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I am on my guard, however: no surprise.
[Then to Ordonio. What, he was mad? Ord.
All men seemed mad to him ! Nature had made him for some other planet, And pressed his soul into a human shape By accident or malice. In this world He found no fit companion. Isid. Of himself he speaks.
Alas! poor wretch! Mad men are mostly proud. Ord.
He walked alone, And phantom thoughts unsought-for troubled him. Something within would still be shadowing out All possibilities; and with these shadows His mind held dalliance. Once, as so it happened, A fancy crossed him wilder than the rest : To this in moody murmur and low voice He yielded utterance, as some talk in sleep: The man who heard him.
Why did'st thou look round ? Isid. I have a prattler three years old, my lord ! In truth he is my darling. As I went From forth my door, he made a moan in sleepBut I am talking idly-pray proceed ! And what did this man? Ord.
With this human hand He gave a substance and reality To that wild fancy of a possible thing.Well it was done!
Why babblest thou of guilt ?
Isid. I would my lord you were by my fire-side,
Where was I? Isid. He of whom you tell the tale
Ord. Surveying all things with a quiet scorn,
Isid. Ah! what of him, my lord ?
He proved a traitor,
[Ordonio grasps his sword, and turns off from Isidore, then after a pause returns.
Our links burn dimly. Isid. A dark tale darkly finished! Nay, my lord! Tell what he did.
Ord. That which his wisdom prompted-
No! the fool!
He had not wit enough to be a traitor.
ifIsid. Oh yes, my lord! I would have met him arm'd, and scar'd the coward.
[Isidore throws off his robe; shows himself
armed, and draws his sword.
Die thou first.
arming him throws his sword up that recess opposite to which they were standing. Isidore hurries into the recess with his torch, Ordonio follows him; a loud cry of « Traitor! Monster!” is heard from the cavern, and in a
moment Ordonio returns alone. Ord. I have hurled him down the chasm! treason
He dreamt of it: henceforward let him sleep,
SCENE II. –The interior Court of a Saracenic or
Gothic Castle, with the iron gate of a dungeon visible.
Ter. Heart-chilling superstition! thou canst glaze Even pity's eye with her own frozen tear. In vain I urge the tortures that await bim : Even Selma, reverend guardian of my childhood, My second mother, shuts her heart against me! Well, I have won from her what most imports The present need, this secret of the dungeon Known only to herself.—A Moor! a sorcerer! No, I have faith, that nature ne'er permitted Baseness to wear a form so noble. True, I doubt not, that Ordonio had suborned him To act some part in some unholy fraud ; As little doubt, that for some unknown purpose He hath baffled his suborner, terror-struck him, And that Ordonio meditates revenge ! But my resolve is fixed ! myself will rescue him, And learn if haply he knew aught of Alvar.
Enter Valdez. Val. Still sad ?--and gazing at the massive door Of that fell dungeon which thou ne'er had’st sight of,
1 See Appendix.
Save what, perchance, thy infant fancy shap'd it
Ter. The horror of their ghastly punishments
Val. Hush, thoughtless woman!
Nay, it wakes within me
No more of this
My honoured lord,
-We have mourn'd for Alvar.
Speak not of him!