Cora. Ataliba! is he not dead?
Ata. No! the gods will have heard our prayers.
Cora. Is he not dead, Ataliba?
Ata. He livesin my heart.
Cora. O king! torture me not thus! Speak out, is this child fatherless?
Ata. Dearest Cora! do not thus dash aside the little hope that still remains.
Cora. The little hope! yet still there is hope! [Turns to Rolla.] Speak to me, Rolla: you are the friend of truth.
Rol. Alonzo has not been found.
Cora. Not found! what mean you? will not you, Rolla, tell me truth? Oh! let me not hear the thunder rolling at a distance; let the bolt fall and crush my brain at once. Say not that he is not found: say at once that he is dead.
Rol. Then should I say false.
Cora. False! Blessings on thee for that word! But snatch me from this terrible suspense.[Cora and Child kneel to Rolla.] Lift up thy little hands, my child: perhaps thy ignorance may plead better than thy mothers agony.
Rol. Alonzo is taken prisoner.
Cora. Prisoner! and by the Spaniards?Pizarros prisoner? Then is he dead?
Ata. Hope betterthe richest ransom which our realm can yield, a herald shall this instant bear.
Peruv. Wom. Oh! for Alonzos ransomour gold, our gems!all! all! Here, dear Corahere! here!
[The Peruvian Women eagerly tear off all their ornaments, and offer them to Cora.
Ata. Yes, for Alonzos ransom they would give all!I thank thee, Father, who has given me such hearts to rule over!
Cora. Now one boon more, beloved monarch. Let me go with the herald.
Ata. Remember, Cora, thou are not a wife only but a mother too: hazard not your own honour, and the safety of your infant. Among these barbarians the sight of thy youth, thy loveliness, and innocence, would but rivet faster your Alonzos chains, and rack his heart with added fears for thee. Wait, Cora, the return of the herald.
Cora. Teach me how to live till then.
Ata. Now we go to offer to the gods thanks for our victory, and prayers for our Alonzos safety.
[March and procession. Exeunt.
Scene II.The Wood.
Enter Cora and Child.
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