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And when 'tis spurred, it does not run, but flies
Upon this horse, a lovely woman comes
To thy high presence.*
The light dazzles me.
Clarin. It is Rosaura !
Ay, restored by heav'n.
Enter Rosaura, with a jacket,+ sword and dagger. neiRosaura. Great Sigismund, whose noble majesty
Arises from the night that shadowed it,
Into the glorious daylight of his deeds.
As the great planet in Aurora's arms,
Returns in radiance to the plants and flowers,
And rising on the mountains and the seas,
Decked in his diadem, diffuses light,
Edging the waves, and bathing the high summits,
Thus, sun of Poland, shine upon the earth,
Grant thy protection to the hapless woman
Who kneels before thee-as she is a woman,
And hapless also-two sufficient motives;
Nay, one of these would serve, and more than serve,
With one who glories in a hero's name.
Thrice hast thou seen me, thrice thou hast not known
My real nature, as each time I wore
A different form and dress. At first you thought me
A man, when you were in your prison bound,
And your hard fate gave much relief to mine.
The second time you saw me as a woman,
When your majestic pomp was but a dream,
A fantasy. Now the third time has come,
I am a monster formed of either sex,
Wearing a man's arms, and a woman's dress.
As thou wilt be more ready to assist me
If I awake thy pity, 'twill be well
For thee to know the hardships of my lot.
My mother was a lady at the court
Of Muscovy, who must have been most fair,
As she was most unfortunate; on her
A traitor cast his eyes, whose name I know not,
But well can judge his valour by my own.
Since while I am the copy of his soul,
I do not feel myself of such high birth
As to believe he was a deity;
Like him who as a swan, a show'r, a bull,
Appeared to Leda, Danae, Europa.
* Of course a strict construction must not be looked for in this rambling speech. --J. O.
+ “Vaquero." Griess calls it a mantle.-J. O.
While thinking I was length'ning my discourse
By quoting these false histories, I find
That in a few words I have told you all;
How that my mother led by am'rous wiles,
Was by her beauty equal to them all,
And equal also in unhappiness.
False vows of faith, and promises of marriage
Attained so much, that memory e'en now
Mourns over her fate ; th' Æneas of his Troy,
My father left her nothing but this sword,
Which may at present stay within its sheath,
Though I will bare it ere I end my tale.
Of this imperfect, most unstable union-
Whether 'twas crime or marriage is the same-
I was the fruit, and was so like my mother,
I was her portrait-not in beauty, no!
But in my deeds and my unhappiness.
I need not tell thee, how I was the heiress
Of her own fate, and followed a like course;
I only need repeat the name of him
Who robbed me of the trophies of my honour;
It was Astolfo,-Oh, at naming him,
My heart beats high with anger, -showing thus
An enemy is named.-It was Astolfo.
Forgetful of his joys,- for love once past
Is soon forgotten,-called from his high conquest,
To wed Estrella he came here to Poland,
Estrella, my death-torch! Who would believe
That as there was a star that joined two lovers,
Another star* would now be found to part them?
Deceived, insulted thus, I remained sad,
Ay, maddened-dead-in short, I was myself,t
By which I mean that all the rage of hell
Was written in the Babel of my heart.
Affecting dumbness—for there are some woes
The feelings can tell better than the lips-
I told my griefs in silence, till one day,
My mother, Violante, burst the prison,
And from my heart they crowding sallied forth.
I did not fear to speak them; when we know
That those to whom we own our faults have been
Involved in like transgression, we expect
The more forbearance; thus a bad example
Will sometimes serve for good. My mother heard
With pity my misfortune, and endeavoured
To solace me with that she had endured.
The judge that once has sinned is merciful.
Being well tutored by her own misfortune,
And being most averse to leave to time
And opportunity her honour's cure,
She would not let me loiter in my griefs,
But counselled me that I should follow him,
And should compel him, by all subtle arts,
To pay my honour's debt. To gain this end
More easily, my destiny* required
That I should wear the garment of a man.
An ancient sword she took—the one I wear,
Which, as I promised, I will now unsheath-
And in this token, trusting much, she said,
“ Hie thee to Poland ; let it be thine aim
That the most noble see the steel thou wearest.
Perchance there may be one with whom thy fortunes
May find a shelter, and thy griefs a cure !”
To Poland then I came. I need not tell
That which thou know'st already; so pass over
How a wild horse first brought me to the cave,
Where thou wert so astonished to behold me.
Let us pass over how the good Clotaldo
Took interest in my fate, and begged my life,
Which the King granted him; how, when he knew
My real sex, he told me to put on
My proper dress, and wait upon Estrella,
When I contrived to mar Astolfo's love,
And checked his marriage by my stratagems.
Let us pass over how you saw me here,
And seeing me again in woman's garb,
Confounded the two forms;t and come to this:
That being convinced it is of high importance
That Astolf and Estrella should be wedded,
Clotaldo counsels me against my honour,
Insisting that I shall resign my claim.
Now seeing, O most valiant Sigismund,
To whom belongs high vengeance, as the heavens
Desire thou shouldst break through thy rustic prison,
Where thou hast dwelt, in feelings but a brute,
A rock in thine endurance ;-that thou warrest
Against thy country and thy sire;- I came
To aid thee, giving to Diana's pomp
The arms of Pallas, partly decked in silk,
Partly in steel, combining both in one.
See, gallant captain, it concerns us both
To check these nuptials; I could not endure
To see my husband wedded to another,
*" Fortuna." Probably she means her mother, who has been the acting power in the journey to Poland.'
† This “ let us pass over" (pasemos), and telling a long story all the time, looks very ridiculous. It has not the excuse of Puff's hero, of letting the audience into the secret, for every incident here referred to has taken place before their eyes-J.O.
And 'tis thine interest that they should not join
Their two estates, and thus, with power increased,
Render our conquest doubtful. As a woman
I came to ask from thee mine honour's cure,
And as a man I came to spur thee on
To gain thy kingdom. I came as a woman
To soften thee, and kneel, thus, at thy feet;
A man, I came to serve thee with my sword.
Mind, then, that if thou lov'st me as a woman,
I'll kill thee, as a man, in the defence
Of mine own honour. ' I must be a woman
In urging on thee my complaints; a man
In giving honour.
If 'tis truth I dream,
Arrest my mem'ry, Heaven ! it may not be
That a dream should contain so many things.
How can I wind through all, or think on none?
Was ever doubt so painful ? If I dreamed
Of all that pomp, how can this woman tell
So much that I have seen? "Twas surely truth,
And not a dream; and if, then, it was truth,
(Which makes the more confusion, not the less,)
How can my life regard it as a dream?
So similar to dreams are all our glories,
That we regard the true as false, the feigned
As real! Is there such slight difference
That we must doubt if all we see-enjoy- .
Be false or true ? Is the original
So like the copy that we cannot tell
Which is indeed the copy? If 'tis so
And we must see all pomp and majesty,
All pow'r and grandeur vanish in a dream,
Let us improve the moment in our grasp ;
In that alone we taste the joys of dreams.
My soul adores the beauty of Rosaura,
And she is in my pow'r, - I will enjoy
The present opportunity, and love
Shall break the laws of honour, trusting which
Now at my feet she lies. It is a dream,
And being such, let us now dream of bliss,
Which at some future time will turn to grief.-
Yet with these reasons I subdue myself.
If 'tis a dream, if all is but vain glory,
Who for mere human vanities would forfeit
Glory divine ? Past pleasures are but dreams.
Who ever knew the fortunes of a hero,
That has not said, when he has thought of them :
“ A dream was all I saw ?"-If I am guarded.
Against deceit, by knowing that our pleasures
Are but bright flames, which will to ashes turn,
At the first breath ; th' eternal will I seek,
Which is a lasting power, where happiness
And glory never sleep, and know no pause.
The honour of Rosaura now is lost.
And surely it must more become a prince
To give than to take honour; then, by heav'ns,
I'll gain her honour, ere I gain my crown.
But let me fly from opportunity
Lest it should prove too tempting.-Sound to arms !
(To Soldiers.) I must give battle ere the dusky night
Buries the golden rays in dark-green waves.
Rosaura. My Lord, so soon dost thou absent thyself?
Does not my grief merit a single word?
How is it thou wilt neither see nor hear me?
Nay, that thou even hid'st thy face?
Honour demands that now I should be stern
If I would show true pity, and my voice
Gives thee no answer, leaving to my honour
The office of replying. I am silent,
Meaning that deeds shall speak for me, not words.
I do not look on thee, 'tis the hard lot
Of him who would regard thy sacred honour,
That from thy beauty he must turn his eyes. [Exit.
Rosaura. What are these riddles? After so much grief
Must I be troubled with these dark replies?
Clarin. May I approach, my lady?
How ? Clarin?
Whence hast thou come ?
Fast locked in yonder tow'r
I waited for my death, considering
Whether 'twould come or not.* Rosaura.
But why was this? Clarin. Because I knew thy real character.
Indeed, Clotaldo-(drums heard). Why, what noise was