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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 daring 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?
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?
Elv. 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. Fy, 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 selfreproach, 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.
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 ecstacy 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 knee; 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? 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! 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 ! can you 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 you: silence is the gratitude of true affection: who seeks to follow it by sound will miss the track.-[Shout 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.
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.
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.
Ata. Welcome, Alonzo !-[To 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!-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! Where'er they pause in amity, affliction mourns their friendship. They boast they 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 lambscovering and devouring them! They call on us to barter all of goods 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 fathers' 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.
Rol. Not one farewell to Rolla? 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 battle - God! 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 in language now no word but battle.
Alon. Yes, one word more- -Cora!
Alon. The next hour brings us
Rol. Death or victory!
Alon. It may be victory to one-death to the other.
Rol. Or both may fall.
Alon. If so, my wife and child I bequeath to the protection of Heaven and my king. 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, Alonzo! banish these timid fancies.
Alon. Rolla! I have tried in vain, and cannot knowest it will not shake me in the fight: but give fly from the foreboding which oppresses me: thou 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. O father! there are soldiers running-
Boy. No, Peruvians!
Old Man. How! and flying from the field !-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.
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 way?
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. [Alarms. Enter ATALIBA, wounded, with ORANO, Officers, and Soldiers. 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. [Exeunt 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
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.
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
Old Man. No-to the rescue of their kingthey never will desert him. [Alarms without.
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 plurge 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 fatherAtaliba 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 foeand fall ye not at this rebuke? Oh! had ye each but one drop of the loyal blood which gushes to waste through the brave heart of this sightless veteran Eternal shame pursue you, if you desert me now!-But do-alone I go-alone-to die with glory by my monarch's side!
Soldiers. Rolla! we'll follow thee.
[Trumpets sound; ROLLA rushes out, followed by ORANO, Officers, and Soldiers.
Old Man. O godlike Rolla!-And thou sun, send from thy clouds avenging lightning to his aid! impatient terror what thou seest. Haste, my boy; ascend some height, and tell to my
yes and the
Boy. I can climb this rock, and the tree above. -[Ascends a rock, and from thence into the tree.] Ohnow I see them now Spaniards turning by the steep. Old Man. Rolla follows them? he moves like an Boy. He does he doesarrow!-Now he waves his arm to our soldiers.[Report of cannon heard.] Now there is fire and
Old Man. Yes, fire is the weapon of those fiends.
Boy. The wind blows off the smoke: they are all mixed together.
Old Man. Seest thou the king?
Boy. Yes-Rolla is near him!-His sword sheds fire as he strikes!
Old Man. Bless thee, Rolla! Spare not the monsters.
Boy. Father! father! the Spaniards fly!--Oh -now I see the king embracing Rolla.
[Waves his cap for joy. Shouts of victory, flourish of trumpets, &c.
Old Man. [Falls on his knees.] Fountain of life! how can my exhausted breath bear to thee thanks for this one moment of my life!-My boy, come down, and let me kiss thee-my strength is gone!
Boy. [Running to the Old Man.] Let me help you, father.-You tremble so
Old Man. 'Tis with transport, boy!
[Boy leads the Old Man off. Shouts, flourish, &c. Re-enter ATALIBA, ROLLA, and Peruvian Officers and Soldiers.
Ata. In the name of my people, the saviour of whose sovereign you have this day been, accept this emblem of his gratitude.-[ Giving ROLLA his sun of diamonds.] The tear that falls upon it may for a moment dim its lustre, yet does it not impair the value of the gift.
Rol. It was the hand of Heaven, not mine, that saved my king.
Enter Peruvian Officer and Soldiers.
Rol. Now, soldier, from Alonzo ?
Off. Alonzo's genius soon repaired the panic which broke our ranks; but I fear we have to mourn Alonzo's loss: his eager spirit urged him too far in the pursuit !
Ata. How! Alonzo slain?
1 Sold. I saw him fall.
2 Sold. Trust me, I beheld him up again and fighting-he was then surrounded and disarmed. Ata. O victory, dearly purchased! Rol. O Cora! who shall tell thee this?
Ata. Rolla, our friend is lost-our native country saved! Our private sorrows must yield to the public claim for triumph. Now go we to fulfil the first, the most sacred duty which belongs to victory -to dry the widowed and the orphaned tear of those whose brave protectors have perished in their country's cause. [Triumphant march, and exeunt.
Cora. [To ROLLA.] Where is Alonzo ?-[ROLLA turns away in silence.] Give me my husband; give this child his father. [Falls at ATALIBA's feet. Ata. I grieve that Alonzo is not here.
Cora. Hoped you to find him? Ata. Most anxiously.
Cora. Ataliba! is he not dead?
Ata. No! the gods will have heard our prayers.
Cora. Is he not dead, Ataliba?
Ata. He lives-in my heart.
Cora. O king! torture me not thus !-Speak out, is this child fatherless?
Ata. Dearest Cora! do not thus dash aside the little hope that still remains.
Cora. The little hope! yet still there is hope! -Speak to me, Rolla: you are the friend of truth.
Rol. Alonzo has not been found.
Cora. Not found! what mean you? will not you, Rolla, tell me truth? Oh let me not hear the thunder rolling at a distance; let the bolt fall and crush my brain at once. Say not that he is not found: say at once that he is dead.