페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

Fred. You are still at fault :
She has no favoured lover--cannot have,
The thing is out of chance, impossible!

Ulrick. Call naught impossible, till thou hast proved
That passion hath essayed it, and been foiled;
And set this down-Nature is nature still,
And thought to swerve, is at the bottom true.
Thy mistress is not stone, but flesh and blood,
Wherein doth lodge the juice of sympathy;
Which, more refined in woman than in man,
In woman sways it measurelessly stronger!
The essence of the sex is that wherein
We win a gift of their sweet forms and souls
The tenderness for some especial one,
Who then, 'midst millions, seems to stand alone.
That being absent, then there is no sex.
So where sex is, that also must be there,
As where the sun, also the light and heat.
So of two issues, set thy mind to one-
She has found the man who stands ’mongst millions sole,
Or he is yet to find, and thou not he.
Fred. Thou nam'st two issues—I can find a third.
Ulrick. Where is it?

Fred. Here. As many streams will go
To make one river up, one passion oft
Predominant, all others will absorb.
Ulrick. What passion, swoln in her, drinks up

the rest ? Fred. Pride. Ulrick. Of her beauty, or her rank, or what?

Fred. Pride of herself ! intolerant of all
Equality; nor that its bounds alone
Oppressive to the thing that is beneath her.
Say that she waves me off when I advance,
She spurns the serf that bows to her at distance :
Suitor and secretary fare alike.
I woo for scorn, he for no better serves
Nay, rather worse comes off.

Úlrick. Her secretary?
Fred. The only one of all his wretched class
Her

presence brooks; for he is useful to her: Reads with a music, as a lute did talk ; Writes, as a graver did the letters trace ;

Translates dark languages—for learning which
She hath a strange conceit; is wise in rare
Philosophy; hath mastery, besides,
Of all sweet instruments that men essay-
The hautboy, viol, lute.

Ulrick. A useful man
Your highness draws! What kind of thing is he
To look upon ?

Fred. 'Faith, proper, sir, in trunk,
Feature, and limb; to envy, though a serf.
But, err I not, a most unhappy man,
And, for his service, weary of his life.

Ulrick. Oh, love! a wilful, wayward thing thou art 'Twere strange! 'twere very strange!

Fred. What? what were strange ?
What saidst thou now, apostrophising love?

Ulrick. I said it was a wilful, wayward thing,
And so it is—fantastic and perverse !
Which makes its sport of persons and of seasons,
Takes its own way, no matter right or wrong.
“ It is the bee that finds the honey out,
“ Where least you'd dream 'twould seek the nectar us

store. “And 'tis an arrant masquer, this same love“ That most outlandish, freakish faces wear, “ To hide its own! Looks a proud Spaniard now; “Now, a grave Turk; hot Ethiopian next; “And then, phlegmatic Englishman; and then,

Gay Frenchman; by and by, Italian, at "All things a song; and in another skip, “ Gruff Dutchman ;-still is love behind the masque ! “ It is a hypocrite !- looks every way “ But that where lie its thoughts!”—will openly Frown at the thing it smiles in secret on; Shows most like hate, e'en when it most is love ; Would fain convince you it is very rock, When it is water-ice, when it is fire ! Is oft its own dupe, like a thorough cheat; Persuades itself 'tis not the thing it is ; Holds up its head, purses its brows, and looks Askant, with scornful lip, hugging itself That it is high disdain---till suddenly

[ocr errors]

It falls on its knees, making most piteous suit
With hail of tears, and hurricane of sighs,
Calling on heaven and earth for witnesses
That it is love, true love, nothing but love !

Fred. You would not say the lady loves the serf?

Ulrick. I would say nothing in particular,
Save upon proof. Let me together note
The serf and lady, I will speak to the point,
Or, baffled, hold my peace.

Fred. To that intent
I sent for thee; for thou art keen of sight
To
pry

into the inmost thoughts of men,
And find the proper ends towards which they aim,
Howe'er dissembled by assumed purpose.

Ulrick. Your pardon, sir :-your father bade me come To warn you, in these times of turbulence, He means lo stand aloof, and take no part Between the barons and the empress; so Your course you

know to shape. What company Is this?

(Looking off, i
Fred. The countess flies her hawk to-day,
And these are falconers in advance of her.
Those nearest us, observe :- -The lady first,
Is a rich serf, supposed love-daughter to
The former duke, who left her well endowed.
Those with her, are her suitors; but with none
She'll mate, believing that her wealth is prized
Beyond herself :-nor does she widely err,
Though some might think her beauty dower enough.
There is one who follows her, indeed, for love,
A man of heart; a gentleman, but poor,
Who his revenue spends upon his back.
I
say,

he follows her: he woos her not,
Through pride, 'tis said, lest he be thought to hunt
The dross so much he needs ;-whence I esteem
His chance the best. Mark! he is last of all.
Let us rerire a space : there's company
Enough, without us here. Some minutes yet
Before the countess will alight, and then
Remains the hill to climb. So bright a day,
Methinks, will scarce go by without a frown.

[They retire, R. U. E.

But what my betters stoop to, day by day,
I spurn, Christina, spurn! nor deign to wed,
Except a man that loves me for myself! [Crosses, L.

Chris. And such a man, methinks, Sir Rupert seems.
Cath. Ah! he is poor!

Chris. And what of that? He's proud,
And seems as jealous of his poverty
Almost as you are.

Cath. Yes! He makes no suit: He ever follows me, yet stands aloof, While others lay close siege.

Chris. And of his rivals
Prefer you any ?

Cath. No. Have I not said,
When taxed with paying court to me, the rest-
Yea, one and all-instead of boasting me,
My person, or my mind, for their excuse,
Set forth my wealth; and ask if there's a man,
Who would not wed a serf, with such a mine?

Chris. Sir Rupert sins not thus.
Cath. Sir Rupert ? No!
Chris. I am sure Sir Rupert loves you: he has all
The signs of a lover.

Cath. What are they?
Chris. He sighs!
Cath. Sighs! Listen to me! [Drawing a deep sigh

There, girl! what think you now
Of that, for a sigh! and say you, I'm in love?
I will coin sighs for you, fast as the mint
Coins ducats. Shows are all uncertain things,
Unless the cheek, indeed, grows lank and pale-
Yet that may be with frequent lack of dinner.
Oh, for a sign would be infallible,
And him to show it, I would see it on !

Chris. Sir Rupert ?

Cath. What is that to you? Dear girl,
Whoe'er it be, I pray

that I
may

love him!
The Countess flies her hawk to-day : I'll make
Essay of mine.

Chris. A most strange lady, she ! A form of flesh and a heart of ice.

Cath. Not so.

A heart, Christina, all possessed of pridem
That hath no place for any passion else.

Chris. Will she ever love?
Her heart is scarce the soil to root love's flower!

Cath. No telling how love thrives ! to what it comes !
Whence grows! 'Tis e'en of as mysterious root,
As the pine that makes its lodging of the rock ;
Yet there it lives, a huge tree, flourishing,
Where you'd think a blade of grass would die !
What is love's poison, if it be not hate ?
Yet in that poison oft is found love's food.
Frowns that are clouds to us, are sun to him !
He finds a music in a scornful tongue,
That melts him more than softest melody.-
But come, we must attire us for the field-
The field—the field-Christina, wer't to take
The field in love !-a fair and honest fight !
I wonder, be there one true man on the earth ?
But if there be, I one true woman know
To match him--were he true as native gold.

[They go out, R. Scene II.-An Apartment in the Duke's Castle. The Countess discovered, L. C-HUON reading to her, R.

Coun. Give' o'er! I hate the poet's argument !
'Tis falsehood-'tis offence. A noble maid
Stoop to a peasant !-Ancestry, sire, dam,
Kindred and all, of perfect blood, despised
For love!

Huon. The peasant, though of humble stock,
High nature did ennoble-

Coun. What was that ?
Mean you to justify it? But go on.

Huon. Not to offend (Rises and comes forward.

Coun. Offend !-No fear of that,
I hope, 'twixt thee and me! I pray you, sir,
To recollect yourself, and be at ease,
And as I bid you, do. Go on.

Huon. Descent,
You'll grant, is not alone nobility,
Will you not? Never yet was line so long,

« 이전계속 »