TWO LOVERS OF HEAVEN:
CHRYSANTHUS AND DARIA.
A Drama of Early Christian Rome.
FROM THE SPANISH OF CALDERON.
With Dedicatory Sonnets to LONGFELLOW, ETC.
BY DENIS FLORENCE MAC-CARTHY, M.R.I.A.
POR LA FE MORIRE. Calderon's Family Motto.
DUBLIN: JOHN F. FOWLER, 3 CROW STREET.
LONDON: JOHN CAMDEN HOTTEN, 74 and 75 PICCADILLY.
Calderon's Family Motto.
"POR LA FE MORIRE". — FOR THE FAITH WELCOME DEATH.
THIS motto is taken from the engraved coat of arms prefixed to an historical account of "the very noble and ancient house of Calderon de la Barca"—a rather scarce work which I have never seen alluded to in any account of the poet. The circumstances from which the motto was assigned to the family are given with some minuteness at pp. 56 and 57 of the work referred to. It is enough to mention that the martyr who first used the expression was Don Sancho Ortiz Calderon de la Barca, a Commander of the Order of Santiago. He was in the service of the renowned king, Don Alfonso the Wise, towards the close of the thirteenth century, and having been taken prisoner by the Moors before Gibraltar, he was offered his life on the usual conditions of apostasy. But he refused all overtures, saying: "Pues mi Dios por mi murio, yo quiero morir por el", a phrase which has a singular resemblance to the key note of this drama. Don Ortiz Calderon was eventually put to death with great cruelty, after some alternations of good and bad treatment. See "Descripcion, Armas, Origen, y Descendencia de la muy noble y antigua Casa de Calderon de la Barca", etc., que Escrivio El Rmo. P. M. Fr. Phelipe de la Gandara, etc., Obra Postuma, que saca a luz Juan de Zuniga. Madrid, 1753.
D. F. M. C.
TO HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW,
IN GRATEFUL RECOLLECTION OF SOME DELIGHTFUL DAYS SPENT WITH HIM AT ROME,
This Drama is dedicated BY DENIS FLORENCE MAC-CARTHY.
PENSIVE within the Colosseum's walls I stood with thee, O Poet of the West!— The day when each had been a welcome guest In San Clemente's venerable halls:— Ah, with what pride my memory now recalls That hour of hours, that flower of all the rest, When with thy white beard falling on thy breast— That noble head, that well might serve as Paul's In some divinest vision of the saint By Raffael dreamed, I heard thee mourn the dead— The martyred host who fearless there, though faint, Walked the rough road that up to Heaven's gate led: These were the pictures Calderon loved to paint In golden hues that here perchance have fled.
YET take the colder copy from my hand, Not for its own but for THE MASTER'S sake,— Take it, as thou, returning home, wilt take From that divinest soft Italian land Fixed shadows of the Beautiful and Grand In sunless pictures that the sun doth make— Reflections that may pleasant memories wake Of all that Raffael touched, or Angelo planned:— As these may keep what memory else might lose, So may this photograph of verse impart An image, though without the native hues Of Calderon's fire, and yet with Calderon's art, Of what Thou lovest through a kindred Muse That sings in heaven, yet nestles in the heart.
D. F. M. C.
Dublin, August 24th, 1869.
THE PROFESSOR OF POETRY AT OXFORD AND THE AUTOS SACRAMENTALES OF CALDERON.
Although the Drama here presented to the public is not an 'Auto,' the present may be a not inappropriate occasion to draw the attention of all candid readers to the remarks of the Professor of Poetry at Oxford on the 'Autos Sacramentales' of Calderon—remarks founded entirely on the volume of translations from these Autos published by me in 1867,[*] although not mentioned by name, as I conceive in fairness it ought to have been, by Sir F. H. Doyle in his printed Lectures.[+]
In his otherwise excellent analysis of The Dream of Gerontius, Sir F. H. Doyle is mistaken as to any direct impression having been made upon the mind of Dr. Newman in reference to it by the Autos of Calderon. So late as March 3, 1867, in thanking me for the volume made use of by Sir F. H. Doyle, Dr. Newman implies that up to that period he had not devoted any particular attention even to this most important and unique development of Spanish religious poetry. The only complete Auto of Calderon that had previously appeared in English—my own translation of The Sorceries of Sin, had, indeed, been in his hands from 1859, and I wish I could flatter myself that it had in any way led to the production of a master-piece like The Dream of Gerontius. But I cannot indulge that delusion. Dr. Newman had internally and externally too many sources of inspiration to necessitate an adoption even of such high models as the Spanish Autos. Besides, The Dream of Gerontius is no more an Auto than Paradise Lost, or the Divina Commedia. In these, only real personages, spiritual and material, are represented, or monsters that typified human passions, but did not personify them. In the Autos it is precisely the reverse. Rarely do actual beings take part in the drama, and then only as personifications of the predominant vices or passions of the individuals whose names they bear. Thus in my own volume, Belshazzar is not treated so much as an historical character, but rather as the personification of the pride and haughtiness of a voluptuous king. In The Divine Philothea, in the same volume, there are no actual beings whatever, except The Prince of Light and The Prince of Darkness or The Demon. In truth, there is nothing analogous to a Spanish Auto in English original poetry. The nearest approach to it, and the only one, is The Prometheus Unbound of Shelley. There, indeed, The Earth, Ocean, The Spirits of the Hours, The Phantasm of Jupiter, Demogorgon, and Prometheus himself, read like the 'Personas' of a Spanish Auto, and the poetry is worthy the resemblance. The Autos Sacramentales differ also, not only in degree but in kind from every form of Mystery or Morality produced either in England or on the Continent. But to return to the lecture by Sir F. H. Doyle. Even in smaller matters he is not accurate. Thus he has transcribed incorrectly from my Introduction the name of the distinguished commentator on the Autos of Calderon and their translator into German—Dr. Lorinser. This Sir F. H. Doyle has printed throughout his lecture 'Lorinzer'. From private letters which I have had the honour of receiving from this learned writer, there can be no doubt that the form as originally given by me is the right one. With these corrections the lecture of Sir F. H. Doyle may be quoted as a valuable testimony to the extraordinary poetic beauty of these Autos even in a translation.
LECTURE III.—Dr. Newman's Dream of Gerontius.
"It is probable, indeed, that the first idea of composing such a dramatic work may have been suggested to Dr. Newman by the Autos Sacramentales of Spain, and especially by those of the illustrious Calderon; but, so far as I can learn, he has derived hardly anything from them beyond the vaguest hints, except, indeed, the all-important knowledge, that a profound religious feeling can represent itself, and that effectively, in the outward form of a play. I may remark that these Spanish Autos of Calderon constitute beyond all question a very wonderful and a very original school of poetry, and I am not without hope that, when I know my business a little better, we may examine them impartially together. Nay, even as it is, Calderon stands so indisputably at the head of all Catholic religious dramatists, among whom Dr. Newman has recently enrolled himself, that perhaps it may not be out of place to inquire for a moment into his poetical methods and aims, in order that we may then discover, if we can, how and why the disciple differs from his master. Now there is a great conflict of opinion as to the precise degree of merit which these particular Spanish dramas possess. Speaking as an ignorant man, I should say, whilst those who disparage them seem rather hasty in their judgments, and not so well informed as could be wished, still the kind of praise which they receive from their most enthusiastic admirers puzzles and does not instruct us.
"Taking for example, the great German authority on this point, Dr. Lorinzer [Lorinser], as our guide, we see his poet looming dimly through a cloud of incense, which may embalm his memory, but certainly does not improve our eyesight. Indeed, according to him, any appreciation of Calderon is not to be dreamt of by a Protestant". Lectures, pp. 109, 110.
With every respect for Sir F. H. Doyle, Dr. Lorinser says no such thing. He was too well informed of what had been done in Germany on the same subject, before he himself undertook the formidable task of attempting a complete translation of all the Autos of Calderon, to have fallen into such an error. Cardinal Diepenbrock, Archbishop of Breslau, who, in his "Das Leben ein Traum" (an Auto quite distinct from the well known drama "La Vida es Sueno") first commenced this interesting labour in Germany, was of course a Catholic. But Eichendorff and Braunfels, who both preceded Dr. Lorinser, were Protestants. Augustus Schlegel and Baron von Schack, who have written so profoundly and so truly on the Autos, are expressly referred to by Dr. Lorinser, and it is superfluous to say that they too were Protestants. Sir F. H. Doyle, in using my translation of the passage which will presently be quoted, changes the word 'thoroughly' into 'properly', as if it were a more correct rendering of the original. Unfortunately, however, there is nothing to represent either word in the German. Dr. Lorinser says, that by many, not by all, Calderon cannot be enjoyed as much as he deserves, because a great number of persons best competent to judge of his merits are deficient in the knowledge of Catholic faith and Catholic theology which for the understanding of Calderon is indispensible—"welche fuer Calderons Verstaendniss unerlaesslich ist". Sir F. H. Doyle says that to him these Autos are not "incomprehensible at all" (p. 112), but then he understands them all the better for being a scholar and a churchman.
Sir F. H. Doyle thus continues his reference to Dr. Lorinser. "Even learned critics", he says, "highly cultivated in all the niceties of aesthetics, are deficient in the knowledge of Catholic faith and Catholic theology properly to understand Calderon" (Lectures, p. 110, taken from the Introduction to my volume, p. 3). "Old traditions", continues Dr. Lorinzer, "which twine round the dogma like a beautiful garland of legends, deeply profound thoughts expressed here and there by some of the Fathers of the Church, are made use of with such incredible skill and introduced so appositely at the right place, that . . . . frequently it is not easy to guess the source from whence they have been derived" (Lectures, p. 111, taken from the Introduction to my volume, p. 6).
This surely is unquestionably true, and the argument used by Sir F. H. Doyle to controvert it does not go for much. These Autos, no doubt, were, as he says, "composed in the first instance to gratify, and did gratify, the uneducated populace of Madrid". Yes, the crowds that listened delighted and entranced to these wonderful compositions, were, for the most part, "uneducated" in the ordinary meaning of that word. But in the special education necessary for their thorough enjoyment, the case was very different. It is not too much to say that, as the result of Catholic training, teaching, intuition, and association, the least instructed of his Madrid audience more easily understood Calderon's allusions, than the great majority of those who, reared up in totally different ideas, are able to do, even after much labour and sometimes with considerable sympathy. Mr. Tennyson says that he counts—
"The gray barbarian lower than the Christian child",
because the almost intuitive perceptions of a Christian child as to the nature of God and the truths of Revelation, place it intellectually higher than even the mature intelligence of a savage. I mean no disrespect to Sir F. H. Doyle, but I think that Calderon would have found at Madrid in the middle of the seventeenth century, and would find there to-day, in a Catholic boy of fifteen, a more intelligent and a better instructed critic on these points, than even the learned professor himself. I shall make no further comments on Sir F. H. Doyle's Lecture, but give his remarks on Calderon's Autos to the end.
"At the same time", says Sir F. H. Doyle, "Dr. Lorinzer's knowledge of his subject is so profound, and his appreciation of his favourite author so keen, that for me, who am almost entirely unacquainted with this branch of literature, formally to oppose his views, would be an act of presumption, of which I am, as I trust, incapable. I may, however, perhaps be permitted to observe, that with regard to the few pieces of this kind which in an English dress I have read, whilst I think them not only most ingenious but also surprisingly beautiful, they do not strike me as incomprehensible at all. We must accept them, of course, as coming from the mind of a devout Catholic and Spanish gentleman, who belongs to the seventeenth century; but when once that is agreed upon, there are no difficulties greater than those which we might expect to find in any system of poetry so remote from our English habits of thought. There is, for instance, the Divine Philothea, in other words, our human spirit considered as the destined bride of Christ. This sacred drama, we may well call it the swan-song of Calderon's extreme old age, is steeped throughout in a serene power and a mellow beauty of style, making it not unworthy to be ranked with that Oedipus Colonaeus which glorified the sun-set of his illustrious predecessor: but yet, Protestant as I am, I cannot discover that it is in the least obscure. Faith, Hope, Charity, the Five Senses, Heresy, Judaism, Paganism, Atheism, and the like, which in inferior hands must have been mere lay figures, are there instinct with a dramatic life and energy such as beforehand I could hardly have supposed possible. Moreover, in spite of Dr. Lorinzer's odd encomiums, each allegory as it rises is more neatly rounded off, and shows a finer grain, than any of the personifications of Spenser; so that the religious effect and the theological effect intended by the writer, are both amply produced—yes, produced upon us, his heretical admirers. Hence, even if there be mysterious treasures of beauty below the surface, to which we aliens must remain blind for ever, this expression, which broke from the lips of one to whom I was eagerly reading [Mr. Mac-Carthy's translation of] the play, 'Why, in the original this must be as grand as Dante', tends to show that such merits as do come within our ken are not likely to be thrown away upon any fair-minded Protestant. Dr. Newman, as a Catholic, will have entered, I presume, more deeply still into the spirit of these extraordinary creations; his life, however, belongs to a different era and to a colder people. And thus, however much he may have been directed to the choice of a subject by the old Mysteries and Moralities (of which these Spanish Autos must be taken as the final development and bright consummate flower), he has treated that subject, when once undertaken by him, entirely from his own point of view. 'Gerontius' is meant to be studied and dwelt upon by the meditative reader. The Autos of Calderon were got ready by perhaps the most accomplished playwright that ever lived, to amuse and stimulate a thronging southern population. 'Gerontius' is, we may perhaps say for Dr. Newman in the words of Shelley,
'The voice of his own soul Heard in the calm of thought';
whilst the conceptions of the Spanish dramatist burst into life with tumultuous music, gorgeous scenery, and all the pomp and splendour of the Catholic Church. No wonder therefore that our English Auto, though composed with the same genuine purpose of using verse, and dramatic verse, to promote a religious and even a theological end, should differ from them in essence as well as in form. There is room however for both kinds in the wide empire of Poetry, and though Dr. Newman himself would be the first to cry shame upon me if I were to name him with Calderon even for a moment, still his Mystery of this most unmysterious age will, I believe, keep its honourable place in our English literature as an impressive, an attractive, and an original production"—pp. 109, 115.
I may mention that the volume containing Belshazzar's Feast, and The Divine Philothea, the Auto particularly referred to by Sir F. H. Doyle, has been called Mysteries of Corpus Christi by the publisher. A not inappropriate title, it would seem, from the last observations of the distinguished Professor. A third Auto, The Sorceries of Sin, is given in my Three Plays of Calderon, now on sale by Mr. B. Quaritch, 15 Piccadilly, London. The Divine Philothea, The Sorceries of Sin, and Belshazzar's Feast are the only Autos of Calderon that have ever been translated either fully, or, with one exception, even partially into English.
D. F. MAC-CARTHY. 74 Upper Gardiner Street, Dublin, March 1, 1870.
* AUTOS SACRAMENTALES: THE DIVINE PHILOTHEA: BELSHAZZAR'S FEAST. Two Autos, from the Spanish of Calderon. With a Commentary from the German of Dr. Franz Lorinser. By Denis Florence Mac-Carthy, M.R.I.A. Dublin: James Duffy, 15 Wellington Quay, and 22 Paternoster Row, London.
+ LECTURES DELIVERED BEFORE THE UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD, 1868. By Sir F. H. Doyle Bart., M.A., B.C L., Late Fellow of All Souls', Professor of Poetry. London: Macmillan & Co., 1869.
THE TWO LOVERS OF HEAVEN.
IN the "Teatro escogido de Don Pedro Calderon de la Barca" (1868), at present in course of publication by the Royal Academy of Madrid, Calderon's dramas, exclusive of the autos sacramentales, which do not form a part of the collection, are divided into eight classes. The seventh of these comprises what the editor calls mystical dramas, and those founded on the Legends or the Lives of Saints. The eighth contains the philosophical or purely ideal dramas. This last division, in which the editor evidently thinks the genius of Calderon attained its highest development, at least as far as the secular theatre is concerned, contains but two dramas, The Wonder-working Magician, and Life's a Dream. The mystical dramas, which form the seventh division, are more numerous, but of these five are at present known to us only by name. Those that remain are Day-break in Copacabana, The Chains of the Demon, The Devotion of the Cross, The Purgatory of St. Patrick, The Sibyl of the East, The Virgin of the Sanctuary, and The Two Lovers of Heaven. The editor, Sr. D. P. De La Escosura, seems to think it necessary to offer some apology for not including The Two Lovers of Heaven among the philosophical instead of the mystical dramas. He says: "There is a great analogy and, perhaps, resemblance between "El Magico Prodigioso" (The Wonder-working Magician), and "Los dos amantes del cielo" (The Two Lovers of Heaven); but in the second, as it seems to us, the purely mystical predominates in such a manner over the philosophical, that it does not admit of its being classified in the same group as the first (El Magico Prodigioso), and La Vida es Sueno (Life's a Dream)". Introduccion, p. cxxxvii. note. Whether this distinction is well founded or not it is unnecessary to determine. It is sufficient for our purpose that it establishes the high position among the greatest plays of Calderon of the drama which is here presented to the English reader in the peculiar and always difficult versification of the original. Whether less philosophical or more mystical than The Wonder-working Magician, The Two Lovers of Heaven possesses a charm of its own in which its more famous rival seems deficient. In the admirable "Essay on the Genius of Calderon" (ch. ii. p. 34), with which Archbishop Trench introduces his spirited analysis of La Vida es Sueno, he refers to the group of dramas which forms, with one exception, the seventh and eighth divisions of the classification above referred to, and pays a just tribute to the superior merits of Los dos amantes del cielo. After alluding to the dramas, the argument of which is drawn from the Old Testament, and especially to The Locks of Absalom, which he considers the noblest specimen, he continues: "Still more have to do with the heroic martyrdoms and other legends of Christian antiquity, the victories of the Cross of Christ over all the fleshly and spiritual wickednesses of the ancient heathen world. To this theme, which is one almost undrawn upon in our Elizabethan drama,—Massinger's Virgin Martyr is the only example I remember,—he returns continually, and he has elaborated these plays with peculiar care. Of these The Wonder-working Magician is most celebrated; but others, as The Joseph of Women, The Two Lovers of Heaven, quite deserve to be placed on a level, if not higher than it. A tender pathetic grace is shed over this last, which gives it a peculiar charm. Then too he has occupied what one might venture to call the region of sacred mythology, as in The Sibyl of the East, in which the profound legends identifying the Cross of Calvary and the Tree of Life are wrought up into a poem of surpassing beauty". An excellent German version of Los dos amantes del cielo is to be found in the second volume of the "Spanisches Theater", by Schack, whose important work on Dramatic Art and Literature in Spain, is still untranslated into the language of that country,—a singular neglect, when his later and less elaborate work, "Poesie and Kunst der Araber in Spanien und Sicilien" (Berlin, 1865), has already found an excellent Spanish interpreter in Don Juan Valera, two volumes of whose "Poesia y Arte de los Arabes en Espana y Sicilia" (Madrid, 1868), I was fortunate enough to meet with during a recent visit to Spain.
The story of SS. Chrysanthus and Daria (The Two Lovers of Heaven), whose martyrdom took place at Rome A.D. 284, and whose festival occurs on the 25th of October, is to be found in a very abridged form in the "Legenda Aurea" of Jacobus de Voragine, c. 152. The fullest account, and that which Calderon had evidently before him when writing The Two Lovers of Heaven, is given by Surius in his great work, "De Probatis Sanctorum Vitis", October, p. 378. This history is referred to by Villegas at the conclusion of his own condensed narrative in the following passage, which I take from the old English version of his Lives of Saints, by John Heigham, anno 1630.
"The Church doth celebrate the feast of SS. Chrisanthus and Daria, the 25th of October, and their death was in the year of our Lord God 284, in the raigne of Numerianus, Emperor. The martyrdom of these saints was written by Verinus and Armenius, priests of St. Stephen, Pope and Martyr: Metaphrastes enlarged it somewhat more. St. Damasus made certain eloquent verses in praise of these saints, and set them on their tombe. There is mention of them also in the Romaine Martirologe, and in that of Usuardus: as also in the 5. tome of Surius; in Cardinal Baronius, and Gregory of Turonensis", p. 849.
A different abridgment of the story as given by Surius, is to be found in Ribadeneyra's "Flos Sanctorum" (the edition before me being that of Barcelona, 1790, t. 3. p. 304). It concludes with the same list of authorities, which, however, is given with more precision. The old English translation by W. P. Esq., second edition: London, 1730, p. 369, gives them thus:
"Surius in his fifth tome, and Cardinal Baronius in his 'Annotations upon the Martyrologies', and in the second tome of his Annals, and St. Gregory of Tours in his 'Book of the Glory of the Martyrs', make mention of the Saints Chrysanthus and Daria".
The following is taken from Caxton's Golden Legende, or translation of the Legenda Aurea of Jacobus de Voragine. I have transcribed from the following edition, which is thus described in the Colophon:
"The legende named in latyn Legenda Aurea, that is to say in englyshe the golden legende, For lyke as golde passeth all other metalles, so this boke excedeth all other bokes". "Finyshed the xxvii daye of August, the yere of our lord M. CCCCC. XXVII, the xix yere of the regne of our souverayne lord Kynge Henry the eyght. Imprynted at London in Flete Strete at the Sygne of the Sonne by Wynkyn de Worde".
In the following extract the spelling is somewhat modernised, and a few obsolete words are omitted.
"The Life of Saynt Crysant and Saynte Daria". Fo. cc. lxxxv.
"Here followeth the lyfe of Saynt Crysaunt, and fyrst of his name. And of Saynte Daria, and of her name.
"Of Crysaunt is said as growen and multyplyed of God. For when his father would have made hym do sacrifyce to the idols, God gave to hym force and power to contrary and gaynsay his father, and yield himself to God. Daria is sayd of dare to give, for she gave her to two thynges. Fyrst will to do evil, when she had will to draw Crysaunt to sacrifyce to the idols. And after she gave her to good will when Crysaunt had converted her to Almighty God.
"Crysaunt was son of a ryght noble man that was named Polymne. And when his father saw that his son was taught in the faith of Jesu Chryst, and that he could not withdraw him therefrom, and make him do sacrifyce to the idols, he commanded that he should be closed in a stronge hold and put to hym five maidens for to seduce him with blandyshynge and fayre wordes. And when he had prayed God that he should not be surmounted with no fleshly desyre, anon these maydens were so overcome with slepe, that they myght not take neither meat ne drinke as long as they were there, but as soon as they were out, they took both meat and drinke. And one Daria, a noble and wise virgin of the goddess Vesta, arrayed her nobly with clothes as she had been a goddess, and prayed that she myght be letten enter in to Crysant and that she would restore him to the idols and to his father. And when she was come in, Crysant reproved her of the pride of her vesture. And she answered that she had not done it for pride but for to draw him to do sacrifyce to the idols and restore him to his father. And then Crysant reproved her because she worshipped them as gods. For they had been in their times evil and sinners. And Daria answered, the philosophers called the elements by the names of men. And Crysant said to her, if one worship the earth as a goddess, and another work and labour the earth as a churl or ploughman, to whom giveth the earth most? It is plain that it giveth more to the ploughman than to him that worshippeth it. And in like wise he said of the sea and of the other elements. And then Crysant and Daria converted to him, coupled them together by the grace of the Holy Ghost, and feigned to be joined by carnal marriage, and converted many others to our Lord. For Claudian, who had been one of their persecutors, they converted to the faith of our Lord, with his wife and children and many other knights. And after this Crysant was enclosed in a stinking prison by the commandment of Numerian, but the stink turned anon into a right sweet odour and savour. And Daria was brought to the bordel, but a lion that was in the amphitheatre came and kept the door of the bordel. And then there was sent thither a man to befoul and corrupt the virgin, but anon he was taken by the lion, and the lion began to look at the virgin like as he demanded what he should do with the caitiff. And the virgin commanded that he should do him no hurt but let him go. And anon he was converted and ran through the city, and began to cry that Daria was a goddess. And then hunters were sent thither to take the lion. And they anon fell down at the feet of the virgin and were converted by her. And then the provost commanded them to make a great fire within the entrance of the bordel, so that the lion should be brent with Daria. And the lion considering this thing, felt dread, and roaring took leave of the virgin, and went whither he would without hurting of any body. And when the provost had done to Crysant and Daria many diverse torments, and might not grieve them, at the last they without compassion were put in a deep pit, and earth and stones thrown on them. And so were consecrated martyrs of Christ".
With regard to the exact year in which the martyrdom of SS. Chrysanthus and Daria took place, it may be mentioned that in the valuable "Vies des Saints", Paris, 1701 (republished in 1739), where the whole legend undergoes a very critical examination, the generally received date, A.D. 284, is considered erroneous. The reign of the emperor Numerianus (A.D. 283-284), in which it is alleged to have occurred, lasted but eight months, during which period no persecution of the Christians is recorded. The writer in the work just quoted (Adrien Baillet) conjectures that the martyrdom of these saints took place in the reign of Valerian, and not later than the month of August, 257, "s' il est vray que le pape Saint Etienne qui mourut alois avoit donne ordre qu' on recueillit les actes de leur martyre"—Les Vies des Saints, Paris, 1739, t. vii. p. 385.
1. Los dos amantes del cielo: Crisanto y Daria. Comedias de Don Pedro Calderon de la Barca. Por Don Juan Eugenio Hartzenbusch. Madrid, 1865, tomo 3, p. 234.
2. It may be added to what Dr. Trench has so well said, that Calderon's auto, "El arbol del mejor Fruto" (The Tree of the choicest Fruit), is founded on the same sublime theme. It is translated into German by Lorinser, under the title of "Der Baum der bessern Frucht", Breslau, 1861.
THE TWO LOVERS OF HEAVEN.
NUMERIANUS, Emperor of Rome. POLEMIUS, Chief Senator. CHRYSANTHUS, his son. CLAUDIUS, cousin of Chrysanthus. AURELIUS, a Roman general. CARPOPHORUS, a venerable priest. ESCARPIN, servant of Chrysanthus. DARIA, CYNTHIA, NISIDA, CHLORIS, } Priestesses of Diana. Two spirits. Angels. Soldiers, servants, people, music, etc.
SCENE: Rome and its environs.
ACT THE FIRST.
SCENE I.—A Room in the house of Polemius at Rome.
Chrysanthus is seen seated near a writing table on which are several books: he is reading a small volume with deep attention.
CHRYSANTHUS. Ah! how shallow is my mind! How confined! and how restricted! Ah! how driftless are my words! And my thoughts themselves how driftless! Since I cannot comprehend, Cannot pierce the secrets hidden In this little book that I Found by chance with others mingled. I its meaning cannot reach, Howsoe'er my mind I rivet, Though to this, and this alone, Many a day has now been given. But I cannot therefore yield, Must not own myself outwitted:— No; a studious toil so great Should not end in aught so little. O'er this book my whole life long Shall I brood until the riddle Is made plain, or till some sage Simplifies what here is written. For which end I 'll read once more Its beginning. How my instinct Uses the same word with which Even the book itself beginneth!— "In the beginning was the Word" . . If in language plain and simple Word means speech, how then was it In the beginning? Since a whisper Presupposes power to breathe it, Proves an earlier existence, And to that anterior Power Here the book doth not bear witness. Then this follows: "And the Word Was with God"—nay more, 't is written, "And the Word was God: was with Him In the beginning, and by HIM then All created things were made And without Him naught was finshed":— Oh! what mysteries, what wonders, In this tangled labyrinthine Maze lie hid! which I so many Years have studied, with such mingled Aid from lore divine and human Have in vain tried to unriddle!— "In the beginning was the Word".— Yes, but when was this beginning? Was it when Jove, Neptune, Pluto Shared the triple zones betwixt them, When the one took to himself Heaven supreme, one hell's abysses, And the sea the third, to Ceres Leaving earth, the ever-wing'ed Time to Saturn, fire to Phoebus, And the air to Jove's great sister?— No, it could not have been then, For the fact of their partition Shows that heaven and earth then were, Shows that sea and land existed:— The beginning then must be Something more remote and distant: He who has expressly said 'The beginning,' must have hinted At the primal cause of all things, At the first and great beginning, All things growing out of HIM, He himself the pre-existent:— Yes, but then a new beginning Must we seek for this beginner, And so on ad infinitum; Since if I, on soaring pinion Seek from facts to rise to causes, Rising still from where I had risen, I will find at length there is No beginning to the beginning, And the inference that time Somehow was, ere time existed, And that that which ne'er begun Ne'er can end, is plain and simple. But, my thought, remain not here, Rest not in those narrow limits, But rise up with me and dare Heights that make the brain grow dizzy:— And at once to enter there, Other things being pretermitted, Let us venture where the mind, As the darkness round it thickens, Almost faints as we resume What this mystic scribe has written. "And the Word", this writer says, "Was made flesh!" Ah! how can this be? Could the Word that in the beginning Was with God, was God, was gifted With such power as to make all things, Could it be made flesh? In pity, Heavens! or take from me at once All the sense that you have given me, Or at once on me bestow Some intelligence, some glimmer Of clear light through these dark shadows:— Deity, unknown and hidden, God or Word, whate'er thou beest, Of Thyself the great beginner, Of Thyself the end, if, Thou Being Thyself beyond time's sickle, Still in time the world didst fashion, If Thou 'rt life, O living spirit, If Thou 'rt light, my darkened senses With Thy life and light enkindle!— (The voices of two spirits are heard from within, one at each side.)
First Voice. Hear, Chrysanthus . . .
Second Voice. Listen . . .
CHRYSANTHUS. Two Voices, if they are not instincts, Shadows without soul or body, Which my fancy forms within me, Are contending in my bosom Each with each at the same instant. (Two figures appear on high, one clothed in a dark robe dotted with stars; the other in a bright and beautiful mantle: Chrysanthus does not see them, but in the following scene ever speaks to himself.)
First Voice. What this crabbed text here meaneth By the Word, is plain and simple, It is Jove to whose great voice Gods and men obedient listen.
CHRYSANTHUS. Jove, it must be Jove, by whom Breath, speech, life itself are given.
Second Voice. What the holy Gospel means By the Word, is that great Spirit Who was in Himself for ever, First, last, always self-existent.
CHRYSANTHUS. Self-existent! first and last! Reason cannot grasp that dictum.
First Voice. In the beginning of the world Jove in heaven his high throne fix'ed, Leaving less imperial thrones To the other gods to fill them.
CHRYSANTHUS. Yes, if he could not alone Rule creation unassisted.
Second Voice. God was God, long, long before Earth or heaven's blue vault existed, He was in Himself, ere He Gave to time its life and mission.
First Voice. Worship only pay to Jove, God o'er all our gods uplifted.
Second Voice. Worship pay to God alone, He the infinite, the omniscient.
First Voice. He doth lord the world below.
Second Voice. He is Lord of Heaven's high kingdom.
First Voice. Shun the lightnings of his wrath.
Second Voice. Seek the waves of his forgiveness. [The Figures disappear.
CHRYSANTHUS. Oh! what darkness, what confusion, In myself I find here pitted 'Gainst each other! Spirits twain Struggle desperately within me, Spirits twain of good and ill,— One with gentle impulse wins me To believe, but, oh! the other With opposing force resistless Drives me back to doubt: Oh! who Will dispel these doubts that fill me?
POLEMIUS (within). Yes, Carpophorus must pay For the trouble that this gives me.—
CHRYSANTHUS. Though these words by chance were spoken As an omen I 'll admit them: Since Carpophorus (who in Rome Was the most renowned, most gifted Master in all science), now Flying from the emperor's lictors, Through suspect of being a Christian, In lone deserts wild and dismal Lives a saintly savage life, He will give to all my wishes The solution of these doubts:— And till then, O restless thinking Torture me and tease no more! Let me live for that! [His voice gradually rises.
ESCARPIN (within). Within there My young master calls.
CLAUDIUS (within). All enter. (Enter Polemius, Claudius, Aurelius, and Escarpin).
POLEMIUS. My Chrysanthus, what afflicts thee?
CHRYSANTHUS. Canst thou have been here, my father?
POLEMIUS. No, my son, 't was but this instant That I entered here, alarmed By the strange and sudden shrillness Of thy voice; and though I had On my hands important business, Grave and weighty, since to me Hath the Emperor transmitted This decree, which bids me search Through the mountains for the Christians Hidden there, and specially For Carpophorus, their admitted Chief and teacher, for which cause I my voice too thus uplifted— "Yes, Carpophorus must pay For the trouble that this gives me"— I left all at hearing thee.— Why so absent? so bewildered? What 's the reason?
CHRYSANTHUS. Sir, 't is naught.
POLEMIUS. Whom didst thou address?
CHRYSANTHUS. Here sitting I was reading to myself, And perchance conceived some image I may have addressed in words Which have from my memory flitted.
POLEMIUS. The grave sadness that o'erwhelms thee Will, unless it be resisted, Undermine thy understanding, If thou hast it still within thee.
CLAUDIUS. 'T is a loud soliloquy, 'T is a rather audible whisper That compels one's friends to hasten Full of fear to his assistance!
CHRYSANTHUS. Well, excitement may . . .
POLEMIUS. Oh! cease; That excuse will scarce acquit thee, Since when one 's alone, excitement Is a flame that 's seldom kindled. I am pleased, well pleased to see thee To the love of books addicted, But then application should not To extremes like this be driven, Nor should letters alienate thee From thy country, friends, and kinsmen.
CLAUDIUS. A young man by heaven so favoured, With such rare endowments gifted, Blessed with noble birth and valour, Dowered with genius, rank, and riches, Can he yield to such enthralment, Can he make his room a prison, Can he waste in idle reading The fair flower of his existence?
POLEMIUS. Dost thou not remember also That thou art my son? Bethink thee That the great Numerianus, Our good emperor, has given me The grand government of Rome As chief senator of the city, And with that imperial burden The whole world too—all the kingdoms, All the provinces subjected To its varied, vast dominion. Know'st thou not, from Alexandria, From my native land, my birth-place, Where on many a proud escutcheon My ancestral fame is written, That he brought me here, the weight Of his great crown to bear with him, And that Rome upon my entry Gave to me a recognition That repaid the debt it owed me, Since the victories were admitted Which in glorious alternation By my sword and pen were given her? Through what vanity, what folly, Wilt thou not enjoy thy birth-right As my son and heir, indulging Solely in these idle whimseys?—
CHRYSANTHUS. Sir, the state in which you see me, This secluded room, this stillness, Do not spring from want of feeling, Or indifference to your wishes. 'T is my natural disposition; For I have no taste to mingle In the vulgar vain pursuits Of the courtier crowds ambitious. And if living to myself here More of true enjoyment gives me, Why would you desire me seek for That which must my joys diminish? Let this time of sadness pass, Let these hours of lonely vigil, Then for fame and its applauses, Which no merit of my own, But my father's name may bring me.
POLEMIUS. Would it not, my son, be fitter That you should enjoy those plaudits In the fresh and blooming spring-time Of your life, and to hereafter Leave the loneliness and vigil?
ESCARPIN. Let me tell a little story Which will make the whole thing simple:— A bad painter bought a house, Altogether a bad business, For the house itself was bad: He however was quite smitten With his purchase, and would show it To a friend of his, keen-witted, But bad also: when they entered, The first room was like a kitchen, Black and bad:—"This room, you see, sir, Now is bad, but just permit me First to have it whitewashed over, Then shall my own hand with pictures Paint the walls from floor to ceiling, Then you 'll see how bright 't will glisten".— To him thus his friend made answer, Smiling archly: "Yes, 't will glisten, But if you would paint it first, And then whitewash o'er the pictures, The effect would be much better".— Now 's the time for you, my lord, To lay on the shining pigment: On that brilliant ground hereafter Will the whitewash fall more fitly, For, in fine, the poorest painting Is improved by time's slow finger.
CHRYSANTHUS. Sir, I say, that in obedience To your precepts, to your wishes, I will strive from this day forward So to act, that you will think me Changed into another being. [Exit.
POLEMIUS. Claudius, my paternal instinct Makes me fear Chrysanthus' sadness, Makes we tremble that its issue May result in total madness. Since thou art his friend and kinsman Both combined, make out, I pray thee, What occasions this bewitchment, To the end that I may break it: And my promise now I give thee, That although I should discover Love's delirious dream delicious May be at the root,—most likely At his age the true suspicion,— It shall not disturb or grieve me. Nay, since I am doomed to witness His dejection, it will glad me To find out that so it springeth.
ESCARPIN. Once a high priest of Apollo Had two nephews soft and silly, More than silly, wretched creatures, More than wretched, doltish drivels; And perceiving from experience How love smartens up its victims, He but said to them this only, "Fall in love at least, ye ninnies".— Thus, though not in love, sir, now, I 'll be bound he 'll be so quickly, Merely to oblige you.
POLEMIUS. This Is not quite as I would wish it, For when anything has happened, The desire to know it, differs From the wish it so should happen.
CLAUDIUS. I, my lord, my best assistance Offer thee to strive and fathom From what cause can have arisen Such dejection and such sadness; This henceforth shall be my business To divert him and distract him.
POLEMIUS. Such precisely are my wishes: And since now I am forced to go In obedience to the mission Sent me by Numerianus, 'Mid the wastes to search for Christians, In my absence, Claudius, Most consoling thoughts 't will give me, To remember that thou watchest O'er Chrysanthus.
CLAUDIUS. From this instant Until thy return, I promise Not to leave his side.
POLEMIUS. Aurelius . . .
AURELIUS. My good lord.
POLEMIUS. Art sure thou knowest In this mountain the well-hidden Cave wherein Carpophorus dwelleth?
AURELIUS. Him I promise to deliver To thy hands.
POLEMIUS. Then lead the soldiers Stealthily and with all quickness To the spot, for all must perish Who are there found hiding with him:— For the care with which, ye Heavens! I uphold the true religion Of the gods, their faith and worship, For the zeal that I exhibit In thus crushing Christ's new law, Which I hate with every instinct Of my soul, oh! grant my guerdon In the cure of my son's illness! [Exeunt Polemius and Aurelius.
CLAUDIUS (to Escarpin). Go and tell my lord Chrysanthus That I wish he would come with me Forth to-day for relaxation.
ESCARPIN. Relaxation! just say whither Are we to go forth to get it; Of that comfort I get little—
CLAUDIUS. Outside Rome, Diana's temple On the Salarian way uplifteth Its majestic front: the fairest Of our Roman maids dwell in it: 'T is the custom, as thou knowest, That the loveliest of Rome's children Whom patrician blood ennobles, From their tender years go thither To be priestesses of the goddess, Living there till 't is permitted They should marry: 't is the centre Of all charms, the magic circle Drawn around a land of beauty— Home of deities—Elysium!— And as great Diana is Goddess of the groves, her children Have to her an altar raised In the loveliest cool green thicket. Thither, when the evening falleth, And the season is propitious, Various squadrons of fair nymphs Hasten: and it is permitted Gallant youths, unmarried also, As an escort to go with them. There this evening will I lead him.
ESCARPIN. Well, I doubt that your prescription Is the best: for fair recluses, Whose sublime pursuits, restricted To celestial things, make even The most innocent thought seem wicked, Are by no means likely persons To divert a man afflicted With this melancholy madness: Better take him into the thickest Throng of Rome, there flesh and bone Goddesses he 'll find, and fitter.—
CLAUDIUS. Ah! you speak but as the vulgar: Is it not the bliss of blisses To adore some lovely being In the ideal, in the distance, Almost as a vision?—
ESCARPIN. Yes; 'T is delightful; I admit it, But there 's good and better: think Of the choice that once a simple Mother gave her son: she said: "Egg or rasher, which will I give thee?" And he said: "The rasher, mother, But with the egg upon it, prithee". "Both are best", so says the proverb.
CLAUDIUS. Well, if tastes did n't sometimes differ, What a notable mistake Providence would have committed! To adore thee, sweetest Cynthia, [aside Is the height of all my wishes: As it well may be, for am I Worthy, worship even to give her? [Exeunt.
SCENE THE SECOND A Wood near Rome.
(Enter NISIDA and CHLORIS, the latter with a lyre).
NISIDA. Have you brought the instrument?
NISIDA. Then give it me, for here In this tranquil forest sphere, Where the boughs and blossoms blent, Ruby blooms and emerald stems, Round about their radiance fling, Where the canopy of spring Breathes of flowers and gleams with gems, Here I wish that air to play, Which to words that Cynthia wrote I have set—a simple note.
CHLORIS. And the song, senora, say, What 's the theme?
NISIDA. A touching strain,— How a nightingale in a grove Singing sweetly of his love, Sang its pleasure and its pain.
Enter CYNTHIA (reading in a book).
CYNTHIA (to herself). Whilst each alley here discloses Youthful nymphs, who as they pass To Diana's shrine, the grass Turn to beds of fragrant roses,— Where the interlac'ed bars Of these woods their beauty dowers Seem a verdant sky of flowers— Seem an azure field of stars. I shall here recline and read (While they wander through the grove) Ovid's 'Remedy of Love.'
NISIDA (to Chloris). Hear the words and air.
NISIDA (singing). O nightingale, whose sweet exulting strain Tells of thy triumphs to the listening grove, Thou fill'st my heart with envy and with pain. But no; but no; for if thou sing'st of love, Jealousy's pangs and sorrow's tears remain.
CYNTHIA (advancing). What a charming air! To me What an honour! From this day I may well be vain, as they May without presumption be, Who, despite their numerous slips, Find their words can please the ear, Who their rugged verses hear Turn to music on thy lips.
NISIDA. 'T is thine own genius, not my skill, That produces this effect; For, without it, I suspect, Would my voice sound harsh and shrill, And my lute's strings should be broken With a just and wholesome rigour, For presuming to disfigure What thy words so well have spoken. Whither wert thou wending here?
CYNTHIA. Through the quiet wood proceeding, I the poet's book was reading, When there fell upon my ear, Soft and sweet, thy voice: its power, Gentle lodestone of my feet, Brought me to this green retreat— Led me to this lonely bower: But what wonder, when to listen To thy sweetly warbled words Ceased the music of the birds— Of the founts that glide and glisten? May I hope that, since I came Thus so opportunely near, I the gloss may also hear?
NISIDA. I will sing it, though with shame.
(Sings) Sweet nightingale, that from some echoing grot Singest the rapture of thy love aloud, Singest with voice so joyous and so proud, All unforgetting thou mayst be forgot, Full of thyself and of thy happy lot! Ah! when thou trillest that triumphant strain To all the listening lyrists of the grove, Thou fill'st my heart with envy and with pain! But no; but no; for if thou sing'st of love. Jealousy's pangs and sorrow's tears remain!
DARIA. Ah! my Nisida, forbear, Ah! those words forbear to sing, Which on zephyr's wanton wing Thou shouldst waft not on the air. All is wrong, how sweet it be, That the vestal's thoughts reprove: What is jealousy? what is love? That they should be sung by thee? Think this wood is consecrated To Diana's service solely, Not to Venus: it is holy. Why then wouldst thou desecrate it With thy songs? Does 't not amaze Thee thyself—this strangest thing— In Diana's grove to sing Hymns of love to Cupid's praise? But I need not wonder, no, That thou 'rt so amused, since I Here see Cynthia with thee.
CYNTHIA. Why Dost thou say so?
DARIA. I say so For good cause: in books profane Thou unceasingly delightest, Verse thou readest, verse thou writest, Of their very vanity vain. And if thou wouldst have me prove What I say to thy proceeding, Tell me, what 's this book thou 'rt reading?
CYNTHIA. 'T is The Remedy of Love. Whence thou mayst perceive how weak Is thy inference, thy deduction From my studious self-instruction; Since the patient who doth seek Remedies to cure his pain Shows by this he would grow better;— For the slave who breaks his fetter Cannot surely love his chain.
NISIDA. This, though not put quite so strong, Was involved in the conclusion Of my lay: Love's disillusion Was the burden of my song.
DARIA. Remedies and disillusions, Seek ye both beneath one star? Ah! if so, you are not far From its pains and its confusions: For the very fact of pleading Disillusion, shows that thou 'Neath illusion's yoke doth bow,— And the patient who is needing Remedies doth prove that still The sharp pang he doth endure, For there 's no one seeks a cure Ere he feels that he is ill:— Therefore to this wrong proceeding Grieved am I to see ye clinging— Seeking thou thy cure in singing— Thou thy remedy in reading.
CYNTHIA. Casual actions of this class That are done without intention Of a second end, to mention Here were out of place: I pass To another point: There 's no one Who with genius, or denied it,— Dowered with mind, but has applied it Some especial track to go on: This variety suffices For its exercise and action, Just as some by free attraction Seek the virtues and the vices;— This blind instinct, or this duty, We three share;—'t is thy delight Nisida to sing,—to write Mine,—and thine to adore thy beauty. Which of these three occupations Is the best—or those that need Skill and labour to succeed, Or thine own vain contemplations?— Have I not, when morning's rays Gladdened grove and vale and mountain, Seen thee in the crystal fountain At thyself enamoured gaze? Wherefore, once again returning To our argument of love, Thou a greater pang must prove, If from thy insatiate yearning I infer a cause: the spell Lighter falls on one who still, To herself not feeling ill, Would in other eyes seem well.
DARIA. Ah! so far, so far from me Is the wish as vain as weak— (Now my virtue doth not speak, Now but speaks my vanity), Ah! so far, I say, my breast Turns away from things of love, That the sovereign hand of Jove, Were it to attempt its best, Could no greater wonder work, Than that I, Daria, should So be changed in mind and mood As to let within me lurk Love's minutest, smallest seed:— Only upon one condition Could I love, and that fruition Then would be my pride indeed.
CYNTHIA. What may that condition be?
DARIA. When of all mankind, I knew One who felt a love so true As to give his life for me, Then, until my own life fled, Him, with gratitude and pride, Were I sure that so he died, I would love though he were dead.
NISIDA. Poor reward for love so great Were that tardy recollection, Since, it seems, for thy affection He, till life is o'er, must wait.
CYNTHIA. Soars thy vanity so high? Thy presumption is above All belief: be sure, for love No man will be found to die.
DARIA. Why more words then? love must be In my case denied by heaven: Since my love cannot be given Save to one who 'll die for me.
CYNTHIA. Thy ambition is a thing So sublime, what can be said?— Better I resumed and read, Better, Nisida, thou shouldst sing, This disdain so strange and strong, This delusion little heeding.
NISIDA. Yes, do thou resume thy reading, I too will resume my song.
DARIA. I, that I may not renew Such reproaches, whilst you sing, Whilst you read, in this clear spring Thoughtfully myself shall view.
NISIDA sings. O nightingale, whose sweet exulting strain Tells of thy triumphs to the listening grove, Thou fill'st my heart with envy and with pain!— But no, but no, for if thou sing'st of love Jealousy's pangs and sorrow's tears remain!
Enter CHRYSANTHUS, CLAUDIUS, and ESCARPIN.
CLAUDIUS, to Chrysanthus. Does not the beauty of this wood, This tranquil wood, delight thee?
CHRYSANTHUS. Yes: Here nature's lord doth dower and bless The world in most indulgent mood. Who could believe this greenwood here For the first time has blessed mine eyes?
CLAUDIUS. It is the second Paradise, Of deities the verdant sphere.
CHRYSANTHUS. 'T is more, this green and grassy glade Whither our careless steps have strolled, For here three objects we behold Equally fair by distance made. Of these that chain our willing feet, There yonder where the path is leading, One is a lady calmly reading, One is a lady singing sweet, And one whose rapt though idle air Gives us to understand this truth— A woman blessed with charms and youth, Does quite enough in being fair.
ESCARPIN. You are quite right in that, I 've seen Beauties enough of that sort too.
CLAUDIUS. If of the three here given to view, The choice were thine to choose between, Which of them best would suit thy taste? Which wouldst thou make thy choice of, say?
CHRYSANTHUS. I do not know: for in one way They so with equal gifts are graced, So musical and fair and wise, That while one captivates the mind, One works her witcheries with the wind, And one, the fairest, charms our eyes. The one who sings, it seems a duty, Trusting her sweet voice, to think sweet, The one who reads, to deem discreet, The third, we judge but by her beauty: And so I fear by act or word To wrong the three by judging ill, Of one her charms, of one her skill, And the intelligence of the third. For to choose one does wrong to two, But if I so presumed to dare . . .
CLAUDIUS. Which would it be?
CHRYSANTHUS. The one that 's fair.
ESCARPIN. My blessings on your choice and you! That 's my opinion in the case, 'T is plain at least to my discerning That in a woman wit and learning Are nothing to a pretty face.
NISIDA. Chloris, quick, take up the lyre, For a rustling noise I hear In this shady thicket near: Yes, I 'm right, I must retire. Swift as feet can fly I 'll go. For these men that here have strayed Must have heard me while I played. [Exeunt Nisida and Chloris.
CYNTHIA. One of them I think I know. Yes, 't is Claudius, as I thought, Now he has a chance: I 'll see If he cares to follow me, Guessing rightly what has brought Me to-day unto the grove:— Ah! if love to grief is leading Of what use to me is reading In the Remedies of Love? [Exit.
DARIA (to herself). In these bowers by trees o'ergrown, Here contented I remain, All companionship is vain, Save my own sweet thoughts alone:—
CLAUDIUS. Dear Chrysanthus, your election Was to me both loss and gain, Gave me pleasure, gave me pain:— It seemed plain to my affection (Being in love) your choice should fall On the maid of pensive look, Not on her who read the book: But your praise made up for all. And since each has equal force, My complaint and gratulation, Whilst with trembling expectation I pursue my own love's course, Try your fortune too, till we Meet again. [Exit.
CHRYSANTHUS. Confused I stay, Without power to go away, Spirit-bound, my feet not free. From the instant that on me, As a sudden beam might dart, Flashed that form which Phidian art Could not reach, I 've known no rest.— Babylon is in my breast— Troy is burning in my heart.
ESCARPIN. Strange that I should feel as you, That one thought should fire us two, I too, sir, have lost my senses Since I saw that lady.
CHRYSANTHUS. Who, Madman! fool! do you speak of? you! Dare to feel those griefs of mine!—
ESCARPIN. No, sir, yours I quite resign, Would I could my own ones too!—
CHRYSANTHUS. Leave me, or my wrath you 'll rue; Hence! buffoon: by heaven I swear it, I will kill you else.
ESCARPIN. I go:— For if you address her, oh! Could my jealous bosom bear it? [aside [Exit.
CHRYSANTHUS (to Daria). If my boldness so may dare it, I desire to ask, senora, If thou art this heaven's Aurora, If the goddess of this fountain, If the Juno of this mountain, If of these bright flowers the Flora, So that I may rightly know In what style should speak to thee My hushed voice . . . but pardon me Now I would not thou said'st so. Looking at thee now, the glow Of thy beauty so excelleth, Every charm so plainly telleth Thou Diana's self must be; Yes, Diana's self is she, Who within her grove here dwelleth.
DARIA. If, before you spoke to me, You desired my name to know, I in your case act not so, Since I speak, whoe'er you be, Forced, but most unwillingly (As to listening heaven is plain) To reply:—a bootless task Were it in me, indeed, to ask, Since, whoe'er you be, my strain Must be one of proud disdain. So I pray you, cavalier, Leave me in this lonely wood, Leave me in the solitude I enjoyed ere you came here.
CHRYSANTHUS. Sweetly, but with tone severe, Thus my error you reprove— That of asking in this grove What your name is: you 're so fair, That, whatever name you bear, I must tell you of my love.
DARIA. Love! a word to me unknown, Sounds so strangely in my ears, That my heart nor feels nor hears Aught of it when it has flown.
CHRYSANTHUS. Then there is no rashness shown In repeating it once more, Since to hear or to ignore Suits alike your stoic coldness.
DARIA. Yes, the speech, but not the boldness Of the speaker I pass o'er, For this word, whate'er it be, When it breaks upon my ear, Quick 't is gone, although I hear.
CHRYSANTHUS. You forget it?
CHRYSANTHUS. What! love's sweetest word! ah, me! Canst forget the mightiest ray Death can dart, or heaven display?
DARIA. Yes, for lightning, entering where Naught resists, is lost in air.
CHRYSANTHUS. How? what way?
DARIA. Well, in this way: If two doors in one straight line Open lie, and lightning falls, Then the bolt between the walls Passes through, and leaves no sign. So 't is with this word of thine; Though love be, which I do n't doubt, Like heaven's bolt that darts about, Still two opposite doors I 've here, And what enters by one ear By the other ear goes out.
CHRYSANTHUS. If this lightning then darts through Where no door lies open wide To let it pass at the other side, Must not fire and flame ensue? This being so, 't is also true That the fire of love that flies Into my heart, in flames must rise, Since without its feast of fire The fatal flash cannot retire, That has entered by the eyes.
DARIA. If to what I said but now You had listened, I believe You would have preferred to leave Still unspoken love's vain vow. This you would yourself allow.
CHRYSANTHUS. What then was it?
DARIA. I do n't know: Something 't was that typified My presumption and my pride.
CHRYSANTHUS. Let me know it even so.
DARIA. That in me no love could grow Save for one who first would die For my love.
CHRYSANTHUS. And death being past, Would he win your love at last?—
DARIA. Yes, on that he might rely.
CHRYSANTHUS. Then I plight my troth that I Will to that reward aspire,— A poor offering at the fire By those beauteous eyes supplied.
DARIA. But as you have not yet died, Pray do n't follow me, but retire. [Exit.
CHRYSANTHUS. In what bosom, at one moment, Oh! ye heavens! e'er met together Such a host of anxious troubles? Such a crowd of boding terrors? Can I be the same calm student Who awhile ago here wended? To a miracle of beauty, To a fair face now surrendered, I scarce know what brought me hither, I my purpose scarce remember. What bewitchment, what enchantment, What strange lethargy, what frenzy Can have to my heart, those eyes Such divine delirium sent me? What divinity, desirous That I should not know the endless Mysteries of the book I carry, In my path such snares presenteth, Seeking from these serious studies To distract me and divert me? But what 's this I say? One passion Accidentally developed, Should not be enough, no, no, From myself myself to sever. If the violence of one star Draws me to a deity's service, It compels not; for the planets Draw, but force not, the affections. Free is yet my will, my mind too, Free is still my heart: then let me Try to solve more noble problems Than the doubts that love presenteth. And since Claudius, the new Clytie Of the sun, whose golden tresses Lead him in pursuit, her footsteps Follows through the wood, my servant Having happily too departed, And since yonder rocks where endeth The dark wood in savage wildness Must be the rude rustic shelter Of the Christians who fled thither, I 'll approach them to endeavour To find there Carpophorus:— He alone, the wise, the learn'ed, Can my understanding rescue From its night-mare dreams and guesses. [Exit.
SCENE III. The extremity of the wood: wild rocks with the entrance to a cave. Carpophorus comes forth from the cave, but is for a while unseen by Chrysanthus, who enters.
CHRYSANTHUS. What a labyrinthine thicket Is this place that I have entered! Nature here takes little trouble, Letting it be seen how perfect Is the beauty that arises Even from nature's careless efforts: Deep within this darksome grotto Which no sunbeam's light can enter, I shall penetrate: it seemeth As if until now it never Had been trod by human footsteps. There where yonder marge impendeth O'er a streamlet that swift-flying Carries with it the white freshness Of the snows that from the mountains Ever in its waves are melted, Stands almost a skeleton; The sole difference it presenteth To the tree-trunks near it is, That it moves as well as trembles, Slow and gaunt, a living corse. Oh! thou venerable elder Who, a reason-gifted tree, Mid mere natural trees here dwelleth.—
CARPOPHORUS. Wo! oh! wo is me!—a Roman! (At seeing Chrysanthus, he attempts to fly.)
CHRYSANTHUS. Though a Roman, do not dread me: With no evil end I seek thee.
CARPOPHORUS. Then what wouldst thou have, thou gentle Roman youth? for thou hast silenced My first fears even by thy presence.
CHRYSANTHUS. 'T is to ask, what now I ask thee, Of the rocks that in this desert Gape for ever open wide In eternal yawns incessant, Which is the rough marble tomb Of a living corse interred here? Which of these dark caves is that In whose gloom Carpophorus dwelleth? 'T is important I speak with him.
CARPOPHORUS. Then, regarding not the perils, I will own it. I myself Am Carpophorus.
CHRYSANTHUS. Oh! let me, Father, feel thy arms enfold me.
CARPOPHORUS. To my heart: for as I press thee, How, I know not, the mere contact Brings me back again the freshness And the greenness of my youth, Like the vine's embracing tendrils Twining round an aged tree: Gallant youth, who art thou? tell me.
CHRYSANTHUS. Father, I am called Chrysanthus, Of Polemius, the first member Of the Roman senate, son.
CARPOPHORUS. And thy purpose?
CHRYSANTHUS. It distresses Me to see thee standing thus: On this bank sit down and rest thee.
CARPOPHORUS. Kindly thought of; for, alas! I a tottering wall resemble: At the mouth of this my cave Let us then sit down together. [They sit down. What now wouldst thou have, Sir Stranger?
CHRYSANTHUS. Sir, as long as I remember, I have felt an inclination To the love of books and letters. In my casual studies lately I a difficulty met with That I could not solve, and knowing No one in all Rome more learn'ed Than thyself (thy reputation Having with this truth impressed me) I have hither come to ask thee To explain to me this sentence: For I cannot understand it. 'T is, sir, in this book.
CARPOPHORUS. Pray, let me See it then.
CHRYSANTHUS. 'T is at the beginning; Nay, the sentence that perplexes Me so much is that.
CARPOPHORUS. Why, these Are the Holy Gospels! Heavens!
CHRYSANTHUS. What! you kiss the book?
CARPOPHORUS. And press it To my forehead, thus suggesting The profound respect with which I even touch so great a treasure.
CHRYSANTHUS. Why, what is the book, which I By mere accident selected?
CARPOPHORUS. 'T is the basis, the foundation Of the Scripture Law.
CHRYSANTHUS. I tremble With an unknown horror.
CHRYSANTHUS. Deeper now I would not enter Into the secrets of a book Which are magic spells, I 'm certain.
CARPOPHORUS. No, not so, but vital truths.
CHRYSANTHUS. How can that be, when its verses Open with this line that says (A beginning surely senseless) "In the beginning was the Word, And it was with God": and then it Adds: this Word itself was God; Then unto the Word reverting, Says explicitly that IT "Was made flesh"?
CARPOPHORUS. A truth most certain: For this first evangelist Here to us our God presenteth In a twofold way: the first As being God, as Man the second.
CHRYSANTHUS. God and Man combined together?
CARPOPHORUS. Yes, in one eternal Person Are both natures joined together.
CHRYSANTHUS. Then, for this is what more presses On my mind, can that same Word When it was made flesh, be reckoned God?
CARPOPHORUS. Yes, God and Man is Christ Crucified for our transgressions.
CHRYSANTHUS. Pray explain this wondrous problem.
CARPOPHORUS. He is God, because He never Was created: He is the Word, For, besides, He was engendered By the Father, from both whom In eternal due procession Comes the Holy Ghost, three Persons, But one God, thrice mystic emblem!— In the Catholic faith we hold In one Trinity one God dwelleth, And that in one God is also One sole Trinity, ever bless'ed, Which confounds not the three Persons, Nor the single substance severs. One is the person of the Father, One the Son's, beloved for ever, One, the third, the Holy Ghost's. But though three, you must remember That in the Father, and in the Son, And in the Holy Ghost . . .
CHRYSANTHUS. Unheard of Mysteries these!
CARPOPHORUS. There 's but one God, Equal in the power exerted, Equal in the state and glory; For . . .
CHRYSANTHUS. I listen, but I tremble.
CARPOPHORUS. The eternal Father is Limitless, even so unmeasured And eternal is the Son, And unmeasured and eternal Is the Holy Ghost; but then Three eternities are not meant here, Three immensities, no, but One, Who is limitless and eternal. For though increate the three, They are but one Uncreated. First the Father was not made, Or created, or engendered; Then engendered was the Son By the Father, not created; And the Spirit was not made Or created, or engendered By the Father or the Son, But proceeds from both together. This is God's divinity Viewed as God alone, let 's enter On the human aspect.
CHRYSANTHUS. Stay: For so strange, so unexpected Are the things you say, that I Need for their due thought some leisure. Let me my lost breath regain, For entranced, aroused, suspended, Spell-bound your strong reasons hold me. Is there then but one sole God In three Persons, one in essence, One in substance, one in power, One in will?
CARPOPHORUS. My son, 't is certain.
(Enter Aurelius and Soldiers.)
AURELIUS to the Soldiers. Yonder is the secret cavern Of Carpophorus, at its entrance See him seated with another Reading.
A SOLDIER. Why delay? Arrest them.
AURELIUS. Recollect Polemius bade us, When we seized them, to envelope Each one's face, that so, the Christians, Their accomplices and fellows, Should not know or recognize them.
A SOLDIER. You 're our prisoners. [A veil is thrown over the head of each.]
CHRYSANTHUS. What! base wretches . . .
AURELIUS. Gag their mouths.
CHRYSANTHUS. But then I am . . .
AURELIUS. Come, no words: now tie together Both their hands behind their backs.
CHRYSANTHUS. Why I am . . .
CARPOPHORUS. Oh! sacred heaven! Now my wished-for day has come.
A VOICE FROM HEAVEN. No, not yet, my faithful servant:— I desire the constancy Of Chrysanthus may be tested:— Heed not him, as for thyself, In this manner I preserve thee. [Carpophorus disappears.
POLEMIUS. What has happened?
AURELIUS. Oh! a wonder.— We Carpophorus arrested, And with him this other Christian; Both we held here bound and fettered, When from out our hands he vanished.
POLEMIUS. By some sorcery 't was effected, For those Christians use enchantments, And then miracles pretend them.
A SOLDIER. See, a crowd of them there flying To the mountains.
POLEMIUS. Intercept them, And secure the rabble rout; This one I shall guard myself here:— [Exeunt Aurelius and soldiers. Miserable wretch! who art thou? Thus that I may know thee better, Judging from thy face thy crimes, I unveil thee. Gracious heaven! My own son!
CHRYSANTHUS. Oh! heavens! my father!
POLEMIUS. Thou with Christians here detected? Thou here in their caverns hidden? Thou a prisoner? Wherefore, wherefore, O immense and mighty Jove, Are thy angry bolts suspended?
CHRYSANTHUS. 'T was to solve a certain doubt Which some books of thine presented, That I sought Carpophorus, That I wandered to these deserts, And . . .
POLEMIUS. Cease, cease; for now I see What has led to this adventure: Thou unhappily art gifted With a genius ill-directed; For I count as vain and foolish All the lore that lettered leisure Has in human books e'er written; But this passion has possessed thee, And to learn their magic rites Here, a willing slave, has led thee.
CHRYSANTHUS. No, not magic was the knowledge I came here to learn—far better— The high mysteries of a faith Which I reverence, while I dread them.
POLEMIUS. Cease, oh! cease once more, nor let Such vile treason find expression On thy lips. What! thou to praise them!
AURELIUS (within). Yonder wait the two together.
POLEMIUS. Cover up thy face once more, That the soldiers, when they enter, May not know thee, may not know How my honour is affected By this act, until I try Means more powerful to preserve it.
CHRYSANTHUS (aside). God, whom until now I knew not, Grant Thy favour, deign to help me: Grant through suffering and through sorrow I may come to know Thee better.
(Enter Aurelius and Soldiers.)
AURELIUS. Though we searched the whole of the mountain, Not one more have we arrested.
POLEMIUS. Take this prisoner here to Rome, And be sure that you remember All of you my strict commands, That no hand shall dare divest him Of his veil:— [Chrysanthus is led out. Why, why, O heavens! [aside. Do I pause, but from my breast here Tear my bleeding heart? How act In so dreadful a dilemma? If I say who he is, I tarnish With his guilt my name for ever, And my loyalty if I 'm silent, Since he being here transgresses By that fact alone the edict: Shall I punish him? The offender Is my son. Shall I free him? He Is my enemy and a rebel:— If between these two extremes Some mean lies, I cannot guess it. As a father I must love him, And as a judge I must condemn him. [Exeunt.
ACT THE SECOND.
SCENE I. A hall in the house of Polemius.
Enter Claudius and Escarpin.
CLAUDIUS. Has he not returned? Can no one Guess in the remotest manner Where he is?
ESCARPIN. Sir, since the day That you left me with my master In Diana's grove, and I Had with that divinest charmer To leave him, no eye has seen him. Love alone knows how it mads me.
CLAUDIUS. Of your loyalty I doubt not.
ESCARPIN. Loyalty 's a different matter, 'T is not wholly that.
CLAUDIUS. What then?
ESCARPIN. Dark suspicions, dismal fancies, That perhaps to live with her He lies hid within those gardens.
CLAUDIUS. If I could imagine that, I, Escarpin, would be gladdened Rather than depressed.
ESCARPIN. I 'm not:— I am filled, like a full barrel, With depressions.
CLAUDIUS. And for what?
ESCARPIN. Certain wild chimeras haunt me, Jealousy doth tear my heart, And despairing love distracts me.
CLAUDIUS. You in love and jealous?
ESCARPIN. I Jealous and in love. Why marvel? Am I such a monster?
CLAUDIUS. What! With Daria?
ESCARPIN. 'T is no matter What her name is, or Daria Or Maria, I would have her Both subjective and subjunctive, She verb passive, I verb active.
CLAUDIUS. You to love so rare a beauty?
ESCARPIN. Yes, her beauty, though uncommon, Would lack something, if it had not My devotion.
CLAUDIUS. How? explain:—
ESCARPIN. Well, I prove it in this manner:— Mr. Dullard fell in love (I do n't tell where all this happened, Or the time, for of the Dullards Every age and time give samples) With a very lovely lady: At her coach-door as he chattered One fine evening, he such nonsense Talked, that one who heard his clatter, Asked the lady in amazement If this simpleton's advances Did not make her doubt her beauty?— But she quite gallantly answered, Never until now have I Felt so proud of my attractions, For no beauty can be perfect That all sorts of men do n't flatter.
CLAUDIUS. What a feeble jest!
ESCARPIN. This feeble?—
CLAUDIUS. Yes, the very type of flatness:— Cease buffooning, for my uncle Here is coming.
ESCARPIN. Of his sadness Plainly is his face the mirror.
Enter Polemius and servants.
CLAUDIUS. Jupiter doth know the anguish, My good lord, with which I venture To approach thee since this happened.
POLEMIUS. Claudius, as thine own, I 'm sure, Thou dost feel this great disaster.
CLAUDIUS. I my promise gave thee that To Chrysanthus . . .
POLEMIUS. Cease; I ask thee Not to proffer these excuses, Since I do not care to have them.
CLAUDIUS. Then it seems that all thy efforts Have been useless to unravel The strange mystery of his fate?
POLEMIUS. With these questions do not rack me; For, though I would rather not Give the answer, still the answer Rises with such ready aptness To my lips from out my heart, That I scarcely can withstand it.
CLAUDIUS. Why conceal it then from me, Knowing that thy blood meanders Through my veins, and that my life Owns thee as its lord and master?— Oh! my lord, confide in me, Let thy tongue speak once the language That thine eyes so oft have spoken.
POLEMIUS. Let the servants leave the apartment.
ESCARPIN (aside). Ah! if beautiful Daria Would but favour my attachment, Though I have no house to give her, Lots of stories I can grant her:— [Exeunt Escarpin and servants.
CLAUDIUS. Now, my lord, we are alone.
POLEMIUS. Listen then; for though to baffle Thy desire were my intention, By my miseries overmastered, I am forced to tell my secret; Not so much have I been granted License to avow my sufferings, But I am, as 't were commanded Thus to break my painful silence, Doing honestly, though sadly, Willingly the fact disclosing, Which by force had been extracted. Hear it, Claudius: my Chrysanthus, My Chrysanthus is not absent: In this very house he 's living!— Would the gods, ah! me, had rather Made a tomb and not a prison Of his present locked apartment! Which is in this house, within it Is he prisoned, chained, made captive. This surprises thee, no wonder: More surprised thou 'lt be hereafter, When thou com'st to know the reason Of a fact so strange and startling. On that fatal day, when I Sought the mount and thou the garden, Him I found where thou didst lose him, Near the wood where he had rambled: He was taken by my soldiers At the entrance of a cavern, With Carpophorus:—oh! here Patience, patience may heaven grant me!— It was lucky that they did not See his face, for thus it happened That the front of my dishonour Was not in his face made patent: Him they captured without knowing Who he was, it being commanded That the faces of the prisoners Should be covered, but ere captured This effectually was done By themselves, they flying backward With averted faces; he Thus was taken, but his partner, That strange prodigy of Rome— Man in mind, wild beast in manners, Doubly thus a prodigy— Saved himself by power of magic. Thus Chrysanthus was sole prisoner, While the Christian crowd, disheartened, Fled for safety to the mountains From their grottoes and their caverns. These the soldiers quickly followed, And behind in that abandoned Savage place remained but two— Two, oh! think, a son and father.— One a judge, too, in a cause Wicked, bad, beyond example, In a cause that outraged Caesar, And the gods themselves disparaged. There with a delinquent son Stood I, therefore this should happen, That both clemency and rigour In my heart waged fearful battle— Clemency in fine had won, I would have removed the bandage From his eyes and let him fly, But that instant, ah! unhappy! Came the soldiers back, and then It were but more misery added, If they knew of my connivance: All that then my care could manage To protect him was the secret Of his name to keep well guarded. Thus to Rome I brought him prisoner, Where pretending great exactness, That his friends should not discover Where this Christian malefactor Was imprisoned, to this house, To my own house, I commanded That he should be brought; there hidden And unknown, a few days after I in his place substituted . . . Ah! what will not the untrammelled Strength of arbitrary power Dare attempt? what law not trample? Substituted, I repeat, For my son a slave, whose strangled, Headless corse thus paid the debt Which from me were else exacted. You will say, "Since fortune thus Has the debt so happily cancelled, Why imprison or conceal him?"— And, thus, full of doubts, I answer That though it is true I wished not, Woe is me! the common scaffold Should his punishment make public, I as little wished his hardened Heart should know my love and pity Since it did not fear my anger: Ah! believe me, Claudius, 'Twixt the chastisement a father And an executioner gives, A great difference must be granted: One hand honours what it striketh, One disgraces, blights, and blackens. Soon my rigour ceased, for truly, In a father's heart it lasteth Seldom long: but then what wonder, If the hand that in its anger Smites his son, in his own breast Leaves a wound that ever rankles— I one day his prison entered With the wish (I own it frankly) To forgive him, and when I Thought he would have even thanked me For receiving a reproof, Not severe, too lenient rather, He began to praise the Christians With such earnestness and ardour, In defence of their new law, That my clemency departed, And my angrier mood returned. I his doors and windows fastened. In the room where he is lying, Well secured by gyves and shackles, Sparingly his food is given him, Through my hands alone it passes, For I dare not to another Trust the care his state demandeth. You will think in this I reached to The extreme of my disasters— The full limits of misfortune, But not so, and if you hearken, You 'll perceive they 're but beginning, And not ended, as you fancied. All these strange events so much Have unnerved him and unmanned him, That, forgetful of himself, Of himself he is regardless. Nothing to the purpose speaks he. In his incoherent language Frenzy shows itself, delusion In his thoughts and in his fancies:— Many times I 've listened to him, Since so high-strung and abstracted Is his mind, he takes no note of Who goes in or who departeth. Once I heard him deprecating Some despotic beauty's hardness, Saying, "Since I die for thee, Thou thy favour sure wilt grant me". At another time he said, "Three in one, oh! how can that be?" Things which these same Christian people In their law hold quite established. Thus it is my life is troubled, Lost in doubts, emeshed, and tangled. If to freedom I restore him, I have little doubt that, darkened By the Christian treachery, he Will declare himself instanter Openly a Christian, which Would to me be such a scandal, That my blood henceforth were tainted, And my noble name were branded. If I leave him here in prison, So excessive is his sadness, So extreme his melancholy, That I fear 't will end in madness. In a word, I hold, my nephew, Hold it as a certain axiom, That these dark magician Christians Keep him bound by their enchantments; Who through hatred of my house, And my office to disparage, Now revenge themselves on me Through my only son Chrysanthus. Tell me, then, what shall I do; But before you give the answer Which your subtle wit may dictate, I would with your own eyes have thee See him first, you 'll then know better What my urgent need demandeth. Come, he 's not far off, his quarter Is adjoining this apartment; When you see him, I am certain You will think it a disaster Far less evil he should die, Than that in this cruel manner He should outrage his own blood, And my bright escutcheon blacken. [He opens a door, and Chrysanthus is seen seated in a chair, with his hands and feet in irons.]
CLAUDIUS. Thus to see my friend, o'erwhelms me With a grief I cannot master.
POLEMIUS. Stay, do not approach him nearer; For I would not he remarked thee, I would save him the disgrace Of being seen by thee thus shackled.
CLAUDIUS. What his misery may dictate We can hear, nor yet attract him.
CHRYSANTHUS. Was ever human fate so strange as mine? Were unmatched wishes ever mated so? Is it not enough to feel one form of woe, Without being forced 'neath opposite forms to pine? A triune God's mysterious power divine, From heaven I ask for life, that I may know, From heaven I ask for death, life's grisly foe, A fair one's favour in my heart to shrine: But how can death and life so well agree, That I can ask of heaven to end their strife, And grant them both in pitying love to me? Yet I will ask, though both with risks are rife, Neither shall hinder me, for heaven must be The arbiter of death as well as life.
POLEMIUS. See now if I spoke the truth.
CLAUDIUS. I am utterly distracted. (The door closes.
POLEMIUS. Lest perhaps he should perceive us, Let us move a little further. Now advise me how to act, Since you see the grief that racks me.
CLAUDIUS. Though it savours of presumption To white hairs like yours, to hazard Words of council, yet at times Even a young man may impart them: Well-proportioned punishment Grave defects oft counteracteth. But when carried to extremes, It but irritates and hardens. Any instrument of music Of this truth is an example. Lightly touched, it breathes but sweetness, Discord, when 't is roughly handled. 'T is not well to send an arrow To such heights, that in discharging The strong tension breaks the bowstring, Or the bow itself is fractured. These two simple illustrations Are sufficiently adapted To my purpose, of advising Means of cure both mild and ample. You must take a middle course, All extremes must be abandoned. Gentle but judicious treatment Is the method for Chrysanthus. For severer methods end in Disappointment and disaster. Take him, then, from out his prison, Leave him free, unchecked, untrammelled, For the danger is an infant Without strength to hurt or harm him. Be it that those wretched Christians Have bewitched him, disenchant him, Since you have the power; for Nature With such careful forethought acteth, That an antidotal herb She for every poison planteth. And if, finally, your wish Is that he this fatal sadness Should forget, and wholly change it To a happier state and gladder, Get him married: for remember Nothing is so well adapted To restrain discursive fancies As the care and the attachment Centered in a wife and children; Taking care that in this matter Mere convenience should not weigh More than his own taste and fancy: Let him choose his wife himself. Pleased in that, to rove or ramble Then will be beyond his power, Even were he so attracted, For a happy married lover Thinks of naught except his rapture.
POLEMIUS. I with nothing such good counsel Can repay, except the frankness Of accepting it, which is The reward yourself would ask for. And since I a mean must choose Between two extremes of action, From his cell, to-day, my son Shall go forth, but in a manner That will leave his seeming freedom Circumscribed and safely guarded. Let that hall which looketh over Great Apollo's beauteous garden Be made gay by flowing curtains, Be festooned by flowery garlands; Costly robes for him get ready; Then invite the loveliest damsels Rome can boast of, to come hither To the feasts and to the dances. Bring musicians, and in fine Let it be proclaimed that any Woman of illustrious blood Who from his delusive passions Can divert him, by her charms Curing him of all his sadness, Shall become his wife, how humble Her estate, her wealth how scanty. And if this be not sufficient, I will give a golden talent Yearly to the leech who cures him By some happy stroke of practice. [Exit.
CLAUDIUS. Oh! a father's pitying love, What will it not do, what marvel Not attempt for a son's welfare, For his life?
ESCARPIN. My lord 'por Baco!' (That 's the god I like to swear by, Jolly god of all good rascals) May I ask you what 's the secret?
CLAUDIUS. You gain little when you ask me For a secret all may know. After his mysterious absence Your young lord 's returned home ill.
ESCARPIN. In what way?
CLAUDIUS. That none can fathom, Since he does not tell his ailment Save by signs and by his manner.
ESCARPIN. Then he 's wrong, sir, not to tell it Clearly: with extreme exactness Should our griefs, our pains be mentioned. A back tooth a man once maddened, And a barber came to draw it. As he sat with jaws expanded, "Which tooth is it, sir, that pains you?" Asked of him the honest barber, And the patient in affected Language grandly thus made answer, "The penultimate"; the dentist Not being used to such pedantic Talk as this, with ready forceps Soon the last of all extracted. The poor patient to be certain, With his tongue the spot examined, And exclaimed, his mouth all bleeding, "Why, that 's not the right tooth, master". "Is it not the ultimate molar?" Said the barber quite as grandly. "Yes" (he answered), "but I said The penultimate, and I 'd have you Know, your worship, that it means Simply that that 's next the farthest". Thus instructed, he returned To the attack once more, remarking "In effect then the bad tooth Is the one that 's next the last one?" "Yes", he said, "then here it is", Spoke the barber with great smartness, Plucking out the tooth that then Was the last but one; it happened From not speaking plain, he lost Two good teeth, and kept his bad one.
CLAUDIUS. Come and something newer learn In the stratagem his father Has arranged to cure the illness Of Chrysanthus, whom he fancies . . .
CLAUDIUS. Is spell-bound by the Christians Through the power of their enchantments:— (Since to-day I cannot see thee, [aside. Cynthia fair, forgive my absence). [Exit.
ESCARPIN. While these matters thus proceed, I shall try, let what will happen, Thee to see, divine Daria:— At my love, oh! be not angered, Since the penalty of beauty Is to be beloved: then pardon. [Exit.
SCENE II.—The Wood.
Enter DARIA from the chase with bow and arrows.
DARIA. O stag that swiftly flying Before my feathered shafts the winds outvieing, Impelled by wings, not feet, If in this green retreat Here panting thou wouldst die, And stain with blood the fountain murmuring by, Await another wound, another friend, That so with quicker speed thy life may end; For to a wretch that stroke a friend must be That eases death and sooner sets life free. [She stumbles and falls near the mouth of a cave.] But, bless me, heaven! I feel My brain grow hot, my curdling blood congeal: A form of fire and snow I seem at once to turn: this sudden blow, This stumbling, how I know not, by this stone, This horrid mouth in which my grave is shown, This cave of many shapes, Through which the melancholy mountain gapes, This mountain's self, a vast Abysmal shadow cast Suddenly on my heart, as if 't were meant To be my rustic pyre, my strange new monument, All fill my heart with wonder and with fear, What buried mysteries are hidden here That terrify me so, And make me tremble 'neath impending woe. [A solemn strain of music is heard from within.] Nay more, illusion now doth bear to me The sweetest sounds of dulcet harmony, Music and voice combine:— O solitude! what phantasms are thine! But let me listen to the voice that blent Sounds with the music of the instrument.
Music from within the cave.
SONG. Oh! be the day for ever blest, And blest be pitying heaven's decree, That makes the darksome cave to be Daria's tomb, her place of rest!
DARIA. Blest! can such evil auguries bless? And happy can that strange fate be That gives this darksome cave to me As monument of my sad life?
DARIA. Oh! who before in actual woe The happier signs of bliss could read? Will not a fate so rigorous lead To misery, not to rapture?—
DARIA. O fantasy! unwelcome guest! How can this cave bring good to me?
MUSIC. Itself will tell, when it shall be Daria's tomb, her place of rest.
DARIA. But then, who gave the stern decree, That this dark cave my bones should hide?
MUSIC. Daria, it was he who died, Who gave his life for love of thee.
DARIA. "Who gave his life for love of me!" Ah! me, and can it be in sooth That gentle noble Roman youth I answered with such cruelty In this same wood the other day, Saying that I his love would be If he would only die for me! Can he have cast himself away Down this dark cave, and there lies dead, Buried within the dread abyss, Waiting my love, his promised bliss?— My soul, not now mine own, has fled!
CYNTHIA (within). Forward! forward! through the gloom Every cave and cavern enter, Search the dark wood to its centre, Lest it prove Daria's tomb.
DARIA. Ah! me, the sense confounding, Both here and there are opposite voices sounding. Here is my name in measured cadence greeted, And there in hollow echoes oft repeated. Would that the latter cries that reach my ear Came from my mates in this wild forest sphere, In the dread solitude that doth surround me Their presence would be welcome. [Enter Cynthia with bow and arrows.]
CYNTHIA. Till I found me, Beauteous Daria, by thy side once more, Each mountain nook my search had well gone o'er.
DARIA (aside). Let me dissemble The terror and surprise that make me tremble, If I have power to feign Amid the wild confusion of my brain:— Following the chase to-day, Wishing Diana's part in full to play, So fair the horizon smiled, I left the wood and entered on the wild, Led by a wounded deer still on and on. And further in pursuit I would have gone, Nor had my swift career Even ended here, But for this mouth that opening in the rock, With horrid gape my vain attempt doth mock, And stops my further way.
CYNTHIA. Until I found thee I was all dismay, Lest thou some savage beast, some monstrous foe, Hadst met.
DARIA (aside). Ah! would to Jove 't were so! And that my death in his wild hands had paid For future chastisement by fate delayed! But ah! the wish is vain, Foreboding horror fills my heart and brain, This mystic music borne upon the air Must surely augur ill.
NISIDA. Daria fair, And Cynthia wise, I come to seek ye two.
CYNTHIA. Has any thing occurred or strange or new?
NISIDA. I scarce can tell it. As I came along, I heard a man, in a clear voice and strong, Proclaiming as he went Through all the mountain a most strange event: Rome hath decreed Priceless rewards to her whose charms may lead Through lawful love and in an open way By public wedlock in the light of day, The son of proud Polemius from the state Of gloom in which his mind is sunk of late.
CYNTHIA. And what can be the cause that he is so?
NISIDA. Ah! that I do not know, But yonder, leaving the Salarian Way, A Roman soldier hitherward doth stray: He may enlighten us and tell us all.
CYNTHIA. Yes, let us know the truth, the stranger call.
DARIA (aside). Ah! how distinct the pain That presses on my heart, and dulls my wildered brain!
NISIDA. Thou, O thou, whose wandering footsteps These secluded groves have entered . . .
ESCARPIN. Thou four hundred times repeated— Thou and all the thous, your servant.
NISIDA. Tell us of the proclamation Publicly to-day presented To the gaze of Rome.
ESCARPIN. I 'll do so; For there 's nothing I love better Than a story (aside, if to tell it In divine Daria's presence Does not put me out, for no one, When the loved one listens, ever Speaks his best): Polemius, Rome's great senator, whose bended Shoulders, like an Atlas, bear All the burden of the empire, By Numerian's self entrusted, He, this chief of Rome's great senate, Has a son, by name Chrysanthus, Who, as rumour goes, at present Is afflicted by a sadness So extreme and so excessive, That 't is thought to be occasioned By the magic those detested Christians (who abhor his house, And his father, who hath pressed them Heavily as judge and ruler) Have against his life effected, All through hatred of our gods. And so great is the dejection That he feels, there 's nothing yet Found to rouse him or divert him. Thus it is Numerianus, Who is ever well-affected To his father, hath proclaimed All through Rome, that whosoever Is so happy by her beauty, Or so fortunately clever By her wit, or by her graces Is so powerful, as to temper His affliction, since love conquers All things by his magic presence, He will give her (if a noble) As his wife, and will present her With a portion far surpassing All Polemius' self possesses, Not to speak of what is promised Him whose skill may else effect it. Thus it is that Rome to-day Laurel wreaths and crowns presenteth To its most renowned physicians, To its sages and its elders, And to wit and grace and beauty Joyous feasts and courtly revels; So that there is not a lady In all Rome, but thinks it certain That the prize is hers already, Since by all 't will be contested, Some through vanity, and some Through a view more interested: Even the ugly ones, I warrant, Will be there well represented. So with this, adieu. (Aside, Oh! fairest Nymph Daria, since I ventured Here to see thee, having seen thee Now, alas! I must absent me!) [Exit.
CYNTHIA. What strange news!
NISIDA. There 's not a beauty But for victory will endeavour When among Rome's fairest daughters Such a prize shall be contested.