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With all thy founts of fire, while spoilers tread
The glowing vales beneath
(PRocIDA enters disguised.)
Ha! who art thou,
Unbidden guest, that with so mute a step
Dost steal upon me?
One, o'er whom hath pass'd
All that can change man's aspect —Yet not long
Shalt thou find safety in forgetfulness.
—I am he, to breathe whose name is perilous,
Unless thy wealth could bribe the winds to silence.
—Know'st thou this, lady ?— [He shows a ring.
Righteous Heaven the pledge
Amidst his people from the scaffold thrown
By him who perish'd, and whose kingly blood
E’en yet is unatoned.—My heart beats high—
—Oh, welcome, welcome ! thou art Procida,
Th’Avenger, the Deliverer!
Call me so
When my great task is done. Yet who can tell
If the return'd be welcome 2—Many a heart
Is changed since last we met.
Why dost thou gaze,
With such a still and solemn earnestness,
Upon my alter'd mien f
That I may read
If to the widow’d love of Conradin,
Or the proud Eribert's triumphant bride,
I now entrust my fate.
That thou shouldst wrong me thus !—Prolong thy gaze
Till it hath found an answer.
I find it in thy cheek, whose rapid change
Is from death's hue to fever's; in the wild
Unsettled brightness of thy proud dark eye,
And in thy wasted form. Aye, ’tis a deep
And solemn joy, thus in thy looks to trace,
Instead of youth's gay bloom, the characters
Of noble suffering;-on thy brow the same
Commanding spirit holds its native state
Which could not stoop to vileness. Yet the voice
Of Fame hath told afar that thou shouldst wed
This tyrant, Eribert.
And told it not
A tale of insolent love repell'd with scorn,
Of stern commands and fearful menaces
Met with indignant courage –Procida |
It was but now that haughtily I braved
His sovereign's mandate, which decrees my hand,
With its fair appanage of wide domains
And wealthy vassals, a most fitting boon,
To recompense his crimes.—I smiled—aye, smiled—
In proud security for the high of heart
Have still a pathway to escape disgrace,
Though it be dark and lone.
Thou shalt not need
To tread its shadowy mazes. Trust my words:
I tell thee, that a spirit is abroad,
Which will not slumber till its path be traced
By deeds of fearful fame. Vittoria, live!
It is most meet that thou shouldst live to see
The mighty expiation; for thy heart
(Forgive me that I wrong'd its faith) hath nursed
A high, majestic grief, whose seal is set
Deep on thy marble brow.
Then thou canst tell,
By gazing on the wither'd rose, that there
Time, or the blight, hath work'd'—Aye, this is in
Thy vision's scope: but oh! the things unseen,
Untold, undreamt of, which like shadows pass
Hourly o'er that mysterious world, a mind
To ruin struck by grief!—Yet doth my soul,
Far, 'midst its darkness, nurse one soaring hope,
Wherein is bright vitality.—"Tis to see
His blood aveng'd, and his fair heritage,
My beautiful native land, in glory risen,
Like a warrior from his slumbers!
Hear'st thou not
With what a deep and ominous moan, the voice
Of our great mountain swells?—There will be soon
A fearful burst'—Vittoria! brood no more
In silence o'er thy sorrows, but go forth
Amidst thy vassals, (yet be secret still)
And let thy breath give nurture to the spark
Thou'lt find already kindled. I move on
In shadow, yet awakening in my path
That which shall startle nations. Fare thee well.
When shall we meet again —Are we not those
Whom most he loved on earth, and think'st thou not
That love e'en yet shall bring his spirit near
While thus we hold communion ?
Yes, I feel
Its breathing influence whilst I look on thee,
Who wert its light in life. Yet will we not
Make womanish tears our offering on his tomb;
He shall have nobler tribute —I must hence,
But thou shalt soon hear more. Await the time.