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To wait for thee, and tell thee, on her part,
To give that portrait, held of such account,
To me, that I may carry it to her.
This is Estrella's wish ; and in all things,
However light, or even to my own wrong,
Estrella need but wish, and I obey.
Astolfo. In spite of all thy efforts, 'tis in vain
Thus to dissimulate. First, tell thine eyes
They must accord their music to thy voice,
For surely nought but discord can arise
From such an ill-tuned instrument, which seeks
The falsehood that it utters to combine
With all the truth it feels.
And I repeat
I'm waiting for the picture-nothing else.
Astolfo. Well, then, since thou wilt carry thy deception
Even to the end, I will sustain it too.
Astræa, thou wilt tell the Princess thus :
So highly I esteem her, that it seems
But little courtesy to send the picture
She asks of me, and therefore do I send her
Th' original, that she may prize it highly.
And thou canst take her that original;
Thou hast it now, as thou art with thyself.*
Rosaura. When once a resolute and valiant man
Resolves to carry out an enterprise,
Though he take that which is of greater worth,
If he have left his purpose unaccomplished,
Dishonoured he returns.- Now I, my lord,
Came for a portrait; and though, as thou sayest,
The original may bear a greater worth,
I shall be blamed. Deliver me the portrait.
Without it I may not return.
Indeed! Suppose I give it not, how wilt thou take it? Rosaura (snatching it). Thus, thus,-ingrate release it. Astolfo.
'Tis in vain. Rosaura. By Heaven, no other woman shall possess it. Astolfo. Nay, thou art terrible. Rosaura.
And thou art false. Astolfo. Rosaura, my Rosaura, 'tis enough.
*" Y tu llevarsele puedes.
Pues ya le llevas contigo
Como a ti mismo te lleves." Marvellously poor this bit .-J.O.
Rosaura. Thine, traitor, thy Rosaura ?- It is false.
(They struggle for the picture.)
Estrella. Astræa and Astolfo !-What is this?
Astolfo. This is Estrella.
Rosaura (aside). . Oh, may love inspire
Some stratagem to get my portrait back.
(To ESTRELLA.) Lady, if thou desirest to know all,
I will inform thee.
Astolfo (aside to Rosaura). What dost thou design?
Rosaura. Thou toldest me to wait for Astolf here,
And, on thy part, to ask him for a portrait.
Here I remained; and as our minds will oft
Wander from thought to thought, so did the picture
Mentioned by thee, bring to my memory
One which I carried with me-in my sleeve.
I wished to look at it—when left alone
We oft commit strange follies--and by chance
It fell upon the ground. Astolfo came
To bring the portrait of that other lady,
And picked up this. So little he desires
To execute thy wish, that now he seeks
To give another picture, not the one
That thou hast asked. Thus 'twas impossible,
By dint of soft persuasion, to obtain
My picture back; and I at last, in anger,
Tried forcibly to take it. Look on it,
And thou wilt plainly see that it is mine,
By the resemblance that it bears.
Return the picture. (Takes it.)
Nay, most gracious lady.--
Estrella (looking at it). The colours speak the truth.
Is it not mine?
Estrella. Is there a doubt?
Now bid him give the other.
Estrella. Thou hast thy picture, and thou may'st depart.
Rosaura (aside). Ay, now, at last, I have it—come what will. Exit.
Estrella (to ASTOLFO). Give me the picture which I asked of thee.
For though I do not think I e'er shall see thee
Or think of thee again, I do not wish
That thou should'st keep it; the sole cause may be,
That I so foolishly desired it.
Can I avert this blow?—Though I desire
In all things to obey thee, fair Estrella,
I cannot give the picture that thou ask'st,
O false and most disloyal lover,
I will not have the picture at thy hands.
I would not give thee, by accepting it,
The power to remind me that I asked it.
[Erit. Astolfo. Hear me, behold me. Nay, reflect awhile
Rosaura, how, whence, wherefore didst thou come
To Poland to destroy thyself and me.
[Exit. Scene II. - The wild Landscape, with the Tower, as in Act 1. Sigis
MUND is discovered, chained and dressed in skins, as at first, sleeping on the ground. Enter CLOTALDO, two Servants, and
Clotaldo. Here thou remainest, that thy pride may end
Where it began.
Servant (fastening the chain). I will attach his chain
Where it was placed before.
May'st thou ne'er wake,
Poor Sigismund, to see how thou art lost,
How all thy fate has changed ! thy glory being
Only a shade of life,-a flame of death.
Clotaldo. To one who talks so wisely, it is well
That we provide a lodging, giving him
A place for his reflections. (To Servants.) Seize him, there.
Confine him in the tower.
What me?- Why me? Clotaldo. Because a clarion * that has learned great secrets
Must be imprisoned closely, lest it sound.
Clarin. But did I try to kill my father ?-No.
Or did I fling a paltry Icarus
Out of the window? Do I sleep, or dream?
Then why imprison me?
Thou art a clarion.
Nay, I will be a bugle, and be silent,
For that is a most scurvy instrument.
(The Servants take him of, and CLoTALDO remains alone.)
Enter the King Basilio, disguised.
How ?-Your Majesty!—and thus ? Basilio. An idle curiosity to see
The fate of Sigismund has clad me so. Clotaldo. Behold him to his wretched state reduced. Basilio. Unhappy Prince ! born in an evil hour!
Awake him, now the opium which he drank
Has lost its force.
My lord, he seems disturbed.
What are his dreams ?—Let us attend.
Sigismund (asleep). Ay, let this ruler without parallel
Appear on the great theatre of the world,
That all may see brave Sigismund's revenge
Upon his father. (Wakes.)-Hold !- Why, where am I? Basilio. He must not see me.- Thou know'st what to do,
While I shall listen there. (Retires.)
Nay, is it I
That to these chains, this dungeon, have returned ?
Old tower, art thou not my sepulchre ?
Yes-Heav'ns, what have I dreamed ?
I will approach
And do my part.- Is it yet time to wake?
Sigismund. Yes, yes, 'tis time.
Dost thou intend to sleep
Throughout the day? Since with my tardy sight
I track'd the eagle in his lofty course,
While thou remainedst here-hast slept since then?
Sigismund. No! Neither am I now awake, Clotaldo,
For I believe that I am sleeping still.
If all I saw so palpably and clearly
Was but a dream, then all that I see now
Must likewise be uncertain. 'Tis no matter-
For now that I am sleeping, I can see
That when I was awake I dreamed.
The substance of thy dream.
Nay, did I think
It only was a dream, I would not tell it.
But what I saw, Clotaldo, I will tell.
I woke, and in a bed I found myself,
(Oh flattering cruelty !) which might have been
The flow'ry carpet woven by the spring,
It shone with hues so varied. Then appeared,
Kneeling before me, many noble lords,
Who greeted me their Prince,
Clad me in jewels and the richest clothes.
The calmness of my mind was changed to joy
At that thou toldest me. Though lowly now,
I then was Prince of Poland.
For my tidings
Did I receive a good reward ?
Thou wert a traitor, and my heart swelled high.
Twice did I seek to kill thee.
Didst thou show
Such cruelty to me?
Ay, lord of all,
On all I sought revenge, excepting one,-
A woman, whom I loved,-she, I believe,
Was a reality; since all have passed,
But she alone remains.
[Exit the King. Clotaldo (aside).
The King retires,
Moved at his words.- We spake about that eagle,
And therefore, sleeping, didst thou dream of empire.
But though 'twas but a dream, it had been well
Hadst thou shown all due honour, Sigismund,
To him that was thy tutor; e'en in dreams
All sense of justice ought not to be lost.
(Exit. Sigismund. He speaks the truth, and I will learn to check
This haughty mood, this fury, this ambition,
In case I dream again ; and well I know
That so 'twill be. It is so strange a world
In which we live, that living is a dream.
Experience has taught me that the man
Who lives, dreams what he is, until he wakes.
The king dreams he is king, and governs all
Under the strange illusion; the applause
Which he receives is written in the wind,
And turn’d by death to ashes-(sorry fate!)
O who could wish for royalty, when knowing
That in death's dream he must at last awake?
The rich man dreams of care-creating wealth;
The poor man dreams he suffers misery;
And he is dreaming who begins to rise,
And he is dreaming who is toiling hard,
And he is dreaming who would seek revenge.
Ay, all the world are dreaming that they are,
Though none are conscious of it. I but dream
That I am here, laden with heavy chains,-
And that more flattering state was but a dream.