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There are strange voices ringing in mine ear
That summon me—to what?-But I have been
Used to command !-Away! I will not die
But on the field-
CONSTANCE (kneeling by him).
Oh Heaven! be merciful, As thou art just for he is now where nought But mercy can avail him !It is past !
Guido enters, with his sword drawn.
GUIDO (t0 RAIMOND).
I've sought thee long-Why art thou lingering here?
Haste, follow me!-Suspicion with thy name
Joins that word-Traitor ?
Hast thou not heard that, with his men-at-arms,
After vain conflict with a people's wrath,
De Couci hath escaped ?—And there are those
Who murmur that from thee the warning came
Which saved him from our vengeance. But e’en yet
In the red current of Provençal blood
That doubt may be effaced.
be effaced. Draw thy good sword, And follow me!
And thou couldst doubt
'Tis come to this !-Away ! mistrust me still.
I will not stain my sword with deeds like thine.
Thou know'st me not !
Raimond di Procida! If thou art he whom once I deemed so noble Call me thy friend no more!
[Erit Guido. RAIMOND (after a pause).
Rise, dearest, rise!
Thy duty's task hath nobly been fulfillid,
E'en in the face of death ; but all is o'er,
And this is now no place where nature's tears
In quiet sanctity may freely flow.
-Hark! the wild sounds that wait on fearful deeds
Are swelling on the winds, as the deep roar
Of fast-advancing billows; and for thee
I shame not thus to tremble.-Speed, oh, speed!
SCENE I. -A Street in Palermo.
How strange and deep a stillness loads the air,
As with the power of midnight !-Aye, where death
Hath pass'd, there should be silence.—But this hush
Of nature's heart, this breathlessness of all things,
Doth press on thought too heavily, and the sky,
With its dark robe of purple thunder-clouds
Brooding in sullen masses, o'er my spirit
Weighs like an omen !—Wherefore should this be?
Is not our task achieved, the mighty work
Of our deliverance ?-Yes; I should be joyous :
But this our feeble nature, with its quick
Instinctive superstitions, will drag down
Th’ ascending soul.–And I have fearsul bodings
That treachery lurks amongst us.—Raimond! Raimond !
Oh! Guilt ne'er made a mien like his its garb!
It cannot be !
MONTALBA, GUIDO, and other Sicilians enter.
Welcome! we meet in joy!
Now may we bear ourselves erect, resuming
The kingly port of freemen! Who shall dare,
After this proof of slavery's dread recoil,
To weave us chains again ?-Ye have done well.
We have done well. There need no choral song,
No shouting multitudes to blazon forth
Our stern exploits.The silence of our foes
Doth vouch enough, and they are laid to rest
Deep as the sword could make it. Yet our task
Is still but half achieved, since, with his bands,
De Couci hath escaped, and, doubtless, leads
Their footsteps to Messina, where our foes
Will gather all their strength. Determined hearts,
And deeds to startle earth, are yet required,
To make the mighty sacrifice complete.
Where is thy son ?
I know not. Once last night
He cross'd my path, and with one stroke beat down
A sword just raised to smite me, and restored
My own, which in that deadly strife had been
Wrench'd from my grasp : but when I would have press’d
To my exulting bosom, he drew back,
And with a sad, and yet a scornful, smile,
Full of strange meaning, left me. Since that hour
I have not seen him. Wherefore didst thou ask?
It matters not. We have deeper things to speak of.Know'st thou that we have traitors in our councils?
I know some voice in secret must have warn'd
De Couci; or his scatter'd bands had ne'er
So soon been marshall’d, and in close array
Led hence as from the field. Hast thou heard aught
That may develope this ?