페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

arrived, which to Pizarro's hopes presents the full reward of our undaunted enterprise and long-enduring toils. Confident in security, this day the foe devotes to solemn sacrifice : if with bold surprise we strike on their solemnity -trust to your leader's word—we shall not fail.

Alm. Too long inactive have we been mouldering on the coast; our stores exhausted, and our soldiers murmuring. Battle ! battle ! then death to the armed, and chains for the defenceless.

Dav. Death to the whole Peruvian race !
Las-Cas. Merciful Heaven !

Alm. Yes, general, the attack, and instantly! Then shall Alonzo, basking at his ease, soon cease to scoff our sufferings, and scorn our force.

Las-Cas. Alonzo /-scorn and presumption are not in his nature.

Alm. 'Tis fit Las-Casas should defend his pupil.

Piz. Speak not of the traitor! or hear his name but as the bloody summons to assault and vengeance.

It appears we are agreed ?

Alm. Dav. We are.
Gon. All.-Battle ! battle!

Las-Cas. Is, then, the dreadful measure of your cruelty not yet complete ? Battle! gracious Heaven! against whom? Against a king, in whose mild bosom your atrocious injuries even yet have not excited hate! but who, insulted or victorious, still sues for peace. Against a people who never wronged the living being their Creator formed: a people who, children of innocence ! received you as cherished guests with eager hospitality and confiding kindness. Generously and freely did they share with you their comforts, their treasures, and their home ; you repaid them by fraud, oppression, and dishonour. These eyes have witnessed all I speak—as gods you were received ; as fiends have you acted.

Piz. Las-Casas !

Las-Cas. Pizarro, hear me kHear me, chieftains |--And Thou, all powerful ! whose thunders can shiver into sand the adamantine rock—whose lightnings can pierce to the core of the rived and quaking earth-oh! let Thy power give effect to Thy servant's words, as Thy spirit gives courage to his will I-Do not, I implore you, chieftainscountrymen-do not, I implore you, renew the foul barbarities which your insatiate avarice has inflicted on this wretched, unoffending race 1-But hush, my sighs 1-fall not, drops of useless sorrow -heart-breaking anguish, choke not my utterance !--All I entreat is, send me once more to those you call your enemies.-Oh! let me be the messenger of penitence from you; I shall return with blessings and with peace from them.-[Turning to ELVIRA.) Elvira, you weep |--Alas! and does this dreadful crisis move no heart but thine ?

Alm. Because there are no women here but she and thou.

Piz. Close this idle war of words : time flies, and our opportunity will be lost, Chieftains, are ye for instant battle ?

Alm. We are.

Las-Cas, Oh, men of blood [Kneels.] God! Thou hast anointed me Thy servant-not to curse, but to bless my countrymen ; yet now my blessing on their force were blasphemy against Thy goodness.- [Rises.] No! I curse your purpose, homicides ! I curse the bond of blood by which you are united. May fell division, infamy, and rout defeat your projects and rebuke your hopes ! On you and on your children be the peril of the innocent blood which shall be shed this day! I leave you, and for ever! No longer shall these aged eyes be seared by the horrors they have witnessed. In caves, in forests, will I hide myself; with tigers and with savage beasts will I commune; and when at length we meet before the blessed tribunal of that Deity, whose mild doctrines and whose mercies ye have this day renounced, then shall you feel the agony and grief of soul which tear the bosom of your accuser now!

[Going Elv. [Rises and takes the hand of LAS-CASAS.] Las-Casas ! Oh, take me with thee, Las-Casas !

Las-Cas. Stay! lost, abused lady! I alone am useless here. Perhaps thy loveliness may persuade to pity, where reason and religion plead in vain. Oh! save thy innocent feļlow-creatures if thou canst : then shall thy frailty be redeemed, and thou wilt share the mercy thou bestowest.

[Exit Piz. How, Elvira ! wouldst thou leave me?

Elv. I am bewildered, grown terrified! Your inhumanity —and that good Las-Casas-oh! he appeared to me just now something more than heavenly : and you! ye all looked worse than earthly.

If we

Piz. Compassion sometimes becomes a beauty.
Elv. Humanity always becomes a conqueror.

Alm. Well I Heaven be praised, we are rid of the old moralist.

Gon. I hope he 'll join his preaching pupil, Alonzo.

Piz. [Turning to ALMAGRO.] Now to prepare our muster and our march. At midday is the hour of the sacrifice. [ELVIRA sits.] Consulting with our guides, the route of your divisions shall be given to each commander. surprise, we conquer; and, if we conquer, the gates of Quito will be open to us.

Alm. And Pizarro then be monarch of Peru.

Piz. Not so fast-ambition for a time must take counsel from discretion. Ataliba still must hold the shadow of a sceptre in his hand-Pizarro still appear dependent upon Spain : while the pledge of future peace, his daughter's hand, [ELVIRA rises, much agitated,] secures the proud succession to the crown I seek.

Alm. This is best. In Pizarro's plans observe the statesman's wisdom guides, the warrior's valour.

Val. [Aside to ELVIRA.] You mark, Elvira ?
Elv. Oh, yes this is best this is excellent !

Piz. You seem offended. Elvira still retains my heart. Think-a sceptre waves me on.

Elv. Offended ?-no! Thou knowest thy glory is my idol; and this will be most glorious, most just and honourable.

Piz. What mean you ?
Elv. Oh, nothing! mere woman's prattle-a jealous

— whim, perhaps : but let it not impede the royal hero's course.- [Trumpets without.] The call of arms invites you.-Away! away! you, his brave, his worthy fellowwarriors.

Piz. And go you not with me ?

Elv. Undoubtedly! I needs must be first to hail the future monarch of Peru.

Enter GOMEZ

Alm. How, Gomez! what bringest thou ?

Gom. On yonder hill, among the palm-trees, we have surprised an old cacique : escape by flight he could not, and we seized him and his attendant unresisting ; yet his lips breathe nought but bitterness and scorn.

Piz. Drag him before us.-[ELVIRA sits pensively. GOMEZ goes out and returns with OROZEMBO and Attendant, in chains, guarded.) What art thou, stranger ?

Oro. First tell me which among you is the captain of this band of robbers.

Piz. Hal
Alm. Madman |--Tear out his tongue, or else-
Oro. Thou 'lt hear some truth.

Dav. (Showing his poniard.) Shall I not plunge this into his heart?

Oro. [To PIZARRO.] Does your army boast many such heroes as this ?

Piz. Audacious! this insolence has sealed thy doom. Die thou shalt, grey-headed ruffian. But first confess what thou knowest.

Oro. I know that which thou hast just assured me of that I shall die.

Piz. Less audacity perhaps might have preserved thy life.

Oro. My life is as a withered tree; it is not worth preserving.

Piz. Hear me, old man. Even now we march against the Peruvian army. We know there is a secret path that leads to your stronghold among the rocks ; guide us to that, and name thy reward. If wealth be thy wish

Oro. Ha ! ha! ha! ha!
Piz. Dost thou despise my offer ?

Oro. Thee and thy offer! Wealth - I have the wealth of two dear gallant sons—I have stored in heaven the riches which repay good actions here—and still my chiefest treasure do I bear about me.

Piz. What is that ? inform me.

Oro. I will ; for it never can be thine—the treasure of a pure, unsullied conscience.

[ELVIRA sits, still paying marked attention to OROZEMBO Piz. I believe there is no other Peruvian who dares speak as thou dost.

Oro. Would I could believe there is no other Spaniard who dares act as thou dost !

Gom. Obdurate Pagan! How numerous is your army ?
Oro. Count the leaves of yonder forest.
Alm. Which is the weakest part of your camp ?

Oro. It has no weak part; on every side 'tis fortified by justice.

Piz. Where have you concealed your wives and your children ?

Oro. In the hearts of their husbands and their fathers. Piz. Knowest thou Alonzo ?

Oro. Know him ! Alonzo ! Know him! Our nation's benefactor! the guardian angel of Peru !

Piz. By what has he merited that title ?
Oro. By not resembling thee.
Alm. Who is this Rolla, joined with Alonzo in command ?

Oro. I will answer that ; for I love to hear and to repeat the hero's name. Rolla, the kinsman of the king, is the idol of our army; in war a tiger, chafed by the hunter's spear; in peace more gentle than the unweaned lamb. Cora was once betrothed to him; but, finding she preferred Alonzo, he resigned his claim, and, I fear, his peace, to friendship and to Cora's happiness; yet still he loves her with a pure and holy fire.

Piz. Romantic savage - I shall meet this Rolla soon.

Oro. Thou hadst better not! the terrors of his noble eye would strike thee dead.

Dav. Silence, or tremble !

Oro. Beardless robber ! I never yet have trembled before God; why should I tremble before man? Why before thee, thou less than man ?

Dav. Another word, audacious heathen, and I strike !
Oro. Strike, Christian! Then boast among thy fellows
-I too have murdered a Peruvian !
Dav. Hell and vengeance seize thee ! [Stabs him
Piz. Hold !
Dav. Couldst thou longer have endured his insults ?
Piz. And therefore should he die untortured ?

Oro. True! Observe, young man. [To DAVILLA.) Thy unthinking rashness has saved me from the rack ; and thou thyself hast lost the opportunity of a useful lesson; thou might'st thyself have seen with what cruelty vengeance would have inflicted torments—and with what patience virtue would have borne them.

Elv. [Supporting OROZEMBO's head upon her bosom.] Oh, ye are monsters all ! Look up, thou martyred innocent -look up once more, and bless me ere thou diest. God! how I pity thee !

Oro. Pity me k-me! so near my happiness ! Bless thee, lady K-Spaniards—Heaven turn your hearts, and pardon you as I do.

« 이전계속 »