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E'er since—a dreadful interval of care!—
My thoughts have been employ'd, not without hope,
How to defeat Siffredi's barbarous purpose.
But thy credulity has ruin’d all;
Thy rash, thy wild—I know notwhat to name it—
Oh, it has proved the giddy hopes of man
To be delusion all, and sick'ning folly!
Sig. Ah, generous Tancred l ah, thy truth destroy
Yes, yes, ’tis I, 'tis I alone am false!
Now is thy turn of vengeance—hate, renounce me!
At least, try to forget the worthless Sigismunda!
Tan. Forget thee! No! Thou art my soul itself!
I have no thought, no hope, no wish but thee!
Ah, how forget thee!—Much must be forgot,
Ere Tancred can forget his Sigismunda!
Sig. But you, my lord, must make that great ef-
fort— - -
Tan. Can Sigismunda make it?
Sig. Ah, I know not
With what success—But all that feeble woman
And love-entangled reason can perform,
I to the utmost will exert to do it.
Tan. Oh, barbarous Sigismunda! -
And canst thou talk thus steadily! thus treat me
With such unpitying, unrelenting rigour?
Poor is the love that, rather than give up
A little pride, a little formal pride,
The breath of vanity, can bear to see -
The man, whose heart was once so dear to thine
By many a tender vow so mix’d together,
A prey to anguish, fury, and distraction 1
Thou camst not surely make me such a wretch;
Thou canst not, Sigismunda!—Yet relent.
Oh, save us yet!—Rodolpho, with my guards,
Waits in the garden—Let us seize the moments
We ne'er may have again—With more than power,
I will assert thee mine with fairest honour,
The world shall even approve; each honest bosom
Swell'd with a kindred joy to see us happy.
Sig. The world approves what is the world to me?
The conscious mind is its own awful world
And mine is fix’d.—Distress me, then, no more ;
Not all the heart can plead (and it, alas,
Pleads but too much)
Shall ever shake th' unalterable dictates
That tyrannise my breast.
Tan. 'Tis well—No more—
I yield me to my fate—Yes, yes, inhuman
Since thy barbarian heart is steel'd by pride,
Shut up to love and pity, here behold me
Cast on the ground, a vile and abject wretch!.
Lost to all cares, all dignities, all duties'
Here will I grow, breathe out my faithful soul,
Here at thy feet—Death, death alone shall part us!
Sig. Have you then vow'd to drive me to perdi-
Oh, leave me! fly me ! were it but in pity!—
Then rise, my lord; and if you truly love me,
If you respect my honour, nay, my peace,
Retire for though the emotions of my heart
Can ne'er alarm my virtue; yet, alas!
They tear it so, they pierce it with such anguish—
Oh, 'tis too much l—I cannot bear the conflict 1
Osm. Turn, tyrant, turn! and answer to my honour,
For this thy base, insufferable outrage!
Tan. Insolent traitor think not to escape Thyself my vengeance . [They fight, Osmond falls.
Sig. Help, here! help !—Oh, Heavens!
[Throwing herself down by him.
Alas, my lord, what meant your headlong rage 2
That faith, which I this day, upon the altar,
To you devoted, is unblemish'd, pure
As vestal truth; was resolutely yours,
Beyond the power of aught on earth to shake it.
Osm. Perfidious woman die!——[Shortening his
sword, he plunges it into her breast.] and to
Attend a husband, yet but half avenged
Tan. Oh, horror! horror execrable villain
Osm. And, tyrants thou!—thou shalt not o'er my
Exult—"Tis well—"Tis great!—I die content!—
Enter Rodolpho and ATTENDANTs.
Tan. [Throwing himself down by Sigismund.A.]
Quick! here! bring aid –All in Palermo bring
Whose skill can save her l—Ah, that gentle bosom
Pours fast the streams of life.
Sig. All aid is vain,
I feel the powerful hand of death upon me—
But, oh! it sheds a sweetness through my fate,
That I am thine again; and, without blame,
May in my Tancred's arms resign my soul!
Tan. Oh death is in that voice so gently mild,
So sadly sweet, as mixes even with mine
The tears of hovering angels!—Mine again
And is it thus the cruel Fates have join'd us?
Are these the horrid nuptials they prepare
For love like ours ?—
Yes, death shall soon unite us.
Sig. Live, live, my Tancred 1–Let my death suf-
To expiate all that may have been amiss.
May it appease the Fates, avert their fury
From thy propitious reign!
My father!—Oh, how shall I lift my eyes
To thee, my sinking father
Sif. Awful Heaven! I am chastised—My dearest child !— Sig. Where am I? A fearful darkness closes all around— Oh, my dear father, bow'd beneath the weight Of age and grief—the victim even of virtue, Receive my last adieu !—Where art thou, Tancred 2 Give me thy hand—But ah! it cannot save me From the dire king of terrors, whose cold power Creeps o'er my heart—-Oh! Tan. How these pangs distract me! Oh, lift thy gracious eyes:–Thou leavest me then : Thou leavest me, Sigismunda! Sig. Oh, I die Eternal mercy take my trembling soul! Oh, 'tis the only sting of death to part From those we love—from thee—farewell, my Tancred [Dies. Tan. Thus, then [Flying to his sword, is held by Rodolpho. Rod. Hold ! hold! my lord 1–Have you forgot Yout Sigismunda’s last request already? Tait. Off! set me free Think not to bind me down, With barbarous friendship, to the rack of life What hand can shut the thousand thousand gates Which death still opens to the woes of mortals?— Off, traitors, off! or my distracted soul Will burst indignant from this gaol of nature, To where she beckons yonder—No, mild seraph, Point not to life I cannot linger here, Cut off from thee, the miserable pity, The scorn of human kind A trampled king ! Oh, shame! Oh, agony Oh, the fell stings Of late, of vain repentance —-Ha, my brain Is all on fire! a wild abyss of thought ! Th’ infernal world discloses' See "Behold him ' Lo! with fierce smiles, he shakes the bloody steel,
And mocks my feeble tears.-Hence, quickly hence!
Spurn his vile carcass! give it to the dogs!
Expose it to the winds and screaming ravens !
Ah! impotence of rage!
Rod. Preserve him, Heaven
Tan. What am I? Where?
Sad, silent, all?—The forms of dumb despair,
Around some mournful tomb—What do I see :
This soft abode of innocence and love
Turn'd to the house of death! a place of horror!—
Ah, that poor corse ! pale! pale! deform'd with
Is that my Sigismunda? [Throws himself down by her.