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A thrilling pleasantness, which send a glow
Through the poorest serf that tills the happy soil —
I am shut out froin all. This is
Uncle, be merciful! I do not ask
My throne again. Reign! Reign! I have forgot
That I was once a king. But let me bide
In some woodland cottage, where green leaves
May wave around me, and cool breezes kiss
My brow. Keep me not in a dungeon, uncle,
Of this dark gloomy chamber. Let me dwell
In some wild forest. I'll not breathe a word
That might be dangerous. No! not to the birds,
My songsters, or the fawns, my playmates, uncle.
Thou ne'er shalt hear of me again.
Alb. Boy! boy!
Cling not about me thus.
Theo. Thou wilt have mercy;
Thy heart is softening.
Alb. "Tis too late.
And he at liberty! I am a child
Myself, that, won by this child's gentleness,
I seemed to waver. Boy, thy fate is fixed!
Thyself hast said it. Thou’rt a prisoner,
And for thy whole life long; a caged bird.
Be wiser than the feathered fool that beats
His wings against the wire. Thou shalt have all
Thy heart can ask, save freedom, and that-never !
I tell thee so in love, and not in hate;
For I would root out hope and fear, and plant
Patience in thy young soul.
Rest thee content. No harm shall happen thee.
Theo. Content! Oh mockery of grief! content !
Was't not enough to take away my crown,
To mew me up here in a living tomb,
Cut off from human ties; but my jailer
Must bid me be content! Would I were dead!
Forgive me, heaven, for my impatience!
I will take better thoughts. 'Tis but to fancy
This room a quiet hermitage, and pray
As hermits use through the long silent hours.
I shall be innocent. Sure he's a friend
That shuts me out from sin. Did he not call me
A caged bird ? I've seen one prune himself,
And hop from perch to perch, and chirp and sing
Merrily! Happy fool, it had forgot
Blithe liberty! But man, though he should drag
A captive's heavy chain, even till he starts
To hear his own sad voice, cannot forget
He wants that blessed gift.
Athelwold. Banish me! No. I'll die. For why should life
Remain a lonely lodger in that breast
Which honor leaves deserted ? Idle breath!
Thou canst not fill such vacancy. Begone.
This sword shall free-
Pilgrim. Oh shame to fortitude !
Shame to that manly passion, which inspires
Its vigorous warmth, when the bleak blasts of fate
Would chill the soul. Oh call fair ready virtue
Quick to thy aid, for she is ever near thee;
Is ever prompt to shed her sevenfold shield
O'er noble breasts.
Athel. And but o'er noble breasts ;
Not o'er the breast which livid infamy
Indelibly hath spotted. Oh shame, shame!
Sword, rid me of the thought.
Pil. Forbear, forbear;
Think what a sea of deep perdition whelms
The wretch's trembling soul, who lanches forth
Unlicensed to eternity. Think, think;
And let the thought restrain thine impious hand.
The race of man is one vast marshaled army,
Summoned to pass the spacious realms of time,
Their leader the Almighty. In that march-
Ah! who may quit his post? when high in air
The chosen archangel rides, whose right hand wields
The imperial standard of heaven's providence,
Which, dreadly sweeping through the vaulted sky,
O'ershadows all creation.
Athel. I was once-
Yes, I was once, I have his royal word for it,
A man of such tried faith, such steady honor,
As mocked all doubt and scruple.—What a change!
Now must that unstained, virgin character,
Be doomed to gross and hourly prostitution,
Sating the lust of slander; and my wife,
My chaste Elfrida! Oh distraction, no.
I'll fly to save her.
Edwin. Stay, my dearest master;
You rush on instant death.
Athel. I mean it, slave, And wouldst thou hinder me?
Ed. Yes, sir, I hold
'Tis duty to my king, and love to you,
Thus to oppose your entrance.
Athel. What! thou traitor!
Thy pardon, Edwin, I forgot myself ;
Forgot, that I stood here a banished man;
And that this gate was shut against its master.
Oh earth, cold earth,
Upon whose breast I cast this load of misery,
Bear it awhile; and you, ye aged oaks,
Ye venerable fathers of this wood,
Who oft have cooled beneath your arching shades
My humble ancestors ; oft seen them hie
To your spread umbrage, from yon sultry field,
Their scene of honest labor; shade, ah! shade
The last, the wretchedest of all their race.
I will not long pollute ye; for I mean
To pay beneath your consecrated gloom
A sacrifice to honor, and the ghosts
Of those progenitors, who sternly frown
On me, their base descendant.
Ed. See, thou Pilgrim,
How horror shades his brow; how fixed his eye;
Heavens! what despair.
Pil. Edwin, 'tis ever thus
With noble minds, if chance they slide to folly;
Remorse stings deeper and relentless conscience
Pours more of gall into the bitter cup
Of their severe repentance.
CASWALLON-FITZ-EDWARD. -Walker. Caswallon. Off.— I have strength in this unwearied arm(Recognizing his son.) Ha! is it thou ?
Fitz-Edward. Turn not away. One word Upon my knees I beg it.
Cas. Let it be
A brief one, then.What wouldst thou ?
Fitz-Ed. Oh, my father-
The tempest that my slighted speech foretold,
Hath it not burst upon thee!
Cas. And 'tis this-
To tell me this, that thou art here-to vaunt
Thy skill in divination ?
Fitz-Ed. No.-I come
To break thy commerce with the midnight wolf-
To pluck thee from the lair where foxes litter :-
Restoring thee to all those social joys
That flow from man's communion with his kind :-
To place thee once again,
If I thought that—thou knowest my temper-hence,
Nor urge it farther.
Fitz-Ed. Oh, I must, and thou
Must hear me, too.-Enough of constancy-
Enough of valor hath thy heart displayed.
We are a fallen people.—To contend
With fortune now, were desperate vanity.
The sceptre hath departed from our land :-
The kingly sway-
Cas. Patience-oh, patience, heart!
Fitz-Ed. Nay, hear me on.—Is not all lost ?—and thouDost thou still singly labor to oppose The common doom ?-oh, idle all. -There now Is left thee but one way to save thyself :But one-and I must speak it, howsoe'er It grates against thine ear—it jars within Thy bosom— I must speak it—'tis submission.
Cas. Heaven are thy thunders idle ?—and thou, earth That yet endurest his tread !thou wilt not part Beneath him, and deep hide his infamy! No-thou disdainest that such a rank pollution Should rest within thy bosom!—This to me!Submission !-Breathes the recreant to confront Caswallon with such counsel ?-Yes-behold him ! There—with the uttered wish—the hateful hope Fresh reeking from his lips, he stands before meEndless disgrace!—a Cambrian, and—my son!
Fitz-Ed. Yet-vet I will be patient.
Cas. Nothou blot
On the pure 'scutcheon of thy noble fathers—
Thor shalt not plume thee in my fall, nor show me
A humbled spectacle to swell thy pride
With—“Lo! my work, and there the untamable !"-
I read thy heart's deep purpose.
Fitz-Ed. Dreadful thought !
'Tis not within thy hate's extremest bound
To think me so immeasurably base-
Oh, these hot stinging tears !-
Away, weak heart'
In upright conscious honesty, I stand-
. And shake thy loose aspersions from my soul,
As lightly as the falcon from her wing
The dews of evening.
Cas. I will not hear thee.—Hence.
Fitz-Ed. Obdurate man, bow thy proud spirit down,
If ta'en thou diest.–Submit, and thou shalt live :-
(Imploringly upon his knees.) Beloved father!
By heaven's whole host, I will not see thee lost!
(Starting up resolvedly.)
Nomif thou scorn to yield, I'll instant hence,
And to the troops that now beset thee round,
Reveal the secret of thy lurking place.
Cas. Reveal !-betray me to— ?
But no—thou art
Caswallon's son, and thus far he will trust thee.
Fitz-Ed. Oh, agony of heart !
Cas. (Going.) Nay, follow not.
Attempt to stay me, and a father's curse
Cling to thy soul, and hold thee lost for ever! (Exit.)
Fitz-Ed. Hark !—are there thunders crashing in the air !
Or what is't stirs my brain ?-a father's curses
It fell not-'tis not that that
here. That misery still is spared me. He is gone!
SOLDIERS AND PEOPLE.-Knowles.
(The people have gathered to one side, and look in the opposite direction with apprehension and trouble.)
Verner. Now Tell observe the people.
Toll. Ha! they please me now-I like them now-their looks Are just in season.