페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

Ew. I will withdraw the guard that waits. (Exit.

Rol. Now have I in my power the accursed destroyer of my country's peace: yet tranquilly he rests. God! can this man sleep?

Piz. [In his sleep.] Away! away! hideous fiends! Tear not my bosom thus.

Rol. No: I was in error-the balm of sweet repose he never more can know. Look here, ambition's fools! Ye, by whose inhuman pride the bleeding sacrifice of nations is held as nothing, behold the rest of the guilty! He is in my power; and one blow!No! my heart and hand refuse the act: Rolla cannot be an assassin:-Yet Elvira must be saved.-[Approaches the couch.]-Pizarro! awake!

Piz. [Slarts up.] Who? Guard!

Rol. Speak not-another word is thy death-call not for aid! this arm will be swifter than thy guard,

Piz. Who art thou? and what is thy will?

Rol. I am thine enemy! Peruvian Rolla! Thy death is not my will, or I could have slain thee sleeping.

Piz. Speak, what else?

Rol. Now thou art at my mercy, answer me! Did a Peruvian ever yet wrong or injure thee, or any of thy nation? Didst thou, or any of thy nation, ever yet shew mercy to a Peruvian in thy power? Now shalt thou feel, and if thou hast a heart, thou'lt feel it keenly-a Peruvian's vengeance !--[Drops the dagger at his feet.]—There !

Piz. Is it possible!

Rol. Can Pizarro be surprised at this? I thought forgiveness of injuries had been the Christian's precept. Thou seest, at least, it is the Peruvian's practice. Piz. Rolla, thou hast indeed surpris'd—subdued me.

[Retires. Re-enter Elvira.-(Not seeing Pizarro.) Elv Is it done? Is he dead?-[Sees Pizarro.]— How! still living! Then I am lost! And for you , wretched Peruvians! mercy is no more! Oh, Rolla! treacherous or cowardly! ·

thy race!

woman.

Piz. How can it be, that

Rol. Away! Elvira speaks she knows not what! Leare me [Io Elvira], I conjure thee, with Pizarro.

Elv. How! Rolla, dost thou think I shall retractor that I meanly will deny, that in thy hand I placed a poniard to be plunged into that tyrant's heart? No! my sole regret is, that I trusted to thy weakness, and did not strike the blow myself. Too soon thou'lt learn that mercy to that man is direct cruelty to all

Piz. Guard ! quick! a guard, to seize this frantic

Elv. Yes, a guard! I call them too! And soon I know they'll lead me to my death. But think not', Pizarro, the fury of thy flashing eyes shall awe me for a moment! Nor think that woman's anger, or the feelings of an injured heart, prompted me to this design. No! had I been only influenced so, thus failing, shame and remorse would weigh me down. But, though defeated and destroyed, as now I am, such is the greatness of the cause that orgid me, I shall perish, glorying in the attempt, and my last breath of life shall speak the prond arowal

my purpose-to have rescued millions of innocents froin the blood-thirsty tyranny of one -by ridding the insulted world of thee!

Rol. Had the act been noble as the motive, Rolla would not have shrunk from its performance.

Enter GUARDS. Piz. Seize this discovered fiend, who sought to kill your leader.

Elv. Touch me not, at the peril of your souls; I am your prisoner, and will follow you. But thou, their triumphant leader, first shalt hear me. Yet, first, for thee, Rolla, accept my forgiveness; even had I been the victim of thy nobleness of heart, 'I should have admired thee for it. But 'twas myself provoked my doom. Thou wouldst have shielded me. Let not thy contempt follow me to the grave. Didst lhou but know the fiendlike arts by which this hypocrite first undermined the

of

[ocr errors]

virtue of a guileless heart! how, even in the pious sanctuary wherein I dwelt, by corruption and by fraud he practised upon those in whom I most confided-till my distempered fancy led me, step by step, into the abyss of guilt

Piz. Why am I not obeyed? Tear her hence.

El. 'Tis past—but didst thou know my story, Rolla, thou wouldst pity me.

Rol. From my soul I do pity thee.

Piz. Villains? drag her to the dungeon!-prepare the torture instantly.

Elv. Soldiers—but a moment more. 'Tis to applaud your general; it is to tell the astonished world, that, for once, Pizarro's sentence is an act of justice; yes, rack me with the sharpest torlures that ever agoniz'd the human frame; it will be justice. Yes, bid the minions of thy fury wrench forth the sinews of those arms that have caressed, and—even defended thee! Bid them pour burning metal into the bleeding cases of these eyes, that so oft, oh God! have hung with love.and homage on thy look; then approach me, bound on the abhorred wheel, there glut thy savage eyes with the convulsive spasms of that dishonoured bosom, which was once thy pillow!-Yet will I bear it all; for it will be justice, all! And, when thou shalt bid them tear me to my death, hoping that thy unshrinking ears may at last be feasted with the music of my cries, I will not utler one shriek or groan;—but to the last grasp, my body's patience shall deride thy vengeance, as my soul defies thy power.

Piz. Hear'st thou the wretch whose hands were even now prepared for murder?

Rol, Yes! and if her accusation's false, thou wilt not shrink from hearing her; if true, thy barbarily capnot make her suffer the pangs thy conscience will inflict on thee.

Elv. And now, farewell, world! Rolla, farewell! Farewell, thou condemned of heaven! [To Pizarro.] for repentance and remorse, I know, will never touch thy heart. We shall meet again. Ha! be it thy horror

here, to know that we shall meet here after ! And when thy parting hour approaches, hark to the knell, whose dreadful beat will strike to thy despairing soul. Then will vibrate on thy ear the curses of the cloister'd saint from whom thou stolest me. Then, the last shrieks which burst from my mother's breaking heart, as she died, appealing to her God against the seducer of her child! Then the blood-stifled groan of my murder'd brother, murdered by thee, fell monster, seeking alonement for his sister's ruin'd honour! I hear them now: To me the recollection's madness! At such an hourwhat will it be to thee?

Piz. A moment's more delay, and at the peril of

your lives,

Elv. I have spoken, and the last mortal frailty of my heart is past And now, with an undaunted spirit and unshaken firmness, I go to meet my destiny. That I could not live nobly, has been Pizarro's act. That I will die nobly, shall be my own. [Exit guarded.]

Piz. Rolla, I would not thou, a warrior, valiant and renowned, shouldst credit the vile tales of this frantic woman. The cause of all this fury-0! a wanton passion for the rebel youth Alonzo, now my prisoner.

Rol. Alonzo is not now thy prisoner.
Piz. How!

Rol. I came to rescue him, to deceive his guard. I have succeeded; I remain thy prisoner.

Piz. Alonzo fled! Is then the vengeance dearest to my heart never to be gratified?

Rol. Dismiss such passions from thy heart; then thou'lt consult ils peace.

Piz. I can face all enemies that dare confront meI cannot war against my nature.

Rol. Then, Pizarro, ask not to be deemed a hero. To triumph o'er ourselves is the only conquest, where fortune makes no claim. In ballle chance may snatch the laurel from thee, or chance may place it on thy brow; but, in a contest with thyself, be resolute, and the virtuous impulse must be ihe victor.

Piz. Peruvian! thou shalt not find me to thee ungrateful or ungenerous. Return to thy counlrymenThou art at liberty.

Rol. Thou dost act in this, as honour, and as duty, bid thee.

Piz. I cannot but admire thee, Rolla; I would we mighl be friends.

Rol. Farewell! Pily Elvira!--Become the friend of virtue, and thou wilt be mine.

[Exit. Piz. Ambition! tell me what is the phantom I have followed? where is the one delight which it has made my own ? My fame is the mark of envy-my love, the dupe of treachery-my glory, eclipsed by the boy I taught my revenge, defeated and rebuked by the rude honour of a savage foe—before whose native dignity of soul I have sunk confounded and subdued!I would I conld retrace my steps- I cannot. Would I could evade my own reflections! No! thought and memory are my hell.

[Exit.

ACT V.

SCENE I.-A thick Forest.-A dreadful storm.

CORA, has covered her Child on a bed of leaves and

moss.

Cora. [Sitting on bank br Child ] 0, Nature, thou hast not the strength of love. My anxious spirit is untired in its march; my wearied shivering frame sinks under it. And for thee, my boy, when faint beneath thy lovely burden, could I refuse to give thy slumbers that poor bed of rest! O, my child! Were I assured thy father breathes no more, how quiekly would I lay me down by thy dear side-but down--down for ever. [Thunder and lightning. JI ask thee not, unpilying storm! to abate thy rage, in mercy to poor Cora's misery; nor while thy thunders sparc his slumbers, will I disturb my sleeping cherub; though heaven knows I wish to hear the voice of life, and feel that life is near me. But I will endurc all, while what I have of reason holds. [Thunder und lightning.] Still, still implacable!-unfeeling ele

« 이전계속 »