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Sivard. And who art thou, That thus would swallow all the glory up That should redeem the times ? Behold this breast, The sword has tilled it; and the stripes of slaves Shall ne'er trace honor here; shall never blot The fair inscription.—Never shall the cords Of Danish insolence bind down these arms, That bore my royal master from the field. Gust. Ha! Say you, brother? Were you there—Oh,
Where liberty and Stenon fell together ?
Siv. Yes, I was there.-A bloody field it was,
Where conquest gasped, and wanted breath to tell
Its o'er-toiled triumph. There our bleeding king,
There Stenon on this bosom made his bed,
And, rolling back his dying eyes upon me,
Soldier, he cried, if e'er it be thy lot
To see my gallant cousin, great Gustavus,
Tell him--for once, that I have fought like him,
And would like him have-
Gust. Oh, Danes ! Danes !
You shall weep blood for this. Shall they not, brother?
Yes, we will deal our might with thrifty vengeance,
A life for every blow, and, when we fall,
There shall be weight in't; like the tottering towers,
That draw contiguous ruin.
Siv. Brave, brave man!
My soul admires thee. By my father's spirit,
I would not barter such a death as this
For immortality! Nor we alone-
Here be the trusty gleanings of that field,
Where last we fought for freedom; here's rich poverty,
Though wrapped in rags—my fifty brave companions ;
Who through the force of fifteen thousand foes
Bore off their king, and saved his great remains.
Gust. Why, captain,
We could but die alone, with these we'll conquer.
My fellow-laborers too. What say ye, friends ?
Shall we not strike for it?
Siv. Death! Victory or death!
All. No bonds! no bonds !
Arnoldus. Spoke like yourselves.-Ye men of Dalecarlia, Brave men and bold! whom
From honor's dangerous summit, warriors all !
Say, might ye choose a chief
Speak, name the man,
Who then should meet your wish?
Siv. Forbear the theme.
Why wouldst thou seek to sink us with the weight
Of grievous recollection ! Oh, Gustavus !
Could the dead awake, thou wert the man.
Gust. Didst thou know Gustavus ?
Siv. Know him! Oh, heaven! what else, who else was
The knowledge of a soldier? That great day,
When Christiern, in his third attempt on Sweden,
Had summed his powers, and weighed the scale of fight,
On the bold brink, the very push of conquest,
Gustavus rushed, and bore the battle down;
In his full sway of prowess, like leviathan
That scoops his foaming progress on the main
And drives the shoals along-forward I sprung,
All emulous, and laboring to attend him;
Fear fled before, behind him rout grew loud,
And distant wonder gazed. At length he turned,
And having eyed me with a wondrous look
Of sweetness mixed with glory-grace inestimable !
He plucked this bracelet from his conquering arm,
And bound it here. My wrist seemed trebly nerved ;
My heart spoke to him, and I did such deeds
As best might thank him. But from that blessed day
I never saw him more—yet still to this,
I bow, as to the relics of my saint:
Each morn I drop a tear on every bead,
Count all the glories of Gustavus o'er,
And think I still behold him.
Gust. Rightly thought,
For so thou dost, my soldier,
Behold your general,
Gustavus ! Come once more to lead you on
To laureled victory, to fame, to freedom !
Siv. Strike me, ye powers! It is illusion all!
It cannot-It is, it is! (Falls and embraces his knees.)
Gust. Oh, speechless eloquence !
Rise to my arms, my friend.
Siv. Friend! say you, friend?
Oh, my heart's lord ! my conqueror! my
Gust. Approach, my fellow-soldiers, your Gustavus
Claims no precedence here.
Haste brave men !
Collect your friends, to join us on the instant;
Summon our brethren to their share of conquest,
And let loud echo, from her circling hills,
Sound freedom, till the undulation shake
The bounds of utmost Sweden.
Durazzo. Now Perez, give your happy master joy,
And change the title of your reverence
To suit his new condition. I am come,
Ennobled by the king, to mate with greatness.
Perez. Thank heaven, I live to call you lord ; therefore, My lord, I give you joy.
Dur. Proclaim it far,
That those who mocked my humble state may gnaw
Their lips with envy. 'Tis not that I prize
The empty title for its empty sake;
'Tis but a phrase ; yet, as the world is caught
With syllables, the phrase hath value i'nt,
And I would give it swelling currency
Throughout the realm.
Per. It shall not lack
Dur. I met a noble as I came, who thought
To look me out of favor with myself,
As he was wont to do. My soul was nigh
To burst its mortal bound as I rebuked him.
Per. But yonder look, where comes
Don Garcia through the vestibule.
Dur. Depart. (Exit Perez.)
And let us be alone. What! would he break
On my retirement rudely thus uncalled
No leave obtained—no question asked; but in,
As if I kept a tavern for his highness ?
Gar. How, my lord ?
Dur. My lord
Again, or Garcia, as you choose to speak,
Gar. "Tis bold, sir,—nay, methinks
You look but slightingly upon your patron.
Dur. My patron!
Gar. I was so this morning.
But see, 'tis mid-day now. Thinkest thou yon orb,
Who, on his glorious round, keeps half our earth
For ever in his beam, beholds no changes
In this diurnal planet, but the lapse
Of growing hours and seasons ?—think again;
Trust me, there are more strange vicissitudes
Than one man standing by another's side,
Who never was above him, but in fortune.
Gar. I would keep down this swelling of
heart To reason calmly with your haughtiness.
Dur. My haughtiness!
Gar. Ay, haughtiness; what else
Could breed this lofty tone? Those trappings, too,
But ill become the state of yesterday.
Dur. By your favor, sir,
'Tis sometimes prudent to adorn our limbs,
That fools, who look no deeper, thence may see
We mean to be respected.
Gar. But to change,
have done, in dress, in manner, word,
And action, from the lowly thing you have been,
So suddenly, as if the flash of fortune
Had set your soul and body in a flame,
Is matter more for mirth than deference.
Gar. The world will laugh.
Dur. Advise the world
It laugh not out too loud.
Gar. You would not make
So huge a sacrifice as all mankind
To your voracious anger.
Dur. I might chance
To know some voices in the jubilee,
And make amusement danger to the sharers.
Erewhile my pride was like an idle blade
That rusted in the scabbard ; now 'tis drawn,
And flourished o'er your heads-beware of it.
Gar. Have you not crawled your way to this?
Dur. 'Twas fate
Ordained it so; but I have broke her spells,
And here stand up for my prerogative,
Enlarged, and free to act. What I have done
And suffered was necessity : what more
I do, shall be from choice, and speak the mind
Within me noble.-
So, having won my place, I will assume
Its usage, honors, titles, and respects,
And in the teeth of scorn be dignified.
Gar. Yet hear me patiently.--Your tale this morning
Hath wrought a purpose useful to the state.
Provoke not inquisition, by the spurns
You cast on others, lest yourself be found
No purer than you should, and what you've done
Be, by your rashness, undone.
Dur. Have you aught
Gar. But to apply the rule.
Let no vindictive spirit against Benducar
Betray your passion to an act of rash
Revenge.-Bethink you, I have passed my word
That in due time he shall submit to you:
Dur. Oh! as the insult fell
On me, I know how calmly you can bear it;
Nor have I yet forgot, how light you made
This morning of the blow; as if it were
A gnat that stung my flesh.—The hand which strikes
Down from the clouds, may execute unquestioned
The purposes of its omnipotence :
But that whose force a mortal shoulder wields,
Strikes at its peril, and is answerable
To God and man.
Gar. I came not here to listen to this rudeness.
Dur. Nay, I've some notion of the cause that brought you. Was it to try the terror of your frown?
Gar. Did I not raise you—make you what
Dur. With the king's help.
Gar. You sneer, but it was so.
Dur. Went your intention with it, when you knew not
My object, nor my claim?
Gar. No matter now; 'Tis now enough to wonder at your fortunes.