[IDA falls senseless; JOSEPHINE stands speechless with horror.Sieg. The wretch hath slain
Them both! -- My Josephine! we are now alone!
Would we had ever been so! -- All is over
For me! Now open wide, my sire, thy grave;
Thy curse hath dug it deeper for thy son
In mine! The race of Siegendorf is past.
|STRANGER, afterwards CÆSAR.|
Spirits, Soldiers, Citizens of Rome, Priests, Peasants, etc.
Enter ARNOLDand his mother BERTHA.
Bert. OUT, hunchback!
Arn. I was born so, mother!
Thou incubus! Thou nightmare! Of seven sons,
The sole abortion!
Arn. Would that I had been so,
And never seen the light!
Bert. I would so too!
But as thou hast -- hence, hence -- and do thy best!
That back of thine may bear its burthen 't is
More high, if not so broad as that of others.
Arn. It bears its burthen; -- but my heart!
Sustain that which you lay upon it, mother?
I love, or, at the least, I loved you: nothing 10 Save you, in nature, can love aught like me.
You nursed me -- do not kill me!
Bert. Yes -- I nursed thee,
Because thou wert my first-born, and I knew not
If there would be another unlike thee,
That monstrous sport of nature. But get hence,
And gather wood!
Arn. I will: but when I bring it,
Speak to me kindly. Though my brothers are
So beautiful and lusty, and as free
As the free chase they follow, do not spurn me:
Our milk has been the same.
Bert. As is the hedgehog's
Which sucks at midnight from the whole-some dam
Of the young bull, until the milkmaid finds
The nipple next day sore and udder dry.
Call not thy brothers brethren! Call me
Mother; for if I brought thee forth, it was
As foolish hens at times hatch vipers, by
Sitting upon strange eggs. Out, urchin, out! [Exit BERTHA.
Arn. (solus). Oh, mother! -- She is gone,
and I must do
Her bidding; wearily but willingly
I would fulfil it, could I only hope 30 A kind word in return. What shall I do?
[ARNOLD begins to cut wood: in doing this he wounds one of his hands.
My labour for the day is over now.
Accurséd be this blood that flows so fast;
For double curses will be my meed now
At home -- What home? I have no home, no kin,
No kind -- not made like other creatures, or
To share their sports or pleasures. Must I bleed too
Like them? Oh that each drop which falls to earth
Would rise a snake to sting them, as they have stung me!
Or that the devil, to whom they liken me, 40