Obrázky stránek
PDF
ePub

App. And have you been campaigning then so long,
And prosperously ? and mistrust you, Siccius,
That a young scarless soldier, like myself,
Would listen to your tutoring ? See, now,
How much you have mistaken me! Dentatus,
In a word— Can you assist the generals ?
And will you ?

Den. I have all the will—but as
For the ability

App. Tut! Tut! Dentatus,
You vex me now! This coyness sits not well on you.
You know, as well as I, you have as much
Ability as will. I would not think you
A inan that loved to find fault, but to find fault
Surely the evil you complain of, you
Would lend a hand to remedy! See, now,
'Tis fairly put to you—what say you ?

Den. Appius !
You may use me as you please.

App. And that will be,
As you deserve! I'll send you as my Legate,
To the army! [Shout from the people.] Do you hear your

friends, Dentatus ?
A lucky omen that! Away! away!
Apprise your house-prepare for setting out.
I'll hurry your credentials-Minutes now
Rate high as hours ! Assist my colleagues with
Your counsel- if their plans displease you, why
Correct them-change then-utterly reject them;
And if you meet obstruction—notice me,
And I will push it by—There now! Your hand !
Again ! Away! All the success attend you,
That Appius wishes you !

Den. Success is froin
The gods ; whose hand soe'er it pleases them
To send it by—I know not what success
"Tis Appius' wish they send ; -- but this I know
I am a soldier; and, as a soldier, I
Am bound to serve. All the success I ask,
Is that which benefits my country, Appius. [Exit Den., L.
App. (c.) You have serv'd her orerlong ! [Aside.]
Now for our causes.

[Appius ascends the Tribunal near R. S. E. Claud. (L. c.) [To Marcus.] Do you see the drift of this ? Marc. (L. c.) I cannot guess it.

Claud. Nor I.
App. [To a Plebeian, c.] Are you the suitor in this

cause ? Speak!

Plebeian. Noble Appius, if there's law in Rome
To right a man most injur'd, to that law
Against yon proud Patriciau I appeal.

App. No more of that, I say! Because he's rich
And great, you call him proud! 'Tis not unlike,
Because you're poor and mean, you call yourself
Injur'd.-Relate your story; and, so please you,
Spare epithets !

Plebeian. Grant me a minute's pause, I shall begin. (VIRGINIA at this moment crosses the stage with her

Nurse, and is met by Numitorius, who holds her in

conversation ; Appius rivets his eyes upon her
Num. (c.) You have heard the news ?
Virginia. (c.) What news ? dear uncle!

Num. Step
Aside with me, I'll tell you.

[ Takes her a little farther from the Tribunal App. Can it be A mortal that I look upon ?

Virginia. They are safe ! I thank the gods !

App. Her eyes look up to heaven Like something kindred to it rather made To send their glances down, and fill the earth With worship and with gratulation-What A thrill runs up and down iny veins; and all throughout

me!
Plebeian. Now, most nuble Appius

App. Stop!
Put off the cause, I cannot hear it now!
Attend to-morrow! An oppressive closeness
Allows me not to breathe-Lictors ! make clear
The ground about the Rostrum !

[Descends and approaches Claudius with precipitation.
Claudius ! Claudius !
Marcus, go you and summon my physician
To be at home before me. [Exit Marcus.] Claudius
Claudius ! there ! there!

Virginia. (L.) You send a messenger to-night?
App. (R. C.) Paint me that smile! I never saw a smile

Till now. My Claudius, is che not a wonder ?
I know not whether in the state of girlhood
Or womanhood to call her.—'Twixt the two
She stands, as that were loth to lose her, this
To win her most impatient. The young year,
Trembling and blushing 'twixt the striving kisses
Of parting spring and meeting summer, seems
Her only parallel !

Num. "Tis well ! I'll send
Your father word of this. But have you not
A message to Icilius ?

App. Mark you, Claudius ?
There is a blush !-I must possess her.

Virginia. Tell him,
I think upon him-Farewell, Numitorius !

[Exit with Servia, R.
Num. (R.) Farewell, Virginia.
Claud. (R. c.) Master, will you tell me
The name of that young maiden ?

Num. She is called
Virginia, daughter of Virginius;
A Roman citizen, and a centurion
In the army

Claud. Thank you ; she is very like
The daughter of a friend of mine. Farewell.
Num. Farewell!

(Exit, R. App. (L. c.) I burn, my Claudius! brain and heart.

There's not
A fibre in my body but's on fire!
With what a gait she moves ! Such was not Hebe,
Or Jupiter had sooner lost his heaven,
Than changed his cup-bearer—a step like that
The rapture-glowing clouds might well bear up,
And never take for human ! Find me, Claudius,
Some way to compass the possession of her.

Claud.' Tis difficult-Her father's of repute ;
The highest of his class.

App. I guessed it! (R. c.) Friends
Are ever friends, except when friends are needed.

Claud. Nay, Appius !

App. (R.) If thou canst not give me hope, Be dumb!

Claud. A female agent may be used With sore success.

App. How? How?

Claud. To tamper with That woman that attends her.

App. Set about it.

Claud. Could she hut be induced to help you to A single meeting with her.

App. Claudius ! Claudius! Effect but that.

Claud. I'll instantly about it.

App. (c.) Spare not my gold-nor stop at promises.
I will fulfil them fast as thou can'st make them.
To purchase such a draught of extacy
I'd draiu a kingdom-Set about it, Claudius !
Away! I will not eat, nor drink, nor sleep,
Until I hear from thee!

Claud. (L. c.) Depend upon me!
App. I do, my Claudius! for iny life my life!

[Exeunt Appius, M. D. Claudius, L.

END OF ACT 1L.

ACT III

SCENE 1.–Appius's House.

Enter APPIUS, L.
It is not love, (c.) if what I've felt before
And call’d by such a name, be love-a thing
That took its turn--that I could entertain,
Put off, or humour—'tis some other thing;
Or if the same, why in some other state-
Or I am not the same or it hath found
Some other part of sensibility
More quick, whereon to try its power, and there
Expends it all ? Now, Claudius, your success ?

Enter CLAUDIUS,
Claud. (R.) Nothing would do, yet nothing left undone !
She was not to be purchas'd

App. (R. c.) Did she guess

Claud. She could not,
So guarded was my agent; who described you
A man of power, of noble family,

And regal tortune-one that ask'd not what
His pleasures cost-no further made disclosure.

App. (c.) And did it pothing move her, Claudius ?

Claud. (R. c.) Nothing.
The more my agent urg'd, the more the shrunk
And wither'd hag grew callous ; further press'd,
And with more urgent importuning, ire
And scorn, iu imprecations and invectives
Vented upon the monster (as she call'd him)
That would pollute her child, compellid my advocate
To drop the suit she saw was hopeless.

App. Now
Had I a friend indeed

Claud. Has Appius need
To search for such a friend, and Claudius by him ?

App. Friends ever are provisionally friends-
Friends for so far—Friends just to such a point
And then “farewell!” friends with an understanding-
As "should the road be pretty safe”- the sea
Not over-rough” and so on-friends of ifs
And buts-no friends !-0, could I find the man
Would be a simple, thorough-going friend !

Claud. I thought you had one, Appius.
App. (L. C.) So thought Appius.
Till Appius thought upon a test of friendship,
He fears he would not give unto himself,
Could he be Appius' friend.

Claud. Theu Appius has
A truer friend than Appius is to Appius.
I'll give that test!

[Meet at C. and join hands. App. What! you'd remove her father And that Icilius whom you told me of ?

Claud. Count it as done.

App. My Claudius, is it true ?
Can I believe it? art thou such a friend,
That, when I look'd for thee to stop and leave me,
I find thee keeping with me, step by step ;
And even in thy loving eagerness
Outstriding me? I do not want thee, Claudius,
To soil thy hand with their Plebeian blood.

Claud. What would'st thou, then ?
App. I was left guardian to thee-
Claud. Thou wast.

App. Amongst the various property
Thy father left, were many female slaves.

« PředchozíPokračovat »