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Virginia : a tragedy, and other poems / by Marion Forster Gilmore. Gilmore, Marion Forster. 400dpi TIFF G4 page images University of Kentucky, Electronic Information Access & Management Center Lexington, Kentucky 2002 b92-212-30910320 Electronic reproduction. 2002. (Beyond the shelf, serving historic Kentuckiana through virtual access (IMLS LG-03-02-0012-02) ; These pages may be freely searched and displayed. Permission must be received for subsequent distribution in print or electronically. Virginia : a tragedy, and other poems / by Marion Forster Gilmore. Gilmore, Marion Forster. J.P. Morton & Co., Louisville, Ky. : 1910. 79 p. ; 21 cm. Coleman Partly republished from various periodicals. Microfilm. Atlanta, Ga. : SOLINET, 1995. 1 microfilm reel ; 35 mm. (SOLINET/ASERL Cooperative Microfilming Project (NEH PS-20317) ; SOL MN04602.08 KUK) Printing Master B92-212. IMLS This electronic text file was created by Optical Character Recognition (OCR). No corrections have been made to the OCR-ed text and no editing has been done to the content of the original document. Encoding has been done through an automated process using the recommendations for Level 1 of the TEI in Libraries Guidelines. Digital page images are linked to the text file. V I R G- I q I .A R 'Cragerip AND OTHER POEMS MARION FORSTER GILMORE ,d i,,, wvfF - T a, 13X, s _, EAr m This page in the original text is blank. This page in the original text is blank. This page in the original text is blank. V I R G I N I A A Tragedy AND OTHER POEMS BY MARION FORSTER GILMORE JOHN P. MORTON COMPANY I ncorpormted LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY 1910 COPYRIGHT, 1910, BY MARION FORSTER GILMORE Pebiratian TO MY FATHER Years can not cloud the light of your clear eyes, Steadfast and bright with high integrity; Nor rob your spirit of the strength that lies On those firm lips; nor dim the purity Of a high soul, which bears the shield of Love Untarnished, as it was upon the day When One, with tender faith, desired to prove Her "Royal Knight," and gave her heart away. Bear her bright shield, and smile, as years roll by- Years that have crowned you with the priceless crown Of steadfast faith and worldwide charity- Until you reap the joy that you have sown, In that near land, where, with a light divine, The eyes you love through all the ages shine. [Thanks are due to the proprietors of The Cosmo- politan Magazine and Leslie's Weekly, for their courtesy in allowing the republication herein of a number of poems which have previously appeared in issues of their copy- righted magazines.] CONTENTS VIRGINIA ------------------------------------- - I Stewardship- 6i The Sea Gull -62 Mt. Vernon -63 My Mother -64 The Cradle Song ------ ------------- 64 Out of the Dark -- 65 Niobe -66 To the Genius of Death, by Canova 66 To the Winged Victory of Samnothrace -67 Beatrice Triumphant - _--- 68 The Call of the Irish Sea- 68 The Lion of Lucerne---------- 69 Sonnet to Niagara Falls---- ------ ----70 The Lost Heart ----------------70 Is He Not Mine ----- ----------------------- 71 Two Gifts - _----------_ --- 71 The Moonflower ---------72 Three Kisses -__ 72 A Song of the West ------ .-----------------73 To Esther - 74 The Thrush -----------75 The Light of the Star - 76 The Message of the Pines - 77 The Lost Sunbeam -- 78 Heritage ----- ----------------------- 79 This page in the original text is blank. VIRGINIA A Tragedy CHARACTERS OF THE PLAY Appius CLAUDIUS, Chief of the Ten and lawgiver of the Romane. MARCUS CLAUDIUS, His client. OPPIus, One of the Ten. V IRGINIUS, A Roman centurion; a plebeian. ICIT.iUS, A tribune of the commons and lover to Virginia. SICINIUS, A plebeian soldier and an enemy of the Decemvirs. HORATIUS, GALBA, MARIUS, ITORTENSIUS, Four Roman citizens. TIBF.RIUS, A boy of noble birth; brother to Cornelia. THE TEN DECEMVIRS. A PORTER. 5,. VIRGINIA, Daughter of Virginius. CORNELIA, A patrician lady. secretly betrothed to Sicinius. CAMILLA, Nurse to Virginia. JULIA, A maid. A SIBYL. A SLAVE GIRL IN THE HOUSE OF ApPius CLAUDIUS. SOLDIERS, LICTORS, WOMEN, RABBLE, AND SERFS. Setting-Rome. Time-auring Supremacy of the Decenmrirs. ACT I-Scene I-The Forum. Scene II-A Street in Rome. ACT II-Scene I-The House of Appius. Scene Il-Women's Apartments in the House of Virginius. Scene III-Garden in Houseof Virginius. Scene IV-Home of Cornelia. ACT III-Scene I-The Forum. Scene II-Homeof Virginius. Scene III- The Forum. VIRGINIA A Tragedy ACT I. SCENE I-THE FORUM. A multitude of citizens gathered therein. Disturbance show n Gamong them by sullen looks and murmur- ings. Four citizens, two in patrician and two in plebciani garments, confer together. ist Cit. Enough, enough! I see we all agree Upon this common cause of our grievance; Our ranks, our unmixed blood, our differences, Are all forgotten-nay, methinks they shall In time together mingle when our blood Shall be poured forth in this most righteous cause. 2nid Cit. As ever art thou eloquent, 0 Marius, And just; Brutus himself were not more so. Patrician and plebeian, equalized Iy common woe, together whisper menace To those who work such havoc as, indeed, Was never known in Rome until to-day. 3rd Cit. Ye two are nobles; we, the commons are; Yet all are leveled by the grief we feel For Rome, our mother city, who so low Hath fall'n. Hark! the multitude itself Is wroth as we, yet, e'en as we. it lacks The courage needful for this fierce occasion. VIRGINIA 4th Cit. Ay, list indeed! Mlark how the murmur swells ! [They turn, and follow with their eyes the gaze of the Roman mob. Voices of tictors (without). MNake way, ye Romans, way for the noble Ten! 3rd Cit. Pah! they announce them like to royal kings! 1st Cit. Tyrants are ceremonious to the letter. Multitude. All hail to the lawgivers! Life and peace Unto the Ten! 2nd Cit. Jove's lightning strike them down, The turncoats! Ah, the cowards and the curs! Perfidious gang of fawners! Do they thus Forget their wrongs in the wrongdoer's presence, Or veil them with that slime, false loyalty [Enter the Ten Decemvirs, each preceded by twelve lictors armed with fasces. 4th Cit. Lo! the presumption! How each lictor bears Amongst his rods an axe to indicate That life and death lie in his master's word. Once was each tyrant pleased with one attendant The way to clear-now must they number twelve. [The Decemvirs pause a space, the while thecr leader, Appius Cla udius, ad- dresses the assembled citizens. Appius. Ye Roman citizens! Unto our ears Murmurings hath arrived laden with strife; And though this day ye have protested loud Your loyalty, and hailed us with acclaim, Ye seem but ill-content. This must not be. We have been lenient to every class- What ye demand in reason ye receive. Ye called for written laws, and lo! they hang 2 VIRGINIA Within the Forum that all eyes may read. Yet, mark ye! Read not only, but obey, Else blood shall pour in torrents on these stones. [Low, angry murmur. What! would ye show your teeth, ye nobles brave, Would bare your fangs, ( ye plebeian dogs! Your teeth are drawn, patricians, and your fangs Are dull, indeed, ye curs! [A hissing protest. What, open schism 7 Ho, lictors, strike! Ali! would ye calmer grow Lictors, enough! Now must we on. Our time Is pressing. [As hie is on the point of departing with his colleagues, his gaze is arrested by the passing of a girl, clad all in white, attended, by her nurse, through the Forum. (To a companiion.) Now, by the ghost of Ixion, behold Yon perfect vision of niost perfect beauty. Enchanting grace! Exquisite featuring! Youth lightly shadowved by young womanhood! My passions Oppius, are all awake. Aflame and spreading fast! Why, I would burn All Rome to own her, touch her, feel her near; I would receive the curses of the gods, Be hurled to lowest Hades, and endure The tortures set for Tantalus himself If I might call her mine. Her kiss would prove Sufficient food for me, her liquid eyes Would quench my thirst if I should look within And see the tears or draw the starry light Into my soul! 0, Appius, ye are stricken! Oppius. Peace, peace, mine Appius, the maid is gone- 3 VIRGINIA Thy looks are wild, thy features are convulsed With passion. 1st Cit. See, Hortensius, yon man What ails him Like a madman is his gaze, And horrid is his flaming countenance. Oppius. Come, brother, come, my colleague, let's away. Appius. Hands off, 0, foolish man, for I am dead To protest. I have been by lightning stricken. Oppius. It is, indeed, too passionate to be The wound from Eros' feathered shaft. Appius (groaniing). Ah! God! Where has she gone I can not see her face Nor matchless form within the dreary crowd. Women I spy in plenty. What a mob Of uncouth shapes and homely featuring These females are! She was a Cynthia, And all beside her, hideous and bold Bacchantes. I'll a lictor straight despatch, To seize on her, for she belongs to me. Oppius. Nay, fool! Rash fool! Thou art not Jupiter In power, that thou darest thus to seize, In open daylight, objects of thy lust, When they are daughters of free citizens. Some shadow of excuse must herald such Bold actions, lest the rabble rise in arms, As in the days of fair Lucretia! Thou canst presume, and yet in thy presumption Play the sly part of virtue, ay, and justice, Nor seem a mad and bigoted abductor. I know the maid; a blameless child of one Virginius, a soldier and a pleb. Wait, wait, and on the morrow form thy plans, 4 VIRGINIA But for this moment let the matter rest, If thou art prudent. Come, let's on; the mob Follows thy gaze, noting thy steadfast look. Appius. Speed morrow then. For I am now no better Than madman; I, who hold the whole of Rome Under my thumb, am raving only for Nor heaven nor earth, nor power, nay, nor fame, But for the captivation of a maid- But for Virginia. Onward, let us on! I'll march into the grim, gray gates of eve And meet the morrow ere it hath arisen, Tear down the portals of the night and force Mly way into the chamber where the morn Dozes, a lovely slothful soul of hope, And seizing on her, madly I '11 demand Virginia! [Exeunt. SCENE II-A STREET IN ROME. Enter Marius and Horatius, twco patricians. Marius. He dared! lie dared! he dared! Horatius. And will dare more, Until Rome wakens from her lethargy And is herself again. Marius. Till then we wait, Enduring insult, tyranny, from him, The common enemy of nobleman And pleb. Horatius. Alas! once was he common friend To both-our lawgiver; what changed him so Marius. A worm of pride that gnawed into his heart, A blast of fiery desert wind that dried, VIRGINIA Withered and seared his noble disposition. To-day he is a monster, where he was But yesterday a leader and a god. Horatius. He angered the patricians by his show Of democratic policy; the plebs By barring intermarriage 'twcixt the two Opposing classes! [Enter Virginius and Icilius. Virginius. Blessings, health to you! Good wishes of a Roman unto Romans. Horatius (bitterly). Say rather, helpless, sullen, brooding curs! We are no more-methinks thtou art no more; Nor even thou, Icilius, our tribune. There are no free, courageous sons of Rome, But victims only, cowed beneath the lash Of the Decemvirs-curses on their heads! Virgillnius. Methinks I 'm not the dog that thou hast said, For 'tis my part and Swish to play the man. The name of Appius I do despise. And only bide my time to bury it Deep in the soil, along with him who bears Its weight. Although I will not fling myself Upon the altar of Unreason as A bootless sacrifice, yet am I still Nor dog, nor worm, but one who waits and prays, Nor prays alone, but puzzles out his plan Of action. No, nor plans alone, but strives; And striving, must achieve, unless the hand Of sudden Death come in to tear the web. Friends, we are hard pressed and we pant in pain, Yet tyrants, howsoever strong, are still Weaker than Justice and are shorter-lived 6 VIRGINIA Than Liberty, the queen whom Justice serves. Because our wrongs are heavy must we brood, And chafe, and curse our stars and Appius What war was ever closed successfully With sullen warriors and men untrained, Unready or undone by foul Despair lcilius. Thou hast inspired me and curbed my wrath, Which held in it no reason, all unl)ound, Ready to leap a lion on its prey. Ay, there's a time for all things. I shall wait, Knowing, Virglitus, that thy words are true. Wisdom, the gods be thanked, hath never flowed Forth from thy lips in words of honeyed sounds, Nor yet in pompous phrases burdened down With ponderous eloquence, but bold and frank, ShIining as bright and ringing forth as true As thy good sword that thou hast borne so well In camp, palestra, or in battle-field. Virglitins. My words are bold, for I am full of grief At men's delinquency and heavy souls; Frank-ay; because 'tis late to talk in riddles Or metaphors, that veil the precious truth Within; shining with fervor, ringing true, Because the cause I do uphold is true As life and death is real. Horatills. Thine eloquence Is worthy of a better hearing than This little company. I would that thou Wouldst lead us into action, noble pleb. Virgin ius. My duties are at present with mine own- With her, my fair ewe-lamb; when she becomes The spouse of this our friend and our tribune, Virginius shall owe himself to none, But feel compelled the Commonwealth alone VIRGINIA To serve. And here's my hand in oath that I Shall serve it well! The gods help Appius! [Enter Siciniuts, in civilian garments. Marizus. Greetings, Sicinius, and health to thee! Sic. And Heaven's favor unto you, my friends. How now! All deep in sombre conference Icilius (impetuously). Sicinius! What curse hath come to Rome, That bends her proud and regal head beneath The yoke of shame The collar of the serf Hangs heavy round her haughty neck. Ye gods! The mightly Romulus, methinks, must find The grave a cell that keeps him from his Rome; How must his mighty spirit chafe when he Receiveth tidings from the newly dead, Concerning this, his city, now so low Amid the dust of Wrong and Bigotry! Tell us, thou man of action, what bold move We needs must make. Oh! be our CEdipus! Horatiuts. Hist, noble tribune! Favor silence. These Are times of peril; cast thou Caution's die. Icilius (amazed). What! knowest thou not this man, Sicinius He who has bearded all the noble Ten, He whose brave words of indignation ring From hill to hill of -Rome Sicinius! Horatius (sullenly). I have been absent from the town these twelve Long moons, nor know I all that thou dost know. Icilius. Why, man, look not so sour and so sad. Virginius. Peace, youths! Sicinius hath but little chance To speak his mind. I beg of thee that thou, 8 VIRGINIA Good friend, expound thy views as to these days Of tyranny, for Romans are at bay. Sic. If I should speak, then would I speak myself Into my grave; so twist mine earnest tongue As soon would wring it from its fevered roots, Mine eyeballs blind themselves with fiery tears Of love for Rome; my life would withered be With all the curses breathing forth, aflame With hate for Appius! Oh, ye gods! in what Have we outraged you that we now are cursed With such a blight as Famine never cast Over the fields of plenty, withering Alike the grain and the wild wayside bloom, Sweeping across the vast, bright lands of peace, And leaving staring Ruin in its way Oh! Rome, thou much-wronged child of Romulus, That I might break the seals from off thine eyes, And place a flaming sword within thy hand, A watchword in thine ear-"EEndure for her Who is thy rightful mistress, Liberty." A battle-cry upon thy glowing lips, "Onward!" A prayer within thy mighty heart, And prophecy to stir thy godlike soul To action. But the times are ripening! [A pause. Could I relate thy wrongs, I would not cease, Nor spare myself, but speaking, sink to earth, Worn with the task. Yet who can number them That are as numberless as Heaven's stars I say, as I have said to you before, We Romans will again secede, again .March, in a body, to the Sacred 'Mount, And threaten as of old another Rome, A nobler Rome, a Rome unbound and free, To found thereon, or else a revolution, 9 VIRGINIA Bloody and merciless and full of horrors, Shall ravage Rome, but we be satisfied. The fire and the sword hath ready tongues; They fawn not to the great, nor spare the high, They lick and bite nor fail in eloquence. So, to the fire and the sword must we Resort; for city, home, and cherished ones Demand that guilty blood, as a libation, Be poured in answver to the blood of Rome, Which crieth to her children from the ground! [Exeunt. I') VIRGINIA ACT I I. SCENE I-THE HOUSE OF Appius. The curtain, rising, discovers a bondmaid in the center of a spacious court, fillingg her pitcher at the foun- taini. It is miilday, and the light streants down from. above, flooding the entire space wivth radiance. The womianl sings inl anl untdertonte, as she tuirnts to wcater the roses twinted arounld the columnis lin the back- groutnd. Entetr Marcus Clauditus. He approaches the maident, leisurely. Marc. Ahl! pretty one! Fortune has favored me! I enter in due time to proffer aid. Slave. Nay, shame on thee, a inan free-born, to thus Address a bondmaid, when there is no need. Marc. Thy humble mien is fitting, girl, but I Am modest, and, thus far, will graciously Demean myself. Slave. Demean thyself, indeed! I only mocked thee, fool; thy proffered aid I scorn. Low-born plebeian, who art thou, To set thyself above a child of kings Marc. (angrily). Ha! Have a care! Take heed! Thy saucy tongue Eludes thee, mischief hungry. Fairest slave, But for that very fairness which is thine, I'd have thee lashed by him who favors me! Slave (wheeling about in scorn). Who shelters, who supports, who uses thee, 1I VIRGINIA And for his own vile ends! Lends thee his brains, H1is power and knowledge for thy petty, sly Returns. He, fierce and false; thou, mean and small; Hie, merciless; thou, only Marcus' friend- And both unscrupulous as Mercury. Marc. (fiiriously). Thou art too scathing in thy judgnient, damsel! Slatle. Nay, I am mild to what thou dost deserve. Marc. Ho-w darest thou, a slave, to judge me so Slare. King Tarquin, called Superbus, or the Proud, He was mine ancestor. And 1, alone Left of his line, in bondage languish. Thouw,- What canst thou boast of' Of the blood of plebs, Yet lower e'en than they who gave thee birth; Despised of all, for thou art neither slave, Nor free; thou hangest slothlike on the skirts Of mighty men, that they may represent Thy cause-support, suecor, and plead for thee, In gratitude for thy poor services. Avaunt! Fawner and client, touch me not! fShe spuir)s hi ic lhen he woould approach heor, and haughtilqy departs. Marc. (gazing aft/br her). Adieu, thou helpless scorner, chained despiser, Thy tongue hath sought to whip me sore-in vain. A client knows not shame nor injured pride, Nor is lie haughty, for the blood of kings Heats not his veins. So Marcus, too, is low, Ready to stoop to aught, however base, To gain his ends. But triumph over triumphs! Marcus will issue forth the conqueror, Flushed with his victory, while other men Lie low and bite the dust because they clung To honor! He, clean void of conscience, sucks 12 VIRGINIA The sweets of life down to their sweetest dregs. [Pauses. Ha! who is that -My master hath returned! [Peers through a curtained doorway on the rightt. As he retreats, Appius Cla dlius uflters hurriedly. His toga is disordlere4, ilis counte naitce aflame with winie anid passion. He throws himself hteavily itpon a couch. Appius. Wine, fetch some wine! At once, with no delay! Marc. (aside). Aknd drunk as Baceclus at his wedding-feast! (Al1oud.) Which kind, my lord zIppilus. Falernian! Mark ye, dilute it not! Marc. (aside). I need no prophet's eyes to see his end. To Bacchus I assign him with due care. [Exit. Appius (in htoarse undertone). I looked but once, and, looking, she was gone, Leaving me reeling, drunk with loveliness. I have imbibed deeply this day in wine, Yet hath it less intoxicating power Than hath a tremor of her lashes or A flutter of her garments! I am struck, And heavily! [le groanos anid ela.ps his head with his hands. Virginia ! Elements Are in thy name-temipest and burning flame! My soul is tossed as though it were at sea, Mv brain is floatinl on the vaeant air, My heart consumed in everlasting fire! [Enter Marcus, bearing a goblet and an amphiora. Mare. Thy rare Falernian. Applits. Fill ilme the cup. [Drinks. 1 3 VIRGINIA Sweet solace and indulgence of the gods, Unequaled nectar, give me satisfaction! Better to me this pleasure than the sight Of fair Elysium. Such ecstasy As is the privilege and portion of Souls freed from Hades and its rack and wheel And snatched to Heaven, can no sweeter be Than is mine ecstasy, when wafted on The summer zephyr, comes this breath, divine, Of nectar and ambrosia in one. Virginia, to myself, to thee, to Love, I drink! And now, my Marcus, sit thee down! I would confer with thee. Marc. (seats himself). What is thy will Appius. Marcus, this morn I made my way in state Through Rome-and, in the market-place, beheld A sight that hath undone me for this day. My heart hath slipped its leash and now is set Hard on the trail, not to be turned aside. Marc. What vision hath the gods vouchsafed thee, then e Appits. 'Twas more than vision; thanks to Vulcan be, Who did create that mortal styled a woman, At once a snare, at once a perfect boon; At once a curse, at once a lasting blessing. It was a maid, a lowly, mortal maid, A maid of mean plebeian birth as well, Yet beautiful as though she had arisen From out the golden heart of some fair rose, Or drowsy, dreamy, tempting, fresh and fair, Had issued, shyly, from the troubled depths Of rock-bound spring, a nymph but newly born, And shrinking from the glances of the morn. Virginia, child of one Virginius, 14 VIRGINIA Centurion of courage and renown, She burst upon me like a revelation Unto a prophet. She is mine as sure As are the stars possessions of the Night. She'll have no will but imine, no choice but mine; She'll yield her body unto me, until I find the chance to win her heart and soul. I '11 hold her and I'll kiss her heart away; I'll chain her soul to mine with links of gold. But whether she shall ever love me true I little care, so that her lips are mine, So that I daily touch her hands and feel Her dusky hair blow cloudlike 'gainst my cheek. Marcus, thou art the man to work my weal, By aiding me in this, mine enterprise. Marc. What! Shall I play the game and thou receive The winnings Appius (htaugghtily). Ay, assuredly. 0, pause, And pausing, see thyself in honest light. Thou art my client; thou to me dost owe Thy safety, standing, possibly thy life. I know the law-I made the law, the while Thou canst not read a letter; as a pleb Few rights are thine those few I gave thy class At the expense of the patrician favor. Break with me, and thou'lt break thy fortunes, ope Thy chest of troubles, like the silly maid Who brought untold misfortunes on herself And on the world. Assist me and thou'lt gain MNy favor, keep my needful, strong protection. Marc. Enough! I follow thee and will obey. Appius. E'en to the letter Marc. To the letter, lord. 15 VIRGINIA Appius. Then hearken. Choose some morning, soon or late, And hasten to the market-place. The maid Receiveth schooling there. When she appears, Spring forward boldly, seize her by the arm, (And yet be not too rude in thy demeanor); When all the multitude around demand An explanation, say to them that she Was born of a slave-woman in thy house, Ere thou a client had become. And add That she had been in secret borne away, And, by the wife of one Virginius, Claimed as a child; her own at birth had died, And he, Virginius, kept in ignorance, Grossly deceived, believeth it his flesh And blood. The tale is wild; no proof hast thou, Nor witnesses; and yet it is enough Seeing that I control the Romans as The Fates control the lives of mortal men, And need the barest shadow of excuse To work my will-I, who am autocrat! Assume a righteous air, if that doth lie Within the limits of thy doubtful, Tare Accomplishments. When they protest, then say "To Appius for justice I will go," And leave the rest to me. Marcus. Av. lea-vae to thee The cowing of the Roman mob, for that Lieth within the limits of thy rare, Doubtful accomplishments. So let it be. I'll serve thee well-will my returns be worthy The peril of my venture Appius. Also leave That matter unto me. 16 VIRGINIA SCENE II-WOMEN 'S APARTMENTS IN THE HOUSE OF V1IIGINIUS. Style of ornaments and hangings very simple. Virginia, bending over her nurse, who is seated in a chair, appears to have jest completed the arrangement of the latter's hair. Virg. Nay, now, let be! 'Tis most becoming so. What! would'st thou call't presumptious to assume The style of headdress worn by noble ladies Foolish Camilla! Thou art nobler far Than many score fine dames, however high They hold their heads or wear their tresses-so! Oh, 'tis entrancing! Stay, I have not done. Camilla (groaning in mock despair). Alack! was ever nurse so harried by A maid as silly and as sweet as thou! Virg. No, never! for I'm sweet because I've kissed Thy kind old cheek so oft and have imbibed Therefrom the sweetness only found in thee. And I am silly-I suppose, because The gods have made me so. Now, turn about Thy head. How white thy hair of late hath grown! Camilla. Alack! mine age is on me! Virg. (passionately caressing her). Nay, not so! Or if 'tis so, I love each silver thread. Kiss me, Camilla-but I must proceed With this thy toilet. Now is it complete. Oh, Jupiter! it is a work of art! Sweet nurse, thou wilt amaze my father when He catches sight of thee. [Seizes a mirror. Come, view thyself. 'Tis not ill-done, for I have marked the style. 17 VIRGINIA Shake not thy head at me, I prithee now. I only sport with thee. Look not so grave. Camilla. Sweet one, because thou art so gay to-day, I fear to-morrow thou wilt be in tears. Excess of spirits bears excess of grief. Thou'rt young and fair as Hero; but to her Misfortune came and loss and heavy woe! Virg. Now, thou remindest me of Wisdom's owl- Croak not so somberly. Thou who art one Whose heart is ever genial with mirth, Wrong'st Nature to cast shadows over youth. Camilla (drawying Virginia to her tenderly). My little love, I would not seem to sigh; Ever have I despised a sorry face, A gloomy or foreboding disposition. Thou hast most aptly said that I to-day Belie my character. Forgive! Forget! Virg. (pouting). Forget, thou croaking raven of despair Thou dost expect too much. I may forgive, But not forget. What ailest thee to-day Art thou not ill or weary with thy tasks We'll make thy labor lighter, and thy cares As to the household now shall rest on me. Carnilla. Not so, sweet child. There is no need for that. I am not ill nor weary, nay, nor sad, But fearful and in dread of hidden woe. What may the morrow bring to thee, my babe, Or to thy father, or thy lover What, I can not see, but only feel and dread. Virg. Camilla! Something surely ails thee now. Oh! I am mystified and overcome By thy prophetic words, thy drear address, is VIRGINIA And I would probe thy meaning deeply, lest A vision should have warned thee of a flood Of coming tribulation. Gentle nurse, Hast visited of late the oracle Speak! Speak to me! Speak to Virginia! Say! Tell me, nor torture me upon the rack Of fear and dread prolonged. (Janilla (slowly). If it were aught That I might put to thee or e'en myself In syllables, I 'd speak. But syllables Are clumsy things. Words are inanimate, Dull, helpless weapons, powerless unless The thoughts are present skillfully to wield The blades. Then cut and thrust they mightily, Ready to wound1, or e'en with menace kill. I know not what I fear. I know not why Nor wherefore. Has the gift of second-sight Been by the gods this day on me bestowed [A pause. I seem to see great sorrow brought about By shameless wrong; I seem to see a eloud, Laden with anguish which may soon descend In burning drops on Rome, where'er I turn. Who are the victims I can not discover, But when I close mine eyes from out the black That blinds them, lo! a knife like lightning sent By Jove flashes upon me and is gone! Virg. (sobbing). Alas! M ,y joy is fled and all is gloom. Sure 'tis some peril scowling o'er my father. Mayhap e'en now he lieth in the camp, Struck down by men who envy him his fame! Oh! horrid thought! most dread, most cruel thought! Camilla (arousing herself with effort). Nay, weep not, my Virginia; I regret 19 VIRGINIA Those vague emotions which are doubtless false Deceiving dreams, sent me by Mercury, Who oft delights in filling mortal minds With gray forebodings, as thou art aware. Quick! Kiss me, child, and dry those silly tears. Lo! now methinks I hear thy father's step. Virg. (joyously). Father! mine own dear father! (Voice of Virginhius without.) Little one! No welcome at the door [Virginia runs to the curtained doorway, through which her father enters, and flings her arms in tearful ecstasy around his neck. Virginius. What! tears, dear heart Virg. But smiles will clear them soon. I feared for thee Most foolishly, yet ne'ertheless, I feared. Virginius. -Most foolishly, indeed, my dark-haired Psyche, Thou pure-embodied soul, my spirit's light. Look up, dear child, and kiss thy father fond. He's wearied and he needs his heart's restorer. [The two come forward, he in his shining armor, she nestling birdlike in the shel- ter of his arm. My daughter, I have seen Jeilius. Virg. Ah ! Father! Virginius (mockingly). "'Ah! Father!" Ay, I saw him. Me he held Firmly, besieging me with queries, all Concerning thee. How had Virginia fared While he was absent -the presumptions boy! Couldst thou fare otherwise than well with me And then with eager eyes he questioned as 20 VIRGINIA To thy remarks, thy thoughts concerning him, Thy attitude to things in general. Where did Virginia spend her days In school Was she by chance affrighted at the state Of Rome since lie had left her Like unto A feverish flame, lie reached on every side, Hungry for news of his Virginia. Virg. (dreamily). My Love! My Love! Mine own Icilius! Oh! gentle gods, my happiness exceeds My worth. But yet, amen! So let it be. [Exeunt. SCENE III-A GARDEN OVERGROWN WiTH ROSES. Enter- Virginia and lciliits. Twilight deepening into night. Icilints. This is an eve of witchery, an hour Alluring, swelled with love and weighted down With dreams. Virg. A time when all our best ideals Are perfected. Reality is dead, Deep-buried in her grave, and Heaven and Earth, Swayed by the wand of sweet Imagination, Languish beneath the velvet robes of Night. Icilius. And 'tis a night more fair than when Dian Cast lustre on the young, unwitting face Of that deep-slumbering boy, Endymion. Virg. Oh! happy boy! a goddess kissed thy hair, Mused o'er thy brows, and sighed above thy lips. Icilius. Thrice happy man, who treasures human love, And humbly may accept that precious gift, 21 VIRGINIA A mortal maiden's heart, nor sigh for more. There is no more, nor anything so fair, As such a dear possession. Happy he, Who can, though but one instant, close and warm, Hold woman's form, or kiss the starry light Into her eyes, the blood into her cheeks! And such a man, Virginia, am I. Virg. (shyly). Not once in life, dear Love, but many times. Icilius. Not once, not twice, not thrice, but many times. Virg. What might lies in the warmth of kisses given! Like wine they strengthen, quicken, stimulate, Like flame they warm, like moonlight satisfy, Like stars uplift above the common world. Dear Love, I am a weak and fearful child And need my wine, my flame, my moon and stars, To fit me for the years that lie ahead. Icilius. Thou lookest pale, in need of stimulant- [Kisses her. Once more, sweetheart! Nay, wouldst thou draw away Virg. Not so. Mine ears deceived me, hearing sounds Of stealthy listeners. Icilius. Virginia, Rest here upon this bed of roses. They Are "red with anguish for Adonis' death," That mortal love of Venus. Dear, recline, And let thy tresses, darker than the night, In the breeze fluttering, caress my cheek, Breathing thy love for me. Virg. Icilius, 'Twas only yestereve I wandered here. The sun was casting forth his fading beams 22 VIRGINIA In final efforts most supreme; my thoughts Were full of peace and thee. And in the light Shed by the horning sun-the purple, red, And gold-I dreamed fair dreams, imagined visions. Methought I saw the coming years of bliss, Deepened with sorrow, lined with simple care; The sorrow of a mortal, and the care Of wife and mother. Then, at once, arose Longings that I might always worthy be, As was Eurydice of Orpheus. Never to falter, howsoever I feared, Turn not, stay not, fail not; a woman in My services and steadfast faith, as well As my most passionate love. My thoughts are grave; Perchance they do accord not with thy mood Icilius. Not so, thou spirit of sweet harmony, My life and soul, my one bright guiding star. Thy lover is a rude and careless man, A Roman tribune, weighted with affairs, Stern to my fellows, tender but to thee. Yet when I look on thy beloved form And perfect face, my sins are swept away, As is the unclean wrack, upon the shore, Swept by the ocean. Ay I and in its place Are left pure pearls and shells and wonders such As only dwell where man can never go- Thy thoughts, Virginia, pure as virgin snow. Virg. Last night I lay awake amid the dark, Hearing the music of the fount without My window; sharply, trebly sweet it broke The heavy, voiceless gloom of slumbering Nature and sleeping men. Awake, I dreamed Of all the bliss the gentle gods have placed Within my hold. Then, like a swelling sea, 23 VIRGINIA High in my bosomt rose the newborn love. I thought of how it grew, so shy, so slow, At first like faltering breeze that lightly stirs And lifts the tiny feather o'er the heart Of nesting bird, then gaining courage, grows Into a gentle wind until the soul Within leaps up, and mighty, strong, and free, Soars on celestial wings above the raving sea. [A silence falls, dzirlrg which a light be- gins to break iln the eastern sky. Icilius. We have outsighed thle day; the rising moon Her benediction smiles upon this spot, Where breathes and hopes and loves Virginia. Viry. She signals faintly, from the brighlitenine east, To thee, my hero and my love. leilits. One kiss, One kiss in honor of fair Cynthia. May blessings come to thee with every ray From yonder orb w-hIich rises o'er the hills Of Rome and lights a glory in thy hair. Elusive soul! this moment lost thou seem A chaste, pale spirit of tile lonely moon, A white Diana of nocturnal glades, Yet in the magie of the ardent suin I've seen thee flame into an Aphrodite, A glowing type of passion and desire. My love, my full and perfected ideal, My Helen and mny delieate CEnone. My nymph and my incomparable queen Tn one. Come closer to my arms, beloved! I would not lose in any sense or thought A moment spent with thee, Virginia. 7irg. (inl his arins). Closer, av, closer, as the days go by, 24 VIRGINIA Deeper and deeper, stronger and more strong, Each in the other till we are not two, A man and maid, but one, but one. Oh! say How close I am to thee, Icilius Icilius. As close as vein to leaf, or leaf to stem; As close as is the rose-flush in the heart Of ocean's shell unto the shell itself; Close as the star is to its atmosphere; Wedded as day and night, no break, no void Between, but only faintest change and lights, Born of a higher world, a purer sphere, Heaven-conceived, begotten of the sky. [The light visibly brightens, shining down upon the two. After a silence they stir and slowly walk apart, watching the sky. icilius presently rejoins Virginia. Love, thou art weary. Come within and sleep. Virg. Nay, I could never weary in thy sight. Have I not called thy kisses and embrace My wine, my flame, my moonlight and my stars I am not weary. But I'll come within- The morrow brings a fresh Elysium. Icilius. Oh! but the night is fair; behold each rose, How tenderly preserves and cups its dew, Barely awakened, lifting up its head And smiling at the moon. One kiss before We go within. And now, farewell, thou rose; Farewell, thou garden of nocturnal dreams And noon-day musings. Come, Virginia, Let us within. 25 VIRGINIA SCENE IV-HOME OF CORNELIA. Apartment spacious and luxurious, with hangings of various kinds. Cornelia, who is reclining in an arm chair, occupies the center of the room; a female stands behind her in the act of arranging her hair. On, the left is a boy in rich patrician dress, seated beside an oblong bath, engaged 'in sailing a tiny fleet of vessels on the surface of the water. On the right are a number of attendants, conversing in under- tones. Cor. Ah, gods! I am most sad and most aweary Of this routine of state, unrestful splendor. My lovers love not me but my possessions, My friends are envious of my delights. Wretched aristocrats! Unhappy we Who call ourselves patricians, and who swear Our race is blessed of the most blessed gods! Say rather cursed, and with a heavy curse! How can I give my heart to those who are By noble blood worthy and eligible, After the Roman laws, to sue for it Eros with them is but an empty name; Passion and lust and horrible ambition Form the emotions of these "blessed" ones. And I, unhappy, love with pure desire Sicinius, a soldier and a plebe Yet hath the Ten forbidden intermarriage, Just when those bars of difference were about To fall away and Heaven ope for me. [To the attendant. Sufficient, Julia. Julia. Nay, a few light touches And thou wilt shine more fair, my lovely mistress, Than heavenly Venus in her myrtle bower. 26 VIRGINIA Cor. (smilingly). But I am dark as night; she as the day, Thou foolish maid. Julia. Believe me, thou in thy Rich, languid charm would cast enchantment o'er Adonis, as would keep him from the chase Where Venus pled in vain. Cor. Tut, flatterer! Julia (slyly). Methinks I 'd make a model lover then If I do flatter. Is't not so, sweet lady Cor. (bitterly). Lovers are mockeries in this black- ened age. A maid may wed the low-souled fool so long As he's high-born! The man of noble mind Is numbered, if a common, 'mongst the dead. Julia (idly). Methinks Sicinius comes here anon Cor. (in displeasure). What! Insolent! Who bade thee speak, I prays Julia (softly). Lady, mine eyes are clear and quick to see, And thy heart's sentinels are slumbering. I mean no insolence, by all the gods! My motive only love and sympathy. I, too, am a plebeian, and rejoice To see thy gracious, noble condescension. Yet in my joy I well could weep with pain, Seeing the darkness of thy doubtful future. Cor. Darkness! It is a void as empty as My heart this day is full. Begone, I pray, Each one of you; nay, thou, my Julia, stay And bid the bards perform a soothing lay. [Exeunt maids. Sounds of a harp without in soft accompaniment. 27 VIRGINIA Cor. Tiberius, come hither unto me. [The boy approaches her. Now kiss me, child, and talk a space with me. Tib. What melancholy broods upon thy brow, Curves thy dear lips, and glooms within thine eyes Cor. Brother, thou art too young to comprehend. Tib. Mayhap, for I am only twelve years old; Yet I'm no dullard, sister, and I weep Because I see thee sad. Methinks Sicinius Would weep for thee as well. Cor. (starting in dismay). Ye gods of love! Does all Italia observe my heart, Which I had deemed secure within my breast Or possibly (although the gods forbid!) My maidens have been gossiping to thee Tib. (disdainfully). No, never; gossip reacheth not mine ears. But oft I hear thee sigh and then, within The selfsame breath, breathe forth a name I know; A name all Romans know-Sicinius. Ay, and I oft have heard thee sob, although I fain had heard it not, since thou desirest Thy grief held secret. Sister mine, how canst Thou hope to wed a soldier and a plebe Cor. Alas! Alass! Mine own Tiberius! No hope have I, and yet I love my strength Away-my heart and soul are all aflame With a wild conflagration. Boy, thou seemest Inclined to comprehend my fierce emotions, Bitter despair and strange besieging hope, That scarce is conscious hope, but mocked and crushed By the stern laws of Rome and tyranny Of the false Ten, since ever it was born. 28 VIRGINIA Thy bright brown eyes are luminous with soul; Wise, gentle brother, dost thou weep for met Tib. (sobbing passionately). A curse upon those false and dreadful Ten! Cornelia, would that I might succor thee! Cor. -Most dear, mny brother, weep no more for me; The gods, who love true lovers, do despise Tyrants and murderers, and sure wifll aid Our cause if we be patient to the end. Time is a greybeard, and he will not haste At any whim, and Fate, a bigot stern, Who acts according to his quick desire; Ile preys on Innocence as well as Guilt, And none can change the fashion of his ways. [A pause. Now, tell me, wast thou playing mariner, But now, and was yon bath a mighty sea Tib. (brightly). I was Eneas, our great forefather, And I was sailing from our ancient Troy. Oft Juno dashed our ships against the rocks In spite, because the Trojans she abhorred; Yet, by a miracle, lo! I was saved. (or. And didst thou then encounter and escape Scylla's dread arms, Charybdis' frightful jaws Tib. Ay, and therefrom lost I three goodly men- Two oarsmen and my helmsman. Cor. Cruel fate! Perchance thou hast survived these perils, so Thou mayst give comfort to thy troubled sister. Methinks-but what familiar sound is that Surely his voice dismissing his attendant- And now a knocking on the outer door! The porter cometh nigh. Tiberius, 'Tis he! I dreamed not he could come this day! Tib. Then I'll begone, sister; give me a kiss; I'll seek thee later and relate my voyage. [Exit. 29 VIRGINIA Cor. Ahl! gods! I feel as fluttered as a maid Of the plebeians might. Thus do I share The simple nature of his simple class, Through my deep love for him. MNy haughty mien, Patrician dignity, desert me when Mine own beloved cometh unto me. (Voice of porter without.) Mlost gracious mistress, I await thy pleasure, To usher in a visitor to thee. Cor. (aside). I must not seem too eager, compre- hensive, Lest e'en my faithful porter, noting it, Let slip without miy doors some foolish scandal. [To porter. Who is the visitor Porter. Sieinius. Cor. Admit Sicinius into my presence. [Enter Sicinius and porter. (Aside.) Dear Heaven! MSly Love! (Aloud..) Thou Gaius, to thy post Begone! And Julia, do thou too withdraw. [Exeunt the two. A silence falls. Cor- nelia remains seated, a still form, most beautiful, endeavoring to calm her lov- ing passion, one hand upon her bosom and her eyes fixed on the face of Sicinius, who stands motionless with admirat ion. Sicinius! Sic. What can I say, oh, God! Thou art too fair, thou art too wondrous fair For me to break the spell. Awake! Awake! 30 VIRGINIA Dreamer I am not wont to be, save when Thy beauty casts a web of visions o'er me. Cor. My beauty paleth in the greater light, 0 my Sicinius, of thy manhood's worth. Awake, indeed, and greet me. I can face Thy gaze no longer; art thou turned to stone ASic. (adtaiicing, iwith, his arml outstretched in a sud- den warnmth of passioi). I turn to stone only upon the day When I can neither claim nor clasp my love. Till then mine arms continue flesh and blood, My lips as warm as thine, thou radiant Soul! (Embracing her.) Cor. Oh! stay a space ! Is every curtain drawn Sic. I do not know, for thou hast dazzled quite My goodly eyesight, and I only see Cornelia here and there and everywhere. Cor. Alas! I fear so greatly for our love; Pray Heaven thou lose me not entirely! Sic. Nay, rest thee, rest thee, tremble not, beloved. The life of Appius will soon be spanned, And a great wave of revolution shake Rome's center; soon I drop a mighty pebble On her dark surface, and the rings therefrom Into a rush of water thence shall widen. Cor. (partly rising from her chair, her eyes alight). The Fates be thanked that now the foul stagnation Of Rome, enslaved, is stirring into life; And thine the hand! Thou'rt worthy of the cause, Thou patriot and model of a man! Sic. Oh! but I love my city and my race! Thank God that my stern duty lieth on The selfsame path as love for thee, my sweet. My conscience and my happiness alike 31 VIRGINIA Demand that I should aim to liberate Rome and the Romans from the yoke of men Who are defiling and defiled-the Ten! [Starts suddenly. I came, that I might steal one glimpse of thee. The sun is high-I may not tarry more. Cor. So soon departing Whither wouldst thou got Sic. Straight to the Forum-then unto the camp. The movements of our foemen, the Sabines, Are grave. Methinks I'll soon be called upon To enter into active services. Farewell, Cornelia! kiss me once again! Sweet mistress, noble lady! fare thee well! [Exit swiftly. Cor. Gone! Gone! So swiftly, like an eager shaft From Roman bow. Vanished, my gallant love! Where shall I see him when he doth return To me May Mars attend and favor him, And Victory with laurel wreath adorn His earnest brows. Sicinius, farewell! 32 VIRGINIA ACT ILL. SCENE I-A CLOUDY -MORNING IN THE FORUM. Busy passing to and fro of citizens. Enter Cornelia and Tiberius, attended by two slaves. The former appears embarrassed, fluttered, and distressed, the latter troubled and concerned. Cor. Gods! Iow the people stare upon me, brother! Alas! They reck not of a woman's heart, But judge me bold and courting their attention, I who am hungry for one gaze alone, Yet can not find. So many days have passed, No tidings from my love hath reached mine ears, And rumors that he's dead hath driven me Close unto madness. All my slaves have sought, But failed to find him. I am desperate! Surely the ears of one who loves will hear, Surely the eyes of one who loves will see, And learn his fate, whether for good or ill. He will forgive me for exposing her Ile loveth to the gaze of multitudes! Tib. Ay, but most likely he wvas called to serve Rome in the latest skirmish with her foes. Thy fear it is unfounded. Cor. Nay, my child, The skirmishing they say is discontinued, And all who fought therein returned unto The camp, save only those who fell beneath 33 VIRGINIA The Sabine spears. My Love hath not been seen, And I can rest no longer in my house. [While they speak, the already clouded sky darkens so rapidly that all start and look out across the populated hills. A distant peal of thunder is heard, fo!- lowed by a second, greater in volume. All press together, then a cry arises: "Way, make way ! The sibyl of the vale would speak! She is inspired!" The dense crowd parts and all swing backward in confusion. A flash of lightning breaks the heatly gloom, fol- loued by a muttering of thunder. A few large raindrops fall. The sibyl enteris through the multitude, a weird, mad form, with tossing hair and wild, dishevleled garments. Sibyl. Wail, walls of Rome, and weep, ye tender vales Of sweet Italia! [A murmur anid a swaying. Voices con- tend for silence. Oh! day of dole! Oh, day of perfect woe! Oh, Furies' day Of fever and of tears! Oh, black despair! The night of tyranny hath settled o'er Our city, roof-like shuts her from the air Of Heaven! And the hollow, brazen dome Of despotism closes o'er our heads; Black tyranny and red-hot despotism! Had I hands long enough and nails as sharp As Hate, I'd tear in shreds the infernal web! [Another peal of thunder resounds. She points toward the heavy clouds. 34 VIRGINIA Mly tongue is laden with the vast commands Of Jove, to-day. But Rome is deaf and mad. The gods cry out upon this tyranny, The heavens in thunder clap their wrathful hands! Yet Rome, the Rome of Romulus, the Rome Of Numa and the martial kings of old, Is deaf-is deaf and mad! Oh! woe, woe, woe! [With a prolonged, shrill wait of despair she vanishes amid the crowd. Great agitation now displayed by the ma- jority of citizens. Enter a runner. Run. Ye men of Rome, I bear ill news with me! The Cit. What is't Out with it! Dally not at all! Run. Sicinius, our leader, he is dead! [A murmur of horror. Cor. (starting wildly forward). Sicinius Sicinius, the pleb Oh! gods of Heaven! Ye have struck me hard! [She sinks insensible upon the ground. Her slat-es bend over her. Tiberius kneels beside /e-r, sobbing bitterly. The Cit. How died he Run. It is said by some that he, Being sent by the Decenivirs to select A spot most suitable whereon to camp, Fell into ambuscade and died along With several comrades. The Cit. Slaughtered by the foe Run. So it hath been reported by the few That did escape. [He pauses, then proceeds. But hearken, citizens! The bodies lay unspoil'd, with faces turned All toward one-that one, Sicinius. The Ten hath hated and hath feared this man! 35 VIRGINIA No more. Construe the meaning as ye list; I must away. [Exit runner. The four citizens, FHora- tius, Galba, Marius, and Hortensius, approach the prone form of Corn elia. for. A lady of patrician birth! Good slaves, Can we assist thy mistress, who appears In such a piteous and hapless plight Slave (sobbing). Alas! Alas! I know not what to do, Or what hath come upon her suddenly. Ah! see, she stirs! Lady, awake! awake! Cor. (opening her eyes, but making no attempt to raise herself). Those words he used when last he came to me. Oh! bitter, bitter fate! Say not awake, But sleep eternally! Sicinius! Galba. It doth appear affection did exist Betwixt Rome's great plebeian and this lady. Tib. Ay, sir, she loved him e'en as he loved her; But naught was said because they feared the Ten. Nay, I was wrong! Sicinius and fear Are alien the one unto the other! But rather did he bide his time until These men should be o'erthrown and Rome be freed From their most hateful laws and government. One of the multitude. Hark to the boy! He is a demagogue. Another. Nay, he is innocent, and therefore bold, Parroting sentiments that are not his own. A third. And yet he speaks the truth, the naked truth. See how this woman hath been sadly wronged, And how her life is marred by these Decemvirs; 36 VIRGINIA For surely they gave orders for the death Of him who was a leader and a man! Have they not feared him for these many months, Because his tongue is sharper than a sword And these two, a patrician and a pleb, Each representing classes now united By common misery, are foully hurt, And scarred by fierce injustice from the Ten. Vengeance! The time is ripe for vengeance. Rome Can bear no more. Sicinius is dead! [Murmurs of "Sicinius is dead!" Cor. (moaning as in pain). Sicinius is dead! Sicinius! [Enter Virginwi, followed by Camilla. She espies Cornelia and at once ap- proaches. Virg. Kind citizens, let me to her, I pray. [She kneels beside the fainting girl. Oh, tearful sight! Ah me, most sorrowful! Thou art Cornelia, whom I oft have seen, Of whom I've heard from thy dear lover's lips. I knew him well; he waits for thee beyond The sea, in the broad Islands of the Blest, Where heroes find a haven and a rest. [She smooths the other's brow in silence for a space, and then proceeds. Look up, poor broken spirit, and discern A friendly face and weep upon my heart. She will not rouse herself! Good people, pray, Press not upon her. Bring a car, 0 slave, The lady is unable to return On foot. The carriage waits without the place 'Tis well. And now to bring her to herself! Cornelia, waken! But look not so cold. 37 VIRGINIA Thou gentle heart I relieve the strain of grief With tears of passion. Then come home, come home. Cor. (rousing herself). Tell me, who art thou, 0 thou noble maid Virg. I am Virginia, whom thou knowest not. Cor. Canst thou not take me from this staring crowd I Their eyes are knives; the very air is poison. Oh, God! He is not dead Virg. (assisting her to her feet). Come home, sweet sister. Tib. (sobbing). Cornelia, my Cornelia! Speak to me! Virg. Art thou Tiberius, thou tender child Weep not; assist me with thy stricken sister. [As the three, the slaves in close attend- ance, are about to make their way through the multitude, there comes a sudden disturbance, and Marcus Claudius springs forward. Marc. Ho! stay a bit, my servant; stay with me! [He seizes rude hold on Virginia, who shrieks aloud in terror. At once the four citizens make their way to her side. Now by the gods! I only take mine own. Virg. Aid me, in Heaven's name, ye citizens! Deliver me from shame! lcilius! Icilius, my love, where art thou now Marc. (in undertone). Thy struggles, maid, succeed in binding thee But closer in mine arms. Hast thou a lover He hears thee not, and thou art my possession. Now, still thyself. Gods! Proserpine, thou art As strong as is Cybele's lioness! Marius. Foul slave! Loose thou the maid! Oh, insolence! 38 VIRGINIA Hor. Beast! I will kill thee, maim thee like a dog, Unless thou takest thy hand from off the maid! Marc. (panting). Reserve thy threats and play thou warily, Justice upholds me! The multitude. Justice! Marc. (coolly). Shout less loud, Look not aghast, my masters. I will take This girl by law-she is my rightful slave. Hor. 'Tis false! Marc. Soft, friend, be calm, hold off, I pray! Hark! she was born a slave within my house, And thence was stolen and declared to be The offspring of the man Virginius, Whose wife had borne an infant at the time, Which on the moment of its birth had died. Virginius himself was then away, And on returning deemed it was his babe, And deems so to this day. I waited long, And now have found in this Virginia My property. A woman hath confessed; The one who stole her thence and fled away, Returning but to die within the house Of Appius, my patron, whom I serve. Cam. Oh, liar! I first clasped her in mine arms When she was born! Remove thine impious hand! In childhood and in girlhood I have watched Her growth, and guarded her from shame or harm. Muititude. Ay, ay! She speaks the truth! Loose thou the maid! She is no slave. We know Virginius. Marc. Now, I'll have justice, though it cost me e'en My life, itself. 39 VIRGINIA for. Which it is like to, dog! [He strikes him boldly with clenched fist. The client staggers, losing his hold on Virginia, who takes refuge with the three citizens. Hortensius. Where is thine evidence Galba (ironically). Ay, e'en thy word Weighs naught with us free citizens of Rome. Marc. (hissing between his teeth). My word shall weigh with you, ye coward curs! For lo! My word is-Appius! Ah-so! [The mob shrinks backward at the name, and Marcuts laughs in scorn. (Vindictively.) I see it hath a little weight with you "Free citizens of Rome!" Ye make me laugh. Oh! ay, I know ye'd mob me joyously, Stone me, or cast me from Tarpeian Rock, Save that-save that-ye dare not! Appius Would leave not one small particle of this, His client, unavenged. Back, all of you! The maid is mine! Ye can not say me nay. One of the multitude. But if we threaten thee, or bear her off, And save her from thy most illegal movements, What then Marc. What then To Appius Claudius For justice I would go! [Murmurs of fear are heard on every side. (With mocking smile). Lo! now he comes Within the Forum. [Even as he speaks the Chief of the Decem- virs enters. He is seated in a chair which is borne by four staves. 40 VIRGINIA Appius (frowning sombrely). What bodes this tumult Who, yon lovely girl Multitude. Justice! We would see justice, Appius! Appius. Silence! and let me hear one voice alone. Marcus, my client, speak, for I would have An explanation of this strange disturbance. Marc. Most noble Appius, I owned this girl, Born in my house full sixteen years ago, Of my slave-woman. Cam. (boldly). Liar! All men know Her mother was free-born and wedded to Virginius, centurion and pleb. Appius. Gag yonder hag, or drag her hence-I'll have No withered woman's voice of spite exclaiming. Cam. Thy lictor shall not lay his hands upon me! My place is here. My voice shall speak for her, Nor fear thee, king of tyrants and despoilers! Long have I inwardly foreseen this day, And prayed the gods to change the hand of Fate. It seems my prayers are valueless. But still, Still there does yet remain to me my curse! And all shall feel its potency who dare To lay a finger on Virginia. [She faces Marcus Claudius with her arm extended and her manner menacing. Thou, fool of fools, who ventured to pollute The purest virgin breathing in this land, Because thou placed thy hand upon her flesh, Which is as perfect as her perfect soul, I curse thee ay, and with a heavy curse, For that which thou hast done! Thy misery Shall soon exceed even thy trespasses, Which in themselves are countless as the stars. 41 VIRGINIA Be cursed, and live accursed and die accursed! And be my witnesses, 0, all ye gods! [She turns toward Appius-her attitude becomes calm and majestic. And as for thee-I fear thee not. MNy curse Shall rest on thee according to thine actions. This much I have to say-thy tyranny And rule of blood is waning to its close. Beware, nor haste thy doom before its time. Marc. (trembling). Seize on her, some of you, for she is mad. One of the multitude. Nay, she is gifted with strange prophecy. She voices Jove. [A tuwlidt now ariscs in the background. Icilius springs foruard with a cry. Icilius. Virginia! Turn to me! [He faces Marcuts Claudius, and with one blow strikes him down, then clasps Virginia in his arms. Virginia (sobbing wildly). And hast thou come at last Icilius (tenderly to her). Courage, dear heart! [To Appiu3. Now, as a free-born Roman, I demand An explanation and a satisfaction! [To Marcus, who essays to speak. Silence, thou hound, ere I forget myself And murder thee! Thine answer, Appius! Appius. Lictor, part thou the twain. Icilius. Thou canst not, lictor! In common manhood and as her betrothed, Thus do I hold to her against the world. Appius. Then, lictor, strike! 42 VIRGINIA Virgilnia. Now, intervene, ye gods! Icilius, my love! Oh! men of Rome, Have ye indeed forgot Lucretia [Swaying of the multitude. Appius Claudius rises in his car. Appius. Be prudent, ye who do desire to see Full justice. We must hark to every plea, And will to-morrow judge the case. Till then, Thou, Miarcus, guard the maiden, since the man Virginius is absent from the town. [A hi ssing protest from the multitude and a cry fromt Virginia follows this aninouncenient. Icilius face;s the Chief Decemvir with blazing eyes, and draws Virgima closer. Icilius. Over my body only shall you hound Of Hell seize on her. I am yet a man With strength to shield or life to sacrifice For that which is mine own. Sleep 'neath his rooft I'd sooner see her cold upon her bier, Or bound upon the wheel of Ixion, Enduring tortures of the damned theniselves! With him I'd rather cast her to a wolf, Who, merciful, would tear her into shreds And leave her pure, or o'er Tarpeia's Rock, And with mine eyes behold her perfect form Shattered upon the kindly stones below, Ere Marcus Claudius lay hands on her. Marius. Ay, he is right; the maiden yet is free. The charge hath not been proven, Appius! Appius. So be it. We will acquiesce thus far, But lictors must be stationed as a guard About the house wherein she spends the night, Lest she escape and law be unfulfilled. 3 VIRGINIA Cor. (coming forward). I will go thither and attend this night Upon her. Thou, Tiberius, return Home with the slaves. To-morrow meet me here. Slave. Lady, thy lips are white and thou art ill. See, thou dost tremble. Cor. Woman, what of that How canst thou weigh my pallor with her pain- The anguish in her eyes What though I shake As with an ague! She herself is turned To stone with horror deeper than mine own. A living sorrow doth exceed a dead; Death to dishonor seemeth merciful. Her blow is heavy with the weight of dread, Mine light with hope. Did she not succor me How can I fail her in her time of need Appius. Lictors, take into custody yon man, Lest he do mischief. Icilius. By the almighty gods! Unhand me! I will kill thee, as a man Would kill a beast. Ah! foulest trick to seize Upon me from the rear. Oh, God! Oh, God! [He sinks helpless upon the stones at Vir- ginia's feet, two lictors binding him firmly with cords. The storm -nox breaks, shrieking in maddest fury, the lightning playing over the hills of Rome. 44 VIRGINIA SCENE II-A CHAMBER IN THE HOME OF VIRGINIUS. Midnight and darkness, save where the moonlight shim- mers through the columns on the left. Virginia is discovered kneeling in the sea of radiance as though in prayer. A silence follows the rise of the curtain; then, low at first, but louder, clearer, gradually in- creasing in volume, a hymn breaks from her lips, she kneeling still. HYMN TO DIANA. 0, thou virgin-goddess fair, Look upon me in my sorrow; Hear, oh, hear mine earnest prayer! Guard me from the fatal morrow! Purity is in thy breast With thy silver moonbeams drest. Still my cheek is hot with shame, And my heart in anguish crying; Let me keep my spotless name, Waking, sleeping, living, dying! Chaste Dian, thy stainless glory Still resounds in song and story. Mount thy car within the blue, Waft a whisper to me only! Thou a heart hast, strong and true, Think upon the maiden lonely. Without thee it now would seem Love were nothing but a dream. [Cornelia suddenly appears from out the gloom behind and puts her arms about Virginia's neck. 45 VIRGINIA Cor. Love but a dream Ah, no! The gods forfend! Virginia. Ah! Thou! [Turns and embraces her. Cor. No other than this broken heart; Yet is my soul untouched by human woe, As thine shall be untouched by human sin. Virginia. I see the face, with passion fiery, The full voluptuous lips and greedy eyes, I see and shudder. Cor. Marcus Claudius Virginia. Nay, but the other. Cor. I am mystified. Virginia. None saw as I saw! He alone I fear, Who on the morrow will decide, dear God!- For Marcus-yet not Marcus-but himself; Allot me as his own. (Wildly.) I saw his look, And felt his power! Marcus is the paw Wherewith great Appius will seize his prey. (Laughs.) Virginia, his prey! He leered on me, And in the whitening of his clench6d hand I marked the clash and clangor of his soul. Dear gods! The feet of Night are leaden shod, And yet the precious moments speed too fast. Oh, Death! had I the courage that thou dost Demand, I'd summon thee. Methinks I hear E'en now the distant rustle of thy wings. And yet-thou tarriest-thou tarriest. Cor. Would Death might choose me out as willing prey! Virginia. Dear one, thy voice is weary like the world, Which is so old and heavy with its years; And yet thine eyes are bright, undimmed by tears. Cor. Bright with the pain that kills by slow degrees. Ah! for Apollo's pestilential dart, 46 VIRGINIA Or but to see the shears of Atropos Flash in Diana's beams. Virginia (softly). We loved her light, Thou-thou and I, when love was all in life, And those, our own, the twain, Icilius And brave Sicinius-"Ah, God! Ah, God!" Thus cried he, my beloved, as he sank Prone at my feet, a tyrant's prisoner. [Breaks from Cornelia's grasp and glides in anguish to the curtained doorway on the right. Icilius! Icilius! Come to me! [Enter a lictor-she shrinks back terrified. Lictor. Lady, I must exhort thee to be prudent; Such cries will but confine thee e'en more strait Than thou art now confined. Silence is best. So ordered Appius, our gracious lord. [Exit lictor. Virginia (sobbing softly). I will be still! But I am so afraid, -I, innocent, know nothing of the world. Life-bondage Nay, methinks I am but mad. Severed from him! Ah! lay me in my grave, Rather than have my heart torn from my breast. [Music is distantly heard. Oh! If to pass in moonbeams from this life Mid the pure notes of music stealing on Into my brain and sinking in my breast, Enveloping my soul; or to the sound Of rushing wind-that music of the gods Swept by Apollo's hand, or harking to The distant murmur of the restless sea, Striking its pearly harp of mystic sounds, Echoed within the eaves where maidens dwell, Nereides and Oceanides, 47 VIRGINIA With faces like the sheen of moonbeams, forms Like the white foam their sire, Neptune, makes When angered, with his trident! If to sleep, Sleeping, to dream, and dreaming, live again The years that now lie white upon their bier. [The moon vanishes behind a cloud. Ah, me! I am so utterly alone! The moon hath veiled herself, the silence drear Knocks on my heart, unbidden enters in, Where once love and sweet innocence, in peace Dwelt, all unscarred by a despoiler's hand. It is grown cold! What was that sound I heardI I am so sunk in solitude, so wrapped In vacant space, so chilled, I gasp for breath, Like drowning mariner; but for a hand Warm, loving, to uplift me from this death Among the living, life among the dead! Cor. Virginia! Weep or pray, but do not so! Alas, Virginia, art thou turned to stone' [Virginia, all unihcaring, turns once more toward the columns where the moon again shines through. Virginia (singing). "In the deep dream-light thy bark thou art guiding, Shifting thy garments, the clouds, as a sail. Rocked o'er celestial waves thou art riding, Hiding thy features behind a light veil. Dian, the spell of thy muteness east o'er me, Calm the wild tumult which wars in my brain, E 'er through my life may thine image, before me, Shining and constant as ever remain." [A silence falls. Virginia steals up to Cornelia, who stands weeping alone. My comfort hath not been denied me-ee, 48 VIRGINIA The moonbeams bear the message from the sky. I hear a song which issues from the stars, A song of love and hope for a reunion; Re-born, we, who have loved and lost, shall live Afar from sin amid the Blessed Isles, And walk together, soul with soul, and heart With heart; no drop of passionate blood shall be Lost in our death, but we shall throb with love, And laugh amid the light of suns to be. [A pause. Softly a dim gray light steals through the columns; the moon is sink- ing slowly. Cornelia turns in sudden terror. Farewell, immortal friend, go to thy rest; Thy kindly watch is o'er. Cor. Virginia, see! Now dawns the cruel day when thou-when thou- Ye gods have mercy on us twain this day! [Sobs wildly. Virginia (pointing to the east). It steals with faltering steps and blushing cheeks. Call it not cruel; it has wept for me. The dew is heavy. (Voice of lictor without.) See, it is the dawn. Look, comrades! Virginia (starting as from owt a dream). Ah, Cornelia! Sure, I sleep. Is this my father's house This four-walled cell, This prison, and am I Virginia! Could it have been but yesterday I woke Within this chamber from a happy dream. I dreamed of him, my love, Icilius, And woke still with his kiss upon my lips. I can recall the flood of morning light, A billowed sea of light upon the wall. 49 VIRGINIA I watched the changing pools and shifting waves, And smiled; the music of the fount without, In rising cadence, played within mine ears, And presently the stirring of the maids And hum of spinning reached me and I rose, Glad, with the day. And now-Cornelia, touch My cheek lest I be vanishing to air; Feel if my heart yet beats. Methinks I'm dead; Even this moment but a roving ghost. Cor. Courage, Virginia. Why, much hope is left! To-day thy father will return, and he Would place his soul in jeopardy for thee. Virginia. Courage, ay, courage! I am brave again. It is the dawn. Cornelia, we will seek The outer court and wash our tears away In the cool fountain. Once again my cheek Is hot with spirit and my heart beats swift With hope and newborn trust in those I love. [Exeunt the two, their arms wound round each other and Cornelia's lips pressed to Virginia's cheek. SCENE III-TaE FORUM. A multitude has gathered. Appius is in the judgment seat, with Marcus Claudius stationed beside him. Many women are weeping and the men appear silent and angry. Appius is surrounded by a guard of lictors. Cornelia and Tiberius are seated on the left in a car drawn by slaves. Near the cen- ter are gathered Galba, Hortensius, Horatius, and Marius. Marius. This vast suspense weighs on me heavily; I would not see that gentle maiden wronged 50 VIRGINIA For all my world possessions! E'en the gods Would shriek with horror if yon slave of Dis, Young Marcus Claudius, should seize on her. Why doth she not appear Hort. She and her father, Who hath returned, hot-foot, from camp to her, Tarry about the town, and every man They meet they do address with exhortations And prayers for justice and for witnesses, That this gross tale which men do know is false Shall be so proven. Yet all Rome is prone Beneath the foot of Appius and his nine Vile colleagues. Fear is most tyrannical, Justice is dying, Mercy now is dead. Marius. Then God alone can help the wretched maid! Hor. (hotly). Nay, shall she be defiled and made a slave Not while my hands are free, my body quick With lifeblood, and my heart a man's. Why she Is pure and frail as is the mountain snow. Happy the man who stands her champion. Happy Icilius, our young tribune! [Enter Virgin ins in mean, plebeian gar- ments and Virginia simply clothed in white, her dark hair loose. A murmur of sympathy and admiration greet their appearance, quickly suppressed. Enter from the other side Icilius, vainly struggling in the hands ,f armored soldiers. His hair is wild and greatly disheveled, his features white and drawn with agony. 51 VIRGINIA Icilius. Virginia! Ah, my God! Virginia! Virginia. My Love! My Love! My Love! [He stretches out his bound arms toward her, and in a moment with a cry she runs to him, regardless of the gazing wvorld, and kneeling at his feet kisses with fervor the hands in bondage for her sake. Murmurs from the multi- tude. Appius (rising to his feet, his face aflame). Back, girl! Back from him! Lictor, part the twain! [Lictor unwillingly obeys, whereat Vir- ginia rising slips away from him to her father's side. Virginius advances, with his hand uplifted, toward the judgment seat. Virginius. Delay no longer in the trial of This matter. We demand in common justice A hearing, and at once, 0, Appius! Galba (aside to his friends). Mark yonder man upon the judgment-seat. Methinks 'tis he who coveteth the virgin, And Marcus but his instrument. Ah, see! The Chief is moved to acquiesce. Methinks He fears this pleb as he once feared Sicinius. Appius (haughtily). And now begins the judgment. Silence, all! My client, Marcus Claudius, step forth. [The man obeys. Virginia, shuddering, looks only at her father. Appius. Repeat thy statement, Claudius, we wait. Marc. 0, noble Chief, and all ye men of Rome, I but reiterate my words to-day 52 VIRGINIA Spoken in explanation of my course Of action yesternoon. A woman came Unto the house of Appius, one moon Ago, and came to perish on our hands. But ere she died she made a full confession Of having served in early years the wife Of this our citizen, Virginius, Who ignorantly hath been foully wronged, For whom we feel the deepest sympathy, And unto whom I now address myself. [Turns to Virginius. 0, good centurion, this maid is not Thy child in blood; but, as I said, was born Of a slave woman in my house. Thy babe Died on the moment of its birth. Thou wert Away in service. Dost thou not recall Virginius (in calm affirmative). Yea, that I do recall. (Aside.) Thou fiend of hell! Marc. (triumphantly). Has he not said This slave, who did confess To us the truth, declared that she had played The thief and crept most slyly to my house, Stolen the infant of my nurse and slipped Out, 'mid the night and gloom, which, friendly, hid Her dastard deed. Virginia is the babe, And, therefore, lawfully belongs to me. Icilius. Ye gods! Multitude. No proofs No evidence Marc. (proudly). My word! [Much laughter and some hissing. Appius. Silence! Virginius, speak, and be as brief As the occasion will allow. Proceed. Virginius. Ye men of Rome! To you, and you alone, I speak in my defense, for lo! in you 53 VIRGINIA I see the qualities of common justice, Or faintest sense of mercy, which is rare And less, indeed, unto the point in hand. For all these forty years I've lived in Rome, A Roman 'mongst the Romans, brave amongst The brave, and serving, ere I came of age, My mother city. Have I shown myself In any manner base, corruptible, Or lying, either by my word or deed Ye all are witnesses of me-each man Can see and know the truth as God can see. This is my babe, of me begotten, born Of her whom I so loved-her miothefr. Lo! The very luster of her ebon hair Bespeaks the woman who in honor bore Virginia. See! The tremble of her lip. I do not willingly display my flesh And blood to gaze of multitudes, but that My straits are desperate. Look upon her hand- The long, brown fingers are a copy true Of these, though mine are knotted by the grip Of sword and the guiding of the plow. And now her eyes-Ah, no! I say too much. Ye gods of Heaven speak for me this day! [He bows his head upon Virginia's shoulder. Appius. He faints with sudden revelation from The gods of what is manifestly true. Virginius, thou art deluded, or A man, of old, deceptive. Virginia. 'Tis a lie! He is Virginius, no more, no less! And 'tis enough, as Rome can witness to. Thou art not worthy to crawl on the ground And kiss the hand which hath these many years 54 VIRGINIA Battled for Rome! Thou canst but harm our flesh. His name and mine are unstained as the flame On Vesta 's altar. [Turns to where Icilius is struggling vainly in the hands of the guard. Peace, Icilius! Of what avail is aught to such as these Small hope is left-and yet, 0, Appius, Wert thou not born of wooman For the one Who gave thee life, respect her sisters now. Let mercy dawn within thy hardened breast, Speak but one word-one word-and many lives Will leap and live again. Look down upon And honor this grey head, now bowed so low; The only stay and comfort in his age Wouldst tear from him His years in solitude Will roll away, a never-ending tide. Ye Romans, look upon your citizens, Protect your women-lest indignant Jove Lightnings shall send upon you, or the shield Of Mars be taken from its sanctuary. [Icilius at this momentt breaks from the grasp of the soldiers and leaps to Vir- ginia's side. The girl lifts his bound hands and places them against her breast, raising her eyes to his. Icilius! I heard a ringing laugh, And saw, as in a vision, a young child- Our flesh and blood-our souls' inheritor. I saw adorning me, in the strange dream, A wedding garland fresh, not clanging chains. O, if to die within thine arms! But stay! My father-see the workings of his face! 55 VIRGINIA He suffers. Father, we shall meet again In the Elysian fields, when I am free! Appius. Fools! Cease your maudlin tragedy! Dis- perse! Come forward, slave, the judgment hath been passed. Cor. (starting). The judgment, and so soon! Tiberius (leaping from the car). It is not so! Virginia, stay awhile! Icilius (aside). Unbind my hands, Virginia! Virginia. The knot is hard and I am dazed. I tremble. Love, wilt thou sacrifice thy life for me Icilius. Ah! some one loose me of these cursed bonds! [He is seized by the soldiers and again forced from the young girl's side. Cor- nelia steps from her car, and coming forward kneels at the feet of Appius. Cor. Lord Appius, behold a broken heart, But one with gentle blood from noble veins Forever fed. Though proud, I kneel to thee. 0, loose her bonds-restore her liberty- And I my wealth, my house, and e'en my life Shall give to thee or this thy servant here. Deep down into the dust I do incline Myself, who am a lady of the best And noblest line in Rome. I offer thee My services, if thou wilt free the maid Who did befriend me in mine hour of need. Virginia. Cornelia! To me! Nay, it shall not be! Thou friend of friends, such sacrifice is vain. One kiss alone I ask of thee-one kiss- Then silence! See, Tiberius weeps for thee. [Tiberius springs with a cry into Cor- nelia's arms. The two draw off together. The four citizens come for- ward. 56 VIRGINIA Galba. 0, Appius, we offer thee our lives To do with as thou wilt-but loose the maid! Appius. Petitioners, ye gods, from every side It shall not be, for she is Marcus' slave. The judgment has been passed, and I have spoken! [A murmuring. Make way! The master comes to take his slave! [Confusion. Appius rises, his face ablaze with passion. Make way, ye fools! I'll call my colleagues here With all their lictors. There will be bloodshed! Make way! Icilius. Ah! but to have my hands about His throat, though for a moment, for a breath; Though for a heart-beat and, beyond me, Hell! Virginia (in a voice of agony). Father! My father! Virginius. Quiet, little girl! 0, Appius, the final shred of hope, The weakened flame, is gone forever gone. Before we part, indeed, one moment grant To us aside, that I may speak with her. Appius. Haste, then, old pleb! Nor tarry long for tears. Virginius. Tears What are they My heart is dead and barren, My soul athirst for death. Tears mean no more To me than rain upon a broken stone. [He leads the girl aside. All watch in breathless silence. Virginia. 0, Heavenly Powers above, deliver me, By whirlwind or by sword, from this dread place! Father, farewell! [Presses his hand to her lips. Virginius. Ah ! Touch it not! [Snatches a knife fronm a butcher. 57 VIRGINIA Thus only can I make thee free, my daughter! [He plunges it into her bosom and she falls back into the arms of Icilius, who has freed himself and leaps to her side with a cry. Tumult and swaying of the crowd. (Brandishing knife.) With this blood, Appius! thy life and thee Devote I to perdition! [Makes his way with the knife through the multitude. Icilius lays her body down, murmuring, "Virginia, by thy blood shall Rome be free!" [Exit. [Camilla kneels as though stunned beside the prostrate body. Tiberius. Ah me! Ah me! Virginia! [Sinks beside her. (Curtain.) It rises again to show the collected army, with Virginius and Icilius at the head. Appius is about to leave the seat, his cloak around his head. Several lictors have fallen to the ground. Camilla still kneels beside the body, gazing vacantly before her. Vir- ginria's dark hair falls like a shroud around her. (Curtain.) 58 POEMS This page in the original text is blank. POEMS STEWARDSHIP. What can I do for Thee, Almighty God, Whose breath can wake, whose voice can calm, the seat Should I endeavor, with this striving brain, Which, in its striving, errs, and, erring, turns, And, fearful, flies from its appointed field- With these weak hands, that blindly grope along The road of Truth to higher things, uplift Those fallen by the way, whom Thou didst name My brothers I, to the sad, ancient world, Speak, in unfaltering accents, of my soul's Instinctive yearnings, loftiest ideals, And holiest hopes of the fair destiny Of all my fellow-souls, who tread the way When One has left a message, sweet, divine, Eternal, for the fainting world to read, Should I arise and cry, an echo faint, Of His all-satisfying tones of Love, And lisp my dreams of TruthI I am afraid! Yet, trembling, still I dare not to be mute. Remembering His vast Love, I can not choose But humbly say the lessons I have learned. Teach me, 0 God, to feel Thy silences, And hear Thy voice aright, in wind and wave; Teach me the upward look of Faith and Hope, Which lifts, nor ever drags the spirit down; Teach me the tender touch and the warm smile Of a deep, all-embracing heart, whose light Ts the sweet essence of true Charity! 61 POEMS THE SEA GULL. Strong-winged soul of the lifting sea, Bird of the gale, Launch thyself from the crags, and fly Over the crested waves, nor sigh For the sheltered home, but gladly hail The sea and the open sky! High, low, high, low, Over the foam, Gliding level with the mast, Darting close above the vast Roll of billows-then come home, And hide thee from the blast. Once again, thy pinions free Spread to the speaking breeze! Forward, like a mermaid light, Onward, like to a soul as white As the curling foam of the singing seas, Nor shrink from the coming night. Rolling fog and fading light, Spread and sail! Fold thy pinions, breast the deep, In the darkness, Spirit, sleep, Soul of the gale! 62 POEMS MT. VERNON. Home of the Dead! One glance of lingering love We cast behind us, where our vessel's wake Winds, foaming, backward to Virginian hills. Home of the Dead! Retreating from thy shores We breathe a final sigh, a last farewell. The pillared mansion gleams amid the green, The sombre tomb, deserted, stands alone; While, over all, a thousand beacons burn. The West displays a canopy of sky, Woven by angels, flung across the hills, Where sleeps the silent dust of Washington. Bleak is the wind that leaps like blade unsheathed From out the silver scabbard of the East! At hide and seek, among the ruffled waves, The eerie shadows play in elvish glee. A thief, Night steals the golden glories bright Of Day. But still a flush of silken rose Colors the West, stains the broad river's breast, And casts a garland 'cross the Eastern sky. Behold, on either shore, reflected green, Dim in the dying lustre of the sun, While tips of rose, like diadems, adorn And wreathe the gracious brows of drowsy hills. Behold and marvel! See and comprehend! Amid this beauty lies the sacred dust Of one who was a hero and a man, While all the hills that sleep about his tomb Shine with the glory of God's holy light. 63 POEMS MY MOTHER. Has she faded from my skies forevermore, Like a star that slides adown the arch of Night, Or the sunlight, swiftly paling on the shore Of my boundless sea of hopes, that glittered bright In the lustre of her smile Is she gone forevermore Or has she but departed for a while Shall I never feel her hand upon my brow Shall I never meet her lips in kisses sweet Or is it that I am denied her now, And some day shall hear the music of her feet, And, like Proserpine, will come, with the happy winds that blow, Leap the years, and find, in her, my final home THE CRADLE SONG. Adown the vista of the years, I turn and look with silent soul, As though to catch a mute d strain Of melody, that seems to roll In tender cadence to my ear. But, as I wait with eyes that long The singer to behold-it fades, And silence ends the Cradle Song. But when the shadows of the years Have lengthened slowly to the West, And once again I lay me down To sleep, upon my mother's breast, Then well I know I ne'er again Shall cry to God, "How long How long" For, to my soul, her voice will sing A never-ending Cradle Song. 64 POEMS OUT OF THE DARK. Out of the Dark that shrouded Thee, my Lord, Upon that day of Passion and of Pain, There rose a cry from Thee which rent the sky, Piercing the shadows of the noontide gloom In vibrant tones that rang with agony Supreme, and, with the strength of holy grief, Divine despair, rolled upward on the wings Of Mystery unto the eternal Throne "Eli! Eli! Lama Sabacthani !" Out of the dark that lies about my soul, Upon this day of sorrow and of pain, I lift mine eyes and gaze with prayerful heart Upon the tortured image of my Lord, Then lo! the sombre shadows melt away, And round my spirit glows a wonderous light, By thine own Cross and Passion, blessed Lord, And by that mystic moment of despair, Thy world shall never know Thine awful Woe, Nor cry to God in agony supreme- "Eli! Eli! Lama Sabacthani !" POEMS NIOBE. (Dedicated to the statue of Niobe, in the Uffizi Palace, Florence, Italy.) Oh! form of perfect woe, in grief unending! Soul-anguish, mortal pangs, in marble moulded! Oh, sobs! by us unheard, that bosom rending! Oh, tender form! within those arms enfolded! With heart undaunted, has the Mother striven Against Death's vengeance, e'en within its portal; And when her soul with horror most is riven, Woman, she dares to face the wrath immortal. So, through the ages, see those forms united In an eternal clasp. Ah, woe transcendent! Upon that face, its beauty all unblighted, We read the Mother-love, supreme, resplendent! TO THE GENIUS OF DEATH, BY CANOVA. Genius of Death! Thou form as white and slim As moonbeams, falling through the awful dome Above thee when the deathlike night draws down; Speak, through those sweet, still lips, whose solemn curve Alone gives token of thine ancient, dread Supremacy! Say that thou art not Death, But holy Calm or silent hushed Repose. Still are thy stern lips dumb, no hopeful breath Exhaling! Then, from them, do I appeal To something more divine. O 'er that calm brow And carven face, uplifted from the tomb In speechless faith, there shines a wondrous light That mocks the awful declaration there. Genius of Death thou canst not be, for lo! Thou art the Soul of Immortality! 66 POEMS TO THE WINGED VICTORY OF SAMOTHRACE. "Winged Victory" Unworthy is that name, Thou marble miracle of endless Time! I see thee standing yonder in the light, Upon thy rude and lonely pedestal, A shape as strange as it is beautiful. To me, thou art a winged mystery, For where, in all the ages of the past, Years of the present, centuries to come, Can there be found creation like to thee, Conceived by God or Man A miracle; Marble in motion-yet divinely still, As though it paused to hear its own low breath- Yet breathes not; pacing on its lonely height- Yet stirs not; heavenly wings outspread, with chaste Angelic curve-yet not in flight extended. Thou art not of the living nor the dead. Thy wings do breathe of immortality, Of Heavenly Presence, yet thy headless form, In all its marred and mutilated grace, Points to the clay. How can we solve thee, then Enigma so profound was never known Among the many countless works of Man. Thou art incarnate Mystery itself, Brooding above the world; the Universe Lies in the shadow of thine outspread wings- Thou silent Spirit of the Infinite! 67 POEMS BEATRICE TRIUMPHANT. (To Beatrice Cenci, as she is depicted in Guido Reni's painting of St. Michael and the Dragon.) Gold hair, blown back from radiant brow, Crowning, like light, a maiden, martyred head, Feet planted on the "Dragon," prone, And mighty wings in victory outspread. In thee what change, divinely wrought! What wondrous resurrection from the dead! He lies, beneath thy righteous feet, Who, cruel craven, caused thee to be slain; He writhes who let thee agonize, A captive and in undeserved pain, And crawls, in sight of all the world, Forever rendered loathsome by that stain! And thou, bright dream of brooding light, With woman's face and angel's stature, thou Exquisite seraph, fresh from God, Tell me, why wakes no awful vengeance now On thy grave lips Oh! Woman, wronged, Unfold the mystery of that calm brow! THE CALL OF THE IRISH SEA. Gray Irish Sea, wild Irish Sea, That spreads so free, gray Irish Sea- Your freedom mocks the shores you beat With the booming tread of your angry feet; The Celtic heart no longer sings To the rhythmic rush of Freedom's wings! Wild Irish Sea, gray Irish Sea, Chant Freedom's dirge, wild Irish Sea! 68 POEMS Gray Irish Sea, wild Irish Sea, You call to me, gray Irish Sea, I hear the harp-strings of the North, And stirring bagpipes thrilling forth; I dream the dreams of olden days, I hear bold Ossian chant his lays! Wild Irish Sea, gray Irish Sea, You call to me, wild Irish Sea! THE LION OF LUCERNE. Hid in a hushed retreat, a lovely dell, Where Mother Nature sings low lullabies, And weaves her silence like a sacred spell, Beneath the light of deep and tender skies, In his lone agony the Lion lies. Colossal creature of a sculptor's brain, Are you the marble that you seem to bet Inanimate, untouched by mortal pain Within that form, and yearning to be free, Your soul must wrestle with Death's mystery! There is a height Self-sacrifice may climb, Nearer the throne of God than any star, A height above the wasting tide of Time, Beyond the din of Earth's discordant jar- A height that untried souls scarce see afar. On that great height the Lion of Lucerne, With face half-human, with majestic brow, Lies stretched. Oh, Love! that will forever burn On Pain's dread altar, you alone can know The glory and the recompense for Woe! 69 POEMS SONNET TO NIAGARA FALLS. As on the brink of that which men call Death, Standing 'twixt Time and dread Eternity, We pause to gaze with fear-suspended breath On that abyss, whose depths we can not see, So now, I stand, above thy thundering fall, Thou Miracle, of marvels most supreme, Who summons all the world, with trumpet call, To adore the heavenly genius of thy stream! In 'wildering confusion, mad disdain Of earthly trammels, earthly tyrannies, Shrieking, like legions of damned souls in pain, Roaring rebellion 'neath the silent skies, Fearful as Death, still thou dost seem to cry, "I am the symbol of Eternity!" THE LOST HEART. (A Rondeau.) Where is my heart Ah! Love, I dare not say, I only know that it is hid away, Somehow,-somewhere,-and somewhat restless there. But safely hid away,-poor heart, somewhere. I strive to call it back to me, but nay,- That willful heart refuses to obey. And do you ask, thus, in your sad, sweet way- You, Love, who know so well its secret lair, Where is my heart Alone, I wait and wonder, day by day, At the poor, pulsing heart, that went astray, Once, in the mazes of a woman's hair. Could it forsake a labyrinth so fair No need for you to ask, for me to say- Where is my heart 70 POEMS IS HE NOT MINE' Is he not mine Although he drift from me Into the Ocean of the Far Away, Across the tideless and the awful sea Of Time, while I alone must mutely stay Within the doorway of a darkened Day; Although he shake the dust from his light feet, Dust of my warm Heart's Garden, yet I hold, My Love forever, radiant, complete. He breathes upon me when spring buds unfold, He smiles upon me from the roses' gold; I hear him in the tender melody Of mating bird; his laugh rings, glad and free, In every breeze; like stars his dear eyes shine; His spirit is a presence, half-divine, Which clasps, enfolds my being like a sea! Is he not mine TWO GIFTS. She laughingly gave me a rose, one day, And the thorns were sharp,-but the rose was red, And fragrant and warm from the sun's bright ray, So I clasped the rose, though my fingers bled,- And it fluttered in petals away. She mockingly offered her heart, one day, And I clasped what she gave, though my own heart bled, I gazed in her eyes, and her soft hair lay On my lips, and I laughed,-though the heart was dead, And crumbled to dust away! 71 POEMS THE MOONFLOWER. Earth star of the evening, full moon of the twilight, Pale soul of the dusk, like a virgin in white, With slow graceful motion, so stealthy, so silent, She opens her heart to the kisses of night. Chaste blossom, ah! thus, when my own Love approaches, And bends o'er my spirit with fervor divine, Thus would I lay bare, in unbounded devotion, A heart pure and tender and fragrant as thine! THREE ]KISSES. A rampant wind, on a golden day, Sported and played with a wild, wild rose, He woke her soul from its mute repose, He kissed the heart of the wild, wild rose, And, kissing,-kissed her leaves away,- And now the wind goes sighing. Love won me, on a golden day, He woke my soul, with a kiss sublime, And the whole world vanished, and Death and Time Seemed nought at the touch of that kiss sublime! Love, kissing,-kissed my heart away, And now Love goes rejoicing. An Angel came, on pinions gray, In his cold, white arms he clasped my Love! Earth reeled, the sun went out above. Oh! God! I saw Death kiss my Love, And, kissing,-kiss his soul away- And now my soul goes wailing ! 72 POEMS A SONG OF THE WEST. Into the glowing West! And lo! the vast and sunburnt plains unfold, An endless, rippling, tideless sea of gold, Our own dear Mother's breast; The gaunt, the silent earth, The bare, brown land without a single tree Or blossom as a home for bird or bee, It lies, endures the dearth, And smiles in spite of thirst And parched and craving lips. This is the best, The better land, my own, my noble West. Into the West! Green, verdant with the strength of endless light, Immortal sunlight, radiant and bright! Where man may work, may rest: This is my paradise, A land of flowers and of singing seas, Of hoary mountain tops and giant trees, Beneath vast arching skies, Skies that are eloquent With sympathy and soft. and deep and true, Gray only when we weary of the blue, Cloudless and all content. Into the West ' That mother of grcat men who sing her praise, Who marvel o'er her miracles and ways, As f ree and unsuppressed As ocean's roll. Say, 0, ye creatures of the further sea, What know ye of her grace and melody, The grandeur of her soul T 73 POEMS TO ESTHER. As Night, before the dawn, In starry splendor, seems to brood Above the world, which waits the morn, Yet worships Night in melancholy mood, As Night, in whom a solemn passion lies, So brood and beam my Esther's midnight eyes As sunlight on a rose In flashing radiance seems to glow, Warming the tender heart within, To life and love; as early beams bestow Upon that rose a soul which can beguile A hundred hearts, so beams my Esther's smile. As love-birds, in the Spring, Sing on the sylvan boughs at noon, And mating-calls in echoes ring, Or oft at night they whisper to the moon; As stream responds to stream with tender art, So, to mine own, replieth Esther's heart. As sea to distant sea, In grand response to Passion's cry, Declares its own vast mystery, And answers wild entreaties with a sigh; As waves to waves melodiously roll, So sings to me forever-Esther's soul. 74 POEMS THE THRUSH. It was the Thrush,-it was the joyous Thrush, Who, with his beauteous voice, the woods addressed! He sank from heavens unseen, and in the hush Of floating fragrance and soft-slumbering flowers, Dozing beneath the spell of sun-bright hours, His summer shower of song the glade's deep heart caressed. Bright, speckle-breasted, angel-throated bird! lie tilted on the hedge, and piped and wooed; Now here a note, now there, so low 'twas heard, Ofttimes, by one deep listening ear, one only, The ear of Silence; he, her minstrel lonely. Was it for her divine mute blessing that he sued How often I have watched him in the grass, Familiar, small, erect, and bravely dressed In spotted golden-brown; have seen him pass Alertly to and fro, all blithely springing, With elfin bounds; no longer wildly winging; Content with Mother Earth, as though he loved her breast. Earth born, sky destined, living harp of song, Beloved Thrush, pour forth your notes divine! Whether to earth or heaven you most belong, What the vast purpose of your melody, Your mystic glory, your bright ecstasy, I know not,-only this, your soul is sweet to mine. 75 POEMS THE LIGHT OF THE STAR. Dank were the grewsome alleys of the town, Dingy the houses of the dreary street; The very dogs reflected degradation, Gaunt, wolfish; while God's flowers of creation, Young children, lacking all that makes life sweet, Through the foul-smelling night ran up and down. Under a dull street light I watched them play, Shrilling in high-pitched and unchildlike tones, Daring the perils of the tainted city. Then, in my heart, the horror and the pity For human kind that in such blackness groans Rose, and I could not drive the pall away. Amid such concrete evils, inbred sin, I, groping, questioned, could Christ's kingdom come, By any means How could he ever enter At wealthy portals strong, where self is center, Or at the darkened doors of spirits dumb, Dulled by the ancient slums' unceasing din But, glancing upward, in my deep distress- Myself so small an atom of My race- I saw, above the dreadful hovels shining, A single star. It seemed, my pain divining, To answer from illimitable space, And with its rays to sanctify and bless. Witness it bore of Law by which worlds move, Light of the Soul, the Everlasting Mind, Which-in its compass Earth and Heaven holding- Is ever like some shining scroll unfolding, And will unfold with Time, till all mankind Shall read Life's one solution, perfect Love. 76 POEMS THE MESSAGE OF THE PINES. Tall Southern pines, with hearts of mystic throbbing, Stretch your restless, weary boughs across the sunset sky, Dark Southern pines, whose souls are ever sobbing, I would roam through these dim aisles and learn the music of your sigh. Hark! the wail of hearts that can not weep! hush! the sigh of souls that long to sleep! Tall Southern pines, I seek these silent places Only in my memory-a memory beside me moves. I)ark Southern pines, I love your solemn spaces, Aind there in spirit walk, and with her spirit seek the quiet groves. Hark! the moan of human hearts that yearn! Hush! the plaint of dreams that would return! Tall Southern pines, I wrong you in my sorrow. Harps divine, you chant a dream not passed, but yet to come! Our tw-o souls shall walk together, on some perfect morrow, And through the years remain together, when your voices all are dumb. Hark! her spirit whispers in the grove! Hush! I feel the presence of my Love! 77 POEMS THE LOST SUNBEAM. Through fairy green of willows old, Aslant the stately, virgin, cold Form of the sycamore, Where poplars laugh, where beeches pray, Where breezes sigh, where streamlets sing, And birds are ever caroling, One morn, I saw a sunbeam stray; This single, holy, radiant ray On the wide earth had lost its way, Escaped through Heaven's half-open door. "Where will the sunbeam find its home" I idly wondered. "Will it roam Until it makes its nest Perhaps in some dear baby's hair" But no! a baby's tresses shine With their own radiance divine The sun of Heaven is always there. Or would it find a secret lair In flowery heart Nay, in that rare, Deep cell, God's sun long found its rest. So the lone sunbeam strays at will, And longs for Heaven and rest, until Into the silent grove, An old man, crippled by disease, Creeps down the path, with weary eyes, That are too worn to seek the skies, With palsied limbs and shaking knees, And fixed, dull stare, that only sees The stony ground. Oh! stately trees! Shade this drear form with arms of love! 78 POEMS As he pursues his lonely way Through the green wood, the shining ray Straightway appears to dart To that bent form, and seems to light A glory in the thin white hair; Then, restless still, it makes its lair In the sad eyes, so dim of sight, And, smiling through the sombre night, It deeper sinks, a radiance bright, And nestles in the old man's heart. HERITAGE. (To my Mother.) Everything beautiful centered in you! All that is fair, in your spirit, my Sweet, From the depths of the sea to the height of the blue, Lies now at my feet. They are gems, they are gems you have scattered so free, From your zenith of thought they have fallen like rain, From the height of your love they descended to me, In the midst of my pain! Thoughts like the ocean and dreams like the morn, Pure and unsullied, most holy and true; Dear Love, in my being there shines a new dawn, Whose light is from you! 79