ePub 版

To roam there in my childhood oft alone,
And mutter to myself the name of father.
For still Bathory (why, till now I guess'd not)
Would never hear it from my lips, but sighing
Gazed upward. Yet of late an idle terror--


Madam, that wood is haunted by the war-wolves, Vampires, and monstrous——

SAROLTA (with a smile).

Moon-calves, credulous girl! Haply some o'ergrown savage of the forest Hath his lair there, and fear hath framed the rest. [Then speaking again to Bethlen. After that last great battle (O young man! Thou wakest anew my life's sole anguish), that Which fixed Lord Emerick on his throne, Bathory

Led by a cry, far inward from the track,

In the hollow of an old oak, as in a nest,
Did find thee, Bethlen, then a helpless babe:

The robe, that wrapt thee, was a widow's mantle.


An infant's weakness doth relax my frame. O say-I fear to ask-

[blocks in formation]



[blocks in formation]

Hid in a brake hard by,
Scarce by both palms supported from the earth,
A wounded lady lay, whose life fast waning
Seem'd to survive itself in her fixt eyes,

That strain'd towards the babe. At length one arm
Painfully from her own weight disengaging,
She pointed first to Heaven, then from her bosom
Drew forth a golden casket. Thus entreated
Thy foster-father took thee in his arms,

And, kneeling, spake: If aught of this world's comfort
Can reach thy heart, receive a poor man's troth,
That at my life's risk I will save thy child!
Her countenance work'd, as one that seem'd preparing
A loud voice, but it died
her lips
In a faint whisper, Fly! Save him! Hide-hide all!»

[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]


GLYCINE (to silence him). Bethlen!


Hist! I'll curse him in a whisper!

This gracious lady must hear blessings only.
She hath not yet the glory round her head,
Nor those strong eagle wings, which made swift way
To that appointed place, which I must seek:
Or else she were my mother!


Noble youth!
From me fear nothing! Long time have I owed
Offerings of expiation for misdeeds

Long pass'd that weigh me down, though innocent!
Thy foster-father hid the secret from thee,
For he perceived thy thoughts as they expanded,
Proud, restless, and ill-sorting with thy state!
Vain was his care! Thou 'st made thyself suspected
E'en where Suspicion reigns, and asks no proof
But its own fears! Great Nature hath endow'd thee
With her best gifts! From me thou shalt receive
All honourable aidance! But haste hence!
Travel will ripen thee, and enterprise
Bescems thy years! Be thou henceforth my soldier!
And whatsoe'er betide thee, still believe
That in each noble deed, achieved or suffer'd,
Thou solvest best the riddle of thy birth!
may the light that streams from thine own honour
Guide thee to that thou seekest!

[blocks in formation]

Swift as a spirit invoked, I should be with thee!
And then, perchance, I might have power to unbosom
These thanks that struggle here. Eyes fair as thine
Have gazed on me with tears of love and anguish,
Which these eyes saw not, or beheld unconscious;
And tones of anxious fondness, passionate prayers,
Have been talk'd to me! But this tongue ne'er soothed
A mother's ear, lisping a mother's name!
O at how dear a price have I been loved,

And no love could return! One boon then, lady!
'Where'er thou bid'st, I go thy faithful soldier,

But first must trace the spot, where she lay bleeding
Who gave me life. No more shall beast of ravine
Affront with baser spoil that sacred forest!
Or if avengers more than human haunt there,
Take they what shape they list, savage or heavenly,
They shall make answer to me, though my heart's

Should be the spell to bind them. Blood calls for blood!


Ah! it was this I fear'd. To ward off this
Did I withhold from him that old Bathory
Returning, hid beneath the self same oak,
Where the babe lay, the mantle, and some jewel
Bound on his infant arm.


Oh, let me fly

And stop him! Mangled limbs do there lie scatter'd
Till the lured eagle bears them to her nest.

[blocks in formation]

My liege lord, the taller.
The other, please your grace, is her poor handmaid,

Yet would your grace but speak

And voices have been heard! And there the plant grows Long since betrothed to me. But the maid's froward-
That being eaten gives the inhuman wizard
Power to put on the fell hyæna's shape.


What idle tongue hath witch'd thee, Glycine?
I hoped that thou hadst learnt a nobler faith.


O chide me not, dear lady! question Laska,
Or the old man.


Forgive me, I spake harshly.

It is indeed a mighty sorcery
That doth enthral thy young heart, my poor girl:
And what hath Laska told thee?


Three days past
A courier from the king did cross that wood;
A wilful man, that arm'd himself on purpose:
And never hath been heard of from that time!
[Sound of horns without.


Hark! dost thou hear it?


"T is the sound of horns!

Our huntsmen are not out!


Lord Casimir

Would not come thus!


Still louder!


[blocks in formation]

A fair one, by my faith!
If her face rival but her gait and stature,
My good friend Casimir had his reasons too.
« Her tender health, her vow of strict retirement,
Made early in the convent-His word pledged—
All fictions, all! fictions of jealousy.

Well! if the mountain move not to the prophet,
The prophet must to the mountain! In this Laska
There's somewhat of the knave mix'd up with dolt.
Through the transparence of the fool, methought,
I saw (as I could lay my finger on it)

[Horns again. The crocodile's eye, that peer'd up from the bottom.
This knave may do us service. Hot ambition
Won me the husband. Now let vanity
And the resentment for a forced seclusion

Haste we hence! Decoy the wife! Let him be deem'd the aggressor
Whose cunning and distrust began the game!

For I believe in part thy tale of terror!
But, trust me, 't is the inner man transform'd:
Beasts in the shape of men are worse than war-wolves.

[SAROLTA and GLYCINE exeunt. Trumpets etc. louder.


[blocks in formation]

Hunger's tooth has Gnawn itself blunt. O, I could queen it well O'er my own sorrows as my rightful subjects. But wherefore, O revered Kiuprili! wherefore Did my importunate prayers, my hopes and fancies, Force thee from thy secure though sad retreat? Would that my tongue had then cloven to my mouth! But Heaven is just! With tears I conquer'd thee, And not a tear is left me to repent with! Hadst thou not done already-hadst thou not Suffer'd-oh, more than e'er man feign'd of friendship?


Yet be thou comforted! What! hadst thou faith When I turn'd back incredulous? 'T was thy light That kindled mine. And shall it now go out, And leave thy soul in darkness? Yet look up,

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

Speak, Bethlen! or but moan. St-St--No-Bethlen! And of Lord Casimir-
If I turn back and he should be found dead here,
[She creeps nearer and nearer to the cavern.
I should
go mad!-Again!-T was my own heart!
Hush, coward heart! better beat loud with fear,
Than break with shame and anguish !

[As she approaches to enter the cavern, KIUPRILI
stops her. GLYCINE shrieks.


Saints protect me!

Swear then by all thy hopes, by all thy fears




O agony! my son !


But my dear lady

Ha! my



Lady Sarolta

[blocks in formation]

Frown'd and discharged these bad men.

RAAB KIUPRILI (turning off and to himself).
Righteous heaven

Sent me a daughter once, and I repined
That it was not a son. A son was given me.
My daughter died, and I scarce shed a tear:
And lo! that son became my curse and infamy.
Sweet innocent! and you came here to seek him,
And bring him food. Alas! thou fear'st?


Not much!

My own dear lady, when I was a child
Embraced me oft, but her heart never beat so.
For I too am an orphan, motherless!


O yet beware, lest hope's brief flash but deepen

With what intention came he? Wouldst thou save him, The after gloom, and make the darkness stormy!
Hide nothing!

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

ZA POLYA (in agitation).

O speak!


A wounded lady

[ZAPOLYA faints-they both support her.

Is this his mother?



She would fain believe it,

Oh, fool! mine eyes are duped by my own shuddering.-
Those piled thoughts, built up in solitude,

Year following year, that press'd upon my heart
As on the altar of some unknown God,

Then, as if touch'd by fire from heaven descending,
Blazed up within me at a father's name-

Do they desert me now!-at my last trial?
Voice of command! and thou, O hidden Light!
I have obey'd! Declare ye by what name

Weak though the proofs be. Hope draws towards itself I dare invoke you! Tell what sacrifice
The flame with which it kindles.
Will make you gracious.

[blocks in formation]

RAAB KIUPRILI (still unseen),
Patience! Truth! Obedience!
Be thy whole soul transparent! so the Light
Thou seekest may enshrine itself within thee!

Perchance some huntsmen of the king's. Thy name?



He came this morning

[They retire to the cavern, bearing ZAPOLYA. Then enter BETHLEN armed with a boar-spear.


I had a glimpse
Of some fierce shape; and but that Fancy often
Is Nature's intermeddler, and cries halves
With the outward sight, I should believe I saw it
Bear off some human prey. O my preserver!
Bathory! Father! Yes, thou deservest that name!
Thou didst not mock me! These are blessed findings!
The secret cypher of my destiny


Ask rather the poor roaming savage,
Whose infancy no holy rite had blest.

To him, perchance rude spoil or ghastly trophy,
In chase or battle won, have given a name.

I have none-but like a dog have answer'd

To the chance sound which he that fed me call'd me.
BAAB KIUPRILI (still unseen).

Thy birth-place?


Deluding spirits, Do ye mock me?
Question the Night! Bid Darkness tell its birth-place?
Yet hear! Within yon old oak's hollow trunk,
Where the bats cling, have I survey'd my cradle!
The mother-falcon hath her nest above it,

[Looking at his signet. And in it the wolf litters!--I invoke you,
Tell me, ye secret ones! if ye beheld me

Stands here inscribed: it is the seal of fate!
Ha!-(Observing the cave). Had ever monster fitting As I stood there, like one who having delved

lair, 't is yonder!

Thou yawning Den, I well remember thee!

Mine eyes deceived me not. Heaven leads me on!
Now for a blast, loud as a king's defiance,
To rouse the monster couchant o'er his ravine!

[Blows the horn-then a pause.
Another blast! and with another swell
To you, ye charmed watchers of this wood!
If haply I have come, the rightful heir
Of vengeance: if in me survive the spirits
Of those, whose guiltless blood flowed streaming here!
[Blows again louder.
Still silent? Is the monster gorged? Heaven shield me!
Thou, faithful spear! be both my torch and guide.
[AS BETHLEN is about to enter, KIUPRILI Speaks from

[blocks in formation]

For hidden gold hath found a talisman,

O tell! what rights, what offices of duty
This signet doth command? What rebel spirits
Owe homage to its Lord?

RAAB KIUPRILI (still unseen).

More, guiltier, mightier, Than thou mayest summon! Wait the destined hour!


O yet again, and with more clamorous prayer,
I importune ye! Mock me no more with shadows!
This sable mantle-tell, dread voice! did this
Enwrap one fatherless?

ZAPOLYA (unseen).
One fatherless!
BETHLEN (starting).

A sweeter voice!-A voice of love and pity!
Was it the soften'd echo of mine own?
Sad echo! but the hope it kill'd was sickly,
And ere it died it had been mourn'd as dead!
One other hope yet lives within my soul:
Quick let me ask!- while yet this stifling fear,
This stop of the heart, leaves utterance!-Are-are


The sole remains of her that gave me life?

Have I a mother?

[ZAPOLYA rushes out to embrace him. BETHLEN starts.

ZAPOLYA (embracing him).
My son! my son!

A wretched-Oh no, no! a blest-a happy mother!
[They embrace. KIUPRILI and GLYCINE come forward,
and the curtain drops.

« 上一頁繼續 »