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Coun. Rise, Huon !-Huon !--Hear'st thou me ? And dost thou not obey me? Wilt thou not? Listen to me!—I do entreat thee, Huon, As thou dost love me, rise ! Huon. [Rising to his knee. Again! "As thou dost love
me, Huon!" And thy voice did sound As 'twere the voice of one that loved again! Thou start'st at that! and terror all at once Looks from the eyes, whence something looked before. I'd give the vision of my own to see there But for one other moment, so it set My soul ablaze with hope !--Can I believe it, My arm encircles thee!
Coun. With dignity. Remove it.
Thou changest ?—Yes!—Thou art returning fast
To what thou wast before.
Coun. No, Huon-but
Obey me-rise !
Huon, wilt do my will ?
Huon. Wilt do thy will ?
It is the nature of my blood as much
As its colour-current ! In thy every mood,
I will obey thee, lady.
Coun. Proinise me
Thou'lt du the thing I bid thee.
Huon. What is it?
Coun. Promise me first, and then I'll name it to thee.
Huon. I will.
Coun. But swear thou'lt do it.
Huon. Yes. What shall I swear by ?
Coun. Thy love for me.
Huon. Then, by my love for thee,
I'll do the thing thou bidd'st me.
Coun. Sign the
paper!Thou art about to speak-but don't—don't, Huon, As thou wouldst not offend me; as 'twould grieve me I won't say, anger me thou shouldst offend me. Listen! I'll bear that thou shouldst love me, if Thou signest-else command thee ever from me Speak not-give me acts, not words : Or sign it, or begone !
Huon. I'll keep my word,
And so do both. (Takes paper to table and peruses it.
Enter STEPHEN, L.
Coun. To Stephen. Is Catherine in the castle ?
If not, go to her house, and bring her hither.
Stephen. She is in the castle. Now she entered it.
Coun. Conduct her lo my chamber. Stay. My chap-
Tell him, and do it straight, to wait me in
The chapel. Tarry. See that the chapel else
Is clear-make sure of it. That ascertained,
Take post the door, and mind that none do enter,
Except the serf and the two ladies that
Shall follow him. I shall be one. A mouse
Besides, thou diest !
[Erit Stephen, L. Huon. [Signs paper.) It is signed-Farewell! (Going.
Coun. Stay!—To the full thou must redeem thy pledge.
Unless thou marriest, it is not signed.
is but air, the ink but water,
Without fulfilling of the written deed;
And thou dost juggle with me shamefully,
Saying thou lovest me, and for thy oath
Staking thy love, and leaving all undone,
As thou hadst sworn by nothing. Thou art bound
To marry Catherine, which, doing not,
Thou dost not love me,--thou art not a man !
Huon. I am indifferent to what I do :-
All things of earth are now the same to me;
Good, bad, love, hate, wrong, kindness, life, or death.
What hour you please, I'll marry Catherine. (Going, R.
Coun. [Stopping him.] Now!
This very moment ! She will meet thee in
The chapel, whither thou must straight repair.
Huon. I will.
Coun. The chaplain thou wilt find
Expecting thee-and, if he be not come
Already, still he will be sure to come
Thou wilt not juggle with me?
Coun. Thou darest not-
I mean, thou darest not but respect thine oath !
Huon. I'll keep it, madam. -- [Aside. Then, farewell
forever! (Exit, R.-Countess sinks into a chair.
Enter DUKE, L., with a parchment and seal.
Duke. Where's Huon?
Coun. Gone to do thy will.
Duke. Who worked this miracle? I never dreamed He would comform to it! Who worked it ?
Duke. Thou ?
Coun. (Giving him the paper.] There.
Duke. My child! Thou art thy father's child,
My proud child still! Where is he?
Coun. In the chapel,
By this. The chaplain waits upon him there.
Catherine is in my room, expecting me.
So please you, sir, since I have helped the match
Thus far, I'll e'en o'erlook the ceremony.
Duke. Do so.
My barque no more is fit for sea;
A ripple threatens it with foundering,
Almost 'tis foundered now. Did Huon tell thee
How he withstood me ?
Coun. All is known to me.
pray you, for the sake of Catherine,
Grant him his freedom. ''Tis not meet her husband
Should drag the chain hath been unloosed from her.
Duke. This document accomplishes your wish,
E'en now prepared to win him to my purpose.
I give it freely, for I love the boy ;
Ay, now entirely love him ! See him married;
And may he plight a happy, happy troth
To her he weds! My child, I am failing fast.
'Tis time--don't heed !-go to the chapel-and
My blessing on the errand takes thee thither.
Enter ULRICK, L.
Ha !-you are come in time, sir! I shall need
Your help to my chamber. Tell the boy, I bless him !
Come hither-bless thee, too! And bless the work
Thou goest to do! While I remember it,
Regard Count Ulrick as thy father's friend,
One of his household now, with sanction of
The Prince of Milan. I am very feeble!
'Must to my chamber!
Coun. [Rushing towards him, and kneeling. Bless me,
again! my father!
Duke. Again, my child ?—Again ? (Blessing her.
Heaven bless thee! It is wiser-better knows
Thy good-can better help thee to’t-ay!
Better than thy father! May it bless thee, then,
And be its will, before thy father's dower! [Erit, L.
Coun. Now. fail pot Catherine, and the die is cast!
[Exit, R. SCENE II.—The Corridor of the Castle.
Enter SiR CONRAD, L.
Sir Con. What calls the chaplain to his sacred post,
And why this privacy ? About to pass
The porch, I was admonished 'twas forbid
To all to enter ! 'Tis no day of fast,
No hour of customary rites ! 'Tis naught
I only wonder at its strangeness.
Enter Sir RUPERT, R.
Sir Rup. Where is the Prince of Milan ?
Sir Con. In the court-yard-
Unless departed thence this moment.
Sir Rup. Find him,
And bring him to the chamber of the duke,
If, on your way, you meet the duke's physician,
In search of whom I go, he, too, is summoned,
And tell him so.
Sir Con. Why, what's the matter ?
Sir Rup. Woe!
The duke !—the duke !—No question, but away!
[Exeunt, Sir Rupert, L., Sir Conrad, R.
SCENE III.-Chamber of the Countese.
Enter CHRISTINA and the Countess's MAID, R.
Chris. My mistress marry Huon ?
Maid. Even so!
Now hand in hand with him before the priest ;
Unless the knot be tied already-said
The blessing and amen.
Chris. No bridemaid ?
Maid. Yes, My lady.
Chris. What! the Countess! bridemaid she To Catherine, that was before a serf! Yet she was ever fond of Catherine. Maid. You should have seen them both as forth thoy
went, Like two sweet sisters for the altar veiled.
Chris. A sudden marriage this !
Maid. And lonely, too;
None but the principals admitted-friends
Chris. It is strange! Well, Huon gets
A wealthy wife-a free-woman, to boot;
And, sooth to say, a worthy husband, she-
Ay, were she better still—for many a prince
Looks not his rank so well as Huon would
Were he one. Softly—they return-yes.
My mistress come alone. How slow she moves !
Enter the Countess, faint, L. S. E.—her Maid runs to
Coun. Help to untie me, girl. I cannot lift My hand to my head—and I want air! Remove My veil. There ! Now I breathe!-a minute only, And all the world seems changed. Is this my room? Art thou my waiting-maid ?-am I myself? Where is my father?
Maid. In his chamber, lady.
He is complaining.
Coun. He is very old :
His life spun out into a very film.
I did not gainsay him! Thank heaven for that!
I would that I could go to him, but, 'faith,
My limbs have done their best to bring me hither.
I am next to dead; almost dissolved to nothing.
Is that Christina ? Girl, what do you here?