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foot hung aslant adown the edge.
Was it my own fear?
Fear too hath its instincts! A cavern, dark, except where a gleam of moonlight is (And yet such dens as these are wildly told of, seen on one side at the further end of it ; supposed An arm of frost above and from behind me
And there are beings that live, yet not for the eye) to be cast on it from a crevice in a part of the ca
Pluck'd up and snatch'd me backward. Merciful vern out of sight. Isidore alone, an extinguished
Heaven ! torch in his hand,
You smile! alas, even smiles look ghastly here!
My lord, I pray you, go yourself and view it.
It must have shot some pleasant feelings through you. 'T was his turn now to talk of gratitude. And yel--but no! there can't be such a villain.
If every atom of a dead man's flesh
Should creep, each one with a particular life,
Yet all as cold as ever-'t was just so!
Upon a feverish head made suddenly bald-
ORDONIO (interrupting him). Any thing but this crash of water-drops !
Why Isidore, These dull abortive sounds that fret the silence
I blush for thy cowardice. It might have stariled, With puny thwartings and mock opposition !
grant you, even a brave man for a momentSo beats the death-watch to a dead man's car.
But such a panic-
When a boy, my lord !
I could have sate whole hours beside that chasm, A hellish pit! The very same I dreamt of!
Push'd in huge stones, and heard them strike and rattle I was just in-and those damn'd fingers of ice
Against its horrid sides : then lung my head Which clutch'd
my hair up! lla! - what's that-it Low down, and listen'd till the heavy fragments moy'd.
Sank with faint crash in that still groaning well,
the cavern. In the mean time ORDONIO en A living thing came near-uoless, perchance,
Close at its edge. I swear that I saw something moving there!
Art thou more coward now? The moonshine came and went like a flash of light
ning-I swear, I saw it move.
Call him, that fears his fellow-man, a coward!
I fear not man-but this inhuman cavern, ORDONIO (goes into the recess, then returns, and with
It were too bad a prison-louse for goblins.
Beside (you 'll smile, my lord), but true it is,
My last night's sleep was very sorely haunted
By what had pass'd between us in the morning. And the weed pods and drips.
O sleep of horrors ! Now run down and stared at ISIDORE (forcing a laugh faintly).
By Forms so hideous that they mock remembrance
A jest to laugh at! Now seeing nothing and imagining nothing, It was not that which scared me, good my lord. But only being afraid-stitled with Fear!
While every goodly or familiar form What scared you, then?
llad a strange power of breathing terror round me!
I saw you in a thonsand fearful shapes;
And, I entreat your lordship to believe me,
In my last dream-[Lights his torch at ORDONTO's, and while lighting it.
Well? (A lighted torch in the hand, Is no unpleasant object here-one's breath
I was in the act Floats round the flame, and makes as many colours
Of falling down that chasm, when Alhadra As the thin clouds that travel near the moon.)
Waked me: she heard my lieart beat. You see that crevice there?
ORDONIO. My torch extinguislid by these water drops,
Strange enough! And marking that the moonlight came from thence, llad
been here before? I stept in to it, meaning to sit there; Bui scarcely had I measured twenty paces-
Never, my lord! My body bending forward, yea, o'erbalanced
But mine eyes do not see it now more clearly, Almost beyond recoil, on the dim brink
Than in my dream I saw--that very
chasm. Of a huge chasm I stepe? The shadowy moonshine ORDONIO (stands lost in thought, then after a pause.) Filling the Void, so counterfeited Substance,
I know not why it should be! yet it is–
I have a prattler three years old, my lord!
In truth he is my darling. As I went
From forth my door, he made a moan in sleep-
But I am talking illy--pray proceed!
And what did this man?
With his human hand
He gave a substance and reality 'T is so with me at least. But
To that wild fancy of a possible thing. Have sterper feelings?
Well it was done!
[Then very wildly. ISIDORE.
Why babblest thou of guilt?
And he whose tale I tell thee-dost thou listen?
La listen to you with an eager eye,
Though you began this cloudy tale at midnight; Is not a place where could
But I do listen-pray proceed, my lord.
Where was I?
Be of whom you tell the tale[ORDONIO darkly, and in the feeling of self-justifica
tion, tells what he conceives of his own character and Surveying all things with a quiet scorn, actions, speaking of himself in the third person.
Tamed himself down to living purposes,
The occupations and the seinblances
Of ordinary men--and such he seem'd!
But that same over ready ageni-he-
Ah! what of him, my lord ?
What boots it, who or when ?
lle proved a traitor, Hang up thy torch-1'll tell his tale to thee.
Betray'd the mystery to a brother traitor,
To hunt him down to infamy and death. lle was a man different from other men,
What did the Valdez? I am proud of the name
Since he dared do it.-
[ORDONIO grasps his sword, and turns off from IsiHe? He despised? Thou 'rt speaking of thyself!
DORE; then after a pause returns.
Our links burn dimly. I am on my guard, however : no surprise.
[Then to Ordonio. What! he was mad?
A dark tale darkly finish’d! Nay, my lord!
All men secm'd mad to him!
That which his wisdom promptedNature had made him for some other planet,
lle made the Traitor meet him in this cavern, And press'd his soul into a human shape
And here he kill'd the Traitor.
No! the fool!
He had not wit enongh to be a traitor.
Poor thick-eyed beetle! not to have foreseen
That he who gull’d thee with a whimper'd lie
To muciler lis own brother, would not scruple
To murder thee, if e'er his guilt grew jealous,
And he could steal upon thee in the dark !
Ile walk'd alone,
Oh llis mind held dalliance. Once, as so it happen'd, I would have met him arm'd, and scared the coward. A fancy cross'd luim wilder than the rest:
[Isipore throws off his robe; shows himself armed, To this in moody murmur and low voice
and draws his sword.
Now this is excellent, and warnts the blood !
yes, my lord!
cry of .
With weak and womanish scruples. Now my Vengeance
Nay, it wakes within me And claims that life, my pity robb’d her of —
More than a woman's spirit. Now will I kill thee, thankless slave! and count it
VALDEZ. Among my comfortable thoughts hereafter.
No more of this
What if Monviedro or his creatures hear us!
I dare not listen to you.
TERESA. (They fight; ORDONIO disarms Isidore, and in dis
My honour'd lord, arming him throws his sword up that recess oppo- These were my Alvar's lessons ; and whene'er site to which they were standing. Isidore hurries I bend me o'er his portrait, I repeat them, into the recess with his torch, ORDONIO follows him; As if to give a voice to the mute image. • Traitor! Monster !, is heard from
VALDEZ. the cavern, and in a moment ORDONIO returns
---We have mourn'd for Alvar. alone.
Of his sad fate there now remains no doubt.
Have I no other son?
Speak not of him !
That low imposture! That mysterious picture! His dream too is made out-Now for his friend.
If this be madness, must I wed a madman?
And guilt doth lurk behind it.
Is this well?
Yes, it is truth : saw you his countenance ?
How rage, remorse, and scorn, and stupid fear, Heart-chilling Superstition! thou canst glaze
Displaced each other with swift interchanges ? Even Pity's eye with her own frozen tear.
O that I had indeed the sorcerer's power! In vain I urge the tortures that await him;
I would call up before thinc eyes the image Even Selma, reverend guardian of my childhood,
Of my betrothed Alvar, of thy first-born! My second mother, shuts her heart against me!
His own fair countenance, his kingly forehead, Well, I have won from her what most imports
His tender smiles, love's day-dawn on his lips ! The present need, this secret of the dungeon,
That spiritual and almost heavenly light Known only to herself.—A Moor! a Sorcerer!
In his commanding eye-his mien heroic, No, I have faith, that nature ne'er permitted
Virtue's own native heraldry! to man Baseness to wear a form so noble. True,
Genial, and pleasant to his guardian angel. I doubt not, that Ordonio had suborn'd him
Whene'er he gladden'd, how the gladness spread To act some part in some unholy fraud;
Wide round him! and when oft with swelling tears, As little doubt, that for some unknown purpose
Flash'd through by indignation, he bewail'd He hath baffled his suborner, terror-struck him,
The And that Ordonio meditates revenge!
of Belgium's martyr'd patriots,
Oh, what a grief was there-for joy to envy, But my resolve is fix'dd myself will rescue him,
Or gaze upon enamour'd !
O my father!
Recall that morning when we knelt together,
And thou didst bless our loves! O even now,
Even now, my sire! to thy mind's eye present him, Of that fell Dungeon which thou ne'er hadst sight of,
As at that moment he rose up before thee, Save what, perchance, thy infant fancy shaped it,
Stately, with beaming look! Place, place beside him When the nurse still'd thy cries with unmeant threats.
Ordonio's dark perturbed countenance ! Now by my faith, Girl! this same wizard haunts thee!
Then bid me (Oh thou couldst not) bid me turn A stately man, and eloquent and tender
From him, the joy, the triumph of our kind! [With a sneer.
To take in exchange that brooding man, who never
Lifts Who then need wonder if a lady sighs
up his eye from the earth, unless to scowl. Even at the thought of what these stern Dominicans
Ungrateful woman! I have tried to stifle
An old man's passion ! was it not enough, Doth so o'ertop the height of all compassion,
That thou hast made my son a restless man, That I should feel too little for mine enemy,
Banish'd his health, and half unhinged his reason; If it were possible I could feel more,
But that thou wilt insult him with suspicion ?
O Grief! to hear
Hateful entreaties from a voice we love!
To float for ever with a careless course, Enter a Peasant and presents a letter to Valdez.
And think myself the only being alive! VALDEZ (reading it). • He dares not venture hither!» Why what can this My children !—Isidore's children !-Son of Valdez, mean?
This hath new-strung minc arm. Thou coward tyrant! « Lest the Familiars of the Inquisition,
To stupify a woman's heart with anguish, That watch around my gates, should intercept him;
Till she forgot-even that she was a mother ! But he conjures me, that without delay
(She fixes her eye on the earth. Then drop in one after I hasten to hiin- for my own sake entreats me
another, from different parts of the stage, a consiTo guard from danger him I hold imprison'd
derable number of Morescoes, all in Moorish garHe will reveal a secret, the joy of which
ments and Moorish armour. They form a circle at a Will even outweigh the sorrow.»- Why what can this distance round ALHADRA, and remain silent till the be?
Second in command, Naomi, enters, distinguished by Perchance it is some Moorish stratagem,
his dress and armour, and by the silent obeisance To have in me a hostage for his safety.
paid to him on his entrance by the other Moors. Nay, that they dare not? Ho ! collect my servants ! I will go thither—let them arm themselves.
Woman! may Alla and the prophet bless thee!
[Exit Valdez. We have obey'd thy call. Where is our chief? TERESA (alone).
And why didst thou enjoin these Moorish garments ? The moon is high in heaven, and all is hush'd. ALXADRA (raising her eyes, and looking round on the Yet, anxious listener! I have seem'd to hear
circle). A low dead thunder mutter through the night,
Warriors of Mahomet ! faithful in the battle! As 't were a giant angry in his sleep.
My countrymen ! Come ye prepared to work O Alvar! Alvar! thai they could return,
An honourable deed ? And would ye work it Those blessed days that imitated heaven,
In the slave's garb? Curse on those Christian robes! When we two wont to walk at even-tide;
They are spell-blasted : and whoever wears them, When we saw nought but beauty; when we heard
His arm shrinks witherd, his lieart melts away,
And his bones soften.
Where is Isidore?
ALHADRA (in a deep low voice). And the deep sigh seem'd to heave up a weight
This night I went from forth my house, and left, Of bliss, that press'd too heavy on the heart.
His children all asleep: and he was living! [A pause.
And I reluro'd and found them still asleep,
But he had perishd--
He had perishid ! Be groping for him with envenom'd poignard
Sleep on, poor babes! not one of doth know
you Hence womanish fears, traitors to love and duty
That he is fatherless-a desolate orphan! I'll free him.
[Exit Teresa. Why should we wake them? Can an infant's arm
Revenge his murder ?
ONE MORESCOE (to another).
Did she say his murder?
Murder ? Not murder'd ?
ALHADRA. Yon hanging woods, that touch'd by autumn seem
Murder'd by a Christian ! As they were blossoming hues of fire and gold;
[They all at once draw their sabres. The flower-like woods, most lovely in decay,
ALLADBA (to NAOMI, who advances from the circle). The many clouds, the sea, the rock, the sands,
Brother of Zagri! Bling away thy sword; Lie in the silent moonshine: and the owl,
This is thy chieftain's! [He steps forward to take it.
Dost thou dare receive it? (Strange! very strange!) the screech-owl only wakes! Sole voice, sole eye of all this world of beauty!
For I have sworn by Alla and the Peophet, Unless, perhaps, she sing her screeching song
No tear shall dim these eyes, this woman's heart To a herd of wolves, that skulk athirst for blood.
Shall heave no groan, till I have seen that sword Why such a thing am 1?- Where are these men ?
Wet with the life-blood of the son of Valdez! I need the sympathy of human faces,
[A pause. To beat away this deep contempt for all things,
Ordonio was your chieftain's murderer!
He dies, by Alla!
This night your chieftain arm'd himself,
ALL TAR MOR ESCOES.
And hurried from me. But I follow'd him
This is the process of our love and wisdom
To each poor brother who offends against us-
Most innocent, perhaps—and what if guilty?
Each pote and natural outlet shrivell’d up
By ignorance and parching poverty, After a while I saw the son of Valdez
His energies roll back upon his heart Rush by with flaring torch; be likewise enter'd. And stagnate and corrupt, till, changed to poison, There was another and a longer pause;
They break out on him, like a loathsome plague-spot! And once, methought I heard the clash of swords! Then we call in our pamper'd mountebanks: And soon the son of Valdez re-appear'd:
And this is their best cure! uncomforted He flung his torch towards the moon in sport,
And friendless solitude, groaning and tears, And seem'd as he were mirthful! I stood listening, And savage faces, at the clanking hour, Impatient for the footsteps of my husband !
Seen through the steam and vapours of his dungeon
By the lamp's dismal twilight! So he lies Thou called'st him?
Circled with evil, till his very soul
Unmoulds its essence, hopelessly deformd
By sights of evermore deformity! 'T was dark and very silent,
[Then wildly. With other ministrations thou, O Nature! What saidst thou?
Healest thy wandering and distemper'd child : No! no! I did not dare call, Isidore,
Thou pourest on him thy soft influences, Lest I should bear no answer! A brief while,
Thy sunny hues, fair forms, and breathing sweets; Belike, I lost all thought and memory
Thy melodies of woods, and winds, and waters! Of that for which I came! After that pause,
Till he relent, and can no more endure O Heaven! I heard a groan, and follow'd it:
To be a jarring and a dissonant thing And yet another groan, which guided me
Amid this general dance and minstrelsy; Into a strange recess—and there was light,
But, bursting into tears, wins back his
way, A hideous light! his torch lay on the ground;
His angry spirit heal'd and harmonized Its tlame burnt dimly o'er a chasm's brink:
By the benignant touch of love and beauty. I spake; and whilst i spake, a feeble groan
I am chill and weary! Yon rude bench of stone, Came from that chasm! was his last! his death-groan! In that dark angle, the sole resting-place!
But the self-approving mind is its own light, Comfort her, Alla.
And life's best warmth still radiates from the heart
Where love sits brooding, and an honest purpose. I stood in unimaginable trance
[Retires out of sight. And agony that cannot be remember'd, Listening with horrid hope to hear a groan!
Enter TERESA with a Taper. But I had heard his last : my husband's death-groan?
It has chill'd my very lifc-my own voice scares me; Haste! let us onward.
Yet when I hear it not I seem to lose
The substance of my being-my strongest grasp
I seek to cheat the echo.- How the half sounds
(Looking round. And all the hanging drops of the wet roof
O for one human face here--but to see Turn'd into blood - saw them turn to blood!
One human face here to sustain me.-Courage! And I was leaping wildly down the chasm,
It is but my own fear! The life within me,
It sinks and wavers like this cone of flame,
(Shuddering. And he hath not had vengeance! Isidore!
If I faint? If this inhuman den should be Spirit of Isidore! thy murderer lives!
At once my death-bed and my burial vault? Away! away!
(Faintly screams as Alvar emerges from the recess.
ALVAR (rushes towards her, and catches her as she
Shall I reveal myself? The sudden shock
Of rapture will blow out this spark of life,
And Joy complete what Terror has begun.
0 SCENE I.
ye impetuous beatings here, be still!
Teresa, best beloved! pale, pale, and cold!
Her pulse doth flutter! Teresa ! my Teresa!
TERESA (recovering, looks round wildly).
dreams And this place my forefathers made for man!
I hear tliat voice! and wake and try-and try