« VorigeDoorgaan »
Beyond the world they brighten, with a sigh-
Of the same mould as mine. The demon then utters an incantation, at the same time that lie inoulds some red earth into the shape of Achilles : when it is concluded Arnold falls senseless on the ground;- the figure of earth rises slowly, . and the phantom which the demon has conjured disappears, part by part, as the figure is animated. Arnold exults in his new form, while his former body, now an object of his contempt and loathing, lies before him. This the demon assumes ; and Arnold starts with horror at seeing the shape which he once wore inhabited by the fiend. The jaanner in which this is effected is very curious: the demon invokes the elements; and, when he has concluded his charm, an ignis faluus Aits through the wood, and rests on the brow of the body lately Arnold's. The stranger then disappears, and the body rises. Arnold exclaims :
Stran. (in Arnold's late shape.) What! treinblest thou?
To the world of shadows.
At the instigation of the demon, who assumes the name of Cæsar, Arnold sets off for Italy, where the war was then raging, and Rome itself was invested by the troops under the command of the Constable
Bourbon. Four black horses are brought in by two demoniacal grooms, and the travellers begin their journey.
A scene takes place before the walls of Rome between the Constable Bourbon and his followers, among whom are Arnold and the hunchbacked demon, who here plays the Thersites of the camp. His reflections on the folly of naukind, and the wickedness of that portion of it who are soldiers, conclude the first part of the drama :
And these are Men, forsooth!
[Exit Ceser. The second part of the drama begins with a scene before the walls of Rome. A chorus of spirits is heard iv the air, describing, by anticipatiou, the horrors of the approaching conflict. The assailants then enter. Arnold is about to mount the wall, but is prevented by Bourbon, who insists on being the first in this perilous attempt. As he is mounting a shot strikes him, and he falls mortally wounded. The death of Bourbon is effectively described by the introduction of the demon's remark, respecting the Chevalier Bayard, who, it will be remembered, with his last breath reproached Bourbon for his desertion of his country. The following extract will show with what force this part of the drama is conceived : Bour.
Arnold! I am sped.
You must be
No, my gallant boy;
But what is one life?
Cæs. Would not your highness choose to kiss the cross ?
Bour. Thou bitter slave! to name him at this time!
Arn. (to Cæsar.) Villain, hold your peace!
Cæs. What, when a Christian dies ? Shall I not offer
Bour. Arnold, shouldst thou see
Arn. And without thee!
Not so ; I'll lead them still
Arn. But I must not leave thee thus.
[Bourbon dies. The rest of the drama is very dull, being filled with mere · last dying speeches' of the people who are' killed on both sides. One incident is an exception to this remark, and from this probably the author intended the chief interest of the drama to proceed. A lady, flying from the pursuit of two soldiers, reaches the church of St. Peter, and for refuge ascends the altar, where, clasping the massy gold crucifix, she exclaims to the warriors. Respect your God!' This, however, is insufficient to check them, and in her despair she throws down the immense cross, which kills one of the soldiers. The rest are about to destroy lier, when Arnold, entering, rescues her at the peril of his life. He begs her to descend; but she, preferring death to the fate which seems to await her, dashes herself down from the lofty altar on the marble floor:
Arn. (to Olimpia.) Lady! you are safe.
I should be so,
Arn. I wish to inerit his forgiveness, and
Olim. No! Thou hast only sacked my native land, -
her, and prepares to dash herself down on the side
of the altar opposite to that where Arnold stands. Arn.
Olim. Spare thine already forfeit soul
Arn. No, thou know'st me not; I am not
I judge thee by thy mates;
dashes herself on the pavement from the altar.
Arnold and Cæsar bear her out for the purpose of procuring assistance, which, as she still breathes, may restore her; and thus the second part ends.
Of the third part no more was written than a chorus of peasants singing before the gates of a castle in the Appennines. The following is an extract from this song:
The wars are over,
The spring is come;
Have sought their home:
Our swords are all idle,
The steed bites the bridle,