Page images
PDF
EPUB

ADAH

ADAN.

CAIN (interrupting her).

No,

A dreary, and an early doom, my brother,
No more of threats : we have had too many of them : Has been thy lot! Of all who mourn for thee,
Go to our children; I will follow thee.

I alone must not weep. My office is

Henceforth to dry up tears, and not to shed them;
I will not leave thee lonely with the dead;

But yet, of all who mourn, none mourn like me,
Let us depart together.

Not only for thyself, but him who slew thee.
CAIN.

Now, Cain! I will divide thy burden with thee.
Ol! thou dead

CAIN.
And everlasting witness! whose unsivking

Eastward from Eden will we take our way;
Blood darkens earth and heaven! what thou now art, "T is the most desolate, and suits my steps.
I know not! but if thou see'st what I am,

ADAH.
I think thou wilt forgive him, whom his God

Lead! thou shalt be my guide, and may our God
Can ne'er forgive, nor his own soul.-Farewell! Be tbine! Now let us carry forth our children.
I must not, dare not, touch what I have made thee.

CAIN.
I, who sprang from the same womb with thee, drain'd And he who lieth there was childless.
The same breast, clasp'd thee often to my own, I have dried the fountain of a gentle race,
In fondness brotherly and boyish, I

Which miglit have graced his recent marriage conch,
Cau never meet thee more, nor even dare

And might bave temper'd this stern blood of mine,
To do that for thee, which thou shouldst have done Uuiting with our children Abel's offspring!
For me-compose thy limbs into their grave-

O Abel!
The first grave yet dug for mortality.
But who hath dug that grave ! Oh, earth! Oh, earth!

Peace be with him!
For all the fruits thou hast render'd to me, I
Give thee back this.--Now for the wilderness.

But with me!
[Adau stoops down and kisses the body of Abel.

(Exeunt.

ADAH.

CAIN.

Werner, or the Jnheritance ;

A TRAGEDY.

See Medwin, 1.130; to the illustRIOUS GOETHE,

ante , p. 290.

BY ONE OF HIS HUMBLEST ADMIRERS,

This Tragedy is Dedicated.

PREFACE.

conception, rather than execution ; for the story might, perhaps, have been more developed with greater advantage. Amongst those whose opinions agreed with mine

upon this story, I could mention some very high names; Tue following drama is taken entirely from the « Ger- but it is not necessary, nor indeed of any use ; for every man's Tale, Kruitiner,» published many years ago in

one must judge according to their own feelings. I merely « Lee's Canterbury Tales;» written (I believe) by two

rcfer the reader to the original story, that he may sisters, of whom one furnished only this story and

see to what extent I bave borrowed from it; and am another, both of which are considered superior to the not unwilling that he should tind much greater pleasure remainder of the collection. I have adopted die chain perusing it than the drama which is founded upon racters, plan, and even the languayc, of many parts

of

its contents. this story. Some of the characters are modified or altered, a few of the names changed, and one character I had begun a drama upon this tale so far back as (Ida of Stralenheim) added by myself : but in the rest 1815 (the first I ever attempted, except one at thirteen the original is chietly followed. When I was young years old, called « Ulric and Ilvina,» which I had sense (about fourteen, I think) I first read this tale, which enough to burn), and had nearly completed an ach, made a deep impression upon me; and may, indeed, be when I was interrupted by circumstances. This is somesaid to contain the germ of much thai I have since where amongst my papers in England; but as it has written. I am not sure that it ever was very popular; or

not been found, I have re-written the first, and added at any rate its popularity has since been eclipsed by that the subsequent acts. of other great writers in the same department. But I The whole is neither intended, nor in any shape have generally found that those who had read it, agreed adapted, for the stage. with me in their estimate of the singular power of mind and conception which is developes. I should also add

February, 1822.

Thou knowest ; what I might or should have been, DRAMATIS PERSONE.

Thou knowest not : but still I love thee, nor

Shall aught divide us.
MEN.

(WERNER walks on abruptly, and then ap-
WERNER.
HENRICK.

proaches JOSEPHINE.
ULRIC
ERIC.

The storm of the night,
STRALEN BEIM. ARNHEIM.

Perhaps, affects me: I'm a thing of feelings,
IDENSTEIN
MEISTER.

And have of late been sickly, as alas !
GABOR
RODOLPH

Thou know'st by sufferings more than mine, my love!
FRUTZ.
Ludwig
In watching me.

JOSEPHINE.
WOMEN

To see thee well is much-
JosephINE.

To see thee happy--
Ipa STRALEN BIM.

WERNER

Where hast thou seen such ?
Scene-partly on the frontier of Silesia, and partly in Let me be wretched with the rest !
Siegendorf Castle, near Prague.

JOSEPHINE.
Time-the close of the thirty years' war.

But think
How many in this hour of tempest shiver
Beneath the biting wiod and heavy rain,

Whose every drop bows them down nearer earth,
WERNER.

Which hath no chamber for them save beneach
Her surface.

WERNER.

And that's not the worst : who cares ACT Í.

For chambers ? rest is all. The wretches whom SCENE J.

Thou namest-ay, the wind howls round them, and

The dull and dropping rain saps in their bones The Hallof a decayed Palace near a small Town on the The creeping marrow. I have been a soldier, northern Frontier of Silesia--the Night tempestuous. A hunter, and a traveller, and am

A beggar, and should know the thing thou talk'st of.
WERNER and JOSEPHINE his wife.

JOSEPHINE.
JOSEPHINE.

And art thou not now shelter'd from them all?
My love, be calmer!
WERNER.

Yes. And from these alone.
I am calm,

And that is something.
JOSEPHINE.

To me
Yes, but not to thyself : thy pace is hurried,

True-to a peasant.
And no one walks a chamber like to ours
With steps like thine when his heart is at rest.

Should the nobly born
Were it a garden, I should deem thee happy,

Be thankless for that refuge which their habits And stepping with the bee from flower to flower ;

Of early delicacy render more
But here!

Needful than to the peasant, when the ebb
WERNER

Of fortune leaves them on the shoals of life?
"T is chill; the tapestry lets through

WERNER.
The wind to which it waves : my blood is frozen. It is not that, thou know'st it is not: we

Have borne all this, I 'll not say patiently,
Ah, no!

Except in thee-but we have borne it.
WERNER (smiling).

JOSEPHINE.
Why! wouldst thou have it so?

Well!
JOSEPHINE.

I would Something beyond our outward sufferings (though llave it a healthful current.

These were enough to gnaw into our souls)

Hath stung me oft, and, more than ever, nowe, Let it flow

When, but for this untoward sickness, which Until 't is spilt or check d-how soon, I care not. Seized me upon this desolate frontier, and JOSEPHINE

Hath wasted, not alone my strength, but means, And am I nothing in thy heart?

And leaves us,-no! this is beyond me! but
WERNER.

For this I had been happy-thou been happy-
All-all.

The splendour of my rauk sustain'd-my nameJOSEPHINE,

My father's name-been still upheld ; and, more Then canst thou wish for that which must break mine? Than those--WERNER (approaching her slowly).

JOSEPHINE (abruptly). But for thee I had been-no matter what,

My son-our son--our Ulric, But much of good and evil; what I am,

Been clasp'd again in these long-empty arms,

WERNER.

JOSEPHINE.

WERNER.

JOSEPHINE.

JOSEPHINE,

WERNER.

WERNER.

WERNER.

WERNER

JOSEPHINE,

JOSEPHINE.

WERNER

JOSEPHINE.

WERNER.

And all a mother's hunger satisfied.

By the snares of this avaricious fiend;Twelve years ! he was but eight then : beautiful How do I know he hath not track'd us here? He was, and beautiful be must be now.

JOSEPHINE.
My Ulric! my adored!

He does not know thy person ; and his spies,
WERNER.

Who so long watch'd thee, have been left at Hamburgh.
I have been full oft

Our unexpected journey, and this change

Of The chase of fortune; now she hath o'ertaken

name, leaves all discovery far behind : My spirit where it cannot turn at bay,

None hold us here for aught save what we seem.
Sick, poor, and lonely.
JOSEPHINE.

Save what we seem! save what we are-sick beggars,
Lonely! my dear husband ?

Even to our very hopes.--Ha! ha!

JOSEPHINE. Or worse-involving all love, in this

Alas! Far worse than solitude. Alone, I had died,

That bitter laugh!
And all been over in a nameless grave.

WERNER
JOSEPHINE.

Who would read in this form
And I had not outlived thee; but pray

take

The high soul of the son of a long line? Comfort! We have struggled long; and they who strive who, in this garb, the heir of princely lands? With fortune win or weary her at last,

Who, in this sunken sickly eye, the pride So that they find the goal, or cease to feel

Of rank and ancestry? in this worn cheek,
Further, Take comfort,—we shall find our boy. And famine-hollow'd brow, the lord of halls
WERNER.

Which daily feast a thousand vassals ?
We were in sight of him, of every thing
Which could bring compensation for past sorrow-

You
And to be baftled thus!

Ponder'd not thus upon these worldly things,

My Werner! when you deign'd to chuse for bride We are not baffled.

The foreign daughter of a wandering exile.

WERNER Are we not pennyless?

An exile's daughter with an outcast son

Were a fit marriage ; but I still had hopes
We ne'er were wealthy.

To lift thee to the state we both were born for.

Your father's house was noble, though decay'd; But I was born to wealth, and rank, and power; And worthy by its birth to match with ours. Enjoy'd them, loved them, and, alas! abused them,

JOSEPHINE. And forfeited them by my father's wrath,

Your father did not think so, though 't was noble; In my o'er-fervent youth; but for the abuse

But had my birth been all my claim to match Long sufferings have atoned. My father's death With thee, I should have deem'd it what it is. Left the path open, yet not without snares.

WERNER This cold and creeping kinsman, who so long

And what is that in thine eyes ? Kept his eye on me, as the snake upou

JOSEPHINE. The fluttering bird, hath ere this time outstept me,

All which it
Become the master of my rights, and lord

Has done in our behalf, -nothing.
Of that which lifts him up to princes in
Dominion and domain.

How,-nothing?
JOSEPHINE.

JOSEPHINE.
Who knows? our son

Or worse; for it has been a canker in
May have return'd back to his grandsire, and

Thy heart from the beginning: but for this, Even now uphold thy rights for thee!

We had not felt our poverty, but as

Millions of myriads feel it, cheerfully;

'T is hopeless. But for these phantoms of thy feudal fathers, Since his strange disappearance from my father's, Thou mightst have earn'd thy bread as thousands earn it; Entailing, as it were, my sins upon

Or, if that seem too humble, tried by commerce, Himself, no tidings have reveald his course.

Or other civic means, to amend thy fortunes. I parted with him to his grandsire, on

WERNER (ironically).
The promise that his

anger
would stop
short

And been an Hanseatic burgher? Excellent!
Of the third generation ; but Heaven seems
To claim her stern prerogative, and visit

Whate'er thou mightst have been, to me thou art, Upon my boy his father's faults and follies.

What no state, high or low, can ever change,
JOSEPHINE.

My heari's first choice ;-which chose thee, knowing I must hope better still, ,-at least we have yet

neither Baffled the long pursuit of Stralenheim,

Thy birth, thy hopes, thy pride; nought, save thy sorrows:

While they last, let me comfort or divide them; We should have done, but for this fatal sickness, When they end, let mine end with them, or thee! More fatal than a mortal malady,

WERNER. Because it takes not life, but life's sole solace:

My better angel! such I have ever found thee; Even now I feel my spirit girt about

This rashness, or this weakness of my temper,

WERNER

WERNER.

JOSEPHINE.

WERNER

WERNER.

JOSEPHINE.

WERNER.

WERNER.

JOSEPHINE.

WERNER.

WERNER.

JOSEPHINE.

IDENSTEIN.

Ne'er raised a thought to injure thee or thine. Surgeon's assistant (hoping to be surgeon),
Thou didst not mar my fortunes: my own nature And has done miracles i' the way of business.
In youth was such as to unmake an empire,

Perhaps you are related to my relative?
Had such been my inheritance; but now,
Chasten'd, subdued, out-worn, and taught to know To yours?
Myself, - to lose this for our son and thee!
Trust me, when in my two-and-twentieth spring,

Oh, yes, we are, but distantly
My father barr'd me from my father's house,

(A side to WERNER The last sole scion of a thousand sires

Cannot you humour the dull gossip till (For I was then the last), it hurt me less

We learn his purpose ? Than to behold my boy and my boy's mother

IDENSTEIN. Excluded in their innocence from what

Well, I 'm glad of that; My faults deserved exclusion; although then

I thought so all along; such natural yearnings My passions were all living serpents, and

Play'd round my heart-blood is not water, cousin ; Twined like the gorgon's round me.

And so let's have some wine, and driok unto
[A knocking is heard. Our better acquaintance : relatives should be
JOSEPHINE.

Friends.
Hark!

You appear to have drunk enough already,
A knocking! And if you had not, I 've no wine to offer,

Else it were yours; but this you know, or should know : Who can it be at this lone hour? we have

You see I am poor and sick, and will not see Few visitors.

That I would be alone; but to your business !

What brings you here?
And poverty hath none,

IDENSTEIN.
Save those who come to make it poorer still.

Why, what should bring me here? Well, I am prepared.

[Werner puts his hand into his bosom as if to I know not, though I think that I could guess
search for some weapon.

That which will send you hence.

JOSEPHINE (aside).
Oh! do not look so. 1

Patience, dear Werner!
Will to the door, it cannot be of import
In this lone spot of wintry desolation-

You don't know what has happen'd, then ? The very desert saves man from mankind. [She goes to the door.

How should we? Enter IDENSTEIN.

The river has o'erflowd.

JOSEPHINE. A fair good evening to my fairer hostess

Alas! we have known And worthy--what's your name my friend? That to our sorrow, for these five days, since

It keeps us here.

IDENSTEIN.
Not afraid to demand it?

But what you don't know is,
IDENSTEIN.

That a great personage, who faio would cross
Not afraid !

Against the stream, and three postilions' wishes, Egad! I am afraid. You look as if

Is drown'd below the ford, with five post-horses,
I ask'd for something better than your name,

A monkey, and a mastiff, and a valet.
By the face you put on it.
WERNER.

Poor creatures! are you sure?
Belter, sir?

IDENSTEIN.
Better or worse, like matrimony, what

Yes, of the monkey, Shall I say more? You have been a guest this month

And the valet, and the cattle; Here in the prince's palace-(to be sure

We know not if his excellency's dead His highness had resiga'd it to the ghosts

Or no; your noblemen are hard to drown, And rals these twelve years —but 't is still a palace)

As it is fit that men in office should be; I say you have been our lodger, and as yet

But, what is certain is, that he has swallow'd We do not know your name.

Enough of the Oder to have burst two peasants;

And now a Saxon and Hungarian traveller,
My name is Werner.

Who, at their proper peril, snatch'd lim from

The whirling river, have sent on to crave
IDENSTEIN.
A goodly name, a very worthy name,

A lodging, or a grave, according as
As e'er was gilt upon a trader's board;

It may turn out with the live or dead body.
I have a cousin in the lazaretto
Of Hamburgh, who has got a wife who bore

And where will you receive him? here, I hope.
The same. He is an officer of trust,

If we can be of service-say the word.

JOSEPHINE.

IDENSTEIN

IDENSTEIR.

WERNER.

Are you

JOSEPHINE

IDENSTEIN.

but as yet

WERNER.

JOSEPAINE.

GABOR

WERNER

IDENSTEIN,

IDENSTEIN Here! no; but in the prince's own apartment,

But are you sure
As fits a noble guest : 't is damp, no doubt,

His excellency--but his name, what is it?
Not having been inhabited these twelve years;
But then he comes from a much damper place,

I do not know.
So scarcely will catch cold in 't, if he be

IDENSTEIN. Suill liable to cold-and if not, why

And

yet you saved his life. He 'll be worse lodged to-morrow: ne'ertheless,

GABOR I have order'd fire and all appliances

I help'd my friend to do so. To be got ready for the worst-that is,

IDENSTEIN
In case he should survive.

Well, that's strange,
JOSEPHINE

To save a man's life whom you do not know.
Poor gentleman!

GABOR.
I hope he will, with all my heart.

Not so; for there are some I know so well,

I scarce should give myself the trouble.
Intendant,

IDENSTEIN
Have you not learn d his name? My Josephine,

Pray, [ Aside to his wife. Good friend, and who may you be? Retire, I 'll sift this fool. [Exit JOSEPHINE.

By my family, His name? oh Lord!

Hungarian. Who knows if he hath now a name or no? "T is time enough to ask it when he's able

Which is callid? To give an answer, or if not, to put llis heir's upon his epitaph. Methought,

It matters little. Just now you chid me for demanding names ?

IDENSTEIN (aside).

I think that all the world are grown anonymous, True, true, I did so; you say well and wisely.

Since no one cares to tell me what he's calld!

Pray, has his excellency a large suite ?
Enter GABOR

GABOR.

Sufficient.

GABOR

IDENSTEIN.

IDENSTEIN

GABOR.

WERNER

GABOR.

IDENSTEIN

GABOR.

GABOR.

If I intrude, I crave-

How many ?
IDENSTEIN

GABOR
Oh, no intrusion !

I did not count them,
This is the palace: this a stranger like

We came up by mere accident, and just Yourself; I pray you make yourself at home :

In time to drag him through his carriage window, But where 's his excellency, and how fares hie?

IDENSTEIN.

Well, what would I give to save a great man! Wetly and wearily, but out of peril;

No doubt you 'll have a swingeing sum as recompense. lle paused to change his garments ia a cottage

GABOR (Where I doffd mine for these, and came on hither), Perhaps. And has almost recover'd from his drenching.

IDENSTEIN. lle will be here anon.

Now, how much do you reckon on?
IDENSTEIN.
What ho, there! bustle!

I have not yet put up myself to sale:
Without there, Herman, Weilburg, Peter, Conrad! In the mean time, my best reward would be

(Gives directions to different servants who enter. A glass of your Hochbeimer, a green glass, A nobleman sleeps here to-night--see that

Wreathed with rich grapes and Bacchanal devices, All is in order in the damask chamber

Oertlowing with the oldest of your vintage; Keep up the stove-I will myself to the cellar

For which I promise you, in case you

e'er And Madame Idenstein (my consort, stranger)

Run hazard of being drowud (although I own Shall furnish forth the bed-apparel; for,

It secins, of all deaths, the least likely for you), To say the truth, they are marvellous scant of this I'll pull you out for nothing. Quick, my friend, Within the palace precincts, since his high pess And think, for every bumper I shall quaff, Left it some dozen years ago. And then

A wave the less may roll above your head. His excellency will sup, doubtless ?

IDENSTEIN (aside).

I don't much like this fellow-close and dry
Faith!

He seems, two things which suit me not; however, I cannot tell; but I should think the pillow

Wine he shall have; if that unlocks him not, Would please him better than the table, after

I shall not sleep 10-night for curiosity. llis soaking in your river: but for fear

[Exit (DENSTEIN Your viands should be thrown away, I mean

GABOR (to WERNER). To sup myself, and have a friend without

This master of the ceremonies is Who will do honour to your good cheer with

The intendant of the palace, I presume? A traveller's appetite.

'T is a fine building, but decay'd.

GADOR.

« PreviousContinue »