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My ship of fortune furl'd her silken sails,—
Auranthe. Conrad! what tidings? Good, if I may guess From your alert eyes and high-lifted brows.
What tidings of the battle? Albert? Ludolph ? Otho? Conrad. You guess aright. And, sister, slurring o'er Our by-gone quarrels, I confess my heart
Is beating with a child's anxiety,
To make our golden fortune known to you.
Auranthe. So serious?
Yes, so serious, that before
I utter even the shadow of a hint
Auranthe. I pr'ythee, Conrad, do not overact
The hypocrite. What vow would you impose ?
Conrad. Trust me for once. That you may be assured
'Tis not confiding in a broken reed,
Fresh hatch'd in my ambition's eagle-nest;
Conrad. I saw my moment. The Hungarians,
Auranthe. So far yourself. But what is this to me More than that am glad? I gratulate you.
Conrad. Yes, sister, but it does regard you greatly, Nearly, momentously,―aye, painfully!
Make me this vow
Concerning whom or what?
I would inquire somewhat of him : You had a letter from me touching him? No treason 'gainst his head in deed or word! Surely you spared him at my earnest prayer? Give me the letter-it should not exist!
Conrad. At one pernicious charge of the enemy, I, for a moment-whiles, was prisoner ta'en And rifled,
stuff! the horses' hoofs have minced it! Auranthe. He is alive?
Conrad. He is! but here make oath
And wander past him as through vacancy.
No, nor great, nor mighty; You would not wear a crown, or rule a kingdom. To you it is indifferent.
What means this?
Conrad. You'll not be perjured! Go to Albert then, That camp-mushroom-dishonor of our house. Go, page his dusty heels upon a march, Furbish his jingling baldric while he sleeps, And share his mouldy ration in a siege. Yet stay,—perhaps a charm may call you back, And make the widening circlets of your eyes Sparkle with healthy fevers.-The Emperor Hath given consent that you should marry Ludolph!
Auranthe. Can it be, brother? For a golden crown With a queen's awful lips I doubly thank you! This is to wake in Paradise! Farewell Thou clod of yesterday-'twas not myself! Not till this moment did I ever feel My spirit's faculties! I'll flatter you For this, and be you ever proud of it; Thou, Jove-like, struck'dst thy forehead, And from the teeming marrow of thy brain I spring complete Minerva! but the princeHis highness Ludolph-where is he?
I know not:
When, lackeying my counsel at a beck,
Harm him not!
E'en for his highness Ludolph's sceptry hand,
Let not this slave-this villain-
Albert. Fair on your graces fall this early morrow! So it is like to do, without my prayers, For your right noble names, like favorite tunes, Have fallen full frequent from our Emperor's lips, High commented with smiles.
Conrad (aside). Noble!
Auranthe. Such salutation argues a glad heart In our prosperity. We thank you, sir.
O, would to Heaven your poor servant
What of me, ha ?
Albert. What pleased your grace to say ?
Albert. You mean not this to me?
Sister, this way;
For there shall be no "gentle Alberts now, [Aside.
[Exeunt CONRAD and AURANTHE.
Albert (solus). The duke is out of temper; if he knows More than a brother of a sister ought,
I should not quarrel with his peevishness.
Is in the heady, proud, ambitious vein;
I bicker not with her,-bid her farewell!
She has taken flight from me, then let her soar,—
But for poor Ludolph, he is food for sorrow:
No leveling bluster of my licensed thoughts,
No military swagger of my mind,
Can smother from myself the wrong I've done him,—
And opiate for the conscience have I none!
SCENE II.-The Court-yard of the Castle.
Martial Music. Enter, from the outer gate, Отно, Nobles, Knights, The Soldiers halt at the gate, with Banners in
Otho. Where is my noble Herald ?
[Enter CONRAD, from the Castle, attended by two Knights and Servants. ALBERT following.
Well, hast told
Auranthe our intent imperial?
Lest our rent banners, too o' the sudden shown,