Read SCENE I. of The Bride of Messina A Tragedy, free online book, by Friedrich Schiller, on

   A spacious hall, supported on columns, with entrances on both sides;
   at the back of the stage a large folding-door leading to a chapel.

   Donna Isabella in mourning; the Elders of Messina.

Forth from my silent chamber’s deep recesses,
Gray Fathers of the State, unwillingly
I come; and, shrinking from your gaze, uplift
The veil that shades my widowed brows:  the light
And glory of my days is fled forever! 
And best in solitude and kindred gloom
To hide these sable weeds, this grief-worn frame,
Beseems the mourner’s heart.  A mighty voice
Inexorable-duty’s stern command,
Calls me to light again. 
             Not twice the moon
Has filled her orb since to the tomb ye bore
My princely spouse, your city’s lord, whose arm
Against a world of envious foes around
Hurled fierce defiance!  Still his spirit lives
In his heroic sons, their country’s pride: 
Ye marked how sweetly from their childhood’s bloom
They grew in joyous promise to the years
Of manhood’s strength; yet in their secret hearts,
From some mysterious root accursed, upsprung
Unmitigable, deadly hate, that spurned
All kindred ties, all youthful, fond affections,
Still ripening with their thoughtful age; not mine
The sweet accord of family bliss; though each
Awoke a mother’s rapture; each alike
Smiled at my nourishing breast! for me alone
Yet lives one mutual thought, of children’s love;
In these tempestuous souls discovered else
By mortal strife and thirst of fierce revenge.

While yet their father reigned, his stern control
Tamed their hot spirits, and with iron yoke
To awful justice bowed their stubborn will: 
Obedient to his voice, to outward seeming
They calmed their wrathful mood, nor in array
Ere met, of hostile arms; yet unappeased
Sat brooding malice in their bosoms’ depths;
They little reek of hidden springs whose power
Can quell the torrent’s fury:  scarce their sire
In death had closed his eyes, when, as the spark
That long in smouldering embers sullen lay,
Shoots forth a towering flame; so unconfined
Burst the wild storm of brothers’ hate triumphant
O’er nature’s holiest bands.  Ye saw, my friends,
Your country’s bleeding wounds, when princely strife
Woke discord’s maddening fires, and ranged her sons
In mutual deadly conflict; all around
Was heard the clash of arms, the din of carnage,
And e’en these halls were stained with kindred gore.

Torn was the state with civil rage, this heart
With pangs that mothers feel; alas, unmindful
Of aught but public woes, and pitiless
You sought my widow’s chamber-there with taunts
And fierce reproaches for your country’s ills
From that polluted spring of brother’s hate
Derived, invoked a parent’s warning voice,
And threatening told of people’s discontent
And princes’ crimes!  “Ill-fated land! now wasted
By thy unnatural sons, ere long the prey
Of foeman’s sword!  Oh, haste,” you cried, “and end
This strife! bring peace again, or soon Messina
Shall bow to other lords.”  Your stern decree
Prevailed; this heart, with all a mother’s anguish
O’erlabored, owned the weight of public cares. 
I flew, and at my children’s feet, distracted,
A suppliant lay; till to my prayers and tears
The voice of nature answered in their breasts!

Here in the palace of their sires, unarmed,
In peaceful guise Messina shall behold
The long inveterate foes; this is the day! 
E’en now I wait the messenger that brings
The tidings of my sons’ approach:  be ready
To give your princes joyful welcome home
With reverence such as vassals may beseem. 
Bethink ye to fulfil your subject duties,
And leave to better wisdom weightier cares. 
Dire was their strife to them, and to the State
Fruitful of ills; yet, in this happy bond
Of peace united, know that they are mighty
To stand against a world in arms, nor less
Enforce their sovereign will against yourselves.

The Elders retire in silence; she beckons to
an old attendant, who remains.


                Honored mistress!

Old faithful servant, then true heart, cone near me;
Sharer of all a mother’s woes, be thine
The sweet communion of her joys:  my treasure
Shrined in thy heart, my dear and holy secret
Shall pierce the envious veil, and shine triumphant
To cheerful day; too long by harsh decrees,
Silent and overpowered, affection yet
Shall utterance find in Nature’s tones of rapture! 
And this imprisoned heart leap to the embrace
Of all it holds most dear, returned to glad
My desolate halls;
          So bend thy aged steps
To the old cloistered sanctuary that guards
The darling of my soul, whose innocence
To thy true love (sweet pledge of happier days)! 
Trusting I gave, and asked from fortune’s storm
A resting place and shrine.  Oh, in this hour
Of bliss; the dear reward of all thy cares. 
Give to my longing arms my child again!

   Trumpets are heard in the distance.

Haste! be thy footsteps winged with joy-I hear The trumpet’s blast, that tells in warlike accents My sons are near: 

Exit Diego.  Music is heard in an opposite direction,
and becomes gradually louder.

Messina is awake! 
Hark! how the stream of tongues hoarse murmuring
Rolls on the breeze,-’tis they! my mother’s heart
Feels their approach, and beats with mighty throes
Responsive to the loud, resounding march! 
They come! they come! my children! oh, my children!


The chorus enters.

(It consists of two semi-choruses which enter at the same time from opposite sides, and after marching round the stage range themselves in rows, each on the side by which it entered.  One semi-chorus consists of young knights, the other of older ones, each has its peculiar costume and ensigns.  When the two choruses stand opposite to each other, the march ceases, and the two leaders speak.) The first chorus consists of Cajetan, Berengar, Manfred, Tristan, and eight followers of Don Manuel.  The second of Bohemund, Roger, Hippolyte, and nine others of the party of Don Cæsar.

     First Chorus (Cajetan).

   I greet ye, glittering halls
    Of olden time
   Cradle of kings!  Hail! lordly roof,
    In pillared majesty sublime!

      Sheathed be the sword! 
    In chains before the portal lies
   The fiend with tresses snake-entwined,
    Fell Discord!  Gently treat the inviolate floor! 
      Peace to this royal dome! 
    Thus by the Furies’ brood we swore,
   And all the dark, avenging Deities!

     Second Chorus (Bohemund).

   I rage!  I burn! and scarce refrain
    To lift the glittering steel on high,
   For, lo! the Gorgon-visaged train
    Of the detested foeman nigh: 
   Shall I my swelling heart control? 
    To parley deign-or still in mortal strife
   The tumult of my soul? 
   Dire sister, guardian of the spot, to thee
   Awe-struck I bend the knee,
   Nor dare with arms profane thy deep tranquillity!

     First Chorus (Cajetan).

    Welcome the peaceful strain! 
   Together we adore the guardian power
   Of these august abodes! 
    Sacred the hour
   To kindred brotherly ties
   And reverend, holy sympathies;-
   Our hearts the genial charm shall own,
   And melt awhile at friendship’s soothing tone:-
    But when in yonder plain
   We meet-then peace away! 
   Come gleaming arms, and battle’s deadly fray!

     The whole Chorus.

   But when in yonder plain
   We meet-then peace away! 
   Come gleaming arms, and battle’s deadly fray!

     First Chorus (Berengar).

   I hate thee not-nor call thee foe,
   My brother! this our native earth,
   The land that gave our fathers birth:-
   Of chief’s behest the slave decreed,
   The vassal draws the sword at need,
   For chieftain’s rage we strike the blow,
   For stranger lords our kindred blood must flow.

     Second Chorus (Bohemund).

   Hate fires their souls-we ask not why;-
   At honor’s call to fight and die,
   Boast of the true and brave! 
   Unworthy of a soldier’s name
   Who burns not for his chieftain’s fame!

     The whole Chorus.

   Unworthy of a soldier’s name
   Who burns not for his chieftain’s fame!

     One of the Chorus (Berengar).

   Thus spoke within my bosom’s core
    The thought-as hitherward I strayed;
   And pensive ’mid the waving store,
    I mused, of autumn’s yellow glade:-
   These gifts of nature’s bounteous reign,-
   The teeming earth, and golden grain,
   Yon elms, among whose leaves entwine
   The tendrils of the clustering vine;-
   Gay children of our sunny clime,-
   Region of spring’s eternal prime! 
   Each charm should woo to love and joy,
   No cares the dream of bliss annoy,
   And pleasure through life’s summer day
   Speed every laughing hour away. 
   We rage in blood,-oh, dire disgrace! 
   For this usurping, alien race;
   From some far distant land they came,
   Beyond the sun’s departing flame. 
   And owned upon our friendly shore
   The welcome of our sires of yore. 
   Alas! their sons in thraldom pine,
   The vassals of this stranger line.

     A second (Manfred).

   Yes! pleased, on our land, from his azure way,
   The sun ever smiles with unclouded ray. 
   But never, fair isle, shall thy sons repose
   ’Mid the sweets which the faithless waves enclose. 
   On their bosom they wafted the corsair bold,
   With his dreaded barks to our coast of old. 
   For thee was thy dower of beauty vain,
   ’Twas the treasure that lured the spoiler’s train. 
   Oh, ne’er from these smiling vales shall rise
   A sword for our vanquished liberties;
   ’Tis not where the laughing Ceres reigns,
   And the jocund lord of the flowery plains:-
   Where the iron lies hid in the mountain cave,
   Is the cradle of empire-the home of the brave!

   The folding-doors at the back of the stage are thrown open. 
   Donna Isabella appears between her sons, Don Manuel and Don Cæsar.

     Both Choruses (Cajetan).

   Lift high the notes of praise! 
    Behold! where lies the awakening sun,
   She comes, and from her queenly brow
    Shoots glad, inspiring rays. 
     Mistress, we bend to thee!

     First Chorus.

   Fair is the moon amid the starry choir
    That twinkle o’er the sky,
    Shining in silvery, mild tranquillity;-
   The mother with her sons more fair! 
    See! blooming at her side,
   She leads the royal, youthful pair;
    With gentle grace, and soft, maternal pride,
    Attempering sweet their manly fire.

     Second Chorus (Berengar).

   From this fair stem a beauteous tree
    With ever-springing boughs shall smile,
    And with immortal verdure shade our isle;
   Mother of heroes, joy to thee! 
   Triumphant as the sun thy kingly race
    Shall spread from clime to clime,
    And give a deathless name to rolling time!

Isabella (comes forward with her sons). 
Look down! benignant Queen of Heaven, and still,
This proud tumultuous heart, that in my breast
Swells with a mother’s tide of ecstasy,
As blazoned in these noble youths, my image
More perfect shows;-Oh, blissful hour! the first
That comprehends the fulness of my joy,
When long-constrained affection dares to pour
In unison of transport from my heart,
Unchecked, a parent’s undivided love: 
Oh! it was ever one-my sons were twain. 
Say-shall I revel in the dreams of bliss,
And give my soul to Nature’s dear emotions? 
Is this warm pressure of thy brother’s hand
A dagger in thy breast?
   To Don Manuel
             Or when my eyes
Feed on that brow with love’s enraptured gaze,
Is it a wrong to thee?
   To Don Cæsar
            Trembling, I pause,
Lest e’en affection’s breath should wake the fires
Of slumbering hate.
   After regarding both with inquiring looks
           Speak!  In your secret hearts
What purpose dwells?  Is it the ancient feud
Unreconciled, that in your father’s halls
A moment stilled; beyond the castle gates,
Where sits infuriate war, and champs the bit-
Shall rage anew in mortal, bloody conflict?

Chorus (Bohemund).

Concord or strife-the fate’s decree
Is bosomed yet in dark futurity! 
What comes, we little heed to know,
Prepared for aught the hour may show!

Isabella (looking round). 
What mean these arms? this warlike, dread array,
That in the palace of your sires portends
Some fearful issue? needs a mother’s heart
Outpoured, this rugged witness of her joys? 
Say, in these folding arms shall treason hide
The deadly snare?  Oh, these rude, pitiless men,
The ministers of your wrath!-trust not the show
Of seeming friendship; treachery in their breasts
Lurks to betray, and long-dissembled hate. 
Ye are a race of other lands; your sires
Profaned their soil; and ne’er the invader’s yoke
Was easy-never in the vassal’s heart
Languished the hope of sweet revenge;-our sway
Not rooted in a people’s love, but owns
Allegiance from their fears; with secret joy-
For conquest’s ruthless sword, and thraldom’s chains
From age to age, they wait the atoning hour
Of princes’ downfall;-thus their bards awake
The patriot strain, and thus from sire to son
Rehearsed, the old traditionary tale
Beguiles the winter’s night.  False is the world,
My sons, and light are all the specious ties
By fancy twined:  friendship-deceitful name! 
Its gaudy flowers but deck our summer fortune,
To wither at the first rude breath of autumn! 
So happy to whom heaven has given a brother;
The friend by nature signed-the true and steadfast! 
Nature alone is honest-nature only-
When all we trusted strews the wintry shore-
On her eternal anchor lies at rest,
Nor heeds the tempest’s rage.

Don Manuel
                My mother!

Don Cæsar
                      Hear me

Isabella (taking their hands). 
Be noble, and forget the fancied wrongs
Of boyhood’s age:  more godlike is forgiveness
Than victory, and in your father’s grave
Should sleep the ancient hate:-Oh, give your days
Renewed henceforth to peace and holy love!

She recedes one or two steps, as if to give them space
to approach each other.  Both fix their eyes on the ground
without regarding one another.

Isabella (after awaiting for some time, with suppressed emotion,
     a demonstration on the part of her sons). 
I can no more; my prayers-my tears are vain:-
’Tis well! obey the demon in your hearts! 
Fulfil your dread intent, and stain with blood
The holy altars of your household gods;-
These halls that gave you birth, the stage where murder
Shall hold his festival of mutual carnage
Beneath a mother’s eye!-then, foot to foot,
Close, like the Theban pair, with maddening gripe,
And fold each other in a last embrace! 
Each press with vengeful thrust the dagger home,
And “Victory!” be your shriek of death:-nor then
Shall discord rest appeased; the very flame
That lights your funeral pyre shall tower dissevered
In ruddy columns to the skies, and tell
With horrid image-“thus they lived and died!”

   She goes away; the brothers stand as before.

     Chorus (Cajetan).

   How have her words with soft control
   Resistless calmed the tempest of my soul! 
    No guilt of kindred blood be mine! 
   Thus with uplifted hands I prey;
   Think, brothers, on the awful day,
    And tremble at the wrath divine!

Don Cæsar (without taking his eyes from the ground). 
Thou art my elder-speak-without dishonor
I yield to thee.

Don Manuel
         One gracious word, an instant,
My tongue is rival in the strife of love!

Don Cæsar
I am the guiltier-weaker -

Don Manuel
               Say not so! 
Who doubts thy noble heart, knows thee not well;
The words were prouder, if thy soul were mean.

Don Cæsar
It burns indignant at the thought of wrong-
But thou-methinks-in passion’s fiercest mood,
’Twas aught but scorn that harbored in thy breast.

Don Manuel
Oh! had I known thy spirit thus to peace
Inclined, what thousand griefs had never torn
A mother’s heart!

Don Cæsar
          I find thee just and true: 
Men spoke thee proud of soul.

Don Manuel
                The curse of greatness! 
Ears ever open to the babbler’s tale.

Don Cæsar
Thou art too proud to meanness-I to falsehood!

Don Manuel
We are deceived, betrayed!

Don Cæsar
              The sport of frenzy! 
Don Manuel
And said my mother true, false is the world?

Don Cæsar
Believe her, false as air.

Don Manuel
              Give me thy hand!

Don Cæsar
And thine be ever next my heart!

They stand clasping each other’s hands,
and regard each other in silence.

Don Manuel
                 I gaze
Upon thy brow, and still behold my mother
In some dear lineament.

Don Cæsar
             Her image looks
From thine, and wondrous in my bosom wakes
Affection’s springs.

Don Manuel
           And is it thou?-that smile
Benignant on thy face?-thy lips that charm
With gracious sounds of love and dear forgiveness?

Don Cæsar
Is this my brother, this the hated foe? 
His mien all gentleness and truth, his voice,
Whose soft prevailing accents breathe of friendship!

After a pause.

Don Manuel
Shall aught divide us?

Don Cæsar
            We are one forever!

They rush into each other’s arms.

First chorus (to the Second).

Why stand we thus, and coldly gaze,
While Nature’s holy transports burn? 
No dear embrace of happier days
The pledge-that discord never shall return! 
Brothers are they by kindred band;
We own the ties of home and native land.

   Both choruses embrace.

   A messenger enters.

Second chorus to Don Cæsar (Bohemund). 
Rejoice, my prince, thy messenger returns
And mark that beaming smile! the harbinger
Of happy tidings.

          Health to me, and health
To this delivered state!  Oh sight of bliss,
That lights mine eyes with rapture!  I behold
Their hands in sweet accord entwined; the sons
Of my departed lord, the princely pair
Dissevered late by conflict’s hottest rage.

Don Cæsar
Yes, from the flames of hate, a new-born Phoenix,
Our love aspires!

          I bring another joy;
My staff is green with flourishing shoots.

Don Cæsar (taking him aside). 
                      Oh, tell me
Thy gladsome message.

            All is happiness
On this auspicious day; long sought, the lost one
Is found.

Don Cæsar
      Discovered!  Oh, where is she?  Speak!

Within Messina’s walls she lies concealed.

Don Manuel (turning to the First semi-chorus). 
A ruddy glow mounts in my brother’s cheek,
And pleasure dances in his sparkling eye;
Whate’er the spring, with sympathy of love
My inmost heart partakes his joy.

Don Cæsar (to the messenger). 
                  Come, lead me;
Farewell, Don Manuel; to meet again
Enfolded in a mother’s arms!  I fly
To cares of utmost need.

He is about to depart.

Don Manuel
             Make no delay;
And happiness attend thee!

Don Cæsar (after a pause of reflection, he returns). 
              How thy looks
Awake my soul to transport!  Yes, my brother,
We shall be friends indeed!  This hour is bright
With glad presage of ever-springing love,
That in the enlivening beam shall flourish fair,
Sweet recompense of wasted years!

Don Manuel
                  The blossom
Betokens goodly fruit.

Don Cæsar
            I tear myself
Reluctant from thy arms, but think not less
If thus I break this festal hour-my heart
Thrills with a holy joy.

Don Manuel (with manifest absence of mind). 
             Obey the moment! 
Our lives belong to love.

Don Cesar
              What calls me hence -

Don Manuel
Enough! thou leav’st thy heart.

Don Cæsar
                 No envious secret
Shall part us long; soon the last darkening fold
Shall vanish from my breast.

Turning to the chorus.

Attend!  Forever
Stilled is our strife; he is my deadliest foe,
Detested as the gates of hell, who dares
To blow the fires of discord; none may hope
To win my love, that with malicious tales
Encroach upon a brother’s ear, and point
With busy zeal of false, officious friendship. 
The dart of some rash, angry word, escaped
From passion’s heat; it wounds not from the lips,
But, swallowed by suspicion’s greedy ear,
Like a rank, poisonous weed, embittered creeps,
And hangs about her with a thousand shoots,
Perplexing nature’s ties.

He embraces his brother again, and goes away
accompanied by the Second chorus.

Chorus (Cajetan). 
              Wondering, my prince,
I gaze, for in thy looks some mystery
Strange-seeming shows:  scarce with abstracted mien
And cold thou answered’st, when with earnest heart
Thy brother poured the strain of dear affection. 
As in a dream thou stand’st, and lost in thought,
As though-dissevered from its earthly frame-
Thy spirit roved afar.  Not thine the breast
That deaf to nature’s voice, ne’er owned the throbs
Of kindred love:-nay more-like one entranced
In bliss, thou look’st around, and smiles of rapture
Play on thy cheek.

Don Manuel
          How shall my lips declare
The transports of my swelling heart?  My brother
Revels in glad surprise, and from his breast
Instinct with strange new-felt emotions, pours
The tide of joy; but mine-no hate came with me,
Forgot the very spring of mutual strife! 
High o’er this earthly sphere, on rapture’s wings,
My spirit floats; and in the azure sea,
Above-beneath-no track of envious night
Disturbs the deep serene!  I view these halls,
And picture to my thoughts the timid joy
Of my sweet bride, as through the palace gates,
In pride of queenly state, I lead her home. 
She loved alone the loving one, the stranger,
And little deems that on her beauteous brow
Messina’s prince shall ’twine the nuptial wreath. 
How sweet, with unexpected pomp of greatness,
To glad the darling of my soul! too long
I brook this dull delay of crowning bliss! 
Her beauty’s self, that asks no borrowed charm,
Shall shine refulgent, like the diamond’s blaze
That wins new lustre from the circling gold!

Chorus (Cajetan). 
Long have I marked thee, prince, with curious eye,
Foreboding of some mystery deep enshrined
Within thy laboring breast.  This day, impatient,
Thy lips have burst the seal; and unconstrained
Confess a lover’s joy;-the gladdening chase,
The Olympian coursers, and the falcon’s flight
Can charm no more:-soon as the sun declines
Beneath the ruddy west, thou hiest thee quick
To some sequestered path, of mortal eye
Unseen-not one of all our faithful train
Companion of thy solitary way. 
Say, why so long concealed the blissful flame? 
Stranger to fear-ill-brooked thy princely heart
One thought unuttered.

Don Manuel
            Ever on the wing
Is mortal joy;-with silence best we guard
The fickle good;-but now, so near the goal
Of all my cherished hopes, I dare to speak. 
To-morrow’s sun shall see her mine! no power
Of hell can make us twain!  With timid stealth
No longer will I creep at dusky eve,
To taste the golden fruits of Cupid’s tree,
And snatch a fearful, fleeting bliss:  to-day
With bright to-morrow shall be one!  So smooth
As runs the limpid brook, or silvery sand
That marks the flight of time, our lives shall flow
In continuity of joy!

Chorus (Cajetan). 
Our hearts, my prince, with silent vows have blessed
Thy happy love; and now from every tongue,
For her-the royal, beauteous bride-should sound
The glad acclaim; so tell what nook unseen,
What deep umbrageous solitude, enshrines
The charmer of thy heart?  With magic spells
Almost I deem she mocks our gaze, for oft
In eager chase we scour each rustic path
And forest dell; yet not a trace betrayed
The lover’s haunts, ne’er were the footsteps marked
Of this mysterious fair.

Don Manuel
             The spell is broke! 
And all shall be revealed:  now list my tale:-
’Tis five months flown,-my father yet controlled
The land, and bowed our necks with iron sway;
Little I knew but the wild joys of arms,
And mimic warfare of the chase;-
                  One day,-
Long had we tracked the boar with zealous toil
On yonder woody ridge:-it chanced, pursuing
A snow-white hind, far from your train I roved
Amid the forest maze;-the timid beast,
Along the windings of the narrow vale,
Through rocky cleft and thick-entangled brake,
Flew onward, scarce a moment lost, nor distant
Beyond a javelin’s throw; nearer I came not,
Nor took an aim; when through a garden’s gate,
Sudden she vanished:-from my horse quick springing,
I followed:-lo! the poor scared creature lay
Stretched at the feet of a young, beauteous nun,
That strove with fond caress of her fair hands
To still its throbbing heart:  wondering, I gazed;
And motionless-my spear, in act to strike,
High poised-while she, with her large piteous eyes
For mercy sued-and thus we stood in silence
Regarding one another. 
            How long the pause
I know not-time itself forgot;-it seemed
Eternity of bliss:  her glance of sweetness
Flew to my soul; and quick the subtle flame
Pervaded all my heart:-
             But what I spoke,
And how this blessed creature answered, none
May ask; it floats upon my thought, a dream
Of childhood’s happy dawn!  Soon as my sense
Returned, I felt her bosom throb responsive
To mine,-then fell melodious on my ear
The sound, as of a convent bell, that called
To vesper song; and, like some shadowy vision
That melts in air, she flitted from my sight,
And was beheld no more.

Chorus (Cajetan). 
             Thy story thrills
My breast with pious awe!  Prince, thou hast robbed
The sanctuary, and for the bride of heaven
Burned with unholy passion!  Oh, remember
The cloister’s sacred vows!

Don Manuel
               Thenceforth one path
My footsteps wooed; the fickle train was still
Of young desires-new felt my being’s aim,
My soul revealed! and as the pilgrim turns
His wistful gaze, where, from the orient sky,
With gracious lustre beams Redemption’s star;-
So to that brightest point of heaven, her presence,
My hopes and longings centred all.  No sun
Sank in the western waves, but smiled farewell
To two united lovers:-thus in stillness
Our hearts were twined,-the all-seeing air above us
Alone the faithful witness of our joys! 
Oh, golden hours!  Oh, happy days! nor Heaven
Indignant viewed our bliss;-no vows enchained
Her spotless soul; naught but the link which bound it
Eternally to mine!

Chorus (Cajetan). 
          Those hallowed walls,
Perchance the calm retreat of tender youth,
No living grave?

Don Manuel
         In infant innocence
Consigned a holy pledge, ne’er has she left
Her cloistered home.

Chorus (Cajetan). 
           But what her royal line? 
The noble only spring from noble stem.

Don Manuel
A secret to herself,-she ne’er has learned
Her name or fatherland.

Chorus (Cajetan). 
             And not a trace
Guides to her being’s undiscovered springs?

Don Manuel
An old domestic, the sole messenger
Sent by her unknown mother, oft bespeaks her
Of kingly race.

Chorus (Cajetan). 
         And hast thou won naught else
From her garrulous age?

Don Manuel
             Too much I feared to peril
My secret bliss!

Chorus (Cajetan). 
         What were his words?  What tidings
He bore-perchance thou know’st.

Don Manuel
                 Oft he has cheered her
With promise of a happier time, when all
Shall be revealed.

Chorus (Cajetan). 
          Oh, say-betokens aught
The time is near?

Don Manuel
          Not distant far the day
That to the arms of kindred love once more
Shall give the long forsaken, orphaned maid-
Thus with mysterious words the aged man
Has shadowed oft what most I dread-for awe
Of change disturbs the soul supremely blest: 
Nay, more; but yesterday his message spoke
The end of all my joys-this very dawn,
He told, should smile auspicious on her fate,
And light to other scenes-no precious hour
Delayed my quick resolves-by night I bore her
In secret to Messina.

Chorus (Cajetan). 
            Rash the deed
Of sacrilegious spoil! forgive, my prince,
The bold rebuke; thus to unthinking youth
Old age may speak in friendship’s warning voice.

Don Manuel
Hard by the convent of the Carmélites,
In a sequestered garden’s tranquil bound,
And safe from curious eyes, I left her,-hastening
To meet my brother:  trembling there she counts
The slow-paced hours, nor deems how soon triumphant
In queenly state, high on the throne of fame,
Messina shall behold my timid bride. 
For next, encompassed by your knightly train,
With pomp of greatness in the festal show,
Her lover’s form shall meet her wondering gaze! 
Thus will I lead her to my mother; thus-
While countless thousands on her passage wait
Amid the loud acclaim-the royal bride
Shall reach my palace gates!

Chorus (Cajetan). 
               Command us, prince,
We live but to obey!

Don Manuel
           I tore myself
Reluctant from her arms; my every thought
Shall still be hers:  so come along, my friends,
To where the turbaned merchant spreads his store
Of fabrics golden wrought with curious art;
And all the gathered wealth of eastern climes. 
First choose the well-formed sandals-meet to guard
And grace her delicate feet; then for her robe
The tissue, pure as Etna’s snow that lies
Nearest the sun-light as the wreathy mist
At summer dawn-so playful let it float
About her airy limbs.  A girdle next,
Purple with gold embroidered o’er, to bind
With witching grace the tunic that confines
Her bosom’s swelling charms:  of silk the mantle,
Gorgeous with like empurpled hues, and fixed
With clasp of gold-remember, too, the bracelets
To gird her beauteous arms; nor leave the treasure
Of ocean’s pearly deeps and coral caves. 
About her locks entwine a diadem
Of purest gems-the ruby’s fiery glow
Commingling with the emerald’s green.  A veil,
From her tiara pendent to her feet,
Like a bright fleecy cloud shall circle round
Her slender form; and let a myrtle wreath
Crown the enchanting whole!

Chorus (Cajetan). 
               We haste, my prince. 
Amid the Bazar’s glittering rows, to cull
Each rich adornment.

Don Manuel
           From my stables lead
A palfrey, milk-white as the steeds that draw
The chariot of the sun; purple the housings,
The bridle sparkling o’er with precious gems,
For it shall bear my queen!  Yourselves be ready
With trumpet’s cheerful clang, in martial train
To lead your mistress home:  let two attend me,
The rest await my quick return; and each
Guard well my secret purpose.

He goes away accompanied by two of the chorus.

     Chorus (Cajetan).

   The princely strife is o’er, and say,
    What sport shall wing the slow-paced hours,
   And cheat the tedious day? 
    With hope and fear’s enlivening zest
    Disturb the slumber of the breast,
    And wake life’s dull, untroubled sea
    With freshening airs of gay variety.

     One of the Chorus (Manfred).

   Lovely is peace!  A beauteous boy,
    Couched listless by the rivulet’s glassy tide,
    ’Mid nature’s tranquil scene,
   He views the lambs that skip with innocent joy,
    And crop the meadow’s flowering pride:-
   Then with his flute’s enchanting sound,
   He wakes the mountain echoes round,
    Or slumbers in the sunset’s ruddy sheen,
    Lulled by the murmuring melody. 
   But war for me! my spirit’s treasure,
   Its stern delight, and wilder pleasure: 
   I love the peril and the pain,
   And revel in the surge of fortune’s boisterous main!

     A second (Berengar).

   Is there not love, and beauty’s smile
   That lures with soft, resistless wile? 
   ’Tis thrilling hope! ’tis rapturous fear
   ’Tis heaven upon this mortal sphere;
   When at her feet we bend the knee,
   And own the glance of kindred ecstasy
   For ever on life’s checkered way,
    ’Tis love that tints the darkening hues of care
   With soft benignant ray: 
   The mirthful daughter of the wave,
    Celestial Venus ever fair,
   Enchants our happy spring with fancy’s gleam,
   And wakes the airy forms of passion’s golden dream.

     First (Manfred).

    To the wild woods away! 
    Quick let us follow in the train
   Of her, chaste huntress of the silver bow;
    And from the rocks amain
   Track through the forest gloom the bounding roe,
    The war-god’s merry bride,
   The chase recalls the battle’s fray,
    And kindles victory’s pride:-
   Up with the streaks of early morn,
    We scour with jocund hearts the misty vale,
   Loud echoing to the cheerful horn
    Over mountain-over dale-
   And every languid sense repair,
   Bathed in the rushing streams of cold, reviving air.

     Second (Berengar).

   Or shall we trust the ever-moving sea,
   The azure goddess, blithe and free. 
   Whose face, the mirror of the cloudless sky,
   Lures to her bosom wooingly? 
    Quick let us build on the dancing waves
   A floating castle gay,
   And merrily, merrily, swim away! 
   Who ploughs with venturous keel the brine
   Of the ocean crystalline-
   His bride is fortune, the world his own,
   For him a harvest blooms unsown:-
    Here, like the wind that swift careers
   The circling bound of earth and sky,
   Flits ever-changeful destiny! 
   Of airy chance ’tis the sportive reign,
   And hope ever broods on the boundless main

     A third (Cajetan).

   Nor on the watery waste alone
    Of the tumultuous, heaving sea;-
   On the firm earth that sleeps secure,
    Based on the pillars of eternity. 
   Say, when shall mortal joy endure? 
   New bodings in my anxious breast,
     Waked by this sudden friendship, rise;
   Ne’er would I choose my home of rest
    On the stilled lava-stream, that cold
     Beneath the mountain lies
    Not thus was discord’s flame controlled-
   Too deep the rooted hate-too long
    They brooded in their sullen hearts
   O’er unforgotten, treasured wrong.  In warning visions oft dismayed,
    I read the signs of coming woe;
   And now from this mysterious maid
    My bosom tells the dreaded ills shall flow: 
   Unblest, I deem, the bridal chain
    Shall knit their secret loves, accursed
   With holy cloisters’ spoil profane. 
   No crooked paths to virtue lead;
   Ill fruit has ever sprung from evil seed!

And thus to sad unhallowed rites
Of an ill-omened nuptial tie,
Too well ye know their father bore
A bride of mournful destiny,
Torn from his sire, whose awful curse has sped
Heaven’s vengeance on the impious bed! 
This fierce, unnatural rage atones
A parent’s crime-decreed by fate,
Their mother’s offspring, strife and hate!

   The scene changes to a garden opening on the sea.

Beatrice (steps forward from an alcove.  She walks to and fro with an
     agitated air, looking round in every direction.  Suddenly she
     stands still and listens). 
No! ’tis not he:  ’twas but the playful wind
Rustling the pine-tops.  To his ocean bed
The sun declines, and with o’erwearied heart
I count the lagging hours:  an icy chill
Creeps through my frame; the very solitude
And awful silence fright my trembling soul! 
Where’er I turn naught meets my gaze-he leaves me
Forsaken and alone! 
And like a rushing stream the city’s hum
Floats on the breeze, and dull the mighty sea
Rolls murmuring to the rocks:  I shrink to nothing
With horrors compassed round; and like the leaf,
Borne on the autumn blast, am hurried onward
Through boundless space. 
             Alas! that e’er I left
My peaceful cell-no cares, no fond desires
Disturbed my breast, unruffled as the stream
That glides in sunshine through the verdant mead: 
Nor poor in joys.  Now-on the mighty surge
Of fortune, tempest-tossed-the world enfolds me
With giant arms!  Forgot my childhood’s ties
I listened to the lover’s flattering tale-
Listened, and trusted!  From the sacred dome
Allured-betrayed-for sure some hell-born magic
Enchained my frenzied sense-I fled with him,
The invader of religion’s dread abodes! 
Where art thou, my beloved?  Haste-return-
With thy dear presence calm my struggling soul!

   She listens.

Hark! the sweet voice!  No! ’twas the echoing surge
That beats upon the shore; alas! he comes not. 
More faintly, o’er the distant waves, the sun
Gleams with expiring ray; a deathlike shudder
Creeps to my heart, and sadder, drearier grows
E’en desolation’s self.

She walks to and fro, and then listens again.

Yes! from the thicket shade
A voice resounds! ’tis he! the loved one! 
No fond illusion mocks my listening ear. 
’Tis louder-nearer:  to his arms I fly-
To his breast!

She rushes with outstretched arms to the extremity
of the garden.  Don Cæsar meets her.

Don CasarBeatrice.

Beatrice (starting back in horror)
What do I see?

   At the same moment the Chorus comes forward.

Don Cæsar
        Angelic sweetness! fear not.
   To the Chorus. 
Retire! your gleaming arms and rude array
Affright the timorous maid.
   To Beatrice
               Fear nothing! beauty
And virgin shame are sacred in my eyes.

   The Chorus steps aside.  He approaches and takes her hand.

Where hast thou been? for sure some envious power
Has hid thee from my gaze:  long have I sought thee: 
E’en from the hour when ’mid the funeral rites
Of the dead prince, like some angelic vision,
Lit with celestial brightness, on my sight
Thou shonest, no other image in my breast
Waking or dreaming, lives; nor to thyself
Unknown thy potent spells; my glance of fire,
My faltering accents, and my hand that lay
Trembling in thine, bespoke my ecstasy! 
Aught else with solemn majesty the rite
And holy place forbade: 
             The bell proclaimed
The awful sacrifice!  With downcast eyes,
And kneeling I adored:  soon as I rose,
And caught with eager gaze thy form again,
Sudden it vanished; yet, with mighty magic
Of love enchained, my spirit tracked thy presence;
Nor ever, with unwearied quest, I cease
At palace gates, amid the temple’s throng,
In secret paths retired, or public scenes,
Where beauteous innocence perchance might rove,
To mark each passing form-in vain; but, guided
By some propitious deity this day
One of my train, with happy vigilance,
Espied thee in the neighboring church.

   Beatrice, who had stood trembling with averted eyes,
   here makes a gesture of terror.

I see thee
Once more; and may the spirit from this frame
Be severed ere we part!  Now let me snatch
This glad, auspicious moment, and defy
Or chance, or envious demon’s power, to shake
Henceforth my solid bliss; here I proclaim thee, Before this listening warlike train my bride, With pledge of knightly honors!
He shows her to the Chorus. 
Who thou art,
I ask not:  thou art mine!  But that thy soul
And birth are pure alike one glance informed My inmost heart; and though thy lot were mean, And poor thy lowly state, yet would I strain thee With rapture to my arms:  no choice remains, Thou art my love-my wife!  Know too, that lifted On fortune’s height, I spurn control; my will Can raise thee to the pinnacle of greatness-
Enough my name-I am Don Cæsar!  None
Is nobler in Messina!

Beatrice starts back in amazement.  He remarks her agitation,
and after a pause continues.

What a grace
Lives in thy soft surprise and modest silence! 
Yes! gentle humbleness is beauty’s crown-
The beautiful forever hid, and shrinking
From its own lustre:  but thy spirit needs
Repose, for aught of strange-e’en sudden joy-
Is terror-fraught.  I leave thee.

Turning to the Chorus. 
From this hour
She is your mistress, and my bride; so teach her With honors due to entertain the pomp Of queenly state.  I will return with speed,
And lead her home as fits Messina’s princess.

He goes away.

Beatrice and the Chorus.

Chorus (Bohemund).

   Fair maiden-hail to thee
    Thou lovely queen! 
   Thine is the crown, and thine the victory! 
   Of heroes to a distant age,
   The blooming mother thou shalt shine,
   Preserver of this kingly line.


    And thrice I bid thee hail,
     Thou happy fair! 
   Sent in auspicious hour to bless
   This favored race-the god’s peculiar care. 
   Here twine the immortal wreaths of fame
   And evermore, from sire to son,
   Rolls on the sceptered sway,
   To heirs of old renown, a race of deathless name!


   The household gods exultingly
    Thy coming wait;
   The ancient, honored sires,
    That on the portals frown sedate,
   Shall smile for thee! 
   There blooming Hebe shall thy steps attend;
   And golden victory, that sits
   By Jove’s eternal throne, with waving plumes
   For conquest ever spread,
   To welcome thee from heaven descend.


   Ne’er from this queenly, bright array
    The crown of beauty fades,
   Departing to the realms of day,
   Each to the next, as good and fair,
    Extends the zone of feminine grace,
     And veil of purity:-
    Oh, happy race! 
     What vision glads my raptured eye! 
   Equal in nature’s blooming pride,
   I see the mother and the virgin bride.

Beatrice (awaking from her reverie).

     Oh, luckless hour! 
    Alas! ill-fated maid! 
     Where shall I fly
     From these rude warlike men? 
    Lost and betrayed! 
     A shudder o’er me came,
   When of this race accursed-the brothers twain-
   Their hands embrued with kindred gore,
     I heard the dreaded name;
    Oft told, their strife and serpent hate
   With terror thrilled lay bosom’s core:-
    And now-oh, hapless fate! 
   I tremble, ’mid the rage of discord thrown,
   Deserted and alone!

   She runs into the alcove.

     Chorus (Bohemund).

   Son of the immortal deities,
    And blest is he, the lord of power;
   His every joy the world can give;
   Of all that mortals prize
    He culls the flower.


   For him from ocean’s azure caves
   The diver bears each pearl of purest ray;
   Whate’er from nature’s boundless field
   Or toil or art has won,
   Obsequious at his feet we lay;
   His choice is ever free;
   We bow to chance, and fortune’s blind decree.


   But this of princes’ lot I deem
   The crowning treasure, joy supreme-
   Of love the triumph and the prize,
   The beauty, star of neighboring eyes! 
   She blooms for him alone,
   He calls the fairest maid his own.


   Armed for the deadly fray,
    The corsair bounds upon the strand,
   And drags, amid the gloom of night, away,
    The shrieking captive train,
   Of wild desires the hapless prey;
    But ne’er his lawless hands profane
   The gem-the peerless flower-
   Whose charms shall deck the Sultan’s bower.


   Now haste and watch, with curious eye,
    These hallowed precincts round,
   That no presumptuous foot come nigh
    The secret, solitary ground
   Guard well the maiden fair,
   Your chieftain’s brightest jewel owns your care.

   The Chorus withdraws to the background.

   The scene changes to a chamber in the interior of the palace. 
   Donna Isabella between Don Manuel and Don Cæsar.

The long-expected, festal day is come,
My children’s hearts are twined in one, as thus
I fold their hands.  Oh, blissful hour, when first
A mother dares to speak in nature’s voice,
And no rude presence checks the tide of love. 
The clang of arms affrights mine ear no more;
And as the owls, ill-omened brood of night,
From some old, shattered homestead’s ruined walls,
Their ancient reign, fly forth a dusky swarm,
Darkening the cheerful day; when absent long,
The dwellers home return with joyous shouts,
To build the pile anew; so Hate departs
With all his grisly train; pale Envy, scowling Malice,
And hollow-eyed Suspicion; from our gates,
Hoarse murmuring, to the realms of night; while Peace,
By Concord and fair Friendship led along,
Comes smiling in his place.
   She pauses. 
               But not alone
This day of joy to each restores a brother;
It brings a sister!  Wonderstruck you gaze! 
Yet now the truth, in silence guarded long,
Bursts from my soul.  Attend!  I have a daughter! 
A sister lives, ordained by heaven to bind ye
With ties unknown before.

Don Cæsar
              We have a sister! 
What hast thou said, my mother? never told
Her being till this hour!

Don Manuel
              In childhood’s years,
Oft of a sister we have heard, untimely
Snatched in her cradle by remorseless death;
So ran the tale.

         She lives!

Don Cæsar
               And thou wert silent!

Hear how the seed was sown in early time,
That now shall ripen to a joyful harvest. 
Ye bloomed in boyhood’s tender age; e’en then
By mutual, deadly hate, the bitter spring
Of grief to this torn, anxious heart, dissevered;
Oh, may your strife return no more!  A vision,
Strange and mysterious, in your father’s breast
Woke dire presage:  it seemed that from his couch,
With branches intertwined, two laurels grew,
And in the midst a lily all in flames,
That, catching swift the boughs and knotted stems,
Burst forth with crackling rage, and o’er the house
Spread in one mighty sea of fire:  perplexed
By this terrific dream, my husband sought
An Arab, skilled to read the stars, and long
The trusted oracle, whose counsels swayed
His inmost purpose:  thus the boding sage
Spoke Fate’s decrees:  if I a daughter bore,
Destruction to his sons and all his race
From her should spring.  Soon, by heaven’s will, this child
Of dreadful omen saw the light; your sire
Commanded instant in the waves to throw
The new-born innocent; a mother’s love
Prevailed, and, aided by a faithful servant,
I snatched the babe from death.

Don Cæsar
                 Blest be the hands
The ministers of thy care!  Oh, ever rich
Of counsels was a parent’s love!

                 But more
Than Nature’s mighty voice, a warning dream
Impelled to save my child:  while yet unborn
She slumbered in my womb, sleeping I saw
An infant, fair as of celestial kind,
That played upon the grass; soon from the wood
A lion rushed, and from his gory jaws,
Caressing, in the infant’s lap let fall
His prey, new-caught; then through the air down swept
An eagle, and with fond caress alike
Dropped from his claws a trembling kid, and both
Cowered at the infant’s feet, a gentle pair. 
A monk, the saintly guide whose counsels poured
In every earthly need, the balm of heaven
Upon my troubled soul, my dream resolved. 
Thus spoke the man of God:  a daughter, sent
To knit the warring spirits of my sons
In bonds of tender love, should recompense
A mother’s pains!  Deep in my heart I treasured
His words, and, reckless of the Pagan seer,
Preserved the blessed child, ordained of heaven
To still your growing strife; sweet pledge of hope
And messenger of peace!

Don Manuel (embracing his brother). 
             There needs no sister
To join our hearts; she shall but bind them closer.

In a lone spot obscure, by stranger hands
Nurtured, the secret flower has grown; to me
Denied the joy to mark each infant charm
And opening grace from that sad hour of parting;
These arms ne’er clasped my child again! her sire,
To jealousy’s corroding fears a prey,
And brooding dark suspicion, restless tracked
Each day my steps.

Don Cæsar
          Yet three months flown, my father
Sleeps in the tranquil grave; say, whence delayed
The joyous tidings?  Why so long concealed
The maid, nor earlier taught our hearts to glow
With brother’s love?

           The cause, your frenzied hate,
That raging unconfined, e’en on the tomb
Of your scarce buried father, lit the flames
Of mortal strife.  What! could I throw my daughter
Betwixt your gleaming blades?  Or ’mid the storm
Of passion would ye list a woman’s counsels? 
Could she, sweet pledge of peace, of all our hopes
The last and holy anchor, ’mid the rage
Of discord find a home?  Ye stand as brothers,
So will I give a sister to your arms! 
The reconciling angel comes; each hour
I wait my messenger’s return; he leads her
From her sequestered cell, to glad once more
A mother’s eyes.

Don Manuel
         Nor her alone this day
Thy arms shall fold; joy pours through all our gates;
Soon shall the desolate halls be full, the seat
Of every blooming grace.  Now hear my secret: 
A sister thou hast given; to thee I bring
A daughter; bless thy son!  My heart has found
Its lasting shrine:  ere this day’s sun has set
Don Manuel to thy feet shall lead his bride,
The partner of his days.

             And to my breast
With transport will I clasp the chosen maid
That makes my first-born happy.  Joy shall spring
Where’er she treads, and every flower that blooms
Around the path of life smile in her presence! 
May bliss reward the son, that for my brows
Has twined the choicest wreath a mother wears.

Don Cæsar
Yet give not all the fulness of thy blessing
To him, thy eldest born.  If love be blest,
I, too, can give thee joy.  I bring a daughter,
Another flower for thy most treasured garland! 
The maid that in this ice-cold bosom first
Awoke the rapturous flame!  Ere yonder sun
Declines, Don Caesar’s bride shall call thee mother.

Don Manuel
Almighty Love! thou godlike power-for well
We call thee sovereign of the breast!  Thy sway
Controls each warring element, and tunes
To soft accord; naught lives but owns thy greatness. 
Lo! the rude soul that long defied thee melts
At thy command!
   He embraces Don Cæsar
         Now I can trust thy heart,
And joyful strain thee to a brother’s arms! 
I doubt thy faith no more, for thou canst love!

Thrice blest the day, when every gloomy care
From my o’erlabored breast has flown.  I see
On steadfast columns reared our kingly race,
And with contented spirit track the stream
Of measureless time.  In these deserted halls,
Sad in my widow’s veil, but yesterday
Childless I roamed; and soon, in youthful charms
Arrayed, three blooming daughters at my side
Shall stand!  Oh, happiest mother!  Chief of women,
In bliss supreme; can aught of earthly joy
O’erbalance thine? 
          But say, of royal stem,
What maidens grace our isle?  For ne’er my sons
Would stoop to meaner brides.

Don Manuel
                Seek not to raise
The veil that hides my bliss; another day
Shall tell thee all.  Enough-Don Manuel’s bride
Is worthy of thy son and thee.

                Thy sire
Speaks in thy words; thus to himself retired
Forever would he brood o’er counsels dark,
And cloak his secret purpose;-your delay
Be short, my son.
   Turning to Don Cæsar
          But thou-some royal maid,
Daughter of kings, hath stirred thy soul to love;
So speak-her name -

Don Cæsar
           I have no art to veil
My thoughts with mystery’s garb-my spirit free
And open as my brows; which thou wouldst know
Concerned me never.  What illumes above
Heaven’s flaming orb?  Himself!  On all the world
He shines, and with his beaming glory tells
From light he sprung:-in her pure eyes I gazed,
I looked into her heart of hearts:-the brightness
Revealed the pearl.  Her race-her name-my mother,
Ask not of me!

        My son, explain thy words,
For, like some voice divine, the sudden charm
Has thralled thy soul:  to deeds of rash emprise
Thy nature prompted, not to fantasies
Of boyish love:-tell me, what swayed thy choice?

Don Cæsar
My choice? my mother!  Is it choice when man
Obeys the might of destiny, that brings
The awful hour?  I sought no beauteous bride,
No fond delusion stirred my tranquil breast,
Still as the house of death; for there, unsought,
I found the treasure of my soul.  Thou know’st
That, heedless ever of the giddy race,
I looked on beauty’s charms with cold disdain,
Nor deemed of womankind there lived another
Like thee-whom my idolatrous fancy decked
With heavenly graces:-
             ’Twas the solemn rite
Of my dead father’s obsequies; we stood
Amid the countless throng, with strange attire
Hid from each other’s glance; for thus ordained
Thy thoughtful care lest with outbursting rage,
E’ en by the holy place unawed, our strife
Should mar the funeral pomp. 
               With sable gauze
The nave was all o’erhung; the altar round
Stood twenty giant saints, uplifting each
A torch; and in the midst reposed on high
The coffin, with o’erspreading pall, that showed,
In white, redemption’s sign;-thereon were laid
The staff of sovereignty, the princely crown,
The golden spurs of knighthood, and the sword,
With diamond-studded belt:-
               And all was hushed
In silent prayer, when from the lofty choir,
Unseen, the pealing organ spoke, and loud
From hundred voices burst the choral strain! 
Then, ’mid the tide of song, the coffin sank
With the descending floor beneath, forever
Down to the world below:-but, wide outspread
Above the yawning grave, the pall upheld
The gauds of earthly state, nor with the corpse
To darkness fell; yet on the seraph wings
Of harmony, the enfranchised spirit soared
To heaven and mercy’s throne: 
                Thus to thy thought,
My mother, I have waked the scene anew,
And say, if aught of passion in my breast
Profaned the solemn hour; yet then the beams
Of mighty love-so willed my guiding star-
First lit my soul; but how it chanced, myself
I ask in vain.

        I would hear all; so end
Thy tale.

Don Cæsar
      What brought her to my side, or whence
She came, I know not:-from her presence quick
Some secret all-pervading inward charm
Awoke; ’twas not the magic of a smile,
Nor playful Cupid in her cheeks, nor more,
The form of peerless grace;-’twas beauty’s soul,
The speaking virtue, modesty inborn,
That as with magic spells, impalpable
To sense, my being thralled.  We breathed together
The air of heaven:-enough!-no utterance asked
Of words, our spiritual converse;-in my heart,
Though strange, yet with familiar ties inwrought
She seemed, and instant spake the thought-’tis she! 
Or none that lives!

Don Manuel (interposing with eagerness). 
           That is the sacred fire
From heaven! the spark of love-that on the soul
Bursts like the lightning’s flash, and mounts in flame,
When kindred bosoms meet!  No choice remains-
Who shall resist?  What mortal break the band
That heaven has knit?  Brother, my blissful fortune
Was echoed in thy tale-well thou hast raised
The veil that shadows yet my secret love.

Thus destiny has marked the wayward course
Of my two sons:  the mighty torrent sweeps
Down from the precipice; with rage he wears
His proper bed, nor heeds the channel traced
By art and prudent care.  So to the powers
That darkly sway the fortunes of our house,
Trembling I yield.  One pledge of hope remains;
Great as their birth-their noble souls.

Isabella, Don Manuel, Don Cæsar
Diego is seen at the door.

                     But see,
My faithful messenger returns.  Come near me,
Honest Diego.  Quick!  Where is she?  Tell me,
Where is my child?  There is no secret here. 
Oh, speak!  No longer from my eyes conceal her;
Come! we are ready for the height of joy.

She is about to lead him towards the door.

What means this pause?  Thou lingerest-thou art dumb-
Thy looks are terror-fraught-a shudder creeps
Through all my frame-declare thy tidings!-speak! 
Where is she?  Where is Beatrice?

She is about to rush from the chamber.

Don Manuel (to himself abstractedly). 

Diego (holding back the princess). 
                       Be still!

Where is she?  Anguish tears my breast!

                     She comes not. 
I bring no daughter to thy arms.

Thy message!  Speak! by all the saints! 
What has befallen?

Don Manuel
          Where is my sister?  Tell us,
Thou harbinger of ill!

            The maid is stolen
By corsairs! lost!  Oh! that I ne’er had seen
This day of woe!

Don Manuel
         Compose thyself, my mother!

Don Cæsar
Be calm; list all this tale.

               At thy command
I sought in haste the well-known path that leads
To the old sanctuary:-joy winged my footsteps;
The journey was my last!

Don Cæsar
             Be brief!

Don Manuel

Soon as I trod the convent’s court-impatient-
I ask-“Where is thy daughter?” Terror sate
In every eye; and straight, with horror mute,
I heard the worst.

Isabella sinks, pale and trembling, upon a chair;
Don Manuel is busied about her.

Don Cæsar
          Say’st thou by pirates stolen? 
Who saw the band?-what tongue relates the spoil?

Not far a Moorish galley was descried,
At anchor in the bay -

Don Cæsar
             The refuge oft
From tempests’ rage; where is the bark?

                     At down,
With favoring breeze she stood to sea.

Don Cæsar
                    But never
One prey contents the Moor; say, have they told
Of other spoil?

         A herd that pastured near
Was dragged away.

Don Cæsar
          Yet from the convent’s bound
How tear the maid unseen?

              ’Tis thought with ladders
They scaled the wall.

Don Cæsar
            Thou knowest what jealous care
Enshrines the bride of Heaven; scarce could their steps
Invade the secret cells.

             Bound by no vows
The maiden roved at will; oft would she seek
Alone the garden’s shade.  Alas! this day,
Ne’er to return!

Don Cæsar
         Saidst thou-the prize of corsairs? 
Perchance, at other bidding, she forsook
The sheltering dome -

Isabella (rising suddenly). 
            ’Twas force! ’twas savage spoil! 
Ne’er has my child, reckless of honor’s ties
With vile seducer fled!  My sons!  Awake! 
I thought to give a sister to your arms;
I ask a daughter from your swords!  Arise! 
Avenge this wrong!  To arms!  Launch every ship! 
Scour all our coasts!  From sea to sea pursue them! 
Oh, bring my daughter! haste!

Don Cæsar
                Farewell-I fly
To vengeance!
                  He goes away.

Don Manuel arouses himself from a state of abstraction,
and turns, with an air of agitation, to Diego.

Don Manuel
        Speak! within the convent’s walls
When first unseen -

           This day at dawn.

Don Manuel (to Isabella). 
                    Her name
Thou say’st is Beatrice?

             No question!  Fly! 
Don Manuel
Yet tell me -

        Haste!  Begone!  Why this delay? 
Follow thy brother.

Don Manuel
           I conjure thee-speak -

Isabella (dragging him away). 
Behold my tears!

Don Manuel
         Where was she hid?  What region
Concealed my sister?

           Scarce from curious eyes
In the deep bosom of the earth more safe
My child had been!

          Oh! now a sudden horror
Starts in my breast.

Don Manuel
           What gives thee fear?

                       ’Twas I
That guiltless caused this woe!

                 Unhappy man! 
What hast thou done?

           To spare thy mother’s heart
One anxious pang, my mistress, I concealed
What now my lips shall tell:  ’twas on the day
When thy dead husband in the silent tomb
Was laid; from every side the unnumbered throng
Pressed eager to the solemn rites; thy daughter-
For e’en amid the cloistered shade was noised
The funeral pomp, urged me, with ceaseless prayers,
To lead her to the festival of Death. 
In evil hour I gave consent; and, shrouded
In sable weeds of mourning, she surveyed
Her father’s obsequies.  With keen reproach
My bosom tells (for through the veil her charms
Resistless shone), ’twas there, perchance, the spoiler
Lurked to betray.

Don Manuel (to himself). 
          Thrice happy words!  I live! 
It was another!

Isabella (to Diego). 
         Faithless!  Ill betide
Thy treacherous age!

           Oh, never have I strayed
From duty’s path!  My mistress, in her prayers
I heard the voice of Nature; thus from Heaven
Ordained,-methought, the secret impulse moves
Of kindred blood, to hallow with her tears
A father’s grave:  the tender office owned
Thy servant’s care, and thus with good intent
I wrought but ill.

Don Manuel (to himself). 
          Why stand I thus a prey
To torturing fears!  No longer will I bear
The dread suspense –­I will know all!

Don Cæsar (who returns). 
                    Forgive me,
I follow thee.

Don Manuel
        Away!  Let no man follow.


Don Cæsar (looking after him in surprise). 
What means my brother?  Speak -

                 In wonder lost
I gaze; some mystery lurks -

Don Cæsar
               Thou mark’st, my mother,
My quick return; with eager zeal I flew
At thy command, nor asked one trace to guide
My footsteps to thy daughter.  Whence was torn
Thy treasure?  Say, what cloistered solitude
Enshrined the beauteous maid?

                ’Tis consecrate
To St. Cecilia; deep in forest shades,
Beyond the woody ridge that slowly climbs
Toward’s Etna’s towering throne, it seems a refuge
Of parted souls!

Don Cæsar
         Have courage, trust thy sons;
She shall be thine, though with unwearied quest
O’er every land and sea I track her presence
To earth’s extremest bounds:  one thought alone
Disturbs,-in stranger hands my timorous bride
Waits my return; to thy protecting arms
I give the pledge of all my joy!  She comes;
Soon on her faithful bosom thou shalt rest
In sweet oblivion of thy cares.

When will the ancient curse be stilled that weighs
Upon our house?  Some mocking demon sports
With every new-formed hope, nor envious leaves
One hour of joy.  So near the haven smiled-
So smooth the treacherous main-secure I deemed
My happiness:  the storm was lulled; and bright
In evening’s lustre gleamed the sunny shore! 
Then through the placid air the tempest sweeps,
And bears me to the roaring surge again!

   She goes into the interior of the palace,
   followed by Diego.

   The Scene changes to the Garden.

   Both Choruses, afterwards Beatrice.

The Chorus of Don Manuel enters in solemn procession, adorned with garlands, and bearing the bridal ornaments above mentioned.  The Chorus of Don Cæsar opposes their entrance.

First Chorus (Cajetan). 

Second Chorus (Bohemund). 
    Not at thy bidding!

               Seest thou not
Thy presence irks?

          Thou hast it, then, the longer!

My place is here!  What arm repels me?


Don Manuel sent me hither.

              I obey
My Lord Don Cæsar.

           To the eldest born
Thy master reverence owes.

              The world belongs
To him that wins!

          Unmannered knave, give place!

Our swords be measured first!

                I find thee ever
A serpent in my path.

            Where’er I list
Thus will I meet thee!

            Say, why cam’st thou hither
To spy? -

      And thou to question and command?

To parley I disdain!

           Too much I grace thee
By words!

      Thy hot, impetuous youth should bow
To reverend age.

         Older thou art-not braver.

Beatrice (rushing from her place of concealment). 
Alas!  What mean these warlike men?

Cajetan (to Bohemund). 
                   I heed not
Thy threats and lofty mien.

               I serve a master
Better than thine.

          Alas!  Should he appear!

Thou liest!  Don Manuel thousandfold excels.

In every strife the wreath of victory decks
Don Caesar’s brows!

           Now he will come!  Already
The hour is past!

          ’Tis peace, or thou shouldst know
My vengeance!

        Fear, not peace, thy arm refrains.

Oh!  Were he thousand miles remote!

                   Thy looks
But move my scorn; the compact I obey.

The coward’s ready shield!

              Come on!  I follow.

To arms!

Beatrice (in the greatest agitation). 
     Their falchions gleam-the strife begins! 
Ye heavenly powers, his steps refrain!  Some snare
Throw round his feet, that in this hour of dread
He come not:  all ye angels, late implored
To give him to my arms, reverse my prayers;
Far, far from hence convey the loved one!

   She runs into the alcove.  At the moment when the two
   Choruses are about to engage, Don Manuel appears.

Don Manuel, the Chorus.

Don Manuel
What do I see!

First Chorus to the Second (Cajetan, Berengar, Manfred). 
        Come on!  Come on!

Second Chorus (Bohemund, Roger, Hippolyte). 
                  Down with them!

Don Manuel (stepping between them with drawn sword). 

    ’Tis the prince!

             Be still!

Don Manuel
                  I stretch him dead
Upon this verdant turf that with one glance
Of scorn prolongs the strife, or threats his foe! 
Why rage ye thus?  What maddening fiend impels
To blow the flames of ancient hate anew,
Forever reconciled?  Say, who began
The conflict?  Speak -

First Chorus (Cajetan, Berengar). 
            My prince, we stood -

Second Chorus (Roger, Bohemund) interrupting them. 
                        They came

Don Manuel (to the First Chorus). 
Speak thou!

First Chorus (Cajetan). 
       With wreaths adorned, in festal train,
We bore the bridal gifts; no thought of ill
Disturbed our peaceful way; composed forever
With holy pledge of love we deemed your strife,
And trusting came; when here in rude array
Of arms encamped they stood, and loud defied us!

Don Manuel
Slave!  Is no refuge safe?  Shall discord thus
Profane the bower of virgin innocence,
The home of sanctity and peace?
   To the Second Chorus. 
Your warlike presence ill beseems; away! 
I would be private.
   They hesitate. 
           In your master’s name
I give command; our souls are one, our lips
Declare each other’s thoughts; begone!
   To the First Chorus. 
And guard the entrance.

             So!  What next?  Our masters
Are reconciled; that’s plain; and less he wins
Of thanks than peril, that with busy zeal
In princely quarrel stirs; for when of strife
His mightiness aweary feels, of guilt
He throws the red-dyed mantle unconcerned
On his poor follower’s luckless head, and stands
Arrayed in virtue’s robes!  So let them end
E’en as they will their brawls, I hold it best
That we obey.

   Exit Second Chorus.  The first withdraws to the
   back of the stage; at the same moment Beatrice rushes
   forward, and throws herself into Don Manuel’s arms.

        ’Tis thou!  Ah! cruel one,
Again I see thee-clasp thee-long appalled,
To thousand ills a prey, trembling I languish
For thy return:  no more-in thy loved arms
I am at peace, nor think of dangers past,
Thy breast my shield from every threatening harm. 
Quick!  Let us fly! they see us not!-away! 
Nor lose the moment. 
           Ha!  Thy looks affright me! 
Thy sullen, cold reserve!  Thou tear’st thyself
Impatient from my circling arms, I know thee
No more!  Is this Don Manuel?  My beloved? 
My husband?

Don Manuel

            No words!  The moment
Is precious!  Haste.

Don Manuel
           Yet tell me -

                   Quick!  Away! 
Ere those fierce men return.

Don Manuel
               Be calm, for naught
Shall trouble thee of ill.

              Oh, fly! alas,
Thou know’st them not!

Don Manuel
            Protected by this arm
Canst thou fear aught?

            Oh, trust me; mighty men
Are here!

Don Manuel
      Beloved! mightier none than I!

And wouldst thou brave this warlike host alone?

Don Manuel
Alone! the men thou fear’st -

                Thou know’st them not,
Nor whom they serve.

Don Manuel
           Myself!  I am their lord!

Thou art-a shudder creeps through all my frame!

Don Manuel
Far other than I seemed; learn at last
To know me, Beatrice.  Not the poor knight
Am I, the stranger and unknown, that loving
Taught thee to love; but what I am-my race-
My power -

      And art thou not Don Manuel?  Speak-
Who art thou?

Don Manuel
        Chief of all that bear the name,
I am Don Manuel, Prince of Messina!

Art thou Don Manuel, Don Caesar’s brother?

Don Manuel
Don Cæsar is my brother.

              Is thy brother!

Don Manuel
What means this terror?  Know’st thou, then, Don Cæsar? 
None other of my race?

            Art thou Don Manuel,
That with thy brother liv’st in bitter strife
Of long inveterate hate?

Don Manuel
             This very sun
Smiled on our glad accord!  Yes, we are brothers! 
Brothers in heart!

          And reconciled?  This day?

Don Manuel
What stirs this wild disorder?  Hast thou known
Aught but our name?  Say, hast thou told me all? 
Is there no secret?  Hast thou naught concealed? 
Nothing disguised?

          Thy words are dark; explain,
What shall I tell thee?

Don Manuel
             Of thy mother naught
Hast thou e’er told; who is she?  If in words
I paint her, bring her to thy sight -

                    Thou know’st her! 
And thou wert silent!

Don Manuel
            If I know thy mother,
Horrors betide us both!

             Oh, she is gracious
As the sun’s orient beam!  Yes!  I behold her;
Fond memory wakes;-and from my bosom’s depths
Her godlike presence rises to my view! 
I see around her snowy neck descend
The tresses of her raven hair, that shade
The form of sculptured loveliness; I see
The pale, high-thoughted brow; the darkening glance
Of her large lustrous orbs; I hear the tones
Of soul-fraught sweetness!

Don Manuel
              ’Tis herself!

                      This day,
Perchance had give me to her arms, and knit
Our souls in everlasting love;-such bliss
I have renounced, yes!  I have lost a mother
For thee!

Don Manuel
      Console thyself, Messina’s princess
Henceforth shall call thee daughter; to her feet
I lead thee; come-she waits.  What hast thou said?

Thy mother and Don Caesar’s?  Never! never!

Don Manuel
Thou shudderest!  Whence this horror?  Hast thou known
My mother?  Speak -

           O grief!  O dire misfortune! 
Alas! that e’er I live to see this day!

Don Manuel
What troubles thee?  Thou know’st me, thou hast found,
In the poor stranger knight, Messina’s prince!

Give me the dear unknown again!  With him
On earth’s remotest wilds I could be blest!

Don Cæsar (behind the scene). 
Away!  What rabble throng is here?

                  That voice! 
Oh heavens!  Where shall I fly!

Don Manuel
                 Know’st thou that voice? 
No! thou hast never heard it; to thine ear
’Tis strange -

        Oh, come-delay not -

Don Manuel
                    Wherefore I fly? 
It is my brother’s voice!  He seeks me-how
He tracked my steps -

            By all the holy saints! 
Brave not his wrath! oh quit this place-avoid him-
Meet not thy brother here!

Don Manuel
              My soul! thy fears
Confound; thou hear’st me not; our strife is o’er. 
Yes! we are reconciled.

             Protect me, heaven,
In this dread hour!

Don Manuel
           A sudden dire presage
Starts in my breast-I shudder at the thought: 
If it be true!  Oh, horror!  Could she know
That voice!  Wert thou-my tongue denies to utter
The words of fearful import-Beatrice! 
Say, wert thou present at the funeral rites
Of my dead sire?


Don Manuel
             Thou wert!

                   Forgive me!

Don Manuel
Unhappy woman!

        I was present!

Don Manuel

Some mighty impulse urged me to the scene-
Oh, be not angry-to thyself I owned
The ardent fond desire; with darkening brow
Thou listened’st to my prayer, and I was silent,
But what misguiding inauspicious star
Allured, I know not; from my inmost soul
The wish, the dear emotion spoke; and vain
Aught else:-Diego gave consent-oh, pardon me! 
I disobeyed thee.

   She advances towards him imploringly; at the same moment
   Don Cæsar enters, accompanied by the whole Chorus.

Both brothers, both choruses, Beatrice.

Second Chorus (Bohemund) to Don Cæsar
          Thou heliev’st us not-
Believe thine eyes!

Don Cæsar (rushes forward furiously, and at the sight of his brother
      starts back with horror). 
           Some hell-born magic cheats
My senses; in her arms!  Envenomed snake! 
Is this thy love?  For this thy treacherous heart
Could lure with guise of friendship!  Oh, from heaven
Breathed my immortal hate!  Down, down to hell,
Thou soul of falsehood!

He stabs him, Don Manuel falls.

Don Manuel
             Beatrice!-my brother! 
I die!

Dies.  Beatrice sinks lifeless at his side.

First Chorus (Cajetan). 
Help!  Help!  To arms!  Avenge with blood
The bloody deed!

Second Chorus (Bohemund). 
         The fortune of the day
Is ours!  The strife forever stilled:-Messina
Obeys one lord.

First Chorus (Cajetan, Berengar, Manfred). 
         Revenge!  The murderer
Shall die!  Quick, offer to your master’s shade
Appeasing sacrifice!

Second Chorus (Bohemund, Roger, Hippolyte). 
           My prince! fear nothing,
Thy friends are true.

Don Cæsar (steps between them, looking around). 
            Be still!  The foe is slain
That practised on my trusting, honest heart
With snares of brother’s love.  Oh, direful shows
The deed of death!  But righteous heaven hath judged.

First Chorus (Cajetan). 
Alas to thee, Messina!  Woe forever! 
Sad city!  From thy blood-stained walls this deed
Of nameless horror taints the skies; ill fare
Thy mothers and thy children, youth and age,
And offspring yet, unborn!

Don Cæsar
              Too late your grief-
Here give your help.
   Pointing to Beatrice
           Call her to life, and quick
Depart this scene of terror and of death. 
I must away and seek my sister:-Hence! 
Conduct her to my mother-
And tell her that her son, Don Cæsar, sends her!


The senseless Beatrice is placed on a litter and carried away by the Second Chorus.  The First Chorus remains with the body, round which the boys who bear the bridal presents range themselves in a semicircle.

Chorus (Cajetan).

List, how with dreaded mystery
Was signed to my prophetic soul,
Of kindred blood the dire decree:-
Hither with noiseless, giant stride
I saw the hideous fiend of terror glide! 
’Tis past!  I strive not to control
My shuddering awe-so swift of ill
The Fates the warning sign fulfil. 
Lo! to my sense dismayed,
Sudden the deed of death has shown
Whate’er my boding fears portrayed. 
The visioned thought was pain;
The present horror curdles every vein

     One of the Chorus (Manfred).

    Sound, sound the plaint of woe! 
     Beautiful youth! 
    Outstretched and pale he lies,
   Untimely cropped in early bloom;
    The heavy night of death has sealed his eyes;-
    In this glad hour of nuptial joy,
   Snatched by relentless doom,
   He sleeps-while echoing to the sky,
   Of sorrow bursts the loud, despairing cry!

     A second (Cajetan).

   We come, we come, in festal pride,
   To greet the beauteous bride;
     Behold! the nuptial gifts, the rich attire
    The banquet waits, the guests are there;
   They bid thee to the solemn rite
    Of hymen quick repair. 
     Thou hear’st them not-the sportive lyre,
   The frolic dance, shall ne’er invite;
   Nor wake thee from thy lowly bed,
   For deep the slumber of the dead!

     The whole Chorus.

   No more the echoing horn shall cheer
   Nor bride with tones of sweetness charm his ear. 
   On the cold earth he lies,
   In death’s eternal slumber closed his eyes.

     A third (Cajetan).

   What are the hopes, and fond desires
    Of mortals’ transitory race? 
     This day, with harmony of voice and soul,
   Ye woke the long-extinguished fires
   Of brothers’ love-yon flaming orb
    Lit with his earliest beams your dear embrace
    At eve, upon the gory sand
   Thou liest-a reeking corpse! 
    Stretched by a brother’s murderous hand. 
     Vain projects, treacherous hopes,
   Child of the fleeting hour are thine;
   Fond man! thou rear’st on dust each bold design,

     Chorus (Berengar).

    To thy mother I will bear
   The burden of unutterable woe! 
    Quick shall yon cypress, blooming fair,
   Bend to the axe’s murderous blow
    Then twine the mournful bier! 
   For ne’er with verdant life the tree shall smile
   That grew on death’s devoted soil;
   Ne’er in the breeze the branches play,
   Nor shade the wanderer in the noontide ray;
   ’Twas marked to bear the fruits of doom,
   Cursed to the service of the tomb.

     First (Cajetan).

    Woe to the murderer!  Woe
   That sped exulting in his pride,
   Behold! the parched earth drinks the crimson tide. 
   Down, down it flows, unceasingly,
    To the dim caverned halls below,
   Where throned in kindred gloom the sister train,
    Of Themis progeny severe,
   Brood in their songless, silent reign! 
    Stern minister of wrath’s decree,
   They catch in swarthy cups thy streaming gore,
   And pledge with horrid rites for vengeance evermore.

     Second (Berengar).

   Though swift of deed the traces fade
    From earth, before the enlivening ray;
   As o’er the brow the transient shade
    Of thought, the hues of fancy flit away:-
   Yet in the mystic womb unseen,
    Of the dark ruling hours that sway
   Our mortal lot, whate’er has been,
    With new creative germ defies decay. 
   The blooming field is time
   For nature’s ever-teeming shoot,
   And all is seed, and all is fruit.

   The Chorus goes away, bearing the corpse of Don Manuel on a bier.