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Mar. Conrad, good youth-lead me from hence, Her. He who knoweth of an unpunished crime, let and I will show thee where, thirty years since, I bim stand forth as bound by his oath when his hand deposited a mighty bribe.
was laid upon the dagger and upon the cord, and
(Rises. call to the assembly for vengeance ! Con. Be patient, good Martin.
Member (rises, his face covered) Vengeance! venWic. And where was the miscreant seized ?
geance! vengeance !
MARTIN, and draw their daggers; the Accuser. Upon a brother of this order, who is for-
sworn and perjured to its laws. 1 Mem. On this very spot.
Rod. Relate his crime. Wic. Traitors, unloose your hold !
Accuser. This perjured brother was sworn, upon 1 Mem. In the name of the Invisible Judges, I the steel and upon the cord, to denounce malefactors charge ye, impede us not in our duty.
to the judgment-seat, from the four quarters of heaven, [All sink their weapons, and stand motionless.
though it were the spouse of his heart, or the son Mar. Help! help!
whom he loved as the apple of his eye: yet did he con1 Mem. Help bim with your prayers.
ceal the guilt of one who was dear unto him; he (He is dragged off. The scene shuts.
folded up the crime from the knowledge of the tribunal; he removed the evidence of guilt, and withdrew
the criminal from justice. What does his perjury ACT V.
Rod. Accuser, come before the altar ; lay thy hand
upon the dagger and the cord, and swear to the truth The subterranean chapel of the castle of Griefenhaus. It seems deserted, and in decay. There are four entrances, each
of thy accusation. defended by an iron portal. At cach door stands a warder Accuser (his hand on the altar). I swear! clothed in black, and masked, armed with a naked suord. Rod. Wilt thou take upon thyself the penalty of During the whole scene they remain motionless on their posts. perjury, should it be found false ? In the centre of the chupel is the ruinous altar, half sunk in the ground. on which lie: a large book, a dagger, and a coil
Accuser. I will. of ropes, beside two lighted tapers. Antique stone benches Rod. Brethren, what is your sentence ? of different heights around the chapel. In the back scene is
[The Members confer a moment seen a dilapidated entrance into the sacristy, which is quile
in whispers-a silence. dark. Various Members of the Invisible Tribunal enter by the four
Eldest Mem. Our voice is, that the perjured brother different doors of the chapel. Each whispers something as
merits death. he passes the Warder, which is answered by an inclination Rod. Accuser, thou hast heard the voice of the asof the head. The costume of the Members is a long black sembly; name the criminal. robe, capable of muffling the face : some wear it in this manner ; others have their faces uncovered, unless on the
Accuser. Gcorge, Baron of Aspen. entrance of a stranger : they place themselves in profound
(A murmur in the assembly. silence upon the stone benches.
A Member (suddenly rising). I am ready, accordEnter Count RODERIC, dressed in a scarlet cloak of the ing to our holy laws, to swear, by the steel and the
same form with those of the other Members. He takes cord, that George of Aspen merits not this accusation, his place on the most elevated bench.
and that it is a foul calumny.
Accuser. Rash man! gagest thou an oath so lightly ? Rod. Warders, secure the doors! (The doors are
Member. I gage it not lightly. I proffer it in the barred with great care.) Herald, do thy duty !
cause of innocence and virtue. (Members all rise-Herald stands by the altar. Her. Members of the Invisible Tribunal, who judge himself deny the charge?
Accuser. What if George of Aspen should not in secret, and avenge in secret, like the Deity, are
Member. Then would I never trust man again. your hearts free from malice, and your hands from
Accuser. Hear him, then, bear witness against himblood-guiltiness?
self (throws back his manile). [All the Members incline their heads. Rod. God pardon our sins of ignorance, and pre
Rod. Baron George of Aspen ! serve us from those of presumption.
Geo. The same--prepared to do penance for the
crime of which he stands self-accused. (Again the members solemnly
Rod. Still canst thou disclose the name of the criincline their heads. Her. To the east, and the west, and to the north,
minal whom thou hast rescued from justice, on that and to the south, I raise my voice; wherever there is condition alone, thy brethren may save thy life. treason, wherever there is blood-guiltiness, wherever
Geo. Thinkest thou I would betray for the safety there is sacrilege, sorcery, robbery, or perjury, there of my life, a secret I have preserved at the breach of let this curse alight, and pierce the marrow and the my word ? No! I bave weighed the value of my oblibone. Raise, then, your voices, and say with me, wo! gation—I will not discharge it-but most willingly wo, unto offenders !
will I pay the penalty ! All. Wo! wo!
Rod. Retire, George of Aspen, till the assembly [ Members sit down. pronounce judgment.
Isa. I guess.
Geo. Welcome be your sentence-I am weary of Rod. (resumes his seat.) Upon whom callest thou your yoke of iron. A light beams on my soul. Wo for vengeance? to those who seek justice in the dark haunts of mys Ber. Upon Isabella of Aspen. tery and of cruelty! She dwells in the broad blaze of Rod. She has been summoned. the sun, and Mercy is ever by her side. Wo to those Herald. Isabella of Aspen, accused of murder by who would advance the general weal by trampling poison, I charge thee to appear, and stand upon thy upon the social affections! they aspire to be more than defence. men-they shall become worse than tigers. I go:
[Three knocks are heard at one of the doors
it is opened by the warder. better for me your altars should be stained with my blood, than my soul blackened with your crimes. Enter ISABELLA, the veil still wrapped around her head,
[Exit GEORGE, by the ruinous door in led by her conductor. All the members mussle their
the back scene, into the sacristy. faces. Rod. Brethren, sworn upon the steel and upon the
Rod. Uncover her eyes. cord, to judge and to avenge in secret, without favour
[The veil is removed. ISABELLA and without pity, what is your judgment upon George
looks wildly round. of Aspen, self-accused of perjury, and resistance to Rod. Knowest thou, lady, where thou art? the laws of our fraternity.
(Long and earnest murmurs in the assembly. Rod. Say thy guess. Rod. Speak your doom.
Isa. Before the Avengers of blood. Eldest Mem. George of Aspen has declared himself
Rod. Knowest thou why thou art called to their perjured ;—the penalty of perjury is death!
presence ? Rod. Father of the secret judges-Eldest among
Isa. No. those who avenge in secret- take to thee the steel
Rod. Speak, accuser. and the cord ;-let the guilty no longer cumber the
Ber. I impeach thee, Isabella of Aspen, before this Jand.
awful assembly, of having murdered, privily and by Eldest Mem. I am fourscore and eight years old. poison, Arnolf of Ebersdorf, thy first husband. My eyes are dim, and my band is feeble; soon shall
Rod. Canst thou swear to the accusation ? I be called before the throne of my Creator;—How
Ber. (his hand on the altar.) I lay my hand on the shall I stand there, stained with the blood of such a
steel and the cord, and swear. man ?
Rod. Isabella of Aspen, thou hast heard thy accuRod. How wilt thou stand before that throne, load
sation. What canst thou answer? ed with the guilt of a broken oath? The blood of the
Isa. That the oath of an accuser is no proof of guilt! criminal be upon us and ours !
Rod. Hast thou more to say ? Eldest Mem. So be it, in the name of God!
Isa. I have. (He takes the dagger from the altar, goes slowly
Rod. Speak on. towards the back scene, and reluctantly enters
Isa. Judges invisible to the sun, and seen only by the sacristy. Eldest Judge (from behind the scene). Dost thou
the stars of inidnight! I stand before you, accused forgive me?
of an enormous, daring, and premeditated crime. I
was married to Arnolf when I was only eighteen years Geo. (behind.) I do! (He is heard to fall heavily!) [Re-enter the old judge from the sacristy. He
old. Arnolf was wary and jealous; ever suspecting lays on the altar the bloody dagger.
me without a cause, unless it was because he had Rod. Hast thou done thy duty ?
injured me. How then should I plan and perpetrate Eld. Mem. I bave. (He saints.)
such a deed ? The lamb turns not against the wolf, Rod. He swoons. Remove him.
though a prisoner in his den. [He is assisted off the stage. During this four
Rod. Have you finished ? members enter the sacristy, and bring out a
Isa. A moment. Years after years bave elapsed bier covered with a pall, which they place on without a whisper of this foul suspicion. Arnolf the steps of the altar. A deep silence.
left a brother ! though common fame had been silent, Rod. Judges of evil, dooming in secret, and aven natural affection would have been heard against meging in secret, like the Deity: God keep your thoughts why spoke he not my accusation? Or has my conduct from evil, and your hands from guilt.
justified this horrible charge ? No! awful judges, I Ber. I raise my voice in this assembly, and cry, Ven- may answer, I bave founded cloisters, I have engeance! vengeance! vengeance !
dowed hospitals. The goods that Heaven bestowed Rod. Enough has this night been done-(he rises on me I have not held back from the needy. I appeal and brings Bertram forward). Think what thou doest to you, judges of evil, can these proofs of innocence -George has fallen-it were murder to slay both be down-weighed by the assertion of an unknown and mother and son.
disguised, perchance a malignant accuser ? Ber. George of Aspen was thy victim-a sacrifice Ber. No longer will I wear that disguise (throues to thy hatred and envy. I claim mine, sacred to jus- back his manlle). Dost thou know me now? tice and to my murdered brother. Resume thy place! Isa. Yes; I know thee for a wandering minstrel, thou canst not stop the rock thou hast put in motion. relieved by the charity of my husband.
Ber. No, traitress! know me for Bertram of Ebers- | midnight murderers, he was innocent (raising his dorf, brother to him thou didst murder. Call her voice)-upright as the truth itself.
Let the man complice, Martin. Ha ! turn'st thou pale ?
who dares gainsay me lift that gage. If the AlIsa.. May I have some water ?—(Apart.) Sacred mighty does not strengthen these frail limbs, to Heaven! his vindictive look is so like
make good a father's quarrel, I have a son left, who [Water is brought.
will vindicate the honour of Aspen, or lay his bloody A Member. Martin died in the hands of our brethren, body beside his brother's. Rod. Dost thou know the accuser, lady?
Rod. Rash and insensate! Hear first the cause. Isa. (reassuming fortitude.) Let not the sinking of Hear the dishonour of thy bouse.
nature under this dreadful trial be imputed to the Isa. (from the sacristy.) Never shall be hear it till
consciousness of guilt. I do know the accuser-know the author is no more! (RUDIGER attempts to rush him to be outlawed for homicide, and under the ban towards the sacristy, but is prevented. ISABELLA enof the empire : his testimony cannot be received. lers wounded, and throws herself on GEORGE's body.) Eldest Judge. She says truly.
Isa. Murdered for me-for me! my dear, dear Ber. (10 RODERIC.) Then I call upon thee and Wil- son! liam of Wolfstein to bear witness to what you know. Rud. (still held.) Cowardly villains, let me loose!
Rod. Wolfstein is not in the assembly, and my Maltingen, this is thy doing! Thy face thou wouldst place prevents me from being a witness.
disguise, thy deeds thou canst not! I defy thee to Ber. Then I will call another: meanwhile let the instant and mortal combat! accused be removed.
Isa. (looking up.) No! no! endanger not thy life! Rod. Retire, lady.
Myself! myself! I could not bear thou shouldst know [ISABELLA is led to the sacristy. -Oh! (Dies.) Isa. (in going off.) The ground is slippery-Hea Rud. Oh! let me gomlet me but try to stop her vens! it is floated with blood !
blood, and I will forgive all.
(Erit into the sacristy. Rod. Drag him off and detain him. The voice of Rod. (apart lo BERTRAM.) Whom dost thou mean lamentation must not disturb the stern deliberation to call?
[BERTRAM whispers. Rud. Bloodhound of Maltingen! Well beseems Rod. This goes beyond me. (After a moment's thee thy base revenge! The marks of my son's lance thought.) But be it so. Maltingen shall behold
are still on thy craven crest! Vengeance on the band Aspen humbled in the dust. (Aloud.) Brethren, the of ye! accuser calls for a witness who remains without :
[RUDIGER is dragged off to the sacristy. admit him.
Rod. Brethren, we stand discovered! What is to
(All muse their faces. be done to him who shall descry our mystery ? Enter RUDIGER, his eyes bound or covered, leaning upon
Eldest Judge. He must become a brother of our two members; they place a stool for him, and unbind order, or die!
Rod. This man will never join us! He cannot
put his hand into ours, which are stained with the Rod. Knowest thou where thou art, and before blood of his wife and son : he must therefore die! whom?
(Murmurs in the assembly.) Brethren! I wonder Rud. I know not, and I care not. Two strangers not at your reluctance; but the man is powerful, has summoned me from my castle to assist, they said, friends and allies to buckler his cause. It is over at a great act of justice. I ascended the litter they | with us, and with our order, unless the laws are brought, and I am here.
obeyed. (Fainter murmurs.) Besides, have we not Rod. It regards the punishment of perjury and sworn a deadly oath to execute these statutes ? (A the discovery of murder. Art thou willing to as dead silence.) Take to thee the steel and the cord (10 sist us?
the eldest judge).
Eldest Judge. He has done no evil-he was the
Rod. (to another.) Do thou—and succeed to the
rank of him who has disobeyed. Remember your Rud. I would let it out with my poniard.
oath! (Member takes the dagger, and goes irresoRod. Then canst thou not blame us for this deed lutely forward; looks into the sacristy, and comes of justice. Remove the pall. (The pall is listed, back.) beneath which is discovered the body of GEORGE pale Member. He has fainted—fainted in anguish for and bloody. RUDIGER staggers. towards it.)
his wife and his son; the bloody ground is strewed Rud. My George! my George! Not slain manly with his white hairs, torn by those hands that have in battle, but murdered by legal assassins. Much, fought for Christendom. I will not be your butcher. much may I mourn thee, my beloved boy; but not –(Throws down the dagger.) now-not now : never will I shed a tear for thy Ber. Irresolute and perjured! the robber of my in death till I have cleared thy fame.--Ilear me, ye heritance, the author of my exile, shall die!
Rod. Thanks, Bertram. Execute the doom-se- | degrade thee from thy sacred office (spreads his cure the safety of the holy tribunal !
hands, as pushing RODERIC from him). If after two [BERTRAM seizes the dagger, and is about to rush | days thou darest to pollute Bavarian ground by thy into the sacristy, when three loud knocks are
footsteps, be it at the peril of the steel and the cord, heard at the door.
(RODERIC rises.) I dissolve this meeting (all rise). All. Hold! Ilold!
Judges and condemners of others, God teach you [The Duke of Bavaria, attended by many mem
knowledge of yourselves ! (All bend their headsbers of the Invisible Tribunal, enters, dressed
Duke breaks his rod, and comes forward.)
Rod. Lord Duke, thou hast charged me with trea-
Hen. (rushing from the sacristy.) Villain! I accept Rod. The Duke of Bavaria ! I am lost.
thy challenge! Duke (sees the bodies). I am too late the victims Rod. Vain boy! my lance shall chastise thee in the have fallen,
lists—there lies my gage. Hen. (who enters with the Duke.) Gracious Heaven! Duke. Henry, on thy allegiance, touch it not. (To O George!
RODERIC.) Lists shalt thou never more enter; lance Rud. (from the sacristy.) Henry-it is thy voice- shalt thou never more wield (draws his sword). With save me!
this sword wast thou dubbed a knight; with this (HENRY rushes into the sacristy. sword I dishonour thee-I thy prince-strikes him Duke. Roderic of Maltingen, descend from the seat slightly with the flat of the sword)—I take from thee which thou hast dishonoured.—(Roderic leaves his the degree of knight, the dignity of chivalry. Thou place, which the Duke occupies.)—Thou standest ac
art no longer a free German noble; thou art honourcused of having perverted the laws of our order; for less and rightless; the funeral obsequies shall be tbat, being a mortal enemy to the House of Aspen, performed for thee as for one dead to knightly hothou hast abused thy sacred authority to pander to nour and to fair fame; thy spurs shall be hacked tby private revenge; and to this Wolfstein has been from thy heels; thy arms baffled and reversed by the witness.
common executioner. Go, fraudful and dishonoured, Rod. Chief among our circles, I have but acted ac- hide thy shame in a foreign land! (RODERIC shows a cording to our laws.
dumb expression of rage.) Lay hands on Bertram of Duke. Thou hast indeed observed the letter of our
Ebersdorf: as I live, he shall pay the forfeiture of statutes, and wo am I that they do warrant this bis outlawry. Henry, aid us to remove thy father night's bloody work! I cannot do unto thee as 1 from this charnel-house. Never shall he know the would, but what I can I will. Thou hast not indeed dreadful secret. Be it mine to soothe his sorrows, transgressed our law, but thou hast wrested and and to restore the honour of the House of Aspen. abused it: kneel down, therefore, and place thy hands betwixt mine. (RODERIC kneels as direcled.) I
(Curtain slowly falls.)
independent of all control but the remote supremacy of the
Emperor. Goetz of Berlichingen, the hero of the following drama,
Among the extensive rights conferred by such a constituflourished in the 15th century, during the reign of Maxi- tion, that of waging war against each other by their own milian the First, Emperor of Germany. Previous to this private authority, was most precious lo a race of proud and period every German Noble holding a fiel immediately from military barons. These private wars were called feuds, the Emperor, exercised on his estate a species of sovereignty and the privilege of carrying them on was named Faustrecht subordinate to the Imperial authority alone. Thus, from (club-law). As the empire advanced in civilisation, the the princes and prelates possessed of extensive territories, evils attending feuds became dreadfully conspicuous : each down to the free knights and barons, whose domains con pelty knight was by law entitled to make war upon his sisted of a castle and a few acres of mountain and forest neighbours without any further ceremony than three days ground, each was a petty monarch upon his own property, previous defiance by a written form called Fehdbrief. Even
" Goetz of Berlicbingen, with the Trop lland, a Tragedy, froni the Germau of Goetbe. Py Walter Scotl, Esq. Advocate, Edinburgh. London : Prioled for J. Bell, No. 148, Oxford Street, opposite New Bond Street, 1799.
a While the princes and free knights were thus banded
the Golden Bull, which remedied so many evils in the Ger- | princes, bishops, and free towns, who had little to gain and manic body, lest this dangerous privilege in full vigour. In much to lose in these perpetual feuds: and they combined time the residence of every free baron became a fortress, to enforce it with no small severity against the petty feudafrom which, as his passions or avarice dictated, sallied a tories :-these, on the other hand, sensible that the very band of marauders, to back his quarrel, or to collect an ex root of their importance consisted in their privilege of declartorted revenge from the merchants who presumed to pass ing private war, without which they foresaw they would through his domain. At length whole bands of these free not long be able to maintain their independence, struggled booting nobles used to league together for the purpose of hard against the execution of this edict; by which their conmutual defence against their more powerful neighbours, as federacies were declared unlawful, and all means taken from likewise for that of predatory incursions against the princes, them of resisting their richer neighbours. free towns, and ecclesiastic states of the empire, whose wealth Upon the jarring interests of the princes and clergy on tempted the needy barons to exercise against them their the one hand, and of the free knights and petty Imperial privilege of waging private war. These confederacies were feudatories on the other, arise the incidents of the following distinguished by various titles expressive of their object : we drama. The hero, Goetz of Berlichingen, was in reality a find among them the Brotherhood of the Mace, the Knights zealous champion for the privileges of the free knights, and of the Bloody Sleeve, etc., etc. If one of the brotherhood was repeatedly laid under the ban of the empire for the was attacked, the rest marched without delay to his assis- feuds in which he was engaged, from which he was only tance; and thus, though individually weak, the petty feuda- released in consequence of high reputation for gallantry tories maintained their ground against the more powerful and generosity. His life was published at Nuremberg, members of the empire. Their independence and privi- | 1731 ; and some account of his exploits, with a declaration leges were recognised and secured to them by many edicts; of feud (Fehdbriel) issued by him against that city, will be and though hated and occasionally oppressed by the princes found in Meusel's Enquiry into History, vol. iv. and ecclesiastic authorities, lo whom in return they were a scourge and a pest, they continued to maintain tenaciously against each other, the peasants and bondsmen remained the good old privilege (as they termed it) of Faustrecht, in the most abject state of ignorance and oppression. This which they had inherited from their fathers. Amid the occasioned at different times the most desperate insurrecobvious mischiefs attending such a state of society, it must tions, resembling in their nature, and in the atrocitics combe allowed that it was frequently the means of calling into mitted by the furious insurgents, the rebellions of Tyler and exercise the highest heroic virtues. Men daily exposed to Cade in England, or that of the Jacquerie in France. Such danger, and living by the constant exertion of their courage, an event occurs in the following Tragedy. There is also a acquired the virtues as well as the vices of a savage state; scene founded upon the noted institution called the Secret and among many instances of cruelty and rapine, occur not or Invisible Tribunal. With this extraordinary judicatory, a few of the most exalted valour and generosity. If the for the members and executioners of which were unknown, tress of a German knight was the dread of the wealthy mer and met in secret to doom to death those criminals whom chant and abbot, it was often the ready and hospitable re others courts of justice could not reach, the English reader fuge of the weary pilgrim and oppressed peasant. Although has been made acquainted by several translations from the the owner subsisted by the plunder of the rich, yet he was German, particularly the excellent romances called Herman frequently beneficent to the poor, and beloved by his own of Unna, and Alf von Duilman, family dependents and allies. The spirit of chivalry doubt
The following drama was written by the elegant Author less contributed much to soften the character of these ma of the Sorrows of Werter, in imitation, it is said, of the rauding nobles. A respect for themselves taught them ge
manner of Shakspeare. This resemblance is not to be nerosity towards their prisoners, and certain acknowledged looked for in the style or expression, but in the outline of rules prevented many of the atrocities which it might have
the characters, and mode of conducting the incidents of the been expected would bave marked these seuds. No Ger- piece. In Germany it is the object of enthusiastic admiman noble, for example, 'if made caplive, was confined in
ration; partly owing, doubtless, to the force of national fetters or in a dungeon, but remained a prisoner at large partiality towards a performance in which the ancient upon his parole, (which was called knightly ward,) either manners of the country are faithfully and forcibly painted. in the castle of his conqueror, or in some other place as Losing, however, this advantage, and under all the defects signed to him. The same species of honourable captivity of a translation, the Translator ventures to hope that in the was often indulged by the Emperor to offenders of a noble following pages there will still be found something to excite rank, of which some instances will be found in the following interest. Some liberties have been taken with the original, pages.
in omitting two occasional disquisitions upon the Civil Law Such was the state of the German nobles, when, on the
as practised in Germany. Literal accuracy has been less 7th of August, 1495, was published the memorable edict of studied in the translation, than an attempt to convey the Maximilian for the establishment of the public peace of the spirit and general effect of the piece. Upon the whole, it empire. By this ordinance the right of private war was
is hoped the version will be found faithful; of which the totally abrogated, under the penalty of the ban of the em Translator is less distrustful, owing to the friendship of a pire, to be enforced by the Imperial Chamber then insti- Gentleman of high literary eminence, who has obligingly tuted. This was at once a sentence of anathema secular
taken the trouble of superintending the publication. and spiritual, containing the dooms of outlawry and excommunication.--This ordinance was highly acceplable to the EDINBURGA, 31 February, 1799.