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1st Knight.

There, sir,
In the next room; have you remark'd those two
Stout soldiers posted at the door ?

For what?

[They whisper. 1st Lady. How ghast a train ! 2nd Lady. Sure this should be some splendid

burial. 1st Lady. What fearful whispering! See, see,

Gersa there!

Enter GERSA.

Gersa. Put on your brightest looks; smile if you

Behave as all were happy; keep your eyes
From the least watch upon him; if he speaks
To any one, answer, collectedly,
Without surprise, his questions, howe'er strange.
Do this to the utmost,—though, alas ! with me
The remedy grows hopeless! Here he comes,-
Observe what I have said, -show no surprise.

Enter LUDOLPH, followed by SIGIFRED and Page. Ludolph. A splendid company! rare beauties

here! I should have Orphean lips, and Plato's fancy, Amphion's utterance, toned with his lyre,

Or the deep key of Jove's sonorous mouth,
To give fit salutation. Methought I heard,
As I came in, some whispers,—what of that ?
'Tis natural men should whisper; at the kiss
Of Psyche given by Love, there was a buzz
Among the gods !—and silence is as natural.
These draperies are fine, and, being a mortal,
I should desire no better; yet, in truth,
There must be some superior costliness,
Some wider-domed high magnificence !
I would have, as a mortal I may not,
Hangings of heaven's clouds, purple and gold,
Slung from the spheres ; gauzes of silver mist,
Loop'd up with cords of twisted wreathed light,
And tassell’d round with weeping meteors !
These pendent lamps and chandeliers are bright
As earthly fires from dull dross can be cleansed ;
Yet could my eyes



intenser beams Undazzled,—this is darkness, when I close These lids, I see far fiercer brilliances,– Skies full of splendid moons, and shooting stars, And spouting exhalations, diamond fires, And panting fountains quivering with deep glows ! Yes—this is dark-is it not dark ?

Sigifred. 'Tis late ; the lights of festival are ever Quench'd in the morn.

My Lord,


'Tis not to-morrow then? Sigifred. 'Tis early dawn. Gersa,

Indeed full time we slept ; Say you so, Prince ?

Ludolph. I say I quarrell’d with you ; We did not tilt each other,—that's a blessing, Good gods ! no innocent blood upon my head !

Sigifred. Retire, Gersa !

Ludolph. There should be three more here : For two of them, they stay away perhaps, Being gloomy-minded, haters of fair revels, They know their own thoughts best.

As for the third, Deep blue eyes, semi-shaded in white lids, Finish'd with lashes fine for more soft shade, Completed by her twin-arch'd ebon-brows; White temples, of exactest elegance, Of even mould, felicitous and smooth; Cheeks fashion'd tenderly on either side, So perfect, so divine, that our poor eyes Are dazzled with the sweet proportioning, And wonder that 'tis so,—the magic chance ! Her nostrils, small, fragrant, fairy-delicate; Her lips—I swear no human bones e'er wore So taking a disguise ;-you shall behold her! We'll have her presently; ay, you shall see her, And wonder at her, friends, she is so fair ;

She is the world's chief jewel, and, by heaven,
She's mine by right of marriage !—she is mine !
Patience, good people, in fit time I send
A summoner,--she will obey my call,
Being a wife most mild and dutiful.
First I would hear what music is prepared
To herald and receive her; let me hear!
Sigifred. Bid the musicians soothe him tenderly.

[A soft strain of Music. Ludolph. Ye have none better? No, I am

'Tis a rich sobbing melody, with reliefs
Full and majestic; it is well enough,
And will be sweeter, when ye see her pace
Sweeping into this presence, glisten' o'er
With emptied caskets, and her train upheld
By ladies, habited in robes of lawn,
Sprinkled with golden crescents, others bright
In silks, with spangles shower'd, and bow'd to
By Duchesses and pearled Margravines !
Sad, that the fairest creature of the earth-
I pray you mind me not—'tis sad, I say,
That the extremest beauty of the world
Should so entrench herself

away Behind a barrier of engender'd guilt !

2nd Lady. Ah! what a moan ! 1st Knight.

Most piteous indeed!

from me,

Ludolph. She shall be brought before this company, And then-then

1st Lady. He muses. Gersa.

0, Fortune, where will this end ? Sigifred. I guess bis purpose !

Indeed he must not have That pestilence brought in, that cannot be, There we must stop him. Gersa.

I am lost!

Hush, hush! He is about to rave again.

Ludolph. A barrier of guilt! I was the fool,
She was the cheater! Who's the cheater now,
And who the fool? The entrapp'd, the caged fool,
The bird-limed raven ? She shall croak to death
Secure! Methinks I have her in my fist,
To crush her with my heel! Wait, wait ! I marvel
My father keeps away. Good friend-ah! Sigifred?
Do bring him to me,—and Erminia,
I fain would see before I sleep—and Ethelbert,
That he may bless me, as I know he will,
Though I have cursed him.

Rather suffer me
To lead you to them.

No, excuse me,-no! The day is not quite done. Go, bring them hither.


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