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occurred to me that you could have deigned to give up your honour to any man; nay, that you could ever have thought of such a thing : this you have done; and the small remainder of my life is now embittered by the reflection of my having outlived the modesty of my child. I wish, indeed, to God, that at least you had selected for your lover some man of illustrious rank; but now, amidst all the various princes and nobles of my court, you have picked out this Guiscard, whom I myself brought up from infancy and rescued from poverty, and who hath never been emancipated from a servile condition. With him,—for know that I have taken him and have him in confinement,--I am resolved how to act; but with you, God knows, I am at a loss what to do. On one side love draws me; for no father ever loved his child more than I did; on the other, à most just anger at your great crime : the one bids me pardon ; the other orders me, against my nature, to behave cruelly to you. But before I take one part or the other, I desire to hear what you yourself have to say;"—and, having thus spoken, he bent down his face, and wept so violently, that you might almost have supposed him a corrected child.
Sigismunda hearing her father's words, and perceiving that not only her secret love was discovered, but that Guiscard also was in prison, was penetrated with a thrilling panig of despair which nearly overwhelmed her, and she was many times at the point of bursting into lamentations and tears, as most women are accustomed to do; but soon her lofty spirit quelled this inclination to weakness, and recomposing her countenance and repressing the starting tear, instead of having recourse to prayer and entreaty, she determined at once to die herself, since she considered her Guiscard as now already dead also. Therefore, not as a sorrowing female, or one caught in a fault, but as one regardless of fate and courageous in misfortune, with a serene look and steady voice she thus replied to her father :“ Tancred, I am not disposed to deny or to supplicate; since the one will not avail me ; and I do not myself wish that the other should avail me; neither do I by any act of mine intend to appease your anger, or render you propitious to my voice; but, confessing the truth, I will defend my reputation with reason, and then, as by my deeds shall appear, will unalterably execute the fixed purpose of my soul. It is true, that I have loved, and do love Guiscard, and as long as I live, which now will be but short, I will love him, and if in death it be conceded me to love, even there I will love him still. , That I have forfeited my claim to innocence I deny. I am not the mistress—I am the consecrated wife of Guiscard. Love called us, but religion joined us and blessed us. Pure as the robe that now veils it, is
the heart that beats within me: if to love be a crime, I yield and own myself an offender without redemption. But where learned you that doctrine ? not, O Tancred, when you fought to save and win my mother, as I have heard you oft relate with mixed triumph and sorrow! and have you forgotten that I am young? But again you say," that Guiscard is ignoble and base, and that I might have selected a noble of your court upon whom to confer my heart. Your nobles are not so noble as Guiscard ! God created all mankind equal; he gave them, and does now, although the world think differently, give them courage, and genius, and virtue, without reference to title or riches. He who is most eminently endowed with these gifts,--he is the noblest of all; and can you deny to Guiscard now, what so often you have allowed to him formerly? It was you who first taught me to love him by extolling his modesty, and valour, and gentleness, and wit; and yet you call him ignoble! You speak not the truth ! But he is poor be it so! It was your fault that knowing his worth you did not heap riches upon him ; but let him be poorkings have become beggars, and beggars ere now have lived to be the greatest of kings. You doubt, you say, what you should do with me';-dispel that doubt ; for if now, in your old age, you are determined to do that which in your youth you would have abhorred, that is, be unjust and cruel-proceed-torture me! I will not shrink or pray to you ;-and if left to myself, I swear to inflict upon myself, by my own hand, whatever you shall do, or have already done to Guiscard. Go then, and shed those tears with my women, and then ferociously kill by the same blow a husband and a wife.”
Tancred, though he was conscious of the determined character of his daughter's mind, yet did not think she would put in execution all that she had threatened ; and being indignant at the open, and, as he thought, shameless avowal of her connexion with his own servant, he departed, secretly resolving, not indeed to use any kind of violence upon Sigismunda herself, but to cool the fervour of her love by removing for ever from her the living object of it. Accordingly he gave orders to the two who guarded Guiscard, that on the ensuing night, with the utmost silence, they should strangle their prisoner, cut out his heart, and bring it to him. Which being forthwith executed, and the heart on the next day being presented to the Prince, he ordered a very large and richly-chased gold cup to be brought, in which he placed the bloody relique, and closing it with a lid of gold, committed it to a faithful page, with injunctions to deliver it to Sigismunda with these words :—“ Your father sends you this to console you for the loss of that which you loved most; as you consoled him for the loss of what he once loved most.”
In the mean time Sigismunda, unshaken in her terrible purpose, had been collecting certain poisonous herbs and roots, with which she was well acquainted, and had distilled from them a deadly liquor, which she kept close to her to use instantly, as she knew for certain what she anticipated must happen. The page entered with the present and with the enjoined words; and the maiden, taking the cup, and uncovering it, and seeing the heart, knew in a moment that it must be Guiscard's. A short space she fixed a vacant gaze upon it; but in an extraordinary manner recovering herself, with perfect calmness she answered the messenger thus :" A coffin, less royal than this golden one, did not become a heart so nobly formed as this, whosoever it be; in this my father hath acted discreetly.” And having thus spoken, lifting the cup to her mouth, she kissed the heart and then continued :" In every thing from my infancy, even to this last extreme hour of my life, I have always found the love of my father most tender towards me, but now more than ever; render therefore, I charge you, my last thanks to the author of my existence for this so splendid and invaluable a present." This said, she again bent her gaze upon the cup, which she held with a convulsive grasp close to her bosom, and kissing the heart went on thus : " Ah, sweetest habitation of all my earthly pleasures, accursed be the cruelty of him who has caused me to behold thee with the eyes of my face. It was enough for me to see thee at every hour more clearly with the eye of my mind. Thou hast finished thy course, and now thou art rid of thy worldly fortune, whatever it might have been. Thou art arrived at that goal whither we all are running. Thou hast left all the miseries and the fatigues of this world, and hast gained from thine enemy himself a sepulture worthy of thy merit. Nothing was wanting to thy perfect obsequies, but the tears of her whom thou lovedst - so dearly when alive; and no doubt God has put it into the heart of my indignant father to send thee to me, that I might perform this last duty. My tears thou shalt have; and then suffer me to dry these fountains, which would flow for ever; for I have determined to die royally, without a groan' or a tear. I will hasten to join thee; thou shalt not long mourn in solitude for thy love. With whom or when could I better make the journey to the unknown regions of eternity, than with thee? Blest spirit, speak to me; for I know by a mysterious pressure upon my soul, that at this instant thou art hovering around me, and taking a last farewell of the scenes of our earthly joys. Spirit-yet a moment, and I come to thee for evermore !"Thus speaking, without any womanish lamentation, she bent her head upon the cup, and in a miraculous abundance, shed a torrent of tears into it, kissing every instant the dead heart before her. Her
* attendant damsels knew neither what heart it was, nor the import of her soliloquy; but moved with pity they approached her, inquiring the cause of her grief, and proffering their feeble consolations. After she had given her sorrows full scope, she raised up her head, and wiping her eyes, exclaimed, 5 Thou heart most tenderly beloved! All my duty is now performed towards thee; and it only remains for my soul to accompany thine !” Then she bade them reach the vessel which she had prepared the day before, and pouring its ingredients into the.cup containing the heart, which was bathed all over with her tears, she drank it off without the least dread or apprehension, and threw herself upon her couch with the cup in her hand. Composing her body as decently as she could, and clasping her lover's heart to her own, she lay without uttering a word more, calmly awaiting the approach of death. Her maidens, on observing this, though they knew not what she had drunk, sent to inform Tancred of the circumstance; who, fearing what had really happened, came into the chamber soon after she had laid herself down, and although it was too late, began to pour forth the most bitter lamentations : she then addressed him—“ Sir, reserve those tears against worse fortune that may happen-I want them not. Who but thyself would mourn for an event which by thee hath been brought about? But if any part of that affection now remain in thee, which I once enjoyed, grant this my last request—that, as thou would'st not permit us to be happy together whilst living, our two bodies (wherever you have disposed of his) may be publicly interred together when dead.” Extreme grief forbad him to reply. Finding herself drawing near her end, she pressed the heart with an effort of remaining strength to her bosom, saying, “ Receive us, Heaven, I die!” Then, closing her eyes, all sense forsook her, and she was released from a world of sorrow. Such an end had the loves of Guiscard and Sigismunda. The Prince, too late repenting of his cruelty, caused his unfortunate victims to be buried in one grave, with the most public solemnities ;-and the people of Salerno wept over their fate.
.* The remainder of the translation has been given by another hand, owing to a circumstance which it is unnecessary to explain.
FOR YOUNG LADIES.
TO MISS NALDI. .
Fair, modest Virgin, with the silver voice;
Yet, while I gaze and listen, I rejoice
For ever, from this evening, is enshrin'd
Amid those tranquil visions of the mind,
Of the dark world, and tumult of mankind,
Gladden our still and pensive solitude ;
The gloom of many a melancholy mood.
The bloom of health hath faded from thy cheek,
The light of love is quench'd in that soft eye,
Through which, like sunbeams in the summer sky,
Its frank, but delicate hilarity;