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Departing thus abruptly is not begging,
But taking it by violence.
Thou wilt not grant it, I must take it so.
Sigismund, Thou wilt soon change my courtesy to rudeness-
Resistance is a venom to my patience.
Rosaura. But if that venom, full of rage and madness,
Conquers thy patience, it shall not subdue
Nay, as thou dar'st me thus,
Thou makest me cast off the reverence
Thy beauty had inspired.—'Tis my delight
To conquer the impossible; I Aung
A man from yonder balcony for saying
I could not do it; and that I may prove
'Tis possible, I will destroy thine honour. Clotaldo. Still he persists. Oh Heav'ns, what must I do?
I see my honour is once more in peril
Through this mad passion.
Sure, 'twas not in vain
That this thy tyranny was ushered in
'Mid fearful rumours of crime, treason, death,
In this poor kingdom. What can come of one,
In whom there's nothing human, but the name,
Of one who's cruel, bold, inhuman, proud-
A savage tyrant nurtured among brutes ?
Sigismund. I appeared courteous, thinking to restrain thee
From these reproaches; but if I am such
As thou hast said, thou shalt know all I am.-
Ho! leave us here alone, and bar the door;
Let no one enter.
[Exit Clariy. Rosaura.
I am lost, oh Heav'ns !
Sigismund. I am a tyrant, and in vain
Would'st thou attempt to curb me.
I will prevent him, though it cost my life.
My lord, behold-consider-
Dost thou provoke my anger, weak old man ?
Thinkest thou it is nought to rouse my rage ?
How cam'st thou here?
Hearing this cry, I came
To beg that thou would'st be more merciful,
If thou would'st reign, and not show cruelty ;
For though thou’rt mighty, all may be a dream.
Sigismund. Touching that truth thou dost increase my rage;
And whether all be real or a dream,
I will discover that, by killing thee.
(As he is drawing his dagger, CLOTALDO arrests
it, kneeling.) Clotaldo. Thus would I save my life. Sigismund.
Release the dagger. Clotaldo. I will not loose my hold, till those appear
Who will restrain thine anger. Rosaura.
Thou frenzied, savage, tott'ring enemy;
Or thou shalt perish, strangled in my arms.
(They struggle.) Rosaura. Help! help! or good Clotaldo will be slain. [Exit.
Astolfo enters, while CLOTALDO falls at his feet, and places himself
Astolfo. Why, what is this I see, most valiant Prince ?
Must steel so brave be bathed in frozen blood ?
Return it to its sheath.
Ay, when 'tis stained
With this foul traitor's blood.
Nay, at my feet
He finds a refuge—not in vain I came.
Sigismund. No, for thou cam'st to die; and I can thus
Avenge myself of all affronts on thee. Astolfo. To guard my life is no offence to majesty.
(Astolfo draws his sword they fight.)
Enter the King Basilio, ESTRELLA, and Train.
Clotaldo. Oh, hurt him not, my lord !
What mean these swords ?
Estrella. Astolfo-oh my heart!
What has occurred ?
Astolfo. Nothing, your Majesty, now thou art here.
. (They sheath their swords.) Sigismund. Yes, much has happened-inuch-though thou art here. I tried to kill this greybeard.
For these white locks !
My lord, my lord, they're mine,
Therefore 'tis little matter.
To fancy I should care for hoary locks!
Perchance I yet may trample on thine own.
I have not yet avenged the foul injustice
Which in my training thou hast wrought on me. (Eril. Basilio. Before that happens thou shalt sleep again,
Believing all that's past to be a dream.-
A blessing to the world it was no more.
[Exeunt the King and CLOTALDO. ASTOLFO
and ESTRELLA remain.
je X Astolfo. Fate does not oft deceive, foretelling ill,
Being as certain in calamity,
As it is doubtful in felicity.
Oh, he would be a wise astrologer
Who always prophesied some evil chance-
For bis predictions would be all fulfilled.
This may be learned from me and Sigismund
In diff'rent ways; for fate assigned to him
Calamity, fierce murder, and fell peril ;
And truly did it speak, as we have seen,
To me, who gaze on these transcendent charms,
That make the sun a shade-the heav'ns a mist,
It promised happiness, and power, and wealth:
And thus spake well and ill, for 'tis its plan
To promise good, and show us but disdain.
Estrella. The truth I doubt not of these courtesies,
But they are better fitted for that lady
Whose portrait was suspended from thy neck,
When first, Astolfo, thou cam’st here to see me.
As she alone deserves these compliments,
Let her repay them, for in love's tribunal
Worthless * are all the compliments and oaths
Rendered to other bodies, other sovereigns.
Rosaura enters and remains apart. Rosaura (aside). Thank Heav'n, my woes have reached their goal at
Who beholds this, can have nought else to fear.
Astolfo. That portrait will I pluck from out my heart,
That thy fair image may inhabit there.
For when the star appears, the shade recedes,
And when the sun appears, the star recedes.
I go to fetch it. (Aside.) Pardon, fair Rosaura.
In absence, none show belter faith than this. [Exit. Rosaura (aside). I have not heard a word, so much I feared
That he might see me. Estrella.
Here! Astræa! Rosaura.
Lady! Estrella. I'm glad that thou hast come,-10 thee alone
I can confide a secret. Rosaura.
Thou honourest thy poor servant.
The time that I have known thee has been short,
And yet the keys to all my will are thine ;
For this, such as thou art, I trust to thee,
That which I oft have hidden from myself.
'Rosaura. I am thy servant.
Well then, to be brief-
Astolf, my cousin, (1 will call him cousin,
For there are things that thought alone can speak,)
Will shortly marry me, if fortune please
To heal my many troubles with one joy.
It much annoyed me, that at first he wore
The portrait of a lady from his neck :
I rallied him upon it, he has gone
To seek it gallantly, and bring it hither ;
Now I should feel no small embarrassment,
Receiving it from him ;-So tarry here
And tell him to deliver it to thee.
I say no more, thou art discreet and fair,
And, surely, well thou knowest what is love. (Exit. Rosaura. Would I had known it pot! Oh, is there one
So wise that he could know what course to take
At such a juncture? Lives there in the world
One upon whom the Heav'ns have dealt some grief?
What must I do in this embarrassment,
When it appears impossible to find
A method to relieve me and console me?
Now, since the first misfortune I endured,
There has not been one single accident
That was not a misfortune in its turn;
Each one inherits from the one before,
Each is a phenix, from the last is born,
Living upon its death, while from the ashes
The tomb is even warm. A wise man said !
Misfortunes, as they ne'er appear alone,
Must be most cowardly, but I affirm,
They are most brave, for ever they advance,
And never turn their back; he whom they serve
May venture all, and never be afraid,
Lest they should leave him. Well can I say this;
I ne'er have been without them,—they persist,
And will persist, till in the arms of death
I sink a victim to my evil fate.
But at this juncture, -Oh! what must I do?
Should I reveal myself, 'tis probable
I may offend Clotaldo, who has giv'n
This kind protection to my life; he told me
That keeping silence, there would be a hope
Of aid and honour. On the other hand,
Should I not tell Astolfo who I am,
When he is present, how shall I dissemble?
For though my voice, my eyes, my tongue may feigo,
My soul will sure convict them of their falsehood.
What must I do? Yet wherefore thus reflect
What I must do ? For 'tis most evident,
However I prepare myself, howe'er
I ponder and reflect, I find at last,
When the occasion comes, that I must do
That which my grief commands,-as none hold sway
O'er their misfortunes. Well, then, since my soul
Dares not prescribe for me a certain course.
To-day let grief attain its goal, and pain
Come to its point extreme, that I may cease
At once from hesitation and from doubt.
Till then, assist me! oh, ye Heav'ns, assist me!
Enter Astolfo with the Picture.
Astolfo. Here is the picture, lady,-gracious God!
Rosaura. Why stands your Highness looking thus amazed ?
Astolfo. At seeing thee, and hearing thee, Rosaura.
Rosaura. Rosaura! Nay, your Highness is deceived
In thinking me another than Astræa.
My humbleness deserves not such high fortune,
As to disturb thee thus.
Enough, enough! of this deceit,- my soul reveals the truth, And though it looks upon thee as Astræa,
It loves thee as Rosaura.
Nay, your Highness,
I do not understand, and cannot answer.
All I can say is this: The fair Estrella -
Who is like Venus' star, * - has ordered me