Act 1

Otho The Great

A Tragedy in Five Acts

Dramatis Personæ

Otho the Great, Emperor of Germany.
Ludolph, his Son.
Conrad, Duke of Franconia.
Albert, a Knight, favoured by Otho.
Sigifred, an Officer, friend of Ludolph.
Theodore Gonfrid Officers.
ethelbert, an Abbot.
Gersa, Prince of Hungary.
An Hungarian Captain.
Nobles, Knights, Attendants, and Soldiers.
Erminia, Niece of Otho.
Auranthe, Conrad’s Sister.
Ladies and Attendants.

Scene: The Castle of Friedburg, its vicinity, and the Hungarian Camp. Time, One Day.

Act I

Scene I.—An Apartment in the Castle.

Enter Conrad

So, I am safe emergèd from these broils!
Amid the wreck of thousands I am whole;
For every crime I have a laurel-wreath,
For every lie a lordship. Nor yet has
My ship of fortune furled her silken sails,—
Let her glide on! This dangered neck is saved,
By dexterous policy from the rebels’ axe;
And of my ducal palace not one stone
Is bruised by the Hungarian petards.
Toil hard, ye slaves, and from the miser-earth
Bring forth once more my bullion, treasured deep,
With all my jewelled salvers, silver and gold.
And precious goblets that make rich the wine.
But why do I stand babbling to myself?
Where is Auranthe? I have news for her

Auranthe. Conrad! what tidings? Good, if I may guess
From your alert eyes and high-lifted brows.
What tidings of the battle? Albert? Ludolph? Otho?

Conrad. You guess aright. And, sister, slurring o’er
Our by-gone quarrels, I confess my heart
Is beating with a child’s anxiety,
To make our golden fortune known to you.

Auranthe. So serious?

Conrad. Yes, so serious, that before
I utter even the shadow of a hint
Concerning what will make that sin-worn cheek
Blush joyous blood through every lineament,
You must make here a solemn vow to me.

Auranthe. I pr’ythee, Conrad, do not overact
The hypocrite. What vow would you impose?

Conrad. Trust me for once. That you may be assured
’Tis not confiding in a broken reed,
A poor court- bankrupt, outwitted and lost,
Revolve these facts in your acutest mood,
In such a mood as now you listen to me:
A few days since, I was an open rebel,—
Against the Emperor had suborned his son,—
Drawn off his nobles to revolt,—and shown
Contented fools causes for discontent,
Fresh hatched in my ambition’s eagle-nest;
So thrived I as a rebel,—and, behold!
Now I am Otho’s favourite, his dear friend,
His right hand, his brave Conrad!

Auranthe. I confess
You have intrigued with these unsteady times
To admiration. But to be a favourite!

Conrad. I saw my moment. The Hungarians,
Collected silently in holes and corners,
Appeared, a sudden host, in the open day.
I should have perished in our empire’s wreck,
But, calling interest loyalty, swore faith
To most believing Otho; and so helped
His blood-stained ensigns to the victory
In yesterday’s hard fight, that it has turned
The edge of his sharp wrath to eager kindness.

Auranthe. So far yourself. But what is this to me
More than that I am glad? I gratulate you.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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