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My country's ruin-seen an ancient state
As Europe's public law, e'en on the authority
And to his interference owe our safety.
Alas. Tyrants, proud lord, are never safe, nor should be; The ground is mined beneath them as they tread;
Haunted by plots, cabals, conspiracies,
Their lives are long convulsions, and they shake,
Surrounded by their guards and garrisons.
Hoh. Your patriot care, sir, would redress all wrongs
That spring from harsh restraints of law and justice.
Your virtue prompts you to make war on tyrants,
And like another Brutus free your country.
Alas. Why, if there were some slanderous tool of state
Some taunting, dull, unmannered deputy
Some district despot prompt to play the Tarquin,
By heaven! I well could act the Roman part,
And strike the brutal tyrant to the earth,
Although he wore the mask of Hohendahl.
Hoh. Ha! darest thou thus provoke me, insolent! (Draws.) Wal. (Advancing between them.) Rash boy, forbear! My lord, you are too hasty.
Alas. This roof is your protection from my arm.
Wal. Methinks, young man, a friend of mine might claim More reverence at your hands.
Alas. Thy friend! by heaven!
That sacred title might command my worship;
Show me authority in honor's garb,
And I will down upon the humblest knee
But shall I reverence pride, and hate, and rapine?
Will turn to bitterest gall, and the o'ercharged heart
Hoh. (Going to the side scene.) My servants, there,
Seize the Count Alasco
(Two of the Baron's servants enter.)
I here proclaim him rebel to the state.
Alas. (Drawing and putting himself on his defense.) Slaves! At your peril, venture on my sword!
Wal. My lord! my lord! this is my house-my castle;
You do not-cannot-mean this violation:
Beneath the sanctuary of a soldier's roof,
Hoh. But not his sovereign's;
You would not screen a traitor from the law!
In safety. Here my honor guards him.
Your loyalty, my friend, seems rather nice,
And stands upon punctilio.
Wal. Yes, the loyalty
That is not nice, in honor and good faith,
May serve the tool-the slave-the sycophant
But does not suit the soldier.
Hoh. Colonel Walsingham,
My station must prescribe my duty here:-(To the attendants.) Bear hence your prisoner, and await my orders.
Wal. (Drawing and interposing.) Ha! touch him, ruffians, on your lives! By heaven!
This arm has not yet lost its vigor. Hence-
Forget that you are unworthy of my sword.
(The Baron motions his attendants to retire.)
My lord, this is an outrage on my honor-
And hoped a worn-out soldier might have found
Fit refuge, in the winter of his age,
You've heard the charge, and as you may, must answer it.
This solemn censure from a friend like thee,
It had been death to hear it: But, thank heaven!
Indignant triumphs o'er unjust reproach,
And holds her seat unshaken. For this lord-
He knows I hold him less in fear than scorn,
And when, and where he dares, will answer him.
Attendant. A stranger craves admittance to your highness. Saladin. Whence comes he?
Atten. That I know not
Enveloped in a vestment of strange form,
Atten. Thy royal brother.
Sal. Bring him instantly. (Exit Attendant.)
(Enter Attendant, and Malek Adhel.)
Sal. Leave us together. (Exit Attendant.) (Aside.) I should know that form.
Now summon all thy fortitude, my soul,
Nor, though thy blood cry for him, spare the guilty.
Malek Adhel. Behold it, then!
Sal. I see a traitor's visage.
Mal. Ad. A brother's.
Saladin owns no kindred with a villain.
Mal. Ad. Oh, patience, heaven! Had any tongue but thine Uttered that word, it ne'er should speak another.
Sal. And why not now? Can this heart be more pierced By Malek Adhel's sword than by his deeds? Oh, thou hast made a desert of this bosom ! For open candor, planted sly disguise; For confidence, suspicion; and the glow Of generous friendship, tenderness, and love, For ever banished. Whither can I turn, When he by blood, by gratitude, by faith, By every tie bound to support, forsakes me? Who, who can stand, when Malek Adhel falls? Henceforth I turn me from the sweets of love, The smiles of friendship-and this glorious world, In which all find some heart to rest upon, Shall be to Saladin a cheerless voidHis brother has betrayed him!
Mal. Ad. Thou art softened;
I am thy brother then; but late thou saidst―
Thou hast betrayed me in my fondest hopes.
Thinkest thou I'm softened? By Mohammed, these hands
Should crush these aching eyeballs, ere a tear
Fall from them at thy fate !—Oh monster, monster!
Is excellent to thee, for in his form
The impulse of his nature may be read,―
Mal. Ad. Go on, go on;
"Tis but a little while to hear thee, Saladin, And, bursting at thy feet, this heart will prove Its penitence at least.
That were an end
Too noble for a traitor; the bowstring is
A more appropriate finish-thou shalt die!
Mal. Ad. And death were welcome at another's mandate! What, what have I to live for? Be it so,
If that in all thy armies can be found
Sal. Oh, doubt it not!
They're eager for the office.
So black as thine, effaces from their minds
All memory of thy former excellence.
Mal. Ad. Defer not then their wishes. Saladin,
This voice seemed grateful to thine ear, accede
Sal. This very hour!
(Aside.) For oh! the more I look upon that face,
And vengeance it shall have! What ho! who waits there? (Enter Attendant.)
Atten. Did your highness call?
My forces in the court!-tell them they come
His brother when he errs, expects obedience,
Silent obedience from his followers. (Exit Attendant.)
The word is given-I have nothing more
Without thy love, thy honor, thy esteem,