The Complete Poetical Works of Lord Byron

By George Gordon Byron | Go to book overview

Stral. You think! you supercilious slave! what right
Have you to tax your memory, which should be
Quick, proud, and happy to retain the name
Of him who saved your master, as a litany
Whose daily repetition marks your duty.
Get hence! 'You think'! indeed! you

who stood still 380
Howling and dripping on the bank, whilst I
Lay dying, and the stranger dash'd aside
The roaring torrent, and restored me to
Thank him -- and despise you. 'You think'! and scarce
Can recollect his name! I will not waste
More words on you. Call me betimes.

Fritz. Good night! I trust to-morrow will restore your lordship To renovated strength and temper. [The scene closes.


SCENE III

The secret Passage.

Gab. (solus). Four --
Five -- six hours have I counted, like the guard

Of outposts on the never-merry clock: 390
That hollow tongue of time, which, even when
It sounds for joy, takes something from en-joyment
With every clang. 'T is a perpetual knell,
Though for a marriage-feast it rings: each stroke
Peals for a hope the less; the funeral note
Of Love deep-buried without resurrection
In the grave of Possession; while the knoll
Of long-lived parents finds a jovial echo
To triple Time in the son's ear.
I'm cold --
I'm dark; I've blown my fingers -- number'd o'er 400

And o'er my steps -- and knock'd my head against
Some fifty buttresses -- and roused the rats
And bats in general insurrection, till
Their cursèd pattering feet and whirling wings
Leave me scarce hearing for another sound.
A light! It is at distance (if I can
Measure in darkness distance); but it blinks
As through a crevice or a key-hole in
The inhibited direction: I must on,
Nevertheless, from curiosity. 410
A distant lamp-light is an incident
In such a den as this. Pray Heaven it lead me
To nothing that may tempt me! Else --
Heaven aid me
To obtain or to escape it! Shining still!
Were it the star of Lucifer himself,
Or he himself girt with its beams, I could
Contain no longer. Softly! mighty well!
That corner's turn'd -- so -- ah! no! -- right! it draws
Nearer. Here is a darksome angle -- so,
That's weatherd. Let me pause. Suppose it leads 420

Into some greater danger than that which
I have escaped -- no matter, 't is a new one;
And novel perils, like fresh mistresses,
Wear more magnetic aspects: I will on,
And be it where it may -- I have my dagger,
Which may protect me at a pinch. Burn still,
Thou little light! Thou art my ignis
fatuus!
My stationary Will-o'-the-wisp! So! so!
He hears my invocation, and fails not.
[The scene closes.


SCENE IV

A Garden.

Enter WERNER.

Wer. I could not sleep -- and now the hour's at hand; 430

All's ready. Idenstein has kept his word;
And station'd in the outskirts of the town,
Upon the forest's edge, the vehicle
Awaits us. Now the dwindling stars begin
To pale in heaven; and for the last time I
Look on these horrible walls. Oh, never, never
Shall I forget them! Here I came most poor,
But not dishonourd: and I leave them with
A stain, -- if not upon my name, yet in
My heart! -- a never-dying canker-worm 440
Which all the coming splendour of the lands,
And rights, and sovereignty of Siegendorf
Can scarcely lull a moment. I must find
Some means of restitution, which would ease
My soul in part; but how without discovery? --

-701-

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