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FIRST PEASANT.

This man should be a prophet : how he seem'd
To read our hearts with his dark searching glance
And aspect of command ! And yet his garb
Is mean as ours.

SECOND PEASANT.

Speak low ; I know him well.
At first his voice disturb'd me like a dream
Of other days; but I remember now
His form, seen oft when in my youth I served
Beneath the banners of our kings. 'Tis he
Who hath been exiled and proscribed so long,
The Count di Procida.

PEASANT.

And is this he?
Then Heaven protect him! for around his steps
Will many snares be set.

FIRST PEASANT.

He comes not thus But with some mighty purpose ; doubt it not : Perchance to bring us freedom. He is one, Whose faith, through many a trial, hath been proved True to our native princes. But away! The noon-tide heat is past, and from the seas

Light gales are wandering through the vineyards ; now We may resume our toil.

[Exeunt PEASANTS.

SCENE II.— The Terrace of a Castle.

ERIBERT. VITTORIA.

VITTORIA.

Have I not told thee, that I bear a heart
Blighted and cold ?—Th’ affections of my youth
Lie slumbering in the grave; their fount is closed,
And all the soft and playful tenderness
Which hath its home in woman's breast, ere yet
Deep wrongs have seard it; all is fled from mine.
Urge me no more.

ERIBERT.

O lady! doth the flower
That sleeps entomb'd through the long wintry storms
Unfold its beauty to the breath of spring;
And shall not woman's heart, from chill despair,
Wake at love's voice?

VITTORIA.

Love !-make love's name thy spell,
And I am strong !—the very word calls up
From the dark past, thoughts, feelings, powers, array'd
In arms against thee Know'st thou whom I loved,
While my soul's dwelling-place was still on earth ?
One who was born for empire, and endow'd
With such high gifts of princely majesty,
As bow'd all hearts before him !-Was he not
Brave, royal, beautiful ?-And such he died;
He died !-hast thou forgotten ?--And thou 'rt here,
Thou meet'st my glance with eyes which coldly look’d,

- Coldly !_nay, rather with triumphant gaze,
Upon his murder !—Desolate as I am,
Yet in the mien of thine affianced bride,
Oh, my lost Conradin ! there should be still
Somewhat of loftiness, which might o'erawe
The hearts of thine assassins.

ERIBERT.

Haughty dame!
If thy proud heart to tenderness be closed,
Know, danger is around thee: thou hast foes
That seek thy ruin, and my power alone
Can shield thee from their arts.

VITTORIA.

Provençal, tell
Thy tale of danger to some happy heart,
Which hath its little world of loved ones round,
For whom to tremble ; and its tranquil joys
That make earth, Paradise. I stand alone;
- They that are blest may fear.

ERIBERT.

Is there not one Who ne'er commands in vain ?-proud lady, bend Thy spirit to thy fate ; for know that he, Whose car of triumph in its earthquake path O'er the bow'd neck of prostrate Sicily, Hath borne him to dominion; he, my king, Charles of Anjou, decrees thy hand the boon My deeds have well deserved; and who hath

power Against his mandates ?

VITTORIA.

Viceroy, tell thy lord, That e'en where chains lie heaviest on the land, Souls may not all be feiter’d. Oft, ere now, Conquerors have rock'd the earth, yet fail'd to tame Unto their purposes, that restless fire, Inhabiting man's breast.—A spark bursts forth,

And so they perish 'tis the fate of those
Who sport with lightning—and it may be bis.
-Tell him I fear him not, and thus am free.

ERIBERT.

'Tis well. Then nerve that lofty lieart to bear
The wrath which is not powerless. Yet again
Bethink thee, lady !-Love may change-hath chang'd
To vigilant hatred ost, whose sleepless eye
Still finds what most it seeks for. Fare thee well.
-Look to it yet !—To-morrow I return.

[Exit ERIBERT.

VITTORIA.

To-morrow !—Some ere now have slept, and dreamt
Of morrows which ne'er dawn’d-or ne'er for them ;
So silently their deep and still repose
Hath melted into death !-Are there not balms
In nature's boundless realm, to pour out sleep
Like this, on me?-Yet should my spirit still
Endure its eartbly bonds, till it could bear
To his a glorious tale of his own isle,
Free and avenged.Thou should'st be now at work,
In wrath, my native Etna ! who dost lift
Thy spiry pillar of dark smoke so high,
Through the red heaven of sunset !—sleep’st thou still,

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