Obrázky stránek
PDF
ePub

The best room in your house! You do not know
The use of Richard Cricket! Show him, sir,
Into the drawing-room. Your lordship needs
Must keep a racing-stud, and you'll do well
To make a friend of Richard Cricket.
What's that?

Well, sir,

Enter WILLIAMS.

Will.

So please your lordship, a petition.
Tin. Hadst not a service 'mongst the Hottentots
Ere thou camest hither, friend? Present thy lord
With a petition! At mechanics' doors,

At tradesmen's, shopkeepers', and merchants' only
Have such things leave to knock! Make thy lord's gate
A wicket to a workhouse! Let us see it-
Subscriptions to a book of poetry!

Cornelius Tense, A. M.
Which means he construes Greek and Latin, works
Problems in mathematics, can chop logic,
And is a conjuror in philosophy,
Both natural and moral.-Pshaw! a man
Whom nobody, that is anybody, knows.
Who, think you, follows him? Why an M. D.,
An F.R.S., an F.A.S., and then

A D.D., Doctor of Divinity,

Ushering in an L.L.D., which means

Doctor of Laws-their harmony, no doubt,

The difference of their trades! There's nothing here

But languages, and sciences, and arts,

Not an iota of nobility!

We cannot give our names.
Take back the paper,
And tell the bearer there's no answer for him :-
That is the lordly way of saying "No”

RICHELIEU.

BULWER LYTTON.

[THE following scene is from 'Richelieu,' a spirited play, successfully produced on the stage, although not of such enduring popularity as the author's most attractive 'Lady of Lyons.' We give the passages, omitting certain lines which are indicated by the author as omitted in the representations.]

Rich. (ringing a small bell on the table). Huguet!

Enter HUGUET.

De Mauprat struggled not, nor murmured?

Huguet. No; proud and passive. Rich. Bid him enter,-Hold; Look that he hide no weapon. Humph, despair Makes victims sometimes victors. When he has enter'd, Glide round unseen:-place thyself yonder (pointing to the screen);

watch him;

If he show violence-(let me see thy carbine;
So, a good weapon ;)—if he play the lion,
Why the dog's death.

Huguet. I never miss my mark.

[Exit HUGUET; RICHELIEU Seats himself at the table, and slowly arranges the papers before him. Enter DE MauPRAT, preceded by HUGUET, who then retires behind the

scrnee.

Rich. Approach, sir.-Can you call to mind the hour,
Now three years since, when in this room, methinks,
Your presence honored me?

De Mau.

It is, my lord,

One of my most

Rich. (dryly).

Delightful recollections.

De Mau. (aside). St. Dennis! Doth he make a jest of axe And headsman?

Rich. (sternly). I did then accord you

A mercy ill requited-you still live?

Doom'd to sure death; how hast thou since consumed

The time allotted thee for serious thought
And solemn penitence?

De Mau. (embarrassed). The time, my lord?
Rich. Is not the question plain? I'll answer for thee.
Thou hast sought nor priest nor shrine; no sackcloth chafed
Thy delicate flesh. The rosary and the death's-head
Have not, with pious meditation, purged

Earth from the carnal gaze. What thou hast not done,
Brief told; what done, a volume! Wild debauch,
Turbulent riot:-for the morn the dice box-
Noon claim'd the duel-and the night the wassail;
These your most holy, pure preparatives
For death and judgment. Do I wrong you, sir?

De Mau. I was not always thus:-if changed my nature,
Blame that which changed my fate.-Alas, my lord,
Were you accursed with that which you inflicted—
By bed and board, dogg'd by one ghastly spectre-
The while within you youth beat high, and life
Grew lovelier from the neighboring frown of death--
The heart no bud, nor fruit-save in those seeds
Most worthless, which spring up, bloom, bear, and wither
In the same hour.-Were this your fate, perchance
You would have err'd like me!

Rich.

I might, like you,
Have been a brawler and a reveller ;—not,
Like you, a trickster and a thief.

De Mau. (advancing threateningly). Lord Cardinal ! Unsay those words;-

HUGUET deliberately raises the carbine.
Not quite so quick, friend Huguet;

Rich. (waving his hand).
Messire de Mauprat is a patient man,
And he can wait!-

You have outrun your fortune;—

I blame you not, that you would be a beggar-
Each to his taste !-But I do charge you, sir,
That, being beggar'd, you would coin false monies
Out of that crucible, called, DEBT.-To live
On means not yours-be brave in silks and laces,
Gallant in steeds-splendid in banquets;-all
Not yours-ungiven-unherited-unpaid for ;-

This is to be a trickster; and to filch
Men's art and labor, which to them is wealth,
Life, daily bread,-quitting all scores with-" Friend,
You're troublesome!"-Why this, forgive me,
Is what-when done with a less dainty grace-

Plain folks call" Theft!"-you owe eight thousand pistoles,
Minus one crown, two liards !

De Mau. (aside).

The old conjuror!-
'Sdeath, he 'll inform me next how many cups
I drank at dinner!

Rich.
This is scandalous,
Shaming your birth and blood ;-I tell you, sir,
That you must pay your debts.-

De Mau.
With all my heart,
My lord. Where shall I borrow, then, the money?
Rich. (aside and laughing). A humorous dare devil!—the very

man

To suit my purpose-ready, frank, and bold!

[Rising, and earnestly. Adrien de Mauprat, men have called me cruel ;— I am not ;-I am just !—I found France rent asunder,— The rich men despots, and the poor banditti ;—— Sloth in the mart, and schism within the temple; Brawls festering to Rebellion; and weak Laws Rotting away with rest in antique sheaths.I have re-created France; and, from the ashes Of the old feudal and decrepit carcase, Civilization on her luminous wings

Soars, phoenix-like, to Jove!—What was my art?
Genius, some say, some, Fortune,-Witchcraft, some.
Not so;--my art was JUSTICE!-Force and Fraud
Misname it cruelty-you shall confute them!

My champion You !-You met me as your foe,
Depart my friend--You shall not die-France needs you.
You shall wipe off all stains,--be rich, be honor'd,
Be great

!

A LEGEND OF FLORENCE.

LEIGH HUNT.

[THE following scene between a gentle wife driven to despair by her most captious and irritating husband, is as beautifully managed as anything we could compare with it in the whole compass of that dramatic poetry which may be called domestic. The whole play is full of grace and tenderness-the work of a true artist.]

Gin. (cheerfully). The world seems glad after its hearty drink Of rain. I fear'd, when you came back this morning, The shower had stopp'd you, or that you were ill.

Ago. You fear'd! you hoped. What fear you that I fear, Or hope for that I hope for? A truce, madam, To these exordiums and pretended interests, Whose only shallow intent is to delay, Or to divert, the sole dire subject,―me. Soh! you would see the spectacle! you, who start At openings of doors, and falls of pins. Trumpets and drums quiet a lady's nerves; And a good hacking blow at a tournament Equals burnt feathers or hartshorn, for a stimulus To pretty household tremblers.

Gin.

I express'd No wish to see the tournament, nor indeed Anything, of my own accord; or contrary To your good judgment.

Ago.

Oh, of course not. Wishes
Are never express'd for, or by, contraries;
Nor the good judgment of an anxious husband
Held forth as a pleasant thing to differ with.
Gin. It is as easy as sitting in my chair,
To say I will not go: and I will not.
Be pleased to think that settled.

Ago.
As 'tis expected I should go, is it not?
And then you will sit happy at receipt
Of letters from Antonio Rondinelli.

The more easily,

« PředchozíPokračovat »