Prec. Yes, that I love thee, as the good love heaven; But not that I am worthy of that heaven. How shall I more deserve it?
Vict. Loving more.
Prec. I cannot love thee more; my heart is full.
Vict. Then let it overflow, and I will drink it, As in the summer-time the thirsty sands Drink the swift waters of the Manzanares, And still do thirst for more.
A Watchman (in the street). Ave Maria Purissima! 'T is midnight and serene!
Vict. Hear'st thou that cry?
Prec. It is a hateful sound, To scare thee from me!
Vict. As the hunter's horn Doth scare the timid stag, or bark of hounds The moor-fowl from his mate.
Prec. Pray, do not go!
Vict. I must away to Alcala to-night. Think of me when I am away.
Prec. Fear not! I have no thoughts that do not think of thee.
Vict. (giving her a ring). And to remind thee of my love, take this; A serpent, emblem of Eternity; A ruby,—say, a drop of my heart's blood.
Prec. It is an ancient saying, that the ruby Brings gladness to the wearer, and preserves The heart pure, and, if laid beneath the pillow, Drives away evil dreams. But then, alas! It was a serpent tempted Eve to sin.
Vict. What convent of barefooted Carmelites Taught thee so much theology?
Prec. (laying her hand upon his mouth). Hush! hush! Good night! and may all holy angels guard thee!
Vict. Good night! good night! Thou art my guardian angel! I have no other saint than thou to pray to!
(He descends by the balcony.)
Prec. Take care, and do not hurt thee. Art thou safe?
Vict. (from the garden). Safe as my love for thee! But art thou safe? Others can climb a balcony by moonlight As well as I. Pray shut thy window close; I am jealous of the perfumed air of night That from this garden climbs to kiss thy lips.
Prec. (throwing down her handkerchief). Thou silly child! Take this to blind thine eyes. It is my benison!
Vict. And brings to me Sweet fragrance from thy lips, as the soft wind Wafts to the out-bound mariner the breath Of the beloved land he leaves behind.
Prec. Make not thy voyage long.
Vict. To-morrow night Shall see me safe returned. Thou art the star To guide me to an anchorage. Good night! My beauteous star! My star of love, good night!
Prec. Good night!
Watchman (at a distance). Ave Maria Purissima!
Scene IV. — An inn on the road to Alcala. BALTASAR asleep on a bench. Enter CHISPA.
Chispa. And here we are, halfway to Alcala, between cocks and midnight. Body o' me! what an inn this is! The lights out, and the landlord asleep. Hola! ancient Baltasar!
Bal. (waking). Here I am.
Chispa. Yes, there you are, like a one-eyed Alcalde in a town without inhabitants. Bring a light, and let me have supper.
Bal. Where is your master?
Chispo. Do not trouble yourself about him. We have stopped a moment to breathe our horses; and, if he chooses to walk up and down in the open air, looking into the sky as one who hears it rain, that does not satisfy my hunger, you know. But be quick, for I am in a hurry, and every man stretches his legs according to the length of his coverlet. What have we here?
Bal. (setting a light on the table). Stewed rabbit.
Chispa (eating). Conscience of Portalegre! Stewed kitten, you mean!
Bal. And a pitcher of Pedro Ximenes, with a roasted pear in it.
Chispa (drinking). Ancient Baltasar, amigo! You know how to cry wine and sell vinegar. I tell you this is nothing but Vino Tinto of La Mancha, with a tang of the swine-skin.
Bal. I swear to you by Saint Simon and Judas, it is all as I say.
Chispa. And I swear to you by Saint Peter and Saint Paul, that it is no such thing. Moreover, your supper is like the hidalgo's dinner, very little meat and a great deal of tablecloth.
Bal. Ha! ha! ha!
Chispa. And more noise than nuts.
Bal. Ha! ha! ha! You must have your joke, Master Chispa. But shall I not ask Don Victorian in, to take a draught of the Pedro Ximenes?
Chispa. No; you might as well say, "Don't-you-want-some?" to a dead man.
Bal. Why does he go so often to Madrid?
Chispa. For the same reason that he eats no supper. He is in love. Were you ever in love, Baltasar?
Bal. I was never out of it, good Chispa. It has been the torment of my life.
Chispa. What! are you on fire, too, old hay-stack? Why, we shall never be able to put you out.
Vict. (without). Chispa!
Chispa. Go to bed, Pero Grullo, for the cocks are crowing.
Vict. Ea! Chispa! Chispa!
Chispa. Ea! Senor. Come with me, ancient Baltasar, and bring water for the horses. I will pay for the supper tomorrow. [Exeunt.
SCENE V. — VICTORIAN'S chambers at Alcala. HYPOLITO asleep in an arm-chair. He awakes slowly.
Hyp. I must have been asleep! ay, sound asleep! And it was all a dream. O sleep, sweet sleep Whatever form thou takest, thou art fair, Holding unto our lips thy goblet filled Out of Oblivion's well, a healing draught! The candles have burned low; it must be late. Where can Victorian be? Like Fray Carrillo, The only place in which one cannot find him Is his own cell. Here's his guitar, that seldom Feels the caresses of its master's hand. Open thy silent lips, sweet instrument! And make dull midnight merry with a song.
(He plays and sings.)
Padre Francisco! Padre Francisco! What do you want of Padre Francisco? Here is a pretty young maiden Who wants to confess her sins! Open the door and let her come in, I will shrive her from every sin.
Vict. Padre Hypolito! Padre Hypolito!
Hyp. What do you want of Padre Hypolito?
Vict. Come, shrive me straight; for, if love be a sin, I am the greatest sinner that doth live. I will confess the sweetest of all crimes, A maiden wooed and won.
Hyp. The same old tale Of the old woman in the chimney-corner, Who, while the pot boils, says, "Come here, my child; I'll tell thee a story of my wedding-day."
Vict. Nay, listen, for my heart is full; so full That I must speak.
Hyp. Alas! that heart of thine Is like a scene in the old play; the curtain Rises to solemn music, and lo! enter The eleven thousand virgins of Cologne!
Vict. Nay, like the Sibyl's volumes, thou shouldst say; Those that remained, after the six were burned, Being held more precious than the nine together. But listen to my tale. Dost thou remember The Gypsy girl we saw at Cordova Dance the Romalis in the market-place?
Hyp. Thou meanest Preciosa.
Vict. Ay, the same. Thou knowest how her image haunted me Long after we returned to Alcala. She's in Madrid.
Hyp. I know it.
Vict. And I'm in love.
Hyp. And therefore in Madrid when thou shouldst be In Alcala.
Vict. O pardon me, my friend, If I so long have kept this secret from thee; But silence is the charm that guards such treasures, And, if a word be spoken ere the time, They sink again, they were not meant for us.
Hyp. Alas! alas! I see thou art in love. Love keeps the cold out better than a cloak. It serves for food and raiment. Give a Spaniard His mass, his olla, and his Dona Luisa— Thou knowest the proverb. But pray tell me, lover, How speeds thy wooing? Is the maiden coy? Write her a song, beginning with an Ave; Sing as the monk sang to the Virgin Mary,
Ave! cujus calcem clare Nec centenni commendare Sciret Seraph studio!
Vict. Pray, do not jest! This is no time for it! I am in earnest!
Hyp. Seriously enamored? What, ho! The Primus of great Alcala Enamored of a Gypsy? Tell me frankly, How meanest thou?
Vict. I mean it honestly.
Hyp. Surely thou wilt not marry her!
Vict. Why not?
Hyp. She was betrothed to one Bartolome, If I remember rightly, a young Gypsy Who danced with her at Cordova.
Vict. They quarrelled, And so the matter ended.
Hyp. But in truth Thou wilt not marry her.
Vict. In truth I will. The angels sang in heaven when she was born! She is a precious jewel I have found Among the filth and rubbish of the world. I'll stoop for it; but when I wear it here, Set on my forehead like the morning star, The world may wonder, but it will not laugh.
Hyp. If thou wear'st nothing else upon thy forehead, 'T will be indeed a wonder.
Vict. Out upon thee With thy unseasonable jests! Pray tell me, Is there no virtue in the world?
Hyp. Not much. What, think'st thou, is she doing at this moment; Now, while we speak of her?
Vict. She lies asleep, And from her parted lips her gentle breath Comes like the fragrance from the lips of flowers. Her tender limbs are still, and on her breast The cross she prayed to, ere she fell asleep, Rises and falls with the soft tide of dreams, Like a light barge safe moored.
Hyp. Which means, in prose, She's sleeping with her mouth a little open!
Vict. O, would I had the old magician's glass To see her as she lies in childlike sleep!
Hyp. And wouldst thou venture?
Vict. Ay, indeed I would!
Hyp. Thou art courageous. Hast thou e'er reflected How much lies hidden in that one word, NOW?
Vict. Yes; all the awful mystery of Life! I oft have thought, my dear Hypolito, That could we, by some spell of magic, change The world and its inhabitants to stone, In the same attitudes they now are in, What fearful glances downward might we cast Into the hollow chasms of human life! What groups should we behold about the death-bed, Putting to shame the group of Niobe! What joyful welcomes, and what sad farewells! What stony tears in those congealed eyes! What visible joy or anguish in those cheeks! What bridal pomps, and what funereal shows! What foes, like gladiators, fierce and struggling! What lovers with their marble lips together!
Hyp. Ay, there it is! and, if I were in love, That is the very point I most should dread. This magic glass, these magic spells of thine, Might tell a tale were better left untold. For instance, they might show us thy fair cousin, The Lady Violante, bathed in tears Of love and anger, like the maid of Colchis, Whom thou, another faithless Argonaut, Having won that golden fleece, a woman's love, Desertest for this Glauce.
Vict. Hold thy peace! She cares not for me. She may wed another, Or go into a convent, and, thus dying, Marry Achilles in the Elysian Fields.
Hyp. (rising). And so, good night! Good morning, I should say.
(Clock strikes three.)
Hark! how the loud and ponderous mace of Time Knocks at the golden portals of the day! And so, once more, good night! We'll speak more largely Of Preciosa when we meet again. Get thee to bed, and the magician, Sleep, Shall show her to thee, in his magic glass, In all her loveliness. Good night! [Exit.
Vict. Good night! But not to bed; for I must read awhile.
(Throws himself into the arm-chair which HYPOLITO has left, and lays a large book open upon his knees.)
Must read, or sit in revery and watch The changing color of the waves that break Upon the idle sea-shore of the mind! Visions of Fame! that once did visit me, Making night glorious with your smile, where are ye? O, who shall give me, now that ye are gone, Juices of those immortal plants that bloom Upon Olympus, making us immortal? Or teach me where that wondrous mandrake grows Whose magic root, torn from the earth with groans, At midnight hour, can scare the fiends away, And make the mind prolific in its fancies! I have the wish, but want the will, to act! Souls of great men departed! Ye whose words Have come to light from the swift river of Time, Like Roman swords found in the Tagus' bed, Where is the strength to wield the arms ye bore? From the barred visor of Antiquity Reflected shines the eternal light of Truth, As from a mirror! All the means of action— The shapeless masses, the materials— Lie everywhere about us. What we need Is the celestial fire to change the flint Into transparent crystal, bright and clear. That fire is genius! The rude peasant sits At evening in his smoky cot, and draws With charcoal uncouth figures on the wall. The son of genius comes, foot-sore with travel, And begs a shelter from the inclement night. He takes the charcoal from the peasant's hand, And, by the magic of his touch at once Transfigured, all its hidden virtues shine, And, in the eyes of the astonished clown, It gleams a diamond! Even thus transformed, Rude popular traditions and old tales Shine as immortal poems, at the touch Of some poor, houseless, homeless, wandering bard, Who had but a night's lodging for his pains. But there are brighter dreams than those of Fame, Which are the dreams of Love! Out of the heart Rises the bright ideal of these dreams, As from some woodland fount a spirit rises And sinks again into its silent deeps, Ere the enamored knight can touch her robe! 'T is this ideal that the soul of man, Like the enamored knight beside the fountain, Waits for upon the margin of Life's stream; Waits to behold her rise from the dark waters, Clad in a mortal shape! Alas! how many Must wait in vain! The stream flows evermore, But from its silent deeps no spirit rises! Yet I, born under a propitious star, Have found the bright ideal of my dreams. Yes! she is ever with me. I can feel, Here, as I sit at midnight and alone, Her gentle breathing! on my breast can feel The pressure of her head! God's benison Rest ever on it! Close those beauteous eyes, Sweet Sleep! and all the flowers that bloom at night With balmy lips breathe in her ears my name!
(Gradually sinks asleep.)
SCENE I. — PRECIOSA'S chamber. Morning. PRECIOSA and ANGELICA.
Prec. Why will you go so soon? Stay yet awhile. The poor too often turn away unheard From hearts that shut against them with a sound That will be heard in heaven. Pray, tell me more Of your adversities. Keep nothing from me. What is your landlord's name?
Ang. The Count of Lara.
Prec. The Count of Lara? O, beware that man! Mistrust his pity,—hold no parley with him! And rather die an outcast in the streets Than touch his gold.
Ang. You know him, then!
Prec. As much As any woman may, and yet be pure. As you would keep your name without a blemish, Beware of him!
Ang. Alas! what can I do? I cannot choose my friends. Each word of kindness, Come whence it may, is welcome to the poor.
Prec. Make me your friend. A girl so young and fair Should have no friends but those of her own sex. What is your name?
Prec. That name Was given you, that you might be an angel To her who bore you! When your infant smile Made her home Paradise, you were her angel. O, be an angel still! She needs that smile. So long as you are innocent, fear nothing. No one can harm you! I am a poor girl, Whom chance has taken from the public streets. I have no other shield than mine own virtue. That is the charm which has protected me! Amid a thousand perils, I have worn it Here on my heart! It is my guardian angel.
Ang. (rising). I thank you for this counsel, dearest lady.
Prec. Thank me by following it.
Ang. Indeed I will.
Prec. Pray, do not go. I have much more to say.
Ang. My mother is alone. I dare not leave her.
Prec. Some other time, then, when we meet again. You must not go away with words alone.
(Gives her a purse.)
Take this. Would it were more.
Ang. I thank you, lady.
Prec. No thanks. To-morrow come to me again. I dance to-night,—perhaps for the last time. But what I gain, I promise shall be yours, If that can save you from the Count of Lara.
Ang. O, my dear lady! how shall I be grateful For so much kindness?
Prec. I deserve no thanks, Thank Heaven, not me.
Ang. Both Heaven and you.
Prec. Farewell. Remember that you come again tomorrow.
Ang. I will. And may the Blessed Virgin guard you, And all good angels. [Exit.
Prec. May they guard thee too, And all the poor; for they have need of angels. Now bring me, dear Dolores, my basquina, My richest maja dress,—my dancing dress, And my most precious jewels! Make me look Fairer than night e'er saw me! I've a prize To win this day, worthy of Preciosa!
(Enter BELTRAN CRUZADO.)
Cruz. Ave Maria!
Prec. O God! my evil genius! What seekest thou here to-day?
Cruz. Thyself,—my child.
Prec. What is thy will with me?
Cruz. Gold! gold!
Prec. I gave thee yesterday; I have no more.
Cruz. The gold of the Busne,—give me his gold!
Prec. I gave the last in charity to-day.
Cruz. That is a foolish lie.
Prec. It is the truth.
Cruz. Curses upon thee! Thou art not my child! Hast thou given gold away, and not to me? Not to thy father? To whom, then?
Prec. To one Who needs it more.
Cruz. No one can need it more.
Prec. Thou art not poor.
Cruz. What, I, who lurk about In dismal suburbs and unwholesome lanes I, who am housed worse than the galley slave; I, who am fed worse than the kennelled hound; I, who am clothed in rags,—Beltran Cruzado,— Not poor!
Prec. Thou hast a stout heart and strong hands. Thou canst supply thy wants; what wouldst thou more?
Cruz. The gold of the Busne! give me his gold!
Prec. Beltran Cruzado! hear me once for all. I speak the truth. So long as I had gold, I gave it to thee freely, at all times, Never denied thee; never had a wish But to fulfil thine own. Now go in peace! Be merciful, be patient, and ere long Thou shalt have more.
Cruz. And if I have it not, Thou shalt no longer dwell here in rich chambers, Wear silken dresses, feed on dainty food, And live in idleness; but go with me, Dance the Romalis in the public streets, And wander wild again o'er field and fell; For here we stay not long.
Prec. What! march again?
Cruz. Ay, with all speed. I hate the crowded town! I cannot breathe shut up within its gates Air,—I want air, and sunshine, and blue sky, The feeling of the breeze upon my face, The feeling of the turf beneath my feet, And no walls but the far-off mountain-tops. Then I am free and strong,—once more myself, Beltran Cruzado, Count of the Cales!
Prec. God speed thee on thy march!—I cannot go.
Cruz. Remember who I am, and who thou art Be silent and obey! Yet one thing more. Bartolome Roman—
Prec. (with emotion). O, I beseech thee If my obedience and blameless life, If my humility and meek submission In all things hitherto, can move in thee One feeling of compassion; if thou art Indeed my father, and canst trace in me One look of her who bore me, or one tone That doth remind thee of her, let it plead In my behalf, who am a feeble girl, Too feeble to resist, and do not force me To wed that man! I am afraid of him! I do not love him! On my knees I beg thee To use no violence, nor do in haste What cannot be undone!
Cruz. O child, child, child! Thou hast betrayed thy secret, as a bird Betrays her nest, by striving to conceal it. I will not leave thee here in the great city To be a grandee's mistress. Make thee ready To go with us; and until then remember A watchful eye is on thee. [Exit.
Prec. Woe is me! I have a strange misgiving in my heart! But that one deed of charity I'll do, Befall what may; they cannot take that from me.
SCENE II — A room in the ARCHBISHOP'S Palace. The ARCHBISHOP and a CARDINAL seated.
Arch. Knowing how near it touched the public morals, And that our age is grown corrupt and rotten By such excesses, we have sent to Rome, Beseeching that his Holiness would aid In curing the gross surfeit of the time, By seasonable stop put here in Spain To bull-fights and lewd dances on the stage. All this you know.
Card. Know and approve.
Arch. And further, That, by a mandate from his Holiness, The first have been suppressed.
Card. I trust forever. It was a cruel sport.
Arch. A barbarous pastime, Disgraceful to the land that calls itself Most Catholic and Christian.
Card. Yet the people Murmur at this; and, if the public dances Should be condemned upon too slight occasion, Worse ills might follow than the ills we cure. As Panem et Circenses was the cry Among the Roman populace of old, So Pan y Toros is the cry in Spain. Hence I would act advisedly herein; And therefore have induced your Grace to see These national dances, ere we interdict them.
(Enter a Servant)
Serv. The dancing-girl, and with her the musicians Your Grace was pleased to order, wait without.
Arch. Bid them come in. Now shall your eyes behold In what angelic, yet voluptuous shape The Devil came to tempt Saint Anthony.
(Enter PRECIOSA, with a mantle thrown over her head. She advances slowly, in modest, half-timid attitude.)
Card. (aside). O, what a fair and ministering angel Was lost to heaven when this sweet woman fell!
Prec. (kneeling before the ARCHBISHOP). I have obeyed the order of your Grace. If I intrude upon your better hours, I proffer this excuse, and here beseech Your holy benediction.
Arch. May God bless thee, And lead thee to a better life. Arise.
Card. (aside). Her acts are modest, and her words discreet! I did not look for this! Come hither, child. Is thy name Preciosa?
Prec. Thus I am called.
Card. That is a Gypsy name. Who is thy father?
Prec. Beltran Cruzado, Count of the Cales.
Arch. I have a dim remembrance of that man: He was a bold and reckless character, A sun-burnt Ishmael!
Card. Dost thou remember Thy earlier days?
Prec. Yes; by the Darro's side My childhood passed. I can remember still The river, and the mountains capped with snow The village, where, yet a little child, I told the traveller's fortune in the street; The smuggler's horse, the brigand and the shepherd; The march across the moor; the halt at noon; The red fire of the evening camp, that lighted The forest where we slept; and, further back, As in a dream or in some former life, Gardens and palace walls.
Arch. 'T is the Alhambra, Under whose towers the Gypsy camp was pitched. But the time wears; and we would see thee dance.
Prec. Your Grace shall be obeyed.
(She lays aside her mantilla. The music of the cachucha is played, and the dance begins. The ARCHBISHOP and the CARDINAL look on with gravity and an occasional frown; then make signs to each other; and, as the dance continues, become more and more pleased and excited; and at length rise from their seats, throw their caps in the air, and applaud vehemently as the scene closes.)
SCENE III. — The Prado. A long avenue of trees leading to the gate of Atocha. On the right the dome and spires of a convent. A fountain. Evening, DON CARLOS and HYPOLITO meeting.
Don C. Hola! good evening, Don Hypolito.
Hyp. And a good evening to my friend, Don Carlos. Some lucky star has led my steps this way. I was in search of you.
Don. C. Command me always.
Hyp. Do you remember, in Quevedo's Dreams, The miser, who, upon the Day of Judgment, Asks if his money-bags would rise?
Don C. I do; But what of that?
Hyp. I am that wretched man.
Don C. You mean to tell me yours have risen empty?
Hyp. And amen! said my Cid the Campeador.
Don C. Pray, how much need you?
Hyp. Some half-dozen ounces, Which, with due interest—
Don C. (giving his purse). What, am I a Jew To put my moneys out at usury? Here is my purse.
Hyp. Thank you. A pretty purse. Made by the hand of some fair Madrilena; Perhaps a keepsake.
Don C. No, 't is at your service.
Hyp. Thank you again. Lie there, good Chrysostom, And with thy golden mouth remind me often, I am the debtor of my friend.
Don C. But tell me, Come you to-day from Alcala?
Hyp. This moment.
Don C. And pray, how fares the brave Victorian?
Hyp. Indifferent well; that is to say, not well. A damsel has ensnared him with the glances Of her dark, roving eyes, as herdsmen catch A steer of Andalusia with a lazo. He is in love.
Don C. And is it faring ill To be in love?
Hyp. In his case very ill.
Don C. Why so?
Hyp. For many reasons. First and foremost, Because he is in love with an ideal; A creature of his own imagination; A child of air; an echo of his heart; And, like a lily on a river floating, She floats upon the river of his thoughts!
Don C. A common thing with poets. But who is This floating lily? For, in fine, some woman, Some living woman,—not a mere ideal,— Must wear the outward semblance of his thought. Who is it? Tell me.
Hyp. Well, it is a woman! But, look you, from the coffer of his heart He brings forth precious jewels to adorn her, As pious priests adorn some favorite saint With gems and gold, until at length she gleams One blaze of glory. Without these, you know, And the priest's benediction, 't is a doll.
Don C. Well, well! who is this doll?
Hyp. Why, who do you think?
Don C. His cousin Violante.
Hyp. Guess again. To ease his laboring heart, in the last storm He threw her overboard, with all her ingots.
Don C. I cannot guess; so tell me who it is.
Hyp. Not I.
Don. C. Why not?
Hyp. (mysteriously). Why? Because Mari Franca Was married four leagues out of Salamanca!
Don C. Jesting aside, who is it?
Don C. Impossible! The Count of Lara tells me She is not virtuous.
Hyp. Did I say she was? The Roman Emperor Claudius had a wife Whose name was Messalina, as I think; Valeria Messalina was her name. But hist! I see him yonder through the trees, Walking as in a dream.
Don C. He comes this way.
Hyp. It has been truly said by some wise man, That money, grief, and love cannot be hidden.
(Enter VICTORIAN in front.)
Vict. Where'er thy step has passed is holy ground! These groves are sacred! I behold thee walking Under these shadowy trees, where we have walked At evening, and I feel thy presence now; Feel that the place has taken a charm from thee, And is forever hallowed.
Hyp. Mark him well! See how he strides away with lordly air, Like that odd guest of stone, that grim Commander Who comes to sup with Juan in the play.
Don C. What ho! Victorian!
Hyp. Wilt thou sup with us?
Vict. Hola! amigos! Faith, I did not see you. How fares Don Carlos?
Don C. At your service ever.
Vict. How is that young and green-eyed Gaditana That you both wot of?
Don C. Ay, soft, emerald eyes! She has gone back to Cadiz.
Hyp. Ay de mi!
Vict. You are much to blame for letting her go back. A pretty girl; and in her tender eyes Just that soft shade of green we sometimes see In evening skies.
Hyp. But, speaking of green eyes, Are thine green?
Vict. Not a whit. Why so?
Hyp. I think The slightest shade of green would be becoming, For thou art jealous.
Vid. No, I am not jealous.
Hyp. Thou shouldst be.
Hyp. Because thou art in love. And they who are in love are always jealous. Therefore thou shouldst be.
Vict. Marry, is that all? Farewell; I am in haste. Farewell, Don Carlos. Thou sayest I should be jealous?
Hyp. Ay, in truth I fear there is reason. Be upon thy guard. I hear it whispered that the Count of Lara Lays siege to the same citadel.
Vict. Indeed! Then he will have his labor for his pains.
Hyp. He does not think so, and Don Carlos tells me He boasts of his success.
Vict. How's this, Don Carlos?
Don. C. Some hints of it I heard from his own lips. He spoke but lightly of the lady's virtue, As a gay man might speak.
Vict. Death and damnation! I'll cut his lying tongue out of his mouth, And throw it to my dog! But no, no, no! This cannot be. You jest, indeed you jest. Trifle with me no more. For otherwise We are no longer friends. And so, fare well! [Exit.
Hyp. Now what a coil is here! The Avenging Child Hunting the traitor Quadros to his death, And the Moor Calaynos, when he rode To Paris for the ears of Oliver, Were nothing to him! O hot-headed youth! But come; we will not follow. Let us join The crowd that pours into the Prado. There We shall find merrier company; I see The Marialonzos and the Almavivas, And fifty fans, that beckon me already. [Exeunt.
SCENE IV. — PRECIOSA'S chamber. She is sitting, with a book in her hand, near a table, on which are flowers. A bird singing in its cage. The COUNT OF LARA enters behind unperceived.
Prec. (reads). All are sleeping, weary heart! Thou, thou only sleepless art!
Heigho! I wish Victorian were here. I know not what it is makes me so restless!
(The bird sings.)
Thou little prisoner with thy motley coat, That from thy vaulted, wiry dungeon singest, Like thee I am a captive, and, like thee, I have a gentle jailer. Lack-a-day!
All are sleeping, weary heart! Thou, thou only sleepless art! All this throbbing, all this aching, Evermore shall keep thee waking, For a heart in sorrow breaking Thinketh ever of its smart!
Thou speakest truly, poet! and methinks More hearts are breaking in this world of ours Than one would say. In distant villages And solitudes remote, where winds have wafted The barbed seeds of love, or birds of passage Scattered them in their flight, do they take root, And grow in silence, and in silence perish. Who hears the falling of the forest leaf? Or who takes note of every flower that dies? Heigho! I wish Victorian would come. Dolores!
(Turns to lay down her boot and perceives the COUNT.)
Lara. Senora, pardon me.
Prec. How's this? Dolores!
Lara. Pardon me—
Lara. Be not alarmed; I found no one in waiting. If I have been too bold—
Prec. (turning her back upon him). You are too bold! Retire! retire, and leave me!
Lara. My dear lady, First hear me! I beseech you, let me speak! 'T is for your good I come.
Prec. (turning toward him with indignation). Begone! begone! You are the Count of Lara, but your deeds Would make the statues of your ancestors Blush on their tombs! Is it Castilian honor, Is it Castilian pride, to steal in here Upon a friendless girl, to do her wrong? O shame! shame! shame! that you, a nobleman, Should be so little noble in your thoughts As to send jewels here to win my love, And think to buy my honor with your gold! I have no words to tell you how I scorn you! Begone! The sight of you is hateful to me! Begone, I say!
Lara. Be calm; I will not harm you.
Prec. Because you dare not.
Lara. I dare anything! Therefore beware! You are deceived in me. In this false world, we do not always know Who are our friends and who our enemies. We all have enemies, and all need friends. Even you, fair Preciosa, here at court Have foes, who seek to wrong you.
Prec. If to this I owe the honor of the present visit, You might have spared the coming. Raving spoken, Once more I beg you, leave me to myself.
Lara. I thought it but a friendly part to tell you What strange reports are current here in town. For my own self, I do not credit them; But there are many who, not knowing you, Will lend a readier ear.
Prec. There was no need That you should take upon yourself the duty Of telling me these tales.
Lara. Malicious tongues Are ever busy with your name.
Prec. Alas! I've no protectors. I am a poor girl, Exposed to insults and unfeeling jests. They wound me, yet I cannot shield myself. I give no cause for these reports. I live Retired; am visited by none.
Lara. By none? O, then, indeed, you are much wronged!
Prec. How mean you?
Lara. Nay, nay; I will not wound your gentle soul By the report of idle tales.
Prec. Speak out! What are these idle tales? You need not spare me.
Lara. I will deal frankly with you. Pardon me This window, as I think, looks toward the street, And this into the Prado, does it not? In yon high house, beyond the garden wall,— You see the roof there just above the trees,— There lives a friend, who told me yesterday, That on a certain night,—be not offended If I too plainly speak,—he saw a man Climb to your chamber window. You are silent! I would not blame you, being young and fair—
(He tries to embrace her. She starts back, and draws a dagger from her bosom.)
Prec. Beware! beware! I am a Gypsy girl! Lay not your hand upon me. One step nearer And I will strike!
Lara. Pray you, put up that dagger. Fear not.
Prec. I do not fear. I have a heart In whose strength I can trust.
Lara. Listen to me I come here as your friend,—I am your friend,— And by a single word can put a stop To all those idle tales, and make your name Spotless as lilies are. Here on my knees, Fair Preciosa! on my knees I swear, I love you even to madness, and that love Has driven me to break the rules of custom, And force myself unasked into your presence.
(VICTORIAN enters behind.)
Prec. Rise, Count of Lara! That is not the place For such as you are. It becomes you not To kneel before me. I am strangely moved To see one of your rank thus low and humbled; For your sake I will put aside all anger, All unkind feeling, all dislike, and speak In gentleness, as most becomes a woman, And as my heart now prompts me. I no more Will hate you, for all hate is painful to me. But if, without offending modesty And that reserve which is a woman's glory, I may speak freely, I will teach my heart To love you.
Lara. O sweet angel!
Prec. Ay, in truth, Far better than you love yourself or me.
Lara. Give me some sign of this,—the slightest token. Let me but kiss your hand!
Prec. Nay, come no nearer. The words I utter are its sign and token. Misunderstand me not! Be not deceived! The love wherewith I love you is not such As you would offer me. For you come here To take from me the only thing I have, My honor. You are wealthy, you have friends And kindred, and a thousand pleasant hopes That fill your heart with happiness; but I Am poor, and friendless, having but one treasure, And you would take that from me, and for what? To flatter your own vanity, and make me What you would most despise. O sir, such love, That seeks to harm me, cannot be true love. Indeed it cannot. But my love for you Is of a different kind. It seeks your good. It is a holier feeling. It rebukes Your earthly passion, your unchaste desires, And bids you look into your heart, and see How you do wrong that better nature in you, And grieve your soul with sin.
Lara. I swear to you, I would not harm you; I would only love you. I would not take your honor, but restore it, And in return I ask but some slight mark Of your affection. If indeed you love me, As you confess you do, O let me thus With this embrace—
Vict. (rushing forward). Hold! hold! This is too much. What means this outrage?
Lara. First, what right have you To question thus a nobleman of Spain?
Vict. I too am noble, and you are no more! Out of my sight!
Lara. Are you the master here?
Vict. Ay, here and elsewhere, when the wrong of others Gives me the right!
Prec. (to LARA). Go! I beseech you, go!
Vict. I shall have business with you, Count, anon!
Lara. You cannot come too soon! [Exit.
Prec. Victorian! O, we have been betrayed!
Vict. Ha! ha! betrayed! 'T is I have been betrayed, not we!—not we!
Prec. Dost thou imagine—
Vict. I imagine nothing; I see how 't is thou whilest the time away When I am gone!
Prec. O speak not in that tone! It wounds me deeply.
Vict. 'T was not meant to flatter.
Prec. Too well thou knowest the presence of that man Is hateful to me!
Vict. Yet I saw thee stand And listen to him, when he told his love.
Prec. I did not heed his words.
Vict. Indeed thou didst, And answeredst them with love.
Prec. Hadst thou heard all—
Vict. I heard enough.
Prec. Be not so angry with me.
Vict. I am not angry; I am very calm.
Prec. If thou wilt let me speak—
Vict. Nay, say no more. I know too much already. Thou art false! I do not like these Gypsy marriages! Where is the ring I gave thee?
Prec. In my casket.
Vict. There let it rest! I would not have thee wear it: I thought thee spotless, and thou art polluted!
Prec. I call the Heavens to witness—
Vict. Nay, nay, nay! Take not the name of Heaven upon thy lips! They are forsworn!
Prec. Victorian! dear Victorian!
Vict. I gave up all for thee; myself, my fame, My hopes of fortune, ay, my very soul! And thou hast been my ruin! Now, go on! Laugh at my folly with thy paramour, And, sitting on the Count of Lara's knee, Say what a poor, fond fool Victorian was!
(He casts her from him and rushes out.)
Prec. And this from thee!
SCENE V. — The COUNT OF LARA'S rooms. Enter the COUNT.
Lara. There's nothing in this world so sweet as love, And next to love the sweetest thing is hate! I've learned to hate, and therefore am revenged. A silly girl to play the prude with me! The fire that I have kindled—
Well, Francisco, What tidings from Don Juan?
Fran. Good, my lord; He will be present.
Lara. And the Duke of Lermos?
Fran. Was not at home.
Lara. How with the rest?
Fran. I've found The men you wanted. They will all be there, And at the given signal raise a whirlwind Of such discordant noises, that the dance Must cease for lack of music.
Lara. Bravely done. Ah! little dost thou dream, sweet Preciosa, What lies in wait for thee. Sleep shall not close Thine eyes this night! Give me my cloak and sword. [Exeunt.
SCENE VI. — A retired spot beyond the city gates. Enter VICTORIAN and HYPOLITO.
Vict. O shame! O shame! Why do I walk abroad By daylight, when the very sunshine mocks me, And voices, and familiar sights and sounds Cry, "Hide thyself!" O what a thin partition Doth shut out from the curious world the knowledge Of evil deeds that have been done in darkness! Disgrace has many tongues. My fears are windows, Through which all eyes seem gazing. Every face Expresses some suspicion of my shame, And in derision seems to smile at me!
Hyp. Did I not caution thee? Did I not tell thee I was but half persuaded of her virtue?
Vict. And yet, Hypolito, we may be wrong, We may be over-hasty in condemning! The Count of Lara is a cursed villain.
Hyp. And therefore is she cursed, loving him.
Vid. She does not love him! 'T is for gold! for gold!
Hyp. Ay, but remember, in the public streets He shows a golden ring the Gypsy gave him, A serpent with a ruby in its mouth.
Vict. She had that ring from me! God! she is false! But I will be revenged! The hour is passed. Where stays the coward?
Hyp. Nay, he is no coward; A villain, if thou wilt, but not a coward. I've seen him play with swords; it is his pastime. And therefore be not over-confident, He'll task thy skill anon. Look, here he comes.
(Enter LARA followed by FRNANCISCO)
Lara. Good evening, gentlemen.
Hyp. Good evening, Count.
Lara. I trust I have not kept you long in waiting.
Vict. Not long, and yet too long. Are you prepared?
Lara. I am.
Hyp. It grieves me much to see this quarrel Between you, gentlemen. Is there no way Left open to accord this difference, But you must make one with your swords?
Vict. No! none! I do entreat thee, dear Hypolito, Stand not between me an my foe. Too long Our tongues have spoken. Let these tongues of steel End our debate. Upon your guard, Sir Count.
(They fight. VICTORIAN disarms the COUNT.)
Your life is mine; and what shall now withhold me From sending your vile soul to its account?
Lara. Strike! strike!
Vict. You are disarmed. I will not kill you. I will not murder you. Take up your sword.
(FRANCISCO hands the COUNT his sword, and HYPOLITO interposes.)
Hyp. Enough! Let it end here! The Count of Lara Has shown himself a brave man, and Victorian A generous one, as ever. Now be friends. Put up your swords; for, to speak frankly to you, Your cause of quarrel is too slight a thing To move you to extremes.
Lara. I am content, I sought no quarrel. A few hasty words, Spoken in the heat of blood, have led to this.
Vict. Nay, something more than that.
Lara. I understand you. Therein I did not mean to cross your path. To me the door stood open, as to others. But, had I known the girl belonged to you, Never would I have sought to win her from you. The truth stands now revealed; she has been false To both of us.
Vict. Ay, false as hell itself!
Lara. In truth, I did not seek her; she sought me; And told me how to win her, telling me The hours when she was oftenest left alone.
Vict. Say, can you prove this to me? O, pluck out These awful doubts, that goad me into madness! Let me know all! all! all!
Lara. You shall know all. Here is my page, who was the messenger Between us. Question him. Was it not so, Francisco?
Fran. Ay, my lord.
Lara. If further proof Is needful, I have here a ring she gave me.
Vict. Pray let me see that ring! It is the same!
(Throws it upon the ground, and tramples upon it.)
Thus may she perish who once wore that ring! Thus do I spurn her from me; do thus trample Her memory in the dust! O Count of Lara, We both have been abused, been much abused! I thank you for your courtesy and frankness. Though, like the surgeon's hand, yours gave me pain, Yet it has cured my blindness, and I thank you. I now can see the folly I have done, Though 't is, alas! too late. So fare you well! To-night I leave this hateful town forever. Regard me as your friend. Once more farewell!
Hyp. Farewell, Sir Count.
[Exeunt VICTORIAN and HYPOLITO.
Lara. Farewell! farewell! farewell! Thus have I cleared the field of my worst foe! I have none else to fear; the fight is done, The citadel is stormed, the victory won!
[Exit with FRANCISCO.
SCENE VII. — A lane in the suburbs. Night. Enter CRUZADO and BARTOLOME.
Cruz. And so, Bartolome, the expedition failed. But where wast thou for the most part?
Bart. In the Guadarrama mountains, near San Ildefonso.
Cruz. And thou bringest nothing back with thee? Didst thou rob no one?
Bart. There was no one to rob, save a party of students from Segovia, who looked as if they would rob us; and a jolly little friar, who had nothing in his pockets but a missal and a loaf of bread.
Cruz. Pray, then, what brings thee back to Madrid?
Bart. First tell me what keeps thee here?
Bart. And she brings me back. Hast thou forgotten thy promise?
Cruz. The two years are not passed yet. Wait patiently. The girl shall be thine.
Bart. I hear she has a Busne lover.
Cruz. That is nothing.
Bart. I do not like it. I hate him,—the son of a Busne harlot. He goes in and out, and speaks with her alone, and I must stand aside, and wait his pleasure.
Cruz. Be patient, I say. Thou shalt have thy revenge. When the time comes, thou shalt waylay him.
Bart. Meanwhile, show me her house.
Cruz. Come this way. But thou wilt not find her. She dances at the play to-night.
Bart. No matter. Show me the house. [Exeunt.
SCENE VIII. — The Theatre. The orchestra plays the cachucha. Sound of castanets behind the scenes. The curtain rises, and discovers PRECIOSA in the attitude of commencing the dance. The cachucha. Tumult; hisses; cries of "Brava!" and "Afuera!" She falters and pauses. The music stops. General confusion. PRECIOSA faints.
SCENE IX. — The COUNT OF LARA'S chambers. LARA and his friends at supper.
Lara. So, Caballeros, once more many thanks! You have stood by me bravely in this matter. Pray fill your glasses.
Don J. Did you mark, Don Luis, How pale she looked, when first the noise began, And then stood still, with her large eyes dilated! Her nostrils spread! her lips apart! Her bosom Tumultuous as the sea!
Don L. I pitied her.
Lara. Her pride is humbled; and this very night I mean to visit her.
Don J. Will you serenade her?
Lara. No music! no more music!
Don L. Why not music? It softens many hearts.
Lara. Not in the humor She now is in. Music would madden her.
Don J. Try golden cymbals.
Don L. Yes, try Don Dinero; A mighty wooer is your Don Dinero.
Lara. To tell the truth, then, I have bribed her maid. But, Caballeros, you dislike this wine. A bumper and away; for the night wears. A health to Preciosa.
(They rise and drink.)
Lara. (holding up his glass). Thou bright and flaming minister of Love! Thou wonderful magician! who hast stolen My secret from me, and mid sighs of passion Caught from my lips, with red and fiery tongue, Her precious name! O nevermore henceforth Shall mortal lips press thine; and nevermore A mortal name be whispered in thine ear. Go! keep my secret!
(Drinks and dashes the goblet down.)
Don J. Ite! missa est!
SCENE X. — Street and garden wall. Night. Enter CRUZADO and BARTOLOME.
Cruz. This is the garden wall, and above it, yonder, is her house. The window in which thou seest the light is her window. But we will not go in now.
Bart. Why not?
Cruz. Because she is not at home.
Bart. No matter; we can wait. But how is this? The gate is bolted. (Sound of guitars and voices in a neighboring street.) Hark! There comes her lover with his infernal serenade! Hark!
Good night! Good night, beloved! I come to watch o'er thee! To be near thee,—to be near thee, Alone is peace for me.
Thine eyes are stars of morning, Thy lips are crimson flowers! Good night! Good night beloved, While I count the weary hours.
Cruz. They are not coming this way.
Bart. Wait, they begin again.
SONG (coming nearer).
Ah! thou moon that shinest Argent-clear above! All night long enlighten My sweet lady-love! Moon that shinest, All night long enlighten!
Bart. Woe be to him, if he comes this way!
Cruz. Be quiet, they are passing down the street.
SONG (dying away).
The nuns in the cloister Sang to each other; For so many sisters Is there not one brother! Ay, for the partridge, mother! The cat has run away with the partridge! Puss! puss! puss!
Bart. Follow that! follow that! Come with me. Puss! puss!
(Exeunt. On the opposite side enter the COUNT OF LARA and gentlemen, with FRANCISCO.)
Lara. The gate is fast. Over the wall, Francisco, And draw the bolt. There, so, and so, and over. Now, gentlemen, come in, and help me scale Yon balcony. How now? Her light still burns. Move warily. Make fast the gate, Francisco.
(Exeunt. Re-enter CRUZADO and BARTOLOME.)
Bart. They went in at the gate. Hark! I hear them in the garden. (Tries the gate.) Bolted again! Vive Cristo! Follow me over the wall.
(They climb the wall.)
SCENE XI. — PRECIOSA'S bedchamber. Midnight. She is sleeping in an armchair, in an undress. DOLORES watching her.
Dol. She sleeps at last!
(Opens the window, and listens.)
All silent in the street, And in the garden. Hark!
Prec. (in her sleep). I must go hence! Give me my cloak!
Dol. He comes! I hear his footsteps.
Prec. Go tell them that I cannot dance to-night; I am too ill! Look at me! See the fever That burns upon my cheek! I must go hence. I am too weak to dance.
(Signal from the garden.)
Dol. (from the window). Who's there?
Voice (from below). A friend.
Dol. I will undo the door. Wait till I come.
Prec. I must go hence. I pray you do not harm me! Shame! shame! to treat a feeble woman thus! Be you but kind, I will do all things for you. I'm ready now,—give me my castanets. Where is Victorian? Oh, those hateful lamps! They glare upon me like an evil eye. I cannot stay. Hark! how they mock at me! They hiss at me like serpents! Save me! save me!
How late is it, Dolores?
Dol. It is midnight.
Prec. We must be patient. Smooth this pillow for me.
(She sleeps again. Noise from the garden, and voices.)
Another Voice. O villains! villains!
Lara. So! have at you!
Voice. Take that!
Lara. O, I am wounded!
Dol. (shutting the window). Jesu Maria!
SCENE I. — A cross-road through a wood. In the background a distant village spire. VICTORIAN and HYPOLITO, as travelling students, with guitars, sitting under the trees. HYPOLITO plays and sings.
Ah, Love! Perjured, false, treacherous Love! Enemy Of all that mankind may not rue! Most untrue To him who keeps most faith with thee. Woe is me! The falcon has the eyes of the dove. Ah, Love! Perjured, false, treacherous Love!
Vict. Yes, Love is ever busy with his shuttle, Is ever weaving into life's dull warp Bright, gorgeous flowers and scenes Arcadian; Hanging our gloomy prison-house about With tapestries, that make its walls dilate In never-ending vistas of delight.
Hyp. Thinking to walk in those Arcadian pastures, Thou hast run thy noble head against the wall.
Thy deceits Give us clearly to comprehend, Whither tend All thy pleasures, all thy sweets! They are cheats, Thorns below and flowers above. Ah, Love! Perjured, false, treacherous Love!
Vict. A very pretty song. I thank thee for it.
Hyp. It suits thy case.
Vict. Indeed, I think it does. What wise man wrote it?
Hyp. Lopez Maldonado.
Vict. In truth, a pretty song.
Hyp. With much truth in it. I hope thou wilt profit by it; and in earnest Try to forget this lady of thy love.
Vict. I will forget her! All dear recollections Pressed in my heart, like flowers within a book, Shall be torn out, and scattered to the winds! I will forget her! But perhaps hereafter, When she shall learn how heartless is the world, A voice within her will repeat my name, And she will say, "He was indeed my friend!" O, would I were a soldier, not a scholar, That the loud march, the deafening beat of drums, The shattering blast of the brass-throated trumpet, The din of arms, the onslaught and the storm, And a swift death, might make me deaf forever To the upbraidings of this foolish heart!
Hyp. Then let that foolish heart upbraid no more! To conquer love, one need but will to conquer.
Vict. Yet, good Hypolito, it is in vain I throw into Oblivion's sea the sword That pierces me; for, like Excalibar, With gemmed and flashing hilt, it will not sink. There rises from below a hand that grasp it, And waves it in the air; and wailing voices Are heard along the shore.
Hyp. And yet at last Down sank Excalibar to rise no more. This is not well. In truth, it vexes me. Instead of whistling to the steeds of Time, To make them jog on merrily with life's burden, Like a dead weight thou hangest on the wheels. Thou art too young, too full of lusty health To talk of dying.
Vict. Yet I fain would die! To go through life, unloving and unloved; To feel that thirst and hunger of the soul We cannot still; that longing, that wild impulse, And struggle after something we have not And cannot have; the effort to be strong And, like the Spartan boy, to smile, and smile, While secret wounds do bleed beneath our cloaks All this the dead feel not,—the dead alone! Would I were with them!
Hyp. We shall all be soon.
Vict. It cannot be too soon; for I am weary Of the bewildering masquerade of Life, Where strangers walk as friends, and friends as strangers; Where whispers overheard betray false hearts; And through the mazes of the crowd we chase Some form of loveliness, that smiles, and beckons, And cheats us with fair words, only to leave us A mockery and a jest; maddened,—confused,— Not knowing friend from foe.
Hyp. Why seek to know? Enjoy the merry shrove-tide of thy youth! Take each fair mask for what it gives itself, Nor strive to look beneath it.
Vict. I confess, That were the wiser part. But Hope no longer Comforts my soul. I am a wretched man, Much like a poor and shipwrecked mariner, Who, struggling to climb up into the boat, Has both his bruised and bleeding hands cut off, And sinks again into the weltering sea, Helpless and hopeless!
Hyp. Yet thou shalt not perish. The strength of thine own arm is thy salvation. Above thy head, through rifted clouds, there shines A glorious star. Be patient. Trust thy star!
(Sound of a village belt in the distance.)
Vict. Ave Maria! I hear the sacristan Ringing the chimes from yonder village belfry! A solemn sound, that echoes far and wide Over the red roofs of the cottages, And bids the laboring hind a-field, the shepherd, Guarding his flock, the lonely muleteer, And all the crowd in village streets, stand still, And breathe a prayer unto the blessed Virgin!
Hyp. Amen! amen! Not half a league from hence The village lies.
Vict. This path will lead us to it, Over the wheat-fields, where the shadows sail Across the running sea, now green, now blue, And, like an idle mariner on the main, Whistles the quail. Come, let us hasten on. [Exeunt.
SCENE II. — Public square in the village of Guadarrama. The Ave Maria still tolling. A crowd of villagers, with their hats in their hands, as if in prayer. In front, a group of Gypsies. The bell rings a merrier peal. A Gypsy dance. Enter PANCHO, followed by PEDRO CRESPO.
Pancho. Make room, ye vagabonds and Gypsy thieves! Make room for the Alcalde and for me!
Pedro C. Keep silence all! I have an edict here From our most gracious lord, the King of Spain, Jerusalem, and the Canary Islands, Which I shall publish in the market-place. Open your ears and listen!
(Enter the PADRE CURA at the door of his cottage.)
Padre Cura, Good day! and, pray you, hear this edict read.
Padre C. Good day, and God be with you! Pray, what is it?
Pedro C. An act of banishment against the Gypsies!
(Agitation and murmurs in the crowd.)
Pedro C. (reads). "I hereby order and command, That the Egyptian an Chaldean strangers, Known by the name of Gypsies, shall henceforth Be banished from the realm, as vagabonds And beggars; and if, after seventy days, Any be found within our kingdom's bounds, They shall receive a hundred lashes each; The second time, shall have their ears cut off; The third, be slaves for life to him who takes them, Or burnt as heretics. Signed, I, the King." Vile miscreants and creatures unbaptized! You hear the law! Obey and disappear!
Pancho. And if in seventy days you are not gone, Dead or alive I make you all my slaves.
(The Gypsies go out in confusion, showing signs of fear and discontent. PANCHO follows.)
Padre C. A righteous law! A very righteous law! Pray you, sit down.
Pedro C. I thank you heartily.
(They seat themselves on a bench at the PADRE CURAS door. Sound of guitars heard at a distance, approaching during the dialogue which follows.)
A very righteous judgment, as you say. Now tell me, Padre Cura,—you know all things, How came these Gypsies into Spain?
Padre C. Why, look you; They came with Hercules from Palestine, And hence are thieves and vagrants, Sir Alcalde, As the Simoniacs from Simon Magus, And, look you, as Fray Jayme Bleda says, There are a hundred marks to prove a Moor Is not a Christian, so 't is with the Gypsies. They never marry, never go to mass, Never baptize their children, nor keep Lent, Nor see the inside of a church,—nor—nor—
Pedro C. Good reasons, good, substantial reasons all! No matter for the other ninety-five. They should be burnt, I see it plain enough, They should be bunt.
(Enter VICTORIAN and HYPOLITO playing.)
Padre C. And pray, whom have we here?
Pedro C. More vagrants! By Saint Lazarus, more vagrants!
Hyp. Good evening, gentlemen! Is this Guadarrama?
Padre C. Yes, Guadarrama, and good evening to you.
Hyp. We seek the Padre Cura of the village; And, judging from your dress and reverend mien, You must be he.
Padre C. I am. Pray, what's your pleasure?
Hyp. We are poor students, traveling in vacation. You know this mark?
(Touching the wooden spoon in his hat-band.
Padre C. (joyfully). Ay, know it, and have worn it.
Pedro C. (aside). Soup-eaters! by the mass! The worst of vagrants! And there's no law against them. Sir, your servant. [Exit.
Padre C. Your servant, Pedro Crespo.
Hyp. Padre Cura, Front the first moment I beheld your face, I said within myself, "This is the man!" There is a certain something in your looks, A certain scholar-like and studious something,— You understand,—which cannot be mistaken; Which marks you as a very learned man, In fine, as one of us.
Vict. (aside). What impudence!
Hyp. As we approached, I said to my companion, "That is the Padre Cura; mark my words!" Meaning your Grace. "The other man," said I, Who sits so awkwardly upon the bench, Must be the sacristan."
Padre C. Ah! said you so? Why, that was Pedro Crespo, the alcalde!
Hyp. Indeed! you much astonish me! His air Was not so full of dignity and grace As an alcalde's should be.
Padre C. That is true. He's out of humor with some vagrant Gypsies, Who have their camp here in the neighborhood. There's nothing so undignified as anger.
Hyp. The Padre Cura will excuse our boldness, If, from his well-known hospitality, We crave a lodging for the night.
Padre C. I pray you! You do me honor! I am but too happy To have such guests beneath my humble roof. It is not often that I have occasion To speak with scholars; and Emollit mores, Nec sinit esse feros, Cicero says.
Hyp. 'T is Ovid, is it not?
Padre C. No, Cicero.
Hyp. Your Grace is right. You are the better scholar. Now what a dunce was I to think it Ovid! But hang me if it is not! (Aside.)
Padre C. Pass this way. He was a very great man, was Cicero! Pray you, go in, go in! no ceremony. [Exeunt.
SCENE III. — A room in the PADRE CURA'S house. Enter the PADRE and HYPOLITO.
Padre C. So then, Senor, you come from Alcala. I am glad to hear it. It was there I studied.
Hyp. And left behind an honored name, no doubt. How may I call your Grace?
Padre C. Geronimo De Santillana, at your Honor's service.
Hyp. Descended from the Marquis Santillana? From the distinguished poet?
Padre C. From the Marquis, Not from the poet.
Hyp. Why, they were the same. Let me embrace you! O some lucky star Has brought me hither! Yet once more!—once more! Your name is ever green in Alcala, And our professor, when we are unruly, Will shake his hoary head, and say, "Alas! It was not so in Santillana's time!"
Padre C. I did not think my name remembered there.
Hyp. More than remembered; it is idolized.
Padre C. Of what professor speak you?
Padre C. I don't remember any Timoneda.
Hyp. A grave and sombre man, whose beetling brow O'erhangs the rushing current of his speech As rocks o'er rivers hang. Have you forgotten?
Padre C. Indeed, I have. O, those were pleasant days, Those college days! I ne'er shall see the like! I had not buried then so many hopes! I had not buried then so many friends! I've turned my back on what was then before me; And the bright faces of my young companions Are wrinkled like my own, or are no more. Do you remember Cueva?
Hyp. Cueva? Cueva?
Padre C. Fool that I am! He was before your time. You're a mere boy, and I am an old man.
Hyp. I should not like to try my strength with you.
Padre C. Well, well. But I forget; you must be hungry. Martina! ho! Martina! 'T is my niece.
Hyp. You may be proud of such a niece as that. I wish I had a niece. Emollit mores. (Aside.) He was a very great man, was Cicero! Your servant, fair Martina.
Mart. Servant, sir.
Padre C. This gentleman is hungry. See thou to it. Let us have supper.
Mart. 'T will be ready soon.
Padre C. And bring a bottle of my Val-de-Penas Out of the cellar. Stay; I'll go myself. Pray you. Senor, excuse me. [Exit.
Hyp. Hist! Martina! One word with you. Bless me I what handsome eyes! To-day there have been Gypsies in the village. Is it not so?
Mart. There have been Gypsies here.
Hyp. Yes, and have told your fortune.
Mart. (embarrassed). Told my fortune?
Hyp. Yes, yes; I know they did. Give me your hand. I'll tell you what they said. They said,—they said, The shepherd boy that loved you was a clown, And him you should not marry. Was it not?
Mart. (surprised). How know you that?
Hyp. O, I know more than that, What a soft, little hand! And then they said, A cavalier from court, handsome, and tall And rich, should come one day to marry you, And you should be a lady. Was it not! He has arrived, the handsome cavalier.
(Tries to kiss her. She runs off. Enter VICTORIAN, with a letter.)
Vict. The muleteer has come.
Hyp. So soon?
Vict. I found him Sitting at supper by the tavern door, And, from a pitcher that he held aloft His whole arm's length, drinking the blood-red wine.
Hyp. What news from Court?
Vict. He brought this letter only.
O cursed perfidy! Why did I let That lying tongue deceive me! Preciosa, Sweet Preciosa! how art thou avenged!
Hyp. What news is this, that makes thy cheek turn pale, And thy hand tremble?
Vict. O, most infamous! The Count of Lara is a worthless villain!
Hyp. That is no news, forsooth.
Vict. He strove in vain To steal from me the jewel of my soul, The love of Preciosa. Not succeeding, He swore to be revenged; and set on foot A plot to ruin her, which has succeeded. She has been hissed and hooted from the stage, Her reputation stained by slanderous lies Too foul to speak of; and, once more a beggar, She roams a wanderer over God's green earth Housing with Gypsies!
Hyp. To renew again The Age of Gold, and make the shepherd swains Desperate with love, like Gasper Gil's Diana. Redit et Virgo!
Vict. Dear Hypolito, How have I wronged that meek, confiding heart! I will go seek for her; and with my tears Wash out the wrong I've done her!
Hyp. O beware! Act not that folly o'er again.
Vict. Ay, folly, Delusion, madness, call it what thou wilt, I will confess my weakness,—I still love her! Still fondly love her!
(Enter the PADRE CURA.)
Hyp. Tell us, Padre Cura, Who are these Gypsies in the neighborhood?
Padre C. Beltran Cruzado and his crew.
Vict. Kind Heaven, I thank thee! She is found! is found again!
Hyp. And have they with them a pale, beautiful girl, Called Preciosa?
Padre C. Ay, a pretty girl. The gentleman seems moved.
Hyp. Yes, moved with hunger, He is half famished with this long day's journey.
Padre C. Then, pray you, come this way. The supper waits. [Exeunt.
SCENE IV. — A post-house on the road to Segovia, not far from the village of Guadarrama. Enter CHISPA, cracking a whip, and singing the cachucha.
Chispa. Halloo! Don Fulano! Let us have horses, and quickly. Alas, poor Chispa! what a dog's life dost thou lead! I thought, when I left my old master Victorian, the student, to serve my new master Don Carlos, the gentleman, that I, too, should lead the life of a gentleman; should go to bed early, and get up late. For when the abbot plays cards, what can you expect of the friars? But, in running away from the thunder, I have run into the lightning. Here I am in hot chase after my master and his Gypsy girl. And a good beginning of the week it is, as he said who was hanged on Monday morning.
(Enter DON CARLOS)
Don C. Are not the horses ready yet?
Chispa. I should think not, for the hostler seems to be asleep. Ho! within there! Horses! horses! horses! (He knocks at the gate with his whip, and enter MOSQUITO, putting on his jacket.)
Mosq. Pray, have a little patience. I'm not a musket.
Chispa. Health and pistareens! I'm glad to see you come on dancing, padre! Pray, what's the news?
Mosq. You cannot have fresh horses; because there are none.
Chispa. Cachiporra! Throw that bone to another dog. Do I look like your aunt?
Mosq. No; she has a beard.
Chispa. Go to! go to!
Mosq. Are you from Madrid?
Chispa. Yes; and going to Estramadura. Get us horses.
Mosq. What's the news at Court?
Chispa. Why, the latest news is, that I am going to set up a coach, and I have already bought the whip.
(Strikes him round the legs.)
Mosq. Oh! oh! You hurt me!
Don C. Enough of this folly. Let us have horses. (Gives money to MOSQUITO.) It is almost dark; and we are in haste. But tell me, has a band of Gypsies passed this way of late?
Mosq. Yes; and they are still in the neighborhood.
Don C. And where?
Mosq. Across the fields yonder, in the woods near Guadarrama. [Exit.
Don C. Now this is lucky. We will visit the Gypsy camp.
Chispa. Are you not afraid of the evil eye? Have you a stag's horn with you?
Don C. Fear not. We will pass the night at the village.
Chispa. And sleep like the Squires of Hernan Daza, nine under one blanket.
Don C. I hope we may find the Preciosa among them.
Chispa. Among the Squires?
Don C. No; among the Gypsies, blockhead!
Chispa. I hope we may; for we are giving ourselves trouble enough on her account. Don't you think so? However, there is no catching trout without wetting one's trousers. Yonder come the horses. [Exeunt.
SCENE V. — The Gypsy camp in the forest. Night. Gypsies working at a forge. Others playing cards by the firelight. Gypsies (at the forge sing).
On the top of a mountain I stand, With a crown of red gold in my hand, Wild Moors come trooping over the lea O how from their fury shall I flee, flee, flee? O how from their fury shall I flee?
First Gypsy (playing). Down with your John-Dorados, my pigeon. Down with your John-Dorados, and let us make an end.
Gypsies (at the forge sing).
Loud sang the Spanish cavalier, And thus his ditty ran; God send the Gypsy lassie here, And not the Gypsy man.
First Gypsy (playing). There you are in your morocco!
Second Gypsy. One more game. The Alcalde's doves against the Padre Cura's new moon.
First Gypsy. Have at you, Chirelin.
Gypsies (at the forge sing).
At midnight, when the moon began To show her silver flame, There came to him no Gypsy man, The Gypsy lassie came.
(Enter BELTRAN CRUZADO.)
Cruz. Come hither, Murcigalleros and Rastilleros; leave work, leave play; listen to your orders for the night. (Speaking to the right.) You will get you to the village, mark you, by the stone cross.
Cruz. (to the left). And you, by the pole with the hermit's head upon it.
Cruz. As soon as you see the planets are out, in with you, and be busy with the ten commandments, under the sly, and Saint Martin asleep. D'ye hear?
Cruz. Keep your lanterns open, and, if you see a goblin or a papagayo, take to your trampers. Vineyards and Dancing John is the word. Am I comprehended?
Gypsies. Ay! ay!
Cruz. Away, then!
(Exeunt severally. CRUZADO walks up the stage, and disappears among the trees. Enter PRECIOSA.)
Prec. How strangely gleams through the gigantic trees The red light of the forge! Wild, beckoning shadows Stalk through the forest, ever and anon Rising and bending with the flickering flame, Then flitting into darkness! So within me Strange hopes and fears do beckon to each other, My brightest hopes giving dark fears a being As the light does the shadow. Woe is me How still it is about me, and how lonely!
(BARTOLOME rushes in.)
Bart. Ho! Preciosa!
Prec. O Bartolome! Thou here?
Bart. Lo! I am here.
Prec. Whence comest thou?
Bart. From the rough ridges of the wild Sierra, From caverns in the rocks, from hunger, thirst, And fever! Like a wild wolf to the sheepfold. Come I for thee, my lamb.
Prec. O touch me not! The Count of Lara's blood is on thy hands! The Count of Lara's curse is on thy soul! Do not come near me! Pray, begone from here Thou art in danger! They have set a price Upon thy head!
Bart. Ay, and I've wandered long Among the mountains; and for many days Have seen no human face, save the rough swineherd's. The wind and rain have been my sole companions. I shouted to them from the rocks thy name, And the loud echo sent it back to me, Till I grew mad. I could not stay from thee, And I am here! Betray me, if thou wilt.
Prec. Betray thee? I betray thee?
Bart. Preciosa! I come for thee! for thee I thus brave death! Fly with me o'er the borders of this realm! Fly with me!
Prec. Speak of that no more. I cannot. I'm thine no longer.
Bart. O, recall the time When we were children! how we played together, How we grew up together; how we plighted Our hearts unto each other, even in childhood! Fulfil thy promise, for the hour has come. I'm hunted from the kingdom, like a wolf! Fulfil thy promise.
Prec. 'T was my father's promise. Not mine. I never gave my heart to thee, Nor promised thee my hand!
Bart. False tongue of woman! And heart more false!
Prec. Nay, listen unto me. I will speak frankly. I have never loved thee; I cannot love thee. This is not my fault, It is my destiny. Thou art a man Restless and violent. What wouldst thou with me, A feeble girl, who have not long to live, Whose heart is broken? Seek another wife, Better than I, and fairer; and let not Thy rash and headlong moods estrange her from thee. Thou art unhappy in this hopeless passion, I never sought thy love; never did aught To make thee love me. Yet I pity thee, And most of all I pity thy wild heart, That hurries thee to crimes and deeds of blood, Beware, beware of that.
Bart. For thy dear sake I will be gentle. Thou shalt teach me patience.
Prec. Then take this farewell, and depart in peace. Thou must not linger here.
Bart. Come, come with me.
Prec. Hark! I hear footsteps.
Bart. I entreat thee, come!
Prec. Away! It is in vain.
Bart. Wilt thou not come?
Bart. Then woe, eternal woe, upon thee! Thou shalt not be another's. Thou shalt die. [Exit.
Prec. All holy angels keep me in this hour! Spirit of her who bore me, look upon me! Mother of God, the glorified, protect me! Christ and the saints, be merciful unto me! Yet why should I fear death? What is it to die? To leave all disappointment, care, and sorrow, To leave all falsehood, treachery, and unkindness, All ignominy, suffering, and despair, And be at rest forever! O dull heart, Be of good cheer! When thou shalt cease to beat, Then shalt thou cease to suffer and complain!
(Enter VICTORIAN and HYPOLITO behind.)
Vict. 'T is she! Behold, how beautiful she stands Under the tent-like trees!
Hyp. A woodland nymph!
Vict. I pray thee, stand aside. Leave me.
Hyp. Be wary. Do not betray thyself too soon.
Vict. (disguising his voice). Hist! Gypsy!
Prec. (aside, with emotion). That voice! that voice from heaven! O speak again! Who is it calls?
Vict. A friend.
Prec. (aside). 'T is he! 'T is he! I thank thee, Heaven, that thou hast heard my prayer, And sent me this protector! Now be strong, Be strong, my heart! I must dissemble here. False friend or true?
Vict. A true friend to the true; Fear not; come hither. So; can you tell fortunes?
Prec. Not in the dark. Come nearer to the fire. Give me your hand. It is not crossed, I see.
Vict. (putting a piece of gold into her hand). There is the cross.
Prec. Is 't silver?
Vict. No, 't is gold.
Prec. There's a fair lady at the Court, who loves you, And for yourself alone.
Vict. Fie! the old story! Tell me a better fortune for my money; Not this old woman's tale!
Prec. You are passionate; And this same passionate humor in your blood Has marred your fortune. Yes; I see it now; The line of life is crossed by many marks. Shame! shame! O you have wronged the maid who loved you! How could you do it?
Vict. I never loved a maid; For she I loved was then a maid no more.
Prec. How know you that?
Vict. A little bird in the air Whispered the secret.
Prec. There, take back your gold! Your hand is cold, like a deceiver's hand! There is no blessing in its charity! Make her your wife, for you have been abused; And you shall mend your fortunes, mending hers.
Vict. (aside). How like an angel's speaks the tongue of woman, When pleading in another's cause her own! That is a pretty ring upon your finger. Pray give it me. (Tries to take the ring.)
Prec. No; never from my hand Shall that be taken!
Vict. Why, 't is but a ring. I'll give it back to you; or, if I keep it, Will give you gold to buy you twenty such.
Prec. Why would you have this ring?
Vict. A traveller's fancy, A whim, and nothing more. I would fain keep it As a memento of the Gypsy camp In Guadarrama, and the fortune-teller Who sent me back to wed a widowed maid. Pray, let me have the ring.
Prec. No, never! never! I will not part with it, even when I die; But bid my nurse fold my pale fingers thus, That it may not fall from them. 'T is a token Of a beloved friend, who is no more.
Vict. How? dead?
Prec. Yes; dead to me; and worse than dead. He is estranged! And yet I keep this ring. I will rise with it from my grave hereafter, To prove to him that I was never false.
Vict. (aside). Be still, my swelling heart! one moment, still! Why, 't is the folly of a love-sick girl. Come, give it me, or I will say 't is mine, And that you stole it.
Prec. O, you will not dare To utter such a falsehood!
Vict. I not dare? Look in my face, and say if there is aught I have not dared, I would not dare for thee!
(She rushes into his arms.)
Prec. 'T is thou! 't is thou! Yes; yes; my heart's elected! My dearest-dear Victorian! my soul's heaven! Where hast thou been so long? Why didst thou leave me?
Vict. Ask me not now, my dearest Preciosa. Let me forget we ever have been parted!
Prec. Hadst thou not come—
Vict. I pray thee, do not chide me!
Prec. I should have perished here among these Gypsies.
Vict. Forgive me, sweet! for what I made thee suffer. Think'st thou this heart could feel a moment's joy, Thou being absent? O, believe it not! Indeed, since that sad hour I have not slept, For thinking of the wrong I did to thee Dost thou forgive me? Say, wilt thou forgive me?
Prec. I have forgiven thee. Ere those words of anger Were in the book of Heaven writ down against thee, I had forgiven thee.
Vict. I'm the veriest fool That walks the earth, to have believed thee false. It was the Count of Lara—
Prec. That bad man Has worked me harm enough. Hast thou not heard—
Vict. I have heard all. And yet speak on, speak on! Let me but hear thy voice, and I am happy; For every tone, like some sweet incantation, Calls up the buried past to plead for me. Speak, my beloved, speak into my heart, Whatever fills and agitates thine own.
(They walk aside.)
Hyp. All gentle quarrels in the pastoral poets, All passionate love scenes in the best romances, All chaste embraces on the public stage, All soft adventures, which the liberal stars Have winked at, as the natural course of things, Have been surpassed here by my friend, the student, And this sweet Gypsy lass, fair Preciosa!
Prec. Senor Hypolito! I kiss your hand. Pray, shall I tell your fortune?
Hyp. Not to-night; For, should you treat me as you did Victorian, And send me back to marry maids forlorn, My wedding day would last from now till Christmas.
Chispa (within). What ho! the Gypsies, ho! Beltran Cruzado! Halloo! halloo! halloo! halloo!
(Enters booted, with a whip and lantern.
Vict. What now Why such a fearful din? Hast thou been robbed?
Chispa. Ay, robbed and murdered; and good evening to you, My worthy masters.
Vict. Speak; what brings thee here?
CHISPA (to PRECIOSA). Good news from Court; good news! Beltran Cruzado, The Count of the Cales, is not your father, But your true father has returned to Spain Laden with wealth. You are no more a Gypsy.
Vict. Strange as a Moorish tale!
Chispa. And we have all Been drinking at the tavern to your health, As wells drink in November, when it rains.
Vict. Where is the gentlemen?
Chispa. As the old song says, His body is in Segovia, His soul is in Madrid,
Prec. Is this a dream? O, if it be a dream, Let me sleep on, and do not wake me yet! Repeat thy story! Say I'm not deceived! Say that I do not dream! I am awake; This is the Gypsy camp; this is Victorian, And this his friend, Hypolito! Speak! speak! Let me not wake and find it all a dream!
Vict. It is a dream, sweet child! a waking dream, A blissful certainty, a vision bright Of that rare happiness, which even on earth Heaven gives to those it loves. Now art thou rich, As thou wast ever beautiful and good; And I am now the beggar.
Prec. (giving him her hand). I have still A hand to give.
Chispa (aside). And I have two to take. I've heard my grandmother say, that Heaven gives almonds To those who have no teeth. That's nuts to crack, I've teeth to spare, but where shall I find almonds?
Vict. What more of this strange story?
Chispa. Nothing more. Your friend, Don Carlos, is now at the village Showing to Pedro Crespo, the Alcalde, The proofs of what I tell you. The old hag, Who stole you in your childhood, has confessed; And probably they'll hang her for the crime, To make the celebration more complete.
Vict. No; let it be a day of general joy; Fortune comes well to all, that comes not late. Now let us join Don Carlos.
Hyp. So farewell, The student's wandering life! Sweet serenades, Sung under ladies' windows in the night, And all that makes vacation beautiful! To you, ye cloistered shades of Alcala, To you, ye radiant visions of romance, Written in books, but here surpassed by truth, The Bachelor Hypolito returns, And leaves the Gypsy with the Spanish Student.
SCENE VI. — A pass in the Guadarrama mountains. Early morning. A muleteer crosses the stage, sitting sideways on his mule and lighting a paper cigar with flint and steel.
If thou art sleeping, maiden, Awake and open thy door, 'T is the break of day, and we must away, O'er meadow, and mount, and moor.
Wait not to find thy slippers, But come with thy naked feet; We shall have to pass through the dewy grass, And waters wide and fleet.
(Disappears down the pass. Enter a Monk. A shepherd appears on the rocks above.)
Monk. Ave Maria, gratia plena. Ola! good man!
Monk. Is this the road to Segovia?
Shep. It is, your reverence.
Monk. How far is it?
Shep. I do not know.
Monk. What is that yonder in the valley?
Shep. San Ildefonso.
Monk. A long way to breakfast.
Shep. Ay, marry.
Monk. Are there robbers in these mountains?
Shep. Yes, and worse than that.
Monk. Santa Maria! Come with me to San Ildefonso, and thou shalt be well rewarded.
Shep. What wilt thou give me?
Monk. An Agnus Dei and my benediction.
(They disappear. A mounted Contrabandista passes, wrapped in his cloak, and a gun at his saddle-bow. He goes down the pass singing.)
Worn with speed is my good steed, And I march me hurried, worried; Onward, caballito mio, With the white star in thy forehead! Onward, for here comes the Ronda, And I hear their rifles crack! Ay, jaleo! Ay, ay, jaleo! Ay, jaleo! They cross our track.
(Song dies away. Enter PRECIOSA, on horseback, attended by VICTORIAN, HYPOLITO, DON CARLOS, and CHISPA, on foot, and armed.)
Vict. This is the highest point. Here let us rest. See, Preciosa, see how all about us Kneeling, like hooded friars, the misty mountains Receive the benediction of the sun! O glorious sight!
Prec. Most beautiful indeed!
Hyp. Most wonderful!
Vict. And in the vale below, Where yonder steeples flash like lifted halberds, San Ildefonso, from its noisy belfries, Sends up a salutation to the morn, As if an army smote their brazen shields, And shouted victory!
Prec. And which way lies Segovia?
Vict. At a great distance yonder. Dost thou not see it?
Prec. No. I do not see it.
Vict. The merest flaw that dents the horizon's edge. There, yonder!
Hyp. 'T is a notable old town, Boasting an ancient Roman aqueduct, And an Alcazar, builded by the Moors, Wherein, you may remember, poor Gil Blas Was fed on Pan del Rey. O, many a time Out of its grated windows have I looked Hundreds of feet plumb down to the Eresma, That, like a serpent through the valley creeping, Glides at its foot.
Prec. O yes! I see it now, Yet rather with my heart than with mine eyes, So faint it is. And all my thoughts sail thither, Freighted with prayers and hopes, and forward urged Against all stress of accident, as in The Eastern Tale, against the wind and tide Great ships were drawn to the Magnetic Mountains, And there were wrecked, and perished in the sea! (She weeps.)
Vict. O gentle spirit! Thou didst bear unmoved Blasts of adversity and frosts of fate! But the first ray of sunshine that falls on thee Melts thee to tears! O, let thy weary heart Lean upon mine! and it shall faint no more, Nor thirst, nor hunger; but be comforted And filled with my affection.
Prec. Stay no longer! My father waits. Methinks I see him there, Now looking from the window, and now watching Each sound of wheels or footfall in the street, And saying, "Hark! she comes!" O father! father!
(They descend the pass. CHISPA remains behind.)
Chispa. I have a father, too, but he is a dead one. Alas and alack-a-day. Poor was I born, and poor do I remain. I neither win nor lose. Thus I was, through the world, half the time on foot, and the other half walking; and always as merry as a thunder-storm in the night. And so we plough along, as the fly said to the ox. Who knows what may happen? Patience, and shuffle the cards! I am not yet so bald that you can see my brains; and perhaps, after all, I shall some day go to Rome, and come back Saint Peter. Benedicite! [Exit.
(A pause. Then enter BARTOLOME wildly, as if in pursuit, with a carbine in his hand.)
Bart. They passed this way! I hear their horses' hoofs! Yonder I see them! Come, sweet caramillo, This serenade shall be the Gypsy's last!
(Fires down the pass.)
Ha! ha! Well whistled, my sweet caramillo! Well whistled!—I have missed her!—O my God!
(The shot is returned. BARTOLOME falls).
THE BELFRY OF BRUGES AND OTHER POEMS
THE BELFRY OF BRUGES CARILLON
In the ancient town of Bruges, In the quaint old Flemish city, As the evening shades descended, Low and loud and sweetly blended, Low at times and loud at times, And changing like a poet's rhymes, Rang the beautiful wild chimes From the Belfry in the market Of the ancient town of Bruges.
Then, with deep sonorous clangor Calmly answering their sweet anger, When the wrangling bells had ended, Slowly struck the clock eleven, And, from out the silent heaven, Silence on the town descended. Silence, silence everywhere, On the earth and in the air, Save that footsteps here and there Of some burgher home returning, By the street lamps faintly burning, For a moment woke the echoes Of the ancient town of Bruges.
But amid my broken slumbers Still I heard those magic numbers, As they loud proclaimed the flight And stolen marches of the night; Till their chimes in sweet collision Mingled with each wandering vision, Mingled with the fortune-telling Gypsy-bands of dreams and fancies, Which amid the waste expanses Of the silent land of trances Have their solitary dwelling; All else seemed asleep in Bruges, In the quaint old Flemish city.
And I thought how like these chimes Are the poet's airy rhymes, All his rhymes and roundelays, His conceits, and songs, and ditties, From the belfry of his brain, Scattered downward, though in vain, On the roofs and stones of cities! For by night the drowsy ear Under its curtains cannot hear, And by day men go their ways, Hearing the music as they pass, But deeming it no more, alas! Than the hollow sound of brass.
Yet perchance a sleepless wight, Lodging at some humble inn In the narrow lanes of life, When the dusk and hush of night Shut out the incessant din Of daylight and its toil and strife, May listen with a calm delight To the poet's melodies, Till he hears, or dreams he hears, Intermingled with the song, Thoughts that he has cherished long; Hears amid the chime and singing The bells of his own village ringing, And wakes, and finds his slumberous eyes Wet with most delicious tears.
Thus dreamed I, as by night I lay In Bruges, at the Fleur-de-Ble, Listening with a wild delight To the chimes that, through the night Bang their changes from the Belfry Of that quaint old Flemish city.
THE BELFRY OF BRUGES
In the market-place of Bruges stands the belfry old and brown; Thrice consumed and thrice rebuilded, still it watches o'er the town.
As the summer morn was breaking, on that lofty tower I stood, And the world threw off the darkness, like the weeds of widowhood.
Thick with towns and hamlets studded, and with streams and vapors gray, Like a shield embossed with silver, round and vast the landscape lay.
At my feet the city slumbered. From its chimneys, here and there, Wreaths of snow-white smoke, ascending, vanished, ghost-like, into air.
Not a sound rose from the city at that early morning hour, But I heard a heart of iron beating in the ancient tower.
From their nests beneath the rafters sang the swallows wild and high; And the world, beneath me sleeping, seemed more distant than the sky.
Then most musical and solemn, bringing back the olden times, With their strange, unearthly changes rang the melancholy chimes,
Like the psalms from some old cloister, when the nuns sing in the choir; And the great bell tolled among them, like the chanting of a friar.
Visions of the days departed, shadowy phantoms filled my brain; They who live in history only seemed to walk the earth again;
All the Foresters of Flanders,—mighty Baldwin Bras de Fer, Lyderick du Bucq and Cressy Philip, Guy de Dampierre.
I beheld the pageants splendid that adorned those days of old; Stately dames, like queens attended, knights who bore the Fleece of Gold
Lombard and Venetian merchants with deep-laden argosies; Ministers from twenty nations; more than royal pomp and ease.
I beheld proud Maximilian, kneeling humbly on the ground; I beheld the gentle Mary, hunting with her hawk and hound;
And her lighted bridal-chamber, where a duke slept with the queen, And the armed guard around them, and the sword unsheathed between.
I beheld the Flemish weavers, with Namur and Juliers bold, Marching homeward from the bloody battle of the Spurs of Gold;
Saw the light at Minnewater, saw the White Hoods moving west, Saw great Artevelde victorious scale the Golden Dragon's nest.
And again the whiskered Spaniard all the land with terror smote; And again the wild alarum sounded from the tocsin's throat;