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THEKLA, THE SWEDISH CAPTAIN, LADY NEUBRUNN.

Captain [respectfully approaching her\. Princess—I must entreat your gentle pardon— My inconsiderate rash speech—How could I—

Thekla [with dignity].
You have beheld me in my agony.
A most distressful accident occasion'd
You from a stranger to become at once
My confidant.

Captain.
I fear you hate my presence,
For my tongue spake a melancholy word.

THEKLA.

The fault is mine. Myself did wrest it from you.
The horror which came o'er me interrupted
Your tale at its commencement: May it please you,
Continue it to the end.

Captain.

Princess, 'twill Renew your anguish.

THEKLA.

I am firm. I will be firm. Well—how began the engagement?

CAPTAIN.

We lay, expecting no attack, at Neustadt,
Entrench'd but insecurely in our camp,
When towards evening rose a cloud of dust
From the wood thitherward; our vanguard fled
Into the camp, and sounded the alarm.
Scarce had we mounted, ere the Pappenheimers,
Their horses at full speed, broke thro' the lines,
And leapt the trenches; but their heedless courage
Had borne them onward far beyond the others—
The infantry were still at distance, only
The Pappenheimers followed daringly
Their daring leader—

[thekla betrays agitation in her gestures. The Officer pauses till she makes a sign to him to proceed.

CAPTAIN.

Both in van and flanks
With our whole cavalry we now received them,
Back to the trenches drove them, where the foot
Stretch'd out a solid ridge of pikes to meet them.
They neither could advance, nor yet retreat;
And as they stood on every side wedg'd in,
The Rhinegrave to their leader called aloud,
Inviting a surrender, but their Colonel

Young Piccolomini

[thekla, as giddy, grasps a chair. Known by his plume, And his long hair, gave signal for the trenches; Himself leapt first, the regiment all plunged after— His charger, by an halbert gored, reared up, Flung him with violence off, and over him The horses, now no longer to be curbed.

[thekla, who has accompanied the last speech with all the marks of increasing agony, trembles through her whole frame, and is falling. The Lady Neubrunn runs to her, and receives her in her arms.

NEUBRUNN.

My dearest lady

CAPTAIN.

I retire.

'Tis over.

Proceed to the conclusion.

Wild despair Inspired the troops with frenzy when they saw Their leader perish; every thought of rescue Was spurned ; they fought like wounded tigers; their Frantic resistance roused our soldiery; A murderous fight took place, nor was the contest Finished before their last man fell.

Thekla [faltering].

And where— Where is—You have not told me all.

Captain [after a pause].

This morning We buried him. Twelve youths of noblest birth Did bear him to interment; the whole army Followed the bier. A laurel decked his coffin; The sword of the deceased was placed upon it, In mark of honour, by the Rhinegrave's self. Nor tears were wanting; for there are among us Many, who had themselves experienced The greatness of his mind, and gentle manners; AH were affected at his fate. The Rhinegrave Would willingly have saved him; but himself Made vain th' attempt—'tis said he wish'd to die.

Neubrunn [to Thekla, who has hidden her coun-
tenance.]
Look up, my dearest lady

THEKLA.

Where is his grave?

CAPTAIN.

At Neustadt, lady; in a cloister church

Are his remains deposited, until

We can receive directions from his father.

THEKLA.

What is the cloister's name?

CAPTAIN.

Saint Catherine's.

THEKLA.

Is it far from hence?

CAPTAIN.

Nearly twelve leagues.

THEKLA.

Which is the way?

CAPTAIN.

You go by Tirschenreit And Falkenberg, through our advanced posts.

THEKLA.

Who

Is their commander 1

CAPTAIN.

Colonel Seckendorf. [thekla steps to the table, and takes a ring from a casket.

THEKLA.

You have beheld me in my agony,

And shewn a feeling heart. Please you, accept

[giving him the ring. A small memorial of this hour. Now go?

Captain [confused]. Princess—

[tiiekla silently makes signs to him to go, and turns from him. 'The Captain lingers, and is about to speak. Lady Neubrunn repeats the signal, and he retires.

Here we have no studied lamentations—not a superfluous word is spoken; and yet those few short questions wring the heart of the reader. A more touching scene can hardly be imagined than these simple words produce; and why? Because they are the very words of nature. Let him who would write finely remember it.

The present age has to contend with two faults in style:—on the one hand, there is an inclination, in graver works, to imitate the inversions and rounded periods of the Latin, which are quite foreign to the genius and character of the English language: on the other, our poets and dramatists have set up the age of Elizabeth as a pattern of excellence, and fill their pages with antiquated expressions which are no longer familiar to us, and therefore sound quaint and odd, and thus impair the effect they were intended to produce. The exact middle way is

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