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ACT І. SCENE,—The Court of a Castle surrounded
Enter Lady RANDOLPH. Lady Rand. Ye woods and wilds, whose me
lancholy gloom Accords with my soul's sadness, and draws forth The voice of sorrow from my bursting heart, Farewell a while: I will not leave you long; For in your shades I deem some spirit dwells, Who from the chiding stream, or groaning oak, Still hears and answers to Matilda's moan. 0, Douglas, Douglas ! if departed ghosts Are e'cr permitted to review this world,
Within the circle of that wood thou art,
And with the passion of immortals hear’st
My lamentation; hear’st thy wretched wife
Weep for her husband slain, her infant lost.
My brother's timeless death I seem to mourn,
Who perish'd with thee on this fatal day.
To thee I lift my voice ; to thee address
The plaint which mortal ear has never heard.
O disregard me not; though I am call’d
Another's now, my heart is wholly thine.
Incapable of change, affection lies
Buried, my Douglas, in thy bloody grave.-
But Randolph comes, whom fate has made my
To chide my anguish, and defraud the dead.
Enter Lord RANDOLPH.
Lord Rand. Again these weeds of woe ! say,
dost thou well
To feed a passion which consumes thy life?
The living claim some duty; vainly thou
Bestow'st thy cares upon the silent dead.
Lady Rand. Silent, alas! is he for whom I
mourn: Childless, without memorial of his name,
He only now in my remembrance lives.
This fatal day stirs my time-settled sorrow
Troubles afresh the fountain of my heart.
Lord Rand. When was it pureof sadness! These
black weeds .
Express the wonted colour of thy mind,
For ever dark and dismal. Seven long years
Are pass’d, since we were join'd by sacred ties :
Clouds all the while have hung upon thy brow,
Nor broke, nor parted by one gleam of joy.
Time, that wears out the trace of deepest anguish,
As the sea smooths the prints made in the sand,
Has pass’d o'er thee in vain.
Lady Rand. If time to come Should prove as ineffectual, yet, my lord, Thou can'st not blame me. When our Scottish
youth Vied with each other for my luckless love, Oft I besought them, I implored them all Not to assail me with my father's aid, Nor blend their better destiny with mine ; For melancholy had congeal'd my blood, And froze affection in my chilly breast. At last my sire, roused with the base attempt To force me from him, which thou rend'redst vain,
To his own daughter bów'd his hoary head,
Besought me to commiserate his age,
And vow'd he should not, could not, die in peace,
Unless he saw me wedded, and secured
From violence and outrage. Then, my lord !
In my extreme distress I call’d on thee,
Thee I bespaké, profess'd my strong desire
To lead a single, solitary life,
And begg'd thy nobleness, not to demand
Her for a wife whose heart was dead to love.
How thou persisted'st after this, thou know'st,
And must confess that I am not unjust,
· Nor more to thee than to myself injurious.
Lord Rand. That I confess; yet ever must re- .
The grief I cannot cure. Would thou wert not
Composed of grief and tenderness alone,
But hadst a spark of other passions in thee,
Pride, anger, vanity, the strong desire
Of admiration, dear to woman kind;
These might contend with, and allay thy grief,
As meeting tides and currents smooth our frith.
Lady Rand. To such a cause the human mind
Its transient calm, a calm I envy not.
Lord Rand. Sure thou art not the daughter of
Sir Malcolm :
Strong was his rage, eternal his resentment:
For when thy brother fell, he smiled to hear
That Douglas' son in the same field was slain.
Lady Rand. Oh! rake not up the ashes of my:
Implacable resentment was their crime,
And grievous has the expiation been.
Contending with the Douglas, gallant lives
Of either house were lost ; my ancestors
Compell’d, at last, to leave their ancient seat
On Tiviot's pleasant banks; and now, of them
No heir is left. Had they not been so stern,
I had not been the last of all my race.
Lord Rand. Thy grief wrests to its purposes my
I never asked of thee that ardent love,
Which in the breasts of fancy's children burns.
Decent affection and complacent kindness
Were all I wish’d for; but I wish'd in vain.
Hence with the less regret my eyes behold
The storm of war that gathers o'er this land : '
If I should perish by the Danish sword,
Matilda would not shed one tear the more.