Act 3


Scene I.—The Country.

Enter Albert

Albert. O that the earth were empty, as when Cain
Had no perplexity to hide his head!
Or that the sword of some brave enemy
Had put a sudden stop to my hot breath,
And hurled me down the illimitable gulf
Of times past, unremembered! Better so
Than thus fast-limed in a cursèd snare,—
The white limbs of a wanton. This the end
Of an aspiring life! My boyhood past
In feud with wolves and bears, when no eye saw
The solitary warfare, fought for love
Of honour ’mid the growling wilderness;
My sturdier youth, maturing to the sword,
Won by the syren-trumpets, and the ring
Of shields upon the pavement, when bright-mailed
Henry the Fowler passed the streets of Prague.
Was’t to this end I louted and became
The menial of Mars, and held a spear,
Swayed by command, as corn is by the wind?
Is it for this, I now am lifted up
By Europe’s thronèd Emperor, to see
My honour be my executioner,—
My love of fame, my prided honesty,
Put to the torture for confessional?
Then the damned crime of blurting to the world
A woman’s secret!—though a fiend she be,
Too tender of my ignominious life;
But then to wrong the generous Emperor
In such a searching point, were to give up
My soul for foot-ball at hell’s holiday!
I must confess,—and cut my throat,—to-day?
To- morrow? Ho! some wine!

Enter Sigifred

Sigifred. A fine humour—

Albert. Who goes there? Count Sigifred? Ha! ha!

Sigifred. What, man, do you mistake the hollow sky
For a thronged tavern, and these stubbed trees
For old serge hangings,—me, your humble friend,
For a poor waiter? Why, man, how you stare!
What gipsies have you been carousing with?
No, no more wine: methinks you’ve had enough.

Albert. You well may laugh and banter. What a fool
An injury may make of a staid man!
You shall know all anon.

Sigifred. Some tavern brawl?

Albert. ’Twas with some people out of common reach;
Revenge is difficult.

Sigifred. I am your friend;
We meet again to-day, and can confer
Upon it. For the present I’m in haste.

Albert. Whither?

Sigifred. To fetch King Gersa to the feast.
The Emperor on this marriage is so hot,
Pray heaven it end not in apoplexy!
The very porters, as I passed the doors,
Heard his loud laugh, and answered in full choir.
I marvel, Albert, you delay so long
From these bright revelries; go, show yourself,
You may be made a duke.

Albert. Ay, very like.
Pray, what day has his Highness fixed upon?

Sigifred. For what?

Albert. The marriage. What else can I mean?

Sigifred. To-day. O, I forgot, you could not know;
The news is scarce a minute old with me.

Albert. Married to-day! To-day! You did not say so?

Sigifred. Now, while I speak to you, their comely heads
Are bowed before the mitre.

  By PanEris using Melati.

Previous chapter Back Home Email this Search Discuss Bookmark Next chapter/page
Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.