Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF

And conscious of the past employ, Memory, bosom-spring of joy.

200

Adelaide.

Thou didst rightly.

[Exit Servant. O this new freedom! at how dear a price We've bought the seeming good ! The

peaceful virtues And every blandishment of private life, The father's cares, the mother's fond

endearment, All sacrificed to liberty's wild riot. The winged hours, that scatter'd roses

round me, Languid and sad drag their slow course

along, And shake big gall-drops from their

heavy wings. But I will steal away these anxious

thoughts By the soft languishment of warbled airs, If haply melodies may lull the sense Of sorrow for a while.

[Soft music.

[blocks in formation]

T'allien. I thank thee, Adelaide !

'twas sweet, though mournful. But why thy brow o'ercast, thy cheek so

wan? Thou look'st as a lorn maid beside some

stream That sighs away the soul in fond despairing,

230 While sorrow sad, like the dank willow

near her, Ilangs o'er the troubled fountain of her

eye. Adelaide. Ah! rather let me ask

what mystery lowers On Tallien's darken'd brow. Thou dost

me wrongThy soul distemper'd, can my heart be

tranquil? Tallien. Tell me, by whom thy

brother's blood was spilt? Asks he not vengeance on these patriot

murderers ? It has been borne too tamely. Fears

and curses Groan on our midnight beds, and e'en

our dreams Threaten the assassin hand of Robespierre.

240 Ile dies !-- nor has the plot escaped his

fears. Adelaide. Yet ---- yet - be cautious !

much I fear the CommuneThe tyrant's creatures, and their fate

with his Fast link'd in close indissoluble union. The pale Convention--

Tallien. Ilate him as they fear him, Impatient of the chain, resolv'd and

ready. Adelaide. Th' enthusiast mob, con

fusion's lawless sons-Tallien. They are aweary of his stern

morality, The fair-mask'd offspring of ferocious pride.

249 The sections too support the delegates : All-all is ours! een now the vital air

[blocks in formation]

IO

Of Liberty, condens'd awhile, is bursting (Force irresistible !) from its compress

ACT II ure

SCENE- The Convention. To shatter the arch chemist in the explosion!

Robespierre mounts the Tribune. Once

more befits it that the voice of Enter BILLAUD VARENNES and

Truth,
BOURDON L'OISE.

Fearless in innocence, though leagerd

round [ADELAIDE retires.

By Envy and her hateful brood of hell, Bourdon l'Oise. Tallien! was this a Be heard amid this hall; once more time for amorous conference ?

befits Henriot, the tyrant's most devoted crea- The patriot, whose prophetic eye so oft ture,

Has pierced thro’ faction's veil, to flash Marshals the force of Paris : The fierce

on crimes Club,

Of deadliest import. Mouldering in the With Vivier at their head, in loud ac

grave claim

Sleeps Capet's caitiff corse ; my daring Have sworn to make the guillotine in

hand blood

Levelled to earth his blood-cemented Float on the scaffold.- But who comes

throne, here?

260 | My voice declared his guilt, and stirred

up France Enter BARRERE abruptly.

To call for vengeance. I too dug the

grave Barrere. Say, are ye friends to free- Where sleep the Girondists, detested dom? I am her's!

band ! Let us, forgetful of all common feuds, Long with the shew of freedom they Rally around her shrine! E'en now the

abused tyrant

Her ardent sons.

Long time the wellConcerts a plan of instant massacre !

turn'd phrase, Billaud Varennes. Away to the Con- The high-fraught sentence and the lofty vention ! with that voice

tone So oft the herald of glad victory,

Of declamation, thunder'd in this hall, Rouse their fallen spirits, thunder in Till reason midst a labyrinth of words their ears

Perplex’d, in silence seem'd to yield asThe names of tyrant, plunderer, as

sent. sassin!

I durst oppose.

Soul of my honoured The violent workings of my soul within

friend, Anticipate the monster's blood ! 270 Spirit of Marat, upon thee I call— [Cry from the street of-No Tyrant ! | Thou know'st me faithful, know'st with Down with the Tyrant !

what warm zeal Tallien. Hear ye that outcry ?-- If I urg'd the cause of justice, stripp'd the the trembling members

mask Even for a moment hold his fate sus- From faction's deadly visage, and depended,

stroy'd I swear by the holy poniard, that stabbed Her traitor brood. Whose patriot arm Cæsar,

hurl'd down This dagger probes his heart !

Hébert and Rousin, and the villain friends [Excunt omnes. Of Danton, foul apostate! those, who long

20

Mask'd treason's form in liberty's fair I have long mark'd thee, Robespierregarb,

and now Long deluged France with blood, and Proclaim thee traitor- tyrant ! durst defy

[Loud applauses. Omnipotence ! but I it seems am false! Robespierre.

It is well. I am a traitor too! I-Robespierre! 30 I am a traitor ! oh, that I had fallen I-at whose name the dastard despot When Regnault lifted high the murderbrood

ous knife, Look pale with fear, and call on saints Regnault the instrument belike of those to help them!

Who now themselves would fain assasWho dares accuse me ? who shall dare

sinate,

бо belie

And legalize their murders. I stand here My spotless name? Speak, ye accom- An isolated patriot-hemmed around plice band,

By faction’s noisy pack ; beset and bay'd Of what am I accus’d ? of what strange By the foul hell-hounds who know no crime

escape Is Maximilian Robespierre accused, From Justice outstretch'd arm, but by That through this hall the buz of discon

the force tent

That pierces through her breast. Should murmur? who shall speak?

[Murmurs, and shouts of-Down Billaud Varennes. O patriot tongue

with the Tyrant ! Belying the foul heart !

Who was it

Robespierre. Nay, but I will be heard. urg'd

There was a time Friendly to tyrants that accurst decree, When Robespierre began, the loud apWhose influence brooding o'er this hal

plauses lowed hall,

41

Of honest patriots drown'd the honest Has chill'd each tongue to silence? Who

sound. destroyed

But times are chang'd, and villainy preThe freedom of debate, and carried

vails. through

Collot d'Herbois. No- villainy shall The fatal law, that doom'd the dele

fall.

France could not brook gates,

A monarch's sway--sounds the dictator's Unheard before their equals, to the bar

name Where cruelty sat throned, and murder More soothing to her ear ? reign'd

Bourdon l'Oise. Rattle her chains With her Dumas coequal ? Say—thou More musically now than when the hand man

Of Brissot forged her fetters; or the Of mighty eloquence, whose law was

crew that?

Of Hébert thundered out their blasCouthon. That law was mine. I

phemies, urged it-I propos d

And Danton talk'd of virtue? The voice of France assembled in her Robespierre.

Oh, that Brissot sons

50

Were here again to thunder in this hall, Assented, though the tame and timid That Hébert lived, and Danton's giant voice

form

79 Of traitors murmur'd. I advis'd that Scowl'd once again defiance ! so my soul law

Might cope with worthy foes. I justify it. It was wise and good.

People of France, Barrere. Oh, wonderous wise and Hear me! Beneath the vengeance of most convenient too!

the law,

70 IIO

stept forth

I21

Traitors have perish'd countless ; more With me thou dar'st to tread the dangersurvive :

ous path The hydra-headed faction lifts anew Of virtue, than that Nature twined her Her daring front, and fruitful from her

cords wounds,

Of kindred round us. Cautious from past defects, contrives new Barrere.

Yes, allied in guilt, wiles

Even as in blood ye are. O, thou worst Against the sons of Freedom.

wretch, Tallien.

Freedom lives ! Thou worse than Sylla ! hast thou not Oppression falls---for France has felt her

proscrib'd, chains,

Yea, in most foul anticipation slaughter'd Has burst them too. Who traitor-like Each patriot representative of France ?

Bourdon l'Oise. Was not the younger Amid the hall of Jacobins to save 90

Cæsar too to reign Camille Desmoulines, and the venal | O’er all our valiant armies in the south, wretch

And still continue there his merchant D'Eglantine?

wiles ? Robespierre. I did-for I thought them Robespierre Junior. Ilis merchant wiles! honest.

Oh, grant me patience, heaven! And Heaven forefend that Vengeance ere Was it by merchant wiles I gain’d you should strike,

back Ere justice doom'd the blow.

Toulon, when proudly on her captive Barrere. Traitor, thou didst.

towers Yes, the accomplice of their dark designs, Wav'd high the English flag ? or fought Awhile didst thou defend them, when

I then the storm

With merchant wiles, when sword in Lower'd at safe distance. When the

hand I led clouds frown'd darker,

Your troops to conquest ? fought I merFear'd for yourself and left them to their

chant-like, fate.

Or barter'd I for victory, when death Oh, I have mark’l thee long, and Strode o'er the reeking streets with giant through the veil

stride, Seen thy foul projects. Yes, ambitious! And shook his ebon plumes, and sternly man,

smil'd Self - willd dictator o'er the realm of Amid the bloody banquet ? when appald France,

The hireling sons of England spread the The vengeance thou hast plann'd for

sail

130 patriots,

Of safety, fought I like a merchant then? Falls on thy head. Look how thy | Oh, patience ! patience ! brother's deeds

Bourdon l'Oise.

How this younger Dishonour thine! He the firm patriot,

tyrant Thou the foul parricide of Liberty !

Mouths out defiance to us! even so Robespierre Junior. Barrere-attempt lle had led on the armies of the not meanly to divide

south, Me from my brother. I partake his Till once again the plains of France guilt,

were drench'd For I partake his virtue.

With her best blood. Robespierre. Brother, by my soul, Collot d'Ilerbois. Till once again disMore dear I hold thee to my heart, that

play'd thus

Lyons' sad tragedy nad cail'd me forth

IOO

St. Just

The minister of wrath, whilst slaughter by That I kill'd Cæsar and spar'd Antony. Had bathed in human blood.

But I have been too lenient. I have Dubois Crancé. No wonder, friend,

spared That we are traitors — that our heads The stream of blood, and now my own must fall

140

must flow Beneath the axe of death! when Cæsar-To fill the current. [Loud applauses. like

Triumph not too soon, Reigns Robespierre, 'tis wisely done to Justice may yet be victor.

171 doom The fall of Brutus. Tell me, bloody man,

Enter St. Just, and mounts the

Tribune.
Hast thou not parcell'd out deluded
France,

St. Just. I come from the Committee As it had been some province won in

--charged to speak fight,

Of matters of high import. I omit Between your curst triumvirate ? You, Their orders. Representatives of France, Couthon,

Boldly in his own person speaks St. Just Go with my brother to the southern What his own heart shall dictate. plains;

Tallien.

Here ye this, St. Just, be yours the army of the north; Insulted delegates of France ? Mean time I rule at Paris.

From your Committee comes comes Robespierre. Matchless knave !

charg'd to speak What--- not one blush of conscience on Of matters of high import--yet omits 179 thy cheek

Their orders ! Representatives of France,

150 Not one poor blush of truth! most likely That bold man I denounce, who disobeys tale !

The nation's orders. - I denounce St. That I who ruined Brissot's towering Just.

[Loud applauses. hopes,

St. Just.

Hear me! I who discover'd Hébert's impious wiles,

[Violent murmurs. And sharp'd for Danton's recreant neck Robespierre. He shall be heard !

Bourdon l'Oise. Must we contamiShould now be traitor! had I been so

nate this sacred hall minded,

With the foul breath of treason ? Think ye I had destroyed the very men

Collot d'Herbois. Drag him away! Whose plots resembled mine? bring forth Hence with him to the bar. your proofs

Couthon. Oh, just proceedings ! Of this deep treason. Tell me in whose Robespierre prevented liberty of speechbreast

And Robespierre is a tyrant! Tallien Found ye the fatal scroll? or tell me

reigns, rather

He dreads to hear the voice of innoWho forg'd the shameless falsehood ?

Collot d'Herbois. Ask you proofs ? And St. Just must be silent ! Robespierre, what proofs were ask'd Legendre.

Heed we well when Brissot died ?

161 That justice guide our actions. No light Legendre. What proofs adduced you

import

191 when the Danton died ?

Attends this day. I move St. Just be When at the imminent peril of my life

heard. I rose, and fearless of thy frowning brow, Freron. Inviolate be the sacred right Proclaim'd him guiltless ?

of man. Robespierre.

I remember well The freedom of debate. The fatal day. I do repent me much

[l'iolent applauses.

the axe,

cence

« VorigeDoorgaan »