« PreviousContinue »
Piz. Drag him before us. [Gomez leads in Orozembo.] What art thou, stranger?
Oro. First tell me who is the captain of this band of robu bers.
Piz. Audacious! This insolence has sealed thy doom. Die thou shalt, gray headed ruffian. But first confess what thou knowest.
Oro. I know that which thou hast just assured me of, that I shall die.
Piz. Less audacity might have preserved thy life.
Even now we march against the Peruvian army. We know there is a secret path that leads to your strong hold among the rocks. Guide us to that, and name thy reward. If wealth be thy wish
Oro. Ha, ha, ha!
Oro. Yes, thee and thy offer! Wealth! I have the wealth of two gallant sons. I have stored in heaven the riches which repay good actions here! and still my chiefest treasure do I wear about me.
Piz. What is that? Inform me.
Oro. I will, for thou canst never tear it from me. An unsullied conscience.
Piz. I believe there is no other Peruvian who dares speak as thou dost.
Oro. Would I could believe there is no other Spaniard who dares act as thou dost.
Gom. Obdurate Pagan! how numerous is your army?
Gom. Where have you concealed your wives and children?
Oro. In the hearts of their husbands and fathers.
Oro. Know him! Alonzo! Our nation's benefactor, the guardian angel of Peru!
Piz. By what has he merited that title?
Piz. Who is this Rolla, joined with Alonzo in command ?
Oro. I will answer that, for I love to speak the hero's
Rolla, the kinsman of the king, is the idol of our army. In war a tiger, in peace a lamb. Cora was once betrothed to him, but finding she preferred Alonzo, he resigned his claim for Cora's happiness. Piz. Romantic savage! I shall meet this Rolla soon.
Oro. Thou hadst better not! the terrors of his noble eye would strike thee dead.
Gom. Silence, or tremble!
Oro. Beardless robber! I never yet have learned to tremble before man - Why before thee, thou less than man!
Gom. Another word, audacious heathen, and I strike! Oro. Strike, Christian! then boast among thy fellows, I too, have murdered a Peruvian."
Sentinel, Rolla and Alonzo.-KOTZEBUE.
[Enter Rolla disguised as a monk.] Rolla. Inform me, friend, is Alonzo, the Peruvian, confined in this dungeon?
Sent. He is.
Rolla. (Advancing towards the door.] Soldier-I must speak with him.
Sent. [Pushing him back with his gun.] Back! back! it is impossible.
Rolla. I do entreat you but for one moment.
Look on these precious gems. In thy land they will be wealth for thee and thine, beyond thy hope or wish. Take them, they are thine, let me but pass one moment with Alonzo.
Sent. Away! Wouldst thou corrupt me? Me, an old Castilian! I know my duty better.
Rolla. Soldier! hast thou a wife?
Rolla. Hast thou children?
Rolla. Dost thou love thy wife and children?
Rolla. Soldier! Imagine thou wert doomed to die a cruel death in a strange land—What would be thy last request?
Sent. That some of my comrades should carry my dying olessing to my wife and children.
Rolla. What if that comrade was at thy prison door, and should there be told, thy fellow soldier dies at sunrise, yet thou shalt not for a moment see him, nor shalt thou bear his dying blessing to his poor children, or his wretchea wife what wouldst thou think of him who thus could drive thy comrade from the door?
Rolla. Alonzo has a wife and child; and I am come but to receive for her, and for her poor babe, the last blessing of my friend.
Sent. Go in. [Exit Sentinel.]
[Enter Alonzo, speaking as he comes in.]
Rolla. There is not a moment to be lost in words. This disguise I tore from the dead body of a friar, as I passed our field of battle. It has gained me entrance to thy dungeon; now take it thou, and fly.
Alon. And Rolla-
Rolla. I shall not die, Alonzo. It is thy life Pizarro seeks, not Rolla's; and thy arm may soon deliver me from prison. Or, should it be otherwise, I am as a blighted tree in the desert; nothing lives beneath my shelter. Thou art a husband and a father; the being of a lovely wife and helpless infant depend upon thy life. Go! go! Alonzo, not to save thyself, but Cora, ard thy child.
Alon. Urge me not thus, my friend-I am prepared to
die in peace.
Rolla. To die in peace! devoting her you have sworn to live for, to madness, misery, and death!
Alon. Merciful heavens!
Rolla. If thou art yet irresolute, Alonzo-now mark me well. Thou knowest that Rolla never pledged his word and shrunk from its fulfilment. Know then, if thou art proudly, obstinate, thou shalt have the desperate triumph of seeing Rolla perish by thy side.
Alon. O Rolla! you distract me! Wear you the robe, and though dreadful the necessity, we will strike down the guard, and force our passage.
Rolla. What, the soldier on duty here?
Alon. Yes, else seeing two, the alarm will be instant death.
Rolla. For my nation's safety, I would not harm him. That soldier, mark me,
is a man! All are not men that wear the human form. He refused my prayers, refused
my gold, denying to admit—till his own feelings bribed him. I will not risk a hair of that man's head, to save my heartstrings from consuming fire. But haste! A moment's further pause
and all is lost. Alon. Rolla, I fear thy friendship drives me from honour and from right.
Rolla. Did Rolla ever counsel dishonour to his friend? [Throwing the friar's garment over his shoulders.] There! conceal thy face-Now God be with thee.
God.- Translated froin a Russian Ode by DERZHANIR
2 A million torches lighted by thy hand,
Wander unwearied through the blue abyss;
But thou to these art as the noon to night. 3 Yes! as a drop of water in the sea,
All this magnificence is lost in thee:-
Pervading worlds, hath reached my bosom too;
I am, O God, and surely thou must be!
Direct my understanding then to thee;