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Empress. That field he found himself without
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
Coun. The highest?
“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 happiness“For such he thinks it-wears a doubtful life.”
Coun. Thy hand!
empress of his heart than of my realm.
Coun. Thy power is huge But there are bounds to it!
Empress. What bounds ?
Coun. Right !-Law !
Empress. Faith, thou'rt brave !
Empress. Gods, a rock!
Coun. He shall not marry! 1
Coun. Wast thou the empress of the world,
Empress. The troth he pledged
Coun. It is ?
Coun. The church ? · And yet
Empress. What! Not marry thee?
Empress. The hand that I design for him
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!
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
(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.
Herald. The victor, madam.
Coun. Not in his armour; yet
Coun. I do!
Empress. Ay, and smile.
Empress. Art thou thyself? _Am I myself ?
Empress. How fared it with him?
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
Huon. Madam, men's natures are
Coun. No, Huon-mine was base
Huon. What word so fit?
Coun. Condemned to die !
Huon. Why didst thou drive me from the by that act?
Coun. That act was nothing: 'twas thy flight,
Huon. It cannot cease,
Coun. The Empress loves thee, Huon!
Coun. But she does—
Coun. But she has !
Huon. Broken oaths ?
Coun. Yes, oaths !