Obrázky stránek
PDF
ePub

THE CAP OF LIBERTY.

169

Verner. Away,
Before they mark us.

Tell. No! no! since I've tasted,
I'll e'en feed on.
A spirit 's in me likes it. Draw me not
Away! I swear I will not leave off

yet ;
I would be full, — full, full! I will not budge,
Whatever be the cost !

(Pierre passes the cap, smiles, and bows slightly.)
Sar. What smiled you at?
Pierre. You saw I bowed as low as he did.

Sar. But
You smiled. How dared you smile ?

Tell. Good ! good!

Sar. (Striking him.) Take that ;
And learn, when you do smile again, to do 't
In season.

Verner. (Takes hold of Tell's arm.) Come away.

Tell. Not yet, not yet.
Why would you have me quit the fare, you see,
Grows better and better?

Verner. You change color.

Tell. Do I?
And so do you.

Sar. Striking another.) Bow lower, slave!
Tell. Do

you

feel
That blow. My flesh doth tingle with 't. Well done!
How pleasantly the knave doth lay it on!
Well done! well done! I would it had been I !

Ver. You tremble, William. Come, you must not stay.
Tell. Why not? What harm is there? I tell thee, Verner,
I know no difference 'twixt enduring wrong
And living in the fear on 't.

I do wear The tyrant's fetters, when it only wants His nod to put them on; and bear his stripes When, that I suffer them, he needs but hold His finger up. Verner, you 're not the man To be content because a villain's mood Forbears. You 're right, - you 're right? Have with you, Verner.

(Enter Michael through the crowd.)

Sar. Bow, slave. (Tell stops and turns.)
Michael. For what? (Laughs.)
Sar. Obey, and question then.
Mic. I 'll question now, perhaps not then obey.
Tell. A man! a man !

Sar. "T is Gesler's will, that all
Bow to that cap.

Mic. Were it thy lady's cap, I'd curtsy to it.

Sar. Do you mock us, friend?

Mic. Not I. I'll bow to Gesler, if you please,
But not his cap, nor cap of any he
In Christendom !

Tell. A man! I say a man!

Sar. I see you love a jest; but jest not now;
Else you may make us mirth, and pay for 't too.
Bow to the cap:

Tell. The slave would honor him.
Holds he but out!
Sar. Do

you

hear? Mic. I do.

Tell. Well done!
The lion thinks as much of cowering
As he does !

Sar. Once for all, bow to that cap.
Tell. Verner, let go my arm!
Sar. Do you hear me, slave ?
Mic. Slave
Tell. Let me go!

Ver. He is not worth it, Tell;
A wild and idle gallant of the town.
Tell. A man! I'll swear, a man !

Don't hold me,
Verner.
Verner, let go my arm! Do you hear me, man?
You must not hold me, Verner.

Sar. Villain, bow
To Gesler's cap.

Mic. No! not to Gesler's self!
Sar. Seize him!
Tell. (Rushing forward.) Off, off, you base and hireling

pack!
Lay not your brutal touch upon the thing

THE CAP OF LIBERTY.

171

God made in his own image. Crouch yourselves !
"T is your vocation, which you should not call
On freeborn men to share with you, who stand
Erect, except in presence of their God
Alone!

Sar. What! Shrink you, cowards ? Must I do
Your duty for you

? Tell. Let them but stir! I've scattered A flock of wolves that did out-number them, For sport, I did it. Sport! I scattered them With but a staff, not half so thick as this. (Wrests Sarnem's weapon from him. Sarnem flies.

- Sol diers fly.) What! Ha! Beset by hares ! Ye men of Altorf, What fear ye? See what things you fear, the shows And surfaces of men ! Why stand you wondering there? Why look you on a man that 's like yourselves, And see him do the deeds yourselves might do, And act them not? Or know you not yourselves ? That ye are men? That ye have hearts and thoug!its To feel and think the deeds of men, and hands To do them? You do say your prayers, and make Confession, and you more do fear the thing That kneels to God, than you fear God himself ! You hunt the chamois, and you 've seen him take The precipice, before he 'd yield the freedom His Maker gave him; and you are content To live in bonds, that have a thought of freedom, Which Heaven ne'er gave the little chamois. Why gaze you still with blanched cheeks upon me? Lack you the manhood even to look on, And see bold deeds achieved by others' hands? Or is 't that cap still holds you thralls to fear? Be free, then ! There! Thus do I trample on The insolence of Gesler! (Throws down the pole.) Sar. (Suddenly entering with soldiers.) Seize him.

(All the people except Verner and Michael fly.) Tell. Ha ! Surrounded ?

Mic. Stand! I'll back thee !
Ver. Madman! Hence! (Forces Michael off.)
Sar. Upon him, slaves! Upon him all at once!

(Tell, after a struggle, is secured and thrown to the ground,

where they proceed to chain him.)
Now raise him. (They raise him, heavily chained.)

Tell. Slave!
Sar. Rail on, thy tongue has yet its freedom.
Tell. Slave!
Sar. On to the castle with him, - forward!
Tell. Slave! (Exeunt.)

LESSON LXXXI. Select Passages.

The Mind.

corners.

1. 'The mind of man is a curious thing, in some respects not unlike an old Gothic castle, full of turnings and windings, long, dark passages, spiral staircases, and secret

Among all these architectural involutions, too, the ideas go wandering about, generally very much at random, often get astray, often go into a wrong room and fancy it their own; and often, too, it happens, that when one of them is tripping along quite quietly, thinking that all is right, open flies a door; out comes another and turns the first back again, sometimes rudely, blowing her candle out, and leaving her in the dark, and sometimes taking her delicately by the tips of the fingers, and leading her to the very spot whence she set out at first.

Sleep of Infancy. 2. O! the sweet, profound sleep of infancy; how beautiful it is! that soft and blessed gift of a heart without a stain or a pang, of a body unbroken in any fibre by the cares and labors of existence, of a mind without a burden or an apprehension. It falls down upon our eyelids like the dew of a summer's eve, refreshing for our use all the world of flowers in which we dwell, and passing calm, and tranquil, and happy, without a dream, and without an interruption. But, alas! alas ! with the first years of life, it is gone, and never returns. We may win joy, and satisfaction, and glory, and splendor, and power, we may obtain more

SELECT PASSAGES.

173

than our wildest ambition aspired to, or our eager hope could grasp; but the sweet sleep of infancy, the soft companion of our boyish pillow, flies from the ardent joys, as well as the bitter cares, of manhood, and never, never, returns again.

An English Park.

3. The English park is one of those things peculiarly English, which are to be seen nowhere else on earth but in England; at least, we venture to say, that there is nothing at all like it in three, out of the four quarters of this our globe; the wide, grassy slopes, the groups of majestic trees, the dim flankings of forest ground, broken with savannas, and crossed by many a path and many a walk, the occasional rivulet or piece of water, the resting-place, the alcove, the ruin of the old mansion, where our fathers dwelt, now lapsed into the domain of Time, but carefully guarded from any hands but his, with here and there some slope of the ground, or some turn of the path, bringing us suddenly upon a bright and unexpected prospect of distant landscapes far beyond, — “all nature, and all art.” There is nothing like it on the earth, and few things half so beautiful; for it is tranquil without being dull, and calm without being cheerless; but of all times, when we would enjoy the stillness and the serenity at its highest pitch, go forth into a fine old park by moonlight.

Association of Ideas.

4. In almost all cases of apprehension and uncertainty, the human mind has a natural tendency to connect the occurrence of the moment, whatever it may be, with the principal object of our feelings and wishes at the time.' It matters not whether the two things be as distinct and as distant as the sun is from the moon; association, in an instant, spins a thousand gossamer threads between them, forming a glistening sort of spider-like bridge, scarcely discernible to other people's eyes, but fully strong enough for fancy to run backwards and forwards upon forever.

« PředchozíPokračovat »