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Title: Poetical Works of Robert Bridges - Volume IV
Author: Bridges, Robert
Language: English
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                            POETICAL WORKS
                            ROBERT BRIDGES

                               Volume IV


                          Smith, Elder & Co.
                           15 Waterloo Place

                          OXFORD: HORACE HART
                       PRINTER TO THE UNIVERSITY

                          _POETICAL WORKS OF
                            ROBERT BRIDGES_

                          _VOLUME THE FOURTH

    _PALICIO_                       _p._ 1

    _THE RETURN OF ULYSSES_            161

    _NOTES_                            301



 1. _PALICIO. A Romantic Drama in Five Acts in the Elizabethan manner._

     Η καὶ ΠΑΛΙΚΩΝ εὐλόγως μενεῖ φάτις;
     Πάλιν γὰρ ἵκουσ’ ἐκ σκότου τόδ’ ἐς φάος.
                            Æsch., _Ætnææ_, _frag._

 _Published by Ewd. Bumpus. London, 1890. 4to. pp. 37-70._


 1. _THE RETURN OF ULYSSES. A Drama in Five Acts in a mixed manner._

     Ἃ μὲν ἐποποιία ἔχει, ὑπάρχει τῇ τραγῳδίά
     ἃ δὲ αὐτη, οὐ πάντα ἐν τῇ ἐποποιίᾳ.
                                   Arist., _Poet._ 12.

 _Published by Ewd. Bumpus. London, 1890. 4to. pp. 71-100._


                              A ROMANTIC


    _HUGO_                               _Viceroy of Sicily_.
    _LIVIO_                     _his son, lover of Margaret_.
    _MANUEL_      _Chief Justiciary, betrothed to Constance_.
    _PHILIP, Duke_                    _Spanish commissioner_.
    _FERDINAND_                              _his secretary_.
    _BLASCO_                              _a Sicilian count_.
    _MICHAEL ROSSO_           _a surgeon, lover of Margaret_.
    _GIOVANNI PALICIO_                             _brigand_.
    _SQUARCIALUPU_                          _his lieutenant_.

    _MARGARET_                            _sister to Manuel_.
    _CONSTANCE_                           _daughter to Hugo_.
    _LUCIA_                            _servant to Margaret_.

    _Brigands, soldiers, messengers, servants._

 _The scene is in PALERMO, and sometimes in the hills above MONREALE._

                 _Time, Spanish occupation of Sicily._


                                ACT · I

                               SCENE · 1

               _Palermo. Reception-room in the Palace._

                        _BLASCO and FERDINAND._


    Have you not been in Sicily before?



    _Bl._    And, sir, what think you of Palermo?
    Have you as fine cities in Spain?

    _Fer._                            Your city,
    Approached by sea or from the roofs surveyed,
    Smiles back upon the gazer like a queen
    That hears her praise. Nearer to speak I’ll grudge not,
    When I may nearer know: but since we came
    There’s been no hour a stranger might dare shew
    His face in the streets.

    _Bl._                    The time is now unquiet.

    _Fer._ Rather I’d say government given over                       10
    To murderous bandits, who range up and down
    Unchecked: to whom the king’s commissioners
    Were just the daintiest pricking. If I may brag
    Of home, our cities are more orderly.

    _Bl._ ’Tis a hot-blooded race, sir, full of stirrings,
    Subject to fermentation, and like good wine
    Ever the better for it.

    _Fer._                  But can you tell me
    The real cause of these disturbances?

    _Bl._ Nothing is easier, sir. Your viceroy, Hugo,
    This is the point, is plunged in disesteem.                       20
    He has lost the fear and won the hate of the people.
    Already, ere ye came, the news ye bring
    Of the king being dead, was buzzed. Since at his death
    His viceroy’s office falls to ground, our townsmen
    Seize on this interval, wherein they hold
    He hath no jurisdiction, to discredit him,
    Kill him maybe, if nothing else will hinder
    His reappointment. They but make the most
    Of their occasion: that is all.

    _Fer._                           But how
    Can a mere handful of such ruffians hold                          30
    The city, when the loyal troops are his?

    _Bl._ ’Tis known to the people that their cause hath found
    An ear in Spain: and here among the barons
    Are many who wish well to the revolt.
    Should Hugo push to extremes he might discover
    Most potent enemies. Remember, sir,
    ’Twas a street scuffle in this very town,
    That drave the French from Sicily.

    _Fer._                             The thought
    Brings me no comfort.

    _Bl._                 Wherefore ’tis his policy
    To meet the present rage by such concessions                      40
    As may be popular, and to give forth
    The king is ill, not dead. ’Tis for this reason
    No mass is sung nor mourning liveries worn:
    To-night’s festivity, such as it is,
    Hath only this pretence.

    _Fer._                   Are the two ladies
    His daughters both?

    _Bl._               The taller and the fairer,
    The lady Constance, is his only daughter.
    Your fine duke Philip, who comes now from court
    With such a mightiness, was once her lover.

    _Fer._ That doth not single her.

    _Bl._                            But then it did.                 50
    She was his first. ’Twas when duke Philip’s father
    Was viceroy here; Hugo was then chief justice,
    And Manuel, who succeeded him, was only
    Young Philip’s tutor;—he succeeds moreover
    Now to his pupil’s leavings, and will marry
    The long-forgotten Constance.

    _Fer._                        ’Twas the other
    I asked of, in white satin, she who sat
    On Philip’s right at supper; who is she?

    _Bl._ That, sir, is Margaret.

    _Fer._                        And who is Margaret?

    _Bl._ Sister to Manuel.

    _Fer._                  She far outshines                         60
    Her future sister.

    _Bl._              They that can see have thought it:
    And, sir, ’twill tax your better wit to add
    A tittle to her full accustomed homage.
    Your broken heart were but a pinch of pepper
    Sprinkled on porridge. Now for full two years
    Her reign hath made a melancholy madness
    The fashion ’mongst our youth.

    _Fer._                         I should much like
    To be presented.

    _Bl._            O, sir, at your will.
    Judge for yourself. See, here they come. (_Aside._) A moth!

    _Fer._ (_aside_). A very civil fellow.

                                                [_They retire to back._

          _Enter_ R. _Hugo_, _Philip_, _Manuel_, _Margaret_,
                        _Constance and Livio_.


                                           I am sorry, your grace,
    We make so small a party. For our poor                            71
    Reception, and for all shortcomings else,
    Accuse the occasion.


                         I think, your excellence,
    I cannot play the guest. This house was once
    So long my home, that here I look to find
    As little ceremony as I fear I have shewn.

    _Hu._ So should it be. Make it your home again.

    _Ph._ I shall forget I have ever been away.


      Five years.

    _Ph._         Ay, but five years of wandering,
    Such as can but endear one’s home the more.                       80
    My memory still would serve me to walk blindfold
    From any point of the city to these doors.

    _Man._ What is your memory for our studies, Philip?

    _Ph._ Too slippery for my profit. Yet the pleasure
    Lives very brightly;—nay, I could but name
    One deprivation I have more regretted.


                                           But now
    My brother has a new philosophy.

    _Ph._ Ah! If you share the secret, and I be thought
    Worthy of initiation, may I hear it?

    _Mar._ And welcome. Manuel, in his deep research
    For the first cause and harmony of things,                        91
    Hit upon both together—they are one:
    ’Tis love. And now, since I profess it not,
    And since ’twas learnt of you...

    _Man._ (_to Mar._).              Hush, sister, hush!

    _Ph._ I am very proud of such a pupil. (_Aside._) Since
    He has learned my love so readily, it may be
    That he may catch my jealousy—

    _Hu._                           Come, duke,
    Sit here by me. There’s more to talk of. Livio,
    Fetch us the papers.

              _Philip crosses to_ L. _and sits by Hugo_.

    _Man._ (_crossing to_ R.). They must grant us, Constance,
    A moment now. All day I have been away,                          100
    And yesterday I saw you not at all.
    Can you forgive a lover so remiss?


      I fear I half deserve your fear.

    _Man._                             The time
    Can be but short, but it shall make amends.

                                                  [_They talk together._

    _Bl._ (_coming forward with Fer._). Fair lady Margaret,
    Count Ferdinand of Vergas; I present him
    At his desire.

    _Fer._         Your ladyship’s true servant.

    _Mar._ I am much honoured.

    _Fer._                     Lady, ’tis worth the pains
    To cross from Spain to see you.

    _Mar._                          From that I guess
    That you are a better sailor than the duke.                      110

    _Fer._ Nay, you judge wrong.

    _Mar._                       Have you then ate no dinner?

    _Fer._ Now if I had not, I’d blame your stormy town
    Before the sea for that: since we left ship
    We are cabined in this house; to pass the door
    Were to leap overboard in a whole gale.

    _Mar._ I fear this is no country for you, sir,
    If noises in the street keep you indoors.


      Take warning, count; Sicily’s fairest rose
    Blooms on an angry plant.

    _Mar._                    But we can boast
    Of warriors that for fragrance shame the rose.                   120
    (_To Liv._) Is’t musk to-day?

    _Liv._ (_to Fer._).           I told you.

              _Enter Messenger_ R., _crosses to Hugo_ L.


      This paper, sire, is posted thro’ the town.

    _Hu._ Eh, eh! what have we here?                          [_Reads._

 _Citizens of Palermo, King Pedro is dead. God rest his soul! The
 office of Viceroy being vacant, the Parliament of townsmen, assembled
 in the church of San Lorenzo, have this day elected Manuel to be your
 viceroy, in place of Hugo. Death to Hugo! Long live the king!_

    Why, Manuel, what’s this parliament?

    _Man._                               I know                      130
    No more than doth your excellence. But ’tis plain
    That they are orderers who put on a dress
    Of regular authority; they use
    The senatorial voice, and over all
    They have now usurped my name to have it thought
    That I have set their hatch.

    [_Shouts without of “Death to Hugo! The Despatches!”_]

    _Ph._                        Here comes the parliament.

    _Hu._ Now this is what I feared. Manuel, I pray you,
    Go to the balcony, you have their ear;
    Use then your credit.

    _Man._                What, sire, shall I say?

    _Hu._ Well, you should know.                                     140

    _Liv._ (_to Man._).          Look, if they ask to hear
    The last despatches, gull them with some paper;
    Which while you show, you make as if therefrom
    You read the king’s not dead.

    _Ph._ (_to Liv._).            Nay, Livio:
    The word is wanted for a troop of horse.
    My father never would have brooked this insult
    From such a mob.

    _Liv._           Our soldiers are not idle.
    They laid hands yesterday upon the chief
    And head of all, one John Palicio.
    We have certain information that the rebels
    Cannot be kept together but by him.                              150
    Hark! they are quiet now.

    _Hu._ (_to Man. returning_). What is your charm
    To win such meek obedience?

    _Man._                      They’re gone, your excellence;
    But not from aught I said: for ere I spoke
    Some rumour reached them, and the skirt of the throng,
    That far beyond my hearing stood apart
    In scattered groups, broke hastily away:
    Then the next ranks shed off; and then the next
    Loosened and followed them: till the voice came
    To the very midst and huddle, where they pressed
    With upturned faces; then all heads went down,
    And with a cry they fled.                                        161

    _Hu._                     Whither?

    _Man._                             I think
    To the prison, my lord.

                          _Enter a Soldier._

    _Hu._                   What now? give me thy matter.


      The prisoner Palicio is escaped.
    He killed his guards, and fled beyond pursuit.

    _Ph._ (_to Liv._). Why, is not this the man you spoke of?

    _Liv._                                                    Ay,
    That is the man.

    _Hu._            Let the patrol be doubled for the night,
    And give not o’er the search. Alive or dead,
    A hundred florins to whoever finds him.
    Blasco, go see to it: he must not escape.                        169

    _Bl._ (_aside_). But if he be escaped, who’s viceroy
        then?                                      [_Exit with soldier._

    _Hu._ This same Palicio, duke, is the chief rebel:
    While he was caged, I could despise the rest.
    But he’s a dangerous fellow; bred in the hills,
    He is yet of noble blood and high descent:
    A proud and lofty temper, that hath taken
    A graft of wildness, and shot forth afresh
    In base luxuriance. Tho’ yet unbearded,
    Bandits and exiles own him; and the people,
    Who hold such men in honour, can be drawn
    But by his name to any enterprise.                               180
    ’Tis he that with his bread-tax cry hath stirred
    The commons to rebel, and be he ’scaped
    Clear, as ’tis thought, there will be more ado.
    I’ll not so much as vouch, duke, for your safety,
    If you should sleep in the palace.

    _Man._                             Let the duke
    Come to my house. What say you?

    _Hu._                           What say you, Philip?
    They would not seek you there.

    _Ph._                          If ’tis your wish.
    I would not bring you trouble. (_To Fer._) Ferdinand,
    These papers must be copied: take them straight
    Into your chamber.                                [_Exit Ferdinand._

    _Hu._              ’Tis but truth, your grace,                   190
    We may be driven hence. The people’s cry
    Is _Sack and fire the palace_.

    _Mar._                         See if Livio
    Have not gone pale! Now, Livio, if you think
    ’Tis safer at our house, for pity’s sake
    Spare your complexion and come back with us.

    _Liv._ No doubt that sleep were sweeter, and all things else
    Beneath thy roof, lady: and came there danger,
    That my sword might protect thee...

    _Mar._                               The heavens shield us,
    When we be left to that.

    _Liv._                   Didst thou not treat
    All men with like contempt, I were much wronged:
    But there’s none thou wilt praise.                               201

    _Mar._                             Now, if I needed
    A man to look at, I would pass my time
    Searching for this Palicio. As for you,
    When you can lead the people, and cut your way
    Thro’ guards and prison walls, and get a price
    Set on your head ... I’ll marry you.

    _Man._                               Come, sister,
    This goes too far.

    _Mar._             Why, no. Be generous.
    If I be wrong, what makes you ill at ease
    When this man’s free? Palicio is in prison,
    And all goes cheerfully; you sit to feast,                       210
    You have no care, a joke will raise a laugh.
    Palicio is escaped—hey! at that news
    What blackness reigns! Forgive me, friends; I see
    This man’s your master, and I like him for it.
    Bravery I love, and there’s no cause so poor
    It cannot justify.

    _Hu._              If we should take him,
    I’ll send him to you stuffed.

    _Mar._                        Is that a speech
    One should forgive?

    _Man._              Enough. We take our leave.
    We pass by a private way, duke.

    _Ph._                           I come with you.                 219

    _All._      Good-night.

                                 [_Exeunt Philip, Manuel, and Margaret._

    _Hu._ (_to Con._).      And you to bed.

    _Con._                                I pray there’s nought to fear?

    _Hu._ Nay, nay. Good-night, child; sleep you sound.

    _Con._                                              Dear father,
    Heaven keep you safe. Good-night.

    _Hu._                             Fear not for me.

                                                      [_Exit Constance._

    Hark, Livio.
    I have learned somewhat from Philip: the Spanish court
    Is open to my enemies. My best hope
    If things go worse will be to sail for Spain
    And face them boldly there. ’Tis an extremity
    ’Twere best to avoid: but since my hands are tied
    I may be forced; and am so far resolved,
    That if Palicio now should raise the town,                       230
    And come to attack the palace, I shall fly.
    I have had a way cut thro’ the chapel wall,
    Whence by a covered passage I can reach
    The harbour, where I keep a ship prepared.
    Thee I must leave. But let this news be spread,
    That Philip is with Manuel; it may serve
    To draw the people thither—his being here
    Would have impeded my escape. And first
    We’ll go the rounds, and see that at all points
    The watch is strong and wakeful. Come with me.


                               SCENE · 2

           _Hall in Manuel’s house. Enter PALICIO in woman’s
               clothes, bleeding, a dagger in his hand._


      No one, no sound. Can I hide here I am safe.
    I have given the curs the slip, if I can hide.                   242
    Safe ... But this wound, the blood runs like a river:
    Unless they track me by it I am clear—so far.
    A paltry stab. I’ll bind it round and tie it
    To stop the blood—so, so. Now, where to hide?
    For here is no protection; ’tis the house
    Of the chief justiciary ... a doubtful ’scape
    From prison here. Yet when I saw the wall
    ’Twas home; then, oh, my God! this flip-flap gear
    Shackling my knees—Over! ha, ha! the fools                       251
    Will never guess that leap. But I must hide:
    Slip out ere morn: or if not that, be bold,
    Give myself up to Manuel. Is that hope?
    Manuel the just. ’Twere best reserve that hope
    Till others fail. Hark!—steps. Where can I get?
    Behind this curtain—so.                                    [_Hides._

            _Enter Manuel, Philip, Margaret, and Servant._

    _MANUEL_ (_to servt._).

                             Giuseppe, show the duke my room.
    (_To Ph._) Taking us unawares o’erlook, I pray,
    The want of ceremony. You will find all comfort
    For sleep or wakefulness.


                              This is the flower                     260
    Of hospitality. Now, for old sakes,
    I’d beg some meaner shift, to prove me mindful
    Of ancient benefits.


                         O, be content:
    My brother’s luxury will not o’erwhelm you
    With obligation.

    _Man._           Rest you well. Good-night!

    _Mar. and Ph._ Good-night!

                                            [_Exit Philip with servant._

    _Man._ Margaret!

    _Mar._           My brother!

    _Man._                       You did ill to-night.

    _Mar._ Forgive me. I said in jest you had learned your love
    From Philip. I was sorry.

    _Man._                    Nay, what’s that?                      269
    Yet ’twas ill said, and may have wounded Philip;
    Though he must wish us to assume there’s nothing
    ’Twixt him and Constance: and now he’s our guest
    We must not let our courtesy be tainted
    By his own lightness; nay, the tales told of him
    Are nought to us. He’s of a generous nature,
    And not forbidding to what faults beset
    His age and rank. But we make no man better
    By lower estimation; an open kindliness
    And trust may help him; let us use such toward him.

    _Mar._ I will. But then what was’t I said?

    _Man._                                     Ah! Why,
    Your praise of John Palicio. See you not                         281
    ’Twill injure me with Hugo? Our relations
    Are tried by public matters: ’tis in the scope
    Of private intercourse to ease the strain,
    Or force the rupture.

    _Mar._                Brother, I am very sorry.
    I thought ...

    _Man._        I do not blame your thought. I grant
    These Spaniards are bad masters. First they wrecked
    This island to possess it; then the prize,
    Which kindness might have much enriched, is stripped
    Even to the bone by cruelty and rapine.                          290
    Their viceroy too, this Hugo—a man who governs
    But to be governor, and even at that
    Fails like a fool. To see the folk misruled
    More grieves me than to see the folk misled.
    And if they have much cause to rise, there’s none
    Hath more to lead them, than the native outlaw,
    Whom you so praised.

                          _Re-enter Servant._

    _Mar._               Then you forgive me, brother?

    _Man._ Well, well, good-night!

    _Mar._                         Good-night!                  [_Exit._

    _Man._                                     Giuseppe, prepare
    The little room at the end of the corridor;
    I will sleep there. I shall not want thee more.                  300

                                                        [_Exit servant._

    It matters not what happens, day by day
    The rupture grows. ’Tis plain Hugo and I
    Are foes at heart—and what a pitiful trick
    To put the question of my marriage by,
    Withholding his consent just for the thought,
    That while my happiness hangs on his nod,
    I must be closer bound to serve his interest,
    Now, when his credit totters. Doth he not know
    That honourable minds, thro’ very fear
    Of their self-interest, are thrust away                          310
    Beyond their counter-judgment? Nay, ’tis clear
    He falls, he falls; and were’t not now for Constance,
    I’d gladly see him fall.

                       _Palicio comes forward._

                             A woman here!
    Why, who art thou?

    _Pal._             Hush, hush! I am no woman.

                                        [_Lays his dagger on the table._

    Draw not your sword. See here my dagger.

    _Man._                                   Ha!
    And bloodied freshly.

    _Pal._                Let me bar the door.          [_Goes to door._

    _Man._ Why, can it be?—

    _Pal._                   I am Palicio.

    _Man._ Thou here!

    _Pal._            You see.

    _Man._                     From prison?

    _Pal._                                  Escaped, thank God!
    I skirmished with my guards, and being pursued
    Came thro’ your orange garden. Here none will seek me.           320
    Hide me!

    _Man._   Thee, madman, here?

    _Pal._                       Ay, call me madman.
    I am mad, and praise God for it ... if to hate tyrants
    Be madness, I’m past cure: or if ’tis madness
    To escape from prison ...

    _Man._                    Nay, neither. I blamed thee not
    In these; but that thou thinkest to overbear
    The troops of Spain with thy small brigand crew:
    To escape from justice flying to my house,—
    The chief justiciary.

    _Pal._                What will you do?

    _Man._ Return thee straight to prison.

    _Pal._                                 First, I beseech you,
    Help me to bind my wound.

    _Man._                    Art thou much hurt?                    330

    _Pal._ A thrust in the arm, a petty prick, which yet
    Bleeds uncontrolledly.

    _Man._                 Undo it. It spurts.
    Hold here thy hand, while with thy handkerchief
    I bind thy arm.

    _Pal._          Look you, ’tis lower down.

    _Man._ Peace, man! ’Twill stay the blood to bind thee here.
    Hast thou no other hurt?

    _Pal._                   Nay, none but this.
    And see, ’tis staunched already. I must thank you,
    Tho’ here your help should end. Call in the hirelings;
    They’ll not be far. I will go back with them.
    And yet ’twere pity; for ’tis certain death:                     340
    I have killed three of them. Manuel, I pray you—
    I pray you, Manuel, crush not all my hopes,
    My just cause. Give me a sword and a man’s dress,
    And let me forth to try my fortune!

    _Man._                              Nay.

    _Pal._ Then if I take my dagger and venture out ...

                                                            [_Takes it._

    I’ll yet escape. Deny me not this chance.
    See, I’ll not ask your leave, but only go.                  _Going._

    _Man._ Giovanni, stay. Thou hast done me a great wrong
    In flying here. Why didst thou choose my house?

    _Pal._ ’Twas as I fled for life: the hue-and-cry                 350
    Came gathering faster round me: being still clear,
    And seeing your wall, it seemed my safety lay
    In that leap, could I make it.

    _Man._                         Thou’rt the last,
    And only offspring of a noble stock.
    The blood that I have staunched in thy veins,
    Sprang from the heart of Sicily, and flows
    Redder than mine, tho’ mine too once was mixed,
    And not unworthily, with thine, and now
    From my great grandsire’s marriage both our bloods
    Are even as one, and thy blood on my hands                       360
    Is mine, and mine within my veins is thine.
    I cannot send thee to thy death, Giovanni;
    I may not shelter thee from justice: See,
    Thou hast done me a grievous wrong.

    _Pal._                              Yet hide me awhile.
    This house may be my prison.

    _Man._                       Thou hast this hope:
    The king being dead ...

    _Pal._                  Is’t true that Pedro is dead?

    _Man._ Ay, true enough.

    _Pal._                  Then are you free. I am safe.

                                           [_Puts dagger in his bosom._

    _Man._ I say this is thy hope. The king being dead,
    Such offices as hold under the crown                             370
    Need confirmation. Now I do not say
    Allegiance lapses; but, if I be quick
    To guess the new king’s will, that he will change
    Our viceroy—which I doubt not,—I may be bold
    Now to withhold my duties from a servant
    Discredited, contending that they hang
    Upon my judgment, for my deeds to give
    After-account. See, ’tis a subtle point
    I strain for thee, rather than hurt the claim
    Of kinship. Thou shalt be my prisoner                            380
    For these few days. By chance I have a room
    Fit for thy lodging: there I’ll shew thee now,
    And thence thou must not stir. I’ll bring thee food,
    Look to thy wants, and try to cure thy wound.
    Thou on thy part must lie as still as one
    That hushes for his life. What, man; thou’rt faint
    For loss of blood, and strain? Cannot you stand?
    Stand up, or I must carry you. Indeed,
    Carry him I must ... see, now, where be my keys?

                                             [_Going, carrying Palicio._

                               ACT · II

                               SCENE · 1

           _Hall in Manuel’s house. MARGARET and CONSTANCE._


    Sweet, happy Constance, tell me why thou sighest.                390
    What can’st thou lack?


                           I am not very happy.

    _Mar._ Not happy, thou? Woe for the world! I thought
    Love was God’s perfect recipe, to drowse
    All mortal stings. Yet sainted marriage hath
    One threat—the loss of liberty: is’t that?
    It well may fright. To have been a girl with me
    So long, and make at last the outrageous stroke,
    And live as do our aunts! Were’t not my brother,
    I’d kill the man.

    _Con._            Margaret!

    _Mar._                      Well mayst thou sigh:
    I can sigh for thee.

    _Con._               I should love to hear thee.                 400
    Thou owest me sighs, for mine were thoughts of thee.

    _Mar._ Because I love not? Hast thou forgot already
    Life may be tolerable for a woman
    Without thy joy?

    _Con._           You treat poor Livio
    Unkindly, Margaret.

    _Mar._              Now, if that’s the grief,
    We have threshed it out before.

    _Con._                          I shall not spare you,
    Till you are kinder.

    _Mar._               Yet if I were kinder,
    And he should build a hope upon that kindness,
    Until it proved unkinder than unkindness?

    _Con._ He loves you well.

    _Mar._                    No better than the others;
    Than Ventimiglia loves, or Chiaramonte,                          411
    Good Michael Rosso, or the impudent Blasco,
    Or my new courtier Ferdinand.

    _Con._                        He loves
    With all his heart. Life is as tedious to him
    As to the dark and dusty wheel, which jerks
    Behind the dial-face, until he see you;
    When for his joy you give him but disdain.

    _Mar._ Thou didst not tell him thou wouldst speak for him?

    _Con._ Why not?

    _Mar._          Now I, Constance, have something fresh:
    A mystery.

    _Con._     A mystery?

    _Mar._                Yes, a mystery.                            420
    Guess what it is.

    _Con._            How should I guess?

    _Mar._                                Indeed,
    Guessing would never wind it.

    _Con._                        Then, prithee, tell me.

    _Mar._ I died to tell thee ere thou camest, and now
    I grudge it sadly. Yet, for the fresh mount
    ’Twill give thy thoughts, I’ll tell. ’Twas yesternight,
    Just on the stroke of one ...

    _Con._                        ’Tis not a ghost?

    _Mar._ If after all ’twere but a ghost!

    _Con._                                  Come, tell me.

    _Mar._ Thou wilt not breathe a word?

    _Con._                               No, not a word.

    _Mar._ Thou know’st the casement of my bedroom looks
    Across the court. There as I stood last night,                   430
    Watching the moon awhile, ere I shut out
    The sleepless splendour from my dreams, I heard
    A heavy step pass down the gallery.
    ’Tis Manuel, I thought, who goes to lie
    In the little chamber at the back,—for Philip
    Had his;—but, for some strangeness in the step
    Pricked my attention, and to content my thought,
    I lent my ear to the sound, until it reached
    The door at the end: there, standing by the window
    I saw him plain: ’twas he, but in his arms                       440
    A woman, fainting as I thought, or dead.
    Her arms hung loose, and o’er his shoulder thrown
    Her head fell back.

    _Con._              A woman! art thou sure?

    _Mar._ He could not carry a ghost. Besides, this morning
    I watched him: he took thither meat and drink,
    And locked the door, and strictly bade the servants
    They should not enter.

    _Con._                 Hast thou questioned him?

    _Mar._ I have not so much as let him speak with me.
    He might forbid me: and, O my curiosity,
    I must know more.

    _Con._            What dost thou think to learn?                 450

    _Mar._ I have neither guess nor hope; I lay awake
    An hour, and thought of fifty things, not one
    Of any likelihood. In all romance
    No lady in distress ere came at midnight
    To the house of the chief justice. I could wish
    This beauteous maiden were a young princess
    Fled o’er the seas disguised.

    _Con._                        Then thou couldst see
    What she was like.

    _Mar._             Why, no,—how could I see?
    I only saw that she was dark.

    _Con._                        Thou saidst
    That she was beautiful.

    _Mar._                  Of course she is young                   460
    And beautiful. Why,—you are not jealous, Constance?

    _Con._ Not jealous, no.

    _Mar._                  And the only pity of it
    Is that she’ll prove in the end a poor relation
    Fall’n to our care, or some more hapless girl
    Left on the doorstep dying.

    _Con._                      In such case,
    What were the need of secrecy?

    _Mar._                         I wish
    I had never told thee aught. Why shouldst thou fancy

    _Con._           What is impossible?

    _Mar._ I fear now that the sight of thy old love,
    Philip the false, hath turned thy happier trust.                 470
    Thou’rt changed.

    _Con._           Nay, nay: I am not: and yet ’tis true
    His coming is my trouble.                                   [_Weeps._

    _Mar._                    Forgive me, sweetest.

    _Con._ Margaret, you know I have none at all but you
    To unfold my heart to: only you can tell
    What I must feel at his return: you know
    How far I loved, how much I was deceived.
    His oaths of faith you heard from me, and shared
    The joy of my delusion: and at last,
    When he deserted me, you made your heart
    The prison of my sorrows: you exhorted,—                         480
    O, you advised me well,—Be sure, you said,
    Love that so breaks cannot be trusted more.
    You bade me cast it off like an ill dream.
    You found what life he led: how he profaned
    His honourable passion in the play
    Of errant gallantries. All that sad time
    I leaned on you, and ’twas your friendship gave
    The occasions whence my love with Manuel sprung.
    You led me still, you gave me confidence;
    Your comfort turned to joy, Manuel was mine.                     490
    When suddenly on some mysterious cause
    He holds aloof: my joy is bid await.
    O, Margaret, if you understood love’s joy,
    How closely ’tis inwoven with fear to lose,
    You would not wonder that I tremble, seeing
    This shadow blot my sunshine, that my fear
    Discolours every circumstance. To me
    The common course of things on which men count
    Is the only miracle, all chances else
    As they are feared are likely. O, do not blame me.
    Philip is like an evil spirit beside me                          501
    That stands to smile on what I dread to think.

    _Mar._ Philip being false can give no cause to doubt
    Of Manuel’s faith.

    _Con._             I doubt him not: and yet
    If I speak of my brother you only laugh,
    But if you speak of yours ...

    _Mar._                        Round, round again.
    Betwixt our brothers grant some difference.
    Thy Livio is a boy of slender parts,
    Led by his passions. Manuel is a man
    Austere and stern; he is above suspicion.                        510

    _Con._ I do not doubt his truth, but find such sternness
    Unkind to love. My brother’s love for you
    Is simple: Manuel’s love hath some reserve;
    A veil, behind which, since I have never seen,
    I have dreamed or feared a terror lay: ofttimes
    When I have been with him, a pleasant hour
    Has ended suddenly, as if his spirit
    Was angered, and withdrew: then in his eyes
    Is nothing left but barren contemplation,
    To which I am an object as another;                              520
    Until he sighs, as conscious of the change.
    The disappointment of our marriage brings
    Scarce a regret to him: I heard him speak
    Late to my father of it, as ’twere a thing
    He held indifferently. There is some secret
    Which I would know: maybe this is a clue.

    _Mar._ What is the clue?

    _Con._                   This lady.

    _Mar._                              O, thou’rt sick.
    But I can cure thee, wilt thou do my bidding.

    _Con._ What would you bid?

    _Mar._                     Give rein to jealousy,
    Ay, spur it on to falling. Fear the worst,                       530
    Believe the worst. Thou shalt suspect my brother;
    He trifles, loves this lady: choose your tale:
    Thou wilt not doubt again.

    _Con._                     I do not doubt him.
    Nay, I will bid him tell me all.

    _Mar._                           And so
    Betray thy doubt to him. Be wiser, madam!
    Look to thy cure: indulge thy jealousy:
    To which end I encourage it. Indeed,
    I am come to think there’s cause, and thy suspicion
    Hath much enhanced my mystery. Go thou home:
    There make thyself unhappy. I meanwhile                          540
    Will root this out, and since I am housekeeper
    I can go where I will.

    _Con._                 I pray thee, Margaret ...

    _Mar._ I must be jealous where my brother is wronged.
    Thou art the accuser, and the evidence
    Tells now for thee: ’tis my part to acquit us.
    Hinder me not.

    _Con._         When wilt thou know?

    _Mar._                              Maybe
    ’Tis as thou fearest.

    _Con._                Wilt thou mock me so?

    _Mar._ I bid thee go. Be sure I’ll come to thee,
    Or send thee word.

    _Con._             But when?

    _Mar._                       I make no promise.
    I cannot pity thee, and till thou goest                          550
    I can do nothing.

    _Con._            Promise me to send.

    _Mar._ I have promised that. Farewell!

    _Con._                                 To-day?

    _Mar._                                         To-day.
    Trust me, I go at once.                                   [_Exeunt._

                                SCENE 2

                  _Room in the Palace. Enter BLASCO._


      I have sucked this Ferdinand. Duke Philip bears
    Secret despatches sealed, not to be broken
    Save on emergency; from which I gather
    That if emergency arise, this Philip
    Will be our viceroy. Palicio being escaped
    Must make the emergency.—Then, where am I?
    Packed off to Spain with Hugo’s broken service,                  560
    To answer his impeachment. ’Tis high time
    I cast by these old friends, such as they are,
    And turn my face to the rising sun, this Philip.
    I see the way too. Manuel’s love for Constance
    Hath roused again his former love for her
    To a burning jealousy; if I feed that
    I win his ear, and make my foe his foe.
    As for Palicio, should he hold back
    I have a way with him, and can contrive
    He shall seize Hugo, or himself be seized,                       570
    As may suit best. The mischief set on foot,
    Philip must break his seals; and I come in
    With him as friendly to the people’s rights,
    And trusted servant of the crown. By heav’n,
    I shall deserve their credit. See, here he comes.

                            _Enter Philip._

    Good morrow to your grace.


                               Good morrow, Blasco.

    _Bl._ I served thy father well.

    _Ph._                           I know it, Blasco.
    What of it now?

    _Bl._           I do not urge my service
    Looking for recompense; I do not ask
    So much as that your grace remember me                           580
    At court, to mention my forgotten name
    In the new king’s ear; as, When I was in Sicily
    I saw old Blasco; nay, ’twas for good-will
    I served, and now ’tis that I want a master
    Which bids me speak. If but your grace could find me
    Employment worth my wits, I would serve well.

    _Ph._ I’ll think of it.

    _Bl._                   Let your grace know my life
    Spent in this court should make my loyalty
    More than a counsellor. In this rebellion
    I know where Hugo fails, where Manuel leans;                     590
    Could blow upon the flame or snuff it out,
    Could bring you to the leaders.

    _Ph._                           Honest Blasco,
    Thou know’st the world.

    _Bl._                   I know that one who comes
    To make peace in a quarrel that he knows not,
    Needs other knowledge than he is like to get
    From either party. The strings of policy
    Are coiled in private chambers; if your grace
    Would pull at these ...

    _Ph._                   True. If thou serve me thus
    I’ll take instruction.

    _Bl._                  Let your grace now prove me
    In any question.

    _Ph._            This, then. We in Spain                         600
    Supposed that your revolt stood on two legs,
    Over-taxation and the hate of Hugo;
    And had its claim for justice countenanced
    By Manuel’s voice: but coming here, I find
    That he and Hugo’s daughter are betrothed.
    Now here’s a private matter, which, I take it,
    Involves the public. Say, doth Manuel play
    His policy on Hugo, or hath Hugo
    Trumped up a match with Manuel to support
    His failing credit?

    _Bl._               They are not betrothed, your grace.
    What passes between lovers is unknown:                           611
    But this is sure, Hugo withholds consent,
    And doth so to win Manuel to his side.

    _Ph._ Doth not that win him?

    _Bl._                        Nay.

    _Ph._                             Then I conclude
    He loves not.

    _Bl._         Nay, indeed; it gives me pain
    To witness his indifference; for the lady
    Deserves the best.

    _Ph._              Stay, count. Remember
    In what has passed that word may well blame me.

    _Bl._ I hearken not to idle tales. Your grace
    May be punctilious; but in Manuel’s instance                     620
    There’s no excuse.

    _Ph._              I care not what men say.
    And now it hurts me more to hear thee blame
    Another for the fault I stumbled in,
    Than if ’twas said of me. I need thy knowledge.
    Look, thou canst serve me; and I let none serve
    For nothing. Take my purse (_gives it_); thou mayst have need
    To spend so much for me.

    _Bl._                    I thank your grace.
    I shun no obligation, and I am poor.

    _Ph._ True, all men are so. Come now to my chamber,
    Where we may talk in private.

    _Bl._ (_aside_).              ’Tis well begun.                   630


                               SCENE · 3

     _A room in Manuel’s house. PALICIO reclining on a long chair
      half-dressed. Daylight nearly excluded: one candle burns._


      I seem to have lived a life in these few days;
    To have died, and waked in no less strange a place,
    Than where I think departed spirits will fly
    In doom of death and unendurable silence
    After their day of doing. Oh! ’tis strange
    What just the shedding a few drops of blood
    Will bring about—to loosen a handkerchief,
    And on her undiscoverable journey
    The soul sets forth. Nay, but to bleed so far
    As I have done, breeds fancies much akin                         640
    To death; else would my spirit more revolt
    ’Gainst this enforcèd quiet and idleness:
    This blocking of my life just on the stir
    And hurry of hope, when all my operations
    Pressed to success. I am surely very weak,
    That I can lie and fret not, when I hear
    The distant cries, passing from street to street,
    Which tell how prompt and ripe my people were
    For this their lost occasion. (_Knocking heard._) Some one knocks.
    Nay, the key turns. ’Tis Manuel.

    _MARGARET_ (_at door_).

                                     May I come in?                  650

    _Pal._ (_aside_). Ah! who is this? Who’s there?

                                                   [_Covering himself._

    _Mar._ (_entering_).                            ’Tis only I,
    Manuël’s sister. I have come to see
    If I can do you any service, lady.

    _Pal._ He did not send you?

    _Mar._                      Nay, but I may hope
    I shall not seem to intrude, thus waiting on you.

    _Pal._ (_aside_). What’s to be done?

    _Mar._                         The room is dark. I fear you are ill.

    _Pal._ I am hurt and must not stir.

    _Mar._                              Then lying here
    In pain you must want help and company.
    ’Tis well I came. May I draw back the curtains?

    _Pal._ Nay, there was reason, madam, why your brother            660
    Shut door and window: I have enemies.

    _Mar._ Alas, alas!
    I can shew equal care. First to relock the door.
    (_Aside, going to door._) She is a lady.

    _Pal._ (_aside_).                             ’Tis the famous Margaret.

    _Mar._ Now let me light these candles.

                                                    [_Stage brightens._

    _Pal._ (_aside_). Surely in God’s paradise, that rest of souls,
    His angels and pure spirits look and speak
    And move like this. O wonder! Wherefore comes she?
    And how to keep her but a moment longer
    From the discovery? and how to tell her?                         670

    _Mar._ Now while I sit.                  [_Finds gown on the chair._
                            ... Why, oh! ’tis drenched with blood,
    Your gown. Are you so hurt?

    _Pal._                      A sword-thrust, lady.

    _Mar._ A sword-thrust. Ah!

    _Pal._                     Thou earnest unadvised,
    Lady: I wore the gown; if that deceived thee.
    Yet ’twas but a disguise to save my life.
    I am Palicio.

    _Mar._        Sir!

    _Pal._             Escaped from prison
    And my pursuers hither. Thy brother’s kindness
    Hides me from death awhile.

    _Mar._                      I pray thy pardon.
    ’Twas not mere idle curiosity
    That made my fault; but made I’ll mend it, sir,                  680
    As soon as may be.                                         [_Going._

    _Pal._ (_springing up_). Stay, nay, put down that key.
    I bid thee stay. Thou hast forced my secret. Hear
    The whole, and when thou hast heard I shall not fear
    The unlocking of thy lips.

    _Mar._                     Why, sir, the thing
    My brother means to hide is hidden to me.

    _Pal._ ’Tis not alone my life ...

    _Mar._ Ah! see the blood is trickling down thy hand!

    _Pal._ Pest! it hath started freshly.

    _Mar._                                Cannot I help thee?

    _Pal._ Ay, ’tis the bandage on this arm.

    _Mar._                                   To tie it?

    _Pal._ My moving hath displaced it.

    _Mar._                              See, alas!                   690
    The ill I have done. Sit, I will bind it for thee.

    _Pal._ Myself I cannot.

    _Mar._                  Nay. Tell thou me how.

    _Pal._ Here, round this pad. As tightly as thou wilt.
    Nay, tighter yet.

    _Mar._            Shall I not harm thee?

    _Pal._                                   Tighter.

    _Mar._ I cannot pull it tighter.

    _Pal._                           Knot it so.
    ’Twill do: the blood hath ceased.

    _Mar._                            Oh, I am glad.
    Do not thou stir: see, now, to wash thine arm,
    I’ll bring thee water.                               [_Goes for it._

    _Pal._ (_aside_).      By heaven, where have I lived,
    Like a wild beast beneath the open skies,
    In dens and caves, and never known the taste                     700
    Of this soft ravishment? The rich of the earth
    Are right: their bars and bolts are wisely wrought,
    Having such treasure in their closed chambers.

    _Mar._ Here ’tis. Reach forth thine arm.

    _Pal._                                   Nay, give’t to me.
    Stain not thy hands.

    _Mar._               I pray thee.

    _Pal._                            As thou wilt.

    _Mar._ How did it happen?

    _Pal._                    Wouldst thou hear it?

    _Mar._                                          Tell me.

    _Pal._ I had been two days in prison ...

    _Mar._                                   Tell me, first,
    How could they catch thee?

    _Pal._                     Treachery: I was taken
    By Hugo’s soldiers as I knelt at mass.
    Three stole behind me, seized me by the arms,                    710
    And dragged me forth. I knew I was betrayed;
    I had entered but that morning in the town;
    I was not known to them, nor did the hirelings
    Look on my face. They led me straight to prison,
    Thrust me in a cell so dank and dark and small,
    That to be built alive into the grave
    Were not more horrible.

    _Mar._                  Hugo would have killed thee.

    _Pal._ Or let me starve; or else some gentle mercy;
    Gouged my live eyeballs out, or lopped my hands.

    _Mar._ How couldst thou ’scape?

    _Pal._                          Now thou wilt see our people
    Have their account. The second night my gaoler                   721
    Brought in a woman with a deed to sign.
    I knew my hope, and to her feigned reproach
    Answered in anger back: but when she bade
    I took the deed, and felt beneath the paper
    A dagger’s edge. That was my key to heaven,
    Could I strike silently. To make occasion,
    I thrust her from me with an oath: she fell,
    As well she knew, against the foe, who stooping,
    Stooped to his death and fell without a groan.                   730
    Then quick she doffed her gown for my disguise,
    Telling me in few words how this was planned
    By friends who had seen me taken: they had not means
    For present rescue, but discovering soon
    Who had betrayed me, used his cursed name
    With the governour of the prison, to admit
    Her, his pretended wife, that she might claim
    Settlement of some debt before I died.
    So was it paid. Then we went forth together,
    I in her woman’s garments, following her,                        740
    Who wore the habit of the soldier slain:
    And she went clear: but I, for some suspicion
    Was questioned at the gate. Of those two men,
    One I slew straight: the other, as I struck,
    Thrust thro’ my arm, yet not so hurtfully
    But that he fell for it too. But thence alarm
    Was given: I fled pursued, and gat me clear,
    Leaping your garden wall.

    _Mar._                    Who was the woman?

    _Pal._ One of our people.

    _Mar._                    May her name be told?

    _Pal._ I never heard it.

    _Mar._                   Yet she knew thee well.                 750
    I had been proud to have done her deed. I think
    There are not many men as brave as she.

    _Pal._ O, lady, there are many, women and men,
    Sworn to risk life in our good cause.

    _Mar._                                Alas,
    That such fine courage should be so misled!

    _Pal._ Misled? how, if I lead it?

    _Mar._                            I had forgot.
    Pardon me, sir. It was my brother’s word.

    _Pal._ Ay, ’tis his word. And yet I honour Manuel.
    Were’t not for him there scarce would be a man
    Of all our people who would reverence                            760
    Justice and order, and those other names
    Of social welfare. ’Tis to him alone
    We have looked to give us these. But if he stand
    Where he can take our tyrants by the arm
    And show them baits of righteousness, and lead them
    Where they should go, shall we who lie beneath
    Forbear to sting the laggard heel of justice,
    Or think it crime to obstruct the path of wrong?
    I blame not him that from his higher place
    He finds offence in outcry and disorder:                         770
    To such as without loss or shame outride
    The storms of shifting fortune this is easy.

    _Mar._ What dost thou but exasperate ill-will?

    _Pal._ Already our bread has been untaxed two days.

    _Mar._ And may be two days more.

    _Pal._                           I have better hope,
    Or had: for if I had once provoked the Spaniard
    To set his troops against us, all the nobles,
    Who now retired hold neutral parliament,
    Would then have joined the people, and compelled
    The justice of our claim by force of arms.                       780

    _Mar._ All, say’st thou?

    _Pal._                   All save one or two, who are bought
    With Hugo’s money.

    _Mar._             Say’st thou bought?

    _Pal._                                 O lady,
    Unto their great dishonour they are bought,
    With sweated pence wrung from the labourer,
    Ere he can buy a loaf to feed his children
    Out of the corn his hands have sown and reaped.
    Is not this shame?

    _Mar._             ’Tis shame.

    _Pal._                         And shall Palicio
    See this thing done, because he hath not office,
    Or those few paltry florins, which might turn
    The scale for poor Sicilians?

    _Mar._                        Ah, indeed,                        790
    I knew, I felt that thou wert right; and now
    I see it: I never blamed thee.

    _Pal._                         No, nor Manuel
    Blames me at heart, tho’ he forbid my means.
    Think, had I kept my old estate, and he
    Had fallen as I, should I not do as he,
    And he as I am doing?

    _Mar._                Oh, I think
    ’Tis nobler to be poor. To share the suffering
    Of them we pity ranks above redress.
    I am come to envy thee.

    _Pal._                  And certain it is,
    They who have least to lose will venture most.                   800

    _Mar._ Yet those that have can give. What’s the best hope
    Of this rebellion?

    _Pal._             We would make thy brother
    Viceroy in place of Hugo.

    _Mar._                    Will that be?

    _Pal._ Here I know nothing, save that nought is done.

    _Mar._ Is there no leader then but thee?

    _Pal._                                   The people
    Are limbs without a head.

    _Mar._                    When will thy wound
    Be healed?

    _Pal._ Thy brother says that any surgeon
    Could mend it quickly, but that his own skill,
    Which knows the injury, was never practised
    To find out and to bind the wounded vessel,                      810
    Which, being unhelped of art, may run to death.

    _Mar._ To death! And hath he sent no surgeon?

    _Pal._                                        Nay,
    That were the greater risk for him and me.

    _Mar._ Not so, if he could cure thee. I shall bring one.  [_As going._

    _Pal._ It cannot be.

    _Mar._               Thou mayst believe there’s none
    In all Palermo but myself could do it:
    Yet can I do it.

    _Pal._           Speak with Manuel first.

    _Mar._ Oh! I shall tell him all. He will consent.
    ’Tis well I came. No surgeon for thee! Ah!
    I go.

    _Pal._ Thou wilt return?

    _Mar._                   Be sure, be sure.                       820
    And with the leech.                                         [_Exit._

    _Pal._              She is gone.

    [_Scene shuts across._

                               SCENE · 4

           _In Manuel’s house. MARGARET and MANUEL meeting._


      Brother, what wilt thou say? Wilt thou forgive me?
    Hear me confess.


                     What now, my mischief-maker?

    _Mar._ I have seen Palicio.

    _Man._                      Hey! ’twas thy evil genius
    Led thee that way.

    _Mar._             I thinking him a woman,
    Offered some service: whereupon he told me
    Who he was, all his story, and of his wound.

    _Man._ I am sorry; I should have warned thee, for the knowledge
    Makes thee so far accomplice; and I know not
    How ’twill be taken when ’tis known.

    _Mar._                               O, brother,                 830
    Thou hast done nobly.

    _Man._                I will tell to thee
    My motives.

    _Mar._      Nay, I need no motives.

    _Man._                              Hear them.
    Palicio’s life is forfeit, for he has killed
    Three of his guards: but to the dangerous deed
    He had provocation, such as I should hold
    Clears him of crime: wherefore I take upon me
    To force a loan of Justice while she sleeps,
    For fear a thief should rob her: to this, moreover,
    The claim of kinship binds me,—nay, be patient,
    And hear me out.—Already our disorders                           840
    Have been reported at the Spanish court;
    The enquiry set on foot will much endamage
    Hugo’s good name: I doubt not we shall have
    Another viceroy, and the revolution
    Will justify the movers.

    _Mar._                   Oh! all that,
    Be as it may, will never cure his wound.
    He needs a surgeon: we must find a surgeon.

    _Man._ No: he must lie concealed till I procure
    His pardon. His discovery now were death.

    _Mar._ But if I bring one secretly?

    _Man._                              How secretly?                850
    Better cry down the streets the man is here:
    That might escape attention.

    _Mar._                       I know a man.
    Have I not sometimes shewn thee certain sonnets
    Writ in Sicilian speech?

    _Man._                   Eh! Michael Rosso?

    _Mar._ ’Tis he. I think he’d love to do my bidding
    In a more dangerous matter. Give me leave,
    I’ll bring him here to-night.

    _Man._                        I had thought of him,
    But shrank from taxing his good-will. And yet—
    (_Aside._) For his own sake ’twere kind ... and Margaret asks it ...
    Secrets, they say, discover sympathies.—                         860
    (_Aloud._) Ay, ’tis well thought of.

    _Mar._                               I can answer for him.

    _Man._ I see. Yet there’s no cause why he should know.
    Escort him blindfold hither; let Palicio
    Have his face covered. Let him ask no questions:
    And when ’tis done convey him blindfold back.
    ’Twere best he should not know.

    _Mar._                          O, brother, I thank thee.

    _Man._ Why, girl, thou’rt crazed.

    _Mar._                            May I not go at once?

    _Man._ Nay, wait till dusk; and see, take here my seal,
    Since thou must go alone: ’twill be thy freedom
    From any questionings of any people.                             870
    Use all precautions, and impose on Rosso
    Sacredest secrecy: ’tis thou and he
    Must carry it thro’. Be careful.

    _Mar._                           I will put on
    Some common clothing, and disguise my face.
    I thank thee.                                              [_Exit._

    _Man._        The girl’s in love. Now, bravo Rosso!
    I wish thee well. There’s not a purer spirit
    Fleshed in all Sicily; nay, nor a man
    I’d sooner call brother. Why, ’twas my choice,
    Long urged in vain. That chanceth in an hour
    Which comes not in nine years. ’Tis very true,                   880
    Fancy resents all judgment, and another’s
    Will often kill it quite. Now, when I looked
    Rather for anything than my own wish,—heigh-ho!
    ’Tis I that stand in the way. I must discourage it.

                 _Enter Philip_ (_with some papers_).

    Ah, Philip.


                Let me give you back the papers.
    I have read them.

    _Man._            Well?

    _Ph._                   The viceroy’s guilt is plain.
    Your purpose cannot be to press this count.

    _Man._ If the complaints, which I have already made,
    Be quashed at court, I shall.

    _Ph._                         ’Tis peculation
    So gross, ’twould ruin Hugo to expose it.                        890
    Wished you to break with him,—yet his disgrace
    Cannot be nothing to you: I should marvel
    You had no associations, no affections,
    Shocked at the thought.

    _Man._                  To interests manifold
    As manifest, Justice is blind. If Spain
    Remove not Hugo on the charges laid,
    I have shewn thee what’s to follow. Would you avert it,
    Press his dismissal. I must to the palace.
    Guard thou the papers for me till I am back.                [_Exit._

    _Ph._ These papers are conviction. Blasco is right:
    He loves not. That is clear; for he would ruin                   901
    Her father. Then again my rivalry
    Avowed,—ay, if he had an ear, avowed,—
    He doth not see. So cold, how could he win her?
    Or wish to win her? She is mine.—And yet I would
    ’Twere any man but Manuel. Ah! who comes?
    ’Tis she. Now may I prove her.

                    _Enter Constance with Servant._

    _CONSTANCE_ (_to servt._).

      If she be not within, prithee enquire
    Where she is gone. I will await thee here.                       909

                                                         [_Exit servt._

    I have been most foolish. (_Seeing Philip._) Philip!

    _Ph._                                                Yes, ’tis I.

    _Con._     What wouldst thou?

    _Ph._ (_kneeling_).           I entreat a favour,
    Which is to me the one boon in the world.

    _Con._ Rise, sir, what is’t?

    _Ph._                        That I may speak, nor leave
    Love’s wound unhealed.

    _Con._                 ’Twere well to seal forgiveness,
    Companion of forgetfulness. Say, therefore.
    The few words that are due.

    _Ph._                       Tho’ I repent,
    Repentance cannot own forgetfulness.
    It pleads forgiveness in the name of love.

    _Con._ How in that name?

    _Ph._ Constance, I love thee still.

    _Con._                              Sir!

    _Ph._                                    Oh! ’tis true ...       920
    Reproach me not, Constance: my evil life
    I have quite renounced. I used it but to learn
    The wisdom of that other. I come back
    From folly and idleness and evil days.
    Whate’er hath been, Constance, I have not left thee:
    There hath been nothing near thee, nothing like thee,
    Nothing but thee: and I return to find thee
    More beautiful than ever ...

    _Con._                       Pray you, sir,

    _Ph._     Let me speak.

    _Con._                  When thou didst ask to speak,
    I looked for that one word, which thou in honour
    Wert, to amend thy silence, bound to speak.                      931
    ’Twas in thy power to salve thy breach of faith
    With full and free renouncement. Thine earlier ill
    I had then forgiven: for if thou art not changed,
    Philip, I am: then I was ignorant—
    Maybe we both were—both mistook; but thou
    Didst add an injury, and to-day thou addest
    Another worse. Knowing me now betrothed,
    How canst thou offer to renew thy love?

    _Ph._ O, Constance, Manuel doth not, cannot, love thee           940
    As I.

    _Con._ I pray he doth not.

    _Ph._                      Hear me, Constance!

    _Con._ Nay, sir; no more.                                   [_Exit._

    _Ph._                     My passion hath aroused
    Passion in her; and that must work for me.
    Is it likely such a temper would sit down
    And eat cold fare at Manuel’s feast of reason?
    She will be mine. Ay, tho’ she said betrothed—
    Once ’twas to me. So now to see her father;
    He’s but a market where I rule with ease.
    The papers! By heav’n, I had left them lying!            [_Stoops._
    Blood! blood upon the floor! I have knelt in blood—
    Here were an omen, were I superstitious.—                        951
    And scarcely dry. This city hath fallen accurst.
    There is nothing spoke of ... Ah! but what if this
    Should be the track they seek? Palicio
    Took shelter here! Impossible. Even Blasco
    Thought not so ill of Manuel. Yet the other
    Under the wall, and this within the house ...
    They tally. Peace! I will go search the garden.


                               SCENE · 5

        _Room in Manuel’s house. PALICIO as before (sitting)._


      To stand true to a cause because ’tis noble,
    Tho’ it be thankless; to command a people                        960
    Against a tyranny, and teach their arms
    To enforce the reasonable rights of life,
    Beneath the crushing bond of wealth and power;—
    To be an outcast, but to leave a name
    Untarnished and beloved, remembered long;—
    That was my choice, my hope. Can I now waver?
    Shall I—having so well begun—
    Step up into a throne above the throng,
    And smiling on them from the hated height,
    Take life at ease? Nay, when ’tis reasoned so,                   970
    ’Tis hideous.—But, oh! thou treacherous enemy,
    Thou selfish and unanswerable passion,
    That bluntest resolution, and criest down
    The voice of virtue! Margaret, Margaret!
    Would I had never seen thee, or believed
    I could not win thee. If I now could fly,
    I might go free.

 _Squarcialupu, who has appeared at the window, gradually thrusting his
 head between the curtains, and peering round, enters._


    _Sq._            Captain!
    _Pal._                    Ha! Squarcialupu!
    Why, what! how com’st thou here? what dost thou?

    _Sq._                                            Hush!

    _Pal._ Begone, I pray.

    _Sq._                  Nay, now I have found thee, captain.
    Thine arm is it only?

    _Pal._                A prick in the arm.

    _Sq._                                     So, so!                980
    Then thou canst come.

    _Pal._                Tell me, how didst thou learn
    That I was here?

    _Sq._            We guessed it from thy track.

    _Pal._ O, God! I’m tracked?

    _Sq._                       Thy blood is on the wall.
    I undertook to tell thee. In the dusk
    I scaled this window at the back of the house:
    Had my old luck, captain. Make haste and fly.

    _Pal._ Stay, stay! I cannot. Is it known to any
    I am hiding here?

    _Sq._             What use to stay for that?
    Come ere they know it.

    _Pal._                 I cannot.

    _Sq._                            I can help thee.                990

    _Pal._ Nay, ’tis not that, altho’ I am bled to death.
    ’Tis honour holds me.

    _Sq._                 Honour will not help
    Manuel nor thee, if they should search his house.
    But if thou fliest ...

    _Pal._                 I may not.

    _Sq._                             That’s no word
    Where life’s at stake. What shall I tell thy men?

    _Pal._ Where are they?

    _Sq._                  At the news of thy escape
    They gathered on the hills, and wait thee there.
    I met a man in the town an hour ago,
    Who said he had seen thee riding on the road
    To Monreale. All the folk’s astir.                              1000

    _Pal._ I cannot come.

    _Sq._                 Give me not such a word.
    Who would believe I had seen thee, if I said
    Palicio lieth safe in Manuel’s house,
    And saith he cannot come?

    _Pal._                    Begone, I bid thee,
    Lest thou be found here.

    _Sq._                    Nay, I’ll not be gone.
    ’Tis but some twenty feet: I’ll lift thee down.
    The street is watched.

    _Pal._                 Hark, Squarcialupu, tell me;
    Is’t true I’m tracked?

    _Sq._                  ’Tis certain.

    _Pal._                               Then I think
    If Manuel knew of this ... Hark, I will come.
    Go thou and tell my men that I will come.                       1010
    To-morrow morning let them look to find me
    At Monreale. If I come not then
    Let none look for me more. But if I come
    All shall be well. Go thou and tell them this.

    _Sq._ Come, captain, while thou mayst.

    _Pal._                                 I bid thee go.
    Obey me at once.

    _Sq._ (_whistles at window and is answered_). I have thy promise.
    To-morrow we shall see thee.                                [_Exit._

    _Pal._                       But for this cursed wound
    I had fled. To cure it must I risk my soul?
    Fool that I was, had I escaped with him                         1019
    I might have found a surgeon—now when she comes
    I will say nothing. Nothing ... yet, that’s no hope;
    For seeing her I must love her: and if I fail
    To win her wholly, I must lose my soul
    She is here. (_Aside._) Ah! what is this?

                _Enter Margaret, with Rosso blindfold._

    _MARGARET_ (_to Rosso_).

      You now are in the room. Stand in your place.
    While I make ready. (_To Pal._) Let me wrap this cloth
    About thy face. Lie ever still, and speak not.
    (_To Rosso._) Your eyes, sir, are at liberty.

    _ROSSO_ (_unbandaging_).

                                                  Coming hither,
    I thought ’twould make a pretty poem to tell
    Of one, whose cruel mistress ne’er allowed                      1030
    The meanest favour, till he dreamed one night
    That he was blind, and she, in pity of him,
    Led him forth by the hand where he would go,
    But left him suddenly; whereat he awoke,
    And wished no more to see ...

    _Mar._ Now, sir Apollo, come. Here lies your patient.
    Give him your aid, and tell your poem after.

    _Ros._ Well, let us see. Ay, here is all I need.
    Set them thus on the table, and here the light,
    So. (_arranging_). ’Tis the right arm. (_unbinding_.) Ah!
        when was this done?                                         1040

    _Mar._ Have you forgot, sir? questions are forbidden.

    _Ros._ See, thou must hold his arm for me. Press here
    Thy fingers; firmly,—so. Thou dost not faint
    At sight of blood?

    _Mar._             Nay, nay. And yet I know not.
    If there be much, I faint.

    _Ros._ (_operating_).      I had forgotten
    I might not question;—’tis a surgeon’s habit.—
    First,—for where all are eager with their tale,—
    ’Tis only courteous to invite the telling:—
    But chiefly—that it stablishes his judgment—
    Built on appearances,—and banishes                              1050
    Conjecture from experience;—as ’twould now
    For me,—should this man say,—’twas yesterday
    The wound was made;—and he that dealt it me
    Stood on my left,—and thro’ my arm outstretched,—
    In attitude of striking at another,—
    Thrust with—a sword.—Stir not, ’tis nearly done.—
    But I withdrew my arm ere he his weapon.—
    Loose not thy grasp: loose not!

    _Mar._                          Sir, my attention
    Was taken by your story. Never speak:
    ’Twill mar your work.                                           1060

    _Ros._                ’Tis a small thing. ’Tis done.
    ’Twas an unlucky lunge that lanced thee there.
    (_To Mar._) What thinkest thou of my story?

    _Mar._                                      ’Twas but guessing.

    _Ros._ Nay, inference. ’Twere guess to say, the skill
    Which staunched the running blood, but could no more,
    Might be thy brother’s: that this sunburnt arm,
    Fine skin, and youthful fibre, were the body
    Of John Palicio.

    _Pal._ (_discovering_). I am betrayed!

    _Ros._                                 Not so:
    Then had I held my tongue.

    _Pal._                     True.—What’s thy name?

    _Ros._ My name is Rosso. Sling thine arm across:
    There must it rest until the wound be healed.                   1070

    _Mar._ You have guessed the secret, sir, which we withheld
    In your respect. This is my brother’s house;
    This is Palicio. Guard now what you have learned
    As closely, I pray, as if we had freely told it.

    _Ros._ Not to thee, lady, though in this and all
    I am thy servant; yet not now to thee
    I speak, but to Giovànn Palicio;
    To whom I say he need not ask of me
    Promise or oath. The good I am proud to have done
    I shall not spoil by blabbing.

    _Pal._                         Thank thee, Rosso.               1080

    _Ros._ Noble and brave Palicio, mayst thou prosper.

                                             [_Bandaging his own eyes._

    _Pal._ Thank thee, I thank thee, Rosso. So now my arm
    Is mended. By heaven! this surgery hath a trick
    Worth knowing, could one learn it easily.

    _Ros._ (_blindfold_). Come, lady, and lead me forth.

    _Mar._                                               Why, what is this?
    You know your way: there’s nothing now to hide.

    _Ros._ Didst thou not bargain with me to lead me back?

    _Mar._ But there’s no need.

    _Ros._                      Yet will I claim my fee.
    Where is thy hand?

    _Mar._             Sir, you but trifle.

    _Ros._                                  And thou
    Refusest me in a trifle? Then I will dare (_unbandaging_)
    To raise my terms. If I may kiss thy hand                       1091
    I’ll be content.

    _Mar._           ’Tis I, sir, should kiss yours.
    ’Tis that hath earned the homage: and I’ll be
    That hath done well; and thus I kiss it. (_Kisses Rosso’s
         hand._) Now,
    Go, go in peace: thou’rt paid.                [_Making him go out._

                                                         [_Exit Rosso._

    _Pal._ (_sitting_).            Why didst thou that?

    _Mar._ He loves me.

    _Pal._              Wouldst thou be as kind to me,
    If I should love thee?

    _Mar._                 But he sends me sonnets.

    _Pal._ I could write sonnets.

    _Mar._                        Ah, but his are writ
    In pure Sicilian.

    _Pal._            ’Tis my proper tongue.

    _Mar._ I have kept my promise, sir, and now must leave.         1100
    Your wound is healed.

    _Pal._                I fear I scarce can thank thee,
    If ’tis thy word to go. Or, if thou stayest
    But to cure wounds,—I have another wound
    I shewed thee not, which hath a deeper seat:
    This hand may cure it.

    _Mar._                 Nay, what mean you, sir?

    _Pal._ Margaret, I love thee. There, thou hast it all.
    Thou hast stolen my soul. I thought—my pride, my hope—
    O, I thought wrong—’tis nothing. All I have done,
    Or would do, I cast aside: I love thee only.

    _Mar._ Giovanni.                                                1010

    _Pal._           O, ’tis true, there’s nothing noble,
    Beautiful, sacred, dear, familiar to me,
    I hold now at a straw’s worth: body and soul
    I am thine, Margaret, I am thine. O, answer me!

    _Mar._ Giovanni, ’tis so strange. ’Tis best I go.

    _Pal._ Thou didst kiss Rosso’s hand.

    _Mar._                               For love of thee.
    Didst thou not guess?

    _Pal._                O, then, my dearest, kiss me
    Now for myself. Can it be true thou lovest me?

    _Mar._ Alas! ’tis learned too quickly.

    _Pal._                                 Can I think it,
    Spite of my savage life, my outlawry,
    My poverty?

    _Mar._      O, what are these?

    _Pal._                         Indeed,                          1120
    My blood is noble.

    _Mar._             These are not the checks
    Or lures of love. Nay, what is noble blood?
    What were’t to be a lion, and to fly
    The hunter like a hare? And if man shew
    Less fearless fierce and hungry for the right
    Than doth a beast for food, what is his title
    To be God’s image worth? That best nobility
    Hath no more claim.

    _Pal._              But canst thou share my life?

    _Mar._ I am restless for it.

    _Pal._                       Leave thy rank? thy wealth?

    _Mar._ I have lived too long that counterfeit of life.
    I’ll strive like thee: something I’ll do, like thee,
    To lessen misery. Nay, if man’s curse                           1132
    Hang in necessity, I have the heart
    To combat that, and find if in some part
    Fate be not vulnerable.

    _Pal._                  O joy, my dearest:
    I wronged thee ages by a moment’s thought
    That thou wouldst shrink ... Then is our marriage fixed?

    _Mar._ There’s none can hinder it.

    _Pal._                             O, blessed joy!
    Yet how can I be sure, love, that thou knowest,
    Finding the word so easy, what a mountain                       1140
    There lies to lift? Pledging to me and mine
    Thy heart this hour, a hundred thousand stings
    Will plague thee from this moment, to drive thee back.

    _Mar._ Try me, Giovanni.

    _Pal._                   Wilt thou aid me, love,
    To fly to-night? By morning I may meet
    My men at San Martino: all my schemes
    May yet be saved.

    _Mar._            Ah! wilt thou go, Giovanni?
    Thou’rt yet too weak.

    _Pal._                My presence, not my strength,
    Is needed.

    _Mar._ Alas! I fear.

    _Pal._               What, Margaret, dost thou fear?

    _Mar._ Only for thee. Yet go; I can be with thee
    By noon. My brother has a little house                          1151
    At Monreale, where I am used to stay
    When the wish takes me. There I’ll go to-morrow,
    And thence can visit thee. Thou didst not mean
    I should not come? I shall not hinder thee.

    _Pal._ Nay, nay.

    _Mar._           I’ll let thee from the house to-night,
    And give thee money which will aid thee well.
    My brother need know nothing. I can make
    The journey thither in an hour, and choose
    My time to beg his grace.

    _Pal._                    What do I owe thee!                   1160
    Freedom, and life, and love,—thy love ... O, Margaret,
    What I shall do will pay thee.

    _Mar._                         I must leave:
    For Manuel else will question of my stay.

    _Pal._ My treasure lost so soon!

    _Mar._                           I go to save
    What we have won. Farewell.

    _Pal._                      Say at what hour
    I may go hence; and how.

    _Mar._                   At dead of night:
    ’Tis safest then.

    _Pal._            And wilt thou come thyself?

    _Mar._ When the church bell with double stroke hath tolled
    The death-knell of to-morrow’s second hour,
    While its last jar yet shelters in the ear,                     1170
    Listen: and at thy door when thou shalt catch
    A small and wakeful noise, such as is made
    By the sharp teeth of an unventurous mouse,
    Scraping his scanty feast when all is still,
    Come forth. Thou’lt meet my hand, and at the gate
    I’ll give thee what I have. Tied in thy bundle
    Will be a letter shewing thee the place
    Where thou must send me tidings. Now, farewell.

    _Pal._ Yet not farewell.

    _Mar._                   To-night I shall not see thee:
    Nor must thou speak. So, till to-morrow’s sun                   1180
    Lasts our farewell.

    _Pal._              Then with to-morrow, Margaret,
    My life begins.

    _Mar._          O, ’tis the greater joy
    For me than thee.

    _Pal._            Ay, for the giver ever
    Hath the best share. And thus I kiss thee, love.

    _Mar._    Be ready.

    _Pal._              Trust me.

    _Mar._                        And take thy dagger.
    Farewell.                                                  [_Going._

                               ACT · III

                               SCENE · 1

            _Hall in Manuel’s house. MANUEL and MARGARET._


      Nay, ’twas ill done. The open window shews
    He made a breakneck leap into the street.
    I searched the room, in case he might have left
    Some explanation written: there was none.                       1190
    I am vexed. ’Tis a most graceless breach of trust.


      What promise made he?

    _Man._                  None was asked. The knowledge
    Of duty were enough to bind a man
    Far less obliged. And then ’tis thankless, Margaret.
    Twice have we saved his life: first I, then thou:
    And while we sleep he flies. I blame myself,
    I should have pledged his word.

    _Mar._                          Hadst thou so done,
    He would have stayed.

    _Man._                I know not. Now he is gone ...
    Go set his room as if he had never been.
    We must forget the matter. I have summons                       1200
    From Hugo, and must leave.

    _Mar._                     And when I have done
    Thy bidding, may I go to Monreale?

    _Man._ You wish it?

    _Mar._              Yes.

    _Man._                   What calls you there?

    _Mar._                                         A visit.
    I’ll take Lucia, and can ride Rosamund.

    _Man._ Nay, nay, I would not have it. Thou wilt meet
    With Rosso’s people, maybe Rosso himself;
    And he might misinterpret ... and I think
    So soon after your game of blindman’s buff,
    That since thou canst not love him ...

    _Mar._                                 Manuel, I promise—

    _Man._ I want no promises; but if thou goest                    1210
    Remember ...

    _Mar._ Why, I’ll promise ...

    _Man._                       Nay, I bid.
    Only be wise. Wilt thou be back to-night?

    _Mar._ To-morrow, may I stay so long?

    _Man._                                Ay, stay.
    Have good care of thyself. Farewell.                        [_Exit._

    _Mar._                               Farewell.
    (_Calling._) Lucia, Lucia; come, Lucia, come!

                            _Enter Lucia._


      My lady.

    _Mar._ To horse, Lucia! we start at once.
    Order the horses.

    _Lu._             Holy Mary, defend us!
    It cannot be thou meanest ...

    _Mar._                        What is this, now?
    Last night didst thou not promise?

    _Lu._                              If I did,
    ’Twas madness: think of the risk.

    _Mar._                            I take the risk.              1220

    _Lu._ Consider.

    _Mar._          I have considered.

    _Lu._                              O, dear mistress,
    I fear all will not end well; think again.
    Think what thou leavest.

    _Mar._                   I think I shall leave thee.

    _Lu._ But when shall we return?

    _Mar._                          Maybe to-morrow.
    Order the horses. I shall go without thee.
    Quick, quick, begone!

    _Lu._                 Well, well. Thou hast found a man:
    I being a woman must help thee, tho’ ’tis madness.

    _Mar._ Go, girl: I know it. Thou’lt be true, Lucia:
    Only be quick.

    _Lu._          Well, well: may heaven forgive us.           [_Exit._

    _Mar._ Forgive, she saith. Forgive me rather, oh heaven!        1230
    The sourness of my spirit hitherto:
    Yet now forgive me not if I dare tamper
    With this intrinsic passion. O joy, my joy!
    This beauteous world is mine:
    All Sicily is mine:
    This morning mine. I saw the sun, my slave,
    Poising on high his shorn and naked orb
    For my delight. He there had stayed for me,
    Had he not read it in my heart’s delight
    I bade him on. The birds at dawn sang to me,                    1240
    Crying ’Is life not sweet? O is’t not sweet?’
    I looked upon the sea; there was not one,
    Of all his multitudinous waves, not one,
    That with its watery drift at raking speed
    Told not my special joy. O happy lovers
    In all the world, praise God with me: his angels
    Envy us, seeing we are his favourites.
    What else could grant such joy? Now on my journey
    Must I set forth, to be a brigand’s wife ...
    That’s but the outward of it, and looks strange:
    For, oh, the heart of it is a fire of passion                   1251
    To lick up trifling life. Away, such dainty stuff:
    Let me stand forth myself.—Yet ere I go
    I must send Constance word. To whom to trust
    My letter? Ah, Philip ...

                            _Enter Philip._


                              Good morning, Margaret.

    _Mar._ Good morning, duke: thou goest to the palace?

    _Ph._ Ay.

    _Mar._ May I ask thee, then, to bear this letter
    To Constance? I’d not trust it willingly
    Where it might wander.

    _Ph._                  ’Twill pass from my hands
    To hers.

    _Mar._   Pray tell her, for my health I go                      1260
    To Monreale, or would have come myself.

    _Ph._ I’ll tell her so. I pray the change restore thee,—
    And soon. Indeed thou look’st not well. Farewell.

    _Mar._ Farewell. (_Aside._) Look I then ill? I never felt
    So light and keen in spirit.                                [_Exit._

    _Ph._ (_solus_). This fits in, too. She is sent to Monreale,
    Lest she should make discovery. ’Tis thus
    I join the threads. Palicio climbed the wall,
    Came hither thro’ the garden: here he stayed
    And bound his wound. So far the track. There has been
    At least no care to hide it; and now he lies                    1271
    In the room across the courtyard: wherefore else
    Drawn curtains, and the lamp, which yesterday
    Burnt, as I saw, in the afternoon? All credit
    To the king’s commissioner. Yet must I dissemble,
    And not appear in the matter. ’Tis incredible
    Of Manuel. What will he allege? He is gone
    To the palace now: thither must I, and face him.


                               SCENE · 2

   _On the hills above Monreale. Brigands fantastically dressed and
  armed are seated about on the rocks, with drinking-cups and remains
  of feast. PALICIO, in a black suit, his right arm in a sling. Much
 talking and singing, or the scene may open with the following song_—


    _I would not change the hills that I range
       For a house in the city street:_                             1280
     _Nor the price on my head for a tax on my bread.
       Liberty, lads, is sweet._

 (_Palicio getting up on a rock waves them to silence._)


      Long live Lord Palicio!

    _All._                    Huzzah! Huzzah!


      Thank you, my men. Now silence; I must tell you
    The feast is o’er, our meeting at an end.
    We have laid our plans: but their success depends
    On zealous preparation. Ye must to work.

    _A brigand._ We have another song yet, captain.

    _Pal._ See ye the sun is on this side of the city.

    _Brigands._ The song, the song!                                 1290

    _Pal._ What is this song ye call for?

    _A brigand._                          May’t please your honour,
    If Squarcia sing we’ll be content.

    _Sq._                              I know
    What they would have.

    _Pal._                Sing then: and cut it short.

    _Sq._ Nay, that lies with the chorus. Who hath the lute?


            _If you’d hear me sing,
            Why give me a skin of wine.
            Creatures have their several ways,
            Edod! and I have mine,_
    CHOR.     _And I have mine._      (_ad lib._)
            _Edod! and I have mine._                                1300
            _If you’d see me fight,
            Why let me taste good cheer.
            Was not I as good as my word?
            Edod! am I not here?_

    CHOR.       _Am I not here?_      (_ad lib._)

(_Palicio gets up as before._)

    _Sq._ Enough, enough! silence! Now were ye not
    A set of loons ... make silence for the captain.

    _Pal._ Hark, men: I bid you leave, each silently
    And separately to his allotted task.
    Gather your companies at tryst to-night;                        1310
    Acquaint them of our plans. Once, ere ye go,
    Look on those tyrannous towers, and swear revenge.
    Revenge on them that grind the people down!
    That tax our bread and wine! To-morrow night
    Hugo shall need no candles.

    _Brigands._ Revenge, revenge. Huzzah! Death to Hugo!
    Burn him!

    _Pal._ Not him, the palace: ’tis to burn the palace.
    Him we must take alive.

    _Brigands._             Not kill him, no.
    Treat him as he would us.

    _Pal._                    If ye love colour,                    1320
    His gold is ruddier than his coward blood.

    _Brigands._ Ay, ay, his gold—a ransom. Bleed his bags.

    _Pal._ Above all, none forget good Manuel’s kindness,
    And what I have told you. If any meet with him
    And hurt a hair of his head, ’tis ...

    _Brigands._                           Death.

    _Pal._                                       ’Tis death.
    Swear all, ’tis death.

    _All._                 We swear.

    _Pal._                           Now to your work.

    _Brigands._ Huzzah!

    _Pal._ Secretly, then. Farewell! To-morrow night
    I’ll meet you all. God grant us a good meeting.
    Farewell.                                                   [_Exit._

    _Brigands._ Huzzah!                                             1330

       _During following scene the brigands going, carrying off
                           things to cave._

    _Sq._ Come, help clear off this gear to the cave.

    _A brigand._ Any wine in yon skin, good Squarcia?

    _Sq._ Ay, for the chewing.

    _Brig._ Thank ye. I’m off. Good-day, lads.                  [_Exit._

    _Sq._ Did I not well, I say?

    _A brigand._ But how didst thou find him?—tell us.

    _Sq._ Trust me. Not that ’twas a thing within the
    bounds of mortal cleverness if a man should want
    luck. But I’d buy the dog that would have run as
    straight for him, as ’twere denoted by scent or instinct.
    To climb the very wall, and in at the window,
    and there to see him just face to face: on a fine
    couch in a pleasant chamber enough, with his arm
    bandaged ...                                                    1344

    _Brig._ Is his arm broke?

    _Sq._ Ay, and where the nerve runs to the heart:
    the lady told me a thousand times that ’twere mortal
    to move it; and the surgeon who bound it said that
    his balance hung by a thread.

    _Brig._ The lady was with him, then. Didst thou
    see her?                                                        1351

    _Sq._ It’s not all I see I’m bound to tell. But if she
    was not there, how should she be here? And had
    I not persuaded her, would she have let him come,
    think you? And that a matter of disputation, an hour
    and more.

    _Brig._ How could she stay him?

    _Sq._ Let alone wounds and surgeons, shall a lady
    have nothing to say? And she’s hard hit, I take it.
    A fine piece, and brings money with her.                        1360

    _Brig._ And what may spoil his fighting.

    _Sq._ Wilt thou grudge the captain what he has fairly
    won? Or must thou be served first?

    _Brig._ Serve me soon, and serve me well. Yet I like
    not the lady.                                               [_Exit._

    _Sq._ Nay, nor the coin neither, I’ll go bound. How
    should he? Nay ... Wouldn’t old Beedo now have
    liked to have been here?

    _A brigand._ Well, he would.

    _Another._ Why came he not?                                     1370

    _Sq._ A bad reason, man, but a good excuse.

    _Brig._ How mean you?

    _Sq._ As if thou hadst never been on the wrong side
    of four walls! tell not me.                               [_Exeunt._

                     _Enter Palicio and Margaret._

    _Pal._ Now thou know’st all.


                                 But is that all, Giovanni?

    _Pal._ Saw’st thou them well from where thou wert?

    _Mar._                                             Ay, tell me:
    The man in the blue jacket, who is he?

    _Pal._ That’s Squarcialupu: he’s my first lieutenant.
    Did they not greet me?

    _Mar._                 I could count eighteen.
    Are there no more?

    _Pal._             The least of these can muster                1380
    Twenty as brave.

    _Mar._           That’s not six hundred men.

    _Pal._ But with them I can raise the town.

    _Mar._                                     ’Tis pity
    The barons stand aloof.

    _Pal._                  They hold together
    On certain claims that touch their own estate.
    But in their hate of Hugo they will join us
    At first report of our success; and that
    I’ll make flame forth.

    _Mar._                 Alas! what canst thou do,
    Having so little means?

    _Pal._                  To-morrow night
    We shall surround the palace and capture Hugo.                  1389

    _Mar._ One regiment could drive all thy men away.

    _Pal._ He dare not give the word.

    _Mar._                            How know’st thou that?

    _Pal._ I have sprung a cranny in his council-board,
    Thro’ which crumbs fall to me.

    _Mar._                         Nay, but you force him ...
    The viceroy to yield up his power to a rebel!
    Hugo, his person to your hated hands!

    _Pal._ Well, he may fly; and then my word is, _Sack
    And fire the palace_.

    _Mar._                Giovanni, if he fight,
    Thou wilt be killed or taken.

    _Pal._                        And what of that?

    _Mar._ What, askest thou! ask what! Methinks the world
    Holds but one treasure—thee: and thou dost wrong
    Creation, staking all her store at once                         1401
    On such a sleight of fortune. It shall not be.
    Nay, for my sake it shall not. Dost thou love me?

    _Pal._ Love thee? O, Margaret, when I look on thee,
    And see the dazzling wealth, with which I hardly
    Shall scrape to heaven, may God forgive me, love,
    But I would be for ever pinched in hell,
    Rather than miss thee.

    _Mar._                 To me art thou as precious:
    Therefore be wise. Where is the list of names?

    _Pal._ ’Tis here.

    _Mar._ What read I here? These are thy captains,
    Palicio: these thy rivals, Margaret!                            1411
    Why, ’mongst these names—nay, tho’ I here see names
    Renowned for outrage—there is not one name
    Of such respect, that I can think it possible
    Its leadership can bid thee cast away
    Thy life, my life, our love.

    _Pal._                       They are all brave men.

    _Mar._ They are ignorant, desperate, and reckless men.

    _Pal._ ’Tis by such recklessness I come at right.

    _Mar._ ’Tis recklessness throughout. See, thou art wounded
    And weak; a price upon thy head: think of it,—
    And trust the people’s rights to Manuel;                        1421
    Leave them to the barons: we’ve a better task:
    Sail o’er to Rome, there reassume thy rank;
    Let us be married, and await the day
    That Manuel finds thy pardon.

    _Pal._                        Tempt me not, Margaret.

    _Mar._ Else are we lost.

    _Pal._                   Nay, fear not: there’s a traitor
    In the enemy’s camp; from whom I’ll have such tidings
    As will ensure success.

    _Mar._                  Who is it?

    _Pal._                             Blasco.

    _Mar._ Blasco!

    _Pal._         He hath your money; and for that price
    Will tell how Hugo may be best surprised.                       1430
    That is my venture, Margaret ... If it fail ...

    _Mar._ Thou wilt be slain.

    _Pal._                     Nay, I may still escape.

    _Mar._ And then thou’lt come?

    _Pal._                        I will.

    _Mar._                                Promise but that:
    That if this venture fail, and thou escape,
    Thou wilt not risk again.

    _Pal._                    Ay, if I fail.

    _Mar._                                   Promise.

    _Pal._ I promise.

    _Mar._ Thou wilt lose nothing, for my brother alone
    Can do much more than thou with these base men,
    Who stain the cause. One favour more.

    _Pal._                                What is it?

    _Mar._ ’Tis that this evening, love, be spent together.

    _Pal._ I mean it should. To-night our fellows meet
    In various rendezvous, as you may see                           1442
    Upon the paper. There are ten in all
    They will not need my presence till to-morrow,
    When the bands join at sundown. O, Margaret:
    I knew that thou wouldst come.

    _Mar._                         I think, Giovanni,
    Thou shouldst have met me first thyself: thy men
    Are rough.

    _Pal._     Was any rude?

    _Mar._                   Nay, ’twas well meant,
    But sounded strangely.

    _Pal._                 Say but who it was.

    _Mar._ No, ’tis forgiven.                                       1450

    _Pal._ (_going_).         Kiss me.

    _Mar._                             Ah, now, Giovanni,
    Where wilt thou go?

    _Pal._              But for one hour, my dearest,
    I must be absent. Then shall I be yours
    For all the day.

    _Mar._           Farewell. And prithee send
    Lucia. I will await thee.

    _Pal._                    Farewell.                         [_Exit._

    _Mar._                              I have his promise,
    If this scheme fail. ’Tis mine to make it fail.
    O, ’tis too dangerous: to trust so far
    That dollar-ballasted Iscariot,
    The weather-trimming Blasco.—The paper! the list!
    I’ll have their names. Where can I write them? Ah!
    My prayer-book. I will send them straight to Hugo.
    Poor Constance! Burn the palace! Ay, and thee,
    For aught they care. Now, who comes first? Bendettu
    Jacupu ... and your place?—within the cloister                  1463
    Of Santo Spirito. Next, Squarcialupu ...
    Why, that’s the ruffian who would like a dozen
    Wives such as I. He’ll find one were too many.
    Go you to prison, sir, and cool your thoughts.
    You burn the palace!—Messer Vincentiu
    Lazaru ... at his peltry shed at Baido.
    Now there’s two pages of them: the little prayers
    Will hardly shrive them ... here’s one I cannot read.
    B-o-n-o-Bononio, now I have him.                                1472
    Why who could trust such men? Set them in power
    But for a day ... say this next villain here,
    Fardello ... he’s a murderer—ay, for him
    I write his death, maybe: but for the rest
    I’ll take such care that Manuel’s voice shall ease
    Their accusation. Now I have them all.
    Lucia! Ho, Lucia!

                            _Enter Lucia._

                      See, take this book:
    Return straight to Palermo: find some friend,                   1480
    Whom thou canst trust: commit it to her hands;
    Tell her to give it secretly to Livio,
    Bidding him read what is writ down in the margins;
    And say ’twas given to her by one she knew not,
    And with that message. All our happiness
    Is staked on this. Begone. Haste for thy life.


      Alas! what’s this?

    _Mar._               Why, have I frighted thee?
    Be brave: I tell thee on this single thread
    My life is hanging.

    _Lu._               Trust me, lady, I’d risk
    Ten lives for that.

    _Mar._              Hide it. I trust thee. Go.                  1490
    I have played a bold stroke here: but if it prosper,
    For Constance, and Giovanni, and myself,
    ’Tis not ill done.                                        [_Exeunt._

                               SCENE · 3

           _A room in the Palace. Enter HUGO and CONSTANCE._


      Thou hast a daughter’s duty, I a father’s:
    ’Tis mine to seek thy good, thine to obey.


      I pray thee, father, hear me.

    _Hu._                           I have heard thee.
    Thou tellest me nought but what I know. The duke
    Hath been with me: his purpose to renew
    His suit hath my support. ’Tis very honourable—
    It shall be welcome. Though thy words to him                    1500
    Betrayed reluctance, that makes yet no reason
    To shun him. He will presently be here:
    Stay and receive him.

    _Con._                O, if I do not dream,
    Heaven help me now!

    _Hu._               Constance, I pray, be sober.
    I am sorry for thee: but what seems thy grief
    Will be thy comfort, when thou learn’st the cause
    Which presses me to urge it.

    _Con._                       What lies behind?
    What misery? Say!

    _Hu._             Manuel, whom late we trusted,
    Hath turned against me. He hath joined the rebels.

    _Con._ Who dares to slander him?                                1510

    _Hu._                            Fact makes no room
    For slander. The devil himself could not invent
    A tale to blacken him. First to the court
    He hath writ of me in secret, in the sense
    That I have stirred the king’s men to rebellion
    By my misrule; and all the while at home
    He feeds the mischief, and most treacherously
    Favours the rebels, so to magnify
    The blame on me he charges.

    _Con._                      The crime’s too great.
    If this be all I breathe again. The time                        1519
    When thou wilt prove this ’twill away like smoke.
    Not till ’tis proved question our marriage, father.

    _Hu._ The question now with him is not of marriage,
    But of his head.

    _Con._           Shame, shame! if these be words,
    What is their sense?

    _Hu._                To-morrow, or to-day,
    I shall have proof.

    _Con._              I knew ’twas all unproven.
    Who brought this lie, and propped it with the promise
    To make it true?

    _Hu._            Go, girl, I hear the duke.
    He must not see thee thus.

    _Con._                     So far is well.
    I gladly go.—Dear father!

    _Hu._                      Go take thy grief
    Where thou canst comfort it. This Manuel                        1530
    Hath not deceived thee more than me, and me
    Would have more grossly wronged.

    _Con._                           Alas! alas!                [_Exit._

    _Hu._ The proof will be to search his house, and so
    Both knaves are caught at once. Now to that end
    Lest he get wind of it I have bid him hither,
    And shall detain him till ’tis done.

                            _Enter Philip._

                                         Your grace,
    I have stayed for you.


                           ’Tis well. I bring conviction.
    Palicio lies in Manuel’s house. His room
    Is locked and darkened: save for that, and orders
    That none shall enter, there is no precaution.                  1540

    _Hu._ The abominable Pharisee!

    _Ph._ Now Margaret hath been hurried from the house
    On plea of health: I bear a letter from her
    To Constance.

    _Hu._         Give’t me.

    _Ph._                    Pardon, your excellence;
    I promised I would see it in Constance’s hands.

    _Hu._ My hands are hers: a daughter cannot read
    Letters her father may not. Nay, the more
    Such right’s resented, more’s the need to use it.—
    And from a traitor’s house!

    _Ph._ (_giving_).           Your privilege, sir,
    Invades my honour.                                              1550

    _Hu._              Tut, tut, tut, ’tis mine:            [_Takes it._
    Be not so squeamish.                                       [_Reads._

                         _I can write all’s well.
    Yet, as thou lovest Manuel, breathe no word
    Of aught I saw. I go from home to-day;
    Will see thee when returned._—Why, this is nothing.

    _Ph._ Taken alone ’twere nothing; but there’s nothing
    Could better fit our knowledge; nay it adds
    To what we know. I see that Margaret flies
    From the discovery that she hath made herself;
    And fears for Manuel. I grieve but for her.
    His enmity to you precludes all pity.                           1560
    I have come to see his papers, which contain
    Charges against your excellence, prepared
    With such unfriendly skill, that to discredit them,
    Should ever they reach court, would cost far more
    Than any price or pains you now might spend
    In their suppression.

    _Hu._                 O, the double-faced
    Pretentious Greek! But in this other matter
    We have him. I’ll charge the deed to his face. He’ll not
    Deny it. The embassy delayed last night
    May sail this evening, and with them aboard                     1570
    Shall Manuel fare to the king with his accusers.
    We shall at least be rid of him. I will call him.

                                                       [_Rings a bell._

    Thou hast done me a good service.

    _Ph._                             Shall I remain?

    _Hu._ I beg you. The cursed villain!

                           _Enter Servant._

                                         I await
    The chief justiciary. Shew him hither.                [_Exit servt._

    _Ph._ (_aside_). I shall not face him well. He must not guess
    My part in this: say he be proved a traitor,
    And I abhor all such as undermine
    The fabric of the throne,—yet have I shared
    His guilt at heart, both in my wish to find it                  1580
    And from my profit in it! ’Twould seem less foul
    To steal a man’s fair earnings than to glean
    The waste of his crime. I’ll stand and take what comes.

                            _Enter Manuel._


    My service to your excellence.

    _Hu._                          Ay, well.
    ’Tis of thy service I would speak. Attend me.
    Thou art an honest man; in all Palermo
    No name so fair as thine. There’s none would dream
    That thou at any press wouldst blink the right
    In thine own interest: now for these three years
    Thou hast done justice honour, holding up                       1590
    Her majesty for worship: we ourselves
    Have strained or waived opinion oftentimes
    In trust of thee. ’Twas not then at first hearing
    We took the tale which strong concurrent proofs
    Now make me charge thee with. Know that ’tis said
    That thou hast given a refuge in thy house
    To John Palicio. Deny’t, I pray thee.

    _Man_. ’Tis true, your excellence.

    _Hu._                              Then first I bid thee
    Return him into custody.

    _Man._                   Last night
    He left me without warning.                                     1600

    _Hu._                       Gone! Then, by heaven!
    Thou’rt doubly guilty.

    _Man._                 I admit my guilt
    Upon the point of negligence: for the rest
    I beg your excellence will hear my plea.
    Palicio is my kinsman: he was driven
    Without his purpose, nor with my connivance,
    To shelter in my house. The claim of nature
    Withstood the challenge of my royal duty
    Suspended now in the interregnum ...

    _Hu._                                Enough!
    Thou dost admit the act: ’tis downright treason.
    I’ll hear no answer. Though thou wouldst deny
    My authority, thou shalt not doubt my power.                    1611
    Thou art my prisoner. To-night the embassy
    Will sail for Spain. Thou goest with them to plead
    Thy cause before the king.

    _Man._                     I shall be ready, sire.

    _Hu._ Thou wilt be here detained until thy house
    Is searched: which done thou wilt go home, and there
    Resign thy keys. Knowing thy doings, sir,
    I treat thee as I find thee. We are enemies.

    _Man._ I pray your excellence, for your daughter’s sake ...      1619

    _Hu._ My daughter! could I wed her to a traitor,
    Would she herself consent?

               _Enter LIVIO with the book, and BLASCO._

    _Man._                     Call me not traitor,
    Ere I be proved one.

    _Hu._ (_to Bl._). Ho! call in the guard.             [_Exit Blasco._
    (_To Liv._) What bring you, son?                  [_Talks with him._

    _Man._ (_to Ph._).               Philip, before I go;—
    Thou see’st my case. Fate would look black upon me,
    Left I no friend to speak for me: but thee
    I trust. Tell Constance what thou knowest; the rest
    Margaret can tell you. Add thereto assurance
    Both of my innocence and speedy acquittal.

                    _Re-enter Blasco with Guards._

    One word and I am gone. Beware of Blasco.
    He bears two faces. See he be not trusted                       1630
    With aught of moment.

    _Hu._ (_to officer of guard_). The chief justiciary is your prisoner
    On charge of treason. Guard him in the palace
    Till you hear more.

    _Man._ (_to Ph._). Stand my friend, and God aid thee.

                                                       [_Exit guarded._

    _Ph._ (_aside_). And so I may. I am not yet stepped so far
    That I must push my purpose, where it wounds
    Such ample trust.

    _Hu._             Philip, see here.

    _Ph._                               What, sire?

    _Hu._ From some most friendly hand we have full tidings
    Of all the rebels; where they may be seized
    This very night.

    _Ph._ (_to Liv._). You bring it?

    _Liv._                           They are betrayed              1640
    By some one of themselves.

    _Hu._                      ’Twill end the matter.

    _Ph._ How came you by it?

    _Liv._                    A woman brought it me,
    Who said ’twas thrust into her hands by one
    She knew not, who escaped. She hath since confessed
    That ’twas a maid of Manuel’s.

    _Bl._                          Look you, tho’,
    How close this follows the discovery
    Of Manuel’s treason. It must be that some,
    On whom he used constraint, smelling his fall
    Return to loyalty.

    _Hu._              Most like. Now, Livio,
    Seize them to-night. See thou observe in all                    1650
    The dispositions which I have shewn thee. Stay,
    There’s first a vacancy to fill: I make thee
    Justiciary in Manuel’s place: in thine
    I will take Blasco for my secretary.
    Meanwhile I lend him thee: thou wilt have need
    Of his experience.

    _Liv._             I thank thee, father.

    _Bl._ And I, your excellence.

    _Hu._                          Now to your work.
    And then to Manuel’s house, and take possession
    Of all thy office gives thee.

                                            [_Exeunt Livio and Blasco._

    _Hu._ (_to Ph._). Thy matter next:
    I will fetch Constance.

    _Ph._                   Not now, I pray, not now!               1660

    _Hu._ Nay, wherefore wait? This business shall be settled
    In a few words. I’ll bring her to thee straight.


    _Ph._ I pray you. Nay, he is gone. I must stand to it.
    I play to win; and now the stakes are mine;
    Unless against myself for friendship’s claim
    I should uphold my rival. And he’s guilty.
    The papers were his own: them he confessed,
    And only deepened treason by the excuse
    Of kinship with the rebel. And then his servants
    Cognizant.—On the other hand his confidence                     1670
    Staggering the evidence: his trust in me
    To comfort Constance. How should Margaret know
    More than the facts, or I deny the facts,
    Should I plead for him? And yet against the facts
    The man himself: his soul revealed to me;
    And my persuasion of him. O, he has fallen
    To the popular side. Moreover, his acquittal
    Were Hugo’s ruin. I cannot help him: nay,
    Not though I would; and Fate, which thrusts him down,
    Is kind to me.

                    _Re-enter Hugo with Constance._

    _Hu._          Constance, see here the duke:                    1680
    He hath asked your hand of me: and I most happy
    In such a match have granted it.

    _Con._                           I am here
    Fooled by a promise of evil, but not this.
    This is not Manuel’s treason. First of that:
    Where’s the pretended proof?

    _Hu._                        He hath confessed it.

    _Con._ This tale convicts itself. Treason is close,
    And doth not bare the breast. Though here the man
    Ye wrong were likelier to confess such crime
    Than once be guilty of it.

    _Hu._                      He both is guilty
    And hath confessed.

    _Con._              To what hath he confessed?                  1690
    What deed that hatred thus can magnify?

    _Hu._ ’Twas he contrived Palicio’s late escape;
    And being detected and charged by me therewith,
    He hath here this hour confessed it. Since which time
    One of his household hath been traced in league
    With the conspirators.

    _Con._                 I believe it not.
    Would he speak for you, he were here to speak.

    _Hu._ But if at least he hath gone out from the palace
    Under strict guard, and sails to-night for Spain?

    _Con._ He is gone?                                              1700

    _Hu._              He is gone.

    _Con._                         Under constraint?

    _Hu._                                            Most certain,
    And charged with treason.

    _Con._ (_turning to Ph._). Now, Philip, I bid thee speak.

    _Ph._ Ay, Constance, it is true, but ...

    _Con._                                   Ay? thou too.
    Ay and but: falsest falsehood, seeking grace
    In shame. I knew devilry lurked about
    When I came hither. I’ll go. I’ll not believe.
    I shall know truth at last.                                [_Going._

    _Hu._                       Nay, Constance, stay.
    Philip will answer thee. Thou questionest him;
    Hear him with patience. I shall leave thee with him.
    Thou hast been a duteous daughter hitherto,
    Recover my good grace ere I return.                             1710
    (_To Ph._) ’Twas an omission, duke, I gave no order
    To seize the villain’s servants. I’ll go do it.
    Use thy occasion.                                           [_Exit._

    _Ph._             Constance, I beg thy favour.

    _Con._ I stay, your grace,—why should I go? My father
    Hath bid me hear thee: and ’tis nought to me.
    Say what thou wouldst: speak on, nor be officious
    To suit thy meaning to me, for there’s nothing
    I can believe or doubt.

    _Ph._                   O, Constance, think not
    That could I end thy sorrow by denial
    Of what thou hast heard, I would not. All is true.
    My kindest office is to unmask the ill                          1721
    That this ill hath prevented, and to show thee
    A balance of good. There lies ’gainst Manuel
    Far more than we have charged and he confessed:
    He loves thee, thinkest thou?—He hath used his place
    To plot against thy father. I here have papers
    In which thyself mayst see what accusation
    He hath writ in secret. They are addressed to Spain,
    And would have been presented ...

    _Con._                            ’Tis his writing.
    Whence was this filched?                                        1730

    _Ph._                    He gave them me himself.

    _Con._ O, a most open foe. Did he enjoin thee
    To bear them to my father?

    _Ph._                      Nor have I done so.

    _Con._ Then this, duke, yet remains for thee to do.
    Take them at once. I know not what they mean:
    But if ’tis secret it may be betrayed.
    Do it, I pray thee, do it.                                 [_Exit._

    _Ph._                      And I could wince
    At such reproach, had I dissembled further
    Than loyalty may deign, grappling with treason.
    Her anger springs but of that nobleness                         1739
    Which makes her love worth winning; and in the end
    It shall be mine again.                                     [_Exit._

                               SCENE · 4

 _On the hills above Monreale, as before. Enter PALICIO and MARGARET._


      How fresh the morning air is. See how the mist
    Melts in the sun, and while we look is gone,
    Leisurely gathered on his sloping beams.
    And guarded by her angel towers the city
    Sleeps like an island in the solemn gray:
    ’Tis beauteous.—


                      I love the city: it holds the stir.
    To-night I shall be there, and to do something
    Worthy of thee.

    _Mar._          Whate’er thou dost, Giovanni,
    I could not love thee more.

    _Pal._                      Beneath yon roofs                   1750
    There’s many a heart that quicker beats and leaps
    To hear my name.

    _Mar._           Thinkest thou still of them?
    They love thee not.

    _Pal._              Not?

    _Mar._                   Nay; the thousandth part
    Of my love dealt among them were enough
    To make each man a hero. Now they are brave
    Only to cheer thee on: and I that love thee,
    And love but thee, shall lose thee.

    _Pal._                              Have better faith,
    All will be well.

    _Mar._            Pray heaven it be.

    _Pal._                               O, Margaret,
    Speak not so sadly: I would have thee brave
    To cheer me on as they. Last night I dreamed                    1760
    That thou hadst turned against me.

    _Mar._                             What, Giovanni?

    _Pal._ Thou didst deride me.

    _Mar._                       I deride thy dream.

    _Pal._ I thought I failed, and lost thy love.

    _Mar._                                        O, faithless,
    That could not lose my love. If thou succeed
    Or fail, ’tis one. But tell me, giv’st thou heed
    To visions? Are they not a fickle fabric,
    Distorted fancies of the spirit, intruding
    By night in memory’s darkened cell? Or holdst thou
    They come from heaven?

    _Pal._                 Ay. Talk not of them now.
    Let me not think of it.—

    _Mar._                    See here the flowers                  1770
    I have plucked. Know’st thou, Giovanni, why they grow?

    _Pal._ How meanest thou?

    _Mar._                   Why in one place one flower
    Will grow, and not another.

    _Pal._                      Canst thou tell?

    _Mar._ The spirits of good men, allowed to wander
    After their death about the mortal sites
    Where once they dwelt, there where they love to rest
    Shed virtue on the soil, as doth a ray
    Of sunlight: but the immortal qualities
    By which their races differ, as they once
    Differed in blood alive, with various power                     1780
    Favour the various vegetable germs
    With kindred specialty. This herb, I think,
    Grows where the Greek hath been. Its beauty shows
    A subtle and full knowledge, and betrays
    A genius of contrivance. Seest thou how
    The fading emerald and azure blent
    On the white petals are immeshed about
    With delicate sprigs of green? ’Tis therefore called

    _Pal._          Who is this thistle here?

    _Mar._ O, he, with plumèd crest, springing all armed
    In steely lustre, and erect as Mars,                            1791
    That is the Roman.

    _Pal._             Find the Saracen.

    _Mar._ This hot gladiolus, with waving swords
    And crying colour.

    _Pal._             And this marigold?

    _Mar._ That is the Norman: nay, his furious blood
    Blazes the secret. ’Tis said where’er he roamed
    This flower is common; but ’tis in those climes
    Where he wrought best it wears the strongest hue,
    And so with us ’tis bravest.

    _Pal._                       And that’s thy countryman!
    Dost thou know Greek?

    _Mar._                My father ever spoke it;                  1800
    And Manuel made me study in it, because
    Their learning was the best.

    _Pal._                       And yet their books
    Were little thought of till great Frederick’s time,—
    The infidel.

    _Mar._       Was he an infidel?

    _Pal._ He loved their heathen books and mocked the Pope:
    And brought into his court a Scottish wizard,
    Who trafficked with the devil.—See, Margaret;
    Their courts are all alike. Here is the letter
    Fat Blasco writes me. He betrays his master
    For those few coins thou gav’st me in thy bag.                  1810

                                                   [_Mar. takes letter._

    Gold goeth in at any gate but heaven’s.
    Ay, ’tis his writing, tho’ it be not signed.
    It tells how Hugo would escape by ship,
    And how to intercept him.

                      _Enter hastily a Brigand._


                              Captain, a word.

    _Pal._ Speak, Roger.

    _Brig._              ’Tis for thee, captain, alone.

    _Pal._ I am alone, this lady is as I.
    What is’t?

    _Brig._ Thou biddest?

    _Pal._                Speak, man, by heav’n!

    _Brig._                                      Our men
    Are all betrayed. They were in dark of night
    Closely surrounded at their several trysts                      1819
    By Hugo’s soldiers; bound, and taken to prison.

    _Pal._ O, Christ! my dream.

    _Mar._ (_aside_).           Now, well done, Livio!
    Done like a man.

    _Pal._           Thou say’st all taken?

    _Brig._                                 All.

    _Mar._ (_aside_). I fear joy will betray me.

    _Pal._                                       It cannot be
    They are all betrayed.

    _Brig._                As many as had assembled
    At the ten trysts were taken.

    _Pal._                        Who hath done it?
    (_To Mar._) Take courage, dearest.

    _Mar._                             Ay, ay.

    _Pal._                                     Nay, thou’rt pale.

    _Mar._ I thought that I should faint. (_To Pal. aside._)
      O, fly, Giovanni!
    Fly now with me! thou see’st this game is lost.

    _Pal._ Be still awhile. (_To Brigand._) And where wert thou?

    _Brig._ In the city,
    From house to house.

    _Pal._               What say they there?

    _Brig._                                   This tale             1830
    I heard. ’Tis told that ’mongst our men was one
    Of Benedettu’s band, who, being engirt,
    Stabbed himself to the heart. Some cried thereon
    That he was the betrayer. There are others
    Who dare the thought I would not breathe if thou
    Couldst think I thought it.

    _Pal._                      Hold! I know, I see.
    All hath been like to build it. Who is with thee?

    _Brig._ Three, and the boy Federigo.

    _Pal._                               Go to the hut:
    There I will join you.                             [_Exit Brigand._
                           Margaret, fare thee well
    Now for some time. This most untoward treason
    Demands my care. Lucia is not far.                              1841

    _Mar._ What wilt thou do?

    _Pal._                    Whatever may be done:
    Trust me.

    _Mar._    O, while thou’rt safe, Giovanni, fly.
    I claim thy promise. Remember it: thou wilt see
    If I deride thee. We will make this ill
    Our perfect good.

    _Pal._            It cannot be. It cannot.

    _Mar._ What wilt thou do?

    _Pal._                    I know not. Thou remain.
    I will go see these men, and send thee word.
    Farewell.                                                   [_Exit._

    _Mar._    O, I had betrayed myself but that my fear
    Took other pretext. Ah! well done, well done!                   1851
    The ruffians caught—Giovanni safe, and mine;
    Giovanni mine. Ah, Messer Squarcialupu,
    And all your gang. Lucia, ho, Lucia!                     [_Calling._
    Yet will I have them treated well. Ay, now,
    Manuel must know. No drop of their base blood
    Shall stain my hand. Lucia!

                            _Enter Lucia._


                                Here I am.

    _Mar._ The men are caught, Lucia; all goes well.
    There’s none to steal Giovanni from me now.
    We go to Rome. But first I must see Manuel.                     1860

    _Lu._ I pray he take all kindly.

    _Mar._                           I fear him not.
    Giovanni promised, should this venture fail,
    To sail to Rome.

    _Lu._            And I? shall I to Rome?

    _Mar._ See, see! who is it, that gallops down the hill?
    Why, ’tis Giovanni!

    _Lu._               Where, my lady, where?

    _Mar._ See’st thou not by the firs?

    _Lu._                               I hear the hoofs,
    But cannot see the rider.

    _Mar._                    There he goes:
    Now on the road.

    _Lu._            I see him.

    _Mar._                      Look, Lucia;
    That is his horse.

    _Lu._              Maybe a messenger
    He mounts for speed. He rides to Monreale.                      1870

    _Mar._ Now we shall see. Nay, nay: he turns to the left.
    He’s for Palermo: and ’tis he, ’tis he,

                  _Enter the Brigand with a letter._

    _Brig._ A letter for the lady, from the captain.

                                              [_Gives and stands aside._

    _Mar._ Give’t me. I faint. Lucia, take it, read it.
    Look! Read it me. I cannot see. The letters dance.

    _Lu._ (_reading_).

    _Margaret, there’s but one course. My men suspect me.
    Of those who held this secret, I alone
    Was absent. Manuel’s shelter, my escape,
    Thy presence here, all point alike at me._                      1880
    _I could not say farewell! When thou hast this
    I am gone. I ride to join my men in prison._

    _Mar._ Ah! ah! I knew it, I knew it! what have         [_Sinks down._
       I done?
    _Lu._ Mistress, my dearest mistress!

                               ACT · IV

                               SCENE · 1

 _The hall in Manuel’s house: it is hung with black. PHILIP and LIVIO;
               the latter dressed in black, at a desk._


      Argue not with me, Livio: Manuel’s death
    Lies at my door. This last catastrophe
    Followed on his disgrace, which I was main
    To bring about.


                    But since his guilt was clear,
    Your deed was honourable.

    _Ph._                     I am not sure.
    I was too hasty. How can I quit myself                          1890
    In the ill I have done thy sister?

    _Liv._                             Her fever, duke,
    Cannot be laid to you.

    _Ph._                  ’Twas the three shocks
    Following so fast. Manuel’s disgrace, and then
    My suit urged out of time, and last his death:
    ’Twill be no wonder if her mind give way.

    _Liv._ Please heaven it pass. I never thought she loved him
    So well.

    _Ph._ Nor I, be sure. Where is that Blasco?

    _Liv._ He went to gather what the sailors know
    Of Manuel’s end.

    _Ph._            No hope but that he’s drowned.
    I go now to the palace. Should I meet                           1900
    With Blasco, it may be I shall detain him.                 [_Going._

    _Liv._ Ah!

    _Ph._      He has lied to me.

    _Liv._                        If there be better tidings
    Of Constance, send them hither.

    _Ph._                           Indeed I will.
    Is there no news of Margaret?

    _Liv._                        Not a word.            [_Exit Philip._
    She knows I am here, no doubt: but when she hears
    Of Manuel’s death she must return.—I think
    That when her brother lived to do his worst,
    My suit had fairer chance.

                            _Enter Blasco._

                               Well, count, what news?


      Excellent.—Manuel was drowned, drowned like a dog.
    I have seen the captain of the ship that ’scaped.               1910
    He tells that, putting forth at night, they kept
    Their course till dawn, when in a fog they drave
    On the French fleet, some two-and-twenty sail.
    Of our five vessels three were taken: one,
    His own, escaped, and the other—that’s the one
    On which sailed Manuel—by a tall ship,
    Which flew the admiral’s pennon, was run down,
    And sunk in sight.

    _Liv._             The news will please my father,
    As it doth thee. For me ’tis ruin: my hope
    I might please Margaret working for her brother                 1920
    Is gone. Now will she hate me more than ever.

    _Bl._ You never could have won her while he lived.

    _Liv._ Well, take these papers. There are here the orders
    For the execution of Palicio
    To-morrow, in the public square, at noon.
    See them in proper hands. They need a seal.

    _Bl._ ’Twill be a pleasure. ’Twas the kindest freak,
    This self-surrender.

    _Liv._               He was strangely dashed,
    Looking for Manuel, to find me here.

    _Bl._ He’ll find that friend no more.

    _Liv._                                Take them and go.         1930
    And for the present, count, avoid the duke:
    He is angry with thee.                               [_Exit Blasco._

                           I shall not leave this house
    Till I be sure Margaret means not to come.
    The unkindest tempers are broke down by grief:
    And since she cannot blame me, she may find
    Comfort in my compassion,—ay, and thank me
    For some consideration.—She will see
    I have put on black, and set the house in mourning,
    Have ordered mass, have had his room shut up ...
    Is there now nothing more? Why, who is this?                    1940

                _Enter Margaret, throwing off a veil._


    Livio! thou here! Where is my brother?

    _Liv._                                 Oh!

    _Mar._ Where is my brother? I am come
    To speak with him. Where is he?

    _Liv._                          Hast thou heard nothing?

    _Mar._ Heard what? Where is he?

    _Liv._                          O, if thou knowest not ..

    _Mar._ What is it? speak. Why is the house in black?
    What means it? say.

    _Liv._              Nay, let it not be me
    To tell thee.

    _Mar._        Thinkest thou my fancy’s horror
    Is gentler than thy bluntest tale? Speak quickly.

    _Liv._ ’Twas on his own confession of connivance
    In John Palicio’s shelter and escape,                           1950
    My father put him from his place, and sent him
    To answer to this charge before the king.
    He sailed two nights ago. The ship ...

    _Mar._                                 Go on, sir!

    _Liv._ Our ships fell in with the enemy, and all
    But two were captured, one on which he sailed,
    And one which brought the news.

    _Mar._                          And Manuel’s ship?

    _Liv._ ’Tis said the ship on which he sailed was sunk.

    _Mar._ (_falling on a chair_). Sunk, say you, and he?...

    _Liv._ My sister at the tidings straight fell ill,
    And her mind wanders. Bear a braver heart.                      1960

    _Mar._ O, fatal day. ’Tis I, ’tis I have done it.—
    And did none see him?

    _Liv._                Margaret, dearest Margaret,
    Take courage. I have shared thy sorrow, Margaret:
    Cannot I comfort thee? O, sweetest Margaret,
    Thou dost not know my love.

    _Mar._ (_standing, and showing the dagger_). Away! away!

    _Liv._ Nay, wherefore treat me thus?

    _Mar._                               Is this an hour
    To force thy love upon me?

    _Liv._                     Margaret,
    Hast thou no pity?

    _Mar._             Think if I have pity
    To spend on thee.

    _Liv._            If thou wouldst slay me, Margaret,
    Thou need’st no dagger.

    _Mar._                  Sir, stand back, I say:                 1970
    And first tell plainly what thou knowest. One ship
    Of three escaped?

    _Liv._            The hindmost ’twas, that fled ...

    _Mar._ And brought the tidings?

    _Liv._                          Ay.

    _Mar._                              And was none saved
    Out of the ship which sunk?

    _Liv._                      I know not.

    _Mar._                                  Know’st not?
    There’s hope, thank God. And thou!—Why, if in thy heart
    Lurked the least feeling, ’twould have shewn this side,
    Not leapt to the worst ... Come, sir, I’ll keep this sorrow:
    ’Tis not with thee I’d share my fear for Manuel ...
    Nor any other; tho’ my need compels me,
    If thou’rt the man sits in his place.

    _Liv._                                I am.                     1980

    _Mar._ He would have aided me.

    _Liv._                         But I will aid thee
    More than a brother. Thou canst ask no favour
    I will not grant.

    _Mar._            Sir, I shall ask no favour:
    Nor aught but what it is thy part to grant,
    Unless it be promise of secrecy.

    _Liv._ O, but one secret with thee! there’s no jewel
    In all the world I would esteem as that.

    _Mar._ Where’s Giovanni Palicio, sir?

    _Liv._                                Palicio!

    _Mar._ Ay, he’s my kinsman.

    _Liv._                      He is in the palace dungeon,
    Awaiting death.

    _Mar._          He’s my near kinsman, Livio,                    1990
    And must not die: and, being condemned to die,
    I, as his kinswoman, desire a pass
    To visit him in prison when I choose.               [_Livio writes._
    My purpose with him is to extort a pledge
    That he will leave the country, on which condition
    I look for his release.

    _Liv._                  Here is the order.
    And use it as thou wilt.

    _Mar._ (_taking_).       I thank you for it.

    _Liv._ If ’tis so near thee he go quit, what means
    Better than mine to work it?

    _Mar._                       I have means.

    _Liv._ With whom?

    _Mar._            I have the means.

    _Liv._                              Believe it not.             2000
    There’s none could win this favour of my father.
    Hath not his cry been _Death to Hugo_?
    He’s more than rebel. There’s a private hate
    Which makes his sentence grateful.

    _Mar._                            I have means.

    _Liv._ ’Twere easier wouldst thou trust me. See, ’tis done
    Without more words. Margaret, I’ll risk this thing
    For thee. Palicio shall escape to Spain,
    To Naples, where thou wilt, if thou ...

    _Mar._                                  If what?

    _Liv._ Margaret, accept my love.

    _Mar._                           O, Livio,
    I am too sad to be angry with thee now.                         2010
    But know if ever thou wouldst merit love
    By generosity, thou must not beg
    A bargain. ’Do this and I’ll love thee,’ ay,
    That may be said, but not ’I’ll do this thing
    If thou wilt love me’: and thou, Livio,
    A chief justiciary!

                          _Re-enter Blasco._

    _Liv._              Hush, I pray thee!

    _Bl._ The lady Margaret! We are very happy
    In this return.

    _Mar._ (_aside to Blasco_). What hadst thou of Palicio?

    _Bl._ Ha! Sayst thou?...

    _Mar._ (_aside_).        Meet me at the palace, count.
    I have thy letter. (_To Liv._) I see there is no place here      2020
    In my house for me. I have still a hope, and in it
    Shall fortify my comfort ... If aught is heard
    I shall be with thy sister. Thou and Blasco
    May serve me if ye will.                                     [_Exit._

    _Liv._                   What said she to you?

    _Bl._ Art not thou too accustomed to her wit?
    I bring ill news. Thy sister still is worse,
    And calls for thee, and Rosso thinks ’tis well
    That thou shouldst go.

    _Liv._                 Bide thou here in my place ...

    _Bl._ Nay, I must go with thee.                            [_Exeunt._

                               SCENE · 2

     _A public place. MANUEL disguised as a friar meeting ROSSO._


    ’Tis doctor Rosso.


                       At your service, father.                     2030

    _Man._ May I speak with thee?

    _Ros._                        With pleasure.

    _Man._                                       Stand we aside.
    Hast thou forgotten me?

    _Ros._                  Nay, for I think
    I have never seen thee ... or I ask thy pardon.

    _Man._ Now thou shouldst know me well.

    _Ros._                                 Thy voice I think
    I do remember.

    _Man._ (_discovering_). Do you know me now?

    _Ros._ Manuel! Thank God!

    _Man._                    Is it a good disguise?

    _Ros._ Metamorphosis ... if indeed ’tis thou,
    In such a husk. Then thou’rt nót drowned!

    _Man._                                    Indeed,
    There was a time when I had some fear to be;
    But how came you to know it?

    _Ros._                       Of the ships                       2040
    One returned home with news that thine was sunk.
    Was not that true?

    _Man._             Ay, ay,

    _Ros._                     How didst thou ’scape?

    _Man._ I took my only chance, leapt overboard
    And swam to the enemy. By heavenly fortune
    The ship that ran us down was Raymond’s, he
    Who served so long with us. I had left my foes
    To find old friends: and when the fight was o’er,
    I told him in what hapless case I stood,
    And promising to hold myself no less
    His prisoner, and surrender to his master                       2050
    At Naples if need were, I bade him land me
    By night at Cefaledi; there arrived,
    By the good sailor friars I was clad
    In the disguise you see, and came in speed
    To look to matters here.

    _Ros._                   There is great need.

    _Man._ Ay, my affairs with Constance?

    _Ros._                                I grieve to tell
    Constance is lying ill.

    _Man._                  She is in your hands?

    _Ros._ Ay.

    _Man._ Doth she doubt of me?

    _Ros._                       At your committal
    A fever must have seized her. Then your death,
    Which should have been concealed, was urged upon her,           2060
    In countenance of duke Philip’s suit ...

    _Man._                                   How? Philip!

    _Ros._ Did you not guess?

    _Man._                    Is’t possible?

    _Ros._                                   At that
    Her mind gave way: ’tis question of her life.

    _Man._ I bring the medicine to work her cure.
    Is’t not enough?

    _Ros._           I trust so.

    _Man._                       And I think it.
    How blind I have been! I trusted Philip, and he
    Was playing against me. Time will right me, Rosso,
    In this as in the other. Patience. And what
    Of your affairs ...

    _Ros._              How mine?

    _Man._                        Your love affairs.

    _Ros._ My love affairs?

    _Man._                  Ay,—Margaret.

    _Ros._                                 Margaret?                2070

    _Man._ Can I be wrong? Her head was turned the day
    She brought you to Palicio.

    _Ros._                      O, Manuel,
    This makes it sure.

    _Man._              Yes, and I’m glad of it.

    _Ros._ Nay, nay: pray hear me. On the very day
    Palicio left your house, she went, ’twas said,
    To Monreale: there she hath not been seen.
    Was’t to Palicio?

    _Man._            Now, please God, thou’rt wrong.
    Say, where is he?

    _Ros._            Stranger than all, he has made
    Surrender of himself to Livio,
    Our new justiciary, and awaits his death                        2080
    In Hugo’s dungeon.

    _Man._             How! And Margaret?

    _Ros._ She hath now this morn returned, full of distraction
    As well might be, but firm beyond her wont.
    She is in the palace, where she nurses Constance
    With the cool skill of one that hath his stake
    Ventured elsewhere ...

    _Mar._                 Good God! Now if thou’rt right,
    Rosso, this matter needs me more than the other.
    Thank heaven I am here. Constance is in thy hands:
    Thou hast her cure. Yet use it with discretion,
    Knowing my hazard. I shall visit at once                        2090
    The archbishop; he will stand my friend, and give me
    Commission in the habit of a priest
    To see Palicio. Nay, there’s not a moment
    To lose. Thou mayst contrive that Constance too
    Should send for me; maybe I thus might see her.
    Farewell. I go, yet must I take a name;
    Let it be Thomas, father Thomas. To-night
    Can I rest at thy house?

    _Ros._                   I pray you will.

    _Man._ An hour hence couldst thou meet me there?

    _Ros._                                           I will.
    God speed you.

    _Man._ O, Rosso, Rosso, I fear thou’rt right ...


    _Ros._ Ay, ay. I’m right. Alas for Manuel.                      2101
    ’Tis almost pity he is escaped from death.
    I would tell Constance, but her throbbing brain
    Hath no interpreter, and in her ear
    All words are meaningless, or mean alike
    Something insane, which in her eager dreaming
    Steals the world’s place. I have no power to tell.


                               SCENE · 3

            _Room in the Palace. HUGO and PHILIP meeting._


      No cheer. Thy questioning looks may not be answer’d
    With any brightness, duke: and yet take heart.
    The fever of our climate is in the onset                        2110
    Oft overmasked as this. ’Twill clear and pass.
    ’Twere quite incredible she should so sicken
    Of mere affection. The compacted body
    Hath its machinery for health and action,
    Its appetites for food and rest, too firm
    To be unfixed by fancy. Like a river
    Our life flows on, whose surface storms may vex,
    But never move the current from its bed.


      I heartily repent my part in this.
    I wronged poor Manuel.

    _Hu._                  Now thou wrong’st me.                    2120
    Him being dead thou canst not wrong. ’Tis plain
    The objection falls. If once there was a motive
    That might have stayed thee ...

    _Ph._                           Nay, upbraid me not.

    _Hu._ How, I upbraid thee?

    _Ph._                      That I pressed my suit.

    _Hu._ Rather for slackness in it.

    _Ph._                             If she recover
    ’Tis all I pray for.

    _Hu._                Not so. This will pass.
    ’Twill be forgotten. All will be forgotten.
    Look but on Margaret, doth her brother’s death
    Craze her?

    _Ph._      Indeed, I think she is nigh distracted;
    And if she bear up better there’s a reason:                     2130
    She hath a comforter. Nay, I may tell you
    I saw your doctor here take her aside,
    And when he spoke, her face of woe lit up.
    She loves him. ’Twas a match that Manuel wished.

    _Hu._ Nay, nay! what! Rosso, the apothecary!

                       _Enter Livio and Blasco._

    Ah, Livio; Constance calls thy name, ’tis hoped
    That she may know thee.


                            Is she better, sire?

    _Hu._ Nay: but she asked for thee, and Rosso said
    Thou shouldst be sent for. Come within.

    _Ph._                                   May I
    Far as the door?

    _Hu._            Ay, come.

    _BLASCO_ (_aside to Liv._).

                               Tell Margaret,                       2140
    Who hath some matter for me, that I am here.

                                              [_Exeunt Hugo and Livio._

    _Ph._ Count, thou hast lied to me. If that suffice
    To raise thy temper, meet me when thou wilt:
    If not, and Constance die, I’ll use thee worse.            [_Exit._

    _Bl._ Ay, ay. No doubt there may be danger for me
    Even from that quarter: but I have a foe
    That threats me more. How came she by the letter?
    Only Palicio and his messenger
    Could know ’twas mine.

                           _Enter Margaret._


                           ’Tis business with thee, count:
    Therefore few words. I have thy treasonous letter
    And other proofs, which I shall bring against thee
    Unless thou do my bidding.

    _Bl._                      What is that,                        2152
    My lady Peremptory? speak thy will.

    _Mar._ Attend. Palicio is condemned to die
    At noon to-morrow. I require that thou
    Contrive that he escape, ay, and go clear
    Three hours before that time.

    _Bl._                         Impossible.

    _Mar._ ’Tis not so, count. For Livio had promised me
    The very thing; but since his price exceeds
    What I need pay to thee ...

    _Bl._                       My price, how mean you?             2160

    _Mar._ I will give back thy letter to thy hands,
    And promise secrecy in every matter
    I had against thee.

    _Bl._               Give me now the letter,
    And I will do it.

    _Mar._            Nay. Thou’lt do it first.

    _Bl._ Then say that if at nine to-morrow morn
    I have a friendly guard—

    _Mar._                    Keep to that hour:
    ’Twill do. I shall be there to see it done.
    I’ll bring the letter with me. I can provide
    His further safety. If thou fail, the enquiry,
    Which I can set on foot, delays his death,                      2170
    Till I find other means.

    _Bl._                    But still I see not
    My own security.

    _Mar._           Thou hast my promise:
    And thy security is only this,
    To keep to thine. I go. Remember, nine.                     [_Exit._

    _Bl._ Wheu! wheu! Who hath the secret now? Indeed,
    I see this dainty lady hath a lover
    We little dreamed of. Therefore was he housed
    With Manuel. O, Giovann Palicio:
    Thus Livio’s rival. And thou blab of me
    To mistress Margaret, dost thou? well, well, well!
    I’ll see thee die for that. Die now thou must.                  2181
    I have, sir, but to tell this tale in the ear
    Of the chief justiciary, and I am saved.

                           _Re-enter Livio._

    Livio, thou hast a rival.

    _Liv._                    I know.

    _Bl._                             Thou knowest?

    _Liv._ My father saith Margaret will marry Rosso.

    _Bl._ Rosso! Rosso be hanged! ’Tis John Palicio.

    _Liv._ Palicio!

    _Bl._           Yes, Palicio.

    _Liv._                        Nay.

    _Bl._                              I’ll tell thee.
    Hark.—Was he not concealed in Manuel’s house?

    _Liv._ Well?

    _Bl._        And escaping from his house by night,
    The next day where was Margaret?

    _Liv._                           Ah!

    _Bl._                                And then                   2190
    ’Twas she betrayed the rebels.

    _Liv._                         Eh!

    _Bl._                              We traced
    The little book to her servant.

    _Liv._                          That’s against it.

    _Bl._ Nay: it explains why all the names were there,
    Only not his.

    _Liv._        But then ... nay, why should he

    _Bl._      That’s but madness any way.
    But now she comes demanding his deliverance.

    _Liv._ Ay, she doth. O, the villain! he shall die.

    _Bl._ He shall; but hark, I have promised Margaret
    To set Palicio free at nine to-morrow.
    Say that we go together. Margaret comes                         2200
    To see her lover freed. Her we will take
    And keep confined until his execution;
    Which for our purpose may be hurried on.
    Or if ...

    _Liv._    Stay; why this promise? In the course
    Of justice he must die.

    _Bl._                   Not so. My promise
    To set him free was made for two good reasons.
    First hearing thou hadst offered her the like:
    Next for the knowledge that on my refusal
    She could find other means. Beside all which
    She bargains to restore me certain letters                      2210
    I sent her years ago, which I confess
    I am now ashamed of: (_aside._)—Any lie will serve
    To smooth this idiot.—These she brings with her,
    And I can take them from her. My object gained
    I hand her o’er to thee. For all her scorns
    Repay her as thou wilt.

    _Liv._                  I fear her.

    _Bl._                               Nay,
    I can secure thee. Come.                                  [_Exeunt._

                               SCENE · 4

 _Dungeon of the Palace. PALICIO discovered. A door at back of prison
                          is_ L. _of centre_.


      I cannot think of death. Imagination
    Is barren on that point, and hath no picture;—
    To be so near should better prick the fancy.—                   2220
    I see a grave—but stand beside the grave ...
    Nothing.—And yet I am so near.—I judge
    From this how dizzily deep rides the division
    ’Twixt this world and the next; tho’ in Time’s face
    ’Tis thin, ay, more invisibly sharp than is
    The axe’s edge, which makes it.—Is our life’s stuff
    So different? All the joys and hopes of earth
    Wrought of too coarse a fibre to invest
    An inkling of that other unseen world,
    Which hath this only entrance? Wherefore my mind
    Wanders in wasteful contemplation back                          2231
    O’er what I have done, pitifully seeking
    To wear renewed the robe of those proud deeds,
    To dream again her disappointed dreams;
    And over all is Margaret, ever Margaret;
    Floating before these vain soul-treacherous eyes,—
    My tempter and tormentor.

                            _Enter Gaoler._


      A priest sent from the archbishop. Shall he enter?

    _Pal._ Yea: bid him enter. But I pray thee now,
    Thou execrable minion of that devil                             2240
    Who sucks our people’s blood, come not thyself:
    Each time I see thee I must wish to kill thee.
    Thou art my soul’s last peril. Keep away.

    _Gaoler._ Whate’er I be, I can be civil, sir.               [_Exit._

    _Pal._ Ay, I was wrong. Now must I ask his pardon.
    I am not yet fit to die. Yet is’t not written
    “_If hand or foot offend thee, cut it off;
    If thine eye, pluck it out_”? I have done all this;
    Yet lurks there something in the accusing balance
    Which my soul sickens at. What if I have lost
    My world and soul? This good priest comes in time.

                  _Enter Manuel disguised as priest._

    Father, if thou be come to shrive my soul,                      2252
    I need thee sorely.


                        I am here for that.

    _Pal._ There’s comfort in thy face. I have much to tell.
    Thou know’st me, who I am?

    _Man._                     Ay, son.

    _Pal._                              I pray
    What said the archbishop of me?

    _Man._                          Pause not now
    To ask and weigh man’s judgment, who so soon
    Must answer to the Judge of all.

    _Pal._                           Nay, nay.
    If thou bring hither such a thought of me,
    What can I tell thee? How shall I begin?                        2260

    _Man._ If there be any one thing on your mind,
    More than another, which now brings you shame,
    Begin with that.

    _Pal._           Ay: such a thing there is.

    _Man._ What is’t?

    _Pal._            ’Tis the story of the mischief,
    Which makes me need thee; which hath sent me here.
    For I was single-hearted, single-eyed,
    As thou or any of the saints, who hold
    Their place in heaven secure, three days ago,—
    But three days: If thou then hadst come to me
    I should have said, My sins are all forgiven;                   2270
    I only beg of thee the heavenly bread
    To be my passport to my home prepared.
    My earthly sword hath won a heavenly crown.
    I have not left undone aught, save where God’s will
    Forbade accomplishment, and if I have done
    Aught unpermitted ’twas in zeal’s excess.
    My errors are the saints’—three days ago ...
    And now my boast is gone, my soul is stained.
    Hark, while I tell. Satan, who saw me thus
    Pure-hearted and elect, an envied prey,                         2280
    Used all his skill to take me: Ay, he came
    And showed me, in the room where I lay sick,
    Wounded, and weak and faint, a beauteous woman,
    And all love’s world. He said, _Take this_; but I
    Was ready awhile, and answered, _Not for me.
    I thread the narrow way; I climb at heaven.
    If I touch this, I perish._ But he said,
    _Not so, ’tis thy due prize. Take it, Palicio_!
    ’Twas the old tale—“Thou shalt not surely die.”
    I took it. God deserted me that hour:                           2290
    My friends suspected me: all things went ill:
    And now ...

    _Man._      Stay. First, this woman, who misled you,
    Is she your wife?

    _Pal._            Nay, ’tis but now three days ...

    _Man._ You say she is not your wife. Is then your sin
    To have leapt the bounds which hold unmarried lovers?

    _Pal._ O, father, thou couldst never ask such thing
    If thou didst know who ’twas. Nay, thou mayst know:
    ’Twas Manuel’s sister,—Margaret of Palermo.

    _Man._ (_partly discovering_). See, I am Manuel. * * *
    * * * Ay, and so far is well.
    Now say, did Margaret contrive thy flight?                      2300

    _Pal._ ... (_assents_).

    _Man._ And after followed thee to Monreale?
    And met thee on the hills?

    _Pal._ ... (_assents_).

    _Man._                     Then tell me now
    Why hast thou left her?

    _Pal._                  Nay. Question me not.

    _Man._ Why hast thou left her?

    _Pal._                         Why come to me thus?
    I needed but a priest to comfort me,
    And show me on death’s road: thou drag’st me back
    To torture me. Thou canst not understand.

    _Man._ Thou ow’st to me more than to any priest,
    Who for thy sake might hear, to tell me true.
    Why hast thou left her?

    _Pal._                  If thou wert a priest,                  2310
    Then wouldst thou see how well the stalking fiend
    Snared for my soul. I planned for yesternight
    To storm the palace: and I had promised Margaret
    To make no further venture if that failed,
    But sail with her to Rome and there be married,
    Using thy interest to reclaim my rank.
    But on the day I gave that word, my men
    Were all betrayed, taken, and led to prison.
    I was with Margaret, as well they knew:
    My love for her, my shelter at thy house,                       2320
    My flight permitted, set them on the thought
    That I had been corrupted, was the traitor.
    _Fly with me_, then cried Margaret. Ay, the fiend too
    Said, _Fly: go safe_. I foiled him. I came here.
    That was my only answer.

    _Man._                   And didst thou not
    Betray them?

    _Pal._       I! Palicio! when did I

    _Man._ Stay, while in turn I shew to thee
    Another tale made of the self-same matter.—
    A price set on thy head, pursued by justice,
    Bleeding to death, thou camest to my house                      2330
    Asking for shelter, begging but for life.
    I gave it at my risk,—how great that risk
    I’ll shew thee soon;—there at my house my sister
    Secretly tended thee, and won thy cure.
    Thou in return didst, all unknown to me,
    Obtain her love, and use it to break trust,
    Flying by stealth at night: and then, being fled,
    Didst scruple not to use thy flight, to work
    The very thing for which thy life was owed.
    Further, when that went wrong, merely for fear                  2340
    Men should think ill of thee, thou didst desert
    Her, to whose love was due that thou wert free;
    Wronging her then again, as me before ...

    _Pal._ Manuel, forbear; thee I confess I wronged:
    For the rest thy taunts are vain.

    _Man._                            Wait: there is more.—
    Thy refuge being discovered, I was charged
    With treason, and in course shipped hence for Spain.
    My ship was sunk, and I, but for God’s mercy,
    Drowned. My disgrace and rumoured death so wrought
    On Constance, that she lies in life’s last hope.                2350
    To all of us thou hast done unmeasured ill:
    What is thy plea?

    _Pal._            Though God himself should curse me,
    My purpose hath been good.

    _Man._                     Ay, that I’ll grant:
    Thou’rt for the right, but being too hot upon it
    Mistakest right. Thou art numbered with the madmen
    Who, thinking the whole world’s unhappiness
    Hangs on one string, tread all else underfoot
    So they may reach to cut it.—And where’s the good?
    Thyself, too, in what plight, that after all
    This sacrifice of others’ rights, thou rushest                  2360
    To die to save thine honour from a stain,
    That needs no washing!

    _Pal._                 Enough: there let it end:
    I die to-morrow.

    _Man._           Nay, thou must escape:
    Retrieve all that thou canst. I now shall go
    To Margaret, whom before I feared to meet.
    She will be working for thee. If she fail,
    The archbishop yet hath power to stay thy death
    Till I can serve thee. If thy love for her,
    And hers for thee abide, you must be married.
    Nay, all she urged was good.

    _Pal._                       O, ’tis impossible.                2370
    Work not for my escape: ’tis best I die.

    _Man._ Nay, nay. Thou that canst fight, fight with thyself.
    The brave despair that fear not: that’s the shock
    The strongest suffer. Thou wast ill of late;
    Wert thou now strong, shame would not crush thy spirit.     [_Going._

    _Pal._ Manuel, go not!

    _Man._                 Yes, I must go. Remember
    My name is Father Thomas. None must guess
    Who hath been with thee.—Farewell. Fight with thyself;
    Palicio, with thyself. Thou shalt be saved.                 [_Exit._

                                ACT · V

                               SCENE · 1

                    _The same. PALICIO as before._


      Three hours have fully passed since first I marked            2380
    Yon grated hole grow rosy, and exchange
    Moonlight for dawn. Now soon will Margaret come:
    And I must go forth to the world disgraced,
    To fly my country or hide: ay, at the cue
    Of the chief justiciary, led by a woman.
    Hast thou the heart, Giovann Palicio,
    To call this freedom. Nay, since thy right hand
    Was raised ’gainst wrong in vain, and thou thyself
    Art charged with wrong, and must admit the wrong,
    Were’t not now best to end, and shroud thy fortune
    In veils of death? Thou that hast led the people,               2391
    Hast thou a knee for favours? Will thy tongue
    Confess I wronged thee, Manuel, I come forth
    To be thy prisoner: and I wronged thee, Margaret:
    I will come forth to be thy pensioner?
    Shame: rather would I die.

    _Enter Margaret._


      ’Tis I, Giovanni: all is well: thou’rt safe,
    Manuel has told me all. Thou dost repent.
    All is prepared. Ask not my pardon: give me
    One kiss—I have forgiven thee. Be not sad.                      2400
    ’Twas like thee as I love thee, nobly done:
    And being so cruel to thyself ’twas easy
    Thou shouldst forget what I too now forget,
    Recovering thee. I saw thee ride away,
    And guessed before the letter. O, Giovanni,
    Thank God, thou’rt safe. Look, I have brought the money
    To serve thee on thy journey till the day
    We meet again; and more. Thy ship will sail
    But to Messina: there thou wilt disbark.
    Nay, take the money; thou wilt need it, love,                   2410
    ’Tis Manuel’s gift, not mine.

    _Pal._ (_taking_).            I have no heart,
    Margaret, for what is done on my behalf.
    I thank him, but ...

    _Mar._               Alas, alas! Giovanni:
    I looked to find thee glad of heart and happy.
    Our troubles all are over. Manuel lives,
    Whom we thought drowned: Constance, who lay in death,
    Hath risen from her bed: and even our marriage
    Is furthered by my brother. How can it be
    Thou art so dismal, and thy kiss as cold
    As is this prison?

    _Pal._             I would not leave this prison.               2420

    _Mar._ Thou wouldst not leave it?

    _Pal._                            No: dankness and darkness
    Are now my friends. I have failed. How can I wish
    To step in the light of heaven?

    _Mar._                          O, then I see
    This death-delivering dungeon hath o’ercome thee.
    ——There’s news. This morn the ships arrived from Spain.
    They must bring tidings of the king’s accession.
    We shall learn all to-day. When he’s proclaimed,
    There’s nought that thou couldst do if thou wert free.
    What thou hast done may have determined much.

    _Pal._ When shall I hear of it?

    _Mar._                          Love, thou must sail            2430
    Quickly and secretly: and canst not hear
    Until thou come to land. But then if I
    Should meet thee there with Manuel, oh, what joy,
    Could I be first to tell thee.

    _Pal._                         Dost thou think
    That Manuel hath forgiven me for the wrong
    I did him, stealing from his house by night?

    _Mar._ That was my theft, Giovanni; and he forgives:
    Cry not thou forfeit.—See, I bring thy dagger.

    _Pal._ But, Margaret, I wronged thee too. I fled
    From thee; canst thou forgive me?

    _Mar._                            Ask not me                    2440
    If I have forgiven. Hearken, I will tell thee,—
    This dagger is the dagger which the woman,
    Whose name thou didst not know, brought thee in prison:
    By help of this thou madest thy first escape.
    ’Tis I that bring it now. These two days past,
    These days of misery, I have held and worn it
    But for one purpose; that if thou shouldst die,
    I might have something which had once been thine
    To end my life with.

    _Pal._               Thou!

    _Mar._                     Ay. I had promised
    This caseless blade my empty heart for sheath.                  2450

    _Pal._ Margaret!

    _Mar._           Now take it. I have better hope.

                    [_Palicio takes dagger, and puts it in his breast._

    Thou shouldst be armed.

    _Pal._                  And thou hast thought of death?

    _Mar._ Only if thou hadst died.

    _Pal._                          O, Margaret,
    Margaret, I am not worthy of thy love.
    Thou seest I am not. Look how poor a heart
    I bring to take thee: ’tis too base. I thought
    I loved thee overmuch. Now, fool, I see
    I love too little.

    _Mar._             ’Tis this hateful prison
    Hath chilled thy spirits. When again thou’rt free
    Thou’lt be Giovanni.

    _Pal._               Canst thou love me so?                     2460

    _Mar._ O, what hath come to thee? Did I not love
    The hour I bound thy wound: the day I brought
    Rosso to heal thee, and led thee by the hand,
    Threading the blindest midnight silently,
    To set thee free? Dost thou forget?

    _Pal._                              But then,
    Then I was brave, a leader of the people
    Against their tyrant: thou didst hold of me
    As of a hero: now I have failed, I am shamed.

    _Mar._ O no, Giovanni; thou mistakest sadly
    My love for thee.

    _Pal._            I am no more myself.                          2470

    _Mar._ Then dare I prove to thee how much I love thee,
    How little thy renown. Remember, thou didst scheme
    To burn the palace.

    _Pal._              Ay.

    _Mar._                  Didst thou not promise
    Me, trembling for thy life, that if that failed,
    Thou wouldst to Rome with me?

    _Pal._                        My scheme miscarried:
    I broke my promise.

    _Mar._              The cause of that miscarriage
    Was the betrayal?

    _Pal._            How should I forget?

    _Mar._ Now wilt thou say I love but thy success?
    ’Twas I betrayed thy men.

    _Pal._                    Ha! thou was’t! was’t thou?

(_Leaping up from Margaret, who staggers against the wall._)

    From me, sorceress, thou viper, go from me!                     2480
    Traitress, was’t thou? Thou wast my secret curse!
    Sent by the devil, wast thou, to destroy me,
    To kill my soul? And bringest now thy money

                                                    [_Strews it about._

    To buy thy happiness: and of thy love
    Pratest, and sayst, _Come forth with me_! With thee?
    Rather all deaths, a thousand deaths of shame,—
    The axe, the gallows. O, my faithful men,
    My brave men! and for them!—Ah! I will love
    My executioner more than thee. Love thee!
    There is not any tyrant or crowned fiend                        2490
    Whom I will hate like thee.

    _Mar._                      Then kill me, Giovanni.

                                                     [_Swoons falling._

    _Pal._ (_taking out dagger_). This dagger in my heart,
       and I am avenged.
    Nay, nay, O God, I am adding wrong to wrong.

                                                [_Putting dagger back._

    And Manuel. Alas! what have I done?

                                                   [_Runs to Margaret._

    I spake too roughly, Margaret; I was angry:
    I knew not what I said. Margaret, I am sorry.
    Forgive me, Margaret. Nay, I meant it not.
    I am not angry with thee now. I think
    I can forgive thee. Hear me! She doth not hear me.
    She doth not breathe. Her eyes are fixed and sightless.         2500
    Her hands are cold.
    My God, oh, if I have killed her! Margaret, Margaret!
    Dost thou not hear?—I have killed her.—Margaret!
    I do forgive thee. I forgive thee all.
    O God, she is dead, she is dead.—Now if I kiss her,
    If she can feel (_kissing_). She stirs. O, Margaret,
    Hear me. I do forgive thee all.

    _Mar._                          Giovanni:
    I did it for thy love.

    _Pal._                 Thank God, thank God.
    Now thou dost breathe and speak. O, I was cruel;
    I was too angry.—Margaret, forgive me.                          2510
    Kiss me, forgive.                                  [_Noise at door._

    _Mar._            Hark, at the door they come;
                      ’Tis now thy time to fly.

    _Pal._                                 How can I leave thee?
    I cannot thus.

       _Enter Blasco with sword drawn, Livio and two soldiers._

    _Mar._         Go for thy life, Giovanni:
                   Fly, fly: think not of me!


                                              Stay, not so fast,
    You pretty pair of loving turtle-doves,
    Cooing your sweet farewells in such a cote;
    We shall not separate you yet so far.

    _Mar._ Ah me!

    _Pal._        What means this insult?

    _Bl._                                 Forward, fellows.
    Take ye the lady to the cell I shewed,
    And bind her arms.

    _Pal._             Who dares?

    _Bl._                         Fool, stand aside!                2520
    Seest thou my sword?

    _Pal._ Ho! villain, die!                   } _Palicio springs on
                                               } Blasco suddenly, and
    _Bl._         God! I am slain.  [_Falls._  } stabs him with dagger in
                                               } his left. Seizing Blasco’s
    _Pal._                         And thou,   } sword in his right, which
    Thinking to find me here unarmed, go thou! } he has disengaged from
                                               } the sling, he kills
    _Soldier._ Ah!                             } another with that; and
                                               } when the rest fly is
                     [_Dies ... the rest fly._ } left standing with a
                                               } bloody weapon in each
    _Pal._         Two are escaped.            } hand._

    _Mar._ And one was Livio.

    _Pal._ What means this damnable design?

    _Mar._                                  Giovanni,
    I see, I know. Fly now—take thou the sword.
    Give me the dagger. Follow. I know the way.
    There will be none to stay thee. If there be,                   2528
    Serve them as Blasco. Come, come; follow quickly.
    _Pal._ (_following_). Margaret, Margaret.                  [_Exit._

                               SCENE · 2

   _Room in the Palace. MANUEL, disguised as priest, meeting ROSSO._


      In good time, Manuel: welcome. All is well.


      Thank God. And doth she know?

    _Ros._                          Ay, thou shalt hear.
    ’Twas Margaret’s doing: all night long she sat
    By Constance’ bed, and there with gentlest presence
    And soft accustomed voice most gradually
    She soothed and won the wandering spirit back.
    But, oh, the sweetest skill!—she, as she saw
    Constance take note of her, made no discovery,
    But spoke of thee and all things else, as if
    There never had been change: and that so well,                  2540
    That Constance, who lay gazing on the wall,
    And questioning of her error, whence it grew,
    Soon laid it on herself, and by and by
    Told Margaret of her dream, and asked how long
    She had lain so sick in bed; nor ever learned
    How real had her woe been, till she knew
    That all was over.

    _Man._             I thank God,—and thee,
    Rosso, thee too. Margaret has had some cause
    To blame herself,—to have helped in the repair
    Will ease her heart of much. May I see Constance?

    _Ros._ At once. But come prepared to find her weak.             2551

                            _Enter Philip._


      Father, a word.

    _Man._            I pray you excuse me now.

    _Ph._ ’Tis that I know thy errand that I ask.
    I would speak through thee to the lady Constance.

    _Man._ What would you say?

    _Ph._                      Let me be private with thee.

    _Man._ (_to Ros._) Doctor, I’ll follow. (_Aside._) Now
      to act my best.                                   [_Exit Rosso._

    _Ph._ Thou seest in me the man who wrought this ill.
    I’d have thee use thine office with the lady,
    To win her grace, that I may make confession
    Of that which burdens me.

    _Man._                    How! what is this?                    2560
    What should I say?

    _Ph._              I’ll tell thee: and thou must know
    First, that I once was Manuel’s friend and pupil,—
    My pride, alas! self-wrested to my shame—
    And in those early days loved her, whom he
    Should at this time have married. Five years spent
    In graceless life meanwhile had far removed
    My heart from my first love, nor had my thought
    Once ventured back to think or wish her mine:
    But, as it happened,—and being at the time
    Stung by the sharp remorse of idle hours,—                      2570
    Chance sent me hither, and her presence soon
    Awaked those memories that I had thought were dead.
    Then vainly felt I worthier than I was,
    Seeing my better part desired to win
    What I too surely had deserved to lose.
    Constance denied me:—but now hear my crime.
    I won her father’s ear; and then, being lodged
    In Manuel’s house, I lit on a discovery
    Of some suspicion, and contrived thereby—
    Betraying him who was my friend and host—                       2580
    His absence and disgrace: whence by ill fate
    His death and all this lady’s trouble sprung.

    _Man._ ’Tis a sad tale you tell.

    _Ph._                            I was misled
    To think he loved the lady less than I.
    Yet urge I no excuse, nor look for pardon:
    But if ’twould not add sorrow to her sorrow,
    I would discharge this burden from my soul.

    _Man._ Do so: for you shall find pity and pardon.

    _Ph._ Nay, nay: that could not be.

    _Man._                             Though hard it seem,
    Ay, and may force awhile some generous tears;
    She cannot yet fail in the foremost duty                        2591
    Of all that sin. I shall prepare her well.

    _Ph._ I thank thee, father.                         [_Exit Manuel._
                                There is in these men
    A quiet strength, which shames our self-esteem.

              _Enter Ferdinand and Hugo with despatches._


      Philip, we have the news. Frederick is crowned.
    See, here’s for thee. (_Gives a despatch._) It bears
         the new king’s seal.

    _Ph._ Well, ’twill help nought. (_Opens._)

    _Hu._                           I pray there may be nothing
    That meddles with my place.

    _Ph._                       Read here, your excellence.   [_Reads._
    _By reason of advices late received,
    The kings commands are that the sealed despatch_                2600
    _Writ for emergency be now held valid,
    And put in force by you._

    _Hu._                    Where’s the despatch?


      ’Tis in my keeping.

    _Hu._ (_to Philip_).  Know’st thou its contents?

    _Ph._ Nay, sir; not I.

    _Hu._                  Pray let us see it, straight.

    _Ph._ Adjourn we to my secretary’s chamber:
    A moment will discover it.                               [_Exeunt._

                               SCENE · 3

_Reception-room at the Palace. As first scene of first act. CONSTANCE,
                     ROSSO, and MANUEL disguised._


      Nay, I can walk. I am very well. See, Manuel,
    There’s no one here: thou mayst be Manuel
    Yet awhile. Is not this, love, a recovery
    To make the memories of sickness glad?                          2610
    The days seem years since I stood here. But now
    Must I see Philip?


                       Be kind to him, Constance.
    The self-condemned need more than full forgiveness
    Ere they forgive themselves.

    _Con._                       I am too happy
    To be unkind. And where is Margaret?
    I long to rally her about her lover.
    Sweet Margaret caught: Margaret who mocked us all.
    Hath she not chosen a madcap brother for us?

    _Man._ Well, I had wished for Rosso, love; but women
    Favour strange fellows.


                            She was difficult                       2620
    To win, and now at least she has met her match.

    _Man._ I pray all may go well. Indeed I have hope
    That Hugo is by this possessed of orders
    Which will resolve all trouble.

    _Con._                          Hush, father Thomas;
    See, here they come.

              _Enter Hugo, Philip, Livio, and Ferdinand._


      My dearest daughter, ’tis a happy day.
    Thy health and safety—Ay, I am glad to see
    Thy face of happiness, and I can add
    Now to thy joy. King Frederick is crowned,
    And I shall rule in Sicily.

    _Man._ (_aside_).           How is this?                        2630

    _Con._ Then for this happy news grant me, dear father,
    One favour. Philip here will join in asking.


      Ere it be asked, I wish before all here
    To say some words. Good father, hast thou won
    The lady’s ear for me?

    _Man._                 I have, your grace.

    _Ph._ May I speak, Constance?

    _Con._                        Philip, you may speak.

    _Ph._ Once I asked this, and thou didst bid me then
    Speak and end all. Hear while I speak my last.
    I have wronged thee, Constance.

    _Con._                          That is now forgiven.

    _Hu._ O, well done, Constance.

    _Ph._                          And I wronged Manuel.            2640
    I violated friendship, and the bond
    Of hospitality.

    _Con._          All that I know,
    And all forgive.

    _Hu._            Forgive him, and forget it.
    So should it be.

    _Ph._            Yet if thou sayest that,
    Thou dost not know that ’twas my treachery
    Procured his exile, whence ensued his death.

    _Con._ All this I know, and I forgive it all.

    _Hu._ (_aside_). This is too soft. Doth her mind wander still?

    _Ph._ Thou understandest? Knowest thou that did he live
    To-day he were the ruler of his country?                        2650

    _Con._ Nay; now, sir, this is new. How came you by it?

    _Ph._ In a despatch I hold, his full appointment
    Is writ and sealed.

    _Con._              He will be very glad
    To hear of this.

    _Ph._            What sayst thou, then?

    _Hu._ (_aside_).                        O misery!

    _Con._ I know you call him dead; but still to me
    He makes his visitations. I have seen him
    This morning in my chamber. Nay, I say,
    I see him now.

    _Hu._          What saith she? (_To Livio._) Alas, alas!
    Thy sister’s mind is gone. This was the reason
    Of her strange cheerfulness.

    _Ph._                        May God forgive us                 2660
    Our fatal mischief.

    _Con._              Give me the despatch:
    I’ll shew it him, sirs, else he might not believe me:
    But if I take it ...

    _Ph._ (_to Hu._).    What, sir, shall I do?

    _Ros._ Humour her fancy, I will lead her out.

    _Hu._ Ferdinand, give it to her. Alas, alas!

    _Con._ (_taking_). I thank thee, sir. (_To Man._) Now,
       father, here’s a matter
    To make us laugh within.

                                [_Exeunt Rosso, Constance, and Manuel._

    _Hu._ Philip, she is mad.

    _Ph._                     I see it, and I the cause.

    _Hu._ A laughing idiot. O, cruel heavens,
    Ye had no stroke more fearful. Would to God                     2670
    That Manuel yet were living, tho’ I hate him,
    Rather than this.

                [_Shouting without of “Palicio,” etc._]

                      What noise is that?


                                          The rebels, sir, again.

                          _Enter an Officer._


      The city, sire, is risen; and the people,
    With John Palicio at their head, demand
    The king’s despatches.

    _Hu._                  John Palicio!
    Is he escaped again? Send Blasco hither.
    Livio, where is he?

    _Liv._              Sir, I do not know.

    _Hu._ ’Tis this accursed rebellion hath done all:
    I have been too merciful. I tell thee, Philip,                  2679
    That was the cause of all, of Constance’s madness,
    Of Manuel’s death. By heaven, the sword shall fall.
    I will have blood for blood, and wail for wail.
    None of these villains whom I hold in prison
    Shall see the sunset. Send me Blasco hither.
    Call out the troops.

    _Ph._                Pray you remember, sire,
    Pardon to all is urged in the despatch.

    _Hu._ Send pardon to the devil. Oppose me not!
    I’ll teach these rebels I am master now.

                                                [_Cries heard without._

 _Enter Manuel (as himself, with paper in hand) and Constance.
 Margaret, Lucia, and Rosso following._

    Manuel! why, Manuel!

    _Ph._                O, Manuel,
    My friend, I am saved.

    _Con._                 My father,                               2690
    Let me present to you my ghostly father;
    And at your will my loving living husband.

    _Hu._ Why, what! How’s this? Is’t thou? Is this a trick?

    _Man._ Ay: but a trick of fortune. Let my escape,
    Which makes you wonder, be explained hereafter.
    But now, since here I hold my title, sire,
    I’ll fill my place at once. Philip, I pray thee
    Go to the window, and make known to all
    These latest tidings. Send the people home.

                                              [_Philip goes to window._

    Meanwhile, sir; if before thou hadst some warrant
    For anger shewn against me, now I ask                           2701
    Thy pardon; and for wrongs against me done
    Assure thee, that if freely thou make over
    Thy daughter for my wife, there is in my love
    Means for full reconcilement. May I say
    Constance is mine?

    _Hu._              I see that she is thine.

    _Man._ I pray thou never shalt regret this day.

    _Ph._ (_returning from window_). There is John Palicio,
      with half the town
    At their old cries. I can make nothing of him.

    _Man._ Bid him surrender as my prisoner.                        2710
    I will receive him here.

    _Hu._                    Thou must not think
    He comes at asking thus.

    _Man._                   He will obey.
    But I will shew myself.                            [_Goes to window._

    _Hu._ How comes he out of prison?


                                                 That I can tell.
    Your secretary Blasco promised me,
    Who desired nothing more than the release
    Of John Palicio, that he would contrive
    To free him, if on my part I returned
    A certain letter to his hands, wherein,                 [_Shewing._
    As you may read, he had betrayed your person                    2720
    To John Palicio for a price. Then I,
    As holder of this written ransom, came
    To see my kinsman freed; when in the dungeon
    False Blasco, with two villains and another,
    Who was your son, appeared before us armed:
    And thinking there to find Palicio
    Defenceless, would have slain him, and forced me
    To give them back this writing: but Palicio
    Sprang up, slew Blasco, and escaped.

    _Ph._                                His death
    Was due from me.

    _Hu._            Give me the letter, pray.                      2730
    Say, Livio, is this true?

    _Liv._                    I never knew
    Of this betrayal, sir; I trusted Blasco.

    _Mar._ He counts for nothing, since he ran away.

                           _Enter Palicio._

    _Hu._ Is this the man?

    _Man._                 Thou art my prisoner.


    I make submission to your excellence.

                                          [_Offering (Blasco’s) sword._

    _Man._ Dost thou surrender of thy own free-will
    To me, as legal viceroy of this island,
    Under King Frederick, and now abjuring
    Thy late rebellion, wilt thou trust henceforth
    The people’s welfare to my lawful hands?                        2740

    _Pal._ I do, and all will trust thee as do I.

    _Man._ That is thy pardon. (_Takes sword._) For the king’s good will
    Is grace to all. Yet there will be for thee
    Question in Blasco’s death. But now I need
    Elsewhere thy presence. (_Returning sword._) Go forth to the people,
    And make it known that I am their governour:
    And that for all disorder ere this day
    There will be pardon, but from this day none.
    Bid them disperse.

    _Pal._             Those hundred men of mine,
    Who lie in prison: is their pardon granted?                     2750

    _Mar._ ’Tis I should plead for them. ’Twas I betrayed them.

    _Hu._ Thou didst betray them?

    _Mar._                        Ay, sir.

    _Hu._                                  ’Tis nought but wonder.

    _Man._ (_to Pal._). This is a day of grace. None will resent
    Our stretching mercy. I shall grant their pardon,
    But not without some cautions; for among them—
    Hear me, Palicio, thou who so dost cry
    Against the taxes—many among thy men
    Are a most burdensome and fruitless tax.
    They go free but to work, and with such measures
    As will ensure it.                             [_Palicio is going._
                       Now, sir, ere thou goest,                    2760
    Is there none here to whom a word is due?

    _Pal._ O, Manuel, I dare not, nay,—I pray thee,
    Be not too generous towards me: since my heart
    Has fallen so far, let me have trial yet
    That I may win what I but falsely stole,
    And now would leave in thy security,
    Till I may bring some right to claim it. Yet
    I lack the worth to ask. But there’s one thing
    Which I will ask (_goes to Margaret_), forgiveness; and
        for that
    I kneel.

    _Mar._   I will not hide it from thee, sir,                     2770
    That in the mutual interchange of pardons,
    Which is our friendly game, I have had some pain
    Standing out in the cold, merely for lack
    Of such a suit as thine. I have looked and longed
    To find a debtor; and I will take thee.
    Rise, sir. I must present thee to a kinsman.

                                              [_Leads Palicio to Hugo._

    (_To Hugo._) Do you remember, sir, a cruel saying
    Spoken to me against this gentleman?
    Since that I have been his friend, ay, and yours too,
    For I betrayed his people to your hands,                        2780
    When they were setting forth to burn the palace;
    And so prevented Blasco’s treachery;
    From which him too I saved, and for that deed
    He takes me now in marriage.

    _Hu._                        All thou sayst
    Margaret, with much of what hath happed to-day
    Needs explanation. I must see so far
    That Livio by his conduct is cut off:
    But if you tell me now that you will marry
    This man ...

    _Man._       Palicio is of noble blood,
    My lord. Yourself have given him oft such praise
    As by an enemy must be well deserved                            2791
    Ere it be spoken. The king’s pardon proves
    Justification: he is quit of treason.
    We shall restore his rank, the loss of which,
    Due to his grandsire in the civil wars,
    Brings him no stain: nay, we shall further make him
    Chief secretary, where his ancient zeal
    For all the commons’ rights may still be shewn.

    _Con._ Margaret, we may be married the same day.

    _Hu._ I see indeed this is a day of grace,                      2800
    Of wondrous grace: and where I take so much
    I should be churlish did I not rejoice
    That I may rank behind no one of you
    In the free dispensation of my favour.
    And there’s one act would set the balance even,
    Lay it even lower against me: it is this,
    For I will do it: John Palicio,
    I do forgive thee ...

    _Mar._                Now I thank thee, sire.

    _Pal._ And I, my lord, who never thought to do it,
    Will forgive thee. DO YOU FORGIVE US ALL.                       2810

                              THE RETURN

                         A DRAMA IN FIVE ACTS
                           IN A MIXED MANNER


    _EUMÆUS_          _swineherd to Ulysses._
    _ANTINOUS_   }      _wooers of Penelope._
    _CTESIPPUS_  }
    _PHEMIUS_                        _a bard._
    _LEIODES_                  _a soothsayer._


_Neatherd and other servants to Telemachus and Eumæus._

_Retainers of Wooers; and Maids of Penelope._

_The scene is laid in Ithaca. The first Act on the sea-shore. The
second at Eumæus’ hut. The last three in the hall of Ulysses’ house._


                                ACT · I

 _Ithaca: the seashore. Thick mist thro’ which Ulysses can scarcely be
 discerned asleep under a tree. In the foreground, Athena._


    This day, the last of twenty fateful years,
    Fulfils the toil and wanderings of the Greeks,
    Who sailed with Agamemnon against Troy
    To win back Argive Helen; for to-day
    Ulysses, last and most despaired of all,
    Is safe again in Ithaca: and in truth
    Have I, Athena, though the wisest power
    And mightiest in Olympus, striven long
    In heaven and earth to save him from the wrath
    Of great Poseidon; but at length my will                          10
    Nears its accomplishment, for on this isle
    Of Ithaca was he at break of morn
    Landed by good Phæacian mariners,
    Who ply the convoys of the dangerous sea;
    Even as they promised him, their king and queen,
    Alcinous and Aretè, honouring him
    With loving gifts, tripods of bronze and iron,
    Raiment and bowls of gold: thro’ blackest night,
    And the confusion of the baffling waters,
    With sail and oar urging their keel they bore him,                20
    Who all the while wrapt in sound slumber lay
    Deep likest death; and in that trance they laid him
    Beneath yon olive tree, and, by his feet,
    The gifts they brought: there may ye see him lying,
    And there the gifts: and yet ye scarce may see,
    With so thick darkness have I drenched the air,
    Lest when he wake, the sight and sweet desire
    Of home supplant his cunning, and he rise
    Forthwith, and entering suddenly his house
    Fall by the treachery of the infatuate lords,                     30
    Who prey there on his substance unrestrained,
    Sitting in idle suit to woo his wife,
    Who weeps his fate unknown; and thus my will
    At last were crossed. So hither am I come
    Myself to break the sleep I sent, and warn him
    Against his foes. And now must I awake him;
    But first will doff my helmet, and appear
    In mortal semblance, as a delicate youth,
    Some prince of the isle: so shall my javelin,
    Long robe and shining sandals not betray                          40
    My godhead. He to me, disguised and strange,
    Will answer nothing truly, nor believe
    What truth I tell: ’tis thus I love to prove him,
    And catch his ready mind at unawares.

      Wake, merchant, wake, awake; whoe’er thou beest,
    That sleepest thus so nigh the public road:
    Arouse thee, man, and guard thy store: Look to it!
    Ay, if some passer-by have not already
    Filched from thee a sad loan of bronze or iron.
    For though we reverence Zeus, thou giv’st occasion
    To make a thief even of an honest man.                            51

    _ULYSSES_ (_awaking_).

      Hail, friend, whom first my waking eyes behold
    Here in this land: and since thou speakest friendly,
    Prove now my friend, and show how best to save
    These few things, ay, and save myself, being here
    Without thee friendless. And, I prithee, tell me
    What land is this? What people dwell herein?
    Is it an island, or some mainland shore
    That from its fertile plains shelves to the deep?

    _Ath._ What hast thou asked, man? Couldst thou hither come,       60
    Not shipwrecked, as is plain, and yet not know
    Our famous isle? Not so am I deceived.
    Thyself tell rather who thou art and whence,
    Else learn’st thou nought of me: And speak but truth.
    Ill speeds entreaty on a lying tongue.

    _Ul._ Indeed I speak but truth, friend, when I say
    I know not where I stand; as thou must grant
    At hearing how I came: for from wide Crete
    Have I fared over sea with these my goods—
    Where to my sons I left as much again,                            70
    When thence I fled in fear, because I slew
    The noble and swift-footed prince of Crete,
    Orsilochus, son of Idomeneus;
    Who threatened to despoil me of the wealth
    I won at Troy, suffering for many years
    The woes of that long war; and all his grudge
    Was that I had not served the king his father,
    But kept my own retainers—for which thing
    He would have robbed me: but I smote him dead.—

    _Ath._ Ah, king of ready wile, what tale is this                  80
    Of Crete and of thy sons, which when I bid thee
    Speak truth, trips on thy tongue? Dost thou not know
    Thy goddess, great Athena? Was’t not I
    Who stirred the hearts of those Phæacian men
    To bring thee hither? Wherefore in my ears
    Pourest thou fables?

    _Ul._                ’Tis thy voice indeed,
    Which tho’ my eyes were blinded, well I knew.
    Voice of Athena, dearest of the gods!
    Now with my soul I grasp thee, now I see,
    And worship thee, divine one, and thy knees                       90
    Embrace: but in this darkness and disguise
    Not even a god had known thee; blame me not.

    _Ath._ Nor for thy false tale to a stranger spoken?

    _Ul._ Since thou who lackest cause hast more deceived.
    And I—where were I now without my guile,
    Without thy help?

    _Ath._            If I should help thee still,
    What wouldst thou ask?

    _Ul._                  Answer me.—Say, what shore
    Is this I stand on, which is hidden from me
    By so thick mist: whether they promised true
    Who brought me hither, and it be indeed                          100
    Ithaca, or whether, as I rather fear,
    Some other land, to which my fated curse
    Hales me, or ever I may see my own?

    _Ath._ ’Tis Ithaca.

    _Ul._               I pray thee by my longing
    For that dear boon, goddess, deceive me not.

    _Ath._ Thou dost not yet believe; but if I show thee
    Thy very Ithaca, wilt thou believe?
    Turn now and set thy back against the noise
    Of the stilly-moaning surge and look inland.

    _Ul._ Nought.                                                    110

    _Ath._        Look!

    _Ul._               I see nought. ’Tis a thicker mist
    Than ever in my own cloud-gathering isle
    Clung to the frowning cliffs, when the warm south
    Beat up the vapours from the seas at morn.

    _Ath._ Look.

    _Ul._        Now it brightens somewhat, or mine eye
    Wearies with vainly poring on the dark.

    _Ath._ Look.

    _Ul._        Ay, the vapours lift, the highlands loom,
    The air obeys thee: thro’ its thinning veils
    The figure of some mountain jags the sky;
    And those should be my hills: ’tis Neritos,
    ’Tis Ithaca indeed.

    _Ath._              ’Tis Ithaca.                                 120

    _Ul._ O Blessed Light, that unto all men’s eyes
    Shewest the lands and waters: that uprisest
    Day after day upon the windy seas
    And fertile plains, valleys and lovely hills,
    Rivers and shores, and heights and peopled towns;
    Now in all Greece is no tongue praiseth thee
    As mine, nor heart thanketh; nor any eye
    Rejoicest thou as mine.

    _Ath._                  Turn now to left.
    There is the haven of Phorcys, here the tree,
    Thy well-remembered olive; and to right                          130
    The rock-roofed cave, where thou so oft hast done
    Sweet sacrifice unto the native Nymphs.

    _Ul._ Soil of my dear-desirèd fatherland,
    For warrant that I dream not, take this kiss;
    My home! And ye, dear sisters of the spring,
    I raise my hands to you, whom nevermore
    I looked to greet; but now, children of heaven,
    As once of old I praise you, and henceforth
    Will pay with loving vows, if your fair queen
    But grant me life, and comfort in my son.                        140

    _Ath._ Now thou believest.

    _Ul._                      See, there be the firs,
    Which eastward of my house bar the red dawn
    With black, and in their feathery tops at night
    Sigh to the moon. Ay, and my house I see
    Unchanged. ’Tis Ithaca.

    _Ath._                  Wilt thou not go
    Now to thy home, and with the sweet surprise
    Of thy desired return gladden thy wife,
    And greet thy son, a man, whom thou didst leave
    In cradle? See, I here will guard thy goods.
    Thou wouldst be gone.

    _Ul._                 Goddess, if strong desire                  150
    Could ever conquer me, now should I do
    A thing for which no man might blame me, nay
    Even tho’ he pitied me, if too great longing
    Should fool me to my ruin. But in my heart
    Are other thoughts. The wife of Agamemnon
    At his return welcomed the king with state,
    And to his chamber led, but in the bath
    Soon as he lay, giving him honied words,
    She slew him with a dagger, to the deed
    Being prompted by her guilty paramour,                           160
    Ægisthus. Ten years numbered since that crime
    Double the equal motive of my fear:
    Nor can a woman, when her lord, tho’ loved,
    Is long away, be trusted, that she should not
    In weariness at last forsake her faith.
    Wherefore I would not enter in my house,
    Nay, nor be known of any, till I hear
    Such tidings as bespeak my coming well.

    _Ath._ O brave! thy wary mind has gone before,
    The way I would have led it: thou art as ever                    170
    Fore-reckoner with chance, to take thy stand
    Armed at all points.

    _Ul._                This fear, goddess, I learnt
    Of blind Tiresias, when at Circe’s bidding
    I sailed for south beyond the coasts of men,
    To dark Cimmerian cloud-land, and I saw
    The hapless king himself, who with thin voice
    Poured forth his wrongs; and many more I saw,
    Who suffered pain: the tearful shadows penned
    In mansions of austere Persephonè.
    From that old prophet’s tongue of warning weird                  180
    Still for myself in the end I gathered hope,
    And treasured it, but from thy tongue fear ill.

    _Ath._ Yet shouldst thou cherish all the words he spake.

    _Ul._ I ask not now what shall be, but what is.
    Beneath yon roof what passes? Thou canst give
    Present assurance. Tell me then. My wife—
    She is well?

    _Ath._       And beautiful.

    _Ul._                       Faithful?

    _Ath._                                And brave.

    _Ul._ My son Telemachus?

    _Ath._                   He too is well.

    _Ul._ Great are the gods in heaven! I need no more.
    Thee, Goddess, will I worship while I live.                      190

    _Ath._ And much thou needest me yet. Hark while I tell.
    Three years thy house hath been the hostelry
    Of dissolute and shameless men, the lords
    And princes of the isles and western shores;
    Who woo thy wife, and feasting in thy halls
    Make waste of all thy substance day and night.
    As men besiege a city, and their host
    Encamp about and let none out nor in,
    Waiting the day when hunger and sore need,
    Sharper than iron and cruder than fire,                          200
    Shall bow the starvèd necks beneath the yoke:
    So sit they there: and ’mong them is an oath
    That none will leave till one be satisfied;
    Whoe’er it be that in the end shall take
    Thy fair wife, and thy house and goods and lands;
    Which false and covetous oath, since all have shared,
    Must be the death of all.

    _Ul._                     Now with thine aid
    Shall they be scattered, were their cursed swarm
    Thick as the rooks, which from his new-sown fields
    The husbandman a moment stays to scare,                          210
    Raising both hands.

    _Ath._              Not so may they escape.
    Better thou hadst not now returned, if one
    Of all these men avoid his destined death.

    _Ul._ How say’st thou, goddess, shall these men be slain?

    _Ath._ How were Ulysses’ foes then wont to die?

    _Ul._ It may not be.

    _Ath._               Thou wert not used to fear.

    _Ul._ Nay, but returned from exile and hard war,
    I would not usher battle in my home.

    _Ath._ Think’st thou of peace? Hadst thou but hence been stayed
    So long as shall suffice yon dying moon                          220
    To launch her young bark on the western sea,
    Then had Penelope no more been thine.

    _Ul._ Thou saidst that she was faithful.

    _Ath._                                   She withstands
    The urgence of the wooers day by day;
    But ’gainst herself, to save thy house from loss,
    Deeming thee dead indeed, now falls to yield.

    _Ul._ Vengeance upon them! Grant me but thine aid,
    And though they count by hundreds they shall die.

    _Ath._ If one escape, his joy will be for thine.

    _Ul._ All shall be slain, though ’twere a task too heavy         230
    For great Alcides. But my son in this
    Should stand with me. May I not see him first?
    Shall he not know me, and, in that embrace
    I yearn for, knit his willing strength with mine?

    _Ath._ Telemachus hath lately at my bidding
    Sailed hence to Lacedæmon, there to inquire
    What might be learnt of thee.

    _Ul._                         Was this well done,
    Or kindly of thee, who couldst have told him all:
    To send him far, upon a useless errand,
    Out of my sight, the eve of my return?                           240

    _Ath._ I sent him for his safety, there to win
    Opinion too of such as knew him not,
    And rouse remembrance of thee in the world.
    To-day is he returned: I have brought his ship
    North of the island, as was need, to shun
    The wooers’ galley sent to take him; there
    Is he disbarked alone. Thou mayst be first
    To meet him.

    _Ul._        Lead me thither.

    _Ath._                        Ah! thou forgettest.
    If any one but he should see thy face?—

    _Ul._ Contrive then that I meet with him alone.                  250

    _Ath._ How if my plot were better, so that all
    Might see thee, yet none know thee but thy son?

    _Ul._ What manner of disguise is in thy thought?

    _Ath._ Disfigurement, which thou mayst shrink to bear.

    _Ul._ Ay, if my son behold me ill transformed.

    _Ath._ Yet he alone shall see thee as thou art.

    _Ul._ Then tell me, goddess, what thou wouldst: thou knowest
    Playing another’s part I am most myself.                         258

    _Ath._ But I will make thee now least like thyself.

    _Ul._ How! shall I stoop then to be less than man?

    _Ath._ Nay, but of men the vilest, though a man.
    For that thou mayst be hidden, lo! I will change
    Thy outward seeming to the piteous aspect
    Of age and beggary. Thy supple skin
    I’ll wrinkle on thy joints, thy thick brown hair
    Rob from thy head, and dim thy radiant eyes,
    And o’er thy shoulders bowed cast sorry rags,
    To make thee loathed of men. In such disguise
    Mayst thou in safety seek thy herdsman’s hut,
    Eumæus: he is faithful, and with kindness                        270
    Will serve thee as a stranger in distress,
    No less than he will welcome thee revealed.
    Accept his food and shelter, and the while
    Learn from his lips what friends thou hast to look for,
    What foes to reckon with, what wrongs to avenge;
    And humour as thou wilt his honest ears,
    Awaiting till I thither send thy son.

    _Ul._ When wilt thou send him?

    _Ath._                         He will come ere noon.

    _Ul._ Then must he first behold me thus deformed?

    _Ath._ He cannot know thee. Thou betray thyself
    No whit; I will be near and make occasion                        281
    To shew thee to him, as thou art, alone.

    _Ul._ I have had no hope, goddess, but in thine aid:
    Long as that tarried I despaired not then;
    How should I, when thou comest, deny thee now?

    _Ath._ Then first unto the cave, therein to stow
    These goods; and after by this olive trunk
    Sit we awhile together: when thou hast heard
    My counsel, I will work this change upon thee,
    That one who saw thee now of kingly port,                        290
    Hale and well-liking, ay, and bowed the head,
    Should, when he next saw, spurn thee with his foot;
    Thus must it be. Come, let us to the cave.

                               ACT · II

 _The hut of EUMÆUS. (Same background as Act I.) Some swine seen thro’

    _EUMÆUS_ (_who is cutting a thong for his sandal_).

      Let man serve God, but not for that require
    An answerable favour: there is none
    Outside himself: but yet within himself
    He hath his guerdon and may be content.
    Some three and thirty years of servitude
    Have taught me this; dependence on the gods
    Wins independence of the gods and fate.                          300
    I that was born a prince have lived a slave,—
    No fault of mine;—and still if Zeus so willed
    That man might look for favour, I might hope
    Once more, ere I grow old, to make return
    Unto my royal home and kingly sire,
    —If yet he lives,—and rule myself the realm
    I was born heir to: be good king Eumæus,
    So should it be, Eumæus, king of men.
    Nay—I must play the king over these swine;                       309
    This homestead for my kingdom, this hut for palace,
    This bench my throne, these crowded pens and styes
    My city; and I will boast ’twere hard to find
    A commonwealth of men, whom equal justice
    Flattered in distribution to this pitch
    Of general content, such fat well-being
    As holds among my folk, their laws regardant
    Of them they govern and their good alone.
    Ay, so: a king of beasts, no king at all.
    Swineherd Eumæus; who would call me king?
    Fool, fool! Serve God, Eumæus, and mend thy shoes.
    And why complain? Had not Laertes too                            321
    A son that feared the gods? and where is he?
    Would he not now be glad to be alive,
    Were’t but to envy me who feed his swine,
    And guard his goods from robbers, and pretend
    The hope of his return; which is less like
    For that Ulysses than for this Eumæus;—
    There too I best him,—since ’tis easier
    For any living slave to climb a throne,
    Than for a king once dead to step again                          330
    Upon the joyous threshold of his house,
    And take the loving kisses from the lips
    Of wife and child.—Hark to the hounds. What foe
    Invades my kingdom? O a piteous sight.
    Off, dogs;—why they will rend him—Mesaulius, ho!
    Cottus, call off the dogs! Will they not leave him?
    To kennel, curs!—Ye heavens! Beggary
    Is beggared in this miserable beggar.

                    _Enter Ulysses_ (_disguised_).

    How wast thou near, old man, to end thy days
    Beside my gate, and bring me shame and sorrow:
    And that no fault of mine, so suddenly                           341
    Hast thou appeared. Come, come, sir; step within.
    Surely ’tis food thou needest. On this table
    Are bread and wine, and I can bring thee meat:
    Sit and be satisfied.


                          Now may the gods,
    Since thou this day giv’st me so good a welcome,
    Grant thee thy dearest wish, whate’er it be.

    _Eum._ Thou art my guest, old man: and if there came
    A meaner even than thou, I should not stint
    To offer of my best. Strangers and beggars                       350
    Are sent from Zeus: and tho’ a poor man’s gift
    Be poor, a hearty welcome makes it rich.

    _Ul._ I pray the gods reward thee.

    _Eum._                             Nay, there’s the meat;
    I’ll fetch it thee.                                        [_Exit._

    _Ul._               Was ever sound on earth
    So musical as the remembered voice
    That welcomes home? By heaven, ’twas yesterday
    That I was here. No change at all: this bench,
    This board:—the very hogs might be the same.
    O my good bread and wine! And here’s his loaf,
    The shape he ever made; and cut the same,                        360
    Scooped to the thumb. Hail, grape of Ithaca!
    Good day to thee! (_Drinks._)

    _Eum._ (_re-entering_). See, here is meat in plenty:
    Fall to and spare not.

    _Ul._                  Thank thee, sir; I thank thee.

    _Eum._ Art thou of Ithaca, old man?

    _Ul._                               Nay, sir;
    Indeed I am not.

    _Eum._           When cam’st thou then among us?

    _Ul._ With this day’s sun I first beheld your isle.

    _Eum._ Eh! hath a ship arrived so late in harbour?
    Whence hails she?

    _Ul._             From Thesprotia coasting south;
    But driven far out to sea in beating back
    Put in for water; when the notion took me                        370
    To leave her, and pursue my own starvation
    Without the risk of drowning.

    _Eum._                        And how then
    Cam’st thou aboard a vessel so ill-found?

    _Ul._ My tale were long, sir, should I once begin:
    And since I have seen no food since yestermorn,
    Believe I’d lend thee ear rather than mouth.

    _Eum._ Ay, so, no fool, and I was but a churl
    To bid thee talk and eat: eat, sir, in peace.

    _Ul._ I pray thee while I eat tell of thyself,
    Whom here thou servest, and who rules this isle.                 380

    _Eum._ I am a servant, sir, that hath no master:
    These swine I tend are no man’s: those I kill
    I kill for any one; for on this isle
    We pay our service to a gap between
    A grandsire and a grandchild. Dost thou take me?

    _Ul._ Yes, friend: thy master is away or dead.

    _Eum._ Both as I think. The while, for lack of tidings,
    We make believe he lives. His ancient father,
    Decrepit and despairing, lies aloof,—
    We call him king no longer;—and his son,                         390
    The old man’s grandchild, is away on quest
    Of any tidings to be gleaned from those
    Who years agone fought with his sire at Troy.
    His widow keeps his house, and hath in hand
    Some five or six score suitors. Judge from this
    What hope hath beggary in Ithaca.

    _Ul._ In all my wanderings never have I found
    A kinder host. But since thou sayest thy master,
    Whose absence makes thee masterless, was one
    Who fought at Troy, I too was in that war;                       400
    If thou wouldst tell his name, I may know somewhat
    To cheer his wife and child.

    _Eum._                       Try not that talk,
    Old man. No more of him shall traveller hither
    Come bringing tidings that may win their ear.
    Lightly indeed for welcome’s sake will vagrants
    Speak false, nor have they cause to wish for truth.
    Nay, and there’s none strays to this isle, but goes
    Seeking my mistress, and there spins his lie;
    While she with tender care asks of each thing,
    And from her sorrowing eyes the tears fall fast,                 410
    Hearing the name she doth not dare to speak.
    And soon enough wouldst thou too coin thy tale,
    Couldst thou but win a blanket for thy back:
    The while for him vultures and wolves are like
    To have stripped his bones of flesh—ay, ay, he is dead—
    Or fish have preyed upon him, and his ribs
    Bleach on the sea-shore, sunk in drifting sand.
    Such fate is his, grievous to all who loved him,
    And most to me; who ne’er shall find again
    So kind a lord, wherever I may go:                               420
    Not even again if home to father and mother
    I should return, where I was bred and born.
    Nor are my tears for them, yearn as I do
    With these eyes to behold them, and my country;
    But my desire is for Ulysses gone:
    Speaking whose name, stranger, tho’ far from hearing
    I do obeisance (_towards Ul._); for he loved me well;
    And worshipful I call him, be he dead.

    _Ul._ If ’tis Ulysses, friend, whom thou lamentest,
    I know he lives.

    _Eum._           Try not that tale, I say.                       430

    _Ul._ Now, sir, tho’ thou deny it and think I lie,
    Ulysses will return, and on that day
    Give me my due; since I dare call on Zeus,
    First of the gods, and by this friendly table
    Swear, and his dear home whither I be come,
    This thing shall be, and with the running year
    He shall return.

    _Eum._           Nay, ’tis not I shall pay
    Thy recompense. Content thee, man, and drink.
    Why wouldst thou force persuasion? Tell me rather
    Thy own true story, who thou art and whence.                     440

    _Ul._ Would then that thou couldst give me food and wine,
    Ay, and the gods fair sunshine and no toil,
    The while my tale should last: for on this bench
    Would I take comfort of thee many a day.
    But of thy lord ...

    _Eum._              Wilt thou not cease from that!

    _Ul._ With my own ships I fought at Ilion;
    And tho’ I look not now, in age and rags,
    A master among men, nay, nor a foe
    Many would fear, yet mayst thou see on me
    The sign of what I have been, and I think                        450
    Still from the gratten one may guess the grain.

    _Eum._ (_aside_). How age and misery will brag! And this
    To me, who really am a king.

    _Ul._                        ’Twas then
    I knew Ulysses, and have since, like him
    And many a Greek, striven against destiny
    To gain my home:—at length our ship was cast
    On mountainous Thesprotia, where the king
    Pheidon was kind to me, and there I heard—
    Nor yet are many weeks passed since that day—
    Full tidings of Ulysses, and I saw                               460
    What wealth his arm had gotten: he himself
    Was travelled to Dodona, but by this
    Should be returned.

    _Eum._              Stranger, if all thy words,
    That grow in number, should outreach in tale
    The moments of his absence, they were vainly
    Poured in mine ears.

    _Ul._                Nay, then, and if indeed
    Ulysses came himself, here of his friends
    He would not be received.

    _Eum._                    Ay, that may be:
    And time will change a man so from himself,
    That oft I wonder none have e’er contrived                       470
    To make pretence to be Ulysses’ self.
    That were a game for thee, old man, if age
    Did not so far belie thee. Nay, nay, nay!
    Signs there would be: and if these eyes should see him,
    And seeing know not, I would serve them so
    That they should see no more.

    _Ul._                         Now when he comes ...

    _Eum._ Still harking back! I tell thee, friend, our thought
    Is rather for his son Telemachus,
    And his return; who when he promised well
    To be his father’s match, went wandering hence                   480
    To Lacedæmon, seeking for his sire:
    An idle quest and perilous, for I say
    ’Twould much increase the tender love of them
    That woo the mother, could they kill the son,
    And quarrel for the inheritance: and now
    They have sent a ship to take him in the straits,
    As he comes home: but may the gods protect him.
    Tho’, till I see him safe, my heart is vexed.

    _Ul._ Fear not; the gods will save him.

    _Eum._                                  Thank thee, sir.
    Hast ever been in Sparta?

    _Ul._                     Ask me nought,                         490
    If thou wilt credit nought; or shall I say
    I have never lodged in Pitanè, nor drunk
    Out of Eurotas, nor on summer noons
    Gazed on the steep sun-checquered precipices
    Of huge Taygetus?

    _Eum._            Thy pardon, sir.
    Hast eaten well?

    _Ul._            Ay, to content: but, friend,
    I shall not prey upon thee: an hour or two
    I’ll rest me here; then, if thou shew the road
    To good Ulysses’ house, I’ll e’en be gone.
    Food must be there in plenty: I make no doubt                    500
    To beg a meal till I may serve for hire.

    _Eum._ Why, man, what put this folly in thy head?
    ’Twere the short way to end thy days, to go
    Among that insolent and godless herd,
    To tempt their violence. Not such as thou
    Their servants are: they that attend on them
    Are young and gaily clad and fair of face:
    And though the polished tables lack not food,
    ’Tis not for such as thou the hot feast smokes
    From morn till eve, and the red wine is poured.                  510
    Bide here; for here thou vexest none, nor me
    Nor any of my fellows. Bide awhile,
    And if Telemachus return, I warrant
    Thou shalt have no complaint. Hark, I hear feet:
    Some one now comes.

    _Ul._               And ’tis a friend; the dogs
    Bark not, but fawn around. (_Aside._) If this be he!
    I dare not rise and look.

                          _Enter Telemachus._

    _Eum._                    Why he! ’tis he!
    Telemachus, my son Telemachus,
    Art thou returned in safety?

    _Ul._ (_aside._) Praised be the gods! I see my son indeed!

    _TELEMACHUS_ (_to Eum._).

                       You see me, father.                           520

    _Eum._ Light of mine eyes, thou’rt come, Telemachus;
    All shall go forward with us once again.

    _Ul._ (_aside_). He calls him father, and I may not speak.

    _Tel._ Hath aught been wrong?

    _Eum._                        Nay, nought is changed for that.
    ’Twas only lack of thee: and with the fear
    Some ill might hap to thee, what dost thou think
    Must old Eumæus feel?

    _Tel._ What couldst thou fear?

    _Eum._ Didst thou not know? The wooers sent a ship
    To take thee, son. Thou didst not? Well, some god
    Protected thee. Now let me look on thee.                         531
    Come within. Sit thee down.

    _Tel._                      So will I gladly.
    Ere I would venture to the house, I came
    To talk with thee, and learn if aught has passed.
    My mother?...

    _Eum._        All is well, prince, yet; she bides
    Patient and brave, and weeps both day and night;
    Weeps too for thee. Give me thy spear, my son.
    Now sit thee down. I say we have feared for thee.

    _Tel._ (_to Ul._). Nay, rise not, stranger; there be other seats,
    And men to set them.—Pardon me that my joy                       540
    O’erlooked thee. Thou hast guests, Eumæus?

    _Eum._                                     Nay,
    None but this ancient father.

    _Tel._                        And who is he?

    _Eum._ To me is he a stranger as to thee.
    ’Twas yesterday, he tells me, that his ship
    Thesprotian, as he says, driven from her course,
    Put in for water: when for some mistrust
    Or weariness of voyage he remained.
    He hath fed with me, but thou being now returned
    He looks to be a suppliant at the house.
    He is thy man.

    _Tel._         Eumæus, thou must know                            550
    I could not, whatsoe’er his claim, receive him
    Where I myself am threatened: and even my mother
    Holds no sure mind, wavering from day to day
    Who shall be master. No: there is no place
    For suppliants at the house: but as thy guest
    I still may treat him well: here he shall have
    Raiment and all he needs, and I will give him
    A sword, and bid him fare where’er he will.
    But not to the house I bid him come, for fear
    Violence befall him and I be accursed.                           560

    _Ul._ Sir, since thy kindness makes me bold to speak,
    Thou hast my thanks; nor can I hear thy wrongs,
    Nor see thy shame unmoved, for thou art noble.
    Hast thou provoked this, tell me, or are thy people
    Moved by some god to hate, or is’t thy brethren
    Play thee false?

    _Tel._           Nay, there is neither grudge nor hate
    Betwixt me and my folk, nor do my brethren
    Stand faithlessly aloof. ’Tis all to say
    That Zeus hath made our house of single heirs:
    Arceisios gat one only son Laertes,                              570
    And he one only son, Ulysses; I,
    Ulysses’ son, am too his only child:
    And he hath left his house the prey of foes.
    I cannot aid thee, stranger.

    _Ul._                        O would that I
    Were young as thou, and in my present mood;
    That I were this Ulysses or his son:
    Far rather would I die slain in my halls
    By my thick foes, than see this reckless wrong;
    My good farms plundered, and my herds devoured,
    My red wine wasted, and my handmaidens                           580
    Hither and thither haled about, at will
    Of such a rabble as fear not God nor man,
    Spoilers and robbers, who have set their hearts
    Vainly upon a purpose, which I say
    Shall never be accomplished.

               _Athena appears at the door to Ulysses._

    _Tel._                       I pray the gods
    It never be, and thank thee well, my friend,
    For thy good will.

    _Eum._             How art thou moved, old man.

    _Ul._ The heart unmoved by others’ wrongs is dead:
    And yet maybe I am somewhat overwrought;
    If I may go within ...

    _Eum._                 Ay, go within,                            590
    And rest thee; thou hast need.

    _Ul._                          I thank thee, friend.
    I’ll lay me down to sleep: here I but shackle
    Your private talk.

    _Eum._             Be at thy ease, I pray.

    _Tel._ Go, father; rest thee well.

    _Ul._                              I thank thee, sir.      [_Exit._

    _Eum._ How earnest thou, son? Where didst thou land?

    _Tel._                                               Is’t true
    The wooers sent a ship?

    _Eum._                  Didst thou not meet them?

    _Tel._ Hark now, and hear in what strange manner warned
    I knew their ambush, to avoid them.

    _Eum._                              Ah!
    Thou knewest it, thou knewest!

    _Tel._                         Wilt thou think
    I was at Sparta but three days ago?                              600
    There in my sleep the goddess, at whose word
    I made this voyage, came and stood beside me,
    Called me by name, and bade me quick return;
    And for my safety warned me that a ship
    ’Twixt Ithaca and Samè lay in wait;
    Which if I would avoid I must sail round,
    Keeping the west of the isle; and for that voyage
    She promised a fair wind. So the next morn
    Was I at Pylos; whence as I set forth,
    I found the wind, and sailing day and night,                     610
    With swift unbroken passage came to shore
    Last evening north of the isle. Hither alone
    I passed in the dark, and sent my ship about.

    _Eum._ That was well done: I praise the gods for that.
    I knew that they would save thee.

    _Tel._                            But, Eumæus,
    What of the ship? What knowest thou? What means it?
    Were all agreed plotting my life together,
    Or whose deed is it?

    _Eum._               One rancorous spirit rules them,—
    Save Lord Amphinomus, who stands as ever
    Within the bounds: of all the rest there’s none                  620
    That would not take thy life by stealth, nor one
    Who openly would dare.

    _Tel._                 Who sailed the ship?

    _Eum._ Antinous.

    _Tel._           Ah!

    _Eum._               And if I die to avenge it,
    Son, he shall pay for it.

    _Tel._                    Talk, I pray, of safety,
    Not of revenge. Shall I make bold to go
    Straight to the house, or must I hide me here?

    _Eum._ Bide, son, bide! ’Tis not safe. Let me go, son.
    When once ’tis known in the isle that thou’rt returned,
    Then thou mayst shew thyself. The cowards fear
    The love the people bear thee. Let me go.                        630

    _Tel._ Is all else well?

    _Eum._                   All’s well where ill is well.

    _Tel._ Eumæus, I’ll not venture yet: but thou
    Haste to the house, and in my mother’s ear
    Whisper I am here: but let none other guess
    That thou hast tidings of me.

    _Eum._                        Not to tell
    Thy grandsire, son? He scarce hath eat or drunk
    While thou hast been away: ’twere well he knew,
    And quickly; for an hour is much to one
    Whose life leans on the grave.

    _Tel._                         My safe return
    Can be no secret, but my hiding-place                            640
    Must not be known: therefore I would not have
    Thee for my herald. Thou mayst bid my mother
    Send one to comfort him; but go not thou
    Wandering among the hills. My bidding done,
    Make swift return. I shall be here.

    _Eum._                              I pray
    Let not that old man here come round thee, son,
    With idle stories of thy sire: he is full
    Of tales of Troy: and if he win thine ear
    He hath a purpose.

    _Tel._             He! Nay, trust me, father.

    _Eum._ Well, he will try.                                        650

    _Tel._                    Fear not.

    _Eum._                              He hath a tongue:
    He saith he fought at Ilion. Then, he saith
    He knew Ulysses.

    _Tel._           Saith he so?

    _Eum._                        And then
    He hath been in Lacedæmon too.

    _Tel._                         His talk
    While thou’rt away may well beguile the time.

    _Eum._ Ay, and thee too. Thou hast not heard, I fear,
    Aught of thy father now, where thou hast been?

    _Tel._ Somewhat, but nothing recent. What I know
    I’ll tell thee later. Thou couldst gather nought
    From this old man?

    _Eum._             He is cunning: didst thou see
    How he could counterfeit? I tell thee, son,                      660
    He hath not been here an hour, and never knew
    Aught of thy father; but he plucks from me
    The story word by word, and then at once
    Bursts out,—he knew Ulysses: ay, he stayed
    Eating to speak of him.

    _Tel._                  What said he of him?

    _Eum._ I would not hear him, son: I would not hear him.

    _Tel._ Think you he lied?

    _Eum._                    Ay, ay. Why, how believe
    Thy father now is in Thesprotia,
    Where the king Pheidon hath a ship all stored
    To bring him home?

    _Tel._             Eumæus, good Eumæus!                          670
    What if ’tis true?

    _Eum._             True! There, ’tis as I thought:
    I would not leave thee with him, son; he is quick:
    He will delude thee.

    _Tel._               I must hear his tale,
    Though it be false. Go thou: my ship will else
    Be round before thee. Go, and never fear
    That this old man will turn my head.

    _Eum._                               Be warned.
    Trust him not, son. There is something strange about him
    I like not.

    _Tel._      Come: as far as to the gate
    I will go with thee.                                     [_Exeunt._

                    _Re-enter Ulysses as himself._

    _Ul._ Lo! now the sun in the mid goal of heaven
    Hath climbed to view my fortunes, and my shade
    On this well-trodden floor falls neither way:                    682
    So towers my genius; so my future and past
    Lie gathered for the moment.—How oft in dreams,
    When longing hath forecast this hour, I have loved
    The rescuing tears that loosed my heart: and now
    The womanish water wells, I bid it back:
    For nature stammers in me, and I see
    Imagination hath a grasp of joy                                  689
    Finer than sense; and my most passionate spirit,
    When most it should leap forth, hangs back unwilling
    To officer the trembling instruments,
    By which delight is served. Back, then, my tears!
    Fate rules; reason should fashion me.—And welcome
    Even this harshness of fate; for if my son
    Shall know me as I am, not as a merchant
    Should I return at ease, that men might ask
    Whether Ulysses were returned or no;
    Rather in blood than doubt.—Here on this bench
    I’ll wait him, nor myself be first to speak:                     700
    And ’twill be tried for once how a man’s son
    Shall know his father, never having seen him.

                        _Re-enter Telemachus._

    _Tel._ Why, who art thou? Not he that on this bench
    Sattest so late! In truth I much mistook thee,
    Or thou art changed. Thy hair was thin and white,
    Thy body rough and pinched with age, thy clothes
    Were meanest rags. Say art thou he, the same,
    Eumæus’ guest from the Thesprotian ship?

    _Ul._ Ay, son, I am.

    _Tel._               Surely thou art a god.
    Be gracious to our house!                                [_Kneels._

    _Ul._ (_rising_).         Nay, rise, my son.                     710
    I am no god. Why wilt thou liken me
    To those immortals? I am thy father, son,
    Ulysses to my home at last returned.                  [_Kisses him._

    _Tel._ Alas, thou art a god, and thy words mock me.

    _Ul._ Thou knowest me not.                                  [_Sits._

    _Tel._                     Say, if thou wert a man,
    How couldst thou put that change of semblance on,
    Which only gods may use?

    _Ul._                    The wise Athena
    Uses me as she will: then was I old
    That none might know me; now I am myself
    That thou mayst know.—’Tis I.                                    720

    _Tel._                         Father! my father!
    O, happy day.      [_Weeps on his neck._

    _Ul._         Thy kisses, O, my son:
    Thy kisses and thy tears, my son, my son.

    _Tel._ O, thou art come. O, happy, happy day.

    _Ul._ I am come, Telemachus: but how to know
    ’Tis I?

    _Tel._  O, I am sure; who could be like thee?
    I knew too thou wouldst come, dear father, and yet
    I never honoured thee enough: I thought
    I should be worthy of thee: now I fear ...

    _Ul._ I must be unlike thy thought, son; but in thee
    I see myself again of twenty years:                              730
    Nay, I was somewhat thicker, but maybe
    That will make up; and thou hast got instead
    Thy mother’s grace. ’Tis true we mostly shape
    Less to the father.

    _Tel._              How, sire, didst thou come?

    _Ul._ A good Phæacian ship brought me last night.
    I came to land in the dark: and all the spoils
    I have brought with me are hidden in the cave,
    Till we may fetch them forth.                                    738

    _Tel._                        First come thou home.

    _Ul._ And would I might. The hope of twenty years
    Is gathered in this hour. Come home, thou sayst:
    Ah, son; and would I might; but what of them
    That stop the way?

    _Tel._             The suitors of my mother?
    O, they will fly to hear of thy return.

    _Ul._ They must not fly. All, where they have done me wrong,
    Must with their lives atone. This is the cause
    Of my disguise, that none should know me here
    But thou, to whom alone I am revealed,
    That plotting with thee I may draw the net
    About them. This the goddess bids me, son;
    To slay thy mother’s wooers.

    _Tel._                       Father, I know                      750
    Thou art unmatchable among the Greeks
    In warriorship and wisdom, ay, and here
    Is none would dare to face thee: yet by tens
    They reckon, and I fear would overpower thee
    By very number.

    _Ul._           Say: how many be they?

    _Tel._ Out of Dulichium there be two and fifty
    Princes and lords, each with his serving-man:
    From Samè, four and twenty: from Zakynthus
    A score; and even of Ithaca itself
    Twelve of the best, with Phemius the bard,                       760
    Medon, and many followers: ’gainst all these
    We are but two.

    _Ul._           I fear them not, my son.

    _Tel._ Seek other aid, I pray, ere ’gainst so many
    We venture.

    _Ul._       What, son, sayst thou, if Athena
    And father Zeus aid us? will they, thou thinkest,
    Suffice, or must we cast about to find
    Some other champion?

    _Tel._               Truly they are the best
    Thou namest, father; tho’ among the clouds
    Their seat is, and their countenance withheld
    From mortal men.

    _Ul._            They will not hold aloof,                       770
    When once our spears are plunging in the breasts
    Of that vain rabble. Goes thy heart with mine?

    _Tel._ With thee and for thee, father, will I fight,
    Askest thou?

    _Ul._        Wilt thou bear to look on me
    As late thou sawest me, and seeing me so,
    Find not the least diminishment of love?

    _Tel._ I never shall forget this godlike mien,
    Whence to disguise thou deignest as a god.

    _Ul._ But when thou seest me mocked and scorned, a slave,
    A beggar where I am lord, wilt thou discover                     780
    No indignation?

    _Tel._          I will hide my wrath.

    _Ul._ For I must be thy guest among my foes.

    _Tel._ To be my guest, if they should set upon thee
    To drive thee forth, will force me to resist.

    _Ul._ Fear not the threatenings of those doomèd men.

    _Tel._ They all are armed, and thou wilt be unarmed.

    _Ul._ Tho’ they provoke me I will bide my time.

    _Tel._ But how if they assault thee unprepared?

    _Ul._ The goddess will withhold their impious hands.

    _Tel._ Lurk rather here until the plot be ripe.                  790

    _Ul._ Nay, son; and were the lure of home less strong
    To me so long deprived, yet would I see
    Myself the wrongs there done me, see the shame
    Of which men speak; and, once within the hall,
    I can take count and measure of my foes.
    A just cause, bold heart, and the aid of heaven
    Should still thy fear.

    _Tel._                 Tell me thy bidding, father!

    _Ul._ Ay, so ’tis best: and thro’ thee I may come
    To see thy mother;—hark, the course is plain:
    Go to the town; announce thine own return;                       800
    Thence to the house, and to Eumæus say
    Thou wilt receive me; he must know no more:
    Bid him to-morrow fetch me to the hall.
    And when thou seest thy mother, tell her thus;
    Thou hast seen a stranger in Eumæus’ hut,
    Who having known thy father, carries news
    That he is near. As to confirm thy tale,
    Bring her to speech with me when none are by.
    Ourselves may meet at night, and then consult
    In secret on what stratagem may grow                             810
    From that occasion, or what further thing
    The goddess may command.

    _Tel._                   Now thy disguise
    Is my chief fear, father; I know these men:
    Their insolent assumption would not brook
    Any intruder, but against a beggar
    They will make sport of outrage.

    _Ul._                            Sayst thou so?
    Then shall we prove them thus: be they good men
    They will show pity: if they mock my rags,
    Try if they honour thee; and bid them make,
    Each of his own, a portion unto me.                              820
    I then shall see their hearts: the more they rage,
    Force them the more with full authority.
    This canst thou well do. ’Tis thy harder task
    Not to betray me. Youth is bold of heart
    And hot in battle, but to guard the tongue
    And to restrain the hand come with long years.

    _Tel._ Now let this trial prove me once for all,
    Whether in keeping counsel and in battle
    I am thy true son, or another man.

    _Ul._ All hangs on thee; for none but thou must know,            830
    Not even thy mother. Tell me, I would learn
    If in her thought I am alive or dead;
    And what thine own mind was, fear not to say.

    _Tel._ Truly ’twixt hope and hopelessness, we stood
    In blank uncertainty; and if not yet
    Our wishes wore the colour of our fears,
    Now was the turn.

    _Ul._             I come then not too soon?

    _Tel._ Nay, nor too late.

    _Ul._                     ’Tis well, but time is short;
    Tarry no longer. Get thee home, and there
    Ordain a sacrifice, such as befits                               840
    This day of days: such as may well content
    The favourable deities, and appease
    The unfriendly. Guess, son, if thy heart is stirred,
    How ’tis with me. The ties of home are dear,
    And what a man is born to, both the place,
    Where’er it be, that hath received his being
    Out of oblivion, and given his mind
    The shapes and hues of earth, the sights of heaven,
    The place whence he sets forth to meet strange things,
    Whither returns to find his own, himself;                        850
    This bides, the harbour of his fancy,—and draws him
    Spite of all else from world’s end to world’s end.
    And more, more dear, are those whose place it was,
    Whose name he is called by, whom he calls his own,
    Whose love hath borne and nurtured him, whose life
    He is offshoot of and diligent support.
    This love thou knowest, and being to-day returned
    But from short voyage, mayst in little gauge
    My joy returning after many years.
    But what thou know’st not—mayst thou come to know!—              860
    I’ll tell thee. There be ties dearer than place
    Or parents; there be bonds that break in pieces
    The hearts that break them, and whose severance
    Is more than banishment. Boy, ’tis thy mother
    That makes this Ithaca the world to me;
    These tears are hers: and seeing thee, my son,
    Whose picture I have carried in my heart,
    And year by year have checked and altered still
    With vain imagination to thy growth
    Since last I left thee fondled in her arms,                      870
    I learn how dear art thou. Now on thy brow
    I’ll set this kiss. Begone and do my bidding.
    The goddess calls me: I must take again
    That shape which late thou saw’st me in. Farewell.
    Forget not when I am changèd what I am.

    _Tel._ Thy first commands are dear, sire; I obey.

                               ACT · III

 _Hall in house of Ulysses: [as described, in note]. EURYMACHUS,
 AMPHINOMUS, CTESIPPUS, PHEMIUS, and many suitors. Noise and brawling.
 Remains of feast._


    PEACE! Will none hear? Silence! O peace, I say.
    Will ye not hearken? (_Some abatement._)


                         Friends, give ear awhile,
    And hearken to Eurymachus.


                               For one,
    I am not of his party.

    _A SUITOR._

                           Nay, nor I,                               880
    Let him command his own.

    _Eur._                   Princes and lords!
    Have ye not chosen me to rule your feasts?
    I claim no more precedence; I would urge
    Nought but your honour, which ye go to shame
    By such disordered brawling.

    _Ctes._                      O, we know thee.
    ’Tis nought Penelope should deem we lie
    Under thy thumb!

    _A suitor._      Ay, or what matters else
    How these old beams may shake?

    _Ctes._                        What hast thou done?

    _Amph._ My lords, ye do forget yourselves.

    _Ctes._                                    O, nay.
    Why went not Lord Eurymachus himself                             890
    To seize Telemachus? Doth he not bide
    For the main chance? Will he not watch the play,
    The while Antinous is furthered forth?
    And—O, we know—when Lord Antinous
    Returns, and saith _The thing ye wish is done;
    Telemachus is dead, and he who now
    Winneth the widow winneth house and lands
    And kingship_; then the rich Eurymachus
    Will raise his hands and weep, _The very thing
    I would have stayed. Alas! the neediness_                        900
    _And avarice of some!_

    _Amph._               Why, good Ctesippus,
    Seek not a quarrel.

    _Ctes._             Nay, but is’t not so?

    _Amph._ ’Twill never be. The just and equal gods
    Have yet respect unto Ulysses’ house.
    And were’t their will Telemachus should die,
    He that went forth to slay him is the man
    Whose heart they turned to do it. For me, I say,
    I willed it not, and think ’twill never be.

    _Ctes._ Thou’rt but a craven!

    _Eur._                         Get ye to your seats:
    Pass we the bowl in peace, and while we drink 910
    Let Phemius soothe our rivalries with song.
    But one can win the prize, and whose ’twill be
    Lies in the lap of Zeus. Fair play and peace!

    _Amph._ And shame not this good house. Lack we a lord,
    This courtesy is due unto ourselves.

    _Ctes._ When brave Antinous returns, I say,
    We shall grow warm again.

    _Eur._                    Peace for the bard!



    Follow my song that leads,
    Ye wooers all, and come
    To praise the flock, that feeds                                  920
    Upon the grassy meads
    Of fair Dulichium:
    Where Acheloüs laves with rippling sweet
    The low fields red with wheat.


    For thee, I praise, Amphinomus, thou prince,
        Shepherd of sunset pastures; and I tell
        Again what once befell
        Nisus, thy sire, long since:
        To fruitful Lacedæmon when he came,
        With lords that made resort                                  930
        From Calydon’s high court,
        And western isles, at call of Helen’s fame,
        Wooing the hand of Leda’s heavenly daughter:
        But soon such jealousy and deadly gall
        Inflamed the suitors all,
        That then and there the fated slaughter
        Of Danaans had begun,
        Had not grave Tyndareus, her mortal sire,
        To quench the kindling fire,
        Called on Laertes’ son.                                      940


    “Wisest of men, Ulysses, tell me true,
        If skill or grace to keep the peace may be
        Among the lawless princes, here that sue
        For Helen’s hand; if ever as of old
        My house from curse of bloodshed may go free,
        Do thou the rede unfold.”
        Straight answered him the wise Ulysses then,
        “O son of Thestius, ’tis in my mind,
        That thou these lawless men
        By firmest oath shouldst bind                                950
        To honour him, and give him all their aid,
        Whose suit shall favour find,
        And honour from the maid;

                                1 _a._

      “Whoever it may be
    Who in fair Helen’s eye
    His favour first may see;
    And thus shall they agree.”
    Whereto did all comply;
    And gave to Tyndareus their banded troth,
    And singly took this oath:                                       960

                                1 _b._

      “To keep good peace we swear,
    And let that man go free,
    Who winneth Helen fair,
    And from all wrong whate’er
    Shield him, whoe’er he be.
    Good or ill fortune lieth in the lap
    Of Zeus, what haps let hap.”

                                2 _a._

    So goodly Menelaus, whom erelong
        Fair Helen chose of all the lords of Greece,
        His bride led home in peace;                                 970
        And no man did him wrong.
        Then Tyndareus to good Icarius spake,
        “Since now by one man’s wit
        Our house is saved, ’tis fit
        That thou this day be friendly for my sake,
        So at our hands he go not unrewarded:
        Give him thy daughter, fair Penelope,
        If so it pleaseth thee.”
        Who to this brother then the boon accorded:
        And thus the wooers’ strife                                  980
        Ulysses by good counsel quelled, and won
        Of Thestius’ other son,
        Penelope for wife.

                                3 _a._

    But when in time fair Helen’s virtue failed,
        He with the suitors bounden to befriend
        Wronged Menelaus, against Ilion sailed,
        And joined his arms, pledged by that oath with them;
        Till Priam’s broad-wayed city in the end
        Fell by his stratagem.                                       989
        But long being not returned, and passed for dead,
        There gathered suitors in his house to woo
        His fair wife in his stead;
        And strife among them grew.
        Nor is his arm more lacked to guard his walls,
        Than his good counsel true
        To keep peace in his halls.

                                1 _c._

      Which counsel I reclaim,
    Remembered for your use,
    Ye wooers, even the same
    Which saved from blood and shame                                1000
    The house of Tyndareus.
    So now unto my song your chorus bear,
    As Helen’s suitors sware.

_Chor._                        1 _d._

      To keep good peace we swear,
    And let that man go free,
    Nor do him hurt whate’er,
    Whoever wins the fair
    And wise Penelope.
    Good or ill fortune lieth in the lap
    Of Zeus; what haps let hap.                                     1010

             _Amph._ I thank thee for my father, Phemius.

    _Eur._ Thy tale is twice a tale told at this time.

    _Ctes._ I’ll hold it, that an oath sung out of tune
    Binds not the singer.

                            _Enter Herald._


                          Tidings, my lords.

    _Eur._                                   Speak forth.

    _Her._ Be it known the prince Telemachus is come.

                                            [_Suitors rise and murmur._

    _Eur._ Shame on you. Silence. Sir, we are much rejoiced
    To learn the prince’s safety. When arrived he?

    _Her._ He landed yestereve. We brought the ship
    This morn in harbour.

    _Eur._                Where disbarked the prince?

    _Her._ Northward by Ægilips.                                    1020

    _Eur._                       Is’t known?

    _Her._                                   My lord,
    I speed to tell it.                                         [_Exit._

    _Eur._              Friends, if this be true,
    We are baffled.

    _Ctes._         False, ’tis false.

    _Eur._                             And nought remains
    But man a galley, that shall bear the tidings
    To Lord Antinous and his men, who else
    Will lie out watching for him in the straits.

    _Amph._ Yet even that pains is spared us. Looking forth
    I see two ships in harbour side by side,
    And not far off a company of men,
    I take to be Antinous and his band.

    _Ctes._ How so?                                                 1030

    _Amph._         See then.

    _Ctes._                   O, true: they are at the gate.
    How hath it happed?

    _Amph._             Prophesy, sir, and tell us
    Whether some god forewarned Telemachus,
    Or if they gave him chase and could not catch him.

                     _Enter Antinous and his men._


    Hail, Lord Antinous!

    _Eur._               How went it with thee?


    Where is the prince?

    _Amph._              Why, where’s the prince? he saith.
    Where is the prince?

    _Eur._               How missed you him?

    _Ant._                                   Curst luck!
    All day our scouts kept up unbroken guard
    Along the windy headlands, and at night
    None slept ashore, but cruising to and fro,
    We watched the narrow channels until dawn,                      1040
    Lying in wait to take him when he came.
    And lo! he is here, hath run by into port,
    And beached his ship upon the royal stade,
    Before we knew it. Curst luck! Have ye seen him?

    _Eur._ Nay, for he landed by the northern shore,
    And sent his ship about: a god hath warned him.

    _Ant._ God or no god, plant we before he comes
    An ambush in the hills, and slay him there:
    For once he reach the town alive, be sure
    He is the huntsman then and we the game.                        1050
    Ay, he hath wit eno’ ere he come hither
    To babble of our plot, and ’fore the folk
    Will, with his pretty face and cunning tears
    And speeches of his mother, stir them up
    To rise against us. Look, sirs, while he lives
    We can do nothing, but if we should kill him,
    His lands and goods are ours: we may divide
    The wealth and let who will possess the widow.
    That is my counsel, lords: but if ye suffer
    This baby to return, then this I say—                           1060
    Make we at once our gifts,—myself I count it
    No satisfaction,—but that one of us
    Should win at least the dame and such few chattels
    As may go with her, is the only credit
    We have to look for.

    _Ctes._              What is that to us?

    _Ant._ What say ye, lords?

    _Amph._                    Why, ’tis a pretty plan.
    We came to woo the dame; but since ’tis clear
    All cannot have her, in the general interest
    Change we our purpose, saith he, kill the son,
    And make division. Well! What say ye, lords?                    1070

    _Ctes._ Hark not to him: he hath a specialty.

    _Amph._ Imbrue ye not your hands in innocent blood,
    Nor touch Telemachus: for ’tis a thing
    Abhorred of Zeus to meddle with a life
    Of royal strain. There be the oracles;
    Consult ye them: and if Telemachus
    Must die and ’tis decreed, I shall be last
    Of men to oppose it: otherwise I stand
    Against Antinous, ay, sword to sword:
    Whose insolence, I say, the gods already                        1080
    Have baulked and will not suffer.

    _Eur._                            Spoken well,
    Amphinomus; yet hast thou shewn no way
    To avoid the mischief that must fall on us,
    If now Telemachus return alive.

               _Enter from the gallery above, Penelope._

    _Suitors._ The queen, the queen!


      Ye shameless men, and thou most shamed of all,
    Antinous—nay, never think I know not
    Because I hold aloof; or that I hear not
    Because ye see me not. I know you all,
    And none is there among you who more wrongs                     1090
    The hospitality ye all constrain,
    Than that Antinous:—doth he remember
    How once his sire Eupeithes to this house
    Fled from the people, when they would have slain him
    For joining in the Taphian piracies
    ’Gainst the Thesprotians, who were then our friends
    And good allies as now; but my Ulysses
    Took him, and by great favour won his life?
    And now his son against our noble son
    Plotteth to kill him: is all due regard                         1100
    For sacred ties ’twixt house and house so lost?
    That ye too here, who sit in idleness
    To waste the substance of my absent lord,
    Hark to such insolent and bloody malice,
    The while ye sue me for my hand? Pretence!
    I say: ye are constant lovers, but ’tis wine
    And meat ye love, and me ye only wrong.

    _Eur._ And us thou wrongest, wise Penelope,
    Deeming thy son hath not such friends among us,
    As make his coming hither and his going                         1110
    And converse with us safe. If one had dared
    To plot his death, this spear, that now is bright,
    Were red to-day with blood: for me too, lady,
    Hath good Ulysses in the days gone by
    Set on his knee, and to my boyish lips
    Tendered the wine-cup: wherefore is his son
    Dear to my soul, and from no man that moves
    Within my reach, need he fear death or harm.

    _Ctes._ (_aside_). Hark to him now!

    _Ant._ (_to Pen._).                 We all are bounden, lady,
    To serve thy house; and I above the rest                        1120
    Have shewn my zeal, sailing my galley forth
    To meet thy son with honour, and in safety
    To escort him home.

    _Pen._              Standing but late above
    I overheard your council; look, I bid you
    Depart, lest on a sudden ye encounter
    Him whom ye willed to slay. The gods have brought him
    In safety home: he will be here; so ye
    Go to your lodges, nor to-morrow morn
    Come as your wont, unless ye bring in hand
    Each of you, for a pledge of truth and peace,                   1130
    Some gift of price. Strange suitors are ye, lying
    Here at my charges, feasting day by day,
    Nor ever make such offerings as a woman
    Must look for where she is loved or wooed: begone.
    My son hath passed the town. I have a message
    He will be here. (_Voices without._) Ay, now, before ye go
    He is come. I hear him.

 _Enter Telemachus, spear in hand at back; the wooers throng round him
 as he presses forward._

    _Eur._                  Welcome, noble prince.

    _Amph._ All hail, Telemachus!

    _Ant._                        The gods be praised.

    _Chor._ Hail, noble offspring of a noble sire!—
    Most gracious son of a most gracious lady!—                     1140
    Dear to our eyes as is the light of morn—
    Welcome as softest rain to new-sown fields—

    _Ctes._ (_aside_). Or like a frost in spring.


                                 My lords and friends,
    I thank you all. (_To Pen._) See me returned, dear

    _Pen._ Welcome, my son. I knew that thou wert come:
    ’Tis good. (_Aside to Telem._) I had now discharged
         these lords: I pray thee
    Rid us their company.

    _Tel._                My friends, I fear
    My entrance, just as ye were stood to go,
    Delays your going: feel not such constraint,
    Beseech you. We may look to meet again,                         1150
    If I mistake not.

    _Ant._ (_aside to wooers_). See how haughtily
    He bears himself.

    _Ctes._ (_aside_). Yield not an inch: abide!

    _Eur._ My lords, let all depart.

    _Amph._ (_to Pen._).             Lady, farewell,
    To-morrow I will offer at thy feet
    The best I have.

    _All._           And I, and I.

    _Pen._                         Farewell.

    _Tel._ Farewell, my lords.

    _Ant._ Would I might stay to see the melting joy
    Of this most happy meeting.

    _Pen._                      Go thy way.
    If ever grace spake false, ’twas on thy tongue,
    Falsest Antinous.                                               1160

    _Suitors_ (_going_). Farewell, Farewell.

    [_They are heard singing without._ To keep good peace we swear, etc.]

    _Tel._ My dearest mother.

    _Pen._                    O, my noble son,
    ’Tis joy to kiss thee. Do I see thee safe?
    But O, thou hast tarried long! And was it kind
    To make thy journey hence without a word?
    If thou couldst but have seen my pain, the day
    I found thee gone, thy pity had surely made
    Thy duty, and held thee back. But now to see thee,
    And as thou earnest those rude men abashed,—
    O, I was proud!

    _Tel._          Thou canst not more rejoice
    Than I.

    _Pen._ I wonder not they were abashed;                          1170
    Thou hast a freer step, a manlier bearing:
    I am much to blame keeping thee here at home,
    Away from fellowship of noble spirits.
    Whom hast thou seen?

    _Tel._               Why that were long to tell.

    _Pen._ I saw thy ship sail in, and then there came
    Eumæus, saying how thou wert with him,
    And wouldst not come: then came thy messenger,
    That thou wert in the town, and on thy way.
    How was it?

    _Tel._      See, I am just escaped with life:
    Spare questioning. First let the gods be served:                1180
    Go bid thy maidens, ere the night close in,
    Prepare a worthy sacrifice to Zeus;
    Ay, such a sacrifice, as to this day
    This house has never seen.

    _Pen._                     ’Tis very meet.
    Yet why this urgence? there hath something passed
    Thou keepest back. Is’t possible, my boy,
    That in the southern courts some lady’s eyes
    Have drawn thee to vow hecatombs?

    _Tel._                            Nay, mother.

    _Pen._ I should be glad. What is it then hath changed thee?

    _Tel._ How am I changed?                                        1190

    _Pen._                   Thou art aloof and strange.

    _Tel._ It ever dulled my kinder spirits to view
    These robbers in my father’s hall.

    _Pen._                             Alas!
    What could I do, my son, and thou away?
    Here is no change, nor ever any tidings.
    I have neither power nor reason on my side:
    I cannot say My lord is yet alive,
    Wherefore depart, ye wrong me; nor as little
    My lord is dead, I will requite your honour,
    And choose the worthiest. O, where’er thou hast been,
    If aught thou hast learned of any certainty,                    1200
    Speak now, whate’er it be, fear not to tell:
    Tell of thy sire, my son, though ’tis his death!

    _Tel._ Now heaven forbid that word.

    _Pen._                              Alas, Telemachus;
    What is our hope? Or if thou know of any,
    Why art thou reticent of it?

    _Tel._                       Hearken, mother:
    If thou wilt hear me, I will tell my story,
    As time allows, stripped of all circumstance.
    First sailed I then to Pylos, where I found
    Nestor, who lovingly my stay entreated,
    And held me as his son, but, when he learned                    1210
    My quest, and nothing knew of my dear father,
    Would have me go, and with a royal escort
    Conveyed me to the court of Menelaus:
    There I saw Argive Helen.—
    But Menelaus, when I told my tale
    Brake out in anger, and I think few words
    Would draw him hither with his dukes to sweep
    Our house of its dishonour; but in fine
    Thus much he said, that still Ulysses lived,
    But with the nymph Calypso in her isle                          1220
    By subtle sleights withheld; in whom it lay
    That he was not returned, and might not yet;
    But there abode. Then, since he knew no more,
    I sped me home, and should have sped to death,
    Had not divine Athenè sent a dream
    To warn me of the ambush, with the wind
    To bring me round the isle: wherefore I bid thee
    Perform the sacrifice, lest for such favour
    We seem ungrateful.

    _Pen._              Didst thou never ask
    Of Menelaus, how he came to know                                1230
    Thy father’s fate?

    _Tel._             It was the wizard Proteus,
    Whom strangely he entamed and all his art,
    When he lay windbound in the isle of Pharos;
    Who told him, for he held him fast for all
    His magic shifts and slippery changefulness,
    Becoming first a bearded lion, thereafter
    A snake, a leopard, and a bristly boar;
    And then as running water seemed he, or
    A tall and flowering tree ...

    _Pen._                        My son, my son,
    These are mere tales. When was this said to have been?          1240

    _Tel._ ’Twas scarce two years.

    _Pen._                         Ah, and so long!

    _Tel._                                          ’Tis tidings
    Both sure and good, mother; and yet ’tis nought
    To what remains. The thing I sought abroad
    Has come to me at home: but if I tell thee,
    Thou in thine inmost heart store it,—no word
    Even to Eumæus, tho’ ’twas in his hut,
    —Where as I crossed the isle I turned aside,—
    I found an aged man, his beggar guest:
    Whom, for Eumæus warned me he was full
    Of tales of Troy, I held of no account                          1250
    When first he spoke, but soon I learnt he knew.
    He was himself at Troy, and, as he saith,
    Hath lately seen my father, who is free,
    And bent on swift return.

    _Pen._                    Is this thy news?

    _Tel._ Is’t not then news?

    _Pen._                     Nay, nay, thou art deceived.
    An idle tale Eumæus would not hear:
    A rogue he warned thee of, and not the first
    That thus hath lied.

    _Tel._               There hath been none like him.

    _Pen._ Their tale is still the same, and spiced to match
    Any credulity.

    _Tel._         I would not have                                 1260
    Thy mind less wary, nor bespeak thy credit.
    To-morrow I will bring him here, and then,
    He being our guest, thyself mayst question him.
    And be thou not persuaded, I will look
    No longer for my father’s wished return;
    Nor after lend an ear to any man,
    But hold him as our enemy, who saith
    Ulysses lives.

    _Pen._         In hoping and despairing
    Thou art too quick, my son; and past occasions
    Have taught thee nought. Come, tell me of thyself,
    And of thy journey. Tell me too of Helen,                       1271
    Is she still beautiful? and doth she live
    Forgiven of Menelaus and beloved?

    _Tel._ In good time, mother, shalt thou hear all this,
    And more. Consider now how best to prove
    This beggar, when I bring him.

    _Pen._                         If need were
    ’Twere easy.—Yet, how should Eumæus err?
    Hath he not means to sift the false from true?
    Could such a guest as this thou deemest dwell
    With him unknown?

    _Tel._            Thou shalt thyself enquire.                   1280
    Weigh well what proof to use, but now no longer
    Delay the sacrifice my safety calls.                      [_Going._

    _Pen._ My son!

    _Tel._         Adieu, I go into the town.

    _Pen._ Why wilt thou go?

    _Tel._                   First I must make report
    To good Noëmon of his ship returned;
    Then to pay off my crew.

    _Pen._                   Ah, prithee son,
    Have care: the robbers have a plot to kill thee:
    They now may lie in wait. ’Tis early dusk.

    _Tel._ I fear them not.                                         1289

    _Pen._                  Indeed I know their minds.

    _Tel._ The goddess will withhold their impious hands.

    _Pen._ What goddess trustest thou to aid thee so?

    _Tel._ Why who but she that hath preserved my sire?

    _Pen._ Alas! Then take Eumæus with thee, son.

    _Tel._ I need him not. Farewell.

    _Pen._                           Then if thou goest,
    Farewell. But do not tarry.

    _Tel._                      Bid prepare
    My chamber; for at night I shall return.                  [_Exit._

    _Pen._ The gods protect thee.—Would the gods, that made him
    So handsome, loving, noble, brave, and good,
    Had given him wisdom; for without that gift,
    Grace bears no fruit. ’Tis plain to all, my son                 1300
    Hath not the truth of his advertisement:
    He wears the semblance only, such as lures
    And flatters the deceiver. If I am vexed,
    ’Tis with myself: I looked for better things
    And suffer in rebuff. That Menelaus,
    The delicate, self-seeking Menelaus,
    Should leave his easeful home to avenge a friend,
    And that friend dead: and then the wizard tales,
    Calypso and Proteus, and whatever else,
    And worst of all this ancient beggar-man,                       1310
    Who hath a tale better than all the tales!
    Alas, alas! my son, thou wilt have need
    Of much good care. ’Twas ill I did not send
    Eumæus with him. Now till he return,
    Patience—and when he is returned, again
    Patience—’tis so: patience was made for me;
    And one by one my deprecative days
    Bring nought, but as they flee, still cry to-morrow.

                               ACT · IV

_The same: many wooers seated about the hall over remains of feast. In
front of stage TELEMACHUS_ (L.), _EURYMACHUS_ (C.), _AMPHINOMUS and
ANTINOUS_ (R.). _Phemius sitting near: at left of stage a table piled
with gifts._


    Order thou as thou wilt; with mine own hand
    Will I present my gift.


                            And so will I.                          1320
    Shall there be no distinction?


                                   Sirs, consider
    How ye would make distinction. Ye are many,
    And acquiescence in a preference
    Of two or three were the self-forfeiture
    By all the rest of further claim in suit.


      Hark, ’tis well said, Eurymachus; and for one
    I were content.

    _Eur._          Why this is nought to me.
    All cannot give; but we and such beside,
    Whose title we acknowledge, may present
    Our gifts in person: let the rest lay theirs                    1330
    Here on the table: nor will we admit
    More than are present now within the hall:
    All others with the henchmen may remain,
    Where they sit feasting, in the outer court.

    _Ant._ So be it, I say.

    _Eur._                  ’Twas on her own demand
    We brought our gifts to-day: shall we not give them?

    _Ant._ ’Tis fit there be reception. Here we wait
    Since noon, and still she comes not. Will she come?

    _Tel._ I am here, my lords, to tell you she will come.
    Prepare to see her.

    _Eur._              My place is first: ye two                   1340
    Will follow. For the rest, is’t left to me
    To fix the order?

    _Amph._           I would urge to abide
    By what the prince desires.

    _Tel._                      Nay, nay, my lords.
    I waive all word: the matter rests with you.
    I say but this: since ’tis not possible
    That each in person should present his gift,
    My mother’s will is that ye lay them here
    Upon the table. Yet if one or two
    Command distinction, there is nought so far
    Forbids exception.

    _Eur._             Lords, then sit we down;                     1350
    Thence may we pass the word to whom we will.
    And say that while we wait our lady’s coming,
    Good Phemius sing. Prince, wilt thou sit by me?

    _Tel._ Nay, I will take my seat where I was wont.

                                                      [_They sit down._

    _Eur._ Serve us some wine.

    _Tel._                     Phemius, I’d have thy song
    Tell of my father.

                     _Music._ (_All are seated._)

                _Enter Eumæus with Ulysses disguised._


      This way, old man, now art thou in the hall
    Of good Ulysses.

    _Eur._           Stay, stay, who come here
    Breaking the music.

    _Ant._              ’Tis the wretched swineherd.

    _Eur._ Prince, bid him hence!

    _Ant._ What ruffian brings he with him?                         1360

    _Amph._ Who is this ancient patch?

    _Ant._                             O miserable


                    What a scurvy beggar!

    _Eur._ Eumæus, I bid thee take thy plague away!

    _A suitor._ Nor want we thee to-day, old swine-driver.

    _Another._ When the meat fails, we’ll send.

    _Ctes._                                     Rascally knave.

    _Another._ Go fat thy pigs!

    _Ctes._                     The hog-tub stands without:
    If thy old man be hungry, take him there.

    _Another._ Ctesippus, force them forth.

    _Ctes._                                 Begone, I say:
    Or I will drive you quicker than ye came.

    _Eur._ Eumæus, hear me: take thy man away.                      1370

    _Eum._ Nay, Lord Eurymachus, ’tis never thou
    Canst say begone to any from this hall,
    Nay, nor Antinous nor Ctesippus either:
    But if to me ye say it, ye forget
    How I stand here of right; nor is it like
    I stir for you. As for your music-making,
    Be still yourselves, and we can sit in peace,
    And listen with you.

    _Ant._               Ye to sit with us,
    Insolent villain!

    _Eur._            Whatsoe’er thy right,
    This filthy beggar is beyond all reason.                        1380
    Who is he?

    _Eum._     Lord Eurymachus, this man,
    Mean as he is, hath here more privilege
    Than thou. He comes by invitation hither;
    He is the prince’s suppliant.

    _Eur._                        Now, Telemachus,
    Thou art reproached in this.

    _Eum._                       Come to reproach,
    I know a word.

    _Ant._         Wag not thy beard at us,
    Thou low-bred hind.

    _Tel._              Indeed, Eurymachus,
    I am not disgraced; for in my father’s hall
    Was ever room and welcome for all such
    As needed food and shelter: nay, and they                       1390
    Who most have need stand first; as doth this man.
    As for my servant, he hath given an answer
    To those that have reviled him.

    _Amph._                         If so be
    This beggar is thy guest and suppliant,
    His fitter place were still the outer court:
    Invite him thither.

    _Tel._              I have bid him here.
    And here he shall remain. Fear not, good father,
    Go sit thee by the hearth: and thou, Amphinomus,
    Urge me not. I will have my way in this:
    Were there no other reason than this one,                       1400
    That I will have my way. Take thou that stool,
    Old man, and sit at ease: none here can touch thee.

    _Ctes._ (_to Ul. aside_). Dare!

    _Ant._ (_to Eur._).             Shall we brook this?

    _Eur._                                               Prince Telemachus,
    Though thou be very son of great Ulysses,
    Think not to overrule us thus with words.
    Dispose thou mayst within fair reason’s bounds
    Even as thou wilt: so much in courtesy
    We grant, but not for fear; nor are our spirits
    Of stuff to suffer what indignities
    Thy haughty temper may prepare. In this                         1410
    We shall resist thee.

    _Tel._                There be men in Ithaca
    Call thee not king, Eurymachus; though here
    Thou take so much on thee.

    _Ant._                     Ha! threat’st thou us?
    Telemachus! what next? This is’t to have been
    In Lacedæmon. Now may we, who ne’er
    Have looked upon the godlike Menelaus,
    Behold his mirror. Why, what game is this?
    Think’st thou with strength and might upon our side
    We bandy words? I say this ragged loon
    Shall not have place with us: the sight of him                  1420
    Hath turned my stomach. If for any bond
    Of blood or service thou set store by him,
    Thou mayst do better for his skinny bones
    Than stow them here. ’Twill not be many hours
    That he shall trouble us.

    _Tel._                    Ay, so may be.
    But wouldst thou kill him, Lord Antinous,
    It had been better to have waylaid his ship,
    Or set an ambush for him in the hills.

    _Ant._ (_aside_). By heaven, I smart.

    _Eur._                                Peace, peace!

    _Amph._                                          Hark, if the prince
    Persist, we may not say him nay. Be seated.                     1430
    Maybe our lady’s voice may interpose:
    Let us defer our grievance to the word
    Of sage Penelope.

    _Ant._            How shall I sit
    In presence of such insult?

    _Eur._                      Sit thou down.

    _Ant._ (_aside to Ul._). Man, as thou lovest life, fly
      while thou mayst.

    _ULYSSES_ (_to Ant._).

       Kind sir, I am deaf.
    _Ant._               I’ll make thee deafer yet.

    _Tel._ Phemius, we listen. Sit thou there, old man.
    Eumæus, take him meat and wine.

    _Ul._ (_sitting at r. front_).  I thank thee.

    _Ctes._ Go further off, I pray; I’m not thy friend,
    Thou hoary plague.

    _Eur._             Silence, the music sounds.                   1440

  (_Eumæus bears food to Ulysses, who eats and drinks during Phemius’



            Happy are the earth’s heirs:
            Who, that his toilsome lot
            And hard-won gain compares,
            Admires and envies not?
    At one time one, at another another best,
    Come mortal pleasures, troubling sweet content;
            But two above the rest
              Are ever of worth,
    Everywhere are praisèd and excellent,
            To live and possess the earth:                          1450
    And my name—ranked desire ’mong graven things—
            Would live with the island kings.


            Happy Telemachus then art thou,
            Ithaca’s true-born lord:
              Rejoice and welcome him now
              Safe to his home restored.
              Shout—O well is thee!
            The gods in worship and joy, pray we,
            —And high desert uplifts the prayer—
    Grant thee here in plenty the good thou meritest,
            Nor to fall in a like snare                             1461
            With him from whom thou inheritest,
            Ulysses, Laertes’ son.


            Twenty are the years gone
            Since in another’s strife,
            To win a faithless wife
            He vexed the true, his own.
    For her new-married he left and his newborn boy,
    His true-born prince to manhood now upgrown,
            To fight at fateful Troy.                               1470
              In front of the strife
    Fought he, and fell not there, nor lies entombed
            By mighty Achilles’ side;
    Nor yet returned he home, but wandering wide
            To alien death was doomed.


            Weep for him, ye that around his board
              Sit in the bright fire-shine:
              No more shall Ithaca’s lord
              Stretch his hand to the wine.
                Sing a mournful strain!                             1480
            Alas, he counteth not loss nor gain;
            His wife is wooed, and he makes no sign;
    Thralls go here and there, but another beckoneth.
              For the dead hath no desire,
              He knoweth nothing, nor reckoneth;
              He is cold, and feels not the fire.

                                      [_He plays sad music in silence._

     _Enter suddenly Penelope_ (_with some six maids attendant_).

    _Ul._ (_aside_). I see the beacon of my life undimmed.


      Hush ye these mournful strains!—’tis music’s skill
    To comfort and wean sorrow’s heart away
    With beautiful distractions from its woe:                       1490
    Not to be plunged therein, and chafe remembrance
    With added echoes. Oh, I have wept enough.
    Would you my life should faster waste in grief,
    That ye must widen more its aching channels
    With melancholy dirges? These are fit
    For souls at ease; ay, such as ye, my lords,
    Who feel no thorns prick you, may love to drink
    The soft compunctious mimicries of woe.
    But me with all your pleasures still ye vex,
    In mine own house, forgetful of my wounds.                      1500
    —And thou, whom servest thou, Phemius, that thy mistress
    Thou disobeyest?

    _Ul._ (_aside_). Spoke like a goddess.

    _Tel._                                 ’Twas at my command.
    Forgive me, mother.

    _Pen._              Thou wert used, I think,
    To know me better, son.

    _Tel._                  If thou art come
    To take the presents which thy wooers bring,
    See where they lie.

    _Ul._ (_aside_). Now what to say?

    _Pen._                            My lords, the prince hath shewn me
    These gifts: they are well my due, and some amends
    For your continual spending, which to grudge                    1510
    Were unbecoming, were this house my own.

    _Ul._ (_aside_). That is well said: now may she fairly spoil them.

    _Pen._ But since I keep it for its absent lord ...

    _Ul._ (_aside_). Good.

    _Eur._ Oh, lady, he is dead.

    _Pen._                       How know’st thou so?

    _Ul._ (_aside_). Well asked.

    _Amph._ Sagest Penelope, thou triflest still.
    The time is fled when hope might yet imagine
    Thy husband lived: so long to have sent no word
    Is surest tidings: if Ulysses lived                             1520
    He would be here.

    _Ul._ (_aside_).  True, sir.

    _Amph._                      Thy needful patience
    Have all admired: perpetual widowhood
    The gods and we forbid. To make an end
    Of all that thou mislikest in our suit,
    Is but the boon we crave: choose one of us,
    Whoe’er it be—to-day.

    _Pen._                 Would all of ye
    Assent to this?

    _Ant._          Ay, wherefore sit we here?

    _Pen._ Indeed, my lords, ye best know why ye came.

    _Eur._ Worshipful lady, if but all the Achæans
    Who speak thy name could now behold and hear thee,
    Then not this house, nay, nor this island’s round,
    Would hold thy thronging wooers, by so far                      1532
    Outshinest thou all women of the earth
    In beauty and in wisdom.

    _Pen._                   Still too wise
    To fall to flattery; but my grace and favour
    The gods destroyed that day the Argives sailed
    ’Gainst Ilion, and bore hence with them my lord:
    But should he come to rule again his house,
    Fairer than ever then my fame would be
    For all this grief and the thick thrusts of fate.               1540
    But he, in farewell ere he left his home,
    Took my right hand in his, and said to me,
    _Dear wife, we must not think the Achæan army
    Will all, as they set forth, return from Troy,
    In numbers and in bravery safe and sound:
    Our foes are warriors skilled in spear and bow,
    And horsemen good, say they, such as most quickly
    Are wont in equal fight to turn the day;
    Wherefore I know not what may be my hap:
    But, come the worst, thou here must guard the house,
    And aye to sire and mother both be kind_                        1551
    _As now, or more, since I shall be away.
    And should I not return to thee, abide
    Until thou seest our babe upgrown and bearded,
    When marry whom thou wilt and quit the house._
    ’Twas thus he spake, and thus ’tis come about:
    And not far off that night of hateful marriage
    Confronts me now; for Zeus hath killed my hope.
    But ye add pain and anger to my grief,
    Who come not in the manner of our sires                         1560
    To woo, when every man that wooed a lady
    Of substance, rank, and worth, vied with his equals
    In gifts of flocks and herds, and banqueted
    All the bride’s household, offering of his own;
    Not wasting as do ye the house ye seek,
    And without recompense.

    _Ant._                  See then our gifts.

    _Pen._ Ay, true: to where your late amendment lies.
    Let us o’erlook these offerings, ere my maids
    Bear them away.

    _Eur._          But first, O queen,
    Take at my hands the gift I bring,                              1570
    This yellow-glistening chain,—whereof
    The amber beads may tell my love,
    The mesh of golden work between,
    The homage of my wealth may show,—
    Worthy of any neck but thine:
    No lover, mortal nor divine,
    Who made so fair an offering,
    But might with pride his gift bestow;
    Tho’ not to thee Eurymachus.
    Yet ’tis the best and richest thing                             1580
    Of countless jewels rich and fine,
    Stored in his house; and wouldst thou make
    The rest thine own, he for love’s sake
    Were not ashamed in giving thus.

    _Pen._ My thanks: ’tis brave and sweet attire.
    Long hath thy wealth been known to me,
    And grateful would thy marriage be
    Both to my brethren and my sire.
    What have we here?

    _Ant._             Lady, my gift.
    This ample robe my servants bear,                               1590
    White as the snow’s fresh-wandered drift,
    Light as the air and beautiful,
    Is woven of the softest wool
    Our curly highland chilvers wear;
    Fresh from the loom: and on the robe
    Twelve golden brooches, globe to globe,
    With fretted clasps of Syrian art,
    Which, brought by war to Egypt’s mart,
    From thence—with many gawds beside,
    Now mine—my grandsire took, when he,                            1600
    Crossing in ship the Libyan sea,
    Sailed up the mighty river wide;
    But these for beauty stood alone.

    _Pen._ I thank thee. This I’ll not deny
    For some misdeeds may well atone.
    Who cometh next?

    _Amph._          Lady, ’tis I:
    And give my homage one kind word,
    I shall not scorn to come but third.
    My offering is this veil.

    _Pen._ O wondrous work and rare!                                1610
    ’Tis like the golden mail
    Of Hera’s braided hair,
    Which every step sets hovering,
    Her brow discovering.

    _Amph._ So ’tis most fit for thee,
    Rarest Penelope.

    _Pen._ Or such methinks love’s queen
    Across her forehead tieth,
    Whene’er along the green
    Of river-banks she hieth,                                       1620
    To cheer with sweet embraces
    Her sister graces.

    _Amph._ Therefore most fit for thee,
    Queenly Penelope.

    _Pen._ Oh, ’tis most fine: I thank thee. Is’t thy meaning
    That I should wear the veil?

    _Amph._ ’Twould deck thee well.

    _Ul._ (_aside_). Here is some favour shewn.

    _Pen._ My gracious thanks.

    _A suitor._ See now my gift, O queen.                           1630

    _Ul._ (_aside to Amph._). Sir, I would speak with thee.

    _Amph._                   Nay, man; be silent.—

    _Pen._ Ah, ’tis Peisander, what brings he?

    _The suitor._ Lady, if ever thou didst see
    Three dewdrops gathered full within
    Some unawakened lily’s cup,
    Each swollen to fall, or e’er begin
    The stalks to dress themselves aright:
    For yet the sun, that hasteth up,
    Pricks not their delicate stems,
    Nor spreads the crimson petals bright:                          1640
    That were an image of the gems
    Which in this casket lie, a pair
    Fit for thine ears to wear.

    _Pen._ I thank thee, good Peisander; set it down
    Here with the rest.

    _Ul._ (_aside to Amph._). Sir, I would speak with thee.

    _Amph._ (_to Ul._). Nay, stand aloof.—

    _Pen._                                  Ye do me honour, lords;
    Yet must reception end. I will take all,
    And note the givers. Now my constant grief
    Is strangely awakened. (_To maids._) Gather up the gifts.

    _Ul._ (_aside to Amph._). Sir! speak with me.                   1650

    _Amph._ (_to Ul._).                           What wouldst thou?

    _Ant._                                               See, the rogue
    Begins to beg.

    _Eur._         Lady, ere yet thou go,
    Grant me thine ear. There is come into the hall
    A beggar, who for mere propriety                         [_Ul. sits._
    We would were housed without. The prince, thy son,
    Against our general comfort bids him here.
    Let thy kind favour spare us this annoyance.

    _Pen._ That is he?

    _Eur._             Ay.

    _Ant._                 Lo! by the fire he sits.

    _Pen._ (_aside_). How strange a man. (_To Tel._) Is this
       thy guest, my son?

    _Tel._ ’Tis he I spoke of.

    _Pen._ (_to Tel._).        Surely the complaint
    Hath a fair ground. To save offence ’twere best
    Dismiss him with some gift—I leave, my lords,
    This matter where it lies: My son rules here.                   1662
    Farewell. Keep peace amongst you.
    (_To maids._)                     Bear off the gifts.       [_Exit._

    _All._ Farewell, fairest Penelope.

    _Eur._ Ere now we sit again,
    I ask the prince once more if he persist
    To vex our party with this beggar’s presence.

    _Tel._ Press me not, lords, ye know my will: and how
    In night and darkness should I turn away
    A houseless guest? Nay, but for you ’tis time                   1670
    Ye sought your lodges.

    _Ant._ (_to Eum._).    Thou presumptuous swineherd,
    Why drovest thou this nuisance to the town?
    Had we not tramps and scamps eno’, starved beggars
    And needy scavengers, haunting the place,
    Ravening thy master’s substance, that thou now
    Must fetch in this one too?

    _Eum._                      Antinous,
    Thou speak’st not fair, lord tho’ thou be; that here
    Set at another’s board wouldst judge and grudge
    The spending of thy host. I know that thou
    Art like the world, who bid unto their tables                   1680
    But such as can repay them well in kind,
    Or by some service or amusement made;
    And none will ever ask a beggar-man
    To help him eat. Thou too wast always hard
    Above all here to all, and most to me.
    But I care not, while my dear gracious mistress
    Dwells with the prince, my master.

    _Tel._ (_aside to Eum._).          Hush, Eumæus;
    Truth is the hardest taunt to bear.

    _Ant._                              Thou hind!
    Answerest thou me?

    _Tel._             I laugh, Antinous,
    To have thee play the master in this house.                     1690
    Bid me dismiss my guest? The gods forfend!
    Thee rather bid I help to entertain him.
    Lo! thou hast feasted well: give off thy plate
    Thy leavings to this beggar. Go, old man,—
    These lords can of their surplus well afford
    To furnish thee a supper,—go, I charge thee,
    And take what each may give.

    _Ant._                       By Zeus in heaven,
    Thou bear’st me hard. If all but give as I,
    He shall not make the round.

    _Ul._ (_coming to Ant._).    Sir, give me somewhat.
    Thou comest, I warrant, of no common stock,                     1700
    But of some great house: thou’rt featured like a king:
    Thou wilt not stint thy hand: and, treat me well,
    It lies in chance I yet may make return.
    For I too once had my own house, and lived
    In state, nor e’er turned any from my doors,
    Whoever he might be, whate’er his need.
    I had my slaves and thralls, and all in plenty,
    That rich men have; but Zeus made nought of all:
    For his will surely ’twas, who sent me forth
    With wandering pirates, sailing up the river                    1710
    Of Egypt, a long voyage—and to my ruin:
    For tarrying there, my crews in mutiny
    Brake from me, and doing bloody violence
    Unto the people of the king, were slain,
    And I enslaved. But of the king’s good pleasure,
    With whom I lacked not favour, I was sent
    In time to Cyprus ...

    _Ant._                Plague thee and thy lies!
    Stand off, back from my table; lest thou come
    To a bitter Egypt, and a mournful Cyprus.
    Begone, I say.

    _Ul._          Lo! now I see thou lackest                       1720
    Wisdom unto thy beauty. Of thine own
    Thou wouldst not give away a pinch of salt,
    Since thou withholdest here what costs thee nothing.

    _Ant._ Then take what I would give thee ere thou go.  [_Strikes him._

    _Ul._ Ha! wilt thou strike me!—Why, and even a blow
    Thou giv’st not well.

    _Amph._               Shame, shame!

    _Eur._                              Enough, Antinous.

    _Eum._ To strike a man so old, thy fellow-guest!
    Come back, good father, to thy seat.

    _Ul._                                Now, hear me,
    Ye wooers of the queen, for I will speak.
    Many hard blows in honourable fight                             1730
    I have borne, and held them nought; but to be smitten
    For being an-hungered, tho’ the hurt be small
    ’Tis huge in wrong; and as there is a god
    To avenge the poor, I say this ill-bred lord
    Shall never live to see his marriage day.

    _Eum._ And so say I.

    _Ant._               Now for thy paltry curse
    Think thyself lucky I bid not my men
    Hale thee without, and flay thee with their whips.

    _Some wooers_ (_murmuring_). How will Antinous woo
      our queen,
    Having his hand accursed with shame?—                           1740
    Doth he forget the gods have been
    In such disguise?—How Zeus once came
    Thus to Lycaon’s feast unbid:—
    Or how in Celeus’ house, ’tis said,
    Demeter at Eleusis hid?—
    And were he but a man, ’tis dread
    To smite in wrath the hoary head.

    _Amph._ Father, I bring thee meat. May happiness
    Ere long be thine, for what thou sufferest now.

    _Ul._ (_reseated at front, to Amph._). I thank thee,
      lord Amphinomus, and since                                   1750
    I see thee like thy father, wise and good,
    Old Nisus of Dulichium, I will say
    What thrice thou hast refused to hear: Attend.
    Of all that moves and breathes upon the earth,
    Nóthing is found more únstáble than man.
    Awhile his spirit within him is gay, his limbs
    Light, and he saith, No ill shall overtake me.
    Then evil comes: and lo! he beareth it
    Patiently, in its turn as God provides.
    So I too once looked to be ever happy,                          1760
    And gave the rein to wantonness, and now—
    Thou seest me ... Wherefore, say I, let no man
    Be lawless, but in quiet and reserve
    Possess whatever good the gods have sent.
    And this I witness ’gainst the deeds I see,
    These wooers, full of mischief, making waste,
    And doing such dishonour to a lady,
    Whose lord not long will tarry: nay, I tell thee                1768
    He is very near,—ay, near. May thy good genius
    Withdraw thee soon, lest thou shouldst meet his wrath
    When he returns: for not without blood-spilling
    Will they be sundered, these infatuate wooers
    And he, when he comes stepping thro’ his house.

    _Eur._ What saith this ancient seer, that makes thy brow
    To cloud?

    _Ul._ (_aside to Amph._) Fly hence to-night.

    _Amph._                                      Ill hath been done him:
    Shew him more kindness.

    _Eur._                  Why, methinks I see
    A fine celestial glory on his crown,
    So brightly gleams the torchlight on it: nay,
    And never a hair at all. (_To Ul._) Old man, ’tis true
    Thou’rt out at elbows; wilt thou earn a living,                 1780
    I’ll take thee on. If thou canst gather stones
    Or trench, I’ll find thee wages and good food,
    Ay, and a coat and shoes: but well I know
    Thou’rt practised but in sloth, or if thou bend
    Thy body, ’tis in louting thro’ the land
    To beg thy bellyful.

    _Ul._                Now, lord Eurymachus,
    I would that there might be a trial of labour
    ’Twixt us in springtide, when the days grow long,
    In the deep grass; and I would have my scythe,
    And thou another, striking blow for blow,                       1790
    Fasting from dawn till dark: Or give us each
    A plow, and for a team four sturdy oxen,
    Frammard and toward to break up between us
    A stubble of thirty acres; thou shouldst see
    If I could veer out straight: Or would, I say,
    That Zeus would send us war,—I care not whence,—
    To-day;—then set a helmet on my brows,
    And give me in either hand a spear and shield;
    Thou shouldst not taunt me with my belly then.
    Now art thou merely insolent and rough,                         1800
    Because thy fellows are so few and feeble:
    And if Ulysses came and faced thee here,
    Those doors, wide as they are, would seem too small
    And narrow for thee, in thy haste to fly.

    _Eur._ Try thou their width then.

                                  [_Throws a stool and hits Ctesippus._

    _Ctes._                           Gods, my head!

    _Amph._ By me, old man.

    _Ctes._ (_to Eur._).    Now curse thee for a fool.
    Take it back, thus: (_throws_) and mend thy aim.

    _Eur._                                           Ctesippus!

    _Tel._ My lords, my lords!

    _Eur._                     Thy pardon, good Ctesippus!

    _Ctes._ In time: thou’st broke my head.

    _Ant._                                  By heaven, this beggar
    Grows to be some one: let us drive him forth.                   1810

    _Amph._ Peace, peace!

    _Ant._                See where he stands.

    _Eur._ (_to Amph._).                       Wilt thou protect him?

    _Tel._ Lords, are ye mad? The god disturbs your wits.
    Else what ye have drunk declares ’tis time ye part.

    _Ant._ Then list to me. Let us begone, but first
    Rouse we the game: start we this beggar hence,
    And hunt him at the spear-point thro’ the town.
    With me for sport!

    _Some wooers._     Hie there, hie! Tally ho!

    _Eum._ Not if I die for it.

    _Amph._                     Fools! Give o’er.

    _Tel._                                        Now, lords,
    What keeps you back?

               _Re-enter suddenly Penelope with maids._

    _Pen._ Shame, shame! what vile and drunken brawl is this,       1820
    That reaching to my chamber, brings me down
    At mid of night in fear lest in your revels
    Ye stain my floors with blood? Ah, now ye are shamed.
    How rose this sudden uproar ’mongst you, lords?
    Honour ye not my son, that in his presence,
    The morrow of his return, ye are broken forth
    In more disordered noise than e’er before?
    If ye respect not him, me ye respect:
    Who answers for you?

    _Ant._               That impertinent swineherd ...

    _Eur._ The wretch I spake of ...

    _Ctes._                          Nay, Eurymachus,               1830
    ’Twas thou as much.

    _Pen._              Speak one for all.

    _Eur._                                 O lady,
    Thy son hath fetched a beggar in to mock us.

    _Pen._ Telemachus, what is it?

    _Tel._                         Of this riot
    The whole occasion lies but with these lords;
    Who have raised their hands to strike their fellow-guest,
    And as thou cam’st were risen to drive him forth.

    _Pen._ I know not, sirs, what sort of man this is,
    That so hath stirred your wrath: but be ye sure
    That shelter offered here is shelter given.
    Yet at your instance I will take upon me                        1840
    To make enquiry, and will give your wishes
    All fair allowance, as my older guests.
    Meanwhile depart: ye have feasted long: depart:
    ’Tis time indeed: I bid you all good-night.

    _Eur._ The queen has spoken, lords; depart at once.

    _Ant._ The villain will escape us yet.

    _Ctes._                                He shall not,
    If he go forth to-night.

    _Ant._                   And if he stay,
    To-morrow I will serve him.

    _Tel._                      Lords, depart!

    _Ant._ Fare thee well, prince; I shall return at morn.

    _Wooers._ Good-night, rarest Penelope.—                         1850
    Fair queen of Ithaca, good-night.—                        [_Going._

    _Eur._ Until to-morrow, fairest queen, adieu.              [_Exit._

    _Pen._ (_to Eum._). Eumæus, hither; who is this old man?

    _Eum._ Why ’tis a strange old man, and full of lies:
    Yet ’tis an honest and a wise old man.

    _Pen._ How full of lies and honest?

    _Eum._                              Gracious madam,
    I have looked on many men, and by their gait
    And voice and eyes are honest men well known;
    And this old man is such: but when he speaks
    Such floods of words run o’er his aged lips,                    1860
    Ay, and such tales,—and ever when he draws
    To make conclusion, ’tis the same old fable,
    That he hath seen the master, that the master
    Will soon return:—therefore I say he lies.

    _Pen._ Hath he been with us long?

    _Eum._                            ’Twas yestermorn
    He came.

    _Pen._ Enough. Thou mayst go home. Good-night.

    _Eum._ Good-night, my lady.                                [_Exit._

    _Pen._                      O my son, my son;
    I think that years and use, which perfect others,
    Serve but to blunt thy reason: as a child
    Thou hadst a shrewder wit, and quick enough;                    1870
    But now, when any man to look on thee
    Would say that thou wert some one, thy behaviour
    Would blast his praise.

    _Tel._                  Tell me what ill I have done.

    _Pen._ What thou hast done? My heart was full of hope;
    I looked for thy return as happiness,
    How hast thou dashed it. I had well forgot
    The empty tales thou broughtest me for tidings,
    Nor marked the fault, seeing thy zeal in love
    Outrun thy judgment: but when thou hast invited
    Thy man to be our guest, and canst not then                     1880
    Protect him: this is shame.

    _Tel._                      Mother, I think
    To do a wrong is shame: to suffer wrong
    Asks not for pardon.

    _Pen._               Ay, but what to do?
    Thy guest hath been insulted: hast thou power
    To punish that? and of the two reproaches,
    To suffer it again, or to dismiss,
    As must be, him to whom thou offeredst shelter,
    I know not which is worse.

    _Tel._                     Wilt thou dismiss
    The herald of such hope?

    _Pen._                   Eumæus saith
    His tales are lies.

    _Tel._              Speak with him but thyself:                 1890
    Make proof thyself: if thou be not persuaded,
    He shall not bide the night. Nay, if he lies,
    Let him go starve. See, I will bring thee to him.

    _Pen._ If so thou wilt. (_To maids._) Maidens,
       begone.                                         [_Exeunt maids._

    _Tel._                                                 Old man,
    The words which thou hast told me, now make good
    Unto my honoured mother.                                   [_Exit._

    _Pen._ Thou strange old man, whose thin and sorry rags
    Speak thee no friend of heaven; whose many years
    Find thee a wanderer in a foreign land;
    Who art thou, I will ask, and with what tale                    1900
    Winning my son, thou comest to the house
    Of good Ulysses, and to me his wife
    Pretendest tidings of my long-lost lord?

    _Ul._ O lady, there is none in all the world
    Would blame the word thou sayest, so fair thy fame:
    Nay, for thy spirit is gentle: yet ask me not
    Thus of myself, for I have seen much woe:
    And tears might flood my face; till thou perchance
    Shouldst think my temper soft, or drowned in wine.

    _Pen._ Whate’er my fame, stranger, it lacketh much
    In losing of my lord; if he were here                           1911
    Then I were proud. But ’tis of him we speak.
    Tell me then whence thou art, and what thou knowest.

    _Ul._ If tell I must: there is a beauteous isle,
    Which men call Crete, washed by the Libyan sea:
    Ninety fair cities hath it, and the men
    Who dwell there are of various race, Achæans,
    Cydonians, Dorians, and Pelasgians,
    Beside the native Cretan. There is Gnossus,
    Where Minos dwelt, and took his law from Zeus:
    He was my grandsire, and Deucalion                              1921
    His son, my father, had another son
    Idomeneus, elder and better gifted
    Than I, who am callèd Æthon. Now it happed,
    That when not many days, Idomeneus
    Had sailed away for Troy, thy lord Ulysses,
    Bound thither too, was driven aside to Crete,
    And sheltered at Amnisos; and when thence
    He sent up heralds to the king, as one
    Whose welcome was assured, it fell to me                        1930
    To play awhile my elder brother’s part,
    And entertain him and his men. Twelve days
    He stayed, for even so long the mad North wind
    Abated not, but with such fury blew
    That far from putting out, they scarce could keep
    Their feet on land: but on the thirteenth day
    It fell, and let them forth to sail for Troy.

    _Pen._ Friend then, if so thou art, that courtesy
    Thus royal shewedst to my lord, forgive
    My thought to prove thee, if indeed these things                1940
    Were as thou sayest. When thou sawest my lord,
    How was he clad, and what lords followed him?

    _Ul._ Lady, ’tis hard with such a time between
    To say—’tis twenty years; and yet, methinks,
    My memory shows him to me, as he was.
    Thy lord Ulysses wore a purple robe
    Of double woof, and on the golden brooch,
    Which two pins held, was wrought a rare device;
    A hound that had o’ertaken a hunted fawn,
    Stood on’t and gazed: and none who saw the work
    But marvelled, so was nature done to life.                      1951
    The linen too about his neck was bright,
    And fine in tissue as the silvery coat,
    Which the lithe snake among the withered grass
    Leaves off unrent. Ay, and his squire I see,
    A man round-shouldered, tanned, and curly-haired,
    Eurybates, that was his name; and him
    Ulysses loved and honoured ’bove the rest.

    _Pen._ Now, stranger, for the shame, which thou hast found      1959
    Within my halls, shalt thou find love and honour.
    The garments which thou sawest are the garments
    I gave to him myself: the golden brooch
    Of rare device I chose to be his jewel,
    On that accursed day when he set forth
    For evil Ilion, never to be named.

    _Ul._ O honoured wife of great Laertes’ son,
    Waste not thy soul in weeping for thy lord!

    _Pen._ Hath sorrow taught thee, friend, that tears are vain?

    _Ul._ Love’s tokens were not given to man for nought.

    _Pen._ Blamest thou then a woman, if she weep
    Her lord’s decease?                                             1971

    _Ul._               Nay, many dames that mourn
    Their lords fordone at Troy, lament unblamed.

    _Pen._ Then why say’st thou to me, weep not; who knowest
    My loss so well, knewest so well my lord?

    _Ul._ Since thy lord lives, therefore I say weep not.

    _Pen._ I knew that thou wouldst say Ulysses lives.

    _Ul._ ’Tis to no purpose then I bring thee joy?

    _Pen._ Many have falsely brought this hope before.

    _Ul._ And yet unwittingly they spake the truth.
    Ulysses lives.

    _Pen._         Prince Æthon, if so thou be,                     1980
    I came to hear thy tale, ’twas well begun:
    Shew proof as fair for what thou goest to tell.

    _Ul._ Lady, indeed Ulysses lives, and now
    He is in Thesprotia, as I lately heard,
    And gathers gifts and treasures as he comes:
    The which I saw, a kingly wealth, enough
    To dower his children’s children o’er and o’er.
    His brave companions all were gone, but he
    From untold perils was come out unscathed.

    _Pen._ Where learnedst thou this?                               1990

    _Ul._                             Being in Thesprotia
    Not many days ago, the good king Pheidon
    Told me these things, and shewed me too a ship
    For voyage stored, wherein he said Ulysses
    Should shortly sail; and with him I had come,
    But that a vessel there discharging corn,
    Left for Dulichium, and gave me passage.

    _Pen._ Thou saw’st him not?

    _Ul._                       True, lady, I saw him not;
    He had travelled to Dodona, to consult
    The oracle.

    _Pen._      Nay, and alas thou hast seen him
    Scarce later than have I.

    _Ul._                     May Zeus himself                      2000
    Be witness first, and then this kindly house
    Of good Ulysses, whither I am come,
    He shall return to thee ere this moon change.

    _Pen._ I thank thee, sir; and wish right well thy word
    Might be accomplished: I would so reward thee,
    That all who looked on thee should call thee blessed.
    But in my heart I know ’twill not be so;
    Nor shew’st thou proof.

    _Ul._                   What of my oath?

    _Pen._                                   Indeed
    I doubt not thy good will, nor thy good faith;
    But nought can come of it; and much I fear                      2010
    That thou wilt scarce win escort from this house,
    So are its masters changed.

    _Ul._                       Mean as I am,
    I fear not them thou hintest; nor in thy house
    Will they dare hurt me. I will here remain,
    Until Ulysses comes.

    _Pen._               O, thou knowest little.
    Now is the end. I’ll tell thee. When at first
    These princes came to woo me against my will,
    I put them off with guile; and some good spirit
    Prompting my heart, I set up in the hall
    A loom, and rolled upon the beam a warp                         2020
    Ample and long, and said _My lordly wooers,
    Abide, nor press my marriage till this cloth
    Be made, for I would weave the threads I span.
    ’Tis old Laertes’ shroud, against the day
    Which is not far, when death must take him hence.
    For since my lord is dead, I would not leave
    His house, without this honour paid his sire._
    And stealing thus their courteous consent,
    I used by day to weave, but every night
    Would silently creep down, and by the loom                      2030
    Setting the torches, soon unravelling all,
    Undid the work of the day. Thus for three years
    I wove and prospered, and the web stood still:
    But in the fourth, by blabbing of my maidens
    Was all discovered, and since then I have known
    Reproach, nor now can longer ’scape. My friends
    And parents urge me, and my son himself,
    Who once was with me, begs me leave the house,
    Ere his good father’s wealth be all consumed.

    _Ul._ Well done of thee! Fear not. Ulysses cometh
    To slay these robbers like a flock of sheep.                    2041

    _Pen._ Against conviction, friend, thy words are pleasant:
    None yet hath thus talked with me; and ere I go
    To sleep or weep upon my lonely couch,
    I’ll tell thee of a dream I lately dreamed,
    Much of thy meaning. There were twenty geese,
    Which in the courtyard I had watched with pleasure,
    Raising their bills above their well-filled trough.
    Now in my dream a furious eagle flew                            2049
    Down from the hills, and with his crooked beak
    Brake all their necks, and killed them, and they lay
    Strewn in the yard; but he flew off to heaven.
    Then cried I out, as in my sleep it seemed,
    Aloud, and all my maidens came about me,
    And mourned with me my geese the eagle had killed.
    But he returned, and perching on the wall,
    Spake in man’s voice to me and said,
    _Fear not, O daughter of Icarius,
    No dream thou sawest, but a vision true.
    The geese are all thy wooers, and the eagle_                    2060
    _That was, am now thy husband safe returned,
    Who will slay all those men as thou hast seen._
    Thus spake he, and I awaked; and looking forth
    I saw my geese all standing by the trough,
    Eating the wheaten meal as heretofore.

    _Ul._ Now blessed be the gods, who thus will visit
    In sleep the attentive spirits of them they love.

    _Pen._ Two gates there are in heaven of shadowy dreams,
    One pair of ivory wrought, and one of horn:                     2069
    And dreams that through the ivory come to men
    Are cheating, and show things that shall not be;
    But such as through the polished horn fly down
    Are true in issue to their glad beholders:
    But thence came not my strange dream as I fear,
    Welcome as ’twere to me and to my son.

    _Ul._ The dream was true; the interpretation true.
    If yet thou doubt, me too a goddess sent
    To warn thee of the thing, which thou, alas,
    For weariness of hope and long misgiving,
    Art slow to hear.                                               2080

    _Pen._            What is man’s hope, good friend?
    Is’t not a beggar in the land of doubt,
    Seeking as thou shelter and fire and food
    From day to day? and, while she finds a little,
    She travels on, comforting life’s affections
    With scraps and crumbs fall’n from the dish of joy.
    ’Tis thus hope lives, patient and pleasureless:
    But time will come when hope must die; she feels
    The gathering cold and creeping touch of death,
    And hath no thought but how to pass in peace.
    Even such my hope, agèd and white as thou,                      2090
    And near her term. Persist not! Rudely to arouse her
    But hastens her sure end. Like in spent ashes
    Which fuel chokes, what little fire remains
    Burns best unmended.

    _Ul._                Thou wouldst wrong the gods,
    Who show such care for thee.

    _Pen._                       Friend, what to do?
    To-morrow I had purposed—ah, evil morn!—
    To end disorder, and to do a thing
    Should part me from this house. I had bethought me
    Of good Ulysses’ bow, to bring it forth,
    And make therewith a contest to the wooers;                     2100
    That if among them there was one could string it,
    And shoot an arrow thro’ the axes’ heads
    Set up in line as he was used to set them,
    That that man I would marry,—and with him
    Quit my dear home for ever. Now thou say’st
    Ulysses comes, give me thy counsel, friend,
    If I should do this thing or wait awhile.

    _Ul._ Lady, some god hath put it in thine heart:
    Set thou the axes up: Bring forth the bow:
    Here is there none can bend it; and maybe                       2110
    That he, while they but strive with that same bow
    Shall work thee full revenge for all their wrongs.

    _Pen._ Bid’st thou me so?

    _Ul._                     Fear not! To-morrow morn
    Bring forth the bow, the axes, and the arrows.

    _Pen._ And shall I marry him who shooteth true?

    _Ul._ Thou shalt find here no archer like thy lord.

    _Pen._ Then will the bow be offered them in vain?

    _Ul._ More than in vain for them, but not for thee.

    _Pen._ Be it so. Yet would I that pure Artemis
    Might give me an easy death in sleep this night,
    Even now; that I no more in sorrow of heart                     2121
    Should waste my life, longing for my dear lord’s
    Manifold excellence.

    _Ul._                Thy constant love
    Is witness that he lives. A rootless flower
    Blooms not so long. Be sure that he will come.

    _Pen._ Friend, all thy words console me: wert thou willing
    I could sit here by thee, nor wish for sleep.
    But ’tis full time I leave. I go to send
    One to strew bedding for thee.—

    _Ul._                            Beseech thee, lady,
    I’ll lay me on this fleece and take my rest.                    2130
    A beggar such as I needeth no more.

    _Pen._ The god of sleep visit thee soon. Farewell.

    _Ul._ Lady, good-night.

                            [_Exit Penelope. The firelight is failing._

    Now could I weep, and from the springs of pity
    Forgive some wrong. Yet in the goddess’ hest,
    Away my softness! Surely in these things
    Is her hand seen. My bow! ay, from that bow
    The arrows were not wont to fly in vain.
    But now to find my son, my trust in him
    Hath grown with this day’s doings.                              2140

     _Enter in the gallery above Maids whispering and tittering._


    See there he sits—
        Hush! hush!
    He talketh to the fire—
    ’Cause of his wandering wits.—
        He! he! he! he!
    What makes he here?—
    He hath come over sea
    With old tales of the sire.—
    Why who would lend him ear?
        He! he!                                                     2150
    How could the prince give heed?—
    How can our lady trust
    This object of disgust?—
    Or how hath she agreed
    To take him here among
    The wooers as her guest?
    Half crazed too, I’ll be bound—
        He! he! he! he!
    And treat him like the rest,
    So noble all and young?                                         2160
        Hush! hush!
    His old bones creak!
        Hush! hush!
    He looks, he turns around,
    He sees us, he will speak.

    _Ul._ Ye miserable women, accurst of fate,
    Unknowing on the eve of doom ye are come
    To anger justice. Go! your wanton lovers
    Are gone; ye never shall concern them more.                     2170
    Nor none of them, nor ye that mock old men
    Shall know what ’tis to have grey hairs. Begone!
    For when Ulysses cometh, as men hang
    Bunches of grapes upon a string to dry,
    So shall he set you dangling in the court
    By your white necks. Fly to your chambers! Fly!
    Ulysses comes.

    _Maids._ Ah, ah, ah! Mercy on us!                        [_Exeunt._

    _Ul._ Now first to find my son. If I dare call.

                                                          [_Goes to_ L.


    _Tel._ (_enters_ L.). Father.                                   2180

    _Ul._                         Speak softly, son, lest any hear.
    The goddess guides us well. The plot is laid:
    ’Tis but to tell it thee. I have won thy mother
    To confidence, tho’ yet she knows me not.
    To-morrow morn will she bring forth my bow,
    And make therewith a contest for the wooers,
    Pledging to marry him who strings the bow,
    And shoots an arrow through the axes’ heads.
    Now thou must set them up, as I will shew thee,
    In the outer court; that they who come to shoot
    May stand where we are standing—as I was wont,—
    Sending the arrows thro’ the open doorway.                      2191
    But when ’tis seen that none can string the bow,
    Then I shall take it, and be that our sign.
    With the first shaft I loose a foe will fall,
    And war begins; and when I speak my name,
    Thou and Eumæus join me; for the rest,
    Soon will they fly for safety to the court:
    But let its outer gate be barred; then we
    Here at the doorway can at leisure aim,
    Nor fear not any numbers. Learn thy part:                       2200
    To bar the gate of the court on the outer side,
    To close the postern, and set up the axes.
    And have good care their heads sit loose upon them,
    Nor bound unto the shafts; else might they serve
    For arms against us. As for other weapons
    They bear not many: those that here be hung
    Upon the walls, must we take down and hide.
    Which, if thou help me now, may soon be done.
    First let me put this blazing log aside,
    Lest light betray us.

    _Tel._                Father, how shall we see                  2210
    To move the arms?

    _Ul._             Now had the goddess made me
    As blind as old, I should not need to grope
    In my own house: and all, I have marked it well,
    Hang where I hung them there: each spear and shield
    I know the touch and weight of.

    _Tel._                          None hath dared
    To change a thing.

    _Ul._              Lift off that shield.

    _Tel._                                   I have it.

    _Ul._ And that and these. Have care, son, lest the bronze
    Ring and betray us.

    _Tel._              Now the helmet, father.

    _Ul._ Reach me those spears above,

    _Tel._                             What is that light,
    That dances so and plays about the beams?                       2220

    _Ul._ Now mayst thou see the goddess aiding us.

    _Tel._ It shimmers like the moonlight on the sea.

    _Ul._ ’Tis the same fierce ethereal flame of heaven,
    Which makes the lightning; but the wise Athenè
    Hath tamed it for her common servicings.
    Stay not to look on’t; ’tis to aid our work.

    _Tel._ ’Tis certain we shall prosper.

    _Ul._                                 Take thou those,
    I these. Follow me up the stair. Step slow
    And soft. Let nothing in thy burden shift.
    Come thou.

    _Tel._     I follow.

    _Ul._                Stealthily, my son,                        2230
    Soon shall we set them out of reach.

                                                [_Going up the stairs._

                                ACT · V

                  _The same: ULYSSES and TELEMACHUS._


    Look not thus sad, my son; the day hath dawned
    Which ere it close shall see this house and me
    Restored; for though the event seem perilous,
    The goddess’ oath is sure. Look not thus sad.
    Arouse resolve, and brace intention up
    With thoughts to whet thy courage.


                                       See, dear father,
    All things as thou hast ordered have I done,
    And whatsoever more thou bidst me do
    I shall be glad and ready: fear me not;                         2240
    Nor doubt my courage, if my heart is foolish
    In asking one thing of thee.

    _Ul._                        Speak, my son.

    _Tel._ I am sad for thee, father, that thy return
    Must be in battle, when thou shouldst have come
    In peace and merriment: and for my mother
    I grieve, that when her sorrow’s cause is fled,
    Her joy must break so sternly: and for these halls
    I mourn, that they must know the din of arms,
    And bear the stain of life-blood. But not least
    For these rash men I am sorry, who I know                       2250
    In part deserve to die, and yet not all:
    Being for the most of common parts, no ruder
    Nor worse than others are: while to the worst
    Forgiveness of their wrongs would be, methinks,
    Nobler revenge, and as a punishment
    Heavier than death.

    _Ul._               What wouldst thou now, my son?

    _Tel._ Reveal thyself, and bid them at the word
    Depart in shame. If then they should not fly,
    There were no help for it: fight.

    _Ul._                             The manliest hearts
    Are gentle; and thy speech, son, would convince
    My heart of malice, were my heart my guide:                     2261
    But as thou without question me obeyest,
    So I the goddess, in whose hands my life
    Till now hath lain.

    _Tel._              And will there be no mercy
    Shown to thy servants, who have failed in trust?

    _Ul._ Such justice only as shall separate
    The false from the innocent. If I should swerve
    Even in desire from what the goddess bade,
    She may desert me. Already hath my pity
    Strained my obedience: yestereve I gave                         2270
    Warning to fly to Lord Amphinomus;
    For which if I be blamed, what is our risk?
    At the hands of these wretches my death; or else
    Return denied me to my proper self,
    Condemned to live unrecognizable,
    A withered, age-stricken beggar, full of scorn.

    _Tel._ Already I love thee, even as now thou art.

    _Ul._ O son, this shame stifles me. Where’s Eumæus?
    I incline to tell him.

    _Tel._                 And there is one besides                 2279
    Whom we may trust, the neatherd. When time came
    To close the gate, I thought to take them with me.

    _Ul._ Ay, do so, son; and order with them thus.
    When none of all the lords can string the bow,
    I will call for it: let Eumæus bring it:
    ’Twill rouse disorder; should thy mother tarry,
    Make that excuse to bid her to her chamber.
    When once she is gone, I shoot.

    _Tel._                          With them we are four.

    _Ul._ Where be our arms?

    _Tel._                   They are hid beneath the stairs.

    _Ul._ Keep we this side the hall, so shall our foes
    The sooner seek the door.

    _Tel._                    Hush! see, they come!                 2290

     _Enter Eurymachus, Antinous, Ctesippus_ (_others following_).


    Good-morrow, prince!

    _Tel._               Good-morrow, lords.

    _Eur._                                   I prithee
    What mean those axes planted in the court?
    They mock my judgment.


                           Now I have wagered, prince,
    They are set to root: the bronze is out of date;
    They shall be grafted in the spring with iron.

    _Tel._ The pleasantry is happier than the wager.
    This being Apollo’s feast-day, ’tis proposed
    To do him honour with some archery:
    The axes are for mark.


                           Here’s something new:
    What is’t?                                                      2300

    _Eur._ The walls, the walls. They are bare of arms.
    Why are they taken down?

    _Tel._                   Moving the axes,
    ’Twas found the arms, which in their place had hung
    Untouched for twenty years, were much decayed
    And perished by the smoke: they are set aside,
    Where they can be o’erlooked and cleansed from rust.

                _Enter Amphinomus, the rest after him._

    _AMPHINOMUS_ (_and others_).


    _Tel._    Good day.

    _Amph._             What are these axes, prince,
    Set in the court?

    _Tel._            Since all will need to know,
    Let me tell all. It being Apollo’s feast,
    The queen, my mother, has decreed a trial
    Of shooting in his honour; and the axes                         2310
    Ye ask of, are the mark. She gives the prize:
    The which, with the conditions of the contest,
    She shall herself proclaim. Until she comes,
    Sit ye in peace.

    _Ctes._          Tell us what prize, I pray.

    _Tel._ Beseech you, await.

    _Eur._                     Be seated, lords, be seated!

    _Wooers_ (_sitting_). Can you explain? I am in the dark
    How axes are an arrow’s mark?—
    —The arrows, sir, are shot point blank
    Through the axes’ heads set up in rank.
    —And that is such a juggling feat,                              2320
    That when you do it you cannot see’t.

    _Ant._ Give us some wine. Ho, fellows!

    _Tel._                                 Bear the wine
    To lord Antinous.

    _Ctes._           Plague him, whoe’er he be,
    That put this ox-bone in my seat. Old scoundrel,
    (_To Ul._) I think ’twas thou: if not, I owe thee favours:
    Here goes a present to thee.                             [_Throws._

    _Tel._                       Now, Ctesippus,
    Missing thine aim thou madest a better throw
    Than was thy purpose. For by heaven I swear,
    That hadst thou hit the stranger, at this moment
    My spear were in thy body, and the gold                         2330
    Thy father saveth for thy wedding-day,
    He should have spent upon thy funeral.
    Know henceforth all of you, what insolence
    May look to meet from me. I have been a child,
    And so ye have treated me; I am now a man,
    Grant it or learn it. (_To Ul._) Old man, take thy seat.

    _Wooers._ Now if Ulysses ne’er came back,
    We not for that a lord should lack:
    So doth this son of his inherit
    His masterful and haughty spirit.                               2340

    _Amph._ Silence acknowledgeth a true rebuke.
    There is nought to answer, lords: treat we this stranger
    With due respect. But to Telemachus
    One word I speak in kindness. While hope was
    Ulysses might return, he did but well
    Discouraging our courtship of his mother;
    But now, when hope is gone and all agree
    He never can return, the prince should join
    To urge the queen that she delay no more,
    But wed the best man here: which were far better
    Both for himself and for his father’s honour,                   2351
    Than all this waste and rancour in his halls.

    _Tel._ Nay, now by Zeus, and by my father’s griefs,
    In no wise do I stay my mother’s marriage.
    Rather I urge her marry whom she will.
    But while she wills not, that one word of mine
    Be breathed to drive her forth, the gods forbid.
    To her speak, not to me. Lo you, she is here.

    _Wooers._ The queen! silence! the queen!

            _Enter Penelope_ (_with bow_). _Maids follow._


      My noble suitors, hear me. The prince, my son,
    Hath told you of the purpose of my coming:                      2361
    Howe’er that be, attend. Ye have now long time
    Besieged this widowed house, and day by day
    Eating and drinking without end, abused
    The absence of its lord; and ever in all
    Ye have still proclaimed one object, me to woo
    And wed. Till now I have barred consent: to-day
    I yield me to your urgence to declare
    Whom I will choose: but since not willingly
    I wed, I set my fortune with the gods                           2370
    To guide and govern. Here is Ulysses’ bow:
    With this contest, I pray you, among yourselves,
    And I will be the prize. Yes, his am I
    Who strings most easily this bow, and shoots
    The truest arrow through the axes’ heads.
    He is my husband and with him to day
    Will I leave this fair house so dearly loved.
    Eumæus, take the bow. Offer it now
    In turn to all: and let all try in turn;
    I will sit here and watch.


                               O honoured mistress,                 2380
    What wilt thou do?


                       Alas, my tears run down:
    I never thought to have seen this day.

    _Ant._                                 Now, hinds,
    Obey. Why weep ye, fools? Your lady needs
    Encouragement, not pity. Swift obey,
    Or take your tears without, and leave the bow
    To us for whom the prize is;—a prize, my lords,
    Not lightly to be taken; for none I think
    Will bend it as Ulysses did: none here
    Is like the man, as I remember him
    Long years ago, when I was but a lad.                           2390

    _Tel._ Stay; are all here? This trial being for all,
    Chance shall exclude none from it. In the house
    Are ye full numbers?

    _Eur._               Lords, let all sit down,
    Each in his place.

    _Tel._             Eumæus, go without,
    And see that all be gathered in the court.

                                                        [_Exit Eumæus._

    _Wooers._ The queen doth well.—’Tis just and plain,
    All share the chance.—It goes for nought
    To have boasted favour. They that brought
    The costliest gifts have spent in vain.—
    Now we may laugh, sirs.—Some that sought                        2400
    To overawe our equal claim
    Are answered well.—I ever thought
    She was a wise and honest dame.                        [_They sit._

    _Eur._ The places all are filled: none lacketh here.

    _Eum._ (_returning_). All are assembled, prince, within the court.

    _Tel._ Come forth in turn then, and assay the bow.
    I think Zeus robs me of my wits.—I laugh:
    ’Tis true I laugh.—Ye understand, my lords,
    My wise and honoured mother hath declared
    That she will wed a stranger, and go forth                      2410
    And leave this house:—and I laugh and am glad!
    Come then, I say; seeing this is the prize,
    A lady without rival in the land;
    What say I? Not in all the Achæan lands,
    In sacred Pylos, Argos, or Mycenæ,
    Or elsewhere. But ye know this, and indeed
    Why should I praise my mother? Come, I call you;
    Come forth, assay the bow. Who cometh first?
    Why, now I see I am a fool; myself,
    Why not myself? If I should string it best,                     2420
    And easiest, and shoot truest at the mark,
    Then I reserve the prize: my lady mother
    Will never quit these halls. Yes, and I think
    I have some phantom of my father’s strength.—

    _Eur._ Nay, prince, this was not bargained.

    _Ant._                                      Let him try.

    _Tel._ It bends, it yields; but what you say is just;
    ’Tis not for me. Ye be the mighty men:
    I hand it you.

    _Eur._         Rise each in turn,
    As the wine circles. First is Sir Leiodes,
    The soothsayer.


                    Give it me.

    _Eum._                      Sir, mayst thou fail.               2430

    _Leiod._ Curse on thy tongue. I asked not thy goodwill.

    _Tel._ (_aside to Eum._). I need thy aid without: thou and the neatherd
    Follow me thro’ the postern: let none see you.

 _Some wooers rise from their seats. Tel., Eum., and neatherd go out by
 the postern door_ R.

    _Leiod._ I cannot bend it: ’tis a deadly bow.
    Ay, if I ever have spoken sooth, to-day
    My spirit is true. This is no marrying bow.
    ’Twill prove our shame and death. Another take it.
    I have done with it. We have all along been fooled;
    Now more than ever. But if any yet
    Hope for the lady, let him try the bow,                         2440
    And then go woo another.

    _Ant._                   Think not, sir,
    Because thy hands are white and delicate,
    There be no men of sinew.

    _Eur._                    Peace, my lords!

    _A suitor._ ’Tis stiff and dry with age. Bring me some oil:
    If it be rubbed therewith and warmed the while,
    ’Twill ease it mightily.

    _Ant._                   Ay, do ye so.

                                           [_They take it to the fire._

    CHORUS—_Wooers_ (_inter se_).

    What was it, friend, I heard thee say?—
    Seest thou the arms, that in the hall
    Were wont to hang, are gone to-day?—
    Ay, so they be, sir, one and all.—                              2450
    Mark you this dust beneath the wall?—
    Well, sir, what of it?—hark, ’tis said
    That, as Eumæus took last night
    The axes from their rank o’erhead,
    He saw a strange and fearful sight;
    For all the arms, which never yet
    Had been disturbed where they were set
    By good Ulysses years ago,
    Crumbled before his eyes; and lo!
    Spear, helm, and shield, without a sound,                       2460
    Fell down in dust upon the ground.—
    That was an omen.—True, and we
    The accomplishment to-day shall see.—
    Ulysses’ reign is past and fled:—
    Ay, and his spirit here hath been
    To do this thing, knowing the queen
    Should to another man be wed.

    _The suitor_ (_2nd competitor_). I cannot bend it.

    _3rd._                           Go to, sir, give it me.
    Thou heldst it wrongly,—but thus.—                              2469

    _2nd._                               Ay, teach me, shew me!

    _3rd._ Ah! ah! ah! Nay, indeed it yieldeth not.
    What is it made of? Were’t of Indian horn
    I must have broke it. Bah! I have wrenched my back!

    _Eur._ Sirs, ’tis my turn. Ye do us little honour.
    ’Tis warm to the hand, and well hath drunk the oil.
    Now be I first to string it.

    _Wooers._                    See!
      See he will do it if any can.—
      He is the best, and so ’twill be.—
      He standeth firm: it yieldeth now.—
      Well done! Eurymachus will win.—
      See how his striving body strains!—                           2480
      Fixed like the image of a man
      In stone he stands.—Now for it!-The veins
      Stand out upon his darkening brow.—
      It slowly yields.—He doth it—Nay,
      It slippeth back.—He giveth in.—
      He hath failed, he putteth it away.

    _Eur._ My friends, I am hurt both for myself and all.
    And were there but this woman in the world,
    To miss her could but vex me as it doth.
    But others be there, and my grief is other.                     2490
    For that we came in strength so far behind
    The great Ulysses, that we could not string
    His bow, will ring our shame in ears unborn.

    _Ant._ That will not be, Eurymachus,—and thou know’st it.
    This is Apollo’s feast, and on such day
    Who should presume in archery? Sit down;
    And let the bow and other gear abide.
    Meanwhile pour out libations to the god,
    And make a sacrifice. To-morrow morn,
    Be he appeased, we may with his good favour                     2500
    Find better fortune.

    _Eur._               ’Tis well spoke, my lords.
    Consent ye all?

    _Wooers._       Ay, ay.

    _Eur._                  Then be it so.
    What saith our honoured lady?

    _Pen._                        Well, my lords,
    ’Tis an untoward ending. Shall I think
    Ye will not, or ye cannot?

    _Eur._                     Be content
    To wait but till to-morrow, we beseech thee.—
    Bring round the wine.

    _Tel._ (_who has entered unperceived with Eum. and
    neatherd_).           Ho! men, take round the wine.

    _Eum._ Will they not need it?

    _Ant._                        Thou impertinent swineherd,
    Go to thy pigs.

    _Eum._          Ay, ay, my lord.

    _Ul._                            Hear me,
    Ye warriors, wooers of Ulysses’ queen,                          2510
    And you, Antinous and Eurymachus
    In chief! ’Tis well ye urge to stay the contest,
    And pour libations, that the archer god
    To-morrow may grant strength to whom he will.
    But first give me the bow, that I may gauge
    My strength with yours, to see if yet remains
    Some muscle lithe of what once clothed my limbs,
    Or if ’tis withered all with age and want.

    _Wooers._ Ho! ho! The beggar thinks that he
    Shall win the fair Penelope.                                    2520

    _Ant._ Thou wretched fool, thou hast even less wit than hairs:
    Art not content in our high company
    To sit at ease, and have thy share, and hear
    Our talk, and see our pleasure ’gainst our will?
    The unwonted wine dilates what brains thou hast,
    To make thee think thou canst contend with us.

    _Pen._ Antinous, I forbid this disrespect
    Before me of my guest: and by my life
    Thou dost him wrong. To me he seems as tall
    And strongly built as thou; he boasts to be                     2530
    No less well born:—I grant him place and speech.
    Thinkest thou if he string Ulysses’ bow
    That I should wed him?—Nay, nor he thinks that.
    Fret not yourselves, beseech you, with such fears.

    _Eur._ Far be the thought, O wise Penelope:
    And since he hath nought to gain, let him not try it:
    Lest if he string it, men should say hereafter,
    Naming our names, _The great bow of Ulysses
    These could not handle, but a beggar strung it_.                2539

    _Pen._ Look ye to future times for fair renown?
    That hath been forfeit long. Stick not at this.
    Give him the bow; he too shall have his prize.
    A king’s son is he: ay, and like a king
    From this house shall he issue clad and armed
    From head to foot, as are the best of you.
    I say, give him the bow.

    _Tel._                   Mother, the bow is mine:
    To give it or withhold it is my right,
    And mine alone, which none can gainsay here.
    And choose I now to give it to this beggar,
    ’Tis his to bear away for good and all.                         2550
    And what I will, that shall I do. To me
    Therefore leave this dispute: to-day the trial,
    Thou seest, is closed. Retire thou to thy chamber,
    And there at loom and distaff set thy maids their tasks.
    But this, which looks not like to be a lady’s matter,
    Is mine, for mine is lordship in this house.

    _Pen._ Well, son, then I shall go. Follow me, maids.

                                                [_Exit Pen. and maids._

    CHOR. _Wooers._ What hath come o’er the prince? and why
    Bids he his royal mother hence:
    Pushing his haughty speech so high                              2560
    In strange, undutiful offence?

    _Ul._ Bring me the bow that I may try my skill.

    _Wooers_ (_to Eumæus_). Stay! man, stay!—Whither wilt thou go,
    Bearing the great resistless bow?
    Stay. We will slay thee if thou dare!—
    Forbear! Forbear!—

    _Tel._ Standest thou! servest thou so many masters?
    On man, and give it him: say thee nay who dares.

    _Wooers._ Ha! ha! he knows not what to do:
    Now he will go, and now he stands.—                             2570
    Go, give it in the beggar’s hands.—
    Ay, let him have it and welcome too.—
    And thee, old man, may Fortune bless,
    As thou therewith shalt find success.

    _Eum._ (_giving to Ul._). Master, O master!...

    _Ul._ (_aside_).             Silence.—Now may Apollo
    Grant me but half the strength that once was mine,
    And ye shall see if I can bend a bow.

    _Wooers._ By heaven, the beggar hath an eye.—
    He holds it as he knew the trick.—
    Perchance he hath the like laid by                              2580
    At home.—Or ’tis his thought to try
    To fashion such another stick.—
    He bends it at his will.—’Tis done!—
    ’Tis done!—He hath strung it.—See ’tis done.

    _Ul._ Behold, prince, if I have not been wrongly
    Give me the arrows. Now they have seen my strength,
    These lords belike would have me prove my skill.

    _Wooers._ Now will he shoot? The villains bring
    The arrows.—Ay, he taketh one,
    To set it on the string.                                        2590

    _Ul._ Now is the irresoluble contest o’er:
    Though what remains to do be not child’s play.
    But I will hit a mark ye little think of.
    Apollo aid me!                                   [_Shoots Antinous._

    _Wooers._      Ah! Ah! Beware, beware!

    _Ant._ (_falling back_). Ah!

    _Wooers_. Oh, madman! madman! Seize him!

    _Eur._                                   Man, what dost thou?

    _Amph._ What hast thou done? Thou’st slain a man.

    _Ctes._ O villain!

    _Wooers._ He’s dead. Antinous is slain.

    _Other wooers_ (_appearing at door_).   The lord Antinous is slain.

    _Eur._ Foolhardy wretch, this murder is thy death.
    Whether unwittingly, or wittingly,                              2601
    It matters not: thou hast slain the noblest prince
    Of the isle; and swiftly shall he be avenged.

    _Ul._ (_leaping up to where Penelope had sat. Tel., Eum.,
    and neatherd join him_). Dogs! ye that said I never should return
    From Trojan soil: ye that would waste my house,
    And woo my wife while yet I was alive:
    Nor feared the gods in heav’n, nor shame of men:
    Now are the bonds of death made fast upon you.
    I am Ulysses.

    _Wooers._     Ah, think you!—think you!

    _Others without._                        See! see!

    _Eur._ Stay, sir, awhile!

    _Wooers._                 Fly! fly!—’Tis he!                    2610
    ’Tis he, fly! See the prince, and there
    His two men—Speak, sir! speak him fair—

    _Eur._ Stay, sir, awhile, I pray thee. If thou indeed
    Art he, the good Ulysses safe returned,
    As by thy deeds and words thou makest to be,
    Thou wilt hear reason, as thy speech is just.
    ’Tis true ill hath been done thee in house and field:
    But he lies dead, who was the chief in blame;
    We may rejoice, for he brought all about,
    Antinous, less eager for the marriage                           2620
    Or dower, than in ambitious hope, now quenched,
    That he should reign in Ithaca:—to which end
    He would have killed the prince. But, he being dead,
    Spare thou thy folk, sir, spare thine own; and we
    For all wrong done thee will repay in full,
    Each one in answer for waste hitherto,
    Bringing the worth of twenty oxen, ay,
    And bronze and iron in plenty, till thy heart
    Be well appeased, that now is justly stirred.

    _Ul._ O nay: not though thou gavest me all thy wealth,
    What now thou hast, or after shouldst inherit,                  2631
    Could that be thine atonement; nor the like
    Of each for each, that I should stay my hands
    From slaying here the wooers of my wife.
    This choice ye have, to fight or fly; but flying
    Or fighting I shall slay you with these arrows.

    _Wooers_ (_without_). ’Tis he: he shooteth: fly.

    _Wooers_ (_within_). Wrath of the gods, ’tis he.
    To arms!—Nay, fly.—O fly—

                                               [_Many begin to escape._

    _Ul._ I am come late indeed, but in good time.

    _Amph._ Out, sirs, haste thro’ the doors:                       2641
    To-morrow it may be
    He may be appeased; now fly.
    Avoid his anger now.                                   [_They fly._

    _Eur._ Fight. We shall overwhelm them. Follow me!

    _Ctes._ Fly while we may, I say.                           [_Exit._

    _Eur._ Who is with me?

    _Eum._ Come, lord Eurymachus; and I will kill thee,
    Even as a pig.

    _Eur._         Death to thee, hind. Now charge!

    _Some wooers._ Charge all together. Down!

    _Tel._ Now, robbers, die.                                       2649

    _Eur._ Ah! ah! I am slain.                           [_Falls dead._

    _The others._              Fly, fly, fly, fly.       [_Exeunt._

    _Tel._                                         They are caught.

                                                      [_Cries without._

    _Ul._ While I stand here and shoot, fetch forth the
       arms.                                                 [_Shoots._

    _Wooers_ (_without_). To the gate; to the gate. Ulysses is returned.
    Fly, fly! Throw wide the gate. The gate, the gate!

    _Eum._ Master, ’tis thou indeed: and I not know thee!

    _Ul._ Serve me but now, as when thou knew’st me
      not.                                            [_Shoots. Cries._

    _Tel._ See here thy shield, my father, and the spears.

    _Ul._ Now forth with me and fear not, for the goddess
    Is with us. We will stand upon the threshold,
    And from that vantage fight. Be we hard pressed,
    Retire within, and bar the door. Now forth!                     2660

       [_Exeunt Ul., Tel., Eum., and neatherd in fighting order.
                     The doors close behind them._

                    _Re-enter Penelope and maids._

    _Maids_ (_entering down the stairs_).
    They are gone: they are gone without. The hall is still.

    _Pen._ Hark! hark! They fight without. Telemachus,
    Telemachus, my son! Ah! evil day!
    The bow, the bow. And corpses in the hall.

    _1st Maid._ Woe, woe: see ’tis the lord Eurymachus,
    Slain by a spear.

    _2nd Maid._ Another by the wall.
    Beauteous Antinous. Alas, alas!

    _Pen._ Hark how they shout. Alas, my son, my son!
    They slay him in the court. His haughty spirit
    Proudly rebuking them hath done it. I hear                      2670
    His speech that taunts them still.

    _2nd Maid._                        Shall I look forth?

    _1st._ Ay, to the door and spy—Softly one wing
    Draw back and spy between. (_Here the door is opened
        by Maid 2._) Ah me, the noise,
    And din of arms.

    _2nd._           Lady, the prince is safe.

    _Pen._ What seest thou? tell me.

    _2nd._                           O, but see thyself
    The deadly fight.

    _Pen._            I dare not look upon it.
    Who fights ’gainst whom?

    _2nd._                   The beggar on the stair
    Deals death around, and by him stand the prince,
    The neatherd, and Eumæus. Ah! he is struck!
    Nay, nay. They keep all off with spear and shield.

                                                      [_Cries without._

    _Pen._ Alas, the shrieks of death. I faint, ho! help me.
    Lead me to the chair.                                 [_Sits down._

    _1st._                They may burst in: beseech thee,
    Back to thy chamber!                                            2681

    _Pen._               Nay, if my son be safe.
    Watch there, and tell me.—Is he yet unhurt?

    _2nd._ They spring upon the beggar and the prince,
    And as they spring, they are slain.—They lie in heaps.

    _Pen._ Alas! what cries! Say, is the prince still safe?

    _2nd._ He shieldeth himself well, and striketh surely.
    His foes fall dead before him. Ah! now what see I?
    Who cometh? Lo! a dazzling helm, a spear
    Of silver or electron; sharp and swift                          2690
    The piercings. How they fall. Ha, shields are raised
    In vain. I am blinded, or the beggar-man
    Hath waxed in strength. He is changed, he is young. O strange!
    He is all in golden armour. These are gods,
    That slay the wooers. (_Runs to Pen._) O lady, forgive me!
    ’Tis Ares’ self. I saw his crispèd beard:
    I saw beneath his helm his curling locks.
    None will escape. O lady, save me, save me.              [_Kneels._

    _Maids all._ Let them not slay us. Lady! lady! forgive us!      2699

    _Pen._ Why kneelest thou to me? Fools, why to me?
    I have nothing to forgive you. There is no wrong
    ’Twixt me and you: Or if the gods should punish,
    Can I protect?

    _Maids._       Forgive us, queen, forgive us!

    _Pen._ I see ye are dazed—no wonder.—The thing is true
    Ye say. The gods are come. I know it: I spake
    With one myself unweeting: and he bade
    Confront those robbers with the bow of death.
    That hath provoked our fate. Ah, cursèd day
    The Greeks set forth for Troy. Accurst was Helen,
    Accurst was Menelaus, Agamemnon                                 2710
    Accurst, who o’er us drew a net of ill:
    Whence since is no escape, no not for one.
    Not Ilion burned, not Greece made bare of men,
    Not ten years’ war, nor to their widowed homes
    The barred return of heroes could suffice
    To fill the cup of evil, which the gods,
    Dooming one deed of all the deeds of men,
    The folly of one woman and one man,
    Have heaped upon us. Now the unending slaughter
    Falls on this house. Was joy, or woe, my crime?
    To have had, or lost the best of all the Greeks?
    My patience, watching twenty years, or now                      2722
    To have yielded but a little? O ye high gods,
    Smite all ill-doers; ay, smite me with death,
    Triumphant Ares, if within my body,
    My lord being dead, there is either hope or love
    That may be callèd life. I would not live,
    I have no cause to live: but O my son—
    Spare him!

    _2nd Maid._ O lady, ’tis not him, but us
    Ares will slay.

    _Pen._          Look, look again.

    _2nd._                            I fear.                       2730
    ’Tis now more dread than ever. The cries have ceased.

    _Pen._ Hush, hark—ay, all is still. Look forth, I say.

    _Re-enter Tel., Eum., and neatherd._

    My son, my son, thou livest.

    _Tel._                       Thou art here! thou knowest?

    _Pen._ What means this fight? what hath been done?

    _Tel._                                             Thou knowest not?
    The robbers are all slain.

    _Pen._                     All slain!

    _Tel._                                My father
    Is here.

    _Pen._   Son, son!

    _Tel._             He hath returned—’Tis true—
    And in his vengeance slain them all.

    _Pen._                               What say’st thou?

    _Tel._ Mother, believe: our sorrow is o’er. ’Tis he,
    The man disguised, who spake with thee last night:
    But now himself.

    _Eum._           O lady, ’tis the master,                       2740
    Just as he was.

    _Tel._          The tidings hath o’ercome her.
    Stand from before her.

                    _Re-enter Ulysses, as himself._

    _Ul._ Now o’er my threshold step I as myself,
    None will gainsay my coming. Ah here, my son!

    _Tel._ She learned her joy too quickly. As I spake
    She fell back swooning.

    _Ul._                   Watch by her awhile.
    (_To Eum. and neatherd._) Drag ye these bodies forth,
        and hide the blood;
    That there be nought to shock her wakening sense.
    And all ye maids begone. I know to winnow
    Good wheat from chaff: and what I spake to you
    Shall be to-day accomplished. (_Exeunt Maids._) Ha,
         what see I?                                                2751
    Beneath yon skins a coward skulks—one more—
    Traitor, come forth!

    _Phem._ (_appearing from under skins_). O my good lord
      and master,
    Have pity upon me.

    _Ul._ (_to Eum._). Take him to the court,
    And slay him there.

    _Phem._             Master, have pity on me:
    I am but a minstrel, and have done no wrong.

    _Tel._ Father, I plead for him: ’tis Phemius.
    Spare him.

    _Ul._      Well, be thou spared;—the only one—
    And live to tell the tale. See, ’tis thy trade.
    Go from the hall.                   [_Exeunt Phemius and neatherd._
    (_To Tel._)       Now all is ready, son:                        2760
    Doth she not wake?

    _Tel._             Ay, now I think she awakes.

    _Ul._ Stand thou in sight. Now, dearest wife, awake!
    Wife, wife, awake! That word and in my voice
    Should call thee from the grave. Dost thou not hear?

    _Pen._ Who spake?

    _Ul._             I speak to thee again.

    _Pen._                                   Thy hand.

    _Ul._ I hold thee, and thou me. ’Tis I. I kiss thee.

    _Pen._ ’Tis thou. Let it be waking life, or death,
    Or dream, I see thee.—

    _Ul._ Truest and bravest heart, our patient years
    Are crowned with joy.                                           2770

    _Pen._                O love, thou comest in time.

                  _Athena appears on the threshold._


      My work is done. But ere I leave the haunts
    Of sorrowing and rejoicing men, I look
    To bless my work. O wise son of Laertes,
    Thou hast thy house and wife and self restored.
    Murder, strife, robbery, the wrongs I hate,
    Revellings and insolence are now avenged.
    Yet not less am I foe to faithlessness,
    Breaches of trust and of those modest laws,
    Which guard high thoughts and heavenly purity.
    Thy wicked servants slay; which done, make soon
    Purification of thy house defiled:                              2781
    And not forget the oracle, which said
    That thou shouldst find one journey more to make;
    This thy atonement: and since justice holds
    The crown for good deeds, as the sword for ill,
    Grudge not this only absence: thy good servant
    Thou wouldst reward; he is a prince; restore him
    Unto his kingdom: ’tis the will of Zeus.
    He that hath servèd well hath earned to reign.
    Son of Laertes, wilt thou do this thing?                        2790

    _Ul._ Yea, goddess, I will do it. Thy will is mine.

    _Eum._ (_kneeling_). Most honoured of all masters!

    _Ath._ Then FARE YE WELL.




The fragment of Æschylus on the title (see List of previous Editions)
suggests a truly ancient origin for the family of Palicio: its known
history is given in the _Nobiliario viceregio capitaniale e pretoriano
in Palermo nobile. Parte terza degli annali di Agostino Inveges.
Palermo. MDCLI. p. 104. PALIZZI._ Hugo, Squarcialupu and some of
the others may be found in Sicilian histories about the year 1500,
the supposed date of this play: their characters and the political
situation are quasi-historical. The incidents connecting Margaret and
Palicio are mostly adapted from a bad French story by _De Stendhal_,
called _Vanina Vanini_, in a book titled _Chroniques Italiennes_,
published by _Michel Levy_, in 1855.



Since the publication of PALICIO, unexpected light has been thrown on
the married history of _Palicio_ and _Margaret_. It would seem that
they had a son, who was probably named after his maternal uncle, the
chief Justiciary: for in March 1891 a half-witted Sicilian, named
_Manuel Palizzi_, or _Palicio_, was among the Italians who were
executed by the mob in _New Orleans_, for being concerned in the
murder of the head of the police. Though the mental condition of this
unfortunate fellow was such as to make his responsibility questionable,
yet his connection with the _Mafia_ society, and with their motives
and crimes, points, as unmistakably as his name, to his ancestor in
my play, terribly degraded though he was in body as in mind. It is
possible that some of our fanatical anarchists may be similarly the
prey of a depraved atavism, and be impelled by a fermentation of the
sour dregs of an old puritanic heroism. I hope that the family is
now extinct. The late _Professor Freeman_ in the introduction to his
_History of Sicily_, contributed to the literature of my play, by
giving a careful and full account of what I assumed to be the origin of
the family name.


                         THE RETURN OF ULYSSES

This play, being a dramatising of the chief scenes in Homer’s
_Odyssey_, and not a recast of the story in dramatic form, is as
a stage-play open to evident objections; to which, if it be not
successful, there can be no answer. How closely Homer has been followed
need not be pointed out, as translations of the _Odyssey_ are common,
and the recent accurate version by _Mr. Lang_ is in every one’s
reach. Reference to that will measure the author’s fidelity, and show
where he has altered, where added; and it may also excuse him from
any acknowledgment of obligation to his friend, beyond the general
confession that he has borrowed from his book whenever it suited him to
do so.

It was necessary for the play to make the hall of Ulysses’ house
different from its description in the _Odyssey_; and considering the
disagreement of critics as to Homer’s meaning, this was a matter
of less regret. The hall required for the last three acts has the
following necessary parts. Of the three walls the back wall has,
running along it at a convenient height, a practicable _gallery_,
which communicates at either end with the upper rooms. This gallery
joins in the left corner a short _staircase_ against the left wall,
leading down to the hall, not so far as to the floor, but ending on
a daïs-like _platform_, which is raised two or three feet above the
rest of the floor. This is the elevation on which Penelope sits to
receive the gifts, and on to which Ulysses leaps when he makes himself
known. It has steps also down from it to the floor of the hall. The
gallery spoken of is supported by pillars, behind which a bench for
the suitors runs along the wall; and this arrangement may follow round
what is seen of the right wall of the room. But the centre of the back
wall is broken by the _doorway_ which leads into the outer court: its
threshold is three steps above the floor of the hall; it has double
folding-doors, through which, if they are open, the _outer court_ may
be seen; and this outer court is on a higher level than the inner hall.
The _postern gate_ is in the right back corner. The _fireplace_ is at
the right front.

With this skeleton given, the text is clearly descriptive of all the
disposition; but there is one stage direction it may be well to add:
that is, that the _chair_, in which Penelope sits on the daïs to watch
the contest with the bow, is thrown down on the floor of the hall in
the fighting when Eurymachus is killed; and is set up for her there in
the centre of the stage by one of the maids for the last scenes.


P.S. The translation of the _Odyssey_ referred to above is the joint
work of Mr. S. H. Butcher, Fellow and Praelector of University College,
Oxford, and late Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, and of Mr. A.
Lang, late Fellow of Merton College, Oxford. Published by Macmillan and

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Transcriber’s Notes

Obvious typographical errors have been silently corrected. All other
spelling and punctuation remains unchanged.

Italics are represented thus _italic_.

The varied ellipses remain unchanged.

The titles have various decorative borders. These have not been shown.

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