Puslapio vaizdai
PDF
„ePub“

Who died with honour and who live in me,

The voice of Egbert, Ethelbert, and Alfred.

What wouldst thou more? the voice of Kings unborn, To whom my sceptre and my blood descends—

A thousand voices call me!

DUNSTAN.

Sir, not so.

The voices of this people and those Kings
Call on Prince Edgar, not on thee, to reign.
There is a voice calls thee, but not to reign,
The voice of her thou fain wouldst take to wife;
An excommunicated wretch she is

Even now, and if thy lust of kingly power
Outbid thine other lusts, and starken thee
In grasping of that shadow of a sceptre
That still is left thee, 'tis a dying voice.
For know-unless thou by an instant act
Renounce the crown, Elgiva shall not live.
The deed is ready, to which thy name affixed
Discharges from restraint both her and thee.
Say wilt thou sign?

EDWIN.

I will not.

DUNSTAN.

Be advised.

What hast thou to surrender? I look round;
This chamber is thy palace, court, and realm.
I do not see the crown. Where is it hidden?
Is that thy throne? why 'tis a base joint-stool;
Or this thy sceptre? 'tis an ashen stick,
Notched with the days of thy captivity.
Such royalties to abdicate, methinks,

Should hardly hold thee long. Nay, I myself,
That love not ladies greatly, would give these
To ransom whom I loved.

EDWIN.

If all I have

Be nothing worth, why ask'st thou me to give it?

I trust thee not. I deem myself a King.

But let me go at large, and knowing then

How stands my realm, what's lost and what remains,

I'll answer thee.

DUNSTAN.

Now, now, I bid thee answer.

Anon I bring the parchment that redeems

Another and thyself, both from captivity,

And one from worse. I bid thee be prepared.

[Exit.

EDWIN.

Elgiva! for thy ransom, life were little,
A Kingdom in itself of no account.

But oh! an abject and unkingly act
Done by a King, and as his foes will say,
To save himself in his extremity,-

This is a purchase thou thyself wilt scorn,

Although thyself the rescued. Yet, oh! yet...

What step is this?

Enter EMMA.

EMMA.

My Lord, the Abbot comes,

And I am here at peril of my life...

This from Earl Leolf... it says the Queen is safe ...

No more or I am lost . . . Earl Athulf.

...

nay

...

EDWIN (after reading the letter).

Farewell, then, loved Elgiva! I shall die,

As now

I

may, with honour from mankind,

[Exit.

And no one in thine ear shall dare to breathe

A defamation of my Kingly name.

They shall not say but that I died a King,

And like a King in my regalities.

[blocks in formation]

Thou wilt not! Wilt thou that thy mistress die ?

EDWIN.

Insulting Abbot! she is not my

She is my wife, my Queen.

mistress;

DUNSTAN.

Predestinate Pair!

He knoweth who is the Searcher of our hearts,

That I was ever backward to take life,

Albeit at His command. Still have I striven

To put aside that service, seeking still

All

ways and shifts that wit of man could scheme, To spare the cutting off your wretched souls

In unrepented sin. But tendering here

Terms of redemption, it is thou, not I,

The sentence that deliverest.

EDWIN.

Our lives

Are in God's hands.

DUNSTAN.

Sot, Liar, Miscreant, No!

God puts them into mine! and may my soul

In tortures howl away eternity

If ever again it yield to that false fear

That turned me from the shedding of thy blood!
Thy blood, rash traitor to thy God, thy blood!
Thou delicate Agag, I will spill thy blood!

Ho, Gurmo! I have sinned like Saul. . . What, ho!

...

Gurmo, I say.

the sword of Samuel . . . Ho!

Enter GURMO.

Thou knowest thine office. Let me see thee soon.

GURMO (falling on his knees).

Mercy, my

Lord! I pray your Grace to spare me.

EDWIN.

Mercy for thee! What mercy canst thou show?

Yet thou art but another's senseless weapon,

[Exit.

« AnkstesnisTęsti »