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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 happiness “For 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 daręs 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! | 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! Cour. 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 or.

'Tis
The prince of Milan! Girl—what means thine eye
To blaze with joy? It looks on thy despair !
The prince of Milan ’tis, has won the day.
Hearst 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

O'erthrow all comers, till the prince of Milan
Unhorsed him.

Coun. Is he hurt ?
Ulrick. No, madam.

Coun. (Starting up.) Thanks!
My lord, bring Huon hither! Hither! Hie!

(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,
But thou hast much offended courtesy ;
Not only slighting me, thy sovereign lady,
But him to whom thy fate awards thee bride!

Coun. A wife must be a widow ere a bride!
Empress. A wife ? no wife art thou !

Coun. I am a wife !
Before this goodly presence 1 proclaim it!
A wife by stealth, but still a wedded wife !
Wedded for love, as fervent, durable,
As ever led a woman to the altar !
Empress. Where is thy husband? where is thy hus-

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!
I marvel of thy words !—I overlooked thee,
Madam !—My wife, rise !-pray you, rise ! my own,
My dear liege lady ever! I am feeble
In words; but, oh! the strife is strong within
Of wonder, gratitude, humility,
Pride, honour, love, outdoing one another!

Enter CATHERINE, disguised, R.
Cath. Fair empress, justice !
Empress. Who asks for justice ?

Cath. One that is most wronged
In his honour; cheated by a craven knight,
Who promised him to give him meeting here;

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