Page images
PDF
EPUB

ELMINA (throwing herself on the ground, and speaking in a low hurried voice). In one brief hour, all gone!—and such a death ! —I see their blood gush forth !—their graceful heads— —Take the dark vision from me, oh, my God! And such a death for them 1–I was not there ! They were but mine in beauty and in joy, Not in that mortal anguish l—All, all gone ! —Why should I struggle more ?—What is this Power, Against whose might, on all sides pressing us, We strive with fierce impatience, which but lays Our own frail spirits prostrate (..After a long pause.)

Now I know
Thy hand, my God!—and they are soonest crush'd
That most withstand it!—I resist no more.
(She rises.)—A light, a light springs up from grief and

death,
Which with its solemn radiance doth reveal
Why we have been thus tried
GONZALEZ.
Then I may still

Fix my last look on thee, in holy love,
Parting, but yet with hope

ELMINA (falling at his feet). Canst thou forgive f —Oh, I have driven the arrow to thy heart, That should have buried it within mine own, And borne the pang in silence —I have cast Thy life's fair honour, in my wild despair, As an unvalued gem upon the waves, Whence thou hast snatch'd it back, to bear from earth, All stainless, on thy breast.—Well hast thou done— But I–canst thou forgive : GONZALEZ. Within this hour I have stood upon that verge whence mortals fall, And learn'd how 'tis with one whose sight grows dim, And whose foot trembles on the gulf's dark side. —Death purifies all feeling—We will part In pity and in love. ELMINA. Death !—And thou too Art on thy way !—Oh, joy for thee, high heart! Glory and joy for thee!—The day is closed, And well and nobly hast thou borne thyself Through its long battle-toils, though many swords

Have enter'd thine own soul!—But on my head

Recoil the fierce invokings of despair,
And I am left far distanced in the race,
The lonely one of earth !—Aye, this is just.
I am not worthy that upon my breast
In this, thine hour of victory, thou shouldst yield
Thy spirit unto God!

GONZALEZ.

Thou art thou art'
Oh! a life's love, a heart's long faithfulness,
Ev’n in the presence of eternal things,
Wearing their chasten’d beauty all undimm’d,
Assert their losty claims; and these are not
For one dark hour to cancel !—We are here,
Before that altar which received the vows
Of our unbroken youth, and meet it is
For such a witness, in the sight of Heaven,
And in the face of death, whose shadowy arm
Comes dim between us, to record th’ exchange
Of our tried hearts' forgiveness.-Who are they,
That in one path have journey’d, needing not

Forgiveness at its close f
(. 1 Citizen enters hastily.)

CITIZEN.

The Moors the Moors'

GONZALEZ.

How ! is the city storm'd : Oh! righteous Heaven —for this I look’d not yet! Hath all been done in vain f—Why then, 'tis time For prayer, and then to rest!

Citizen.
The sun shall set,

And not a Christian voice be left for prayer,
To-night within Valencia —Round our walls
The paymim host is gathering for th’ assault,
And we have none to guard them.

GONZALEZ.

Then my place Is here no longer.—I had hoped to die Ev’n by the altar and the sepulchre Of my brave sires—but this was not to be Give me my sword again, and lead me hence Back to the ramparts. I have yet an hour, And it hath still high duties—Now, my wise! Thou mother of my children—of the dead— Whom I name unto thee in stedfast hope— Farewell ! ELMINA.

No, not farewell !—My soul hath risen

To mate itself with thine! and by thy side
Amidst the hurtling lances I will stand,
As one on whom a brave man's love hath been
Wasted not utterly.
GONZALEZ.

I thank thee, Heaven
That I have tasted of the awful joy
Which thou hast given to temper hours like this,
With a deep sense of thee, and of thine ends

In these dread visitings'

(To ELMINA.) We will not part,
But with the spirit's parting !
ELMINA.
One farewell

To her, that mantled with sad loveliness,
Doth slumber at our feet!—My blessed child !
Oh! in thy heart's affliction thou wert strong,
And holy courage did pervade thy woe,
As light the troubled waters!—Be at peace :
Thou whose bright spirit made itself the soul
Of all that were around thee!—And thy life
E’en then was struck, and withering at the core :
—Farewell !—thy parting look hath on me fall'n,

E’en as a gleam of heaven, and I am now

« PreviousContinue »