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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
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!
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 !--
Empress. Faith, thou’rt brave !
Empress. Gods, a rock!
Coun. He shall not marry! | Empress. What! Again?
Coun. Wast thou the empress of the world,
Empress. Thou know'st a let?
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-
Empress. My fiery queen, and have I tamed you now?
serf. Empress. Dejected girl! Cour. 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.
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?
O'erthrow all comers, till the prince of Milan
Coun. Is he hurt ?
Coun. (Starting up.) Thanks!
(Exit Ulrick, L. Now all is as it should be.
Empress. Should be, girl? Say rather should not be. Thy lover's foiled. Where is the ashy cheek that meets disaster, The brow that's like the wrack ? the gusty breath ? The quivering, bloodless lip, and quaking frame ? These should be, and they are not! Where are they? Or rather wherefore see I in their stead Things 'twould become to wait on holidays Rather than days of penance ? Look not thus Else thou wilt make me hate thee!.
Coun. Madam, madam, I tell thee, and believe me, all is well. Empress. (Indignantly.) Then let the prince of Milan
take his prize. Fred. I claim it on my knee. At the moment the Prince kneels, Huon, led by ULRICK,
enters, and the COUNTESS rushes towards him. Coun. How is it, Huon? Thou look'st as hurt.
Huon. Sped in the spirit, lady. Forgetful of my charger, all unmindful, He lacked my argument to hearten him. Bent on the most surpassing prize alone, I did not think to change him, and he failed me. Coun. Fortune, farewell! and priile go with thee !
“ Go! “Welcome adversity! Shake hands with me, • Thou tester of true hearts ! whose homely fare • No flatterer sits down to-hollow friend, "Foe, masking thoughts of scorn with smiling face“But truth and honesty! affection staunch ! "That grasps the hand before it scans the sleeve
And greets the lowly portal with a grace
• More winning far than his, who thanks the gate “ That spreaks with pride to let a monarch in."
Empress. Girl, I am loth to speak in terms of blame,
Coun. A wife must be a widow ere a bride!
Coun. I am a wife !
band ? Coun. Here! I am kneeling At his feet ?
Kneels to Huon. Huon. Thy husband, I ? Coun. My husband, thou ! Huon. Was I not wed to Catherine ?
Coun. My name is Catherine, as thou should'st know, But, as thou know'st not, till now; the lips Pronounced that name in wedding thee-the hand Then given to thee—the troth then plighted thee Were mine, as truly as the breath that now Avows I am thy wife !-in debt to fate For baffling thee, for now she owns thee lord In thy adversity!
Huon. Thou kneel'st to me!
Enter CATHERINE, disguised, R.
Cath. One that is most wronged