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Alonzo de Molina, our general's former friend and pupil, leads the enemy, Pizarro never more will be a conqueror.
[Trumpets without. Elv. Silence! I hear him coming ; look not perplexed.—How mystery and fraud confound the countenance! Quick, put on an honest face, if thou canst.
Piz. [Speaking without.] Chain and secure him. I will examine him myself.
Enter PIZARRO. Piz. Why dost thou smile, Elvira ?
Elv. To laugh or weep without a reason, is one of the few privileges poor women have.
Piz. Elvira, I will know the cause, I am resolved.
Elv. I am glad of that, because I love resolution, and am resolved not to tell thee. Now my resolution, I take it, is better of the two, because it depends upon myself, and thine does not.
Piz. Psha! trifler!
Val. Elvira was laughing at my apprehensions that
Val. Yes--that Alonzo's skill and genius should so have disciplined and informed the enemy, as to
Piz. Alonzo! the traitor! How I once loved that man! His noble mother intrusted him, a boy, to my protection. [Elvira walks about pensively in the background.] At my table did he feast—in my tent did he repose. I had marked his early genius, and the valorous spirit that grew with it. Often had I talked to him of our first adventures—what storms we struggled with-what perils we surmounted! When landed with a slender host upon an unknown land-then, when I told how famine and fatigue, discord and toil, day by day, did thin our ranks; amid closc-pressiog enemies, how, still undaunted, I endured and dared-maintained my purpose and my power, in despite of growling mutiny or bold revolt, till, with my faithful few remaining, I became at last victorious!-When, I say, of these things I spoke, the youth Alonzo, with tears.
of wonder and delight, would throw him on my neck, and swear his soul's ambition owned no other leader.
Val. What could subdue attachment so begun?
Piz. Las Casas.—He it was, with fascinating craft and canting precepts of humanity, raised in Alonzo's mind a new enthusiasm, which forced him, as the stripling termed it, to forego his country's claims for those of human nature.
Val. Yes, the traitor left thee, joined the Peruvians and became thy enemy, and Spain's.
Piz. But first with weariless remonstrance he sued to win me from my purpose, and untwine the sword from my determined grasp. Much he spoke of right, of justice, and humanity, calling the Peruvians our innocent and unoffending brethren.
Val. They!--Obdurate heat hens! They our brethren!
Piz. But when he found, that the soft folly of the pleading tears he dropped upon my bosom, fell on marble, he flew and joined the foe; then, profiting by the lessons he had gained in wronged Pizarro's school, the youth so disciplined and led his new allies, that soon he forced me!-Ha! I burn with shame and fury while I own it!-in base retreat and foul discomfiture to quit the shore.
Val. But the hour of revenge is come.
Piz. It is; have returned-my force is strengthened, and the audacious boy shall soon know that Pizarro lives, and hasma grateful recollection of the thanks he owes him.
Val. 'Tis doubted whether still Alonzo lives.
Piz. 'Tis certain that he docs; one of his armourbearers is just made prisoner: twelve thousand is their force, as he reports, led by Alonzo and Peruvian Rolla. This day they make a solemn sacrifice on their ungodly aliars. We must profit by their security; and allack them unprepared-the sacrificers shall become the victims.
Elv. [-Advancing.] Wretched innocents! and their own blood shall bedew their altars!
Piz. Right! [Trumpets without.] Elvira, retire! Elv. Why should I retire?
Piz. Because men are to inect here, and on manly business.
Elv. 0 men! men ! ungrateful and perverse! 0 woman! still affectionate though wronged! [Val. retires back.] The beings to whose eyes you turn for animation, hope, and rapture, through the days of mirth and revelry, and on whose bosoms, in the hour of sore calamity, you seek for rest and consolation, them, when the pompous follies of your mean ambition are the question, you treat as playthings or as slaves! I shall not retire.
Piz. Remain, then-and, if thou canst, be silent.
Elv. They only babble who practise not reflection.
Officers, and Soldiers.
Piz. Welcome, venerable father—my friends, most welcome. Friends and fellow-soldiers, at length the hour has arrived, which to Pizarro's hopes presents the full reward of our undaunted enterprise, and longenduring loils. Confident in security, this day the foe devotes to solemn sacrifice: if with bold surprise we strike on their solemnily-trust to your leader's word -we shall not fail.
Alm. Too long inactive have we been mouldering on the coast-our stores exhausted, and our soldiers murmuring. Battle! batlle!—then death to the arm'd, and chains for the defenceless.
Dav. Death to the whole Peruvian race!
Alm. Yes, General, the attack, and instantly! Then shall Alonzo, basking at his ease, soon cease to scos our sufferings, and scorn our force.
Las. C. Alonzo -Scorn and presumption are not in his nature.
Alm. 'Tis fit Las-Casas should defend his pupil.
Piz. Speak not of the traitor-or hear his name but as the bloody summons to assault and vengeance. It appears we are agreed ?
Alm. Dav. We are.
Las. C. Is, then, the dreadful measure of your cruelty not yet complete?—Battle!-gracious Heaven! Against whom?-Against a king, in whose mild bosom
your atrocious injuries even yet have not excited hate! but who, insulted or victorious, still sues for peace. Against a people, who never wronged the living being their Creator formed: a people who, children of innocence! received you as cherished guests—with eager hospitality and confiding kindness. Generously and freely did they share with you their comforts, their treasures,
and their homes; you repaid them by fraud, oppression, and dishonour. These eyes have witnessed all I speak—as gods you were received; as fiends you have acted.
Piz. Las. Casas!
Las. C. Pizarro, hear me!-Hcar me, chieftains !And thou, All powerful, whose thunders can shiver into sand the adamantine rock-whose lightnings can pierce to the core of the rived and quaking carth-Oh ! let thy power give effect to thy servant's words, as thy spirit gives courage to his will! Do not, I implore you, chieftains-countrymen-do not, limplore you, renew the foul barbarities which your insatiate avarice has inflicted on this wretched, unoffending race !-But hush, my sighs—fall not, drops of useless sorrow! hearl-breaking anguish, choke not my utterance. All. I entreat is, send me once more to those you call
yourenemies-Oh! let me be the messenger of penitence from you, I shall return with blessings and with peace from them, [Turning to Elv.] Elvira , you weep!-Alas ! and does this dreadful crisis move no heart but thine!
Alm. Because there are no women here but she and thou.
Piz. Close this idle war of words: time flies, and our
opportunity will be lost. Chieftains, are ye for instant battle?
Alm. We are.
Las. C. Oh, men of blood! [K'neels.] God! thou hast anointed me thy servant-not lo curse, but to bless my countrymen : yel now my blessing on their force were blasphemy against thy goodness. [Rises.] No! I curse your purpose, homicides! I curse the bond of blood by which you are united. May fell disunion, infamy, and rout, defeat your projects, and betray your hopes ! On you and your children be the peril of the innocent blood which shall be shed this day! I leave you, and for ever! No longer shall these aged eyes be seared by the horrors they have witnessed. In caves, in forests, will I hide myself; with tigers and with savage beasts commune: and when at length we meet before the blessed tribunal of that Deity, whose mild doctrines and whose mercies ye have this day renounced, O then shall you feel the agony and grief of soul which tear the bosom of your accuser now!
[Going. Elv. [Rises and takes the hand of Las-C.] Oh! take me with thee.
Las. C. Stay! lost, abused lady! I alone am useless here. Perhaps thy loveliness may persuade to pily, where reason and religion plead in vain. On! save thy innocent fellow.creatures, if thou canst: then shall thy frailty be redeemed, and thou wilt share the mercy thou bestowest.
[Exit. Piz. How, Elvira! wouldst thou leave me?
Elv. I am bewildered-grown terrified ! Your inhumanity-and that good old man-Oh! he appeared to me just now something more than heavenly !-and you !-ye all looked worse than earthly.
Piz. Compassion somelimes becomes a beauty.
Piz. [Turning to Alm.] Now to prepare our muster and our march. At mid-day is the hour of the sacrifice. [Elv. sits.] Consulting with our guides, the roule of your divisions shall be given to each commander.