Page images


Troubled at heart, almost he felt a hope

That yet some chance his victim might delay. So as he mus'd, adown the neighbouring slope

He saw a lonely traveller on his way ; And now he knows the man so much abhorr'd, His holier thoughts are gone, he bares the murderous sword.


- The house of Valdespesa gives the blow!

“Go, and our vengeance to our kinsman tell !"Despair and terror seized the unarm'd foe,

And prostrate at the young man's knees he fell, And stopt his hand and cried "oh, do not take A wretched sinner's life! mercy for Jesus' sake!"


At that most blessed name, as at a spell,

Conscience, the God within him, smote his heart. His hand for murder rais'd unharming fell,

He felt cold sweat-drops on his forchead start, A moment mute in holy horror stood, Then cried, "joy, joy, my God! I have not shed his blood !"


He rais'd Anselmo up, and bade him live,

And bless, for both preserved, that holy name; And pray'd the astonish'd foeman to forgive

The bloody purpose led by which he came. Then to the neighbouring church he sped away, His over-burthen’d soul before his God to lay,


He ran with breathless speed,-he reached the door,

Tumultuous tides his throbbing pulses swell-
He came to crave for pardon, to adore

vouchsafed ; before the cross he fell, And rais'd his swimming eyes, and thought that there He saw the imaged Christ smile favouring on his prayer.


A blest illusion ! from that very night

The monk's austerest life devout he led; And still he felt the enthusiast's deep delight,

And seraph-visions floated round his head; The joys of heaven foretasted fill'd his soul, And still the good man's name adorns the sainted roll.

R. S. Y.


Scene, the house of COLLATINE.

Welcome, my father! good Valerius,
Welcome! and thou too, Brutus ! ye were both
My wedding guests, and fitly ye are come.
My husband-Collatine-alas ! no more
Lucretia's husband, for thou shalt not clasp
Pollution to thy busom,-hear me on!
For I will tell thee all.

I sate at eye
Spinning amid my maidens as I wont,
When from the camp at Ardea Sextus came..
Curb down thy swelling feelings, Collatine !
I little liked the man ; yet, for he came
From Ardea, for he brought me news of thee,
I gladly gave him welcome, gladly listen’d,
Thou canst not tell how gladly! to his tales

Of battles, and the long and perilous seige,
And when I laid me down at night to sleep,
'Twas with a lighten'd heart,-- I knew thee safe,
My visions were of thee.

Nay hear me out!
And be thou wise in vengeance, so thy wife
Not vainly shall have suffered. I have wrought
My soul up to the business of this hour
That it


noble spirits, prompt
Such glorious deeds that ages yet unborn
Shall bless my fate. At midnight I awoke-
For by my bed the villain Tarquin stood.
My chamber lamp gleam'd on his unsheath'd sword;
That was not half so fearful as his eye,
His hot, red, eye - Collatine-my husband !
Where wert thou then! gone was my rebel strength

of utterance gone ; astonish'd-stunn'd, I saw the coward ruffian, heard him urge His damned suit, and bid me tamely yieldYield to dishonour. When he proffer'd death Oh I had leapt to meet the merciful sword ! But that with most accursed vows he vow'd That he would lay a dead slave by my side, Murdering my spotless honour.--Collatine!

All power

From what an anguish have I rescued thee !
And thou my father-wretched as thou art
Thou miserable, childless, poor old man-
Think, father, what that agony had been !
Now thou mayst sorrow for me, thou mayst bless
The memory of thy poor, polluted child.

Look if it have not kindled Brutus' eye!
Mysterious man ! at last I know thee now,
I see thy dawning glories !--to the grave
Not unrevenged Lucretia shall descend
Not always shall her wretched country wear
The Tarquins yoke,-ye will deliver Rome
And I have comfort in this dreadful hour.

Thinkest thou, my husband, that I dreaded death?
O Collatine! the weapon that had gored
My bosom, had been ease, been happiness
Elysium to the hell of his hot grasp.
Judge if Lucretia could have fear'd to die!

(Stabs herself).


« PreviousContinue »