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RICHELIEU.

How like a spider shall I sit in my hole,
And watch the meshes tremble.

JOSEPH

1

But, my lord,
Were it not wiser still to man the palace,
And seize the traitors in the act ?

RICHELIEU.

No; Louis,
Long chafed against me, Julie stolen from him
Will rouse him more. He'll say I hatch'd the treason,
Or scout my charge. He half desires my death;
But the despatch to Bouillon, some dark scheme
Against his crown-there is our weapon, Joseph!
With that, all safe ; without it all is peril!
Meanwhile to my old castle; you to court,
Diving with careless eyes into men's hearts,
As ghostly churchmen should do! See the king,
Bid him peruse that sage and holy treatise,
Wherein

'tis set forth how a premier should
Be chosen from the priesthood; how the king
Should never listen to a single charge
Against his servant, nor conceal one whisper
That the rank envies of a court distil
Into his ear, to fester the fair name
Of my-I mean his minister! Oh! Joseph,
A most convincing treatise. *

Good; all favours
If François be but bold and Huguet honest.
Huguet I half suspect; he bowed too low;
'Tis not his way.

JOSEPH.

This is the curse, my lord, Of your high state; suspicion of all men.

* This tract on the “ Unity of the Minister,” contains all the doc. trines, and many more to the same effect, referred to in the text, and had a prodigious influence on the conscience of the poor king. At the onset of his career, Richelieu, as deputy of the clergy of Poitou, complained in his harangue to the king that ecclesiastics were too rarely summoned to the royal councils, and invoked the example of the Druids !

RICHELIEU (sadly).
True, true; my leeches bribed to poisoners; pages
To strangle me in sleep. My very king
(This brain the unresting loom, from which was woven
The purple of his greatness) gued inst me.
Old, childless, friendless, broken, all forsake;
All-all-but-

JOSEPH
What?

RICHELIEU.

The indomitable heart Of Armand Richelieu !

JOSEPH.

Naught beside ?

RICHELIEU.

Why, Julie,
My own dear foster-child, forgive me! yes;
This morning, shining through their happy tears,
Thy soft eyes bless'd me! and thy lord, in danger.
He would forsake me not.

JOSEPH.

And Joseph-
RICHELIEU (after a pause).

You-
Yes, I believe you; yes, for all men fear you;
And the world loves you not. And I, friend Joseph,
I am the only man who could, my Joseph,
Make you a bishop.* Come, we'll go to dinner,
And talk the while of methods to advance
Our Mother Church.t Ah, Joseph, Bishop Joseph !

* Joseph's ambition was not, however, so moderate ; he refused a bishopric, and desired the cardinal's hat, for which favour Richelieu openly supplicated the Holy See, but contrived somehow or other never to effect it, although two ambassadors applied for it at Rome.

† The peculiar religion of Père Joseph may be illustrated by the following anecdote: Àn officer, whom he had dismissed upon an expedition into Germany, moved by conscience at the orders he had received, returned for farther explanations, and found the Capuchin di

He approached and whispered, “But, my father, if these people defend themselves" “Kill all” (Qu'on tue tout), answered the good father, continuing his devotions.

sant sa messe.

ACT III.

Second Day (Midnight).

SCENE I. Richelieu's Castle at Ruelle. A Gothic chamber. Moonlight at the window, occasionally obscured.

RICHELIEU (reading). *
“In silence and at night, the conscience feels
That life should soar to nobler ends than power."
So sayest thou, sage and sober moralist!
But wert thou tried ? Sublime philosophy,
Thou art the patriarch's ladder, reaching heaven,
And bright with beck’ning angels; but, alas !
We see thee, like the patriarch, but in dreams,
By the first step, dull-slumbering on the earth.
I am not happy! with the Titan's lust
I woo'd a goddess, and I clasp a cloud.
When I am dust, my name shall, like a star,
Shine through wan space, a glory; and a prophet
Whereby pale seers shall from their aëry towers
Con all the ominous signs, benign or evil,
That make the potent astrologue of kings.
But shall the future judge me by the ends
That I have wrought; or by the dubious means
Through which the stream of my renown hath run
Into the many-voiced unfathomed Time?
Foul in its bed lie weeds and heaps of slime;
And with its waves, when sparkling in the sun,

* I need not say that the great length of this soliloquy adapts it only for the closet, and that but few of the lines are preserved on the stage. To the reader, however, the passages omitted in representation will not, perhaps, be the most uninteresting in the play, and may be deemed necessary to the completion of the cardinal's portrait, action on the stage supplying so subtly the place of words in the closet. The self-assured sophistries which, in the text, mingle with Riche. lieu's better-founded arguments in apology for the darker traits of his character, are to be found scattered throughout the writings ase cribed to him. The reader will observe that in this self-confession lies the latent poetical justice which separates happiness from success. [Lines retained on the stage enclosed in brackets.]

Ofttimes the secret rivulets that swell
Its might of waters, blend the hues of blood.
Yet are my sins not those of CIRCUMSTANCE,
That all-pervading atmosphere, wherein
Our spirits, like the unsteady lizard, take
The tints that colour and the food that nurtures ?
[Oh! ye, whose hourglass shifts its tranquil sands
In the unvex'd silence of a student's cell;
Ye, whose untempted hearts have never toss'd
Upon the dark and stormy tides where life
Gives battle to the elements; and man
Wrestles with man for some slight plank, whose weight
Will bear but one, while round the desperate wretch
The hungry billows roar, and the fierce Fate,
Like some huge monster, dim-seen through the surf,
Waits him who drops; ye safe and formal men,
Who write the deeds, and with unfeverish hand
Weigh in nice scales the motives of the great,
Ye cannot know what ye have never tried !]
History preserves only the fleshless bones
Of what we are; and by the mocking scull
The would-be wise pretend to guess the features !
Without the roundness and the glow of life
How hideous is the skeleton! Without
The colourings and humanities that clothe
Our errors, the anatomists of schools
Can make our memory hideous !

I have wrought
Great uses out of evil tools; and they
In the time to come may bask beneath the light
Which I have stolen from the angry gods,
And warn their sons against the glorious theft,
Forgetful of the darkness which it broke.
I have shed blood, but I have had no foes
Save those the state had ;* if my wrath was deadly,
'Tis that I felt my country in my veins,
And smote her sons as Brutus smote his own.
And yet I am not happy ; blanch'd and sear'd
Before my time; breathing an air of hate,

It is well-known that when, on his deathbed, Richelieu was asked if he forgave his enemies, he replied, " I never had any but those of the state.” And this was true enough, for Richelieu and the state

+ Richelieu's vindication of himself from cruelty will be found in various parts of Petitot's Collection, vols. xxi., xxx. (bis.)

were one.

1

And seeing daggers in the eyes of men,
And wasting powers that shake the thrones of earth
In contest with the insects; bearding kings
And braved by lackeys ;* murder at my bed;
And lone amid the multitudinous web,
With the dread three-that are the fates who hold
The woof and shears—the monk, the spy, the heads-

man.
And this is power! Alas! I am not happy.

(After a pause. And yet the Nile is fretted by the weeds Its rising roots not up; but never yet Did one least barrier by a ripple vex My onward tide, unswept in sport away. Am I so ruthless, then, that I do hate Them who hate me? Tush, tush! I do not hate; Nay, I forgive. The statesman writes the doom, But the priest sends the blessing. I forgive them, But I destroy; forgiveness is mine own, Destruction is the state's ! For private life, Scripture the guide ; for public, Machiavel. Would Fortune serve me if the Heaven were wroth ? For chance makes half my greatness. I was born Beneath the aspect of a bright-eyed star, And my triumphant adamant of soul Is but the fix'd persuasion of success. Ah! here !-that spasm !-again! How life and death Do wrestle for me momently! The king looks pale. I shall outlive the king! And then, thou insolent Austrian, who didst gibe At the ungainly, gaunt, and daring lover,f

And yet

* Voltaire has a striking passage on the singular fate of Richelieu, recalled every hour from his gigantic schemes to frustrate some miserable cabal of the anteroom. Richelieu would often exclaim, that “Six pieds de terre” (as he called the king's cabinet) “ lui donnaient plus de peine que tout le reste de l'Europe.” The death of Wallenstein, sacrificed by the Emperor Ferdinand, produced a most lively impression upon Richelieu. He found many traits of coinparison bé. tween Ferdinand and Louis, Wallenstein and himself. In the memoirs—now regarded by the best authorities as written by his sanction, and in great part by himself-the great Frenchman bursts (when alluding to Wallenstein's murder) into a touching and pathetic an. athema on the misère de cette vie of dependance on jealous and timid royalty, which he himself, while he wrote, sustained. It is worthy of remark, that it was precisely at the period of Wallenstein's death that Richelieu obtained from the king an augmentation of his guard. † Richelieu was commonly supposed, though I cannot say I find

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