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Yes, father Ethelbert,
I have news precious as we pass along.
To no ill.
Pray let me lead. Fair lady, forget not
SCENE I.-The Country.
Albert. O that the earth were empty, as when Cain
Or that the sword of some brave enemy
Of honor 'mid the growling wilderness.
My sturdier youth, maturing to the sword,
The menial of Mars, and held a spear
Then the damn'd crime of blurting to the world
Sigifred. A fine humor—
Albert. Who goes there? Count Sigifred? Ha! ha! Sigifred. What, man, do you mistake the hollow sky For a throng'd tavern,-and these stubbed trees For old serge hangings,―me, your humble friend, For a poor waiter? Why, man, how you stare! What gipsies have you been carousing with? No, no more wine; methinks you 've had enough. Albert. You well may laugh and banter. What a fool An injury may make of a staid man!
You shall know all anon.
Some tavern brawl?
Albert. 'Twas with some people out of common reach; Revenge is difficult.
I marvel, Albert, you delay so long
From these bright revelries; go, show yourself,
The marriage. What else can I mean? Sigifred. To-day. O, I forgot, you could not know; The news is scarce a minute old with me.
Albert. Married to-day! To-day! You did not say so? Sigifred. Now, while I speak to you, their comely heads Are bowed before the mitre.
Sigifred. What is this?
Albert. Nothing, Sigifred. Farewell! We'll meet upon our subject. Farewell, count!
[Exit. Sigifred. To this clear-headed Albert? He brain-turn'd! "Tis as portentous as a meteor.
SCENE II.-An Apartment in the Castle.
[Enter as from the Marriage, OTHO, LUDOLPH, AURANTHE, Conrad, Nobles, Knights, Ladies, &c. &c. &c. Music.
Otho. Now, Ludolph! Now, Auranthe! Daughter fair! What can I find to grace your nuptial day
More than my love, and these wide realms in fee?
Ludolph. I have too much.
And I, my liege, by far. Ludolph. Auranthe! I have! O, my bride, my love! Not all the gaze upon us can restrain
My eyes, too long poor exiles from thy face,
Auranthe. Spare, spare me, my Lord; I swoon else. Ludolph. Soft beauty! by to-morrow I should die, Wert thou not mine.
[They talk apart. 1st Lady. How deep she has bewitch'd him! 1st Knight. Ask you for her recipe for love philtres. 2nd Lady. They hold the Emperor in admiration. Otho. If ever king was happy, that am I! What are the cities 'yond the Alps to me, The provinces about the Danube's mouth, The promise of fair sail beyond the Rhone ; Or routing out of Hyperborean hordes, To these fair children, stars of a new age Unless perchance I might rejoice to win This little ball of earth, and chuck it them To play with!
Auranthe. Nay, my Lord, I do not know.
Otho (to Conrad).
The cool wine, kiss'd off with a soldier's smack;
Your knights, found war-proof in the bloody field,
Well, Ludolph, what say you?
Ludolph. My lord!
Ludolph. I want no more! 1st Lady.
Or, if't please you best
Past all reason.
Ludolph. Though heaven's choir Should in a vast circumference descend,
And sing for my delight, I'd stop my ears!
This earth, this palace, this room, Auranthe!
Otho. This is a little painful; just too much.
Conrad. He'll be calm, anon.
Conrad. The trumpets reach us.
1st Voice (without). Let not the abbot pass. 2nd Voice (without).
1st Voice (without). Holy father, you must not. Ethelbert (without). Otho!
[A senet heard faintly.
On your peril, sirs,
Who calls on Otho ?
Hast brought pollution to our holy rites?
[Enter ETHELBERT leading in ERMINIA. Thou cursed abbot, why
Ludolph. What portent-what strange prodigy is this?
Look at the Emperor's brow upon me bent!
Albert has surely fail'd me!
Away, thou guilty thing!