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human or savage, native of the forest wild or giddy air, around whose parent bosom thou hast not a cord entwined of power to tie them to their offspring's claims, and at thy will to draw them back to thee. On iron pinions borne, the blood-stained vulture cleaves the storm, yet is the plumage closest to her breast soft as the cygnet's down, and o'er her unshelled brood the murmuring ringdove sits not more gently! Yes, now he is beyond the porch, barring the outer gate 1-Alonzo ! Alonzo ! my friend! Hal in gentle sleep -Alonzo | rise !
Alon. [Within.] How! is my hour elapsed ? Well [Returning from the recess.) I am ready.
Rol. Alonzo, know me ?
(Takes off his disguise Alon. Rolla 1-my friend |--[Embraces him.] Heavens ! how couldst thou pass the guard ? Did this habit
Rol. There is not a moment to be lost in words. This disguise I tore from the dead body of a friar, as I passed our field of battle ; it has gained me entrance to thy dungeon-now take it thou, and fly.
Alon. And Rolla-
Alon. And die for me! No! rather eternal tortures rack me.
Rol. I shall not die, Alonzo. It is thy life Pizarro seeks, not Rolla's ; and from my prison soon will thy arm deliver me. Or, should it be otherwise, I am as a blighted plantain, standing alone amid the sandy desert; nothing seeks or lives beneath my shelter. Thou art a husband, and a father; the being of a lovely wife and helpless infant hangs upon thy life. Go! go ! Alonzo ! go ! to save not thyself, but Cora, and thy child !
Alon. Urge me not thus, my friend ! I had prepared to die in peace.
Rol. To die in peace ! devoting her thou 'st sworn to live for to madness, misery, and death! For, be assured, the state I left her in forbids all hope but from thy quick return.
Alon. Oh, God!
well. I think thou hast not known that Rolla ever pledged his word, and shrunk from its fulfilment. And by the heart of truth I swear, if thou art proudly obstinate to deny thy friend the transport of preserving Cora's life, in thee, no power that sways the will of man shall stir me hence; and thou ’lt but have the desperate triumph of seeing Rolla perish by thy side, with the assured conviction that Cora and thy child are lost for ever.
Alon. Oh, Rolla! you distract me!
Rol. Begone! A moment's further pause, and all is lost. The dawn approaches. Fear not for me I will treat with Pizarro as for surrender and submission. I shall gain time, doubt not, while thou, with a chosen band, passing the secret way, mayst at night return, release thy friend, and bear him back in triumph. Yes, hasten, dear Alonzo ! Even now I hear the frantic Cora call thee! Haste ! haste ! haste !
Alon. Rolla, I fear thy friendship drives me from honour, and from right.
Rol. Did Rolla ever counsel dishonour to his friend ? Alon. Oh! my preserver !
[Embraces him Rol. I feel thy warm tears dropping on my cheek. Go; I am rewarded. [Throws the FRIAR'S garment over ALONZO.) There ! conceal thy face, and that they may not clank, hold fast thy chains. Now-God be with thee !
Alon. At night we meet again. Then, so aid me Heaven! I return to save-or-perish with thee!
(Exit Rol. [Looking after him.) He has passed the outer porch. He is safe! He will soon embrace his wife and child Now, Cora, didst thou not wrong me? This is the first time throughout my life I ever deceived man. Forgive me, God of truth ! if I am wrong. Alonzo flatters himself that we shall meet again. Yes—there -(Lifting his hands to heaven. Assuredly, we shall meet again : there possess in peace the joys of everlasting love and friendship-on earth, imperfect and embittered. I will retire, lest the guard return before Alonzo may have passed their lines.
Retires into the dungeon Enter ELVIRA
Elv. No, not Pizarro's brutal taunts, not the glowing admiration which I feel for this noble youth, shall raise an interest in my harassed bosom which honour would not sanction. If he reject the vengeance my heart has
sworn against the tyrant, whose death alone can save this land, yet shall the delight be mine to restore him to his Cora's arms, to his dear child, and to the unoffending people, whom his virtues guide and valour guards.-Alonzo, come forth !
Ha! who art thou? where is Alonzo ?
Rol. Alonzo's fled.
Rol. Yes—and he must not be pursued. Pardon this roughness,-[Seizing her hand.) but a moment's precious to Alonzo's flight.
Elv. What if I call the guard ?
Rol. Strike it to my heart-still, with the convulsive grasp of death, I'll hold thee fast.
Elv. Release me, I give my faith, I neither will alarm the guard nor cause pursuit.
Rol. At once I trust thy word : a feeling boldness in those eyes assures me that thy soul is noble.
Elv. What is thy name ? Speak freely : by my order the guard is removed beyond the outer porch.
Rol. My name is Rolla.
Rol. I was so yesterday : to-day, the Spaniards' captive.
Elv. And friendship for Alonzo moved thee to this act ?
Rol. Alonzo is my friend ; I am prepared to die for him. Yet is the cause a motive stronger far than friendship.
Elv. One only passion else could urge such generous rashness.
Rol. And that is-
Elv. Gallant, ingenuous Rolla! Know that my purpose here was thine ; and were I to save thy friend
Rol. How ! woman blessed with gentleness and courage, and yet not Cora!
Elv. Does Rolla think so meanly of all female hearts ? Rol. Not so, you are worse and better than we are ! Elv. Were I to save thee, Rolla, from the tyrant's
vengeance, restore thee to thy native land, and thy native land to peace, wouldst thou not rank Elvira with the good ?
Rol. To judge the action, I must know the means.
Elv. I will conduct thee to the tent where fell Pizarro sleeps—the scourge of innocence, the terror of thy race, the fiend that desolates thy afflicted country.
Rol. Have you not been injured by Pizarro ?
Elv. Deeply as scorn and insult can infuse their deadly venom.
Rol. And you ask that I shall murder him in his sleep!
Elv. Would he not have murdered Alonzo in his chains ? He that sleeps, and he that 's bound, are equally defenceless. Hear me, Rolla—so may I prosper in this perilous act, as searching my full heart, I have put by all rancorous motive of private vengeance there, and feel that I advance to my dread purpose in the cause of human nature and at the call of sacred justice.
Rol. The God of justice sanctifies no eyil as a step towards good. Great actions cannot be achieved by wicked means.
Elu, Then, Peruvian ! since thou dost feel so coldly for thy country's wrongs, this hand, though it revolt my soul, shall strike the blow.
Rol. Then is thy destruction certain, and for Peru thou perishest! Give me the dagger !
Elv. Now follow me. But first-and dreadful is the hard necessity-thou must strike down the guard.
Rol. The soldier who was on duty here?
Rol. And I must stab that soldier as I pass ? Take back thy dagger.
Rol. That soldier, mark me, is a man. All are not men that bear the human form. He refused my prayers, refused my gold, denying to admit me, till his own feelings bribed him. For my nation's safety, I would not harm that man!
Elv. Then he must with us I will answer for his safety.
Rol. Be that plainly understood between us : for, whate'er betide our enterprise, I will not risk a hair of that man's head to save my heart strings from consuming fire.
SCENE II.---PIZARRO'S Tent
PIZARRO is discovered on a couch in disturbed sleep
Piz. [In his sleep.] No, mercy, traitor l–Now at his heart |-Stand off there, you l-Let me see him bleed Ha! ha! ha l-Let me hear that groan again.
Enter ROLLA and ELVIRA
Elv. There! Now, lose not a moment
Rol. You must leave me now. This scene of blood fits not a woman's presence.
Elv. But a moment's pause may
Rol. Go, retire to your own tent, and return not here-I will come to you. Be thou not known in this business, I implore you ! Elv. I will withdraw the guard that waits.
[Exit Rol. Now have I in my power the accursed destroyer of my country's peace : yet tranquilly he rests.
God! can this man sleep ?
Piz. [In his sleep.] Away! away ! hideous fiends! Tear not my bosom thus !
Rol. No; I was in error—the balm of sweet repose he never more can know. Look here, ambition's fools ! ye by whose inhuman pride the bleeding sacrifice of nations is held as nothing, behold the rest of the guilty !He is at my mercy-and one blow No! my heart and hand refuse the act : Rolla cannot be an assassin! Yet Elvira must be saved !--[Approaches the couch.) Pizarro I awake !
Piz. [Starts up.] Who ?-Guard l
Rol. Speak not—another word is thy death. Call not for aidthis arm will be swifter than thy guard.
Piz. Who art thou ? and what is thy will ?
Rol. I am thine enemy! Peruvian Rolla! Thy death is not my will, or I could have slain thée sleeping.
Piz. Speak, what else ?
Rol. Now thou art at my mercy, answer me ! Peruvian ever yet wrong or injure thee, or any of thy nation ? Didst thou, or any of thy nation, ever yet show mercy to a Peruvian in thy power ? Now shalt thou feel, and if thou hast a heart thou 'lt feel it keenly, a Peruvian's vengeance 1-[Drops the dagger at his feet.] There !