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News which have spread in whispers from the Which to his eyes such flashing lustre gave, court,
As though his soul, like an unsheathed sword, Since last night's messenger arrived from Milan. Had through them gleam'd, our noble general Ros. As I'm an honest man, I know it not !
stood, Fred. 'Tis said the rival armies are so near And to his soldiers, with heart-moving words A battle must immediately ensue.
The veteran showing, his brave deeds rehearsed, Ros. It cannot be. Our general knows it not. Who by his side stood like a storm-scath'd oak, The Duke is of our side a sworn ally,
Beneath the shelter of some noble tree,
In the green honours of its youthful prime.
I cannot tell thee ! Fred. So may it prove till we have join'd them At first he bore it up with cheerful looks, too
As one who fain would wear his honours bravely Then Heaven grant they may be nearer still ! And greet the soldiers with a comrade's face : For O! my soul for war and danger pants,
But when Count Basil, in such moving speech, As doth the noble lion for his prey.
Told o'er his actions past, and bade his troops My soul delights in battle.
Great deeds to emulate, his countenance changed ; Ros. Upon my simple word, I'd rather see High heaved his manly breast, as it had been A score of friendly fellows shaking hands, By inward strong emotion half convulsed; Than all the world in arms. Jlast thou no fear? Trembled his nether lip ; he shed some tears: Fred. What dost thou mean?
The general paused, the soldiers shouted loud; Ros.
Hast thou no fear of death? Then hastily he brush'd the drops away, Fred. Fear is a name for something in the mind, And waved his hand, and clear'd his tear choked But what, from inward sense, I cannot tell.
voice, I could as little anxious march to battle,
As though he would some grateful answer make; As when a boy to childish games I ran.
When back with double force the whelming tide Ros. Then as much virtue hast thou in thy val- of passion came; high o'er his hoary head our,
His arm he toss'd, and heedless of respect,
A cry arose ; still louder shouts resound.
I felt a sudden tightness grasp my throat And bravely dares the danger nature shrinks from. As it would strangle me; such as I felt, As for your youth, whom blood and blows delight, I knew it well, some twenty years ago, Away with them ! there is not in the crew When my good father shed his blessing on me : One valiant spirit.-Ha! what sound is this? I hate to weep, and so I came away.
(Shouting is heard without.) Ros. (giving Valt. his hand.) And there, take Fred. The soldiers shout; I'll run and learn the
thou my blessing for the tale.
Hark, how they shout again ! 'tis nearer now. Ros. But tell me first, how didst thou like the This way they march. veteran?
Martial music heard. Enter Soldiers marching in order, Fred. He is too proud; he was displeased with bearing Geoffry in triumph on their shoulders me,
After them enter Basil; the whole preceded by a band Because I offer'd him a little sum.
of music. They cross over the stage, are joined by
Ros, &c. and EXEUNT.
Enter Gauriecio and a GENTLEMAN, talking as they But hark! they shout again-here comes Valtomer. (Shouting heard without.) Gaur. So slight a tie as this we cannot trust:
One day her influence may detain him here,
But love a feeble agent may be found
With the ambitious. Valt. O! I have seen a sight, a glorious sight! Gent. And so you think this boyish odd conceit Thou wouldst have smiled to see it.
Of bearing home in triumph with his troops Ros. How smile ? methinks thine eyes are wet That aged soldier, will your purpose serve? with tears.
Gaur. Yes, I will make it serve; for though my Valt. (passing the back of his hands across his
Is little scrupulous of right and wrong,
A flagrant insult on his princely state,
To honour thus the man he has neglected,
O had you seen it! Which makes him relish, with a keener taste, Drawn out in goodly ranks, there stood our troops; My purposed scheme. Come, let us fall to work. Here, in the graceful state of manly youth, With all their warm heroic feelings roused, His dark face brighten'd with a generous smile, We'll spirit up his troops to mutiny,
Which must retard, perhaps undo him quite.
Enter RoSINBERG, fantastically dressed, with a willow Thanks to his childish love, which has so well upon his head, and scraps of sonnets, and torn letters Procured us time to tamper with the fools.
fluttering round his neck; pursued by a group of Masks Gent. Ah! but those feelings he has waked from one of the inner apartments, who hoot at him, and within them,
push him about as he enters. Are generous feelings, and endear himself.
1st Mask. Away, thou art a saucy, jeering knave, Gaur. It matters not; though generous in their And fain wouldst make a jest of all true love. nature,
Ros. Nay, gentle ladies, do not buffet me:
Who will enlist me in her loving service.
Ay, what besides offending? With idle tales of glory and renown;
Ros. 0! I can sigh so deeply, look so sad, Using their warm attachment to himself
Pule out a piteous tale on bended knee; For most unworthy ends.
Groan like a ghost; so very wretched be, This is the busy time: go forth, my friend; As would delight a tender lady's heart Mix with the soldiers, now in jolly groups
But to behold. Around their evening cups. There, spare no Ist Mask, Poo, poo, insipid fool! cost, (gives him a purse.)
Ros. But should my lady brisker mettle own,
Such pretty little quarrels I'd invent-
As whether such a fair one (some dear friend)
With favourite lap-dog of a surfeit sick,
THEIR WIDE DOORS THROWN OPEN, LIGHTED UP Or whether
1st Mask. Go, too bad thou art indeed! MASKS.
(aside.) How could he know I quarrell’d with the Enter several Masks, and pass through the first apartment
count? to the other rooms. Then enter Basil in the disguise 2d Mask. Wilt thou do nothing for thy lady's fame! of a wounded soldier.
Ros. Yes, lovely shepherdess, on every tree Bas. (alone.) Now am I in the region of delight! I'll carve her name, with true-love garlands bound: Within the blessed compass of these walls Write madrigals upon her roseate cheeks ; She is; the gay light of those blazing lamps Odes to her eye; 'faith, every wart and mole Doth shine upon her, and this painted floor That spots her snowy skin shall have its sonnet! Is with her footsteps press'd. E'en now, perhaps, I'll make love posies for her thimble's edge, Amidst that motley rout she plays her part: Rather than please her not. There will I go ; she cannot be conceald ;
3d Mask. But for her sake what dangers wilt For but the flowing of her graceful robe
thou brave? Will soon betray the lovely form that wears it, Ros. In truth, fair nun, I stomach dangers less Though in a thousand masks. Ye homely weeds,- Than other service, and were something loath
(looking at his habit.) To storm a convent's walls for one dear glance ; Which half conceal, and half declare my state, But if she'll wisely manage this alone, Beneath your kind disguise, 0! let me prosper, As maids have done, come o'er the wall herself, And boldly take the privilege ye give :
And meet me fairly on the open plain, Follow her mazy steps, crowd by her side ; I will engage her tender steps to aid Thus near her face my listening ear incline, In all annoyance of rude brier or stone, And feel her soft breath fan my glowing cheek, Or crossing rill, some half foot wide or so, Her fair hand seize, yea, press it closely too! Which that fair lady should unaided pass, May it not be e'en so ? by heaven it shall! Ye gracious powers forbid! I will defend This once, O! serve me well, and ever after, Against each hideous fly, whose dreadful buzz
Ye shall be treasured like a monarch’s robes ; 4th Mask. Such paltry service suits thee best, Lodged in my chamber, near my pillow kept;
indeed. And oft with midnight lamp I'll visit ye,
What maid of spirit would not spurn thee from her ? And, gazing wistfully, this night recall,
Ros. Yes, to recall me soon, sublime sultana ! With all its past delights. But yonder moves For I can stand the burst of female passion, A slender form, dress'd in an azure robe;
Each change of humour and affected storm ; It moves not like the rest-it must be she ! Be scolded, frown'd upon, to exile sent, (Goes hastily into another apartment, and mires Recall’d, caress'd, chid, and disgraced again ;, with the Masks.)
And say what maid of spirit would forego
The bliss of one to exercise it thus ?
Alb. I thank your lordship for these courteous 0! I can bear ill treatment like a lamb!
words; 4th Mask. (beating him.) Well, bear it then, thou But to my purposeYou are Basil's friend : hast deserved it well.
Be friendly to him then, and wern him well Ros. 'Zounds, lady! do not give such heavy This court to leave, nor be allured to stay; blows;
For if he does, there's mischief waits him here I'm not your husband, as belike you guess. May prove the bane of all his future days.
5th Mask. Come, lover, I enlist thee for my swain; Remember this, I must no longer stay. Therefore, good lady, do forbear your blows, God bless your friend and you; I love you both. Nor thus assume my rights.
[Exit. Ros. Agreed. Wilt thou a gracious mistress Ros. (alone.) What may this warning mean? I prove?
had my fears. 5th Mask. Such as thou wouldst, such as thy There's something hatching which I know not of. genius suits;
I've lost all spirit for this masking now. For since of universal scope it is,
(Throwing away his papers and his willows.) All women's humour shalt thou find in me. Away, ye scraps! I have no need of you, I'll gently soothe thee with such winning smiles- I would I knew what garment Basil wears: To nothing sink thee with a scornful frown: I watch'd him, yet he did escape my sight; Tease thee with peevish and affected freaks ; But I must search again and find him out. (Exit. Caress thee, love thee, hate thee, break thy pate; But still between the whiles I'll careful be, Enter Basil much agitated, with his mask in his hand. In feigned admiration of thy parts,
Bas. In vain I've sought her, follow'd every form Thy shape, thy manners, or thy graceful mien, Where aught appeard of dignity or grace: To bind thy giddy soul with flattery's charm; I've listen to the tone of every voice; For well thou know'st that flattery ever is I've watch'd the entrance of each female mask; The tickling spice, the pungent seasoning
My fluttering heart roused like a startled hare, Which makes this motley dish of monstrous scraps With the imagined rustling of her robes, So pleasing to the dainty lover's taste.
At every dame's approach. Deceitful night, Thou canst not leave, though violent in extreme, How art thou spent! where are thy promised joys? And most vexatious in her teasing moods; How much of thee is gone! O spiteful fate ! Thou canst not leave the fond admiring soul, Yet within the compass of these walls Who did declare, when calmer reason ruled, Somewhere she is, although to me she is not. Thou hadst a pretty leg.
Some other eye doth gaze upon her form, Ros. Marry, thou hast the better of me there. Some other ear doth listen to her voice; 5th Mask. And more; I'll pledge to thee my Some happy favourite doth enjoy the bliss honest word,
My spiteful stars deny.
O heavens and earth! where art thou?
Enter a Mask in the dress of a female conjurer. My studied woman's wiles I'll lay aside,
Mask. Methinks thou art impatient, valiant And such a one become.
soldier: Ros. Well spoke, brave lady, I will follow thee. Thy wound doth gall thee sorely; is it so ?
(Follows her to the corner of the stage.) Bas. Away, away, I cannot fool with thee. Now on my life, these ears of mine I'd give, Mask. I have some potent drugs may ease thy To have but one look of that little face,
smart, Where such a biting tongue doth hold its court Where is thy wound ? is't here? To keep the fools in awe. Nay, nay, unmask:
(Pointing to the bandage on his arm.) I'm sure thou hast a pair of wicked eyes,
Poo, poo, begone! A short and saucy nose: now prithee do.
Thou canst do naught-- tis in my head, my heart
(Unmasking.) | 'Tis everywhere, where medicine cannot cure. Alb. (unmasking.) Well, hast thou guess’d me Mask. If wounded in the heart, it is a wound right?
Which some ungrateful fair one hath inflicted, Ros. (bowing low.) Wild freedom, changed to And I may conjure something for thy good. most profound respect,
Bas. Ah! if thou couldst! what, must I fool Doth make an awkward booby of me now.
with thee? Alb. I've joined your frolic with a good intent, Mask. Thou must a while, and be examined too. For much I wish'd to gain your private ear. What kind of woman did the wicked deed? The time is precious, and I must be short.
Bas. I cannot tell thee. In her presence still Ros. On me your slightest word more power will My mind in such a wild delight hath been, have,
I could not pause to picture out her beauty, Most honour'd lady, than a conn'd oration. Yet naught of woman e'er was form'd so fair. Thou art the only one of all thy sex,
Mask. Art thou a soldier, and no weapon bear'st Who wear’st thy years with such a winning grace; To send her wound for wound ? Thou art the more admired the more thou fadest. Bas. Alas ! she shoots from such a hopeless height,
No dart of mine hath plume to mount so far. Utter'd at unawares, with little heed,
And urge their meaning far beyond the right.
A heart so deeply stricken.
Ha ! have I well? That would have bled for her.
Thou dost not hate me, then ? Mask. (discovering herself to be Victoria, by speak- Vict.
My father comes ing in her true voice.) 0! no, she does not. He were displeased if he should see thee thus.
[Exit hastily in confusion. Bas. Thou dost not hate me, then? Bas. (stands for a moment riveted to the spot, Vict. Away! he'll be displeased—I cannot say
then holds up both his hands in an ecstacy.) Bas. Well, let him come: it is thyself I fear; It is herself! it is her blessed self!
For did destruction thunder o'er my head, 0! what a fool am I, that had no power
By the dread Power of heaven, I would not stir, To follow her, and urge th’advantage on.
Till thou hadst answer'd my impatient soul! Begone, unmanly fears! I must be bold.
Thou dost not hate me? [Exit after her. Vict. Nay, nay, let go thy hold—I cannot hate A Dance of Masks.
thee. (Breaks from him and exit.) Enter DUKE and GAURIEC10, unmasked.
Bas. (alone.) Thou canst not hate me! no, thou
canst not hate me! Duke. This revelry, methinks, goes gayly on.
For I love thee so well, so passing well, The hour is late, and yet your friend returns not.
With such o'erflowing heart, so very dearly, Gaur. He will return ere long-nay, there he That it were sinful not to pay me back comes.
Some small, some kind return.
Enter MIRANDO, dressed like Cupid.
Mir. Bless thee, brave soldier.
Bas. What say'st thou, pretty child ? what playFor now the poison works, and the stung soldiers
ful fair Rage o'er their cups, and, with fire-kindled eyes,
Has deck'd thee out in this fantastic guise ? Swear vengeance on the chief who would betray
Mir. It was Victoria's self; it was the princess. them. That Frederick, too, the discontented man
Bas. Thou art her favourite, then ?
They say I am:
And now, between ourselves, I'll tell thee, soldier, Gauriecio counsell'd well to keep him blind, Nor with a bribe attempt him. On my soul:
Such merry little songs she teaches me He is so fiery he had spurn'd us else,
Sly riddles too, and when I'm laid to rest, And ruin'd all the plot.
Ofttimes on tip-toe near my couch she steals, Duke. Speak softly, friend—I'll hear it all in And lifts the covering so, to look upon me.
And oftentimes I feign as though I slept; private.
For then her warm lips to my cheek she lays, A gay and careless face we now assume.
And pats me softly with her fair white hands; DUKE, GAUR. and Gent. retire into the inner apartment, And then I laugh, and through mine eyelids peep,
appearing to laugh and talk gayly to the different Masks and then she tickles me, and calls me cheat ; as they pass them.
And then we so do laugh, ha, ha, ha, ha!
Bas. What! does she even so, thou happiest child? Vict. Forbear, my lord; these words offend mine And have those rosy cheeks been press'd so dearly? ear.
Delicious urchin ! I will kiss thee too. Bas. Yet let me but this once, this once offend, (Takes him eagerly up in his arms, and kisses him.) Nor thus with thy displeasure punish me;
Mir. No, let me down, thy kisses are so rough, And if my words against all prudence sin, So furious rough-she doth not kiss me so. 0! hear them, as the good of heart do list
Bas. Sweet boy, where is thy chamber? by VicTo the wild ravings of a soul distraught.
toria's ? Vict. If I indeed should listen to thy words, Mir. Hard by her own. They must not talk of love.
Bas. Then will I come beneath thy window soon : Bas. To be with thee, to speak, to hear thee speak, And, if I could, some pretty song I'd sing, To claim the soft attention of thine eye,
To lull thee to thy rest. I'd be content to talk of any thing,
Mir. O no, thou must not ! 'tis a frightful place; If it were possible to be with thee,
It is the churchyard of the neighbouring dome. And think of aught but love.
The princess loves it for the lofty trees, Vict. I fear, my lord, you have too much presumed Whose spreading branches shade her chamber walls: On those unguarded words, which were in truth So do not I; for when 'tis dark o' nights,
Goblins howl there, and ghosts rise through the
Enter BasiL. ground. I hear them many a time when I'm a bed,
Bas. The blue air of the morning pinches keenly. And hide beneath the clothes my cowering head. Beneath her window all the chilly night, 0! is it not a frightful thing, my lord,
I felt it not. Ah! night has been my day ; To sleep alone i' the dark ?
And the pale lamp which from her chamber Bas. Poor harmless child! thy prate is wondrous
Has to the breeze a warmer temper lent
Than the red burning east. 1st Mask. What dost thou here, thou little truant
Re-enter RoSINBERG, &c. from the house. boy? Come, play thy part with us.
Ros. Himself! himself! He's here ! he's here !
O Basil! Masks place Mirando in the middle, and range them- What friend at such a time could lead thee forth? selves round him.
Bas. What is the matter which disturbs you SONG.-A GLEE.
thus ? Child, with many a childish wile,
Ros. Matter that would a wiser man disturb. Timid look, and blushing smile,
Treason's abroad: thy men have mutinied.
Bas. It is not so ; thy wits have mutinied, Who in thy simple mien would trace
And left their sober station in thy brain. The lyrant of the human race?
1st Off. Indeed, my lord, he speaks in sober
earnest, Who is he whose flinty heart Hath not felt the flying dart ?
Some secret enemies have been employed Who is he that from the wound
To fill your troops with strange imaginations. Hath not pain and pleasure found ?
As though their general would, for selfish gain, Who is he that hath not shed
Their generous valour urge to desperate deeds. Curse and blessings on thy head?
All to a man assembled on the ramparts,
Now threaten vengeance, and refuse to march. Ah love! our weal, our wo, our bliss, our bane,
Bas. What! think they vilely of me? threaten More hapless still are they who never selt thy pain!
too! (All the Masks dance round Cupid. Then ente
0! most ungenerous, most unmanly thought ! a band of Satyrs, who frighten away Love and Didst thou attempt (to Ros.) to reason with their his votaries ; and conclude the scene, dancing
folly? in a grotesque manner.)
Folly it is; baseness it cannot be.
Ros. Yes, truly, I did rcason with a storm,
And bid it cease to rage.-
Their eyes look fire on him who questions them
The hollow murmurs of their mutter'd wrath SCENE 1.—THE STREET BEFORE BASIL'S LODGINGS. Sound dreadful through the dark extended ranks, Enter ROSINBERG and two Officers
Like subterraneous grumblings of an earthquake. Ros. (speaking as he enters.) Unless we find him Does not with such fantastic writhings toss
-The vengeful hurricane quickly, all is lost. 1st Of. His very guards, methinks, have left The wood's green boughs, as does convulsive rage their post
Their forms with frantic gestures agitate. To join the mutiny.
Around the chief of hell such legions throng'd Ros. (knocking very loud.) Holla! who's there
To bring back curse and discord on creation. within ? confound this door!
Bas. Nay, they are men, although impassion'd
I'll go to them,
And we will stand by thee.
My sword is thine against ten thousand strong, Rus. (eagerly to the porter.) Is he return'd ? is If it should come to this. he return'd not yet?
No, never, never ! Thy face doth tell me so.
There is no mean: I with my soldiers must Port.
Not yet, my lord. Or their commander or their victim prove. Ros. Then let him ne'er return !
But are my officers all stanch and faithful ? Tumult, disgrace, and ruin have their way!
Ros. All but that devil, FrederickI'll search for him no more.
He, disappointed, left his former corps, Port. He hath been absent all the night, my lord. Where he, in truth, had been too long neglected, Ros. I know he hath.
Thinking he should all on the sudden rise, 2d Off.
And yet 'tis possible From Basil's well-known love of valiant men ; He may have entered by the secret door ;
And now, because it still must be deferr'd, And now perhaps, in deepest sleep entranced, He thinks you seek from envy to depress him, Is dead to every sound.
And burns to be revenged. (Ros, without speaking, rushes into the house, and Bas. Well, well- -This grieves me toothe rest follow him.).
But let us go