« PreviousContinue »
But of what araileth reason,
Rest at length poor weary heart.
Hopeful dreamer that thou art ;
Calm thy heart, or cool thy brain.
Of Atlanta, young and fair ;
It were idle to declare.
Which her henrt cannot restrain,
Which for love itself is vain ?
Senora, they are mine.
Frederick. I am poor.
Of what importeth this to love?
ports; And thus, you see, that I do not complain Of feeling love's sweet bitter pain, senora, But that I do not merít being loved. Flerida, And canst thou, Frederick, love so base
an object, That can be influenced by thoughts of gain ? Frederick. It were a crime to charge her innocent
Flerida, Whom do you blame?
Frederick. Because I dare not speak of love,
Flerida, A lover who doth own himself to be
Frederick. So guarded in my silence is my love,
it happen that you presume to speak to me with so much passion of your love? Do you forget who I am ?".
“ Pardon me,” replied Frederick, “if I am in fault. But did you not ask me, senora, and have I not an.. swered you ?"
“ You have answered me a great deal more than I inquired of you,” said Flerida, as she turned to Arnesto, her steward, and commanded him to pay to Frederick two thousand ducats, in order that he might conciliate the attendants of his mysterious lady. “ For I don't wish," she continued, “ that, under pretence of his poverty, he should speak to me again with so little judgment as he has done to-day ; being so very timid with his mistress, and so bold with me.”
While Libia, one of the ladies in waiting, was wondering at the displeasure which was apparent in the language and countenance of her mistress
-while Laura was suspecting its cause -while Frederick was endeavouring to turn it aside by some polite compliments, such as his anxiety to kiss the earth where she trod, as the contact of her beautiful feet with the ground produced more flowers than spring up after the sunny showers of April—and while Fabio, his valet, was improving and parodying the compliment of his master, by assuring the duchess that he was anxious to kiss the ground beneath her feet, but that he dared not to approach it, as it was heaven and not earth where she walked—while all this was passing, Henry (the disguised Duke of Mantua) was announced. After being courteously received by Flerida, and after having received an invitation to remain at her court until the affair of the duel, mentioned in the letter of the duke, should blow over, Florida sat down, surrounded by her ladies, beneath the pleasant shade of a spreading trec, and calling upon Arnesto, who stood, with the rest of the gentlemen, at a little distance, to propose a question, they commenced one of those
games of wit, which were then so much the fashion in all courtly circles, in the following manner :
Arnesto. Though my white hairs might excuse me From my share in this sweet pastime: Still, to gratify, senora, Thee in ought, I put the question * What is love's most bitter pain ?"
Flerida. Sir, it is for you to answer: [To Henry. Henry. I?
To thee, as guest and stranger, We grant precedence.
"Enough, enough,” cried Flerida, "your language is as affected as your scruples are ridiculous, But how does
Not to forfeit
Hope, is alded the concealing
Even that he feels it not.
Ever lives in hope and fear,
From the midst of pleasure near Some fancied evil, far removed,
Wounds him like a hidden spear ; In his passion and his langour
He feels at once the double pain
Ofhini who loves, but mects disdain, And the proud disduiner's anger ;
As to jealousy, heaven knows, He feels its added pang as well ; He cannot for a moment dwell
From his loved mistress, but the throes Of absence in his bosom swell.
'Tis true Despair can find no scope
IIe can not feel the joy of Ilope ;
And thus he feels the pain of cach
Who wanteth hope, or wanteth speech. "Twould seem, inileed, a man like this
Is wholly out of misery's reach, So much doth love his bosom bless
But, in the midst of all his joy,
There comes the shadow of annoy, Lest Fate, pereliance, may make it less :
And thus his breast contains each feeling That our several lips have stated,
or being loved, and being hatedBoth of speaking and concealing
Jealousy and absence mated.
It was thus, in scholastic subtilties, and graceful combats of the wit, that Flerida and her courtiers amused themselves on that sunny morning of May. After Laura had concluded her ingenious argument in support of the startling paradox she had laid down, that “the greatest pain of love was in being loved," Flerida arose, ac
accompanied by her train, and in the little confusion that followed, Frederick was enabled to arrange a simple stratagem, by means of which he could receive a letter which his mistress Laura had promised him, and which she had concealed upon her person: merely to place it in her glove, which she would drop, as if by accident, and for which, Frederick should substitute his own, when apparently returning it to her. This little ruse succeeded admirably, and without the slightest detection, notwithstanding the jealous eagerness of Lisardo, who, as the declared admirer of Laura, considered that it was his privilege to restore the glove to its fair owner. The duchess having shortly after retired with her attendants, Frederick, who was dying with impatience to read the letter he had just received, was at length left alone with his valet Fabio.
The avantage you have given me,
Flora. I believe its greatest anguish
Lisardo. "Tis jealousy-
Tis the feeling
Flerida. I think its greatest pain is loving
Laura, And I, to love, and be beloved :
Flerida. That's a somewhat novel reason :
Laura. I will prove it, notwithstanding.
Henry. Since I made the first beginning,
Fubio. Now we'll hear enough of nonsense [aside. The greater wit the greater folly.
lienry. Love is a planet, shining far
With varying beam in heaven above,
And so the greatest pain of love
Of some proud beauty's scornful eyes,
Which glance upon him to despise,
Struggles with opposing skies ;
Flora. He who lifts his heart above To some proud eye's scornful glowing, Has at least the bliss of showing
That he suffers for his love,
Which may yet her pity move-
Suffere without any merit,
Neither can her heart inherit
Lisardo. He who loves, and yet is hated,
Which in time may be abated
With the thought that they are fated
When we happen to discover
From some dearer favoured lover,
Nor thought of Icaven's impartial plan,
But Jealousy is born of Man!
When the torch of love expires,
Jealousy relume its fires Brighter than they once had been, Love returns to glad the scene;
Awakened by its glowing breath,
But absence, which the wise man saith,
Absence is Love's quickest death,
She who worshipped still doth scorn
He whom Jealousy's sharp thorn Woundeth with its poisoned sores; He who the absent maid deplores
All live beneuth Hope's horoscope ;
Of him who loveth without hope.
Can at least his state declare,
And by telling his despair
In secret, shares a sadder lot,
Frederick. Oh! how delighted I am to be at length alone; I can now read this letter.
Fabio. Well, if this does not make me lose iny senses, it is very likely because I have none to lose.
Frederick. What excites your wonder ?
Fabio. What? Why your patience and want of
ing, professed himself most anxious to ruriosity : for this letter, which you must have received over night, it seems you have not yet opened.
satisfy the curiosity of Flerida, partiFrederick. Do you know what this letter is? cularly as her questions were prefaced
Fabio Be it what it may, is it not certain that you have kept it by you unopened all this time?
by the gift of a chain, which he assured Frederick. I have but this moment received it. the duchess he valued very much for Fabio. You will make me love my wits; since no
two reasons, namely, that it came from one has spoken to you since morning, it must doubtless have been the wind that brought it to you.
her, and that it was of gold. The only Frederick. No, Fabio, it is not to the wind that I subject, however, that Flerida felt any am indebted for this letter, but to the fire which burns and consumes me.
curiosity about was, unfortunately, the Fabio. The fire ?
only one of which Fabio was entirely Frederick. Yes.
ignorant, and that was the name of Fabio. I am now beginning to believe that what have long suspected is true.
the lady to whom his master Frederick Frederick. What is that?
was attached. “ In fact," said Fabio, Fabio. That your are mad; or that you have become a phantom lover, worshipping some hobgoblin
“I scarcely think he knows it himself; lady, whom you have created in your mind.
he trusts it to no one. He laughs Frederick. Peace, fool : retire.
alone, and he weeps alone. If he reFabio. Well, I ought to be a squire of purgatory, since I live in a state neither of rewards nor punish
ceives a letter, I cannot make out ments.
whence it comes; if he answer it, I Frederick (reads). “My lord and master, my tor. ment is increasing very much, since my father, con
never can discover whither it goes ; trary to my wishes, is forcibly treating of my mar. and it is only this very day that I have riage, and has appointed to-morrow for the signing
been able to obtain the slightest clue of the contract." (Aloud.) Ah! me, what a short time I have to live, only from this until to-morrow,
to his affection : for after having read Fabio!
a letter which Barabbas in person must Fabio, What's the matter? Frederick, I must soon die.
have brought to him, he stated that a Fabio. You will do very wrong, unless you can- divine beauty expected him this night not help it; for I can assure you, sir, that dying has
to speak to him.” This information Dow become exceedingly vulgar.
Frederick. How can I avoid it, when this letter is was wormwood to the jealous heart of the sentence of my death?
Flerida : she restrained herself, howFabio. How? Nothing easier ; since you have your sentence in that letter, can you not add a little post
ever, and asked Fabio if he knew the cript, which will entirely change its meaning to some- house, or even the street, in which the thing more agreeable ?
lady lived. “She lives in this palace,” Frederick. Without hope or life I proceed (reads) -* And thus, although I risk the unhappy secret of replied bio; “and I know it for the our love, in what I propose, it is still necessary that
following reasons:-My master suffers I should speak to you to-night, for which purpose I have arranged that the garden-gate will remain open, without change - he enjoys without and sooner than I shall lose you, I shall lose my life; fruition_he adores without desire on the faith of which, I desire you to be prepared with suitable acknowledgments for the portrait I have
he loves without hope ; and night and bent you." (Aloud.) Was there ever such a happy day he writes as much as would fill a man as I am ? Fabio : Fabio !
huge portfolio. Discreet follies such Fabio. What is the matter now? You are not dying, I hope?
as these are only to be met with in a Frederick. No, I live.
palace.” After Flerida had directed Fabio. See the effect of good advice. Frederick. I feel almost giddy with excess of joy ;
Fabio to watch, with the utmost exactfor this night I am to speak to the beautiful being ness, every action of his master, for whom I adore. Oh! thou shining champion of the which she would take care to reward skies, who, in thy golden chariot, slowly drivest over the plain of heaven, shorten thy tedious course, for him amply, she withdrew to devise thou knowest how many eyes are weary of thy light some means, as well of preventing the this day. And ye, beautiful stars! who are the planets of the heart, revolt against the regal despotista of dreaded assignation, as of discovering the sun, and in his stead, establish your shining re- the name of this fair unknown. She publics in the heavens, for the sun has robbed you of
was not long in thinking of an easy your rights, and prides himself in your broken power!
[Ecit. plan, by which the former of her wishes,
at least, might be satisfied. It was, to After this speech, which tended con- write an answer to the letter which she siderably to strengthen Fabio's suspi- had received from the Duke of Mantua, cion of his master's insanity, he with- which she would dispatch by Frederick drew, giving that amusing and inqui- that very evening ; and as the distance sitive personage a full opportunity of was more than twelve leagues, it would expressing his opinions on the subject. be impossible for him to return before His reflections and observations were, the following day. Accordingly, when however, brought to an abrupt termi- Frederick waited on her as usual, in nation, by a message from the duchess, order to obtain her signature to some requiring his immediate attendance. documents, he was overwhelmed with Fabio, who would have been too happy confusion and dismay, at receiving a to impart anything he knew to any letter from her hands, with the positive person, for the mere pleasure of talk- command of delivering it to the person to whom it was addressed that very Mantua, to whom the letter was ad- . night. In vain he pleaded the state of dressed, came into the apartment. his health, to induce her to substitute Frederick, unheard by Fabio, told him some other person as the bearer of her of the difficulty in which he was placed. commands; she peremptorily declined They agree that if the duke, on opento listen to any excuse, repeating that ing the letter, finds that Flerida has her honour required his compliance, seen through his disguise, he shall im. and that she should insist upon being mediately depart for his own territory: obeyed. She then left him in a state but if not, that Frederick shall proceed of the utmost bewilderment, vainly a little out of the city, as if on the endeavouring to think how it was pos- road to Mantua, and return in the sible, at the same time, to keep his dusk of the night, to keep his appointappointment with Laura, and observe ment with Laura ; the duke, writing his loyalty and obedience to his sove- a reply to Flerida's letter, which reign. In this perplexity Fabio wait. Frederick would present to her on the ed upon him :-)
following morning, and thus make it
appear that he had spent the night in Fabio. My lord, does not the day appear to you to
executing her commands. This unexvery be long?
Frederick, It is the devil that has sent you here. pected mode of extricating himself Go, Fabio, and saddle both our horses.
from his difficulty, made Frederick Fabio. Have you received another letter, either by the tire, or by the air ?
look so happy, that Fabio could only Frederick. Yes; I have just received a letter. explain it by supposing that his master Fabio. Oh! very well. Make a little alteration in
had deciphered the letter, and that his it, as in the other, and you will be as merry as Christ. mas. Look at it again, and your sorrow will end. correspondent did not require so many
Frederick. I have not yet had the courage to read monkeys as he had at first imagined. even the superscription. Fabio. Read it, and see whether it agrees with
Flerida, having thus succeeded, as your first impression.
she thought, in getting one of the Frederick. I will see, at least, whither I am sent (reads) “ To the Duke of Mantua." (aside) Iles
lovers out of the way, now turned all vens! my confusion is now of another kind; she has, her attention to discover who was the doubtless, discovered the duke, and takes this method other. She would herself have gone of showing how offended she is with me, for my want of fidelity in concealing him in my apartments. This
to the terrace in the garden, so anxious is what she meant by saying that it was on business did she feel to know who her rival was, that concerned her honour. Oh! my foolish thought; if she had not been afraid of comproI have but escaped one danger to fall into another. Fabio. Well, sir, does the letter improve ?
mising her dignity. As Laura was Frederick. The more I sce of it, the less I compre- her most trusted and confidential hend it.
Fabio. Perhaps it is written in cipher, like the agent, and as, of all others, she never letter of the merchant.
had the slightest suspicion of her, she Frederick. You fatigue me; I know not of what
told her that she had learned with you are speaking.
Fabio. Well, to remove your ignorance I will tell great surprise and displeasure, that you the story. A certain inhabitant of Tremezen, a clealer in glass, was in love with a lady of the fame
some lady connected with her court place. He had a particular friend, who resided at
had appointed to meet a gentleman in Tetuan. One day the lady told her lover that she the garden that very night, and as she would like to have a monkey, and desired him to could not tolerate such an impropriety, write to his friend at Tetuan send one. As a lover is always anxious not only to gratify, but even to ex- and was anxious to know who the parceed, the wishes of his beloved ; and wishing that the lady would have the opportunity of selecting onc to
ties were, in order to punish them, she her liking, he requested his friend to send him three requested Laura to watch from time or four monkeys. In his letter, however, instead of to time upon the terrace, and report to urriting the numbers, he uscd figures, and as O is the Spanish of or, his astonished friend read as follows:
her accordingly. Poor Laura was very * Dear friend, for a person for whom I have a great much frightened at this statement, lest respect, send me 3 o 4 monkeys immediately." He of Tetuan, however, had nothing for it but to comply ;
Flerida should in reality have known and you can easily imagine the consternation of our more than she pretended : with some lover, when, in a few days after, a ship arrived in the
confusion, she, of course, undertook harbour of Tremezen, bearing, to his order, three hundred and four monkeys, playing more than three
the commission of her mistress, and in hundred thousand buffooneries. If the same thing her subsequent interview with Frehas happened to you, I would udvise you to read with figures; for, according to this story, one monkey in
derick, accused him of not having obwriting makes a hundred monkeys in cipher.
served a proper secrecy with regard to Frederick. Was anything more ill-timed than to give me this letter at the present moment.
their meeting-telling him what FleFubio. Is there no reincly by which you can send
rida had said, and that it was owing a less number of monkeys? Frederick. Was there ever any one in the world
to her misplaced confidence she was in a greater state of uncertainty ? What shall I do?
enabled to keep her appointment with
him. He, of course, protested his inAt this moment, Henry, who, as our nocence. The discovery, however, readers are aware, was the Duke of proving the constant vigilance of Fle.
rida, and that some one was betraya other absurdities, contradictions, and mysteries, that
the devil himself could not understand. Besides, my ing their secrets, Frederick promised
conscience upbraids me for serving a master who, that he would send her, on the follow- without being Pope, has so many reserved cases.
Frederick. Silence, for her highness approaches, ing day, a plan by which, even in the
Remember what I have told you already, that you presence of third parties, they could should in no manner allow it to be known that I did speak to each other aloud, without not leave l'arma last night.
Fabio. Of course ; (uside) I am dying to tell it to their meaning being understood by
Flerida, and for these reasons--Firstly, to regale my any one but themselves.
tongue a little ; secondly, to revenge myself upon my stored them a little to their confidence,
master; and thirdly, to serve the duchess. and after mutual vows of constancy Frederick presents the letter of the and love, they separated, she to in
duke to Flerida, and also one to Laura, vent some story that would dissipate which he says he received from Celia, the suspicions of the duchess, and he, a lady connected with the court of the to have the appearance of returning
duchess, the duke's mother. Flerida from Mantua in the morning.
being quite convinced by the seal and Next day, accordingly, Frederick writing of the duke that Frederick and Fabio, having, from their dress, all must have been to Mantua, feels quite the appearance of persons who had pleased with her stratagem. And as spent the night in travelling, were Laura reported that she was unable to seen approaching the palace of Flerida, see any one in the gardens on the preFrederick bearing the answer of the ceding evening, she feels satisfied that, Duke of Mantua, written by his own whoever Frederick's mistress may be, band, and sealed with the ducal seal, she belongs to the city, and not to the as well as the promised letter to Laura, court. Fabio, however, takes a very containing the plan of “the secret in early opportunity of disabusing her on words." This was, simply, that after the subject; tells her that his master a signal given by either of them (the did not leave Parma the preceding drawing forth of a handkerchief), the night, the better part of which he first word of every line spoken by the spent in conversation with his mistress, party giving the signal, was intended and that as to the letter, it must have for the other, and the remainder for been the devil himself that brought it the Duchess, or whatever third parties to him, as Frederick neither went nor might be present. By joining these sent any human being to Mantua for words together, the meaning of the that purpose. Flerida, as usual, acspeaker would be discovered. Fabio quaints Laura with this new intelliaccompanied his master, quite be- gence, to the utmost terror and amazewildered by all the contradictory orders
ment of the latter. Laura retires to he had received, and utterly incapable think over this strange discovery, and of penetrating the mystery of his pro- also to read the letter which she her. ceedings. Being unable to keep silence self had received from Frederick. any longer on the subject, he expressed While reading it with great attention, himself in the following terms .
she is surprised by Lisardo, who, in his Fabia. Must an honorable man endure all this?
jealousy, insists upon seeing its conFrederick. Of what are you complaining, Fabio? tents. Shc, of course, refuses, and
Fabio. Oh! I complain of nothing, my lord; but the noise of their altercation attracts perhaps your lord-bip would allow me to make a calcolation of the time I have served you, for if you paid
Flerida, Frederick, and Fabio, as well mee by the hour as much as you pay me by the year, as her father, Arnesto, to the spotI vow to God I would not serve you a day longer, Frederick. And why?
Arnesto. What is all this poise, Lisardo ? Fabio. Beranse my unfortunate head is absolutely Flerida. Laura, what is all this outcry? sea-sick with thinking and reflecting; and there is Lisardo. It is nothing. not money enough in the world to pay a valet that Laura.
Nay, your highness, reflects : besides, your orders are so various that I can- It is much : now, love, assist me!
Arnesto. Wilt thou speak thus ? [to Lisardo. Frederick. low is that?
Wilt thou quarFebis. Why, to give you a gpecimen— Fabio, I
[to Laura, must die. This day my life and hope expirc.” Oh! Arnesto. With thy cousin ? indeerl, my lord. Then am I to look after your Flerida.
Thy betrothed ? lordship's funeral ? * No, you need not mind it at Arnesto. Say, Lisardo, what has happened ? present, Fabio, for now I will not die, as this black Flerida. Laura, what has passed between you ? night that is approaching will be brighter in my eyes Lisardo. It is nothing that I know of. than the sunniest day." I am delighted to hear it. Laura. It is much: you know, Senora, "Esbío !" My lord ? " I must depart this instant ; That you left me here this instant so get our horses ready immediately." "Tis done. Reading Madam Celia's letter. ** Now I will not depart, but let the horses be Flerida. Yes. brought nevertheless." They are brought. “ Mount."
And being thus employed, I I do so. How far do we go? "One league." Are Was insulted by Lisardo, we to return? “We must return." Shall I attend Who, with insolent presumption, your lordship? “ No, Fabio; go to my apartments, Dared to treat me with suspicion : and mind that you do not follow me." And many And, that you may know the reason,
not understand them.