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Which listens to our duty, not our passions.- Could scarce support thee, then, of thee reQuit me, my child !
To lead her off.
[gardless, Sig. You cannot, oh, my father!
Sig. That was indeed a sight You cannot leave me thus!
To poison love ; to turn it into rage Sif. Come hither, Laura,
And keen contempt.-What means this stupid Come to thy friend. Now show thyself a
That hangs upon me? Hence, unworthy tears ! Combat her weakness; dissipate her tears ; Disgrace my cheek no more! No more, my Cherish, and reconcile her to her duty.
Oh, it imports not which-dare to suggest
Thy pride, will turn thy triumph to confusion ! Sig. Oh, wo on wo! distress’d by love and I will not pine away my days for thee, duty
Sighing to brooks and groves; while, with Oh, every way unhappy Sigismunda !
vain pity, Laura. Forgive me, Madam, if I blame You in a rival's arms lament my fateyour grief,
No, let me perish! ere I tamely be How can you waste your tears on one so false? That soft, that patient, gentle Sigismunda, Unworthy of your tenderness; to whom Who can console her with the wretched boast, Nought but contempt is due, and indignation? She was for thee unhappy! If I am, Sig. You know not half the horrors of my I will be nobly so!
Shall, wondering, see in me a great example I might perhaps have learn’d to scorn his of one who punish'd an ill-judging heart, falsehood :
(past, who made it bow to what it most abhorr'd! Nay, when the first sad burst of tears was Crush'd it to misery ! for having thus I might have rous'd my pride, and scorn's So lightly listen’d to a worthless lover! himself
Laura. At last it mounts, the kindling pride But 'tis too much, this greatest last misfor
of virtue; tune
Trust me, thy marriage will embitter hisOh, whither shall I fly? Where hide me, Laura, Sig. Oh, may the furies light his nuptial From the dire scene my father now prepares ?
torch! Laura. What thus alarms you, Madam?
Be it accurs'd as mine! For the fair peace, Sig. Can it be?
The tender joys of hymeneal love, Can I-ah, no!
-at once give to another May jealousy awak'd, and fell remorse, My violated 'heart? in one wild moment? Pour all their fiercest venom through his He brings Earl Osmond to receive my vows.
[follow. Oh, dreadful change! for Tancred, haughty Where the fates lead, and blind revenge, I Osmond.
Let me not think-By injur'd love! I vow, Laura. Now, on my soul, 'tis what an out. Thou shalt, base prince ! pertidious and' inrag'd heart
human ! Like yours should wish!-- should, by Thou shalt behold me in another's arms ; Heavens, esteem it
In his thou hatest! Osmond's ! Most exquisite revenge!
Laura. That will grind Sig. Revenge! on whom?
His heart with secret rage: Ay, that will sting On my own heart, already but too wretched ! His soul to madness; set him up a terror, Laura. On him! this Tancred! who has A spectacle of wo to faithless lovers !basely sold,
Your cooler thoughts besides, will of the change For the dull form of despicable grandeur, Approve, and think it happy. Noble Osmond His faith, his love !-At once a slave' and From the same stock with him derives his tyrant!
Sig. Talk not of Osmond, but perfidious Laura. Who rais'd these hopes? who tri
Tancred! umphs o'er that weakness?
Rail at him, rail ! invent new names of scorn! Pardon the word-You greatly merit him ; Assist me, Laura ; lend my rage fresh fuel; Better than him, with all his giddy pomp; Support my staggering purpose, which already You rais'd him by your smiles when he was Begins to fail me—Ah, my vaunts how vain! nothing.
How have I lied to my own heart! Alas, Where is your woman's pride, that guardian My tears return, the mighty flood o'erwhelms spirit
me! Given us to dash the perfidy of man?
Ten thousand crowding images dis'ract Ye powers! I cannot bear the thought with My tortur'd thought-And is it come to this ? patience
Our hopes, our vows, our oft repeated wishes, Yet recent from the most unsparing vows Breath'd from the fervent soul, and full of The tongue of love e'er lavish'd; from your to make each other happy—come to this!
Heaven, hopes So vainly, idly, cruelly deluded ;
Laura. If thy own peace and honour cannot Before the public thus, before your father,
keep By an irrevocable, solemn deed,
Thy resolution fix'd; yet, Sigismunda, With such inhuman scorn, to throw you from Oh, think how deeply, how beyond retreat, bim:
Thy father is engag'd. To give his faithless hand yet warm from thine, Sig. Ah, wretched weakness ! With complicated meanness, to Constantia : That thus enthrals my soul, that chases thence And, to complete his crime, when thy weak Each nobler thought, the sense of every duty; limbs
And have I then no lears for thee, my father? Can I forget thy cares, from helpless years, The man of sense, who acts a prudent part, Thy tenderness for me? an eye still beam'd Not tlattering steals, but forms himself the With love; a brow that never knew a frown;
[Erit. Nor a harsh word thy tongue? Shall I for these
ACT IV. Repay thy stooping, venerable age
SCENE I.-The Garden belonging to SIFWith shaine, disquiet, anguish, and dishonour?
Enter SIGISMUNDA and LAURA.
SIGISMUNDA, with a letter in her hand.
[altar, The horrid trial !-Open, open, earth! The tombs around, the saints, the darken'd And bide me from their view.
And all the trembling sbrines with horror Laura. Madam,
But here is still new matter of distress.
Oh, Tancred, cease to persecute me more ! Sif. My daughter,
Oh, grudge ine not some calmer state of wo; Behold my noble friend who courts thy hand, Some quiet gloom to shade my hopeless days, And whom to call my son I shall be proud ; Where I may never hear of love and thee!Nor shall I less be pleas'd in this alliance, Has Laura, too, conspir'd against my peace! To see thee happy.
Why did you take this letter :-Bear it backOsm. Think not, I presume,
I will not court new pain. Madam, on this your father's kind consent,
[Giving her the letter. To make me bless'd. I love you from a heart, Laura. Madam, Rodolpho That seeks your good superior to my own; Urg'd me so much, nay, even with tears conAnd will by every art of tender friendship,
jur'd me, Consult your dearest welfare. May I hope, But this once more to serve th’unhappy kingYours does not disavow your father's choice? For such he said he was-that though enrag'd, Sig. I am a daughter, Sir—and have no Equal with thee, at his inhuman falsehood, power
I could not to my brother's servent prayers ()'er my own heart-I die-support me, Laura. Refuse this office-Read it-His excuses
[Faints. Will only more expose his falsebood. Sif. Help-Bear her off-She breathes-my Sig. No: daughter!
It suits not Osmond's wife to read one line Sig. Oh,
From that contagious hand-she knows too Forgive my weakness soft-my Laura, lead
Laura. He paints him out distress'd beyond To my apartment..
expression ; (Exeunt SIGISMUNDA and LAURA. Even on the point of madness. Wild as winds, Sif. Pardon me, my lord,
And fighting. seas, he raves. His passions If by this sudden accident alarm’d,
mix, I leave you for a moment. (Exit SIFFREDI. With ceaseless rage, all in each giddy moment. Osm. Let me think
He dies to see you, and to clear his faith. What can this mean?- - Is it to me aversion ? Sig. Save me from that !-That would be Or is it, as I fear'd, she loves another?
worse than all ! Ha !-yes--perhaps the king, the young Count Laura. I but report my brother's words; Tancred;
who then They were bred up together-Surely that, Began to talk of some dark imposition, That cannot be-Has he not given his hand, That had deceiv'd us all ; when interrupted, In the most solemn manner, to Constantia ? We heard your father and Earl Osmond near, Does not his crown depend upon the deed ? As summon'd to Constantia's court they went. No-If they lov’d, and this old statesman Sig. Ha! imposition? — Well, if I am knew it,
doom'd He could not to a king prefer a subject. To be, o'er all my sex, the wretch of love, His virtues I esteem-nay more, I trust them, In vain I would resist-Give me the letter So far as virtue goes--but could be place To know the worst is some relief-Alas, His daughter on the throne of Sicily
It was not thus, with such dire palpitations, Oh, 'tis a glorious bribe, too much for man! That, Tancred, once I us'd to read thy letters. What is it then? I care not what it be.
[Attempting to read the letter, gives it to My hovour now, my dignity demands,
LAURA. That my propos’d alliance, by her father, Ah, fund remembrance blinds me : -Read it, And even herself accepted, be not scorn'd.
Laura. I love her too-I never knew till now
Laura. [Reads.] Deliver me, Sigismunda, To what a pitch I love her. Oh, she shot from that most exquisite misery which a faithful Ten thousand charms into my ipmost soul! heart can suffer to be thought base by her, from She look'd so mild, so amiably gentle,
whose esteem eren rirtue borrows nero charms. She bow'd her head, she glow'd with such When I submitted to my cruel situation, it ons confusion,
not falsehood you beheld, but an excess of love. Such loveliness of modesty! She is,
Raiher than endanger that, I for a whilegate up In gracious mind, in manners, and in person, my honour. Erery moment till I see you, stabs The perfect model of all female beauty! me with sererer pangs than real guilt itsey cun Sbe must be mine--She is !- If yet her heart feel. Let me then conjure yeu to meet me in the Courerts not to my happiness, her duty, garden, towards the close of the day, then I will Join'd to my tender cares, will gain so much explain this mystery. We have been most inhUpon her generous nature-That will follow. manly abused; and that by the means of the very
paper which I gave you, from the warmest sin- Tan. 0, let me kiss the ground on which cerity of love, to assure to you the heart and hund
TANCRED. Let me exhale my soul in softest transport !
Since I again behold my Sigismunda ! Sig. There, Laura, there the dreadful secret
Unkind ! how couldst thou ever deem me false ? That paper! ah, that paper! it suggests How thus dishonour love ?-Oh, I could much A thousand horrid thoughts—I to my father
Imbitter iny complaint !-How low were then Gave it; and he perhaps—I dare not cast
Thy thoughts of me? How didst thou then A look that way-If yet indeed you love me,
affront Oh, blast me not, kind Tancred, with the truth! The human heart itself? After the vows, Oh, pitying, keep me ignorant for ever. The fervent truth, the tender protestations, What strange peculiar misery is mine? Which mine has often pour'd, to let thy breast, Reduc'd to wish the man I love were false !
Whate'er th' appearance was, admit suspicion ? Why was I hurried to a step so rash?
Sig. How! when I heard myself your full Repairless wo!-I might have waited, sure,
consent A few short honrs-No duty that forbade
To the late king's so just and prudent will ? I ow'd thy love that justice; till this day
Heard it before you read, in solemn senate ? Thy love
an image of all perfect goodness! A beam from Heaven that glow'd with every To her, whose birth and dignity of right
When I beheld you give your royal hand virtue !
Demands that high alliance ? Yes, my lord, And have I thrown this prize of life away? You have done well. The man whom Heaven The piteous wreck of one distracted moment?
appoints Ah, the cold prudence of remorseless age !
To govern others, should himself first learn Ah, parents, traitors to your children's bliss !
To bend his passions to the sway of reason. Ah, curs'd, ah, blind 'revenge !-On every In all you have done well; but when you bid hand
My humble hopes look up to you again, I was betray'd- You, Laura, too, betray'd me! And sooth'd with wanton cruelty my weakLaura. Who, who but he, whate'er he writes,
ness betray'd you ?
That too was well-My vanity deserv'd Or false or pusillanimous. For once,
The sharp rebuke, whose fond extravagance I will with you suppose, that his agreement Could ever dream to balance your repose, To the king's will was forg'd—Though forg'd Your glory, and the welfare of a people, by whom?
[it? Tan. Coide on, chide on. Thy soft reYour father scorns the crime-Yet what avails
proaches now, This, if it clears his truth, condemns
his spirit. Instead of wounding, only sooth my fondness. A youthful king, by love and honour fir'd,
No, no, thou charming consort of my soul ! Patient to sit on his insulted throne,
I never lov'd thee with such faithful ardour, And let an outrage, of so high a nature, As in that cruel, miserable moment (stoop'd Unpunish'd pass, uncheck’d, uncontradicted— You thought me false; when even my honour Oh, 'tis a meanness equal even to falsehood.
To wear for thee a baffled face of baseness. Sig. Laura, no more–We have already It was thy barbarous father, Sigismunda, judg'd
Who caught me in the toil, He turn'd that Too largely without knowledge. Oft, what
paper, A trifle, a mere nothing, by itself, (seems Meant for th' assuring bond of nuptial love In some nice situation turns the scale
To ruin it for ever; he, he wrote [name. Of fate, and rules the most important actions.
That forg'd consent, you heard, beneath my Yes, I begin to feel a sad presage !
Nay, dar'd before my outrag'd throne to read I am undone, from that eternal source
it! Of human woes-the judgment of the passions. Had he not been thy father-Ha! my love! But what have I to do with these excuses ? You tremble, you grow pale ! 0, cease, my treacherous heart, to give them
Sig. Oh, leave me, Tancred! room!
Tan. No-Leave thee!-Never! never till It suits not thee to plead a lover's cause : Even to lament my fate is now dishonour.
My heart at peace, till these dear lips again Nonght now remains, but with relentless pur- Pronounce thee mine! Without thee, I reTo shun all interviews, all clearing up (pose,
[hand Of this dark scene; to wrap myself in gloom, Myself, my friends, the world-Here on this In solitude and shades; there to devour
Sig. My lord, forget that hand, which never The silent sorrows ever swelling here ;
Can be to thine united
[now And since I must be wretched--for I must- Tan. Sigismunda! To claim the mighty misery myself,
What dost thou mean?—Thy words, thy look, Engross it all, and spare a hapless father.
thy manner, Hence, let me sy !--The hour approaches- Seem to conceal some horrid secret-Heay. Laura. Madam,
[thought! Behold he comes--the king
No-that was wild-Distraction fires the Sig. Heavens! how escape? No-I will stay-This one last meeting– Leave
Sig. Inquire no wore-I never can be
tbíne. [Erit Laura.
Tan. What, who shall interpose? Who dares Enter TANCRED.
To brave the fury of an injur'd king, Tan. And are these long, long hours of tor- Wbo, ere he sees thee ravish'd from his hopes, ture past?
Will wrap all blazing Sicily in flames ? My life! my Sigismunda!
Sig: In vain your power, my lord—'Tis fatal [Throwing himself at her feet. Join'd to my father's unrelenting will, [error, Sig. Rise, my lord.
Has plac'd an everlasting bar betwixt usTo see my sovereign thus no more becomes me. I I am Earl Osmond's wife.
Tan, Earl Osmond's wife!
Thus blasted in the bud. Heavens! can your [After a long pause, during which they look highness
at one another with the highest agitation, From your exalted character descend,
The dignity of virtue ; and, instead Heavens ! did I hear thee right? What! Of being the protector of our rights, married ? married !
The holy guardian of domestic bliss,
Alone the free-born race of man to laws
Spare thy rebuke. The duties of my station Thy rash credulity has done a deed,
Are not to me unknown. But thou, old man, Which, of two happiest lovers that e'er felt Dost thou not blush to talk of rights invaded, The blissful power, has made two finish'd And of our best our dearest bliss disturb'd? wretches!
[be! Thou, who with more than barbarous perfidy But-madness !--Sure, thou know'st it cannot Hast trampled all allegiance, justice, truth, This hand is mine!'a thousand, thousand Humanity itself, beneath thy feet? [fusion,
Thou know'st thou hast-I could, to thy con
Return thy hard reproaches; but I spare thee Enter OsMOND.
Before this lord, for whose ill-sorted friendOsm. (Snatching her hand from the King.)
ship Madam, this hand, by the most solemn rites, Thou hast most basely sacrific'd thy daughter. A little hour ago, was given to me ; [me, Farewell, my lord. For thee, lord constable, And did not sovereign honour now command Who dost presume to lift thy surly eye Never but with my life to quit my claim, To my soft love, my gentle Sigismunda, I would renounce it-thus!
I once again command thee, on thy life Tan. Ha! who art thou ?
Yes chew thy rage—but mark me-on thy Presumptuous man !
life, Sig. [Aside.) Where is my father? Heavens!. No further urge thy arrogant pretensions ! (Goes out.
[Erit. Osm. One thou shouldst better know-Yes Osm. Ha! Arrogant pretensions ! Heaven -view me, one
and earth! Who can and will maintain his rights and non- What! arrogant pretensions to my wife ? Against a faithless prince, an upstart king, My wedded wife! Where are we? in a land Whose first base deed is what a harden'dty-of civil rule, of liberty and laws ?rant
Not, on my life, pursue them?-Giddy prince! Would blush to act.
My life disdains thy nod. It is the gift Tan. Insolent Osmond ! know,
Of parent Heaven,
who gave me too an arm, This upstart king will hurl confusion on thee, A spirit to defend it against tyrants. And all who shall invade his sacred rights, The Norman race, the sons of mighty Rollo, Prior to thine-thine, founded on compulsion, Who, rushing in a tempest from the north, Or infamous deceit, while his proceed (faith. Great nurse of generous freemen, bravely won From mutual love, and free, long-plighted With their own swords their seats, and still She is, and shall be mine!-I will annul,
possess them By the high power with which the laws in-By the same noble tenure, are not us'd
[trapp'd, To hear such language --If I now desist, Those guilty forms in which you have en- Then brand me for a coward ! deem me villain! Basely entrapp'd to thy detested nuptials, A traitor to the public! by this conduct My queen betroth’d, who has my heart, my. Deceiv'd, betray'd, insulted, tyranniz'd. hand,
[íord, Mine is a common cause. My arm shall guard, And shall partake my throne-If, haughty Mix'd with my own, the rights of each Sicilian, If this thou didst not know, then know it now; of social life, and of mankind in general. And know, besides, as I have told thee this, Ere to thy tyrant rage they fall a prey, Shouldst thou but think to urge thy treason I shall find means to shake thy tottering further
throne, Than treason more ! treason against my Which this illegal, this perfidious usage Thy life shall answer for it.
Forfeits at once, and crush thee in the ruins Osm. Ha! my life!
Constantia is my queen! It moves my scorn to hear thy empty threats. Sif. Lord constable, When was it that a Norman baron's life Let us be steadfast in the right; but let us Became so vile, as on the frown of kings Act with cool prudence, and with manly To hang ?_Of that, my lord, the law must
As well as manly firmness. True, I own, Or if the law be weak, my guardian sword— Th' indignities you suffer are so high, Tan. Dare not to touch it, traitor, lest my As might even justify what now you threaten. rage
(me. But if, my lord, we can prevent the woes, Break loose, and do a deed that misbecomes The cruel horrors of intestine war,
Yet bold untouch'd our liberties and laws; Enter SIFFREDI.
Oh, let us, rais'd above the turbid sphere Sif. My gracious lord, what is it I behold! Of little, selfish passions, nobly do it My sovereign in contention with his
subjects? Nor to our hot, intemperate príde, pour out Surely this house deserves from royal Tancred A dire libation of Sicilian blood. A little more regard, than to be made
'Tis godlike magnanimity to keep, [clear, A scene of trouble, and unseemly jars. When most provok'd, our reason calm and It grieves my soul, it baffles every hope, And execute her will from a strong sense It makes me sick of life, to see thy glory Of what is right, without the vulgar aid
Of heat and passion, which, though honest, Inexorably fix'd, whate'er the risk, bears us
To claim my daughter, and dissolve this mar. Often too far. Remember that my house
riageProtects my daughter still ; and, ere I saw her I have embark'd, upon a perilous sea, Thus ravish'd from us by the arm of power, A mighty treasure. Here the rapid youth, This hand should act the Roman father's part. Th' impetuous passions of a lover-king, Fear not; be temperate; all will yet be well. Check my bold purpose ; there, the jealous I know the king. At first his passions burst
pride, Quick as the lightning's flash ; but in his Th' impatient'honour of a haughty lord, breast
[reason of the first rank, in interest and dependence Honour and justice dwell.-Trust me, to Near equal to the king, forbid retreat. He will return.
My honour too, the same unchang'd convicOsm. He will !-By Heavens, he shall!
tion, You know the king-1 wish, my Lord Siffredi, That these my measures were, and still remain, That you had deign'd to tell me all you Of absolute necessity to save knew
(patience, The land from civil fury, urge me on. And would you have me wait, with duteous But how proceed ?-I only faster rush Till he return to reason? Ye just powers ! Upon the desperate evils I would shun. When he has planted on our necks his foot, Whate'er the motive be, deceit, I fear, And trod us into slaves; when his vain príde And harsh unnatural force, are not the means Is cloy'd with our submission; if at last, Of public welfare, or of private bliss.He finds his arm too weak to shake the frame Bear witness, Heaven! Thou mind-inspecting Of wide-establish'd order out of joint,
eye! And overturn all justice; then, perchance, My breast is pure. I have preferr'd my duty, He, in a fit of sickly, kind repentance, The good and safety of my fellow-subjects, May make a merit to return to reason.
To all those views that fire the selfish race No, no, my lord! there is a nobler way, Of mortal men, and mix them in eternal broils. To teach the blind oppressive fury reason : Oft has the lustre of avenging steel
Enter an OFFICER belonging to SJEFREDI. Unseal'd her stupid eyes—The sword is reason!
Off. My lord, a man of noble port, his face
Wrapp'd in disguise, is earnest for admission. Enter Rodolpho with Guards.
Si. Go bid hiin enter— [OFFICER goes out.
Ha! wrapp'd in disguise ! Rod. My lord high constable of Sicily, And at this late, unseasonable hour! In the king's name, and by bis special order, When o'er the world tremendous midnight I here arrest you prisoner of state.
reigns, Osm. What king? I know no king of Sicily, By the dire gloom of raging tempest doubledUnless he be the husband of Constantia. Rod. Then know him now-behold his royal Enter Osmond, discovering himself.
orders To bear you to the castle of Palermo.
Sif. What! ha! Earl Osmond, you ?-WelSif. Let the big torrent foam its madness off. To this glad roof ! — But why in this disguise?
more, Submit, my lord-No castle long can hold Our wrongs~ This, more than friendship or
Would I could hope the king exceeds his proalliance,
mise ! Confirms me thine; this binds me to thy for shall gild Sicilia's cliffs, you shall be free.
I have his faith soon as to-morrow's sun By the strong tie of common injury, Which nothing can dissolve — I grieve, Ro- Has some good angel turn'd his heart to jus
tice ? dolpho To see the reign in such unhappy sort
Osm. It is not by the favour of Count Tancred Begin.
That I am here. “As much I scorn his favour, Osm. The reign ! the usurpation call it!
As I defy his tyranny and threatsThis meteor king, may blaze awhile, but soon
Our friend Goffredo, who commands the castle, Must spend his idle terrors-Sir, lead on.
On my parole, ere dawn to render back Farewell, my lord-more than' my life and My person, bas permitted me this freedom. fortune,
Know then; the faithless outrage of to-day, Remember well, is in your hands- hon
By him committed whom you call
the king, Sif. Our honour is the same. My son, fare Has rous'd Constantia's court. Our friends, well
the friends We shall not long be parted. On these eyes
Of virtue, justice, and of public faith, Sleep shall not shed his balm, till I behold Ripe for revolt, are in high ferment all. thee
This, this, they say, exceeds whate'er deform'd Restor'd to freedom, or partake thy bonds.
The miserable days we saw beneath
William the Bad. This saps the solid base, Even noble courage is not void of blame, At once, of government and private life : Till nobler patience sanctifies its fame. This shameless imposition on the faith,
[Exeunt. The majesty of senates, this lewd insult,
This violation of the rights of men;
Added to these, his ignominious treatment
Of her, the illustrious offspring of our kings,
Sicilia's hope, and now our royal mistress. SIFFREDI alone.
You know, my lord, how grossly these infringe
The late king's will, which orders, if Count The prospect lowers around. I found the king,
Tancred Though calm’da little, with subsiding tempest, Make not Constantia partner of his throne, As suits his generous nature, yet in love That he be quite excluded the succession, Abated nought, most ardent in his purpose ; And she to Henry given, king of the Romans,