Stral. You think! you supercilious slave!
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.
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
My stationary Will-o'-the-wisp! So! so!
He hears my invocation, and fails not.
[The scene closes.
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? --