Count Julian by Walter Savage Landor

COUNT JULIAN INTRODUCTION. Walter Savage Landor was born on the 30th of January, 1775, and died at the age of eighty-nine in September, 1864. He was the eldest son of a physician at Warwick, and his second name, Savage, was the family name of his mother, who owned two estates in Warwickshire– Ipsley Court and
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Walter Savage Landor was born on the 30th of January, 1775, and died at the age of eighty-nine in September, 1864. He was the eldest son of a physician at Warwick, and his second name, Savage, was the family name of his mother, who owned two estates in Warwickshire– Ipsley Court and Tachbrook–and had a reversionary interest in Hughenden Manor, Buckinghamshire. To this property, worth 80,000 pounds, her eldest son was heir. That eldest son was born a poet, had a generous nature, and an ardent impetuous temper. The temper, with its obstinate claim of independence, was too much for the head master of Rugby, who found in Landor the best writer of Latin verse among his boys, but one ready to fight him over difference of opinion about a Latin quantity. In 1793 Landor went to Trinity College, Oxford. He had been got rid of at Rugby as unmanageable. After two years at Oxford, he was rusticated; thereupon he gave up his chambers, and refused to return. Landor’s father, who had been much tried by his unmanageable temper, then allowed him 150 pounds a year to live with as he pleased, away from home. He lived in South Wales–at Swansea, Tenby, or elsewhere–and he sometimes went home to Warwick for short visits. In South Wales he gave himself to full communion with the poets and with Nature, and he fastened with particular enthusiasm upon Milton. Lord Aylmer, who lived near Tenby, was among his friends. Rose Aylmer, whose name he has made through death imperishable, by linking it with a few lines of perfect music, {1} lent Landor “The Progress of Romance,” a book published in 1785, by Clara Reeve, in which he found the description of an Arabian tale that suggested to him his poem of “Gebir.”

Landor began “Gebir” in Latin, then turned it into English, and then vigorously condensed what he had written. The poem was first published at Warwick as a sixpenny pamphlet in the year 1798, when Landor’s age was twenty-three. Robert Southey was among the few who bought it, and he first made known its power. In the best sense of the phrase, “Gebir” was written in classical English, not with a search for pompous words of classical origin to give false dignity to style, but with strict endeavour to form terse English lines of apt words well compacted. Many passages appear to have been half thought out in Greek or Latin, some, as that on the sea-shell (on page 19), were first written in Latin, and Landor re-issued “Gebir” with a translation into Latin three or four years after its first appearance.

“Gebir” was written nine years after the outbreak of the French Revolution, and at a time when the victories of Napoleon were in many minds associated with the hopes of man. In the first edition of the poem there were, in the nuptial voyage of Tamar, prophetic visions of the triumph of his race, in march of the French Republic from the Garonne to the Rhine –

“How grand a prospect opens! Alps o’er Alps Tower, to survey the triumphs that proceed. Here, while Garumna dances in the gloom
Of larches, mid her naiads, or reclined Leans on a broom-clad bank to watch the sports Of some far-distant chamois silken haired, The chaste Pyrene, drying up her tears,
Finds, with your children, refuge: yonder, Rhine Lays his imperial sceptre at your feet.”

The hope of the purer spirits in the years of revolution, expressed by Wordsworth’s

“War shall cease,
Did ye not hear, that conquest is abjured?”

was in the first design of “Gebir,” and in those early years of hope Landor joined to the vision of the future for the sons of Tamar that,

“Captivity led captive, war o’erthrown, They shall o’er Europe, shall o’er earth extend Empire that seas alone and skies confine, And glory that shall strike the crystal stars.”

Landor was led by the failure of immediate expectation to revise his poem and omit from the third and the sixth books about one hundred and fifty lines, while adding fifty to heal over the wounds made by excision. As the poem stands, it is a rebuke of tyrannous ambition in the tale of Gebir, prince of Boetic Spain, from whom Gibraltar took its name. Gebir, bound by a vow to his dying father in the name of ancestral feud to invade Egypt, prepares invasion, but yields in Egypt to the touch of love, seeks to rebuild the ruins of the past, and learns what are the fruits of ambition. This he learns in the purgatory of conquerors, where he sees the figures of the Stuarts, of William the Deliverer, and of George the Third, “with eyebrows white and slanting brow,” intentionally confused with Louis XVI. to avoid a charge of treason. But the strength of Landor’s sympathy with the French Revolution and of his contempt for George III. was more evident in the first form of the poem. Parallel with the quenching in Gebir of the conqueror’s ambition, and with the ruin of his life and its new hope by the destroying powers that our misunderstandings of the better life bring into play, runs that part of the poem which shows Tamar, his brother, preparing to dwell with the sea nymph, the ideal, far away from all the struggle of mankind.

Recognition of the great beauty of Lander’s “Gebir” came first from Southey in “The Critical Review.” Southey found that the poem grew upon him, and became afterwards Landor’s lifelong friend. When Shelley was at Oxford in 1811, there were times when he would read nothing but “Gebir.” His friend Hogg says that when he went to Shelley’s rooms one morning to tell him something of importance, he could not draw his attention away from “Gebir.” Hogg impatiently threw the book out of window. It was brought back by a servant, and Shelley immediately fastened upon it again.

At the close of 1805 Landor’s father died, and the young poet became a man of property. In 1808 Southey and Landor first met. Their friendship remained unbroken. When Spain rose to throw off the yoke of Napoleon, Landor’s enthusiasm carried him to Corunna, where he paid for the equipment of a thousand volunteers, and joined the Spanish army of the North. After the Convention of Cintra he returned to England. Then he bought a large Welsh estate–Llanthony Priory–paid for it by selling other property, and began costly improvements. But he lived chiefly at Bath, where he married, in 1811, when his age was thirty-six, a girl of twenty. It was then that he began his tragedy of “Count Julian.” The patriotic struggle in Spain commended at the same time to Scott, Southey, and Landor the story of Roderick, the last of the Gothic kings, against whom, to avenge wrong done to his daughter, Count Julian called the Moors in to invade his country. In 1810 Southey was working at his poem of “Roderick the Last of the Goths,” in fellowship with his friend Landor, who was treating the same subject in his play. Scott’s “Roderick” was being printed so nearly at the same time with Landor’s play, that Landor wrote to Southey early in 1812 while the proof-sheets were coming to him: “I am surprised that Upham has not sent me Mr. Scott’s poem yet. However, I am not sorry. I feel a sort of satisfaction that mine is going to the press first, though there is little danger that we should think on any subject alike, or stumble on any one character in the same track.” De Quincey spoke of the hidden torture shown in Landor’s play to be ever present in the mind of Count Julian, the betrayer of his country, as greater than the tortures inflicted in old Rome on generals who had committed treason. De Quincey’s admiration of this play was more than once expressed. “Mr. Landor,” he said, “who always rises with his subject, and dilates like Satan into Teneriffe or Atlas when he sees before him an antagonist worthy of his powers, is probably the one man in Europe that has adequately conceived the situation, the stern self-dependency, and the monumental misery of Count Julian. That sublimity of penitential grief, which cannot accept consolation from man, cannot bear external reproach, cannot condescend to notice insult, cannot so much as SEE the curiosity of bystanders; that awful carelessness of all but the troubled deeps within his own heart, and of God’s spirit brooding upon their surface and searching their abysses; never was so majestically described.”

H. M.


RODERIGO, King of Spain.
OPAS, Metropolitan of Seville.
SISABERT, betrothed to Covilla.
MUZA, Prince of Mauritania.
ABDALAZIS, Son of Muza.
TARIK, Moorish Chieftain.
COVILLA, Daughter of Julian.
EGILONA, Wife of Roderigo.
OSMA, } Officers.
RAMIRO, &c. }


Camp of JULIAN.


OPAS. See her, Count Julian: if thou lovest God, See thy lost child.

JUL. I have avenged me, Opas,
More than enough: I only sought to hurl The brands of war on one detested head,
And die upon his ruin. O my country! O lost to honour, to thyself, to me,
Why on barbarian hands devolves thy cause, Spoilers, blasphemers!

OPAS. Is it thus, Don Julian,
When thy own offspring, that beloved child, For whom alone these very acts were done By them and thee, when thy Covilla stands An outcast and a suppliant at thy gate,
Why that still stubborn agony of soul, Those struggles with the bars thyself imposed? Is she not thine? not dear to thee as ever?

JUL. Father of mercies! shew me none, whene’er The wrongs she suffers cease to wring my heart, Or I seek solace ever, but in death.

OPAS. What wilt thou do then, too unhappy man?

JUL. What have I done already? All my peace Has vanished; my fair fame in after-times Will wear an alien and uncomely form,
Seen o’er the cities I have laid in dust, Countrymen slaughtered, friends abjured!

OPAS. And faith?

JUL. Alone now left me, filling up in part The narrow and waste intervals of grief: It promises that I shall see again
My own lost child.

OPAS. Yes, at this very hour.

JUL. Till I have met the tyrant face to face, And gained a conquest greater than the last; Till he no longer rules one rood of Spain, And not one Spaniard, not one enemy,
The least relenting, flags upon his flight; Till we are equal in the eyes of men,
The humblest and most wretched of our kind, No peace for me, no comfort, no–no child!

OPAS. No pity for the thousands fatherless, The thousands childless like thyself, nay more, The thousands friendless, helpless, comfortless – Such thou wilt make them, little thinking so, Who now perhaps, round their first winter fire, Banish, to talk of thee, the tales of old, Shedding true honest tears for thee unknown: Precious be these, and sacred in thy sight, Mingle them not with blood from hearts thus kind. If only warlike spirits were evoked
By the war-demon, I would not complain, Or dissolute and discontented men;
But wherefore hurry down into the square The neighbourly, saluting, warm-clad race, Who would not injure us, and cannot serve; Who, from their short and measured slumber risen, In the faint sunshine of their balconies, With a half-legend of a martyrdom
And some weak wine and withered graces before them, Note by their foot the wheel of melody
That catches and rolls on the sabbath dance. To drag the steady prop from failing age, Break the young stem that fondness twines around, Widen the solitude of lonely sighs,
And scatter to the broad bleak wastes of day The ruins and the phantoms that replied, Ne’er be it thine.

JUL. Arise, and save me, Spain!


MUZA enters.

MUZA. Infidel chief, thou tarriest here too long, And art perhaps repining at the days
Of nine continued victories, o’er men Dear to thy soul, tho’ reprobate and base. Away! [He retires.

JUL. I follow. Could my bitterest foes Hear this! ye Spaniards, this! which I foreknew And yet encountered; could they see your Julian Receiving orders from and answering
These desperate and heaven-abandoned slaves, They might perceive some few external pangs, Some glimpses of the hell wherein I move, Who never have been fathers.

OPAS. These are they
To whom brave Spaniards must refer their wrongs!

JUL. Muza, that cruel and suspicious chief, Distrusts his friends more than his enemies, Me more than either; fraud he loves and fears, And watches her still footfall day and night.

OPAS. O Julian! such a refuge! such a race!

JUL. Calamities like mine alone implore. No virtues have redeemed them from their bonds; Wily ferocity, keen idleness,
And the close cringes of ill-whispering want, Educate them to plunder and obey;
Active to serve him best whom most they fear, They show no mercy to the merciful,
And racks alone remind them of the name.

OPAS. O everlasting curse for Spain and thee!

JUL. Spain should have vindicated then her wrongs In mine, a Spaniard’s and a soldier’s wrongs.

OPAS. Julian, are thine the only wrongs on earth? And shall each Spaniard rather vindicate Thine than his own? is there no Judge of all? Shall mortal hand seize with impunity
The sword of vengeance, from the armoury Of the Most High? easy to wield, and starred With glory it appears: but all the host
Of the archangels, should they strive at once, Would never close again its widening blade.

JUL. He who provokes it hath so much to rue. Where’er he turn, whether to earth or heaven, He finds an enemy, or raises one.

OPAS. I never yet have seen where long success Hath followed him who warred upon his king.

JUL. Because the virtue that inflicts the stroke Dies with him, and the rank ignoble heads Of plundering faction soon unite again,
And prince-protected share the spoil at rest.


Guard announces a herald. OPAS departs.

GUARD. A messenger of peace is at the gate, My lord, safe access, private audience,
And free return, he claims.

JUL. Conduct him in.

RODERIGO enters as a herald.

A messenger of peace! audacious man!
In what attire appearest thou? a herald’s? Under no garb can such a wretch be safe.

ROD. Thy violence and fancied wrongs I know, And what thy sacrilegious hands would do, O traitor and apostate!

JUL. What they would
They cannot: thee of kingdom and of life ‘Tis easy to despoil, thyself the traitor, Thyself the violator of allegiance.
Oh would all-righteous Heaven they could restore The joy of innocence, the calm of age,
The probity of manhood, pride of arms, And confidence of honour! the august
And holy laws trampled beneath thy feet. And Spain! O parent, I have lost thee too! Yes, thou wilt curse me in thy latter days, Me, thine avenger. I have fought her foe, Roderigo, I have gloried in her sons,
Sublime in hardihood and piety:
Her strength was mine: I, sailing by her cliffs, By promontory after promontory,
Opening like flags along some castle-towers, Have sworn before the cross upon our mast Ne’er shall invader wave his standard there.

ROD. Yet there thou plantest it, false man, thyself.

JUL. Accursed he who makes me this reproach, And made it just! Had I been happy still, I had been blameless: I had died with glory Upon the walls of Ceuta.

ROD. Which thy treason
Surrendered to the Infidel.

JUL. ‘Tis hard
And base to live beneath a conqueror: Yet, amid all this grief and infamy,
‘Twere something to have rushed upon the ranks In their advance; ’twere something to have stood Defeat, discomfiture; and, when around
No beacon blazes, no far axle groans Through the wide plain, no sound of sustenance Or succour soothes the still-believing ear, To fight upon the last dismantled tower, And yield to valour, if we yield at all. But rather should my neck lie trampled down By every Saracen and Moor on earth,
Than my own country see her laws o’erturned By those who should protect them: Sir, no prince Shall ruin Spain; and, least of all, her own. Is any just or glorious act in view,
Your oaths forbid it: is your avarice, Or, if there be such, any viler passion, To have its giddy range, and to be gorged, It rises over all your sacraments,
A hooded mystery, holier than they all.

ROD. Hear me, Don Julian; I have heard thy wrath Who am thy king, nor heard man’s wrath before.

JUL. Thou shalt hear mine, for thou art not my king.

ROD. Knowest thou not the altered face of war? Xeres is ours; from every region round
True loyal Spaniards throng into our camp: Nay, thy own friends and thy own family, From the remotest provinces, advance
To crush rebellion: Sisabert is come, Disclaiming thee and thine; the Asturian hills Opposed to him their icy chains in vain: But never wilt thou see him, never more, Unless in adverse war, and deadly hate.

JUL. So lost to me! So generous, so deceived! I grieve to hear it.

ROD. Come, I offer grace,
Honour, dominion: send away these slaves, Or leave them to our sword, and all beyond The distant Ebro to the towns of France
Shall bless thy name, and bend before thy throne. I will myself accompany thee, I,
The king, will hail thee brother.

JUL. Ne’er shalt thou
Henceforth be king: the nation in thy name May issue edicts, champions may command
The vassal multitudes of marshalled war, And the fierce charger shrink before the shouts, Lowered as if earth had opened at his feet, While thy mailed semblance rises toward the ranks, But God alone sees thee.

ROD. What hopest thou?
To conquer Spain, and rule a ravaged land? To compass me around, to murder me?

JUL. No, Don Roderigo: swear thou, in the fight That thou wilt meet me, hand to hand, alone, That, if I ever save thee from a foe –

ROD. I swear what honour asks–first, to Covilla Do thou present my crown and dignity.

JUL. Darest thou offer any price for shame?

ROD. Love and repentance.

JUL. Egilona lives:
And were she buried with her ancestors, Covilla should not be the gaze of men,
Should not, despoiled of honour, rule the free.

ROD. Stern man! her virtues well deserve the throne.

JUL. And Egilona–what hath she deserved, The good, the lovely?

ROD. But the realm in vain
Hoped a succession.

JUL. Thou hast torn away
The roots of royalty.

ROD. For her, for thee.

JUL. Blind insolence! base insincerity! Power and renown no mortal ever shared,
Who could retain or grasp them to himself: And, for Covilla? patience! peace! for her? She call upon her God, and outrage Him
At His own altar! she repeat the vows She violates in repeating! who abhors
Thee and thy crimes, and wants no crown of thine. Force may compel the abhorrent soul, or want Lash and pursue it to the public ways;
Virtue looks back and weeps, and may return To these, but never near the abandoned one Who drags religion to adultery’s feet,
And rears the altar higher for her sake.

ROD. Have then the Saracens possessed thee quite, And wilt thou never yield me thy consent?

JUL. Never.

ROD. So deep in guilt, in treachery!
Forced to acknowledge it! forced to avow The traitor!

JUL. Not to thee, who reignest not,
But to a country ever dear to me,
And dearer now than ever: what we love Is loveliest in departure! One I thought, As every father thinks, the best of all, Graceful, and mild, and sensible, and chaste: Now all these qualities of form and soul Fade from before me, nor on anyone
Can I repose, or be consoled by any. And yet in this torn heart I love her more Than I could love her when I dwelt on each, Or clasped them all united, and thanked God, Without a wish beyond.–Away, thou fiend! O ignominy, last and worst of all!
I weep before thee–like a child–like mine – And tell my woes, fount of them all, to thee!



ABD. Julian, to thee, the terror of the faithless, I bring my father’s order, to prepare
For the bright day that crowns thy brave exploits: Our enemy is at the very gate!
And art thou here, with women in thy train, Crouching to gain admittance to their lord, And mourning the unkindness of delay!

JUL. [much agitated, goes towards the door, and returns.] I am prepared: Prince, judge not hastily.

ABD. Whether I should not promise all they ask, I too could hesitate, though earlier taught The duty to obey, and should rejoice
To shelter in the universal storm
A frame so delicate, so full of fears, So little used to outrage and to arms,
As one of these; so humble, so uncheered At the gay pomp that smoothes the track of war. When she beheld me from afar dismount,
And heard my trumpet, she alone drew back, And, as though doubtful of the help she seeks, Shuddered to see the jewels on my brow,
And turned her eyes away, and wept aloud. The other stood awhile, and then advanced: I would have spoken, but she waved her hand And said, “Proceed, protect us, and avenge, And be thou worthier of the crown thou wearest.” Hopeful and happy is indeed our cause,
When the most timid of the lovely hail Stranger and foe –

ROD. [unnoticed by ABDALAZIS.]
And shrink but to advance.

ABD. Thou tremblest? whence, O Julian! whence this change? Thou lovest still thy country.

JUL. Abdalazis!
All men with human feelings love their country. Not the highborn or wealthy man alone,
Who looks upon his children, each one led By its gay handmaid, from the high alcove, And hears them once a day: not only he
Who hath forgotten, when his guest inquires The name of some far village all his own; Whose rivers bound the province, and whose hills Touch the last cloud upon the level sky: No; better men still better love their country. ‘Tis the old mansion of their earliest friends, The chapel of their first and best devotions; When violence or perfidy invades,
Or when unworthy lords hold wassail there, And wiser heads are drooping round its moats, At last they fix their steady and stiff eye There, there alone–stand while the trumpet blows, And view the hostile flames above its towers Spire, with a bitter and severe delight.

ABD. [taking his hand.]
Thou feelest what thou speakest, and thy Spain Will ne’er be sheltered from her fate by thee. We, whom the prophet sends o’er many lands, Love none above another; Heaven assigns
Their fields and harvests to our valiant swords, And ’tis enough–we love while we enjoy. Whence is the man in that fantastic guise? Suppliant? or herald? he who stalks about, And once was even seated while we spoke: For never came he with us o’er the sea.

JUL. He comes as herald.

ROD. Thou shalt know full soon,
Insulting Moor.

ABD. He cannot bear the grief
His country suffers; I will pardon him. He lost his courage first, and then his mind; His courage rushes back, his mind still wanders. The guest of heaven was piteous to these men, And princes stoop to feed them in their courts.


RODERIGO is going out when MUZA enters with EGILONA; RODERIGO starts back.

MUZA [sternly to EGILONA.]
Enter, since ’tis the custom in this land.

EGI. [passing MUZA disdainfully, points to ABDALAZIS, and says to JULIAN.]
Is this our future monarch, or art thou?

JUL. ‘Tis Abdalazis, son of Muza, prince Commanding Africa, from Abyla
To where Tunisian pilots bend the eye O’er ruined temples in the glassy wave.
Till quiet times and ancient laws return, He comes to govern here.

ROD. To-morrow’s dawn
Proves that.

MUZA. What art thou?

ROD. [drawing his sword.] King.

ABD. Amazement!

MUZA. Treason!

EGI. O horror!

MUZA. Seize him.

EGI. Spare him! fly to me!

JUL. Urge me not to protect a guest, a herald – The blasts of war roar over him unfelt.

EGI. Ah fly, unhappy!

ROD. Fly! no, Egilona –
Dost thou forgive me? dost thou love me? still?

EGI. I hate, abominate, abhor thee–go, Or my own vengeance –

ROD. [taking JULIAN’s hand, and inviting him to attack MUZA and ABDALAZIS.]

JUL. Hence, or die.


Camp of JULIAN.


JUL. Obdurate! I am not as I appear.
Weep, my beloved child, Covilla, weep Into my bosom; every drop be mine
Of this most bitter soul-empoisoning cup: Into no other bosom than thy father’s
Canst thou, or wouldst thou, pour it.

COV. Cease, my lord,
My father, angel of my youth, when all Was innocence and peace.

JUL. Arise, my love,
Look up to heaven–where else are souls like thine! Mingle in sweet communion with its children, Trust in its providence, its retribution, And I will cease to mourn; for, O my child, These tears corrode, but thine assuage the heart.

COV. And never shall I see my mother too, My own, my blessed mother!

JUL. Thou shalt see
Her and thy brothers.

COV. No! I cannot look
On them, I cannot meet their lovely eyes, I cannot lift mine up from under theirs. We all were children when they went away; They now have fought hard battles, and are men, And camps and kings they know, and woes and crimes. Sir, will they never venture from the walls Into the plain? Remember, they are young, Hardy and emulous and hazardous;
And who is left to guard them in the town?

JUL. Peace is throughout the land: the various tribes Of that vast region sink at once to rest, Like one wide wood when every wind lies hushed.

COV. And war, in all its fury, roams o’er Spain.

JUL. Alas! and will for ages: crimes are loose At which ensanguined War stands shuddering; And calls for vengeance from the powers above, Impatient of inflicting it himself.
Nature in these new horrors is aghast At her own progeny, and knows them not.
I am the minister of wrath; the hands That tremble at me, shall applaud me too, And seal their condemnation.

COV. O kind father,
Pursue the guilty, but remember Spain.

JUL. Child, thou wert in thy nursery short time since, And latterly hast passed the vacant hour Where the familiar voice of history
Is hardly known, however nigh, attuned In softer accents to the sickened ear;
But thou hast heard, for nurses tell these tales, Whether I drew my sword for Witiza
Abandoned by the people he betrayed, Though brother to the woman who of all
Was ever dearest to this broken heart, Till thou, my daughter, wert a prey to grief, And a brave country brooked the wrongs I bore. For I had seen Rusilla guide the steps
Of her Theodofred, when burning brass Plunged its fierce fang into the founts of light, And Witiza’s the guilt! when, bent with age, He knew the voice again, and told the name, Of those whose proffered fortunes had been laid Before his throne, while happiness was there, And strained the sightless nerve tow’rd where they stood At the forced memory of the very oaths
He heard renewed from each, but heard afar, For they were loud, and him the throng spurned off.

COV. Who were all these?

JUL. All who are seen to-day
On prancing steeds richly caparisoned In loyal acclamation round Roderigo;
Their sons beside them, loving one another Unfeignedly, through joy, while they themselves In mutual homage mutual scorn suppress.
Their very walls and roofs are welcoming The king’s approach, their storied tapestry Swells its rich arch for him triumphantly At every clarion blowing from below.

COV. Such wicked men will never leave his side.

JUL. For they are insects which see nought beyond Where they now crawl; whose changes are complete, Unless of habitation.

COV. Whither go
Creatures unfit for better, or for worse?

JUL. Some to the grave–where peace be with them! some Across the Pyrenean mountains far,
Into the plains of France; suspicion there Will hang on every step from rich and poor, Grey quickly-glancing eyes will wrinkle round, And courtesy will watch them day and night. Shameless they are, yet will they blush, amid A nation that ne’er blushes: some will drag The captive’s chain, repair the shattered bark, Or heave it from a quicksand to the shore, Among the marbles of the Libyan coast;
Teach patience to the lion in his cage, And, by the order of a higher slave,
Hold to the elephant their scanty fare, To please the children while the parent sleeps.

COV. Spaniards? must they, dear father, lead such lives?

JUL. All are not Spaniards who draw breath in Spain; Those are, who live for her, who die for her, Who love her glory and lament her fall.
Oh, may I too –

COV. But peacefully, and late,
Live and die here!

JUL. I have, alas! myself
Laid waste the hopes where my fond fancy strayed, And view their ruins with unaltered eyes.

COV. My mother will at last return to thee. Might I once more, but–could I now behold her, Tell her–ah me! what was my rash desire? No, never tell her these inhuman things, For they would waste her tender heart away As they waste mine; or tell when I have died, Only to show her that her every care
Could not have saved, could not have comforted. That she herself, clasping me once again To her sad breast, had said, Covilla! go, Go, hide them in the bosom of thy God!
Sweet mother, that far-distant voice I hear, And passing out of youth and out of life, I would not turn at last, and disobey.


SISABERT enters.

SIS. Uncle, and is it true, say, can it be, That thou art leader of these faithless Moors? That thou impeachest thy own daughter’s fame Through the whole land, to seize upon the throne By the permission of those recreant slaves? What shall I call thee? art thou–speak, Count Julian – A father, or a soldier, or a man?

JUL. All–or this day had never seen me here.

SIS. O falsehood! worse than woman’s!

COV. Once, my cousin,
Far gentler words were uttered from your lips. If you loved me, you loved my father first, More justly and more steadily, ere love
Was passion and illusion and deceit.

SIS. I boast not that I never was deceived, Covilla, which beyond all boasts were base, Nor that I never loved; let this be thine. Illusions! just to stop us, not delay;
Amuse, not occupy! Too true! when love Scatters its brilliant foam, and passes on To some fresh object in its natural course, Widely and openly and wanderingly,
‘Tis better! narrow it, and it pours its gloom In one fierce cataract that stuns the soul. Ye hate the wretch ye make so, while ye choose Whoever knows you best and shuns you most.

COV. Shun me then: be beloved, more and more. Honour the hand that showed you honour first, Love–O my father! speak, proceed, persuade, Thy voice alone can mutter it–another –

SIS. Ah lost Covilla! can a thirst of power Alter thy heart thus to abandon mine,
And change my very nature at one blow?

COV. I told you, dearest Sisabert, ’twas vain To urge me more, to question, or confute.

SIS. I know it, for another wears the crown Of Witiza my father; who succeeds
To king Roderigo will succeed to me. Yet thy cold perfidy still calls me dear, And o’er my aching temples breathes one gale Of days departed to return no more.

JUL. Young man, avenge our cause.

SIS. What cause avenge?

COV. If I was ever dear to you, hear me, Not vengeance; Heaven will give that signal soon. O Sisabert, the pangs I have endured
On your long absence –

SIS. Will be now consoled.
Thy father comes to mount my father’s throne; But though I would not a usurper king,
I prize his valour and defend his crown: No stranger and no traitor rules o’er me, Or unchastised inveigles humbled Spain.
Covilla, gavest thou no promises?
Nor thou, Don Julian? Seek not to reply – Too well I know, too justly I despise,
Thy false excuse, thy coward effrontery; Yes, when thou gavest them across the sea, An enemy wert thou to Mahomet,
And no appellant to his faith or leagues.

JUL. ‘Tis well: a soldier hears throughout in silence. I urge no answer: to those words, I fear, Thy heart with sharp compunction will reply.

SIS. [to COVILLA.] Then I demand of thee before thou reign, Answer me–while I fought against the Frank Who dared to smite thee? blazoned in the court, Not trailed through darkness, were our nuptial bands; No: Egilona joined our hands herself,
The peers applauded, and the king approved.

JUL. Hast thou yet seen that king since thy return?

COV. Father! O father!

SIS. I will not implore
Of him or thee what I have lost for ever. These were not when we parted thy alarms; Far other, and far worthier of thy heart Were they; which Sisabert could banish then. Fear me not now, Covilla! thou hast changed – I am changed too–I lived but where thou livedst, My very life was portioned off from thine. Upon the surface of thy happiness
Day after day I gazed, I doted–there Was all I had, was all I coveted;
So pure, serene, and boundless it appeared: Yet, for we told each other every thought, Thou knowest well, if thou rememberest,
At times I feared; as though some demon sent Suspicion without form into the world,
To whisper unimaginable things.
Then thy fond arguing banished all but hope, Each wish, and every feeling, was with thine, Till I partook thy nature, and became
Credulous, and incredulous, like thee. We, who have met so altered, meet no more. Mountains and seas! ye are not separation: Death! thou dividest, but unitest too,
In everlasting peace and faith sincere. Confiding love! where is thy resting-place? Where is thy truth, Covilla? where!–Go, go, I should adore thee and believe thee still. [Goes.

COV. O Heaven! support me, or desert me quite, And leave me lifeless this too trying hour! He thinks me faithless.

JUL. He must think thee so.

COV. Oh, tell him, tell him all, when I am dead – He will die too, and we shall meet again. He will know all when these sad eyes are closed. Ah, cannot he before? must I appear
The vilest?–O just Heaven! can it be thus? I am–all earth resounds it–lost, despised, Anguish and shame unutterable seize me.
‘Tis palpable, no phantom, no delusion, No dream that wakens with o’erwhelming horror: Spaniard and Moor fight on this ground alone, And tear the arrow from my bleeding breast To pierce my father’s, for alike they fear.

JUL. Invulnerable, unassailable
Are we, alone perhaps of human kind, Nor life allures us more, nor death alarms.

COV. Fallen, unpitied, unbelieved, unheard! I should have died long earlier: gracious God! Desert me to my sufferings, but sustain
My faith in Thee! O hide me from the world, And from thyself, my father, from thy fondness, That opened in this wilderness of woe
A source of tears–it else had burst my heart, Setting me free for ever: then perhaps
A cruel war had not divided Spain,
Had not o’erturned her cities and her altars, Had not endangered thee! Oh, haste afar
Ere the last dreadful conflict that decides Whether we live beneath a foreign sway –

JUL. Or under him whose tyranny brought down The curse upon his people. O child! child! Urge me no further, talk not of the war, Remember not our country.

COV. Not remember!
What have the wretched else for consolation! What else have they who pining feed their woe? Can I, or should I, drive from memory
All that was dear and sacred, all the joys Of innocence and peace? when no debate
Was in the convent, but what hymn, whose voice, To whom among the blessed it arose,
Swelling so sweet; when rang the vesper-bell And every finger ceased from the guitar, And every tongue was silent through our land; When, from remotest earth, friends met again Hung on each other’s neck, and but embraced, So sacred, still, and peaceful was the hour. Now, in what climate of the wasted world, Not unmolested long by the profane,
Can I pour forth in secrecy to God
My prayers and my repentance? where besides Is the last solace of the parting soul?
Friends, brethren, parents–dear indeed, too dear Are they, but somewhat still the heart requires, That it may leave them lighter, and more blest.

JUL. Wide are the regions of our far-famed land: Thou shalt arrive at her remotest bounds, See her best people, choose some holiest house; Whether where Castro from surrounding vines Hears the hoarse ocean roar among his caves, And, through the fissure in the green churchyard, The wind wail loud the calmest summer day; Or where Santona leans against the hill, Hidden from sea and land by groves and bowers.

COV. Oh! for one moment in those pleasant scenes Thou placest me, and lighter air I breathe: Why could I not have rested, and heard on! My voice dissolves the vision quite away, Outcast from virtue, and from nature too!

JUL. Nature and virtue! they shall perish first. God destined them for thee, and thee for them, Inseparably and eternally!
The wisest and the best will prize thee most, And solitudes and cities will contend
Which shall receive thee kindliest–sigh not so; Violence and fraud will never penetrate
Where piety and poverty retire,
Intractable to them, and valueless, And looked at idly, like the face of heaven. If strength be wanted for security,
Mountains the guard, forbidding all approach With iron-pointed and uplifted gates,
Thou wilt be welcome too in Aguilar, Impenetrable, marble-turreted,
Surveying from aloft the limpid ford, The massive fane, the sylvan avenue;
Whose hospitality I proved myself,
A willing leader in no impious war
When fame and freedom urged me; or mayst dwell In Reynosa’s dry and thriftless dale,
Unharvested beneath October moons,
Among those frank and cordial villagers. They never saw us, and, poor simple souls! So little know they whom they call the great, Would pity one another less than us,
In injury, disaster, or distress.

COV. But they would ask each other whence our grief, That they might pity.

JUL. Rest then just beyond,
In the secluded scenes where Ebro springs And drives not from his fount the fallen leaf, So motionless and tranquil its repose.

COV. Thither let us depart, and speedily.

JUL. I cannot go: I live not in the land I have reduced beneath such wretchedness: And who could leave the brave, whose lives and fortunes Hang on his sword?

COV. Me thou canst leave, my father;
Ah yes, for it is past; too well thou seest My life and fortunes rest not upon thee. Long, happily–could it be gloriously! – Still mayst thou live, and save thy country still!

JUL. Unconquerable land! unrivalled race! Whose bravery, too enduring, rues alike
The power and weakness of accursed kings – How cruelly hast thou neglected me!
Forcing me from thee, never to return, Nor in thy pangs and struggles to partake! I hear a voice–’tis Egilona–come,
Recall thy courage, dear unhappy girl, Let us away.


EGILONA enters.

EGI. Remain, I order thee.
Attend, and do thy duty: I am queen, Unbent to degradation.

COV. I attend
Ever most humbly and most gratefully My too kind sovereign, cousin now no more; Could I perform but half the services
I owe her, I were happy for a time; Or dared I show her half my love, ’twere bliss.

EGI. Oh! I sink under gentleness like thine. Thy sight is death to me; and yet ’tis dear. The gaudy trappings of assumptive state
Drop at the voice of nature to the earth, Before thy feet–I cannot force myself
To hate thee, to renounce thee; yet–Covilla! Yet–oh distracting thought! ’tis hard to see, Hard to converse with, to admire, to love – As from my soul I do, and must do, thee – One who hath robbed me of all pride and joy, All dignity, all fondness. I adored
Roderigo–he was brave, and in discourse Most voluble; the masses of his mind
Were vast, but varied; now absorbed in gloom, Majestic, not austere; now their extent
Opening, and waving in bright levity –

JUL. Depart, my daughter–’twere as well to bear His presence as his praise–go–she will dream This phantasm out, nor notice thee depart. [COVILLA goes.

EGI. What pliancy! what tenderness! what life! Oh for the smiles of those who smile so seldom, The love of those who know no other love! Such he was, Egilona, who was thine.

JUL. While he was worthy of the realm and thee.

EGI. Can it be true, then, Julian, that thy aim Is sovereignty? not virtue, nor revenge?

JUL. I swear to Heaven, nor I nor child of mine Ever shall mount to this polluted throne.

EGI. Then am I still a queen. The savage Moor Who could not conquer Ceuta from thy sword, In his own country, not with every wile
Of his whole race, not with his myriad crests Of cavalry, seen from the Calpian heights Like locusts on the parched and gleamy coast, Will never conquer Spain.

JUL. Spain then was conquered
When fell her laws before time traitor king.


Officer announces OPAS.

O queen, the metropolitan attends
On matters of high import to the state, And wishes to confer in privacy.

EGI. [to JULIAN.] Adieu then; and whate’er betide the country, Sustain at least the honours of our house.

[JULIAN goes before OPAS enters.

OPAS. I cannot but commend, O Egilona, Such resignation and such dignity.
Indeed he is unworthy; yet a queen
Rather to look for peace, and live remote From cities, and from courts, and from her lord, I hardly could expect in one so young,
So early, widely, wondrously admired.

EGI. I am resolved: religious men, good Opas, In this resemble the vain libertine;
They find in woman no consistency,
No virtue but devotion, such as comes To infancy or age, or fear or love,
Seeking a place of rest, and finding none Until it soar to heaven.

OPAS. A spring of mind
That rises when all pressure is removed, Firmness in pious and in chaste resolves, But weakness in much fondness; these, O queen, I did expect, I own.

EGI. The better part
Be mine; the worst hath been–and is no more.

OPAS. But if Roderigo have at length prevailed That Egilona willingly resigns
All claim to royalty, and casts away, Indifferent or estranged, the marriage-bond His perjury tore asunder, still the church Hardly can sanction his new nuptial rites.

EGI. What art thou saying! what new nuptial rites?

OPAS. Thou knowest not?

EGI. Am I a wife; a queen?
Abandon it! my claim to royalty!
Whose hand was on my head when I arose Queen of this land? whose benediction sealed My marriage vow? who broke it? was it I? And wouldst thou, virtuous Opas, wouldst thou dim The glorious light of thy declining days? Wouldst thou administer the sacred vows, And sanction them, and bless them, for another, And bid her live in peace while I am living? Go then; I execrate and banish him
For ever from my sight: we were not born For happiness together; none on earth
Were even so dissimilar as we.
He is not worth a tear, a wish, a thought – Never was I deceived in him–I found
No tenderness, no fondness, from the first: A love of power, a love of perfidy,
Such is the love that is returned for mine. Ungrateful man! ’twas not the pageantry
Of regal state, the clarions, nor the guard, Nor loyal valour, nor submissive beauty, Silence at my approach, awe at my voice, Happiness at my smile, that led my youth Toward Roderigo! I had lived obscure,
In humbleness, in poverty, in want, Blest, oh supremely blest! with him alone: And he abandons me, rejects me, scorns me, Insensible! inhuman! for another!
Thou shalt repent thy wretched choice, false man! Crimes such as thine call loudly for perdition; Heaven will inflict it, and not I–but I Neither will fall alone, nor live despised. [A trumpet sounds.

OPAS. Peace, Egilona, he arrives; compose Thy turbid thoughts, meet him with dignity.

EGI. He! in the camp of Julian! trust me, sir, He comes not hither, dares no longer use The signs of state, and flies from every foe. [Retires some distance.



MUZA [to ABDALAZIS.] I saw him but an instant, and disguised, Yet this is not the traitor; on his brow Observe the calm of wisdom and of years.

OPAS. Whom seekest thou?

MUZA. Him who was king I seek.
He came arrayed as herald to this tent.

ABD. Thy daughter! was she nigh? perhaps for her Was this disguise.

MUZA. Here, Abdalazis, kings
Disguise from other causes; they obtain Beauty by violence, and power by fraud.
Treason was his intent: we must admit Whoever come; our numbers are too small
For question or selection, and the blood Of Spaniards shall win Spain for us to-day.

ABD. The wicked cannot move from underneath Thy ruling eye.

MUZA. Right! Julian and Roderigo
Are leagued against us, on these terms alone, That Julian’s daughter weds the Christian king.

EGI. [rushing forward.] ‘Tis true–and I proclaim it –

ABD. Heaven and earth!
Was it not thou, most lovely, most high-souled, Who wishedst us success, and me a crown?

[OPAS goes abruptly.

EGI. I give it–I am Egilona, queen
Of that detested man.

ABD. I touch the hand
That chains down fortune to the throne of fate; And will avenge thee; for ’twas thy command, ‘Tis Heaven’s–My father! what retards our bliss? Why art thou silent?

MUZA. Inexperienced years
Rather would rest on the soft lap, I see, Of pleasure, after the fierce gusts of war. O Destiny! that callest me alone,
Hapless, to keep the toilsome watch of state; Painful to age, unnatural to youth,
Adverse to all society of friends,
Equality, and liberty, and ease,
The welcome cheer of the unbidden feast, The gay reply, light, sudden, like the leap Of the young forester’s unbended bow;
But, above all, to tenderness at home, And sweet security of kind concern
Even from those who seem most truly ours. Who would resign all this, to be approached, Like a sick infant by a canting nurse,
To spread his arms in darkness, and to find One universal hollowness around?
Forego, a little while, that bane of peace. Love may be cherished.

ABD. ‘Tis enough; I ask
No other boon.

MUZA. Not victory?

ABD. Farewell,
O queen! I will deserve thee; why do tears Silently drop, and slowly, down thy veil? I shall return to worship thee, and soon; Why this affliction? Oh, that I alone
Could raise or could repress it!

EGI. We depart,
Nor interrupt your counsels, nor impede; Oh, may they prosper, whatsoe’er they be, And perfidy soon meet its just reward!
The infirm and peaceful Opas–whither gone?

MUZA. Stay, daughter; not for counsel are we met, But to secure our arms from treachery,
O’erthrow and stifle base conspiracies, Involve in his own toils our false ally –

EGI. Author of every woe I have endured! Ah, sacrilegious man! he vowed to Heaven None of his blood should ever mount the throne.

MUZA. Herein his vow indeed is ratified: Yet faithful ears have heard this offer made, And weighty was the conference that ensued, And long, not dubious; for what mortal e’er Refused alliance with illustrious power? Though some have given its enjoyments up, Tired and enfeebled by satiety.
His friends and partisans, ’twas his pretence, Should pass uninterrupted; hence his camp Is open every day to enemies.
You look around, O queen, as though you feared Their entrance–Julian I pursue no more; You conquer him–return we; I bequeath
Ruin, extermination, not reproach.
How we may best attain your peace and will We must consider in some other place,
Not, lady, in the midst of snares and wiles How to supplant your charms and seize your crown. I rescue it, fear not: yes, we retire.
Whatever is your wish becomes my own, Nor is there in this land but who obeys. [He leads her away.


Palace in XERES.


ROD. Impossible! she could not thus resign Me, for a miscreant of Barbary,
A mere adventurer: but that citron face Shall bleach and shrivel the whole winter long There, on you cork-tree by the sallyport. She shall return.

OPAS. To fondness and to faith?
Dost thou retain them, if she could return?

ROD. Retain them? she has forfeited by this All right to fondness, all to royalty.

OPAS. Consider, and speak calmly: she deserves Some pity, some reproof.

ROD. To speak then calmly,
Since thine eyes open and can see her guilt – Infamous and atrocious! let her go–

OPAS. What! in Muza’s camp?

ROD. My scorn supreme!

OPAS. Say pity.

ROD. Ay, ay, pity–that suits best.
I loved her, but HAD loved her; three whole years Of pleasure, and of varied pleasure too, Had worn the soft impression half away.
What I once felt, I would recall; the faint Responsive voice grew fainter each reply: Imagination sank amid the scenes
It laboured to create; the vivid joy Of fleeting youth I followed, and possessed. ‘Tis the first moment of the tenderest hour, ‘Tis the first mien on entering new delights, We give our peace, our power, our souls, for these.

OPAS. Thou hast; and what remains?

ROD. Myself–Roderigo –
Whom hatred cannot reach, nor love cast down.

OPAS. Nor gratitude nor pity nor remorse Call back, nor vows nor earth nor heaven control. But art thou free and happy? art thou safe? By shrewd contempt the humblest may chastise Whom scarlet and its ermine cannot scare, And the sword skulks for everywhere in vain, Thee the poor victim of thy outrages,
Woman, with all her weakness, may despise.

ROD. But first let quiet age have intervened.

OPAS. Ne’er will the peace or apathy of age Be thine, or twilight steal upon thy day. The violent choose, but cannot change, their end: Violence, by man or nature, must be theirs: Thine it must be, and who to pity thee?

ROD. Behold, my solace! none. I want no pity.

OPAS. Proclaim we those the happiest of mankind Who never knew a want? Oh, what a curse
To thee this utter ignorance of thine! Julian, whom all the good commiserate,
Sees thee below him far in happiness: A state indeed of no quick restlessness, No glancing agitation, one vast swell
Of melancholy, deep, impassable,
Interminable, where his spirit alone Broods and o’ershadows all, bears him from earth, And purifies his chastened soul for heaven. Both heaven and earth shall from thy grasp recede. Whether on death or life thou arguest,
Untutored savage or corrupted heathen Avows no sentiment so vile as thine.

Rod. Nor feels?

OPAS. O human nature! I have heard
The secrets of the soul, and pitied thee. Bad and accursed things have men confessed Before me, but have left them unarrayed. Naked, and shivering with deformity.
The troubled dreams and deafening gush of youth Fling o’er the fancy, struggling to be free, Discordant and impracticable things:
If the good shudder at their past escapes, Shall not the wicked shudder at their crimes? They shall–and I denounce upon thy head God’s vengeance–thou shalt rule this land no more.

ROD. What! my own kindred leave me and renounce me!

OPAS. Kindred? and is there any in our world So near us, as those sources of all joy, Those on whose bosom every gale of life
Blows softly, who reflect our images In loveliness through sorrows and through age, And bear them onward far beyond the grave.

ROD. Methinks, most reverend Opus, not inapt Are these fair views; arise they from Seville?

OPAS. He, who can scoff at them, may scoff at me. Such are we, that the giver of all good
Shall, in the heart he purifies, possess The latest love–the earliest–no, not there! I’ve known the firm and faithful–even from these Life’s eddying spring shed the first bloom on earth. I pity them, but ask their pity too.
I love the happiness of men, and praise And sanctify the blessings I renounce.

ROD. Yet would thy baleful influence undermine The heaven-appointed throne.

OPAS.–the throne of guilt
Obdurate, without plea, without remorse.

ROD. What power hast thou? perhaps thou soon wilt want A place of refuge.

OPAS. Rather say, perhaps
My place of refuge will receive me soon. Could I extend it even to thy crimes,
It should be open; but the wrath of heaven Turns them against thee, and subverts thy sway: It leaves thee not, what wickedness and woe Oft in their drear communion taste together, Hope and repentance.

ROD. But it leaves me arms,
Vigour of soul and body, and a race Subject by law, and dutiful by choice,
Whose hand is never to be holden fast Within the closing cleft of gnarled creeds; No easy prey for these vile mitred Moors. I, who received thy homage, may retort
Thy threats, vain prelate, and abase thy pride.

OPAS. Low must be those whom mortal can sink lower, Nor high are they whom human power may raise.

ROD. Judge now: for, hear the signal.

OPAS. And derides
The buoyant heart the dubious gulfs of war? Trumpets may sound, and not to victory.

ROD. The traitor and his daughter feel my power.

OPAS. Just God! avert it!

ROD. Seize this rebel priest.
I will alone subdue my enemies. [Goes out.


RAMIRO and OSMA enter from opposite sides.

RAM. Where is the king? his car is at the gate, His ministers attend him, but his foes
Are yet more prompt, nor will await delay.

OSMA. Nor need they–for he meets them as I speak.

RAM. With all his forces? or our cause is lost. Julian and Sisabert surround the walls.

OSMA. Surround, sayst thou? enter they not the gates?

RAM. Perhaps ere now they enter.

OSMA. Sisabert
Brings him our prisoner.

RAM. They are friends! they held
A parley; and the soldiers, when they saw Count Julian, lowered their arms and hailed him king?

OSMA. How? and he leads them in the name of king?

RAM. He leads them; but amid that acclamation He turned away his head, and called for vengeance.

OSMA. In Sisabert, and in the cavalry He led, were all our hopes.

OPAS. Woe, woe is theirs
Who have no other.

OSMA. What are thine? obey
The just commands of our offended king: Conduct him to the tower–off–instantly. [Guard hesitates: OPAS goes.
Ramiro, let us haste to reinforce –

RAM. Hark! is the king defeated? hark!

OSMA. I hear
Such acclamation as from victory
Arises not, but rather from revolt, Reiterated, interrupted, lost.
Favour like this his genius will retrieve By time, or promises, or chastisement,
Whiche’er line choose–the speediest is the best – His danger and his glory let us share;
‘Tis ours to serve him.

RAM. While he rules ’tis ours.
What chariot-wheels are thundering o’er the bridge?

OSMA. Roderigo’s–I well know them.

RAM. Now, the burst
Of acclamation! now! again, again.

OSMA. I know the voices; they are for Roderigo.

RAM. Stay, I entreat thee–one hath now prevailed. So far is certain.

OSMA. Ay, the right prevails.

RAM. Transient and vain their joyance, who rejoice Precipitately and intemperately,
And bitter thoughts grow up where’er it fell.

OSMA. Nor vain and transient theirs, who idly float Down popularity’s unfertile stream,
And fancy all their own that rises round?

RAM. If thou still lovest, as I know thou dost, Thy king –

OSMA. I love him; for he owes me much, Brave soul! and cannot, though he would, repay. Service and faith, pure faith and service hard, Throughout his reign, if these things be desert, These have I borne toward him, and still bear.

RAM. Come, from thy solitary eiry come, And share the prey, so plenteous and profuse, Which a less valorous brood will else consume. Much fruit is shaken down in civil storms: And shall not orderly and loyal hands
Gather it up? (Loud shouts.) Again! and still refuse? How different are those citizens without From thee! from thy serenity! thy arch,
Thy firmament, of intrepidity!
For their new lord, whom they have never served, Afraid were they to shout, and only struck The pavement with their ferrules and their feet: Now they are certain of the great event
Voices and hands they raise, and all contend Who shall be bravest in applauding most. Knowest thou these?

OSMA. Their voices I know well –
And can they shout for him they would have slain? A prince untried they welcome; soon their doubts Are blown afar.

RAM. Yes, brighter scenes arise.
The disunited he alone unites,
The weak with hope he strengthens, and the strong With justice.

OSMA. Wait: praise him when time hath given A soundness and consistency to praise:
He shares it amply who bestows it right.

RAM. Doubtest thou?

OSMA. Be it so: let us away;
New courtiers come –

RAM. And why not join the new?
Let us attend him, and congratulate; Come on: they enter.

OSMA. This is now my post
No longer: I could face them in the field, I cannot here.

RAM. To-morrow all may change;
Be comforted.

OSMA. I want nor change nor comfort.

RAM. The prisoner’s voice!

OSMA. The metropolitan’s?
Triumph he may–not over me forgiven. This way, and through the chapel–none are there. [Goes out.



OPAS. The royal threat still sounds along these halls: Hardly his foot hath passed them, and he flees From his own treachery; all his pride, his hopes, Are scattered at a breath; even courage fails Now falsehood sinks from under him. Behold, Again art thou where reigned thy ancestors; Behold the chapel of thy earliest prayers, Where I, whose chains are sundered at thy sight Ere they could close around these aged limbs, Received and blest thee, when thy mother’s arm Was doubtful if it loosed thee! with delight Have I observed the promises we made
Deeply impressed and manfully performed. Now, to thyself beneficent, O prince,
Never henceforth renew those weak complaints Against Covilla’s vows and Julian’s faith, His honour broken, and her heart estranged. Oh, if thou holdest peace or glory dear, Away with jealousy; brave Sisabert,
Smite from thy bosom, smite that scorpion down. It swells and hardens amid mildewed hopes, O’erspreads and blackens whate’er most delights, And renders us haters of loveliness,
The lowest of the fiends: ambition led The higher on, furious to dispossess,
From admiration sprung and frenzied love. This disingenuous soul-debasing passion, Rising from abject and most sordid fear, Stings her own breast with bitter self-reproof, Consumes the vitals, pines, and never dies. Love, Honour, Justice, numberless the forms, Glorious and high the stature, she assumes; But watch the wandering changeful mischief well, And thou shalt see her with low lurid light Search where the soul’s most valued treasure lies, Or, more embodied to our vision, stand
With evil eye, and sorcery hers alone, Looking away her helpless progeny,
And drawing poison from its very smiles. For Julian’s truth have I not pledged my own? Have I not sworn Covilla weds no other?

SIS. Her persecutor have not I chastised? Have not I fought for Julian, won the town, And liberated thee?

OPAS. But left for him
The dangers of pursuit, of ambuscade, Of absence from thy high and splendid name.

SIS. Do probity and truth want such supports?

OPAS. Griffins and eagles, ivory and gold, Can add no clearness to the lamp above;
But many look for them in palaces
Who have them not, and want them not, at home. Virtue and valour and experience
Are never trusted by themselves alone Further than infancy and idiocy:
The men around him, not the man himself, Are looked at, and by these is he preferred. ‘Tis the green mantle of the warrener
And his loud whistle, that alone attract The lofty gazes of the noble herd:
And thus, without thy countenance and help Feeble and faint is still our confidence, Brief perhaps our success.

SIS. Should I resign
To Abdalazis her I once adored?
He truly, he must wed a Spanish queen! He rule in Spain! ah! whom could any land Obey so gladly as the meek, the humble,
The friend of all who have no friend besides, Covilla! could he choose, or could he find Another who might so confirm his power?
And now indeed from long domestic wars Who else survives of all our ancient house –

OPAS. But Egilona.

SIS. Vainly she upbraids

OPAS. She divorces him, abjures,
And carries vengeance to that hideous height Which piety and chastity would shrink
To look from, on the world, or on themselves.

SIS. She may forgive him yet.

OPAS. Ah, Sisabert!
Wretched are those a woman has forgiven: With her forgiveness ne’er hath love returned. Ye know not till too late the filmy tie
That holds heaven’s precious boon eternally To such as fondly cherish her; once go
Driven by mad passion, strike but at her peace, And, though she step aside from broad reproach, Yet every softer virtue dies away.
Beaming with virtue inaccessible
Stood Egilona; for her lord she lived, And for the heavens that raised her sphere so high: All thoughts were on her–all, beside her own. Negligent as the blossoms of the field,
Arrayed in candour and simplicity,
Before her path she heard the streams of joy Murmur her name in all their cadences,
Saw them in every scene, in light, in shade, Reflect her image; but acknowledged them Hers most complete when flowing from her most. All things in want of her, herself of none, Pomp and dominion lay beneath her feet
Unfelt and unregarded: now behold
The earthly passions war against the heavenly! Pride against love, ambition and revenge Against devotion and compliancy:
Her glorious beams adversity hath blunted; And coming nearer to our quiet view
The original clay of coarse mortality Hardens and flaws around her.

SIS. Every germ
Of virtue perishes, when love recedes From those hot shifting sands, the female heart.

OPAS. His was the fault; be his the punishment ‘Tis not their own crimes only, men commit, They harrow them into another’s breast,
And they shall reap the bitter growth with pain.

SIS. Yes, blooming royalty will first attract These creatures of the desert–now I breathe More freely–she is theirs if I pursue
The fugitive again–he well deserves The death he flies from–stay! Don Julian twice Called him aloud, and he, methinks, replied. Could not I have remained a moment more, And seen the end? although with hurried voice He bade me intercept the scattered foes, And hold the city barred to their return. May Egilona be another’s wife
Whether he die or live! but oh!–Covilla – She never can be mine! yet she may be
Still happy–no, Covilla, no–not happy, But more deserving happiness without it. Mine never! nor another’s–’tis enough.
The tears I shed no rival can deride; In the fond intercourse, a name once cherished Will never be defended by faint smiles,
Nor given up with vows of altered love. And is the passion of my soul at last
Reduced to this? is this my happiness? This my sole comfort? this the close of all Those promises, those tears, those last adieus, And those long vigils for the morrow’s dawn?

OPAS. Arouse thee! be thyself. O Sisabert, Awake to glory from these feverish dreams: The enemy is in our land–two enemies –
We must quell both–shame on us, if we fail.

SIS. Incredible! a nation be subdued
Peopled as ours!

OPAS. Corruption may subvert
What force could never.

SIS. Traitors may.

OPAS. Alas
If traitors can, the basis is but frail. I mean such traitors as the vacant world Echoes most stunningly: not fur-robed knaves Whose whispers raise the dreaming bloodhound’s ear Against benighted famished wanderers;
While with remorseless guilt they undermine Palace and shed, their very father’s house, O blind! their own, their children’s heritage, To leave more ample space for fearful wealth. Plunder in some most harmless guise they swathe, Call it some very meek and hallowed name, Some known and borne by their good forefathers, And own and vaunt it thus redeemed from sin. These are the plagues heaven sends o’er every land Before it sink, the portents of the street, Not of the air, lest nations should complain Of distance or of dimness in the signs,
Flaring from far to Wisdom’s eye alone: These are the last! these, when the sun rides high, In the forenoon of doomsday, revelling,
Make men abhor the earth, arraign the skies. Ye who behold them spoil field after field, Despising them in individual strength,
Not with one torrent sweeping them away Into the ocean of eternity,
Arise! despatch! no renovating gale, No second spring awaits you–up, begone – If you have force and courage even for flight – The blast of dissolution is behind.

SIS. How terrible! how true! what voice like thine Can rouse and warn the nation! if she rise, Say, whither go, where stop we?

OPAS. God will guide.
Let us pursue the oppressor to destruction; The rest is heaven’s: must we move no step Because we cannot see the boundaries
Of our long way, and every stone between?

SIS. Is not thy vengeance for the late affront, For threats and outrage and imprisonment –

OPAS. For outrage, yes–imprisonment and threats I pardon him, and whatsoever ill
He could do ME.

SIS. To hold Covilla from me!
To urge her into vows against her faith, Against her beauty, youth, and inclination, Without her mother’s blessing, nay without Her father’s knowledge and authority –
So that she never will behold me more, Flying afar for refuge and for help
Where never friend but God will comfort her –

OPAS. These, and more barbarous deeds were perpetrated.

SIS. Yet her proud father deigned not to inform Me, whom he loved and taught, in peace and war, Me, whom he called his son, before I hoped To merit it by marriage or by arms.
He offered no excuse, no plea; expressed No sorrow; but with firm unfaltering voice Commanded me–I trembled as he spoke –
To follow where he led, redress his wrongs, And vindicate the honour of his child.
He called on God, the witness of his cause, On Spain, the partner of his victories,
And yet amid these animating words
Rolled the huge tear down his unvisored face – A general swell of indignation rose
Through the long line, sobs burst from every breast, Hardly one voice succeeded–you might hear The impatient hoof strike the soft sandy plain: But when the gates flew open, and the king In his high car came forth triumphantly, Then was Count Julian’s stature more elate; Tremendous was the smile that smote the eyes Of all he passed. “Fathers, sons, and brothers,” He cried, “I fight your battles, follow me! Soldiers, we know no danger but disgrace!” “Father, and general, and king,” they shout, And would proclaim him: back he cast his face, Pallid with grief, and one loud groan burst forth; It kindled vengeance through the Asturian ranks, And they soon scattered, as the blasts of heaven Scatter the leaves and dust, the astonished foe.

OPAS. And doubtest thou his truth?

SIS. I love–and doubt –
Fight–and believe: Roderigo spoke untruths – In him I place no trust; but Julian holds Truths in reserve–how should I quite confide!

OPAS. By sorrows thou beholdest him oppressed; Doubt the more prosperous: march, Sisabert, Once more against his enemy and ours:
Much hath been done, but much there still remains.


Tent of JULIAN.

JUL. To stop perhaps at any wickedness Appears a merit now, and at the time
Prudence and policy it often is
Which afterward seems magnanimity.
The people had deserted thee, and thronged My standard, had I raised it, at the first; But once subsiding, and no voice of mine Calling by name each grievance to each man, They, silent and submissive by degrees,
Bore thy hard yoke, and, hadst thou but oppressed, Would still have borne it: thou hast now deceived; Thou hast done all a foreign foe could do, And more, against them; with ingratitude Not hell itself could arm the foreign foe: ‘Tis forged at home, and kills not from afar. Amid whate’er vain glories fell upon
Thy rainbow span of power, which I dissolve, Boast not how thou conferredst wealth and rank, How thou preservedst me, my family,
All my distinctions, all my offices, When Witiza was murdered, that I stand
Count Julian at this hour by special grace. The sword of Julian saved the walls of Ceuta, And not the shadow that attends his name: It was no badge, no title, that o’erthrew Soldier, and steed, and engine–Don Roderigo, The truly and the falsely great here differ: These by dull wealth or daring fraud advance; Him the Almighty calls amid his people
To sway the wills and passions of mankind. The weak of heart and intellect beheld
Thy splendour, and adored thee lord of Spain: