ePub 版
[blocks in formation]

Than those

Josephine (abruptly). My son-our sonour Ulric,

Been clasp'd again in these long empty arms,
And all a mother's hunger satisfied.
Twelve years! he was but eight then:

He was, and beautiful he must be now.
My Ulric! my adored!

Werner. I have been full oft

The chase of fortune; now she hath o'ertaken My spirit where it cannot turn at bay,— Sick, poor, and lonely.

Josephine. Lonely! my dear husband? Werner. Or worse-involving all I love,

in this

[blocks in formation]

And forfeited them by my father's wrath, In my o'er-fervent youth; but for the abuse Long sufferings have atoned. My father's death

Left the path open, yet not without snares. This cold and creeping kinsman, who so long

Kept his eye on me, as the snake upon The fluttering bird, hath ere this time outstept me,

Become the master of my rights, and lord Of that which lifts him up to princes in Dominion and domain.

Josephine. Who knows? our son

May have return'd back to his grandsire, and Even now uphold thy rights for thee? Werner. 'Tis hopeless.

Since his strange disappearance from my father's,

Entailing, as it were, my sins upon
Himself, no tidings have reveal'd his course.
I parted with him to his grandsire, on
The promise that his anger would stop short
Of the third generation, but Heaven seems
To claim her stern prerogative, and visit
Upon my boy his father's faults and follies.
Josephine. I must hope better still,―at
least we have yet

Baffled the long pursuit of Stralenheim. Werner. We should have done, but for this fatal sickness,

More fatal than a mortal malady,
Because it takes not life, but life's sole solace:
Even now I feel my spirit girt about
By the snares of this avaricious fiend;-
How do I know he hath not track'd us here?
Josephine. He does not know thy person;
and his spies,

Who so long watch'd thee, have been left at Hamburgh.

Our unexpected journey, and this change Of name, leaves all discovery far behind: None hold us here for aught save what we


Werner. Save what we seem! save what we are—sick beggars, Even to our very hopes.-Ha! ha! Josephine. Alas!

That bitter laugh!

Werner. Who would read in this form The high soul of the son of a long line? Who, in this garb, the heir of princely lands? Who, in this sunken, sickly eye, the pride Of rank and ancestry? in this worn cheek, And famine-hollow'd brow, the lord of halls, Which daily feast a thousand vassals? Josephine. You

Ponder'd not thus upon these worldly things, My Werner! when you deign'd to choose for bride

The foreign daughter of a wandering exile. Werner. An exile's daughter with an

outcast son

Were a fit marriage; but I still had hopes To lift thee to the state we both were born for. Your father's house was noble, though decay'd,

And worthy by its birth to match with ours. Josephine. Your father did not think so,

though 'twas noble; But had my birth been all my claim to match With thee, I should have deem'd it what it is. Werner. And what is that in thine eyes? Josephine. All which it Has done in our behalf,-nothing. Werner. How,- nothing? Josephine. Or worse; for it has been a

canker in

Thy heart from the beginning: but for this,

We had not felt our poverty, or as
Millions of myriads feel it, cheerfully;
But for these phantoms of thy feudal fathers,
Thou mightst have earn'd thy bread as
thousands earn it;

Or, if that seem too humble, tried by

Or other civic means, to amend thy fortunes. Werner (ironically). And been an Hanseatic burgher? Excellent! Josephine. Whate'er thou mightst have been, to me thou art,

What no state, high or low, can ever change, My heart's first choice;-which chose thee, knowing neither

Thy birth, thy hopes, thy pride; nought, save thy sorrows:

While they last, let me comfort or divide


When they end, let mine end with them, or thee!

Werner. My better angel! such I have
ever found thee;

This rashness, or this weakness of my temper,
Ne'er raised a thought to injure thee or thine.
Thou didst not mar my fortunes: my own


In youth was such as to unmake an empire,
Had such been my inheritance; but now,
Chasten'd, subdued, out-worn, and taught
to know

Myself, to lose this for our son and thee!
Trust me, when, in my two-and-twentieth

My father barr'd me from my father's house,
The last sole scion of a thousand sires
(For I was then the last), it hurt me less
Than to behold my boy and my boy's mother
Excluded in their innocence from what
My faults deserved exclusion : although then
My passions were all living serpents, and
Twined like the Gorgon's round me.
[A knocking is heard.

Josephine. Hark!

[blocks in formation]

As e'er was gilt upon a trader's board;
I have a cousin in the lazaretto
Of Hamburgh, who has got a wife who bore
The same. He is an officer of trust,
Surgeon's assistant (hoping to be surgeon),
And has done miracles i' the way of business.
Perhaps you are related to my relative?
Werner. To yours?

Josephine. Oh, yes; we are, but distantly.
[Aside to Werner.
Cannot you humour the dull gossip till
We learn his purpose?

Idenst. Well, I'm glad of that;
I thought so all along; such natural

Play'd round my heart-blood is not water,
cousin ;

And so let's have some wine, and drink unto
Our better acquaintance: relatives should be

Werner. You appear to have drank enough

And if you had not, I've no wine to offer,
Else it were yours; but this you know, or
should know:

You see I am poor and sick, and will not see
That I would be alone; but to your business!

Werner. A knocking!
Josephine. Who can it be at this lone What brings you here?
hour? we have

Few visitors.

Werner. And poverty hath none,

Save those who come to make it poorer still.
Well, I am prepared.

[Werner puts his hand into his bosom
as if to search for some weapon.
Josephine. Oh! do not look so. I
Will to the door, it cannot be of import
In this lone spot of wintry desolation-
The very desert saves man from mankind.
[She goes to the door.

Idenst. A fair good evening to my fairer

And worthy-what's your name, my friend?
Werner. Are you

Not afraid to demand it?

Idenst. Why, what should bring me here?
Werner. I know not, though I think
that I could guess

That which will send you hence.
Josephine (aside). Patience, dear Werner!
Idenst. You don't know what has happen-
ed, then?

Josephine. How should we?
Idenst. The river has o'erflow'd.
Josephine. Alas! we have known
That to our sorrow, for these five days; since
It keeps us here.

Idenst. But what you don't know is,
That a great personage, who fain would cross
Against the stream, and three postillions'

Is drown'd below the ford, with five posthorses.

A monkey, and a mastiff, and a valet.

Keep up the stove- I will myself to the cellar

AndMadame Idenstein(my consort,stranger,) Shall furnish forth the bed - apparel; for, To say the truth, they are marvellous scant

Josephine. Poor creatures! are you sure? Idenst. Yes, of the monkey, And the valet, and the cattle; but as yet We know not if his Excellency 's dead Or no; your noblemen are hard to drown, As it is fit that men in office should be; But, what is certain, is, that he has swallow'd | Within the palace - precincts, since his Enough of the Oder to have burst two


And now a Saxon and Hungarian traveller,
Who, at their proper peril, snatch'd him from
The whirling river, have sent on to crave
A lodging, or a grave, according as
It may turn out with the live or dead body.
Josephine. And where will you receive
him? here, I hope,

If we can be of service-say the word. Idenst. Here? no; but in the Prince's own apartment,

As fits a noble guest: 'tis damp, no doubt, Not having been inhabited these twelve years;

But then he comes from a much damper place,
So scarcely will catch cold in't, if he be
Still liable to cold-and if not, why
He'll be worse lodged to-morrow: ne'erthe-

I have order'd fire and all appliances
To be got ready for the worst—that is,
In case he should survive.

Josephine. Poor gentleman!

I hope he will, with all my heart.
Werner. Intendant,


Have you not learn'd his name? My Jo[Aside to his wife. Retire, I'll sift this fool. [Exit Josephine. Idenst. His name? oh Lord! Who knows if he hath now a name or no; 'Tis time enough to ask it when he's able To give an answer, or if not, to put His heir's upon his epitaph. Methought Just now you chid me for demanding names? Werner. True, true, I did so; you say well and wisely.

Enter GABOR.

Gabor. If I intrude, I craveIdenst. Oh, no intrusion! This is the palace; this a stranger like Yourself; I pray you make yourself at home: But where's hisExcellency, and how fares he? Gabor. Wetly and wearily, but out of peril;

He paused to change his garments in a cottage (Where I doff'd mine for these, and came on hither),

And has almost recover'd from his drenching. He will be here anon.

Idenst. What ho, there! bustle! Without there, Herman, Weilburg, Peter, Conrad!

[Gives directions to different servants who enter.

A nobleman sleeps here to night-see that All is in order in the damask-chamber

of this


Left it some dozen years ago.
And then
His Excellency will sup, doubtless?
Gabor. Faith!

I cannot tell ; but I should think the pillow
Would please him better than the table after
His soaking in your river: but for fear
Your viands should be thrown away, I mean
To sup myself, and have a friend without
Who will do honour to your good cheer with
A traveller's appetite.

Idenst. But are you sure

His Excellency-but his name, what is it?
Gabor. I do not know.

Idenst. And yet you saved his life.
Gabor. I help'd my friend to do so.
Idenst. Well, that's strange,

To save a man's life whom you do not know. Gabor. Not so; for there are some I know so well

I scarce should give myself the trouble.
Idenst. Pray,

Good friend, and who may you be?
Gabor. By my family,



Which is call'd? Gabor. It matters little.

Idenst. (aside) I think that all the world

are grown anonymous,

Since no one cares to tell me what he's call'd! Pray, has his Excellency a large suite? Gabor. Sufficient.

[blocks in formation]

Idenst. Now, how much do you reckon on? Gabor. I have not yet put up myself to sale: In the mean time, my best reward would be A glass of your Hockheimer, a green glass, Wreathed with rich grapes and Bacchanal devices,

O'erflowing with the oldest of your vintage; For which I promise you, in case you e'er Run hazard of being drown'd (although I own

It seems, of all deaths, the least likely for you),

I'll pull you out for nothing. Quick, my friend,

And think, for every bumper I shall quaff, A wave the less may roll above your head.

Idenst. (aside) I don't much like this fellow-close and dry

He seems, two things which suit me not;

Wine he shall have; if that unlocks him not,
I shall not sleep to-night for curiosity.
[Exit Idenstein.
Gabor (to Werner). This master of the
ceremonies is

The intendant of the palace, I presume?
"Tis a fine building, but decay'd.

W'erner. The apartment

Design'd for him you rescued will be found
In fitter order for a sickly guest.

Gabor. I wonder then you occupied it not,
For you seem delicate in health.
Werner (quickly). Sir!
Gabor. Pray

Excuse me have I said aught to offend you?
Werner. Nothing: but we are strangers
to each other.

Gabor. And that's the reason I would have us less so :

I thought our bustling host without had said

You were a chance- and passing-guest, the counterpart

Of me and my companions.

W'erner. Very true.

Gabor. Then, as we never met before,
and never,

It may be, may again encounter, why,
I thought to cheer up this old dungeon here
(At least to me) by asking you to share
The fare of my companions and myself.
Werner. Pray, pardon me; my health-
Gabor. Even as you please.

I have been a soldier, and perhaps am blunt
In bearing.

Werner. I have also served, and can
Requite a soldier's greeting.

Gabor. In what service?

The Imperial?

Werner. And I—nothing.

Gabor. That's harder still. You say you
were a soldier.
Werner. I was.

Gabor. You look one still. All soldiers are
Or should be comrades,even though enemies.
Our swords when drawn must cross, our
engines aim

(While levell'd) at each other's hearts;
but when

A truce, a peace, or what you will, remits
The steel into its scabbard, and lets sleep
The spark which lights the matchlock, we
are brethren.


You are poor and sickly — I am not rich
but healthy;

I want for nothing which I cannot want;
You seem devoid of this-wilt share it?
[Gabor pulls out his purse.

Werner. Who
Told you I was a beggar?

Gabor. You yourself,

In saying you were a soldier during peacetime.

Werner (looking at him with suspicion). You know me not?

Gabor. I know no man, not even Myself: how should I then know one I ne'er Beheld till half an hour since?

Werner. Sir, I thank you.

Your offer 's noble were it to a friend,
And not unkind as to an unknown stranger,
Though scarcely prudent; but no less I
thank you.

I am a beggar in all save his trade,
And when I beg of any one it shall be
Of him who was the first to offer what
Few can obtain by asking. Pardon me.
[Exit Werner.

Gabor (solus). A goodly fellow by his
looks, though worn,

As most good fellows are,by pain or pleasure,
Which tear life out of us before our time:

Werner (quickly, and then interrupting | I scarce know which most quickly; but

himself). I commanded-no-I mean
I served; but it is many years ago,
When first Bohemia raised her banner 'gainst
The Austrian.

Gabor. Well, that's over now, and peace
Has turn'd some thousand gallant hearts


[blocks in formation]

he seems

To have seen better days, as who has not Who has seen yesterday? But here approaches

Our sage intendant, with the wine; however,
For the cup's sake, I'll bear the cup-


[blocks in formation]

Idenst. Fair!-Well, I trust your taste in | Some days ago that look'd the likeliest

wine is equal


To that you shew for beauty;but I pledge you For Werner.

Gabor. Is not the lovely woman

I met in the adjacent hall, who, with
An air, and port, and eye, which would
have better

Beseem'd this palace in its brightest days
(Though in a garb adapted to its present
Abandonment), return'd my salutation-
Is not the same your spouse?

Idenst. I would she were!
But you're mistaken – that's the stranger's

Gabor. And by her aspect she might be a prince's:

Though time hath touch'd her too, she still retains

Much beauty, and more majesty.

Idenst. And that

Is more than I can say for Madame Idenstein,
At least in beauty: as for majesty,
She has some of its properties which might
Be spared-but never mind!

Gabor. I don't. But who
May be this stranger. He too hath a bearing
Above his outward fortunes.

Idenst. There I differ.

He's poor as Job, and not so patient; but Who he may be, or what, or aught of him, Except his name (and that I only learn'd To-night), I know not.

Gabor. But how came he here?

Idenst. In a most miserable old caleche, About a month since, and immediately Fell sick, almost to death. He should have died.

Gabor. Tender and true!—but why? Idenst. Why, what is life Without a living? He has not a stiver. Gabor. In that case, I much wonder that a person

Of your apparent prudence should admit Guests so forlorn into this noble mansion. Idenst. That's true; but pity, as you know, does make

One's heart commit these follies; and besides, They had some valuables left at that time, Which paid their way up to the present hour,

And so I thought they might as well be lodged

Here as at the small tavern, and I gave


The run of some of the oldest palace-rooms. They served to air them, at the least as long As they could pay for fire-wood.

Gabor. Poor souls! Idenst. Ay, Exceeding poor.

Gabor. And yet unused to poverty, If I mistake not. Whither were they going? Idenst. O! Heaven knows where, unless to Heaven itself.

Gabor. Werner! I have heard the name,
But it may be a feign'd one.
Idenst. Like enough!

Bat hark! a noise of wheels and voices, and
A blaze of torches from without. As sure
As destiny, his Excellency 's come.
I must be at my post: will you not join me,
To help him from his carriage, and present
Your humble duty at the door?

Gabor. I dragg'd him

From out that carriage when he would have given

His barony or county to repel
The rushing river from his gurgling throat.
He has valets now enough: they stood aloof

Shaking their dripping ears upon the shore, All roaring, " Help!" but offering none; and as

For duty (as you call it) I did mine then, Now do yours. Hence, and bow and cringe him here!

Idenst. I cringe!—but I shall lose the opportunity

Plague take it! he'll be here, and I not there! [Exit Idenstein, hastily. Re-enter WERNER.

Werner (to himself). I heard a noise of wheels and voices. How

All sounds now jar me!

(Perceiving Gabor) Still here! Is he not A spy of my pursuer's? His frank offer, So suddenly, and to a stranger, wore The aspect of a secret enemy; For friends are slow at such.

Gabor. You seem rapt,

And yet the time is not akin to thought.
These old walls will be noisy soon.



Or Count (or whatsoe'er this half-drown'd


May be), for whom this desolate village, and Its lone inhabitants, show more respect Than did the elements, is come.


Idenst. (without) This wayThis way, your Excellency: - have a care, The staircase is a little gloomy, and Somewhat decay'd; but if we had expected So high a guest-pray take my arm,my lord! Enter STRALenheim, Idenstein, and Attend

ants, partly his own, and partly retainers of the domain, of which IDENSTEIN is Intendant,

Stralenk. I'll rest me here a moment. Idenst. (to the servants) Ho! a chair! Instantly, knaves!

[Stralenheim sits down. Werner (aside). 'Tis he! Stralenh. I'm better now. Who are these strangers?

« 上一頁繼續 »