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Erminia. Yes, he was ever known to be a man
Good Gods !
your own will ? You pleased to send for me.
you swear? Albert. I have. Well! Erminia.
have fame to lose. If men, in court and camp, lie not outright, You should be, from a thousand, chosen forth To do an honest deed. Shall I confide — ?
Albert. Aye, anything to me, fair creature. Do, Dictate
task. Sweet woman,Erminia.
Truce with that. You understand me not; and, in your speech, I see how far the slander is abroad.
Without proof could you
think me innocent? Albert. Lady, I should rejoice to know you so.
Erminia. If you have any pity for a maid,
from the crowd of common men Into the lap of honour ;—save me, knight!
Albert. How? Make it clear; if it be possible,
Erminia. Possible !—Easy. O my heart !
[Gives him a letter.
ALBERT (reading.) “To the Duke Conrad.-Forget the threat you made at parting, and I will forget to send the Emperor letters and papers of your's I have become possessed of. His life is no trifle to me; his death you shall find none to yourself." (Speaks to himself.) 'Tis me—my life that 's pleaded for! (Reads.) “He, for his own sake, will be dumb as the grave. Erminia has my shame fix'd upon her, sure as a wen.
We are safe.
A she-devil! A dragon! I her imp!
Fire of Hell ! Auranthe-lewd demon!
Erminia. I found it in the tent, among some spoils
[They go in and return. Albert.
Villany! Villany! Conrad's sword, his corslet, and his helm, And his letter. Caitiff, he shall feelErminia. I see you are thunderstruck. Haste,
haste away! Albert. 0 I am tortured by this villany.
Erminia. You needs must be. Carryit swift to Otho; Tell him, moreover, I am prisoner Here in this camp, where all the sisterhood, Forced from their quiet cells, are parcell'd out For slaves among these Huns. Away! Away!
Albert. I am gone.
Erminia. Swift be your steed! Within this hour The Emperor will see it. Albert.
Ere I sleep : That I can swear.
[Hurries out. Gersa (without). Brave captains! thanks. Enough Of loyal homage now!
Hail, royal Hun!
Gersu. What means this, fair one? Why in such
I grieve, my Lord,
pure! Erminia. Silence! and hear the magic of a nameErminia! I am she,—the Emperor's niece ! Praised be the Heavens, I now dare own myself!
Gersa. Erminia ! Indeed! I've heard of her. Pr’ythee, fair lady, what chance brought you here?
Erminiu. Ask your own soldiers.
you dare own your name. For loveliness you may—and for the rest My vein is not censorious. Erminia.
Alas! poor me!
Indeed you are too fair :
With such a tender grace ; nor are her wings
Trust me one day more,
Gentle Prince, 'tis false indeed. Good morrow, holy father! I have had Your prayers, though I look'd for you in vain.
Ethelbert. Blessings upon you, daughter! Sure
Too cheerful for these foul pernicious days.