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ANT. I pray your grace retire—but first Command that libertine from the apartment!
ST. PIER (sternly surveying alternately ANTONIO and FERRARDO). I go, your reverence, of mine own accord.
[Exit, followed by FERRARDO, R. MAR. Father, what meant you by that word, which
My very blood to ice ?
ANT. Behoves your highness
To keep your eyes open upon your husband's honor
If not upon your own!
ANT. Heaven alone
Can judge the heart; men must decide by action
And yours to-night, to all have given offence.
ANT. A woman hath in every state
Most need of circumspection; most of all
When she becomes a wife!-she is a spring
Must not be doubted ; if she is, no oath
That earth can utter will so purge the stream
That men will think it pure.
MAR. Is this to me?
ANT. Women who play the wanton-
That look and tone of high command become
Thy state indeed.
MAR. No father, not my state-
They become me !-state greater-higher far,
One who deserved that name I blushed to hear-
And thou, a reverend man, should'st blush to use-
Might fill! but though it were an empress's,
I would defy her in her breast to seat
The heart that's throned in mine! If 'tis a crime
To boast-heaven pardon you-you have made me sin !
Ant. Behoves us heed appearances ?
MAR. No, father,
Behoves us heed desires and thoughts! and let
Appearances be what they may-you
Shall never shape them so, that evil men
Will not their own construction put upon them.
Father, it was the precept of my father.
ANT. He little knew the world.
Mar. He knew what's better,
Heaven and the smile of his own conscience!
What have I done?
Ant. Given cause of scandal, daughter.
MAR. How ?
Ant. By a preference so marked, it drew
The eyes of all upon you.
MAR. Evil eyes-
Which see defect in frank and open deeds!
The gentleman appeared mine old acquaintance
That drew me towards him :--I discovered now
He was my countryman-that makes allies
Of even foes that meet in foreign lands,
Then well may couple strangers :—he discoursed
Of my dear native country, till its peaks
Began, methought, to cleave the sky, as there
They stood before me!-I was happy-pleased
With him that made me so. Out of a straw
To raise a conflagration. (crosses to L.)
Ant. You forget
You are not now the commissary's ward,
But consort. to the duke of Mantua.
You're a changed woman.
MAR. No, i' faith, the same!
My skin is not of other texture-This,
My hand, is just the hand I knew before!
If my glass tells the truth, the face and form
I have to-day, I had to-day last year!
My mind is not an inch the taller grown
Than mellowing time hath made it in his course!
And, for my heart-it beats not in my breast,
If, in the ducal chair of Mantua,
'Tis not the same I had when I did sit
On some wild turret of my native hills,
And burn with love and gratitude to heaven
That made a land so fair, and me its daughter !
ANT. Hear me! you have wronged your lord.
MAR. I have wronged my lord ?
How have I wronged my lord ?
ANT. By entertaining
With marked and special preference, a man
Until to-day a perfect stranger to thee.
MAR. Go on.
ANT. He is a libertine.
MAR. Go on!
ANT. A woman who has such a friend has naught
To do with honest men!
MAR. Go on! ANT. A wife Has done with friend-her heart, had it the room Of twenty hearts, her husband ought to fill, A friend that leaves not space for other friends,
Save such as nature's earliest warrant have
To house there.
MAR. You are right in that! Go on.
ANT. A court's a place where men have need to watch
Their acts and words not only, but their looks;
For prying eyes beset them round about,
That wait on aught but thoughts of charity.
What were thy words I know not, but thy acts
Have been the comment of the Court to-day.
Of eyes that gaped with marvel-groups that stood
Gazing upon thee-leaning ears to lips,
Whose whispers, were their import known to thee,
Had stunned thee worse than thunder!
MAR. So! Go on.
ΑΝΤ. What if they reach thy consort ?
MAR. What !
ANT. Ay, what!
MAR. He'll spurn them as he ought-as I do spurn them.
For shame! for shame! Me thou shouldst not arraign,
But rather those who basely question me!.
Father, the heart of innocence is bold !
Tell me, how comes your Court to harbor one
Whom I should blush to speak to ? If its pride
Be not the bearing that looks down on vice,
What right has it to hold its head so high!
Endure at Court what from our cottage door
My father would have spurned !-If that's your Court
I'll be nor slave nor mistress of your Court !
Father, no more! E'en from thy reverend lips
I will not hear what I've no right to list to.
What!—taint my lord with question of my truth!
Could he who proved my love on grounds so broad
As I have given my lord, on grounds so mean
Descend to harbor question of my love-
Though broke my heart in the disseverment,
He were no longer lord or aught of mine! (going R.) 1
Father, no more! I will not hear thee! Frown-
Heaven does not frown !-to heayen I turn from thee.
[Exit R. Ant. This confidence offends me. Swerving virtue Endureth not rebuke-while that, that's steadfast With smiling patience, suns the doubt away, Wherewith mistrust would cloud it! 'Tis not right An eye so firm-résentful-speech so lofty
MARIANA enters unperceived and kneels to him, R.
MAR. Father !
MAR. I am thy daughter! O my father, bless me?
Were I the best, I were not ’bove thy charity,
Were I the worst, I should not be beneath it!
Ant. Thou hast my blessing.
MAR. Ere I break my fast
To-morrow, father, I'll confess to thee,
And thou shalt know how little or how much
I merit what thou giv'st me! so good night!
ANT. Good night, fair daughter. Benedicite !
THE DREAM OF EUGENE ARAM.
[TAE axiom of Byron that
“ Truth is strange-stranger than fiction" Was never more strongly proven than by the history of the man whose eventful life has been chronicled in the glowing pages of Lytton Bulwer, and in the following graphic poem by the illustrious Thomas Hood.
To declaim this matchless piece aright, the orator should vary his voice, attitude and gesture with every changing mood of the guilty tutor's mind. Nor is it only as a magnificer) elocutionary exercise that this piece should be spoken: the terrible lesson it reads should be deeply pondered over: That no brilliant accomplishments, no vast amount of learning can compensate for the loss of integrity and inno. cence; inasmuch as the guilt of Aram with his almost God-like intel lect rendered him an object of the pity if not the contempt of the most ignorant but honest boor, that ever
“Whistled as he went for want of thought.")
'Twas in the prime of summer time,
An evening calm and cool,
And four-and-twenty happy boys
Came bounding out of school :
There were some that ran, and some that leapt,
Like troutlets in a pool.
Like sportive deer they coursed about,
And shouted as they ran-
Turning to mirth all things of earth,
As only boyhood can:
But the usher sat remote from all,
A melancholy man !
His hat was off, his vest apart,
To catch heaven's blessed breeze;
For a burning thought was in his brow,
And his bosom ill at ease:
So he leaned his head on his hands, and read
The book between his knees !
At last he shut the ponderous tome;
With a fast and fervent grasp,
He strained the dusky covers close,
And fixed the brazen hasp :
"O God, could I so close my mind,
And clasp it with a clasp !"
Then leaping on his feet upright,
Some moody turns he took ;
Now up the mead, then down the mead, .
And past a shady nook:
And lol he saw a little boy
That pored upon a book !
“My gentle lad, what is't you read
Romance or fairy fable ? Or is it some historic page,
Of kings and crowns unstable ?" The young boy gave an upward glance“ It is the Death of Abel."
The usher took six hasty strides,
As smit with sudden pain ;
Six hasty strides beyond the place,
Then slowly back again :
And down he sat beside the lad,
And talked with him of Cain.
He told how murderers walked the earth
Beneath the curse of Cain-
With crimson clouds before their eyes,
And flames about their brain :
For blood has left upon their souls
Its everlasting stain!
“And well," quoth he, “ I know, for truth,
Their pangs must be extremeWo, wo, unutterable wo
Who spill life's sacred stream!