Ashes are feeble foes : it is more easy
To baffle such, than countermine a mole
Which winds its blind but living path be- neath you.
Yet hear me still ! -- if you condemn me,
Remember who hath taught me once too
often 440 To listen to him! Who proclaim'd to me
That there were crimes made venial by the occasion?
That passion was our nature? that the goods
Of Heaven waited on the goods of for-tune?
Who show'd me his humanity secured
By his nerves only? Who deprived me of
All power to vindicate myself and race
In open day, by his disgrace which stamp'd
(It might be) bastardy on me, and on
Himself -- a felon's brand? The man who
is 450 At once both warm and weak invites to deeds
He longs to do, but dare not. Is it strange
That I should act what you could think?
We have done
With right and wrong; and now must only ponder
Upon effects, not causes. Stralenheim,
Whose life I saved from impulse, as, un-known,
I would have saved a peasant's or a dog's,
Known as our foe -- but not from ven-geance. He
Was a rock in our way which I cut through,
As doth the bolt, because it stood between
us 460 And our true destination -- but not idly.
As stranger I preserved him, and he owed
His life : when due, I but resumed the debt.
He, you, and I stood o'er a gulf wherein
I have plunged our enemy. You kindled first
The torch, you show'd the path; now trace me that
Of safety, or let me!
Sieg. I have done with life!
Ulr. Let us have done with that which cankers life,
Familiar feuds and vain recriminations
Of things which cannot be undone. We
have 470 No more to learn or hide : I know no fear,
And have within these very walls men who
(Although you know them not) dare venture all things.
You stand high with the state; what passes
Will not excite her too great curiosity:
Keep your own secret, keep a steady eye,
Stir not, and speak not; -- leave the rest to me:
We must have no third babblers thrust between us. [EXit ULRIC.
Seig (solus). Am I awake? are these
my father's halls?
And you -- my son? My son ! mine ! who
have ever 480 Abhorr'd both mystery and blood, and yet
Am plunged into the deepest hell of both!
I must be speedy, or more will be shed -
The Hungarian's ! -- Ulric -- he hath par-tisans,
It seems : I might have guess'd as much.
Wolves prowl in company. He hath the key
(As I too) of the opposite door which leads
Into the turret. Now then ! or once more
To be the father of fresh crimes, no less
Than of the criminal! Ho ! Gabor! Gabor ! 490[Exit into the turret, closing the door after him.
The Interior of the Turret.
GABOR and SIZGENDORF.
Gab. Who calls? Sieg. I -- Siegendorf ! Take
these, and fly!
Lose not a moment !
[Tears off a diamond star and other jewels, and thrusts them into GABOR'S hand.
Gab. What am I to do
Sieg. Whate'er you will: sell them, or hoard,
And prosper; but delay not, or you are lost!
Gab. You pledged your honour for my safety !
Must thus redeem it. Fly! I am not mas-ter,
It seems, of my own castle -- of my own
Retainers -- nay, even of these very walls,