Scene 1 An Apartment in the Royal Palace. D'Alba, Bertone. D'Alba. I've parted them at last. The livelong night The little King lay, like a page, before Her chamber door; and ever as he heard A struggling sigh within, he cried, alas! And echoed back her moan, and uttered words Of comfort. Happy boy. Bert. But he is gone Towards the gate: be sure to meet Prince Julian. D'Alba. For that I care not, so that I secure The vision that once flitted from my grasp And vanished like a rainbow. Bert. Yet is Julian Still dangerous. D'Alba. Why after noon to-day-- And see the sun's already high!--he dies If he be found in Sicily. Take thou Two resolute comrades to pursue his steps, Soon as the time be past. Didst thou not hear The proclamation? Know'st thou where he bides? And Melfi? Bert. Good, my lord, 'tis said the Duke Is dead. D'Alba. Dead! Bert. Certain 'tis that yesternight He walked from out the Judgment Hall like one Dreaming, with eyes that saw not, ears that heard No sound, staggering and tottering like old age Or infancy. And when the kingly robe Was plucked from him, and he forced from the gate, A deep wound in his side burst forth; the blood Welled like a fountain. D'Alba. And he died? Bert. He fell Fainting; and Julian, who had tended him Silently, with a spirit so absorbed His own shame seemed unfelt, fell on his neck Shrieking like maddening woman. There we left him, And there 'tis said he hath outwatched the night. D'Alba. There on the ground? Bert. So please you. D'Alba. Thou hast known A softer couch, Prince Julian. Is the litter Prepared? And the old groom? Bert. My lord, he waits Your pleasure. D'Alba. Call him hither. Exit Bertone. Blood welled out From a deep wound! Said old Leanti sooth? No matter! Either way he's guilty. Re-enter Bertone with Renzi. Ha! A reverend knave. Wast thou Prince Julian's huntsman? Renzi. An please you, Sir, I was. D'Alba. Dost know the Princess?-- Doth she know thee? Renzi. Full well, my Lord. I tended Prince Julian's favourite greyhound. It was strange How Lelia loved my lady,--the poor fool Hath pined for her this week past,--and my lady Loved Lelia. She would stroke her glossy head, And talk of Lelia's beauty, Lelia's speed, Till I was weary. D'Alba. And the angel deemed This slave as faithful as her dog! The better. Dost thou love ducats, Renzi? Tossing him a purse. Canst thou grace A lie with tongue and look and action? Renzi. Aye. D'Alba. Go to the Princess; say thy master sent thee To guide her to him, or the young Alfonso,-- Use either name, or both. Spare not for tears, Or curses. Lead her to the litter; see That Constance follows not. Bertone'll gain Admittance for thee--Go. Exit Renzi. Bertone seek me A supple churchman;--Know'st thou any? One Not scrupulous; one who loves gold, and laughs At conscience. Bring him to me. I must hasten Silently home. Let not the Princess guess That I have left the palace. Bert. No, my Lord. Exeunt severally.
SCENE II The Country just without the gates of Messina. A hilly back Ground. Melfi, lying on the Stage, Julian. Julian. He wakes! He is not dead! I am not yet A parricide. I dare not look on him; I dare not speak. Melfi. Water! my throat is scorched. Exit Julian. My tongue cleaves to my mouth. Water! Will none Go fetch me water? Am I here alone? Here on the bloody ground, as on that night-- Am I there still? No! I remember now. Yesterday I was King; to-day, I'm nothing; Cast down by my own son; stabbed in my fame; Branded and done to death; an outlaw where I ruled! He, whom I loved with such a pride, With such a fondness, hath done this; and I, I have not strength to drag me to his presence That I might rain down curses on his head, Might blast him with a look. Enter Julian. Julian. Here's water. Drink! Melfi. What voice is that? Why dost thou shroud thy face? Dost shame to shew thyself? Who art thou? Julian. Drink. I pray thee drink. Melfi. Is't poison? Julian. 'Tis the pure And limpid gushing of a natural spring Close by yon olive ground. A little child, Who stood beside the fount, watching the bright And many-coloured pebbles, as they seemed To dance in the bubling water, filled for me Her beechen cup, with her small innocent hand, And bade our Lady bless the draught! Oh drink! Have faith in such a blessing! Melfi. Thou should'st bring Nothing but poison. Hence, accursed cup! I'll perish in my thirst. I know thee, Sir. Julian. Father! Melfi. I have no son. I had one once, A gallant gentleman; but he--What, Sir, Didst thou never hear of that Sicilian Prince, Who made the fabulous tale of Greece a truth, And slew his father? The old Laius fell At once, unknowing and unknown; but this New Ĺ’dipus, he stabbed and stabbed and stabbed, And the poor wretch cannot die. Julian. I think my heart Is iron that it breaks not. Melfi. I should curse him-- And yet--Dost thou not know that I'm an outlaw, Under the ban? They stand in danger, Sir, That talk to me. Julian. I am an outlaw too. Thy fate is mine. Our sentence is alike. Melfi. What! have they banished thee? Julian. I should have gone, In very truth, I should have gone with thee, Aye to the end of the world. Melfi. What banish thee! Oh, foul ingratitude! Weak changeling boy! Julian. He knows it not. Father, this banishment Came as a comfort to me, set me free From warring duties and fatiguing cares, And left me wholly thine. We shall be happy; For she goes with us, who will prop thy steps, As once the maid of Thebes, Antigone, In that old tale. Chuse thou whatever land,-- All are alike to us. But pardon me! Say thou hast pardoned me! Melfi. My virtuous son! Julian. Oh thanks to thee and Heaven! He sinks; he's faint; His lips wax pale. I'll seek the spring once more: 'Tis thirst. Melfi. What music's that? Julian. I hear none. Melfi Hark! Julian Thou art weak and dizzy. Melfi Angels of the air, Cherub and Seraph sometimes watch around The dying, and the mortal sense, at pause 'Twixt life and death, doth drink in a faint echo Of heavenly harpings? Julian. I have heard so. Melfi. Aye; But they were just men, Julian! They were holy. They were not traitors. Julian. Strive against these thoughts-- Thou wast a brave man, Father!--fight against them, As 'gainst the Paynims thy old foes. He grows Paler and paler. Water from the spring; Or generous wine;--I saw a cottage near. Rest thee, dear Father, till I come. Exit Julian. Melfi. Again That music! It is mortal; it draws nearer. No. But if men should pass, must I lie here Like a crushed adder? Here in the highway Trampled beneath their feet?--So! So! I'll crawl To yonder bank. Oh that it were the deck Of some great Admiral, and I alone Boarding amidst a hundred swords! the breach Of some strong citadel, and I the first To mount in the cannon's mouth! I was brave once. Oh for the common undistinguished death Of battle, pressed by horse's heels, or crushed By falling towers! And thing but to lie Here like a leper! Enter Alfonso, Valore, and Calvi. Alfon. 'Tis the spot where Julian-- And yet I see him not. I'll pause awhile; 'Tis likely he'll return. I'll wait. Calvi. My liege, You're sad to day. Alfonso. I have good cause to be so. Valore. Nay, nay, cheer up. Alfonso. Didst thou not tell me, Sir, That my poor Uncle's banished, outlawed, laid Under the church's ban? Calvi. He would have slain His Sovereign. Alfonso. I ne'er said it. Yesterday I found you at his feet. Oh, would to Heaven That crown were on his head, and I--What's that? Valore. The moaning wind. Calvi. He was a traitor, Sire, Alfonso. He was my kinsman still. And Julian! Julian! My Cousin Julian! he who saved my life, Whose only crime it was to be too good, Too great, too well beloved,--to banish him! To tear him from my arms! Calvi. Sire, he confessed-- Alfonso. Ye should have questioned me. Sirs, I'm a boy, A powerless, friendless boy, whose name is used To cover foul oppression. If I live To grasp a sword--but ye will break my heart Before that hour. Whence come those groans? Seeing Melfi. My Uncle Stretched on the ground, and none to tend thee! Rest Thy head upon my arm. Where's Julian? Sure I thought to find him with thee. Nay, be still; Strive not to move. Melfi. I fain would kneel to thee For pardon. Calvi Listen not, my liege. The States Sentenced the Duke of Melfi; thou hast not The power to pardon. Leave him to his fate. Valore. 'Twere best your Highness came with us. Alfon. Avoid The place! Leave us, cold, courtly lords! Avoid My sight! Leave us, I say. Send instant succour, Food, water, wine, and men with hearts, if courts May breed such. Leave us. Exeunt Calvi and Valore. Melfi. Gallant boy! Alfon. Alas! I have no power. Melfi. For all I need thou hast. Give me but six feet of Sicilian earth, And thy sweet pardon. Alfon. Talk not thus. I'll grow At once into a man, into a king, And they shall tremble, and turn pale with fear. Who now have dared-- Enter Julian. Julian! Julian. Here's water. Ha! Alfonso! I thought Pity had been dead. I craved a little wine, for the dear love Of Heaven, for a poor dying man; and all Turned from my prayer. Drink, Alfon. I have sent For succour. Julian. Gentle heart! Melfi. The time is past. Music again. Alfon. Aye; 'tis a shepherd's pipe From yonder craggy mountain. How it swings Upon the wind, now pausing, now renewed, Regular as a bell. Melf. A passing bell. Alfon. Cast off these heavy thoughts. Melfi. Turn me. Alfon. He bleeds! The blood wells out. Melfi. It eases me. Julian. He sinks! He dies! Off! he's my father. Rest on me. Melfi. Bless thee. Julian Oh, no! no! no! I cannot bear Thy blessing. Twice to stab, and twice forgiven-- Oh curse me rather! Melfi. Bless ye both! Dies. Alfon. He's dead, And surely he died penitent. That thought Hath in it a deep comfort. The freed spirit Gushed out in a full tide of pardoning love. He blest us both, my Julian; even me As I had been his son. We'll pray for him Together, and thy Annabel shall join Her purest orisons. I left her stretched In a deep slumber. All night long she watched And wept for him and thee; but now she sleeps. Shall I go fetch her? She, better than I, Would soothe thee. Dost thou hear? He writhes as though The struggling grief would choke him. Rouse thee. Julian, Calm thee. Thou frighten'st me. Julian. Am I not calm? There is my sword. Go. Alfon. I'll not leave thee. Julian. King! Dost thou not see we've killed him? Thou had'st cause; But I, that was his Son.--Home to thy Palace! Home! Alfon. Let me stay beside thee; I'll not speak, Nor look, nor move. Let me but sit and drop Tear for tear with thee. Julian. Go. Alfon. My Cousin Julian-- Julian. Madden me not. I'm excommunicate, An exile, and an outlaw, but a man. Grant me the human privilege to weep Alone o'er my dead father. King, I saved Thy life. Repay me now a thousand-fold,-- Go. Alfon. Aye; for a sweet comforter. Enter Paolo. Paolo. My liege, The lady Annabel-- Julian. What? is she dead? Have I killed her? Alfon. Speak, Paolo. In thy charge I left her. Julian. Is she dead? Paolo. No. Heaven forefend! But she hath left the Palace. Julian. 'Tis the curse Of blood that's on my head; on all I love. She's lost. Alfon. Did she go forth alone? Paolo. My liege, Prince Julian's aged Huntsman, Renzi, came, Sent, as he said, by thee, to bear her where Her Lord was sheltered. Julian. Hoary traitor! Paolo. She Followed him, nothing fearing; and I too Had gone, but D'Alba's servants closed the gates, And then my heart misgave me. Julian. Where's my sword? I'll rescue her! I'll save her! Alfon. Hast thou traced Thy lady? Paolo. No, my liege. But much I fear-- Certain a closed and guarded litter took The way to the western suburb. Julian. There, where lies The palace of Count D'Alba! Stained--defiled-- He hath thee now, my lovely one! There's still A way--Let me but reach thee! One asylum-- One bridal bed--One resting place. All griefs Are lost in this. Oh would I lay as thou, My Father! Leave him not in the high-way For dogs to mangle. He was once a Prince. Farewell! Alfon. Let me go with thee. Julian. No. This deed Is mine. Exit Julian. Alfon. Paolo stay by the corse. I'll after, He shall not on this desperate quest alone. Paolo. Rather, my liege, seek D'Alba:-- I deem He still is at thy Palace. Watch him well. Stay by him closely. So may the sweet lady Be rescued, and Prince Julian saved. Alf. Thou'rt right. Exeunt.
Scene III An Apartment in an old Tower; a rich Gothic Window, closed, but so constructed as that the Light may be thrown in, near it a small arched Door, beyond which is seen an Inner Chamber, with an open Casement.--Annabel is borne in by D'Alba and Guards, through a strong Iron Door in the side Scene. D'Alba, Annabel, Guards. D'Alba. Leave her with me. Guard well the gate; and watch That none approach the tower. Exeunt Guards. Fair Annabel! Annab. Who is it calls? Where am I? Who art thou? Why am I here? Now heaven preserve me, D'Alba! Where's Julian? Where's Prince Julian? Where's my husband? Renzi, who lured me from the palace, swore It was to meet my husband. D'Alba. Many an oath First sworn in falsehood turns to truth. He's here. Calm thee, sweet lady. Annab. Where? I see him not. Julian! D'Alba. Another husband. Annab. Then he's dead! He's dead! D'Alba. He lives. Annab. Heard I aright? Again! There is a deafening murmur in mine ears, Like the moaning sound that dwells in the sea shell, So that I hear nought plainly. Say't again. D'Alba. He lives. Annab. Now, thanks to Heaven! Take me to him. Where am I? D'Alba. In an old and lonely tower At the end of my poor orchard. Annab. Take me home. D'Alba. Thou hast no home. Annab. No home! His arms! his heart! Take me to him. D'Alba. Sweet Annabel, be still. Conquer this woman's vain impatiency, And listen. Why she trembles as I were Some bravo. Oh that man's free heart should bow To a fair cowardice! Listen. Thou know'st The sentence of the Melfi? Annab. Aye, the unjust And wicked doom that ranked the innocent With the guilty. But I murmur not. I love To suffer with him. D'Alba. He is banished; outlawed, Cut off from every human tie;-- Annab. Not all. I am his wife. D'Alba. Under the Church's ban. I tell thee, Annabel, that learned Priest, The sage Anselmo, deems thou art released From thy unhappy vows; and will to night-- Annab. Stop. I was wedded in the light of day In the great church at Naples. Blessed day! I am his wife; bound to him ever more In sickness, penury, disgrace. Count D'Alba, Thou dost misprize the world, but thou must know That woman's heart is faithful, and clings closest In misery. D'Alba. If the Church proclaim thee free-- Annab. Sir, I will not be free; and if I were I'd give myself to Julian o'er again-- Only to Julian! Trifle thus no longer. Lead me to him. Release me. D'Alba. Now, by heaven, I'll bend this glorious constancy. I've known thee Even from a little child, and I have seen That stubborn spirit broken: not by fear, That thou can'st quell; nor interest; nor ambition; But love! love! love! I tell thee, Annabel, One whom thou lov'st, stands in my danger. Wed me This very night--I will procure a priest And dispensations, there shall nothing lack Of nuptial form--Wed me, or look to hear Of bloody justice. Annab. My poor father, Melfi! D'Alba. The Regent? He is dead. Annab. God hath been merciful. D'Alba. Is there no other name? no dearer? Annab. Ha! D'Alba. Hadst thou such tender love for this proud father, Who little recked of thee, or thy fair looks;-- Is all beside forgotten? Annab. Speak! D'Alba. Why, Julian! Julian, I say! Annab. He is beyond thy power. Thanks, thanks, great God! He's ruined, exiled, stripped Of name, and land, and titles. He's as dead. Thou hast no power to harm him. He can fall No deeper. Earth hath not a lowlier state Than princely Julian fills. D'Alba. Doth not the grave Lie deeper? Annab. What? But thou hast not the power! Hast thou? Thou canst not. Oh be pitiful! Speak, I conjure thee, speak! D'Alba. Didst thou not hear That he was exiled, outlawed, banished far From the Sicilian Isles, on pain of death. If, after noon to-day, he e'er were seen In Sicily? The allotted bark awaits; The hour is past; and he is here. Annab. Now heaven Have mercy on us! D'Alba, at thy feet, Upon my bended knees--Oh pity! pity! Pity and pardon! I'll not rise. I cannot. I cannot stand more than a creeping worm Whilst Julian's in thy danger. Pardon him! Thou wast not cruel once. I've seen thee turn Thy step from off the path to spare an insect; I've marked thee shudder, when my falcon struck A panting bird;--though thou hast tried to sneer At thy own sympathy. D'Alba, thy heart Is kinder than thou knowest. Save him, D'Alba! Save him! D'Alba. Be mine. Annab. Am I not his? D'Alba. Be mine; And he shall live to the whole age of man Unharmed. Annab. I'm his.--Oh--Oh spare him!--Only his. D'Alba. Then it is thou that dost enforce the law On Julian; thou, his loving wife, that guid'st The officer to seize him where he lies Upon his father's corse; thou that dost lead Thy husband to the scaffold;--thou his wife, His loving wife! Thou yet may'st rescue him. Annab. Now, God forgive thee, man! Thou torturest me Worse than a thousand racks. But thou art not So devilish, D'Alba. Thou hast talked of love;-- Would'st see me die here at thy feet? Have mercy! D'Alba. Mercy! Aye, such as thou hast shewn to me Through weeks and months and years. I was born strong In scorn, the wise man's passion. I had lived Aloof from the juggling world, and with a string Watched the poor puppets ape their several parts; Fool, knave, or madman; till thy fatal charms, Beautiful mischief, made me knave and fool And madman; brought revenge and love and hate Into my soul. I love and hate thee, lady, And doubly hate myself for loving thee. But, by this teeming earth, this starry Heaven, And by thyself the fairest stubbornest thing The fair stars shine upon, I swear to-night Thou shalt be mine. If willingly, I'll save Prince Julian;--but still mine. Speak. Shall he live? Canst thou not speak? Wilt thou not save him? Annab. No. D'Alba. Did she die with the word! Dost hear me, lady? I asked thee wouldst thou save thy husband? Annab. No. Not so! Not so! D'Alba. 'Tis well. Exit D'Alba. Annab. Stay! Stay! He's gone. Count D'Alba! Save him! Save him! D'Alba's gone, And I have sentenced him. After a pause. He would have chosen so, Would rather have died a thousand deaths than so Have lived! Oh who will succour me, shut up In this lone tower! none but those horrid guards, And yonder hoary traitor, know where the poor, Poor Annabel is hidden; no man cares How she may perish--only one--and he-- Preserve my wits! I'll count my beads; 'twill calm me: What if I hang my rosary from the casement? There is a brightness in the gorgeous jewel To catch men's eyes, and haply, some may pass That are not pitiless. This window's closed; But in yon chamber--Ah, 'tis open! There I'll hang the holy gem, a guiding star, A visible prayer to man and God. Oh save me From sin and shame! Save him! I'll hang it there. Exit. End of the Fourth Act