A retired spot in the Gardens of the Palace.
[Enter the COUNTESS.]
IV:3:1 COUN. Is't guilt, that I thus tremble? Why should I Feel like a sinner? I'll not dare to meet His flashing eye. O, with what scorn, what hate His lightning glance will wither me. Away, I will away. I care not whom he meets. What if he love me not, he shall not loathe The form he once embraced. I'll be content To live upon the past, and dream again It may return. Alas! were I the false one, I could not feel more humbled. Ah, he comes! I'll lie, I'll vow I'm vile, that I came here To meet another, anything but that I dared to doubt him. What, my Lord Sidonia!
IV:3:2 SIDO. Thy servant and thy friend. Ah! gentle lady, I deemed this unused scene and ill-timed hour might render solace welcome. He'll not come; Ho crossed the mountains, ere the set of sun, Towards Briviesca.
IV:3:3 COUN. Holy Virgin, thanks! Home, home!
IV:3:4 SIDO. And can a hearth neglected cause Such raptures?
IV:3:5 COUN. I, and only I, neglect it; My cheek is fire, that I should ever dare To do this stealthy deed.
IV:3:6 SIDO. And yet I feel I could do one as secret and more bold. A moment, lady; do not turn away With that cold look.
IV:3:7 COUN. My children wait me, sir; Yet I would thank you, for you meant me kindness.
IV:3:8 SIDO. And mean it yet. Ah! beauteous Florimonde, It is the twilight hour, when hearts are soft, And mine is like the quivering light of eve; I love thee!
IV:3:9 COUN. And for this I'm here, and he, He is not false! O happiness!
IV:3:10 SIDO. Sweet lady—
IV:3:11 COUN. My Lord Sidonia, I can pardon thee, I am so joyful.
IV:3:12 SIDO. Nay, then.
IV:3:13 COUN. Unhand me, Sir!
IV:3:14 SIDO. But to embrace this delicate waist. Thou art mine: I've sighed and thou hast spurned. What is not yielded In war we capture. Ere a flying hour, Thy hated Burgos vanishes. That voice; What, must I stifle it, who fain would listen For ever to its song? In vain thy cry, For none are here but mine.
IV:3:15 ORAN. Turn, robber, turn—
IV:3:16 SIDO. Ah! treason in the camp! Thus to thy heart.
[They fight. ORAN beats off SIDONIA, they leave the scene fighting; the COUNTESS swoons.]
[Enter a procession with lighted torches, attending the Infanta SOLISA from Mass.]
IV:3:17 1ST USH. A woman!
IV:3:18 2ND USH. Does she live
IV:3:19 SOL. What stops our course?
[The Train ranging themselves on each side, the Infanta approaches the COUNTESS.]
IV:3:20 SOL. Most strange and lovely vision! Does she breathe? I'll not believe 'tis death. Her hand is cold, And her brow damp; Griselda, Julia, maidens Hither, and yet stand off; give her free air. How shall we bear her home? Now, good Lorenzo, You, and Sir Miguel, raise her; gently, gently. Still gently, sirs. By heavens, the fairest face I yet did gaze on! Some one here should know her. 'Tis one that must be known. That's well; relieve That kerchief from her neck; mind not our state; I'll by her side; a swoon, methinks; no more, Let's hope and pray!
[They raise the body of the COUNTESS, and bear her away.]
[Enter Count of LEON.]
IV:3:21 LEON. I'll fathom this same mystery, If there be wit in Burgos. I have heard, Before I knew the Court, old Nunez Leon Whisper strange things—and what if they prove true? It is not exile twice would cure that scar. I'll reach him yet. 'Tis likely he may pass This way; 'tis lonely, and well suits a step Would not be noticed. Ha! a man approaches; I'll stand awhile aside.
IV:3:22 ORAN. Gone, is she gone! Yet safe I feel. O Allah! thou art great! The arm she bound, and tended with that glance Of sweet solicitude, has saved her life, And more than life. The dark and reckless villains! O! I could curse them, but my heart is soft With holy triumph. I'm no more an outcast. And when she calls me, I'd not change my lot To be an Emir. In their hall to-night There will be joy, and Oran will have smiles. This house has knit me to their fate by ties Stronger than gyves of iron.
IV:3:23 LEON. Do I see The man I seek? Oran!
[ORAN turns, and recognising Leon, rushes and seizes him.]
IV:3:24 ORAN. Incarnate fiend, Give her me, give her me!
IV:3:25 LEON. Off, ruffian, off!
IV:3:26 ORAN. I have thee and I'll hold thee. If I spare Thy damned life, and do not dash thee down, And trample on thee, fiend, it is because Thou art the gaoler of a pearl of price I cannot gain without thee. Now, where is she? Now by thy life!
IV:3:27 LEON. Why, thou outrageous Moor, Hast broken thy false prophet's rule, and so Fell into unused drink, that thus thou darest To flout me with thy cloudy menaces? What mean'st thou, sir? And what have I withheld From thy vile touch? By heavens, I pass my days In seeking thy dusk corpse, I deemed well drilled Ere this, but it awaits my vengeance.
IV:3:28 ORAN. Boy! Licentious boy! Where is she? Now, by Allah! This poniard to thy heart, unless thou tell'st me.
IV:3:29 LEON. Whom dost thou mean?
IV:3:30 ORAN. Thy comrade and thy crew They all have fled. I left the Countess here. She's gone. Thou fill'st her place.
IV:3:31 LEON. What Countess? Speak.
IV:3:32 ORAN. The Count Alarcos' wife.
IV:3:33 LEON. The Count Alarcos! I'd be right glad to see him; but his wife Concerns the Lord Sidonia. If he have played Some Pranks here 'tis a fool, and he has marred More than he'll ever make. My time's worth gems; My knightly word, dusk Moor, I tell thee truth. I will forget these jest, but we must meet This night at my palace.
IV:3:34 ORAN. I'll see her first.
IV:3:35 LEON. Is it the Carnival? What mummery's this? What have I heard? One thing alone is clear. We must be rid of Oran.
A Chamber in the Palace. The Countess ALARCOS lying on a Couch, the Infanta kneeling at her side; MAIDENS grouped around. A PHYSICIAN and the PAGE.
IV:4:1 SOL. Didst ever see so fair a skin? Her bodice Should still be loosened. Bring the Moorish water, Griselda, you. They are the longest lashes! They hang upon her cheek. Doctor, there's warmth; The blood returns?
IV:4:2 PHY. But slowly.
IV:4:3 SOL. Beauteous creature! She seems an angel fallen from some star. 'Twas well we passed. Untie that kerchief, Julia; Teresa, wave the fan. There seems a glow Upon her cheek, what but a moment since Was like a sculptured saint's. IV:4:4 PHY. She breathes.
IV:4:5 SOL. Hush, hush!
IV:4:6 COUN. And what is this? where am I?
IV:4:7 SOL. With thy friends.
IV:4:8 COUN. It is not home.
IV:4:9 SOL. If kindness make a home, Believe it such.
[The PHYSICIAN signifies silence.]
Nay lady, not a word, Those lips must now be closed. I've seen such eyes In pictures, girls.
IV:4:10 PHY. Methinks she'll sleep.
IV:4:11 SOL. 'Tis well. Maidens, away. I'll be her nurse; and, doctor, Remain within.
[Exeunt PHYSICIAN and MAIDENS.]
Know you this beauteous dame?
IV:4:12 PAGE. I have heard minstrels tell that fays are found In lonely places.
IV:4:13 SOL. Well, she's magical. She draws me charm-like to her. Vanish, imp, And see our chamber still.
It is the hour Alarcos should be here. Ah! happy hour, That custom only makes more strangely sweet! His brow has lost its cloud. The bar's removed To our felicity; time makes amends To patient sufferers.
[Enter COUNT ALARCOS.]
Hush, my own love, hush!
[SOLISA takes his hand and leads him aside.]
So strange an incident! the fairest lady! Found in our gardens; it would seem a swoon; Myself then passing; hither we have brought her; She is so beautiful, you'll almost deem She bears some charmed life. You know that fays Are found in lonely places.
IV:4:14 ALAR. In thy garden! Indeed 'tis strange! The Virgin guard thee, love. I am right glad I'm here. Alone to tend her, 'Tis scarcely wise.
IV:4:15 SOL. I think when she recovers, She'll wave her wings and fly.
IV:4:16 ALAR. Nay, for one glance! In truth you paint her bright.
IV:4:17 SOL. E'en now she sleeps. Tread lightly, love; I'll lead you.
[SOLISA cautiously leads ALARCOS to the couch; as they approach it, the COUNTESS opens her eyes and shrieks.]
IV:4:18 COUN. Ah! 'tis true, Alarcos [relapses into a swoon.]
IV:4:19 ALAR. Florimonde!
IV:4:20 SOL. Who is this lady?
IV:4:21 ALAR. It is my wife.
[flings away his arms and rushes forward.]
—Not mad! Virgin and Saints be merciful; not mad! O spare my brain one moment; 'tis his wife. I'm lost: she is too fair. The secret's out Of sick delays. He's feigned; he has but feigned.
[Rushing to Alarcos.]
Is that thy wife? and I? and what am I? A trifled toy, a humoured instrument? To guide with glozing words, vilely cajole With petty perjuries? Is that thy wife? Thou said'st she was not fair, thou did'st not love her: Thou lied'st. O, anguish, anguish!
IV:4:23 ALAR. By the cross, My soul is pure to thee. I'm wildered quite. How came she here
IV:4:24 SOL. As she shall ne'er return. Now, Count Alarcos, by the cross thou swearest Thy faith is true to me.
IV:4:25 ALAR. Ay, by the cross,
IV:4:26 SOL. Give me thy dagger.
IV:4:27 ALAR. Not that hand or mine.
IV:4:28 SOL. Is this thy passion!
[Takes his dagger.]
Thus I gain the heart I should despise.
[Rushes to the couch.]
IV:4:29 COUN. What's this I see?
[seizing the Infanta's upraised arm]
A dream A horrid dream, yet but a dream.
THE END OF THE FOURTH ACT.
Exterior of the Castle of Alarcos in the valley of Arlanzon.
[Enter the COUNTESS.]
V:1:1 COUN. I would recall the days gone by, and live A moment in the past; if but to fly The dreary present pressing on my brain, Woe's omened harbinger. In exiled love The scene he drew so fair! Ye castled crags, The sunbeam plays on your embattled cliffs, And softens your stern visage, as his love Softened our early sorrows. But my sun Has set for ever! Once we talked of cares And deemed that we were sad. Men fancy sorrows Until time brings the substance of despair, And then their griefs are shadows. Give me exile! It brought me love. Ah! days of gentle joy, When pastime only parted us, and he Returned with tales to make our children stare; Or called my lute, while, round my waist entwined, His hand kept chorus to my lay. No more! O, we were happier than the happy birds; And sweeter were our lives than the sweet flowers; The stars were not more tranquil in their course, Yet not more bright! The fountains in their play Did most resemble us, that as they flow Still sparkle!
Oran, I am very sad.
V:1:2 ORAN. Cheer up, sweet lady, for the God of all Will guard the innocent.
V:1:3 COUN. Think you he'll come To visit us? Methinks he'll never come.
V:1:4 ORAN. He's but four leagues away. This vicinage Argues a frequent presence.
V:1:5 COUN. But three nights— Have only three nights past? It is an epoch Distant and dim with passion. There are seasons Feelings crowd on so, time not flies but staggers; And memory poises on her burthened plumes To gloat upon her prey. Spoke he of coming?
V:1:6 ORAN. His words were scant and wild, and yet he murmured That I should see him.
V:1:7 COUN. I've not seen him since That fatal night, yet even that glance of terror— I'd hail it now. O, Oran, Oran, think you He ever more will love me? Can I do Aught to regain his love? They say your people Are learned in these questions. Once I thought There was no spell like duty—that devotion Would bulwark love for ever. Now, I'd distil Philtres, converse with moonlit hags, defile My soul with talismans, bow down to spirits, And frequent accursed places, all, yea all— I'd forfeit all—but to regain his love.
V:1:8 ORAN. There is a cloud now rising in the west, In shape a hand, and scarcely would its grasp Exceed mine own, it is so small; a spot, A speck; see now again its colour flits! A lurid tint; they call it on our coast 'The hand of God;' I for when its finger rises From out the horizon, there are storms abroad And awful judgments.
V:1:9 COUN. Ah! it beckons me.
V:1:10 ORAN. Lady!
V:1:11 COUN. Yes, yes, see now the finger moves And points to me. I feel it on my spirit.
V:1:12 ORAN. Methinks it points to me—
V:1:13 COUN. To both of us. It may be so. And what would it portend? My heart's grown strangely calm. If there be chance Of storms, my children should be safe. Let's home.
An illuminated Hall in the Royal Palace at Burgos; in the background Dancers.
Groups of GUESTS passing.
V:2:1 1ST GUEST. Radiant!
V:2:2 2ND GUEST. Recalls old days.
V:2:3 3RD GUEST. The Queen herself Ne'er revelled it so high!
V:2:4 4TH GUEST. The Infanta beams Like some bright star!
V:2:5 5TH GUEST. And brighter for the cloud A moment screened her.
V:2:6 6TH GUEST. Is it true 'tis over Between the Count Sidonia and the Lara?
V:2:7 1ST GUEST. A musty tale. The fair Alarcos wins him. Where's she to-night?
V:2:8 2ND GUEST. All on the watch to view Her entrance to our world.
V:2:9 3RD GUEST. The Count is here.
V:2:10 4TH GUEST. Where?
V:2:11 3RD GUEST. With the King; at least a moment since.
V:2:12 2ND GUEST. They say she's ravishing.
V:2:13 4TH GUEST. Beyond belief!
V:2:14 3RD GUEST. The King affects him much.
V:2:15 5TH GUEST. He's all in all.
V:2:16 6TH GUEST. Yon Knight of Calatrava, who is he?
V:2:17 1ST GUEST. Young Mendola.
V:2:18 2ND GUEST. What he so rich?
V:2:19 1ST GUEST. The same.
V:2:20 2ND GUEST. The Lara smiles on him.
V:2:21 1ST GUEST. No worthier quarry
V:2:22 3RD GUEST. Who has the vacant Mastership?
V:2:23 4TH GUEST. I'll back The Count of Leon.
V:2:24 3RD GUEST. Likely; he stands well With the Lord Admiral.
[They move away.]
[The Counts of SIDONIA and LEON come forward.]
V:2:25 LEON. Doubt as you like, Credulity will come, and in good season.
V:2:26 SIDO. She is not here that would confirm your tale.
V:2:27 LEON. 'Tis history, my Sidonia. Strange events Have happened, stranger come.
V:2:28 SIDO. I'll not believe it. And favoured by the King! What can it mean?
V:2:29 LEON. What no one dares to say.
V:2:30 SIDO. A clear divorce. O that accursed garden! But for that—
V:2:31 LEON. 'Twas not my counsel. Now I'd give a purse To wash good Oran in Arlanzon's wave; The dusk dog needs a cleansing.
V:2:32 SIDO. Hush! here comes Alarcos and the King.
[They retire: the KING and COUNT ALARCOS advance.]
V:2:33 KING. Solisa looks A Queen.
V:2:34 ALAR. The mirror of her earliest youth Ne'er shadowed her so fair!
V:2:35 KING. I am young again, Myself to-night. It quickens my old blood To see my nobles round me. This goes well. 'Tis Courts like these that make a King feel proud. Thy future subjects, cousin.
V:2:36 ALAR. Gracious Sire, I would be one.
V:2:37 KING. Our past seclusion lends A lustre to this revel.
[The KING approaches the Count of LEON; SOLISA advances to ALARCOS.]
V:2:38 SOL. Why art thou grave? I came to bid thee smile. In truth, to-night I feel a lightness of the heart to me Hath long been strange.
V:2:39 ALAR. 'Tis passion makes me grave. I muse upon thy beauty. Thus I'd read My oppressed spirit, for in truth these sounds Jar on my humour.
V:2:40 SOL. Now my brain is vivid With wild and blissful images. Canst guess What laughing thought unbidden, but resistless, Plays o'er my mind to-night? Thou canst not guess: Meseems it is our bridal night.
V:2:41 ALAR. Thy fancy Outruns the truth but scantly.
V:2:42 SOL. Not a breath. Our long-vexed destinies—even now their streams Blend in one tide. It is the hour, Alarcos: There is a spirit whispering in my ear, The hour is come. I would I were a man But for a rapid hour. Should I rest here, Prattling with gladsome revellers, when time, Steered by my hand, might bring me to a port I long had sighed to enter? But, alas! These are a woman's thoughts.
V:2:43 ALAR. And yet I share them.
V:2:44 SOL. Why not to-night? Now, when our hearts are high, Our fancies glowing, pulses fit for kings, And the whole frame and spirit of the man Prepared for daring deeds?
V:2:45 ALAR. And were it done— Why then 'twere not to do.
V:2:46 SOL. The mind grows dull, Dwelling on method of its deeds too long. Our schemes should brood as gradual as the storm; Their acting should be lightning. How far is't?
V:2:47 ALAR. An hour.
V:2:48 SOL. Why it wants two to midnight yet. O could I see thee but re-enter here, Ere yet the midnight clock strikes on my heart The languish of new hours—I'd not ask thee Why I had missed the mien, that draws to it ever My constant glance. There'd need no speech between us; For I should meet—my husband.
V:2:49 ALAR. 'Tis the burthen Of this unfilled doom weighs on my spirit. Why am I here? My heart and face but mar This festive hall. To-night, why not to-night? The night will soon have past: then 'twill be done. We'll meet again to-night.
A Hall in the Castle of ALARCOS; in the back of the Scene a door leading to another Apartment.
V:3:1 ORAN. Reveal the future, lightnings! Then I'd hail That arrowy flash. O darker than the storm Cowed as the beasts now crouching in their caves, Is my sad soul. Impending o'er this house, I feel some bursting fate, my doomed arm In vain would ward,
[Enter a MAN AT ARMS.]
How now, hast left thy post?
V:3:2 MAN. O worthy Castellan, the lightnings play Upon our turrets, that no human step Can keep the watch. Each forky flash seems missioned To scathe our roof, and the whole platform flows With a blue sea of flame.
V:3:3 ORAN. It is thy post. No peril clears desertion. To thy post. Mark me, my step will be as prompt as thine; I will relieve thee.
[Exit MAN AT ARMS.]
Let the mischievous fire Wither this head. O Allah! grant no fate More dire awaits me.
[Enter the COUNT ALARCOS.]
Hah! the Count! My lord, In such a night!
V:3:4 ALAR. A night that's not so wild As this tempestuous breast. How is she, Oran?
V:3:5 ORAN. Well.
V:3:6 ALAR. Ever well.
V:3:7 ORAN. The children—
V:3:8 ALAR. Wine, I'm wearied, The lightning scared my horse; he's galled my arm. Get me some wine.
The storm was not to stop me. The mind intent construes each natural act To a personal bias, and so catches judgments In every common course. In truth the flash, Though it seemed opening hell, was not so dreadful As that wild glaring hall.
[Re-enter ORAN with a goblet and flagon.]
Ah! this re-mans me! I think the storm has lulled. Another cup. Go see, good Oran, how the tempest speeds.
An hour ago I did not dare to think I'd drink wine more.
V:3:9 ORAN. The storm indeed has lulled As by a miracle; the sky is clear, There's not a breath of air; and from the turret I heard the bell of Huelgas.
V:3:10 ALAR. Then 'twas nothing. My spirit vaults! Oran, thou dost remember The night that we first met?
V:3:11 ORAN. 'Tis graven deep Upon my heart.
V:3:12 ALAR. I think thou lov'st me, Oran?
V:3:13 ORAN. And all thy house.
V:3:14 ALAR. Nay, thou shalt love but me. I'll no divisions in the hearts that are mine.
V:3:15 ORAN. I have no love but that which knits me to thee With deeper love.
V:3:16 ALAR. I found thee, Oran, what— I will not say. And now thou art, good Oran, A Prince's Castellan.
V:3:17 ORAN. I feel thy bounty.
V:3:18 ALAR. Thou shalt be more. But serve me as I would, And thou shalt name thy meed.
V:3:19 ORAN. To serve my lord Is my sufficient meed.
V:3:20 ALAR. Come hither, Oran, Were there a life between me and my life, And all that makes that life a thing to cling to, Love, Honour, Power, ay, what I will not name Nor thou canst image—yet enough to stir Ambition in the dead—I think, good Oran, Thou would'st not see me foiled?
V:3:21 ORAN. Thy glory's dearer Than life to me.
V:3:22 ALAR. I knew it, I knew it. Thou shalt share all; thy alien blood shall be No bar to thy preferment. Hast thou brothers? I'll send for them. An aged sire, perchance? Here's gold for him. Count it thyself. Contrive All means of self-enjoyment. To the full They shall lap up fruition. Thou hast, all have, Some master wish which still eludes thy grasp, And still's the secret idol of thy soul; 'Tis gained. And only if thou dost, good Oran, What love and duty prompt.
V:3:23 ORAN. Count on my faith, I stand prepared to prove it.
V:3:24 ALAR. Good, good, Oran. It is an hour to midnight?
V:3:25 ORAN. The moon is not Within her midnight bower, yet near.
V:3:26 ALAR. So late! The Countess sleeps?
V:3:27 ORAN. She has long retired.
V:3:28 ALAR. She sleeps, O, she must wake no more!
V:3:29 ORAN. Thy wife!
V:3:30 ALAR. It must Be done, ere yet the Castle chime shall tell Night wanes.
V:3:31 ORAN. Thy wife! God of my fathers! none Can do this deed!
V:3:32 ALAR. Upon thy hand it rests. The deed must fall on thee.
V:3:33 ORAN. I will not do it.
V:3:34 ALAR. Thine oath, thine oath! Hast thou forgot thine oath? Thou owest me a life, and now I claim it. What, hast thou trifled with me? Hast thou fooled With one whose point was at thy throat? Beware! Thou art my slave, and I have branded thee With this infernal ransom!
V:3:35 ORAN. I am thy slave, And I will be thy slave, and all my days Devoted to perdition. Not for gold Or worldly worth; to cheer no aged parent, Though I have one, a mother; not to bask My seed within thy beams; to feed no passions And gorge no craving vanity; but because Thou gavest me life, and led to that which made That life for once delicious. O, great sir, The King's thy foe? Surrounded by his guards I would waylay him. Hast thou some fierce rival? I'll pluck his heart out. Yea! there is no peril I'd not confront, no rack I'll not endure, No great offence commit, to do thee service— So thou wilt spare me this, and spare thy soul This unmatched sin.
V:3:36 ALAR. I had exhausted suffering Ere I could speak to thee. I claim thine oath.
V:3:37 ORAN. One moment, yet one moment. This is sudden As it is terrible.
V:3:38 ALAR. The womb is ripe, And thou art but the midwife of the birth I have engendered.
V:3:39 ORAN. Think how fair she is, How gracious, how devoted!
V:3:40 ALAR. Need I thee To tell me what she is!
V:3:41 ORAN. Thy children's mother.
V:3:42 ALAR. Would she were not! Another breast should bear My children.
V:3:43 ORAN. Thou inhuman bloody man— It shall not be, it cannot, cannot be. I tell thee, tyrant, there's a power abroad E'en now that crashes thee. The storm that raged Blows from a mystic quarter. 'Tis the hand Of Allah guides the tempest of this night.
V:3:44 ALAR. Thine oath, thine oath!
V:3:45 ORAN. Accursed be the hour Thou sparedst my life!
V:3:46 ALAR. Thine oath, I claim thine oath. Nay, Moor, what is it? 'Tis a life, and thou Hast learnt to rate existence at its worth. A life, a woman's life! Why, sack a town, And thousands die like her. My faithful Oran, Come let me love thee, let me find a friend When friends can prove themselves. It's not an oath Vowed in our sunshine ease, that shows a friend; 'Tis the tempestuous mood like this, that calls For faithful service.
V:3:47 ORAN. Hah! the Emir's blood Cries for this judgment. It was sacred seed.
V:3:48 ALAR. It flowed to clear thine honour. Art thou he That honour loved so dearly, that he scorned Betrayal of a foe, although that foe Had changed him to a bravo?
V:3:49 ORAN. Let me kiss Thy garment's hem, and grovel it thy feet— I pray, I supplicate—my lord, my lord— Absolve me from that oath!
V:3:50 ALAR. I had not thought To claim it twice. It seems I lacked some judgment In man, to deem that honour might be found In hired stabbers.
V:3:51 ORAN. Hah! I vowed to thee A life for that which thou didst spare—'tis well. The debt is paid.
[Stabs himself and falls.]
[Enter the COUNTESS from the inner Chamber.]
V:3:52 COUN. I cannot sleep—my dreams are full of woe! Alarcos! my Alarcos! Hah! dread sight! Oran!
V:3:53 ORAN. O, spare her; 'tis no sacrifice If she be spared.
V:3:54 COUN. Wild words! Thou dost not speak. O, speak, Alarcos! speak!
V:3:55 ORAN. His voice is death.
V:3:56 COUN. Ye Saints uphold me now, for I am weak And lost. What means this? Oran dying! Nay— Alarcos! I'm a woman. Aid me, aid me. Why's Oran thus? O, save him, my Alarcos! Blood! And why shed? Why, let us staunch his wounds. Why are there wounds? He will not speak. Alarcos, A word, a single word! Unhappy Moor! Where is thy hurt? [Kneels by ORAN.]
V:3:57 ORAN. That hand! This is not death; 'Tis Paradise.
[advancing in soliloquy]
He sets me great examples. 'Tis easier than I deemed; a single blow And his bold soul has fled. His lavish life Enlists me in quick service. Quit that dark corpse; He died as did become a perjured traitor.
V:3:59 COUN. To whom, my lord?
V:3:60 ALAR. To all Castille perchance. Come hither, wife. Before the morning breaks A lengthened journey waits thee. Art prepared?
[springing to ALARCOS]
I will not go. Alarcos, dear Alarcos, Thy look is terrible! What mean these words? Why should'st thou spare me? Why should Oran die? The veil that clouds thy mind—I'll rend it. Tell me— Yea! I'll know all. A power supports me now— Defies even thee.
V:3:62 ALAR. A traitor's troubled tongue Disturbs thy mind. I tell thee, thou must leave This castle promptly.
V:3:63 COUN. Not to Burgos—say But that. I will not go. That fatal woman— Her shadow's on thy soul.
V:3:64 ALAR. No, not to Burgos. 'Tis not to Burgos that thy journey tends. The children sleep?
V:3:65 COUN. Spite of the storm.
V:3:66 ALAR. Go—kiss them. Thou canst not take them with thee. To thy chamber— Quick to thy chamber.
[The COUNTESS as if about to speak, but ALARCOS stops her.]
Nay, time presses, wife.
[The COUNTESS slowly re-enters her Chamber.]
V:3:67 ALAR. I am alone—with Death. And will she look Serene as this? The visage of a hero Stamped with a martyred end! Thou noble Moor! What if thy fate were mine! Thou art at rest: No dark fulfilment waits o'er thee. The tomb Hath many charms.
[The COUNTESS calls.]
V:3:68 COUN. Alarcos!
V:3:69 ALAR. Ay, anon. Why did she tell me that she lived? Methought It was all past. I came to confront death; And we have met. This sacrificial blood— What, bears it no atonement? 'Twas an offering Fit for the Gods.
[The midnight bell.]
She waits me now; her hand Extends a diadem; my achieveless arm Would wither at her scorn. 'Tis thus, Solisa, I gain thy heart and realm!
[ALARCOS moves hastily to the Chamber, which he enters; the stage for some seconds is empty; a shriek is then heard; ALARCOS re-appears, very pale, and slowly advances to the front of the stage.]
'Tis over and I live. I heard a sound; Was't Oran's spirit? I'll not rest here, and yet I dare not back. The bodies? Nay, 'tis done—I'll not shrink now. I have seen death before. But is this death? Methinks a deeper mystery. Well, 'tis done. There'll be no hour so dark as this. I would I had not caught her eye.
[A trumpet sounds.]
The Warder's note! Shall I meet life again?
[Another trumpet sounds.]
[Enter the SENESCHAL.]
V:3:70 SEN. Horsemen from Court.
V:3:71 ALAR. The Court! I'm sick at heart. Perchance she's eager, And cannot wait my coming.
[Enter two COURTIERS.]
Well, good sirs!
V:3:72 1ST COURT. Alas, my lord.
V:3:73 ALAR. I live upon thy words. What now?
V:3:74 1ST COURT. We have rode post, my lord.
V:3:75 ALAR. Bad news Flies ever. 'Tis the King?
V:3:76 1ST COURT. Alas!
V:3:77 ALAR. She's ill. My horse, my horse there!
V:3:78 1ST COURT. Nay, my lord, not so.
V:3:79 ALAR. Why then I care for nought.
V:3:80 1ST COURT. Unheard-of horror! The storm, the storm—
V:3:81 ALAR. I rode in it.
V:3:82 1ST COURT. Methought Each flash would fire the Citadel; the flame Wreathed round its pinnacles, and poured in streams Adown the pallid battlements. Our revellers Forgot their festival, and stopped to gaze On the portentous vision. When behold! The curtained clouds re-opened, and a bolt Came winged from the startling blue of heaven, And struck—the Infanta!
V:3:83 ALAR. There's a God of Vengeance.
V:3:84 1ST COURT. She fell a blighted corpse. Amid the shrieks Of women, prayers of hurrying multitudes, The panic and the stir we sought for thee; The King's overwhelmed.
V:3:85 ALAR. My wife's at least a Queen, She reigns in Heaven. The King's o'erwhelmed—poor man Go tell him, sirs, the Count Alarcos lived To find a hell on earth; yet thus he sought A deeper and a darker.