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Of the free town of Frankfort. Of their fate, I know no more.
And what is this to Ulric?
Amongst them there was said to be one man
Of wonderful endowments:-birth and fortune,
Youth, strength, and beauty, almost superhuman,
And courage as unrivall'd, were proclaim'd
His by the public rumour; and his sway,
Not only over his associates but
His judges, was attributed to witchcraft.
Such was his influence :-I have no great faith
In any magic save that of the mine—
I therefore deem'd him wealthy.-But my soul
Was roused with various feelings to seek out
This prodigy, if only to behold him.
You'll hear. Chance favour'd me:
A popular affray in the public square
Drew crowds together-it was one of those
Occasions, where men's souls look out of them,
And show them as they are-even in their faces:
The moment my eye met his-I exclaim'd
This is the man!» though he was then, as since,
With the nobles of the city. I felt sure
I had not err'd, and watch'd him long and nearly :
I noted down his form-his gesture-features,
Stature and bearing-and amidst them all,
Midst every natural and acquir'd distinction,
I could discern, methought, the assassin's eye
And gladiator's heart.
I. T will rest
You conceal'd me-
With me at last to be so.
In secret passages known to yourself,
You said, and to none else. At dead of night,
Weary with watching in the dark, and dubious
Of tracing back my way-I saw a glimmer
Through distant crannies of a twinkling light.
I follow'd it, and reach'd a door-a secret
Portal-which open'd to the chamber, where,
With cautious hand and slow, having first undone
As much as made a crevice of the fastening,
I look'd through, and beheld a purple bed,
And on it Stralenheim!--
GABOR (interrupting him).
Nay-but hear me to the end!
Now you must do so.—I conceived myself
Betray'd by you and him (for now I saw
There was some tie between you) into this
Pretended den of refuge, to become
The victim of your guilt; and my first thought
Was vengeance: but though arm'd with a short poignard
(Having left my sword without), I was no match
For him at any time, as had been proved
That morning-either in address or force.
I turn'd, and fled-i' the dark: chauce, rather than
Skill, made me gain the secret door of the hall,
And thence the chamber where you slept--if I
Had found you waking, Heaven alone can tell
What vengeance and suspicion might have prompted;
But ne'er slept guilt as Werner slept that night.
SIEGENDORF (points to ULRIC's sabre, still upon the
I saw you eye it eagerly, and him Distrustfully.
I will; and so provide
To sell my life-not cheaply.
[GABOR goes into the turret, which SIEGENDORF closes SIEGENDORF (advances to ULRIC
Now, Count Ulric! For son I dare not call thee-What say'st thou?
The value of your secret.
you did well to listen to it: what We know, we can provide against. He must Be silenced.
Then summon'd, would the cry for the police
Been left to such a stranger? Or should I
Have loiter'd on the way? Or could you, Werner,
The object of the baron's hate and fears,
Have fled-unless by many an hour before
Suspicion woke? I sought and fathom'd you-
Doubting if you were false or feeble; I
Perceived you were the latter; and yet so
Confiding have I found you, that I doubted
At times your weakness.
Than common stabber! What deed of my life, Or thought of mine, could make you deem me fit For your accomplice?
The devil you cannot lay between us. This
Is time for union and for action, not
For family disputes. While you were tortured
Could I be calm? Think you that I have heard
This fellow's tale without some feeling? you
Have taught me feeling for you and myself;
For whom or what else did you ever teach it?
Oh! my dead father's curse! 't is working now.
Let it work on! the grave will keep it down!
Ashes are feeble foes: it is more easy
To baffle such, than countermine a mole,
Which winds its blind but living path beneath you.
Yet hear me still!-If you condemn me, yet
Remember who hath taught me once too often
To listen to him! Who proclaim'd to me
That there were crimes made venial by the occasion?
That passion was our nature? that the goods
Of heaven waited on the goods of fortune?
Who show'd me his humanity secured
By his nerves only? Who deprived me of
power to vindicate myself and race
In open day? By his disgrace which stamp'd 'It might be) bastardy on me, and on Himself a felon's brand! The man who is
At once both warm and weak, invites to deeds
He longs to do, but dare not. Is it strange
Am I awake? are these my father's halls?
And yon-my son? My son! mine! who have ever
Abhorr'd both mystery and blood, and yet
Am plunged into the deepest hell of both!
I must be speedy, or more will be shed-
The Hungarian's!-Ulric-he hath partisans,
It seems I might have guess'd as much. Oh fool!
Wolves prowl in company. He hath the key
(As I too) of the opposite door which leads
Into the turret. Now then! or once more
To be the father of fresh crimes--no less
Than of the criminal! Ho! Gabor! Gabor!
[Exit into the turret, closing the door after him.
That I should act what you could think? We have done You pledged your honour for my safety!
With right and wrong; and now must only ponder
Cpon effects, not causes. Stralenheim,
Whose life I saved, from impulse, as, unknown,
I would have saved a peasant's or a dog's, I slew,
Known as our foe-but not from vengeance.
Was a rock in our way, which I cut through,
As doth the bolt, because it stood between us
And our true destination-but not idly.
As stranger I preserved him, and he owed me
His life; when due, I but resumed the debt.
He, you, and I stood o'er a gulf, wherein
I have plunged our enemy. You kindled first
The torch-you show'd the path: now trace me that
Of safety-or let me!
I have done with life! ULRIC.
Let us have done with that which cankers life-
Familiar feuds and vain recriminations
Of things which cannot be undone. We have
Must thus redeem it. Fly! I am not master, It seems, of my own castle-of my own Retainers-nay, even of these very walls,
Or I would bid them fall and crush me! Fly! Or you will be slain by——
Is it even so? Farewell, then! Recollect, however, count, You sought this fatal interview!
Let it not be more fatal still-Begone!
By the same path I enter'd?
But loiter not in Prague;-you do not know With whom you have to deal.
The Deformed Transformed,
Oh mother!--She is gone, and I must do
Her bidding-wearily but willingly
I would fulfil it, could I only hope
A kind word in return. What shall I do?
[ARNOLD begins to cut wood: in doing this he wounds one of his hands.
My labour for the day is over now.
Accursed be this blood that flows so fast;
For double curses will be my meed now
At home. What home? I have no home, no kin,
No kind-not made like other creatures, or
To share their sports or pleasures. Must I bleed too
Like them? Oh that each drop which falls to earth
Would rise a snake to sting them, as they have stung me!
Or that the devil, to whom they liken me,
Would aid his likeness? If I must partake
His form, why not his power? Is it because
I have not his will too? For one kind word
From her who bore me would still reconcile me
Even to this hateful aspect. Let me wash
[ARNOLD goes to a spring and stoops to wash
his hand: he starts back.
They are right; and Nature's mirror shows me
What she hath made me. I will not look on it
Again, and scarce dare think on 't. Ilideous wretch
That I am! The very waters mock me with
My horrid shadow--like a demon placed
Deep in the fountain to scare back the cattle
From drinking therein.
[He pauses. And shall I live on,