The Complete Poetical Works of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Part 2 out of 31
How in the grave she lies;
And with his hard, rough hand he wipes
A tear out of his eyes.
Onward through life he goes;
Each morning sees some task begin,
Each evening sees it close
Something attempted, something done,
Has earned a night's repose.
Thanks, thanks to thee, my worthy friend,
For the lesson thou hast taught!
Thus at the flaming forge of life
Our fortunes must be wrought;
Thus on its sounding anvil shaped
Each burning deed and thought.
The rising moon has hid the stars;
Her level rays, like golden bars,
Lie on the landscape green,
With shadows brown between.
And silver white the river gleams,
As if Diana, in her dreams,
Had dropt her silver bow
Upon the meadows low.
On such a tranquil night as this,
She woke Endymion with a kiss,
When, sleeping in the grove,
He dreamed not of her love.
Like Dian's kiss, unasked, unsought,
Love gives itself, but is not bought;
Nor voice, nor sound betrays
Its deep, impassioned gaze.
It comes,--the beautiful, the free,
The crown of all humanity,--
In silence and alone
To seek the elected one.
It lifts the boughs, whose shadows deep
Are Life's oblivion, the soul's sleep,
And kisses the closed eyes
Of him, who slumbering lies.
O weary hearts! O slumbering eyes!
O drooping souls, whose destinies
Are fraught with fear and pain,
Ye shall be loved again!
No one is so accursed by fate,
No one so utterly desolate,
But some heart, though unknown,
Responds unto his own.
Responds,--as if with unseen wings,
An angel touched its quivering strings;
And whispers, in its song,
"'Where hast thou stayed so long?"
IT IS NOT ALWAYS MAY
No hay pajaros en los nidos de antano.
The sun is bright,--the air is clear,
The darting swallows soar and sing.
And from the stately elms I hear
The bluebird prophesying Spring.
So blue you winding river flows,
It seems an outlet from the sky,
Where waiting till the west-wind blows,
The freighted clouds at anchor lie.
All things are new;--the buds, the leaves,
That gild the elm-tree's nodding crest,
And even the nest beneath the eaves;--
There are no birds in last year's nest!
All things rejoice in youth and love,
The fulness of their first delight!
And learn from the soft heavens above
The melting tenderness of night.
Maiden, that read'st this simple rhyme,
Enjoy thy youth, it will not stay;
Enjoy the fragrance of thy prime,
For oh, it is not always May!
Enjoy the Spring of Love and Youth,
To some good angel leave the rest;
For Time will teach thee soon the truth,
There are no birds in last year's nest!
THE RAINY DAY
The day is cold, and dark, and dreary
It rains, and the wind is never weary;
The vine still clings to the mouldering wall,
But at every gust the dead leaves fall,
And the day is dark and dreary.
My life is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains, and the wind is never weary;
My thoughts still cling to the mouldering Past,
But the hopes of youth fall thick in the blast,
And the days are dark and dreary.
Be still, sad heart! and cease repining;
Behind the clouds is the sun still shining;
Thy fate is the common fate of all,
Into each life some rain must fall,
Some days must be dark and dreary.
I like that ancient Saxon phrase, which calls
The burial-ground God's-Acre! It is just;
It consecrates each grave within its walls,
And breathes a benison o'er the sleeping dust.
God's-Acre! Yes, that blessed name imparts
Comfort to those, who in the grave have sown
The seed that they had garnered in their hearts,
Their bread of life, alas! no more their own.
Into its furrows shall we all be cast,
In the sure faith, that we shall rise again
At the great harvest, when the archangel's blast
Shall winnow, like a fan, the chaff and grain.
Then shall the good stand in immortal bloom,
In the fair gardens of that second birth;
And each bright blossom mingle its perfume
With that of flowers, which never bloomed on earth.
With thy rude ploughshare, Death, turn up the sod,
And spread the furrow for the seed we sow;
This is the field and Acre of our God,
This is the place where human harvests grow!
TO THE RIVER CHARLES.
River! that in silence windest
Through the meadows, bright and free,
Till at length thy rest thou findest
In the bosom of the sea!
Four long years of mingled feeling,
Half in rest, and half in strife,
I have seen thy waters stealing
Onward, like the stream of life.
Thou hast taught me, Silent River!
Many a lesson, deep and long;
Thou hast been a generous giver;
I can give thee but a song.
Oft in sadness and in illness,
I have watched thy current glide,
Till the beauty of its stillness
Overflowed me, like a tide.
And in better hours and brighter,
When I saw thy waters gleam,
I have felt my heart beat lighter,
And leap onward with thy stream.
Not for this alone I love thee,
Nor because thy waves of blue
From celestial seas above thee
Take their own celestial hue.
Where yon shadowy woodlands hide thee,
And thy waters disappear,
Friends I love have dwelt beside thee,
And have made thy margin dear.
More than this;--thy name reminds me
Of three friends, all true and tried;
And that name, like magic, binds me
Closer, closer to thy side.
Friends my soul with joy remembers!
How like quivering flames they start,
When I fan the living embers
On the hearth-stone of my heart!
'T is for this, thou Silent River!
That my spirit leans to thee;
Thou hast been a generous giver,
Take this idle song from me.
Blind Bartimeus at the gates
Of Jericho in darkness waits;
He hears the crowd;--he hears a breath
Say, "It is Christ of Nazareth!"
And calls, in tones of agony,
The thronging multitudes increase;
Blind Bartimeus, hold thy peace!
But still, above the noisy crowd,
The beggar's cry is shrill and loud;
Until they say, "He calleth thee!"
Then saith the Christ, as silent stands
The crowd, "What wilt thou at my hands?"
And he replies, "O give me light!
Rabbi, restore the blind man's sight.
And Jesus answers, ''
Ye that have eyes, yet cannot see,
In darkness and in misery,
Recall those mighty Voices Three,
THE GOBLET OF LIFE
Filled is Life's goblet to the brim;
And though my eyes with tears are dim,
I see its sparkling bubbles swim,
And chant a melancholy hymn
With solemn voice and slow.
No purple flowers,--no garlands green,
Conceal the goblet's shade or sheen,
Nor maddening draughts of Hippocrene,
Like gleams of sunshine, flash between
Thick leaves of mistletoe.
This goblet, wrought with curious art,
Is filled with waters, that upstart,
When the deep fountains of the heart,
By strong convulsions rent apart,
Are running all to waste.
And as it mantling passes round,
With fennel is it wreathed and crowned,
Whose seed and foliage sun-imbrowned
Are in its waters steeped and drowned,
And give a bitter taste.
Above the lowly plants it towers,
The fennel, with its yellow flowers,
And in an earlier age than ours
Was gifted with the wondrous powers,
Lost vision to restore.
It gave new strength, and fearless mood;
And gladiators, fierce and rude,
Mingled it in their daily food;
And he who battled and subdued,
A wreath of fennel wore.
Then in Life's goblet freely press,
The leaves that give it bitterness,
Nor prize the colored waters less,
For in thy darkness and distress
New light and strength they give!
And he who has not learned to know
How false its sparkling bubbles show,
How bitter are the drops of woe,
With which its brim may overflow,
He has not learned to live.
The prayer of Ajax was for light;
Through all that dark and desperate fight
The blackness of that noonday night
He asked but the return of sight,
To see his foeman's face.
Let our unceasing, earnest prayer
Be, too, for light,--for strength to bear
Our portion of the weight of care,
That crushes into dumb despair
One half the human race.
O suffering, sad humanity!
O ye afflicted one; who lie
Steeped to the lips in misery,
Longing, and yet afraid to die,
Patient, though sorely tried!
I pledge you in this cup of grief,
Where floats the fennel's bitter leaf!
The Battle of our Life is brief
The alarm,--the struggle,--the relief,
Then sleep we side by side.
Maiden! with the meek, brown eyes,
In whose orbs a shadow lies
Like the dusk in evening skies!
Thou whose locks outshine the sun,
Golden tresses, wreathed in one,
As the braided streamlets run!
Standing, with reluctant feet,
Where the brook and river meet,
Womanhood and childhood fleet!
Gazing, with a timid glance,
On the brooklet's swift advance,
On the river's broad expanse!
Deep and still, that gliding stream
Beautiful to thee must seem,
As the river of a dream.
Then why pause with indecision,
When bright angels in thy vision
Beckon thee to fields Elysian?
Seest thou shadows sailing by,
As the dove, with startled eye,
Sees the falcon's shadow fly?
Hearest thou voices on the shore,
That our ears perceive no more,
Deafened by the cataract's roar?
O, thou child of many prayers!
Life hath quicksands,--Life hath snares
Care and age come unawares!
Like the swell of some sweet tune,
Morning rises into noon,
May glides onward into June.
Childhood is the bough, where slumbered
Birds and blossoms many-numbered;--
Age, that bough with snows encumbered.
Gather, then, each flower that grows,
When the young heart overflows,
To embalm that tent of snows.
Bear a lily in thy hand;
Gates of brass cannot withstand
One touch of that magic wand.
Bear through sorrow, wrong, and ruth,
In thy heart the dew of youth,
On thy lips the smile of truth!
O, that dew, like balm, shall steal
Into wounds that cannot heal,
Even as sleep our eyes doth seal;
And that smile, like sunshine, dart
Into many a sunless heart,
For a smile of God thou art.
The shades of night were falling fast,
As through an Alpine village passed
A youth, who bore, 'mid snow and ice,
A banner with the strange device,
His brow was sad; his eye beneath,
Flashed like a falchion from its sheath,
And like a silver clarion rung
The accents of that unknown tongue,
In happy homes he saw the light
Of household fires gleam warm and bright;
Above, the spectral glaciers shone,
And from his lips escaped a groan,
"Try not the Pass!" the old man said:
"Dark lowers the tempest overhead,
The roaring torrent is deep and wide!
And loud that clarion voice replied,
"Oh stay," the maiden said, "and rest
Thy weary head upon this breast!"
A tear stood in his bright blue eye,
But still he answered, with a sigh,
"Beware the pine-tree's withered branch!
Beware the awful avalanche!"
This was the peasant's last Good-night,
A voice replied, far up the height,
At break of day, as heavenward
The pious monks of Saint Bernard
Uttered the oft-repeated prayer,
A voice cried through the startled air,
A traveller, by the faithful hound,
Half-buried in the snow was found,
Still grasping in his hand of ice
That banner with the strange device,
There in the twilight cold and gray,
Lifeless, but beautiful, he lay,
And from the sky, serene and far,
A voice fell, like a falling star,
POEMS ON SLAVERY.
[The following poems, with one exception, were written at sea,
in the latter part of October, 1842. I had not then heard of
Dr. Channing's death. Since that event, the poem addressed to
him is no longer appropriate. I have decided, however, to let
it remain as it was written, in testimony of my admiration for
a great and good man.]
TO WILLIAM E. CHANNING
The pages of thy book I read,
And as I closed each one,
My heart, responding, ever said,
"Servant of God! well done!"
Well done! Thy words are great and bold;
At times they seem to me,
Like Luther's, in the days of old,
Half-battles for the free.
Go on, until this land revokes
The old and chartered Lie,
The feudal curse, whose whips and yokes
A voice is ever at thy side
Speaking in tones of might,
Like the prophetic voice, that cried
To John in Patmos, "Write!"
Write! and tell out this bloody tale;
Record this dire eclipse,
This Day of Wrath, this Endless Wail,
This dread Apocalypse!
THE SLAVE'S DREAM
Beside the ungathered rice he lay,
His sickle in his hand;
His breast was bare, his matted hair
Was buried in the sand.
Again, in the mist and shadow of sleep,
He saw his Native Land.
Wide through the landscape of his dreams
The lordly Niger flowed;
Beneath the palm-trees on the plain
Once more a king he strode;
And heard the tinkling caravans
Descend the mountain-road.
He saw once more his dark-eyed queen
Among her children stand;
They clasped his neck, they kissed his cheeks,
They held him by the hand!--
A tear burst from the sleeper's lids
And fell into the sand.
And then at furious speed he rode
Along the Niger's bank;
His bridle-reins were golden chains,
And, with a martial clank,
At each leap he could feel his scabbard of steel
Smiting his stallion's flank.
Before him, like a blood-red flag,
The bright flamingoes flew;
From morn till night he followed their flight,
O'er plains where the tamarind grew,
Till he saw the roofs of Caffre huts,
And the ocean rose to view.
At night he heard the lion roar,
And the hyena scream,
And the river-horse, as he crushed the reeds
Beside some hidden stream;
And it passed, like a glorious roll of drums,
Through the triumph of his dream.
The forests, with their myriad tongues,
Shouted of liberty;
And the Blast of the Desert cried aloud,
With a voice so wild and free,
That he started in his sleep and smiled
At their tempestuous glee.
He did not feel the driver's whip,
Nor the burning heat of day;
For Death had illumined the Land of Sleep,
And his lifeless body lay
A worn-out fetter, that the soul
Had broken and thrown away!
THE GOOD PART
THAT SHALL NOT BE TAKEN AWAY
She dwells by Great Kenhawa's side,
In valleys green and cool;
And all her hope and all her pride
Are in the village school.
Her soul, like the transparent air
That robes the hills above,
Though not of earth, encircles there
All things with arms of love.
And thus she walks among her girls
With praise and mild rebukes;
Subduing e'en rude village churls
By her angelic looks.
She reads to them at eventide
Of One who came to save;
To cast the captive's chains aside
And liberate the slave.
And oft the blessed time foretells
When all men shall be free;
And musical, as silver bells,
Their falling chains shall be.
And following her beloved Lord,
In decent poverty,
She makes her life one sweet record
And deed of charity.
For she was rich, and gave up all
To break the iron bands
Of those who waited in her hall,
And labored in her lands.
Long since beyond the Southern Sea
Their outbound sails have sped,
While she, in meek humility,
Now earns her daily bread.
It is their prayers, which never cease,
That clothe her with such grace;
Their blessing is the light of peace
That shines upon her face.
THE SLAVE IN THE DISMAL SWAMP
In dark fens of the Dismal Swamp
The hunted Negro lay;
He saw the fire of the midnight camp,
And heard at times a horse's tramp
And a bloodhound's distant bay.
Where will-o'-the-wisps and glow-worms shine,
In bulrush and in brake;
Where waving mosses shroud the pine,
And the cedar grows, and the poisonous vine
Is spotted like the snake;
Where hardly a human foot could pass,
Or a human heart would dare,
On the quaking turf of the green morass
He crouched in the rank and tangled grass,
Like a wild beast in his lair.
A poor old slave, infirm and lame;
Great scars deformed his face;
On his forehead he bore the brand of shame,
And the rags, that hid his mangled frame,
Were the livery of disgrace.
All things above were bright and fair,
All things were glad and free;
Lithe squirrels darted here and there,
And wild birds filled the echoing air
With songs of Liberty!
On him alone was the doom of pain,
From the morning of his birth;
On him alone the curse of Cain
Fell, like a flail on the garnered grain,
And struck him to the earth!
THE SLAVE SINGING AT MIDNIGHT
Loud he sang the psalm of David!
He, a Negro and enslaved,
Sang of Israel's victory,
Sang of Zion, bright and free.
In that hour, when night is calmest,
Sang he from the Hebrew Psalmist,
In a voice so sweet and clear
That I could not choose but hear,
Songs of triumph, and ascriptions,
Such as reached the swart Egyptians,
When upon the Red Sea coast
Perished Pharaoh and his host.
And the voice of his devotion
Filled my soul with strange emotion;
For its tones by turns were glad,
Sweetly solemn, wildly sad.
Paul and Silas, in their prison,
Sang of Christ, the Lord arisen,
And an earthquake's arm of might
Broke their dungeon-gates at night.
But, alas! what holy angel
Brings the Slave this glad evangel?
And what earthquake's arm of might
Breaks his dungeon-gates at night?
In Ocean's wide domains,
Half buried in the sands,
Lie skeletons in chains,
With shackled feet and hands.
Beyond the fall of dews,
Deeper than plummet lies,
Float ships, with all their crews,
No more to sink nor rise.
There the black Slave-ship swims,
Freighted with human forms,
Whose fettered, fleshless limbs
Are not the sport of storms.
These are the bones of Slaves;
They gleam from the abyss;
They cry, from yawning waves,
"We are the Witnesses!"
Within Earth's wide domains
Are markets for men's lives;
Their necks are galled with chains,
Their wrists are cramped with gyves.
Dead bodies, that the kite
In deserts makes its prey;
Murders, that with affright
Scare school-boys from their play!
All evil thoughts and deeds;
Anger, and lust, and pride;
The foulest, rankest weeds,
That choke Life's groaning tide!
These are the woes of Slaves;
They glare from the abyss;
They cry, from unknown graves,
"We are the Witnesses!
THE QUADROON GIRL
The Slaver in the broad lagoon
Lay moored with idle sail;
He waited for the rising moon,
And for the evening gale.
Under the shore his boat was tied,
And all her listless crew
Watched the gray alligator slide
Into the still bayou.
Odors of orange-flowers, and spice,
Reached them from time to time,
Like airs that breathe from Paradise
Upon a world of crime.
The Planter, under his roof of thatch,
Smoked thoughtfully and slow;
The Slaver's thumb was on the latch,
He seemed in haste to go.
He said, "My ship at anchor rides
In yonder broad lagoon;
I only wait the evening tides,
And the rising of the moon.
Before them, with her face upraised,
In timid attitude,
Like one half curious, half amazed,
A Quadroon maiden stood.
Her eyes were large, and full of light,
Her arms and neck were bare;
No garment she wore save a kirtle bright,
And her own long, raven hair.
And on her lips there played a smile
As holy, meek, and faint,
As lights in some cathedral aisle
The features of a saint.
"The soil is barren,--the farm is old";
The thoughtful planter said;
Then looked upon the Slaver's gold,
And then upon the maid.
His heart within him was at strife
With such accursed gains:
For he knew whose passions gave her life,
Whose blood ran in her veins.
But the voice of nature was too weak;
He took the glittering gold!
Then pale as death grew the maiden's cheek,
Her hands as icy cold.
The Slaver led her from the door,
He led her by the hand,
To be his slave and paramour
In a strange and distant land!
Beware! The Israelite of old, who tore
The lion in his path,--when, poor and blind,
He saw the blessed light of heaven no more,
Shorn of his noble strength and forced to grind
In prison, and at last led forth to be
A pander to Philistine revelry,--
Upon the pillars of the temple laid
His desperate hands, and in its overthrow
Destroyed himself, and with him those who made
A cruel mockery of his sightless woe;
The poor, blind Slave, the scoff and jest of all,
Expired, and thousands perished in the fall!
There is a poor, blind Samson in this land,
Shorn of his strength and bound in bonds of steel,
Who may, in some grim revel, raise his hand,
And shake the pillars of this Commonweal,
Till the vast Temple of our liberties.
A shapeless mass of wreck and rubbish lies.
THE SPANISH STUDENT
HYPOLITO Students of Alcala.
THE COUNT OF LARA
DON CARLOS Gentlemen of Madrid.
THE ARCHBISHOP OF TOLEDO.
BELTRAN CRUZADO Count of the Gypsies.
BARTOLOME ROMAN A young Gypsy.
THE PADRE CURA OF GUADARRAMA.
PEDRO CRESPO Alcalde.
FRANCISCO Lara's Servant.
CHISPA Victorian's Servant.
PRECIOSA A Gypsy Girl.
ANGELICA A poor Girl.
MARTINA The Padre Cura's Niece.
DOLORES Preciosa's Maid.
Gypsies, Musicians, etc.
SCENE I.--The COUNT OF LARA'S chambers. Night. The COUNT in his
dressing-gown, smoking and conversing with DON CARLOS.
Lara. You were not at the play tonight, Don Carlos;
How happened it?
Don C. I had engagements elsewhere.
Pray who was there?
Lara. Why all the town and court.
The house was crowded; and the busy fans
Among the gayly dressed and perfumed ladies
Fluttered like butterflies among the flowers.
There was the Countess of Medina Celi;
The Goblin Lady with her Phantom Lover,
Her Lindo Don Diego; Dona Sol,
And Dona Serafina, and her cousins.
Don C. What was the play?
Lara. It was a dull affair;
One of those comedies in which you see,
As Lope says, the history of the world
Brought down from Genesis to the Day of Judgment.
There were three duels fought in the first act,
Three gentlemen receiving deadly wounds,
Laying their hands upon their hearts, and saying,
"O, I am dead!" a lover in a closet,
An old hidalgo, and a gay Don Juan,
A Dona Inez with a black mantilla,
Followed at twilight by an unknown lover,
Who looks intently where he knows she is not!
Don C. Of course, the Preciosa danced to-night?
Lara. And never better. Every footstep fell
As lightly as a sunbeam on the water.
I think the girl extremely beautiful.
Don C. Almost beyond the privilege of woman!
I saw her in the Prado yesterday.
Her step was royal,--queen-like,--and her face
As beautiful as a saint's in Paradise.
Lara. May not a saint fall from her Paradise,
And be no more a saint?
Don C. Why do you ask?
Lara. Because I have heard it said this angel fell,
And though she is a virgin outwardly,
Within she is a sinner; like those panels
Of doors and altar-pieces the old monks
Painted in convents, with the Virgin Mary
On the outside, and on the inside Venus!
Don C. You do her wrong; indeed, you do her wrong!
She is as virtuous as she is fair.
Lara. How credulous you are! Why look you, friend,
There's not a virtuous woman in Madrid,
In this whole city! And would you persuade me
That a mere dancing-girl, who shows herself,
Nightly, half naked, on the stage, for money,
And with voluptuous motions fires the blood
Of inconsiderate youth, is to be held
A model for her virtue?
Don C. You forget
She is a Gypsy girl.
Lara. And therefore won
Don C. Nay, not to be won at all!
The only virtue that a Gypsy prizes
Is chastity. That is her only virtue.
Dearer than life she holds it. I remember
A Gypsy woman, a vile, shameless bawd,
Whose craft was to betray the young and fair;
And yet this woman was above all bribes.
And when a noble lord, touched by her beauty,
The wild and wizard beauty of her race,
Offered her gold to be what she made others,
She turned upon him, with a look of scorn,
And smote him in the face!
Lara. And does that prove
That Preciosa is above suspicion?
Don C. It proves a nobleman may be repulsed
When he thinks conquest easy. I believe
That woman, in her deepest degradation,
Holds something sacred, something undefiled,
Some pledge and keepsake of her higher nature,
And, like the diamond in the dark, retains
Some quenchless gleam of the celestial light!
Lara. Yet Preciosa would have taken the gold.
Don C. (rising). I do not think so.
Lara. I am sure of it.
But why this haste? Stay yet a little longer,
And fight the battles of your Dulcinea.
Don C. 'T is late. I must begone, for if I stay
You will not be persuaded.
Lara. Yes; persuade me.
Don C. No one so deaf as he who will not hear!
Lara. No one so blind as he who will not see!
Don C. And so good night. I wish you pleasant dreams,
And greater faith in woman. [Exit.
Lara. Greater faith!
I have the greatest faith; for I believe
Victorian is her lover. I believe
That I shall be to-morrow; and thereafter
Another, and another, and another,
Chasing each other through her zodiac,
As Taurus chases Aries.
(Enter FRANCISCO with a casket.)
What speed with Preciosa?
Fran. None, my lord.
She sends your jewels back, and bids me tell you
She is not to be purchased by your gold.
Lara. Then I will try some other way to win her.
Pray, dost thou know Victorian?
Fran. Yes, my lord;
I saw him at the jeweller's to-day.
Lara. What was he doing there?
Fran. I saw him buy
A golden ring, that had a ruby in it.
Lara. Was there another like it?
Fran. One so like it
I could not choose between them.
Lara. It is well.
To-morrow morning bring that ring to me.
Do not forget. Now light me to my bed.
SCENE II. -- A street in Madrid. Enter CHISPA, followed by
musicians, with a bagpipe, guitars, and other instruments.
Chispa. Abernuncio Satanas! and a plague on all lovers who
ramble about at night, drinking the elements, instead of
sleeping quietly in their beds. Every dead man to his cemetery,
say I; and every friar to his monastery. Now, here's my master,
Victorian, yesterday a cow-keeper, and to-day a gentleman;
yesterday a student, and to-day a lover; and I must be up later
than the nightingale, for as the abbot sings so must the
sacristan respond. God grant he may soon be married, for then
shall all this serenading cease. Ay, marry! marry! marry!
Mother, what does marry mean? It means to spin, to bear
children, and to weep, my daughter! And, of a truth, there is
something more in matrimony than the wedding-ring. (To the
musicians.) And now, gentlemen, Pax vobiscum! as the ass said to
the cabbages. Pray, walk this way; and don't hang down your
heads. It is no disgrace to have an old father and a ragged
shirt. Now, look you, you are gentlemen who lead the life of
crickets; you enjoy hunger by day and noise by night. Yet, I
beseech you, for this once be not loud, but pathetic; for it is a
serenade to a damsel in bed, and not to the Man in the Moon.
Your object is not to arouse and terrify, but to soothe and bring
lulling dreams. Therefore, each shall not play upon his
instrument as if it were the only one in the universe, but
gently, and with a certain modesty, according with the others.
Pray, how may I call thy name, friend?
First Mus. Geronimo Gil, at your service.
Chispa. Every tub smells of the wine that is in it. Pray,
Geronimo, is not Saturday an unpleasant day with thee?
First Mus. Why so?
Chispa. Because I have heard it said that Saturday is an
unpleasant day with those who have but one shirt. Moreover, I
have seen thee at the tavern, and if thou canst run as fast as
thou canst drink, I should like to hunt hares with thee. What
instrument is that?
First Mus. An Aragonese bagpipe.
Chispa. Pray, art thou related to the bagpiper of Bujalance,
who asked a maravedi for playing, and ten for leaving off?
First Mus. No, your honor.
Chispa. I am glad of it. What other instruments have we?
Second and Third Musicians. We play the bandurria.
Chispa. A pleasing instrument. And thou?
Fourth Mus. The fife.
Chispa. I like it; it has a cheerful, soul-stirring sound,
that soars up to my lady's window like the song of a swallow.
And you others?
Other Mus. We are the singers, please your honor.
Chispa. You are too many. Do you think we are going to sing
mass in the cathedral of Cordova? Four men can make but little
use of one shoe, and I see not how you can all sing in one song.
But follow me along the garden wall. That is the way my master
climbs to the lady's window, it is by the Vicar's skirts that the
Devil climbs into the belfry. Come, follow me, and make no
SCENE III. -- PRECIOSA'S chamber. She stands at the open window.
Prec. How slowly through the lilac-scented air
Descends the tranquil moon! Like thistle-down
The vapory clouds float in the peaceful sky;
And sweetly from yon hollow vaults of shade
The nightingales breathe out their souls in song.
And hark! what songs of love, what soul-like sounds,
Answer them from below!
Stars of the summer night!
Far in yon azure deeps,
Hide, hide your golden light!
My lady sleeps!
Moon of the summer night!
Far down yon western steeps,
Sink, sink in silver light!
My lady sleeps!
Wind of the summer night!
Where yonder woodbine creeps,
Fold, fold thy pinions light!
My lady sleeps!
Dreams of the summer night!
Tell her, her lover keeps
Watch! while in slumbers light
My lady sleeps
(Enter VICTORIAN by the balcony.)
Vict. Poor little dove! Thou tremblest like a leaf!
Prec. I am so frightened! 'T is for thee I tremble!
I hate to have thee climb that wall by night!
Did no one see thee?
Vict. None, my love, but thou.
Prec. 'T is very dangerous; and when thou art gone
I chide myself for letting thee come here
Thus stealthily by night. Where hast thou been?
Since yesterday I have no news from thee.
Vict. Since yesterday I have been in Alcala.
Erelong the time will come, sweet Preciosa,
When that dull distance shall no more divide us;
And I no more shall scale thy wall by night
To steal a kiss from thee, as I do now.
Prec. An honest thief, to steal but what thou givest.
Vict. And we shall sit together unmolested,
And words of true love pass from tongue to tongue,
As singing birds from one bough to another.
Prec. That were a life to make time envious!
I knew that thou wouldst come to me to-night.
I saw thee at the play.
Vict. Sweet child of air!
Never did I behold thee so attired
And garmented in beauty as to-night!
What hast thou done to make thee look so fair?
Prec. Am I not always fair?
Vict. Ay, and so fair
That I am jealous of all eyes that see thee,
And wish that they were blind.
Prec. I heed them not;
When thou art present, I see none but thee!
Vict. There's nothing fair nor beautiful, but takes
Something from thee, that makes it beautiful.
Prec. And yet thou leavest me for those dusty books.
Vict. Thou comest between me and those books too often!
I see thy face in everything I see!
The paintings in the chapel wear thy looks,
The canticles are changed to sarabands,
And with the leaned doctors of the schools
I see thee dance cachuchas.
Prec. In good sooth,
I dance with learned doctors of the schools
Vict. And with whom, I pray?
Prec. A grave and reverend Cardinal, and his Grace
The Archbishop of Toledo.
Vict. What mad jest
Prec. It is no jest; indeed it is not.
Vict. Prithee, explain thyself.
Prec. Why, simply thus.
Thou knowest the Pope has sent here into Spain
To put a stop to dances on the stage.
Vict. I have heard it whispered.
Prec. Now the Cardinal,
Who for this purpose comes, would fain behold
With his own eyes these dances; and the Archbishop
Has sent for me--
Vict. That thou mayst dance before them!
Now viva la cachucha! It will breathe
The fire of youth into these gray old men!
'T will be thy proudest conquest!
Prec. Saving one.
And yet I fear these dances will be stopped,
And Preciosa be once more a beggar.
Vict. The sweetest beggar that e'er asked for alms;
With such beseeching eyes, that when I saw thee
I gave my heart away!
Prec. Dost thou remember
When first we met?
Vict. It was at Cordova,
In the cathedral garden. Thou wast sitting
Under the orange-trees, beside a fountain.
Prec. 'T was Easter-Sunday. The full-blossomed trees
Filled all the air with fragrance and with joy.
The priests were singing, and the organ sounded,
And then anon the great cathedral bell.
It was the elevation of the Host.
We both of us fell down upon our knees,
Under the orange boughs, and prayed together.
I never had been happy till that moment.
Vict. Thou blessed angel!
Prec. And when thou wast gone
I felt an acting here. I did not speak
To any one that day. But from that day
Bartolome grew hateful unto me.
Vict. Remember him no more. Let not his shadow
Come between thee and me. Sweet Preciosa!
I loved thee even then, though I was silent!
Prec. I thought I ne'er should see thy face again.
Thy farewell had a sound of sorrow in it.
Vict. That was the first sound in the song of love!
Scarce more than silence is, and yet a sound.
Hands of invisible spirits touch the strings
Of that mysterious instrument, the soul,
And play the prelude of our fate. We hear
The voice prophetic, and are not alone.
Prec. That is my faith. Dust thou believe these warnings?
Vict. So far as this. Our feelings and our thoughts
Tend ever on, and rest not in the Present.
As drops of rain fall into some dark well,
And from below comes a scarce audible sound,
So fall our thoughts into the dark Hereafter,
And their mysterious echo reaches us.
Prec. I have felt it so, but found no words to say it!
I cannot reason; I can only feel!
But thou hast language for all thoughts and feelings.
Thou art a scholar; and sometimes I think
We cannot walk together in this world!
The distance that divides us is too great!
Henceforth thy pathway lies among the stars;
I must not hold thee back.
Vict. Thou little sceptic!
Dost thou still doubt? What I most prize in woman
Is her affections, not her intellect!
The intellect is finite; but the affections
Are infinite, and cannot be exhausted.
Compare me with the great men of the earth;
What am I? Why, a pygmy among giants!
But if thou lovest,--mark me! I say lovest,
The greatest of thy sex excels thee not!
The world of the affections is thy world,
Not that of man's ambition. In that stillness
Which most becomes a woman, calm and holy,
Thou sittest by the fireside of the heart,
Feeding its flame. The element of fire
Is pure. It cannot change nor hide its nature,
But burns as brightly in a Gypsy camp
As in a palace hall. Art thou convinced?
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
Bal. And a pitcher of Pedro Ximenes, with a roasted pear in
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
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
Chispa. No; you might as well say, "Don't-you-want-some?" to a
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.
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.)
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
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!
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.
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,--
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.
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.
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