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Of life !- Why, Huon! Huon !-He is dead !
Ulrick. Lady, he is not dead, but only stunned.
'Twas but a shock, although a heavy one.
His colour comes I see his eye-lid ope-
So, please you, leave the charge of him to me.
Coun. I thank you, sir-am sorry such a load
Should burden you. Would some of my attendants
Were here to ease you on't! How dread a thing
Is death, when sight on't makes one not one's self !
Grows it not lighter, sirs ?~Ay, there's the sky!
Almost as soon as come, the storm is come.
Pray leave him to himself :-'twas but a shock-
It shames me such a load should burthen you.
Ulrick. As yet, he cannot stand.
Coun. Indeed !-oh! ay !
It was a heavy shock. I have a horror,
And always had, of lightning. Do you know
It takes away my wits ? Did you not feel
As I did, Catherine, when they thought the lightning
Had killed the serf? A dreadful thing is death!
And, most of all, by lightning !-Where is my hawk?
Oh! they had charge to bring him after me,
And here they come. Let's meet them, Catherine.
[Is going, but stops, and turns to look at Huon. Ulrick. He still grows better, madam.
Coun. Who, sir?-Oh,
The serf!—Why, Catherine, where's your hawk ?
Cath. I have lost him.
Coun. I hope the lightning has not struck him. Come :
We'll have fair weather yet.
[Sir Conrad and Sir Otto take Huon and lead him off,
the Countess watching. Ulrick. You see He is unhurt.
Coun. My lord !-I see- -You take Great interest in
serf. The sun is out: My hawk against the field! Come, Catherine.
(All go out L. except Frederick and Ulrick. Ulrick. (L.) 'You see, my lord; and seeing, comprehend. Straight will I to the Duke, and tell him this. A kingdom to a hawk, she loves the serf !
Fred. But where is it? None yet
Have found it out.
Ulrick. You mean, a heart to love?
Fred. If not such a heart, as well no heart at all !
Ulrick. Men tell a mine a hundred fathoms deep,
By certain signs that near the surface lie:
Are flesh and blood more fallible than clay ?
Take but her face-there's not a feature on't,
But vouches for the mood. Require you more ?
Her limbs and body give you proof on proof.
If these convince you not, essay her voice ;
'Tis of the stop befits the melting vein.
There's naught without but with her sex consists,
Pronouncing her its pattern, passing rich !
And can she lack the heart, the want of which
Would turn such affluence to poverty ?
Prove nature but a niggard, after all,
Where she should seem to be most beautiful
She has a heart, sir, and a heart to love!
Fred. How comes it, then, I plead a bootless suit,
And not a boy at wooing ? Had I a chance
With a heart, were it not wholly occupied,
I never failed to find some footing in it,
If not instate myself with ease :-with dames,
1 own, less lofty, though on lighter terms
Than gift of hand for life. Why fail I here ?
Ulrick. Hast thou no rival ?
Ulrick. Thou art sure ?
Fred. I am.
Disheartened at a race that hath no goal,
Or one that seems to distance on approach,
My rivals leave the field to me alone.
Ulrick. Thou mayst have rivals whom thou know'st not
Fred. No! I have pressed her father oft thereon,
And learned the history, beginning, close
Of every siege of wooing-ending each
In mortified retreat.
Ulrick. You may have rivals
Unknown to him. 'Love joys in mystery ;
And when you think it countless miles away,
Is lurking close at hand.
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 ?
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.
Ulrick. Her secretary?
Fred. The only one of all his wretched class
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
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
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 to 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.
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. J. E.