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The last request which e'er was his to utter,
Sal. Speak then; but ask thyself if thou hast reason
Mal. Ad. I have not!
Yet will I ask for it. We part for ever;
This is our last farewell; the king is satisfied;
From the loved tongue which once breathed naught but kindness. Still silent? Brother!-friend-beloved companion
Of all my youthful sports-are they forgotten?
Strike me with deafness, make me blind, Oh heaven!
Smile at my agonies-nor hear that voice
Pronounce my doom, which would not say one word,
Sal. (Seizing his hand.) Brother! brother!-
Death has not now
A single pang in store. Proceed! I'm ready.
Sal. Oh, art thou ready to forgive, my brother,—
To pardon him who found one single error,
One little failing 'mid a splendid throng
Of glorious qualities
Mal. Ad. Oh stay thee, Saladin !
I did not ask for life-I only wished
Cries loudly for the blood of Malek Adhel.
Thy soldiers too, demand that he who lost
Pleased by my fate to add one other leaf
Sal. Thou shalt not. (Enter Attendant.)
Atten. My lord, the troops assembled by your order
Can e'er be found a hand to do the office.
Oh, faithful friends! (To Atten.) Thine shalt. Atten. Mine ?-Never!—
The other first shall lop it from the body.
Sal. They teach the emperor his duty well. Tell them he thanks them for it-tell them, too, That ere their opposition reached our ears, Saladin had forgiven Malek Adhel.
Atten. Oh joyful news!
I haste to gladden many a gallant heart,
Sal. These men, the meanest in society,
Call back one danger which thou hast not shared,
Which thy resistless kindness hath not soothed,
When death seemed certain, only uttered-" Brother!"
That 'twas to thee I owed the
Which sentenced thee to perish. Oh, 'tis shameful!
Mal. Ad. By these tears I can
Oh, brother! from this very hour, a new,
May this sword fence thee in the bloody field.
My heart, my soul, my sword, are thine for ever.
(A dark cavern. Isidore alone; an extinguished torch in his hand.) Isidore. Faith, 'twas a moving message-very moving! "His life in danger,—no place.safe but this.
"Twas now his turn to talk of gratitude."
And yet but no! there can't be such a villain.
Thanks to that little crevice,
Which lets the moonlight in! I'll go and sit by it,
Or hear a cow or two breathe loud in their sleep;
(He goes out of sight opposite to the moonlight, and returns in an ecstacy of fear.)
A hellish pit! the very same I dreamed of!
I was just in-and those damned fingers of ice
Which clutched my hair up!-ha! what's that? it moved. (Isidore stands staring at another recess in the cavern; in the meantime Ordonio enters with a torch and halloos to Isidore.) Isid. I swear that I saw something moving there! The moonshine came and went like a flash of lightningI swear I saw it move.
Ordonio. (Goes into the recess, then returns, and with great scorn.) A jutting clay-stone
Drops on the long lank weed that
Isid. (Forcing a laugh faintly.) A jest to laugh at! It was not that which scared me, good my lord.
What scared you, then?
But first permit me! (Lights his torch at Ordonio's.)
Is no unpleasant object here one's breath
Floats round the flame, and makes as many colors,
You see that crevice there?
My torch extinguished by these water-drops,
But scarcely had I measured twenty paces-
Of a huge chasm I stept. The shadowy moonshine
Was it my own fear?
Fear too hath its instincts!
And yet such dens as these are wildly told of,
You smile! alas, even smiles look ghastly here!
My lord, I pray you, go yourself and view it.
Ord. It must have shot some pleasant feelings through you Isid. If every atom of a dead man's flesh
Should creep, each one with a particular life,
Yet all as cold as ever-'twas just so!
Ord. Why, Isidore,
I blush for thy cowardice. It might have startled,
Isid. When a boy, my lord,
I could have sat whole hours beside that chasm,
Some blind worm battens on the ropy
Ord. Art thou more coward now?
Isid. Call him, that fears his fellow-man, a coward!
Had a strange power of breathing terror round me!
And, I entreat your lordship to believe me,
Isid. I was in the act
Of falling down that chasm, when Alhadre
Ord. Strange enough!
Had you been here before?
Isid. Never, my lord!
But mine eyes do not see it now more clearly,
Ord. (Stands lost in thought.) I know not why it should be! yet it is
Isid. What is, my lord?
To kill a man.—
Isid. Except in self-defense.
Ord. Why that's my case! and yet the soul recoils at it.— "Tis so with me, at least. But you, perhaps,
Have sterner feelings.
Isid. Something troubles you.
How shall I serve you? By the life you gave me,
By all that makes that life a value to me;
My wife, my babes, my honor, I swear to you,
If it be innocent! Rut this, my lord,
Is not a place where you could perpetrate,
No, nor propose, a wicked thing! The darkness,
When ten strides off we know 'tis cheerful moonlight,