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Keep fearful and aloof from his last gaze,
His most uneasy moments, when cold death
Stands with the door ajar to let him in?

Albert. O that that door with hollow slam would close

Upon me sudden! for I cannot meet,

In all the unknown chambers of the dead,
Such horrors!


Auranthe! what can he mean?

What horrors? Is it not a joyous time?
Am I not married to a paragon
"Of personal beauty and untainted soul?"
A blushing fair-eyed purity? A sylph,
Whose snowy timid hand has never sinn'd
Beyond a flower pluck'd, white as itself?
Albert, you do insult my bride-your mistress-
To talk of horrors on our wedding-night!

Albert. Alas! poor Prince, I would you knew 'Tis not so guilty

Ludolph. Hear, he pleads not guilty!
You are not? or, if so, what matters it?
You have escaped me, free as the dusk air,
Hid in the forest, safe from my revenge;
I cannot catch you! You should laugh at me,
Poor cheated Ludolph! Make the forest hiss
With jeers at me! You tremble-faint at once,
You will come to again. O cockatrice,
I have you! Whither wander those fair eyes
To entice the devil to your help, that he
May change you to a spider, so to crawl
Into some cranny to escape my wrath?

Albert. Sometimes the counsel of a dying man
Doth operate quietly when his breath is gone:
Disjoin those hands-part-part-do not destroy
Each other-forget her!-Our miseries

Are equal shared, and mercy is


A boon

When one can compass it.

Auranthe, try

Your oratory; your breath is not so hitch'd.
Ay, stare for help!

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[ALBERT dies.

There goes a spotted soul
Howling in vain along the hollow night!
Hear him! He calls you-sweet Auranthe, come!

Auranthe. Kill me!


No! What? Upon our marriage-night? The earth would shudder at so foul a deed!

A fair bride! A sweet bride! An innocent bride!

No! we must revel it, as 'tis in use
In times of delicate brilliant ceremony:
Come, let me lead you to our halls again!

Nay, linger not; make no resistance, sweet ;-
Will you
? Ah, wretch, thou canst not, for I have
The strength of twenty lions 'gainst a lamb !
Now-one adieu for Albert !-Come away!

SCENE III.-An inner Court of the Castle.

1st Knight. Was ever such a night?

Things unbelieved one hour, so strange they are,
The next hour stamps with credit.

1st Knight.
Gonfred. After the page's story of the death

Of Albert and Duke Conrad?

And the return


Of Ludolph with the Princess.



What horrors more?

Your last news?

No more, save

Prince Gersa's freeing Abbot Ethelbert,

And the sweet lady, fair Erminia,
From prison.

1st Knight. Where are they now? Hast yet heard?
Gonfred. With the sad Emperor they are closeted;

I saw the three pass slowly up the stairs,
The lady weeping, the old abbot cowl'd.

Sigifred. What next?
1st Knight.

'Tis with fate.

1st Knight. One while these proud towers are hushed as death.

Gonfred. The next our poor Prince fills the arched rooms With ghastly ravings. Sigifred. Gonfred. I will see more.

I do fear his brain.

J ache to think on't.

Bear you so stout a heart?
[Exeunt into the Castle.

SCENE IV.-A Cabinet, opening towards a terrace. OTHO, ERMINIA, ETHELBERT, and a Physician, discovered. Otho. O, my poor boy! My son! My son! My Ludolph! Have ye no comfort for me, ye physicians

Of the weak body and soul?


'Tis not in medicine, Either of heaven or earth, to cure, unless Fit time be chosen to administer.

Otho. A kind forbearance, holy abbot. Come, Erminia; here, sit by me, gentle girl;

Give me thy hand; hast thou forgiven me?

Erminia. Would I were with the saints to pray for you! Otho. Why will ye keep me from my darling child? Physician. Forgive me, but he must not see thy face. Otho. Is then a father's countenance a Gorgon? Hath it not comfort in it? Would it not Console my poor boy, cheer him, help his spirits ? Let me embrace him; let me speak to him;

I will! Who hinders me? Who's Emperor?

Physician. You may not, Sire; 'twould overwhelm him


He is so full of grief and passionate wrath;

Too heavy a sigh would kill him, or do worse.

He must be saved by fine contrivances;

And, most especially, we must keep clear

Out of his sight a father whom he loves;
His heart is full, it can contain no more,
And do its ruddy office.


Sage advice;
We must endeavor how to ease and slacken
The tight-wound energies of his despair,
Not make them tenser.

Enough! I hear, I hear.
Yet you were about to advise more,-I listen.
Ethelbert. This learned doctor will agree with me,
That not in the smallest point should he be thwarted,
Or gainsaid by one word; his very motions,

Nods, becks, and hints, should be obeyed with care,
Even on the moment; so his troubled mind
May cure itself.


There are no other means.
Otho. Open the door; let's hear if all is quiet.
Physician. Beseech you, Sire, forbear.



Open it straight ;-hush!-quiet!-my lost boy!
My miserable child!

Ludolph (indistinctly without). Fill, fill my goblet,-here's a health!

Do, do.

I command!


O, close the door!

Otho. Let, let me hear his voice; this cannot last :
And fain would I catch up his dying words,
Though my own knell they be! This cannot last!
O let me catch his voice-for lo! I hear

A whisper in this silence that he's dead!
It is so! Gersa?

Enter GERSA.


Say, how fares the prince?

Gersa. More calm; his features are less wild and flush'd ; Once he complain'd of weariness.



'Tis good,-'tis good; let him but fall asleep,

That saves him.


Gersa, watch him like a child;
Ward him from harm,-and bring me better news!
Physician. Humor him to the height. I fear to go;
For should he catch a glimpse of my dull garb,
It might affright him, fill him with suspicion
That we believe him sick, which must not be.
Gersa. I will invent what soothing means I can.

[Exit GERSA. Physician. This should cheer up your Highness; weari


Is a good symptom, and most favorable;

It gives me pleasant hopes. Please you, walk forth
Upon the terrace; the refreshing air

Will blow one half of your sad doubts away.


SCENE V.-A Banqueting Hall, brilliantly illuminated, and set forth with all costly magnificence, with Supper-tables, laden with services of Gold and Silver. A door in the back scene, guarded by two Soldiers. Lords, Ladies, Knights, Gentlemen, &c., whispering sadly, and ranging themselves; part entering and part discovered.

1st Knight. Grievously are we tantalized, one and all;
Sway'd here and there, commanded to and fro,
As though we were the shadows of a sleep,

And link'd to a dreaming fancy. What do we here?
Gonfred. I am no seer; you know we must obey
The prince from A to Z, though it should be
To set the place in flames. I pray, hast heard
Where the most wicked Princess is?

1st Knight.

There, sir,

In the next room; have you remark'd those two
Stout soldiers posted at the door?


For what?

[They whisper.

1st Lady. How ghast a train!

2nd Lady. Sure this should be some splendid burial.

1st Lady. What fearful whispering! See, see,-Gersa


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