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THE DOUBLE SACRIFICE.—Arthur Wm. Austin.
"And so thou say'st, my brother, to-morrow the end shall be, And I must perish amid the flames of the awful auto-da-fe!
"Thus let it be; for 'tis well to die, that the word of the
Lord may live: O blessed Jesu! be near to the last, that I, like thee, may
On the damp dungeon-floor she knelt, and prayed in a tremulous voice
For strength to endure the fiery trial, and faith to retain her choice;
While the cowl&l priest stood mute, and gazed through the
strong bars, yellow with rust, And trembled, as in her pallid face he read an unfaltering
At last he whispered, " O sister mine! recant ere it be too late.
In the youthful bloom of a beautiful life, why choose ye so cruel a fate?
"Renounce thine heresies even now, and the condemnation dire
Of the Inquisition shall be revoked,—the torturing death by fire!
"O sister beloved! remember well, thou art last of our kin and race:
The name of our father is dear to the land; shall it fade in this cloud of disgrace?
"Great Galileo at Rome hath knelt, and abjured his errors vain:
Why do ye not even as he hath done, while the way of escape is plain?"
So pleaded the priest, though he knew for nought, as she
rose in the dismal gloom, Possessed of the hope and the peace not of earth, fixed far
beyond terror of doom.
More beautiful then, in her strength of soul, she seemed
than whenever of old, She had graced the palace or regal court, radiant with jewels
No lady of all the wide kingdom of Spain, from the Pyrenees to the sea,
Might boast of a lineage prouder than hers, or a name from reproach more free.
And he, the priest, though a soldier bred, yet forced from
the glory and strife, For the solemn peace and the sacred vows of the stern
And she answered him, " I will never renounce the priceless vows of my faith,
But brave the impotent curse of the Church, and choose the heretic's deat h!
"Thou servest the Church; but I servo Him whose temple is built above,
And will die as the martyred saints of old, for the sake of the truth I love."
The hour had come; and they led her forth, in the yellow robe arrayed;
And she stood among the group of the doomed, still fearless and undismayed.
And she saw not the eager multitude, nor the king enthroned on high,
Nor the stern Inquisitors, robed in black, who had judged her worthy to die.
They bound her fast to the fatal stake, and piled the fagots around,
Then paused till the solemn chant had ceased, and the signal of doom should sound.
Then the flames burst forth, and the smoke rolled high, and
blinded her lifted eyes; And she murmured in agony, " Courage, O soul I thou hast
almost gained the prize!
And he who had stood at the dungeon-door, and strove to
save her in vain, When he saw her thus in the grasp of death, swift madness
seized his brain.
With the strong resolve of a frenzied hope, he sprang in the
midst of the fire, Which rose and leaped like a wrathful fiend, hissing with
Too late, alasl the vengeful flame withered the outstretched hand,
And the two freed souls iogctiur passed into the spirit land!
THE SARACEN BROTHERS.
Attendant. A stranger craves admittance to your highness.
Saladin. Whence comes he?
Atten. That I know not.
Atten. Thy royal brother!
Sal. Bring him instantly. [Exit Attendant.
Now, with his specious, smooth, persuasive tongue,
[Enter Attendant and Malek Adhel. Leave us together. [Exit Attendant.] [Aside.] I should
know that form.
Malek Adhel. Behold it, then!
Sal. I see a traitor's visage.
Mai. Ad. A brother's!
Sal. No! Saladin owns no kindred with a villain.
Mal. Ad. Oh, patience, Heaven! Had any tongue but thina Uttered that word, it ne'er should speak another.
Sal. And why not now? Can this heart be more pierced By Malek Adhel's sword than by his deeds? Oh, thou hast made a desert of this bosom! For open candor, planted sly disguise; For confidence, suspicion; and the glow Of generous friendship, tenderness, and love, Forever banished! Whither can I turn, When he by blood, by gratitude, by faith, By every tie, bound to support, forsakes me? Who, who can stand, when Malek Adhel falls? Henceforth I turn me from the sweets of love: The smiles of friendship, and this glorious world, In which all find some heart to rest upon, Shall be to Saladin a cheerless void,— His brother has betrayed him!
Mai. Ad. Thou art softened;
I am thy brother, then; but late thou saidst
Sal. Was it traitor? True!
Dissembler? 'Tis not written in thy face;
No, nor imprinted on that specious brow;
But on this breaking heart the name is stamped,
Forever stamped, with that of Malek Adhel!
Think'st thou I'm softened? By Mohammed ! these hands
Should crush these aching eyeballs, ere a tear
Fall from them at thy fate! O monster, monster!
The brute that tears the infant from its nurse
Is excellent to thee, for in his form
The impulse of his nature may be read;
But thou, so beautiful, so proud, so noble,
Oh! what a wretch art thou! Oh! can a term
In all the various tongues of man be found .
To match thy infamy?
Mai. Ad.' Go on! go on!
Tis but a little while to hear thee, Saladin;
Sal. That were an end
Too noble for a traitor! The bowstring is
Mai. Ad. And death were welcome at another's mandate!
Sal. Oh! doubt it not!
They're eager for the office. Perfidy,
Mai. Ad. Defer not then their wishes. Saladin,
Sal. This very hour!
rjxicfc.] For, oh! the more I look upon that face,
Atten. Did your highness call?
Sal. Assemble quickly
My forces in the court! Tell them thev come
Mai. Ad. Now, Saladin,
isal. Speak, then; but ask thyself if thou hast reason To look for much indulgence here.
Mai. Ad. I have not!
Yet will I ask for it. We part forever;
Still silent? Brother! friend! beloved companion
Sal. [seizing his hand.] Brother! brother!
Mai. Ad. [Irreaking atmy.] Now call thy followers. Death has not now a single pang in store. Proceed! I'm ready.