페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

Piz. Away !--[OROZEMBO is borne off dying.) Away ! Davilla ! if thus rash a second time

Dav. Forgive the hasty indignation which

Piz. No more ! Unbind that trembling wretch-let him depart: 'tis well he should report the mercy which we show to insolent defiance-Hark! our troops are moving.

Attend. (On passing ELVIRA.) If through your gentle means my master's poor remains might be preserved from insult

Elv. I understand thee.

Attend. His sons may yet thank your charity, if not avenge their father's fate.

[Exit Piz. What says the slave ? Elv. A parting word to thank you for your mercy.

Piz. Our guards and guides approach.-[SOLDIERS march through the tents.] Follow me, friends

each shall have his post assigned, and ere Peruvia's god shall sink beneath the main, the Spanish banner, bathed in blood, shall float above the walls of vanquished Quito.

[Exeunt all but ELVIRA and VALVERDE Val. Is it now presumption that my hopes gain strength with the increasing horrors which I see appal Elvira's soul ?

Elv. I am mad with terror and remorse! Would I could fly these dreadful scenes !

Val. Might not Valverde's true attachment be thy refuge ?

Eld. What wouldst thou do to save or to avenge me ?

Val. I dare do all thy injuries may demand-a word, and he lies bleeding at your feet.

Elv. Perhaps we will speak again of this. Now leave me.-[Exit VALVERDE.] No! not this revenge-no! not this instrument. Fie, Elvira ! even for a moment to counsel with this unworthy traitor! Can a wretch, false to a confiding master, be true to any pledge of love or honour ?- Pizarro will abandon me--yes; me-who, for his sake, have sacrificed--oh, God! what have I not sacrificed for him! Yet, curbing the avenging pride that swells this bosom, I still will further try him. Oh, men ! ye who, wearied by the fond fidelity of virtuous love, seek in the wanton's flattery a new delight, oh, ye may insult and leave the hearts to which your faith was pledged, and, stifling self-reproach, may fear no other peril; because such hearts, howe'er you injure and desert them, have

yet the proud retreat of an unspotted fame--of unreproaching conscience. But beware the desperate libertine who forsakes the creature whom his arts have first deprived of all natural protection-of all self-consolation. What has he left her! Despair and vengeance !

(Exit

ACT TWO

SCENE I.-A Bank surrounded by a wild wood, and rocks

CORA is discovered playing with her CHILD; ALONZO, hanging

over them with delight

Cora. Now confess, does he resemble thee, or not?

Alon. Indeed he is liker thee-thy rosy softness, thy smiling gentleness.

Cora. But his auburn hair, the colour of his eyes, Alonzo. -Oh, my lord's image, and my heart's adored!

[Presses the CHILD to her bosom Alon. The little darling urchin robs me, I doubt, of some portion of thy love, my Cora. At least he shares caresses, which till his birth were only mine.

Cora. Oh no, Alonzo ! a mother's love for her sweet babe is not a stealth from the dear father's store; it is a new delight that turns with quickened gratitude to Him, the author of her augmented bliss.

Alon. Could Cora think me serious ?

Cora. I am sure he will speak soon: then will be the last of the three holidays allowed by Nature's sanction to the fond, anxious mother's heart.

Alon. What are those three ?

Cora. The ecstasy of his birth I pass : that in part is selfish; but when first the white blossoms of his teeth appear, breaking the crimson buds that did incase them, that is a day of joy; next, when from his father's arms he runs without support, and clings, laughing and delighted, to his mother's knees, that is the mother's heart's next holiday; and sweeter still the third, whene'er his little stammering tongue shall utter the grateful sound of father ! mother -Oh, that is the dearest joy of all !

Alon. Beloved Cora !

Cora. Oh, my Alonzo ! daily, hourly, do I pour thanks to Heaven for the dear blessing I possess in him and thee.

Alon. To Heaven and Rolla !

Cora. Yes, to Heaven and Rolla : and art thou not grateful to them, too, Alonzo l art thou not happy ?

Alon. Can Cora ask that question ?

Cora. Why then of late so restless on thy couch ? Why to my waking, watching ear so often does the stillness of the night betray thy struggling sighs ?

Alon. Must not I fight against my country, against my brethren ?

Cora. Do they not seek our destruction ? and are not all men brethren ?

Alon. Should they prove victorious ?
Cora. I will fly, and meet thee in the mountains.
Alon. Fly, with thy infant, Cora ?

Cora. What I think you a mother, when she runs from danger, can feel the weight of her child ?

Alon. Cora, my beloved, do you wish to set my heart at rest ?

Cora. Oh yes ! yes ! yes !

Alon. Hasten then to the concealment in the mountains ; where all our matrons and virgins, and our warriors' offspring, are allotted to await the issue of the war. Cora will not alone resist her husband's, her sisters', and her monarch's wish. Cora. Alonzo, I cannot leave you.

Oh ! how in every moment's absence would my fancy paint you, wounded, alone, abandoned ! No, no, I cannot leave you.

Alon. Rolla will be with me.

Cora. Yes, while the battle rages, and where it rages most, brave Rolla will be found. He may revenge, but cannot save thee. To follow danger, he will leave even thee. But I have sworn never to forsake thee but with life. Dear, dear Alonzo I canst thou wish that I should break my vow?

Alon. Then be it so. Oh! excellence in all that 's great and lovely, in courage, gentleness, and truth; my pride, my content, my all ! Can there on this earth be fools who seek for happiness, and pass by love in the pursuit ?

Cora. Alonzo, I cannot thank thee : silence is the gratitude of true affection : who seeks to follow it by sound will miss the track.-[Shouts without.] Does the king approach?

Alon. No, 'tis the general placing the guard that will surround the temple during the sacrifice. 'Tis Rolla comes, the first and best of heroes.

[Trumpets sound.

Rol. [Without.] Then place them on the hill fronting the Spanish camp.

Enter ROLLA

Cora. Rolla ! my friend, my brother !

Alon. Rolla ! my friend, my benefactor ! how can our lives repay the obligations which we owe thee ?

Rol. Pass them in peace and bliss. Let Rolla witness it, he is overpaid.

Cora. Look on this child. He is the life-blood of my heart; but, if ever he loves or reveres thee less than his own father, his mother's hate fall on him !

Rol. Oh, no more ! What sacrifice have I made to merit gratitude ? The object of my love was Cora's happiness. I see her happy. Is not my object gained, and am I not rewarded ? Now, Cora, listen to a friend's advice. Thou must away; thou must seek the sacred caverns, the unprofaned recess, whither, after this day's sacrifice, our matrons, and e’en the Virgins of the Sun, retire.

Cora. Not secure with Alonzo and with thee, Rolla ?

Rol. We have heard Pizarro's plan is to surprise us. Thy presence, Cora, cannot aid, but may impede our efforts.

Cora. Impede ?
Rol. Yes, yes.

Thou knowest how tenderly we love thee; we, thy husband and thy friend. Art thou near us? our thoughts, our valour-vengeance will not be our own. No advantage will be pursued that leads us from the spot where thou art placed ; no succour will be given but for thy protection. The faithful lover dares not be all himself amid the war, until he knows that the beloved of his soul is absent from the peril of the fight.

Alon. Thanks to my friend ! 'tis this I would have urged.

Cora. This timid excess of love, producing fear instead of valour, flatters, but does not convince me : the wife is incredulous.

Rol. And is the mother unbelieving too ?

Cora. (Kisses child.) No more I do with me as you please. My friend, my husband ! place me where you will.

Alon. My adored I we thank you both.-[March without.) Hark! the king approaches to the sacrifice. You, Rolla, spoke of rumours of surprise. A servant of mine, I hear,

is missing; whether surprised or treacherous, I know not.

Rol. It matters not. We are everywhere prepared. Come, Cora, upon the altar 'mid the rocks thou 'lt implore a blessing on our cause. The pious supplication of the trembling wife, and mother's heart, rises to the throne of mercy, the most resistless prayer of human homage.

[Exeunt

SCENE II.-The Temple of the Sun

The HIGH-PRIEST, PRIESTS, and VIRGINS OF THE SUN, dis

covered. A solemn march. ATALİBA and the PERUVIAN WARRIORS enter on one side ; on the other ROLLA, ALONZO, and CORA with the CHILD

Ata. Welcome, Alonzo 1To ROLLA.] Kinsman, thy hand.—TO CORA.)--Blessed be the object of the happy mother's love.

Cora. May the sun bless the father of his people !

Ata. In the welfare of his children lives the happiness of their king.-Friends, what is the temper of our soldiers ?

Rol. Such as becomes the cause which they support; their cry is, Victory or death! our king! our country! and our God.

Ata. Thou, Rolla, in the hour of peril, hast been wont to animate the spirit of their leaders, ere we proceed to consecrate the banners which thy valour knows so well to guard.

Rol. Yet never was the hour of peril near, when to inspire them words were so little needed. My brave associates--partners of my toil, my feelings, and my fame 1 can Rolla's words add vigour to the virtuous energies which inspire your hearts ? No! You have judged, as I have, the foulness of the crafty plea by which these bold invaders would delude you. Your generous spirit has compared, as mine has, the motives which, in a war like this, can animate their minds and ours. They, by a strange frenzy driven, fight for power, for plunder, and extended rule : we, for our country, our altars, and our homes. They follow an adventurer whom they fear, and obey a power which they hate : we serve a monarch whom we love-a God whom we adore. Whene'er they move in anger desolation tracks their progress! Whene'er they pause in amity, affliction mourns their friendship. They boast they

« 이전계속 »