« ПредишнаНапред »
Thus Arcite having sung, with altered hue
Sunk on the ground, and from his bosom drew
A desperate sigh, accusing Heaven and Fate,
And angry Juno's unrelenting hate:-
Cursed be the day when first I did appear!
Let it be blotted from the calendar,
Lest it pollute the month, and poison all the year.
Still will the jealous queen pursue our race?
Cadmus is dead, the Theban city was:
Yet ceases not her hate; for all, who come
From Cadmus, are involved in Cadmus' doom.
I suffer for my blood: unjust decree!
That punishes another's crime on me.
In mean estate, I serve my mortal foe,
The man who caused my country's overthrow.
This is not all; for Juno, to my shame,
Has forced me to forsake my
Arcite I was, Philostratus I am.
That side of heaven is all my enemy :
Mars ruined Thebes; his mother * ruined me.
Of all the royal race remains but one,
, the unhappy Palamon,
Whom Theseus holds in bonds, and will not free;
Without a crime, except his kin to me.
Yet these, and all the rest, I could endure;
But love's a malady without a cure:
Fierce Love has pierced me with his fiery dart,
He fries within, and hisses at my heart.
Your eyes, fair Emily, my fate pursue;
I suffer for the rest, I die for you.
Of such a goddess no time leaves record,
Who burned the temple where she was adored :
And let it burn, I never will complain,
Pleased with my sufferings, if you knew my pain.--
At this, a sickly qualm his heart assailed,
His ears ring inward, and his senses failed.
No word missed Palamon, of all he spoke;
But soon to deadly pale he changed his look:
He trembled every limb, and felt a smart,
As if cold steel had glided through his heart;
Nor longer staid, but, starting from his place,
Discovered stood, and shewed his hostile face:---
False traitor, Arcite, traitor to thy blood,
Bound by thy sacred oath to seek my good,
Now art thou found forsworn, for Emily,
And darest attempt her love, for whom I die.
So hast thou cheated Theseus with a wile,
Against thy vow, returning to beguile
Under a borrowed name: as false to me,
So false thou art to him, who set thee free.
But rest assured, that either thou shalt die,
Or else renounce thy claim in Emily;
For, though unarmed I am, and (freed by chance)
Am here without my sword, or pointed lance,
Hope not, base man, unquestioned hence to go,
For I am Palamon, thy mortal foe.-
Arcite, who heard his tale, and knew the man,
His sword unsheathed, and fiercely thus began:
Now, by the gods, who govern heaven above,
Wert thou not weak with hunger, mad with love,
That word had been thy last; or, in this grove,
This hand should force thee to renounce thy love!
The surety, which I gave thee, I defy:
Fool, not to know, that love endures no tie,
And Jove but laughs at lovers' perjury !
Know, I will serve the fair in thy despite;
But, since thou art my kinsman, and a knight,
Here, have my faith, to-morrow, in this grove,
Our arms shall plead the titles of our love:
And heaven so help my right, as I alone
Will come, and keep the cause and quarrel both une
With arms of proof, both for myself and thee;
Choose thou the best, and leave the worst to me.
And, that at better ease thou may'st abide,
Bedding and clothes I will this night provide,
And needful sustenance, that thou may'st be
A conquest better won, and worthy me.-
His promise Palamon accepts; but prayed
To keep it better than the first he made.
Thus fair they parted till the morrow's dawn;
For each had laid his plighted faith to pawn.
Oh Love! thou sternly dost thy power maintain,
And wilt not bear a rival in thy reign;
Tyrants and thou all fellowship
disdain. This was in Arcite proved and Palamon, Both in despair, yet each would love alone. Arcite returned, and, as in honour tied, His foe with bedding, and with food, supplied; Then, ere the day, two suits of armour sought, Which, borne before him, on his steed he brought: Both were of shining steel, and wrought so pure, As might the strokes of two such arms endure. Now at the time, and in the appointed place, The challenger and challenged, face to face, Approach; each other, from afar, they knew, And from afar their hatred changed their hue. So stands the Thracian herdsman, with his spear, Full in the gap, and hopes the hunted bear, And hears him rustling in the wood, and sees His course, at distance, by the bending trees; And thinks, here comes my mortal enemy, And either he must fall in fight, or I: This while he thinks, he lifts aloft his dart; A generous chillness seizes every part; The veins pour back the blood, and fortify the heart.
Thus pale they meet; their eyes with fury burn; None greets, for none the greeting will return;
But in dumb surliness, each armed, with care,
His foe profest, as brother of the war:
Then both, no moment lost, at once advance
Against each other, armed with sword and lance.
They lash, they foin, they pass, they strive to bore
Their corslets, and the thinnest parts explore.
Thus two long hours, in equal arms, they stood,
And, wounded, wound, till both were bathed in
And not a foot of ground had either got,
As if the world depended on the spot.
Fell Arcite like an angry tyger fared,
And like a lion Palamon appeared :
Or, as two boars, whom love to battle draws,
With rising bristles, and with frothy jaws,
Their adverse breasts with tusks oblique they wound;
With grunts and groans the forest rings around.
So fought the knights, and fighting must abide,
Till fate an umpire sends their difference to decide.
The power that ministers to God's decrees,
And executes on earth what heaven foresees,
Called Providence, or Chance, or Fatal Sway,
Comes with resistless force, and finds, or makes, her
way; Nor kings, nor nations, nor united power, One moment can retard the appointed hour; And some one day, some wondrous chance appears, Which happened not in centuries of years: For sure, whate'er we mortals hate, or love, Or hope, or fear, depends on powers above; They move our appetites to good or ill, And, by foresight, necessitate the will. In Theseus this appears, whose youthful joy Was beasts of chace in forests to destroy; This gentle knight, inspired by jolly May, Forsook his easy couch' at early day, And to the wood and wilds pursued his way.
Beside him rode Hippolita the queen,
And Emily, attired in lively green,
With horns, and hounds, and all the tuneful cry,
To hunt a royal hart, within the covert nigh:
And, as he followed Mars before, so now
He serves the goddess of the silver bow.
The way, that Theseus took, was to the wood,
Where the two knights in cruel battle stood:
The lawn, in which they fought, the appointed place,
In which the uncoupled hounds began the chace.
Thither, forth-right, he rode to rouze the prey,
That, shaded by the fern, in harbour lay;
And, thence dislodged, was wont to leave the wood,
For open fields, and cross the crystal flood.
Approached, and looking underneath the sun,
He saw proud Arcite, and fierce Palamon,
In mortal battle doubling blow on blow,
Like lightning flamed their faulchions to and fro,
And shot a dreadful gleam; so strong they struck,
There seemed less force required to fell an oak.
He gazed with wonder on their equal might,
Looked eager on, but knew not either knight.
Resolved to learn, he spurred his fiery steed
With goring rowels to provoke his speed.
The minute ended that began the race,
So soon he was betwixt them on the place;
And, with his sword unsheathed, on pain of life,
Commands both combatants to cease their strife:
Then, with imperious tone pursues his threat:-
What are you? Why in arms together met?
How dares your pride presume against my laws,
As in a listed field to fight your cause,
Unasked the royal grant; no marshal by,
As knightly rites require; nor judge to try?-
Then Palamon, with scarce recovered breath,
Thus hasty spoke :-We both deserve the death,
And both would die; for, look the world around,
A pair so wretched is not to be found.