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To Lalage ? – ah woe ah woe is me!
This mockery is most cruel most cruel indeed !
Politian. Weep not! oh, sob not thus ! - thy bitter

tears
Will madden me. Oh, mourn not, Lalage –
Be comforted! I know I know it all,
And still I speak of love. Look at me, brightest,
And beautiful Lalage ! turn here thine eyes !
Thou askest me if I could speak of love,
Knowing what I know, and seeing what I have seen.
Thou askest me that - and thus I answer thee -
Thus on my bended knee I answer thee.

(Kneeling.)
Sweet Lalage, I love thee love thee love thee;
Thro' good and ill thro' weal and woe I love thee.
Not mother, with her first-born on her knee,
Thrills with intenser love than I for thee.
Not on God's altar, in

any

time or clime, Burned there a holier fire than burneth now Within my spirit for thee. And do I love?

(Arising.) Even for thy woes I love thee. even for thy woes — Thy beauty and thy woes.

Lal. Alas, proud Earl,
Thou dost forget thyself, remembering me!
How, in thy father's halls, among the maidens
Pure and reproachless of thy princely line,

Could the dishonored Lalage abide ?
Thy wife, and with a tainted memory —
My seared and blighted name, how would it tally
With the ancestral honors of thy house,
And with thy glory?

Pol. Speak not to me of glory!
I hate I loathe the name ; I do abhor
The unsatisfactory and ideal thing.
Art thou not Lalage and I Politian ?
Do I not love? - art thou not beautiful ? -
What need we more? Ha! glory! — now speak not of it
By all I hold most sacred and most solemn
By all my wishes now my fears hereafter
By all I scorn on earth and hope in heaven
There is no deed I would more glory in,
Than in thy cause to scoff at this same glory
And trample it under foot. What matters it -
What matters it, my fairest, and my best,
That we go down unhonored and forgotten
Into the dust so we descend together?
Descend together - and then-and then perchance -

Lal. Why dost thou pause, Politian?

Pol. And then perchance
Arise together, Lalage, and roam
The starry and quiet dwellings of the blest,
And still

Lal. Why dost thou pause, Politian?

Pol. And still together together.

Lal. Now, Earl of Leicester !
Thou lovest me, and in my heart of hearts
I feel thou lovest me truly.

Pol. Oh, Lalage ! (Throwing himself upon his knee.) And lovest thou me ?

Lal. Hist! hush! Within the gloom Of yonder trees methought a figure past A spectral figure, solemn, and slow, and noiseless Like the grim shadow Conscience, solemn and noiseless.

(Walks across and returns.) I was mistaken —'t was but a giant bough Stirred by the autumn wind. Politian!

Pol. My Lalage — my love! why art thou moved? Why dost thou turn so pale? Not Conscience' self, Far less a shadow which thou likenest to it, Should shake the firm spirit thus. But the night-wind Is chilly -- and these melancholy boughs Throw over all things a gloom.

Lal. Politian ! Thou speakest to me of love. Knowest thou the land With which all tongues are busy - a land new found Miraculously found by one of GenoaA thousand leagues within the golden west? A fairy land of flowers, and fruit, and sunshine, And crystal lakes, and over-arching forests, [winds And mountains, around whose towering summits the

Of Heaven untrammelled flow which air to breathe
Is Happiness now, and will be Freedom hereafter
In days that are to come?

Pol. O, wilt thou · wilt thou
Fly to that Paradise - my Lalage, wilt thou
Fly thither with me? There Care shall be forgotten,
And Sorrow shall be no more, and Eros be all.
And life shall then be mine, for I will live
For thee, and in thine eyes - and thou shalt be
No more a mourner - but the radiant Joys
Shall wait upon thee, and the angel Hope
Attend thee ever ; and I will kneel to thee
And worship thee, and call thee my beloved,
My own, my beautiful, my love, my wife,
My all; – oh, wilt thou — wilt thou, Lalage,
Fly thither with me?

Lal. A deed is to be done Castiglione lives!

Pol. And he shall die ! (Exit.)

Lal. (after a pause). And — he—shall — die — alas ! Castiglione die? Who spoke the words? Where am I? — what was it he said? – Politian ! Thou art not gone thou art not gone, Politian ! I feel thou art not gone yet dare not look, Lest I behold thee not; thou couldst not go With those words upon thy lips —O, speak to me! And let me hear thy voice - one word one word,

To
say
thou art not gone,

one little sentence,
To
say

how thou dost scorn how thou dost hate My womanly weakness. Ha! ha! thou art not gone – O speak to me! I knew thou wouldst not go ! I knew thou wouldst not, couldst not, durst not go. Villain, thou art not gone

thou mockest me! And thus I clutch thee — thus ! - He is gone, he is

gone Gone gone. Where am I? — 't is well — 't is very

well ! So that the blade be keen the blow be sure, 'T is well, 't is very well- - alas! alas!

V.

The suburbs. Politian alone.

Politian. This weakness grows upon me. I am faint, And much I fear me ill- it will not do To die ere I have lived !- Stay — stay thy hand, O Azrael, yet awhile ! — Prince of the Powers Of Darkness and the Tomb, O pity me! O pity me ! let me not perish now, In the budding of my Paradisal Hope ! Give me to live yet — yet a little while : 'Tis I who pray for life — I who so late Demanded but to die ! -- what sayeth the Count ?

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