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Mont. Yet the expression of your face has not That frightful air such patients often have.

Tas. My Lord, I am not so mad as they may think
At court. At least I can distinguish still

The worthy man from—---- But proceed-your errand?
Mont. See now, I always told his highness, when
We spoke of your misfortune, it was nothing
But some corporeal malady that springs

From bile diseased, and which at times breaks out
In fancies.

Tas. (aside.) Patience!-grant me patience, Heaven!
Mont. Yourself are much to blame for your condition.
In many good gifts you are not deficient-

Gifts that are known and praised as they deserve;
But, pardon me, you have indulged too much

A vain and overweening fantasy,

And hopes, which, if they were not criminal,
At least were foolish.

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All things offend you. Now, confess it fairly,
The Della Crusca's censure of your poem

Has given you more vexation than it ought.

Tas. Not so, fair sir! If what I write be good,

'Tis not the critic's voice can make it ill.
Try it, indeed, they may! A voice within
Tells me to trust the spirit that inspires me.
I have given delight to many a feeling heart;
I've seen the tear in many an eye, which, raised
Above this low existence by my strain,
Soar'd on my fancy's wing, and many thanks
From worthy men and noble dames were mine-
What care I for the Crusca or its censure!

Mont. Ha ha! I give you joy, good friend.

The art which God has given me, is to me
A blessing, which for none on earth I'd barter.
Not folly, dulness, envy, persecution,
Not even imprisonment, can tear it from me.
The rescued treasure rests within my breast,
And sleeps secure against a better time.
The gift of God I never have degraded-
I never courted mean applause ; my strain
Has sounded only for the great and good.
Humble me-persecute me :- Be it so:
Laugh at my dreams, if laughable they seem—
I leave you your advantage in the world;
But leave me mine, which you need little envy.
Mont. I grudge it not, Torquato; nor desire
My dreams should ever lead me to St Anne's.
Tas. Right! very right! And yet, Montecatino,
Far as you stand in fortune's light before me,
At court so favour'd, so esteem'd; so much
Of honour gain'd, and hoping more to win,
In all the sunshine of a master's favour-
While I am banish'd by his wrath, to dwell
Forsaken, sick, calumniated, here;

Laugh on.


I cherish this persuasion, when my spirit
O'erlooks the future with prophetic eye;
That immortality shall yet surround me,
And Tasso's name live on in other times,

When yours with all its pomp shall be forgotten.
Mont. In this, methinks, your dreams go something far!
Tas. It may be so; I am, they say, at court
Not always master of my perfect mind,
Construe my words, then, as the place suggests
In which you hear them. And now, once for all,
Explain the message which his Highness sends.

The message is far enough from being consolatory. In answer to a letter which the poet had addressed to the Duke, the courtier bears a verbal answer, strictly prohibiting every such application in future, under the penalty of having his imprisonment rendered more close and rigorous than before; the letters which he may write to others are to be submitted to Montecatino's inspection, and those only for

warded of which he approves. Last
comes the unkindest cut of all-even
the Princess returns his letter unopen-
Montecatino retires, accompa-
nied by the keeper; a scene of pas-
sionate explosion on the part of Tas-
so, followed by exhaustion, succeeds.
Angioletta sings him to sleep, and re-
tires into the side apartment. Leonora
and the keeper appear in the gallery

Keep. He sleeps, so please your Highness;
Now you may see him undisturb'd. He slumbers.
Leon. (contemplating Tasso-after a pause.)
O God, how pale! how sadly he is alter'd-
Ah! what a melancholy tearful look!
Is that Torquato? O, Eternal Powers!
Who knows if this be slumber-or be death?
Keep. Ah! lady, he is worthy of your pity—
Far worthier of compassion than all these
That round about lie prison'd in their cells.
They are unconscious of their wretched lot,
For their brain wanders, and their eye is clouded
With phantoms of their own creation. They
Dream on, and happier often are their dreams
Than the reality; his suffering

Is doubled, for he feels how much he suffers.
Leon. Oh! treat him well.

Do for him what you can

Alleviate as you may his destiny-
I will reward you for it.


None is needed,

For we already love him; and my niece,

A child when he came here, and motherless,

Is always near him, bears him company,

And tends him lovingly. He loves the child too,
Has grown accustom'd to her, teaches her,
And she has grown beneath his eye.

He wakes, he moves.


My knees give way.

But see,

O God! one glance alone!-

Tas. (looking up, exclaims, with a wild cry.) Ha!

[At the same moment the Keeper closes the glass door, and Angioletta rushes in from the side-room.


What is this, good Heaven?

Tas. 'Twas she-'twas she herself! It was no dream,

I am myself-my senses do not wander

That was herself- [Sinks on his knee, and stretches out his arms.
That was my Leonora!

Act Second opens in Tasso's chamber, as before. The Keeper is attempting to persuade Tasso that the appearance of the Princess was a mere delu

sion of the imagination. The poet tells him his efforts are in vain; that he knows it was the Princess herself who had visited his cell; he infers that his

death had been resolved on by the Duke, and that her visit was a parting At this moment, Montecatino is again announced. Tasso believes


he comes to announce his sentence, and tells him he is prepared to die. A striking scene follows.

Mont. Dismiss these idle visions from your brain!
Who wishes for your death? Whom would it profit
The Duke has kept you prisoner here, because
He thought it dangerous to set you free-
Because, in truth, you had abused your freedom.
Enough-the Duke would have you at St Anne's,
And here you have been; had he wish'd your death,
Your execution had been just as easy.
But of such themes we speak not now.
Prepare yourself to hear more joyous news.
This gate is barr'd for you no more: No lock,
No bolt remains to keep you prisoner.

Torquato, you are free!



Tas. Free! Stop-be silent.


At present

Oh, God!

Yes, free!

Take this note, and read.

Tasso! be composed.

Tas. My eyes are dazzled.

Tas. (after a pause.) Be firm, my heart: O, break not yet! What?-free!
Free after seven imprison'd years of bondage!

Ah, me!—within the whole wide realm of speech
What term exists that so enchanting sounds?

O give me words, O give me tones, kind Heaven,

To vent the exulting music of my soul,

That to the winds I may proclaim the joy

That fills my heart too full; for which no name
Is found in all the range of human feeling!

Mont. But only on conditions you are free.
Your stay within this court, within this city,
Within the territories of the Duke,

In future is forbidden. Should you dare
Once more to come within Ferrara's walls,
A darker doom awaits you.
You are banish'd
Hence and for ever. You depart to-night-
No more delay is granted. See to that.

Tas. It is enough for me. Let me go forth

But as a beggar, clad in sackcloth rags,

Not on my feet, but on my knees, to wander

Like one in penance-only let me go.

Mont. Do as you will; but be it done to-day.

Tas. Oh! death is nothing, life is nothing, freedom

Is all in all !

Free from this dark imprisonment to rove

From place to place, through mountain, wood, and vale

To see the day and night, and light and colour—

To drink the air into the gasping soul,

That were existence, that indeed were life

That I might sweep as freely as the eagle

Along the earth, and gaze-and gaze my fill !

Ang. Now, God be praised, Torquato! that you can.
Tas. I could not have believed that I should ever

Know liberty again—that I should live

To hear that sentence-" Tasso, you are free!"
Yet free I am. Oh! in that weary time,
If I had seen but once my father's house,
Had seen but once Vesuvius' smoke ascend,
Curling far off into the azure sky,
Methinks I should have died of happiness!
Now I shall see them-see my home again,
And tread the soil with childish reverence,

Like an enfranchised slave. I shall behold
My sister's face-my kind, beloved sister's.

Keep. Joy makes your senses wander just like grief.
Tas. Montecatino, bear the Duke my thanks-
Deep thanks, the offspring of a deep-touch'd soul.
Say to him, all I suffer'd is forgotten,

And nothing but his kindness is remember'd.
Say to the Princess, that-(pauses)—

But whose entreaty moved the Prince to grant

The boon, when former prayers had proved in vain ?
To whom am I indebted ? For I would not

In such an hour as this appear ungrateful,

Or towards God or towards man: I would not

Appear ungrateful even to my foes.

Mont. To many: yet methinks your chiefest thanks Are due unto the noble Duke of Mantua,

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Tas. I feel so happy, that methinks the gall

At once has vanish'd from my joyous breast,

Since not a word even from his mouth offends me.

For the last time I do behold you, then,

Ye walls, which seven long years environ'd me.

Ye witnesses of all my sufferings,

My sorrow, my despair-to-day I quit ye!

And yet, so strange a riddle is man's heart,

I almost might imagine loth to go.

Ang. You go, Torquato-you return no more,

And I shall never, never more behold you.

Tas. Thou, too, my child-and must I part with thee!

A bitter drop within the cup of joy

That fires me thus. Much thou hast been to me,

More than thou could'st believe, or I


That I still live, perchance, I owe to thee.

Ang. And must we separate?—I cannot bear it.
Tas. Yes, I have rock'd thee on these knecs of mine;

A lovely child, at first, thou play'dst around me,

And thou hast grown a maiden by my side
Unmark'd; methinks, to-day I first observe it.
By custom's thousand soft-endearing ties,
I clung to thee-my stay, my consolation.
Thy voice, the gentle breathings of thy lute,
Have, like the harp of David, oft infused
Soft peace and balm into my wounded breast-
May God's best blessing go with thee!
O take me with you! for I cannot leave you.
Tas. What moves you thus?


Take me with you, Torquato!

Alone in this wide house, no more to see you;

No more to hear-I cannot bear it.


Oh take me with you! I will follow thee,

Guide you, where'er it be-tend you elsewhere
As I did here.

Tas. But whither would you go?

Ang. You are so ill-you need another's care;
So weak-in truth, much weaker than you think;
And can I send you forth into the world
Alone, forsaken, without me, Torquato?

Tas. Ay, so it is. I am a mouldering trunk ;
If the storm spare it, of itself it falls;
And, in the wither'd top of such a tree,
Where should my gentle dove a shelter find?
No, Angioletta, no! You are a child,
Your life is in the bud, mine in the sere:
How could I bear to pluck this youthful rose
From off the stem on which it bloom'd so fair,
To lay it on my coffin-lid?

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I was a child: I am a child no more.

How this has been, what change is wrought within,
I cannot tell; but all is changed within me.

I feel as I have never felt till now:

My world is where you are. You are my light,
The air I breathe: I bloom but by your side-
At your departure I must droop and die.
I have not learn'd to live without you yet,
Torquato. Be not-be not, then, so cruel
As to repulse me-me-who am your own!
Tas. Angioletta!

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Dreamt not of this before-not till this moment:

For, with my growth, did my affection grow

Part of myself; it was the atmosphere

Which I till now unconsciously inhaled.

Tas. Oh! speak no more of this! May God forbid
That the dark tissue of my evil days

Should cross thy young and blooming thread of life!
Let youth wed youth, let pleasure seek for pleasure,
The spring for flowers, for happiness the happy—
Within my breast these feelings dwell no more.
I have no wreaths to braid these locks of thine,
Not even a branch that I can offer to thee.
The present and the future are thy portion;
But the short sunny hours of my existence
Lie stretch'd behind me in remotest distance:
Extinguish'd are the stars that lighted me,
And all is vanish'd now save memory!
May Heaven, then, in its mercy grant my prayer,
What I have borne, oh, may'st thou never bear!

The next scene is in front of the ducal palace at Ferrara. The palace is lighted up: masks in festal dresses are coming and retiring. Tasso enters to take a last look at the residence which contained Leonora. He asks of a nobleman who is about to enter the palace, what is the occasion of the festival, and is told that it is in honour of the intended espousal of Leonora to the Duke of Mantua. In despair, he resolves to set at defiance the prohibi

[Kisses her on the forehead, and exit.

tion of the Duke, to make his way into
the palace, and to learn the truth from
the Princess herself, before he leaves
Ferrara for ever. He procures the
garb of a pilgrim, and in that dis-
guise mingles with the masqueraders:
not unobserved, however, for the
watchful eye of Montecatino has de-
tected his entrance. He communicates
the intelligence to another mask, and
they retire together, while Tasso and
Leonora approach.

Tasso, (in a pilgrim's dress and masked,) LEONOra.
Leon. What would you ?-wherefore do you follow me?

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