here Lud. For two of them, they stay away perhaps, Lud. Being gloomy-minded, haters of fair revels, ‐ Lud. They know their own thoughts best. As for the third, Lud. We'll have her presently; ay, you shall see her, Lud. And wonder at her, friends, she is so fair; Lud. Deep blue eyes, semi-shaded in white lids Lud. Finish'd with lashes fine for more soft shade, Lud. Completed by her twin-arch'd ebon brows; Lud. White temples, of exactest elegance, Lud. Of even mould, felicitous and smooth; Lud. Cheeks fashion'd tenderly on either side, Lud. So perfect, so divine, that our poor eyes Lud. Are dazzled with the sweet proportioning, Lud. And wonder that 'tis so, ‐ the magic chance! Lud. Her nostrils, small, fragrant, faery-delicate; Lud. Her lips ‐ I swear no human bones e'er wore Lud. So taking a disguise; ‐ you shall behold her! Lud. She is the world's chief jewel, and, by heaven Lud. She's mine by right of marriage! ‐ she is mine! Lud. Patience, good people. In fit time I send Lud. A summoner, ‐ she will obey my call, Lud. Being a wife most mild and dutiful. Lud. First I would hear what music is prepared Lud. To herald and receive her; let me hear! Sig. Bid the musicians soothe him tenderly. Lud. Ye have none better? no, I am content; Lud. 'Tis a rich sobbing melody, with reliefs Lud. Full and majestic; it is well enough, Lud. And will be sweeter, when ye see her pace Lud. Sweeping into this presence, glisten'd o'er Lud. With emptied caskets, and her train upheld Lud. By ladies, habited in robes of lawn, Lud. Sprinkled with golden crescents, others bright Lud. In silks, with spangles shower'd, and bow'd to Lud. By duchesses and pearled margravines! Lud. Sad, that the fairest creature of the earth ‐ Lud. I pray you mind me not ‐ 'tis sad, I say, Lud. That the extremest beauty of the world Lud. Should so entrench herself away from me, Lud. Behind a barrier of engender'd guilt! 2-ldy. Ah! what a moan! 1-knt. Most piteous indeed! Lud. She shall be brought before this company, Lud. And then ‐ then ‐ 1-ldy. He muses. c Ger. O, Fortune, where will this end? c Sig. I guess his purpose! indeed he must not have Sig. That pestilence brought in, ‐ that cannot be, Sig. There we must stop him. Ger. I am lost! Hush, hush! Ger. He is about to rave again. Lud. A barrier of guilt! I was the fool, Lud. She was the cheater! Who's the cheater now, Lud. And who the fool? The entrapp'd, the caged fool, Lud. The bird-limed raven? She shall croak to death Lud. Secure! Methinks I have her in my fist, Lud. To crush her with my heel! Wait, wait! I marvel Lud. My father keeps away. Good friend ‐ ah! Sigifred! Lud. Do bring him to me, ‐ and Erminia Lud. I fain would see before I sleep ‐ and Ethelbert Lud. That he may bless me, as I know he will, Lud. Though I have curs'd him. Sig. Rather suffer me Sig. To lead you to them. Lud. No, excuse me, ‐ no! Lud. The day is not quite done. Go, bring them hither. Lud. Certes, a father's smile should, like sun light, Lud. Slant on my sheafed harvest of ripe bliss. Lud. Besides, I thirst to pledge my lovely bride Lud. In a deep goblet let me see ‐ what wine? Lud. The strong Iberian juice, or mellow Greek? Lud. Or pale Calabrian? or the Tuscan grape? Lud. Or of old Aetna's pulpy wine-presses, Lud. Black stain'd with the fat vintage, as it were Lud. The purple slaughter-house, where Bacchus' self Lud. Prick'd his own swollen veins! Where is my page? c Pag. Here, here! c Lud. Be ready to obey me; anon thou shalt Lud. Bear a soft message for me; for the hour Lud. Draws near when I must make a winding up Lud. Of bridal mysteries. A fine-spun vengeance! Lud. Carve it on my tomb, that, when I rest beneath, Lud. Men shall confess, this prince was gull'd and cheated, Lud. But from the ashes of disgrace he rose Lud. More than a fiery dragon, and did burn Lud. His ignominy up in purging fires! Lud. Did I not send, sir, but a moment past, Lud. For my father? ger. You did. c Lud. Perhaps 'twould be c Lud. Much better he came not. Ger. He enters now! Lud. O! thou good man, against whose sacred head Lud. I was a mad conspirator, chiefly too Lud. For the sake of my fair newly wedded wife, Lud. Now to be punish'd! ‐ do not look so sad! Lud. Those charitable eyes will thaw my heart, Lud. Those tears will wash away a just resolve, Lud. A verdict ten times sworn! Awake ‐ awake ‐ Lud. Put on a judge's brow, and use a tongue Lud. Made iron-stern by habit! Thou shalt see Lud. A deed to be applauded, 'scribed in gold! Lud. Join a loud voice to mine, and so denounce Lud. What I alone will execute! oth. Dear son, Oth. What is it? By your father's love, I sue Oth. That it be nothing merciless! lud. To that demon? Lud. Not so! No! She is in temple-stall Lud. Being garnish'd for the sacrifice, and I, Lud. The priest of justice, will immolate her Lud. Upon the altar of wrath! she stings me through! ‐ Lud. Even as the worm doth feed upon the nut, Lud. So she, a scorpion, preys upon my brain! Lud. I feel her gnawing here! Let her but vanish, Lud. Then, father, I will lead your legions forth, Lud. Compact in steeled squares, and speared files, Lud. And bid our trumpets speak a fell rebuke Lud. To nations drowsed in peace! oth. To-morrow, son, Oth. Be your word law; forget to-day ‐ lud. I will Lud. When I have finish'd it! Now, ‐ now, I'm pight, Lud. Tight-footed for the deed! Erm. Alas! Alas! Lud. What angel's voice is that? erminia! Lud. Ah! gentlest creature, whose sweet innocence Lud. Was almost murder'd; I am penitent, Lud. Wilt thou forgive me? And thou, holy man, Lud. Good Ethelbert, shall I die in peace with you? Erm. Die, my lord!

lud. I feel it possible.

Oth. Physician? c Phys. I fear me he is past my skill. Oth. Not so! Lud. I see it ‐ I see it ‐ I have been wandering! Lud. Half-mad ‐ not right here ‐ I forget my purpose. Lud. Bestir ‐ bestir ‐ Auranthe! Ha! ha! ha! Lud. Youngster! Page! go bid them drag her to me! Lud. Obey! This shall finish it! oth. O, my son! my son! Sig. This must not be ‐ stop there! lud. Am I obey'd? Lud. A little talk with her ‐ no harm ‐ haste! haste! Lud. Set her before me ‐ never fear I can strike. Voic. My lord! my lord! ger. Good Prince! Lud. Why do ye trouble me? out ‐ out ‐ out away! Lud. There she is! take that! and that! no no, Lud. That's not well done. ‐ Where is she? Pag. Alas! My lord, my lord! they cannot move her! Pag. Her arms are stiff, ‐ her fingers clench'd and cold! Lud. She's dead! eth. Take away the dagger. c Ger. Softly; so! c Oth. Thank God for that! sig. I fear it could not harm him. Ger. No! ‐ brief be his anguish! Lud. She's gone! I am content ‐ nobles, good night! Lud. We are all weary ‐ faint ‐ set ope the doors ‐ Lud. I will to bed! ‐ to-morrow ‐ Lud. Where is your hand ‐ father, what sultry air! Lud. We are all weary ‐ faint ‐ set ope the doors ‐ Lud. I will to bed! ‐ Tomorrow ‐ Lamia PART I Upon a time, before the faery broods Drove Nymph and Satyr from the prosperous woods, Before King Oberon's bright diadem, Sceptre, and mantle, clasp'd with dewy gem, Frighted away the Dryads and the Fauns From rushes green, and brakes, and cowslip'd lawns, The ever-smitten Hermes empty left His golden throne, bent warm on amorous theft From high Olympus had he stolen light, On this side of Jove's clouds, to escape the sight Of his great summoner, and made retreat Into a forest on the shores of Crete. For somewhere in that sacred island dwelt A nymph, to whom all hoofed Satyrs knelt; At whose white feet the languid Tritons poured Pearls, while on land they wither'd and adored. Fast by the springs where she to bathe was wont, And in those meads where sometime she might haunt, Were strewn rich gifts, unknown to any Muse, Though Fancy's casket were unlock'd to choose. Ah, what a world of love was at her feet! So Hermes thought, and a celestial heat Burnt from his winged heels to either ear, That from a whiteness, as the lily clear, Blush'd into roses 'mid his golden hair, Fallen in jealous curls about his shoulders bare. From vale to vale, from wood to wood, he flew, Breathing upon the flowers his passion new, And wound with many a river to its head, To find where this sweet nymph prepar'd her secret bed In vain; the sweet nymph might nowhere be found, And so he rested, on the lonely ground, Pensive, and full of painful jealousies Of the Wood-Gods, and even the very trees. There as he stood, he heard a mournful voice, Such as once heard, in gentle heart, destroys All pain but pity thus the lone voice spake " When from this wreathed tomb shall I awake! " When move in a sweet body fit for life, " And love, and pleasure, and the ruddy strife " Of hearts and lips! Ah, miserable me! " The God, dove-footed, glided silently Round bush and tree, soft-brushing, in his speed, The taller grasses and full-flowering weed, Until he found a palpitating snake, Bright, and cirque-couchant in a dusky brake. She was a gordian shape of dazzling hue, Vermilion-spotted, golden, green, and blue; Striped like a zebra, freckled like a pard, Eyed like a peacock, and all crimson barr'd; And full of silver moons, that, as she breathed, Dissolv'd, or brighter shone, or interwreathed Their lustres with the gloomier tapestries ‐ So rainbow-sided, touch'd with miseries, She seem'd, at once, some penanced lady elf, Some demon's mistress, or the demon's self. Upon her crest she wore a wannish fire Sprinkled with stars, like Ariadne's tiar Her head was serpent, but ah, bitter-sweet! She had a woman's mouth with all its pearls complete And for her eyes what could such eyes do there But weep, and weep, that they were born so fair? As Proserpine still weeps for her Sicilian air. Her throat was serpent, but the words she spake Came, as through bubbling honey, for Love's sake, And thus; while Hermes on his pinions lay, Like a stoop'd falcon ere he takes his prey. " Fair Hermes, crown'd with feathers, fluttering light, " I had a splendid dream of thee last night " I saw thee sitting, on a throne of gold, " Among the Gods, upon Olympus old, " The only sad one; for thou didst not hear " The soft, lute-finger'd Muses chaunting clear, " Nor even Apollo when he sang alone, " Deaf to his throbbing throat's long, long melodious moan. " I dreamt I saw thee, robed in purple flakes, " Break amorous through the clouds, as morning breaks, " And, swiftly as a bright Phoebean dart, " Strike for the Cretan isle; and here thou art! " Too gentle Hermes, hast thou found the maid? " Whereat the star of Lethe not delay'd His rosy eloquence, and thus inquired " Thou smooth-lipp'd serpent, surely high inspired! " Thou beauteous wreath, with melancholy eyes, " Possess whatever bliss thou canst devise, " Telling me only where my nymph is fled, ‐ " Where she doth breathe! " " Bright planet, thou hast said, " Return'd the snake, " but seal with oaths, fair God! " " I swear, " said Hermes, " by my serpent rod, " And by thine eyes, and by thy starry crown! " Light flew his earnest words, among the blossoms blown. Then thus again the brilliance feminine " Too frail of heart! for this lost nymph of thine, " Free as the air, invisibly, she strays " About these thornless wilds; her pleasant days " She tastes unseen; unseen her nimble feet " Leave traces in the grass and flowers sweet; " From weary tendrils, and bow'd branches green, " She plucks the fruit unseen, she bathes unseen " And by my power is her beauty veil'd " To keep it unaffronted, unassail'd " By the love-glances of unlovely eyes, " OF Satyrs, fauns, and blear'd Silenus' sighs. " Pale grew her immortality, for woe " Of all these lovers, and she grieved so " I took compassion on her, bade her steep " Her hair in weird syrops, that would keep " Her loveliness invisible, yet free " To wander as she loves, in liberty. " Thou shalt behold her, Hermes, thou alone, " If thou wilt, as thou swearest, grant my boon! " Then, once again, the charmed God began An oath, and through the serpent's ears it ran Warm, tremulous, devout, psalterian. Ravish'd, she lifted her Circean head, Blush'd a live damask, and swift-lisping said, " I was a woman, let me have once more " A woman's shape, and charming as before. " I love a youth of Corinth ‐ O the bliss! " Give me my woman's form, and place me where he is. " Stoop, Hermes, let me breathe upon thy brow, " And thou shalt see thy sweet nymph even now. " The God on half-shut feathers sank serene, She breath'd upon his eyes, and swift was seen Of both the guarded nymph near-smiling on the green. It was no dream; or say a dream it was, Real are the dreams of Gods, and smoothly pass Their pleasures in a long immortal dream. One warm, flush'd moment, hovering, it might seem Dash'd by the wood-nymph's beauty, so he burn'd; Then, lighting on the printless verdure, turn'd To the swoon'd serpent, and with languid arm, Delicate, put to proof the lythe Caducean charm. So done, upon the nymph his eyes he bent Full of adoring tears and blandishment, And towards her stept she, like a moon in wane, Faded before him, cower'd, nor could restrain Her fearful sobs, self-folding like a flower That faints into itself at evening hour But the god fostering her chilled hand, She felt the warmth, her eyelids open'd bland, And, like new flowers at morning song of bees, Bloom'd, and gave up her honey to the lees. Into the green-recessed woods they flew; Nor grew they pale, as mortal lovers do. Left to herself, the serpent now began To change; her elfin blood in madness ran, Her mouth foam'd, and the grass, therewith besprent, Wither'd at dew so sweet and virulent; Her eyes in torture fix'd, and anguish drear, Hot, glaz'd, and wide, with lid-lashes all sear, Flash'd phosphor and sharp sparks, without one cooling tear. The colours all inflam'd throughout her train, She writh'd about, convuls'd with scarlet pain A deep volcanian yellow took the place Of all her milder-mooned body's grace; And, as the lava ravishes the mead, Spoilt all her silver mail, and golden brede, Made gloom of all her frecklings, streaks and bars, Eclips'd her crescents, and lick'd up her stars So that, in moments few, she was undrest Of all her sapphires, greens, and amethyst, And rubious-argent of all these bereft, Nothing but pain and ugliness were left. Still shone her crown; that vanish'd, also she Melted and disappear'd as suddenly; And in the air, her new voice luting soft, Cried, " Lycius! gentle Lycius! " ‐ Borne aloft With the bright mists about the mountains hoar These words dissolv'd Crete's forests heard no more. Whither fled Lamia, now a lady bright, A full-born beauty new and exquisite? She fled into that valley they pass o'er Who go to Corinth from Cenchreas' shore; And rested at the foot of those wild hills, The rugged founts of the Peraean rills, And of that other ridge whose barren back Stretches, with all its mist and cloudy rack, South-westward to Cleone. There she stood About a young bird's flutter from a wood, Fair, on a sloping green of mossy tread, By a clear pool, wherein she passioned To see herself escap'd from so sore ills, While her robes flaunted with the daffodils. Ah, happy Lycius! ‐ for she was a maid More beautiful than ever twisted braid, Or sigh'd, or blush'd, or on spring-flowered lea Spread a green kirtle to the minstrelsy A virgin purest lipp'd, yet in the lore Of love deep learned to the red heart's core Not one hour old, yet of sciential brain To unperplex bliss from its neighbour pain; Define their pettish limits, and estrange Their points of contact, and swift counterchange; Intrigue with the specious chaos, and dispart Its most ambiguous atoms with sure art; As though in Cupid's college she had spent Sweet days a lovely graduate, still unshent, And kept his rosy terms in idle languishment. Why this fair creature chose so fairily By the wayside to linger, we shall see; But first 'tis fit to tell how she could muse And dream, when in the serpent prison-house, Of all she list, strange or magnificent How, ever, where she will'd, her spirit went; Whether to faint Elysium, or where Down through tress-lifting waves the Nereids fair Wind into Thetis' bower by many a pearly stair; Or where God Bacchus drains his cups divine, Stretch'd out, at ease, beneath a glutinous pine; Or where in Pluto's gardens palatine Mulciber's columns gleam in far piazzian line. And sometimes into cities she would send Her dream, with feast and rioting to blend; And once, while among mortals dreaming thus, She saw the young Corinthian Lycius Charioting foremost in the envious race, Like a young Jove with calm uneager face, And fell into a swooning love of him. Now on the moth-time of that evening dim He would return that way, as well she knew, To Corinth from the shore; for freshly blew The eastern soft wind, and his galley now Grated the quaystones with her brazen prow In port Cenchreas, from Egina isle Fresh anchor'd; whither he had been awhile To sacrifice to Jove, whose temple there Waits with high marble doors for blood and incense rare. Jove heard his vows, and better'd his desire; For by some freakful chance he made retire From his companions, and set forth to walk, Perhaps grown wearied of their Corinth talk Over the solitary hills he fared, Thoughtless at first, but ere eve's star appeared His phantasy was lost, where reason fades, In the calm'd twilight of Platonic shades. Lamia beheld him coming, near, more near ‐ Close to her passing, in indifference drear, His silent sandals swept the mossy green; So neighbour'd to him, and yet so unseen She stood he pass'd, shut up in mysteries, His mind wrapp'd like his mantle, while her eyes Follow'd his steps, and her neck regal white Turn'd ‐ syllabling thus, " Ah, Lycius bright, " And will you leave me on the hills alone? " Lycius, look back! and be some pity shown. " He did; not with cold wonder fearingly, But Orpheus-like at an Eurydice; For so delicious were the words she sung, It seem'd he had lov'd them a whole summer long And soon his eyes had drunk her beauty up, Leaving no drop in the bewildering cup, And still the cup was full, ‐ while he, afraid Lest she should vanish ere his lip had paid Due adoration, thus began to adore; Her soft look growing coy, she saw his chain so sure " Leave thee alone! Look back! Ah, Goddess, see " Whether my eyes can ever turn from thee! " For pity do not this sad heart belie ‐ " Even as thou vanishest so I shall die. " Stay! though a Naiad of the rivers, stay! " To thy far wishes will thy streams obey " Stay! though the greenest woods be thy domain, " Alone they can drink up the morning rain " Though a descended Pleiad, will not one " Of thine harmonious sisters keep in tune " Thy spheres, and as thy silver proxy shine? " So sweetly to these ravish'd ears of mine " Came thy sweet greeting, that if thou shouldst fade " Thy memory will waste me to a shade ‐ " For pity do not melt! " ‐ " If I should stay, " Said Lamia, " here, upon this floor of clay, " And pain my steps upon these flowers too rough, " What canst thou say or do of charm enough " To dull the nice remembrance of my home? " Thou canst not ask me with thee here to roam " Over these hills and vales, where no joy is, ‐ " Empty of immortality and bliss! " Thou art a scholar, Lycius, and must know " That finer spirits cannot breathe below " In human climes, and live Alas! poor youth, " What taste of purer air hast thou to soothe " My essence? What serener palaces, " Where I may all my many senses please, " And by mysterious sleights a hundred thirsts appease? " It cannot be ‐ Adieu! " So said, she rose Tiptoe with white arms spread. He, sick to lose The amorous promise of her lone complain, Swoon'd, murmuring of love, and pale with pain. The cruel lady, without any show Of sorrow for her tender favourite's woe, But rather, if her eyes could brighter be, With brighter eyes and slow amenity, Put her new lips to his, and gave afresh The life she had so tangled in her mesh And as he from one trance was wakening Into another, she began to sing, Happy in beauty, life, and love, and every thing, A song of love, too sweet for earthly lyres, While, like held breath, the stars drew in their panting fires. And then she whisper'd in such trembling tone, As those who, safe together met alone For the first time through many anguish'd days, Use other speech than looks; bidding him raise His drooping head, and clear his soul of doubt, For that she was a woman, and without Any more subtle fluid in her veins Than throbbing blood, and that the self-same pains Inhabited her frail-strung heart as his. And next she wonder'd how his eyes could miss Her face so long in Corinth, where, she said, She dwelt but half retir'd, and there had led Days happy as the gold coin could invent Without the aid of love; yet in content Till she saw him, as once she pass'd him by, Where 'gainst a column he leant thoughtfully At Venus' temple porch, 'mid baskets heap'd Of amorous herbs and flowers, newly reap'd Late on that eve, as 'twas the night before The Adonian feast; whereof she saw no more, But wept alone those days, for why should she adore? Lycius from death awoke into amaze, To see her still, and singing so sweet lays; Then from amaze into delight he fell To hear her whisper woman's lore so well; And every word she spake entic'd him on To unperplex'd delight and pleasure known. Let the mad poets say whate'er they please Of the sweets of Fairies, Peris, Goddesses, There is not such a treat among them all, Haunters of cavern, lake, and waterfall, As a real woman, lineal indeed From Pyrrha's pebbles or old Adam's seed. Thus gentle Lamia judg'd, and judg'd aright, That Lycius could not love in half a fright, So threw the goddess off, and won his heart More pleasantly by playing woman's part, With no more awe than what her beauty gave, That, while it smote, still guaranteed to save. Lycius to all made eloquent reply, Marrying to every word a twinborn sigh; And last, pointing to Corinth, ask'd her sweet, If 'twas too far that night for her soft feet. The way was short, for Lamia's eagerness Made, by a spell, the triple league decrease To a few paces; not at all surmised By blinded Lycius, so in her comprized. They pass'd the city gates, he knew not how, So noiseless, and he never thought to know. As men talk in a dream, so Corinth all, Throughout her palaces imperial, And all her populous streets and temples lewd, Mutter'd, like tempest in the distance brew'd, To the wide-spreaded night above her towers. Men, women, rich and poor, in the cool hours, Shuffled their sandals o'er the pavement white, Companion'd or alone; while many a light Flared, here and there, from wealthy festivals, And threw their moving shadows on the walls, Or found them cluster'd in the corniced shade Of some arch'd temple door, or dusky colonnade. Muffling his face, of greeting friends in fear, Her fingers he press'd hard, as one came near With curl'd gray beard, sharp eyes, and smooth bald crown, Slow-stepp'd, and robed in philosophic gown Lycius shrank closer, as they met and past, Into his mantle, adding wings to haste, While hurried Lamia trembled " Ah, " said he, " Why do you shudder, love, so ruefully? " Why does your tender palm dissolve in dew? " ‐ " I'm wearied, " said fair Lamia " tell me who " Is that old man? I cannot bring to mind " His features ‐ Lycius! wherefore did you blind " Yourself from his quick eyes? " Lycius replied, " 'Tis Apollonius sage, my trusty guide " And good instructor; but to-night he seems " The ghost of folly haunting my sweet dreams. " While yet he spake they had arrived before A pillar'd porch, with lofty portal door, Where hung a silver lamp, whose phosphor glow Reflected in the slabbed steps below, Mild as a star in water; for so new, And so unsullied was the marble hue, So through the crystal polish, liquid fine, Ran the dark veins, that none but feet divine Could e'er have touch'd there. Sounds Aeolian Breath'd from the hinges, as the ample span Of the wide doors disclos'd a place unknown Some time to any, but those two alone, And a few Persian mutes, who that same year Were seen about the markets none knew where They could inhabit; the most curious Were foil'd, who watch'd to trace them to their house And but the flitter-winged verse must tell For truth's sake, what woe afterwards befel, 'Twould humour many a heart to leave them thus, Shut from the busy world of more incredulous. Lamia PART II Love in a hut, with water and a crust, Is ‐ Love, forgive us! ‐ cinders, ashes, dust; Love in a palace is perhaps at last More grievous torment than a hermit's fast ‐ That is a doubtful tale from faery land, Hard for the non-elect to understand. Had Lycius liv'd to hand his story down, He might have given the moral a fresh frown, Or clench'd it quite but too short was their bliss To breed distrust and hate, that make the soft voice hiss. Besides, there, nightly, with terrific glare, Love, jealous grown of so complete a pair, Hover'd and buzz'd his wings, with fearful roar, Above the lintel of their chamber door, And down the passage cast a glow upon the floor. For all this came a ruin side by side They were enthroned, in the even tide, Upon a couch, near to a curtaining Whose airy texture, from a golden string, Floated into the room, and let appear Unveil'd the summer heaven, blue and clear, Betwixt two marble shafts ‐ there they reposed, Where use had made it sweet, with eyelids closed, Saving a tythe which love still open kept, That they might see each other while they almost slept; When from the slope side of a suburb hill, Deafening the swallow's twitter, came a thrill Of trumpets ‐ Lycius started ‐ the sounds fled, But left a thought a-buzzing in his head. For the first time, since first he harbour'd in That purple-lined palace of sweet sin, His spirit pass'd beyond its golden bourn Into the noisy world almost forsworn. The lady, ever watchful, penetrant, Saw this with pain, so arguing a want Of something more, more than her empery Of joys; and she began to moan and sigh Because he mused beyond her, knowing well That but a moment's thought is passion's passing bell. " Why do you sigh, fair creature? " whisper'd he " Why do you think? " return'd she tenderly " You have deserted me; ‐ where am I now? " Not in your heart while care weighs on your brow " No, no, you have dismiss'd me; and I go " From your breast houseless ay, it must be so. " He answer'd, bending to her open eyes, Where he was mirror'd small in paradise, " My silver planet, both of eve and morn! " Why will you plead yourself so sad forlorn, " While I am striving how to fill my heart " With deeper crimson, and a double smart? " How to entangle, trammel up and snare " Your soul in mine, and labyrinth you there " Like the hid scent in an unbudded rose? " Ay, a sweet kiss ‐ you see your mighty woes. " My thoughts! shall I unveil them? Listen then! " What mortal hath a prize, that other men " May be confounded and abash'd withal, " But lets it sometimes pace abroad majestical, " And triumph, as in thee I should rejoice " Amid the hoarse alarm of Corinth's voice. " Let my foes choke, and my friends shout afar, " While through the thronged streets your bridal car " Wheels round its dazzling spokes. " ‐ The lady's cheek Trembled; she nothing said, but, pale and meek, Arose and knelt before him, wept a rain Of sorrows at his words; at last with pain Beseeching him, the while his hand she wrung, To change his purpose. He thereat was stung, Perverse, with stronger fancy to reclaim Her wild and timid nature to his aim Besides, for all his love, in self despite Against his better self, he took delight Luxurious in her sorrows, soft and new. His passion, cruel grown, took on a hue Fierce and sanguineous as 'twas possible In one whose brow had no dark veins to swell. Fine was the mitigated fury, like Apollo's presence when in act to strike The serpent ‐ Ha, the serpent! certes, she Was none. She burnt, she lov'd the tyranny, And, all subdued, consented to the hour When to the bridal he should lead his paramour. Whispering in midnight silence, said the youth, " Sure some sweet name thou hast, though, by my truth, " I have not ask'd it, ever thinking thee " Not mortal, but of heavenly progeny, " As still I do. Hast any mortal name, " Fit appellation for this dazzling frame? " Or friends or kinsfolk on the citied earth, " To share our marriage feast and nuptial mirth? " " I have no friends, " said Lamia, " no, not one; " My presence in wide Corinth hardly known " My parents' bones are in their dusty urns " Sepulchred, where no kindled incense burns, " Seeing all their luckless race are dead, save me, " And I neglect the holy rite for thee. " Even as you list invite your many guests; " But if, as now it seems, your vision rests " With any pleasure on me, do not bid " Old Apollonius ‐ from him keep me hid. " Lycius, perplex'd at words so blind and blank, Made close inquiry; from whose touch she shrank, Feigning a sleep; and he to the dull shade Of deep sleep in a moment was betray'd. It was the custom then to bring away The bride from home at blushing shut of day, Veil'd, in a chariot, heralded along By strewn flowers, torches, and a marriage song, With other pageants but this fair unknown Had not a friend. So being left alone, ( Lycius was gone to summon all his kin ) And knowing surely she could never win His foolish heart from its mad pompousness, She set herself, high-thoughted, how to dress The misery in fit magnificence. She did so, but 'tis doubtful how and whence Came, and who were her subtle servitors. About the halls, and to and from the doors, There was a noise of wings, till in short space The glowing banquet-room shone with wide-arched grace. A haunting music, sole perhaps and lone Supportress of the faery-roof, made moan Throughout, as fearful the whole charm might fade. Fresh carved cedar, mimicking a glade Of palm and plantain, met from either side, High in the midst, in honour of the bride Two palms and then two plantains, and so on, From either side their stems branch'd one to one All down the aisled place; and beneath all There ran a stream of lamps straight on from wall to wall. So canopied, lay an untasted feast Teeming with odours. Lamia, regal drest, Silently paced about, and as she went, In pale contented sort of discontent, Mission'd her viewless servants to enrich The fretted splendour of each nook and niche. Between the tree-stems, marbled plain at first, Came jasper pannels; then, anon, there burst Forth creeping imagery of slighter trees, And with the larger wove in small intricacies. Approving all, she faded at self-will, And shut the chamber up, close, hush'd and still. Complete and ready for the revels rude, When dreadful guests would come to spoil her solitude. The day appear'd, and all the gossip rout. O senseless Lycius! Madman! wherefore flout The silent-blessing fate, warm cloister'd hours, And show to common eyes these secret bowers? The herd approach'd; each guest, with busy brain, Arriving at the portal, gaz'd amain, And enter'd marveling for they knew the street, Remember'd it from childhood all complete Without a gap, yet ne'er before had seen That royal porch, that high-built fair demesne; So in they hurried all, maz'd, curious and keen Save one, who look'd thereon with eye severe, And with calm-planted steps walk'd in austere; 'Twas Apollonius something too he laugh'd, As though some knotty problem, that had daft His patient thought, had now begun to thaw, And solve and melt ‐ 'twas just as he foresaw. He met within the murmurous vestibule His young disciple. " 'Tis no common rule, " Lycius, " said he, " for uninvited guest " To force himself upon you, and infest " With an unbidden presence the bright throng " Of younger friends; yet must I do this wrong, " And you forgive me. " Lycius blush'd, and led The old man through the inner doors broad-spread; With reconciling words and courteous mien Turning into sweet milk the sophist's spleen. Of wealthy lustre was the banquet-room, Fill'd with pervading brilliance and perfume Before each lucid pannel fuming stood A censer fed with myrrh and spiced wood, Each by a sacred tripod held aloft, Whose slender feet wide-swerv'd upon the soft Wool-woofed carpets fifty wreaths of smoke From fifty censers their light voyage took To the high roof, still mimick'd as they rose Along the mirror'd walls by twin-clouds odorous. Twelve sphered tables, by silk seats insphered, High as the level of a man's breast rear'd On libbard's paws, upheld the heavy gold Of cups and goblets, and the store thrice told Of Ceres' horn, and, in huge vessels, wine Come from the gloomy tun with merry shine. Thus loaded with a feast the tables stood, Each shrining in the midst the image of a God. When in an antichamber every guest Had felt the cold full sponge to pleasure press'd, By minist'ring slaves, upon his hands and feet, And fragrant oils with ceremony meet Pour'd on his hair, they all mov'd to the feast In white robes, and themselves in order placed Around the silken couches, wondering Whence all this mighty cost and blaze of wealth could spring. Soft went the music the soft air along, While fluent Greek a vowel'd undersong Kept up among the guests, discoursing low At first, for scarcely was the wine at flow; But when the happy vintage touch'd their brains, Louder they talk, and louder come the strains Of powerful instruments ‐ the gorgeous dyes, The space, the splendour of the draperies, The roof of awful richness, nectarous cheer, Beautiful slaves, and Lamia's self, appear, Now, when the wine has done its rosy deed, And every soul from human trammels freed, No more so strange; for merry wine, sweet wine, Will make Elysian shades not too fair, too divine. Soon was God Bacchus at meridian height; Flush'd were their cheeks, and bright eyes double bright Garlands of every green, and every scent From vales deflower'd, or forest-trees branch-rent, In baskets of bright osier'd gold were brought High as the handles heap'd, to suit the thought Of every guest; that each, as he did please, Might fancy-fit his brows, silk-pillow'd at his ease. What wreath for Lamia? What for Lycius? What for the sage, old Apollonius? Upon her aching forehead be there hung The leaves of willow and of adder's tongue; And for the youth, quick, let us strip for him The thyrsus, that his watching eyes may swim Into forgetfulness; and, for the sage, Let spear-grass and the spiteful thistle wage War on his temples. Do not all charms fly At the mere touch of cold philosophy? There was an awful rainbow once in heaven We know her woof, her texture; she is given In the dull catalogue of common things. Philosophy will clip an Angel's wings, Conquer all mysteries by rule and line, Empty the haunted air, and gnomed mine ‐ Unweave a rainbow, as it erewhile made The tender-person'd Lamia melt into a shade. By her glad Lycius sitting, in chief place, Scarce saw in all the room another face, Till, checking his love trance, a cup he took Full brimm'd, and opposite sent forth a look 'Cross the broad table, to beseech a glance From his old teacher's wrinkled countenance, And pledge him. The bald-head philosopher Had fix'd his eye, without a twinkle or stir Full on the alarmed beauty of the bride, Brow-beating her fair form, and troubling her sweet pride. Lycius then press'd her hand, with devout touch, As pale it lay upon the rosy couch 'Twas icy, and the cold ran through his veins; Then sudden it grew hot, and all the pains Of an unnatural heat shot to his heart. " Lamia, what means this? Wherefore dost thou start? " Know'st thou that man? " Poor Lamia answer'd not. He gaz'd into her eyes, and not a jot Own'd they the lovelorn piteous appeal More, more he gaz'd his human senses reel Some hungry spell that loveliness absorbs; There was no recognition in those orbs. " Lamia! " he cried ‐ and no soft-toned reply. The many heard, and the loud revelry Grew hush; the stately music no more breathes; The myrtle sicken'd in a thousand wreaths. By faint degrees, voice, lute, and pleasure ceased; A deadly silence step by step increased, Until it seem'd a horrid presence there, And not a man but felt the terror in his hair. " Lamia! " he shriek'd; and nothing but the shriek With its sad echo did the silence break. " Begone, foul dream! " he cried, gazing again In the bride's face, where now no azure vein Wander'd on fair-spaced temples; no soft bloom Misted the cheek; no passion to illume The deep-recessed vision ‐ all was blight; Lamia, no longer fair, there sat a deadly white. " Shut, shut those juggling eyes, thou ruthless man! " Turn them aside, wretch! or the righteous ban " Of all the Gods, whose dreadful images " Here represent their shadowy presences, " May pierce them on the sudden with the thorn " Of painful blindness; leaving thee forlorn, " In trembling dotage to the feeblest fright " Of conscience, for their long offended might, " For all thine impious proud-heart sophistries, " Unlawful magic, and enticing lies. " Corinthians! look upon that gray-beard wretch! " Mark how, possess'd, his lashless eyelids stretch " Around his demon eyes! Corinthians, see! " My sweet bride withers at their potency. " " Fool! " said the sophist, in an under-tone Gruff with contempt; which a death-nighing moan From Lycius answer'd, as heart-struck and lost, He sank supine beside the aching ghost. " Fool! fool! " repeated he, while his eyes still Relented not, nor mov'd; " from every ill " Of life have I preserv'd thee to this day, " And shall I see thee made a serpent's prey? " Then Lamia breath'd death breath; the sophist's eye, Like a sharp spear, went through her utterly, Keen, cruel, perceant, stinging she, as well As her weak hand could any meaning tell, Motion'd him to be silent; vainly so, He look'd and look'd again a level ‐ No! " A Serpent! " echoed he; no sooner said, Than with a frightful scream she vanished And Lycius' arms were empty of delight, As were his limbs of life, from that same night. On the high couch he lay! ‐ his friends came round ‐ Supported him ‐ no pulse, or breath they found, And, in its marriage robe, the heavy body wound. Normal End In Statement 52 Run Time-Msec 3770 Stmts Executed 41874 Mcsec / Stmt 90 Regenerations 14