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MONTALBA.

Pity !-fond youth !—My soul disdains the grief
Which doth unbosom its deep secrecies,
To ask a vain companionship of tears,
And so to be relieved !

PROCIDA,

For woes like these, There is no sympathy but vengeance.

MONTALBA.

None !

Therefore I brought you hither, that your hearts
Might catch the spirit of the scene!-Look round !
We are in the awful presence of the dead ;
Within yon tomb they sleep, whose gentle blood
Weighs down the murderer's soul.— They sleep!-but I
Am wakeful o'er their dust !-I laid my sword,
Without its sheath, on their sepulchral stone,
As on an altar; and th' eternal stars,
And heaven, and night, bore witness to my vow,
No more to wield it save in one great cause,
The vengeance of the grave !--And now the hour
Of that atonement comes !

(He takes the sword from the tomb.)

RAIMOND.

My spirit burns !

And my full heart almost to bursting swells.

-Oh! for the day of battle !

PROCIDA.

Raimond! they Whose souls are dark with guiltless blood must die; -But not in battle.

RAIMOND.

How, my father!

PROCIDA.

No! Look on that sepulchre, and it will teach Another lesson.—But th' appointed hour Advances.—Thou wilt join our chosen band, Noble Montalba ?

MONTALBA.

Leave me for a time, That I may calm my soul by intercourse With the still dead, before I mix with men, And with their passions. I have nursed for years, In silence and in solitude, the flame Which doth consume me ; and it is not used Thus to be look'd or breathed on. :-Procida ! I would be tranquil—or appear so-ere I join your brave confederates. Through my heart There struck a pang—but it will soon have pass’d.

PROCIDA.

Remember !-in the cavern by the cross.
Now, follow me, my son.

[Exeunt Procida and RAIMOND.
MONTALBA (after a pause, leaning on the tomb).
Said he, “my son ?–Now, why should this man's life
Go down in hope, thus resting on a son,
And I be desolate ?-How strange a sound
Was that—“ my son !”—I had a boy, who might
Have worn as free a soul upon his brow
As doth this youth.—Why should the thought of him
Thus haunt me?—when I tread the peopled ways
Of life again, I shall be pass'd each hour
By fathers with their children, and I must
Learn calmly to look on.—Methinks 'twere now
A gloomy consolation to behold
All men bereft, as I am !-But away,
Vain thoughts !-One task is left for blighted hearts,
And it shall be fulfill'd.

[Exit MONTALBA.

Scene IV.—Entrance of a Cave, surrounded by Rocks

and Forests. A rude Cross seen amongst the Rocks.

[blocks in formation]

And is it thus, beneath the solemn skies
Of midnight, and in solitary caves,
Where the wild forest-creatures make their lair,-
Is 't thus the chiefs of Sicily must hold
The councils of their country!

RAIMOND.

Why, such scenes
In their primeval majesty, beheld
Thus by faint starlight, and the partial glare
Of the red-streaming lava, will inspire
Far deeper thoughts than pillar'd halls, wherein
Statesmen hold weary vigils.—Are we not
O’ershadow'd by that Etna, which of old
With its dread prophecies, hath struck dismay
Through tyrants' hearts, and bade them seek a hone
In other climes ?-Hark! from its depths e'en now
What hollow moans are sent !

Enter MONTALBA, Guido, and other SICILIANS.

PROCIDA.

Welcome, my brave associates !–We can share
The wolf's wild freedom here !—Th' oppressor's haunt
Is not 'midst rocks and caves. Are we all met?

SICILIANS.

All, all !

PROCIDA.

The torchlight, sway'd by every gust,
But dimly shows your features.-Where is he
Who from his battles had return'd to breathe
Once more, without a corslet, and to meet
The voices, and the footsteps, and the smiles,
Blent with his dreams of home? –Of that dark tale
The rest is known to vengeance !-Art thou here,
With thy deep wrongs and resolute despair,
Childless Montalba?

MONTALBA (advancing).

He is at thy side. Call on that desolate father, in the hour When his revenge is nigh.

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