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Julian or the Melfi

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ms : Mitford’s manuscript as submitted to the Lord Chamberlain’s office on 5 March 1823 from microfiche of the manuscript in the The Lord Chamberlain’s Plays (the Larpent Plays) of 1743-January 1824.
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Act 1:
Scene 1:
An Elegant apartment in the royal palace. The windows opening on a Balcony, adorned with flowers.
Julian sleeping on a couch—Annabel
Annab. No, still he sleeps ’Twas but the myrtle bud
Tapping against the casement, as the wind
Stirred in the leafy branches. Well he loved
That pleasant bird-like sound, which, as a voice
Summoned us forth into the fresher air
Of eve, or early morn. Ah! when again—
And yet his sleep is hopeful. For seven nights
He had not tasted slumber. Who comes here?
Enter Alfonso, (as Theodore)
The gentle page! Alas! To wake him now!
Hush, Theodore! Tread softly—softlier, boy!

Alfon- Doth he still sleep?

Annab. Speak lower.

Alfon Doth he sleep?

Annab Come this way, Theodore! Here, close to me

He sleeps. He hath not mov’d in all the hours
That thou hast been away.

Alfon. Then we may hope,
Dear lady, we may hope!

Annab. Alas! Alas!
See how he lies, scarce breathing. Whilst I hung
Over his couch, I should have thought him dead,
but for his short and frequent sighs.

Alfon Ah me!
Not even in slumber can he lose the sense
Of that deep misery. And I—he wakes!
Dost thou not see the quivering mantle heave
With sudden motion?

Annab. Thou hast wakened him.
Thy clamorous grief hath roused him. Hence! begone!


Alfon. And yet his eyes are closed. He sleeps.
He did but move his hand.

Annab. How changed he is!
How pale! how wasted! Can one little week

Of pain and sickness so have faded thee,
My princely Julian! But eight days ago
There lived not in this gladsome Sicily
So glad a spirit. Voice, and step, and eye,
All were one happiness, till that dread hour,
When, drest in sparkling smiles, radiant and glowing,
With tender thoughts, he flew to meet the King
And his great father. He went forth alone,
Frenzy and grief came back with him.

Annab. Alf. And I,
Another grief.

Annab. Thou wast a comforter.
All stranger as thou art, hast thou not shared
My watch as carefully, as faithfully,
As I had been thy sister?








Alfon. I never heard before
That ’twas to meet the king that fatal night,
Knowingly, purposely! How could he guess
That they should meet? What moved him to that thought?

Annab. Stranger, altho’ thou be, thou can’st but know
Prince Julian’s father is the regent here,
And rules for his young kinsman, King Alfonso.

Alfon. Aye!-- for Alfonso?

Annab. Where pity him?

Alfon. I know not; but I am an Orphan too.
I interrupt thee, Lady.

Annab. Yet, in truth,
A gentle pity lingers round the name
Of King Alfonso, orphaned, as thou say’st,
And drooping into sickness, when he lost
His father—Ever since, the mournful boy
Hath dwelt in the Villa d’Oro.

Alf. Hast thou seen him?

Annab. The King? No— I’m of Naples. When Prince Julian
First brought me here, a bride, his royal cousin
Was fixed beside his father’s dying bed.
I never saw him, yet I know him well,
For I have sate, and listened hour by hour,
To hear my husband speak of the fair prince

And his excelling virtues.

Alf. Did he? Ah!
But ’twas his wont, talking of those he loved,
To gild them with the rich, and burnished glow
Of his own brightness, as the evening sun
Decks all the clouds in glory.

Annab. Very dear
Was that young boy to Julian—’twas a friendship
Fonder than common, blended with a kind
Protecting tenderness; such as brother
Mightly shew unto the younger born.

Alfon. Oh! he hath proved it.

Annab. Thou dost know them both?

Alfon. I do. Say on, dear Lady.

Annab. Three weeks since,
The Duke of Melfi went to bring his ward
Here to Messina.


Alfon. To be crowned. They came not
But wherefore went Prince Julian forth to meet them?

Annab. Father nor cousin came, nor Messenger
From Regent or from King; and Julian chafed,
And fretted at delay. At length, a peasant

Brought tidings that the royal two that morn
Left Villa d’Oro. Glowing from the chace,
Prince Julian stood, the bridle in his hand,
New lighted, soothing now his prancing steed.
And prattling now to me. He heard the tale,





And instant sprang again into his seat,



He spake no word; but, as he passed,
Just glanced back at me, with his gladsome eyes,
And such a smile of joy, and such a wave
Of his plumed bonnet His return thou know’st.

Alfon. I was its wretched partner.

Annab. He on foot,
Thou on the o’er travell’d horse; slow, yet all stained
With sweat, and panting, as if escaped
From hot pursuit; and how he called for wine
For his poor Theodore, his faithful page!

Then sate him down, and shook with the cold fit
Of anguish fever, till the strong couch rocked
Like a child’s cradle. There he sate and sighed,
And then the frenzy came. Theodore!

Alfon. Lady!

Annab. He utters nought but madness; yet sometimes,
Athwart his ravings, I have thought—I have feared—
Theodore, thou must know the cause

Alfon. Too well.

Annab. Oh, tell me.

Alfon. Hush! he wakes!


Annab.
Julian! dear Julian!

Julian Sure I have slept a long, long while! Where am I?
How came I hither? Whose kind hand is this?
My Annabel!

Annab. Oh, what a happiness
To see thee wake from gentle sleep!

Art thou not better? Shall I raise thee up?

Julian Aye, dearest. Have I, then been ill? I’m weak,
I trouble thee, my sweet one.

Annab. ’Tis a joy
To minister unto thee.

Julian Wipe my brow,
And part these locks, that the fresh air may cool
My forehead—Feel, it burns.

Annab. Alas! how wild
This long neglect hath made thy glossy curls!
How tangled!

Julian I am faint. Pray lay me down.
Surely the day is stifling

Annab. There.—Good boy.
Throw wide the casement. Doth not the soft breeze
Revive thee?

Julian I am better. I will rise. So, dear wife,


A sick man is as wayward as a child;

Forgive me. I have I been long ill.

Annab. A week.

Julian I have no memory of aught. ’Tis just
Like waking from a dream, a horrible
Confusion of strange miseries, crime and blood,
And all I love.— Great heaven, how clear it seems!
How like a truth! I thought that I rode forth
On my white Barbary horse. Say, did I ride
Alone that day?

Annab. Yes.

Julian. Did I? Could I? No.
Thou dost mistake. I did not. Yet, ’tis strange
How plain that horror lives within my brain,
As what hath been.

Annab. Forget it.

Julian. Annabel,
I thought I was upon that gallant steed
At his full pace. Like clouds before the wind
We flew, as easily as the strong bird
That soars nearest the sun, till, in a pass,

Between the mountains, screams and cries for help
Rang in mine ears, and I beheld—O heav’n!
It was not—could not—no! no! I have been sick
Of a sharp fever, and delirium shews,
And to the bodily sense makes palpable
Unreal forms, objects of sight and sound,
Which have no being, save in the burning brain
Of the poor sufferer. Why should it shake me?

Annab. Could’st thou walk to the window, and quaff down
The fragrant breeze, it would revive thee more
Than food or sleep. Forget these evil dreams.
Can’st thou not walk?

Julian. I’ll try.

Annab. Lean upon me,
And Theodore. Approach dear boy; support him.
Alfonso approaches Julian

Julian. Eyeing him
Ha! art thou there? Thou? I am blinded. dazzled.
Is this a vision? this fair shape, that seems
A living child? Do I dream now?


Annab. He is
Young Theodore, the page, who that sad night
Returned.

Julian. Then, all is real. Lay me down,
That I may die

Alfon. Alas! I feared too surely
That when he saw me,—

Annab. Julian! This is grief
Not sickness, Julian!

Alfon. Rouse him not, dear Lady!
See how his hands are clenched!--Waken him not
To frenzy! Oh, that I alone could bear
This weight of misery!

Annab. He knows the cause,
And I— It is my right, my privilege
To share thy woes, to soothe them. I’ll weep with thee,
And that will be a comfort. Did’st thou think

Thou could’st be dearer to me than before,
When thou wast well and happy? But thou art
Now. Tell me this secret. Oh, spare my heart I’ll be faithful,
I’ll never breathe a word.—Oh, spare my heart
This agony of doubt! What was the horror horror
That maddened thee?

Julian. Within the rifted rocks
Of high Albano, rotting in a glen,
Dark, dark at very noon, a father lies
Murdered by his own son.

Annab. And thou did’st see
The deed! An aweful sight to one so good!
Yet—

Julian. Birds obscene, and wolf, and ravening fox,
Ere this— only the dark hairs on the ground.
And the brown crusted blood! And she can ask
Why I am mad!

Annab. Oh! a thrice aweful night
To one so duteous! Holy priests should lave
With blessed water that foul spot, and thou,
Pious and pitying, thou shalt—


Julian. Hear at once,
Innocent torturer; that, drop by drop,
Pour’st moulten lead into my wounds, that glen—
Hang not upon meIn that darksome glen
My father lies. I am a murderer!
A parricide! Accurst of god and man!
Let go my hand. Purest and whitest saint,
Let go.

Annab. This is a madness. Even now
The fever shakes him.

Julian. Why, the mad are happy.
Annabel, this is a soul-slaying truth.
There stands a witness.

Alfon. Julian knew him not.
It was to save a life, a worthless life!
Oh, that I had but died beneath the sword
Which seemed to tremble! That I had ne’er
Been born to grieve thee, Julian! Pardon me,
Dear Lady, pardon me!

Annab. Oh, gentle boy,

How shall we soothe this grief?

Alfon. Alas, alas!
Why did he rescue me? I’m a poor orphan;
None would have wept for me. I had no friend
In all the world, but one..






Shame on me, that I shunned the sword.

Julian. By heaven
It could not be a crime to save thee! Kneel
Before him, Annabel. He is the King.

Annab. Alfonso!

Alfon. Aye, so please you, fairest Cousin,
But still your servant. Do not hate me, lady,
Tho’ I have caused this misery. We have shared
One care, one fear, one hope; have watched & wept
Together! Oh, how often I have longed,
As we sate silent by his restless couch,
To fall upon thy neck, and mix our fears tears,
And talk of him. I am his own poor Cousin.
Thou wilt not hate me.


Annab. Save that lost one, who
Could hate such innocence?

Julian. ’Twas not in hate,
But wild ambition. No ignoble sin
Dwelt in his breast. Ambition, mad ambition,
That was his idol. To that bloody god
He offered up the milk white sacrifice,
The pure, unspotted victim. And even then,
Even in the crime, without a breathing space
For penitence, or prayer, my sword—Alfonso,
Thou would’st have gone to heaven.

Annab. Art thou certain
That he is dead?

Julian. I saw him fall. The ground
Was covered with his blood.

Annab. Tell me the tale.
Did’st thou— I would not wantonly recall
That scene of anguish. Did’st thou search his wound?

Julian. Annabel, in my eyes that scene will dwell
For ever, shutting out all lovely sights,
Even thee, my Beautiful! That torturing thought
Will burn, a living fire within my breast,
Perpetually; words can nothing add,
And nothing take away. Fear not my frenzy;
I am calm now. Thou know’st how buoyantly
I darted from the straight, o’er vale & hill,
Counting the miles by minutes. At the pass
Between the Albano mountains, I first breathed
A moment my hot steed, expecting still
To see the royal escort. Afar off,
As I stood, shading with my hand my eyes,
I thought I saw them; when, at once, I heard
From the deep glen, east of the pass, loud cries
Of mortal terror. Even in agony
I knew the voice, and darting thro’ the trees.
I saw Alfonso, prostrate on the ground,
Clinging around the knees of one, who held
A dagger over him, in act to strike,
Yet, with averted head, as if he feared
To see his innocent victim. His own face
Was hidden. till at one spring I plunged my sword,







Here, here, he died.

Annab. And thou

Julian. I could have lain
In that dark glen for ever; but there stood
The dear-bought and the dear kinsman and prince
And friend. We heard the far-off clang of steeds
And armed men, and fearing some new foe,
Came homeward.

Annab. And did he, then, the unhappy,
Remain upon the ground?

Julisn. Alas! he did.

Annab. Oh! it was but a swoon. Listen, dear Julian,
I tell thee, I have comfort.

Julian. There is none
Left in the world. But I will listen to thee,
My faithfullest.

Annab. Count D’Alba sent to crave
An audience. Thou wast sleeping. I refused
To see him; but his messenger revealed

To Constance his high tidings, which she poured
In my unwilling ears; for I so feared
To wake thee, that ere half her tale was told
I chid her from me. Yet she surely said
The Duke, thy father—

Julian. What?

Annab. Approached the city.

Julian. Alive? Alive? Oh! no! no! no! Dead! Dead!
The corse! the clay cold corse!

Annab. Alive, I think;
But Constance—

Julian. He will sink under this shock
Of hope.

Annab. Constance heard all.

Julian. Constance! What ho!
Constance!

Annab. She hears thee not.

Julian. Go seek her,—fly!
If he’s alive, why art thou not returned?

When that one little word will save two souls?
Exit Annabel.

Alfon. Take patience, dearest cousin.

Julian. Do I not stand
Here, like a man of marble? Do I stir?
She creeps; she creeps. Thou would’st have gone and back
In half the time.

Alfon. Nay, nay, ’tis scarce a minute.

Julian. Thou may’st count hours and ages on my heart.—
Is she not coming?

Alfon. Shall I seek her?

Julian. Hark!
They’ve met. There are two steps; two silken gowns
Rustling, one whispering voice. Annabel! Constance!
Is he—one word!—Only one word!
Enter Annabel.

Annab. He lives!

Julian sinks on his knees before the couch. Alfonso & Annabel go to him. Scene drops.
End of the First Act.



Act 2d.
Scene 1
A splendid Hall of Audience in the royal Palace, magnificently decorated.
D’Alba and Bertone, entering.
D’Alba. Again refuse to see me!

Bert. Nay, my lord,
She’s still beside her husband’s couch, and Paolo
Refused to bear the message.

D’Alba. Even her lacquey
Reads my hot love, and her contempt! No matter.
How’s Julian?

Bert. Mending fast.

D’Alba. He’ll live! He’ll live!
She watches over him, making an air
With her sweet breath. He’ll be immortal! Yet
If that dark tale be true, or half. Bertone,
Haste to the court of guard. Seek Juan Castro,
A Spanish soldier. Lead him home. I’ll join ye.
Hence! I expect the Barons, whom I summoned
To meet me here. Come back! See if the Princess

Will now admit me. No!—’Twould wake suspicion.
Hence to the Court of Guard!
Exit Bertone
I think that scorn
Doth fan love more than beauty. Twice to-day
Have I paced patiently these royal halls,
Like some expecting needy courtier. Swell not,
Proud charmer, thy vast debt! Where lag these Barons?
Methinks this change might rouse—
Enter Calvi, followed by other Lords.
Ha, Calvi! Welcome.

Calvi. A fair good morrow, D’Alba.

D’Alba. Hast thou heard
These heavy tidings? The young king.
Meeting
the other lords, as they drop in
My Lords,
Good morrow’s out of date! Know ye the news?


Calvi. Alfonso’s dead!--

D’Alba. Murdered!

Calvi. And Melfi, King?


D’Alba. Giving a Letter
Aye, here’s a letter from the great regent.—
Pshaw! How my rude tongue
Stumbles at these new dignities! The King.
Therefore I summoned ye. He will be here
Anon.
Enter Valore and other Nobles.
Valore, thou art late.

Valore. This tale
Puts lead into men’s heels. How fell it?

D’Alba. Read,
Count Calvi! Read!

Calvi. reads
Alfonso being dead, and I hurt almost to death, they left me fainting on the ground, where I lay, till a poor, but honest, muleteer bore me to his hut.—-
He hath been wounded!

D’Alba. He’s alive. The boy only,
Only the pretty boy! Read on. Read on!

Calvi. reads
Make known these missives to our loyal people. We shall follow them straight. From your loving cousin,
"The King."
The King!


Valore
. How proudly he will wear his state. Why, D’Alba,
Thy worshipped Annabel chose well. She’ll be
A Queen.

D’Alba. Yet my poor title, had she graced it,
Comes by unquestioned sheer descent, unstained
By dark, mysterious murder. My good Fathers,—
Heaven rest their souls! lie safely in the churchyard,
A simple race! Whilst these high princes—Sirs,
These palace walls have echoes, or I’d tell ye,—
’Tis a deep riddlebut amongst them all
The pretty boy is dead.
Enter Leanti
Leanti!

Leanti. Lords,
The King is at the gate.

D’Alba. The King! Now, Sirs,
Don your quick smiles, and bend your supple knees.—
The King!
Enter Melfi.
aside
He’s pale,—he hath been hurt.aloud
My liege,
Your vassals bid you welcome.


Melfi. Noble Signors,
I greet you well. Thanks, D’Alba. Good Leanti
I joy to see those reverend locks. I never
Thought to behold a friendly face again.
And now I bring ye sorrow. Death hath been
Too busy, tho’ the ripe and bearded ear
Escaped his sickle—but ye know the tale;
Ye welcomed me as King, and I am spared
The painful repetition.

Valore. Sire, we know,
From your own royal hand enough for joy
And sorrow. Death hath ta’en a goodly boy,
And spared a glorious man. But how—

Melfi. My lord,
What wouldst thou more? Before I entered here,
Messina’s general voice had hailed her Sovereign,
Lacks but the ceremonial form. ’Twere best
Th’ accustomed pageant were performed even now,
Whilst ye, Sicilian Barons, strength & grace
Of our Sicilian realm, are here to pledge
Solemn allegiance. Say I sooth, Count D’Alba?

D’Alba. In sooth my liege, I know not. Seems to me
One form is wanting. Our bereaved state
Stands like a widow, one eye dropping tears,
For her lost lord, the other turned with smiles
On her new bridegroom. But even she, the Dame
Of Ephesus, the buxom relict, famed
For quick dispatch o’er every widowed mate,
Woman or state, even she, before she wed,
Saw the good man entombed. The funeral first,
And then the coronation!

Melfi. Scoffer! Lords,
The corse is missing.

Calvi. Ha! perchance he lives.

Melfi. He fell, I tell thee.

Valore. And the Assassin is?—

Melfi. He escaped
When
I, too, fell.

D’Alba. He! Why, my liege,
Was there but one?


Melfi. What mean ye, Sirs? Stand off!

D’Alba. Cannot your Highness guess the murderer?

Melfi. Stand from about me, Lords! Dare ye to front
A King? What d’ye doubt me, you, or you?
Dare ye to doubt me? Dare ye look a question
Into mine eyes? Take thy gaze off! A king
Demands a modester regard. Now, Sirs,
What do ye seek? I tell ye, the fair boy
Fell underneath the Assassin’s sword, and I,
Wounded almost to death, am saved to prove
My subjects’ faith, to punish, to reward,
To reign, I tell ye, nobles. Now, who questions?
Who glares upon me now? What, are ye mute?

Leanti. Deign to receive our homage, Sire, and pardon
The undesigned offence. Your highness knows
Count D’Alba’s mood.

Melfi. And he knows mine. Well! Well!

Be all these heats forgotten.
A pause, during which, Melfi looks round the circle

Calvi. to D’Alba
How his eye
Wanders around the circle!

Melfi. Ye are met,
Barons of Sicily, in such august
And full assemblage, as may well beseem
Your office; honour well yourselves and me;
Yet one is missing,—greatest, first and best,—
My son. Knows not Prince Julian, that his father
Is here? Will he not come? Go, some one say
That I would see him.
Exit Calvi

Valore. Sire, the Prince hath lain
Sick of a desperate malady.

Melfi. Alas!
And I—sick, did’st thou say?

Valore. Eight days have passed
Since he hath left his couch.

Leanti. He’s better now.
The gentle princess, who, with one young page
Hath tended him—

Melfi. What page?

Leanti. A stranger boy,
Seen but of few, young Theodore.

Melfi. A stranger!
Say on. The princess—

Leanti. As I crossed the hall,
I met her with her own glad step, her look
Of joy, and when I asked how fared prince Julian,
She put her white hands into mine, with such
A smile, and then passed on

Melfi. Without a word?

Leanti. Without a word, save the mute eloquence
Of that bright smile.


D’Alba.aside
Oh! ’twas enough! On him!
Smile on that dotard! Whilst I. aloud
Why, my lords,
Here’s a fine natural sympathy, the son
Sickens at the father’s wound! The very day,—
The very hour. He must have known the deed;
Perchance, he knows the Assassin.

Melfi. Stop!

D’Alba. My liege,
I speak it in his honor. Many an heir
Had been right glad to step into a throne
Just as the mounting pulse of youth beat high.
A soldier, too! And with a bride so fair,
So delicate, so fashioned for a Queen
By cunning nature. But he—for full surely
He knew—

Melfi. Stopno, no, no—he knew it not!
He is my son!
Enter Calvi, follow’d by Julian.

Calvi. My liege, the Prince,—


Melfi. Already!
Pardon me, good my lords, that I request
A moment’s loneliness. We have been near
To death since last—Have touched upon the grave
And there are thoughts, which only our own hearts
Should hear. I pray ye, pardon me. I’ll join ye
Within the hour for the procession.
Exeunt D’Alba, Leanti, Valore, Calvi &c.

Melfi. Julian!
Approach! Come nearer! Speak to me!

Julian. My lord!

Melfi. Has he forgot to call me father?

Julian. Father!

Melfi. I know what thou would’st say.


Julian. What would’st thou? Thou didst summon me.

Melfi. I did.
Thou hast been ill.








Julian. I’m well.

Melfi. Fie! when thou shakest so.

Julian. I’m well. Call not these thoughts again—I have been
Sick, brainsick, heartsick, mad! But that is past!
It was a foretaste of the pains of hell
To be so mad, and yet retain the sense
Of that, which made me so. But all is past,
Is it not, father? Neer to live again,
Even in a dream. Is it not past?


Melfi. No more.
Thou hast not told me of thy wife. They say
She has been a constant nurse to thee.


Julian. My lord,
She, and one other—Oh that I might tell
The story of their goodness! She attends

To pay her duty.

Melfi. Stay! Count D’Alba looked
With evil eyes upon thee, and on me
Cast his accustomed tauntings. Is there aught

Amiss between ye?

Julian. No.

Melfi. He hath not yet
Perhaps forgotten your long rivalry
For Annabel’s fair hand. A dangerous meaning
Lived in those bitter gibes; a dangerous foe
Were D’Alba. Julian, the sea-breeze to thee
Brings health and strength and joy. I have an errand
As far as Madrid. None so well as thou
Can bid it speed. There shalt away to-day.
Tis thy best medicine—Thou and thy young wife
The wind is fair.

Julian. To-day!

Melfi. Have I not said?

Julian. Send me, just risen from a sick couch, to Madrid!
Lead me from home, from thee! Banish me! Father,
Can’st thou not bear my sight?

Melfi. I cannot bear

Contention. Must I needs remind thee, Julian,
I have also been ill?

Julian. I’ll go to-day.
How pale he is. I had not dared before
To look upon his face. I’ll go to-day.

Melfi. This very hour?

Julian. This very hour.

Melfi. My son,
Now call thy—Yet a momentWhere’s the boy?
He shall aboard with thee—thy pretty page!

Julian. The king! Mean’st thou the king?

Melfi. He, whom thou call’st—

Julian. Wilt thou not say the king?

Melfi. Young Theodore.
Harken, prince Julian. I am glad, right glad,
Of what hath chanced. ’Twas well to bring him hither

And keep him at thy side. He shall away
To Spain with thee, that Theodore—Forget
All other titles. He’ll be glad of this.
A favorite page, a spoilt & petted boy
To lie in summer gardens, in the shade
Of orange groves, whose pearly blossoms fall
Amidst his clustering curls, and to his lute
Sing tenderest dittiessuch his happy lot.
Whilst I—go, bring thy wife.

Julian. He is the king.

Melfi. Call lady Annabel.

Julian. The king, I say!
The rightful king! The only king! I’ll shed
The last drop in my veins for king Alfonso!

Melfi. Once I forgave thee. But to beard me thus,
And for a weak, and peevish youth, a faintling,
A boy of a girl’s temper, one who shrinks
Trembling and crouching at a look, a word,

A lifted finger, like a beaten hound!

Julian. Alas! poor boy, he hath no other friend,
Since thou, who should’st defend him,—Father! Father!
Three months have scarcely passed since thy dear brother,
(Oh, surely thou loved’st him!) with the last words
He ever spake, besought thy guardian care
Of his fair child. Next upon me he turned,
His dying eyes, quite speechless then, and thou,
I could not speak, for poor Alfonso threw
Himself upon my breast with such a gust
Of natural grief, I had no utterance—
But thou didst vow for both protection, faith
Allegiance; thou did’st swear so fervently,
So deeply, that the Spirit flew to heaven
SmilingI’ll keep that oath.

Melfi. Even if again

Julian. Urge not that thought upon me. ’Tis a fire
Here in my heart; my brain. Bethink thee, father,
Soldier, Statesman, thine is the first name

Of Sicily, the General, Regent, Prince,
The unmatched in power, the unapproached in fame,—
What could that little word a king do more
For thee?

Melfi. That little word! Why that is fame,
And power, and glory! That shall fill the world
Lend a whole age its name, and float along
The Stream of Time with such a buoyancy,
As shall endure when palaces and tombs
Are swept away like dust. That little word!
Beshrew thy womanish heart, that cannot feel
Its spell!
Guns without
Hark! Hark! The Guns! I feel it now
I am proclaimed. Before I entered here,
’Twas known throughout the City that I lived,
And the boy-king was dead. Hark! King Rugiero.


Dost hear the bells, the shouts? Oh, ’tis a proud,
And glorious feeling thus at once to live
Within a thousand bounding hearts, to hear
The strong out-gushing of that present fame,

For whose uncertain dim futurity
Men toil, and slay, and die! Without a crime—
I thank thee still for that—without a crime,—
For he’ll be happier,—I am a king!

Dost thou not hear, Long live the King, Rugeiro!

Julian. The shout is weak.

Melfi. Augment it by thy voice.
Would the words choake Prince Julian? Cannot he
Wish long life to his father?

Julian. Live, my father!
Long live the Duke of Melfi!

Melfi. Live the King!

Julian. Long live the king, Alfonso!

Melfi. Now, by heaven,
Thou art still brainsick. There is a contagion
In the soft dreamy nature of that child,
That thou, a soldier—I was over proud
Of thee, and thy young fame, that lofty brow

Seemed made to wear a crown. Chiefly for thee—
Where is the page?

Julian. Oh father, once again
Take pity on us all! For me! For me!
Thou hast always been to me the kindest, fondest,—
Preventing all my wishes— I’ll not reason,
I’ll not contend with thee. Here at thy feet
Prostrate in spirit, as in form I cry
For mercy! Save me from despair, from sin!

Melfi. Unmanly, rise! Lest in that slavish posture
I treat thee as a slave.

Julian. Smite an thou wilt,
Thy words strike deeper, to the very core.
Smite
an thou wilt, but hear me. Oh my father,
I do conjure thee by that name, by all
The boundless love it guerdons, spare my soul
This bitterness.

Melfi. I’ll reign.


Julian. Aye, reign, indeed!
Reign
over mightier realms! Be conqueror
Of crowned passions! King of thy own mind!
I’ve ever loved thee as a son,—Do this,
And I shall worship thee. I will cling to thee!
Thou shalt not shake me off!

Melfi. Go to—Thou’rt mad!

Julian. Not yet; but thou may’st make me so.

Melfi. I’ll make thee
The heir of a fair crown.

Julian. Not all the power
Of all the earth can force upon my brow
That heritage of guilt. Cannot I die?
But that were happiness! I’d make theerather drag
A weary life, beneath the silent rule
Of the stern Trappist, digging my own grave;
Myself a living corse cut off from the sweet,
And natural kindness that man shews to man,
I’d rather hang, a hermit, on the steep

Of horrid Ætna, between snow and fire,
Rather than sit, a crowned and honoured prince,
Guarded by children, tributaries, friends,
On an Usurper’s throne.

Shouts and guns without
Melfi. I must away.
We’ll talk of this anon. Where is the boy?

Julian. Safe.

Melfi. Trifle not with my impatience, Julian.
Produce the child. However thou may deny
Allegiance to the king, obey thy father.

Julian. I had a father.

Melfi. Ha!

Julian. But he gave up
Faith, loyalty, & honor, and pure fame,
And his own son.

Melfi. My son!

Julian. I loved him once
And dearly. Still too dearly! But with all
That burning, aching, passionate old love

Wrestling within my breast, even face to face,
Those eyes upon me, and that trembling hand
Thrilling my very heartstrings—Take it off,
In mercy, take it off! Still I renounce thee,
Thou hast no sonI have no father. Go
Down to a childless grave.

Melfi. Even from the grave
A father’s curse may reach thee, clinging to thee,
Cold as a dead man’s shroud, shadowing thy days,
Haunting thy dreams, and hanging, a thick cloud
’Twixt thee and heaven. Then when, perchance thine own
Small prattling pretty ones shall climb thy knee,
And bid thee bless them, think of thy dead father,
And groan, as thou dost now.
Guns again
Hark! ’tis the hour
I must away. Back to thy chamber, son,
And chuse if I shall curse thee.

Exit
Julian. after a pause
Did he curse me?
Did he? Am I that withered, blasted wretch?
Is that the fire that burns my brain? not yet,—
Oh, do not curse me yetHe’s gone. The boy!
The boy!

Exit
End of Act 2d
.



Act 3d.
Scene 1
The interior of a magnificent
Cathedral. A Gothic Monument in the foreground, with steps round it, and the figure of an old Warrior on the top,
D’Alba, Leanti, Valore, Calvi, and other nobles.
Calvi. Where stays the king?

Leanti He’s robing, to assume
The Crown.

Calvi. What a gloom reigns in the Cathedral!
Where are the people who should make and grace
This pageant?

Valore. ’Tis too sudden.

D’Alba. Saw ye not
How coldly, as the slow procession moved,
Men’s eyes were fixed upon him? Silently
We passed amid dull silence. I could hear
The chink of money, which the Heralds flung,
Reverberate on the pavement. They who stooped
To gather up the , looked on the impress
Of young Alfonso, sighed, and shook their heads

As ’twere his funeral.

Calvi. Methinks this place,
The general tomb of his high like, doth cry
Shame on us! The mute citizens do mourn him
Better than we.

D’Alba Therefore the gates are closed,
And none but peers of Sicily may pass
The guarded doors.

Leanti. Where is Prince Julian?

D’Alba. Sick.
Here comes the mighty-one, and the great prelates,
That shall anoint his haughty brow; ’tis bent
With a stern joy.

Enter Nobles, Bishops, Abbots &c. in procession. An Abbot, bearing the crown, and lastly Melfi, in royal robes.
Melfi. No! To no tapered shrine! Here! This is my Altar;

The tomb of my great ancestor, who first
Won from the Paynim this Sicilian crown,
And wore it gloriously; whose name I bear,

As I will bear his honoured sceptre. Here,
At this most kingly Altar, will I plight
My vow to Sicily, the nuptial vow
That links my fate to hers. Here I’ll receive
Her Barons’ answering faith. Hear me, thou shade
Of great Rugiero, whilst I swear to guard,
With heart and hand, the realm thy valour won,
The laws thy wisdom framed—brave legacy
To prince and people! to defend their rights;
To rule in truth and justice peacefully,
If peace may be; and with the aweful arm
Of lawful power to sweep the oppressor off
From thy blest Isle; to be the peasantsking,—
Nobles, hear that!--the peasants king and yours’!
Look down, ancestral spirit, on my oath,
And sanctify and bless it! Now the crown.

D’Alba. What noise is that at the gate?












Melfi. Give me the crown,
And with a steady grasp it shall endue
These throbbing brows, that burn till they are bound
With that bright diadem.

Enter Julian quickly hurrying Alfonso along.

Julian Stop! Place it here.
This is the King, the real, the only King!
The living King Alfonso!

Melfi. Out, foul traitor!
’Tis an impostor.

Julian. Look on him, Count D’Alba!
Calvi, Valore, look! Ye know him well.
And ye, that never saw him, know ye not
His father’s lineaments? Remove thy hand
From that fair forehead. ’Tis the pallid brow
Bent with pensiveness, the dropping eye-lid,
The womanish changing cheek,—his very self!
Look on him. Do ye know him? Do ye own
Your King?

Calvi. ’Tis he!

D’Alba The boy himself.

Julian. Now place

The crown upon his head, and hear me swear
Low at his feet, as subject, kinsman, prince,
Allegiance.

Alfon. Rise, dear Cousin.

Julian. Father, kneel,
Kneel here with me, thou, his first subject, thou,
The guardian of the state, kneel first, and vow
Thy princely fealty.

Melfi.


Julian.













Melfi Off cursed Viper !
Off, ere I hurl thee on the stones!

Julian. I’ve done
My duty. Was it not my duty?

Alfon. Julian!
Sit here by mehere on the steps.

D’Alba Again
We must demand of thee, Regent, once more,
How chanced this tale of murder? Here’s our prince,
Safe, and unhurt. But where’s the Assassin? Where
The regicide? Where he that wounded thee?


Melfi. Pointing to Julian
Demand of him.

D’Alba. Where be the murderers?
Art sure thou saw’st them, Duke? Or was’t a freak
Of the deft Fay, Morgana? Did’st thou feel
The trenchant blade? Or, was the hurt thou talk’st of
A fairy wound, a phantasm? Once again,
I warn thee speak.

Melfi. Demand Prince Julian, Sir,
This work is his.

D’Alba. He speaks not. Little King,
What say’st thou?

Alfon. Julian saved me.

D’Alba. Saved! From whom?
From what?

Alfon. A King should have no memory
But for good deeds. My lords, an it so please you
We’ll to the palace. I’ll not wear to-day
This crown: Some fitting season, but not now.
I’m weary. Let us home.

D’Alba. Aye, take him hence,
Home with him, Count Valore. Stay by him
Till I come to ye. Leave him not.—Nay, Calvi,
Remain. Hence with the boy.

Alfon. My cousin Julian,
Wilt thou not go with us?

Julian. I’ve done my duty
Was’t not my duty? But look there, look there!
I cannot go with thee. I am his now,
All his!

Alfon. Uncle!

Melfi. Away, bright worm—

D’Alba What ho! the guard!

Alfon. My lord, where Julian is
I need no guard. Question no more of this,
But follow us.
Exeunt Valore, Alfonso, and other nobles.


Melfi. I do contemn myself
That I hold silence. Warriors, kinsmen, friends,
Barons of Sicily, the valiant princes
Of this most fertile and thrice famous Isle,
Hear me! What yonder crafty Count hath dared,
With subtle question, and derive smile
To slide into a meaning, is as true
As he is false. I would be King. I’d reign
Over fair Sicily; I’d call myself
Your Sovereign, Princes; thine, Count D’Alba, thine,
Calvi, and old Leanti:—We’ve been comrades
Many a year in the rough path of war,
And now ye know me all. I’ll be a King
Fit for this warlike nation, which brooks sway
Only of men. Yon slight fair boy is born
With a woman’s heart. Let him go tell his beads
For us, and for our kingdom. I’ll be King,
I’ll lend unto that title such a name
As shall enchase this bauble with one blaze
Of honour. I’ll lead on to glory, Lords,
And ye shall shine in the brightness of my fame

As planets round the sun. What say ye?

D’Alba. Never!

Calvi and others. Never!

Melfi. Say thou, Leanti, thou’rt a soldier,
Worthy of the name, a brave one! What say’st thou?

Leanti. If young Alfonso—

D’Alba. Peace! Why, this is well.
This morning I received a tale—I’m not
An over-believer in man’s excellence;
I know that in this slippery path of life
The firmest foot may fail; that there have been,
Ere now, ambitious generals, grasping heirs,
Unnatural kinsmen, foul usurpers, murderers.
I know that man is frail, and might have fallen,
Tho’ Eve had never lived, albeit, I own
The smiling mischief’s potency. But this,
This tale was made up of such several sins,
All of them devilish, treason, treachery,

And pitiless cruelty made murder pale
With their red shame. I doubt not readily,
When man and guilt are joined—but this the common,
And general sympathy, that links our kind,
Forbade to believe. Yet, now, before ye all,
His peers and mine, before the vacant throne
He sought to usurp, before the crown that fell
As conscious from his brow. I do arraign
Rugiero, Duke of Melfi, General, Peer,
Regent, and Prince, of treason.

Melfi. Treason! D’Alba,
We quarrel not for words. Let these but follow
And bold emprise shall bear a happier name.
Sicilians, have ye lost your Island spirit?
Barons, is your ancient bravery tamed down
By this vain scoffer? I’ll to the people. They
Love their old soldier.

D’Alba. Stop. Duke. I arraign thee
Of murder; planned, designed, attempted murder,
Though incomplete, on the thrice sacred person

Of young Alfonso, kinsman, ward, and king.
Wilt thou defend this too? Was’t a brave deed
To draw the Assassin’s sword on that poor child?
Seize him!

Melfi. Come near who dares! Where be thy proofs?
Where be thy witnesses?

D’Alba. There’s one, Prince Julian,
Rouse thee!He props himself against the tomb, as though
A statue too.—Only
he trembles so.
Rouse thee, and answer as before thy god.
As there is truth in heaven, did’st thou not see
Thy father’s sword at young Alfonso’s breast?
Lay not the boy already dead with fear,
At his false guardian’s feet? Answer!

Melfi. Aye, speak,
Prince Julian! Dost thou falter now? On! On!
And drive the dagger home. On, on, I say.

Calvi. We wait your Highness’ answer.


Leanti. First remove
The prisoner
, whilst that look severely sad
Is fastened on the witness, Truth is chained
.
He pants beneath the spell, as the charmed bird
Fixed by the rattle-snake
.

Julian.


DAlba.

Julian.







Calvi.

D’Alba. Convey the Duke
To the Hall of Justice. We shall follow straight.
Go, summon Juan Castro thither. Hence!
Why loiter ye?

Melfi. One word with thee, Prince Julian.
I pray ye, listen; ’tis no treason, Lords.
I would but say, finish thy work; play well
The part that thou hast chosen; cast aside
All filial yearnings; be a gallant foe;
Rush onward through the fight; trample me down:
Tread on my neck; be perfect in that quality,
Which thou call’st justice; quell thy womanish weeping,
Let me respect the enemy, whom once
I thought my son.

Julian. Once, father!


Melfi. I’m no father.
Rouse not my soul to curse thee. Tempt me not
To curse thy mother. She, whom once I deemed
A saint in purity. Be resolute.
Palter
not with them. Lie not.

Julian. Did I ever?—

Melfi. Finish thy work. On, soldiers.
Exit, guarded.

D’Alba. Answer, prince!
The Duke, as thou hast heart, disclaims thee.

Julian. Dare not
A man of ye say that. I am his son.—
Tremble, lest my sword should prove me so!--A part
Of his own being. He gave me this life,
These senses, these affections. The quick blood
That knocks so strongly at my heart is his—
Would I might spill it for him! Had ye no fathers,
Have ye no sons, that ye would train men up
In parricide? I will not answer ye.


D’Alba. This passion is thy answer. Could’st thou say
No, in that simple word were more comprised
Than in a word of fiery eloquence.
Can’st thou not utter No? ’Tis short and easy,
The first sound that a stuttering babe will lisp
To his fond nurse; yet thy tongue stammers at it.
I ask him if his father be at once
Traitor and murderer; and he cannot say
No!

Julian. Subtle, blood-thirsty fiend! I’ll answer
To nought that thou can’st ask. Murderer! The King
Lives. Seek of him. One truth I’ll tell thee, D’Alba,
And then the record of that night shall pass
Down to the grave in silence. But one sword
Was stained with blood in yonder glen,—’twas mine
I was the only guilty. This I swear
Before the all-seeing God, whose quenchless gaze
Pierced through that twilight-hour. Now condemn
The Duke of Melfi, an ye dare. I’ll speak no more
On this foul question.


Leanti. Thou the guilty!
Thou!

Julian. I have said it.

D’Alba. I had heard a tale—

Leanti. This must be sifted.

D’Alba. In that twilight hour
A mortal eye beheld them. An old Spaniard,
One of the guard. By heaven, it is a tale
So bloody, so unnatural, man may scarce
Believe it.

Leanti And the King still lives.

D’Alba Why, tis
A mystery. Let’s to the hall of Justice,
And hear this soldier. Sir, they are ambitious,
Father & son.—We can pass judgement there:
This is no placeLeanti, more ambitious
Than thou can’st guess.


Julian. Aye, by a thousand fold!
I am an Eaglet born, and can drink in
The sunlight, when the blinking owls go darkling,
Dazzled, and blinded by the day. Ambitious!
I have had my dreams would have shamed the visions
Of that great master of the world, who wept
For other worlds to conquer. I’d have lived
An age of sinless glory, and gone down
Storied, and epitaph’d, and chronicled
To the very end of time.—Now—But I still
May suffer bravelymay die as a prince,
A man.—Ye go to Judgement. Lords, remember
I am the only guilty.

Calvi We must needs
On such confession give you into charge
A prisoner. Ho! Captain.

The Officer & Guards advance.
Leanti. Goes he with us?

D’Alba. No; for the Hall is near, and they are best

Questioned apart. Walk by me, good Leanti,
And I will shew thee why.

Leanti. Is’t possible
That Julian and his father fought?

D’Alba. No! No!
They met as friends. No! No!
Exeunt Calvi and other Lords
Enter Annabel (hastily).

Annab. Where is he? Where?
Julian!

D’Alba. Fair Princess!

Annab. Stay me notMy Julian!

D’Alba. Oh! how she sinks her head upon his arm!
How her curls kiss his cheek! And her white hand
Lies upon his. The cold, and sluggish husband!
He does not clasp that loveliest hand!



Leanti. Count D’Alba, see
We are aloneWilt thou not come?


D’Alba. Anon.
Now he hath seized her hand, hath dared to grasp
He shall not hold it long.

Leanti. They’ll wait us, Count.

D’Alba. That white hand shall be mine!
Exeunt D’Alba & Leanti

Julian. My Annabel,
Why art thou here?

Annab. They said—I was a fool,
That believed them.—Constance said she heard a cry.
Down with the Melfi!—and the rumour ran,
That there had been a fray, that thou wast slain:—
But thou art safe, my Julian?

Julian. As thou see’st .
But thou art breathless still.

Annab. Aye I flew through the streets,
Piercing the crowds like light! I was a fool
But thou had’st left me on a sudden, bearing

The young Alfonso with thee;—
I knew not—Love is fearful,
And I have learnt to fear. But thou’rt not well:—
Home! by the way thou’lt tell me
What hath befallen. Where is Alfonso?

Julian.

Annabel.






Julian.
Say
The King, the rightful, the acknowledged King!










Thou dost not grieve to lose a crown my fairest!

Annab. Oh, no! no!
I’m only proud of thee.
Where’s thy father, Julian?
Forgive me. I have pained thee.








Julian. No. The pang
Is mastered. Where? he is a prisoner
Before the StatesI am a prisoner here
These are my guardsBe calm, sweetest! Rend not
This holy place with shrieks.

Annab. They seek thy life,
They’ll sentence thee! They’ll kill thee! No, they shall not;
Unless they kill me first. What crime? Oh Heaven!


Dare they to bring?

Julian. Somewhat of yon sad night
They know.

Annab. Where’s Theodore? The Page? The King?

Hold me not!









Julian. Where would’st thou go?

Annab. To the States.

Julian. And there?

Annab. I’ll tell the truth, the truth,
The irresistible truth! Let go,—a moment
May cost thy lifeour livesNothing but truth,
That’s all thy cause can need! Let go!

Julian. And he,
My father?

Annab. What’s a thousand such as he
To thee, my husband! But he shall be safe;
He is thy father; I’ll say nought can harm him.—
He was ever kind to me; I’ll pray for him!

Nay, an thou fear’st me, Julian, I’ll not speak
One word.—I’ll only kneel before them all,
Lift up my hands, and pray in my inmost heart,
As I pray to God.

Julian. My loving wife, to him,
Pray to him only. Leave me not my dearest.

I’m content and strong to suffer. Be thou—

Enter D’Alba, Calvi, Leanti and Nobles
Ha! returned
Already! This is quick. But I’m prepared.
The sentence?

Annab. Tell it not! Ye are its judges;
Ye have the power of life and death; your words
Are fateOh! Speak not yet. Listen to me!

D’Alba. Aye, a long summer day. What would’st thou?

Annab. Save him!
Save him!

D’Alba. He shall not die.

Annab. Now, bless thee, D’Alba!
Bless thee! He’s safe! he’s free!

Julian. Once more I ask,
His doom, for that is mine. If ye have dared
In mockery of justice, to arraign,
And sentence your great ruler, with less pause
Than a petty thief, taken in the manner—What’s
Our doom?

D’Alba. Sir, our great ruler (we, that love not
Law’s tedious circumstance, may thank him) spared
All trial by confession. He avowed
Treason & regicide, and all that thou
Had’st said, or might say, he avouched unheard
For truth, then cried, as thou hast done, for judgement.


Julian. I can die, too.

Leanti. A milder doom
Unites ye. We have spared the royal blood.

D’Alba. Only the blood. Estates and honors all
Are forfeit to the king. The Assembled States
Banish ye—The most holy church declares ye
Beneath her ban. This is your sentence, Sir.
A herald waits to read it in the streets

Before ye. And from out the city gates
To thrust ye; outlawed, excommunicate,
Infamous amongst men. Ere noon to-morrow
Ye must depart from Sicily; on pain
Of death to ye, the outlaws, death to all that harbour ye,
Death to whoe’er shall give
Food, shelter, comfort, so pass ye forth
In infamy!

Annab. Eternal infamy
Rest on your heads, false Judges! Outlawed! Banished!
Bereft of all state and title! Thou art still
Best of the good, greatest of the great,
My Julian! Must they die that give thee food,
And rest, and comfort? I shall comfort thee,
I, thy true wife! I’ll never leave thee, never!
We’ll walk together to the gate, my hand
In thine, as loversLet us forth. We’ll go
Together.

Julian. Aye, but not to-night. I’ll meet thee
To-morrow, at the harbour.

Annab. No, no, no!

I will not leave thee.

Julian. Cling not thus! She trembles!
She cannot walk. Brave Sir, we have been comrades,
There is a pity in thine eye, that well
Beseems a soldier. Take this weeping lady
To King AlfonsoTell the royal boy,
One, who was once his kinsman, and his friend,
Commends her to him. Go! To-morrow, dearest,
We’ll meet againNow for this sentence. Lords,
I question not your power. I submit
To all, even to this shame. Be quick! be quick!

Exeunt
End of Act 3rd



Act 4

Scene 1
An Apartment in the royal Palace.
D’Alba. Bertone.
D’Alba. I’ve parted them at last. The livelong night
The little King lay, like a page, before
Her chamber door, and ever as he heard
A struggling sigh within, he cried, Alas!
And echoed back her moan, and uttered words
Of comfort. Happy boy!

Bert. But he is gone
Towards the gate. Be sure, to seek Prince Julian.

D’Alba. For that I care not, so that I secure
The vision that once flitted from my grasp.


Bert. Yet is Julian
Still dangerous.

D’Alba. Why, after noon to-day,—
And see the sun’s already high! he dies,
If he be found in Sicily. Take thou
Two resolute comrades, to pursue his steps,

Soon as the time be past. Did’st thou not hear
The proclamation? Know’st thou where he bides,
And Melfi?

Bert. Good my lord, ’tis said the Duke
Is dead.

D’Alba. Dead!

Bert. Sure it is, that yesternight
He walked from out the judgement hall, like one
Dreaming with eyes that saw not; ears that heard
No sound, staggering and tottering, like old age,
Or infancy.—And when the kingly robe
Was plucked from him, and he forced from the gate
A deep wound in his side, burst forth, the blood
Welled like a fountain.

D’Alba. And he died?

Bert. He fell,
Fainting, and Julian, who had treatedtended him,
Silently, with a spirit so absorbed,
His own shame seemed unfelt, fell on his neck,
Shrieking like maddening woman. There we left him,

And there, ’tis said, he hath outwatched the night.

D’Alba. There, on the ground?

Bert. So please you.

D’Alba. Thou hast known
A softer couch, Prince Julian! Is the litter
Prepared,—and Julian’s groom?—

Bert. My lord, he waits
Your pleasure.

D’Alba. Call him hither.
Exit Bertone.
Blood welled out
From a deep wound! Said old Leanti sooth?
No matterEither way theyre guilty.
Re-Enter Bertone, with Renzi.

Ha! a reverend knave! Wast thou prince Julian’s huntsman?

Renzi. An please you, Sir, I was.

D’Alba. Dost know the princess?
Doth she know thee?

Renzi. Right well, my lord.








D’Alba. The better!

Dost thou love ducats, Renzi?
Flinging him a purse
Can’st thou grace
A lie with tongue, and look, and action?

Renzi. Aye.

D’Alba. Go to the Princess. Say thy master sent thee
To guide her to him; or the young Alfonso;
Use either name, or both. Spare not for tears,
Or curses. Lead her to the litter. See
That Constance follows not. Bertone’ll gain
Admittance for thee—Go.
Exit Renzi.
Bertone seek me
A supple churchman. Know’st thou any? One
Not scrupulous, one, who loves gold, and laughs,
At conscience. Bring him to me. I must hasten
Silently home. Let not the princess guess
That I have left the palace.

Bert. No, my lord.

Exeunt severally.


Scene 2d
The Country, just without the gates of Messina, a hilly back-ground.
Melfi lying on the Stage. Julian.
Julian. He wakes! he is not dead! I am not yet
A parricide! I dare not look on him,
I dare not speak

Melfi. Water! my throat is scorched.

My tongue cleaves to my mouth. Water!
Exit Julian.
Will none
Go fetch me water? Am I here alone,
Here on the bloody ground, as on that night,—
Am I there still? No! I remember now,
Yesterday I was king; to-day, I’m nothing;
Cast down by my own son! Stabbed in my fame!
Branded, and done to death! An Outlaw where
I ruled! He, whom I loved with such a pride,
With such a fondness, hath done this, and I
Have not strength to drag me to his presence,
That I might rain down curses on his head,
Might blast him with a look!


Enter Julian.
Julian. Here’s water! drink!

Melfi. What voice is that? Why dost thou shroud thy face?
Dost shame to shew thyself? Who art thou?

Julian. Drink.
I pr’ythee, drink.



Julian. ’Tis the pure,
And limpid gushing of a natural spring
Close by yon olive ground. A little child
Who stood beside the fount, filled for me


Her beechen cup with her small innocent hand,
And bade our lady bless the draught. Oh drink!
Have faith in such a blessing!

Melfi. Thou should’st bring
Nothing but poison. Hence, accursed cup!
Dashing the cup to the ground
I’ll perish in my thirst. I know thee, Sir.

Julian. Father!

Melfi. I have no Son. I had once,

A gallant gentleman, but he... What, Sir,
Did you never hear of that Sicilian Prince,
Who made the fabulous tale of Greece a truth,
And slew his father? He stabbed, and stabbed, and stabbed.


And the poor wretch cannot die.

Julian. I think my heart
Is iron, that it breaks not.

Melfi. I should curse him—
But yet—Dost thou not know that I’m an outlaw?
Under the ban? They stand in danger, Sir,
That talk to me.

Julian. I am an outlaw, too.—
Thy fate is mine, our sentence is alike.

Melfi. What! have they banished thee?

Julian. I should have gone,
In very truth, I should have gone with thee
Aye, to the end of the world.

Melfi. What, banish thee!
Oh, foul ingratitude! weak, changeling boy!


Julian. He knows it not. Father, this banishment
Came as a comfort to me, set me free
From warring duties and fatiguing cares,
And left me wholly thine. We shall be happy,
For she goes with us, who will prop my steps,
As once the Maid of Thebes, Antigone,
In that old tale. Chuse thou whatever land
All are alike to us—but pardon me!


Melfi. My virtuous son!

Julian. Oh, thanks to thee, and heaven! He sinks! He faints!
His lips wax pale! I’ll seek the spring once more
’Tis thirst.

Melfi. What music’s that?

Julian. I hear none.

Melfi Hark!

Julian Thou art weak and dizzy.

Melfi Angels of the air,
Cherub & Seraph, sometimes watch around





Julian. I have heard so.

Melfi. Aye;
But they were just men, Julian;—they were holy;
They were not traitors.

Julian. Strive against these thoughts:
Thou wast a brave man, father! Fight against them,
As ’gainst the Paynims, thy old foes. He grows
Paler and paler. Water from the spring,—
Or generous wine. She will be here anon.
Rest thee, dear father, till I come.

Exit Julian.
Melfi. Again
That music! It is mortal. It draws nearer.
No! But if men should pass, must I lie here,
Like a crushed adder? Here in the highway
Trampled beneath their feet? So! So! I’ll crawl
To yonder bankOh, that it were the deck
Of some great Admiral, and I alone,
Boarding amidst a hundred swords! the breach
Of some strong citadel, and I the first

To mount in the cannon’s mouth. I was brave once.
Oh, for the common undistinguished death
Of battle, pressed by horse’s heels, or crushed
By falling towers! And thing but to lie
Here like a leper.

Enter Alfonso, Calvi, & Valore.
Alfon. ’Tis the spot where Julian—
And yet I see him notI’ll pause awhile
’Tis likely he’ll return. I’ll wait.
Whence come those groans? My uncle
Stretched on the ground and none to tend thee? Rest
Thy head upon my arm. Where’s Julian? Sure
I thought to find him with thee. Nay, be still,
Strive not to move.

Calvi.


Alfonso.

Valore.

Alfonso.



Calvi.


Alfonso.



Valore.

Calvi.

Alfonso.





Calvi.

Alfonso.










Melfi. I fain would kneel to thee
For pardon.

Calvi Listen not, my liege. The states
Sentenced the Duke of Melfi. Thou hast not
The power to pardon. Leave him to his fate.

Valore. ’Twere best your highness came with us.


Alfon. Avoid
The place! Leave us, cold, courtly lords! Avoid
My sight! Leave us, I say. Send instant succour.
Food, water, wine, and men with hearts, if courts
May breed such. Leave us!

Exeunt Calvi and Valore.
Melfi. Gallant boy!

Alfon. Alas!
I have no power.

Melfi. For all I need thou hast.
Give me but six feet of Sicilian earth,
And thy sweet pardon.

Alfon. Talk not thus. I’ll grow
At once into a man, into a king,
And they shall tremble, and turn pale with fear
Who now have dared—
Enter Julian.
Julian!

Julian. Here’s water. Ha!
Alfonso! I thought pity had been dead.

I craved a little wine, for the dear love
Of heaven, for a poor dying man, and all
Turned from my prayer. Drink, father!

Alfon. I have sent
For succour.

Julian. Gentle heart!

Melfi. The time is past.
Music again!

Alfon. Aye; ’tis a shepherd’s pipe
From yonder craggy mountain. How it swings
Upon the wind! now pausing, now renewed,
Regular as a bell!

Melf. A passing bell.

Alfon. Cast off these heavy thoughts.

Melfi. Turn me.

Alfon. He bleed!
The blood wells out.

Melfi. It eases me.


Julian. He sinks!
He dies!—Off!--He’s my father! Rest on me.

Melfi. Bless thee!

Julian No! no! no! no! I cannot bear
Thy blessing! Twice to stab! and twice forgiven!
Oh! curse me, rather!

Melfi. Bless ye both!
Dies

Alfon. He’s dead;
And surely he died penitent. That thought
Hath in it a deep comfort. The freed spirit
Gushed out in a full tide of pardoning love.
He blest us both, my Julianeven me
As I had been his son. We’ll pray for him
Together, and thy Annabel shall join
Her purest orisons. I left her stretched
In a deep slumber. All night long she watched
And wept for him and thee; but now she sleeps.
Shall I go fetch her? She, better than I,

Would soothe thee. Dost thou hear? He writhes as though
The struggling grief would choke him. Rouse thee, Julian!
Calm thee! Thou frighten’st me!

Julian. Am I not calm?
There is my swordGo.

Alfon. I’ll not leave thee.

Julian. King!
Dost thou not see we’ve killed him? Thou had’st cause,
But I, that was his son—Home to thy palace!
Home!

Alfon. Let me stay beside thee. I’ll not speak,
Nor look, nor move. Let me but sit, and drop
Tear for tear with thee.

Julian. Go.

Alfon. My cousin Julian—

Julian. Madden me not. I’m excommunicate,
An exile, and an outlaw, but a man!
Grant me the human privilege to weep
Alone o’er my dead father. King, I saved

Thy life, repay me now a thousand fold.
Go!

Alfon. Yes, for a sweet Comforter.

Enter Paolo.
Paolo. My liege,
The Lady Annabel.—

Julian. What! Is she dead?
Have I killed her?

Alfon. Speak, Paolo. In thy charge
I left her.

Julian. Is she dead?

Paolo. No. Heaven forefend!
But she hath left the palace.

Julian. ’Tis the curse
Of blood that’s on my head, on all I love!
She’s lost!

Alfon. Did she go forth alone?

Paolo. My liege,
Prince Julian’s aged huntsman, Renzi, came

Sent, as he said, by thee, to bear her where
Her lord was sheltered.

Julian. Hoary traitor!

Paolo.
She followed him, nothing fearing; and I too
Had gone, but D’Alba’s servants closed the gates,
And, then, my heart misgave me.

Julian. Where’s my sword?
I’ll rescue her! I’ll save her!

Alfon. Hast thou traced
Thy honoured lady?

Paolo. No; but much I fear—
Certain, a closed and guarded litter took
The way to the western suburb.

Julian. There, where lies
The palace of Count D’Alba. Stained! defiled!
He has thee now, my lovely one! There’s still
A way—Let me but reach thee! One Asylum!
One bridal bed! one resting place!--All griefs
Are lost in this! Oh! would I lay as thou, my father!
Leave him not in the highway,
For dogs to mangle! He was once a prince.—
Farewell!

Alfon. Let me go with thee.

Julian. No. This deed
Is mine.

Exit Julian.
Alfon. Paolo, stay by the corse. I’ll after.
He shall not on this desperate quest alone.

Paolo. Rather, my liege, seek D’Alba. As I deem
He still is at thy palace. So may the sweet lady

Be rescued, and Prince Julian saved.



Exeunt.

Scene
A Gothic Apartment. A recess in which is a niche window closed, but so constructed, as light may be thrown in. Near the recess, a small arched door, thro’ which is seen an inner chamber.—

Annabel is brought in by Servants, and follow’d by Count D’Alba.
D’Alba. Leave her with me. Guard well the gate; and watch
That none approach the tower.
Exeunt Servants.
Fair Annabel!

Annab. Who is it calls? Where am I? Who art thou?
Why am I here? Now, heaven preserve me! D’Alba!
Where’s Julian? Where’s prince Julian? Where’s my husband?
Renzi, who lured me from the palace, swore
It was to meet my husband.

D’Alba. Many an oath,
First sworn in falsehood, turns to truth. He’s here.
Calm thee, sweet lady.

Annab. Where? I see him not.
Julian!

D’Alba. Another husband.

Annab. Then he’s dead!
He’s dead!


D’Alba. He lives.

Annab. Heard I aright? Again!
There is a deafening murmur in mine ears,
Like the moaning sound that dwells in the sea-shell;—
So that I hear nought plainly. Say’t again.

D’Alba. He lives!

Annab. Now, thanks to heaven! Take me to him!
Where am I?

D’Alba. In an old, and lonely tower
At the end of my poor orchard.

Annab. Take me home.

D’Alba. Thou hast no home.

Annab. No home! His arms! his heart!
Take me to him!

D’Alba. Sweet Annabel, be still.
Conquer this woman’s vain impatiency,
And listen.—Why, she trembles as I were

Some bravo! Oh, that man’s free heart should bow
To a fair cowardice! Listen. Thou know’st
The sentence of the Melfi?

Annab. Aye, the unjust
And wicked doom, that ranked the innocent
With the guilty. But I murmur not. I love
To suffer with him.

D’Alba. He is banished, outlawed,
Cut off from every human tie.

Annab. Not all.
I am his wife.

D’Alba. Under the church’s ban!
I tell thee, Annabel, that learned priest,
The sage Anselmo, deems thou art released
From thy unhappy vows, and will to-night

Annab. Stop! I was wedded in the light of day,
In the great church at Naples. Blessed day!
I am his wife, bound to him ever more

In sickness, penury, disgrace. Count D’Alba,
Thou dost misprize the world, but thou must know
That woman’s heart is faithful, and clings closest
In misery.

D’Alba. If the church proclaim thee free,—

Annab. Sir, I will not be free. And if I were,
I’d give myself to Julian o’er again,
Only to Julian. Trifle thus no longer.
Lead me to him. Release me.

D’Alba. Now by heaven,
I’ll bend this glorious constancy. I’ve known thee,
Even from a little child, and I have seen
Thy stubborn spirit broken:; not by fear
That thou can’st quell, nor interest, nor ambition,
But love! love! love! I tell thee, Annabel,
One, whom thou lo’st, stands in danger. Wed me,
This very night.—I will procure a priest,
And dispensations, there shall nothing lack
Of nuptial form,—Wed me, or look t to hear
Of bloody justice.


Annab. My poor father, Melfi!

D’Alba. The Regent! He is dead.

Annab. Heaven hath been merciful.

D’Alba. Is there no other name? no dearer?

Annab. Ha!

D’Alba. Had’st thou such tender love for this high father,
Who little recked of thee, or thy fair looks,—
Is all beside forgotten?

Annab. Speak.

D’Alba. Why, Julian!
Julian, I say!

Annab. He is beyond thy power.
Thanks, thanks, great heav’n! He’s ruined, exiled, stripped
Of name, and land, and titles. He’s as dead.
Thou hast no power to harm him. He can fall
No deeper. Earth hath not a lowlier state

Than princely Julian fills.

D’Alba. The grave! The grave
Lies
deeper!

Annab. What? But thou hast not the power!
Hast thou? Thou can’st not! Oh, be pitiful!
Speak.—I conjure thee, speak!

D’Alba. Didst thou not hear
That he was exiled, outlawed, banished far
From the Sicilian Isles, on pain of death,
If, after noon to-day, he e’er were seen
In Sicily? The allotted bark awaits;
The hour is past, and he is here.

Annab. Now, heaven,
Have mercy on us! D’Alba, at thy feet
Upon my bended knees—Oh pity! pity!
Pity and pardon! I’ll not rise. I cannot.
I cannot stand more than a creeping worm,
Whilst Julian’s in thy danger. Pardon him!

Thou wast not cruel once. I’ve seen thee turn
Thy step from off the path, to spare an insect;
I’ve marked thee shudder, when my falcon struck
A panting birdthough thou hast tried to sneer
At thy own sympathy. D’Alba, thy heart
Is kinder than thou knowest.—Save him, D’Alba!
Save him!

D’Alba. Be mine.

Annab. Am I not his?

D’Alba. Be mine,
And he shall live to the whole age of man
Unharmed.

Annab. I’m his.—Oh, spare him! only his.

D’Alba. Then, it is thou, that dost enforce the law
On Julian—Thou, his loving wife, that guid’st
The Officer to seize him, where he lies
Upon his father’s corse.—Thou, that dost lead
Thy husband to the scaffold—Thou, his wife!

His loving wife! Thou yet may’st rescue him.

Annab. Now, heav’n forgive thee, man! Thou torturest me
Worse than a thousand racks. But thou art not
So devilish, D’Alba! Thou hast talked of love
Would’st see me die here at thy feet? Have mercy!

D’Alba. Mercy! Aye, such as thou hast shewn to me
Through weeks, and months, and years. I was born strong
In scorn, the wise man’s passion. I had lived
Aloof from the juggling world, and with a string shrug
Watched the poor puppets ape their several parts,
Fool, knave, or madman; till thy fatal charms,
Beautiful mischief, made me knave and fool,
And madman; brought Revenge, and Love, and Hate
Into my soul. I love, and hate thee, lady,
And doubly hate myself for loving thee.
But, by this teeming earth, this glorious heaven,
And by thyself, the fairest, stubbornst thing,
The fair stars shine upon, I swear to-night

Thou shalt be mine. If willingly, I’ll save
Prince Julian. But still mine. Speak. Shall he live?
Can’st thou not speak? Wilt thou not save him?

Annab. No.

D’Alba. Did she die with the word! Did’st hear me, lady?
I asked thee, would’st thou save thy husband?

Annab. No. Not so! not so!


D’Alba. ’Tis well!

Exit Count D’Alba.
Annab. Stay! Stay! He’s gone.
Count D’Alba! save him! Save him! D’Alba’s gone!
And I have sentenc’d him!
After a pause
He would have chosen so.
Would rather have died a thousand deaths, than to
Have lived. Oh, who will succour me, shut up
In this lone tower! none but those horrid guards,
(There’s treachery in their face) know where the poor

Poor Annabel is hidden. No man cares
How she may perish.—Only one, and he—
Preserve my wits! I’ll count my beads. It will calm me
What, if I hang my rosary from the casement?
There is a brightness in the gorgeous Jewels
To catch men’s eyes, and, haply, some may pass
That are not merciless. This window’s closed;
But in yon Chamber—Ah, ’tis open! There
I’ll hang the holy gem, a guiding star,
A visible prayer to man and god. Oh, save me
From sin and shame! Save him! I’ll hang it there.

Exit.
End of the Fourth Act



Act 5th
Scene 1st
Same
as the last.—The small door nearly closed.—A light from the setting sun thro’ the window
Annabel (alone)
Annabel. I cannot rest, I wander to & fro
Within my dreary prison, as to seek
For comfort, and find none. Each hour hath killed
A hope that seemed the last. The shadows point
UpwardThe Sun is sinking. Guard me, Heaven,
Thro’ this dread night!
Gun heard.
What evil sounds? All sounds
Are evil here!--Is there some murder doing?
Or wantonly, in sport

Enter Julian Thro’ the small door.
Julian. Annabel!

Anna. Julian!

Julian. My wife! art thou still mine?

Anna. Thine own!


Julian. She smiles!
She clings to me! Her eyes are fixed on me
With the old love, the old divinest look
Of innocence! It is yet time. She’s pure,
She’s undefiled.—Speak to me, Annabel!
Tremble not so!

Anna. ’Tis joy.—Oh, I have been
So wretched! And to see thee when I thought
We ne’er should meet again!--How did’st thou find me?

Julian. The Rosary! the blessed rosary
Shone in the Sunbeam like a beacon fire;
A guiding star.—Thrice holy was the light
That led me here to save—

Anna. Oh! blessings on thee!
How? Where? what way? the iron door is barred.
Where did’st thou enter, Julian?

Julian. Thro’ the Casement
Of yonder chamber.


Anna. What, that grim ascent?
That aweful depth? Did’st thou dare this for me?
And must I—? But I fear not. I’ll go with thee.
I’m safe of foot, and lightI’ll go.

Julian. Thou can’st not.

Anna. Then go thyself, or he will find thee here,
He, and his ruffian bandLet us part now.
Kiss me again!--Fly, fly from Sicily!
That fearful man! But he is all one lie,
Told me thy life was forfeited.

Julian. He told thee
A truth.

Anna. Oh! fly, fly, fly!

Julian. My Annabel,
The bloodhounds that he laid upon the scent
Have tracked me hither.—Did’st thou hear a gun?
For once the ball passed harmless.


Anna. Art thou hurt?
Art sure thou art not?

Julian. Yes, but they who aimed
That death, are on the watchTheir quarry’s lodged.
We can escape them—one way—only one way.

Anna. How? What way?

Julian. Ask not.

Anna. Whither?

Julian. To my father.

Anna. Then he’s alive!--Oh, happiness! They told me
That he was dead.—Why do we loiter here?
Let’s join him now.

Julian. Not yet.

Anna. Now, now! Thou know’st not

How horribly these walls do picture to me
The several agonies whereof my soul
Hath drunk to-day.—I have been tempted, Julian,
By one—a fiend!—Tempted ’till I almost thought
Heaven had forsaken me.—But thou art here,
To save me, and my pulse beats high again
With love & hope. I am light-hearted now,
And could laugh, like a child—only these walls
Do crowd around me with a visible weight
Of a palpable pressure, giving back the forms
Of wildest thoughts, that wandered through my brain,
Bright chattering madness, and sedate despair,
And great unreal—Take me hence!
Take with thee!

Julian. Not yet,
Thou sweetest wretch! I cannot.—Dotard! Fool!
I must—not yet, not yet.—Talk to me, Annabel;
This is the hour when thou wast wont to make
Earth, Heaven with lovely words; the sunset hour
That woke thy spirit into joy.—Once more
Talk to me, Annabel!


Anna. Aye, all day long
When we are free. Thy voice is choaked, thy looks
Are not on me; thy hand doth catch
And grasp mine painfullythat gentle hand!

Julian. Oh! Heaven! Oh Heaven? That right hand.—Kiss it not!
Take thy lips from it!

Anna. Can’st thou save me, Julian?
Thou always dost speak truth.—Can’st save thyself?
Shall we go hence together?

Julian. Ayeone fate,
One home!

Anna. Why that is bliss!--We shall be free
Shall we not, Julian? I shall have a joy
I never looked for, I shall work for thee,
Shall tend thee, be thy page, thy all!
Shall I not, Julian?

Julian. Annabel, look forth

Upon this glorious world! Look once again
On our fair Sicily, lit by that sun,
Whose level beams do cast a golden shine
On sea, and shore, and city, on the pride
Of bowery groves, on Etna’s smouldering top!
Oh, bright and glorious world! And thou of all
Created things most glorious, tricked in light
As the stars that live in Heaven!

Anna. Why dost thou gaze
So sadly on me?

Julian. The bright stars how oft
They fall, or seem to fall!--The Sun—Look, look,
He sinks, he sets in glory.—Blessed orb
Like thee,—like thee. Dost thou remember once
We sat by the Sea-shore, when all the Heaven
And all the Ocean seemed one glow of fire?—



There
we sate, and talked,


And thou didst wish thyself
A spirit sailing in that flood of light
Straight to the Eternal Gates, did’t pray to pass
Away in such a glory.—Annabel,

Look out upon the burning sky, the Sea
One lucid ruby—’Tis the very hour!
Thou’lt be a Seraph at the fount of light before


Anna. What, must I die? And wilt thou kill me?
Can’st thou? Thou cam’st to save—

Julian. To save thy honor.
I shall die with thee.

Anna. Oh, no! no! Live! Live!
If I must die—Oh, it is sweet to live,
To breathe, to move, to feel the throbbing blood,
Beat in the veins, to look on such an earth,
On such a Heaven, to look on thee! Young life
Is very dear!

Julian. Would’st live for D’Alba?

Anna. No.
I had forgot.—I’ll die.—Quick! quick!

Julian. One kiss!

Angel, dost thou forgive me?

Anna. Yes.

Julian. My sword,—
I cannot draw it.

Anna. Now!--I’m ready!

Enter Bertone and 2 others armed.
Bert. Seize him!
Yield thee, Prince Julian!--Yield thee! Seize the lady!

Julian. Oh, fatal, fond delay!--Dare not come near us.
Stand off! I’ll guard thee, sweet, but when I fall
Let him not triumph.

Bertone. Yield thee!
Strike him down! Now!

The two men have now advanced close to Julian, and one of them strikes at him with his Sword. Annabel rushes before Julian, receives the wound aimed at him, & falls dead at his feet.




Bertone.


Anna.





Anna. Rushing forward.
For thee!
after she is wounded
For thee! ’Tis sweet!
Dies.

Julian. Fiend! hast thou slain her? Die! die! die!
Kills him.


Bertone. Call instant help.
Exit the other bravo
Julian & Bertone fight, & Julian kills him

Julian. My Wife!
My murdered Wife! Doth she not breathe? I thought—
My sight is dim—Oh, ho! she’s pale, she’s cold,
She’s still!--If she were living, she would speak
To comfort me.—She’s mute, she’s stiff, she’s dead!
Why do I shiver at the word? I, that am
Death’s factor? Peopler of unhallowed graves?
Slayer of all my race? Not thee! not thee!
Heaven, in its mercy, guided the keen sword
To thy white bosom.—I could not.—Lie there!
I’ll shroud thee in my mantle.—The rude earth


Will veil thy beauty next.—One kiss! She died
To save me!--One kiss, Annabel!

But the fiend—the cause—
Is he not coming?—I will chain in life
Till I’ve avenged thee!--I could slay an army
Now, in my strong despair.—But that were mercy.—
He must wear daggers in his heartHe loved her;
I’ll feed his hopes, and then—Aye, ha, ha, ha!
That will be a revenge to make the fiends
Laugh—ha, ha, ha!--I’ll wrap me in this cloak,

And in the twilight—So!He will not know
My voice—It frightens me!--I have not hidden
Thee quite, my AnnabelThere is one tress
Floating in springy grace,—as if—she’s dead!
She’s dead!--I must not gaze, for then my heart
Will break before it’s time.—He comes!--The stairs
Groan at his pressure.

Enter D’Alba, speaking to an Attendant.
D’Alba.
Stop, and watch the gate.
All’s tranquil. Where’s the traitor?

Julian. Dead!

D’Alba. Who slew him?


Julian. I.

D’Alba. And the Lady—where is she?

Julian. At rest.

D’Alba. Fair gentleness! After this perilous storm
She needs must lack repose.—I’ll wait her here.
Friend, thou hast done good service to the state,
And me—We’re not ungratefulJulian’s sword
Fails him not often, and the slave who fled
Proclaimed him Victor.

Julian. He slew two.

D’Alba. And thou
Slew’st him? Aye, there he lies in the ermined cloak
Of royalty, his haughty shroud.



Let not mine enemy
Call me ungenerous.—Roll him in his ermine,
And dig a hole without the city gate
For him and the great Regent.—Quick! I’ll have

The funeral speedy.—Ah, the slaughtering sword
Lies by him, brown with clotted gore.—Hence! Hence!
And drag the Carrion with thee!

Julian. Wilt thou not
Look on the Corse?

D’Alba. I cannot wait her waking.
I must go feast my eyes on her fair looks—
Divinest Annabel!—my widowed bride!
Where is she?

Julian.
There! Now gaze thyself to Hell!
Gloat with hot love upon that beauteous dust!
She’s safe! She’s dead!

D’Alba. Julian!

Julian. But touch her not!
She’s mine.

D’Alba. Oh, perfectest and loveliest thing!
Eternal curses rest upon his head

Who murdered thee!

Julian. Off! off! pollute her not!
She’s white! she’s pure!--Curses! Pour curse for curse
On the foul murderer, on him who turned
The sweet soul from her home, who slew her father,
Hunted her husband as a beast of prey,
Pursued, imprisoned, lusted, left no gate
Open, save that to HeavenOff! gaze not on her!
Thy look is profanation!
Throwing himself on the body.
Enter Alfonso, Leanti, Valore & Guards.

Alfon.
Now, Leanti,
This way!—Oh, sight of horror! Julian! Julian!

Valore. The Princess dead!—Why, D’Alba—

Leanti. Seize him, guards;
Lead him before the States.—This bloody scene
Calls for deep vengeance!

D’Alba. If I were not weary
Of a world that sweats under a load of fools,

Old creaking vanes, that turn as the wind changes,
Lords, I’d defy ye!
And I defy ye now.—For she is gone—
The glorious vision!--And the Patriarch’s years
Were valueless.—Do with me as ye will;
Ye cannot call back her.

Leanti. Off with him!
Exit D’Alba guarded.

Alfon. Julian!
Wilt thou not speak?

Julian. I have been thanking Heaven
That she is dead.

Valore. His wits are gone.

Alfon. My Julian,
Look on me.—Dost thou know me? I’m thy Cousin,
Thy comforter!

Julian. She was my comforter!

And now—but I do know thee, thou’rt the King,
The pretty boy I loved.—She loved thee too.—
I’m glad thou’rt come to close my eyes.—Draw nearer,
That I may see thy face.—Where art thou?

Alfon. Here!

Julian. Poor child, he weeps! Send for the honored dead
Beside the city gatehe pardoned me!
Bury us in one graveall in one grave!
I did not kill her—Strew her with white flowers,
For she was innocent!

Leanti. Cheer thee! Take hope!

Valore. Raise up his head!

Alfon. My Julian!

Julian. He forgave me,
Thou know’st he did.—White flowers—nothing but white.
Dies.


Leanti. He is gone!

Alfon. And I am left in the wide world
Alone.—My Julian!

End of the Play.





pub_1823 : Digitized reproduction of the 2nd edition of Julian, A Tragedy in Five Acts by Mary Russell Mitford London G. and W. B. Whittaker, Ave-Maria Lane. 1823 . Digitized by Google Books Feb 23, 2006.
Change
I.
Scene 1:
An Apartment in the Royal Palace.
An Apartment in the Royal Palace. Julian sleeping on a Couch. Annabel.
Annab. No; still he sleeps! ’Twas but the myrtle bud
Tapping against the casement, as the wind
Stirred in the leafy branches. Well he loved
That pleasant bird-like sound, which, as a voice
Summon’d us forth into the fresher air
Of eve, or early morn. Ah! when again—
And yet his sleep is hopeful. For seven nights
He had not tasted slumber. Who comes here?
Enter Alfonso as Theodore
The gentle page! Alas! To wake him now!
Hush, Theodore! Tread softly—softlier, boy!

Alfon- Doth he still sleep?

Annab. Speak lower.

Alfon Doth he sleep?

Annab Avoid the couch; come this way; close to me.

He sleeps. He hath not moved in all the hours
That thou hast been away.

Alfon. Then we may hope,
Dear lady, we may hope!

Annab. Alas! Alas!
See how he lies, scarce breathing. Whilst I hung
Over his couch I should have thought him dead,
but for his short and frequent sighs.

Alfon Ah me!
Not even in slumber can he lose the sense
Of that deep misery; and I—he wakes!
Dost thou not see the quivering mantle heave
With sudden motion?

Annab. Thou hast wakened him.
Thy clamorous grief hath roused him. Hence! Begone!
Leave me!

Alfon. And yet his eyes are closed. He sleeps.
He did but move his hand.

Annab. How changed he is!
How pale! How wasted! Can one little week

Of pain and sickness so have faded thee,
My princely Julian! But eight days ago
There lived not in this gladsome Sicily
So glad a spirit. Voice, and step, and eye,
All were one happiness; till that dread hour,
When drest in sparkling smiles, radiant and glowing,
With tender thoughts, he flew to meet the King
And his great father. He went forth alone;
Frenzy and grief came back with him.

Alf. And I,
Another grief.

Annab. Thou wast a comforter.
All stranger as thou art, hast thou not shared
My watch as carefully, as faithfully,
As I had been thy sister? Aye, and he
If ever in this wild mysterious woe
One sight or sound hath cheered him, it hath been
A glance, a word of thine.

Alf. He knows me not.

Ann. He knows not me.


Alfon. I never heard before
That ’twas to meet the King yon fatal night
Knowingly, purposely How could he guess
That they should meet? What moved him to that thought?

Annab. Stranger, although thou be, thou canst but know
Prince Julian’s father is the regent here,
And rules for his young kinsman King Alfonso!

Alfon. Aye—Poor Alfonso!

Annab. Wherefore pity him?

Alfon. I know notbut I am an orphan too!
I interrupt thee, lady.

Annab. Yet, in truth,
A gentle pity lingers round the name
Of King Alfonso orphaned, as thou sayst,
And drooping into sickness when he lost
His father, ever since, the mournful boy
Hath dwelt in the Villa d’Oro.

Alf. Hast thou seen him?

Annab. The King? No— I’m of Naples. When Prince Julian
First brought me here a bride, his royal cousin
Was fixed beside his father’s dying bed.
I never saw him: yet I know him well;
For I have sate and listen’d, hour by hour,
To hear my husband speak of the fair Prince,

And his excelling virtues.

Alf. Did he?—Ah!--
But ’twas his wont, talking of those he loved,
To gild them with the rich, and burnish’d glow
Of his own brightness, as the evening sun
Decks all the clouds in glory.

Annab. Very dear
Was that young boy to Julian. ’Twas a friendship,
Fonder than common, blended with a kind
Protecting tenderness; such as brother
Might fitly shew unto the younger born.

Alfon. Oh, he hath proved it.

Annab. Thou dost know them both?

Alfon. I do. Say on, dear lady.

Annab. Three weeks since
The Duke of Melfi went to bring his ward
Here to Messina


Alfon. To be crowned. They came not.
But wherefore went Prince Julian forth to meet them?

Annab. Father nor cousin came; nor messenger,
From Regent or from King; and Julian chafed
And fretted at delay. At length, a peasant,
No liveried groom; a slow foot-pacing serf,

Brought tidings that the royal two, that morn
Left Villa d’Oro. Glowing from the chase
Prince Julian stood, the bridle in his hand,
New lighted, soothing now his prancing steed.

And prattling now to me;— for I was still
So foolish fond to fly into the porch
To meet him, when I heard the quick sharp tread
Of that bright Arab, whose proud step I knew
Even as his master’s voice
. He heard the tale
And instant sprang again into his seat,
Wheeled round, and darted off at such a pace
As the fleet greyhound, at her speed, could scarce
Have matched.
He spake no word; but as he passed,

Just glanced back at me, with his dancing eyes,
And such a smile of joy, and such a wave
Of his plumed bonnet ! His return thou know’st.

Alfon. I was his wretched partner.

Annab. He on foot,
Thou on the o’er-travelled horse, slow, yet all stained
With sweat, and panting, as if fresh escaped
From hot pursuit; and how he called for wine
For his poor Theodore, his faithful page;

Then sate him down and shook with the cold fit
Of anguish fever, till the strong couch rocked
Like a child’s cradle. There he sate and sigh’d;
And then the frenzy came. Theodore!

Alfon. Lady!

Annab. He utters nought but madness;—yet sometimes,
Athwart his ravings, I have thought—have feared—
Theodore, thou must know the cause?

Alfon. Too well.

Annab. Oh, tell me

Alfon. Hush! He wakes.

Alfonso retires behind the couch, out of Julian’s sight.

Annab. Going to Julian, whilst Alfonso keeps behind the couch, out of his sight
Julian
! Dear Julian!

Julian Sure I have slept a long, long while! Where am I?
How came I hither? Whose kind hand is this?
My Annabel!

Annab. Oh, what a happiness
To see thee gently wake from gentle sleep!

Art thou not better? Shall I raise thee up?

Julian Aye, dearest. Have I then been ill? I’m weak,
I trouble thee, my sweet one.

Annab. ’Tis a joy
To minister unto thee.

Julian Wipe my brow.
And part these locks, that the fresh air may cool
My forehead; feel; it burns.

Annab. Alas! how wild
This long neglect hath made thy glossy curls,
How tangled!

Julian I am faint. Pray, lay me down.
Surely the day is stifling

Annab. There. Good boy.
Throw wide the casement. Doth not the soft breeze
Revive thee?

Julian
Yes. I’m better. I will rise.
Raise me again;—more upright;— So! Dear wife,
A sick man is as wayward as a child;

Have I been long ill?

Annab. A week.

Julian I have no memory of aught. ’Tis just
Like waking from a dream; a horrible
Confusion of strange miseries; crime and blood
And all I love.— Great Heaven, how clear it seems!
How like a truth! I thought that I rode forth
On my white Barbary horseSay, did I ride
Alone that day?

Annab. Yes.

Julian. Did I? Could I? No.
Thou dost mistake. I did not. Yet ’tis strange
How plain that horror lives within my brain
As what hath been.

Annab. Forget it.

Julian. Annabel,
I thought I was upon that gallant steed
At his full pace. Like clouds before the wind
We flew, as easily as the strong bird
That soars nearest the sun; till in a pass,

Between the mountains, screams and cries of help
Rang in mine ears, and I beheld—O God!
It was not—Could not—No. I have been sick
Of a sharp fever, and delirium shews,
And to the bodily sense makes palpable,
Unreal forms, objects of sight and sound
Which have no being save in the burning brain
Of the poor sufferer. Why should it shake me!

Annab. Couldst thou walk to the window and quaff down
The fragrant breeze, it would revive thee more
Than food or sleep. Forget these evil dreams.
Canst thou not walk?

Julian. I’ll try.

Annab. Lean upon me,
And Theodore. Approach dear boy; support him.
Alfonso approaches Julian

Julian. seeing Alfonso
Ha! Art thou here? Thou! I am blinded, dazzled!
Is this a vision, this fair shape that seems
A living child? Do I dream now?


Annab. He is
Young Theodore. The page, who that sad night
Returned

Julian. Then all is real. Lay me down
That I may die

Alfon. Alas! I feared too surely
That when he saw me,—

Annab. Julian! This is grief,
Not sickness. Julian!

Alfon. Rouse him not, dear lady!
See how his hands are clenched. Waken him not
To frenzy. Oh that I alone could bear
This weight of misery.

Annab. He knows the cause,
And I— It is my right, my privilege
To share thy woes, to soothe them. I’ll weep with thee,
And that will be a comfort. Didst thou think

Thou could’st be dearer to me than before
When thou wast well and happy? But thou art
Now. Tell me this secret. I’ll be faithful,
I’ll never breathe a word. Oh spare my heart
This agony of doubt! What was the horror
That maddened thee?

Julian. Within the rifted rocks
Of high Albano, rotting in a glen,
Dark, dark at very noon, a father lies
Murdered by his own son.

Annab. And thou didst see
The deed! An awful sight to one so good!
Yet—

Julian. Birds obscene, and wolf, and ravening fox,
Ere this— only the dark hairs on the ground.
And the brown crusted blood! And she can ask
Why I am mad!

Annab. Oh! a thrice awful night
To one so duteous! Holy priests should lave
With blessed water that foul spot, and thou,
Pious and pitying, thou shalt—


Julian. Hear at once,
Innocent Torturer, that drop by drop
Pour’st molten lead into my woundsthat glen—
Hang not upon me!—In that darksome glen
My father lies. I am a murderer,
A parricide, accurst of God and man.
Let go my hand! purest and whitest saint,
Let go!

Annab. This is a madness. Even now
The fever shakes him.

Julian. Why, the mad are happy!
Annabel, this is a soul-slaying truth.
There stands a witness.

Alfon. Julian knew him not.
It was to save a life, a worthless life.
Oh that I had but died beneath the sword
That seemed so terrible! That I had ne’er
Been born to grieve thee Julian! Pardon me,
Dear lady, pardon me!

Annab. Oh, gentle boy,

How shall we soothe this grief?

Alfon. Alas! alas!
Why did he rescue me! I’m a poor orphan;
None would have wept for me; I had no friend
In all the worldsave one. I had been reared.
In simpleness; a quiet grave had been
A fitter home for me than the rude
world;
A mossy heap
, no stone, no epitaph,
Save the brief words of grief and praise (for Grief
Is still a Praiser) he perchance had spoke
When they first told him the poor boy was dead.

Shame on me, that I shunned the sword!

Julian. By Heaven,
It could not be a crime to save thee! kneel
Before him, Annabel. He is the king

Annab. Alfonso?

Alfon. Aye, so please you, fairest Cousin,
But still your servant. Do not hate me, Lady,
Though I have caused this misery. We have shared
One care, one fear, one hope, have watched and wept
Together. Oh how often I have longed,
As we sate silent by his restless couch,
To fall upon thy neck and mix our tears,
And talk of him. I am his own poor Cousin.
Thou wilt not hate me?


Annab. Save that lost one, who
Could hate such innocence?

Julian. ’Twas not in hate,
But wild ambition. No ignoble sin
Dwelt in his breast. Ambition, mad ambition,
That was his Idol. To that bloody god
He offered up the milk-white sacrifice,
The pure, unspotted Victim. And even then,
Even in the crime, without a breathing space
For penitence, or prayer, my sword—Alfonso,
Thou would’st have gone to Heaven.

Annab. Art thou certain
That he is dead?

Julian. I saw him fall. The ground
Was covered with his blood.

Annab. Tell me the tale.
Didst thou— I would not wantonly recall
That scene of anguish—Didst thou search his wound?

Julian. Annabel, in my eyes that scene will dwell
For ever, shutting out all lovely sights,
Even thee, my Beautiful! That torturing thought
Will burn a living fire within my breast
Perpetually; words can nothing add,
And nothing take away. Fear not my frenzy;
I am calm now. Thou know’st how buoyantly
I darted from thee, straight o’er vale and hill,
Counting the miles by minutes. At the pass
Between the Albano mountains, I first breathed
A moment my hot steed, expecting still
To see the royal escort. Afar off
As I stood, shading with my hand my eyes,
I thought I saw them; when at once I heard
From the deep glen, east of the pass, loud cries
Of mortal terror. Even in agony
I knew the voice, and darting through the trees.
I saw Alfonso, prostrate on the ground,
Clinging around the knees of one, who held
A dagger over him in act to strike,
Yet with averted head, as if he feared
To see his innocent victim. His own face
Was hidden ; till at one spring I plunged my sword

Into his side; then our eyes met, and he—
That was the mortal blow! —screamed and stretched out
His hands. Falling and dying as he was,
He half rose up, hung speechless in the air,
And looked—Oh what had been the bitterest curse
To such a look! It smote me like a sword!

Here, here . He died.

Annab. And thou?

Julian. I could have lain
In that dark glen for ever; but there stood
The dear-bought, and the dear, kinsman and prince
And friend. We heard the far-off clang of steeds
And armed men, and fearing some new foe,
Came homeward.

Annab. And did he, then, the unhappy,
Remain upon the ground?

Julisn. Alas! he did.

Annab. Oh! it was but a swoon. Listen, dear Julian,
I tell thee I have comfort.

Julian. There is none
Left in the world. But I will listen to thee
My Faithfullest.

Annab. Count D’Alba sent to crave
An audience. Thou wast sleeping. I refused
To see him; but his messenger revealed

To Constance his high tidings, which she poured
In my unwilling ears, for I so feared
To wake thee, that ere half her tale was told
I chid her from me; yet she surely said
The Duke thy father—

Julian. What?

Annab. Approached the city.

Julian. Alive? Alive? Oh no! no! no! Dead! Dead!
The corse, the clay-cold corse!

Annab. Alive, I think;
But Constance—

Alf. He will sink under this shock
Of hope.

Annab. Constance heard all.

Julian. Constance! What ho,
Constance!

Annab. She hears thee not.

Julian. Go seek her! Fly!
If he’s alive—Why art thou not returned,

When that one little word will save two souls!
Exit Annabel.

Alfon. Take patience, dearest Cousin!

Julian. Do I not stand
Here like a man of marble? Do I stir?
She creeps; she creeps. Thou would’st have gone and back
In half the time.

Alfon. Nay, nay, ’tis scarce a minute.

Julian. Thou may’st count hours and ages on my heart.
Is she not coming?

Alfon. Shall I seek her?

Julian. Hark!
They’ve met. There are two steps; two silken gowns
Rustling; one whispering voice. Annabel! Constance.
Is he—one word! Only one word!
Enter Annabel.

Annab. He lives.

Julian sinks on his knees before the couch; Alfonso and Annabel go to him, and the scene falls.
End of the First Act.



II.
Scene 1
A splendid Hall of Audience in the Royal Palace.
D’Alba and Bertone.
D’Alba. Again refuse to see me!

Bert. Nay, my lord,
She’s still beside her husband’s couch, and Paolo
Refused to bear the message.

D’Alba. Even her lacquey
Reads my hot love and her contempt. No matter!
How’s Julian?

Bert. Mending fast.

D’Alba. He’ll live! He’ll live!
She watches over him, making an air
With her sweet breath;—he’ll be immortal! Yet
If that dark tale be trueor halfBertone,
Haste to the Court of Guard; seek Juan Castro,
A Spanish soldier; lead him home. I’ll join ye.
Hence! I expect the Barons, whom I summoned
To meet me here. Come back. See if the Princess

Will now admit me. No! ’twould wake suspicion.
Hence to the Court of Guard
Exit Bertone
I think that scorn
Doth fan love more than beauty. Twice to-day
Have I paced patiently these royal halls,
Like some expecting needy courtier. Swell not,
Proud charmer, thy vast debt! Where lag these Barons?
Methinks this change might rouse—
Enter Calvi, followed by other Nobles.
Ha! Calvi, welcome.

Calvi. A fair good morrow, D’Alba!

D’Alba. Hast thou heard
These heavy tidings? The young kingKing—
Approaching to meet
the other Lords as they enter.
My Lords,
Good morrow’s out of date. Know ye the news?
So men salute to-day.

Calvi. Alfonso dead?

D’Alba. Murdered.

Calvi. And Melfi King.


D’Alba. Aye, here’s a letter.giving a letter to Calvi.

From
the great Regent—Pshaw! how my rude tongue
Stumbles at these new dignities !--the King.
Therefore I summoned ye. He will be here
Anon.
Enter Valore and other Nobles.
Valore, thou art late.

Valore. This tale
Puts lead into men’s heels. How fell it?

D’Alba. Read!
Count Calvi! Read!

Calvi. reads
Alfonso being dead, and I hurt almost to death, they left me fainting on the ground, where I lay till a poor but honest muleteer bore me to his hut.—-
He hath been wounded!

D’Alba. He’s alive. The boy!
Only the pretty boy! Read on. Read on.

Calvi. reads
Make known these missives to our loyal people. We shall follow them straight. From your loving cousin,
"The King."



Valore. The King. How he will wear his state! Why, D’Alba,
Thy worshipped Annabel chose well; she’ll be
A Queen.

D’Alba. Yet, my poor title, had she graced it,
Comes by unquestion’d sheer descent, unstain’d
By dark, mysterious murder. My good fathers—
Heaven rest their souls!—lie safely in the churchyard,
A simple race; whilst these high Princes—Sirs,
These palace walls have echoes, or I’d tell ye
’Tis a deep riddle, but amongst them all
The pretty boy is dead.
Enter Leanti
Leanti!

Leanti. Lords,
The King is at the gate.

D’Alba. The King! Now, Sirs,
Don your quick smiles, and bend your supple knees;—
The King!
Enter Melfi.
aside
He’s pale, he hath been hurt.aloud
My liege,
Your vassals bid you welcome.


Melfi. Noble Signors,
I greet you well. Thanks, D’Alba. Good Leanti
I joy to see those reverend locks. I never
Thought to behold a friendly face again.
And now I bring ye sorrow. Death hath been
Too busy; though the ripe and bearded ear
Escap’d his sickle—but ye know the tale;
Ye welcomed me as King; and I am spared
The painful repetition.

Valore. Sire, we know
From your own royal hand enough for joy
And sorrow. Death hath ta’en a goodly child
And spared a glorious man. But how—

Melfi. My lord,
What wouldst thou more? Before I entered here
Messina’s general voice had hailed her Sovereign.
Lacks but the ceremonial form. ’Twere best
The accustomed pageant were performed even now,
Whilst ye, Sicilian Barons, strength and grace
Of our Sicilian realm, are here to pledge
Solemn allegiance. Say I sooth, Count D’Alba?

D’Alba. In sooth my liege, I know not. Seems to me
One form is wanting. Our bereaved state
Stands like a widow, one eye dropping tears
For her lost lord, the other turned with smiles
On her new bridegroom. But even she, the Dame
Of Ephesus, the buxom relict, famed
For quick dispatch o’er every widowed mate,
Woman or stateeven she, before she wed,
Saw the good man entombed. The Funeral first;
And then the Coronation.

Melfi. Scoffer! Lords,
The corse is missing.

Calvi. Ha! Perchance he lives?

Melfi. He fell, I tell thee.

Valore. And the Assassin?

Melfi. He
Escaped, when I too fell.

D’Alba. He! Why, my liege,
Was there but one?


Melfi. What mean ye, Sirs? Stand off.

D’Alba. Cannot your Highness guess the murderer?

Melfi. Stand from about me, Lords! Dare ye to front
A King? What do ye doubt me; you, or you?
Dare ye to doubt me? Dare ye look a question
Into mine eyes? Take thy gaze off! A King
Demands a modester regard. Now, Sirs,
What do ye seek? I tell ye, the fair boy
Fell underneath the assassin’s sword; and I,
Wounded almost to death, am saved to prove
My subjects’ faith, to punish, to reward,
To reign, I tell ye, nobles. Now, who questions?
Who glares upon me now? What! are ye mute?

Leanti. Deign to receive our homage, Sire, and pardon
The undesigned offence. Your Highness knows
Count D’Alba’s mood.

Melfi. And he knows mine. Well! Well!

Be all these heats forgotten.


Calvi. to D’Alba
How his eye
Wanders around the circle.

Melfi. Ye are met,
Barons of Sicily, in such august
And full assemblage as may well beseem
Your office, honour well yourselves and me;
Yet one is missing,—greatest, first and best,—
My son. Knows not Prince Julian that his father
Is here? Will he not come? Go, some one say
That I would see him.
Exit Calvi

Valore. Sire, the Prince hath lain
Sick of a desperate malady.

Melfi. Alas!
And I—Sick didst thou say?

Valore. Eight days have passed
Since he hath left his couch.

Leanti. He’s better now.
The gentle Princess, who with one young page
Hath tended him—

Melfi. What page?

Leanti. A stranger boy,
Seen but of few, young Theodore.

Melfi. A stranger!
Say on. The Princess—?

Leanti. As I crossed the hall,
I met her, with her own glad step, her look
Of joy; and when I asked how fared Prince Julian?
She put her white hands into mine, with such
A smile, and then passed on.

Melfi. Without a word?

Leanti. Without a word, save the mute eloquence
Of that bright smile.


D’Alba.aside
Oh ’twas enough! on him!
Smile on that dotard! Whilst Ialoud
Why my lords,
Here’s a fine natural sympathy; the son
Sickens at the father’s wound! The very day!
The very hour! He must have known the deed
Perchance he knows the assassin—

Melfi. Stop.

D’Alba. My liege,
I speak it in his honour. Many an heir
Had been right glad to step into a throne
Just as the mounting pulse of youth beat high;—
A soldier too! and with a bride so fair,
So delicate, so fashioned for a Queen
By cunning nature. But he—for full surely
He knew—

Melfi. Stop. No, no, no, he knew it not!
He is my son.
Enter Calvi, followed by Julian.

Calvi. My liege, the Prince!


Melfi. Already!
Pardon me, good my lords, that I request
A moment’s loneliness. We have been near
To death since last—Have touched upon the grave,
And there are thoughts, which only our own hearts
Should hear. I pray ye pardon me. I’ll join ye
Within the hour for the procession.
Exeunt D’Alba, Leanti, Valore, Calvi &c.

Julian!


Julian.

Melfi.

Julian. Father!

Melfi. I know what thou would’st say. The hat
And sable plumes concealed—No more of it
.







Jul. Oh, Father!

Melfi. Rise, my son. Let us forget
What—How is Annabel? They say she has been
A faithful nurse.
Thou hast been sick?

Julian. I’m well.

Melfi. Fie! when thou tremblest so.

Julian. I’m well. I have been
Sick, brainsick, heartsick, mad. I thought—I feared—
It was a foretaste of the pains of Hell
To be so mad and yet retain the sense
Of that which made me so. But thou art here,
And I—Oh nothing but a fathers heart
Could ever have forgiven!


Melfi. No more. No more!
Thou hast not told me of thy wife.


Julian. She waits


To pay her duty.

Melfi. Stay. Count D’Alba looked
With evil eyes upon thee, and on me
Cast his accustomed tauntings. Is there aught

Amiss between ye?

Julian. No.

Melfi. He hath not yet
Perhaps forgotten your long rivalry
For Annabel’s fair hand. A dangerous meaning
Lurked in those bitter gibes. A dangerous foe
Were D’Alba. Julian, the sea breeze to thee
Brings health, and strength, and joy. I have an errand
As far as Madrid. None so well as thou
Can bid it speed. There shalt away to day;—
Tis thy best medicine;—thou and thy young wife.
The wind is fair.

Julian. To day!

Melfi. Have I not said?

Julian. Send me just risen from a sick couch to Madrid!
Send me from home, from thee! Banish me! Father,
Canst thou not bear my sight?

Melfi. I cannot bear

Contention. Must I needs remind thee, Julian,
I have also been ill?

Julian. I’ll go to day.
How pale he is! I had not dared before
To look upon his face. I’ll go to day.

Melfi. This very hour?

Julian. This very hour.

Melfi. My son!
Now call thy—yet a moment. Where’s the boy
He shall aboard with thee—thy pretty page?

Julian. The King? Mean’st thou the King?

Melfi. He, whom thou call’st—

Julian. Wilt thou not say the King?

Melfi. Young Theodore.
Hearken, Prince Julian! I am glad, right glad
Of what hath chanced. ’Twas well to bring him hither,

And keep him at thy side. He shall away
To Spain with thee, that Theodore—Forget
All other titles. He’ll be glad of this.
A favourite page, a spoilt and petted boy,
To lie in summer gardens, in the shade
Of orange groves, whose pearly blossoms fall
Amidst his clustering curls, and to his lute
Sing tenderest ditties,—such his happy lot;
Whilst I—Go, bring thy wife.

Julian. He is the King.

Melfi. Call lady Annabel.

Julian. The King, I say,
The rightful King, the only King! I’ll shed
The last drop in my veins for King Alfonso.

Melfi. Once I forgave thee. But to beard me thus,
And for a weak and peevish youth, a faintling,
A boy of a girl’s temper; one who shrinks
Trembling and crouching at a look, a word,

A lifted finger, like a beaten hound.

Julian. Alas! poor boy! he hath no other friend
Since thou, who should’st defend him,—Father, Father,
Three months have scarcely passed since thy dear brother,
(Oh, surely thou lovedst him!) with the last words
He ever spake, besought thy guardian care
Of his fair child. Next upon me he turned
His dying eyes, quite speechless then, and thou
I could not speak, for poor Alfonso threw
Himself upon my breast, with such a gush
Of natural grief, I had no utterance—
But thou didst vow for both protection, faith,
Allegiance; thou didst swear so fervently,
So deeply, that the spirit flew to Heaven
Smiling. I’ll keep that oath.

Melfi. Even if again thy sword

Julian. Urge not that thought on me. ’Tis a fire
Here in my heart, my brain. Bethink thee, Father,
Soldier or statesman, thine is the first name

Of Sicily, the General, Regent, Prince,
The unmatch’d in power, the unapproach’d in fame;
What could that little word a King do more
For thee?

Melfi. That little word! Why that is fame,
And power and glory! That shall fill the world,
Lend a whole age its name, and float along
The stream of time, with such a buoyancy,
As shall endure when palaces and tombs
Are swept away like dust. That little word!
Beshrew thy womanish heart that cannot feel
Its spell!
Guns and shouts are heard without.
Hark! Hark! The guns! I feel it now.
I am proclaimed. Before I entered here
’Twas known throughout the city that I lived,
And the boy-king was dead.
Guns, bells, and shouts again.
Hark, King Rugiero!
Dost hear the bells, the shouts? Oh ’tis a proud
And glorious feeling thus at once to live
Within a thousand bounding hearts, to hear
The strong out-gushing of that present fame

For whose uncertain dim futurity
Men toil, and slay, and die! Without a crime—
I thank thee still for that—Without a crime
For he’ll be happierI am a King.
Shouts again.

Dost thou not hear Long live the King Rugiero?

Julian. The shout is weak.

Melfi. Augment it by thy voice.
Would the words choak Prince Julian? Cannot he
Wish long life to his Father?

Julian. Live, my Father!
Long live the Duke of Melfi!

Melfi. Live the King!

Julian. Long live the King Alfonso!

Melfi. Now, by Heaven,
Thou art still brainsick. There is a contagion
In the soft dreamy nature of that child,
That thou, a soldier—I was overproud
Of thee and thy young fame. That lofty brow

Seem’d form’d to wear a crown. Chiefly for thee—
Where is the Page?

Julian. Oh Father, once again
Take pity on us all! For me! For me!
Thou hast always been to me the kindest, fondest
Preventing all my wishes— I’ll not reason,
I’ll not contend with thee. Here at thy feet,
Prostrate in spirit as in form, I cry
For mercy! Save me from despair! from sin!

Melfi. Unmanly, rise! lest in that slavish posture
I treat thee as a slave.

Julian. Strike an thou wilt,
Thy words pierce deeper, to the very core!
Strike
an thou wilt; but hear me. Oh my Father,
I do conjure thee, by that name, by all
The boundless love it guerdons, spare my soul
This bitterness!

Melfi. I’ll reign.


Julian. Aye, reign indeed;
Rule
over mightier realms; be conqueror
Of crowned passions; king of thy own mind.
I’ve ever loved thee as a son,, do this
And I shall worship thee. I will cling to thee;
Thou shalt not shake me off.

Melfi. Go to; thou art mad.

Julian. Not yet; but thou may’st make me so.

Melfi. I’ll make thee
The heir of a fair crown.

Julian. Not all the powers
Of all the earth can force upon my brow
That heritage of guilt. Cannot I die?
But that were happiness. I’d rather drag
A weary life beneath the silent rule
Of the stern Trappist, digging my own grave,
Myself a living corse, cut off from the sweet
And natural kindness that man shews to man;
I’d rather hang, a hermit, on the steep

Of horrid Etna, between snow and fire;
Rather than sita crown’d and honour’d prince
Guarded by children, tributaries, friends,
On an usurper’s throne.

Guns without.
Melfi. I must away.
We’ll talk of this anon. Where is the boy.

Julian. Safe.

Melfi. Trifle not with my impatience, Julian;
Produce the child. Howe’er thou may deny
Allegiance to the king, obey thy father.

Julian. I had a father.

Melfi. Ha!

Julian. But he gave up
Faith, loyalty, and honour, and pure fame,
And his own son.

Melfi. My son!

Julian. I loved him once,
And dearly. Still too dearly! But with all
That burning, aching, passionate old love

Wrestling within my breast; even face to face;
Those eyes upon me; and that trembling hand
Thrilling my very heartstrings—Take it off!
In mercy, take it off!--Still I renounce thee.
Thou hast no son. I have no father. Go
Down to a childless grave.

Melfi. Even from the grave
A father’s curse may reach thee, clinging to thee
Cold as a dead man’s shroud, shadowing thy days,
Haunting thy dreams, and hanging, a thick cloud,
’Twixt thee and Heaven. Then, when perchance thine own
Small prattling pretty ones shall climb thy knee
And bid thee bless them, think of thy dead father,
And groan as thou dost now.
Guns again.
Hark! ’tis the hour!
I must away. Back to thy chamber, son,
And chuse if I shall curse thee.

Exit Melfi.
Julian.
Did he curse me?
Did he? Am I that withered, blasted wretch?
Is that the fire that burns my brain? Not yet!
Oh, do not curse me yet! He’s gone. The boy!
The boy!

Rushes out.
END OF THE SECOND ACT



ACT III
SCENE
.
A Magnificent Cathedral. A Gothic Monument in the Foreground, with Steps round it, and the Figure of an old Warrior on the top.
D’Alba, Leanti, Valore, Calvi, and other nobles.
Calvi. Where stays the King?

Leanti He’s robing to assume
The Crown.

Calvi. What a gloom reigns in the Cathedral!
Where are the people, who should make and grace
This pageant?

Valore. ’Tis too sudden.

D’Alba. Saw ye not
How coldly, as the slow procession moved,
Men’s eyes were fixed upon him? Silently
We passed amid dull silence. I could hear
The chink of money, which the heralds flung,
Reverberate on the pavement. They, who stooped
To gather up the coin, looked on the impress
Of young Alfonso, sighed and shook their heads

As ’twere his funeral.

Calvi. Methinks this place
The general tomb of his high line doth cry
Shame on us! The mute citizens do mourn him
Better than we.

D’Alba Therefore the gates are closed,
And none but peers of Sicily may pass
The guarded doors.

Leanti. Where is Prince Julian?

D’Alba. Sick
Here comes the Mighty One, and the great Prelates
That shall anoint his haughty brow; ’tis bent
With a stern joy.

Enter Melfi, in Royal Robes, preceded by Nobles, Officers, &c. bearing the Crown, Archbishop, Bishops, &c.
Melfi. No! To no tapered shrine.
Here, reverend Fathers, here! This is my altar:
The tomb of my great ancestor, who first
Won from the Paynim this Sicilian crown,
And wore it gloriously; whose name I bear

As I will bear his honour’d sceptre. Here,
At this most kingly altar, will I plight
My vow to Sicily, the nuptial vow
That links my fate to her’s. Here I’ll receive
Her Barons’ answering faith. Hear me, thou shade
Of great Rugiero, whilst I swear to guard
With heart and hand the realm thy valour won,
The laws thy wisdom framed—brave legacy
To prince and people! to defend their rights,
To rule in truth and justice, peacefully,
If peace may be; and with the awful arm
Of lawful power to sweep the oppressor off
From thy blest Isle; to be the PeasantsKing—
Nobles, hear that!--the PeasantsKing and yours!
Look down, Ancestral Spirit, on my oath,
And sanctify and bless it! Now the crown.

D’Alba. What noise is that at the gate?

Melfi. Crown me, I say.

Archb. ’Tis fallen! Save us from the ill omen!

Melfi. Save us
From thy dull hands, old dotard! Thou a Priest,
And tremble at the touch of power!
Give me
The crown.

D’Alba It fits thee not.

Melfi. Give me
the crown,
And with a steady grasp it shall endue
These throbbing brows that burn till they are bound
With that bright diadem.

Enter Julian and Alfonso.

Julian Stop. Place it here!
This is the King! the real, the only King!
The living King Alfonso!

Melfi. Out, foul traitor!
’Tis an impostor.

Julian. Look on him, Count D’Alba!
Calvi, Valore, look! Ye know him well.
And ye that never saw him, know ye not
His father’s lineaments? Remove thy hand
From that fair forehead. ’Tis the pallid brow
Bent with pensiveness, the dropping eyelid,
The womanish changing cheekhis very self!
Look on him. Do ye know him? Do ye own
Your King?

Calvi. ’Tis he .

D’Alba The boy himself!

Julian. Now place

The crown upon his head; and hear me swear
Low at his feet, as subject, kinsman, Prince,
Allegiance.

Alfon. Rise, dear Cousin.

Julian. Father, kneel,
Kneel here with me thou, his first subject, thou
The guardian of the state, kneel first, and vow
Thy princely fealty.

Melfi. Hence, abject slave!
And thou, young minion—


Julian. to Alf.
Fear not. Father, kneel!
Look where thou art. This is no place, my lord,
To dally with thy duty: underneath
Thy fathers’ sleep; above their banners wave
Heavily. Death is round about us. Death
And Fame. Have they no voice for thee? Not one,
Of one long storied line but lived and died
A pure and faithful Knight, and left his son
Honour—proud heritage! I am thine heir,
And I demand that bright inheritance
Unstained, undimmed. Kneel, I implore thee! I,
Thy son.


Melfi Off, cursed viper!
Off, ere I hurl thee on the stones!

Julian. I’ve done
My duty. Was it not my duty?

Alfon. Julian,
Sit here by me; here on the steps.

D’Alba Again
We must demand of thee, my Lord of Melfi,
How chanced this tale of murder? Here’s our Prince,
Safe and unhurt. But where’s the Assassin? Where
The regicide? Where he that wounded thee?


Melfi. Pointing to Julian
Demand of him.

D’Alba. Where be these murderers?
Art sure thou saw’st them, Duke? Or was’t a freak
Of the deft Fay Morgana? Didst thou feel
The trenchant blade? Or, was the hurt thou talk’st of
A fairy wound, a phantasm? Once again
I warn thee, speak.

Melfi. Demand Prince Julian, Sir,
This work is his.

D’Alba. He speaks not. Little King,
What say’st thou?

Alfon. Julian saved me.

D’Alba. Saved! From whom?
From what!

Alfon. A king should have no memory
But for good deeds. My lords, an it so please you,
We’ll to the Palace. I’ll not wear to-day
This crown. Some fitting season; but not now.
I’m weary. Let us home.

D’Alba. Aye, take him hence.
Home with him, Count Valore. Stay by him
Till I come to ye. Leave him not. Nay, Calvi,
Remain. Hence with the boy.

Alfon. My Cousin Julian,
Wilt thou not go with us?

Julian. I’ve done my duty.
Was’t not my duty? But look there! look there!
I cannot go with thee. I am his now.
All his.

Alfon. Uncle

Melfi. Away, bright spotted worm—

D’Alba What, ho! the guard!

Alfon. My lord, where Julian is
I need no guard. Question no more of this,
But follow us.
Exeunt Alfonso, Valore, and other nobles.


Melfi. I do contemn myself
That I hold silence. Warriors, kinsmen, friends,
Barons of Sicily, the valiant princes
Of this most fertile and thrice famous Isle,
Hear me! What yonder crafty Count hath dared,
With subtle question and derisive smile,
To slide into a meaning, is as true
As he is false. I would be King; I’d reign
Over fair Sicily; I’d call myself
Your Sovereign, Princes; thine, Count D’Alba, thine,
Calvi, and old Leanti—we were comrades
Many a year in the rough path of war.
And now ye know me all. I’ll be a King
Fit for this warlike nation, which brooks sway
Only of men. Yon slight fair boy is born
With a woman’s heart. Let him go tell his beads
For us and for our kingdom, I’ll be King.
I’ll lend unto that title such a name,
As shall enchase this bauble with one blaze
Of honour. I’ll lead on to glory, lords,
And ye shall shine in the brightness of my fame

As planets round the sun. What say ye?

D’Alba. Never!

Calvi, &c. Never!

Melfi. Say thou, Leanti, thou’rt a soldier
Worthy of the name,—a brave one! What say’st thou?

Leanti. If young Alfonso—

D’Alba. Peace. Why this is well.
This morning I received a tale—I’m not
An over-believer in man’s excellence;
I know that in this slippery path of life
The firmest foot may fail; that there have been
Ere now ambitious generals, grasping heirs,
Unnatural kinsmen, foul usurpers, murderers!--
I know that man is frail, and might have fallen
Tho’ Eve had never lived,—Albeit I own
The smiling mischief’s potency. But this,
This tale was made up of such several sins,
All of them devilish, treason, treachery,

And pitiless cruelty made murder pale
With their red shame,—I doubt not readily
When man and guilt are joined—but this the common
And general sympathy that links our kind
Forbade to believe. Yet now before ye all,
His peers and mine, before the vacant throne
He sought to usurp, before the crown that fell
As conscious from his brow, I do arraign
Rugiero, Duke of Melfi, General, Peer,
Regent and Prince, of Treason.

Melfi. Treason! D’Alba.
We quarrel not for words. Let these but follow
And bold emprise shall bear a happier name.
Sicilians, have ye lost your Island spirit?
Barons, is your ancient bravery tamed down
By this vain scoffer? I’ll to the people. They
Love their old soldier.

D’Alba. Stop. Duke, I arraign thee
Of murder; planned, designed, attempted murder,
Though incomplete, on the thrice sacred person

Of young Alfonso, kinsman, ward, and King.
Wilt thou defend this too? Was’t a brave deed
To draw the assassin’s sword on that poor child?
Seize him!

Melfi. Come near who dares! Where be thy proofs?
Where be thy witnesses?

D’Alba. There’s one. Prince Julian,
Rouse thee!He sits erect and motionless
As yon ancestral image. Doth
he breathe?
Rouse thee, and answer, as before thy God,
As there is truth in Heaven. Didst thou not see
Thy father’s sword at young Alfonso’s breast?
Lay not the boy, already dead with fear,
At his false guardian’s feet? Answer!

Melfi. Aye, speak,
Prince Julian! Dost thou falter now? On, on,
And drive the dagger home! On, on, I say.

Calvi. We wait your Highness’ answer.


Leanti.





Julian. Which among ye
Dares question me? What are ye
, Sirs?

D
Alba. The States of Sicily.

Julian. The States! Without a head!
Without a King! Without a Regent! States!
The States! Are ye the States that
gainst all form
Of justice or of guardian law drive on
To bloody trial, him your Greatest? Here, too!
Here! Will ye build up scaffolds in your churches?
And turn grave priests to beadsmen? I’ll not answer
.

Calvi. The rack may force thee.

D’Alba. He but smiles. Convey
The Duke to the Hall of Justice. We shall follow.
Go summon Juan Castro thither. Hence!
Why loiter ye?

Melfi. A word with thee, Prince Julian.
I pray ye, listen, ’tis no treason, lords.
I would but say, finish thy work. Play well
The part that thou hast chosen. Cast aside
All filial yearnings. Be a gallant foe.
Rush onward through the fight. Trample me down.
Tread on my neck. Be perfect in that quality
Which thou call’st justice. Quell thy womanish weakness.
Let me respect the enemy, whom once
I thought my Son.

Julian. Once, Father!


Melfi. I’m no Father!
Rouse not my soul to curse thee! Tempt me not
To curse thy Mother—She whom once I deemed
A saint in purity; Be resolute,
Falter
not with them. Lie not.

Julian. Did I ever?

Melfi. Finish thy work. On, soldiers!
Exit Melfi, guarded.

D’Alba. Answer, Prince!
The Duke, as thou hast heard, disclaims thee.

Julian. Dare not
A man of ye say that. I am his son
Tremble lest my sword should prove me so;—a part
Of his own being. He gave me this life,
These senses, these affections. The quick blood
That knocks so strongly at my heart is his—
Would I might spill it for him! Had ye no fathers,
Have ye no sons, that ye would train men up
In parricide? I will not answer ye.


D’Alba. This passion is thy answer. Could’st thou say
No; in that simple word were more comprised
Than in a world of fiery eloquence.
Canst thou not utter No? ’Tis short and easy,
The first sound that a stuttering babe will lisp
To his fond nurse,—yet thy tongue stammers at it!
I ask him if his father be at once
Traitor and Murderer, and he cannot say,
No!

Julian. Subtle blood-thirsty fiend! I’ll answer
To nought that thou canst ask. Murderer! The king
Lives. Seek of him. One truth I’ll tell thee, D’Alba,
And then the record of that night shall pass
Down to the grave in silence. But one sword
Was stained with blood in yonder glen—’twas mine!
I am the only guilty. This I swear
Before the all-seeing God, whose quenchless gaze
Pierced through that twilight hour. Now condemn
The Duke of Melfi an ye dare! I’ll speak
No more on this foul question.


Leanti. Thou the guilty?
Thou!

Julian. I have said it.

D’Alba. I had heard a tale—

Leanti. This must be sifted.

D’Alba. In that twilight hour
A mortal eye beheld them. An old Spaniard,
One of the guardBy Heaven it is a tale
So bloody, so unnatural, man may scarce
Believe it!

Leanti And the king still lives.

D’Alba Why, tis
A mystery. Let’s to the Hall of Justice
And hear this soldier. Sir, they are ambitious,
Father & sonWe can pass judgment there,
This is no place;—Leanti, more ambitious
Than thou canst guess.


Julian. Aye, by a thousand fold!
I am an eaglet born, and can drink in
The sunlight, when the blinking owls go darkling,
Dazzled and blinded by the day. Ambitious!
I have had day dreams would have shamed the visions
Of that great Master of the world, who wept
For other worlds to conquer. I’d have lived
An age of sinless glory, and gone down
Storied and epitaphed and chronicled,
To the very end of time. Now—But I still
May suffer bravely, may die as a Prince,
A Man. Ye go to judgment. Lords, remember
I am the only guilty.

Calvi We must needs
On such confession, give you into charge
A prisoner. Ho! Captain.


Leanti. Goes he with us?

D’Alba. No; for the hall is near, and they are best

Questioned apart. Walk by me, good Leanti,
And I will shew thee why.

Leanti. Is’t possible
That Julian stabb’d his father?

D’Alba. No. Thou saw’st
They met as friends; no! no!
Exeunt Calvi and other Lords
Enter Annabel .

Annab. Where is he? Where?
Julian!

D’Alba. Fair Princess

Annab. Stay me not. My Julian!

D’Alba. Oh, how she sinks her head upon his arm!
How her curls kiss his cheek! and her white hand
Lies upon his! The cold and sluggish husband!
He doth not clasp that loveliest hand, which nature
Fashioned to gather roses, or to hold
Bunches of bursting grapes.


Leanti. Count D’Alba, see,
We are alone. Wilt thou not come?


D’Alba. Anon.
Now he hath seized her hand, hath dared to grasp,
He shall not hold it long.

Leanti. They’ll wait us, Count.

D’Alba. That white hand shall be mine.
Exeunt D’Alba and Leanti

Julian. My Annabel,
Why art thou here?

Annab. They said—I was a fool
That believed them!—Constance said she heard a cry,
Down with the Melfi! and the rumour ran
That there had been a fray, that thou wast slain.
But thou art safe, my Julian?

Julian. As thou seest.
Thou art breathless still.

Annab. Aye . I flew through the streets,
Piercing the crowds like light . I was a fool ;
But thou had’st left me on a sudden, bearing

The young Alfonso with thee, high resolve
Fixed in thine eye.
I knew not—Love is fearful;
And I have learnt to fear.



Julian. Thou tremblest still.

Annabel. The Church is cold and lonely; and that seat,
At the foot of yon grim warrior, all too damp
For thee. I like
not thus to see thee, Julian,
Upon a tomb. Thou must submit thee still
To thy poor nurse.
Home! By the way thou’lt tell me
What hath befallen. Where is Alfonso?

Julian. Say
The King! the rightful, the acknowledged King!
Annabel, this rude stone’s effigy
Of the founder of our line; the gallant chief
Who swept away the Saracen, and quelled
Fierce civil broils; and, when the people’s choice
Crowned him, lived guardian of their rights, and died
Wept by them as a father. And methinks
To-day I do not shame my ancestor;
I dare to sit here at his feet, and feel
He would not spurn his son.
Thou dost not grieve
To lose a crown, my fairest?


Annab. Oh no! no!
I’m only proud of thee. Thy fame’s my crown.



Jul. Not fame but conscience is the enduring crown,
And wearing that impearled, why to lose fame
Or life were nothing.

Ann.
Where’s thy father, Julian?
Forgive me, I have pained thee.

Julian. No. The pang
Is mastered. Where? He is a prisoner
Before the States. I am a prisoner here.
These are my guards. Be calmer, Sweetest. Rend not
This holy place with shrieks.

Annab. They seek thy life!
They’ll sentence thee! They’ll kill thee! No! they shall not,
Unless they kill me first. What crime—O God,

To talk of crime and thee
!--What falsest charge
Dare they to bring?

Julian. Somewhat of yon sad night
They know.

Annab. Where’s Theodore? The page? The King?
Doth he accuse thee too?


Jul. Poor gentle Cousin!
He is as innocent as thou.

Ann. I’ll fetch him.
We’ll go together to the States. We’ll save thee.
We, feeble though we be, woman and boy,
We’ll save thee.
Hold me not!

Julian. Where would’st thou go?

Annab. To the States.

Julian. And there?

Annab. I’ll tell the truth, the truth,
The irresistible truth! Let go. A moment
May cost thy life,—our lives. Nothing but truth,
That’s all thy cause can need. Let go.

Julian. And he,
My father?

Annab. What’s a thousand such as he,
To thee, my husband! But he shall be safe.
He is thy father. I’ll say nought can harm him.
He was ever kind to me! I’ll pray for him.

Nay, an thou fear’st me, Julian, I’ll not speak
One word; I’ll only kneel before them all,
Lift up my hands, and pray in my inmost heart,
As I pray to God.

Julian. My loving wife, to Him
Pray
, to Him only. Leave me not, my dearest;
There is a peace around us in this pause,
This interval of torture
. I’m content
And strong to suffer. Be thou—
Enter D’Alba, Calvi, Leanti and Nobles
Ha! returned
Already! This is quick. But I’m prepared.
The sentence!

Annab. Tell it not! Ye are his Judges.
Ye have the power of life and death. Your words
Are fate. Oh speak not yet! Listen to me.

D’Alba. Aye; a long summer day! What would’st thou?

Annab. Save him!
Save him!

D’Alba. He shall not die.

Annab. Now bless thee, D’Alba!
Bless thee! He’s safe! He’s free!

Julian. Once more I ask
His doom, for that is mine. If ye have dared,
In mockery of justice, to arraign
And sentence your great Ruler, with less pause
Than a petty thief taken in the manner, what’s
Our doom?

D’Alba. Sir, our great ruler (we that love not
Law’s tedious circumstance may thank him) spared
All trial by confession. He avowed
Treason and regicide; and all that thou
Hadst said or might say, he avouched unheard
For truth, then cried; as thou hast done, for judgment,
For death
.

Julian. I can die too.

Leanti. A milder doom
Unites ye. We have spared the royal blood.

D’Alba. Only the blood. Estates and honours all
Are forfeit to the King; the assembled states
Banish ye; the most holy Church declares ye
Beneath her ban. This is your sentence, Sir.
A Herald waits to read it in the streets

Before ye, and from out the city gate
To thrust ye, outlawed, excommunicate,
Infamous amongst men. Ere noon to-morrow
Ye must depart from Sicily; on pain
Of death to ye the outlaws, death to all
That harbour ye, death to whoe’er shall give
Food, shelter, comfort, speech. So pass ye forth
In infamy!

Annab. Eternal infamy
Rest on your heads, false judges! Outlawed! Banished!
Bereft of all state and title! Thou art still
Best of the good, greatest amongst the great,
My Julian! Must they die that give thee food
And rest and comfort? I shall comfort thee,
I thy true wife! I’ll never leave thee. Never!
We’ll walk together to the gate, my hand
In thine, as lovers. Let’s set forth. We’ll go
Together.

Julian. Aye; but not to-night. I’ll meet thee
To-morrow at the harbour.

Annab. No! no! no!

I will not leave thee.

Julian. Cling not thus. She trembles.
She cannot walk. Brave Sir, we have been comrades;
There is a pity in thine eye, which well
Beseems a soldier. Take this weeping lady
To King Alfonso. Tell the royal boy
One, who was once his Cousin and his friend,
Commends her to him. Go. To-morrow, dearest,
We’ll meet again. Now for the sentence. Lords,
I question not your power. I submit
To all, even to this shame. Be quick! be quick!

Exeunt.
END OF THE THIRD ACT.



ACT IV.

Scene 1
An Apartment in the Royal Palace.
D’Alba, Bertone.
D’Alba. I’ve parted them at last. The livelong night
The little King lay, like a page, before
Her chamber door; and ever as he heard
A struggling sigh within, he cried, alas!
And echoed back her moan, and uttered words
Of comfort. Happy boy.

Bert. But he is gone
Towards the gate: be sure to meet Prince Julian.

D’Alba. For that I care not, so that I secure
The vision that once flitted from my grasp
And vanished like a rainbow.

Bert. Yet is Julian
Still dangerous.

D’Alba. Why after noon to-day
And see the sun’s already high!--he dies
If he be found in Sicily. Take thou
Two resolute comrades to pursue his steps,

Soon as the time be past. Didst thou not hear
The proclamation? Know’st thou where he bides?
And Melfi?

Bert. Good, my lord, ’tis said the Duke
Is dead.

D’Alba. Dead!

Bert. Certain ’tis that yesternight
He walked from out the Judgment Hall like one
Dreaming, with eyes that saw not, ears that heard
No sound, staggering and tottering like old age
Or infancy. And when the kingly robe
Was plucked from him, and he forced from the gate,
A deep wound in his side burst forth; the blood
Welled like a fountain.

D’Alba. And he died?

Bert. He fell
Fainting; and Julian, who had tended him
Silently, with a spirit so absorbed
His own shame seemed unfelt, fell on his neck
Shrieking like maddening woman. There we left him,

And there ’tis said he hath outwatched the night.

D’Alba. There on the ground?

Bert. So please you.

D’Alba. Thou hast known
A softer couch, Prince Julian. Is the litter
Prepared? And the old groom?

Bert. My lord, he waits
Your pleasure.

D’Alba. Call him hither.
Exit Bertone.
Blood welled out
From a deep wound! Said old Leanti sooth?
No matter! Either way hes guilty.
Re-enter Bertone with Renzi.
Ha!
A reverend knave. Wast thou Prince Julian’s huntsman?

Renzi. An please you, Sir, I was.

D’Alba. Dost know the Princess?—
Doth she know thee?

Renzi. Full well, my Lord. I tended
Prince Julian’s favourite greyhound. It was strange
How Lelia loved my lady,—the poor fool
Hath pined for her this week past,—and my lady
Loved Lelia. She would stroke her glossy head,
And talk of Lelia’s beauty, Lelia’s speed,
Till I was weary.



D’Alba. And the angel deemed
This slave as faithful as her dog!
The better.
Dost thou love ducats, Renzi?
Tossing him a purse.
Canst
thou grace
A lie with tongue and look and action?

Renzi. Aye.

D’Alba. Go to the Princess; say thy master sent thee
To guide her to him, or the young Alfonso,—
Use either name, or both. Spare not for tears,
Or curses. Lead her to the litter; see
That Constance follows not. Bertone’ll gain
Admittance for thee—Go.
Exit Renzi.
Bertone seek me
A supple churchman;—Know’st thou any? One
Not scrupulous; one who loves gold, and laughs
At conscience. Bring him to me. I must hasten
Silently home. Let not the Princess guess
That I have left the palace.

Bert. No, my Lord.

Exeunt severally.


SCENE II
The Country just without the gates of Messina. A hilly back Ground.
Melfi, lying on the Stage, Julian.
Julian. He wakes! He is not dead! I am not yet
A parricide. I dare not look on him;
I dare not speak.

Melfi. Water! my throat is scorched.
Exit Julian.
My tongue cleaves to my mouth. Water! Will none


Go fetch me water? Am I here alone?
Here on the bloody ground, as on that night
Am I there still? No! I remember now.
Yesterday I was King; to-day, I’m nothing;
Cast down by my own son; stabbed in my fame;
Branded and done to death; an outlaw where
I ruled! He, whom I loved with such a pride,
With such a fondness, hath done this; and I,
I have
not strength to drag me to his presence
That I might rain down curses on his head,
Might blast him with a look.


Enter Julian.
Julian. Here’s water. Drink!

Melfi. What voice is that? Why dost thou shroud thy face?
Dost shame to shew thyself? Who art thou?

Julian. Drink.
I pray thee drink.

Melfi. Is’t poison?

Julian. ’Tis the pure
And limpid gushing of a natural spring
Close by yon olive ground. A little child,
Who stood beside the fount, watching the bright
And many-coloured pebbles, as they seemed
To dance in the bubling water,
filled for me
Her beechen cup, with her small innocent hand,
And bade our Lady bless the draught! Oh drink!
Have faith in such a blessing!

Melfi. Thou should’st bring
Nothing but poison. Hence, accursed cup!

I’ll perish in my thirst. I know thee, Sir.

Julian. Father!

Melfi. I have no son. I had one once,

A gallant gentleman; but heWhat, Sir,
Didst thou never hear of that Sicilian Prince,
Who made the fabulous tale of Greece a truth,
And slew his father? The old Laius fell
At once
, unknowing and unknown; but this
New Œdipus, he
stabbed and stabbed and stabbed,
And the poor wretch cannot die.

Julian. I think my heart
Is iron that it breaks not.

Melfi. I should curse him—
And yet—Dost thou not know that I’m an outlaw,
Under the ban? They stand in danger, Sir,
That talk to me.

Julian. I am an outlaw too.
Thy fate is mine. Our sentence is alike.

Melfi. What! have they banished thee?

Julian. I should have gone,
In very truth, I should have gone with thee,
Aye to the end of the world.

Melfi. What banish thee!
Oh, foul ingratitude! Weak changeling boy!


Julian. He knows it not. Father, this banishment
Came as a comfort to me, set me free
From warring duties and fatiguing cares,
And left me wholly thine. We shall be happy;
For she goes with us, who will prop thy steps,
As once the maid of Thebes, Antigone,
In that old tale. Chuse thou whatever land,—
All are alike to us. But pardon me!
Say thou hast pardoned me!

Melfi. My virtuous son!

Julian. Oh thanks to thee and Heaven! He sinks; he’s faint;
His lips wax pale. I’ll seek the spring once more:
’Tis thirst.

Melfi. What music’s that?

Julian. I hear none.

Melfi Hark!

Julian Thou art weak and dizzy.

Melfi Angels of the air,
Cherub and Seraph sometimes watch around
The dying, and the mortal sense, at pause
’Twixt life and death, doth drink in a faint echo
Of heavenly harpings?



Julian. I have heard so.

Melfi. Aye;
But they were just men, Julian! They were holy.
They were not traitors.

Julian. Strive against these thoughts
Thou wast a brave man, Father!--fight against them,
As ’gainst the Paynims thy old foes. He grows
Paler and paler. Water from the spring;
Or generous wine;—I saw a cottage near.
Rest thee, dear Father, till I come.

Exit Julian.
Melfi. Again
That music! It is mortal; it draws nearer.
No. But if men should pass, must I lie here
Like a crushed adder? Here in the highway
Trampled beneath their feet?—So! So! I’ll crawl
To yonder bank. Oh that it were the deck
Of some great Admiral, and I alone
Boarding amidst a hundred swords! the breach
Of some strong citadel, and I the first

To mount in the cannon’s mouth! I was brave once.
Oh for the common undistinguished death
Of battle, pressed by horse’s heels, or crushed
By falling towers! And thing but to lie
Here like a leper!

Enter Alfonso, Valore, and Calvi.
Alfon. ’Tis the spot where Julian—
And yet I see him not. I’ll pause awhile;
’Tis likely he’ll return. I’ll wait.






Calvi. My liege,
You’re sad to day.

Alfonso. I have good cause to be so.

Valore. Nay, nay, cheer up.

Alfonso. Didst thou not tell me, Sir,
That my poor Uncle’s banished, outlawed, laid
Under the church’s ban?

Calvi. He would have slain
His Sovereign.

Alfonso. I ne’er said it. Yesterday
I found you at his feet. Oh, would to Heaven
That crown were on his head, and I—What’s that?

Valore. The moaning wind.

Calvi. He was a traitor, Sire,

Alfonso. He was my kinsman still. And Julian! Julian!
My Cousin Julian! he who saved my life,
Whose only crime it was to be too good,
Too great, too well beloved,—to banish him!
To tear him from my arms!

Calvi. Sire, he confessed—

Alfonso. Ye should have questioned me. Sirs, I’m a boy,
A powerless, friendless boy, whose name is used
To cover foul oppression. If I live
To grasp a sword—but ye will break my heart
Before that hour.
Whence come those groans? Seeing Melfi.
My Uncle
Stretched on the ground, and none to tend thee! Rest
Thy head upon my arm. Where’s Julian? Sure
I thought to find him with thee. Nay, be still;
Strive not to move.

Melfi. I fain would kneel to thee
For pardon.

Calvi Listen not, my liege. The States
Sentenced the Duke of Melfi; thou hast not
The power to pardon. Leave him to his fate.

Valore. ’Twere best your Highness came with us.


Alfon. Avoid
The place! Leave us, cold, courtly lords! Avoid
My sight! Leave us, I say. Send instant succour,
Food, water, wine, and men with hearts, if courts
May breed such. Leave us.

Exeunt Calvi and Valore.
Melfi. Gallant boy!

Alfon. Alas!
I have no power.

Melfi. For all I need thou hast.
Give me but six feet of Sicilian earth,
And thy sweet pardon.

Alfon. Talk not thus. I’ll grow
At once into a man, into a king,
And they shall tremble, and turn pale with fear.
Who now have dared—
Enter Julian.
Julian!

Julian. Here’s water. Ha!
Alfonso! I thought Pity had been dead.

I craved a little wine, for the dear love
Of Heaven, for a poor dying man; and all
Turned from my prayer. Drink,

Alfon. I have sent
For succour.

Julian. Gentle heart!

Melfi. The time is past.
Music again.

Alfon. Aye; ’tis a shepherd’s pipe
From yonder craggy mountain. How it swings
Upon the wind, now pausing, now renewed,
Regular as a bell.

Melf. A passing bell.

Alfon. Cast off these heavy thoughts.

Melfi. Turn me.

Alfon. He bleeds!
The blood wells out.

Melfi. It eases me.


Julian. He sinks!
He dies! Off! he’s my father. Rest on me.

Melfi. Bless thee.

Julian Oh, no! no! no! I cannot bear
Thy blessing. Twice to stab, and twice forgiven
Oh curse me rather!

Melfi. Bless ye both!
Dies.

Alfon. He’s dead,
And surely he died penitent. That thought
Hath in it a deep comfort. The freed spirit
Gushed out in a full tide of pardoning love.
He blest us both, my Julian; even me
As I had been his son. We’ll pray for him
Together, and thy Annabel shall join
Her purest orisons. I left her stretched
In a deep slumber. All night long she watched
And wept for him and thee; but now she sleeps.
Shall I go fetch her? She, better than I,

Would soothe thee. Dost thou hear? He writhes as though
The struggling grief would choke him. Rouse thee. Julian,
Calm thee. Thou frighten’st me.

Julian. Am I not calm?
There is my sword. Go.

Alfon. I’ll not leave thee.

Julian. King!
Dost thou not see we’ve killed him? Thou had’st cause;
But I, that was his Son.—Home to thy Palace!
Home!

Alfon. Let me stay beside thee; I’ll not speak,
Nor look, nor move. Let me but sit and drop
Tear for tear with thee.

Julian. Go.

Alfon. My Cousin Julian—

Julian. Madden me not. I’m excommunicate,
An exile, and an outlaw, but a man.
Grant me the human privilege to weep
Alone o’er my dead father. King, I saved

Thy life. Repay me now a thousand-fold,—
Go
.

Alfon. Aye; for a sweet comforter.

Enter Paolo.
Paolo. My liege,
The lady Annabel

Julian. What? is she dead?
Have I killed her?

Alfon. Speak, Paolo. In thy charge
I left her.

Julian. Is she dead?

Paolo. No. Heaven forefend!
But she hath left the Palace.

Julian. ’Tis the curse
Of blood that’s on my head; on all I love.
She’s lost.

Alfon. Did she go forth alone?

Paolo. My liege,
Prince Julian’s aged Huntsman, Renzi, came,

Sent, as he said, by thee, to bear her where
Her Lord was sheltered.

Julian. Hoary traitor!

Paolo. She
Followed him, nothing fearing; and I too
Had gone, but D’Alba’s servants closed the gates,
And then my heart misgave me.

Julian. Where’s my sword?
I’ll rescue her! I’ll save her!

Alfon. Hast thou traced
Thy lady?

Paolo. No, my liege. But much I fear—
Certain a closed and guarded litter took
The way to the western suburb.

Julian. There, where lies
The palace of Count D’Alba! Staineddefiled
He hath thee now, my lovely one! There’s still
A way—Let me but reach thee! One asylum—
One bridal bed—One resting place. All griefs
Are lost in this. Oh would I lay as thou,
My Father! Leave him not in the high-way
For dogs to mangle. He was once a Prince.
Farewell!

Alfon. Let me go with thee.

Julian. No. This deed
Is mine.

Exit Julian.
Alfon. Paolo stay by the corse. I’ll after,
He shall not on this desperate quest alone.

Paolo. Rather, my liege, seek D’Alba:— I deem
He still is at thy Palace. Watch him well.
Stay by him closely.
So may the sweet lady
Be rescued, and Prince Julian saved.

Alf. Thou’rt right.

Exeunt.

Scene III
An
Apartment in an old Tower; a rich Gothic Window, closed, but so constructed as that the Light may be thrown in, near it a small arched Door, beyond which is seen an Inner Chamber, with an open Casement.—Annabel is borne in by D’Alba and Guards, through a strong Iron Door in the side Scene.

D’Alba, Annabel, Guards.
D’Alba. Leave her with me. Guard well the gate; and watch
That none approach the tower.
Exeunt Guards.
Fair Annabel!

Annab. Who is it calls? Where am I? Who art thou?
Why am I here? Now heaven preserve me, D’Alba!
Where’s Julian? Where’s Prince Julian? Where’s my husband?
Renzi, who lured me from the palace, swore
It was to meet my husband.

D’Alba. Many an oath
First sworn in falsehood turns to truth. He’s here.
Calm thee, sweet lady.

Annab. Where? I see him not.
Julian!

D’Alba. Another husband.

Annab. Then he’s dead!
He’s dead!


D’Alba. He lives.

Annab. Heard I aright? Again!
There is a deafening murmur in mine ears,
Like the moaning sound that dwells in the sea shell,
So that I hear nought plainly. Say’t again.

D’Alba. He lives.

Annab. Now, thanks to Heaven! Take me to him.
Where am I?

D’Alba. In an old and lonely tower
At the end of my poor orchard.

Annab. Take me home.

D’Alba. Thou hast no home.

Annab. No home! His arms! his heart!
Take me to him.

D’Alba. Sweet Annabel, be still.
Conquer this woman’s vain impatiency,
And listen. Why she trembles as I were

Some bravo. Oh that man’s free heart should bow
To a fair cowardice! Listen. Thou know’st
The sentence of the Melfi?

Annab. Aye, the unjust
And wicked doom that ranked the innocent
With the guilty. But I murmur not. I love
To suffer with him.

D’Alba. He is banished; outlawed,
Cut off from every human tie;—

Annab. Not all.
I am his wife.

D’Alba. Under the Church’s ban.
I tell thee, Annabel, that learned Priest,
The sage Anselmo, deems thou art released
From thy unhappy vows; and will to night

Annab. Stop. I was wedded in the light of day
In the great church at Naples. Blessed day!
I am his wife; bound to him ever more

In sickness, penury, disgrace. Count D’Alba,
Thou dost misprize the world, but thou must know
That woman’s heart is faithful, and clings closest
In misery.

D’Alba. If the Church proclaim thee free

Annab. Sir, I will not be free; and if I were
I’d give myself to Julian o’er again
Only to Julian! Trifle thus no longer.
Lead me to him. Release me.

D’Alba. Now, by heaven,
I’ll bend this glorious constancy. I’ve known thee
Even from a little child, and I have seen
That stubborn spirit broken: not by fear,
That thou can’st quell; nor interest; nor ambition;
But love! love! love! I tell thee, Annabel,
One whom thou lov’st, stands in my danger. Wed me
This very nightI will procure a priest
And dispensations, there shall nothing lack
Of nuptial formWed me, or look to hear
Of bloody justice.


Annab. My poor father, Melfi!

D’Alba. The Regent? He is dead.

Annab. God hath been merciful.

D’Alba. Is there no other name? no dearer?

Annab. Ha!

D’Alba. Hadst thou such tender love for this proud father,
Who little recked of thee, or thy fair looks;—
Is all beside forgotten?

Annab. Speak!

D’Alba. Why, Julian!
Julian, I say!

Annab. He is beyond thy power.
Thanks, thanks, great God! He’s ruined, exiled, stripped
Of name, and land, and titles. He’s as dead.
Thou hast no power to harm him. He can fall
No deeper. Earth hath not a lowlier state

Than princely Julian fills.

D’Alba. Doth not the grave
Lie deeper?

Annab. What? But thou hast not the power!
Hast thou? Thou canst not. Oh be pitiful!
Speak, I conjure thee, speak!

D’Alba. Didst thou not hear
That he was exiled, outlawed, banished far
From the Sicilian Isles, on pain of death.
If, after noon to-day, he e’er were seen
In Sicily? The allotted bark awaits;
The hour is past; and he is here.

Annab. Now heaven
Have mercy on us! D’Alba, at thy feet,
Upon my bended knees—Oh pity! pity!
Pity and pardon! I’ll not rise. I cannot.
I cannot stand more than a creeping worm
Whilst Julian’s in thy danger. Pardon him!

Thou wast not cruel once. I’ve seen thee turn
Thy step from off the path to spare an insect;
I’ve marked thee shudder, when my falcon struck
A panting bird;—though thou hast tried to sneer
At thy own sympathy. D’Alba, thy heart
Is kinder than thou knowest. Save him, D’Alba!
Save him!

D’Alba. Be mine.

Annab. Am I not his?

D’Alba. Be mine;
And he shall live to the whole age of man
Unharmed.

Annab. I’m his.—Oh—Oh spare him!--Only his.

D’Alba. Then it is thou that dost enforce the law
On Julian; thou, his loving wife, that guid’st
The officer to seize him where he lies
Upon his father’s corse; thou that dost lead
Thy husband to the scaffold;—thou his wife,

His loving wife! Thou yet may’st rescue him.

Annab. Now, God forgive thee, man! Thou torturest me
Worse than a thousand racks. But thou art not
So devilish, D’Alba. Thou hast talked of love;—
Would’st see me die here at thy feet? Have mercy!

D’Alba. Mercy! Aye, such as thou hast shewn to me
Through weeks and months and years. I was born strong
In scorn, the wise man’s passion. I had lived
Aloof from the juggling world, and with a string
Watched the poor puppets ape their several parts;
Fool, knave, or madman; till thy fatal charms,
Beautiful mischief, made me knave and fool
And madman; brought revenge and love and hate
Into my soul. I love and hate thee, lady,
And doubly hate myself for loving thee.
But, by this teeming earth, this starry Heaven,
And by thyself the fairest stubbornest thing
The fair stars shine upon, I swear to-night

Thou shalt be mine. If willingly, I’ll save
Prince Julian;—but still mine. Speak. Shall he live?
Canst thou not speak? Wilt thou not save him?

Annab. No.

D’Alba. Did she die with the word! Dost hear me, lady?
I asked thee wouldst thou save thy husband?

Annab. No.
Not so! Not so!

D’Alba. ’Tis well.

Exit D’Alba.
Annab. Stay! Stay! He’s gone.
Count D’Alba! Save him! Save him! D’Alba’s gone,
And I have sentenced him.
After a pause.
He would have chosen so,
Would rather have died a thousand deaths than so
Have lived! Oh who will succour me, shut up
In this lone tower! none but those horrid guards,
And yonder hoary traitor, know where the poor,

Poor Annabel is hidden; no man cares
How she may perish—only oneand he—
Preserve my wits! I’ll count my beads; ’twill calm me:
What if I hang my rosary from the casement?
There is a brightness in the gorgeous jewel
To catch men’s eyes, and haply, some may pass
That are not pitiless. This window’s closed;
But in yon chamber—Ah, ’tis open! There
I’ll hang the holy gem, a guiding star,
A visible prayer to man and God. Oh save me
From sin and shame! Save him! I’ll hang it there.

Exit.
End of the Fourth Act



ACT V.
SCENE.
The same
as the last; the arched Door nearly closed.
Annabel.
Annabel. I cannot rest. I wander to and fro
Within my dreary prison, as to seek
For comfort and find none. Each hour hath killed
A hope that seemed the last. The shadows point
Upward. The sun is sinking. Guard me, heaven,
Through this dread night!
A gun is heard without.
What evil sound—All sounds
Are evil here! Is there some murder doing?
Or wantonly in sport.

Enter Julian through the arched Door.
Julian. Annabel!

Anna. Julian!

Julian. My wife! Art thou still mine?

Anna. Thine own.


Julian. She smiles!
She clings to me! Her eyes are fixed on mine
With the old love, the old divinest look
Of innocence! It is yet time. She’s pure!
She’s undefiled!--Speak to me, Annabel.
Tremble not so.

Anna. ’Tis joy. Oh I have been
So wretched! And to see thee when I thought
We ne’er should meet again! How didst thou find me?

Julian. The rosary! the blessed rosary
Shone in the sun-beam, like a beacon fire,
A guiding star! Thrice holy was its light
That led me here to save—

Anna. Oh blessings on thee!
How? Where? what way? The iron door is barred!
Where didst thou enter Julian!

Julian. Through the casement
Of yonder chamber.


Anna. What? that grim ascent!
That awful depth! Didst thou dare this for me?
And must I?—But I fear not. I’ll go with thee.
I’m safe of foot, and light. I’ll go.

Julian. Thou canst not.

Anna. Then go thyself, or he will find thee here,
He and his ruffian band. Let us part now.
Kiss me again. Fly, fly from Sicily!—
That fearful man—but he is all one lie
Told me thy life was forfeited.

Julian. He told thee
A truth.

Anna. Oh fly! fly! fly;

Julian. My Annabel
The bloodhounds that he laid upon the scent
Have tracked me hither. Didst thou hear a gun?
For once the ball passed harmless.


Anna. Art thou hurt?
Art sure thou art not?

Julian. Yes. But they who aimed
That death are on the watch. Their quarry’s lodged.
We can escape them—one way—only one!

Anna. How? What way?

Julian. Ask not.

Anna. Whither?

Julian. Tomy father.

Anna. Then he’s alive—Oh happiness! They told me
That he was dead. Why do we loiter here?
Let’s join him now.

Julian. Not yet.

Anna. Now! now! Thou know’st not

How horribly these walls do picture to me
The several agonies whereof my soul
Hath drunk to day. I have been tempted, Julian,
By one—a fiend! tempted till I almost thought
God had forsaken me. But thou art here
To save me, and my pulse beats high again
With love and hope. I am light-hearted now,
And could laugh like a child—only these walls
Do crowd around me with a visible weight,
A
palpable pressure; giving back the forms
Of wildest thoughts that wandered through my brain
Bright chattering Madness, and sedate Despair,
And fear the Great Unreal!—Take me hence!
Take me away with thee!

Julian. Not yet, not yet.
Thou sweetest wretch! I cannotDotard! Fool!
I must. Not yet! not yet!—Talk to me, Annabel;
This is the hour when thou wast wont to make
Earth Heaven with lovely words; the sun-set hour,
That woke thy spirit into joy. Once more
Talk to me, Annabel.


Anna. Aye, all day long,
When we are free. Thy voice is choked; thy looks
Are not on me; thy hand doth catch and twitch
And grasp mine painfully,—that gentle hand!

Julian. O God! O God! that right hand!--kiss it not!
Take thy lips from it!

Anna. Canst thou save me, Julian?
Thou always dost speak truth. Canst save thyself?
Shall we go hence together?

Julian. Aye, one fate
One home.

Anna. Why that is bliss. We shall be poor
Shall we not, Julian? I shall have a joy
I never looked for; I shall work for thee,
Shall tend thee, be thy Page, thy ’Squire, thy all,—
Shall I not, Julian.

Julian. Annabel, look forth

Upon this glorious world! Look once again
On our fair Sicily, lit by that sun
Whose level beams do cast a golden shine
On sea, and shore, and city, on the pride
Of bowery groves; on Etna’s smouldering top;—
Oh bright and glorious world! and thou of all
Created things most glorious, tricked in light,
As the stars that live in Heaven!

Anna. Why dost thou gaze
So sadly on me.

Julian. The bright stars, how oft
They fall, or seem to fall! The Sun—look! look!
He sinks, he sets in glory. Blessed orb,
Like theelike theeDost thou remember once
We sate by the sea shore when all the Heaven
And all the ocean seemed one glow of fire
Red, purple, saffron, melted into one
Intense and ardent flame, the doubtful line
Where sea and sky should meet was lost in that
Continuous brightness; there
we sate and talked
Of the mysterious union that blessed orb
Wrought between earth and heaven
, of life and death—
High mysteries!--and
thou didst wish thyself
A spirit sailing in that flood of light
Straight to the Eternal Gates, didt pray to pass
Away in such a glory. Annabel!

Look out upon the burning sky, the sea
One lucid ruby—’tis the very hour!
Thou’lt be a Seraph at the Fount of Light
Before


Anna. What must I die? And wilt thou kill me?
Canst thou? Thou cam’st to save—

Julian. To save thy honour!
I shall die with thee.

Anna. Oh, no! no! live! live!
If I must die—Oh it is sweet to live,
To breathe, to move, to feel the throbbing blood
Beat in the veins,—to look on such an earth
On such a Heaven,—to look on thee! Young life
Is very dear.

Julian. Would’st live for D’Alba?

Anna. No!
I had forgot. I’ll die. Quick! Quick!

Julian. One kiss!

Angel, dost thou forgive me?

Anna. Yes.

Julian. My sword!—
I cannot draw it.

Anna. Now! I’m ready.

Enter Bertone, and two Murderers.
Bert. Seize him!
Yield thee, Prince Julian! Yield thee! Seize the lady.

Julian. Oh fatal, fond delay! Dare not come near us!
Stand off! I’ll guard thee, sweet. But when I fall
Let him not triumph.

Bertone. Yield thee!
Strike him down.



Jul. Thou canst die then, my fairest.


The two murderers have now advanced close to Julian.
Bertone. Now!

One
of the murderers strikes at Julian with his sword; Annabel rushes before him, receives the wound aimed at him, and falls at his feet.
Anna. (before she is wounded).
For thee!
Then after.
For thee. ’Tis sweet!
dies.

Anna.





Julian. Fiend, hast thou slain her? Die! die! die!

Come on. fights and kills him.


Bertone. Call instant help! Hasten the Count!
Exit the other murderer.
Julian & Bertone fight, and Julian kills him.

Julian. My wife!
My murdered wife! Doth she not breathe? I thought—
My sight is dim—Oh no!she’s pale! she’s cold!
She’s still!--If she were living she would speak
To comfort me. She’s mute! she’s stiff! she’sdead!
Why do I shiver at the word, that am
Death’s factor, peopler of unhallowed graves,
Slayer of all my race! not thee! not thee!
God, in his mercy, guided the keen sword
To thy white bosom.—I could not. Lie there.
I’ll shroud thee in my mantle.
covering her with it.

The rude earth
Will veil thy beauty next. One kiss!--She died
To save me!--One kiss, Annabel! I slew

The slave that killed thee,—but
the fiend—the cause—
Is he not coming?—I will chain in life
Till I’ve avenged thee; I could slay an army
Now, in my strong despair. But that were mercy.
He must wear daggers in his heart. He loved her;—
I’ll feed his hopes, and then—Ayeha! ha! ha!
That will be a revenge to make the fiends
Laugh—ha! ha! ha! I’ll wrap me in this cloak
taking one belonging to the dead bravo.
And in the twilight—So!—He will not know
My voice—it frightens me!--I have not hidden
Thee quite, my Annabel! There is one tress
Floating in springy graceas if—she’s dead!
She’s dead! I must not gaze, for then my heart
Will break before its time. He comes. The stairs
Groan at his pressure.

Enter D’Alba.
D’Alba. entering to an Attendant
Back
, and watch the gate!--
All’s tranquil. Where’s the traitor?

Julian. Dead.

D’Alba. Who slew him?


Julian. I.

D’Alba. And the lady,—where is she?

Julian. At rest.

D’Alba. Fair Gentleness! After this perilous storm
She needs must lack repose.I’ll wait her here.
Friend! thou hast done good service to the state
And me; we’re not ungrateful. Julian’s sword
Fails him not often; and the slave who fled
Proclaimed him Victor.

Julian. He slew two.

D’Alba. And thou
Slew’st him? Aye there he lies in the ermined cloak
Of royalty, his haughty shroud! Six ells
Of rude uncostly linen serves to wrap
Your common corse; but this man was born swathed
In regal purple; lived so; and so died
.
So be he buried. Let not mine enemy
Call me ungenerous. Roll him in his ermine
And dig a hole without the city gate
For him and the proud Regent. Quick! I’d have

The funeral speedy. Ah! the slaughtering sword
Lies by him, brown with clotted gore. Hence! hence!
And drag the carrion with thee.

Julian. Wilt thou not
Look on the corse?

D’Alba. I cannot wait her waking.
I must go feast my eyes on her fair looks—
Divinest Annabel! My widowed bride!--
Where is she?

Julian. uncovering the body
There. Now gaze thyself to Hell!
Gloat with hot love upon that beauteous dust!—
She’s safe! She’s dead!

D’Alba. Julian!

Julian. But touch her not
She’s mine.

D’Alba. Oh perfectest and loveliest thing!
Eternal curses rest upon his head

Who murdered thee!

Julian. Off! off! Pollute her not!
She’s white! She’s pure!--Curses! Now curse for curse
On the foul murderer! On him who turned
The sweet soul from her home, who slew her father,
Hunted her husband as a beast of prey,
Pursued, imprisoned, lusted, left no gate
Open save that to Heaven!—Off! gaze not on her!
Thy look is profanation!

Enter Alfonso, Leanti, Valore, &c.

Alfon. Entering.
Here
, Leanti!
This way! Oh sight of horror! Julian! Julian!

Valore. The Princess dead! Why D’Alba—

Leanti. Seize him guards.
Lead him before the States. This bloody scene
Calls for deep vengeance.

D’Alba. If I were not weary
Of a world that sweats under a load of fools

Old creaking vanes that turn as the wind changes
Lords, I’d defy ye! I’d live on for ever!
And I defy ye now. For she is gone—
The glorious vision!--and the Patriarch’s years
Were valueless. Do with me as ye will;—
Ye cannot call back her.

Leanti. Off with him!
Exit D’Alba guarded.

Alfon. Julian! Wilt thou not speak?


Julian. I have been thanking heaven
That she is dead.

Valore. His wits are gone.

Alfon. My Julian
Look on me. Dost thou know me? I’m thy Cousin,
Thy comforter.

Julian. She was my Comforter!

And now—But I do know thee; thou’rt the King;
The pretty boy I lovedShe loved thee too!
I’m glad thou’rt come to close my eyes. Draw nearer
That I may see thy face. Where art thou?

Alfon. Here!

Julian. Poor child he weeps! Send for the honoured dead
Beside the city gate,—he pardoned me!
Bury us in one grave,—all in one grave!
I did not kill herStrew her with white flowers,
For she was innocent.

Leanti. Cheer thee! Take hope!

Valore. Raise up his head.

Alfon. My Julian!

Julian. He forgave me,—
Thou know’st he did.—White flowers! Nothing but white!
Dies.


Leanti. He’s gone!

Alfon. And I am left in the wide world
Alone. My Julian!

THE END.





Select Witness

pub_1823 : Digitized reproduction of the 2nd edition of Julian, A Tragedy in Five Acts by Mary Russell Mitford London G. and W. B. Whittaker, Ave-Maria Lane. 1823 . Digitized by Google Books Feb 23, 2006.

ms : Mitford’s manuscript as submitted to the Lord Chamberlain’s office on 5 March 1823 from microfiche of the manuscript in the The Lord Chamberlain’s Plays (the Larpent Plays) of 1743-January 1824.

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