« PoprzedniaDalej »
Since this, if the conflict of contending passions, if listless hours, if never-sleeping sorrow, and if every beam to illumine my darkened path, save oue,
life's before thee.
Har. Idle sounds, invented to disturb thy peace.
Sel. Well, well, be it hus. I too well know what thou ow'st thy master, to press it on thee; but the time may come, ere many moons shall pass, to break the seal with which our lips are closed.
Har. (aside) His words are mysterious -I know bis nature; some hidden purpose works upon his soul. Youth, be not precipitate nor rash, but wait on time, that every end and purpose best resolves : to thee, the Pacha stands acknowledged father.
Sel. Have I not obeyed him as a son? But honestly, Haroun, think'st thou I've dwelt so largely within his heart?
Har. His daughter, Zuleika, no doubt hath had her share of this.
Sel. And that it should have been the largest, I call upon our prophet to bear me witness, ne'er caused a sigh. For by the same inspired name I swear, gladly would I renounce all joy-a life of peace, to add a moment's bliss to her's. Indeed, if aught can ever make me think or call the Pacha father, 'tis when some tender care, some soft endearing sound, escapes his lips for her.
Har. All this her gentle spirit well deserves.
Sel. (Quickly) And how much more? When I think on her, how poor, how dependent do I seein! This is the spell that hath made me wear my chains without complaint; endure the galling taunt of passing a life of ignoble ease to one of higher emprise and more befitting man's estate. These have I borne; and though without a murmur, not without a sigh. But for my loved Zuleika, long had I passed the bounds of Giaffir's domain, and sought the free uncontrolled life of Paswan's hordes, or the more desperate Arnaut's course.
Hur. Rash boy! roads of peril, with thorns environed. Sel. Yet to youthful spirits and disappointed hopes not without their charms. (The tambour beats without.) Now we must part; for those sounds bespeak the hour of Divay to approach. To thy duty, therefore, and to thy lord still
hold allegiance; for know, to gain his power, from that I would not seduce his slave. And that thy fair charge escaped so early, should he cast an angry eye, the fault being mine, I will stand by to avert its force. To thy duty; farewell.
Har. I know his rancor, but Alla be thy protector ! and be he also mine!
[Exit Haroun. Sel. There passes one, a rare example, whom office hath not spoiled; whose soul can breathe contagion fearless of its poison; the dependent of an unfeeling, haughty despot; a slave! but in all that best befits a man, above his master. Good old man ! 'twas time to let thee know thy close concealment might be spared; still must I e'er commend its kindly motive, for to the hapless son of sorrow, that is the tenderest office which keeps his story veiled. Now to the idle hour of state; and then, oh! blest relief! once more to seek Zuleika !
[Exit. SCENE II. A Hall, or Chamber of State, in the
Serai of the Pacha. His divan, or couch, splendidly decorated; the walls hung with banners and warlike trophies; the tambour beats without, accompanied by martial music, as preparatory to his entrance. The Pacha enters; preceded by the officers and slaves of the Pachalic: guards following, bearing banners, displaying Turkish insignia, &c. &c. The whole range regularly on each side; the Pacha proceeds slowly from the centre towards his seat; the whole salute. SELIM and HAROUN take stations on each side of him: his Secretary presents petitions, kneeling, which are taken and passed to the Tchocadar, or chief attendant : this ceremony done, the Pacha makes a signal, when the whole, with the exception of Selim and Haroun, retire in the order in which they entered: he comes forward.
Pacha. When all who wait beyond the outer walls have passed, lead my daughter to me : (to Haroun) this day her fate's determined, and must see her Osman's bride. Bring her to the garden chamber : but, slave! heed me well; on peril of thy head, let not thy officious tongue say aught of this-be that task mine. (During the recital of this, Selim endeavours to suppress his agitation.)
Har. Lord, thy will is law. (bowing low.)
Pacha. 'Twere better, should'st thou always feel it thus. I love assurance more than words: therefore, bewarethou know'st my power-if at times I'm slow, in the end
Now say, and quickly, that my vengeance may not fall on the guiltless head, to whom is it that I owe my daughter's early and frequent flights--why is her chamber 80 oft deserted ? (Haroun pauses confused, the Pacha eyes him with severe sternness.) Infidel! thy looks confirm thy treachery. That pause is guilt: breathe such another, and here is thy reward. (Drawing his dagger from his side, and seizing Haroun, who is wrested from his grasp by Selim.)
Sel. Hold, Sir! Strike here! my breast woos thy poignard's point. Thy son, and not thy slave's in fault.
Pacha. (with quick and heated indignation.) Son of a slave! thy intercession and thy office well beseem theea man in form and semblance only; in all the rest, with less than woman's soul. On such, 'twere vain to 'rest my honor or my house's hope-On such, indeed! then might I expect to see my ancient battlements o'erthrown; our holy prophet's shrine defiled, and the accursed cross of unbelieving infidels indignant flaunt o'er proud Byzantium's banners. (Selim discovers the heaviest workings of a disturbed spirit, occasionally casting his eye with deep force towards the Pacha.) Thou stand'st confounded What! no reply?
Sei. None. I know my distance; thy words have taught me better. III would it become, to pass the danger
of it, one of my condition, the son of a slave, to wage a wordy conflict with a potent Pacha. (Uttered somewhat sarcastically.)
Pacha. (aside) He taunts me to my beard. (Suddenly addressing Haroun.) Thou know’st thy errand--begone! and, once more, beware! (Haroun retires.) What said'st thou ?-- It matters not. (To Selim, with affected indifference.) I know thee, I heed thee too, and if thy soul, forgetful of its bounds, durst aspire to deed more daring; e'en Giaffir's aged arm may still find vigor to meet thy lance. But this is idle prate; matter of higher import claims my regard, and now thou hast my leave. [Selim retires, bowing low.]
Pacha. Am I betrayed, or does my mind misgive me? (pause) I mark an altered conduct in that boy of late, and, but that I know him timid, spiritless as the slumbering gazelle roused by hunter's horn, I would he rested in his father's tomb--a rest perchance he soon may find. From infancy he ne'er could reach my heart, and his first smiles to me were irksome, nauseous. Oft when he has offered me his lip, and sought my knee, I've felt I could have spurned him-Aud why? (with deep thought) Of this, no more: his story and Abdallah's fate, cannot have reached him ; for none within my walls save Haroun knows it; and the slave knows full well what would be the price of his disclosure. Hence, then, such fears as the soul of Giaffir disdains, and let the happy moment that makes Zuleika noble Osman's bride, engage his only thought.
[Exit [Re-enter SELIM from the side opposite to that on which
the Pacha has retired, looks anxiously round.] Sel. The chamber vacant !-'tis well, or I might really feel absolved from bondage, and a new taste of freedom might make me act a freeman's part. Father, miscalled, I thank thee! for once thou hast been kind. How much more do I owe thee now than all that sacred name could ever claim ? Son of a slave, and not thy son !- There's rapture in the sound !-A sound that breaks at once all fraternal ties, and leaves my best beloved mine more close than ever. With animated quickness, then suddenly relapsing into deep thought.) Mine, did I say? I madly rave -did not the accursed words just pierce my ear? did I not hear that the haughty Bey was to bear her to his hateful couch ?--Yes, yes, 'twas thus, most surely thus. (Despondingly uttered.)
Sel. Well, what would'st thou? (Impatiently.) Come, thy purpose—hast thou borne thy master's message ?
Har. He is obeyed. I left Zuleika with him.
Sel. Heard'st thou aught of his discourse ? did he name this Osman to her ? and what said she ?- Did'st thou mark her eye? (This is inquired with eager and hurried rapidity.)
. , u
Har. For this my time was small; I but performed my office.
Sel. 'Twas well. He who performs his office, need perform no more.
Har. That done, to thee again I hastened; for, believe me, youth, my soul was almost bursting at every angry word thy father uttered.
Sel. Of this, another season : with privilege we will not wrangle. Didst thou not mark and admire too, how cool I bore the whirlwind of his fury? Think'st not from that I shall improve?
Har. Alas! methinks such coolness but portends some dreadful storm. (aside.)
Sel. Goes the Pacha to his camp to-day ?
Har.. The moment he quits his daughter, his guards have orders to await him.
Sel. Hence then, and let me gain the moment; I would not it should pass.
Har. Gladly will I obey thee, and by the way I'll invoke our Prophet's protecting power to grant thy troubled spirit peace.
[Erit. Sel. Kind, but officious friend! thou’rt well dismissed. (A lengthened pause) Still, what can an unsupported arm achieve-how oppose the power of the undaunted leader of Timariot bands ? (Pause continued, then quickly.) One thought alone remains, and crowned by her approving smile, it may do all. It must be thus, for 'tis my only hope. And when the first shade of night shall fall, again l'll hasten to the shore, and seek my trusty Moor; for much I marked between the lagging labor of the oar and the soft breeze that died upon our sail, that he and his mixed compeers held strange converse of oppressors' wrongs, of blunted purpose, and of bold design. Nor did the Pacha, their more immediate lord, escape the freedom of their scope. They, finding their plaiuness did not offend, but gain upon mine ear, with one accord hailed me brother ; invited me to become their leader and the partner of their spoil. I put away the offer then, but now my adventurous spirit raised, they seem most aptly fitted for my purpose; again, therefore, I'll seek them. [Exit.