Conrad. Yes, sister, but it does regard you greatly,
Nearly, momentously,—aye, painfully!
Make me this vow—

Auranthe. Concerning whom or what?

Conrad. Albert!

Auranthe. I would inquire somewhat of him.
You had a letter from me touching him?
No treason ’gainst his head in deed or word!
Surely you spared him at my earnest prayer?
Give me the letter—it should not exist.

Conrad. At one pernicious charge of the enemy
I for a moment-whiles, was prisoner ta’en
And rifled,—stuff! the horse’s hoofs have minced it!

Auranthe. He is alive?

Conrad. He is! but here make oath
To alienate him from your scheming brain,
Divorce him from your solitary thoughts,
And cloud him in such utter banishment,
That when his person meets again your eye
Your vision shall quite lose its memory,
And wander past him as through vacancy.

Auranthe. I’ll not be perjured.

Conrad. No, nor great, nor mighty;
You would not wear a crown, or rule a kingdom.
To you it is indifferent.

Auranthe. What means this?

Conrad. You’ll not be perjured! Go to Albert then,
That camp-mushroom—dishonour of our house.
Go, page his dusty heels upon a march,
Furbish his jingling baldric while he sleeps,
And share his mouldy ration in a siege.
Yet stay,—perhaps a charm may call you back,
And make the widening circlets of your eyes
Sparkle with healthy fevers.—The Emperor
Hath given consent that you should marry Ludolph.

Auranthe. Can it be, brother? For a golden crown
With a queen’s awful lips I doubly thank you!
This is to wake in Paradise! Farewell,
Thou clod of yesterday!—’twas not myself!
Not till this moment did I ever feel
My spirit’s faculties! I’ll flatter you
For this, and be you ever proud of it;
Thou, Jove-like, struck’dst thy forehead,
And from the teeming marrow of thy brain
I spring complete Minerva! But the prince—
His highness Ludolph—where is he?

Conrad. I know not
When, lackeying my counsel at a beck,
The rebel lords, on bended knees, received
The Emperor’s pardon, Ludolph kept aloof,
Sole, in a stiff, fool-hardy, sulky pride;
Yet, for all this. I never saw a father
In such a sickly longing for his son.
We shall soon see him; for the Emperor
He will be here this morning.

Auranthe. That I heard
Among the midnight rumours from the camp.

Conrad. You give up Albert to me?

Auranthe. Harm him not!
E’en for his highness Ludolph’s sceptry hand,
I would not Albert suffer any wrong.

Conrad. Have I not laboured, plotted—?

Auranthe. See you spare him:
Nor be pathetic, my kind benefactor!
On all the many bounties of your hand,
’Twas for yourself you laboured—not for me!
Do you not count, when I am queen, to take
Advantage of your chance discoveries
Of my poor secrets, and so hold a rod
Over my life?

  By PanEris using Melati.

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