Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

sent me

Of Love and Duty fiercely thus contend, for stage effect, has seldom or never And mortal law holds wedded souls asunder! been excelled, the second act is conHow do I thank thee Heaven that I am

cluded. spared This worst of earthly grief !

After this adventure, Richard and Hen. (Passionately clasping her in his his friend Southwell retire to a poor arms.)

cottage not far from Woodstock. Here Oh, Rosamund !

(at the beginning of the third act) the Ros. Heaven! what means this? prince is visited by Armand, the insi

Hen. Oh clasp thine arms fast round me! dious favourite of Queen Leonora, who A supernatural shuddering seizes me, comes to engage Richard in rebellion And only on thy bosom can I gain with his brothers. The dialogue is My wonted life!

here so spirited and interesting, that SCENE X.

we shall insert the scene entire. Rosamund, Henry, Richard, and Southwell.

ACT III. Rich. Ha ! devil ! let me go ! Not so my Heaven shall thus be wrested SCENE II. Richard, Armand, and Southfrom me!

well. And by the sword this game shall be con Ar. In this poor cottage, noble sir, must I tested.

Seek England's hope ? Poor Albion ! thou Seducer draw ! (Rushing forward.)

indeed Ros. Protect me Heaven! That voice !

Art low in fortune, when thy chieftains thus Hen. Treason! I see the gleaming of a Scarce dare to breathe in freedom. sword !

Rich. Wherefore coin'st thou ? Yet in thy lover's arms thou shalt be safe,

Ar. Hither, my lord, thy royal mother Though the whole world assailed us ! Rich. Braggard slave !

With letters, and commands that best may These words shall be thy last ! [They fight.

be Ros. Help! help! for.mercy !

In words express'd : but to the hero RichHen. Coward ! thou art not worthy of

ard,
my vengeance !

Not to the boy that flies a father's wrath,
SCENE XI.

I came, the queen's bold words to thunder

forth. Rosamund, Henry, Richard, Southwell, O'Neale, and George, with attendants,

Rich. Thy words indeed are proud. bearing torches and drawn swords !

Ar. So best they suit

Those times. Geo. How's this?

Rich. Well, sir, if here you seek the boy Rich. Drawn swords_that's all. ( To That flies his father's wrath, he is not here ;

Southwell.) Courage, my friend ! But if the soldier Richard you demand, O'N. (Coming forward with a torch ben He stands before you. tween Henry and Richard.)

Ar. Heaven be praised, my prince, Treason !

The lion has awoke within thy heart. Rich. Good Heavens ! my father !

Rich. What wills the queen ? O'N. Can this be

Ar. That secret conversation Duke Richard ?

Broke suddenly by thy abrupt departure, Hen. Madman !

Was to the king betray'd; thence were in. Rich. I am lost indeed !

deed South. The King !

Your flight inevitable; but already Hen. And dost thou know me?

Prince Henry and duke Godfrey are in Ros. Thou King Henry ?

France ! Have mercy Heaven ! (She faints. Here you are follow'd, and may not remain Geo. Oh Rosamund ! (Supports her.

In safety long. Two paths are now before OʻN. She dies !

you Hen. Oh Rosamund! my Rosamund ! One, by surrendering, leads you straight to Thou traitor, (to Richard.)

prison, This is thy work! But now to flight Perchance to death ; the otheraway,

Rich. By rebellion-- ? That so the first resentment of thy king Ar. Nay, self-defence! Let Richard to May not o'erwhelm thee.

the world South. Come, my lord.

Prove himself now the dauntless youth for Rich. Ere long,

whom More shall be heard of Richard.

The people's love so ardently has flamed ! O’N. Now thy dreams,

Seize

now your weapons, and with them proUnhappy Rosamund, are all dissolved,

tect And to the truth and to despair at last A life that not unto yourself belongs, Thou art awoke !

But is the nation's right. Old England Here the drop-scene falls on the group; and with this disclosure, which, Looks to duke Richard for the restoration

now

waves

Of her old warlike fame. Deceive not, And recreant to my country ; every law then,

Of sacred love and filial duty thus The people's faith, nor to posterity I trample under foot and yet I must! Refuse the brilliant star of such example, The world may still condemn me but I call To gleam o'er future ages.

On every soul to place itself as I Rich. Spare thy words, sir,

Now at this hour am placed, 'mid the same Nor tax thy wit, the foul pestiferous head Of serpent-like Sedition to adorn

Of wild contention it would act as I do! With laurel wreathes. Am I a child, to be No-none may ever know how much I sufBy thy false gaudy ornaments attracted,

fer! And so the bitter cup with smiles to drain ? Recede I cannot-tho' before me, Crime, Thou fool ! believe me, Richard is a man! And Guilt, and Shame, with spectral feaIn every nerve and pulse I feel it now.

tures glare, In one dire night, Fate from her fiery forge I cannot-cannot recede! Fate goads me on, Has drawn and fashion'd me. By Heaven My star has disappeared that led me rightly; she plies

And rayless night o'erwhelms me in the The hammer well !_Tell me at once, what

abyss ! would'st thou ?

Yet courage-courage, Richard ! 'Tis but Ar. King Lewis now, with many a prince one stroke !-and baron,

So ends at once the struggling of thy soul ! The Scottish king, the chiefs of Blois and The way to Heaven is to the wanderer hard, Flanders,

But one straight forward path leads down to Are in one solemn league together join'd,

Hell !

(He writes. Your father to dethrone. Prince Henry 'Tis done! Now, Armand, I am yours at then

lastShall be our ruler. Both your brothers, sir, Thou hast me wholly. 'Tis no little conLast night subscribed the deed. Your sig

quest ! nature

Already here I feel it! Here the fires Alone is wanting ; and such trust the princes Of hell are burning. Now the son declares Repose in Richard's valour, that without him, War against his own father. From the They would not hurl the blazing torch of depth war ;

Of hell-begotten feelings rises now Therefore they wait your signature, and The monster of rebellion in my soul ! then

To blood and fire our country is decreed, England at once on every side assail'd And I am chosen for each murderous deed ! Must yield. So shall ere long King Henry

(Exeunt. And thou shalt be aveng'd.

The third scene of this act opens Rich. This plan has been

in the hall of the royal palace, whithBegot beyond the sea. Such inspiration er King Henry had been summoned Of hell prevails not on our British shores. from Woodstock (by letters of the Ar. My prince, resolve !The ship is Lord Chancellor), even before the reready now

covery of Rosamund from the deadly That may to realms of liberty convey you !

swoon into which she had fallen, on The people in your county, Poitou, And in Guienne, await you. 'Tis indeed

her first being acquainted with the A hard condition ; but in power like yours,

true circumstances of her supposed Valour and fortune, the allies confide,

marriage. The king is here introEven were King Henry's forces doubly duced, painfully dwelling on the vastrong.

rious sources of agitation by which he Now, sir, resolve !

is assailed, and attended by his youngRich. How eloquent is hell!

est son, Prince John, to whom, influAr. Would'st thou recede ?-No, for- enced by momentary irritability, he

ward, forward, Richard ! There victory, smiles-There is the rightful by unrestrained expressions of his

speaks almost harshly, until the boy, cause ! Rich. The rightful cause !--Why not at loyalty and filial affection, compels his once say Honour ?

father to acknowledge, with much Poor babbler! 'tis not by thy tongue thou tenderness, the fidelity and truth of conquer'st:

his attachment. In the fourth scene, 'Tis but the forceful impulse of this hour ! Hụmphrey Bohun, commander in Give me the deed.

chief of the royalist forces, makes his Ar. Now, Heaven be praised, he writes ! Rich. (taking the pen.)

appearance to detail all the formidable Even by one stroke I thus renounce mine arrangements and unnatural treasons honour !

of the enemy; and to receive, in reEven, by one scrawl accurs'd, I barter con

turn, his master's directions for the science ;

prompt

and due conduct of a defensive And henceforth live a rebel to my king, war. Upon "the exit of Bohun, the

VOL. VIII.

fall,

may Heaven

following dialogue takes place between The storm may rend the verdant leaves d. the king and his son; and we tran

wayscribe it entire for the sake of the soli- And scatter fruits or blossoms on the ground, loquy which follows, (though neither,

Yet everlasting youth's unconquered strength

Dwells in the old and stedfast tree-New highly beautiful as they are, seem equal to some other portions of the will bring new buds and leaves, and shoots

spring play, to which we are now hastening again, on.)

That shall in branches bold rise up on high ! ACT III. .

The horrors of the night shall pass away ;

But indestructible the spirit still
SCENE V.Henry, John.

Of life and blessing breathes round EngJohn. Oh, father! let me go to France

land's oak ;with you!

Thus, in her full magnificence, again Since, faithless, my dishonourable brothers The tree shall bloom.

(Exit. Have raised their swords against thee-50

We must now pass over a very highGrant me fit power to use mine in thy cause ! ly animated and forcible dialogue beHen. Well said, brave boy!

tween the jealous and vindictive LeoJohn. Nay-'twill be told some day, nora and the King, in order to make That great King Henry's sons had all prov'd room for the following beautiful detraitors,

scriptions of Rosamund in her afflicAnd those who know not my pure heart will tion. The garden scene somehow re- i deem

minds us of a highly poetical passage ! That in their guilt I shared ! Hen. Not so, my son ! which we lately quoted from the works!

I From future times thou shalt not fail to gain of Mr Shelley. We seem vividly to Thy due reward of praise--yet now indeed

behold around us the fading flowers Thou art too weak; and I with zealous care of summer, that by their touching asMust from the storm protect that only branch sociations render so much more imof England's tree that proves to me yet pressive the expressions of her grief. faithful.

There is evinced in these few short John. Yet, where shall I be stationed ? speeches of the heroine a stilly mood

with my mother ? That may not be! Father, I cannot bear

of resigned meditation and voluntary Her bitter words, without the fearful strife suffering, accompanied with a visionOf shame and anger in my heart. With thee ary and creative sensibility, which no Oh let me go; for if I here remain,

oet has, by the most laborious and I cannot choose but hate her!

artificial efforts, excelled. Hen. No, my boy! This may not be--but fear not there is yet

ACT III. For thee one sure asylum ; and to-night

SCENE IX.The Garden at Woodstock. We shall

go

thither. John. Well, I must obey

Enter (from the Castle) O'Neale and George. Yet freely I confess, I would far rather Stand by thy side, and with mine own eyes

Geo. How is it with the lady ?

O’N. Wonderful view Those deeds whence thou hast gained thy In tears and lamentation. No complaint

And sacred is her sorrow. It speaks not name, “ GREAT HENRY !” Oh, father—father-might I go with thee! The power of words to announce. She made

Has told her sufferings; for these far exceed (Erit John.

a sign SCENE VI.

That we should leave her. Clara still reHenry. (alone.) How stand'st thou now, remain'd, so leafless and so lorn,

And brought anon the children to their Proud tree, that shadow'd England ! See, mother. thy boughs,

After an hour of dread anxiety Wherein thou didst rejoice, break faithless all, I look'd into the chamber. There, Oh! In the wild day-storm-and the clouds rise Heaven, up

How did I find her! Pale and motionless, In dusky ranks along the horizon, She sat in resignation like a saint, And in their banners, deeply shrouded, bear Wrapt up in deep abstraction, yet so mild The thunderbolt, to rend thy heart asunder! And calmly resolute! Me she beheld not,' Yet courage! thine old trunk is living stilliam Nor even her children-though on them her "Tis the old stento battle used, and con

eyes quest

Intently rested ; of all outward things That many an equinoctial blast defied, Yet apprehensionless. So she remained, And whose Briarean roots in countless arms Even while her children slept upon her lap, Extending cling to earth. The boughs may Still, as a marble statue motionless ; break,

(Only her bosom's restless heavings mark'd

once more

saw

The deep contention of the soul within ;) And there it droops its dying head already;
But when at last from morning's cloudy bed The sun hath over-scorch'd it.
The new day rous'd itself in light and joy, Cla. Nay, the gardener
Her arms at once she stretch'd out to the sun, Shall come anon-
As if in silent prayer ; then on her knees Ros. No, no, good friend, I pray thee !
Sunk down, and press'd her children to her 'Tis sweet, methinks, to wither thus un.
heart,

heeded, With a long kiss. Their little arms were Ere winter comes with violence to destroy wound

The lingering flowers. Now when this rose Still closely round her. Softly, then, she said, "Take them to sleep !" I took the children Beholds the sun, its blushing leaves will fall, up,

And the west winds will softly bear away And Clara went with them. When we re These fragrant spoils of love's own favourite turned,

flower ! The door was lock'd; yet from without we Aye, once more I must see him—this I

know The sainted sufferer still upon her knees ; That hour I shall not long survive--and yet And then her sorrow seemed dissolv'din tears. It must be so. This love I cannot conquer ; Geo. But now

Cannot renounce, nor kill it is immortal, O'N. She longs once more to be refresh'd Even as my soul. As I have loved him, so By wandering through the garden. Just now For ever I must love him. The soul dies Clara

not,
Was call'd into her chamber. Shenow seem'd Nor love, that of that spirit hath possession ;
Yet more composed and mild in her affliction. But as the mildly-beaming emerald,
Oh! this meek resignation breaks my heart ! Within its golden shrine, trembles at guilt,

Geo. There, I heard Clara's voice ! So that within a villain's grasp it breaks-
O’N. Aye--they are near us.

So must the heart, by holiest passion rul'd, Let us retire unseen into the castle.

After some brief and vain contention, peMethinks the King will not stay long away;

rish, With every moment now I look for him. If once pale guilt with poisonous breath as

[Exeunt.

sails it!

Cla. Unconscious crimes involve no real SCENE X. The Garden as before.

guilt. Rosamund and Clara.

Ros. But conscience, now awake, enjoins Ros. Dear Clara, let me rest here.

me penance. Cla. Art thou not

Cla. Wilt thou for ever then renounce Better 'mid this pure air ?

thy husband ? Ros. Aye, dearest friend.

Ros. For ever Clara ? no, that may not My chamber walls look'd out so darkly on be ! me,

There I am his again! Only on earth And the roof seem'd to weigh upon my heart. Devoted hearts must separate. In heaven Here 'tis so light and free! No prison bars We shall in happiness unite once more; Limit the roaming of the watchful eye, With life must I atone for guilt-and death That seeks in azure distance calm repose. At last shall bear me pure to realms of Par o'er the varied tapestry of the clouds,

light. That deck the starry temple of the sky, Cla. Methought I heard thy Henry's Mounts up the soul, in liberty rejoicing,

voice Beyond all worldly ties and earthly woes.

Ros. Oh heaven, Cla. See how the summer kindly takes He comes-now, heart be firm--for here her leave!

the last There the last brilliant race of Asters bloom And fearful strife awaits thee. One dire In varied hues; and, in the mallow's flower

conflict Of paley tint, I recognize once more,

And I shall have o'ercome. Go, call the The harbinger of Autumn.

children ! Ros. Am I then

Cla. May heaven support thee ! In Woodstock grown a stranger ? Is not this Ros. Aye-methinks the skies Mine own old garden ? Are not these the Are smiling on me and I feel my soul flowers

Resolved and calm ! That I myself have rear'd? And, round

(CLARĄ retirer. me still,

King Henry now enters, accompaThe venerable oaks that oft in hours, nied by O'Neale and Prince John, Of gladness rustled near me?

having resolved to leave the latter at -Cla, Know'st thou not

Woodstock during his absence in Thine old friends, Rosa ? Can thy sorrows

France. In a short but affecting diathus Remembrance cloud ?

logue the young prince is introduced Ros. Seest thou this rose, my friend ?

to Rosamund, and then, having retire It was my favourite plant, and every morn

ed with O'Neale, the hero and heroine I prop'd and watered it. To-day I cannot ! are left together. We need offer no

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

for we

thou propose

[ocr errors]

yes !

[ocr errors]

apology for introducing this scene, We now must part. Feelist thou not this which follows, entire. In some re

as I do spects it forms a contrast to our pre

Hen. I part from thee? No, by the im.

mortal Heavensceding extract, which is, perhaps,

Ros. Swear not ! this were but perjurymost likely to be appreciated by the contemplative reader in retirementwhereas this has ever been distinguished Let me to England's farthest confines fly,

Must part and therefore let it be at once! by a. more than ordinary tribute of To some deep vale that may for ever hide tears from every audience before whom

me ! it has been represented.

There shall I live for heaven and for my ACT IV.

children SCENE XII.-Henry, Rosamund.

And, ʼmid the still night of my loneliness, (A long pause.) Hen. Oh Rosamund ! Think on the morning radiance of thy love! (He draws nearer, and takes her hand.)

Hen. Yet to such endless love would'st Ros. My lord and king, I pray you, Make me not weak-for I would now be So rash a separation ? My hard fate firm,

Now goads me on my country calls her And must be so.

kingHen. Can'st thou forgive me, Rosa ?

The moments fleet away and we must Ros. Forgive thee for deceiving me ? Oh

part

But shall I never, never more behold thee ? I cannot blame that anodyne that held

Ros. Thou mid the wild and wildering So long my orrows in oblivion

scenes of life, Oh that until beyond my dying hour

Where everchanging hues are shed around, I still had slumbered !

In strife and tumult, may thy sorrows loseHen. And can'st thou, indeed,

But where shall my poor lonely heart find Love me as thou hast done in former days ?

rest, Ros. I love thee now as I have ever

When from afar the splendour of thy light lov'd!

With ever new refulgence beams upon me ? Hen. Then stand not there so coldly and Since I must love thee, I must fly from so distant

thee! I stretch mine arms to meet thee! Come once

When far remote, that cherished passion Unto this faithful heart by sufferings torn !

A heavenly gift, that in thy presence now Come, and with kisses heal my torturing Is changed to conscious guilt. wounds!

Hen. 'Tis but our cold - Ros. Nay, ask me not, it may not be. And heartless laws that term it so. This night

Ros. The laws We have, with due reflection, our last words of this world may not be contemn'd. Oh, To interchange.

Henry, Hen. Then, know'st thou that my sons

For this time learn even o'er thyself to Have faithless risen against me that to

triumphFrance

If thou hast fallen, as mortals fall, yet still I now must haşte to quell their wild sedi- Thou from th’abyss can'st lift thyself again,

And be thine own great conqueror. King And that I came to take my leave ?

and hero ! Ros. Oh heaven!

In history thou already art renown'd ;
What do I hear? Thou goest to France ?

And future ages on thy star will gaze
Thy life

With admiration. Yet be MORE than man ! Is there in danger ?

I know full well that mighty spirits oft Hen. In fierce insurrection

May spurn the narrow limits of these laws My own sons are combined my traitress

For meaner mortals framed. Yet, what queen

has drawn Has to this rage incited them. Prince John Those limits ? Are they not prescribed to all Alone is faithful. Therefore brought I him By that deep inward monitor of right To gain O'Neale's protection here. Else. That equally the king and peasant rules ? where,

More is demanded of thee, since thou fear'st He is not safe. Even from a mother's No judge on earth, and art accountable hand

To Heaven alone-since thou can'st break Poison awaits him !

the law Ros. England then rebels

That subjects must obey-So be it thine Against her king ?

To prove the sanctity of thy high station Hen. Thou wonder'st! How is this? And to that law resign me for a victim ! Were not thy words, even now, of separa.

Obedience to that stilly monitor tion ?

That speaks in every pulse of our own hearts, Ros. Has not thy heart yet learned to

This in the timid and weak soul deserves understand me?

No praise

he hath no choice ;--but where Whether the times are peaceful or disturbid,

the prince,

more

seems

tion ;

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »