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ROBESPIERRE.

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ROBESPIERRE.

ROBESPIERRE. Myself! the steel-strong Rectitude of soul

There are who wish my ruin-but I'll make them
And Poverty sublime 'mid circling virtues !

Blush for the crime in blood!
The giant Victories, my counsels form’d,
Shall stalk around me with sun-glittering plumes,

BARRERE.
Bidding the darts of calumny fall pointless.

Nay, but I tell thee, (Exeunt cæteri. Manet Couthon. Thou art too fond of slaughter and the right

(If right it be) workest by most foul means ! COUTHON (solus). So we deceive ourselves! What goodly virtues

Self-centering Fear ! how well thou canst ape Mercy!
Bloom on the poisonous branches of ambition !

Too fond of slaughter!-matchless hypocrite!
Still, Robespierre! thou 'li guard thy country's freedom Thought Barrere so, when Brissot, Danton died ?
To despotize in all the patriot's pomp.

Thought Barrere so, when through the streaming
While Conscience, 'mid the mob's applauding clamors,

streets
Sleeps in thine car, nor whispers—blood-stain'd tyrant! of Paris red-eyed Massacre o'er-wearied
Yet what is Conscience? Superstition's dream,

Reeld heavily, intoxicate with blood ?
Making such deep impression on our sleep- And when (O heavens !) in Lyons' death-red square
That long th' awaken'd breast retains its horrors !

Sick Fancy groan'd o'er putrid hills of slain,
But be returns-and with him comes Barrere.

Didst thou not fiercely laugh, and bless the day?

[Exit Couthon. Why, thou hast been the mouth-piece of all horrors, Enter ROBESPIERRE and BARRERE.

And, like a blood-hound, crouch'd for murder! Now

Aloof thou standest from the tottering pillar,
ROBESPIERRE.

Or, like a frighted child behind its mother,
There is no danger but in cowardice.--

Hidest thy pale face in the skirts of— Mercy!
Barrere! we make the danger, when we fear it.
We have such force without, as will suspend
The cold and trembling treachery of these members. O prodigality of eloquent anger!

Why now I see thou 'rt weak—thy case is desperate !

The cool ferocious Robespierre turn'd scolder! *T will be a pause of terror.

ROBESPIERRE.

Who from a bad man's bosom wards the blow
But to whom?

Reserves the whetted dagger for his own.
Raiher the short-lived slumber of the tempest,

Denounced twice--and twice I saved his life! (Exit.
Gathering its strength anew. The dastard traitors!
Moles, that would undermine the rooted oak!

The sections will support them—there's the point!
A pause —a moment's pause !-T is all their life. No! he can never weather out the storm

Yet he is sudden in revenge-No more! Yet much they talk-and plausible their speech. I must away to Tallien.

[Erit. Couthon's decree has given such powers, that

BARRERE.

BARRERE.

ROBESPIERRE.

BARRERE.

BARRERE.

ROBESPIERRE.

ROBESPIERRE.

SERVANT.

ADELAIDE.

That what? SCENE changes to the house of ADELAJDE.
BARRERE.
The freedom of debate-

ADELAIDE enters, speaking to a SERVANT.

ADELAIDE.

Didst thou present the letter that I gave thee?
Transparent mask!

Did Tallien answer, he would soon return ?
They wish to clog the wheels of government,
Forcing the hand that guides the vast machine
To bribe them to their duty-English patriots!

He is in the Tuilleries—with him Legendre-
Are not the congregated clouds of war

In deep discourse they seem'd; as I approach'd, Black all around us? In our very vitals

He waved his hand as bidding me retire : Works not the king-bred poison of rebellion ? I did not interrupt him.

[Returns the letter. Say, what shall counteract the selfish plottings Of wretches, cold of heart, nor awed by fears

Thou didst rightly. Of him, whose power directs th' eternal justice ?

[Exit SERVANT. Terror! or secret-sapping gold? The first Heavy, but transient as the ills that cause it;

O this new freedom! at how dear a price And to the virtuous patriot render'd light

We've bought the seeming good! The peaceful virtues, By the necessities that gave it birth :

And every blandishment of private life, The other fouls the fount of the republic,

The father's cares, the mother's fond endearment, Making it flow polluted to all ages;

All sacrificed to Liberty's wild riot. Inoculates the state with a slow venom,

The winged hours, that scatter'd roses round me, That, once imbibed, must be continued ever.

Languid and sad drag their slow course along, Myself incorruptible, I ne'er could bribe them

And shake big gall-drops from their heavy wings. Therefore they hate me.

But I will steal away these anxious thoughts

By the soft languishment of warbled airs,
BARRERE

If haply melodies may lull the sense
Are the sections friendly? Of sorrow for a while.

TALLIEN.

BARRERE.

Enter BILLAUD VARENNES and BOURDON L'Oise. (Soft Music).

(ADELAIDE retires. Enter TALLIEN.

BOURDON L'OISE.

Tallien! was this a time for amorous conference ! Music, my love? O breathe again that air!

Henriot, the tyrant's most devoted creature, Soft nurse of pain, it soothes the weary soul

Marshals the force of Paris : the fierce club,

With Vivier at their head, in loud acclaim
Of care, sweet as the whisper'd breeze of evening
That plays around the sick man's throbbing temples. Have sworn to make the guillotine in blood

Float on the scaffold.—But who comes here?
SONG.

Enter BARRERE abruptly.
Tell me, on what holy ground
May domestic peace be found ?

Say, are ye friends to Freedom? I am her's!
Halcyon daughter of the skies,

Let us, forgetful of all common feuds,
Far on fearful wing she flies,

Rally around her shrine! E'en now the tyrant
From the pomp of sceptred state,

Concerts a plan of instant massacre !
From the rebel's noisy hate.

BILLAUD VARENNES.
In a cottaged vale she dwells,

Away to the Convention! with that voice
List’ning to the Sabbath bells !

So oft the herald of glad victory,
Still around her steps are seen

Rouse their fallen spirits, thunder in their ears
Spotless Honor's meeker mien,

The names of tyrant, plunderer, assassin!
Love, the fire of pleasing fears,

The violent workings of my soul within
Sorrow smiling through her tears ;

Anticipate the monster's blood ?
And, conscious of the past employ,

[Cry from the street of_"No Tyrant! Doon with Memory, bosom-spring of joy.

the Tyranl.""'

TALLIEN

TALLIEN.

I thank thee, Adelaide! 't was sweet, though mournful. Even for a moment hold his fate suspended,

Hear ye that outcry?-If the trembling members But why thy brow o'ercast, thy cheek so wan?

I swear, by the holy poniard that stabb'd Cæsar, Thou look'st as a lor maid beside some stream

This dagger probes his heart! That sighs away the soul in fond despairing,

(Exeunt omnes While Sorrow sad, like the dank willow near her, Hangs o'er the troubled fountain of her eye.

ADELAIDE.

TALLIEN

ADELAIDE.

АСТ II.
Ah! rather let me ask what mystery lowers
On Tallien's darken'd brow. Thou dost me wrong-

SCENE.-The Convention.
Thy soul distemper'd, can my heart be tranquil ?

ROBESPIERRE (mounts the Tribune).

Once more befits it that the voice of Truth, Tell me, by whom thy brother's blood was spilt ? Fearless in innocence, though leaguer'd round Asks he not vengeance on these patriot murderers? By Envy and her hateful brood of hell, It has been borne too tamely. Fears and curses Be heard amid this hall; once more befits Groan on our midnight beds, and e'en our dreams The patriot, whose prophetic eye so oft Threaten the assassin hand of Robespierre.

Has pierced through faction's veil, to flash on crimes He dies - nor has the plot escaped his fears. Of deadliest import. Mouldering in the grave

Sleeps Capet's caitiff corse; my daring hand

Levell’d to earth his blood-cemented throne, Yet-yet-be cautious! much I fear the Commune- My voice declared his guilt, and stirr'd up France The tyrant's creatures, and their fate with his

To call for vengeance. I too dug the grave Fast link'd in close indissoluble union.

Where sleep the Girondists, detested band!
The Pale Convention-

Long with the show of freedom they abused
TALLIEN.

Her ardent sons. Long time the well-turn'd phrase,
Hate him as they fear him, of declamation, thunder'd in this hall,

The higlı-fraught sentence, and the lofty tone Impatient of the chain, resolved and ready.

Till reason 'midst a labyrinth of words
ADELAIDE.

Perplex'd, in silence seemd to yield assent.
Th' enthusiast mob, Confusion's lawless sons- I durst oppose. Soul of my honor'd friend!

Spirit of Marat, upon thee I call

Thou know'st me faithful, know'st with what warm They are aweary of his stern morality,

zeal The fair-mask'd offspring of ferocious pride. I urged the cause of justice, stripp'd the mask The sections too support the delegates :

From Faction's deadly visage, and destroy'd All--all is ours! e'en now the vital air

Her traitor brood. Whose patriot arm hurld down Of Liberty, condensed awhile, is bursting

Hebert and Rousin, and the villain friends (Force irresistible !) from its compressure- Of Danton, foul a poslate! those, who long To shatter the arch-chemist in the explosion! Mask'd Treason's form in Liberty's fair garb,

TALLIEN

TALLIEN

BILLAUD VARENNES.

COUTION.

Long deluged France with blood, and durst defy Scowl'd once again defiance! so my soul
Omnipotence! but I, it seems, am false !

Might cope with worthy fues.
I am a traitor too! I-Robespierre!

People of France, I-at whose name the dastard despot brood

Hear me! Beneath the vengeance of the law,
Look pale with fear, and call on saints to help them! Traitors have perish'd countless; more survive:
Who dares accuse me? who shall dare belie The hydra-headed faction lifts anew
My spotless name? Speak, ye accomplice band, Her daring front, and fruitful from her wounds,
Of what am I accused of what strange crime Cautious from past defeats, contrives new wiles
Is Maximilian Robespierre accused,

Against the sons of Freedom.
That through this hall the buzz of discontent
Should murmur? who shall speak?

Freedom lives!
Oppression falls-for France has felt her chains,

O patriot tongue, Has burst them too. Who traitor-like stept forth
Belying the foul heart! Who was it urged,, Amid the hall of Jacobins to save
Friendly to tyrants, that accurst decree

Camille Desmoulins, and the venal wretch
Whose influence, brooding o'er this hallow'd hall, D'Eglantine ?
Has chill'd each tongue to silence. Who destroy'd

ROBESPIERRE.
The freedom of debate, and carried through

I did, for I thought them honest. 'The fatal law, that doom'd the delegates,

And Heaven forefend that vengeance ere should strike, Unheard before their equals, to the bar

Ere justice doom'd the blow. Where cruelty sat throned, and murder reign'd

BARRERE. With her Dumas coequal ? Say—thou man

Traitor, thou didst. Of mighty eloquence, whose law was that?

Yes, the accomplice of their dark designs,

Awhile didst thou defend them, when the storm That law was mine. I urged it-I proposed- Lower'd at safe distance. When the clouds frown'd The voice of France assembled in her sons

darker, Assented, though the tame and timid voice

Fear'd for yourself and left them to their fate. Of trailors murmur'd. I advised that law

Oh, I have mark'd thee long, and through the veil I justify it. It was wise and good.

Seen thy foul projects. Yes, ambitious man,
BARRERE.

Self-willid dictator o'er the realm of France,
Oh, wondrous wise, and most convenient too! The vengeance thou hast plann'd for patriots
I have long mark'd thee, Robespierre-and now Falls on thy head. Look how thy brother's deeds
Proclaim thee traitor-tyrant!

Dishonor thine! He the firm patriot,
[Loud applauses. Thou the foul parricide of Liberty!
ROBESPIERRE,

ROBESPIERRE JUNIOR.
It is well.

Barrere-attempt not meanly to divide
I am a traitor! oh, that I had fallen

Me from my brother. I partake his guilt,
When Regnault lifted high the murderous knife; For I partake his virtue.
Regnault, the instrument belike of those
Who now themselves would fain assassinate,

Brother, by my soul
And legalize their murders. I stand here

More dear I hold thee to my heart, that thus An isolated patriot-hemm'd around

With me thou darest to tread the dangerous path By faction's noisy pack; beset and bay'd

Of virtue, than that Nature twined her cords By the foul hell-hounds who know no escape

of kindred round us. From Justice' outstretch'd arm, but by the force

BARRERE. That pierces through her breast. (Murmurs, and shouls of-Down with the tyrant !

Yes, allied in guilt,

Even as in blood ye are. Oh, thou worst wretch, ROBESPIERRE.

Thou worse than Sylla! hast thou not proscribed, Nay, but I will be heard. There was a time, Yea, in most foul anticipation slaughter'd, When Robespierre began, the loud applauses Each patriot representative of France ? Of honest patriots drown'd the honest sound. But times are changed, and villany prevails.

BOURDON L'OISE.

Was not the younger Cæsar 100 to reign
COLLOT D'HERBOIS.
Nomvillany shall fall. France could not brook

O’er all our valiant armies in the south,

And still continue there his merchant wiles ?
A monarch's sway-sounds the dictator's name
More soothing to her ear?

ROBESPIERRE JUNIOR.

His merchant wiles! Oh, grant me patience, Heaven!
BOURDON L'oise.

Was it by merchant wiles I gain'd you back
Rattle her chains
More musically now than when the hand

Toulon, when proudly on her captive towers
Of Brissot forged her fetters, or the crew

Waved high the English Nag? or fought I then Of Herbert thundered out their blasphemies,

With merchant wiles, when sword in hand I led And Danton talk'd of virtue?

Your troops to conquest ? Fought I merchant-like,

Or barter'd I for victory, when death
ROBES PIERRE

Strode o'er the reeking streets with giant stride,

Oh, that Brissot And shook his ebon plumes, and sternly smiled Were here again to thunder in this hall,

Amid the bloody banquet? when appallid, That Herbert lived, and Danton's giant form The hireling sons of England spread the sail

ROBESPIERRE.

FRERON.

Of safety, fought I like a merchant then?

Insulted delegates of France ? St-Just Oh, patience! patience!

From your committee comes-comes charged to speak
BOURDON L'OISE.

Of matters of high import-yet omits
How this younger tyrant

Their orders! Representatives of France,
Mouths out defiance to us! even so

That bold man I denounce, who disobeys He had led on the armies of the south,

The nation's orders.- I denounce St-Just. Till once again the plains of France were drench'd

(Loud applauses

.

ST-JUST With her best blood.

Hear me!

[Violent murmura COLLOT D'HERBOIS.

ROBESPIERRE.
Till, once again display'd,

He shall be heard !
Lyons' sad tragedy had call'd me forth
The minister of wrath, whilst slaughter by

BOURDON L'OISE.
Had bathed in human blood.

Must we contaminate this sacred hall

With the foul breath of treason?
DU BOIS CRANCE.
No wonder, friend,

COLLOT D'HERBOIS.
That we are traitors—that our heads must fall

Drag him away! Beneath the ax of death! When Cæsar-like

Hence with him to the bar. Reigns Robespierre, 'tis wisely done to doom

COUTHON. The fall of Brutus. Tell me, bloody man,

Oh, just proceedings ! Hast thou not parcell'd out deluded France,

Robespierre prevented liberty of speechAs it had been some province won in fight,

And Robespierre is a tyrant! Tallien reigns, Between your curst triumvirate ? You, Couthon,

He dreads to hear the voice of innocence-
Go with my brother to the southern plains ;

And St-Just must be silent!
St-Just, be yours the army of the north ;
Meantime I rule at Paris.

LEGENDRE.

Heed we well
ROBESPIERRE.

That justice guide our actions. No light import
Matchless knave!

Attends this day. I move St-Just be heard.
What-not one blush of conscience on thy cheek-
Not one poor blush of truth! Most likely tale!
That I who ruin'd Brissot's towering hopes,

Inviolate be the sacred right of man,
I who discover'd Hebert's impious wiles,

The freedom of debate. And sharp'd for Danton's recreant neck the ax,

(Violent applause Should now be traitor! had I been so minded,

ST-JUST Think ye I had destroy'd the very men

I may be heard, then! much the times are changed, Whose plots resembled mine? Bring forth your proofs When St-Just thanks this hall for hearing him. Of this deep treason. Tell me in whose breast

Robespierre is call'd a tyrant. Men of France, Found ye the fatal scroll ? or tell me rather

Judge not too soon. By popular discontent
Who forged the shameless falsehood ?

Was Aristides driven into exile,
COLLOT D'HERBOIS.

Was Phocion murder'd ? Ere

ye

dare pronounce Ask you proofs ? Robespierre is guilty, it befits ye well, Robespierre, what proofs were ask'd when Brissol died? Consider who accuse him. Tallien,

Bourdon of Oise-the very men denounced, What proofs adduced you when the Danton died ?

For their dark intrigues disturb'd the plan When at the imminent peril of my life

Of government. Legendre, the sworn friend I rose, and fearless of thy frowning brow,

Of Danton, fall'n apostate. Dubois Crance, Proclaim'd him guiltless ?

He who at Lyons spared the royalists

Collot d'Herbois-
ROBESPIERRE.
I remember well

BOURDON L'OISE.

What-shall the traitor rear The fatal day. I do repent me much That I kill'd Cæsar and spared Antony.

His head amid our tribune-and blaspheme But I have been too lenient. I have spared

Each patriot? shall the hireling slave of factionThe stream of blood, and now my own must flow

ST-JUST To fill the current.

I am of no faction. I contend (Loud applauses. Against all factions.

Triumph not too soon,
Justice may yet be victor.

I espouse the cause
Enter ST-Just, and mounts the Tribune. of truth. Robespierre on yester-morn pronounced

Upon his own authority a report.
ST-JUST.
I come from the committee-charged to speak

To-day St-Just comes down. Si-Just neglects

What the committee orders, and harangues of matters of high import. I omit Their orders. Representatives of France,

From his own will. O citizens of France, Boldly in his own person speaks St-Just

I weep for you—I weep for my poor countryWhat his own heart shall dictate.

I tremble for the cause of Liberty,
When individuals shall assume the sway,

And with more insolence than kingly pride
Hear ye this, Rule the republic.

LEGENDRE.

TALLIEN.

TALLIEN.

LEBAS

BILLAUD VARENNES.

TALLIEN.

FRERON.

BILLAUD VARENNES.

The arrest of the traitors. Memorable Shudder, ye representatives of France,

Will be this day for France. Shudder with horror. Henriot commands

ROBESPIERRE. The marshalld force of Paris-Henriot,

Yes! memorable Foul parricide-the sworn ally of Hebert,

This day will be for France for villains triumph. Denounced by all-upheld by Robespierre. Who spared La Vallette? who promoted him, I will not share in this day's damning guilt. Stain'd with the deep dye of nobility ?

Condemn me too. Who to an ex-peer gave the high command ?

[Great cryDown with the Tyrants! Who screen'd from justice the rapacious thief? Who cast in chains the friends of Liberty ?

(The two ROBESPIERRES, COUTHON, ST-Just and LEBAS Robespierre, the self-styled patriot Robespierre

are led off).
Robespierre, allied with villain Daubigné-
Robespierre, the foul arch-tyrant Robespierre.

ACT III.
BOURDON L'OISE.
He talks of virtue of morality-

SCENE continues.
Consistent patriot! he, Daubigné's friend!

COLLOT D'HERBOIS.
Henriot's supporter virtuous! Preach of virtue,

Cesar is fallen! The baneful tree of Java,
Yet league with villains, for with Robespierre
Villains alone ally. Thou art a tyrant!

Whose death-distilling boughs dropt poisonous dew,

Is rooted from its base. This worse than Cromwell, I style thee tyrant, Robespierre !

The austere, the self-denying Robespierre, (Loud applauses. Even in this hall, where once with terror mute ROBESPIERRE.

We listen'd to the hypocrite's harangues, Take back the name, ye citizens of France

Has heard his doom. (Violent clamor. Cries ofDown with the Tyrant!

Yet must we not suppose

The tyrant will fall tamely. His sworn hireling
Oppression falls. The traitor stands appallid Henriot, the daring desperate Henriot
Guilts iron fangs engrasp his shrinking soul- Coromands the force of Paris. I denounce him.
He hears assembled France denounce his crimes !
He sees the mask torn from his secret sins-

I denounce Fleuriot too, the mayor of Paris.
He trembles on the precipice of fate.
Fall'n guilty tyrant! murder'd by thy rage,

Enter Dubois CRANCÉ.
How many an innocent victim's blood has stain'd

DUBOIS CRANCÉ. Fair Freedom's altar! Sylla-like, thy hand

Robespierre is rescued. Henriot at the head Mark'd down the virtues, that, thy foes removed, Of the arm'd force has rescued the fierce tyrant. Perpetual Dictator thou mightst reign,

COLLOT D'HERBOIS.
And tyrannize o'er France, and call it freedom!
Long time in timid guilt the traitor plann'd

Ring the tocsin-call all the citizens
His fearful wiles-success embolden'd sin-

To save their country--never yet has Paris And his stretch'd arm had grasp'd the diadem

Forsook the representatives of France.

TALLIEN.
but that the coward's heart recoil'd,
Les France awaked, should rouse her from her dream, It is the hour of danger. I propose
And call aloud for vengeance. He, like Cæsar,

This sitting be made permanent.
With rapid step urged on his bold career,

Loud applauses. Even to the summit of ambitious power,

COLLOT D'HERBOIS. And deem'd the name of King alone was wanting.

The National Convention shall remain Was it for this we hurl'd proud Capet down?

Firm at its post.
L it for this we wage eternal war

Enter a MESSENGER.
Against the tyrant horde of murderers,
The crown'd cockatrices whose foul venom

MESSENGER.
Infects all Europe ? was it then for this

Robespierre has reach'd the Commune. They espouse We swore to guard our liberty with life,

The tyrant's cause. St-Just is up in arms! That Robespierre should reign? the spirit of freedom St-Just--the young ambitious bold St-Just Is not yet sunk so low. The glowing flame

Harangues the mob. The sanguinary Couthon That animates each honest Frenchman's heart

Thirsts for your blood. Not yet extinguish'd. I invoke thy shade,

[Tocsin ring 8. Immortal Brutus! I 100 wear a dagger;

TALLIEN And if the representatives of France,

These tyrants are in arms against the law : Through fear or favor, should delay the sword

Outlaw the rebels.
Of justice, Tallien emulates thy virtues ;

Enter MERLIN OF DOUAY.
Tallien, like Brutus, lifts the avenging arm;
Tallien shall save his country.

[Violent applauses. Health to the representatives of France !

I past this moment through the armed force

They ask'd my name—and when they heard a delegate,
I demand
Swore I was not the friend of France.

Ere now,

MERLIN

BILLAUD VARENNES.

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