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Erminia. Yes, he was ever known to be a man
Frank, open, generous; Albert I may trust.
O proof! proof! proof! Albert's an honest man;
Not Ethelbert the monk, if he were here,
Would I hold more trustworthy. Now!

Enter ALBERT.

Albert.

Good Gods !
Lady Erminia! are you prisoner
In this beleaguer'd camp? Or are you here
Of

your own will ? You pleased to send for me.
By Venus, 'tis a pity I knew not
Your plight before, and, by her Son, I swear
To do you every service you can ask.
What would the fairest — ?
Erminia.

Albert, will

you swear? Albert. I have. Well! Erminia.

Albert,

you

have fame to lose. If men, in court and camp, lie not outright, You should be, from a thousand, chosen forth To do an honest deed. Shall I confide — ?

Albert. Aye, anything to me, fair creature. Do, Dictate

my

task. Sweet woman,Erminia.

Truce with that. You understand me not; and, in your speech, I see how far the slander is abroad.

Without proof could you

think me innocent? Albert. Lady, I should rejoice to know you so.

Erminia. If you have any pity for a maid,
Suffering a daily death from evil tongues ;
Any compassion for that Emperor's niece,
Who, for your bright sword and clear honesty,
Lifted

you

from the crowd of common men Into the lap of honour ;—save me, knight!

Albert. How? Make it clear; if it be possible,
I by the banner of Saint Maurice swear
To right you.

Erminia. Possible !—Easy. O my heart !
This letter 's not so soil'd but you may read it ;-
Possible! There—that letter! Read—read it.

[Gives him a letter.

ALBERT (reading.) “To the Duke Conrad.-Forget the threat you made at parting, and I will forget to send the Emperor letters and papers of your's I have become possessed of. His life is no trifle to me; his death you shall find none to yourself." (Speaks to himself.) 'Tis me—my life that 's pleaded for! (Reads.) “He, for his own sake, will be dumb as the grave. Erminia has my shame fix'd upon her, sure as a wen.

We are safe.

“ AURANTHE.

A she-devil! A dragon! I her imp!

VOL. II.

Fire of Hell ! Auranthe-lewd demon!
Where got you this? Where? When ?

Erminia. I found it in the tent, among some spoils
Which, being noble, fell to Gersa's lot.
Come in, and see.

[They go in and return. Albert.

Villany! Villany! Conrad's sword, his corslet, and his helm, And his letter. Caitiff, he shall feelErminia. I see you are thunderstruck. Haste,

haste away! Albert. 0 I am tortured by this villany.

Erminia. You needs must be. Carryit swift to Otho; Tell him, moreover, I am prisoner Here in this camp, where all the sisterhood, Forced from their quiet cells, are parcell'd out For slaves among these Huns. Away! Away!

Albert. I am gone.

Erminia. Swift be your steed! Within this hour The Emperor will see it. Albert.

Ere I sleep : That I can swear.

[Hurries out. Gersa (without). Brave captains! thanks. Enough Of loyal homage now!

Enter GERSA.

Erminia.

Hail, royal Hun!

Gersu. What means this, fair one? Why in such

alarm ?
Who was it hurried by me so distract ?
It seem'd you were in deep discourse together;
Your doctrine has not been so harsh to him
As to my poor deserts. Come, come, be plain.
I am no jealous fool to kill you both,
Or, for such trifles, rob th' adorned world
Of such a beauteous vestal.
Erminia.

I grieve, my Lord,
To hear you condescend to ribald-phrase.
Gersa. This is too much! Hearken, my lady

pure! Erminia. Silence! and hear the magic of a nameErminia! I am she,—the Emperor's niece ! Praised be the Heavens, I now dare own myself!

Gersa. Erminia ! Indeed! I've heard of her. Pr’ythee, fair lady, what chance brought you here?

Erminiu. Ask your own soldiers.
Gersa.

And

you dare own your name. For loveliness you may—and for the rest My vein is not censorious. Erminia.

Alas! poor me!
'Tis false indeed.
Gersa.

Indeed you are too fair :
The swan, soft leaning on her fledgy breast,
When to the stream she launches, looks not back

With such a tender grace ; nor are her wings
So white as your soul is, if that but be
Twin picture to your face. Erminia !
To-day, for the first day, I am a king,
Yet would I give my unworn crown away
To know you spotless.
Erminia.

Trust me one day more,
Generously, without more certain guarantee,
Than this poor face you deign to praise so much;
After that, say and do whate'er you please,
If I have any knowledge of you, sir,
I think, nay I am sure you will grieve much
To hear my story. O be gentle to me,
For I am sick and faint with many wrongs,
Tired out, and weary-worn with contumelies.
Gersa. Poor lady!

Enter ETHELBERT.
Erminia.

Gentle Prince, 'tis false indeed. Good morrow, holy father! I have had Your prayers, though I look'd for you in vain.

Ethelbert. Blessings upon you, daughter! Sure

you look

Too cheerful for these foul pernicious days.
Young man, you heard this virgin say 'twas false, -
'Tis false I say. What! can you not employ
Your temper elsewhere, 'mong these burly tents,
But you must taunt this dove, for she hath lost

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