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Title: Charles Di Tocca - A Tragedy
Author: Rice, Cale Young, 1872-1943
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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                          _CHARLES DI TOCCA_

                              _A Tragedy_

                                 _By_

                           _Cale Young Rice_


                       _McClure, Phillips & Co._
                              _New York_
                                 1903



                          COPYRIGHT, 1903, BY
                            CALE YOUNG RICE

                       Published, March, 1903, R



                             _To My Wife_



                          _CHARLES DI TOCCA_



CHARLES DI TOCCA

_A Tragedy_


    CHARLES DI TOCCA      _Duke of Leucadia, Tyrant of Arta, etc._
    ANTONIO DI TOCCA      _His son._
    HÆMON                 _A Greek noble._
    BARDAS                _His friend._
    CARDINAL JULIAN       _The Pope's Legate._
    AGABUS                _A mad monk._
    CECCO                 _Seneschal of the Castle._
    FULVIA COLONNA        _Under the duke's protection._
    HELENA                _Sister to Hæmon._
    GIULIA                _Serving Fulvia._
    PAULA                 _Serving Helena._
    LYGIA  }
    PHAON  }              _Revellers._
    ZOE    }
    BASIL  }

    NARDO, a boy, and DIOGENES, a philosopher.

    A Captain of the Guard, Soldiers, Guests, Attendants, etc.

    _Time_: _Fifteenth Century._



ACT ONE


_Scene._--_The Island Leucadia. A ruined temple of Apollo near the town
of Pharo. Broken columns and stones are strewn, or stand desolately
about. It is night--the moon rising. ANTONIO, who has been waiting
impatiently, seats himself on a stone. By a road near the ruins FULVIA
enters, cloaked._

  ANTONIO (_turning_): Helen----!

  FULVIA:           A comely name, my lord.

  ANTONIO:                                Ah, you?
  My father's unforgetting Fulvia?

  FULVIA: At least not Helena, whoe'er she be.

  ANTONIO: And did I call you so?

  FULVIA:                             Unless it is
  These stones have tongue and passion.

  ANTONIO:                          Then the night
  Recalling dreams of dim antiquity's
  Heroic bloom worked on me.--But whence are
  Your steps, so late, alone?

  FULVIA:                       From the Cardinal,
  Who has but come.

  ANTONIO:          What comfort there?

  FULVIA:                                With doom
  The moody bolt of Rome broods over us.

  ANTONIO: My father will not bind his heresy?

  FULVIA: You with him walked to-day. What said he?

  ANTONIO:          I?
  With him to-day? Ah, true. What may be done?

  FULVIA: He has been strange of late and silent, laughs,
  Seeing the Cross, but softly and almost
  As it were some sweet thing he loved.

  ANTONIO (_absently_):                 As if
  'Twere some sweet thing--he laughs--is strange--you say?

  FULVIA: Stranger than is Antonio his son,
  Who but for some expectancy is vacant.
      (_She makes to go._)

  ANTONIO: Stay, Fulvia, though I am not in poise.
  Last night I dreamed of you: in vain you hovered
  To reach me from the coil of swift Charybdis.

          (_A low cry, ANTONIO starts._)

  Fulvia: A woman's voice!
      (_Looking down the road._)
                    And hasting here!

  ANTONIO:                                  Alone?

  FULVIA: No, with another!

  ANTONIO:                       Go, then, Fulvia.
  'Tis one would speak with me.

  FULVIA:                        Ah? (_She goes._)

_Enter HELENA frightedly with PAULA._

  HELENA:                                 Antonio!

  ANTONIO: My Helena, what is it? You are wan
  And tremble as a blossom quick with fear
  Of shattering. What is it? Speak.

  HELENA: Not true!
  O, 'tis not true!

  ANTONIO:             What have you chanced upon?

  HELENA: Say no to me, say no, and no again!

  ANTONIO: Say no, and no?

  HELENA:                Yes; I am reeling, wrung,
  With one glance o'er the precipice of ill!
  Say his incanted prophecies spring from
  No power that's more than frenzied fantasy!

  ANTONIO: Who prophesies? Who now upon this isle
  More than visible and present day
  Can gather to his eye? Tell me.

  HELENA:                               The monk--
  Ah, chide me not!--mad Agabus, who can
  Unsphere dark spirits from their evil airs
  And show all things of love or death, seized me
  As hither I stole to thee. With wild looks
  And wilder lips he vented on my ear
  Boding more wild than both. "Sappho!" he cried,
  "Sappho! Sappho!" and probed my eyes as if
  Destiny moved dark-visaged in their deeps.
  Then tore his rags and moaned, "So young, to cease!"
  Gazed then out into awful vacancy;
  And whispered hotly, following his gaze,
  "The Shadow! Shadow!"

  ANTONIO:                     This is but a whim,
  A sudden gloomy surge of superstition.
  Put it from you, my Helena.

  HELENA:                          But he
  Has often cleft the future with his ken,
  Seen through it to some lurking misery
  And mar of love: or the dim knell of death
  Heard and revealed.

  ANTONIO:               A witless monk who thinks
  God lives but to fulfil his prophecies!

  HELENA: You know him not. 'Tis told in youth he loved
  One treacherous, and in avenge made fierce
  Treaty with Hell that lends him sight of all
  Ills that arise from it to mated hearts!
  Yet look not so, my lord! I'll trust thine eyes
  That tell me love is master of all times,
  And thou of all love master!

  ANTONIO:                         And of thee?
  Then will the winds return unto the night
  And flute us lover songs of happiness!

  HELENA: Nor dare upon a duller note while here
  We tryst beneath the moon?

  ANTONIO:                       My perfect Greek!
  Athene looks again out of thy lids,
  And Venus trembles in thy every limb!

  HELENA: Not Venus, ah, not Venus!

  ANTONIO:                             Now; again?

  HELENA: 'Twas on this temple's ancient gate she found
  Wounded Adonis dead, and to forget,
  Like Sappho leaped, 'tis said, from yonder cliff
  Down to the waves' oblivion below.

  ANTONIO: And will you read such terror in a tale?

  HELENA: Forgive me, then.

  ANTONIO:                Surely you are unstrung,
  And yet there is----    (_Turns away from her._)

  HELENA:                        Is what? Antonio?

  ANTONIO: Nothing: I who must ebb with you and flow
  A little was moved.

  HELENA:            Not you, not you! I'll change
  My tears to laughter, if but fantasy
  May so unmettle you! Not moved, indeed!
  Not moved, Antonio?

  ANTONIO:               Well, let us off,
  My Helena, with these numb awes that wind
  About our joy.

  HELENA:           Thy kiss then, for it can
  Drive all gloom out of the world!

  ANTONIO:                      And thine, my own,
  On Fate's hard brow would shame it of all frown!

  HELENA: Yet is thine mightier, for no frown can be
  When no more gloom's in the world!

  ANTONIO:                       But 'tis thy lips
  That lend it might. If I pressed other----

  HELENA:                                   Other!
  You should not know that any other lips
  Could e'er be pressed; I'll have no kiss but his
  Who is all blind to every mouth but mine!
      (_Breaks from him._)

  ANTONIO: Oh?--Well.

  HELENA: "Oh--well?"--Then it is well I go!

  ANTONIO: Perhaps.

  HELENA:           "Perhaps!"    (_Makes to go._)

  ANTONIO:                    Good-night.

  HELENA (_returning_):               Antonio----?

  ANTONIO: Ah! still----?

  HELENA:        There's gloom in the world again.

  ANTONIO (_kissing her_):              'Tis gone?

  HELENA: Not all, I think.

  ANTONIO:               Two for so small a gloom?
      (_Kisses her again._)

  HELENA: So small!

  ANTONIO:               And still you sigh?

  HELENA:                       The vainest glooms
  To-night seem ominous--as cloud-flakes flung
  Upward before the heaving of the west.
      (_In fright_) Oh!

  ANTONIO:          Helena!

  HELENA:           See, see! 'tis Agabus!

_Enter AGABUS unkempt and distracted._

  AGABUS: O--lovers! lovers! Lord have none of them!

  ANTONIO: Good monk----

  AGABUS: O--yes, yes, yes. You'd give me gold
  To pray for your two souls. (_Crossing himself._) Not I! Not I!
  Know you not love is brewed of lust and fire?
  It gnaws and burns, until the Shadow--Sir, (_Searching about the
      air._)
  Have you not seen a Shadow pass?

  ANTONIO:                               A Shadow?

  AGABUS: Silent and cold. A-times they call him Death:
  I'd have him for my brain--it shakes with fever.
                           (_Goes searching anxiously._

  HELENA: Antonio----

  ANTONIO:                    You're calm?

  HELENA:                         Yes, very calm--
  Of impotence--as one who in a tomb
  Awakes and waits?

  ANTONIO:               He is but mad.

  HELENA:                                 But mad.

  ANTONIO: Yet fear you? still?

          (_A shout is heard._)

  HELENA:                 Who is it? soldiers come
  From Arta?

  ANTONIO: Yes.

  HELENA:             And by this road!--They must
  Not see us!

  ANTONIO: No. But quick, within this breach!

          (_They conceal themselves in the breach. The soldiers pass
           across the stage. The last, as all shout "DI TOCCA!"
           strikes a column near him. It falls, and HELENA starts
           forward shuddering._)

  HELENA: Fallen! Ah, fallen! See, Antonio!

  ANTONIO: What now!

  HELENA (_swaying_): It is as if the earth were wind
  Under my feet!

  ANTONIO:          Are all things thus become
  Omen and dread to you?

  HELENA:                     O, but it is
  The pillar grieving Venus leant upon
  Ere to forget she leapt, and wrote,
        When falls this pillar tall and proud
        Let surest lovers weave their shroud.

  ANTONIO:                              Mere myth!

  HELENA: The shroud! It coldly winds about us--coldly!

  ANTONIO: Should a vain hap so desperately move you?

  HELENA: The breath and secret soul of all this night
  Are burdened with foreboding! And it seems--

  ANTONIO: You must not, Helena!

  HELENA:                       My love, my lord--
  Touch me lest I forget my natural flesh
  In this unnatural awe!  (_He takes her to him._)
            Ah how thy arms
  Warm the cold moan and misery of fear
  Out of my veins!

  ANTONIO:          You rave, but in me stir
  Again the attraction of these dim portents.
  Nay, quiver not! 'tis but a passing mist,
  And this that runs in us is worthless dread!

  HELENA: But ah, the shroud! the shroud!

  ANTONIO:                  We'll weave no shroud,
  But wedding robes and wreaths and pageantry!
  And you shall be my Sappho--but through joys
  Such as shall legend ecstasy about
  Our knitted names when distant lovers dream.

  HELENA: I'll fear no more, then----

  ANTONIO:                    Yet?

  HELENA:                          My lord, let us
  Unloose this strangling secrecy and be
  Open in love. My brother, Hæmon, let
  Our hearts betrothed exchange and hope be told
  Him and thy father!

  ANTONIO:          This cannot be--now

  HELENA: It cannot be, and you a god? I'll bow
  Before your eyes no more!--say that it can!

  ANTONIO: Not yet--not now. Hæmon's suspicious, quick,
  And melancholy: must be won with service.
  And you are Greek, a name till yesterday
  I never knew pass in the portal to
  My father's ear, but it came out his mouth
  Headlong and dark with curses.

  HELENA:                              Yet of late
  He oft has smiled upon me as he passed.

  ANTONIO: On you--my father? O, he only dreamt,
  And saw you not.

  HELENA:               Then have you also dreamt!
  He looked as you, when, moonlight in my hair,
  You call me----

  ANTONIO:         Stay: I'll call you so no more.

  HELENA: You'll call me so no more?

  ANTONIO:                              No more.

  HELENA:                                   Why do
  You say so--is it kind?

  ANTONIO:                    Why?--why? Because
  Words were they miracles of beauty could
  As little reveal you as a taper's ray
  The lone profundity and space of night!

  HELENA: And yet----

  ANTONIO:               And yet?

  HELENA:              I'll hold you not too false
  If sometimes they trip out upon your lips.

  ANTONIO: Or to my father's eye?

  HELENA:                           If he but look
  Upon me for thy sake.

  ANTONIO:               He smiled, you say?

  HELENA: Gently, as one might in forgetting pain.

  ANTONIO: Perhaps: for some unwonted softness seems
  Near him. But yesterday he called for song,
  Dancing and wine.

  HELENA:           Then tell him! These are years
  So dyed in crime that secrecy must seem
  Yoke-mate of guilt.

  ANTONIO:          Fear has bewitched you--shame!

  HELENA: Antonio, love's wave has cast us high
  I would do all lest now it turn to fate
  Under our feet and draw us out----

  ANTONIO:                             'Twill not!

_Enter PAULA._

  PAULA: My lady, some one comes.

  HELENA:                         And is the world
  Not space enough but he must needs come here!
  If it were----?

  ANTONIO: Hæmon?--'Twere perhaps not ill.

  HELENA: I know not! Broodings smoulder from his moods
  Feverous bitter.

  ANTONIO: Kindness then shall quench them.
  But now, away. Forget this dread and be you
  By day my lark, by night my nightingale,
  Not a sad bird of boding!

  HELENA:                     With the day
  All will be well.

  ANTONIO:                   Remember then you are
  Only a little slept from your life's shore
  Out on the infinite of love, whose air
  Is awe and mystery.

  HELENA:                I go, my lord.
  Think of me oft!

  ANTONIO (_taking her in his arms_): My Helena!

          (_She goes with PAULA. He steps aside and watches the
           approaching forms._)

                                       'Tis Hæmon!
  My father!

_Enter CHARLES friendly, with HÆMON._

  CHARLES: So, no farther? you'll stop here?

  HÆMON: Sir, if you grant it. I----

  CHARLES (_twittingly_):         Some rendezvous?
  Who is she? Ah, young blood and Spring and night!

  HÆMON: No rendezvous, my lord.

  CHARLES:                       Some lay then you
  Would muse on?

  HÆMON:            Yes, a lay.

  CHARLES:                        And one of love?
  The word, you see, founts easy to my lips.
  (_With confidential archness._) 'Tis recent in my thought--as
      you will learn.

  HÆMON: How, sir, and when?

  CHARLES:            O, when? Be not surprised!--
  Well, to the lay!
                                            (_He goes._

  HÆMON:                 Cruel! His soldiers waste
  The bread of honesty, the hope of age!
  Are drunken, bloody, indolent, and lust
  To tear all innocence away and robe
  Our loveliest in shame!--Yet me, a Greek,
  He suddenly befriends!

  ANTONIO (_coming forward_): Hæmon----

  HÆMON:                                  Ah, you?

  ANTONIO: There's room between your tone and courtesy.

  HÆMON: And shall be while I'm readier to bend
  Over a beggar's pain than prince's fingers.

  ANTONIO: And yet you know me better----

  HÆMON:                           Than to believe
  You're not Antonio, son of Charles di Tocca?

  ANTONIO: I'd be your friend.

  HÆMON:               So would he: and he smiles.

  ANTONIO: There are deep reasons for it.

  HÆMON:                             With him too!
  Against a miracle, you are his heir!

  ANTONIO: I think it would be well for you to listen.
  My confidence once curbed----

  HÆMON:                         May bite and paw?
  Let it! for fools are threats, and cowards. Were
  You Tamerlane and mine the skull should cap
  A bloody pyramid of enemies,
  I'd----!

  ANTONIO: Hear me. Will you be so blind?

  HÆMON:                                   To your
  Fair graces? No, my lord--not so. Your sword
  And doublet are sublimely worn! sublimely!
  Your curls would tempt an empress' fingers, and----

  ANTONIO: Why is my anger silent?

  HÆMON:                              Let it speak
  And not this subtle pride! You would be friend,
  A friend to me--a friend!--Did not your father
  Into a sick and sunless keep cast mine
  Because he was a Greek and still a Greek,
  And would not be a slave? His cunning has
  Not whispered death about him as a pest?
  He--he, my friend? and you?--And I on him
  Should lean, and flatter----?

  ANTONIO:             Cease: though he has stains
  The times are tyrannous and men like beasts
  Find mercy preservation's enemy.
  You're heated with suspicion and old wrong,
  But take my hand as pledge----

  HÆMON (_refusing it_): That you'll be false?

_Enter BARDAS._

  BARDAS: I've sought you, Hæmon. Antonio? We are
  Well met then: to your doors my want was bent
  With a request.

  ANTONIO:               Which gladly I shall hear
  And if I can will grant.

  BARDAS:                      My haste is blunt--
  As is my tongue.

  HÆMON:            Then yield it us at once,
  Our mood is so.

  BARDAS:               Hæmon, I love your sister.
  Not love: I am idolatrous before
  Her foot's least print, and cannot breathe or pray
  But where she's sometime been and left a heaven!

  HÆMON: Therefore you'll cry it maudlin at the streets?

  BARDAS: Necessity's not over delicate.
  Antonio, sue for me. You have been apt
  In all love's skill they say. My oath on it
  Your words once sown upon her listening
  Would not lie fruitless did they bid her yield
  More than her most.

  HÆMON:                 Bardas! Do you--Does such
  Unseemliness run in your thought?

  BARDAS:                            Peace, Hæmon.
  Antonio, speak.

  ANTONIO:         You're strange in this request.
  Helena, whom I've seen, would little thank
  The eyes that told her own where they should love.

  BARDAS: I saved your life, my lord.

  ANTONIO:                       And I've besought
  Occasion oft for loaning of some chance
  Worthily to repay you. If 'tis this,
  I am distrest. I cannot plead your suit.

  BARDAS: You cannot or you will not?

  ANTONIO:                            I have said.
  Ask me for service on your foes, for gold,
  Faith or devotion, friendship you're aloof to,
  For all that will and honor well may render
  With nicety, and I'll be wings and heart,
  More--drudge to your desire.

  HÆMON:                           Nobly, my lord!
  Bardas, you must atone----

  BARDAS:                     Peace, Hæmon.

  HÆMON:                                     Peace
  Is goad and gall! Why do you burn my cheek
  With this indignity?

  BARDAS:          Do you ask why? (_to ANTONIO._)
  A little since one of your father's guard
  Gave his command in seal to Helena
  Upon the streets, to instantly repair
  Unto his halls--which she must henceforth _honor_.
  You knew it not?

  ANTONIO:          My father?

  BARDAS:                         O, well feigned.
  Be sure none will suspect he is too old
  For knightly feat like this--and that he has
  A son!

  ANTONIO: To Helena! my father! sealed!

  HÆMON: Bardas, you bring the truth?--And so, my lord,
  You stab me through another--you, my _friend_?

  ANTONIO (_to BARDAS_): Do you mean that----?

  BARDAS:                   Until this hour I held
  The race of Charles di Tocca bold, or other
  But empty of all lies in deed or speech,
  It grows--a little low?

  ANTONIO:          Why you are mad!
  Are mad! I'm naked of this thing, and hide
  No guilt behind the wonder of my face.
  For Paradises brimming with all Beauty
  I would not lay one fancy's weight of shame
  On her you name!

  BARDAS:           A pretty protest--but
  A breath too heavenly.

  ANTONIO:          Leave sneering there!
  You have repaid yourself--cast on me words
  Intolerable more than loss of life.
  You both shall learn this night's entangling.
  But know, between her, Helena, and shame
  I burn with flaming heart and fearless hand!
                                       (_Goes angrily._

  HÆMON: He can be false and wear this mien of truth?

  BARDAS: I'll not believe!

  HÆMON:              But, what: my sister seized?

  BARDAS: Ah, what!--"He burns with flaming heart!"--have we
  No flesh to understand this passion then?
  Bound to the wings of wide ambition he
  Will choose undowered worth?--To the ordeal
  Of mere suspicion's flaming I'd not trust
  The fairness of his name; but doubts in me
  Are sunk with proofs.

  HÆMON:            No, no!

  BARDAS:                     Unyielding.

  HÆMON:                                    Proof?
  He could not. No! he dare not!

  BARDAS:                            Yet the rogue
  Cecco, the duke's half-seneschal, half-spy,
  I passed upon the streets o'ermuch in wine,
  Leaning upon a tipsier jade and spouting
  With drunken mockery,

  "'Sweet Helena! Fair Helena!' Pluck me, wench, but the lord Antonio
  knows sound nuts! And sly! Why hear you now! he gets the duke to
  seize on the maid! The fox! The rat! Have I not heard him in his
  chamber these thirty nights puff her name out his window with as
  many honeyed drawls of passion as--as--as--June has buds? 'Sweet
  Helena!'--la! 'Fair Helena!'--O! 'Dear Helena! my rose! my queen!
  my sun and moon and stars! Thy kiss is still at my lips, thy breast
  beats still on mine! my Helena!'--Um! Oh, 'tmust be a rare damsel.
  I'll make a sluice between her purse and mine, wench; do you hear?"

  HÆMON: Well--well?

  BARDAS: No more. When I had struck him down,
  He swore it was unswerving all and truth.
  Hasting to warn I found Helena ta'en
  And sought you here.

  HÆMON (_grasping his brows_): Ah!

  BARDAS:                            Helena who is
  All purity!

  HÆMON:            Ah sister, child!--Have I
  With strength been father and with tenderness
  A mother been to her unfolding years
  But to see now unchastest cruelty
  Pluck her white bloom to ease his idle sense
  One fragrant hour?--If it be so, no flowers
  Should blossom; only weeds whose withering
  Can hurt no heart!

  BARDAS:     These tears should seal fierce oaths
  Against him!

  HÆMON:          And they shall! until God wrecks
  Him in the tempest raised of his outrage!

  BARDAS: Then may I be the rock on which he breaks!
  But hear; who comes? (_Revellers are heard approaching._)
                               We must aside until
  This mirth is past. (_They conceal themselves._)

_Enter revellers dressed as bacchanals and bacchantes, dancing and
singing._

  Bacchus, hey! was a god, hei-yo!
  The vine! a fig for the rest!
  With locks green-crowned and lips red-warm--
  The vine! the vine's the best!
  He loved maids, O-o-ay! hei-yo!
  The vine! a maiden's breast!
  He pressed the grape, and kissed the maid!--
  The cuckoo builds no nest!

          (_All go dancing, except LYDIA and PHAON, who clasps and
           kisses her passionately_)

  LYDIA (_breaking from him_): Do you think kisses are so cheap? You
  must know mine fill my purse! A pretty gallant from Naples, with
  laces and silks and jewels gave me this ring last year for but one.
  And another lover from Venice gave me this (_a bracelet_)--but he
  looked so sad when he gave it. Ah, his eyes! I'd not have cared if
  he had given me naught.

  PHAON: Here, here, then! (_Offers jewel._)

  LYDIA (_putting it aside_): They say the ladies in Venice ride with
  their lovers through the streets all night in boats: and the very
  moon shines more passionately there. Is it true?

  PHAON: Yes, yes. But kiss me, Lydia! Take this jewel--my last. Be
  mine to-night, no other's! We'll prate of Venice another time.

  LYDIA: Another time we'll prate of kisses. I'll not have the jewel.

  PHAON: Not have it! Now you're turning nun! a soft and virgin, silly
  nun! With a gray gown to hide these shoulders that--shall I whisper
  it?

  LYDIA: Devil! they're not! A nice lover called them round and
  fair last night. And I've been sick! And--I--cruel! cruel! cruel!
  (_Revellers are heard returning._) There, they're coming.

  PHAON: Never mind, my girl. But you mustn't scorn a man's blood when
  it's afire.

_Re-enter Revellers singing_

    Bacchus, hey! was a god, hei-yo! etc.
           (_After which all go, except ZOE and BASIL._

  ZOE: O! O! O! but 'tis brave! Wine, Basil! Wine, my knight, my
  Bacchus! Ho! ho! my god! you wheeze like a cross-bow. Is it years,
  my wooer, years?--Ah! (_She sighs._)

  BASIL: Sighs--sighs! Now look for showers.

  ZOE: Basil--you were my first lover--except the duke Charles. Ah,
  did you see how that Helena looked when they gave her the duke's
  command? I was like that once. (_HÆMON starts forward._)

  BASIL: Fiends, nymphs and saints! it's come! tears in your eyes!
  Zoe, stop it. Would you have mine leak and drive me to a monastery
  for shelter!

  ZOE (_sings sadly and absently_):

    She lay by the river, dead,
    A broken reed in her hand
    A nymph whom an idle god had wed
    And led from her maidenland.

  BASIL: O, had I been born a heathen!

  ZOE: He told me, Basil, I should live, a great lady, at his castle.
  And they should kiss my hand and courtesy to me. He meant but
  jest--I feared.--I feared! But--I loved him!

  BASIL: Now, my damsel--!

  ZOE (_sings_):

    The god was the great god Jove,
    Two notes would the bent reed blow,
    The one was sorrow, the other love
    Enwove with a woman's woe.

  BASIL: Songs and snakes! Give me instead a Dominican's funeral!
  I'd as lief crawl bare-kneed to Rome and mouth the Pope's heel.
  O blessed Turks with their remorseless harems!--Zoe!

  ZOE (_sings_):

    She lay by the river dead;
    And he at feasting forgot.
    The gods, shall they be disquieted
    By dread of a mortal's lot?

          (_She wipes her eyes, trembles, looks at him and laughs
           hysterically._)

  Bacchus! my Bacchus! with wet eyes! Up, up, lad! there's many a cup
  for us yet!

                   (_They go, she leading and singing._

    He loved maids, O-o-ay! hei-yo!
    The vine! a maiden's breast! etc.

          (_HÆMON and BARDAS look at each other, then start after them
           terribly moved._)


CURTAIN.



ACT TWO


_Scene._--_An audience hall in the castle of CHARLES DI TOCCA; the next
afternoon. The dark stained walls have been festooned with vines and
flowers. On the left is the ducal throne. On the right sunlight through
high-set windows. In the rear heavily draped doors. Enter CHARLES, who
looks around and smiles with subtle content, then summons a servant._

_Enter servant._

  CHARLES: The princess Fulvia.

  SERVANT:                    She comes, sir, now.
                                               (_Goes._

_Enter FULVIA._

  FULVIA: My lord, flowers and vines upon these walls
  That seem always in dismal memory
  And mist of grief? What means it?

  CHARLES:                         That sprung up,
  A greedy multitude upon the fields,
  Citron and olive were left hungry, so
  I quelled them!

  FULVIA:           Magic ever dwells in flowers
  To waft me back to childhood.   (_Taking some._)
                                  Poor pluckt buds
  If they could speak like children torn from the breast.

  CHARLES: You're full of sighs and pity then?

  FULVIA:                               Yes, and--
  Of doubt.

  CHARLES: What so divides you?

  FULVIA:                               Helena--
  This Greek--I do not understand.

  CHARLES:                              Nor guess?
  You have not seen nor spoken to her?

  FULVIA:                               No.

  CHARLES: We'll have her. (_Motions servant._)
                    Go. Say that we wait her here,
  The lady Helena.                     (_Servant goes._
                    She's frighted--thinks
  'Tmay be her father found too deep a rest
  Within our care: yet has a hope that holds
  The tears still from her lids. I've smiled on her,
  Smiled, Fulvia, and she--Why do you cloud?

  FULVIA: I would this were undone.

  CHARLES:                         Undone? Undone?
  You would it were----?

_Enter HELENA._

                            Ah, Greek! Our Fulvia,
  Who is as heart and health about our doors,
  Has speech for you. And polities
  Untended groan for me.                    (_He goes._

  FULVIA (_looking sadly at her_): Girl--child--

  HELENA:                                   Why do
  You call me so with struggle on your breast?

  FULVIA: You're very fair.

  HELENA:                And was so free I thought
  The world brimmed up with my full happiness.

  FULVIA: But find it is a sieve to all but grief?

  HELENA: Is it then grief? I have not any tears,
  Yet seem girt by an emptiness that aches,
  Surrounds and whispers, what I dare not think
  Or, shapened, see.

  FULVIA:                It stains too as a shroud
  The morrow's face?

  HELENA:                  You look at me--I think
  You look at me, as if----?

  FULVIA:                     No child.

  HELENA:                                   Why am
  I in this place? You fear for me?

  FULVIA:                               Fear?

  HELENA:                                     Yes!
  A dumb dread trembles from you sufferingly.

  FULVIA: It is not fear. Or--no!--has vanished quite,
  Ashamed of its too naked idleness.

  HELENA (_shuddering_): He cannot, will not!--Yet you feared!

  FULVIA:                Be calm:
  Beauty is better so.

  HELENA:           Ah, you are cold!
  See a great shadow reach and wrap at me,
  Yet lend no light! By gentleness I pray you,
  What said he?

  FULVIA:      Child----

  HELENA:             Child!--Ah, a moment's dread
  Brings age on us!--If not by gentleness,
  Then by that love that women bear to men,
  By happiness too fleeting to tread earth,
  I pray you tell the fear your heart so hides!

  FULVIA: You are the guest of Charles di Tocca.

  HELENA:                                   Guest?
  Ah, guests are bidden, not commanded.--Where,
  Where can Antonio be gone. All day
  No token, quieting!

  FULVIA:           Antonio, girl?
  Antonio?--Is it true?

_Re-enter CHARLES._

  CHARLES:               So eager?--Truth
  Has brewed more tears than lies. But, Fulvia,
  Why doth it mated with Antonio's name
  Wring thus your troubled hands?

  FULVIA:                     My lord----

  CHARLES:                             You falter?
  No matter--now. (_To HELENA._) But you, my fair one, put
  More merriment upon your lips and lids,
  And this (_giving pearls_) upon the lustre of your throat.
  Hither our guests come soon. Be with us then,
  And at your beauty's best. Now; trembling so?--
  Yet is the lily lovelier in the wind!
              (_He looks after, musingly, as she goes._

  FULVIA: My lord----

  CHARLES:             True, Fulvia--as titles go.

  FULVIA: My lord----

  CHARLES:           Twice--but I'm not two lords.

  FULVIA:                                 To-night
  I think you are. But quench your jests.

  CHARLES:                               In tears?
  And groans? Where borrow them?

  FULVIA (_turning away_):           So let it be.

  CHARLES: Why do you say so be it and sigh as
  Nought could again be well?

  FULVIA:                     O----

  CHARLES:                          Now you frown?

  FULVIA: The hope you nurse, then, if it prove a pang
  Of serpent bitterness----

  CHARLES:                      Prove pang? I then
  But for an "if" must pluck it from me?

  FULVIA:                                    So
  I must believe.

  CHARLES:            Pluck it from me! Will you--
  Now will you have me mouth and foam and thresh
  The quiet in me to a maelstrom! This
  Is mine, this joy; and still is mine, though I
  To keep it must bring on me bitterness
  And bleeding and--I rage!

  FULVIA:                      Then shall I cease,
  And say no more? No, you are on a flood
  Whose sinking may be rapid down to horror.
  And she--this girl! It has been long since you
  Gave license rein upon your will, and spur.
  Do not so now.

  CHARLES:          License?

  FULVIA:                     She is all morn
  And dream and dew: make her not dark!

  CHARLES:                            You think--!

  FULVIA: Wake her not, ah, not suddenly on terror!

  CHARLES: On terror! (_Laughing._)

  FULVIA:                   You've laughed nobler.

  CHARLES:                                 Fulvia,
  Friend of my unrepaying years, dream you
  I who in empire youth too soon forgot,
  Who on my brow surprise the wafted dew,
  The presages of age and death, shake not?

  FULVIA: I knew not, but have waited oft such words.

  CHARLES: Ah what! this hope, this leaping in me, this
  White dawn across my turbulence and night,
  From license?--Hear me. I have sudden found
  A door to let in heaven on my heart.
  Had I not laughed to see your dread upon it
  Write "license," perilous had been my frown.

  FULVIA: You will----?

  CHARLES: Yes--yes! About her brow shall curl
  The coronet! Her wishes shall be sceptres
  Waving a swift fulfilment to her feet!
  Her pity shall leave ready graves unfilled,
  Her anger open earth for all who offend!
  She shall----

  FULVIA: Ah cease, infatuate man! Will you
  Build kingdoms on the wind, and empires on
  A girl's ungiven heart?

  CHARLES (_slowly_):         Unto such love
  As mine all things are given.

  FULVIA:                     All things but love.

  CHARLES: Stood she not as in pleading? Yes--and to
  Her cheeks came hurried roses from her heart.
  And her large eyes, did they not drift to mine
  Caressing?--yet as if in them they found
  The likeness of some visitant dear dream.

  FULVIA: The likeness of some dream?

  CHARLES:                       Question no more.
  She is set in the centre of my need
  As youth and fiercest passion could not set her.
  Supernally as May she has burst on
  My barren age. Pain, envious decay,
  And doubt that mystery wounds us with, and wrong,
  Flee from the gleam and whisper of her name.

  FULVIA: And if your coronet and heat avail
  Not with her as might charm of equal years
  And beauty?

  CHARLES: Then--why then--why there may slip
  An avalanche of raging and despair
  Out of me! Hope of her once taken, all
  The thwarted thunders of my want would rush
  Into the void with lightnings for revenge!

_Enter ANTONIO._

  ANTONIO: Sir, I'm returned.

  CHARLES: With lightnings that shall--(_Sees him._) You?
  Antonio? My eyes had other thought.
  Open your news--but mind 'tis not of failure.

  ANTONIO: We seized the murderous robbers in their cove
  And o'er the cliff, as our just law commands,
  To death flung them.

  CHARLES: So with all traitors be it.

  ANTONIO: So should it.

  CHARLES: Well, 'twas swift. In you there is
  More than your mother's gentleness.

  ANTONIO:                               Else were
  My name di Tocca, sir, and not myself.

  CHARLES: You have my love.--But as you came met you
  The cardinal?

  ANTONIO:          So close he should by this
  Be at our gates.

  CHARLES:          He'll miss no welcome, and--
  Perhaps--we shall-- (_Smiles on them._) Give me that cross you wear,
  My Fulvia. It may----

  ANTONIO:                    Sir, this is good!
  We earnestly beseech of you to hear
  The Pope's embassador with yielding.

  CHARLES:                                   Ah?--
  But you, boy, draw out of this solitude
  And musing moodiness. You should think but
  On silly sighs and kisses, rhymes and trysts!
  Must I yet teach your coldness youth?
      (_A trumpet, and sound of opening gates._)
                                         Draw out!

  ANTONIO: I have to-day desired some words of this.

_Enter CECCO._

  CHARLES: Well, who----?

  CECCO:                 The Cardinal, your grace.

  CHARLES:                                Then go,
  And bid our guests. Bring too Diogenes,
  Our most amusing raveller of all
  Philosophies. Say that the duke, his brother,
  Humbly desires it!                     (_CECCO goes._

  FULVIA:           And Helena?

  CHARLES (_to ANTONIO_):                   Why do
  You start, sir?--Fulvia, we must look to
  This callow god our son. Yet, had our court
  Two eyes of loveliness to drown his heart,
  I'd think on oath 'twere done.
      (_Goes to the throne._)

  FULVIA (_low to ANTONIO_): Listen. No word
  Of Helena!

  CHARLES: Now! is it secrets?

  FULVIA:                               Sir,
  He scorns to spill a drop of confidence
  On my too thirsty questions.

  CHARLES:                         Does he so
  Tightly seal up his spirits?

  FULVIA:                          Put the rogue
  To prison on stale bread, my lord: I half
  Believe he's full of treasons.

  CHARLES (_laughing_):            Do you hear!
  Because you are the son and scout our foes
  Justice is not impossible upon you!

_The guests enter, among them HÆMON and BARDAS, following the CARDINAL
JULIAN and his suite, and last HELENA, whom FULVIA leads aside._

  CARDINAL: Peace, worthy duke!

  CHARLES:                And more, lord Cardinal,
  We would to-day enlarge our worthiness
  With you and with great Rome.

  CARDINAL:                         Firmly I crave
  It may be so.

  CHARLES:  Here unto all our guests
  We then do disavow our heresies----
  For faith's as air, as ease to life--and seek
  At your absolving lips release from our
  Rough disobedience. Nor shall we shun
  The lash and needed weight of penitence.

          (_A murmur of approval._)

  JULIAN: These words, great lord, fall wise and soothing well.
  Who so confesses, plants beneath his foot
  A step to scale all impotence and wrong.
  Our royal Pope's conditions shall be told,
  Pledge them consenting seal and you shall be
  Briefly and fully free. (_Motions his secretary._)

  SECRETARY (_opens and reads_): "Whereas the duke
  Di Tocca has offended----"

  CARDINAL:                      Pass the offence.
  Be it oblivion's. On, the penalty.

  SECRETARY: "Therefore the duke di Tocca humbling himself
  Must pay into our vaults two hundred ducats--"

  CHARLES: It shall be three.

  SECRETARY:               "And send a hundred men
  Armed 'gainst the foes that threaten Italy."

  CHARLES: See to it, yes, Antonio, ere a dawn.

  SECRETARY: "He must also yield up the princess Fulvia
  Who's fled her father's house and rightful marriage."

  FULVIA (_to JULIAN_): You told me not of this--no word, my lord!

  CARDINAL: My silence as my speech is not my own.

  CHARLES: We'll more of it--a measure more.
  Read on.

  SECRETARY: "And for the better amity and weal
  Of Italy and Christ's most Holy Church,
  He is enjoined to wed with Beatrice
  Of Florence. If his wilful boldness grants
  Obedience, his sins shall melt to rest
  Under the calm of full forgiveness. He----"

  CHARLES: A mild, a courteous, O a modest Pope!
  I must tear from my happiness a friend
  Who fled a father's searing cruelty,
  And cast her back in the flames! And I must bind
  My crippled years that fare toward the grave
  In the cold clasp of an unloving hand!
  No! No!
  Then, sir, and Cardinal, 'tis not enough!
  I pray you swift again to Rome and plead
  Most suppliantly that I for penance may
  Swear my true son is shame-begot, or lend
  My kin to drink clean of its fouling damp
  Some pestilent prison! And 'tis impious too
  That any still should trust my love. Beseech
  His Holiness' command for death upon them!

  CARDINAL: This is your answer?

  CHARLES (_rises_):         A mite! a mite of it!
  The rest is I will wed where I will wed
  Though every hill of earth raise up its pope
  To bellow at me thunderous damnation!
  I will--I will-- (_Falls back convulsed._)

  FULVIA (_hastening to him_): Charles, ah! Wine for him, wine! (_It
      is brought._)

  ANTONIO: Lord Cardinal, spare yourself more and go.
  You shall learn if a change may loose this strain.

          (_The CARDINAL goes with his suite amid timid reverence._)

  CHARLES (_struggling_): I will--this frenzy--off my throat--!
      I-- (_Recovering._) Ah,
  Thou, Fulvia? 'Twas as a fiend swung on me.
  And shame! fear oozes out upon my brow,
  And I----. (_Rises and calms himself._) Forgive, friends, this
      so sudden wrench
  Upon your pleasure. One too quick made saint,
  Stands feebly: but at once wilt I atone.
  Where is Diogenes--where is he? His
  Tangled fantastic wisdom shall divert us.

          (_DIOGENES, who has stood unconscious of all that has
           passed, is pushed forward._)

  Ah, peer of Socrates and perfect Plato,
  Leave your unseeing silence now and tell us----

_Enter AGABUS gazing anxiously and wildly before him._

  Who's this?

  AGABUS (_hoarsely_): Where went he--the Shadow?--whither?

  CHARLES: Who's this broke from his grave upon us?

  AGABUS (_searching still_):               Where?
  I followed him--he sped and there was cold!
  Behind him blows a horror!
      (_Stops in fascinated awe before HELENA._)
                                  Ah, on her head!
  His touch! his earthless finger!--and she rots
  To dust! to dust!

  ANTONIO:              Ill monk! are there no men
  That you must wring a woman so with fear?

  AGABUS: Ha, men? Christ save all men but lovers! all! (_Crosses
      himself._)

  CHARLES: Antonio, how speaks he?

  ANTONIO:                           Sir, most mad
  With the pestilence of evil prophecy.
  (_To guards._) Forth with him!

  CHARLES:                    Stay.

  ANTONIO:                Let him not, for he will
  Beguile you to some ravening belief.

  AGABUS (_going up to CHARLES, staring at him in suppressed
      excitement_): A lover! a lover! and he loves in vain!
  Wilt go? There is a cave--(_taking his hand_), we'll curse
      her--come!

  CHARLES: Out! out! (_Throws him from the dais._)

  AGABUS: Christ save all men but-- (_Seeking vacantly._) Ah, the
      Shadow!
  Has no one seen him? none?--the Shadow? none?
                   (_Goes dazed. Guests whisper, awed._

  CHARLES: He is obsessed--vile utterly!

  A GUEST:                                 O duke,
  I pray, good-night.

  ANOTHER:               And I, my lord.

  ANOTHER:                               And I----

  ANOTHER: And----

  CHARLES: Friends, you shall not--no. This pall will pass,
  My hospitality is up, you shall not!

  ANOTHER: Pardon, O duke, we----

  CHARLES:               Though some grudging wind
  Blows us away from mirth, 'tis still in view,
  We've lute and dance that yet shall bring us in.

  1ST LADY: O, dance!

  CHARLES:        Cecco, our Circes from the Nile.
                                         (_CECCO goes._

  2D LADY: The Nile! Ah, Cleopatra's Nile?

  CHARLES:                                Her own;
  And sinuous as Nile water is their grace.

_Enter two Egyptian girls, who dance, then go._

  GUESTS (_applauding_): Bravely!--O, brave!

  CHARLES:             Do they not whirl it lithe?
  With limbs like swallow wings upon the blue?

  1ST LADY: 'Twas witchery!

  3D LADY:                   Such eyes! such hair!

  2D LADY:                               And thus,
  Did Cleopatra thus steal Antony?
  Wrap him about with motion that would seize
  His senses to an ecstasy? O, oh,
  To dance so!

  CHARLES:          And so steal an Antony?
  We'll frame a law on thieving of men's heart's!

  2D LADY: Then, vainly! 'tis a theft men like the most.

  CHARLES: When in its stead the thief has left her own--
  But shall we woo no boon of mirth save dance?
  A lute! a lute! (_One is gone for._) Some new lay, Hæmon, come!
  And every word must dip its syllables
  In Pindar's spring to trip so lightly forth.

  HÆMON: I have no lay.

  CHARLES: The lute! (_It is offered HÆMON._)
                              Sing us of love
  That builds a Paradise of kisses, thinks
  The Infinite bound up in an embrace.
  Whose sighs seem to it hurricanes of pain,
  Whose tears as seas of molten misery.

  HÆMON: I have none--cannot.

  CHARLES:                 Now will you fright off
  Again our timid cheer?

  HÆMON:                   While she, my sister--!
      (_The lute is offered again._)
  I cannot, will not!

  CHARLES:               Will not? will not? Look!
  I had an honor pluckt to laurel it,
  A wreath of noble worth, a thing to tell----

  HÆMON: Honor upon dishonor sits not well.

  CHARLES (_not hearing_): Heat me not with denial. Is new bliss
  Raised from the dead in me but to fall back
  As stone ere it has breathed? Have I so frequent
  Drained you? Be slow to tempt me--In me moves
  Peril that has a passion to leap forth!

  HÆMON: Antonio, speak! Where's innocence and where
  Begins deceit?

  FULVIA (_to HÆMON aside_): Ask it not, or you step
  On waiting hazard and calamity.

  CHARLES: New fret? and new confusion? In the blind
  Power and passing of this night is there
  Conspiracy?--plot of some here? or of
  That One whose necromancy wields the world?
  I care not!--I care not! We must have mirth!
  Have mirth! though it be laughter at damned souls.

  HÆMON: And I must wake it? I with laugh and lay,
  Doting upon dishonor?

  CHARLES:          What means he?

  HÆMON: Give me again my sister from these walls,
  Since might is yours, strip from me wealth and life
  And more, and all--but let her not, no, no,
  Meet here the touch and leprosy of shame!

  CHARLES (_laughing_): Said I not, said I, friends, we should
      have mirth?
  You shall laugh with me laughter bright as wine.

  ANTONIO: But, sir, this is not good for laughter! Sir!

  HÆMON (_to ANTONIO_): Ah, put the lamb on--bleat mock sympathy!

  CHARLES (_still laughing_): Fulvia, O, he foots it in the tracks
  Of your own fear! and wanders to delusion!

  HÆMON: Will you laugh at me, fiend!

  CHARLES:                                   Boy!

  HÆMON:                                 Had I but
  Omnipotence a moment and could dash
  Annihilation on you and your race!
      (_Throws his glove in ANTONIO'S face._)

  HELENA: Hæmon!

  FULVIA (_restraining her_): No, Helena.

  CHARLES:                            Omnipotence?
  And could Omnipotence make such a fool?
  There must be two Gods in the world to do it.

  HÆMON: She shall not----!
      (_Attempts to kill HELENA._)

  ANTONIO (_preventing_): Fury!--Ah! what would you do?

  CHARLES: Such things can be? A sister, yet he strikes?
      (_HÆMON is seized._)

  HELENA: O let me speak with him, sir, let me speak!

  CHARLES: Not now, girl, no, not now--lest in his breath
  Be venom for thee! (_To soldiers._) Shut him from our gates
  Till he repent this fever.
      (_HÆMON goes quietly out._)
  (_To guests who are suspicious and undetermined._) If you stare so
  Will the skies stop! Have I not arm in arm
  Friended this youth and meant him honor still?
  Leave me. I had a thing to tell; but it
  Must wait more seasonable festivity.
  (_To PAULA._) See to thy mistress, child. Antonio, stay.

          (_All go but ANTONIO and CHARLES, who leaves his chair
           slowly and with dejection._)

  ANTONIO: Father----

  CHARLES (_unheeding_): Did I not humble me?

  ANTONIO:                             Father----?

  CHARLES: Or ask more than a brevity of joy
  To bud on my life's withering close?

  ANTONIO:                           But, sir----!

  CHARLES: If it bud not----!

  ANTONIO:          What thought impels and wrings
  These angers from your eyes?

  CHARLES (_slowly, gazing at him_): You're like your mother.

  ANTONIO: In trouble for your peace, more than in feature.

  CHARLES: Peace--peace? Antonio, a dream has come:
  To stir--to wake--to learn it is a dream--
  I must not, will not look on such abyss.
  You love me, boy?

  ANTONIO:         Sir, well: you cannot doubt it.

  CHARLES: There has been darkness in me--and it seems
  Such night as would put out a heaven of hope,
  Quench an eternity of flaming joy!
  I have sunk down under the world and hit
  On nethermost despair: flown blind across
  An infinite unrest!

  ANTONIO:               Forget it, now.

  CHARLES: Had I drunk Lethe's all 'twould not have stilled
  The crying of my desolation's want.
  Within me tenderness to iron turned,
  Gladness to worm and gloom.--But 'tis o'erpast.
  A rift, a smile, a breath has come--blown me
  From torture to an ecstasy.

  ANTONIO:                    To----?

  CHARLES:                                Ecstasy!
  Such as surrounds Hyperion on his sun,
  Or Pleiads sweeping seven-fold the night.

  ANTONIO: And you--this breath----?

  CHARLES:                       Is--you are pale!
  And press your lips from trembling!

  ANTONIO:                         No--yes--well--
  This ecstasy?

  CHARLES:          Is love! is love that-- How?
  You feign! distress and groaning tear in you!

  ANTONIO: No. She you love----

  CHARLES:               O, Eve new-burst on Eden,
  All pure with the prime beauty of God's breath,
  Was not so!

  ANTONIO:     She is Helena?--the Greek?

  CHARLES: She--Still you do not ail?--Yes, Helena,
  Who--But you are not well and cannot share
  This ravishment!--I will not ask it--now.
  This ravishment!--Ah, she has stayed the tread
  And stilled the whispering of death: has called
  Echoes of youth from me! and all I feared....
  I think--you are not well. Shall we go in?


CURTAIN.



ACT THREE


_Scene._--_The gardens of the castle. Paths meet under a large lime in
the centre, where seats are placed. The wall of the garden crosses the
rear, and has a postern. It is night of the same day, and behind a
convent on a near hill the moon is rising. A nightingale sings._

_Enter GIULIA, CECCO, and NALDO._

  GIULIA: That bird! Always so noisy, always vain
  Of gushing. Sing, and sing, sing, sing, it must!
  As if nobody else would speak or sleep.

  CECCO: Let the bird be, my jaunty. 'Tis no lie
  The shrew and nightingale were never friends.

  GIULIA: No more were shrew and serpent.

  CECCO:                           Well what would
  You scratch from me?

  GIULIA:                     If there is anything
  To be got from you, then it must be scratched.

  CECCO: Yet shrews do not scratch serpents.

  GIULIA:                        If they're caught
  Where they can neither coil nor strike?

  CECCO:                                 Well, _I_
  Begin to coil.

  GIULIA:           And I'll begin to scotch
  You ere 'tis done.--Give me the postern key.

  CECCO: Your lady's voice--but you are not your lady.

  GIULIA: And were I you not long would be your lord's.
  Give me the key.

  CECCO:            I coil--I coil! will soon
  Be ready for a strike, my tender shrew.

  GIULIA: Does the duke know you've hidden from his ear
  Antonio's passion? does he?--ah?--and shall
  I tell him? ah?

  CECCO:            You heard then----

  GIULIA:                            He likes well
  What's kept so thriftily.

  CECCO (_scowling_):         You want the key
  To let in Boro to chuck your baby face
  And moon with you! He's been discharged--take care.

  GIULIA: The duke might learn, too, you're not clear between
  His ducats and your own.

  CECCO:         There then (_gives key_), but----

  GIULIA (_as he goes_):                       Oh?
  And shrews do not scratch serpents? You may spy,
  But others are not witless, I can tell you!
                                         (_CECCO goes_.
  Now, Naldo (_gives him key and writing_), do not lose the
      writing. But
  Should you, he must not come till two. For 'tis
  At twelve the Greek will meet Antonio.

          (_NALDO goes, through the postern: GIULIA to the castle._

_Enter HELENA and PAULA from another part of the gardens._

  HELENA: At twelve, said he, at twelve, beside the arbor?

  PAULA: Yes, mistress.

  HELENA:               I were patient if the moon
  Would slip less sadly up. She is so pale--
  With longing for Endymion her lover.

  PAULA: Has she a lover? Oh, how strange. Is it
  So sweet to love, my lady? I have heard
  Men die and women for it weep themselves
  Into the grave--yet gladly.

  HELENA:                          Sweet? Ah, yes,
  To terror! for the edge of fate cares not
  How quick it severs.

  PAULA:                 On my simple hills
  They told of one who slew herself on her
  Dead lover's breast. Would you do so?
  Would you, my lady?

  HELENA:                There's no twain in love.
  My heart is in my lord Antonio's
  To beat, Paula, or cease with it.

  PAULA:                           But died
  He far away?

  HELENA:      Far sunders flesh not souls.
  Across all lands the hush of death on him
  Would sound to me; and, did he live, denial,
  Though every voice and silence spoke it, could
  Not reach my rest!--But he is near.

  PAULA:                                O no,
  Not yet, my lady.

  HELENA:           Then some weariness
  Has pluckt the minutes' wings and they have crept.

  PAULA: But 'tis not twelve, else would we hear the band
  Of holy Basil from their convent peace
  Dreamily chant.

  HELENA:           Nay, hearts may hear beyond
  The hark of ears! Listen! to me his step
  Thrills thro' the earth.
      (_ANTONIO approaches and enters the postern._)
                            'Tis he! Go Paula, go:
  But sleep not.
                            (_PAULA hastens out._)
  (_Going to him._) My Antonio, I breathe,
  Now no betiding fell athwart thy path
  To stay thee from me!

  ANTONIO:              Stronger than all betiding
  This hour has reached and drawn me yearning to thee!
      (_Takes her in his arms._)

  HELENA: And may all hours!

  ANTONIO:             All! tho' we two will still
  Be more than destiny--which cannot grasp
  Beyond the grave.

  HELENA:           'Tis sadly put, my lord.

  ANTONIO: Ah, sadly, loathly; but, my Helena--

  HELENA: I would not sink from it, the simple sun--
  Fade to a tomb! What dirging hast thou heard
  To mind thee of it?

  ANTONIO:          Love is a bliss too bright
  To rest on earth. With it God should give us
  Ever to soar above mortality.
  But you must know----!

  HELENA:                Not yet, tell me not yet!
  Dimly I see the burden in your eyes,
  But dare not take it yet into my own.
  Let us a little look upon the moon,
  Forgetting. (_They seat themselves._)

  ANTONIO (_musingly_): These hands--this hair--
      (_Caressing them._)

  HELENA:                          Like a farewell
  Your touch falls on them.

  ANTONIO (_moved_):       To a father yield them?

  HELENA: Antonio?

  ANTONIO (_still caressing_): No, no! It cannot be!

  HELENA: This dread--and shrinking--let me have it!--speak!
  You mean--look on me!--mean, your father?--

  ANTONIO:                                     Ah!
  It must not! must not!

  HELENA:                     Do you mean--he--No!
  Let him not touch me even in thy thought,
  To me come nearer than a father may!

  ANTONIO: He's swept by the sweet contagion of you, wrapt
  In a fierce spell by your effulgent youth.

  HELENA: Say, say it not! To him I but smiled up--
  But smiled!

  ANTONIO: He knew not that such smiles could dawn
  In a bare world. And now is flame; would take
  Your tenderness into his arms and hear
  Seized to him the warm music of your heart.
  O, I could be for him--he is my father--
  Prometheus stormed and gnawed on Caucasus,
  Tantalus ever near the slipping wave,
  Or torn and tossed to burning martyrdom--
  But not--not this!

  HELENA:               Then, flight! In it we may
  Find haven and new nurture for our bliss.

  ANTONIO: Snap from his hunger this one hope, so he
  Must starve? Push him who has but learned there's light
  Back into yawning blindness? Ah, not flight!

  HELENA: I know he is your father, and my days
  Have been all fatherless, tho' I have made
  Me child to every wind that had caress
  And to each lonely tree of the deep wood--
  Oft envious of those who touch gray hairs,
  Or spend desire on filial grief and pang.
  And most have you a softness in him kept,
  Been to him more than empire's tyranny--
  But baffled none can measure him nor trust!

  ANTONIO: Yet must we wait.

  HELENA:              When waiting shall but goad
  The speed of peril?

  ANTONIO:               Still: and strain to win
  Him from this brink.--If vainly, then birth, pity,
  And memory shall fall from me!--all, all,
  But fierceness for thy peace!

  HELENA:                     My Antony!

  ANTONIO: And fierceness without falter!

  HELENA:                              I am thine,
  Thine more than immortality is God's!
  Hear, does the nightingale not tell it thee?
  The stars do they not tremble it, the moon
  Murmur it argently into thine eyes?

  ANTONIO: Ah, sorceress! You need but breathe to put
  Abysm from us; but build words to float us
  On infinite ecstasy. (_Kisses her._)

  HELENA:                      How, how thy kisses
  Sing in me!

  ANTONIO:     From my heart they do but send
  Echoes born of thy beauty mid its strings!

  HELENA: Then would I lean forever at thy lips,
  Lose no reverberance, no ring, no waft,
  Hear nothing everlastingly but them!

          (_A mournful chant is borne from the Convent. They slowly
           unclasp, awed._)

  ANTONIO: Weary with vigil does it swell and sink,
  Moaning the dead.

  HELENA:                Ah, no! There are no dead
  To-night in all the world. Could God see them
  Lie cold and wondrous still, while we are rich
  In warmth and throb!

  ANTONIO:            Yet, hear. The funeral tread
  Of the old sea sighs in each strain, and breaks.

  HELENA: As I were drowned and heard it over me,
  It cometh--cometh!
      (_Her head droops back on his arm. A pause._)

  ANTONIO (_touching her face_): Cold! cold!--your lips--your brow!
  And you are pale as with a prophecy!

  HELENA: Oh--oh!

  ANTONIO:           Your spirit is not in you but
  Afar and suffering!

  HELENA:                A vision sweeps me.

  ANTONIO: Awake from it!

  HELENA (_recovering_): A waste of waves that beat
  Upon a cliff--and beat! Yet thou and I
  Had place in it.

  ANTONIO:          Come to yon arbour, come.
  The moon has looked too long on the sad earth,
  And can reflect but sorrow.

  HELENA:                     Ah, I fear!
             (_They go clinging passionately together._

_Enter CHARLES and CECCO._

  CHARLES: And yet it is a little thing to sleep--
  Just to lie down and sleep. A child may do it.

  CECCO: If my lord would, here's sleep for him wrapped in
  A quiet powder.

  CHARLES:          Sleep is ever mate
  Of peace and should go with it. I have slept
  In the wild arms of battle when the winds
  Of souls departing fearfully shook by,
  And on the breast of dizzy danger cradled
  Softly been lulled. Potions should be for them
  Who wrestle and are thrown by misery.

  CECCO: And is my lord at peace?

  CHARLES:                    Strangely.--Yet seem
  For sleep too coldly calm.

  CECCO:                      So were you, sir--
  I keep your words lest you may need of them--
  On the same night young Hæmon's father went
  The secret way to death.

  CHARLES:                    Of that!--of that?--

  CECCO: Pardon, I but----

  CHARLES:               Smirker!--Yet, was it so?
  That night indeed?

  CECCO:                 Sir, surely.

  CHARLES:                          And the moon's
  'Scutcheon hung stainless up the purple east?

  CECCO: Half, sir; even as now.

  CHARLES (_as to himself_): Since that hour's close
  To this I have not stood in so much calm.
  Still was he not in every vein of him,
  And breath, a traitor? A Greek who--I'll not say it,
  Since she is Greek I must forget the word
  Sounds the diapason of perfidy.

  CECCO: My lord thinks of the gentle Helena?

  CHARLES: And if I do?

  CECCO:            Why, sir----

  CHARLES:                    Well?

  CECCO:                 Nothing: but----

  CHARLES: Subtle! your nothing harboreth some theft
  Of spial.

  CECCO:       Sir, I--no--that is----

  CHARLES:                         That is
  It does! Must I--persuade it from your throat?
      (_Makes to choke him._)

  CECCO: It was of lord Antonio----

  CHARLES:                             Speak then.

  CECCO: Have you not marked him sundry of his moods?

  CHARLES: Well?

  CECCO: On his back in the wood as if the leaves
  Sung fairy balladry; then riding wild
  Nowhither and alone; about the castle
  Yearning, yet absent to soft speech and arms!
  He'll drink, sir, and not know if it be wine!

  CHARLES: So is he! but to-day he bold unsheathed
  His skill and bravery.

  CECCO:                 And did not crave
  A boon of you?

  CHARLES:          None. But you put not ill
  My thought to it. His aspiration flags----

  CECCO: Ah, flags.

  CHARLES:        New wings it needs and buoyancy.
  My trust in him is ripe: the fruit of it,
  He shall be lord of Arta--total lord.

  CECCO: He begged no softer boon?

  CHARLES:                         Cunning! again?
  Sleek questions of a sleeker consequence?

  CECCO: It was, sir, only of Antonio.

  CHARLES: Worm, you began so. Stretch now to the end,
  Or--will you?

  CECCO:          I would say--would ask--and hope
  There is no thorny hint in it to vex you,
  To prick your humor--may not he be sick,
  Amorous, mellow sick upon some maid?

  CHARLES: Have you so labored to this atom's birth?
  Is a boy's passion so new under the moon
  You gape at it?

  CECCO:       But if, sir----

  CHARLES:                    I had thought
  Would start up in your words some Titan woe,
  No human catapult could war upon!
  Some dread colossal doom, frenzied to fall!
  Were it he's traitor gnawing at my throne,
  Or ready with some potent cruelty
  To blight this tenderness new-sprung in me--
  I would--even have listened!

          (_Noise is heard at the postern. It is unlocked. HÆMON
           enters, and stops in consternation._)

  CHARLES:                         Keys? To--this?

  HÆMON: I--have excuse.

  CHARLES:                 Perchance also you have
  Them to my gems and secrecies? Shall I
  Not show their hiding?--rubies, and fair gold?

  HÆMON: Mistake me not, my lord.

  CHARLES:                        I could not: you
  Have come at midnight--a most honest hour.
  Enter this postern--a most honest way,
  And seem most honest--Why, I could not, sir!

  HÆMON: You wrong me, and have wronged me. I but come
  To loose my sister.

  CHARLES:          As to-day you would
  Have loosed her with a piercing--into death?

  HÆMON: Rather, could I! Antonio--yet neither.
  Since you, not he, are here, my passion melts
  Into a plea. Humbly as manhood may--

  CHARLES: This fever still?

  HÆMON:                     This fever! Must I be
  As ice while soiling flames leap out at her?
  And passionless--as one cold in a trance?
  Rigid while she in stealth is drugged to shame?
  Be voiceless and be vain, unstung, and still?
  I must wait softly while her innocence
  Is drained as virgin freshness from the morn?--
  Though he were twice Antonio and your son,
  An emperor and a god, I would not!

  CHARLES:                              Ever,
  And ever bent upon Antonio?
  Be not a torrent, boy, of rush and foam.
  Be not, of roar!--Yet--look: Antonio?
  You said Antonio?

  HÆMON:                 Yes.

  CHARLES (_troubled_):       You did ill
  To say it! He's my son.

  HÆMON:                      I care not.

  CHARLES:                                   Have
  You cause--a ground--some reason? Men should when
  Suspicions curve their lips.

  HÆMON:                      Cause! reason!

  CHARLES:                                     No:
  He is my son. His flesh has memories
  That would cry out and curdle him to madness,
  Palsy and strangle every pregnant wish,
  Or bring in him compassion like a flood.

  HÆMON (_contemptuous_): O----?

  CHARLES: Never!--Yet, a lurking at my brain!

_Enter PAULA, hurriedly._

  PAULA: My lord Antonio! my lady! (_Seeing CHARLES._) O!

  CHARLES (_strangely_): Come here.

  PAULA:                                O, sir!

  CHARLES (_taking her wrist_): Were you not in a haste?

  PAULA:       I--I--I do not know.

  CHARLES:               Girl!--Why do you
  Drop fearful to your knees?

  PAULA:                      'Tis late, sir, late,
  Let me go in!

  CHARLES:          You have a mistress who
  Keeps quick temptation in her eyes and hair.
  A shy mole too lies pillowed on her cheek--
  Does she rest well?

  PAULA:                 My lord----

  CHARLES:                       Ah, you would say
  She sometimes walks asleep: and you have come
  To fetch her?

  PAULA:            Loose me, sir!

  CHARLES:                         Or she has left
  Her kerchief in some nook: you seek it?

  PAULA:                                     O,
  Your eyes! your eyes!

  CHARLES:                   I have a son: are his
  Not like them?

  PAULA:            My wrist, sir!

  CHARLES:              It was night, then--night?
  You could not see him clearly?

  PAULA:                           Mercy!

  CHARLES (_looking about_):                 Yet
  Perchance he too walks in his sleep. Were it
  Quite well if they have met--these two that walk?

  PAULA: My lady, my sweet lady!

  CHARLES (_releasing her_):       Go, for she
  Still wonderful may lie upon her couch,
  One arm dropt whitely. If you prayed for her--
  If you should pray for her--Something may chance:
  There is so much may chance--we cannot know!
                                         (_PAULA goes._
  (_Disturbed._) This child who hath but dwelt about her, touched
  And coiled the mystery of her hair, has might
  Almost too much!

  HÆMON:            You cloud me with these words.
  Were they Antonio's----

  CHARLES:                    If I but think
  "Helena" must you link "Antonio" to it!
  Can they not be, yet be apart? Will winds
  Not bear them, and not sound them separate!
  If angels cry one at the stars will they
  But echo back the other?--This is froth--
  The froth and fume of folly. You are thick
  In falsity, and in disquietude.
  Another rapture rules Antonio's eye,
  Not Helena.

  HÆMON:            You know it--yet have led
  Her to his arms?

  CHARLES:            His arms! Ah, mole to burrow
  Thus under blind and muddy misbelief!
  To mine is she come here. (_Terribly._) Were he a seraph,
  And did from Paradise desire to fold her--
  No mercy!--But, I will speak as a child,
  As he who woke with Ruth fair at his feet;
  Long have I gleaned amid the years and lone.
  She shall glean softly now beside me--softly,
  Till sunset fail in me and I am night.

  HÆMON: This is a gin, a net, and I am fast!

  CHARLES: A net to snare what never has been free?

  HÆMON: Still must it be this tenderness lives false
  Upon your lips.

  CHARLES: "Must," say you, "must," yet stand----

  HÆMON: Then shall he rest--lie easy down and rest In treachery?

  CHARLES: He----?

  HÆMON:            Yes.

  CHARLES:               You mean----?

  HÆMON:                           Yes!--yes!

  CHARLES: Antonio?

  HÆMON:            Is it not open?

  CHARLES (_confusedly_):               No:
  Glooms start around me, glooms that seethe and cling.

  HÆMON: This maid who called, did she come idly here?
  You stir? you rouse?

  CHARLES:               A coldness runs in me.

  HÆMON: And have not I come strangely on the hour!

  CHARLES: It 'gins to burn!

  HÆMON:                Not entered a strange way?

  CHARLES: You pause and ever pause upon my patience.
  'Twill heave unbearably!

  HÆMON:                     Then hear me, hear!--
  Senseless against a bank I found a boy,
  Hurled by some ruthless hoof. Near him this key
  And writing----

  CHARLES:          Tell it!

  HÆMON:                     That avows, mid lines
  Clandestine of purport, Antonio
  And Helena, under these shades at twelve----

  CHARLES: You bring on me a furious desolation.
  But Fulvia, ah, she----

  HÆMON:                 Not there is trust!
  She is aware and aids in his deceit.
  This writing says it of her.

  CHARLES:                    Fulvia? No!
  No, no!--Though she had sudden whispers for him!
  A lie--Yet fast belief fixes its fangs
  On me and will not loose me--for against
  My hope she set a coldness and a doubt!
  O woman woven through all fibres of me!
  (_Starting up._) But he----!

  HÆMON:         Ah then, it runs in you, the rush
  And pang that answer mine?

  CHARLES (_quietly_):       If they are still----

  HÆMON: Under these shades?

  CHARLES:                   And--lips to lips----

  HÆMON:                                  Ah, God!
  You will?--you will?

  CHARLES:             Hush! something--No, it was
  But fate cried out in me, not any voice.

  HÆMON: We must be swift.

  CHARLES:                  It cries again. I will
  Not listen! He's not flesh of me--not flesh!
  A traitor is no son, nor was nor shall be!
  Though it shriek desolation utterly
  I will not listen!

  HÆMON:                 Do not!

  CHARLES:                         And to-day
  He shook, ashen and clenched, remembering
  The guilty secret in him!

  HÆMON:                 Still he's free.

  CHARLES: My words fell warm as tears--"A rift has come,
  A rift, a smile, a breath"--men speak so when
  They creep from madness up into some space
  Whose element is love.

  HÆMON:                 And will you sink
  To a weak palsy--who should o'erwhelm
  With penalty!

  CHARLES (_rousing_): No! all and ever false
  Was he who's so when most he should be true!
  I will make treachery bitter to all time.
  Bring dread on all to whom are given sons!
  Down generations shall they peer and tremble,
  Look on me as on majesties accursed!--
  Search every shade--search, search! You stand as death.
  I am in famine till he gives me groan!
                     (_They go in opposite directions._

_Enter FULVIA, distressed, and GIULIA._

  FULVIA: He was with Hæmon?

  GIULIA:                     On that seat.

  FULVIA:                               Convulsed,
  Yet passionless?

  GIULIA:           His words were low

  FULVIA:                                 Why were
  You not asleep?

  GIULIA:           I----

  FULVIA:                Did he beat his hands
  Briefly--and then no more?

  GIULIA:                         I was behind----

  FULVIA: And could not see? But heard their names?
  The Greek is still without?

  GIULIA:                     My lady, yes.

  FULVIA: Your voice is guilty. How came Hæmon in?
  Answer me, answer! No, go quickly! If
  The duke has entered now and sleeps! Or if----!

          (_Words and swords are heard, then a shriek from HELENA.
           CHARLES rushes in furious and wounded in the arm, followed
           by HELENA, ANTONIO, who is dazed, and from Castle side by
           HÆMON, guards, etc._)

  ANTONIO: You, you, sir? father? I knew it not, so swift
  Your rage fell on me.

  CHARLES (_to a guard_): Gaping, ghastly fool!
  Do you behold him murderous and lay
  No hand on him!

  ANTONIO:          But, sir----!

  CHARLES:                    Let him not fawn
  About me! Seize him! God forgives not Hell.
  Not this blood only but my soul's be on him.

  HELENA: O, do not, he----

  CHARLES: Stand! stand! Touch me not with
  Your voice or eyes or being! They are soft
  With perfidy, and stole me to believe
  There's sweetness in a flower, light in air,
  And beauty in the innocence of earth.
  Bind him! Leucadia's just cliff awaits
  All traitors--'tis the law, they must be flung
  Out on the dizzy and supportless wind.

  FULVIA: But this shall never be! No, though your looks
  Heave out with hate upon me.

  CHARLES (_convulsed, then coldly_): You are dead,
  And speak to me. Once you were Fulvia--
  No more! And once my friend, now but a ghost
  Whom I must gaze upon forgetlessly.
  Obey, at once! and at to-morrow's sunset!

          (_ANTONIO is taken and led out._)

  HELENA (_falling at CHARLES' feet_): You cannot, will not--O, he
      is your son
  And loves you much!

  CHARLES:             Touch me not! touch me not!
  (_To HÆMON._) Lead her away--and quickly, quickly, quickly!
      (_HÆMON goes with HELENA through the postern._
  Friends--friends-- (_unsteadily_) I am--quite--friendless now--?
      (_Clutching his wounded arm._) Ah--quite! (_He faints._)

  FULVIA: Charles! Charles! my lord! return!--A numbness
  Has barred the way of soothing to his breast!


CURTAIN.



ACT FOUR


_Scene._--_A chamber in the Castle, opening on the right to a hall,
curtained on the left from another chamber. In the rear is a window
through which may be seen silvery hills of olive resting under the
late afternoon sun: by it a shrine. Enter the CAPTAIN of the Guard
and a SOLDIER from the Hall._

  SOLDIER: There is no more?

  CAPTAIN:                  Not if you understand.

  SOLDIER: That do I--every link of it! I've served
  Under the bold de Montreal, and he
  For stratagems--well, Italy knows him!

  CAPTAIN: You must be quick and secret.

  SOLDIER:                              As the end
  Of the world!

  CAPTAIN: Our duty's with the duke. But then
  Antonio has our love.

  SOLDIER:               That has he! Ah,
  That has he!

  CAPTAIN: Well, be close. None must escape,
  Remember, none be hurt. As for the princess,
  We'll hear the chink of ducats with her thanks.

  SOLDIER: Madonna save her!--The Judas of a father
  Who robs her rest!

  CAPTAIN (_looking down the hall_): 'Tis she who comes this way.
  So go, and haste. But fail not.

  SOLDIER:                    If I do,
  Bury me with a pagan, next a Turk!
                                               (_Goes._

_Enter FULVIA._

  CAPTAIN: Princess--

  FULVIA:      Our plans grow to fulfilment--are
  No way misplanted?

  CAPTAIN:          Lady, all seems now
  Seasonable for their expected fruit.

  FULVIA: No accident appears to threat and thwart them?

  CAPTAIN: Doubt not a fullest harvest of your hope.
  The duke himself shall for this deed at last
  Have benediction.

  FULVIA:           May it be! He's quick,
  Though quicker in forgetting. I will move
  Him as I may.

  CAPTAIN:          The kind and wise assaults
  Your words shall make must move him, gracious lady.

_Enter HÆMON._

  HÆMON: I seek the duke.

  FULVIA (_dismissing CAPTAIN with a gesture_):
                          You would seek penitence
  Were you less far in folly.

  HÆMON (_as going_):         O--if he's
  Not here, then----

  FULVIA: Sorrow too would strain your lips,
  Not cold defiance.

  HÆMON:                 Pardon: if you know,
  Where is he?

  FULVIA:           Was it easy to o'erwhelm
  Under the ruin of her dreams a sister?

  HÆMON: Better beneath her dreams than under shame.

  FULVIA: Your rashness cloaks itself in that excuse,
  Your ruth, and your suspicion that has doomed
  One innocent.

  HÆMON:            One innocent! His thought
  Had but betrayal for her!

  FULVIA:                'Tis the Greek
  In you avows it, no true voice.

  HÆMON:                      Then 'tis
  My father murdered whose last moan I hear
  Driven about me in this castle's gray
  Cold spaces. And the dead speak not to lie.

  FULVIA: No, no. You cannot brave your action with
  The spur of that belief.

  HÆMON:                      What want you of me?

  FULVIA: This: ache and restlessness are on you.

  HÆMON (_impatiently_):                       No.

  FULVIA: And doubt begins in you that as a wolf
  Will scent the wounded quarry of your conscience.

  HÆMON: After he lured and wooed her under night
  And secrecy?

  FULVIA:      Not running there will you
  Escape its dread pursuit.

  HÆMON:                      He frauded--duped
  His father's trust!

  FULVIA:                 Or there! But one refuge
  Have you against its bitter ceaseless tooth,
  And that above the wilds of self-deceit.

  HÆMON: Why do you wind so sinuously about me?
  No refuge can be from an hour that's done.
  Shall we invert the glass or tilt the dial
  To bring it back?

  FULVIA:           But if there were?

  HÆMON:                                Where is
  The duke--I will not bauble.

  FULVIA:                           If there were?

  HÆMON: I will no longer listen to the worm,
  You set to feed upon me--torturing!
  The sun melts to an end, and with the night
  Antonio will not be.

  FULVIA:                Yet there is time.

  HÆMON: The duke is fixed.

  FULVIA:             No matter: 'gainst the swell
  And power of this peril you must lean.

  HÆMON: I----?

  FULVIA:      Yes.

  HÆMON:            You have a plan?

  FULVIA:                        One that is sure.
      (_Steps are heard._)
  But through those curtains, quick. For more seek out
  The Captain of the guard. The duke comes hither.
                    (_HÆMON goes through the curtains._

_CHARLES enters, worn, dishevelled, and followed by CECCO. He sees
FULVIA and pauses._

  FULVIA: I come to plead.

  CHARLES: (_turning away_): Ah! Nature should have pled
  With her your mother, 'gainst conception.

  FULVIA: Your trust is causelessly withdrawn. Yet for
  A breath again I beg it--for a moment!

  CHARLES: A moment were too much--or not enough.
  Is trust a flower of sudden birth we may
  Bid bloom with a command?

  FULVIA:                     Ah, that it were,
  Or bloomed as amaranth in those we love,
  Beyond all drought and withering of ill!
  But hear me----!

  CHARLES:          Leave these words.

  FULVIA:                        Will you not turn
  Out of this rage?

  CHARLES:           Leave them, I say, and cease!
  Still down the vortex of this destiny
  I would not farther have you drawn.

  FULVIA:                          Then from
  It draw yourself!

  CHARLES:          Myself am but a hulk
  Whose treasures have already been engulfed.

  FULVIA: Yet shrink from it!

  CHARLES:               A son, a friend, a--No,
  She was not mine!--I will not turn.

  FULVIA:                          It is
  Your fury that distorts us into guilt.
  Although he will not render up his heart,
  But flings you stony and unfilial speech,
  Fearing for her----

  CHARLES:          Leave!

  FULVIA:                     We----

  CHARLES:                  Thrice have I said it!

  FULVIA: Yet must I not until your will is wasted.

  CHARLES (_angrily_): Ah!

          (_FULVIA sighs then goes slowly._)

  CHARLES:          Cecco!

  CECCO:                      My lord?

  CHARLES:                               The hour?

  CECCO (_going to window_): It leans to sunset.

  CHARLES: The sky--the sky?

  CECCO:                   A murk moves slowly up.

  CHARLES (_wearily_): There should be storm--gloating of wind and
      grind
  Of hopeless thunders. Lightnings should laugh out
  As tongues of fiends. There should be storm.
      (_His head sinks on his breast._)
                      (_Suddenly._) Yet!--yet!----

  CECCO: My lord?

  CHARLES:          The glow and glory of her seem
  Dead in me!

  CECCO:       Of--the Greek?

  CHARLES:                        And yearning has
  Grown impotent--as 'twere a moment's folly,
  A left and quickly quenched desire of youth
  Kindled in me!--To youth alone love's sudden.

  CECCO: Sir, dare I speak?

  CHARLES:               Speak.

  CECCO:                          When Antonio----

  CHARLES: Cease: but a whisper of his name and I
  Am frenzy--frenzy--though the stillness burns
  And bursts with it!

          (_CECCO steps back. A pause._)

  CHARLES:          The sun, how hangs it now?

  CECCO (_going to window_): Above the bloody waving of the sea,
  Eager to dip.

  CHARLES (_staggering up_): Ah, I was in a foam----
  Bitten by hounds of fury and despair!
  Did you not, Fulvia, pleading for them say
  They quailed but would not flee and leave me waste?

  CECCO: She is not here, my liege.

  CHARLES:                    Antonio!
  Ah, boy! thou ever wast to me as wafts
  Of light, of song, of summer on the hills!
  Soft now I feel thy baby arms about me,
  And all the burgeon of thy youth, ere proud
  And cruel years grew in me, comes again
  On wings and stealing winds of memory!

  CECCO: O, then, sir----

  CHARLES: Yes. Fly, fly! and stay the guard!
  He must not--Ah!--down fearful fathoms, down
  Into the roar!
      (_CECCO starts. He stops him._)
                    Yet he has flung me from
  Immeasurable peaks, and I have sunk
  Forevermore beneath hope's horizon.
  Who falls so close the grave can rise no more.

  CECCO: This your despair would wound him more than death.
  Forget the girl.

  CHARLES:          She? Ah, my sullen, wild,
  And gloomy pulse beat with a rightful scorn
  Against the hours that sieged it. Stony was
  Its solitude and fierce, bastioned against
  All danger of quick blisses--till, with fury
  For that mute tenderness which women's love
  Lays on the desolation of the world,
  She ravished it!--Yet now 'tis still and cold.

  CECCO: But 'twas unknowingly.

  CHARLES:                         A woman's smile
  Never was luring, never, but she knew it,
  As hawk the cruel rapture of his wings.

  CECCO: She though is young, and youth----

  CHARLES:                      Must pay with moan
  The shriving!--Ah, the sun--the sun--where burns it?

  CECCO: Upon a cloud whence it must spring to night.

  CHARLES: So low?

  CECCO:       Sir, yes.

  CHARLES:          Ah, 'tis? so low?

  CECCO:                                   Red now
  It rushes forth.

  CHARLES:     A breathing of the world,
  And then!--Antonio!

  CECCO:            Again a cloud
  Withholds.

  CHARLES: Antonio!

  CECCO:            It dips, my lord.

  CHARLES (_frenzied_): O, will great Christ upon it lay no fear!
  Let it swoon down as if its sinking sent
  No signal unto Death--and plunge, plunge thee,
  Antonio, forever from the day!
  Has He no miracle will seize it yet!
  Nor will lend now His thunder to cry hold,
  His lightning to flame off the hands that grasp,
  Bidden to hurl thee o'er!

  CECCO:                 'Tis sunk!

  CHARLES (_rushing to window_):        Yes!--Yes!
      (_Starting back horrified._) The vision of it! Ah,--see
      you not, see!
  They lift him, swing him--Now! down, down, down, down!
  The rocks! the lash! the foam!

          (_Sinks exhausted in his chair. CECCO pours out wine._)

_Enter hurriedly, a SOLDIER._

  SOLDIER:               Great lord!

  CECCO:                                 What now!
  It is ill-timed!

  SOLDIER:     Great lord, there's mutiny!

  CECCO: And where?

  SOLDIER:     Hear me, great sir, there's mutiny!

  CECCO: The town? the town?

  CHARLES (_rousing_):             Ay----?

  SOLDIER:                     Mutiny! your haste!

  CHARLES: O, mutiny.

  SOLDIER:               Sir, yes!

  CHARLES:                        And do the ranks
  Of hell roar up at me?--It is not strange.

  SOLDIER (_confused_): The ranks of--pardon, lord.

  CHARLES:                  Do the skies rage----?
  They were else dead to madness.

  SOLDIER:                         Sir, it is
  Your guard beyond the gates.

  CHARLES:                       'Tis every throat
  Of earth and realm unearthly has a cry
  Against me and against!

  SOLDIER:               No, but a few----

  CHARLES: You doubt it?--Are my eyes not bloody? Say!

  SOLDIER: Sir! sir!

  CHARLES: My lips then are not pale with murder
  Bitterly done?

  SOLDIER:     Pale--no.

  CHARLES:               Yet have I killed;
  Spoke death with them--not reasonless--yet death.
  And all the lost have echoes of it: hear
  You not a spirit clamor on the air?
  Ploughing as storms of pain it passes through me.
  Mutiny? Go. I could call chaos fair,
  And fawn on infinite ruin--fawn and praise.
                                       (_SOLDIER goes._
  Yet will not yield! (_To CECCO._) My robes and coronet!
                                 (_CECCO goes to obey._
  I'll sit in them and mock at greatness that
  A passion may unthrone. If we weep not
  Calamity will leave to torture us,
  And fate for want of tears will thirst to death!

_Enter CARDINAL._

  Ah, priestly sir.

  CARDINAL:         Infuriate man!

  CHARLES:                              Speak so.
  I lust for bitterness.

  CARDINAL:              What have you done!

  CHARLES (_shuddering, then smiling_): Watched the sun set. Did
      it not, think you, bleed
  Unwontedly along the waves?

  CARDINAL:                        O horror!
  Horrible when a father slays and smiles!

  CHARLES: Not so, lord Cardinal, not so!--but when
  He slays and smileth not.

  CARDINAL:                   Beyond all mercy!

  CHARLES: Therefore I smile. Men should not mid the trite
  Enchanting and vain trickery of earth
  Till they no longer hope of it, or want.
  Smiles should be kept for life's unbearable.

  CARDINAL: Murderer!

  CHARLES:                    Ah!

  CARDINAL:                        Heretic!

  CHARLES:                                   Well.
      (_Goes to shrine and casts it out the window._)

  CARDINAL:                            Fool! fool!

  CHARLES: There are no wise men, O lord Cardinal.

  CARDINAL: Heaven let Antonio's death under the sea
  Make every wave a tongue against your rest,
  And 'gainst the rock of this impenitence!
      (_CHARLES listens as to something afar off._)
  No wind should blow that has not sting of it,
  No light stream that it stains not!

  CHARLES (_sighing_):             You have loosed
  Your robe, lord prelate--see.

  CARDINAL:                   O stone! thou stone!

  CHARLES: Have peace. A keener cry comes up to me
  Than frenzy can invoke: a vaster pain
  Than justice from Omnipotence may call.

  CARDINAL: My lips shall learn it.

  CHARLES: "Father" moans it. "Father!"----
  It is my ears' inheritance forever.

_Enter FULVIA_

  FULVIA: Lord Cardinal, one of your servants has
  In quarrel been struck, and mortally 'tis feared.
  Quickly to him: then I may plead of you
  Escort to Rome.

  CARDINAL:              I do not understand.

  FULVIA: But shall.

  CARDINAL:         To Rome?

  FULVIA:               Do not pause here to learn
  With the dear minutes of a dying man.
                                      (_CARDINAL goes._

  CHARLES: You baffle and bewilder.

  FULVIA:                          Well.

  CHARLES:                            You--?--Yes!
  I am beat off by it.

  FULVIA:           Ten years of shelter
  Have you held over me.

  CHARLES:               Ten years----

  FULVIA:                              Whose days,
  Whose every moment else had borne a torture.

  CHARLES: Now----?

  FULVIA:           I, perhaps, must go.

  CHARLES:               Must?--Still I grope.

  FULVIA: Must go! Though in this castle's aged calm
  And melancholy dusk no shadow is
  Or niche but may remember prayer for thee.

  CHARLES: To Rome? You must?--I am under a spell.

  FULVIA: We, thou and I, after the battle's foam
  Or chase's tired return, often have breathed
  The passionate deep hours away in rest
  And sympathy.

  CHARLES: Say on. Your voice--I marvel----

  FULVIA: And at the dawn have looked and sighed, then slow
  With quiet clasp of fingers turned apart.

  CHARLES: You go?--But, on!--your tone--in it I feel----

  FULVIA: Have we not fast been friends?

  CHARLES:                   What hath your voice?

  FULVIA: Such friends have we not been as grow up from
  Eternity?

  CHARLES: You say it, and I wake.

  Fulvia: Such friends--till yesterday you----

  CHARLES:                                     Ah!

  FULVIA: Changed sudden as the sea when cometh storm.

  CHARLES: I had forgot--forgot!--the sun!--the sea!
  The sea!--Antonio!--The cliff--the surf!
  The shroud and funeral fury of the waves!

  FULVIA: Be calm.

  CHARLES (_rising excitedly_): I'll stay it! Cecco, our fleetest
      foot!
  A rain of ducats if he shall outspeed
  This doom on us. More! more! a flood of them,
  If he----

  FULVIA (_drawing him to his chair_): Be patient--calm.

  CHARLES:          I--I--remember,
  'Tis night!

  FULVIA:      Yes, night.

  CHARLES:              The sun's no more! It hath
  Gone down beyond all mercy and recall.

  FULVIA: Beyond?--Ah!

  CHARLES (_quickly_): Fulvia?

  FULVIA:                      'Tis hard to think!

  CHARLES: You utter and he seemeth still of life.

  FULVIA: He was a child in mimic mail clad out
  When first this threshold poured its welcome to me.

  CHARLES: Softly you muse it, and call to your eyes
  No quailing nor a flame of execration!
  You do not burst out on me? from me do
  Not shrink as from an executioner?

  FULVIA: I am a woman who in tears came to
  Your strength, in tears depart.

  CHARLES:                     And will not judge?
  But fear me--fear, and flee?--You shall not go!

  FULVIA: Perhaps----

  CHARLES: Again "perhaps"--this calm "perhaps!"----
  To Rome?--I say you shall not.

  FULVIA:                           Yet should he,
  Antonio, from those curtains come----

  CHARLES:                         Should--should?
  You speak not reasonably. Why do you say
  "If he should come?"

  FULVIA:                Because----

  CHARLES:                          You've touched
  And led me trembling from reality!
  Those curtains?--those?--just those?--You shall not go.

  FULVIA: I will not then.

  CHARLES:          But something breaks from you,
  And as an air of resurrection stirs.
  Speak; on your words I wait unutterably.

  FULVIA: Did not a soldier lately come, my lord,
  Breathless with eager speech of mutiny----?

  CHARLES: Well--well----?

  FULVIA:                       Within your guard?

  CHARLES:                   My guard? No--yes----
  What do I see yet cannot in your words?

  FULVIA: The mutiny was roused at my command.

  CHARLES: Say it--say all!

  FULVIA:                 To save you the mad blot
  Of a son's blood.

  CHARLES:          Antonio----?

  FULVIA:                          Lives!

  CHARLES:                            Low--low----
  Joy come too furious has piercing peril.
  He lives?--You have done this? With these soft hands,
  These little hands, held off the shears of Fate?
  Have dared? and have not feared?

  FULVIA:                          Your danger was
  My fear--that, and no more.

  CHARLES:                       He lives?--I have
  No worth, no gratitude, no gift that may
  Answer this deed--no glow, no eloquence
  But would ring poor in rarest words of earth.
  He lives?--Years yet are mine. Too brief they'll be
  To muse with love of this!

  FULVIA:                     No, no, my lord.

  CHARLES: But where is he? Belief, tho' risen, strains
  In me as if 'twere fast in cerements
  That seeing must unbind.

  FULVIA:                     Turn then, and see.

          (_ANTONIO steps from the curtains._)

  CHARLES: Antonio!--boy! boy!

  ANTONIO:            My father! (_They embrace._)

_Re-enter CARDINAL._

  CARDINAL:                             Princess,
  If your decision and desire are still----

          (_Sees ANTONIO._)

  FULVIA: Your eyes look upon flesh, lord Cardinal.

          (_A cry is heard, then weeping._)

  ANTONIO (_startled_): Whose pain is this?--strangely it hurts
      me--strangely!

_Enter CECCO hastily, bearing robe and coronet._

  CECCO: My lord, the lady Helen's little maid----

          (_Sees ANTONIO. Shrinks from him._)

  ANTONIO: What of her? Are you horrified to stone!
  Her maid?--There are than risen dead worse things
  And worse to dread!--her maid?

  CECCO:                      Sir----

  ANTONIO:                          Forth with it!
  She direness of her mistress brings? some tale
  That earth elsewhere abyssless gaped her up?
  That butterfly or bud turn asp to bite her?

  CECCO: Sir--she--the maid craves audience with the duke.

  ANTONIO: Fetch her, and quickly.
                                         (_CECCO goes._

  FULVIA:                         Reason, Antonio.
  She will but whimper, tell what overmuch
  Of grief her mistress makes for you: of tears
  Your sunny coming will dry in her.

  ANTONIO (_putting her aside_):        These
  Hours come not of any good, but are
  Infected with resolved adversity.
  This dread!----

  FULVIA:        They ever dread who have but quit
  The shadow of some doom and the dismay.

_Re-enter CECCO, with PAULA weeping._

  ANTONIO: Girl! girl! Thy mistress?

  PAULA (_shrinking_):                      O!----

  ANTONIO:                          I am no ghost.
  Thy mistress?

  PAULA:          Mary, Mother! (_Sinks praying._)

  ANTONIO (_lifting her up_): Look on me. See!
  I have not been down in the grave, nor ev'n
  A moment beyond earth. Do you not hear!

  PAULA (_looking at him_): Sir!

  ANTONIO:                    Tell me.

  PAULA (_hysterically_):               Go to her,
      O, go to her.

  ANTONIO: But, child----?

  PAULA:       She, O!--go seek her, O, she is----

  ANTONIO: Where, Paula?

  PAULA: Blind all day she moaned and wept.

  ANTONIO: My Helena!

  PAULA:                And when the sun was gone,
  Came quiet, kissed me--O, go seek her, sir!

  ANTONIO: Kissed you----?

  PAULA:          Then to me gave these jewels. O!
  And darkly cloaked stole out into the night.

  CHARLES: Alone?

  ANTONIO:          Whither, quick, whither?

  PAULA:                                  Ah, I do
  Not know: but she----

  ANTONIO:        Pray, pray, tell out your dread.

  PAULA: Last night she said, "My heart is in my lord
  Antonio's to beat or cease with it."
  I learned her words--they seemed so pretty.

  Charles (_gasping_):                         Ah!

  ANTONIO: Why do you gasp?--Paula----

  CHARLES:                      If she--the cliff!

  ANTONIO: The cliff! The--?
                  (_Staggers dizzily, then rushes out._

  CHARLES:              Let one go with him--bring
  Us what hath passed--hath passed.
                                     (_A SOLDIER goes._

  PAULA (_with uncontrollable terror_): My lady!

  CHARLES:                                  Child,
  I cannot bear thy voice upon my heart!
  It hath a tone--a clutch--no more, no more!
  I cannot bear it! We must wait. No hap
  Has been--no hap, I think--surely no hap.

_Enter BARDAS deprecatingly, followed by ANTONIO._

  BARDAS: Antonio! not in the sea? You live?

  ANTONIO: I say, where is she?

  BARDAS:                          You are mortal?

  ANTONIO (_groaning with impatience_):          O
  This utter superstition! (_Pricking his arm._) Is it not blood?

  BARDAS: You live! and live? but let her think your death!
  You let her! still devising for yourself
  Safety and preservation!

  ANTONIO:               She's not safe?

  BARDAS: O, safe--if she had shrift!

  CHARLES (_hoarsely_):           The dead are so!

  BARDAS: Ay, so.

  ANTONIO: And none above the grave?--no answer?

  BARDAS: She came unto the cliff amid her tears--
  Her being all into one want was fused,
  You down the wave to follow.

  ANTONIO:                    But you grasped----?
  You held her?

  BARDAS:      Yes----

  ANTONIO:               Then--well?

  BARDAS:                         She had a phial.

  ANTONIO: God! God!

  BARDAS:     Out of her breast she drew it swift,
  And instant of it drank.

  ANTONIO:               Drank? and she fell?
  No?--no?--Ah but you dashed it from her lips?
  She did but taste?----

  BARDAS: Only: and then----

  ANTONIO:                             More? more?

  BARDAS: "Is 't not enough," she pled to me, "Enough
  That I must wander the cold way of death
  Unto his arms? Go hence! There is no rest.
  I will go down and clasp him, drift with him
  To some unhabited gray ocean vale
  God hath forgot. There will we dwell away
  From destiny and weeping, from despair!"

  CHARLES: You left her?

  BARDAS:               As I held her piteous hand
  Came revellers who saw us--jested her
  Of taking a new love. She broke my grasp----

  ANTONIO: And leapt?--down the wide air?

  BARDAS:                         Swifter than all
  Prevention.

  ANTONIO:          Helena! O Helena!
  That all thy loveliness should fare to this,
  Thy glory go in dark calamity!

  BARDAS: I saw her as she leapt and until death
  Shall see no more.

  ANTONIO (_drawing_): Blot it from you! Her face,
  Her sorrow and her fairness shall not stand
  Imprisoned in your eye, tho' 'twere to cry
  Relentlessly your crime.--But no--but no!

          (_Sheathing his sword, he pauses, then staggers suddenly
           out._)

  PAULA: Let me go to my lady!

  CHARLES:                          Still her! She
  Forever hath a fluttering, a cry,
  Undurably. It presses the lone air
  With sensitive and aching agony.

  PAULA (_witlessly, in tears_): I know thy song, my lady, I know, I
      know!
  'Twas pretty and 'twas strange, but now I know.

          (_Sings._) Sappho! Sappho!
                     In maiden woe
          (Let alone love, it spurns and burns!)
                     Wept--wept, and leapt--
                     O love is so!
              (Let alone love, it burns!)

  My lady! O my lady! my sweet lady!

          (_She is led out._)

  FULVIA: This is most sad--most sad, and pitiful.

  CHARLES: I cannot bear her voice upon my heart

_Enter AGABUS gazing into the air._

  Again this monk? this dog of death?--and now?

  AGABUS: My trusty Shadow (_Laughs madly._) Ha, he has been here!
  My king o' the worms and all corruption!--
  (_Approaching CHARLES._) Lovers, and lovers! O she leapt as 'twere
  To Christ and not sin's Pit! And he is gone
  To follow her! The devil's nine wits are
  Too many!
      (_Wanders about._)

  FULVIA: My lord! Your limbs are frozen,
  And bloodlessly you stand! Move, rouse, O breathe!
  It is not truth but madness that he speaks.

          (_A cry and clanking of armor are heard in the Hall. A
           SOLDIER bursts into the chamber._)

  SOLDIER: O duke! O duke! (_Sinks to his knee._)

  CHARLES: (_gazes at him, struggling to speak_): Rise--go--and,
      if thou canst--
  To pray.

  SOLDIER: O sir----!

  CHARLES:               You have no tidings.

  SOLDIER:                                 Sir----

  CHARLES (_desperately_): None, fool! but come to say what silence
      groans,
  What earth numb and in deadness raves to me.
  To tell Antonio hath gone out and o'er
  A precipice hath stepped for sake of love.
  This is not tidings--hath it not on me
  Been fixed forever? It is older than
  Despair, as old as pain! (_To HÆMON, who has entered._) Your
      sister----

  BARDAS:                               Hæmon----!

  CARDINAL: Hold him not in this anguish.

  FULVIA:                              She and our
  Antonio have left us to our tears.

          (_HÆMON stands motionless._)

  CHARLES: Let no one groan. I say let no one groan--
  Fury on him that groans! (_He blindly rocks to and fro._)

  FULVIA:                     My lord!

  CHARLES (_taking her hand_):         Well--come.
      (_As in a trance._)
  There's much to do. We will think of the dead.
  Perchance 'twill keep them near us: speak to them,
  And they may answer while we wait, may float
  Dim words on moonbeams to us. O for one
  That shall sound of forgiveness and of rest!
  (_More wildly._)
  O I have started on the mountain's brow
  A tremor that has loosed the avalanche;
  And penitence too late--too late--too late--
  Was powerless as flowers along its path!

          (_He sinks back into his chair and stares hopelessly before
           him._)


CURTAIN.





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