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come but to improve our state, enlarge our thoughts, and free us from the yoke of error! Yes. They will give enlightened freedom to our minds, who are themselves the slaves of passion, avarice, and pride. They offer us their protection : yes, such protection as vultures give to lambs -covering and devouring them! They call on us to barter all of good we have inherited and proved, for the desperate chance of something better which they promise. Be our plain answer this :—The throne we honour is the people's choice ; the laws we reverence are our brave father's legacy; the faith we follow teaches us to live in bonds of charity with all mankind, and die with hope of bliss beyond the grave. Tell your invaders this, and tell them too, we seek no change ; and least of all, such change as they would bring us.
(Loud shouts of the PERUVIAN WARRIORS Ata. (Embracing ROLLA.) Now, holy friends, ever mindful of these sacred truths, begin the sacrifice.-[A solemn procession commences. The PRIESTS and VIRGINS arrange themselves on either side of the altar, which the HIGH-PRIEST approaches and the solemnity begins. The invocation of the HIGH-PRIEST is followed by the choruses of the PRIESTS and VIRGINS. Fire from above lights upon the altar. The whole assembly rise, and join in the thanksgiving.] Our offering is accepted. Now to arms, my friends; prepare for battle.
Or. From the hill's brow, e'en now as I o'erlooked their force, suddenly I perceived the whole in motion : with eager haste they march towards our deserted camp, as if apprised of this most solemn sacrifice.
Rol. They must be met before they reach it.
Ata. And you, my daughters, with your dear children, away to the appointed place of safety. Cora. Oh, Alonzo !
[Embracing him Alon. We shall meet again. Cora. Bless us once more ere you leave us.
Alon. Heaven protect and bless thee, my beloved ; and thee, my innocent !
Ata. Haste, haste ! each moment is precious !
Cora. [Giving him her hand.] Farewell! The god of war be with you : but bring me back Alonzo.
[Exit with the CHILD Ata. [Draws his sword.] Now, my brethren, my sons, my friends, I know your valour. Should ill success assail us, be despair the last feeling of your hearts. If successful, let mercy be the first. Alonzo, to you I give to defend the narrow passage of the mountains. On the right of the wood be Rolla's station. For me straight forwards will I march to meet them, and fight until I see my people saved, or they behold their monarch fall. Be the word of battleGod! and our native land.
(A march. Exeunt
SCENE III.-A Wood between the Temple and the Camp
Enter ROLLA and ALONZO
Rol. Here, my friend, we separate-soon, I trust, to meet again in triumph.
Alon. Or perhaps we part to meet no more.-Rolla, a moment’s pause ; we are yet before our army's strength; one earnest word at parting.
Rol. There is language now no word but battle.
Alon. If so, my wife and child I bequeath to the protection of Heaven and my king. But should I only fall, Rolla, be thou my heir.
Rol. How ?
Alon. Be Cora thy wife—be thou a father to my child.
Rol. Rouse thee, Alonzol banish these timid fancies.
Alon. Rolla ! I have tried in vain, and cannot fly from the foreboding which oppresses me : thou knowest it will not shake me in the fight : but give me the promise I exact Rol. If it be Cora's will—yes—I promise.
[Gives his hand Alon. Tell her it was my last wish; and bear to her and to my son my last blessing !
Rol. I will.—Now then to our posts, and let our swords speak for us.
[They draw their swords Alon. For the king and Cora : Rol. For . Cora and the king.
[Exeunt severally. Alarms without
SCENE IV.—The Peruvian Camp.
Enter an OLD BLIND MAN and a Boy
Old Man. Have none returned to the camp ?
Boy. One messenger alone. From the temple they all marched to meet the foe.
Old Man. Hark! I hear the din of battle. Oh, had I still retained my sight, I might now have grasped a sword, and died a soldier's death |--Are we quite alone ?
Boy. Yes -I hope my father will be safe !
Old Man. He will do his duty. I am more anxious for thee, my child.
Boy. I can stay with you, dear grandfather.
Old Man. But should the enemy come, they will drag thee from me, my boy.
Boy. Impossible, grandfather | for they will see at once that you are old and blind, and cannot do without me.
Old Man. Poor child | thou little knowest the hearts of these inhuman men.—[Discharge of cannon heard.] Hark ! the noise is near. I hear the dreadful roaring of the fiery engines of these cruel strangers.—[Shouts at a distance.] At every shout, with involuntary haste, I clench my hand, and fancy still it grasps a sword! Alas! I can only serve my country by my prayers. Heaven preserve the Inca and his gallant soldiers !
Boy. O father ! there are soldiers running-
Old Man. How! and flying from the field 1-It cannot be.
Enter two PERUVIAN SOLDIERS
Oh, speak to them, boy ?—whence come you ? how goes the battle ?
Sold. We may not stop; we are sent for the reserve behind the hill. The day 's against us. [Exeunt SOLDIERS Old Man. Quick, then, quick.
Boy. I see the points of lances glittering in the light. Old Man. Those are Peruvians. Do they bend this
Enter a PERUVIAN SOLDIER
Boy. Soldier, speak to my blind father.
Sold. I'm sent to tell the helpless father to retreat among the rocks ; all will be lost, I fear. The king is wounded.
Old Man. Quick, boy! Lead me to the hill, where thou mayst view the plain.
Enter ATALIBA, wounded, with ORANO, OFFICERS, and
Ata. My wound is bound; believe me the hurt is nothing : I may return to the fight.
Ora. Pardon your servant; but the allotted priest who attends the sacred banner has pronounced that the Inca's blood once shed, no blessing can await the day until he leave the field.
Ata. Hard restraint ! Oh my poor brave soldiers ! Hard that I may no longer be a witness of their valour.But haste you ; return to your comrades; I will not keep one soldier from his post. Go, and avenge your fallen brethren.-E.reunt ORANO, OFFICERS, and SOLDIERS. I will not repine ; my own fate is the last anxiety of my heart. It is for you, my people, that I feel and fear.
Old Man. (Coming forward.] Did I not hear the voice of an unfortunate ?—Who is it complains thus ?
Atą. One almost by hope forsaken.
Old Man. Then thou art not forsaken! Ataliba protects the meanest of his subjects.
Ata. And who shall protect Ataliba ?
Old Man. The immortal powers, that protect the just. The virtues of our monarch alike secure to him the affection of his people and the benign regard of Heaven.
Ata. How impious, had I murmured! How wondrous, thou supreme Disposer, are thy acts! Even in this moment, which I had thought the bitterest trial of mortal suffering, thou hast infused the sweetest sensation of my life—it is the assurance of my people's love.
(Aside Boy. [Turning forward.] O father Stranger ! see those hideous men that rush upon us yonder !
Ata. Ha! Spaniards ! and I Ataliba-ill-fated fugitive, without a sword even to try the ransom of a monarch's life.
Enter DAVILLA, ALMAGRO, and SPANISH SOLDIERS Dav. 'Tis he-our hopes are answered-I know him well it is the king !
Alm. Away! Follow with your prize. Avoid those Peruvians, though in flight. This way we may regain our line. [Exeunt DAVILLA, ALMAGRO, and SOLDIERS,
with ATALIBA prisoner Old Man. The king /-wretched old man, that could not see his gracious form |--Boy, would thou hadst led me to the reach of those ruffians' swords !
Boy. Father ! all our countrymen are flying here for refuge.
Old Man. No-to the rescue of their king—they never will desert him.
(Alarms without Enter PERUVIAN OFFICERS and SOLDIERS, flying across the
stage ; ORANO following Ora. Hold, I charge you! Rolla calls you. Officer. We cannot combat with their dreadful engines.
Enter ROLLA Rol. Hold! recreants ! cowards ! What, fear ye death, and fear not shame? By my soul's fury, I cleave to the earth the first of you that stirs, or plunge your dastard swords into your leader's heart, that he no more may witness your disgrace. Where is the king ?
Ora. From this old man and boy I learn that the detachment of the enemy, which you observed so suddenly to quit the field, have succeeded in surprising him ; they are yet in sight.
Rol. And bear the Inca off a prisoner ?-Hear this, ye base, disloyal rout ! Look there! The dust you see hangs on the bloody Spaniards' track, dragging with ruffian taunts your king, your father-Ataliba in bondage ! Now fly, and seek your own vile safety if you can.
Old Man. Bless the voice of Rolla-and bless the stroke I once lamented, but which now spares these extinguished eyes the shame of seeing the pale, trembling wretches who dare not follow Rolla, though to save their king!
Rol. Shrink ye from the thunder of the foe- and fall ye not at this rebuke ? Oh! had ye each but one drop of the