Puslapio vaizdai

Were but as chaff, pois'd 'gainst the massy gold,
Compar'd to that which I do owe her love.
Oh pardon me! I meant not to offend-
I am too warm-But she, of whom I speak,
Is the dear sister of my earliest love;
In noble, virtuous worth, to none a second:
And though behind those sable folds were hid
As fair a face as ever woman own'd,
Still would I say she is as fair as thee.
How oft amidst the beauty-blazing throng,
I've proudly to th' inquiring stranger told
Her name and lineage! yet, within her housc,
The virgin mother of an orphan race
Her dying parents left, this noble woman
Did, like a Roman matron, proudly sit,
Despising all the blandishments of love:
Whilst many a youth his hopeless love conceald,
Or, humbly distant, woo'd her like a queen.
Forgive, I pray you! O forgive this boasting!
In faith! I mean you no discourtesy.

Fane. [Off her guard, in a soft, natural tone of voice.] Oh no! nor

do me any.

De Mon. What voice speaks now? Withdraw-withdraw this

For if thy face bears semblance to thy voice,

I'll fall, and worship thee! –Pray! pray undo! Here another incident, which arises naturally, displays the judg. ment as well as genius of the poet, and her wonderful art in advancing the progress of her fable. While De Monfort is in the act of forcing her veil from her face he is opposed: and by wirom, but by Rezenvelt, who thus throws oil upon the fire of his hatred and indignation.

Rez. Stand off! no band shall lift this sacred veil.

De Mon. What, dost thou think De Monfort falln so low,
That there may live a man beneath heav'n's roof
Who dares to say he shall not?

Rez. He lives, who dares to say-
Fane. [Throwing back her veil, very much alarmed, and rushing

between them.] Forbear! forbear! [REZENVELT, very much struck, steps back respectfully, and

makes her a very low bow. DE MONFORT stands for a while motionless, gazing upon her, till she, looking expressively to him, extends her arms, and he, rushing into them, irsts into tears. Freberg seems very much pleased. The company then gather about them, and the scene closes.]

The scene changes to De Monfort's apartment, discovers lady Jane expostulating with her brother. She probes him to the quick; deprecates the indulgence of his secret feelings, and presses him to a discovery with a tenderness so eloquent and a reasoning so dignified, that not even a faint conception can be formed of it, but by reading the words themselves. But as the transcription of them here would overload these observations beyond the allowance usually given to a concise analysis, we must refer pur readers to the play itself, and proceed to those parts which are more immediately necessary to the concatenation of the plot and the developinent of the main character. In their conference Jane exhibits perfection so much more than human, that we fear it can exist only in a poet's fancy: finding him seriously reluctant to disclose his secret, she expresses her willingness to remain ignonorant of it,

Then secret let it be!!

In his agitation, however, he lets fall an expression which harrows up her soul, and rekindles her desire to know the whole.When he exclaims

Oh, that cursed villain!
He will not let me be the man I would,

she falls on her knees in an agony of grief; on which he can no longer resist her importunities, and agrees to reveal to her his whole heart. Upon her suggesting the likelihood of its being an affair of love.

De Mon. A lover, say'st thou?
No, it is hate! black, lasting, deadly hate;
Which thus hath driv'n me forth from kindred peace,
From social pleasure, from my native home,
To be a sullen wand'rer on the earth,
Avoiding all men, cursing, and accurs’d.

Jane. De Monfort, this is fiendlike, frightful, terrible!
What being, by th' Almighty Father form’d,
Of fesh and blood, created even as thou,
Could in thy breast such horrid tempest wake,
Who art thyself his fellow?
Unknit thy brows, and spread those wrath-clench'd hands:
Some sprite accurs'd within thy bosom, mates
To work thy ruin. Strive with it, my brother!
Strive bravely with it;—drive it from thy breast:
'Tis the degrader of a noble heart;
Curse it, and bid it part.


De Mon. It will not part.

[His hand on his breast. I've lodg'd it here too long; With my first cares I felt its rankling touch, I loath'd him when a boy.

June. Who didst thou say?

De Mon. Oh! that detested Rezenvelt!
E'en in our early sports, like two young whelps
Of hostile breed, instinctively reverse,
Each'gainst the other pitch'd his other pledge
And frown'd defiance. As we onward pass'd
From youth to man's estate, his narrow art,
And envious gibing malice, poorly veil'd
In the affected carelessness of mirth,
Still more detestable and odious grew.
There is no living being on this earth
Who can conceive the malice of his soul,
With all his gay and damned merriment,
To those, by fortune, or by merit plac'd
Above his paltry self. When, low in fortune,
He look'd upon the state of prosp'rous men,
As nightly birds, rous'd from their murky holes,
Do scowl and chatter at the light of day,
I could endure it: even as we bear
Th' impotent bite of some half-trodden worm,
I could endure it. But when honours came,
And wealth, and new got titles, fed his pride;
Whilst flatt'ring knaves did trumpet forth his praise,
And grov'ling idiots grinn'd applauses on him;
Oh! then I could no longer suffer it!
It drove me frantic-What, what would I give!
What would I give to crush the bloated toad,
So rankly do I loath him!

Fane. And would thy hatred crush the very man
Who gave to thee that life, he might have ta'en?
That life, which thou so rashly didst expose
To aim at his? Oh, this is horrible!

De Mon. Ha! Thou hast heard it, then? From all the world, But most of all, from thee, I thought it hid.

Fane. I heard a secret whisper, and resolv'd
Upon the instant, to return to thee.
Didst thou receive my letter?

De Mon. I did! I did! 'twas that which drove me hither. I could not bear to meet thine eye again.

Fane. Alas! that, tempted by a sister's tears,
I ever left thy house! these few past months,
These absent months, have brought us all this woe.

Had I remain’d with thee it had not been.
And yet, methinks, it should not move you thus.
You dar'd him to the field;- both bravely fought;
He, more adroit, disarm’d you; courteously
Return'd the forfeit sword, which, so return'd,
You did refuse to use against him more;
And then, as says report, you parted friends.

De Mon. When he disarm'd this curs'd, this worthless hand
Of its most worthless weapon, he but spar'd
From dev’lish pride, which now derives a bliss
In seeing me thus fetter'd, sham'd, subjected
With the vile favour of his poor forbearance;
Whilst he securely sits with gibing brow
And basely bates me, like a muzzled cur
Who cannot turn again
Until that day, till that accursed day,
I knew not half the torment of this hell,
Which burns within my breast. Heaven's lightning blast him!

Jane. O this is horrible! Forbear, forbear!
Lest Heaven's vengeance light upon thy head,
For this most impious wish.

De Mon. Then let it light.
Torments more fell than I have felt already
It cannot send. To be annihilated,
To be what all men shrink from-to be dust, be nothing,
Were bliss to me, compar'd to what I am.
Fane. Oh! wouldst thou kill me with these dreadful words?
De Mon. [Raising his arms to Heaven.] Let me but once upon

his ruin look,

Then close mine eyes for ever! Here then we have the whole amount of his provocation to the deadly hatred of De Monfort unfolded to us. And “the very head and front of Rezenvelt's offending" turns out to be no greater than

Envious gibing malice, poorly veiled
In the affected carelessness of mirth.


Yet this, trifling as it may appear, is too much for human frailty to endure with unruffled temper. Doctor Johnson somewhere remarks that there can be no stronger symptom of a bad heart than to be at once merry and malicious.—But we have already said enough upon this part of the subject, and will drop it.

The expostulations of lady Jane and count Freberg at length get a kind of extorted consent from De Monfort to meet Rezenvelt on friendly terms, and to interchange kindnesses with him. The latter advances with undisguised frankness, and offers his hand saying, “ let us be friends, and think of this no more;" to which the former with dignity replies,

No, my lord.
I will not offer you an hand of concord,
And poorly hide the motives which constrain me.
I would, that, not alone these present friends,
But every soul in Amberg were assembled,
That I, before them all, might here declare
I owe my spared life to your forbearance.
[Holding out his hands.] Take this from one, who boasts no feel.

ing warmth,
But never will deceivę.

On hearing this, all are happy: lady Jane is in transports of joy, and Rezenvelt, overcome, runs to De Monfort with open arms to embrace him.

Rez. Away with hands! I'll have thee to my breast.
Thou art, upon my faith, a noble spirit!

Here the fiend of rancor at once resumes his dominion over the heart of De Monfort; he shrinks back from Rezenvelt, and, in a cold and lofty tone, replies:

De Mon. Nay, if you please, I am not so prepard-
My nature is of temperature too cold-
I pray you pardon me.

(Fane's countenance changes.
But take this hand, the token of respect;
The token of a will inclin'd to concord;
The token of a mind that bears within
A sense impressive of the debt it owes you;
And cursed be its power, unnerv'd its strength,
If e'er again it shall be lifted up
To do you any harm.

Rez. Well, be it so, De Monfort, I'm contented;
I'll take thy hand, since I can have no more.
[Carelessly.] I take of worthy men whate'er they give.
Their heart I gladly take; if not, their hand:
If that too is withheld, a courteous word,
Or the civility of placid looks;
And, if e'en these are too great favours deem'd,
'Faith, I can sit me down contentedly

With plain and homely greeting, or, God save ye!


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