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The potent emperor Barbarossa s son, Not to resent this language, and to tell ther-
And will, against all force, inaintain ber thise. Sif. You cannot doubt, my lord, of my con. But think not I will catch 'thy headlong pas currence.
sions, Who, more than 1, have labour'd this great Whirld in a blaze of madness o'er the land; point?
Or, till the last extremity compel me, "Tis my own plan; and if I drop it now, Risk the dire meaus of war-The king, tI should be justly branded with the shame
morrow, Of rash advice, or despicable weakness. Will set you free; and, if, by gentle means But let us not precipitate the matter.
He does not yield my daughter to your arms, Constantia's friends are numerous and strong; And wed Constantia, as the will requires, Yet, Tancred's, trust me, are of equal force: Why then expect me on the side of justiceE'er since the secret of his birth was known, Let that suffice. The people all are in a tumult hurid,
Osm. It does-Forgive my heat, Of boundless joy, to hear there lives a prioce My rankled mind, by injuries infam'd, Of mighty Guiscard's line. Numbers, besides, May be too prompt to take, and give offeber. Of powerful barons, who at heart had pin'd, Sif. 'Tis past-Your wrongs, I own, niy To see the reign of their renown'd forefathers, well transport Won by immortal deeds of matchless valour, The wisest mind Bút henceforth, Doble Pass from the gallant Normans to the Suevi,
Osmond, Will with a kind of rage espouse his cause- Do me more justice, honour more my truth, "Tis so, my lord- -be not by passion blinded Nor mark me with an eye of squiot suspicion"Tis surely so.—Oh, if our pratiug virtue These jars apart-You may repose your soul Dwells not in words alone-Oh, let us join, On my firm faith, and unremitting triendship. My generous Osmond, to avert these woes, Of that I sure have given exalted proof, And yet sustain our tottering Norman king. And the next sun we see shall prove it fordom.
ther.Osm. But how, Siffredi, how ? If by soft Return, my son, and from your friend Goffredo
Release your word. There try, by soft repose, We can maintain our rights, and save our To calm your breast. country,
Osm. Bid the vex'd ocean sleep, May his unnatural blood first stain the sword, Swept by the pinions of the raging northWho with unpitying fury first shall draw it! But your frail age, by care and toil exhausied, Sif. I have a thought-The glorious work Demands the balm of all-repairing rest. be thine.
Sif. Soon as to-morrow's dawn shall streak But it requires an awful flight of virtue,
the skies, Above the passions of the vulgar breast, 1, with my friends in solemn state assembled, And thence from thee I hope it, noble Os. Will to the palace, and demand your freedca, mond
Then by calm reason, or by higher means, Suppose my daughter, to her God devoted, The king shall quit his claim, and, in the face Were plac'd within some convent's sacred of Sicily, my daughter shall be yours. verge,
Farewell. Beneath the dread protection of the altar- Osm. My lord, good night. (Erit SIFFREDI. Osm. Ere then, by Heavens! I would de- (After a long pause.] I like him not voutly shave
Yes--I have mighty matter of suspicion. My holy scalp, turn whining monk myself, "Tis plain. I see ii lurking in his breast, And pray incessant for the tyrant's safety. He has a foolish fondness for this king. What! How ! because an insolent invader, My honour is not safe, while here my wife A sacrilegious tyrant, in contempt
Remains-Who knows but he, this very Of all those noblest rights, which to maintain
[edIs man's peculiar pride, demands my wife; May bear her to some convent, as he mentiosThat I shall thus betray the common cause The king too-though I smother'd up my rage, Of human kind,-tamely yield her up,
I mark'd it well--will set me free to-morrow Even in the manner you propose ? —Oh, then why not to-night? He has some dark design, I were supremely vile! degraded ! sham'd ! By Heavens, he has !-1 am abus'd most The scorn of manhood! and abhorrd of hon
grossly ; our !
Made the vile tool of this old statesman's Sif. There is, my lord, an honour, the calm
schemes ; child
Married to one-ay, and he knew it-one Of reason, of humanity, and mercy,
Who loves young 'Tancred! Hence her swOODSuperior far to this punctilious demon,
ing, tears, That singly minds iiself, and oft embroils And all her soft distress, when she disgrac'd With proud barbarian niceties the world. By basely giving her perfidious haud Osm. My lord, my lord, I cannot brook your Without her heart-Hell and perdition ! this, prudence ;
This is the perfidy!-this is the fell, It holds a pulse unequal to my blood
The keen, envenom'd, exquisite disgrace, Unblemish'd honour is the flower of virtue ! Which, to a man of honour, even exceeds The vivifying soul! and he who slights it, The falsehood of the person-But I now Will leave the other dull and lifeless dross. Will rouse me from the poor tame lethargy, Sif. No more-You are too warm.
By my believing fondness cast u pon me. (sm. You are too cool.
I will not wait his crawling timid motions, Sil. Too cool, my lord ? I were indeed too Perhaps to blind me meant, which he to-morcool,
Has promis'd to pursue. No! ere his eyes No-1 mistook-nothing but silence reigns,
Tan. Be not alarm'd, my love!
hour, I have a trusty band that waits not far.
How came you hither? Hence ! let me lose no time-One rapid mo- Tan. By that secret way ment
My love contrivd, when we, in happier days, Should ardent form, at once, and execute Us'd to devote these hours, so much in vain, A bold design-fis fix d—'Tis done !-yes, To vows of love, and everlasting friendship. then,
[our, Sig. Why will you thus persist to add new When I have seiz'd the prize of love and hon
Tan. I know too much.
(Exit. But now the time permits not, these swift
momentsSCENE II.-SIGISMUNDA's Apartment. I told thee how thy father's artifice
Forc'd me to seem perfidious in thy eyes. Enter SIGISMUNDA and LAURA. Thunder. Ah, fatal blindness! not to have observ'd
The mingled pangs of rage and love that shook Laura. Heavens! 'tis a fearful night! Sig. Ah! the black rage.
When by my cruel public situation Of midnight tempest, or th' assuring smiles Compelld, I only feign'd consent, to gain Of radiant morn, are equal all to me.
A little time, and more secure thee mine. Nought now has charms or terrors to my breast, E'er since-a dreadful interval of care ! The seat of stupid wo!-Leave me, my Laura. My thoughts have been employ'd, not without Kind rest, perhaps, may hush my woes a little.
hope, Oh, for that quiet sleep that knows no morn- How to defeat Siffredi's barbarous purpose. ing!
But thy credulity has ruin'd all, Laura. Madam, indeed I know not how to go. Thy rash, thy wild-1 koow not what to Indulge my fondness—Let me watch a while
name it By your sad bed, 'till these dread hours shall Oh, it has prov'd the giddy hopes of man pass.
To be delusion all, and sickening folly! Sig. Alas! what is the toil of elements, Sig. Ah, generous Tancred ! ah, thy truth
destroys me! This idle perturbation of the sky,
Yes, yes, 'tis 1, 'tis I alone am false! To what I feel within ?-Oh, that the fires My hasty rage, join'd to my tame submission Of pitying Heaven would point their fury here! More than the most exalted filial duty Good night, my dearest Laura.
Could e'er demand, has dash'd our cup of fate Luura. Oh, I know not
With bitterness unequall'd-But, alas! What this oppression means-But 'tis with What are thy woes to mine?-to mine, just pain,
(me! With tears I can persuade myself to leave you-Now is thy turn of vengeance-hate, renounce Well then--Good night, my dearest Sigis- Ob, leave me to the fate I well deserve, munda.
[Erit. To sink in hopeless misery !-at least, Sig. And am I then alone ?–The most un- Try to forget the worthless Sigismunda ! done,
Tan. Forget thee! No! Thou art my soul Most wretched being now beneath the cope
itself! Of this affrighting gloom that wraps the I have no thought, no hope, no wish but thee! world
Even this repented injury, the fears, I said I did not fear-Ah, me! I feel
'That rouse me all to madness, at the thought A shivering horror run through all my powers! Of losing thee, the whole collected pains Oh, I am nought but tumult, fears, and weak. Of my full heart, serve but to inake thee ness!
dearer. And yet how idle fear when hope is gone, Ah, how forget thee !-Much must be forgot, Gone, gone for ever -Oh thou gentle scene Ere Tancred can forget his Sigismunda ! (Looking towards her bed.
Sig. But you, my lord, must make that great Of sweet repose, where, by th' oblivious
Tan. Can Sigismunda make it? Of each sad toilsome day, to peace restor’d, Sig. Ab, I know not Unbappy mortals lose their woes awhile, With what success--But all that feeble Thou hast no peace for me!-What shall I do? How pass this dreadful night, so big with ter- ! And love-entangled reason can perform,
I, to the utmost, will exert to do it. Here, with the midnight shades, here will I Tan. Fear not-'Tis done!-If thou canst sit, [Sitting down.
form the thought, A prey to dire despair, and ceaseless weep Success is sure-I am forgot already. The hours away-Bless me I beard a noise- Sig. Ah, Tancred !-But, my lord, respect
Think who I am-What can you now pro- Can ever root thee from my hapless bosom. pose ?
Oh, leave me! ily me! were it but in pity ! Tur. To claim the plighted vows which To see what once we tenderly have lord, Heaven has heard,
Cut off from every hope-cut off for ever! To vindicate the rites of holy love
Is pain thy generosity should spare me. By faith and honour bound, to which compard Then rise, my lord ; and if you truly love me, These empty forms, which have ensnar'd thy If you respect my honour, day, my peace, hand,
Retire! for though th' emotions of my heart Are impiqus guile, abuse, and profanation- Can ne'er alarm my virtue ; yet, alas! Nay, as a king, whose high prerogative They tear it so, they pierce it with such anBy this unlicens'd marriage is affronted,
[flict ! To bid the laws themselves pronounce it void. Oh, 'tis too much I cannot bear the conSig. Honour my lord, is much too proud to catch
Enter OSMOND. At every slender twig of nice distinctions. These for the unfeeling vulgar may do well : Osm. Turn, tyrant, turn! and answer to my But those, whose souls are by the nicer rule
honour, Of virtuous delicacy nobly swayed,
For this thy base insufferable outrage! Stand at another bar than that of laws.
Tan. Insolent traitor! think not to escape Then cease to urge me--Since I am not born Thyself my vengeance ! To that exalted fate to be your queen
(They fight; OSMOND falls. Or, yet a dearer name--to be your wife ! Sig. Help, here! help!Oh, Heavens! I am the wife of an illustrious lord
(Throwing herself down by him. Of your own princely blood ; and what I am, Alas, my lord, what meant your headlong rage? I will with proper dignity remain.
That'faith, wbich I this day, upon the altar, Retire, my royal lord.-There is no means To you devoted, is unblemish'd, pure To cure the wounds this fatal day has given. As vestal truth; was resolutely yours, (it. We meet no more !
Beyond the power of aught on earth to shake Tan. Oh, barbarous Sigismunda !
Osm. Perfidious womam ! die ! - [Shortening And canst thou talk this steadily; thus treat his sword, he plunges it into her breast.) and to With such unpitying, unrelenting rigour? Attend a husband, yet but half aveng'd ! Poor is the love, that rather than give up Tan. Oh, horror!'horror! execrable villain! A little pride, a little formal pride,
Osm. And tyrant ! thou !--thou shalt not o'er The breath of vanity, can bear to see [thine, The man, whose heart was once so dear to Exult-"Tis well-'tis great! I die content ! By many a tender vow so mix'd together,
[Dies. A prey to anguish, fury, and distraction! Thou canst not surely make me such a wretch,
Enter RODOLPHO and Laura. Thou canst not, Sigismunda !-Yet relent, Oh, save us yet !--Rodolpho, with my guards, Quick! here! bring aid !-All in Palermo
Tan. (Throwing himself down by SIGISMUNDA.] Waits in the garden-Let us seize the moments We ne'er may have again-With more than whose skill can save her!-Ah, that gentle
bosom I will assert thee mine, with fairest honour. The world shall even approve ; each honest Pours fast the streams of life.
Sig. All aid is vain; bosom Swell'd with a kindred joy to see us happy.
I feel the powerful hand of death upon me Sig. The world approve! what is the world But, oh! it sheds a sweetness through my fate, to me;
That I am thine again; and without blame The conscious mind its own awful world.
May in my Tancred's arms resign my soul ! And mine is fix'd-Distress me then no more ;
Tan. Oh, death is in that voice ! 'so gently Not all the heart can plead, (and it, alas,
mild, Pleads but too much )
So sadly sweet, as mixes even with mine And yet, perhaps, if thou wert not a king,
The tears of hovering angels !-Mine again! I know not, 'Tancred, what I might have done, Are these the horrid nuptials they prepare
And is it thus the cruel fates have join'd us! Then, then, my conduct, sanctified by love,
For love like ours ?-Is virtue thus rewarded ? Could not be deem’d, by the severest judge, The mean effect of interest or ambition.
Let not my impious rage accuse just Heaven! not all my partial heart can plead,
Thou, Tancred, thou hast murder'd Sigis
munda! Shall ever shake th' unalterable dictates
That furious man was but the tool of fate, That tyrannize my breast. Tan. 'Tis well-No more
I, I the cause !--But I will do thee justice
On this deaf heart! that to thy tender wisdom I yield me to my fate-Yes, yes, inhuman! Since thy barbarian heart is steeld by pride,
Refused an ear-Yes, death shall soon unite us.
Sig. Live, live, my Tancred !-Let my death Shut up to love and pity, here behold me
suffice Cast on the ground, a vile and abject wretch !
To expiate all that may have been amiss. Lost to all cares, all dignities, all duties ! Here at thy feet — Death, death alone shall And of thy glory mindful, live, I charge thee, Here will I grow, breathe out'my faithful soul, May it appease
the fates, avert their fury From thy propitious reign! Meantime, of me
To guard our friends, and make thy people Sig. Have you then vow'd to drive me to perdition ?
happyWhat can I more ?-Yes, Tancred, once again Enter Siffredi, fixed in astonishment and grid I will forget the dignity my station Commands me to sustain—for the last time My father!-Oh, how shall I lift my eyes Will tell thee, that, I fear, no ties, no duty, To thee, my sinking father!
part us !
Sif. Awful Heaven !
Lo! with fierce smiles he shakes the bloody I am chastis'd-My dearest child !
steel, Sig. Where am I?
And mocks my feeble tears-Hence, quiekly, A fearful darkness closes all around
hence! My friends! We needs must part-I must Spuro bis vile carcass ! give it to the dogs! obey
Expose it to the winds and screaming ravens! Th’impetuous call-Farewell, my Ladra! Or hurl it down that fiery steep to hell, cherish
There with his soul to toss in flames for ever. My poor afflicted father's age-Rodolpho, Ab, impotence of rage! What am I? Where? Now is the time to watch the unbappy king, Sad, silent, all ?—The forms of dumb despair, With all the care and tenderness of friend. Around some mournful tomb.- What do I ship.
see? Oh, my dear father, bow'd beneath the weight The soft abode of innocence and love Of age and grief-the victim even of virtue, Turn'd to the house of death! a place of horReceive my last adieu ! - Where art thou
Ah, that poor corse! pale ! pale! deform'd Give me thy hand-But, ah, it cannot save
Is that my Sigismunda ? From the dire king of terrors, whose cold
[Throws himself down by her. power
Sif. [After a pathetic pause, looking on the Creeps o'er my heart-Oh!
scene before him.] Tan. How these pangs distract me!
Hare I liv'd Oh, lift thy gracious eyes!—Thou leav'st me To these enfeebled years, by Heaven reserv'd then!
To be a dreadful monument of justice ?Thou leav'st me, Sigismunda !
Rodolpho, raise the king, and bear him hence Sig. Yet a moment
From this distracting scene of blood and I had, my Tancred, something more to say
death. Yes--but thy love and tenderness for me, Alas! I dare not give him my assistance; Sure make it needless—Harbour no resent. My care would only more inflame bis rage. ment
Behold the fatal work of my dark hand, Against my father; venerate his zeal,
That by rude force the passions would comThat acted from a principle of goodness,
mand, From faithful love to thee-Live, and main- That ruthless thought to root them from the tain
breast; My innocence embalm’d, with holiest care They may be ruld, but will not be oppress’d. Preserve my spotless memory! On-1 die- Taught hence, ye parents, who from nature Eternal Mercy take my trembling soul!
stray, Oh, 'tis the only sting of death to part
And the great ties of social life betray; From those we love from thee-farewell, my Ne'er with your children act a tyrant's part: Tancred!
[Dies. 'Tis yours to guide, not violate the heart. Tan. Thus then!
Ye vainiy wise, who o'er mankind preside, [Flying to his sword, is held by Rodolpho. Behold my righteous woes, and drop your Rod. Hold, hold, my lord !-Have you for
Keep virtue's simple path before your eyes, Your Sigisiounda's last request already ? Nor think from evil good can ever rise. Tan. Öff! set me free! Think not to bind
me down, With barbarous friendship, to the rack of life! What hand can shut the thousand, thousand gates
EPILOGUE. Which death still opens to the woes of mor
tals 1I shall find means—No power in earth or Crama'd to the throat with wholesome moral heaven
stuff, Can force me to endure the hateful light, Alas, poor audience ! you have had enough. Thus robb’d of all that lent it joy and sweet
Was ever hapless heroine of a play
In such a piteous plight as ours tu-day?
Match'd with two husbands, and yet—die a To where she beckoos yonder-No, mild
But bless me!-hold-what sounds are these Point not to life-I cannot linger here,
I hearCut off from thee, the miserable pity,
I see the Tragic Muse herself appear. The scorn of human kind SA trampled [The back-scene opens, and discovers u roking!
mantic sylran landscape ; from which Who let his mean, poor-hearted love, one mo
the Trugic Muse advances slowly to ment,
music, and speaks the following lines : To coward prudence stoop! who made it not The first undoubting action of his reign,
Hence with your flippant epilogue, that To snatch thee to his throne, and there to sbield
To wipe the virtuous tears from British eyes; Thy helpless bosom, from a ruffian's fury!- That dares my moral, tragic scene profane, Oh, shame! Oh, agony! Oh, the fell stings With strains—at best, unsuiting, light, and Orlate, of vain repentance!_Ha, my brain
vain. Is all on fire! a wild abyss of thought! Hence froin the pure unsully'd beams that Th' infernal world discloses! See! Behold
In yon fair eyes where virtue shines-away!
Britons, to you from chaste Castalian groves, On France and You then rose my brightening Where dwell the tender, oft unhappy loves;
star, Where shades of beroes roam, esob mighty With social ray--The arts are ne'er at war. name,
Oh, as your fire and genius strongly blaze, And court my aid to rise again to fame ; As yours are generous freedom's bolder lays, To you I come, to freedom's noblest seat, Let not the Gallic taste leave yours behind, And in Britannia fix my last retreat.
In decent manners and in life refin'd;
Banish the motley mode, to tag low verse, In Greece and Rome, I watch'd the public The laughing ballad to the mouruful hearse. weal;
When through tive acts your hearts bare The purple tyrant trembled at my steel :
learn 'd to glow, Nor did 'I less o'er private sorrows reign, Touch'd with the sacred force of honest wo; And mend the melting heart with softer Oh, keep the dear impression on your breast, pain.
Nor idly lose ii lor a wretched jest,