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Yet I fain would die!
To go through life, unloving and unloved ;
To feel that thirst and hunger of the soul
We cannot still; that longing, that wild impulse,
And struggle after something we have not
And cannot have; the effort to be strong;
And, like the Spartan boy, to smile, and smile,
While secret wounds do bleed beneath our cloaks;
All this the dead feel not,—the dead alone!
Would I were with them!
We shall all be soon.
Vict. It cannot be too soon; for I am weary
Of the bewildering masquerade of Life,
Where strangers walk as friends, and friends as strangers;
Where whispers overheard betray false hearts;
And through the mazes of the crowd we chase
Some form of loveliness, that smiles, and beckons,
And cheats us with fair words, only to leave us
A mockery and a jest; maddened,-confused,-
Not knowing friend from foe.
Why seek to know?
Enjoy the merry shrove-tide of thy youth!
Take each fair mask for what it gives itself,
Nor strive to look beneath it.
That were the wiser part. But hope no longer
Comforts my soul. I am a wretched man,
Much like a poor and shipwrecked mariner,
Who, struggling to climb up into the boat,
Has both his bruised and bleeding hands cut off,
And sinks again into the weltering sea,
Helpless and hopeless !
Yet thou shalt not perish.
The strength of thine own arm is thy salvation.
Above thy head, through rifted clouds, there shines
A glorious star. Be patient. Trust thy star!
[Sound of a village-bell in the distance.]
Viet. Ave Maria! I hear the sacristan
Ringing the chimes from yonder village belfry!
A solemn sound, that echoes far and wide
Over the red roofs of the cottages,
And bids the labouring hind a-field, the shepherd
Guarding his flock, the lonely muleteer,
And all the crowd in village streets, stand still,
And breathe a prayer unto the blessed Virgin !
Hyp. Amen! amen! Not half a league from hence
The village lies.
This path will lead us to it, Over the wheat fields, where the shadows sail
Across the running sea, now green, now blue,
And, like an idle mariner on the main,
Whistles the quail. Come, let us hasten on.
SCENE II.--Public square in the village of Guadarrama. The Ave Maria still tolling. A
crowd of villagers, with their hats in their hands, as if in prayer. In front, a group of Gipsies. The bell rings a merrier peal. A Gipsy dance. Enter Pancho, followed by PEDRO CRESPO.
Pan. Make room, ye vagabonds and Gipsy thieves !
Make room for the Alcalde and for me!
Cres. Keep silence all! I have an edict here
From our most gracious lord, the King of Spain,
Jerusalem, and the Canary Islands,
Which I shall publish in the market-place.
Open your ears and listen!
[Enter the PADRE CURA at the door of his cottage.]
Good day! and, pray you, hear this edict read.
Padre. Good day, and God be with you. Pray, what is it?
Cres. An act of banishment against the Gipsies !
(Agitation and murmurs in the crowd.]
Pan. Silence !
Cres. [reads]. “I hereby order and command
That the Egyptian and Chaldean strangers,
Known by the name of Gipsies, shall henceforth
Be banished from the realm, as vagabonds
And beggars; and if, after seventy days,
Any be found within our kingdom's bounds,
They shall receive a hundred lashes each;
The second time, shall have their ears cut off ;
The third, be slaves for life to him who takes them,
Or burnt as heretics. Signed, I, the King.'
Vile miscreants and creatures anbaptized!
You hear the law! Obey and disappear !
Pan. And if in seventy days you are not gone, Dead or alive I make you all my slaves. [The Gipsics go out in confusion, showing signs of fear and discontent. PANCHO
Padre. A righteous law! A very righteous law!
Pray you, sit down.
I thank you heartily.
(They seat themselves on a bench at the PADRE CURA's door. Sound of guitars heard at a
distance, approaching during the dialogue which follows.]
A very righteous judgment, as you say.
Now tell me, Padre Cura, -you know all things,-
How came these Gipsies into Spain ?
Why, look you;
They came with Hercules from Palestine,
And hence are thieves and vagrants, Sir Alcalde,
As the Simoniacs from Simon Magus.
And, look you, as Fray Jayme Bleda says,
There are a hundred marks to prove a Moor
Is not a Christian, so 'tis with the Gipsies.
They never marry, never go to mass,
Never baptize their children, nor keep Lent,
Nor see the inside of a church,-nor-nor
Cres. Good reasons, good, substantial reasons, all!
No matter for the other ninety-five.
They should be burnt, I see it plain enough, -
They should be burnt.
[Enter VICTORIAN and HYPOLITO playing.) Padre.
And pray, whom have we here? Cres. More vagrants! By Saint Lazarus, more vagrants ! Hyp. Good evening, gentlemen! Is this Guadarrama ? Padre. Yes, Guadarrama, and good evening to you.
Hyp. We seek the Padre Cura of the village; And, judging from your dress and reverend mien, You must be he.
Padre. I am. Pray, what's your pleasure ?
Hyp. We are poor students, travelling in vacation. You know this mark ?
[Touching the wooden spoon in his hat-band.) Padre (joyfully]. Ay, know it, and have worn it.
Cres. [aside]. Soup-eaters! by the mass! The worst of vagrants! And there's no law against them. Sir, your servant. [Exit. Padre. Your servant, Pedro Crespo.
From the first moment I beheld your face,
I said within myself, “ This is the man!”
There is a certain something in your looks,
A certain scholar-like and studious something,-
You understand, -which cannot be mistaken;
Which marks you as a very learned man,
In fine, as one of us.
Vict. [aside). What impudence !
Hyp. As we approached, I said to my companion, “That is the Padre Cura; mark my words !” Meaning your grace. “The other man," said I, “ Who sits so awkwardly upon the bench, Must be the sacristan.” Padre.
Ah! said you so ? Why, that was Pedro Crespo, the alcalde!
Hyp. Indeed ! you much astonish me! His air
Was not so full of dignity and grace
As an alcalde's should be.
That is true.
He is out of humour with some vagrant Gipsies,
Who have their camp here in the neighbourhood.
There is nothing so undignified as anger.
Hyp. The Padre Cura will excuse our boldness,
If, from his well-known hospitality,
We crave a lodging for the night.
I pray you!
You do me honour! I am but too happy
To have such guests beneath my humble roof.
It is not often that I have occasion
To speak with scholars; and Emollit mores,
Nec sinit esse feros, Cicero says.
Hyp. 'Tis Ovid, is it not ?
Hyp. Your Grace is right. You are the better scholar.
Now what a dunce was I to think it Ovid !
But hang me if it is not! (aside.)
Pass this way.
He was a very great man, was Cicero!
Pray you, go in, go in! no ceremony.
SCENE III.-A room in the PADRE CURA's house. Enter the PADRE and HYPOLITO.
Padre. So then, Señor, you come from Alcalá,
I am glad to hear it. It was there I studied.
Hyp. And left behind an honoured zame, no doubt.
How may I call your Grace ?
De Santillana, at your Honour's service.
Hyp. Descended from the Marquis Santillana ?
From the distinguished poet ?
From the Marquis,
Not from the poet.
Why, they were the same.
Let me embrace you! O some lucky star
Has brought me hither! Yet once more !-once more!
Your name is ever green in Alcalá,
And our professor, when we are unruly,
Will shake his hoary head, and say, “Alas !
It was not so in Santillana's time!”
Padre. I did not think my name remembered there.
Hyp. More than remembered; it is idolized.
Padre. Of what professor speak you ?
Padre. I don't remember any Timoneda.
Hyp. A grave and sombre man, whose beetling brow
O’erhangs the rushing current of his speech
As rocks o'er rivers hang. Have you forgotten ?
Padre. Indeed, I have. O those were pleasant days,
Those college days! I ne'er shall see the like!
I had not buried then so many hopes !
I had not buried then so many friends!
I've turned my back on what was then before me;
And the bright faces of my young companions
Are wrinkled like my own, or are no more.
Do you remember Cueva ?
Cueva ? Cueva :
Padre. Fool that I am! He was before your time.
You're a mere boy, and I am an old man.
Hyp. I should not like to try my strength with you.
Padre. Well, well. But I forget; you must be hungry. Martina ! ho! Martina! 'Tis my niece.
[Bnter MARTINA.] Hyp. You may be proud of such a niece as that. I wish I had a niece. Emollit mores.
[Aside. He was a very great man, was Cicero ! Your servant, fair Martina
Padre. This gentleman is hungry. See thou to it.
Padre. And bring a bottle of my Val-de-Peñas
Out of the cellar. Stay; I'll go myself.
Pray you, Señor, excuse me.
Hist! Martina !
One word with you. Bless me! what handsome eyes !
To-day there have been Gipsies in the village.
Is it not so ?
Mart. There have been Gipsies here.
Hyp. Yes, and they told your fortune.
Told my fortune?
Hyp. Yes, yes; I know they did. Give me your hand.
I'll tell you what they said. They said, they said,
The shepherd boy that loved you was a clown,
And him you should not marry. Was it not ?
Mart. (surprised]. How know you that ?
O, I know more than that.
What a soft, little hand! And then they said,
A cavalier from court, handsome, and tall,
And rich, should come one day to marry you,
And you should be a lady. Was it not?
He has arrived, the handsome cavalier.
[Tries to kiss her. She runs off. Enter VICTORIAN with a letter. Vict. The muleteer has come.