Imágenes de páginas

Shrunk eye, and fear bleach'd cheek, interpret for

What, I have over-task'd thy forward service ?
But like the air swoln bubble -

Hear me a moment,
Then let thine anger loose. I know this Valletort,
Once saild with him ;
And as it chanc'd one rude and boist'rous night
We stood together on the vessel's side,
To see the warring elements encounter;
It chanc'd I slipt into the roaring deep;
Whose angry billows soon entomb'd me round.
Twice round my head the stunning waters foam'd,
Till the third time emerging faint and breathless,
Fearless he leapt into the boiling main,
Whose hungry womb yawn’d dreadfully upon me
And bravely buoy'd me up till further aid
Arriv'd to save us both. The thought of this,
In the first moment, when you urg'd his death,
Quick glanc'd across my mind, and quite unmann'd me.
The pang it gave is past, and now behold me
Ripe for the bloody deed.

You'll do it then? Vasq. By all my future hopes I'll murder him, Or fall in the act. Mont.

It must be done to-night.

Vasq. This very instant; for till it be done
I am rack'd with agony.

Take then this dagger,
And in some shady unfrequented nook,
Where night is thickest, sheath it in his heart.

Vasq. I know my place.

Hie thee then to it quick.
Vasq. Good night, my lord, good night.
Mont. Good night, and shrink not. [Exit.
Vasq. Oh, Valletort! when thcu dost bid good

night, How shall I answer thee ?



Scene, the Street.


Enter VASQUEZ. Vasq. This is the spot, and somewhere hereabouts He must pass homeward for a moment's pause : 'Twixt the commission of the foulest act That ever stain'd the records of the times, And sweet repentance e'er it comes too late To dip this hand in blood ! in innocent blood ! The blood of human kind's! a friend's! pre

server's ! In the full ripeness of his summer youth To cut him off! 'Tis such a deed, as any pitiless fiend Uncavern'd from the lowest depth of hell, Would start appalld and shrink remorseful back At the bare thought of-in comparison, Domitian might be call'd compassionate, And Herod's massacre go storied down White as the babes he slaughter'd!-But, Montano, This tyrant holds my life at his disposal, And therefore tasks me to his bloody purpose: How to save him and yet not damn myself -(Pauses.)

[ocr errors]

There is no other way – it must be so,
I have liv'd long enough. Thou coward weapon,
That ever shun'st the honest eye of day,
Hence to congenial darkness. (Throws away the

dagger.) - Hark! he comes. Who passes there?

Enter VALLETORT. Vall.

A friend !

Thy name?

Who asks it? Good night to Vasquez, or my ear deceives me.

Vasq. The same, thy mortal foe.

The cause?

A villain's !
Thou hast a beauteous wife.

Does that offend thee ?
Vasq. Nay, she is good as beauteous.

Has she wrong'd thee ?
Vasg. I cannot answer thee ! Stand on thy guard;
I am thy sworn assassin : yet I've fought
In fields where Mars look'd grim and terrible,
And with a soldier's arm oppos'd to thine
I will attempt thee fairly.

Nay, but hear me.
Vasq. No more but this.

Nay, then, in self-defence, I draw: come on, and heav'n decide betwixt us.

(They fight, VASQUEZ drops his own sword and

runs upon that of VALLETORT's, and falls.) Vall. How fares it with you?

[ocr errors]

Enter ALMAR.

This way came the sound. Murder seems busy here !

(To Alm.) Beseech you, sir, Who have by hazard witness'd this adventure, Note, with my dying voice I here absolve This injur'd gentleman. . Oh, Valletort ! Had I the breath to tell thee. Oh, Montano! . Thy wife, thy unprotected wife

(Dies.) Vall.

My wife!
Montano ! what means that ? Should it be so .
Should she have plotted with him! never, never —
My unprotected wife! it must be so;
Montano is a villain.

(Going.) Alm.

Might here have other shafts in store for you.
Till you are safe within the city gates,
Accept a stranger's service.

I have not time
To thank you, sir; but cheerfully accept
Your proffer'd help.


« AnteriorContinuar »