Abbildungen der Seite

Tell. My boy! (Holding out his arms to him.)
Alb. My father! (Running into Tell's arms.)

Tell. If thou canst bear it, should not I?- Go now,

My son, and keep in mind that I can shoot.

Go, boy,-be thou but steady, I will hit
The apple. Go:-God bless thee!-Go.

My bow! (Sarnem gives the bow.)
Thou wilt not fail thy master, wilt thou? Thou
Hast never failed him yet, old servant. No,

I'm sure of thee,-I know thy honesty;

Thou'rt stanch, stanch :-I'd deserve to find thee treacherous,

Could I suspect thee so. Come, I will stake

My all upon thee! Let me see my quiver. (Retires.)
Ges. Give him a single arrow. (To an attendant.)
Tell. Is't so you pick an arrow, friend?

The point, you see, is bent, the feather jagged;
That's all the use 'tis for. (Breaks it.)
Ges. Let him have

Another. (Tell examines it.)

Tell. Why, 'tis better than the first, But yet not good enough for such an aim As I'm to take. 'Tis heavy in the shaft: I'll not shoot with it! (Throws it away.)

my quiver.

Bring it! 'tis not one arrow in a dozen

I'd take to shoot with at a dove, much less

Let me see

A dove like that! What is't you fear? I'm but

A naked man, a wretched naked man!

Your helpless thrall, alone in the midst of you,
With every one of you a weapon in

His hand. What can I do in such a strait
With all the arrows in that quiver? Come,

Will you give it me or not?

Ges. It matters not.

Show him the quiver.

(Tell kneels and picks out an arrow, then secretes one in his vest.)

Tell. I'm ready! Keep silence, for (To the people)

Heaven's sake! and do not stir, and let me have

Your prayers,--your prayers:—and be my witnesses,
That, if his life's in peril from my hand,

'Tis only for the chance of saving it.

Now, friends, for mercy's sake, keep motionless
And silent!

(Tell shoots; and a shout of exultation bursts from the crowd.) Ver. (Rushing in with Albert.) Thy boy is safe! no

hair of him is touched!

Alb. Father, I'm safe!-your Albert's safe! Dear father,

Speak to me! speak to me!

Ver. He cannot, boy!

Open his vest, and give him air.

(Albert opens his father's vest, and an arrow drops; Tell starts, fixes his eyes on Albert, and clasps him to his breast.) Tell. My boy! my boy!

Ges. For what

Hid you that arrow in your breast? Speak, slave!
Tell. To kill thee, tyrant, had I slain my boy!


Would, at thy downfall, shout from every peak!
My country then were free!


YE crags and peaks, I'm with you once again!
I hold to you the hands you first beheld,
To show they still are free. Methinks I hear
A spirit in your echoes answer me,
And bid your tenant welcome to his home
Again!—O sacred forms, how proud you look!
How high you lift your heads into the sky!
How huge you are, how mighty, and how free!
Ye are the things that tower, that shine; whose smile
Makes glad-whose frown is terrible; whose forms,
Robed or unrobed, do all the impress wear

Of awe divine. Ye guards of liberty,

I'm with you once again!—I call to you
With all my voice!-I hold my hands to you,
To show they still are free. I rush to you
As though I could embrace you!

Scaling yonder peak,
I saw an eagle wheeling near its brow,
O'er the abyss. His broad expanded wings
Lay calm and motionless upon the air,
As if he floated there without their aid,
By the sole act of his unlorded will,
That buoyed him proudly up. Instinctively
I bent my bow; yet kept he rounding still
His airy circle, as in the delight

Of measuring the ample range beneath

And round about; absorbed, he heeded not

The death that threatened him. I could not shoot'Twas Liberty! I turned my bow aside,

And let him soar away!

Heavens! with what pride I used
To walk these hills, and look up to my God,
And think the land was free. Yes, it was free-
From end to end, from cliff to lake, 'twas free-
Free as our torrents are that leap our rocks,
And plough our valleys without asking leave;
Or as our peaks that wear their caps of snow
In very presence of the regal sun.

How happy was I then! I loved

Its very storms. Yes, I have often sat

In my boat at night, when midway o'er the lake-
The stars went out, and down the mountain gorge
The wind came roaring. I have sat and eyed
The thunder breaking from his cloud, and smiled
To see him shake his lightnings o'er my head,
And think I had no master save his own.
-On the wild jutting cliff, o'ertaken oft
By the mountain blast, I've laid me flat along;
And while gust followed gust more furiously,
As if to sweep me o'er the horrid brink,

Then I have thought of other lands, whose storms
Are summer flaws to those of mine, and just

Have wished me there;-the thought that mine was free
Has checked that wish; and I have raised my head,
And cried in thraldom to that furious wind,
Blow on! This is the land of liberty!



Anne Boleyn. Is your liege ill, sir, that you look so anxious?

Constable of the Tower. Madam!

Anne. I would not ask what you may wish

To keep a secret from me; but indeed

This right, I think, is left me; I would know

If my poor husband is quite well to-day.

Constable. Pardon me, gracious lady! what can prompt To this inquiry?

Anne. I have now my secret.

Constable. I must report all questions, sayings, doings, Movements, and looks of yours. His Highness may Be ruffled at this eagerness to ask

[blocks in formation]

It would incense him: he made only one,

And Heaven alone that heard him must remind him.
Last night, I do suspect, but am not sure,

He scarcely was what kings and husbands should be.
A little wine has great effect upon

Warm hearts (and Henry's heart was very warm)

And upon strong resentments: I do fear

He has those too. But all his friends must love him.

He may have passed (poor Henry !) a bad night,
Thinking upon his hasty resolution.

Constable. Lady! I grieve to tell you, worse than that; Far worse!

Anne. Oh, mercy, then! the child! the child! Why not have told me of all this before?

What boots it to have been a guiltless wife,

When I, who should have thought the first about it,
Am an ill mother? Not to think of thee,
My darling! my Elizabeth! whose cradle
Rocks in my ear and almost crazes me.
Is she safe? Tell me, tell me, is she living?
Constable. Safe, lady, and asleep in rosy health,
And radiant (if there yet be light enough
To show it on her face) with pleasant dreams,
Such as young angels come on earth to play with.
Anne. Were I but sure that I could dream of her
As I, until last autumn, oft have done,
Joyously, blithely, only waking up
Afraid of having hurt her by my arms
Too wildly in my rapture thrown around her,
I would lay down my weary head, and sleep,
Although the pillow be a little strange,
Nor like a bridal or a childbed pillow.
Constable. O lady! spare those words!
Anne. Why spare them, when

Departure from this world would never be
Departure from its joys? the joys of heaven

Would mingle with them scarcely with fresh sweetness.
Constable (falling on his knees). My queen!



Arise, sir constable !

My queen!

And you weep!

Heaven's joys lie close before you.


Few days, I know, are left me; they will melt

All into one, all pure, all peaceable:

No starts from slumber into bitter tears;

No struggles with sick hopes and wild desires;
No cruel father cutting down the tree

To crush the child that sits upon its bough

« ZurückWeiter »