Page images
PDF
EPUB
[merged small][merged small][merged small][graphic][subsumed]

A FATHER AVENGED. [Diego Lainez, a noble old Spaniard, has received a blow from Lozano,

another noble, which is avenged by Diego's son, Rodrigo de Bivar, afterwards called the Cid.] .

.
Scene .- A Room in Diego's House. Enter Diego and Arias.
Diego. I tell you, Sir, it is impossible.
Conceal it? What! Conceal? What with a face
That never yet could look the easiest lie,
Nor play the wax-lipped servant at the door,
Denying who's within! Conceal it? So ! .
And smite my conscience, as the dog smote me !

Arias. But, Sir, you live, upon the whole, retired : .
Why not live quite so for a time; and so
Let the thing die away, even in your looks.
The Count is sad, believe me; and the King
Is most desirous of it. ,
Dieg.

Sir, I'll tell you.
There is one person living in this city,
Who holds me busily in his respect,
And loves to hold; and were I, as I shall,
To sit alone all day, and wake alone
VOL. I.

. 21.

All night, and almost hold my very breathie
As tainted with dishonour, till redress
Free my old halting blood from this new clog,
It could not be concealed from him: and that
Would pull the blood up in my cheeks as much
As if the whole world knew it. in
Arias.

Who is he?
Dieg. Diego. Who'll conceal it from Diego?..
Who from that self-respecting (once) old man, i
And from his haunted head? I cannot stir,
I cannot turn me, but each thing I see,
Even inanimate, a chair, or wall,
Changing its old indifferent or glad aspect
To something dreary, looks of what has been
The saintly images, as I go past,
Appear to follow me with sliding eyes.
Contempt, with a fierce hand, has scored a line
"Twixt me and joy, and dares my weak old age
To pass; and so I stand, inwardly shrunk,
Doubting, confused, with shades that seem to, press
Upon my dull-eyed brain, as if in me
The old house of Lain had fallen in
At top, and presently with a mad break up
Would dash its ribs together to the earth.

Arias. Believe me, reverend Sir, you think of this,
Too much, although a Spaniard, since the king
Speaks as he does; and you remember how
The count himself asked pardon of the king,

Dieg. He should have asked it, Sir, of me; and shall,
Yes; there's new life sometimes, although a short,

ort,
In this despair ; I feel it; my dim eyes
Can flash yet ere they close; this reckless hand .
Perhaps may turn its small remaining strength.
To one good sum, and spend it like a man. ..
Sir, to say nothing of myself, I beg
For your own sake you'll leave me: I do indeed :
I shall perhaps say something which I would not.

[ocr errors]

You are a distant kinsman of the house
Of which I once was head. Did I not feel
The opposite of what you seem to think,
And know that vengeance is the only thing
Can make me what I was, I should rebuke
You for not rousing up your distant blood
To sweep away the blot: but yes I know
You feel that I am right, and justly leave me" : "
To vindicate myself. Do leave me so.

Arias. I'll hurt you, Sir, no longer. I obeyed ix;'
The king, I now obey a kinglier spirit.

[Exit ARIAS. Dieg. There was a bastard of Lain Calvo's house, Mudarra, a half Moor, who when he heard His father was ill-used among the Spaniards, Left his own country, mother, friends and all, To come and fight for him; and turning Christian, He did such work, and dealt such gashy deaths Upon the heads of his blest 'father's enemies, That ever since his great old sword has been Among us like a relic; and no eye Turns to that closet where it lies alone, Stretched in its giant sheath, but thinks it sees Almost the sepulchre of a living thing. It shall come forth.

[He goes to the Closet, and takes out a gigantic Sword.

Alas !' alas ! I try
In vain to wield it; even despair will tighten not
This wrist hinge-broken, and this hand, which shakes
Like to a guilty one that is enforced
To hold some awful image. O'age, age,
Remembering all good things, yet having none,
Fondest of lasting things when' at thy last,
With not even strength enough to dig the grave
Where thou art forced to hide thee; thy poor eyes
Forsaken even of tears ; thy wandering hands ·
Turned to habitual tremblers'; thy grey locks
Tost in thy teeth with contumelious winds ;

And all thy crazy being ready to fall :
To shatters with a blow-O too, too well
Is the imaginary charm of reverence
Hung round about thee, since the first vile hand
That dares to break it, does; and there thou art,
The ruin of a man, with piping scorn
Through both thine echoing ears aching the brain.
I do forget—no, not myself—but those
Who may demand a better right to draw
Upon their future strength. Rodrigo,-not first
And yet—but stay, old man. (He calls out.) Bermudo Lain!.

[He sits down. Enter Bermudo.
Come here, Bermudo. Are your brothers waiting,
As I desired them? .
Ber.

Yes, Sir, and most anxious : To know

Dieg. Attend to me. What should be done, Think you, were any one to insult your father?

Ber. You, Sir? .

Dieg. Ay, me, Sir; I am but a man,
And an old man; or do you fancy, that
Your father cannot be so treated, boy ? ,

Ber. I should think any man so old and reverend
Would be held sacred: but were he to be
Really insulted, being unable too
To reckon with the coward, he should ask
Right of the king. ,

Dieg. What! And be coward too ?
Avoid me :--not a word : I shall not strike thee.
Thou strik'st thyself, and dost not feel the blow.
Every way are we struck. Avoid me, boy;
Hunt butterflies again : go, strike a top,
That sleeps on a sound beating. Begone, Sir.

[Exit BermudO.
I must not sit and think. Now (He calls again), Hernan Diaz!.
This is my youngest. He is like his mother,
More than even Rodrigo; and she,bl est saint, ,

[ocr errors]

Would have blushed through and through her gentleness
To see me make this doubting muster. Hernan !

Enter Hernan.
Hernan, no words. I am not sick, nor dying,
Nor even in gentle mood. Yet hither : let me
Look in thy face. Thou art thy mother, Hernan,
Turned into man, I hope. What shouldst thou do,
Thy father having been insulted, man?
Her. Insulted, dearest father?
Dieg.

Ay, insulted.
What! are my children turned to hollow things
That thus they echo my mere words?
Her.

Dear father,
I would have flown to comfort you at first
Had you but let me, and I'll stay with you
Now, if you please, and ever.
Dieg.

Like a shadow..
Her. Ay, but not coloured so. Not even my mother-

Dieg. Name you not her. This day, for the first time,
I wished her spirit might not be looking at me;
Now I must wish she cannot see her children.

Her. 0, Sir! What words are these?
Dieg.

Words! All are words!
What is there else in old Diego's house?!. .
Go, get thee gone, child; for thou art a child.
The mention of thy mother lets me call thee.. ..
That, and no more. Send Rodrigo in,-I say, .
Send Rodrigo. He at least can play the man.

Rod. (Entering). Pardon this haste, Sir, but I thought you called.

Dieg. I like the haste, Sir, and the voice. How now? "What is this girlish loitering? (Exit Hernan.) Now the last, Most hoped, and yet most feared, yet still most hoped. (Aside.

Rod. O my dear father, what's this mystery,
That must be shewn thus nicely to your sons,
And you the sufferer?
Dieg.

No embrace, boy. No:
'Tis a familiarity, of which
Both parties should be sure that each is worthy.

« PreviousContinue »