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Upon those lips-yet of no power to

tear The felon stripe by stripe! Die, Mil

dred! Leave Their honorable world to them! For

God We're good enough, though the world casts us out.

(A whistle is heard.) Tres. Ho, Gerard ! (Enter Gerard, Austin and Guendolen, with

lights.) No one speak! You see what's done. I cannot bear another voice. Mert.

There's lightLight all about me, and I move to it, Tresham, did I not tell you—did you

not Just promise to deliver words of mine

To Mildred ? Tres.

I will bear those words to her. Mert. Now? Tres.

Now. Lift you the body, and leave me The head. (As they have half raised Mertoun, he

turns suddenly.) Mert. I knew they turned me: turn me

not from her! There! stay you! there!

(Dies.) Guen. (After a pause.) Austin, remain

arm

Through our ancestral grounds, will not

a shade Be ever on the meadow and the wasteAnother kind of shade than when the

night Shuts the woodside with all its whispers

up?

you here

But will you ever so forget his breast As carelessly to cross this bloody turf Under the black yew avenue? That's

well! You turn your head : and I then ?Guen.

What is done Is done. My care is for the living.

Thorold, Bear up against this burden: more re

mains To set the neck to! Tres.

Dear and ancient trees My fathers planted, and I loved so well! What have I done that, like some fabled

crime Of yore, lets loose a Fury leading thus Her miserable dance amidst you all ? Oh, never more for me shall winds intone With all your tops a vast antiphony, Demanding and responding in God's

praise ! Hers ye are now, not mine! Farewell

farewell!

With Thorold until Gerard comes with

help: Then lead him to his chamber. I must

go To Mildred. Tres.

Guendolen, I hear each word You utter. Did you hear him bid me

give His message? Did you hear my prom

ise? I, And only I, see Mildred. Guen.

She will die. Tres. Oh no, she will not die! I dare not

hope She 'll die. What ground have you to

think she'll die? Why, Austin 's with you! Aust.

Had we but arrived Before you fought! Tres.

There was no fight at all. He let me slaughter him—the boy! I'll

trust The body there to you and Gerard—thus!

Now bear him on before me. Aust.

Whither bear him?

a

SCENE 2. Mildred's chamber.

(Mildred alone.) He comes not! I have heard of those

who seemed Resourceless in prosperity,—you thought Sorrow might slay them when she listed:

yet Did they so gather up their diffused

strength

At her first menace, that they bade her

strike, And stood and laughed her subtlest skill

to scorn. Oh, 't is not so with me! The first woe

fell, And the rest fall upon it, not on me: Else should I bear that Henry comes not?

-fails Just this first night out of so many

nights ? Loving is done with. Were he sitting

now, As so few hours since, on that seat, we'd

love No more contrive no thousand happy

ways To hide love from the loveless, any more. I think I might have urged some little

point In my defence, to Thorold; he was

breathless For the least hint of a defence: but no, The first shame over, all that would might

fall. No Henry! Yet I merely sit and think The morn's deed o'er and o'er. I must

have crept Out of myself. A Mildred that has lost Her lover-oh, I dare not look upon Such woe! I crouch away from it!

'Tis she, Mildred, will break her heart, not I!

The world Forsakes me: only Henry's left me

left? When I have lost him, for he does not

come, And I sit stupidly ... Oh Heaven,

Tres. How we waded-years ago

After those water-lilies, till the plash,
I know not how, surprised us; and you

dared Neither advance nor turn back: so, we

stood Laughing and crying until Gerard cameOnce safe upon the turf, the loudest too, For once more reaching the relinquished

prize! How idle thoughts are, some men's, dying

men's! Mildred ! Mil. You call me kindlier by my name

Than even yesterday: what is in that? Tres. It weighs so much upon my mind

that I This morning took an office not my own! I might ... of course, I must be glad

or grieved, Content or not, at every little thing That touches you. I may with a wrung

heart Even reprove you, Mildred; I did more:

Will you forgive me? Mil.

Thorold? do you mock? Or no ... and yet you bid me say

that word! Tres. Forgive me,

Mildred !-are you silent, Sweet? Mil. (Starting up.) Why does not Henry

Mertoun come to-night? Are you, too, silent? (Dashing his mantle aside, and pointing to his scabbard, which is empty.)

Ah, this speaks for you! You've murdered Henry Mertoun! Now

proceed! What is it I must pardon? This and all? Well, I do pardon you—I think I do. Thorold, how very wretched you must

be! Tres. He bade me tell you .. Mil.

What I do forbid Your utterance of! So much that you

break up

worse

may tell

And will not-how you murdered him

but, no! You'll tell me that he loved me, never

This

than anguish, this mad apathy, By any means or any messenger! Tres. (Without.) Mildred! Mil.

Come in! Heaven hears me! (Enter Tresham.)

You? alone? Oh, no more cursing! Tres.

Mildred, I must sit. There—you sit! Mil.

Say it, Thorold—do not look The curse! deliver all you come to say! What must become of me? Oh, speak

that thought Which makes your brow and cheeks so

pale! Tres.

My thought ? Mil. All of it!

more

Than bleeding out his life there: must I

say "Indeed,” to that? Enough! I pardon

you. Tres. You cannot, Mildred! for the harsh

words, yes: Of this last deed Another 's judge; whose

doom I wait in doubt, despondency and fear.

Mil. Oh, true! There's nought for me to

pardon! True! You loose my soul of all its cares at once. Death makes me sure of him forever!

You Tell me his last words? He shall tell me

them, And take my answer-not in words, but

reading Himself the heart I had to read him late,

Which death ... Tres.

Death? You are dying too? Well said Of Guendolen! I dared not hope you'd

die: But she was sure of it. Mil.

Tell Guendolen I loved her, and tell Austin ... Tres.

Him you loved : And me? Mil. Ah, Thorold! Was 't not rashly done To quench that blood, on fire with youth

and hope And love of me- —whom you loved too,

and yet Suffered to sit here waiting his approach While you were slaying him? Oh, doubt

lessly You let him speak his poor confused

boy’s-speech -Do his poor utmost to disarm your

wrath And respite me!-you let him try to give The story of our love and ignorance, And the brief madness and the long de

spairYou let him plead all this, because your

code Of honor bids you hear before you strike: But at the end, as he looked up for life

Into your eyes—you struck him down! Tres.

No! No! Had I but heard him-had I let him

speak Half the truth-less-had I looked long

There, Mildred, is the truth! and you

say onYou curse me? Mil. As I dare approach that Heaven Which has not bade a living thing de

spair, Which needs no code to keep its grace

from stain, But bids the vilest worm that turns on it Desist and be forgiven,-1-forgive not, But bless you, Thorold, from my soul of souls!

(Falls on his neck.) There! Do not think too much upon the

past! The cloud that's broke was all the same a

cloud While it stood up between my friend and

you; You hurt him 'neath its shadow: but is

that So past retrieve? I have his heart, you

know; I may dispose of it: I give it you! It loves you as mine loves!

Confirm me, Henry!

(Dies.) Tres. I wish thee joy, Beloved! I am

glad In thy full gladness! Guen. (Without.) Mildred! Tresham! (Entering with Austin.)

Thorold,
I could desist no longer. Ah, she swoons!

That's well.
Tres. Oh, better far than that!
Guen.

She's dead!
Let me unlock her arms!
Tres.

She threw them thus About my neck, and blessed me, and then

died: You 'll let them stay now, Guendolen! Aust.

Leave her And look to him! What ails you,

Thorold? Guen.

White As she, and whiter! Austin! quick

this side! Aust. Afroth is oozing through his

clenched teeth; Both lips, where they're not bitten

through, are black: Speak, dearest Thorold! Tres.

Something does weigh down My neck beside her weight: thanks: I

should fall But for you, Austin, I believe!-there,

there,

on him

I had desisted! Why, as he lay there, The moon on his flushed cheek, I gathered

all The story ere he told it: I saw through The troubled surface of his crime and

yours A depth of purity immovable. Had I but glanced, where all seemed

turbidest Had gleamed some inlet to the calm be

neath; I would not glance: my punishment's at

hand.

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’T will pass away soon !-ah,-I had for

gotten: I am dying Guen.

Thorold-Thorold—why was this? Tres. I said, just as I drank the poison off, The earth would be no longer earth to

me, The life out of all life was gone from me. There are blind ways provided, the fore

done Heart-weary player in this pageant

world
Drops out by, letting the main masque

defile
By the conspicuous portal: I

through Just through! Guen.

Don't leave him, Austin ! Death is close. Tres. Already Mildred's face is peace

fuller. I see you, Austin-feel you: here's my

hand,

am

All's gules again: no care to the vain

world, From whence the red was drawn! Aust.

No blot shall come! Tres. I said that: yet it did come. Should

it come, Vengeance is God's, not man's. Remember me!

(Dies.) Guen. (Letting fall the pulseless arm.)

Ah, Thorold, we can but-remember

you!

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Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), like so many Windermere are concealed in Lord Darling. writers of comedy during the last two cen- ton's rooms. It cannot be said that in turies, was born in Ireland, the son of well- dramatic effectiveness Wilde has fallen beknown and brilliant, but somewhat ill-bal- hind his master. The situation is as probanced, parents. During the years 1874-8 he able, the final sensation as well led up to, the made his mark in scholarship and literary complication is greater yet as clear, the emowork at Oxford; and in the latter year began tional state of things is more intricate and career of artistic pose, social conspicu

serious — the conventionally good ousness, and literary success in London. Be- woman shows her real flimsy character, and sides his plays he wrote poems, novels, essays, the bad woman rises to the sort of self-sacriand lectures; his first light comedy, the pres- fice which meant most heroism for her. The ent one, came out with great success in 1892. scene is masterly. It is admirably planned, He died in obscurity.

from the extraordinary meeting of the two Wilde was a chief exponent of the so- women, and Dumby's unconscious dramatic called esthetic movement

among certain

irony. (“ The lively part of the evening is clever young men in the eighties and nineties. only just beginning "), to the device by which It began under the influence of such men as Lady Windermere escapes. The fine feeling Ruskin, William Morris, and Pater; but which the scene shows is rare in Wilde, whose while their love of beauty broadened and moral tone is not greatly different from Condeepened into something more manful and greve's, and embodies that of the class of humane, high artistic creation and work to- social life which he constantly satirizes, but ward social betterment, Wilde's was too shal- really respected and chose to identify himself low and unstable a nature to drive him to with. One feels dissatisfaction with the endany more solid achievement than polished ing - that Lady Windermere's folly should literary form and superficial brilliance. His be huddled up from her husband, so that, inplays are his best work, and are interesting stead of facing it down, she may forget it, for two reasons. They are admirable so far precisely as any worldly and superficial as they go, and indicate and helped on an im- woman in the audience would have done. portant change in dramatic style.

The decent and satisfying ending Wilde probLady Windermere's Fan is a comedy of ably rejected as too obvious." This last manners, brilliantly constructed and written, scene has the emotional complexity menwith much clever satire on social vapidity, tioned earlier, husband and wife each knowsome insight into human nature, and some ing something essential to the situation unappearance of depth, sympathy, and earnest- known to the other, and all the threads cen

When it first appeared, the influence tering in Mrs. Erlynne's hand. Again she on it of such earlier dramatists as Congreve stands on a dramatic pedestal. She is the and Sheridan was remarked at once, and sort of person in portraying whom Wilde also (less obvious to the general reader) shows most insight and depth; the people in that of nineteenth-century French comedy. whom he is most fond of showing possibilities The sparkling dialogue is what especially re- of goodness and sacrifice are women " with a calls Sheridan and Congreve. Airy unex- past” and languid dandies. He makes a pectedness and paradox are even more essen- specialty of the heroism that may lurk behind tial in Wilde, especially that which consists the rouged or expressionless face, and in this in contradicting or inverting a proverbial he has been followed by many a later playsaying or a social commonplace --" the youth wright, for nothing makes less demand from of the present have absolutely no respect for the moral feelings of the superficial, or ex dyed hair," "he has one of these weak na- cites more the genial mood of charity which tures that are not susceptible to influence” is one of the pleasantest products of a dra(In Ideal Ilusband), I can resist anything matic performance. except temptation.” Some of his agile (in dramatic history, Wilde and his first twists passed from Wilde's plays into the comedy mark the rise of a realistic prose common talk. Further, no one can fail to drama of genuine literary worth. It was a be reminded of the screen-scene in The School reaction against the literary mediocrity, the for Scandal by the third act in Lady Winder- sentimentality, the somewhat narrow conmere's Fan, where Mrs. Erlynne and Lady ventionalism, the moral primness, which are

ness.

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