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Otho. Albert, I speak to you as to a man Whose words once utter'd pass like current gold; And therefore fit to calmly put a close To this brief tempest. Do you stand possess'd Of any proof against the honourableness Of Lady Auranthe, our new-spoused daughter? Albert. You chill me with astonishment. How's

this? My Liege, what proof should I have 'gainst a fame Impossible of slur?

[OTHO rises. Erminia.

O wickedness!
Ethelbert. Deluded monarch, 'tis a cruel lie.
Otho. Peace, rebel-priest!
Conrad.

Insult beyond credence !
Erminia. Almost a dream!.
Ludolph.

We have awaked from !
A foolish dream that from my brow hath wrung
A wrathful dew. O folly! why did I
So act the lion with this silly gnat ?
Let them depart. Lady Erminia !
I ever grieved for you, as who did not?
But now you have, with such a brazen front,
So most maliciously, so madly striven
To dazzle the soft moon, when tenderest clouds
Should be unloop'd around to curtain her;
I leave you to the desert of the world

Almost with pleasure. Let them be set free
For me! I take no personal revenge
More than against a nightmare, which a man
Forgets in the new dawn.

[Exit LUDOLPH Otho. Still in extremes! No, they must not be loose.

Ethelbert. Albert, I must suspect thee of a crime So fiendish

Otho. Fear'st thou not my fury, monk ?
Conrad, be they in your safe custody
Till we determine some fit punishment.
It is so mad a deed, I must reflect
And question them in private ; for perhaps,
By patient scrutiny, we may discover
Whether they merit death, or should be placed
In care of the physicians.

[Exeunt OTHo and Nobles, ALBERT following.
Conrad. My guards, ho !
Erminia.

Albert, wilt thou follow there? Wilt thou creep dastardly behind his back, And shrink

away

from a weak woman's eye ? Turn, thou court-Janus! thou forget'st thyself ; Here is the duke, waiting with open arms,

[Enter Guards. To thank thee; here congratulate each other; Wring hands; embrace; and swear how lucky 'twas

That I, by happy chance, hit the right man
Of all the world to trust in.
Albert.

Trust! to me!
Conrad (aside). He is the sole one in this mystery.
Erminia. Well, I give up, and save my prayers

for Heaven!
You, who could do this deed, would ne'er relent,
Though, at my words, the hollow prison-vaults
Would groan for pity.
Conrad.

Manacle them both !
Ethelbert. I know it-it must be- I see it all!
Albert, thou art the minion !
Erminia.

Ah ! too plain-
Conrad. Silence ! Gag up their mouths! I cannot

bear
More of this brawling. That the Emperor
Had placed you in some other custody!
Bring them away.

[Exeunt all but ALBERT. Albert. Though my name perish from the book of

honour,
Almost before the recent ink is dry,
And be no more remember'd after death,
Than any drummer's in the muster-roll;
Yet shall I season high my sudden fall
With triumph o'er that evil-witted duke !
He shall feel what it is to have the hand

Of a man drowning, on his hateful throat.

Enter GERSA and SIGIFRED. Gersa. What discord is at ferment in this house?

Sigifred. We are without conjecture; not a soul We met could answer any certainty.

Gersa. Young Ludolph, like a fiery arrow, shot
By us.
Sigifred. The Emperor, with crossd arms, in

thought.
Gersa. In one room music, in another sadness,
Perplexity every where !
Albert.

A trifle more!
Follow; your presences will much avail
To tune our jarred spirits. I 'll explain.

Exeunt.

ACT IV.

SCENE I.-AURANTHE's Apartment.

AURANTHE and CONRAD discovered.

Conrad. Well, well, I know what ugly jeopardy We are caged in; you need not pester that Into my ears. Pr’ythee, let me be spared A foolish tongue, that I may

bethink me Of remedies with some deliberation.

You cannot doubt but 'tis in Albert's power
To crush or save us ?
Auranthe.

No, I cannot doubt.
He has, assure yourself, by some strange means,
My secret; which I ever hid from him,
Knowing his mawkish honesty.
Conrad.

Cursed slave! Auranthe. Ay, I could almost curse him now

myself. Wretched impediment! Evil genius! A glue upon my wings, that cannot spread, When they should span the provinces! A snake, A scorpion, sprawling on the first gold step, Conducting to the throne, high canopied. Conrad. You would not hear my counsel, when his

life
Might have been trodden out, all sure and hush’d;
Now the dull animal forsooth must be
Intreated, managed! When can you contrive
The interview he demands ?
Auranthe.

As speedily
It must be done as my bribed woman can
Unseen conduct him to me ; but I fear
'Twill be impossible, while the broad day
Comes through the panes with persecuting glare.
Methinks, if 't now were night I could intrigue
With darkness, bring the stars to second me,

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