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    Act V

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    Chapter 6
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    ALV. No, never was anyone more astonished. He had just planned that lofty undertaking; inspired by despair, he was all anxiety to kill Mauregat; eager to show his courage, and to reap the advantage of this lawful deed; to endeavour to obtain his pardon, and prevent the mortification of seeing his rival share his glory. As he was leaving these walls, a too accurate report brought him the sad tidings, that the very rival whom he wished to forestall had already gained the honour he hoped to acquire: had anticipated him, in slaying the traitor, and urged the appearance of Don Alphonso, who will reap the fruits of Don Silvio's prompt success, and come to fetch the Princess, his sister. It is publicly said and generally believed, that Don Alphonso intends to give the hand of his sister as a reward for the great services Don Silvio has rendered him, by clearing for him a way to the throne.

    EL. Yes, Donna Elvira has heard this news, which has been confirmed by old Don Louis, who has sent her word that Leon is now awaiting her happy return and that of Don Alphonso, and that there, since fortune smiles upon her, she shall receive a husband from the hands of her brother. It is plain enough from these few words that Don Silvio will be her husband.

    ALV. This blow to the Prince's heart...

    EL. Will certainly be severely felt. I cannot help pitying his distress; yet, if I judge rightly, he is still dear to the heart he has offended; it did not appear to me that the Princess was well pleased when she heard of Don Silvio's success, and of the approaching arrival of her brother, or with the letter; but...


    ELV. Don Alvarez, let the Prince come hither. (Don Alvarez leaves). Give me leave, Madam, to speak to him in your presence concerning this piece of news, which greatly surprises me; and do not accuse me of changing my mind too quickly, if I lose all my animosity against him. His unforeseen misfortune has extinguished it; he is unhappy enough without the addition of my hatred. Heaven, who treats him with so much rigour, has but too well executed the oaths I took. When my honour was outraged, I vowed openly never to be his; but as I see that fate is against him, I think I have treated his love with too great severity; the ill success that follows whatever he does for my sake, cancels his offence, and restores him my love. Yes, I have been too well avenged; the waywardness of his fate disarms my anger, and now, full of compassion, I am seeking to console an unhappy lover for his misfortunes. I believe his love well deserves the compassion I wish to show him.

    INEZ. Madam, it would be wrong to blame the tender sentiments you feel for him. What he has done for you ... He comes; and his paleness shows how deeply he is affected by this surprising stroke of fate.


    GARC. Madam, you must think me very bold in daring to come here to show you my hateful presence...

    ELV. Prince, let us talk no more of my resentment; your fate has made a change in my heart. Its severity, and your wretched condition have extinguished my anger, and our peace is made. Yes, though you have deserved the misfortunes with which Heaven in its wrath has afflicted you; though your jealous suspicions have so ignominiously, so almost incredibly, sullied my fame, yet I must needs confess that I so far commiserate your misfortune, as to be somewhat displeased with our success. I hate the famous service Don Silvio has rendered us, because my heart must be sacrificed to reward it; I would, were it in my power, bring back the moments when destiny put only my oath in my way. But you know that it is the doom of such as we are, to be always the slaves of public interests; that Heaven has ordained that my brother, who disposes of my hand, is likewise my King. Yield, as I do, Prince, to that necessity which rank imposes upon those of lofty birth. If you are very unfortunate in your love, be comforted by the interest I take in you; and though you have been overwhelmed by fate, do not employ the power which your valour gives you in this place: it would, doubtless be unworthy of you to struggle against destiny; whilst it is in vain to oppose its decrees, a prompt submission shows a lofty courage. Do not therefore resist its orders; but open the gates of Astorga to my brother who is coming; allow my sad heart to yield to those rights which he is entitled to claim from me; perhaps that fatal duty, which I owe him against my will, may not go so far as you imagine.

    GARC. Madam, you give me proofs of exquisite goodness in endeavouring to lighten the blow that is prepared for me, but without such pains you may let fall upon me all the wrath which your duty demands. In my present condition, I can say nothing. I have deserved the worst punishments which fate can inflict; and I know that, whatever evils I may suffer, I have deprived myself of the right to complain of them. Alas, amidst all my misfortunes, on what grounds can I be bold enough to utter any complaint against you? My love has rendered itself a thousand times odious, and has done nothing but outrage your glorious charms; when by a just and noble sacrifice, I was endeavouring to render some service to your family, fortune abandoned me, and made me taste the bitter grief of being forestalled by a rival. After this, Madam, I have nothing more to say. I deserve the blow which I expect; and I see it coming, without daring to call upon your heart to assist me. What remains for me in this extreme misfortune is to seek a remedy in myself, and, by a death which I long for, free my heart from all those tribulations. Yes, Don Alphonso will soon be here; already my rival has made his appearance; he seems to have hurried hither from Leon, to receive his reward for having killed the tyrant. Do not fear that I shall use my power within these walls to offer him any resistance. If you allowed it, there is no being on earth which I would not defy in order to keep you; but it is not for me, whom you detest, to expect such an honourable permission. No vain attempts of mine shall offer the smallest opposition to the execution of your just designs. No, Madam, your feelings are under no compulsion; you are perfectly free. I will open the gates of Astorga to the happy conqueror, and suffer the utmost severity of fate.


    ELV. Madam, do not ascribe all my afflictions to the interest which I take in his unhappy lot. You will do me but justice if you believe that you have a large share in my heart-felt grief; that I care more for friendship than for love. If I complain of any dire misfortune, it is because Heaven in its anger has borrowed from me those shafts which it hurls against you, and has made my looks guilty of kindling a passion which treats your kind heart unworthily.

    INEZ. This is an accident caused, doubtless, by your looks, for which you ought not to quarrel with Heaven. If the feeble charms which my countenance displays have exposed me to the misfortune of my lover abandoning me, Heaven could not better soften such a blow than by making use of you to captivate that heart. I ought not to blush for an inconstancy which indicates the difference between your attractions and mine. If this change makes me sigh, it is from foreseeing that it will be fatal to your love; amidst the sorrow caused by friendship, I am angry for your sake that my few attractions have failed to retain a heart whose devotion interferes so greatly with the love you feel for another.

    ELV. Rather blame your silence, which, without reason, concealed the understanding between your hearts. If I had known this secret sooner, it might perhaps have spared us both some sad trouble; I might then coldly and justly have refused to listen to the sighs of a fickle lover, and perhaps have sent back whence they strayed...

    INEZ. Madam, he is here.

    ELV. You can remain without even looking at him. Do not go away, Madam, but stay, and, though you suffer, hear what I say to him.

    INEZ. I consent, Madam; though I very well know that were another in my place, she would avoid being present at such a conversation.

    ELV. If Heaven seconds my wishes, Madam, you shall have no cause to repine.

    SCENE V.--DON ALPHONSO (believed to be Don Silvio), DONNA ELVIRA, DONNA INEZ.

    ELV. Before you say a word, my Lord, I earnestly beg that you will deign to hear me for a moment. Fame has already informed us of the marvellous deeds you have performed. I wonder to see, as all do, how quickly and successfully you have changed our lot. I know very well that such an eminent service can never be sufficiently rewarded, and that nothing ought to be refused to you for that never-to-be-forgotten deed which replaces my brother on the throne of his ancestors. But whatever his grateful heart may offer you, make a generous use of your advantages, and do not employ your glorious action, my Lord, to make me bend under an imperious yoke; nor let your love--for you know who is the object of my passion--persist in triumphing over a well-founded refusal; let not my brother, to whom they are going to present me, begin his reign by an act of tyranny over his sister. Leon has other rewards which for the nonce, may do more honour to your lofty valour. A heart which you can obtain only by compulsion, would be too mean a reward for your courage. Can a man be ever really satisfied when, by coercion, he obtains what he loves? It is a melancholy advantage; a generous-minded lover refuses to be happy upon such conditions. He will not owe anything to that pressure which relatives think they have a right to employ; he is ever too fond of the maiden he loves, to suffer her to be sacrificed as a victim, even to himself. Not that my heart intends to grant to another what it refuses to you. No, my Lord, I promise you, and pledge you my word of honour, that no one shall ever obtain my hand, that a convent shall protect me against every other...

    ALPH. Madam, I have listened long enough to your discourse, and might, by two words, have prevented it all, if you had given less credit to false tidings. I know that a common report, which is everywhere believed, attributes to me the glory of having killed the tyrant; but as we have been informed, the people alone, stirred up by Don Louis to do their duty, have performed this honourable and heroic act, which public rumour ascribed to me. The reason of these tidings was that Don Louis, the better to carry out his lofty purpose, spread a report that I and my soldiers had made ourselves masters of the town; by this news he so excited the people, that they hastened to kill the usurper. He has managed everything by his prudent zeal, and has just sent me notice of this by one of his servants. At the same time, a secret has been revealed to me which will astonish you as much as it surprised me. You expect a brother, and Leon its true master; Heaven now presents him before you. Yes, I am Don Alphonso; I was brought up and educated under the name of Prince of Castile; this clearly proves the sincere friendship that existed between Don Louis and the King, my father. Don Louis has all the proofs of this secret, and will establish its truth to the whole world. But now my thoughts are taken up with other cares; I am clear how to act towards you; not that my passion is opposed to such a discovery, or that the brother in my heart quarrels with the lover. The revelation of this secret has, without the least murmur, changed my ardour into a love commanded by nature; the tie of relationship which unites us has so entirely freed me from the love which I entertained for you, that the highest favour I now long for is the sweet delights of my first chain, and the means of rendering to the adorable Inez that which her excessive goodness deserves.

    [Footnote: Compare the manner in which Andres, in The Blunderer (Act v., Scene 15), recognises his sister in Celia.]

    But the uncertainty of her lot renders mine miserable; if what is reported be true, then it will be in vain for Leon to invite me, and for a throne to wait for me; for a crown could not make me happy. I only wished for its splendour in order to let me taste the joy of placing it on the head of that maiden for whom Heaven destined me, and by those means to repair, as far as I could, the wrong I have done to her extraordinary virtues. It is from you, Madam, I expect tidings as to what has become of her. Be pleased to communicate them, and by your words hasten my despair, or the happiness of my life.

    ELV. Do not wonder if I delay answering you; for this news, my Lord, bewilders me. I will not take upon me to tell your loving heart, whether Donna Inez be dead or alive; but this gentleman here, who is one of her most intimate friends, will doubtless give you some information about her.

    ALPH. (Recognising Donna Inez). Ah, Madam, in this dilemma I am happy to behold again your heavenly beauty. But with what eye can you look upon a fickle lover, whose crime...

    INEZ. Ah! do not insult me, and venture to state that a heart, which I hold dear, could be inconstant. I cannot bear the thought, and the apology pains me. All the love you felt for the Princess could not offend me, because her great worth is a sufficient excuse. The love you bore her is no proof of your guilt towards me. Learn that if you had been culpable, the lofty pride within me would have made you sue in vain to overcome my contempt, and that neither repentance nor commands could have induced me to forget such an insult.

    ELV. Ah, dear brother,--allow me to call you by this gentle name,--you render your sister very happy! I love your choice, and bless fortune, which enables you to crown so pure a friendship! Of the two noble hearts I so tenderly love...


    GARC. For mercy's sake, Madam, hide from me your satisfaction, and let me die in the belief that a feeling of duty compels you. I know you can freely dispose of your hand; I do not intend to run counter to your wishes. I have proved this sufficiently, as well as my obedience to your commands. But I must confess that this levity surprises me, and shakes all my resolutions. Such a sight awakens a storm of passion which I fear I cannot command, though I would punish myself, if this could make me lose that profound respect I wish to preserve. Yes, you have ordered me to bear patiently my unfortunate love; your behest has so much influence over my heart, that I will rather die than disobey you. But still, the joy you display tries me too severely; the wisest man, upon such an occasion, can but ill answer for his conduct. Suppress it, I beseech you, for a few moments, and spare me, Madam, this cruel trial; however great your love for my rival may be, do not let me be a wretched witness of his felicity. This is the smallest favour I think a lover may ask, even when he is disliked as much as I am. I do not seek this favour for long, Madam; my departure will soon satisfy you. I go where sorrow shall consume my soul, and shall learn your marriage only by hearsay; I ought not to hasten to behold such a spectacle; for, without seeing it, it will kill me.

    INEZ. Give me leave, my Lord, to blame you for complaining, because the Princess has deeply felt your misfortunes; this very joy at which you murmur, arises solely from the happiness that is in store for you. She rejoices in a success which has favoured your heart's desire, and has discovered that your rival is her brother. Yes, Don Alphonso, whose name has been so bruited about, is her brother; this great secret has just now been told to her.

    ALPH. My heart, thank Heaven, after a long torture, has all that it can desire, and deprives you of nothing, my Lord. I am so much the happier, because I am able to forward your love.

    GARC. Alas! my Lord, I am overwhelmed by your goodness, which condescends to respond to my dearest wishes. Heaven has averted the blow that I feared; any other man but myself would think himself happy. But the fortunate discovery of this favourable secret, proves me to be culpable towards her I adore; I have again succumbed to these wretched suspicions, against which I have been so often warned, and in vain; through them my love has become hateful, and I ought to despair of ever being happy. Yes, Donna Elvira has but too good reason to hate me; I know I am unworthy of pardon; and whatever success fortune may give me, death, death alone, is all that I can expect.

    ELV. No, no, Prince, your submissive attitude brings more tender feelings into my heart; I feel that the oath I took is no longer binding on me; your complaints, your respect, your grief has moved me to compassion; I see an excess of love in all your actions, and your malady deserves to be pitied. Since Heaven is the cause of your faults, some indulgence ought to be allowed to them; in one word, jealous or not jealous, my King will have no compulsion to employ when he gives me to you.

    GARC. Heaven! enable me to bear the excess of joy which this confession produces.

    ALPH. I trust, my Lord, that after all our useless dissensions, this marriage may forever unite our hearts and kingdoms. But time presses, and Leon expects us; let us go therefore, and, by our presence and watchfulness give the last blow to the tyrant's party.

    THE END.

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