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The gladsome bounding of his aged hound, Say he in truth is here-our long, long lost is found.
"Hymned thanks and bedesmen praying, With sheathed sword the urchin playing; Blazon'd hall with torches burning, Cheerful morn in peace returning; Converse sweet that strangely borrows Present bliss from former sorrows,
O who can tell each blessed sight and sound, That says, he with us bides, our long, long lost is found."
Mean-while, the Holy Legate, on his way to Rome, has been driven on the Isle, and a noble stranger in his train solicits an interview with Aurora-as the friend of Ermingard. Their meeting is such as Joanna alone could have conceived and after a while Aurora says:
"Aur. Bade thee! is he then at hand? Gar. Ah, would he were!
'Twas in a hostile and a distant land,
He did commit to me these precious tokens,
Desiring me to give them to Aurora,
And with them too, his sad and last farewell.
Aur. And he is dead!
Gar. Nay, wring not thus your hands: He was alive and well when he intrusted
With what I now return.
[Offering her a small casket. Aur. Alive and well, and sends me back my tokens!
Gar. He sent them back to thee as Ulrick's wife;
Aur. Lamented he shall be; but from my care
Dismiss'd as are the dead-that is impossible.
Ter. Nay, listen to advice so wise and needful!
It is the friend of Ermingard who says, Let him within thy mind be as the dead. Aur. My heart repels the thought it cannot be.
No; till his corse bereft of life is found; Till this is sworn, and proved, and witness'd to me,
Within my breast he shall be living still. Ter. Wilt thou yet vainly watch night after night
Night descends, and the Beacon
For such, forced by intelligence from blazes-and Bastiani, a friend of Ul
Of strong authority, he did believe thee: And in that fatal fight, which shortly follow'd,
He fought for death as shrewdly as for fame.
Fame he indeed hath earn'd.
Aur. But not the other? Ah do not say he has! Amongst the slain His body was not found.
Gar. As we have learnt, the Knights of blest St John
Did from the field of dying and of wounded Many convey, who in their house of charity
All care and solace had; but with the names,
Recorded as within their walls received, His is not found; therefore we must account him
With those, who, shrouded in an unknown fate,
Are as the dead lamented, as the dead, For ever from our worldly care dismiss'd.
rick's, and of Aurora's too, enters, saying to the fishermen
[A solemn Song or Hymn, sung in
Men preserved from storm and tide
And whereso'er, in earth or sea,
[Enter six Knights of St John of Jerusalem in procession, with their followers behind them, who don't advance upon the stage, but remain partly concealed behind the rocks.
Aur. Speak to them, Bastiani; thou'rt a soldier;
Thy mind is more composed. I pray thee do.
[Motioning BAST. to accost them. Bast. This Lady, noble warriors, greets you all,
And offers you such hospitality
As this late hour and scanty means afford. Wilt please ye round this blazing fire to rest?
After such perilous tossing on the waves, You needs must be forspent.
1st Knight. Lady, take our thanks. And may the vessel of that friend beloved, For whom you watch, as we have now been told,
Soon to your shore its welcome freight convey.
Aur. Thanks for the wish; and may its prayers be heard.
Renowned men ye are; holy and brave; In every field of honour and of arms Some of your noble brotherhood are found:
Perhaps the valiant knights I now behold, Did on that luckless day against the Souldain
With brave De Villeneuve for the cross contend.
If this be so, you can, perhaps, inform
Of one who in the battle fought, whose fate is still unknown.
1st Knight. None of us all, fair Dame, so honour'd were
As in that field to be, save this young knight.
Sir Bertram, wherefore in thy mantle lapt,
Stand'st thou so far behind? Speak to him, Lady:
[Tears the mantle from his face, with which he had concealed it.
My Ermingard! My blessed Ermingard! Thy very living self restored again! Why turn from me?
Er. Ah! call st thou this restored? Aur. Do I not grasp thy real living hand?
Dear, dear!-so dear! most dear!-my lost, my found!
Thou turn'st and weep'st; art thou not so to me?
Er. Ah! would I were! alas, alas!
Sever'd from thee for ever.
Aur. How so? What means such words? Erm. (shaking his head, and pointing to the cross on his mantle.) Look on this emblem of a holy vow Which binds and weds me to a heavenly love:
We are, my sweet Aurora, far divided; Our bliss is wreck'd for ever.
Aur. No; thou art still alive, and that is bliss.
Few moments since, what would I not have sacrificed,
To know that, in the lapse of many years,
I should again behold thee?—I had been
How strongly art thou moved!-Thou heed'st me not.
Ter. (to AUR.) Were it not better he should leave this spot?
Let me conduct him to my quiet bower. Rest and retirement may compose his mind.
Aur. Aye, thou art right, Terentia.
Ermingard alive-Aurora is happy as an angel in heaven; but Ermingard is distracted-and a little page who had overheard him-asks Garcia
"Do folks groan heaviest when they are alone ?"
Ermingard and Aurora meet again— in the apartment of Terentia; and only a woman-and that woman Joanna Baillie-or might we say Caroline Bowles Southey-could have imagined in its perfect purity such a scene as this
"Erm. O cease! Thy words, thy voice,
Throws such a charm of valorous sanctity O'er thy loved form: my thoughts do forward glance
To deeds of such high fame by thee achieved,
That even methinks the bliss of wedded love Less dear, less noble is than such strong bonds
As may, without reproach, unite us still.
Erm. O creature of a gen'rous constancy!
Thou but the more distractest me!- Fool, fool!
(Starting from his seat, and pacing to and fro distractedly.)
Mean, misbelieving fool!-I thought her false,
Cred'lous alone of evil:-I have lost,
Aur. Oh! be not thus! Have I no
See, good Terentia weeps, and fain would try
To speak thee comfort.
Ter. (coming forward.) Aye; bethink thee well,
Most noble Ermingard, heaven grants thee still
All that is truly precious of her love,-
Erm. Then heaven forgive my black
For I am most unthankful.
Nay, consider, Her heart is thine: you are in mind united, Erm. United! In the farthest nook o' th' earth
I may in lonely solitude reflect,
That in some spot-some happier land she lives
And thinks of me. Is this to be united?
Aur. I cannot, in a page's surtout clad, Thy steps attend, as other maids have done To other knights.
Erm. No, by the holy rood! Thou can'st not, and thou should'st not. Rather would I,
Dear as thou art, weep o'er thee in thy
grave Than see thee so degraded.
To pilgrims and to all in warfare maim'd,
Erm. Aye, such there are; but what
Aur. There will I dwell, a vow'd and humble sister.
We shall not far be sever'd. The same winds
That do o' nights through your still cloisters sigh,
Our quiet cells visiting with mournful harmony,
Shall lull my pillow too. Our window'd
School me or chide me now: do what thou wilt:
I am resign'd and humble."
Remember, if you can, that THE BEACON is not a Tragedy; therefore it ends not in separation of loving hearts in the cloister, or the grave. The Legate for Joanna, like her master, Shakspeare, loves to show Christianity in any creed sincerely embraced-takes Aurora under his own guardian care,
"Till we before the holy Father come ;" orders Ulrick, whom he sees through, to give account of his wardship to him who holds the See; and says to Sir Ermingard
"If the blessed Cross Thou hast assumed, supposing other vows That did before engage thee were annull'd,
By false reports deceived; the holy
Our wise enlighten'd father, will, I trust, A dispensation grant, that shall empower thee
To doff with honour this thy sacred mantle,
And in its stead a bridegroom's robe assume."
Ermingard and Aurora both embrace the Legate's knees, who raises them up gently-and says to Aurora"Blush not, sweet maid, nor check thy ardent thoughts;
THAT GENEROUS ARDENT SPIRIT IS A
WHICH IN THE VIRTUOUS MIND DOTH ALL
IT BEARS THE HERO ON ΤΟ ARDUOUS DEEDS;
IT LIFTS THE SAINT TO HEAVEN."
Spenser Collins-Cowper-Campbell-Joanna Baillie- for a while farewell!