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Proc. It matters not
To him who holds the mastery o'er his spirit,
And can suppress its workings, till endurance
Becomes as nature. We can tame ourselves
To all extremes, and there is that in life
To which we cling with most tenacious grasp,
Even when its lofty claims are all reduced
To the poor common privilege of breathing.-
Rai. I deemed thee, by the ascendant soul which lived,
And made its throne on thy commanding brow,
One of a sovereign nature, which would scorn
So to abase its high capacities
For aught on earth.—But thou art like the rest.
What wouldst thou with me?
Proc. I would counsel thee.
Thou must do that which men—aye valiant men—
Hourly submit to do.
Where is he, whose heart
Lies bare, through all its foldings, to the gaze-
Of mortal eye ?-If vengeance wait the foe,
Or fate the oppressor, 'tis in depths concealed
Beneath a smiling surface.—Youth! I say
Keep thy soul down !-Put on a mask !—'tis worn
Alike by power and weakness.
Rai. Away, dissembler!
Life hath its high and its ignoble tasks,
Fitted to every nature.
Will the free
And royal eagle stoop to learn the arts
By which the serpent wins his spell-bound prey?
[t is because I will not clothe myself
In a vile garb of coward' semblances,
That now, e'en now, I struggle with my heartı
To bid what most I love a long farewell,
And seek my country on some distant shore,
Where such things are unknown!
Proc. (Exultingly.) Why, this is joy!
After long conflict with the doubts and fears,
And the poor subtleties of meaner minds,
To meet a spirit, whose bold elastic wing
Oppression hath not crushed.—High-hearted youth..
Thy father, should his footsteps e’er again.
Visit these shores-
Rai. My father! what of him?
Speak! was he known to thee?
Proo. In distant lands
With him I've traversed many a wild, and looked
On many a danger; and the thought that thou
Wert smiling then in peace, a happy boy,
Oft through the storm hath cheered him.
Rai. Dost thou deem
That still he lives ?-Oh! if it be in chains,
In woe, in poverty's obscurest cell,
Say but he lives—and I will track his steps
E'en to the earth's verge!
be that he lives :
Though long his name hath ceased to be a word
Familiar in man's dwellings. But its sound
May yet be heard !-Raimond di Procida,
Rememberest thou thy father ?
Raimond! doth no voice
Speak to thy soul, and tell thee whose the arms
That would infold thee now ?-My son! my son!:
Rai. Father !-Oh God my father!
(Hakon enters leading his son Erling by the hand.) Erling. 'Tis cold, my father! Hakon. 'Tis yet early morning. Art thou so very chill ?
Erl. Nay, 'tis no matter.-
I shall behold the rising sun-how grand !
A sight that I have never known before.
Hak. Seest thou yon ruddy streaks along the east ?
Erl. What roses ! how they bloom and spread on high !
Yet father, tell me whence come all these pearls,
Wherewith the valley here is richly strewn?
How brightly they reflect the rosy light!
Hak. They are not pearls, it is the morning dew!
And that which thou deemest roses, is the sun!
Seest thou ? he rises now. Look at him, boy!
Erl. Oh! what a beauteous whirling globe he seems :
How fiery red! Dear father, can we never
Visit the sun in yonder distant land?
Hak. My child, our whole life thitherward is tending; That flaming ball of light is Odin's eye
His other is the moon, of milder light,
That he just now has left in Mimer's well,
There by the charmful waves to be refreshed.
Erl. And where is Mimer's well?
Hak. The sacred ocean-
That is old Mimer's deep and potent well.
That strengthens Odin's eyes.
From the cool waves,
At morning duly comes the sun refreshed,
The moon again by night.
Erl. But now it hurts me-
It mounts too high.
Hak. Upon his golden throne,
The almighty father mounts, soon to survey
The whole wide earth. The central diamond
In his meridian crown, our earthly sight
May not contemplate. What man darest to meet
The unveiled aspect of the king of day?
Erl. (Terrified.) Hu! hu! my father in the forest yonderWhat are those bearded, frightful men ?
Hak. Fear not-
They are the statues of the gods, by men
Thus hewn in marble. They blind not with sun-gleams.
Before them we can pray with confidence,
And look upon them with untroubled firmness.
Come child—let us go nearer!
Erl. No, my father!
I am afraid-seest thou that old man there!
Him with the beard? I am afraid of him!
Hak. Child, it is Odin—wouldst thou fly from Odin ?
Erl. No—no—I fear not the great king in heaven-
He is so good and beautiful, and calls
The flowers from earth's bosom, and himself shines
Like a flower on high ;-but that pale sorcerer-
He grins like an assassin !
At least let me bring my crown of flowers.
I left it there on the hedge, when first
Thou broughtest me hither to see the sun rise.
Then let us go home;
Believe me that old man there means no good!
Hak. Go bring thy wreath, and quickly come again,
A lamb for sacrifice is ever crowned. (Exit Erling.)
Behold the faith of Hakon in this deed.
(Ee-enter Erling.) Erl. Here am I, father, and here's the crown.
Hak. Yet Ere thou goest, my child, kneel down before Great Odin. Stretch thy hands both up to heaven, And say, “ Almighty father! hear little Erling—as thy child receive him to thy Paternal bosom.” (He kneels, stretching his arms out towards
the sun, and says with childish innocence and simplicity, Erl. Oh! Great Odin, hear Little Erling! as thy child receive him To thy paternal bosom. (Hakon, who stands behind, draws his
dagger, and intends to stab him, but it drops out of his hand;
Erling turns round quietly, takes it up, and says as he rises, Here it is—. Your dagger, father: 'tis so bright and sharp! When I grow taller I will have one too, Thee to defend against thy enemies.
Hak. Ha! what enchanter with such words assists
To move thy father's heart ?
Erl. How's this, niy father ?
You are not angry sure! What have I done?
Hak. Come Erling! follow me behind that statue !
Erl. Behind that frightful man! Oh! no.
Hak. Yet listen!
There are red roses blooming there, not white
But red and purple roses—’tis a pleasure
To see them shooting forth. Come then, my child!
Erl. Dear father, stay,- I am so much afraid
I do not love red roses.
Hak. Come, I say.
Hearest thou not Heimidal's cock! He crows and crows.
Now it is time.
ESSEX-SOUTHAMPTON-LIEUTENANT OF THE TOWER
Essex. Oh name it not! my friend shall live, he shall;
I know her royal mercy, and her goodness
Will give you back to life, to length of daye,
And me to honor, loyalty, and truth.
Death is still distant far.
Southampton. In life's first spring
grew apace and prospered ;
The genial summer swelled our joyful hearts,
To meet and mix each growing fruitful wish.
We're now embarked upon
Where all the wise and brave are gone before us,
Ever since the birth of time, to meet eternity.
And what is death did we consider right?
Shall we astonished shrink, like frighted infants,
And start at scaffolds and their gloomy trappings?
Essex. Still I trust long years remain of friendship.
Let smiling hope drive doubt and fear away,
And death be banished far, where creeping age,
Disease and care, invite him to their dwelling.
I feel assurance rise within my breast,
That all will yet be well.
South. Count not on hope-
We never can take leave, my friend, of life,
On nobler terms. Life! what is life? A shadow!
Its date is but the immediate breath we draw;
Nor have we surety for a second gale;
Ten thousand accidents in ambush lie
For the embodied dream.
A frail and fickle tenement it is,
Which like the brittle glass that measures time,
Is often broke, ere half its sands are run.
Essex. Such cold philosophy the heart disdains,
And friendship shudders at the moral tale.
My friend, the fearful precipice is past,
And danger dare not meet us more. Fly swift
Ye better angels, waft the welcome tidings
Of pardon to my friend; of life and joy. (Enter Lieutenant.)
Lieutenant. Í grieve to be the messenger of woe,
But must, my lords, entreat you to prepare
For instant death. Here is the royal mandate
That orders your immediate execution.
Essex. Immediate execution !-what, so sudden!
No message from the queen, or Nottingham ?
Lieut. None, sir.
Essex. Deluded hopes! Oh, worse than death!
Perfidious queen, to make a mock of life!
My friend, my friend destroyed! Oh piercing thought!
Oh dismal chance--in my destruction ruined !
In my sad fall undone! Why could not mine,
My life atone for both, my blood
appease? Can you, my friend, forgive me?