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If I break not

Too much upon your thoughtful mood, I will
Claim a brief while your patience.


Soe'er, I shall be honor❜d.


For what cause

I not less.

Ludolph. What may it be? No trifle can take place

Of such deliberate prologue, serious 'havior.

But, be it what it may, I cannot fail

To listen with no common interest;
For tho' so new your presence is to me,
I have a soldier's friendship for your fame.
Please you explain.


As thus:-for, pardon me,

I cannot, in plain terms, grossly assault
A noble nature; and would faintly sketch
What your quick apprehension will fill up;
So finely I esteem you.


I attend.

Gersa. Your generous father, most illustrious Otho,
Sits in the banquet-room among his chiefs;

His wine is bitter, for you are not there;
His eyes are fix'd still on the open doors,

And ev'ry passer in he frowns upon,
Seeing no Ludolph comes.


I do neglect.

Gersa. And for your absence may I guess the cause? Ludolph. Stay there! No-guess? More princely you

must be

Than to make guesses at me.

I'm sorry I can hear no more.


"Tis enough.

And I

As grieved to force it on you so abrupt;

Yet, one day, you must know a grief, whose sting

Will sharpen more the longer 'tis conceal'd.

Ludolph. Say it at once, sir! dead-dead—is she dead?

Gersa. Mine is a cruel task: she is not dead,

And would, for your sake, she were innocent.

Ludolph. Hungarian! Thou amazest me beyond
All scope of thought, convulsest my heart's blood
To deadly churning! Gersa, you are young,
As I am; let me observe you, face to face :
Not gray-brow'd like the poisonous Ethelbert,
No rheumed eyes, no furrowing of age,

No wrinkles, where all vices nestle in

Like crannied vermin-no! but fresh and young,
And hopeful featured. Ha! by Heaven you weep!
Tears, human tears! Do you repent you then
Of a curs'd torturer's office?
Tell me the league of devils?
The lie!

Why shouldst join


Gersa. Lie!-but begone all ceremonious points

Of honor battailous! I could not turn

My wrath against thee for the orbed world.

Ludolph. Your wrath, weak boy? Tremble at mine, unless Retraction follow close upon the heels

Of that late stounding insult! Why has my sword

Not done already a sheer judgment on thee?
Despair, or eat thy words! Why, thou wast nigh
Whimpering away my reason! Hark 'e, sir,
It is no secret, that Erminia,

Erminia, sir, was hidden in your tent,―
O bless'd asylum! Comfortable home!
Begone! I pity thee; thou art a gull,
Erminia's last new puppet!

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Thou mak'st me boil as hot as thou canst flame!

And in thy teeth I give thee back the lie!

Thou liest! Thou, Auranthe's fool! A wittol!
Ludolph. Look! look at this bright sword:
There is no part of it, to the very hilt,

But shall indulge itself about thine heart!

Draw! but remember thou must cower thy plumes,

As yesterday the Arab made thee stoop.

Gersa. Patience! Not here; I would not spill thy blood Here, underneath this roof where Otho breathes,Thy father, almost mine.


O faltering coward!

[Enter Page.

Stay, stay; here is one I have half a word with.

Well? What ails thee, child?

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I hasten'd back, your grieving messenger,
I found the stairs all dark, the lamps extinct,
And not a foot or whisper to be heard.

I thought her dead, and on the lowest step
Sat listening; when presently came by
Two muffled up,-one sighing heavily,
The other cursing low, whose voice I knew
For the Duke Conrad's. Close I followed them
Thro' the dark ways they chose to the open air;
And, as I follow'd, heard my lady speak.

Ludolph. Thy life answers the truth!

The chamber's empty!

Ludolph. As I will be of mercy! So, at last,

This nail is in my temples!


Be calm in this.

Ludolph. I am.


And Albert too has disappear'd;

Ere I met you, I sought him every where;

You would not hearken.


Which way went they, boy?

Gersa. I'll hunt with you.


No, no, no. My senses are

Still whole. I have survived. My arm is strong,—

My appetite sharp-for revenge! I'll no sharer

In my feast; my injury is all my own,

And so is my revenge, my lawful chattels!
Terrier, ferret them out!

Trace me their footsteps!

Burn-burn the witch!



SCENE I.-A part of the Forest.


Auranthe. Go no further; not a step more.
A master-plague in the midst of miseries.
Go, I fear thee! I tremble every limb,
Who never shook before. There's moody death
In thy resolved looks! Yes, I could kneel
To pray thee far away! Conrad, go! go!-
There! yonder underneath the boughs I see
Our horses!

Conrad. Ay, and the man.


Yes, he is there!

Thou art

Go, go,―no blood! no blood!-go, gentle Conrad!

Conrad. Farewell!


Farewell! For this Heaven pardon you!


then may

I die

Conrad. If he survive one hour,
In unamagined tortures, or breathe through
A long life in the foulest sink o' the world!
He dies! 'Tis well she do not advertise
The caitiff of the cold steel at his back.

Enter LUDOLPH and Page.


Ludolph. Miss'd the way, boy? Say not that on your


Page. Indeed, indeed I cannot trace them further.
Ludolph. Must I stop here? Here solitary die?

Stifled beneath the thick oppressive shade

Of these dull boughs,—this oven of dark thickets,—
Silent, without revenge ?-pshaw !-bitter end,-
A bitter death,-a suffocating death,-

A gnawing-silent-deadly, quiet death!
Escaped ?-fled ?—vanish'd? melted into air?

She's gone! I cannot clutch her! no revenge!
A muffled death, ensnared in horrid silence!
Suck'd to my grave amid a dreamy calm!
O, where is that illustrious noise of war,
To smother up this sound of laboring breath,
This rustle of the trees!

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Enter ALBERT (wounded).

Albert. Oh! for enough life to support me on

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The sword has done its worst; not without worst
Done to another,-Conrad has it home!

I see you know it all!


Where is his sister?


Auranthe. Albert!

Ludolph. Ha! There! there!—He is the paramour !— There—hug him-dying! O, thou innocence,

Shrine him and comfort him at his last gasp,

Kiss down his eyelids! Was he not thy love?

Wilt thou forsake him at his latest hour?

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