Obrázky stránek

The strength to call I had, and through my limbs
Cold tremor runs, and sickening faintness seizes
On my heart! O, Heaven, have mercy! Do not see
The colour of the hands I lift to thee!

Look only on the strait wherein I stand,

And pity it!
Support me!

Let me not sink! Uphold→→→
Mercy! mercy!


Albert. I'll breathe upon this level, if the wind
Will let me. Ha! a rock to shelter me!

Thanks to't. A man, and fainting! Courage, friend!
Courage! A stranger that has lost his way.

Take heart-take heart; you're safe. How feel you now?

Ges. Better,

[Gives him drink from a flask.

Alb. You have lost your way upon the hill?
Ges. I have.

Alb. And whither would you go?

Ges. To Altorf.

Alb. I'll guide you thither.

Ges. You're a child.

All. I know

The way the track I've come is harder far

To find.

Ges. The track you've come! What mean you? Sure You have not been still farther in the mountains?

Alb. I've travelled from Mount Faigel.

Ges. No one with thee?

Alb. No one but God.

Ges. Do you not fear these storms?

Alb. God's in the storm.

Ges. And there are torrents, too,

That must be cross'd.

Alb. God's by the torrent, too.

Ges. You're but a child.

Alb. God will be with a child.

Ges. You're sure you know the way?

Alb. 'Tis but to keep

The side of yonder stream.

Ges. But guide me safe,

I'll give thee gold.

All. I'll guide thee safe without.

Ges. Here's earnest for thee. [Offers gold.] Here-I'll double that,

Yea, treble it, but let me see the gate

Of Altorf. Why do you refuse the gold?


Alb. No.

Ges. You shall.

Alb. I will not.
Ges. Why?
Alb. Because

I do not covet it; and, though I did,

It would be wrong to take it as the price
Of doing one a kindness.

Ges. Ha!-who taught

Thee that?

Alb. My father.

Ges. Does he live in Altorf?

Alb. No, in the mountains.

Ges. How!-a mountaineer?

He should become a tenant of the city;
He'd gain by't?

Alb. Not so much as he might lose by't.
Ges. What might he lose by't?

Alb. Liberty.

Ges. Indeed!

He also taught thee that?

Alb. He did.

Ges. His name?

[blocks in formation]


Alb. You may be an enemy of his.
Ges. May be a friend.

Alb. May be; but should you be

An enemyAlthough I would not tell you

My father's name, I'd guide you safe to Altorf.
Will you follow me?


Ges. Ne'er mind thy father's name:

What would it profit me to know't? Thy hand;
We are not enemies.

[blocks in formation]


Come on.

Ges. What, must we take that steep?

Alb. 'Tis nothing. Come,

go before-ne'er fear. Come on-come on! [Exeunt.



Alb. You're at the gate of Altorf.

Ges. Tarry, boy!

Alb. I would be gone; I am waited for.

Ges. Come back!

Who waits for thee? Come, tell me, I am rich

And powerful, and can reward.

Alb. 'Tis close

On evening; I have far to go! I'm late.

Ges. Stay! I can punish, too.

Alb. I might have left you,

When on the hill I found you fainting, and


The mist around you; but I stopp'd and cheer'd you,

Till to yourself you came again. I offer'd

To guide you, when you could not find the way,
And I have brought you to the gate of Altorf.
Ges. Boy, do you know me?

Alb. No.

Ges. Why fear you, then,

To trust me with your father's name?—Speak.

Alb. Why

Do you

desire to know it?

Ges. You have served me,

And I would thank him, if I chanced to pass
His dwelling.

Alb. "Twould not please him that a service
So trifling should be made so much of!

Ges. Trifling:

You've saved my life!

[blocks in formation]

Ges. When I have learned from thee

Thy father's name.


What hoa!

Within.] Who's there ?

Ges. Gesler!

Alb. Ha, Gesler!

Ges. [To the soldiers.]—Seize him! Wilt thou tell me Thy father's name?

Alb. No!

Ges. I can bid them cast thee

Into a dungeon! Wilt thou tell it now

Alb. No.


Ges. I can bid them strangle thee. Wilt tell it?

Alb. Never.

Ges. Away with him! Send Sarnem to me.

[Soldiers take off Albert through the gate.

Behind that boy, I see the shadow of

A hand must wear my fetters, or 'twill try
To strip me of my power. I have felt to-day
What 'tis to live at others' mercy. I
Have tasted fear to very sickness, and
Ow'd to a peasant-boy my safety-Ay,
My life! and there does live the slave can say
Gesler's his debtor! How I loath'd the free
And fearless air with which he trod the hill!
Yea, though the safety of his steps was mine,
Oft as our path did brink the precipice,
I wish'd to see him miss his footing and
Roll over! But he's in my power!-Some way
To find the parent nest of this fine eaglet,
And harrow it! I'd like to clip the broad

And full-grown wing that taught his tender pinion
So bold a flight!

Enter SARNEM, through the gate.

Ges. Ha, Sarnem! Have the slaves, Attended me, returned?

[blocks in formation]

Sar. That passed me?

Ges. Yes.

Sar. A mountaineer!

Ges. You'd say so, saw you him

Upon the hills; he walks them like their lord!
I tell thee, Sarnem, looking on that boy,

I felt I was not master of those hills.

He has a father-neither promises

Nor threats could draw from him his name-
Who talks to him of liberty! I fear

[blocks in formation]

As found, disposed of! I can see the man.
He is as palpable to my sight, as if

-a father

He stood like you before me. I can see him
Scaling that rock; yea, I can feel him, Sarnem,
As I were in his grasp, and he about

To hurl me o'er yon parapet! I live

In danger, till I find that man! Send parties
Into the mountains, to explore them far
And wide; and if they chance to light upon
A father, who expects his child, command them
To drag him straight before us.

Sarnem, Sarnem,

They are not yet subdued. Some way to prove
Their spirit! Take this cap; and have it set
Upon a pole in the market-place, and see
That one and all do bow to it; whoe'er

Resists, or pays the homage sullenly,

Our bonds await him! Sarnem, see it done! [Exeunt.



Sar. Ye men of Altorf!

To such

Behold the emblem of your master's power
And dignity. This is the cap of Gesler,
Your governor; let all bow down to it
Who owe him love and loyalty.
As shall refuse this lawful homage, or
Accord it sullenly, he shows no grace,
But dooms them to the penalty of bondage

« PředchozíPokračovat »