« PoprzedniaDalej »
SCENE III. A garden apartment in the Serai, the
PACHA, ZULLIKA, and LEILA, her attendant, discovered.
Zul. How best to deserve thy love, and move obedient to thy will, have ever been thy daughter's only cares.
Pacha. Soft gentleness! Dearest offspring of my choice! Fair as the first rose of spring, and sweeter to my soul. In thee the charms that in thy mother lived, live o'er again delighting my fond sense. Thou hast all my heart! (embracing her.)
Zul. To me thou hast been most kind.
Zul. I'm not so insensible or vain--oh! beyond it, far beyond it.
Pacha. And now, my child, one thing alone remains to crown my fondest hope.
Zul. (eagerly) Name it.--Oh! name it.
I name that which makes me happy, yet makes me sad--that raises my proudest expectation, then humbles me again ?
Zul. Then name it not. Thy daughter would not have thee sad or humbled, no, not for every earthly joy !
Pacha. Still I would see her happy_would see her blest. (In a soft and dissembling tone.)
Zul. And dost thou not? (quickly.) Can'st thou see her happier than she is, possessed of all her soul desiresa father's and a brother's love!
Pacha. A father's o'erweaning care may have whispered something still might add to this.
Zul. Impossible! What can add to that which confers a bliss beyond our sphere and makes us taste of heaven!
Pacha. Yet know, my best beloved! ere many moons shall sink beneath the silver streams which glad our plains, thy father will be called to his--and fate that governs all may call this brother--the ill-starred stripling! long before.
Zul. Then could Zuleika ask to live? Yet oh! my father, why of one so near, so dear to thee too, terms so reproachful !
Pacha. Because that he is the reverse of thee.--Head
strong and disobedient to my will--of temper sullen, and of soul perverse. (Hastily uttered, then aside.) Yet why all this, when at once he bath my hate. (In a tone of deep expression, then with an assumed vivacity taking Zuleika by the hand.) Now leave we him, and to our better purpose.-Thy happiness, fair flower! thy father's only aim, what could he better do than seek some powerful lord to blend his fortunes with thy own.
Zul. What does my father mean?,
Pacha. Well does that vermeil tint become thy maiden cheek, for 'tis the soft test of virgin purity, yet spare it now. To-day the chief who asks thy hand will grace our dome.
Zul. (agitated) To-day !
Pacha. Perhaps this hour -- so bears his messenger. And that thou wilt give him audience befitting his estate, thy duty and thy love assure me. (she bows lowly). For, if a father's colder judgment may be trusted, thou'lt find him worthy. Of years beyond the unsettled waywardness of youth, and yet below the peevishness of age. With wealth and power amply gifted; and whose courage will stand best attested by his foes. Such is the man who seeks Zuleika's love-such is the man to whom I would resign her. [Embraces her and erit.]
Zul. Oh! cruel hour! that wakes Zuleika's soul from its soft repose to tumults that it never knew or felt before - That tells her in one sad unfeeling moment she may be torn from all she values most--from friends, from home, and heaviest yet of all, from Selim's love! But blest relief, he comes ! Enter Selim in a slow and thoughtful manner : Zuleika
runs eagerly towards him and throws herself upon his shoulder, looking in his face with most expressive feeling. He coldly receives her, and turns aside with looks denoting strong anguish.
Zul. Oh! Selim, this from thee! Say, what hath thy sister done, or whence thy cold and altered look? Oh, say “What, no reply, no cheering sound? what can Zuleika think? (She paces the chamber in a hurried manner, occasionally turning towards Selim, who remains fixed : then taking a small urn from a pedestal which contains attar of roses, she besprinkles the floor with it and in
artless and playful manner approaches Selim and drops some on his garment. He remains regardless of the attention.) Still motionless and silent—'twas not always thus, nor must be now: but one appeal remains, and if that fail-it cannot, for the pride of nature was ever his delight, and the rose, if offered by my hand, may not have lost its charm. (She now repairs to an urn on a correspondent pedestal on the opposite side of the chamber, from which she takes a rose; then dropping on her knee presents it. As before he is regardless of it.) What! can a simple flower offend; will it not win one smile? Then has ZuJeika no more to hope. (rising) Yet tell me, dearest brother! for I will cling to thee until thou dost, what hath worked this wond'rous change; why does that eye, once mild as the softest beam of night, now cast such quick and angry glances ? Thy sister surely cannot be the
Sel. Thou the cause, my Zuleika! Oh! no -(seizing her hand and pressing it convulsively to his lips; then with sudden quickness.) Yes, yes, by heaven thou artthou art indeed the cause, the only cause! (striking his forehead vehemently.
Zul. What can this mean? (aside) Oh! rend not my soul, but further speak.
Sel. Did my sight deceive me, or did not thy father quit thee but this moment I crossed him at the portal ? (quickly inquired)
Zul. Twas my father, and oh, my brother sounds so new and strange have escaped him, as deeply agitate thy sister's soul. But what he means, 'tis thou wilt best explain.
Sel. If of this baughty Bey who seeks thy hand he held discourse, I'm but ill fitted for the task.
Zul. Of him then and of his suit alone he spoke,
Sel. And wouldst thou have me become an advocate too in his behalf ?-'twere better he found some other. But thy favor won, fair maid ! he will not need another; for there's more elocution in eye like thine than in all the volubility of deep-toned orators. Perchance the Sultau soon will find it so. (with ambiguous utierance)
Zul. Never. For now, if I understand thee, thou lov'st him not, and to bear my favor he surely must have
thine. Nay by all the loves our infancy first knew, that ripening years have served to make more strong, Selim, I
swear, without thy full, thy free consent, Osman must seek in vain Zuleika's hand. (with this declaration she falls on her knee: he raises and tenderly embraces her.)
Sel. Oh! more than mortal sounds. Softer than those blest Peries breathe to souls disturbed, giving new life, new joy, and thrusting each recollected sorrow from the breast. Oh! my Zuleika! for now indeed I feel thou'rt mine, and naught but the deadly shaft that severs all shall dissolve the uniou !
Zul. And could'st thou doubt I was less than thine before? For what hath been my fondest hope, the solace of each hour; but with thee to live, with thee to die, and in all thy heart's desires to bear a more than equal part ?
Sel. Nay, ask not now, forgive me, dearest, if I didthou know'st not all I've suffered, nor what is passing here. (striking his breast)
Zul. And that I bear so little of thy confidence, have I not cause for anger ?
Sel. A few short moments are but gone when of reproach I have borne my daily share.—My courage questioned, and my manhood scorned; but with new motives fired both may be awakened, and the despised Son of a Slave yet may show, Nature hath not refused him all his rights,
Zul. What canst thou mean? again thou'rt wandering.
Sel. Let not thy gentle spirit, my Zuleika, take alarm. But by heaven! 'twas such thy father named me. (with strong and feeling utterance.)
zul. Alas! too well I know how oft thou’rt doomed to meet his frown; but when in anger, thou know'st his words oft flow without a meaning.
Sel. Well, well, it may be thus, to dwell on it now would be misuse of time. But until the happier hour may come, let our thoughts, our vows be known to us alone-close the dark recesses of the dead.
Zul. Oh! say, whence all this? Why should I not disclose that thou bid'st me hold, the Pacha's wrath could not recal my word, nor bind me to the arms of one I ne'er beheld. He still would surely leave me free, and we should be as we have ever been.
Sel. Fond, unsuspecting maid! once indeed it might be thus. But thy father hath gorged the tempter's bait—this Sultan's gold hath won his heart.
Zul. But mine it cannot win. (exultingly.)
Sel. Full well I know this husband of thy father's choice, this Osman Bey! the pure descendant of a race despised. His ill-got wealth the best pretension to thy favor; won with the widow's curse, the orphan's tear ; whose desolating course stands stained with blood, of age and sex remorseless. Robbery his pursuit, and ruin his delight. Should such a one repose upon thy pillow, or find a haven within thy spotless breast? Alla forbid !
zul. Of him, to awaken all my hate, thou need’st not have said so much.
Sel. Then to me leave him. For danger's hour I've friends who will not shrink nor tremble at a tyrant's steel.
Zul. Thy words are dark and full of mystery, and what thou mean’st by purposes so wild and incoherent, confounds
feebler Sel. 'Twere vain to disguise it longer. (aside) Know then, love! I am not what I appear!
Zul. Oh! Selim, what art thou then? (with great eagerness.)
Sel. Thou soon must learn.
Zul. Soon! Oh! now this instant-let me not sink in agonizing doubt. Art thou not all assured, in thee my life, my soul's reposed? Sei. I feel it all-But let it now suffice of me and
my intents time and place more fitting must be sought, but both ere long. Giaffir will soon return. (a bugle sounds at a distance) That sound proclaims it, and 'twere better he met us not together. Hie thee, therefore, again unto thy chamber; and when the drum of night shall warn his drowsy guards to rest, unto thy door with lightest step I'll pace, then will we both steal forth and wander through the garden's secret maze, from each too curious ear and eye far removed.
Me thou need'st not fear,