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Empress. That field he found himself without

my

aid. I saw him there, and challenged simple greatness In spite of its disguise ; desired it doff Its lowly suit, and show the thing it was; Nor stopped till, step by step, I saw it climb To where it stands ; nor mean I to stop there.

Coun. How ?

Empress. I design for him the highest grace
I can bestow.

Coun. The highest?
Empress. Yes, beyond
His hopes, until to-day—until to-day
Never divulged to him.

Coun. He knows it, then ?

Empress. He does; and, till my promise is fulfilled, “With fears that shake him, spite of certainty “Of his immeasurable happinessFor such he thinks it-wears a doubtful life.”

Coun. Thy hand!
Empress. The hand of her, more proud to be
The

empress of his heart than of my realm.
Coun. He shall not take it
Empress. Not?

Coun. Thy power is huge But there are bounds to it!

Empress. What bounds ?

Coun. Right !-Law !
Imperial foot stops there. It dares not cross,
And if it dares, it shall not !

Empress. Faith, thou'rt brave !
Coun. He shall not marry!
Empress. No?
Coun. No!

Empress. Gods, a rock!
She echoes me!

Coun. He shall not marry! 1

Empress. What!
Again?

Coun. Wast thou the empress of the world,
I'd say to thee again—he shall not marry!
Empress. Thou know'st a let?
Coun. I do!

Empress. The troth he pledged
To Catherine-you see I am advised
Of all! The marriage is anulled.

Coun. It is ?
Empress. It is.
Coun. How ?
Empress. By the church !

Coun. The church ? · And yet
He shall not marry!

Empress. What! Not marry thee?
Coun. (Changing, and falling on her knees.] Madam!

Empress. The hand that I design for him
Crown of my favour, his deserts—is thine,
Not mine, my girl—the guerdon fair for which
He would not take my empire in exchange-
Ay, with my hand, to boot!

Coun. My liege, my empress!

Empress. My fiery queen, and have I tamed you now? Tamed you so soon? I half repent me on't, Mine's the true spirit, namesake! It admires To see itself in others, 'Faith, my glass Never reflected me more honestly Than thou didst even now. Listen to me. I am thy Huon's friend, and nothing more. Rise. Now we'll talk as sister does with sister. Hither thy Huon bears me company, Unwarned to what intent until to-day; Until to-day, in darkness, that the bar The church, with thy fair aid, 'twixt him and thee Did set-the church, at my persisting suit, Hath quite annulled; and now he's in the lists Striving to win thee! He that never yet, In strait of life or death, much less a tilt, Suffered defeat. [Trumpets.] That flourish is the close. Smile at it, girl! It makes thee Huon’s wife ! Huon-no more the serf- but nobleman Nor nobleman alone! This hour a prince, For thy fair sake ! Coun. (Dejectedly to herself.] Would he were still a

serf. Empress. Dejected girl! Coun. Madam!

(Music.

Empress. They come ! come hither! Here take thy seat in the centre. Here thou art chief. We are but second ! Smile-thy Huon comes ! Music.-ULRICK and the rest re-enter from the Tourna

ment. The EMPRESS anxiously surveys them. The

COUNTESS absent and dejected
Where is he?

Coun. Madam?
Empress. Which is Huon?

(Aside to Countess. Coun. Which ? Empress. [ Aside to Countess. Methinks he is not here

canst make him out ? Girl, tell me, is thy lover here or not? He seems not here, and yet he must be here.

Herald. Madam, the lists are closed. The victor waits The prize which he has won. Shall he receive it ? Empress. (Aside to Countess.] Shall I say yes? I must

say yes. Thou smilest.
I will say yes !--[Aloud.)-He shall receive the prize.
Who is that that bows ?

Herald. The victor, madam.
Empress. (To Countess.] Ha! Do you know him ?

Coun. Not in his armour; yet
Methinks I ought to know him were it he.
Empress. Sir Knight, so please you, raise your visor.

'Tis
The prince of Milan! Girl—what means thine eye
To bsaze with joy? It looks on thy despair !
The prince of Milan ’tis, has won the day.
Hear'st thou me? Know'st thou what I say?

Coun. I do!
Both hear and comprehend thee.

Empress. Ay, and smile.
Coun. And smile.

Empress. Art thou thyself? _Am I myself ?
I think myself the same! ( To Ulrick, L.) Where is

Huon?
Ulrick. Gone
To take his armour off.

Empress. How fared it with him?
Ulrick. He entered first the lists, and one by ono

Huon. Yes! Thou lovest me!--Oh, fate! there was a time, 'Twere more than bliss, if more could be, to know it ; But now, 'tis misery! Coun. 'Tis misery!

(Both rise. Art thou in such a strait, indeed, as that To give my love for thee so harsh a name? What shall I call it, then? Gain me a name Will stand for something worse than misery~ Will paint the case of a high, noble maid, Who stooped to love a serf-nay, stopped not there, But told her passion to him !

Huon. I am no more a serf.

Coun. Thou art ennobled; Yet thou art still the same!--thou hast won honours, Rewards of deeds, in spite of thy base blood Achieved by thee!

Huon. Nay, madam, spare my blood ; And pardon me,

its owner, if I say, It is not base.

Coun. It is! What should it be
But base? A serf did give it thee, a serf
Gave him his blood. Trace back the current, sir
Far as you can, and you will find it base,
Nothing but base.

Huon. Madam, men's natures are
Their blood :-they have no other, high or low.
If base the current hitherto of mine,
It ceased with me. Born in thy father's house
A serf, I left it one, to seek my fortune,
Make it or mar it, for promotion having
No other patron than my own right arm,
And my own heart and head to guide and nerve it ;
And, with their help, I see that house again,
An independent, self-exalted man,
While many a son, who left a noble home,
With blood untainted for a thousand years,
Returns to it no better than he left it.
Is my blood base ?

Coun. No, Huon-mine was base
To let me call it so! Alas! alas !
And hast no better welcome for my love
Than that sad word thou spok’st ?

Huon. What word so fit?
What is it, to a man condemned to die,
To tell him of a treasure left to him ?

Coun. Condemned to die !
Resemblest thou a man condemned to die

Huon. Why didst thou drive me from the by that act?

Coun. That act was nothing: 'twas thy flight,
And that which followed it. Thou art entangled
And thank thy flight. On, Huon! were thy love
In daring enterprise the tithe of mine,
'Twould attempt something to enlarge thee from
The cause thou art prisoner to !

Huon. It cannot cease,
Except with life.

Coun. The Empress loves thee, Huon!
Huon. No.

Coun. But she does—
Thou art her favourite! She
Hath chained thee to her throne.

Huon. No.

Coun. But she has !
Thou hast made merchandise,
Most shameful merchandise, of thy allegiance !
Broken oaths as tiny shells, which at a touch
Do fall to powder !

Huon. Broken oaths ?

Coun. Yes, oaths !
Thy life was all one oath of love to me,
Sworn to me daily, hourly, by thine eyes,
Which, when they saw me, lightened up as though
An angel's presence did enchant their

sense,
That I have seen their very colour change!
Talk of the adjuration of the tongue ! -
Compare love's name, a sound which

any

life
May pipe-a breath with love itself!
Thou’rt not forsworn, because thou took'st no oath ?
What were thy accents, then-thy accents, Huon?
Oh! they did turn thy lightest words to oaths,
Vouching the burden of a love-fraught soul!
Telling a tale which my young nature caught.
With interest so deep, was conned by heart
Before I knew the latal argument !

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