Sivut kuvina

Collects the guilt, and crowds it round the heart.
It must be innocent.

Ord. Thyself be judge.

One of our family knew this place well.
Isid. Who-when!-my lord?

Ord. What boots it who or when?
Hang up thy torch-I'll tell his tale to thee.

(They hang up their torches.)

He was a man different from other men,

And he despised them, yet revered himself.

Isid. He! he despised?—thou'rt speaking of thyself!
I am on my guard, however: no surprise. (Aside.)
What, he was mad?

Ord. All men seemed mad to him!

Nature had made him for some other planet,
And pressed his soul into a human shape

By accident or malice.

In this world

He found no fit companion.

Isid. Of himself he speaks. (Aside.)

Alas! poor wretch!

Madmen are mostly proud.

Ord. He walked alone,

And phantom thoughts unsought for, troubled him.
Something within would still be shadowing out
All possibilities; and with these shadows

His mind held dalliance. Once, as so it happened,
A fancy crossed him wilder than the rest:
To this in moody murmur and low voice

He yielded utterance, as some talk in sleep.
The man who heard him-

Why didst thou look round?

Isid. I have a prattler three

years old, my

In truth he is my darling. As I went


From forth my door, he made a moan in sleep—
But I am talking idly-pray proceed!

And what did this man ?

Ord. With his human hand

He gave a substance and reality

To that wild fancy of a possible thing.—

Well, it was done! (Very wildly.)

Why babblest thou of guilt?

The deed was done, and it passed fairly off.
And he whose tale I tell thee-dost thou listen?
Isid. I would, my lord, you were by my

I'd listen to you with an eager eye.


Though you began this cloudy tale at midnight.
But I do listen-pray proceed, my lord.-

Ord. Where was I?

Isid. He of whom you tell the tale

Ord. Surveying all things with a quiet scorn,
Tamed himself down to living purposes,
The occupations and the semblances
Of ordinary men--and such he seemed!
But that same over-ready agent-he-
Isid. Ah! what of him, my lord?
Ord. He proved a traitor,

Betrayed the mystery to a brother traitor,
And they between them hatched a damned plot
To hunt him down to infamy and death.
What did the Valdes? I am proud of the name
Since he dared do it.

(Ordonio grasps his sword, and turns off from Isidore; then after a pause returns.)

Our links burn dimly.

Isid. A dark tale darkly finished! nay, my lord, Tell what he did.

Ord. That which his wisdom promptedHe made the traitor meet him in this cavern And here he killed the traitor.

Isid. No! the fool!

He had not wit enough to be a traitor.
Poor thick-eyed beetle! not to have foreseen
That he who gulled thee with a whimpered lie
To murder his own brother, would not scruple
To murder thee, if e'er his guilt grew jealous;
And he could steal upon thee in the dark!

Ord. Thou wouldst not then have come, if-
Isid. Oh yes, my lord!

I would have met him armed, and scared the coward. (Isidore throws off his robe-shows himself armed, and draws his sword.) Ord. Now this is excellent and warms the blood!

My heart was drawing back; drawing me back
With weak and womanish scruples. Now my vengeance
Beckons me onwards with a warrior's mien

And claims that life my pity robbed her of.

Now will I kill thee, thankless slave, and count it
Among my comfortable thoughts hereafter.

Isid. And all my little ones fatherless?

Die thou first. (They fight; Ordonio disarms Isidore, and in disarming him throws his sword up that recess opposite to which they were standing. Isidore hurries into the recess

with his torch; Ordonio follows him; a loud cry of "traitor! monster!" is heard from the cavern, aud in a moment Ordonio returns alone.)

Ord. I have hurled him down the chasm! treason for treason. He dreamt of it! Henceforward let him sleep

A dreamless sleep, from which no wife can wake him.
His dream too, is made out.



[blocks in formation]

Virginius. Good day, Icilius.

Icilius. Worthy Virginius! 'tis an evil day

For Rome! Our new decemvirs

Are any thing but friends to justice and

Their country.

Vir. You, Icilius, had a hand

In their election. You applied to me
To aid you with my vote, in the Comitia ;
I told you then, and tell you now again,
I am not pleased when a patrician bends
His head to a plebeian's girdle! Mark me!
I'd rather he should stand aloof, and wear
His shoulder high-especially the nephew
Of Caius Claudius.

Icil. I would have pledged my life

Vir. 'Twas a high gage, and men have staked it higher, On grounds as poor as yours-their honor, boy!

Icilius, I have heard it all-your plans

The understanding 'twixt the heads of the people—

Of whom, Icilius, you are reckoned one, and

Worthily-and Appius Claudius-all

'Twas every jot disclosed to me.

Icil. By whom?

Vir. Siccius Dentatus.

Icil. He disclosed it to you?

Siccius Dentatus is a crabbed man!

Vir. Siccius Dentatus is an honest man!

There's not a worthier in Rome!

How now?

Has he deceived me? Do you call him liar?
My friend! my comrade! honest Siccius,
That has fought in six score battles?

Icil. Good Virginius,

Siccius Dentatus is my friend-the friend

Of every honest man in Rome-a brave man-
A most brave man. Except yourself, Virginius,
I do not know a man I prize above
Siccius Dentatus—yet he's crabbed man.
Vir. Yes, yes; he is a crabbed man.

Icil. A man

Who loves too much to wear a jealous eye.

Vir. No, not a whit!-where there is double dealing. You are the best judge of your own concerns;

Yet, if it please you to communicate

With me upon this subject, come and see me.
I told you, boy, I favored not this stealing
And winding into place. What he deserves,
An honest man dares challenge 'gainst the world-
But come and see me.-Appius Claudius chosen
Decemvir! (A shout.)

Icil. See, good Virginius, Appius comes!
The people still throng after him with shouts,
Unwilling to believe their Jupiter

Has marked them for his thunder. Will you stay,

And see the homage that they render him?

Vir. Not I! Stay you; and, as you made him, hail him; And shout, and wave your hand, and cry, long live

Our first and last decemvir, Appius Claudius!

For he is first and last, and every one!

Rome owes you much, Icilius-Fare you well

I shall be glad to see you at my



(Enter Appius, Dentatus, Lucius, Titus, Servius, Marcus, and

citizens shouting.)

Titus. Long live our first decemvir!

Long live Appius Claudius!

Most noble Appius! Appius and the decemvirate for ever!

(Citizens shout.)

Appius. My countrymen, and fellow-citizens,

We will deserve your favor.

Tit. You have deserved it,

And will deserve it.

App. For that end we named

Ourself decemvir.

Tit. You could not have named a better man.
Dentatus. For his own purpose. (Aside.)
App. Be assured, we hold

Our power but for your good. Your gift it was,

And gifts make surest debtors.

Fare you well

And for your salutations, pardon me
If I repay you only with an echo-—
Long live the worthy citizens of Rome!

(Exit Appius, and Marcus. The people shout.)

Den. That was a pretty echo! a most soft echo! I never thought your voices were half so sweet! a most melodious echo! I'd have you ever after make your music before the patricians' palaces; they give most exquisite responses ;-especially that of Appius Claudius! a most delicate echo!

Tit. What means Dentatus?

Servius. He's ever carping-nothing pleases him.

Den. Oh! yes-you please me-please me mightily,-I assure you. You are noble legislators; take most especial care of your own interests; bestow your votes most wisely too-on him who has the wit to get you into the humor; and withal, have most musical voices-most musical-if one may judge by their echo.

Tit. Why, what quarrel have you with our choice? Could we have chosen better?—I say there are ten honest decemvirs we have chosen.

Den. I pray you name them me.

Tit. There's Appius Claudius, first decemvir.

Den. Ay, call him the head; you are right. Appius Claudius, the head. Go on.

Tit. And Quintus Fabius Vibulanus.

Den. The body, that eats and drinks while the head thinks. Call him Appius's stomach. Fill him, and keep him from cold and indigestion, and he'll never give Appius the headache! Well! -There's excellent comfort in having a good stomach !—Well? Tit. There's Cornelius, Marcus Servilius, Minucius, and Titus Antonius.

Den. Arms, legs, and thighs!

Tit. And Marcus Rabuleius.

Den. He'll do for a hand, and, as he's a senator, we'll call him the right hand. We could'nt do less, you know, for a senator!-Well?

Lucius. At least, you'll say we did well in electing Quintus Petilius, Caius Duellius, and Spurius Oppius, men of our order! sound men! "known sticklers for the people"-at least, you'll say we did well in that!

Den. And who dares say otherwise? "Well?" one might as well say "ill" as "well." "Well" is the very skirt of commendation; next neighbor to that mire and gutter, "ill." " Well," indeed! you acted like yourselves; Nay, even yourselves could

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